Steve Poltz - Shine On...Oh Canada Tour - two shows at the Cellar!
4:00 PM16:00

Steve Poltz - Shine On...Oh Canada Tour - two shows at the Cellar!

We can't express how delighted we are to once again host Steve Poltz, in his mom's home town, for an evening of great story telling and music. This will be an event you won't soon forget! Most of you will have heard of Steve, but if you haven't, read on and become introduced to one of the best (and most memorable) entertainers and musicians we've ever met.

DISCLAIMER 1: The “official” Wikipedia for Steve Poltz describes the material contained therein as “contentious,” not to mention “unsourced or poorly sourced.” We can wholeheartedly assure you Steve remains sourced and rarely contends. Either way, allow us to present the real story from the horse’s (man’s) mouth…

DISCLAIMER 2: (No animals were harmed in the making of this bio.)

Throughout over three decades in music, Steve Poltz did it all and more—often shared by way of his rockin’ countrified folk slices of sardonic Americana (hatched in Halifax). Of course, he co-wrote Jewel’s multiplatinum Hot 100-topping megahit “You Were Meant For Me,” but he also went on a whale watch with her and a few federales that turned into a drug bust. The two still share the story at every festival they play together. He made his bones as the frontman for underground legends The Rugburns, who burned rubber crisscrossing the continent on marathon tours and still pop up once in a while for the rare and quickly sold out reunion gig.

In 20 years since his full-length solo debut, One Left Shoe, he blessed the world’s ears with twelve solo records, spanning the acclaimed 2010 Dreamhouse and most recently Folk Singer in 2015. NPR summed it up best, “Critics and fans alike now regard Poltz as a talented and prolific songwriter.” By 2016, he survived a stroke, endured anything the music industry could throw at him, and still performed like “280 days a year.”

However, he still never lived in Nashville, which represents a turning point in the story and the genesis of his 2018 Red House Records debut, Shine On…

“My girlfriend Sharon sold the condo we were living in, and I was ready to live in a van, which seemed like a good idea for one night—then I decided I wanted a kitchen and a closet,” he admits. “Sharon wanted to move to Nashville, because she thought it would be good for me. It caused a huge fight. I’d been in San Diego since 1980, and that’s where I cut my musical teeth. I thought I’d never leave. In fact, at the height of our fight, I said, ‘I’m not leaving San Diego. I am San Diego!’ This makes me laugh now. As soon as I got to Nashville, I immediately knew I wanted to make a record in ‘Music City’.”

So, the man who once protested “I am San Diego” made Shine On in his new home of Nashville with one of its elder statesman behind the board, Will Kimbrough [Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell]. Holing up in the studio at Kimbrough’s house, nothing would be off limits. Together, they unlocked the kind of creative chemistry you only hear about in band bios—but for real.

“I respect Will so much, and I’d always wanted to work with him,” says Steve. “Like two mad scientists, we just took our time and had fun. We didn’t overthink things. Everything felt organic. We ate soul food and drank lots of really good coffee. We tried out weird sounds, and the songs always started with voice and guitar—no click track, just how I’d play them. I road tested many of them, and they were ripe for the picking when recording time came around.”

Evoking themes of “hope, love, contemplation, celebration of Wednesday, pharmacists, and the fact that windows are not inanimate objects and they sometimes have conversations with each other,” the record represents Steve at his most inspired and insightful. The opener and title track “Shine On” pairs a delicate vocal with lithely plucked acoustic strings as he urges, “Shine on, shine on.”

“The song was a gift,” he recalls. “I woke up really early in Encinitas, California at Sharon’s sister’s house. The sun was just coming up. I was all alone in perfect solitude. My guitar was there. The sky was gorgeous. I wrote it as a poem. Everyone always told me, ‘Never start a record with a really slow song.’ So, seeing that I have O.D.D. (Oppositional Defiance Disorder), I started my record with one. I love the mood it sets. It’s almost like my mission statement, trying to find some semblance of positivity and light in a sometimes ruthless world.”

On “Pharmacist,” rustling guitar and harmonica propel a tale of “this dude having a crush on his pharmacist.” It also serves as an extension of his friendship with neighbor Scot Sax—with whom he shares the podcast “One Hit Neighbors” (since they’ve both had one hit song). Meanwhile, he joined forces with Molly Tuttle on “4th of July,” which, of course, came to life on the 3rd of July. “Ballin On Wednesday” drew its title and chorus from a diner checkout girl (with a super cool gold tooth) who Steve paid with a $100 bill and she replied, “Oooh, ballin’ on a Wednsday.” The finale “All Things Shine” skips along on sparse instrumentation as Steve sends a message.

“‘All Things Shine’ came about after one of the many mass shootings on this planet,” he sighs. “I was feeling overwhelmed. So, I wanted to put my feelings into words and melody. I was thinking that even if we’re feeling hopeless that there is still beauty. All things shine in their own way.”

Who could contend that?

In the end, for everything you can call him “searcher, smartass, movie freak, lover of technology, news junkie, baseball fan to nth degree, lapsed catholic who still believes in god even though all his friends are atheists and think he’s an idiot, and maker of fun,” you might just call Steve that little light in the dark we all need in this day and age.

Or Nashville’s Canadian Jiminy Cricket…

“I hope Shine On makes listeners smile and feel welcome, and they want to share it with their friends,” he leaves off. “Music means energy to me. All things. It connects us, makes us move, helps us relax, and inspires us to change things up.”

This event will be general admission seating - Please note that you may be seated with someone that is not included in your party. This is also a concert-style show and we ask that you respect the musician and other guests by keeping quiet during the performance. Doors will open at 3:30 for the 4:00 p.m. show and at 7 p.m. for the 7:30 show. If you haven't seen Steve before, you are in for a real treat!

Tickets are non-refundable. No holds. Available only online at Eventbrite.

View Event →
JP Cormier @ The Cellar Bar
7:30 PM19:30

JP Cormier @ The Cellar Bar

We can't express how excited we are to welcome J.P. Cormier to The Cellar for a second show on March 23rd. We've been smitten with his musical talents for decades and to welcome him to our venue and be able to watch him perform up-close and personal among the company of friends and fans is sure to make for a night to remember!

Nobody really knows who J.P. Cormier is for sure. That’s to be expected, believe me.

In 1974 he was a five year old boy, discovering an innate talent for playing the guitar, I had a little hand in that, guiding him through the beginning stages. He learned faster than I could teach.

By the mid eighties, not out of his teens, he was a sideman for bands and artists of many different genres in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and all across the deep south. As he travelled and worked he added more and more instruments to his arsenal of capabilities. He became indispensable to the bands he worked for.

In the early Nineties, he became a sideman for one of Canada’s favourite sons, Stompin’ Tom Connors and also became a staple of the recordings at Studio H in Halifax. His work with the CBC there, spanned musical, production and arranging duties.

All this before he was 20.

In the mid nineties he reentered the musical scene of his beloved East Coast and the Island called Cape Breton. He exploded onto the trad music scene there as a fiddler, performing some of the most difficult music ever produced by legends like Winston Fitzgerald and Angus Chisholm with a facility that stunned onlookers. Especially those who knew he wasn’t born there, but born in Ontario to Cape Breton parents. Somehow, some way, his music was the real thing, sounding like he had been steeped continually in a handed-down brew of family tradition from the old country.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

His previous gig was in Nashville playing mandolin and banjo in a grammy nominated bluegrass gospel band and performing on the Opry, and playing television shows with the likes of Waylon Jennings. All those people also thought he was one of them, American, reared in the ways of bluegrass, old time and Americana music. They knew he was from Canada, but it just didn’t seem possible.

Then in 1997, something amazing happened.

An album released in Canada, out of nowhere, called Another Morning. This time it was him as a songwriter and a lead singer.

And what a songwriter he turned out to be. Some of the performances on that album are literally part of the musical vocabulary today in the East Coast. Songs like the title cut, and Kelly’s Mountain, The Molly May (co written with his cousin Gervais) and others. It inspired, 25 years ago, some of the biggest names in the business today. People like Dave Gunning, Matt Andersen, David Myles, Joel Plaskett, all of which will tell you: that record changed things.

The Canadian industry thought so too, and it received a juno nomination and won an ECMA.

And that was just the beginning.

36 years later after stepping on stage as professional union musician for the first time at the tender age of 13, JP is still going, and frighteningly, still getting better.

16 albums followed the success of Another Morning, winning 12 more ECMA’s, another Juno nomination, a Canadian Folk Music Award and 5 Music Nova Scotia Awards. Each album was a snapshot of each thing that he can do. There are fiddle albums, Mandolin, Banjo, Guitar, tribute records, songwriting collections, a purely astounding spectrum of talent and musical vision.

His catalogue of recordings and the 150 or so records he’s produced on other artists, resemble the tapestry he weaves in live performance. Where he used to carry 3 and 4 piece bands, he tours alone now.

Just him and the instruments.

People still leave his shows confused, amazed and wondering what they just saw. Did they see a storyteller? A Songwriter? Arguably one of the best guitar players in the business today? Someone who crosses the lines between different instruments like there are no lines? Who was that masked man, anyway?

Accolades aside, and there are many from people like Chet Atkins, Marty Stuart, Waylon Jennings, Gordon Lightfoot; JP sees himself as just a performer. He’s shy, but has a razor sharp wit and lightning sense of humour. He can be reserved or edgy to the point no return. He speaks for soldiers, first responders, other artists, the forgotten and lost. He speaks sometimes only for himself and refuses rebuttal.

Of all the things he is, foremost he is an entertainer. I think one of the best. After you’ve seen what he does, I’m certain you will too.

This event will be general admission seating - Please note that you may be seated with someone that is not included in your party. This is also a concert-style show and we ask that you respect the musician and other guests by keeping quiet during the performance. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Showtime 7:30. 19+ event.

Tickets are non-refundable. No holds. Available online only.

View Event →
Stand Up Comedy Night @ The Cellar
7:00 PM19:00

Stand Up Comedy Night @ The Cellar

We're not sure if it's the first...but if it's's certainly been a long time since there's been a stand up comedy night on the Northside. Let's change that!

Welcome North Sydney's own, Hughie Batherson, as the opening act for Canadian actor/mime/comedian Ryan Doucette. While both performers are bilingual, this performance will be in English.

Come on out for a good laugh. Food and drink available. We're doing sold out shows at The Cellar, so don't wait long too long to get your tickets. A great way to kick off your March Break!

Ticket sales begin Thursday, Feb 14th at 10 a.m. on Eventbite and are available only online. $15 plus HST. No holds. 19+ event.

View Event →
Impromptu New Year's Eve Party
7:00 PM19:00

Impromptu New Year's Eve Party

Impromptu parties are the best kind! Celebrate the ringing of 2019 in our intimate space, with friends, great food, music and drinks.Tickets now available for our Impromptu New Year's Eve Party. Food catered by Commercial St Deli North Sydney and music by Band of Thieves. Ticket also includes a drink token. Tickets only available online. Click image below. $60 plus tax. This is an age 19+ event.

View Event →
7:00 PM19:00


Bryan Picard and Angelo Spinazzola will delight an intimate crowd on December 21 @ 7 p.m. Sit yourself back and feast your ears on the music of Grasshopper. Angelo and Bryan's sound is a mix of floating harmonies, JJ Cale grooves and old time feelings.

The majority of our seats will provide up close and personal viewing of the entertainment. Our private vault, and one table area, each seating 4-5, will allow you to enjoy your privacy and hear the music but viewing will be limited. Seating will be on a first come, first served basis. Our kitchen will be open for appetizers.

This event will be general admission seating. This is also a concert-style show and we ask that you respect the musician and other guests by keeping quiet during the performance. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., showtime is 7:00 p.m. If you haven't seen Angelo and Bryan together before, you are in for a real treat! Tickets are non-refundable. Price $15 plus tax.

Tickets cannot be held and may be purchased at the cafe beginning tomorrow December 7 or online at Eventbrite at this link

View Event →
Quote The Raven Live
7:00 PM19:00

Quote The Raven Live

  • Higher Grounds Cafe & The Cellar Bar (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Newfoundland folk duo Quote The Raven – the pairing of powerhouse vocalist Jordan Coaker and haunting songstress Kirsten Rodden-Clarke – have made an immediate and emphatic statement with their long-awaited debut album. Aptly titled Golden Hour, Quote The Raven’s studio debut is the physical embodiment of right place, right time, right people. Crafted alongside virtuoso producer Chris Kirby, and featuring an embarrassingly high caliber of Canada’s songwriting elite – Gabrielle Papillon, Ian Janes, Charlie A’Court, Keith Mullins, Chris Kirby, Stephen Green, Aaron Green, and Dwight D’eon – Golden Hour is as much a statement piece of a pair of hungry musicians ready to hit the stratosphere as it is a tremendous artistic achievement.

Tickets $10 plus tax.

View Event →