Rob & Josi grew up in Grey County, for the most part. After a decade-long absence from the area, they made their way back five years ago and the rest, as they say, is history. Along with their two children and a room full of instruments in place of pets, they have put down roots in Owen Sound where Rob runs a successful business as a Financial Advisor and Josi is a Senior Interactive Designer for an E-Learning company based out of Toronto. Both Rob and Josi perform regularly in venues across Grey County and beyond. Currently, Josi is a lead singer in "The Honey Hammers" while Rob fronts a band called "The Shed Shakers", both based out of Owen Sound.
To say that music is a part of their lives is an understatement. More like, it is one of the bonds that holds them together and inextricably ties them to the community in a way that nothing else can.
Across the country and around the world, Grey County has become known as a natural wonderland--and it’s no wonder. Our world class sunsets and vistas, towering escarpment, crystal-clear freshwater lakes and pristine beaches are second to none. Hiking, biking, skiing, snowmobiling, ATVing, spelunking, rock climbing and more all draw visitors to our doorstep, and into our wild spaces.
But have you checked out the music scene?
It’s a common refrain around backyard campfires, at world-renowned music festivals, in big city concert halls and on street corners near and far: “There must be something in the water out there.” The number of extraordinary musicians who’ve either been raised in the local music scene or chosen to nurture and showcase their talent here is astounding. Their infectious passion and generous sharing has given rise to an avid audience of music lovers, people who fill seats, crowd the dance floors and are fierce advocates of the Grey County cultural scene.
We grew up in Grey County and followed the all-too-common path of running away at the first opportunity, only to return as adults. How could we not have seen what we were missing in our early adulthood? We’ve lived the country life, the small town life and the big city life, only to learn that when you come from Grey County, there truly is no place like home. How privileged we are to have come from this environmentally and culturally unique gem, where people of all backgrounds and stations in life come to enjoy the awakening of every one of their senses; to experience our wide-open spaces and cozy, welcoming hangouts, as well.
As people have flocked to Grey County in search of an escape from the city, local and imported talent have kept up with their demand for live music. Check out the many first-rate live music venues our area has to offer, from pubs, clubs and cafes to concert halls, auditoriums and amphitheatres. Each of these places is a crossroads for the supply and demand of exceptional experienced exchange between musician and audience.
We have the benefit and the honour to have enjoyed both sides of this equation. We first met in Grey County as performers at open mics and public jam sessions. These events allowed us to hone our skills onstage, and introduced us to a massive community of aspiring musicians and music lovers. As enthusiastic audience members, we’ve enjoyed major acts like Buffy Sainte-Marie, Danny Michel, Bruce Cockburn, Joel Plaskett, Serena Ryder, Natalie McMaster, The Guess Who, Matt Anderson, Alysha Brilla and many more, all drawn here to play to enthusiastic crowds. Our love of music and performing has taken us into many venues in and around the county, where passionate, welcoming and engaged audiences support an incredibly diverse and eclectic variety of musical acts, including our own.
Over the years, we’ve seen many local musicians flourish here, growing into successful acts that are respected here at home, but also across the country and around the world. Artists like Samantha Martin, Trevor and Tara Mackenzie, Tyler Wagler, Drew McIvor, Sylvie Kindree, Mike Weir, Kim Trombley, Jayden Grahlman, Lauren Jewell and Dylan McMullin, Pete Devlin, Scott Farmer, Andrew Nunno and Greg Smith, Marshal Veroni, Dave Matthews, Joel Morelli, Emma Wright, Leah Mathies, to name just a few, are making their mark and taking the Grey County sound far beyond our invisible borders. This isn’t new, though; much-loved pros like Larry Jensen, Steve Dickinson, Larry Dickinson, Bryan Leckie, Rod Ramsay, Richard Knechtel, Rob Mclean, and others played Grey County’s venues for decades, paving the solid foundation on which our thriving music scene is built.
Our experiences on Grey County’s stages have been incredible. Our decade-long absence from the area made us appreciate the exceptionally unique treasure we have here at home all that much more. We found our way back five years ago and couldn’t be happier in this place where music and live performance are more than occasional entertainment; they’re a way of life for musicians and their audiences alike. Here, in no particular order, are the Grey County venues we have played at or attended over the years. If you get the chance, you should check them out, too!
- The Dam Pub, Thornbury
- The Bruce Wine Bar, Thornbury
- The Corner Café, Thornbury
- Bridges Tavern, Thornbury
- Blue Mountain Village, Town of The Blue Mountains
- Ted’s Range Road Diner, Meaford
- The Barn Co-op, Meaford
- The Red Door Café, Meaford
- Fire & Ice, Markdale
- The Queen’s Bush, Hanover
- The Bleeding Carrot, Owen Sound
- Jazzmyn’s, Owen Sound
- Jason’s Pub, Owen Sound
- Eastside Mario’s, Owen Sound
Michael McLuhan: Photo of Rob and Josi Elder singing on stage
Amanda Liefl: Still shot of Rob and Josi Elder at Inglis Falls