Perfect Pairings

Rob Oakie’s summer music series at The Guild

Submitted by Rob Oakie

When I pitched The Guild on presenting Perfect Pairings, I was excited about putting some of my favourite local artists together with the music of some of my all-time favourite artists. But both picks were challenging. We have a wealth of incredibly talented artists here on PEI and I could have programmed these shows 10 times over. And when it comes to my favourite music and iconic artists, I have pretty broad tastes. The concept is one I’ve used before, but this time the focus was just one-on-one, each show featuring the local artist’s music as well as the icon’s.  

Joce Reyome

So, when it came time to pick, the first one that wrote itself on the paper was Catherine MacLellan and Joni Mitchell. Joni has been called by many the greatest songwriter of our time. Lyrically and musically, she has few equals. Catherine is one of our most accomplished singer songwriters, a JUNO-award winner and holds the record for most Music PEI award wins. The Catherine and Joni show will be August 24. 

I can remember when the first Pointer Sisters album came out. I had first heard them singing incredible backup on a Taj Mahal album and then they released their debut album soaked in a glorious vocal mix of R&B, gospel, jazz, funk, blues and rock. I’ve seen Joce Reyome perform dozens of times and knew right away they were the one that could pull this off. Joce is a vocal powerhouse and lives in the blues and R&B, and will be up on August 3.   

August 10 is a real deep dive into the 60s and 70s pop world. Burt Bacharach was one of the top hit writers of that era. “The Look Of Love” has one of those timeless melodies that is hard to forget. His list of chart toppers is impressive and includes iconic songs like “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head.” I wanted someone special for this show and had the opportunity to see Noah Malcolm and Nadia perform together at a showcase. I loved the way their voices sounded together and the way they collaborated. 

Lawrence Maxwell

August 17 is Lawrence Maxwell’s turn. I asked Max to pick his favourite country artist to cover and wanted him to keep it more classic country. His pick was Alan Jackson and it’s pretty obvious he is one of the best, with over 75 million in album sales and 35 number one hits. Lawrence Maxwell is carving out a nice career for himself so far with three albums and a multiple ECMA and Music PEI award nominee and winner. 

Closing the series is another of my favourite icons, Norah Jones. I remember seeing her on the Grammys the year her album Come Away With Me took home five Grammys. She now has a total of nine wins for her storied career and has floated easily between jazz, folk, country and pop. Brielle Ansems has always been a fan of Jones and jumped at the chance to do a night of her music. Ansems has written some incredible ear worms herself with songs like “25 (And Still Awake).” 

Thursday nights at the Guild all through August will be the place to be!