Derek Downham’s Special Series

Derek Downham’s Special Series

I will be honest, I don’t know who Derek Downham is, and all I know is that he invited Tom Wilson to join him as a special guest to play with him at the Cameron House. If you know Tom Wilson, he is known for being in many great bands, but most notably Junkhouse.  This is such a cool opportunity to see this artist in such an intimate setting at the front stage of the Cameron House. It got even better when I learned that Tom’s son Thompson was helping out Dad on stage. They make a great pair together.

As the sound check was wrapping up, Tom let us early folk know this is the first time he has been on this stage since 1982. This intimate evening was going really well. So the crowd rolled in around 5:45 and packed the place shoulder to shoulder to get a glimpse of this show, the opening notes began and a killer version of “Who do you love”, was soaring through the crowd. It jostled the crowd like a man who took too much Viagra. Really potent stuff…and it was due to the passionate way Derek Downham played his instrument. He is very adept to the guitar and the piano, all the while playing the drum with his foot.

Tom Wilson stepped in and gave us some good advice with the thought; you gotta stay young if you want to grow old. I do live by that advice. Tom’s down to earth compassionate side came out when he dedicated a song to Rhona. She was a woman who recently went missing but was found and is safe again. This is coming from a man whose life seems to be a continual flow of unexpected twists and turns and he seems to adapt to them as they come. 

Half the fun of the evening were the stories between the songs.  He shared his contempt for George Thorogood because he drove across the country to participate in a song and was turned away because George was no longer interested in that song. These are the tough breaks musicians face when they are reaching for the brass ring. Derek shared his story about a song he is working on and is inviting other artists to participate. This will be an epic song paying tribute to Gord Downie and his work with indigenous people. If you didn’t know this little fact, Tom Wilson is half Mohawk and is very proud of his heritage. I have said this in past articles, but this is wave and a movement for the indigenous culture to finally rise to worthy status that has been buried for hundreds of years. I simply feel grateful that this is simply becoming reality.

Another great moment was Derek’s tune, “Cry like a man”, that had a parallel energy to Roy Orbison’s song, “Crying”. It was a really dramatic ending I will carry for quite a while. Derek Downham should be a more powerful name in the music circle due to his unique style of playing and the passion that resonates through his material. The people he keeps company with should be a strong indication of how special this artist is.

Well if you thought these were great moments to share, Derek invited up a young folk singer named Jeri Gogo to sing along. Just as we were getting charmed by her presence, her father John Gogo was invited on stage as well to do a song. John just happen to fly in from Nanaimo BC and got to do an impromptu mini set with his daughter. Who would have thought this evening would turn into a family jamboree. Tom and Thompson Wilson, and John and Jeri Gogo set the evening full of community comfort.

As the evening wound down, Tom pulled out one of his big songs and the level of positive energy he was putting out there made everyone, “Shine”. They wrapped up with a fun sing along with, “King of the Road”.

Now here is my shameless plug for Tom Wilson, the artist. If you want to view his paintings they are at the Cultural Goods Gallery at 1444 Dupont St Unit 15 until Thursday March 7th. On March 7th from 6-8pm  there will be a closing reception where you may have a chance to meet Tom Wilson and hopefully take home one of his prized possessions. He will also have a book of his work if you would like to purchase that. Simply RSVP your reservation to

Derek Downham will continue his special guest’s series at the Cameron House with guests like Julian Taylor and Melissa McClelland from Whitehorse. Stay tuned for those dates. Here is a correction from my article, thanks to Derek Downham. Derek Downham Thanks for the coverage, Blast Toronto 🙂 I must make a note though: The song “The Greatest Divide” is not exactly a “tribute to Gord Downie”. We actually wrote the song together. It is about the mending of indigenous and non-indigenous relations in this country and many others. Just setting the record straight. Thank you again for the review. Dd

Here are some images of Derek Downham:

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