The Chunk of Funk
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The Chunk of Funk

Band Blues Funk


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"The Chunk of Funk perform at Minor Music Conference"

By Michael Gorman


Like all musical events, organizers are hoping the second annual Minor Music conference, which goes June 5 and 6, will be bigger and better than the first. By adding a second day, they’ve already ensured it will be longer.

Part of that added day, says Kim Anderson, one of the organizers of the event, is thanks to a donation from Th’YARC. They are offering up their stage to host the songwriters circle portion of the event. The songwriters circle, which is Friday night and hosted by Dwight d’Eon and Ryan Cook, features Connie Saulnier, Marc Durkee, Gary Wilson, the duo of Matt Wilkenson and Cameron Nickerson and Crystal Porter.

The event moves to the convention centre at the Grand Hotel on Saturday for the second day. Like last year, the day will feature clinics by the likes of Dave Skinner (drums), George Barkhouse (bass), Brad Conrad (guitar) and Duke Greene (finger-style guitar), seminars about marketing and industry, gear representatives on hand and live performances.

One of the new additions Anderson is excited about this year is the songwriters master class. D’Eon and Cook will work through the day on Saturday with four area musicians as they develop songs and perform them later in the evening.

“Each participant brings a song that they’ve got to the table,” said Anderson. “They’re going to talk about songwriting and the foundation of songwriting and what inspires (people) to write songs.”

Another addition to the event is a youth stage, which will feature collaborations between various musicians at the Saturday event.

“The stage is dedicated to mentors and their youth students,” said Anderson. Local musicians such as Jamie McDonnell, Sandy Ackles and Gary Greene will all take to the stage with some of their students.

As was the case last year, the event will close with a performance by the hardest working blues band in Yarmouth County, The Chunk of Funk.

Anderson said the goal of the event is to inspire and motivate people to get more involved in music, be it by supporting area artists or by picking up an instrument themselves.

“We want it to be an annual conference that focuses on the aspiring musicians in a community format,” she said. “It’s the type of thing that develops as it goes.”

Tickets for the event are on sale now and available at Th’YARC’s box office. Price is $20 for an event pass that covers the entire weekend or $12 for just the songwriters circle.

View story at:

- Transcontinental

"Minor Music: The place to be"

There was lots to see and do this weekend in town and for music fans and musicians alike, the place to be was the Grand Hotel for Minor Music, a day-long event featuring music clinics, a songwriters' circle and other live performances. Here are some pictures from the day.

For full story with pics of the Chunk of Funk please visit:
- Transcontinental

"A Musical Journey"

By Michael Gorman


It's late on Thursday night and there's a chill in the air. But inside the Red Knight, where the weekly installment of jam night is underway, things are starting to heat up.

Five musicians are on the stage working through Pink Floyd's Breathe. It's not exactly David Gilmour and company, but it sounds pretty good. One by one, the group rolls through classic rock tunes from the 1970s and at the centre of it all, handling the vocals, is Dan MacIsaac.

MacIsaac, no stranger to Yarmouth music fans, started jam night about four years ago. He says the idea was to build a community amongst the town's musicians and provide them a regular place where they could meet, interact and, most importantly, play with other musicians.

While there are regulars who come out each week, on any given Thursday listeners will hear music ranging from blues to jazz, top 40 rock 'n' roll from the 70s and 80s to country.

The idea is for anyone who wants a chance to play in front of a live crowd to come give it a try, says MacIsaac. He emphasizes that you don't have to be a professional or play a certain kind of music to take part and have a good time.

"It's not Canadian Idol," he says. "There's no judges there, you know. Just come out and have fun . . . I like to try and make sure people have fun up there jamming; I want to make people feel comfortable."

It's always interesting and usually entertaining, but it's the moments when MacIsaac — who will back up other musicians on bass or drums at various points in the evening — straps on his guitar and steps in front on the microphone, that make the jam what it is.

Tonight it's a little after midnight when MacIsaac starts his third set, this time with just a bass player and drummer.

Some nights the room is packed and the line to get on stage is long. But tonight there are only about 30 people in the bar as MacIsaac dedicates his first song to the late James Brown before launching into It's a Man's Man's World. The godfather of soul would be proud.

For the next 30 minutes, MacIsaac puts his own spins on the Rolling Stones, Brown and several originals. His warm baritone blends with his effortless playing. The payoff comes when he steps away from the mike, tilts back his head and closes his eyes: what follows is as good as anything happening at that moment in any club in the country.

For MacIsaac, this is when he at his best.

"(When) I close my eyes and play my guitar, to what place I go to I don't know where it is but I go to another world when I play my guitar . . . It's a spiritual journey, to be a musician."

MacIsaac's journey started at the Evangel Assembly Church when he was seven, where he would sing and learned to play the guitar. The emotion of blues music soon grabbed hold of him and he was hooked.

In his early 20s he moved to Saint John, N.B. and put in a stint playing with John Little. It would be an important experience.

"At one point you just finally admit that you're a musician — you don't choose to do it," he says. It was while playing in Saint John that MacIsaac, now 37, had his moment.

"(John Little) made me see that you can either make a living or subsidize your living and really do what makes you happy, even though sometimes it's hard and you're poor . . . Living in Yarmouth, where it's such a small town, you can't make a living playing music unless you're just based out of Yarmouth as your home and you tour abroad — across the country, across the province."

MacIsaac cites the example set by music heroes such as Carson Downey, Dutch Mason and Rick Jeffery, who stayed close to home but still made a career by touring on a regular basis.

There will always be people that question a musician's decision to stay in a small place rather than seek out fame. But MacIsaac says he's happy in Yarmouth. Besides, he says, things aren't always that cut and dry.

"I've been playing for years but I've never really took it serious as far as to record an album, to book a tour . . . We all have family and maybe other things in our life that are more important than being a music industry celebrity. Yes, I'd like to be famous. I'd like to write songs that would make people get up and dance, that would make people feel good, that would, you know, make people take a load off their mind and just sit back and relax and listen to music."

But in the meantime, MacIsaac says he is just happy to play regularly and explore and develop his art. He hopes that the musicians who come out each week for jam night can experience the same feelings he does when he plays.

"Music is a mystical thing. How it (makes) you feel is really spiritual, really heartfelt . . . I can't remember a time when I didn't want to play the guitar."
- Nova News Now (Transcontinental)


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The Chunk of Funk was originally formed by Dan MacIsaac in the mid nineties and the act quickly became the "must see" show in town. The master of disaster, the king of swing, MacIsaac is "The Chunk of Funk".
A band made up of a rhythm section that is dedicated to laying down a solid back-beat, spiced with a seasoned guitar/vocal that brings out the flavour of a trio who’s sole intention is to deliver groove to the listener; leaving the audiences wanting more. Three piece, big sound, and a unique energy put the band in a category of it's own.
Dynamic sessions of improvisation give the Chunk of Funk a versatile edge perfect for the live performance atmosphere. The energy on stage comes through in the music: it moves. It's full, thick. The bass and drums are tasteful augmentations for the lead guitar. You can hear each instrument because one doesn't bury the tones of the other. COF doesn't have a clean, bright sound that puts a person in mind of bubble gum or unwashed masses radio friendly music. It's a dense smokey kind of sound that digs into the root of what primal thing it is that makes a person listen to music in the first place. It's grit under your nails that reminds you that you once dug into the earth for sustenance.

The COF have been busy organizing an annual music conference which fosters music appreciation; Along with a house gig (Haley's Lounge), festivals (Coal Shed Festival, Seafest, Lobsterfest) private functions, corporate gigs, and other events; the band keeps busy doing what they do best... playing live! The Chunk of Funk's aspirations are to entertain... share the groove.

The Chunk of Funk have jammed with the following bands:
Dutch Mason
Rick Jeffrey
Carson Downey Band
Ryan Cook
Sleepless Nights
Mellotones.. many more

Danny MacIsaac has played venues across Canada with musicians such as:

Big John Little (Harvest Jazz Blues Fest, Saint John Blues Fest)
Amos Garrett
Bill Dowey
Don Johnson.

MacIsaac has been involved in the recording of a compilation CD, "Of Acadian Decent" and continues to be involved as a studio artist on various projects.