After more than a year with no live music, no social gatherings and no face-to-face conversations, a pair of locals decided they would take things to the Other Side of the Rail.
For the past several weeks, hosts Kelsey Brooke Bradley and Keith Johnston have been recording and distributing their brand new podcast, The Other Side of the Rail, from inside Bracebridge Hall on Manitoba Street.
“Our goal was really to try and have some of those conversations you simply couldn’t have during the pandemic,” says Johnston, who co-owns Bracebridge Hall with Michael Dorbyk. ”Kelsey was a server at the Griffin (Gastropub) and we both missed those conversations.”
Johnston says the goal is to have an open discussion about everything from business to politics and aliens to ancient civilizations.
“We don’t have any experience doing this kind of thing but we’ve got great chemistry and so far the response on Spotify has been really good,” he says.
Recorded live in a small music venue and art gallery, Johnston says they will endeavor to have bands, musicians and artists as guests, along with local businesspeople and thinkers.
“The local music scene is strong from Huntsville to Gravenhurst. Artists like the Currie Brothers and Mighty Lopez have all helped to make it that way but during the pandemic they haven’t had a platform,” says Johnston.
He says they always make it a priority to book local opening bands at Bracebridge Hall. When they can start performing again they can hopefully have those artists join them on the podcast to promote themselves and the upcoming show.
The name The Other Side of the Rail refers both to their location adjacent to the railroad tracks and also to the fact that you can find Johnston on many nights tending the other side of the bar rail.
Bracebridge Hall was originally the carriage house for downtown Bracebridge but was converted to retail space roughly a decade ago.
Johnston has owned several art galleries over the years and Dorbyk has owned the Monarch Tavern in Toronto for the past decade. When the pair saw the building they knew they had to have it.
“The sound is awesome for live music and the location is amazing – it was really a no-brainer,” says Johnston.
The plan, when the pandemic allows, is to open six days a week as a cocktail bar and pub, as well as a music venue and potential event space.
The Other Side of the Rail has a new episode available every Wednesday on Spotify.
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