CMW 2014: Veda Hille @ The Cameron House

THURSDAY — It's a probably a pretty good sign when you walk into a venue and the first face you recognize belongs to Don Kerr — the former Rheostatics drummer. It's probably an even better sign when the act you're there to see is introduced to the stage by folk-popster Dan Mangan. And, of course, the best sign of all is that you're there to see Veda Hille: the wildly eclectic Vancouver singer-songwriter who has collaborated with everyone from Andy Stochansky to Oh Susanna to Mangan himself. He described her in his introduction as "legendary" — and while her songs might not race up the Billboard charts, it's a well-deserved label when it comes to Canadian songwriting circles.

The backroom of the Cameron House had a cozy, family feel as Hille delivered her wonderfully bizarre and infectious tunes, bathed in the light of a lamp perched atop the piano. People even sat in a hodgepodge of chairs for the first few rows, making the show feel more like an impromptu living room performance than a big rock show. The early highlight might very well have been "Oh My God" — a song off the album Hille released last year: Peter Panties, the soundtrack to a strange, modern musical version of Peter Pan. The album, co-created with Niall McNiel, a Vancouver actor with Down syndrome, was one of the best Canadian records released last year. (You can stream it below.) But even that was topped by the finale. After a few songs, Kerr joined her on drums. And by the end of the set, Mangan was up on stage, too, singing along to Hille's 2005 tune "Bedlam!" So what was already a special night was made even more so: watching three of the greats of the Canadian music scene performing on stage together.





Read all our coverage of CMW 2014 here.

Words and photos by Adam Bunch, the Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at


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