Riding down a Silver Highway

Dandelion Highway

Written by Joe Taylor

January 20, 2024


The JEM series at Press Vinyl Café is becoming a new hot spot at the east end of the Danforth these days. Even in the frigid cold the place filled up with warm happy people to take in a lovely evening of music and coffee. This was the first time the JEM Series had two bands on the bill and you couldn’t ask for a better blend, just like a finely made coffee. The atmosphere was reminiscent of the 1960’s back in the Yorkville days when hippies where checking out the Folk music scene.

Just after 7pm a single lady who calls herself Silver Reeds got up on stage and quietly introduced herself as she slipped into her first song. She had an intriguing title-“Phantom Limb”. It had a slightly dark connotation to it, but when she began to sing, her warm vocals hit you like a warm hug. You felt like you were in a safe place, even though some of her songs had a haunting quality. Her lyrics seemed reticent but her words had a humane hold. She even slipped in a song about death, but it felt perfectly normal even with the slight hints of feeling haunted. It let you explore the deeper meaning that it conveyed within yourself.

At one point she changed her guitar and swapped it out for a Baritone Ukulele. This was another reason to be enchanted by her stage presence. That just added value to the whole experience of listening to her music. I think for me, Sandy who is Silver Reeds, did a song called Misplaced Trust. I was truly involved in the song when I heard the lyric, “I gave you the knife”.  I brought a level of darkness into a new focus for me. It was the same feeling I had when I heard Mastodon’s song “The Dagger”. Handing your trust over to a weaponized soul is pretty frightening. She did finish the evening off on a beautiful note with, “You are not to blame”. It had an ethereal cast shrouding the song with a spiritual feeling of forgiveness. I think this artist should hit every coffee shop in town and spread her words around.

Here are some images of Silver Reeds:

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Next up on our humble stage was Dandelion Highway. Well at least three quarter of the band. They chose to come as a folk trio and play in a different kind of way to their usual four piece set. They began their set with a song called, “Reality Honey” and this song is filled with sweetness even though the message is filled with thwarted expectations. Isn’t that what most relationships come to at one point? Reality…what a concept! As a three piece trio, they also filled the room with a warm embrace that will disarm your negative energy.

Songs like “Coming Home”, is a down to earth and mirthful song with strong pop sensibility. They also do “Spooky” which is a super fun song that even has finger snapping in it. This should be a great song for audience participation.

The harmonies between Chris and Kayleigh are superb because they balance each other quite nicely and Kayleigh is from Ireland so her vocals have that wonderful lilt to it.  They did pull out a couple of cover songs that is still rolling around in my head a day later. She dedicated “One more cup of coffee”, to her Dad. Even though this is a Bob Dylan song, I only hear Robert Plant singing this from his Dreamland album. It is such a great song. The other cover was a considerately warm song that we all needed on a cold Toronto evening. It was Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain”.

In my opinion I don’t mind global warming if these two bands are the cause. You can catch Dandelion Highway play the Dakota Tavern on Friday Feb26th at 7pm.

Here are some images of Dandelion Highway:

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