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Stuart McLean telling a story in Indianapolis

On Sunday, B.B., his mom, and I went downtown to the Hilbert Circle Theatre which is where the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra performs (this is also the same venue where we went to see the Christmas show last December). We went to see a taped broadcast of the Vinyl Cafe (the show will be airing in a few weeks). This radio show is written and hosted by Stuart McLean and aired on CBC and select US stations.

I first heard about him not by his radio program on CBC (which is the equivalent of NPR in the States), but while I was listening to his stories on a Vinyl Cafe CD (B.B., my dad, and I were driving to and from a lake where we went ice fishing–it was kind of long ride and I enjoy listening to CDs of stories on long car rides).

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Stuart McLean, he is a Canadian author and radio broadcaster. He hosts a one-hour radio program where he tells anecdotal stories about fictional characters, Dave and Morley. One of the best things about McLean is his ability to weave a story and quickly draw an audience into it. Often, his stories lead the audience to chuckle in anticipation of what will happen next and they often bust out laughing when Stuart McLean delivers the punchline. His stories are always humourous and enjoyable.

He also mixes the show with musical performances. His guest for the Indianapolis show were Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet. They were both very good singers who have worked with well-known performers such as Bryan Adams, Blue Rodeo, Sarah McLaughlin, Matthew Good, among others. They played quite the variety of genres and I don’t know if I could accurately describe their musical style, but it could be described as a mixture of folk, folk-rock, indie-rock and blues.

Also noted, Stuart McLean has back up musical performers (a pianist and a bass player) that provide background music and backup the guest performers. McLean is also witty and personable. At one point, he had a young boy on the stage to assist him with handing out CD’s. It was quite funny as he interacted with him and encouraged him to hold up the gifts in Vanna White style. It was a great show and I would recommend anyone who has a chance to go and watch a live presentation of the Vinyl Cafe.

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