Tuesday 20 August 2013


From Bobby to Robbie to boat cruises
By Greg Burliuk, Kingston Whig-Standard
Thursday, August 15, 2013 10:01:26 EDT PM
Tim Hallman, whose group performs Saturday night at the RCHA Club, has led a very interesting musical life. (Supplied photo)


  • For 46 years Tim Hallman has been tickling the ivories, whether it be playing in rock bands in the 1960s to the present, where most weekends he can be found in Legion halls performing with a variety of groups. (He performs 120 times a year.)

  • He worked for a season on a TV show as a teenager and was asked to join a teenage idol’s backup band, where it’s possible he might have replaced Bob Dylan as a sideman.
  • Hallman wrote the award-winning entry in the Kingston Tercentenary song contest in 1973.
  • He and his trio, featuring vocalist Mary-Jo Maur and drummer Doug Gravelle, perform at the RCHA Club Saturday night.
  • Hallman lives in Gananoque now and has spent the last 40 years in the Kingston area but grew up in the Kitchener-Waterloo region, where he had plenty of brushes with fame.
  • For example, there’s the Bob Dylan story, which Hallman found out about only in the last couple of years when he and local singer-songwriter Michael Myers put together the Bobby Show, a tribute to pop singers from the early 1960s named Bobby.
  • One of them was Bobby Vee. Upon researching the show, Hallman discovered that when Buddy Holly died in a plane crash in 1959 it was in the middle of a tour and his band The Crickets recruited Vee to take over as vocalist for the remainder of the tour. Their keyboardist for that tour was a youthful Robert Zimmerman, a.k.a. Dylan.
  • “It was just around that time that Bobby Vee played at the London (Ontario) Arena,” notes Hallman, whose first band, The Trendsetters, was hired to back up Vee for the event. “So you could say I was Dylan’s replacement. Bobby liked us and offered us a gig touring with him as his band but for some reason our manager said no.”
  • The Trendsetters wanted to turn pro but Hallman still was in high school and couldn’t do so. However, shortly after he finished school, the group changed its name to The Carnival and secured a sweet TV gig, backing up singer Robbie Lane on the CTV teen show It’s Happening.
  • “It was a 36-week season and the music was pre-recorded except that Robbie and his guests sang live,” says Hallman.
  • The Carnival recorded the music and then mimed it on the stage.
  • “We’d record our music every two weeks. That was from the fall of 1968 to the spring of 1969, but the show was getting dated. For example, they had go-go dancers on it.”
  • For a while Hallman played piano music in a ballet school and then came to Queen’s University to study music in the early 1970s. He won $500 for capturing the Kingston Tercentenary song contest.
  • “They didn’t have it very well organized as to how to record the song,” says Hallman.
  • The drummer of The Carnival, Mike Oberle, had hooked up with Ian Thomas and Tranquility Base, a folk group that had performed with the Hamilton Philharmonic. Tranquility Base backed up Hallman on the recording of his song.
  • He taught music for 12 years in elementary schools and when it was taken off the curriculum he spent several more years in the Partners in Music program for the Limestone District School Board.
  • Since then he has performed in a number of venues. For a few years he played on boat cruises.
  • “One day I was playing in the Lions Club in Gananoque and I heard someone in the audience singing harmony,” says Hallman. “It was Doug Gravelle, who used to be the drummer in The Bells (a popular Canadian pop group from the late ’60s and early ’70s). These days I’m a super sideman a lot of times.”
  • For example, Hallman often plays with Gravelle and Cliff Edwards, also a Gananoque resident and the former lead singer of The Bells. He also teams up with Myers for The Bobby Show and plays keys in David Smith’s Sound of Jazz Band.
  • One of his favourite combinations is the trio with Gravelle and Maur, playing Saturday at the RCHA Club. They play 1960s music and light pop hits.
  • “Mary-Jo likes to sing Peggy Lee songs,” says Hallman. “And we do three-part harmony.”
  • Essentials
  • Who: The Tim Hallman Trio plays a mix of 1960s and country music.
  • Where: The RCHA Club, 193 Ontario St.
  • When: Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday 14 August 2013


Hey look!   I've dyed my hair and bought a Blackberry!

Whig Saturday.

I got a call recently. - out of the 'blue',  or nowadays , out of the 'cloud', from Greg Burliuk, writer for the Kingston Whig Standard. Greg saw my name in an RCHA ad. He thought to himself: 'There's a guy who's been playing with every musician  in Kingston for 30 years - I should interview him'! We talked for about an hour, yesterday, via telephone. There will be a feature article on me in the Whig this Saturday, presumably in the 'A+E' section. I hope he doesn't print everything we discussed:)

Monday 12 August 2013

Saturday night at the RCHA

This Saturday night I'll be at Kingston's RCHA (Ontario St.)  8-12 with Mary Jo Maur and Doug Gravelle.