Saturday night at one of Toronto’s most well known dive bars, Grossman’s Tavern at the corner of Cecil and Spadina. For five years I have come here on average at least once a month. Mainly to see the resident band, Chloe and the Crossroads. This soul funk cover band has a long history of bringing a younger crowd as well as pleasing the local “characters” that seem to be part of the wallpaper.
Not only is this band an unsung force in the Toronto music scene, they embody the spirit of raw talent. Both as professional musicians and songwriters, the seven piece (and sometimes more) band brings a casual comfort which causes anyone in ear shot to stop and listen.
The voice and leader of the group – Chloe Watkinson – has a voice that is in the same class as Susan Tedeschi and Bonnie Raitt. With an image of a modern pinup girl, she demands attention with her incredible expression and vocal quality. Chloe knows when to be soft and sweet and when to growl with deep raw passion. Along side Chloe is Nyree McPherson with supporting vocals. This feisty chick works the room and makes everyone there a part of the party. Coordinating dance moves and playing of each others energy is what makes the vocals pop over the tight grooves.
Over the course of five years Chloe and the Crossroads has morphed from one incarnation to another. This makes this band exciting and fresh every if because you never really know who may grace the stage. Band members include Alan Zemaitis on keys, Lowell Whitty on drums, Giordan Postorino on Guitar (or Adam Beer-Colacino), Anthony McKnight on bass (or Jim O’Brien) and of course, the wonderful Paul Metcalf on saxophone. These guys are multi talented, multi instrumentalists and most of all, friends. As a unit (in any arrangement of players) they know how to make the audience stop and say “wow”. Soloing happens on every song and always impresses.