..."From its humble beginnings as a cocktail lounge for the Waverly Hotel to one of Toronto's top blues bars, the Silver Dollar Room is still shining after 50+ years.
The Spadina and College landmark has been the go-to place for live blues, bluegrass and rock music since it opened on January 1st, 1958.
Like the El Mocambo and the Horseshoe Tavern, the club is credited with launching the careers of both homegrown and international musicians. The minstrels who have played there say the Silver Dollar is one of the only places where they can develop their craft and gain a wider audience.
Some of today's stars having graced The Silver Dollar's stage include blues legends Bobby "Blue" Bland and Fathead, and the city's rock elite, such as the Death From Above 1979, Johnny Dowd, NoBunny, The Deadly Snakes, The Zoobombs plus many more.
Live music has always been a staple at The Silver Dollar. Even during its incarnation as a strip club in the 1970s, the strippers danced to a live blues band.
In order to reach a wider audience and compensate for the declining blues listeners in the new millennium, the club started increasing its bluegrass, folk, roots, indie, pop and rock based music programming.
Nowadays, rock music takes over every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at The Silver Dollar. Every Wednesday night features one of the city's longest standing residency, showcasing local bluegrass band "Crazy Strings" (aka The Foggy Hogtown Boys).
"It's a classic blues bar," says Jason Nowicki, lead singer and guitarist for Winnipeg-based band, the Perpetrators. "Few of those are left nowadays."
While he has played at the Silver Dollar only four times in the band's seven-year history, one thing that keeps them coming back is the club's openness to other music genres, he says.
"The club lets us do what we want to do," Nowicki says, describing the Perpetrators' music as a mix of bluesy rock and punk. "Everyone who comes there...the musicians and the audience...are there for the music.
"People like to cut loose and have a good time."
Bluegrass guitarist Chris Coole agrees.
As a member of many Toronto-based bluegrass and folk bands, including Crazy Strings, Coole plays The Silver Dollar every Wednesday. What he loves about the place is how it supports both well-established musicians and emerging artists who are looking for a lucky break, he says.
"I know it sounds cliché, but it's got a lot of history," Coole says. "I love to play in an old bar that has a lot of atmosphere in it, that hasn't been built in the last five years.
"At the Silver Dollar, the feeling is really there."
By Lorianna De Giorgio.
Anagram, Andy Maize (The Skydiggers), Andy Shernoff (The Dictators), Basia Bulat, Bleached (Los Angeles/CA), Blood Ceremony, Bloodshot Bill, Brave Little Toaster, Brendan J. Stephens, Burger Records Road Show, By Divine Right, Calvin Love, CATL, Cold Warps, Cousins, Crazy Strings, Crocodiles, Dave Wall & Gregor (The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir), Deadly Snakes, Death From Above 1979, Deer Tracks (Sweden), Gordie Lewis (Teenage Head), Green Merchants, Henri Fabergé and the Adorables, Hunters (Brooklyn/NY), Huron, Igor & The Red Elvises, Jay Reatard, Johnny Dowd, King Khan & The Shrines, Kontravoid, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires (Birmingham/AL), Legato Vipers, Moon Duo (San Francisco/CA), Mozart's Sister (Montreal), Naomi Punk (Olympia/WA), Neon Jesus, Nicholas Doubleyou & The B Squad, Ninja Funk Orchestra, NoBunny (Tucson/AZ), No $ignal, Optical Sounds (Toronto/Record Label), Pierced Arrows, Pretty Pretty Records (Toronto), Radio Moscow (Ames/IA), Reigning Sound, Rick White & Dallas Good from the band Elevator (performing Syd Barrett Tribute), Ride 'Em Cowboy, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs, Scam Artists, Sonny & The Sunsets (San Francisco/CA), Stephen Stanley (The Lowest Of The Low), The Babies (Brooklyn/NY), The BB Guns, The Blackwood Two, The Cameron Brothers Band, The Highest Order, The Pixies, The Rathburns, The Responsables, The Rucksack Willies, The Schomberg Fair, The Zoobombs (Japan), Walter Lure (Johnny Thunder & The Heartbreakers), Xray Eyeballs (Brooklyn/NY) plus many more.
Blues: Albert Cummings, Andy J. Forest, Anthony Gomes Blues Band, Average White Band, Big Dave & The Ultrasonics, Big James, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Bobby Rush, Byther Smith, Carey Bell, Carlos del Junco, Charlie Hunter, Charlie Musselwhite, Chico Banks, Coco Montoya, Danny Marks, Duke Robillard, Downchild Blues Band, Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater, Farell Brothers, Fathead, Frankie Lee, Guitar Shorty, Jack de Keyzer, James Brown Band, Jazz Is Dead, Johnny "Clyde" Copeland, Johnny V, Lucky Petterson, Magic Slim Chicago Blues, Mark Hummel & The Blues Survivors, Merl Saunders, Michael Hills Blues Mob, Michael Ray & The Cosmic Krewe, Oli Brown Band, Otis Grand, Paul James, Paul Oscher, Philip Sayce, Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers, Rotman No Talent, Saffire, Sattalites, Sugar Ray Norcia, The Blind Boys of Alabama, The Foggy Hogtown Boys, The Tony D Band, The Zen Tricksters plus many more.