Usual Hours: Wed to Sat from 6 pm. Check event posts for details and special events and occasional closings. To get in touch, email us

Artword Artbar, 15 Colbourne St. Hamilton. A friendly cafe-bar, live music and theatre venue in the heart of James North arts district. Great acoustic music four nights a week: roots, folk, jazz, singer-songwriter, world beat. Also theatre and dance works. Capacity 60, licensed by AGCO, all-ages, cafe tables and bar stools, espresso, micro-brew on tap, light meals. Tech info: in-house tuned baby grand piano and a full sound system.  Graham Rockingham, Hamilton Spectator March 29, 2012 says "Artword Artbar is a cosy little licensed listening room on Colbourne at James St. N., that always features interesting live music."
Your hosts: Ronald Weihs & Judith Sandiford 905-543-8512, c:905-912-9083,

“James Street” returns May 20 to 30, at The Players’ Guild

April 9th, 2015
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James_Street_ArtwordTheatre_2015_posterWednesday May 20 to Saturday May 30, 2015. We are delighted to announce that our hit musical, “James Street”, is coming back! The Players’ Guild of Hamilton has invited Artword Theatre to remount their “mad musical dash through the history of Hamilton” at the Guild’s lovely historic theatre at 80 Queen Street South. Same show, same songs, same cast, bigger theatre!
Showtimes: Wed May 20 to Sat May 23 at 8 pm
Sun May 24 matinee at 2 pm
Wed May 27 to Sat May 30 at 8 pm.
Tickets: $25 (Fri & Sat), $20 (Wed, Thur, Sun), $10 preview May 20 only.

Hamilton`s official Town Crier from 1850 meets a modern Hamiltonian from the North End, right on James Street!

Performed by The Artword Theatre Ensemble: Charly Chiarelli as modern day Hamiltonian, Jeremy Shand as Town Crier Paola Brown, plus
JamesStreet2014_0017_c800Paula Grove, Valeri Kay, Gordon Odegaard and Ryan Sero as everyone else [Surveyor and Helper, Land Promoters, Pioneer Woman and Man, Dentist, George Hamilton, James Durand, Nathaniel Hughson, Immigrant Woman, Robert Murray Police Chief, Newsboy, Farmer, Editor, Auctioneer, Mr. Cummings, Woman, Wanzer, Mr. Ryan, Workers, Hugh Cossart Baker, Mrs. Baker and family, Billy Carroll, HSR Conductor 1906, Trolley Girl, WWI Recruiters, Marion Simpson, Soldier, Rocco Perri, Bessie Starkman, WWII soldiers from RHLI, Evelyn Dick, citizens in 40s and 50s and 60s…]

An Artword Theatre production, written and directed by Ronald Weihs, with original music by Mark McNeil and choreography by Learie McNicolls. Produced and designed by Judith Sandiford. Music performed by Mark McNeil, Ron Weihs & the Ensemble.

Click here to view the  James_Street_press_release_april_2015

Event, Special event, Theatre

Folk-blues duo Jennis, Dennis Gaumond & Jen Gillmor, plus Sarah Beatty, Sat May 16

April 8th, 2015
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Jennis-9671-smallcSaturday May 16, 2015, at 8 pm, $10. An evening of music with  folk-blues duo Jennis and an opening set by local songstress Sarah BeattyJennis brings together award-winning Guelph-based Dennis Gaumond‘s decades of experience writing and performing original blues and folk and the diverse musical experiences of veteran Toronto indie-scene multi-instrumentalist Jen Gillmor. The unique blend of cello and dobro is also augmented by unusual sounds, such as didgeridoo, custom-tuned harmonicas, flute, wah-guitar, jaw harp and wazinator. It makes for a very entertaining performance, filled with energy, passion and humour. SarahBeatty8x10300-0282cWhat do you get when you combine some talented songwriting, warm, rich vocals along with a resophonic guitar, cello, jaw harp and even a didgeridoo?  A unique and impressive blend of folk, roots and bluesy sounds served up as a fine, entertaining evening of Jennis music.” Debra Thornington, Ottawa Blues Society
Hamilton-based singer-songwriter Sarah Beatty deftly occupies the space between blues, jazz, country, and soulful styled roots music. Her music shines with dynamic vocals, imaginative lyrics, and sing-song melodies.

Event, Music, Music-Blues

Country band The Lovelocks, Fri May 15

April 7th, 2015
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Friday May 15, 2015, at 8 pm, $10 (call 905-543-8512 to reserve. Lovelocks_stageThe Lovelocks, Ali Raney and Zoe Neuman, a dynamic duo of two city girls who LOVE country music. Lovelocks_CD_frontTheir sound is described as a mixture of The Dixie Chicks go Lumineering with a Mumford & Sons-ian alt-country, roots-inspired approach filled with soaring vocals, sweet harmonies and sultry string. Celebrated by BlogTO (July 2014) as one of the top 5 alt-country bands to watch in Toronto. In 2014 The Lovelocks had a chart topping debut EP, and multiple accolades including the 2014 Canadian Country Music Association® (CCMA®) Discovery Award Finalist and Rising Star Nomination.


Jazz with pianist John Imre, Thurs May 14

April 6th, 2015
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Thursday May 14, 2015, at 8 pm, cover $5-10. Jazz pianist John Imre hosts an evening of jazz standards and original compositions, with his band and a vocalist. Details coming.

Event, Music-Jazz

Special concert by bluesman Michael Pickett, Sat May 9

April 5th, 2015
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Michael_Pickett_Artword_2015_rSaturday May 9, 2015 at 8 pm, $20 (call 905-543-8512 to reserve). Artword Artbar is delighted to announce a rare and return appearance by the extraordinary blues guitarist and singer Michael Pickett. Michael told us back in 2009, when we were just starting out, that we were a “listening room” and that put us on the track we have followed ever since.
More about Michael from his website: “With exceptional award winning rack harmonica skills and powerful vocals, he delivers charismatic, compelling, and passionate performances that are charged with electricity and filled with authenticity, and a unique style. He puts his own spin on obscure tunes of legendary icons such as Robert Johnson, Bukka White, Mississippi John Hurt, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee and showcases his own potent material. Michael Pickett has evolved into an eclectic and captivating storyteller through Delta Blues, Country, Folk, and Americana, revealing a profound understanding of where this music comes from and why it stands the test of time. Pickett now performs exclusively as a solo acoustic artist touring throughout Canada, the US, the UK. and Europe, appearing in blues, folk, jazz clubs, coffee houses, house concerts, theatres, festivals… ”

Event, Music-Blues

Art Crawl with jazz vocalist Sophia Perlman, Fri May 8

April 4th, 2015
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Sophia-Perlman-credit-Diana-Piruzevska_rFriday, May 8, 2015, James North Art Crawl. Music in the bar from 8 pm, tip jar. The fabulous vocalist Sophia Perlman is performing and hosting an evening of song, with some surprise guests. Sophia has performed with pianist Adrian Farrugia as a jazz duo quite often at Artword Artbar. This time she is on her own, with some friends.

Event, James North events, Music

tba, Thurs May 7

April 3rd, 2015
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Thursday May 7, 2015, tba

Event, Music

The Shoeless, folk/Celtic/Klezmer/Appalachian… Wed May 6

April 2nd, 2015
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theShoeless-45-14_c900Wednesday May 6, at 8 pm, $10 or pwyc. An evening of traditional folk mixed with originals by The Shoeless: Frank Evans banjo, Eli Bender cello and Emilyn Stam 5-string fiddle. Artword Artbar is pleased to have this new group here — we remember Emilyn as a member of the fiddle trio “Eh!?” with Anne Lederman. Bringing together the talents of Frank Evans, Eli Bender and Emilyn Stam, The Shoeless strikes a perfect balance between traditional folk songs and original material. Their self-titled debut serves up a hearty cross-cultural stew, combining the sounds of klezmer, French, Celtic, Appalachian and English music. Recorded in Torontos Magnolia Studio, the album was conceived as a tribute to the members’ travels; each tune has its own story, having been learned or composed in a different part of the world. With gorgeous three-part harmonies and each instrument (cello, fiddle and banjo) taking turns on rhythmic chopping, swooping melody lines, and wacky acoustic sounds, The Shoeless will keep you smiling and tapping your toes – with or without your shoes on!

“Few bands on the local or national scene combine the kind of freewheeling spontaneity and improvisational skills that is at the heart of traditional music with the kind of of jaw-dropping accuracy and attention to detail that one finds in the best chamber music.”  Dominique Denis, Music critic, À bon verre, bonne table magazine

Frank Evans   (banjo) is also known for his hot pickin’ in the Slocan Ramblers. Growing up in a family of classical musicians, studying Jazz at Humber College, and placing second the Clifftop Appalachian Stringband Festival banjo competition all add to his unique sound in the band.
Eli Bender (cello) multi-instrumentalist, educator, and composer, has studied with Mike Block, Natalie Haas, and Rushad Eggleston. He has a knack for choppin’ and sawing away at his cello as if it were a fiddle in a giant’s hands. He recently released an album with his cello duo, Hale and Hearty.
Emilyn Stam (5 string fiddle) grew up under the mentorship of Oliver Schroer the mountains of Western Canada. She currently tours as violinist, pianist, and accordionist in Europe and Canada with crazy 16 piece balkan – gypsy – klezmer band Lemon Bucket Orkestra (CAN), Bal Folk band Té (NL) and all Canadian trio EH?! (CAN), collaborates with clowns, actors, poets, and organizes folk dance events.

Event, Music-folk

Latin Music evening with Marcelo Puente, Sat May 2

April 1st, 2015
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Saturday May 2, 2015, at 8 pm, $10. Artword Artbar becomes a peña folklórica (a folk-music club) for a Noche Bohemia, an evening of Latin music, featuring Chilean musician and activist Marcelo Puente with guests. Join us for acoustic Latin music, Latin folk and South American New Song (Nueva Cancion). Guest performers include vocalist Lil Acevedo with some Cuban boleros and Chilean musician and composer Edgardo Moreno with some instrumental pieces.
From Wally Brooker’s Music Notes Newsletter: “Marcelo Puente [is] one of the outstanding exponents of the “nueva cancion” tradition in this (or any) country. Marcelo Puente came to Toronto in the aftermath of the coup in Chile in 1973, bringing his songs and poetry. In the late seventies he co-founded the popular Chilean-Greek band Los Compañeros, a group of anti-fascist exiles who discovered a common musical language.” For more info:

Event, Music

Darryl Webster, Paul Federici, Emilio Bonito, Fri May 1

March 22nd, 2015
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darryl-webster-closeupcFriday May 1, 2015, at 8 pm, $10 / pwyc. Canadian author and former Sunriser frontman Darryl Webster (aka OLD KID) performs a special acoustic show to celebrate the release of his new EP This Echo on Hamilton indie record label Maisonneuve Music. (
A departure from the sparse acoustic tone of his last release (OLD KID, 2010), This Echo resurrects the singer/songwriter’s indie rock roots. Electronic undercurrents run beneath hypnotic, lilting guitars in “Yorkshire Lady.” The restless, expectant energy of “OK, Okay” dissolves into a wash of resonating guitars and synths. “[This Echo] is more than just okay — it’s deep, soulful and moody…” David Mooney, 104.9 Imagine FM (Manchester, UK). The release of This Echo follows Darryl’s recent 70,000-km trip around the globe, and the book he wrote to chronicle his journey. Released by Pitch Publishing in November 2014, Pride in Travel: A Title-Winning Season Exploring the World of Manchester City is a captivating exploration of local culture and sport, set against the author’s journey towards self-discovery. This Echo is a musical snapshot of one Canadian musician’s evolution from indie rocker to incisive storyteller.

Featuring opening sets by singer/songwriter Paul Federici ( and instrumental guitarist Emilio Bonito (

Event, Music

Big Dance, Little Stage, Learie Mc Nicolls, Wed-Thurs Apr 29-30

March 20th, 2015
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Learie_June11_2014_P1180076cWednesday & Thursday April 29 & 30, 2015, at 8 pm, $10. Choreographer and dancer Learie Mc Nicolls curates and hosts the next edition of his on-going series “Big Dance, Little Stage”, an evening of contemporary dance works for a small stage. Line-up for April 29-30, so far:
Learie Mc Nicolls dance, choreography and text,
Lisa Emmons, choreographer/performer, of Form Contemporary Dance Theatre in Toronto (Wed eve only)
Tanya Langille, dancer, choreography by Learie Mc Nicolls
Tanis_Nov20_2014_0281cTanis Sydney Macarthur, dancer, aerialist, choreographer, (photo right Nov 20 2014 BDLS)
Pearl Lall, dancer Bollywood-style (Wed eve only)
Megan English dance/improv choreography and Dale Morningstar live music,
Live visuals by Judith Sandiford

Learie, who has had a lengthy career in Toronto, is now based in Hamilton. In 2014, he performed his one-man show Resurrection at The Pearl Company. He was choreographer on Artword Theatre’s production of their musical play “James Street” in May 2014. Most recently his new work, “Transformation: A Journey of the Soul’s Healing”, an Artword Theatre Production, written, choreographed and performed by Learie McNicolls, directed by Ronald Weihs, was performed at Artword March 25-26, 2015.

Dance, Event

Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley, Sat April 25

March 14th, 2015
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Diana_Braithwaite_c680Saturday, April 25, 2015, at 8 pm, $20. Book online  or call 905-543-8512. A special concert with Diana Braithwaite, vocalist (left), Chris Whiteley, guitarist, with an intimate evening of soulful music: roots and blues, early jazz and gospel. (This concert was postponed from Jan 31, 2015.) Joining Diana and Chris is guest vocalist Colina Phillips (right)
Colina_PhillipsDiana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley, eight-time national blues award winners, have recorded five albums together with Electro-Fi Records and have toured all over North America, UK and Europe winning numerous awards for their songwriting and albums together. “It’s a rare and good thing when two talented performers join forces”. Downbeat Magazine.    Read more…

Event, Music, Music-Blues

Kyle Pacey, guitar extraordinaire, Fri Apr 24

March 13th, 2015
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kyle_paceyFriday April 24, 2015, at 8 pm, $10, call 905-543-8512 to reserve.  Back again! Grammy-nominated guitarist and singer Kyle Pacey presents an evening of original music that’s an eclectic mix of soul, roots, R & B and funk. With Kevin Christoff on bass, and other guests.
A musical force, Kyle Pacey has been described as Canada’s answer to the Buena Vista Social Club. Pacey’s combination of rhythm and technique are exhilarating. He likes to push the boundaries with his unorthodox style and unique approach to the guitar.
Joe Curtis, To-nite Magazine writes: “I was totally mesmerized by guitarist Kyle Pacey’s playing technique… Kyle is the fastest, most superb guitar virtuoso I’ve ever seen. I always daydreamed that if Superboy played guitar, his hand on the neck would be a blur. This feat of musical ability was achieved by Kyle… and no foolin’ his left hand on the neck became a blur.”

Event, Music, Music-Blues

Zula Presents Craig Petersen Quartet, Thurs Apr 23

March 12th, 2015
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Craig-PedersenThursday April 23, at 8:30 pm, cover $12/$10. The Craig Pedersen Quartet, a fiery, inspired avant-jazz quartet made up of younger mavericks and led by Craig Pedersen trumpet, with Linsey Wellman saxophones, Joel Kerr bass and Eric Thibodeau drums. They’re on tour with their new CD Ghosts.
Part of the Something Else! Creative Music Series hosted by  Zula Presents and Cem Zafir.

Event, Music-Jazz

Klyde Broox hosts a special on Chinese poet Xu Lizhi, Wed April 22

March 9th, 2015
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Xu-Lizhi-Foxconn-suicideWednesday, April 22, 2015, 8:00 pm. Host Klyde Broox returns to Artword Artbar with a Poetry Month special edition of PoeMagic. Klyde Broox  hosts I SPEAK BLOOD, an open community poetry reading in memory of Xu Lizhi, the late Chinese poet, and worker at FoxConn, an electronics factory in Shenzhen.

“I Swallowed a Moon Made of Iron”
I swallowed a moon made of iron
They refer to it as a nail Read more…

Event, Literary, Spoken Word

Poetry Month special, host James Deahl, Sun Apr 19 at 2:30

March 8th, 2015
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Sunday April 19, 2015 , from, 2:30-5:30 pm. A Poetry Month Special hosted by poet James Deahl. “Established in Canada in April 1998 by the League of Canadian Poets (LCP), National Poetry Month (NPM) brings together schools, publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, and poets from across the country to celebrate poetry and its vital place in Canada’s culture.”
The readers at Artword Artbar (they didn’t mention “bars” in the above quote or whether beer qualifies for the “food” theme) are:
James Deahl, Sarnia                G.W. Down, Hamilton     David Haskins, Grimsby
Laurence Hutchman, Oakville     John B. Lee, Port Dover             Norma West Linder, Sarnia
Bernadette Rule, Hamilton       Lynn Tait, Sarnia       Anna Yin, Toronto

Event, Literary, Spoken Word

Jazz with the Tom Altobelli Group, Sat April 18

March 7th, 2015
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Saturday April 18, 2015, at 8 pm, $10. Jazz with the Tom Altobelli Group with a set of original compositions by bassist Tom Altobelli, arranged for his quintet: Andrew King sax, Chris Bruder piano, Scott McIntosh guitar, Jordan Snider drums, and Tom on bass.

Event, Music-Jazz

Jazz with the Kite Trio from Montreal, Fri April 17

March 5th, 2015
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Kite_Trio3_c800Friday April 17, 2015, 8 pm, $10. Kite Trio, an innovative jazz trio from Montreal, are coming back to Artword Artbar — guitarist Eric Couture, drummer Eric Dew, and upright bassist Paul Van Dyk.
Opening set by the Scott Taplay Group: Jill McKenna bass, Brandon Munro drums, Victor Agrippa saxophone and Scott Taplay guitar.
Review of Strange Beast by Kite Trio: “Maîtres de leurs instruments et repoussant leurs limites, ils nous offrent un jazz métissé aux couleurs progressives avec une touche post-moderne, parsemé de classique et de rock.  Masters of their instruments and pushing their limits, they offer a jazz mixed with progressive colours and a post-modern touch, dotted with classical and rock.” Read more…

Event, Music-Jazz

Singer-songwriter Mark McNeil, new CD Flashbacks, Sat Apr 11

March 3rd, 2015
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Mark_McNeil_Flashbacks_coverSaturday April 11, 2015, at 8 pm, $10. Book online  or call 905-543-8512. Mark McNeil is an acclaimed singer-songwriter and award-winning Hamilton Spectator journalist with a new CD called Flashbacks that celebrates the character and characters of Hamilton. Join him on a musical romp of heroes and hoodlums; victors and vamps; time-travelling soldiers, trolley-car lovers, mad scientists and a homicidal monkey named Jacko. The show will feature Mark on vocals, guitar and ukulele, with bass player Mike Hickey, drummer Paul Panchezak and multi-instrumentalist Mark Volkov along with some surprise guest appearances. For more information about Mark, his new CD, and his four other recordings, check out:
Many of the songs on the CD were created for and/or formed part of Artword Theatre’s hit musical play “James Street” (to be remounted in May 2015 at The Players Guild Theatre).

Event, Music

Art Crawl: Psychedelic jazz with Doug Murphy’s quartet, Fri Apr 10

March 2nd, 2015
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Doug Murphy_ItIsWhatItIs_5014c_900Friday April 10, 2015. James North Art Crawl. Music in the bar from 8 pm, tip jar. A return appearance of “It Is What It Is” — fusion psychedelic jazz featuring the far-out fabulous Doug Murphy guitar, with Tim Kulakowsky guitar, Brian Ropcean drums, Alanna Gunn bass.

Event, James North events, Music, Music-Blues, Music-Jazz

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