Doug Lamey, Dedo Norris, and Cliff McGann
at the Canadian-American Club

Event Summary

2009 February 14 (Saturday)
Canadian-American Club, 202 Arlington Street, East Watertown, Massachusetts 02472-2004
Canadian-American Club Dance with Doug Lamey, Dedo Norris, and Cliff McGann.
$12 at the door

Review for the Cape Breton Music List
(Posted 2009 February 16)

This year, the Canadian-American Club is holding a Cape Breton dance on the second Saturday of each month through June, which, this February, fell on Valentine’s Day. This evening’s performers featured Doug Lamey on fiddle, Dedo Norris on upright piano, and, for much of the evening, Cliff McGann on guitar.

Watching a young musician improve before your eyes is always a pleasure and Doug has been improving by leaps and bounds since I first heard him play in 2007, when he was already a very good fiddler. This past Saturday night, he played magnificently well, better than I had ever heard him play before, and I was not alone in saying so. His music had the perfect tempo, rhythm, and phrasing for dancing; with just the right amount of bounce, crystal clear, and standing four-square in the Cape Breton fiddling tradition, it was a superb performance! I was also delighted to again hear Dedo Norris, who has been doing Cape Breton accompaniment on the piano for more than fifteen years and has worked with many of the greats in Cape Breton music, adding a complex but delicate rhythmic component that blended perfectly with Doug’s lilt and phrasing and complemented it with those lovely tones that only a well-played upright piano can produce. It was pure Cape Breton music at its best! Cliff McGann added his guitar accompaniment to the mix, enriching the sound even more, around 21h30.

As is usually the case at the Canadian-American Club, the dancing did not get under way until 20h50; during the four hours of music, only four square sets were danced. The evening started off with several sets of gorgeous tunes—I was so taken with the playing I forgot to count—which soon commanded everyone’s attention. Jigs, reels, and strathspeys came tripping off Doug’s fiddle with scarcely a pause between sets. The first square set of the evening used the Inverness figures; a waltz followed and then the dancers took their seats to listen to some more sets of tunes. The second square set used the Boston figures with no prompter on stage and closed out the first half of the evening, as Doug and Cliff took a break.

Gordon Aucoin on fiddle and Dedo on piano then played several very enjoyable sets of tunes, several of which I hear only fairly rarely and therefore made me prick up my ears. At this time, the fine array of tea and refreshments in the kitchen was opened up and much of the audience enjoyed gustatory delights along with Gordon’s music.

To spell Dedo, who had by then played for two and a half hours straight, Peggy Morrison took over on the piano as Doug and Cliff returned to the stage. The universal call for step-dancers soon sallied forth from Doug’s fiddle and, this evening, three people answered it by taking to the floor: Mary Lamey (Doug’s aunt), Dave Harvey (a dance instructor and dance prompter from New York City), and Mary MacGillivray (a regular at the Canadian-American Club). After a few more tune sets, Dave Harvey proposed a new square set be danced with variations on the figures he thought the dancers would know and which he prompted from the stage. Dedo then returned to the stage and continued with Doug and Cliff with more tune sets. A fourth square set, danced to the Boston figures without a prompter, followed. Jerry Holland’s In Memory of Herbie MacLeod and Niel Gow’s Lament for the Death of his Second Wife closed out the evening’s music.

The audience for much of the night was about the same size as the January dance’s, between forty and sixty, perhaps not too surprising as it was Valentine’s Day and there were many competing activities. The next dance is scheduled for 14 March and features Doug, Cliff, and Charlie MacLeod. Unfortunately, I am going to have to miss that one, but I can certainly say I am looking forward to listening to Doug’s artistry again in the near future. If you haven’t heard him recently, you should give his superb playing a long listen.

As always, my thanks go to the dance organizers, especially Peggy Morrison who has put the idea of monthly Cape Breton dances into practise, and to the friendly folks at the Canadian-American Club whose hospitality is greatly appreciated.


Doug Lamey

Dedo Norris

Doug Lamey on fiddle accompanied by Dedo Norris on upright piano and
Cliff McGann on guitar

Gordon Aucoin on fiddle accompanied by Dedo Norris on upright piano

Gordon Aucoin

Dedo Norris

Mary Lamey step-dancing

Dave Harvey step-dancing

Mary MacGillivray step-dancing

Doug Lamey on fiddle, accompanied by Dedo Norris on upright piano and
Cliff McGann on guitar, with Dave Harvey prompting

Peggy Morrison

Doug Lamey on fiddle and Cliff McGann on guitar

Dave Harvey prompting

Dancers on the floor