Home Arts A 3-hour trip through rock and roll history

A 3-hour trip through rock and roll history

by Archives February 5, 2008

As Craig Morrison proudly walked on stage and sat at the piano, it was apparent the audience was in for a treat Friday night at Concordia’s Oscar Peterson Concert Hall.
It was the Eleventh Annual Roots of Rock and Roll concert featuring a whole team of players – Craig Morrison and the Momentz, Vintage Wine, The Never-Be Brothers and a slew of other guests. They were there to perform classics from the early 20th century to the 1950’s, from early Memphis blues to Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Dusty Springfield.
Music is obviously a big part of Morrison’s life: he sings, plays the guitar and piano, composes and teaches music history at Concordia.
“It’s a passion that started in my youth,” he said. “It comes from my mother. She collected records, which is unusual for a woman. She always loved music. It was a way for me to have something nice in common with my mom. We still get together to talk about music.”
The atmosphere was light as Morrison led the band throughout the evening. He joked with the audience and educated them with a mini history lesson of the songs he was about to perform. He has a natural knack for interacting with a crowd, even encouraging them to sing along. His sincere delivery seemed to give more meaning to the already profound lyrics of the songs.
The bands alternated, with a total of 18 musicians taking the stage in groups. It was nice to see veterans of the music scene performing side-by-side with up-and-coming young talents. There seemed to be a genuine connection between all of them as they were playing and singing to each other, as well as the audience. Each song was sung with precision, paying homage to the original artists.
Guillaume Ozoux, a member of the band Rockabilly Filly, was a clear highlight. His Elvis Presley covers were earnest and authentic. Still, he made the covers his own, shaking his hips in a way that would have made Presley proud.
Bella stood out when it came to vocals. Her wailing performance made you wonder why she wasn’t yet topping the album charts with her soulful renditions.
Morrison is clearly proud of all the hard work and dedication he puts in year and after year.
“It’s partly the love of music [that keeps me going]. It’s partly what music can bring. It can create a sense of community. That’s what these annual shows are about. They’re about building and fostering a sense of community, not just among the musicians, but among the audience too. Because I see the power of music, I’ve become somewhat of an ambassador,” he said.
The audience was clearly pleased: dancing throughout and laughing as the musicians exchanged playful banter. Christopher Franco, a student of Morrison’s rock and roll history class, was impressed with the set.
“It’s great to see him in a different light and in his element. It’s what he does best. He’s able to play all these different genres and bring them together effortlessly.”
Vicki Rossi, also a student of Morrison’s, enjoyed the performances as well. “It was fun and upbeat. It’s exciting to see a community come together, especially in such horrible weather.”
When asked what feeling he would like the audience to get as they’re listening to his music, Morrison simply said “joy.”

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