Writing Home for the Holidays

Windsor Life Revisits Some Very
Interesting Stories from Years Past

Story by Karen Paton-Evans

Interesting people from past Windsor Life articles have sent holiday letters to let our readers know what they are doing now.

The S’Aints

A newly minted super-rock band with a heart was introduced to Windsor Life readers in 2011. Comprised of homegrown rockers Jeff Burrows (The Tea Party, Crash Karma), Jody Raffoul (solo artist) and their handpicked musicians, they called themselves the S’Aint’s, “emphasis on the ain’t,” Jody had quipped. The band’s name represented their relationship with St. Clair College, the home of the Saints and Ron Seguin, the college vice president who envisioned a holiday fundraising album and concert to support local charities.

Well, Friends, this is the ninth year for The S’Aints, so that means we are releasing our ninth album. I’ve now officially recorded as many albums with The S’Aints as I have with The Tea Party.

On our first try, we thought, ‘Let’s just see where this goes.’ Eventually we said we could donate our time for 10 years. Collaborating on this charitable project with the college, Caesars Windsor and other partners is always such a joy that I can see this going on and on.

Our original band has grown. We pride ourselves on our harmonies, so we brought the Twisted Sisters Liz Robinson and Stephanie Baker fully into the fold three years ago. Then there are the originals: Wes Buckley, Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe, David Cyrenne, Kelly Authier, Jody Raffoul and me. Our producer Marty Bak also plays percussion. These are the easiest people to work with – talented, professional, dedicated and fun.

Guests, including our kids, have also joined us in the recording studio and onstage over the years.

I invite all of you to come to our annual Sleighing Hunger concert on The Colosseum stage at Caesars Windsor, 8 pm, Fri., Dec. 20. Do something good for people in need while getting into the spirit with our holiday songs played with a rock edge and some funk and blues, too. There are also special surprises I can’t reveal yet.

Our 2019 CD, Strike Hunger, is now on sale. We covered Hunger Strike, the heaviest song The S’Aints have ever done. The song is so powerful and deals with world hunger, which should be the simplest problem we can solve. There is more than enough food for everyone – we have to ensure it reaches people so there are no more empty bellies.

Worldwide hunger is a major epidemic. Even right here in Windsor, one in five kids goes hungry every day. I’ve been fortunate enough to always put bread on the table but some of our neighbours are having such tough times, they’re worried about feeding their kids.

The money our concert and CD is raising is benefiting 16 local foodbanks in partnership with the Windsor-Essex Food Bank Association and Chatham Outreach for Hunger. I love working with these people who are addressing hunger at the grassroots level.

I hope you will visit and purchase the $10 CD and $25 concert ticket.

Hard times won’t go away until we help one another. Donate and volunteer at a food bank. Help someone across the street. Hug your kids daily. Small acts of kindness mean a lot.

That is what the Burrows have learned. Christmas at our home is more about being with being with family and friends, sharing laughs and little gifts. And not one device on for 48 hours – that’s my gift to me!
– Jeff

Photo by Charlie O’Brien.

Amy Rivard

Chatham-born, Windsor-raised entertainer Amy Rivard has toured the world singing with Celtic Woman, Riverdance and a Roy Orbison tribute band (with his brother Sam) at Tokyo Disneyland. Chatting with Windsor Life in 2007, Amy was ready to see where her life would take her next.

Merry Christmas!
It’s been quite a journey since 2007! I’ve been in NYC for the last decade. The Windsor Life article helped me to get my green card to live in the U.S., qualifying me for the category of ‘alien of extraordinary ability.’ Thank you!

I’ve been focused on writing my own music and singing in venues around NYC. Catch me every Sunday at Tavern on the Green in Central Park.

One night years ago, I dropped into a restaurant in the Kaufman Astoria Studio. It’s one of the first movie studios in the world. Built in 1921, it was the original home to Paramount Pictures, and there before Hollywood even existed. The manager told me that apparently, the place is busy with the ghosts of silent film stars who shot movies onsite. I was so inspired, I wrote a song, The Three Divas, about the ghosts of Gloria Swanson, Betty Bronson and Sylvia Sidney. I sang at the restaurant and the host said he often saw a female ghost watching me perform!

In 2017, the studio and I made a music video for The Three Divas song, shot right there in the commissary where the silent film stars used to dine.

Last year, I brought ghost hunters in with their energy meters. When a hunter asked aloud, ‘Do you like Amy singing here?’, the meter lit up. Yay, the ghosts like me!

In 2018, I shot a music video in Windsor with Life in 360 Media and Drone Life Media. It’s a 360 degree music video for my song, When We Come Together. If you scroll around the video, you can see both sides of the Windsor/Detroit waterfronts and Windsorites, including students from Assumption and Candy Canadiana. (Google her and her YouTube series, What’s Up Canuck?)

The festive season has been on my mind for months now. You’re going to see me on a holiday network show this coming December. I can’t say much, so please follow me on my social media channels, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook or Google me.

I’m also happy to announce I’ll be releasing some new music, Skipping Stones, Sunny Skies and Perfect Harmony. I also just released Amy’s 80’s XMAS, which you can hear on all streaming platforms like Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon. Listening to 1980s music takes me back to being young, when I didn’t have a care in the world and my parents paid the rent. I figured my old glamour shots from Devonshire Mall would be perfect for the cover. I hope you’ll think it’s narley.

Wishing you an Eighties Christmas that is radical to the extreme!
– Amy

Josh Jorgesen

Ever hopeful the monster fish are biting, Windsor’s Josh Jorgesen captures his extreme angling adventures on his popular BlacktipH Fishing program, launched online in 2006. Guests include sports stars, celebrities and people who simply love to fish the big seas. Since Windsor Life recounted the Florida-based man’s real-life fish stories in Summer 2017, Josh’s logbook has become crammed with new entries.

Hello, Friends
Three wonderful things have happened to me recently. The first is my wife, Kaylin, expanded our home team with the birth of our daughter, Lila, 10 months ago. Big sisters Abigail, 4, and Ella, 2, are thrilled. I’m teaching our oldest girls to fish – and they are teaching me patience! They like dangling their hooks in the water but have very short attention spans.

The next two news items tie for second place in my mind. I personally landed the second largest tripletail fish ever caught in Louisiana and the largest in the past 60 years. That was a satisfying moment. And my BlacktipH Fishing program scored the most watched video on YouTube one weekend last summer. On the superviral show, Strongest Men vs. Strongest Fish, I went fishing with JujiMufu (fitness freak and social media celebrity), Devon Larratt (World Arm Wrestling Champion and ex-special forces) and Layne Norton (World Champion powerlifter and fitness expert) to help these big guys haul in Goliath groupers. I hope you’ll check it out.

Our videos are real and raw. We don’t do gimmicks and nonsense. There is no acting and the emotions are authentic. I think viewers appreciate that.

Whether I’m taking out a private chartered tour or filming an episode, the fishing day typically starts before dawn and goes to till nighttime.

BlacktipH Fishing shows have been filmed all over the United States. For next year, we have already planned trips in Oman in the Persian Gulf, the Seychelles, Madeira, Trinidad, the Bahamas, Mexico and Costa Rica.

My company is also working with numerous government boards to promote their countries’ fisheries. Fishing is a massive part of outdoor tourism and I enjoy letting people know where they can discover their next challenge.

One thing I definitely want to do in 2020 is return to Windsor and film where I began fishing as a kid in the local rivers and lakes. I’m looking forward to sharing my grassroots in freshwater fishing.

It’s so great when I get to fish for fun – just go and do whatever I want without the clock ticking or burning money to get a show. Recreational fishing will always be my favourite way to unwind.

I’m hoping to come back to Windsor for Christmas to see family and friends. The holidays are all about spending time with the people you care about. With our own little girls around us, Kaylin and I feel so thankful and blessed. We wish you and yours the best for the New Year.

See you on the water!
– Josh

Photo by Marta’s Lens.

Christian Vegh

LaSalle’s Christian Vegh was tearing it up on his guitar when Windsor Life spotlighted him in late 2016. Local radio stations were introducing his music to listeners. His proficiency had won him college scholarships, a place in the international Brotherhood of the Guitar and a trip to Las Vegas for a video and photo shoot with famed rock photographer Robert Knight.

Hey, Everybody
Up till last spring, I spent much of my time in Boston, attending Berklee College of Music and majoring in song writing. It didn’t really feel like I was at school – I was doing what I always do, making music. It was a four-year program, but I finished it in three, so at the May 10, 2019 graduation ceremony, I did the whole walk across the stage thing and got my diploma.

This past summer was busy as it was festival season and I got to play a lot.

I’m 22 now and living in Detroit, where my label, Mi5 Recordings Universal Music Group, has an office. This diverse label has an artist development program and is helping me match my image and branding to my music. I’ve always known the music business is more than making music, but that’s becoming more evident to me.

A highlight was working with Jack Endino, a Grammy winner and reputable producer and engineer who worked on albums for Soundgarden, Nirvana and loads of other artists. I recorded two of my original songs with Jack: Nineties Move and Shoot Me Down Gently. Both of those will be on my new album probably coming out this December. My music has an alt-rock hip-hop kind of vibe with some electric aspects.

Photo by Madeline Muzak.

This year, I finished filming two music videos: I Think I’m Gonna Die Young which is already available and one that will release with my new album. I’m used to performing live in front of people, but not a camera, which is a strange but interesting experience. Two guys from my label had storyboards written to present each video’s story. How I was moving around, though – that was all me.

When I was young, I danced hip-hop. At college, I did a bit of ballet and I’m trying to continue that now in Detroit. Dancing allows me to interpret the rhythm of the music and find my sense of groove. Once I get my technique and a strong foundation, I’ll do jazz stuff. I’m trying to invent a style of performing that’s unique to the music I’m playing.

Outside of music, I go to the gym and travel when I get a chance. Recently, I visited a friend in the UK and I was in Maine playing a gig. What I do for fun and for my career usually blend.

At Christmas, I will be back in LaSalle to celebrate with my mom, dad, mimma, papa, aunts, uncles and cousins. It’s going to be great!

I’m super thankful for all the people who support me from my hometown and the media. Otherwise, I’d just be playing in my basement.

Watch for news of my upcoming album launch party. Hope to see you there!
– Christian

Add comment