Photo - Norm Hacking

"Norm's Living Room" Open Stage
The Silver Dollar Room, Toronto
ended March 28, 2002

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Toronto's finest songwriters' open stage

THURSDAYS - Doors open and Sign-up at 7 pm
Finger picking guitar workshop/jam with Brian Gladstone at 7 pm
Open stage begins at 8 pm and continues to midnight
NO COVER - basket passed for feature performer

The Silver Dollar Room
486 Spadina Ave. (just north of College St.)
Toronto, Ontario Canada
416 763-9139 or


(click on month for direct link to section below)
Updated March 19, 2002

July 2001 / August / September / October / November / December
January 2002 / February 2002 / March 2002

"Norm's Living Room" reflects the warm encouraging nature of the nights that Toronto's critically acclaimed veteran songwriter Norm Hacking creates. He invites talented musical friends (new and old) into his living room to play, along with some friends to listen. But his own living room is too small (and Teapot, his cute cat, is just too distracting), so the virtual furniture was moved to the Tranzac for more than a year and on Tuesday July 24th arrived at the Silver Dollar, his new and larger musical home. In fact, it was a homecoming, as the first in a series of open stages he's established over the years was in that very room at the Silver Dollar a dozen years ago.

Setting up for that very first open stage inspired Norm to write "Spin Around", included on his "best of" 1996 Skysongs album (just reissued, remastered with lyrics). The song is also performed by Toronto-based band Slowpoke on One Voice, A Tribute to Norm Hacking, Vol. 1.

Due to Norm's welcoming style and the caliber of songwriters coming to his nights, the group at the Tranzac melded into a very real and loyal community, complete with friendships, performing partnerships, celebrations (series anniversaries, Norm's 50th birthday party) and memorial tribute concert (after the sudden death of long time friend, supporter and award-winning musician Lloyd Landa). With the larger space at the Silver Dollar, the community can now more easily accommodate new players and listeners, who are always welcomed.


Norm has returned to the Silver Dollar Room with "Norm's Living Room," an open stage for songwriters every THURSDAY. We moved in on July 24, 2001. Norm and a different featured songwriter each week perform during the evening. Songwriters are invited to sign up to perform a couple of songs, maybe three. Sign-up begins when doors open at 7 pm. Come at 7 pm (previously 8 pm) for a finger-picking guitar workshop/jam lead by Brian Gladstone. Performers may sell their CDs and announce gigs. Sound is supplied, bring a keyboard if that's your instrument. NO COVER - a basket is passed, with proceeds to the feature.

The Silver Dollar, 486 Spadina Avenue (a couple of doors north of College Street on the west side), is well known as Toronto's premiere blues club. The blues-oriented songwriters will certainly know "The Dollar" for it's major blues acts and Monday blues jams. So will bluegrass fans, as Crazy Strings hosts a popular bluegrass picking jam every Wednesday. For more information on the Silver Dollar Room, check

For a year and a half, Norm's popular high-quality Tuesday open stages and performances by invitation "Norm's Living Room" on Saturdays at the Tranzac attracted talented perfomers and developed a real sense of community which was transported along with the virtual furniture to his new and larger "Living Room" Tuesdays (now moved to Thursdays) at the Silver Dollar. See Norm at the Tranzac Page for a look at those series, including feature artists there February through June 2001. Hint: some were regulars at Norm's evenings, so look for them at the Silver Dollar.


JULY 2001

July 24 - MARIANNE GIRARD has been a familiar face on the folk scene since the seventies. Her musical journey has taken her full circle as a songwriter from folk roots through the urban sounds of jazz, cabaret and rock right back to her roots: folk music and the Ed Sullivan Show. She has remained in the arts behind the scenes for 10 years. Now, she is resurfacing, with a long awaited CD in the works. A favourite feature at Norm's evenings, she does original songs, lovely versions of some of his songs (two are included on the upcoming tribute album) and other covers. [2004: ]

July 31 - MICHAEL LADEROUTE has been a performing songwriter for almost 20 years, and a definite favourite at Norm Hacking's evenings. His original songs are folk/blues/rock/country flavoured - acoustic tales of the heart, automobiles, journeys started and strange twists of fortune, stories not finished and the eternal struggle of man against fish! He claims to have been inoculated with a phonograph needle at age 3 after an freak accident while listening to the Happy Wanderers music beaming into a huge radio in Arnprior from an Ottawa station. A yearly "campfire sessions" regular at the Sons Of Hermann hall in Dallas, Texas, he is finally considering recording a CD.

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August 7 - KEVIN BELL is a musician's musician, equally adapt on acoustic and electric guitars. His lovely fingerpicking style always puts the integrity of the songs first. Having accompanied Norm Hacking for over 20 years now, their shows have given joy to countless audiences. His lead guitar is prominent on Norm's acclaimed 1988 Stubborn Ghost album, which they co-produced. Kevin will feature a set of his own fine material as well as accompanying Norm later in the evening.

August 14 - RON NIGRINI is the consummate professional songwriter and craftsman, not to be missed. In 1969, he kindled the spark that started the bonfire of Norm's songwriting career when they met at the University of Toronto. Recording fine original songs such as "Rich Things" since the 70s, he also recorded the 1976 Canadian hit version of Keith Carradine's "I'm Easy." In the summer of 2000 he performed his epic "Montana Plain" about the Battle of the Little Big Horn in Big Horn country. It's included on his latest recording of original songs Above the Noise (1999), available through His website recounts some humorous incidences from a career that very early included opening for the Mamas and the Papas at Maple Leaf Gardens (1965), meeting the late Tim Hardin and touring adventures. Ron covers one of Norm's tunes "Old Things in Love" on a soon-to-be-released tribute album.

August 21 - LIKEWATER, a young songwriting duo of lead singer Jennifer Claveau and guitarist Eric Newby, deliver a heartfelt mix of songs based on life experiences, relationships and personal beliefs. They are known for their striking vocal presence and tasteful guitar sensibility. Influenced by a wide range of music from Fleetwood Mac to The Smiths, Likewater’s sound has developed into guitar oriented, melody-based acoustic pop. Their style is comparable to that of Blue Rodeo, Sarah McLachlan and Sarah Harmer. Have a look at their new website at [2004: ]

August 28 - BRIAN GLADSTONE with TONY QUARRINGTON amaze with 20 fingers flying. Brian simultaneously flatpicks and fingerpicks his original songs at a rapid pace and Tony is an amazing musician (guitar and mandolin) and recording artist known in both jazz and folk circles. This evening they are joined by Bonnie Gladstone (Brian's sister) for lovely back-up vocals. Brian will include songs from both his recent Back to the Dirt CD and one nearing completion, Psychedelic Pholk Psongs. For more on the "analogue guy trapped in a digital world," see

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September 4 - MARY KELLY has a gorgeous clear expressive voice with Celtic and other repertoire. You'll more often find her in area musical theatre, and it's a special treat when she finds time to drop in.

September 11 - EDDIE BALTIMORE (of Slowpoke) has been rescheduled for November 13

September 18 - TERRY TUFTS has been playing music since 1963, and professionally since 1974. His fluid lyrical style is straightforward, honest and intelligent and his guitar playing is an effortless and cohesive blend of orchestration and melody. CBC Radio has called Terry one of the finest finger-style guitarists in Canada. He is also a fine writer - 1997 regional winner of Standard Radio’s National Songwriting Competition and the 1998 Ontario Council Of Folk Festival’s Songs From The Heart competition." He has toured extensively in Holland, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Australia and Germany; and for five years he was guitarist/vocalist and band leader for Susan Aglukark. He has four self-financed and self-produced independently released albums and his fifth Walk On, produced by Ian Tamblyn, was released in February of 2001 on the Borealis record label. More info at

September 25 - JEREMY WOODLAND made a big impression the first time he played at Norm's Living Room in the Tranzac days as part of the "Orangeville invasion" and on his return visits. Only 21, Jeremy has been playing guitar half his life, absorbing country blues, ragtime, bluegrass and classical styles. Already a veteran of Mariposa's main festival, he is very busy teaching guitar. More info about Jeremy and his CD What You Hear... Is What You Get - with just his guitar and vocals, performing original songs and arrangements of trad material - at [2004: ]

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NOTE - Norm's Living Room is taking a three week break while the Silver Dollar Room presents some major blues artists - join us again starting Tuesday October 23.

October 23 - LENORE is working hard recording a follow-up to her self-titled CD with 13 original songs. She is an enthusiastic acoustic bluesy folk/pop performer who captures wistful and humorous slices of life. See for varied quotes, wide-ranging musical influences and sound samples.

October 30 - MARIANNE GIRARD is a favourite performer who opened our Silver Dollar series on July 24. She has been a familiar face on the folk scene since the seventies. Her musical journey has taken her full circle as a songwriter from folk roots through the urban sounds of jazz, cabaret and rock right back to her roots: folk music and the Ed Sullivan Show. She has remained in the arts behind the scenes for 10 years. Now, she is resurfacing, with a long awaited CD in the works. Marianne does original songs, lovely versions of some of Norm's songs (two are included on the tribute album being released November 14) and other covers. UPDATE: Thanks to HEATHER KATZ of Orangeville for providing a fabulous feature set when Marianne could not join us. Marianne will be part of the November 14 gala CD release. [2004: ]

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November 6 - ON BREAK - "Norm's Living Room" takes a break as The Silver Dollar Room presents a show that was to be at the El Mocambo, which is no longer hosting live music. RUSSELL SCOTT is rescheduled to December 4.

November 13 - EDDIE BALTIMORE (of Slowpoke) is an outstanding slide guitarist who relates strange but true stories. Tonight Eddie plays some of his favorite songwriters, and some of his own material, on the very stage where Slowpoke started lo these many years ago... "they ALWAYS return to the scene of the crime." For more on Slowpoke and Eddie and their lastest album of original songs, Annie Mae's Wedding Album, check here [2004: ] By the way, for the tribute album of Norm's songs Slowpoke chose "Spin Around," a song inspired by Norm's very first open stage at the Silver Dollar many years ago. (Rescheduled from September 11)

8 pm WED November 14 at HUGH'S ROOM (2261 Dundas St. W., Toronto) - GALA CONCERT LAUNCH of One Voice, A Tribute to Norm Hacking, Volume 1 featuring most of those performing 18 of Norm's songs on the album. See Tribute Album page for details of album and coming up for concert details. The remastered reissue of Norm's Skysongs... A Writer's Collection album, now with lyrics, will also be available for the first time.

November 20 - ON BREAK (Jim Layeux will feature in the new year).

November 27 - CLELA ERRINGTON has a velvety voice, lovely vocal interpretations of original and cover songs, with unique harmonica and lovely guitar playing. Eddie Baltimore recorded her new CD Lace Curtains and he and Jamie Snider accompany her on it. Her second album is well under way.

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December 4 - RUSSELL SCOTT has a quirky sense of humour, deft lyrics and outstanding guitar playing, rewarding him with a strong following at home and new fans from earlier visits to "Norm's Living Room". His songs reflect northern Ontario and many other subjects, represented in the 10 original songs on his debut CD The Master Key. (Rescheduled from Nov 6)

December 11 - ON BREAK.

THURSDAY DECEMBER 27 (rescheduled from Dec. 18) - PETER SOLMES will have his band CANADIAN HEART with him for our end of 2001 session. That's Paul Helleur on fiddle, guitar and mandolin, and Ellen Helleur on piano. Usually Peter plays solo keyboard and guitar to accompany his musical versions of Canadian stories old and new, as on his album Home and Away. His latest CD is Stories of Presqu'ile, an area he loves from his family's 70 year tradition of summers spent there. He also has an album of Christmas-related stories in song. For more, see


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January 17 - DON BRAY See [2004: ] - it's been a while since Don was our feature. He has a well-deserved reputation as a fine songwriter, and is a winner of the OCFF (Ontario Council of Folk Festivals) Songs from the Heart contest. Since he visited us, he has a second CD Waiting to Arrive that followed his fine debut CD Decisions. In addition, he contributed a new song "Burning in the Streets" to kick off the project that became the recently released CD Tears of a Thousand Years with proceeds to those whose lives changed by the tragic events of September 11. See about the project.

January 24 - NOAH ZACHARIN see Noah has joined us several times but not featured recently. He is a fabulous guitarist and songwriter (since age 13) with a brand new CD (his 4th) Crow Dark Wind. Some of it was featured on Joel Wortzman's Acoustic Routes radio show ( CKLN 88.1 7-8 pm Sundays) on January 6 and Rick Fielding's Acoustic Workshop (CIUT 89.5 7-8pm Mondays) on the 14th - we're really in for a treat of varied music.

January 31 - RON NIGRINI has been writing wonderful songs for literally decades. Norm credits Ron as the inspiration for him becoming a folk performer and songwriter when both were in university. Ron is still writing great songs of joy, sadness, humour, history, as those who've heard him or have his latest (1999) CD Above the Noise know. In 2000 he was invited to sing his "Montana Plain" about the Battle of Little Big Horn in a special commemoration of that event. He's had some interesting performing and touring experiences - for a humorous look at some of them, see his website at where you'll also find a few song samples. If you have the Norm tribute album "One Voice," you'll notice Ron's fine live version of Norm's "Old Things in Love." Come out and see why he is a favourite guest in Norm's Living Room. See also above on August 14

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February 7 - HOLMES HOOKE - fabulous spoken word, ranging from gloriously silly to simply beautiful and thought-provoking. He has an incredible way with words and lovely delivery. He usually includes a few songs with unusual accompaniment. A real treat to bring in February.

February 14 - MICHAEL LADEROUTE - a regular, much in demand for his beautiful bluesy guitar with the gorgeous finger picking breaks as accompaniment for Norm and anyone who can talk him into it - and it doesn't usually take too much arm twisting. And his own songs reveal a strong writer who paints characterizations in words and music. Michael regularly treks to Dallas for the "campfire sessions" at the Sons of Herman Hall. No CD yet - you'll have to come out to hear him. Celebrate Valentine's Day with us - expect to hear both sides of the subject, as Norm does more performing than he usually gets a chance to do.

February 21 - KIRK ELLIOTT is a wonderful multi-instrumentalist and multi-styled performer and writer of songs and instrumentals. His CDs are variously celtic (Celtic Moon), world-music-influenced (Moving Cloud) and kid-oriented. In demand as a studio musician on fiddle and other instruments, he has been known to bring a dozen instruments to a gig and amaze with virtuoso performances on them all. Coming soon: a brand new CD from Norm and Kirk, Orange Cats (make the very best friends).

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March 7 - ROGER JAMES of Kingston is just TOO funny, but don't let that stop you from a fine musical evening. Find out more at However, he bypassed Norm's humorous songs to perform "Thunder and Lightning" on the tribute. An interesting Norm Hacking story - Roger James and Nancy White met when both performed at the 1999 Norm Hacking tribute concert (recorded as part of the CD) and teamed up for a Flying Cloud Folk Club concert at the Tranzac last fall - toooo much humour for one night!

March 14 - BRENDA LEWIS with TONY QUARRINGTON and guest IAN MOLESWORTH are a triple treat. You'll notice Brenda's lovely jazzy vocals and Tony's gorgeous guitar on Norm's "Funny Boy" on the tribute album. They perform in southwestern Ontario as a vintage jazz standards duo. Brenda and Ian, both songwriters based in Guelph, have a fine CD Heart So Black that showcases songs by both. Hear Brenda on "Peel Me a Grape" at (click on "ensembles", then "vocal trio"). Ian has a brand-new instrumental CD Strangetown. Tony is well known for his outstanding acoustic folk and jazz guitar work. He's been a guest at "Norm's Living Room" a number of times to accompany features Brian Gladstone and Mary Kelly; he's also a writer with a really funny song about being a songwriter. Learn more about his playing, writing and recordings at Tony's website

March 21 - GLEN HORNBLAST is a Toronto singer/songwriter influenced by writers such as Tom Paxton and Townes van Zandt. His music leans towards beautiful, intricate folk-like medodies with a strong element of social consciousness. For example, "Mary" is a beautiful and sensitive song about a real person who lived on the street in his neighborhood. Glen is currently working on a CD and has a successful tape "Isla Mujeres" ("Island of Women", the title track refers to an island near Cancun, Mexico). He is a long-time supporter and host of open stages (at the Free Times Cafe) - we're always happy to have him share his thoughtful, thought-provoking and melodic songs. He does a fine rendition of Norm's "Love at the Free Times Cafe" on Norm's tribute CD.

March 28 - MADD SCIENTISTS is a new duo featuring two fine songwriters and long-time friends Jim Layeux and Melwood Cutlery. They are enjoying the vocal harmonies of the duo format and will be perfoming together at the Stan Rogers Folk Festival this summer. Jim's latest CD Red Dust is getting deserved widespread airplay. Have a listen for some earthly and far-ranging journeys - three of the songs are set on Mars! Melwood is a prolific songwriter whose most recent CD is If It Rains

March 28, 2002, is OUR LAST NORM'S LIVING ROOM at the Silver Dollar. Bookmark this website for future developments on our schedule OR subscribe to our email newsletter (see below).

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Join Norm's email list to get updates on Norm's gigs and other news, including any future "Norm's Living Room" open stage, usually with some news of interest to songwriters. Although Norm is not currently on line himself, this address is also the place to ask a question or just to say "hello":

send an email to

See also
Past Events in 2005 / in 2004 / in 2003 /in 2002
Earlier open stage series (also ended):
Norm at The Tranzac (1999-2001)

Last updated December 1, 2002
(some links updated September 15, 2004)