In taking personal time for myself last Friday night, I had the opportunity to take in a one night only performance by the exquisite Tabby Johnson. For those who still have Rick James in your music collection she was one of the Mary Jane Girls. For those who remember when Hair first came to Toronto and she was in the original cast. For those who had their children watch Big Comfy Couch she was there every week. “I’m still doing my thang” emotes Tabby at the Flying Beaver Pubaret to a packed room and a crowd that appreciated the fact it was only one show.
Tabby Johnson resurfaced this night after what was noted to be a stellar shout-out during the Mimi’s Wake of a Party now known as Mimi-fest and her turn at her sister Molly Johnson’s gig at the Distillery.
In the words of The Flying Beaver http://www.pubaret.com “There’s nothing like a huge audience response from the many in attendance to inspire a gal to come out of self imposed hibernation!”.
I came straight from a meeting and had my computer bag with me and this woman says to me “Hey, nice purse”, I said “thanks” and found out later it was comedian Maggie Cassella. If you like the comedic style of ranting and raving, you have got to take in a Maggie Cassella show. Maggie warmed up the crowd in a very natural and organic way. As Maggie was about the leave the stage she came back to address another point and then proceeded to go into a short 4 minute comedy bit, the beautiful thing about it was she was funny and nobody minded they got a little more out of the evening.
Tabby started her show and combined with her stellar choice of band members her voice smoothly sought out the senses everyone and the room was in flight. It was almost dream like for me at moments. The sound of Tabby’s soulful voice can take you to a place of fantasy and starlight. Tabby’s voice takes her audience on a transcendental journey with each song and it’s lyrics. After the 4th song of the set I felt so good, I had a grin and as I was getting up to use the restroom and saw the faces of Billie Newton Davis and Art Hindle and wondered if I was dreaming. The room was small but large enough to maintain the comfortable intimate vibe that Tabby always invites when in her presence. You can’t help but do more than just listen to the lyrics of the songs, she makes you feel them.
I found it very fitting and almost serendipitous that on the day of the Royal wedding Tabby performed a one night only show in Cabbagetown. The Toronto Star has quoted, “She’s a national treasure”, The New York Times is quoted by describing Tabby as being “Sensuous and humorous” to everyone who knows, she’s all that and then some. When Tabby hit the stage at The Flying Beaver Pubaret she brought some fabulous friends together and surprise guests that had everyone either doing a little dance in their chair or grinning from ear to ear. Tabby Johnson is the truth!
In the coming days I have been promised some pictures, once I see them you will as well. I will also provide a sample of one of her songs for you to feel the electricity that I shot that night on my iPhone. Sign up for the blog on this page and get updated as things get uploaded.