PLEASE NOTE: The Branch is closed for a private function this THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, We apologize for any inconvenience...
I'd like to kick off with a big thank you to everyone for a great summer... Nicole and I couldn't be happier with the amount of traffic we have had this year and with the heaps and heaps of catering business (you do know we cater, don't you? Check it out here)... And now that we are getting back into the routine of the fall schedule, we are also really looking forward to continuing hanging out with all of you for your weekend and weeknight adventures as well! Don't forget we have fantastic, world class music here at the Branch, right here in Kemptville, ALL YEAR 'ROUND... This week we have NOT ONLYAstrid Young back (...Neil Young's little sister,singer-songwriter, filmmaker, author, sommelier...), this time she's bringing a band that includes Ray Farrugia of Junkhouse and Lee Harvey Osmond fame... We also (tomorrow night) are welcoming a touring act from my old stomping grounds of Austin, Texas (Brennan Leigh and Noel McKay, that show is almost sold out, move quick!) Then, on Saturday, we have Ottawa's finest roots supergroup, The Shirt Tearing Boys... This is the golden age of Branch music people, don't let it slip through your fingers! Someday soon you'll be looking back and saying "THEY PLAYED AT THE BRANCH!? HOLY SMOKES!" Just make sure the next line is "I WAS THERE!!" Read on after the menu for full descriptions of all of these great acts...
If you haven't seen it yet... here is the link to our episode of You Gotta Eat Here! Our segment starts at 14 minutes... there are some commercials, but the last third of the show is all us…
South of the border? Try ‘Hola’ (google it, it works…) So, there you have it! Watch out for the wild tofu!
Along with our signature items (listed here), our in-house menu includes specials that change weekly or even more often depending on seasonal availability...
Soups of the Day are always made from scratch using fresh ingredients, cup, $2.99; bowl, $5.99
Green Salad: greens, shredded fresh veggies, seeds, choice of dressing: creamy ‘Branch’ or apple cider vinaigrette, small, $2.99; regular, $5.99, dinner sized $11.99
Caesar Salad: Romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, bacon, tomato-garlic Caesar dressing, croutons, $7.99
Brisket Sliders: bites of our famous brisket on toasted cornbread with BBQ sauce and slaw, $8.99
Chips & Dips: corn chips, with sour cream, housemade salsa & guacamole, $8.99
Taco Salad (dinner size only): choice of smoked beef brisket, house-roasted chicken, or smoked tofu, with greens, cheese, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, beans, and corn chips; dinner sized only, $16.99
Entrees: all entrees come with cornbread and a choice of soup (Caesar salad, add $.99) or salad...
Texas BBQ Plate: all BBQ Plates come with housemade bbq sauce, potato salad (substitute roasted or mashed potatoes for $1.99), slaw, beans, onions & pickles $22.99; choose one of the following (add a second choice for $3.99):
- Beef Brisket: OUR SPECIALTY! Heaps of tender 100% local hardwood smoked and braised beef from the Wallace Beef Co-op.
- Smoked Tofu & Portobello: with peppers and onions.
- 1/2 Chicken: (or choose either 1 piece white meat or 2 pieces dark) from Lyon's Family Farm
- Spicy Sausage, local beef and pork, made in collaboration with the good folks at the B&H grocery-- house smoked!
Jambalaya: locally farmed rainbow trout, smoked pork loin, and chicken; seared in cast iron with onions, peppers, carrots, celery & Cajun spices, served over rice with remoulade, $21.99
'Wild Tofu' Enchiladas: corn tortillas stuffed with peppers, smoked portobello mushrooms and tofu, smothered in chile-tomato ranchero sauce and cheese, served with beans, rice, salsa, guacamole and sour cream, $19.99
Steak Special: ask your server...
Brisket Poutine: A heaping portion of roasted potato wedges, house-smoked brisket, cheese curds and gravy $17.99
Rideau-touille: local, seasonal mix of eggplant, peppers, squash and tomatoes with white wine and 'herbes de province', served over rice, $17.99; with chicken, $22.99
Branchburger: (does not include choice of soup or salad) 1/3 pound 100% local, naturally raised beef, thick & juicy, on a toasted bun with tomato-garlic mayo, grainy mustard, lettuce, onion, tomato; with roasted potato wedges, more aioli for dipping, and pickles, $13.99 ($10.99, with $.99 toppings Friday and Saturday, 5-7pm only) Add:
• cheese: $2.49
• guacamole: $1.50
• bacon: $1.99
• blue cheese: $2.99
• jalapenos: $.99
• fried egg: $1.99
• sautéed mushrooms or onions: $.99
• gluten-free Kaiser $.99
please note: our famous burgers are fresh ground locally, in a small facility; as such, we are comfortable serving them ‘medium’, a.k.a. ‘a little pink’. If you have another preference, please let us know and we will prepare it to your liking.
*Veggie version available on request, try our house-made vegan and gluten free black bean patty!
Sticky Toffee Cake: with caramel sauce and real whipped cream, $5.99
Nicole's Magic Mousse: super rich chocolate mousse cake with a cookie crust... how the heck is this thing vegan?! Magic, of course... Nicole Magic. 6.99
Apple-Blueberry Crisp: local apples & blueberries, caramel sauce, real whipped cream $5.99
What’s the scoop? Add a single scoop of ice cream to any of the above (or enjoy it on its own), $1.49
*all our housemade desserts are 100% gluten free!
BBQ Bonanza!! Come check out our NEW Wednesday and Thursday special! The meal includes a choice of our famous house-smoked beef brisket or a roast 1/2 chicken from Lyon’s Family Farm in Spencerville, mashed potatoes, cornbread, BBQ sauce and slaw… it is available every Wednesday and Thursday, from 5pm to 9:30pm, it is hot and ready when you are, and either plate is only $15.99. That's right, just freakin' $15.99!
Friday & Saturday:
Burger Bonanza!! Join us this and every Friday and Saturday between 5 and 7pm for a Burg-o-rama! We chargrill a big pile of burgers over real hardwood on the Big Black Smoker, serve them (with all the usual fixings, including roasted potato wedges and housemade pickles, mustard and tomato-garlic aioli...) It's all for just $10.99, with any of our add-ons (cheese, bacon, blue cheese, onions, mushrooms, even a fried egg!) for just 99 cents each! Dine in or take it home, but remember, the special price is only on Fridays and Saturdays between 5 and 7pm… (as always, gluten free and vegetarian versions are also available…).
Wednesday, Friday, Saturday:
Family Takeout Dinner, $44.99: Designed to feed a family of four, our takeout dinner now comes with a roasted 1/2 chicken (from Lyon's Family Farm), 3/4 pound of our famous 100% hardwood smoked beef brisket, a side of seasonal veggies, a tub each of black beans, mashed potatoes and coleslaw, our own zippy BBQ sauce and cornbread… The full dinner is hot and ready for pickup between 4 and 6pm, Wednesday through Saturday, if you call before 3pm. Add some Mac n’ Cheese for the kiddos for just $4.99.
Wednesday 10 ~ Brennan Leigh and Noel McKay, 8pm, $15. Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay craft story songs with equal measures heart (“Before the World Was Made”) and humor (“Breaking Up And Making Up Again”). Evidence: Before the World Was Made. The Austin-based songwriters’ debut collaboration spotlights celebrated troubadours in peak form (“Before We Come to Our Senses”). “These are modern day country duets à la George Jones and Melba Montgomery,” producer Gurf Morlix says, “but with very sophisticated songwriting.”
Before the World Was Made began taking shape three years ago right as Leigh’s solo high watermark The Box stirred waves far and wide. (Lee Ann Womack, Sunny Sweeney and the Carper Family have covered her defiantly traditional country songs.) By that point, Leigh was well rooted in Austin, where she moved after growing up playing in a family band in Minnesota. “I was attracted to the scene in Austin,” she says. “It’s a great place to learn and get better at what I do.”
Meanwhile, McKay fronted the regionally popular McKay Brothers (Cold Beer and Hot Tamales), a band legendary songwriter Guy Clark had been championing for years. “Noel and Brennen are great songwriters,” says Clark, whose new album My Favorite Picture of You contains the McKay co-write “El Coyote.” The album went on to win a Grammy for best Folk album in 2014.
Before the World Was Made proves his point. “Some of these are songs that Noel had from a long time ago that we reconstructed,” Leigh says, “and some we wrote together recently. Writing duets is just almost like writing from one point of view and splitting it and making it make sense. Like ‘Ball in Chain,’ is not like a fight song. Same with ‘Breaking Up and Making Up Again.’ They’re dysfunctional, but the characters are happy with their situation, so it’s almost from one point of view.”
The singular duo effortlessly balances wit (“Let’s Don’t Get Married”) and whimsy (“Let’s Go to Lubbock on Vacation”) throughout. “I’ve loaded up the Nomad and the tank is full of gas/We’ll ride along across the High Plains fast,” the latter goes. “We’ll find the sweetest spot on God’s creation, my pretty little turtle dove/Let’s go to Lubbock on vacation.” Punch line: “Then we’ll know we’re really in love.” The pair consistently doubles down with sharp snapshots charting equally unpredictable romantic byways (“Salty Kisses in the Sand,” “Great Big Oldsmobile”).
“We kind of set out to make out a record of songs that we were singing together, even if it wasn’t specifically duet songs,” McKay says. “We both have solo careers to think about, but we’ll probably revisit this over and over and it’s a nice thing we can keep doing.” “We got to where people were asking us about certain songs and lumping us together in their mind,” Leigh adds, “so we thought we should make something to pay homage to that. Of course, people like the funny ones the best.” Good reason: Only kindred spirits allow a song as wickedly waggish as “Be My Ball and Chain.” Priceless.
Everyday conversation suggests Leigh and McKay indeed share a single mindset. The pair simply compliment each other in every way. “Brennen’s really great at melodies,” McKay says. “She’s always kicking around a melody around the house and it’s great and she’ll attach it to a lyric idea that’s equally great. She writes characters in her songs like a novelist.” “Noel always has the line,” Leigh counters. “It’s like, How are we gonna wrap this up? How are we gonna bring it around so it makes sense? He always ties it up. He always knows. Noel’s a poet.”
Thursday 11 ~ CLOSED FOR A PRIVATE FUNCTION, we apologize for any inconvenience...
Friday 12 ~ Astrid Young Band, 9pm, $15.“My name is Astrid Young. As a singer, I’ve shared stages and studios with a mind-blowing roster of musical legends. I wrote a bestselling book, made a short film, and played or sang on a ton of records. I also became a wine professional (sommelier) along the way, but that’s another story. I grew up in Toronto with a writer for a father and a mother who endeavoured to educate me musically as early as possible. I could read music probably before I could read words, so it stands to reason this would be my direction in life.
Orchestras dominated my early years, but rock and roll took over around about my senior year in high school. I put down the oboe and bought my first electric guitar: a 1966 Gibson SG Special. It was a game changer for sure. Next came Los Angeles, which was my home for the next twenty some years. I was in a hair band in the 1980’s called Sacred Child. We charted in ten countries, and made it to number sixteen on the ‘Hard Report’ (an east coast radio tipsheet of the time) in 1987. The years that followed took me many places, both literally and figuratively. I played all over the world, sang or played on some gold and platinum selling albums, and accomplished a lot of songwriting, recording, and even got into writing screenplays for feature films. One of my proudest rock and roll moments came when I found out that a record that I had sang on (Neil Young’s Harvest Moon) had been ‘officially’ taken into space and listened to on the space shuttle, and had been to the international space station! What a rare and unique honor!
I am so grateful for the career that I have had. But I am always of the mind that the best is yet to come.
Fast forward to now. I’m about to release my fourth solo record. It’s called ‘One Night at Giant Rock’. I’ve been working on this record since 2005, and I have not released an album since my acoustic record ‘Matinee’ in 2003. There were many roadblocks getting there, beginning with a devastating personal loss, and the arduous process of dealing with that, but my biggest obstacle in bringing ‘One Night’ to fruition was that my hearing is so damaged from all the years of loud guitars that I can no longer hear subtle differences in the studio. Some notes were even non-existent – a very scary place to be for any musician. So I took it slowly. Song by song. What emerged were stories from the soul. Songs about searching, remembering, forgetting, bloodletting … it appears that my lifelong musical quest has been to discover the karmic meaning in all my relationships. Not just love relationships – because every connection you make, they are all part of the bigger picture, each of them individually a plot twist unto themselves. ‘One Night at Giant Rock’ is all about that journey.
In keeping with that philosophy, providence and the fates stepped in, in the form of one Victor DeLorenzo – you may know him from his group the Violent Femmes (I am a super-fan!). We decided we ought to do some work together, and to make a long story short, the result was truly magic. You see, Victor took over the role of producer, and for the first time in my life I was able to completely let go the ‘death grip’ I had on my own music and let somebody else be my ears. Victor, together with the rest of the amazing people who contributed to ‘One Night’ took my songs, my vision, and drove it into the sun. The experience was transcendental. When alchemy actually works, it’s impossible to deny.
I play acoustic guitar, bass, and I sing. Sometimes I play piano or keyboards, and the occasional flute. On drums is my musical collaborator and producer Victor DeLorenzo; on guitar we have Joe Gore and Eric McFadden, both of whom played extensively on the record. Depending on where we are in the world, during our tour we may have appearances from one or the other of them… or maybe both! Many of our live shows will also feature Ray Farrugia (of Lee Harvey Osmond/Junkhouse) on drums as well as Victor. Two drummers? Sure why not!
I have always thought of this record as my magnum opus, the sum total of all my musical experiences, my masterpiece. So when you listen to ‘One Night,’ take the journey with me. Take that journey from start to finish and ride that winding sand road through the desert, out near Joshua Tree, which is the landscape of my muse. The giant rock itself is the nexus of it all. Each song is a mini-vacation in itself, and you may or may not recognize some of my main influences: Black Sabbath, early David Bowie, Pink Floyd and Kate Bush.”
Saturday 13 ~ Shirt Tearing Boys, 9pm, $10. Shirt Tearing Boys is an all acoustic band that plays jazz, blues and country tunes from various decades of the 20th century along with original songs. The band features Charlie Sohmer (banjo, vocals), Tony Turner (guitar, vocals), Fred Guignion (dobro) and Ken Kanwisher (bass & cello).
With their cool songs of hope and hurtin’ this post-modern, kind-of jug band sound will make you want more. Tune into hot acoustic instrumentals and close, warm vocal harmonies. You’ll hear songs so old they’ll make you feel young.
Melodic stories delivered in a rich baritone voice are the stuff of Tony Turner. Thoughtful and sometimes amusing songs blend together in an impressive repertoire of material, a songwriting award, and two CDs.http://www.tonyturner.ca
Charlie Sohmer, banjo-ist, songwriter (with six albums and over 500 songs to his credit), and a teller of tall tales. Please don’t laugh at his stories – it only encourages him. http://music.cbc.ca/#/artists/Charlie-Sohmer
Fred Guignion doesn’t like to talk about music in the past tense (Fat Man Waving, Ian Tamblyn, Hammerheads, Lynn Miles et al). He just plays the dobro, beautifully.
Sunday 14 ~ Rubber Boots Buffet, 2-8pm and Jam 3-6pm. THIS WEEK the jam is hosted by UKE, The Ukulele Kemptville Experience, everyone welcome, sheet music and loaner ukes available! For those who are new to the clan, the Sunday Open Mic/Rubber Boots Buffet is a family friendly, fun, community day that welcomes musicians of all skill levels. We mix up the music schedule a bit with guest hosts like Greg Kelly and the Ukulele Kemptville Experience (UKE), and occasional 'Birthday Tribute' events, where participants are encouraged to play songs by an artist whose birthday is on or near the Sunday in question; While all that happens, the Rubber Boots Buffet is being served... it is an all day, all you can eat comfort food extravaganza (other menus such as pub grub, kids and a dessert menu are also available) and the whole day is a place where you can meet your neighbours, come in for a beer or a pot of tea, stay for a bowl of homemade soup and a song or two and leave with, well, a whole new batch of friends. Everyone is welcome—and yes, that means you! We’d love to see you this Sunday…
That’s all for now, thanks for reading!
Bruce & Nicole
ONE LAST THING: like great food and music? The Branch is always looking for the best of the best folks to come and join our team... consider dropping off your resume today!