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'Grind' hosting series of concerts

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There is no shortage of live music here during May with a local coffee shop hosting five different concerts, including several featuring Fort Frances debuts.

From The Grind Up kicked off the first weekend of May with a Fort Frances fan favourite in Nick Sherman.

Owner Ben Morelli said Sherman is “a great performer" and always has received a positive response for his past shows held at "The Grind.”

This Friday, the coffee shop will welcome Sam Tudor for his first-ever Fort Frances appearance.

Morelli describes Tudor as an alternative folk musician with a little more of a synth heavy sound.

“I'm really excited about [Tudor] because he's been making a pretty good name for himself,” Morelli remarked.

“I think he's really going places and is a guy to watch out for.”

Another Fort Frances debut is planned for the following night when Toronto-based blues artist Sean Pinchin takes to the mic.

Morelli said he usually doesn't book back-to-back shows in fear of a poor turnout for one of the dates, but noted he couldn't help himself for this coming weekend.

“I don't normally do back-to-back shows because it tends to be hard to get people out,” he conceded.

"But I was just really excited about both of these artists when they got a hold of me.

“Generally, I find I get a really good turnout for blues artists in the first place, and then I checked out Sean and his stuff was amazing,” Morelli added.

The final Fort Frances debut for the month features the B.C.-based folk duo, “Bad Strangers,” next Thursday (May 17).

Local talent Ryne Strachan will be the opening act that night.

Morelli is excited for duo's first Fort Frances show, noting there will be lots of stringed instruments, strong voices, and female-male harmonies to keep everyone entertained.

The final show of the month will feature classic country musician Pete Eastmure on May 31.

The seasoned veteran has been in the music industry for a long time and isn't new to the Fort Frances, having performed a set at “The Grind” in the past.

“He played here last year, as well," Morelli noted. ”It was a really, really, great show.

"He is a really polished musician.

“He's a veteran, he does a good job, and I think everyone who comes out will really enjoy him,” he added.

Morelli is a fan of live music, which is one of the main reasons why he likes to bring in Canadian acts whenever he can.

Over the years, he said it's been exciting to watch the artists that he's hosted do well with their music careers.

“It's really cool to actually watch these guys progress and get to chat with them when they come through,” Morelli enthused.

“One of the cool things about getting to see a lot of artists year over year is getting to follow their careers and see where they've gone.”

“The Grind,” meanwhile, has become the go to venue for artists who do a cross-Canada tour where they travel from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg or vice-versa.

“You're seeing the future of Canadian music when these artists come through here,” Morelli lauded.

“It sounds pretty crazy because we're such a small town but these artists get funnelled through here because of the way Canada is set up,” he explained.

“You'll see a lot of artists you wouldn't ever think would be coming through this area.”

“The Grind” also has built a good name for itself among Canadian musicians, being known as a nice little venue to work with.

“Thankfully, I have a decent reputation for being a good place to stop,” Morelli said.

“I'm a young business owner and I have fun with [artists] when they come through here, too, so I think that helps.”

For Morelli, booking artists is a bit of a passion project—being a fan of both the music and the musicians he features.

“A lot of the music you'll hear playing [at 'The Grind'] is either past artists that have played here or artists that are going to be playing here,” he noted.

“I definitely like to showcase their music and I'm a big fan of a lot of the artists that have come through here,” he stressed.

Morelli encourages those who enjoy live music, Canadian artists, and intimate concerts to come out to one of the many shows happening this month.

Tickets cost $10 each for any of the shows, and all the money from ticket sales goes directly towards supporting the artists who play at “The Grind.”

To buy tickets, call “From The Grind Up” at 270-5282, check out their Facebook page, or drop by the Scott Street business in person.

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