PRESS RELEASE: MONTREAL, March 2024- The eagerly anticipated theme for Craig Morrison’s 24th Annual Roots of Rock & Roll Concert is I Want to Hold Your Hand; The 60th anniversary of the British Invasion. This usually sold-out event takes place at the beautiful Oscar Peterson Concert Hall at Concordia University’s Loyola campus in NDG. New this year, the show is at teatime, 3pm on Saturday, April 13.

A popular aspect of these concerts is Craig Morrison’s introductions to the songs, putting them into context. Each year, the concert features a different theme, chosen to offer audiences what Morrison calls ‘educational fun’, “Nostalgia, yes, but I also share an overview of a particular phase of the development of music, with a mix of hits and historically important lesser-known songs,” he said. On the big screen behind the band, each song is illustrated with a photo showing who performed and/or wrote it along with its title and date, and often with a bit of a back story. Morrison is now retired from Concordia University where he taught courses on the Beatles; Soul Music; Rock & Roll and its Roots; Psychedelic Music; British Popular Music; and one called Musical History Tour. He has lectured at various institutions from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to the Cummings Centre to local libraries. About Morrison, Montreal Gazette columnist Bill Brownstein wrote: “He may be the hippest prof around.” 

For the annual Roots of Rock & Roll Concerts, the on-stage ensemble, a mix of younger and older performers of diverse backgrounds, is collectively called Craig Morrison & the Momentz. It includes the popular retro party band Vintage Wine (Morrison, Gary Sharkey, Ryan Fleury, Dave Lines) and special guests—vocalists Samantha Borgal, Rosalie Cerro, Angela Galuppo, and Laurena Segura; guitarist Gerry Kandestin; multi-instrumentalists Terry Joe “Banjo” Rodrigues and Pat Loiselle; and upright bassist Etienne Beausoleil—12 performers in total, all vocalists. 

Morrison explains how he was drawn to this year’s theme, “When I was a kid, I was one of the 73 million people that watched the Beatles on Ed Sullivan in February 1964. That thrilling experience changed so much for me, for music, and the culture in general. They, and all the acts that followed in their wake—the British Invasion—created a soundtrack that seemed indelible for decades but is now receding into the mists of time. We are doing this concert to keep it vital.” He added, “Creating and producing these concerts is a labour of love and a family reunion of musicians and friends.”

“It was a night of songs from one of the most enduring bodies of work in rock n’ roll history, delivered with self-effacing devotion by true believers playing the hell out of them.” – Bernard Perusse, Montreal Gazette, re Buddy Holly and Friendsconcert

Along with Buddy Holly, past concerts have paid tribute to Bob Dylan, soul and Motown, movie soundtracks, ‘70s radio hits, legendary music festivals (Newport Folk, Monterey Pop and Woodstock), and music from California, Canada, Nashville, New Orleans and New York. Each theme is chosen because it is one of Morrison’s research interests.  

Drummer/vocalist Gary Sharkey said: “In the 20 years Craig and I have been together we have accomplished magic. The team of players is a great asset and the energy is amazing. We have been blessed with incredible talent on stage; the women are fabulous as are the rest of the musicians that contribute to this fantastic annual show.” Vocalist/music therapist Samantha Borgal has participated in nine previous editions. She said, “This show is great musicians having a great time that energizes everyone in the hall. It always brings something joyful and familiar. Where else can you listen to music you love while learning a little of something new?”

Fans of the concert series often send in unsolicited praise: “You and your musicians were enjoying the concert as much as we loved it in the audience.” “This is a tradition that we always look forward to!” “You and your band and guests put on an amazing show each and every time, providing first class entertainment and musical excellence.”

Dr. Craig Morrison, an ethnomusicologist, author, teacher and musician, is a native of Victoria BC, and has made his home in Montreal since the 1980s. At first playing in the metro for coins, while playing the bar circuit with his band and teaching evening courses at McGill, he revised his master’s thesis for publication; Go Cat Go! Rockabilly Music and Its Makers was published by the University of Illinois Press.  Since then, he earned a Ph.D. from Concordia University with a thesis called “San Francisco Psychedelic Music” and wrote a second book, an A-to-Z encyclopedia, American Popular Music: Rock and Roll, published by Facts on File. A love of music was instilled in the family home, where growing up Morrison was entranced by his mother’s record collection and learning old songs by pumping the pedals of a player piano. All of his early bands practiced in his home; his dad once said, “If we hadn’t had a basement, you never would have become a musician.”

Craig Morrison’s 24thAnnual Roots of Rock & Roll Concert

I Want to Hold Your Hand;The 60th Anniversary of the British Invasion

Saturday, April 13 at 3pm

At Oscar Peterson Concert Hall, Concordia University, Loyola campus in NDG

7141 Sherbrooke St. West, H4B 1R6

Tickets: $40 no service charge 

Please contact: Michael Cooper at momentzrock@gmail.com, 514-934-0410

The concert is typically sold out; it is strongly recommended to purchase tickets in advance.