By Brian Clarke
I must confess: I love the sound of a banjo, but had never actually heard one in person until last weekend. So, when I settled into my seat at the Chateau Lafayette on Sunday evening to the sound of Birdie Whyte tuning her banjo, I was immediately captivated.
Birdie Whyte is the newest addition to the Laff’s music line-up, that already includes popular local artists John Carroll and Lucky Ron every Wednesday and Saturday, respectively. Ottawa’s oldest tavern also hosts an open-mic night on Tuesdays, also hosted by Birdie Whyte.
Starting last month, however, Birdie also took on her own headliner.
The atmosphere on Sunday night was typical for The Laff. A nice sized crowed with a handful of small close-knit groups enjoying a few beers, and a couple salty regulars leaning over their drinks. The bartender was playing a game of cribbage with a patron at the bar while a group enjoyed some Connect 4 on the patio.
The soft strumming of banjo and acoustic guitar, accompanied by the beautiful voice of Birdie White resonated throughout the bar. With her nostalgic mix of traditional folk, blues and country, and her corny but charming jokes between songs, Birdie is the perfect complement to the Laff’s laid-back atmosphere.
Later reflecting on my experience with a friend, I said that I imagined myself on the porch of a rural American home in the deep south. I felt at peace, casually enjoying my beer, soaking in the lulling strum of Birdie's banjo.
While the Byward Market is a popular party place on Friday and Saturday nights, most people would agree that Sunday is a day to relax. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t still enjoy an evening the Byward Market.
The Chateau Lafayette, with their new Sunday music line-up, is the ideal place to wind down and relax with friends after a busy weekend this summer!