Les Posan is looking to find the next Bob Dylan.
The Brantford Music Centre owner’s search began with a story told to him during dinner with a sales representative from Hal Leonard, the world’s largest print music publishing company.
“She said ‘when I was a little girl growing up in Greenwich Village, I would go to the local music store and there was a guy playing on the corner,’” Posan said.
That guy, she later found out, was Bob Dylan.
The story inspired Posan and his son, Les Posan Jr., who is co-owner of The Brantford Music Centre, to transform their Colborne Street store into the “Acoustic Café.”
“It’s amazing the amount of talent out there,” Posan said. “I’m hoping to find our Bob or Betty Dylan.”
Each Saturday at 2 p.m., local and out-of-town musicians set up at the front of the store, tables are brought out and free coffee is served as a way to give budding musicians a venue to perform.
“The store is still open, the phone is ringing, the cash register is going, but there is live music, intimate and unplugged,” Posan said. “We are always impressed by the calibre of talent we get in here.”
With guitars and violins lining the walls, the music is amplified, making it an acoustic dream for many performers, Posan said.
“The walls are alive, they are picking up the sound,” Posan said. “You don’t need amplification. People say it just sounds amazing in here.”
The acoustics are what draws in regular Acoustic Café performer Bethany Schultz.
“Being a musician, I love the sound quality,” she said. “It’s very clear, it’s very good sound.”
The Acoustic Café’s other benefit is that it’s an afternoon show for people who love music, Posan said.
“The bar scene is kind of dried up for a lot of musicians,” he said. “People here listen, they aren’t drinking, they clap after each song.”
Playing for an audience that wants to listen is a bonus, Schultz said.
“It’s not a bar scene, so people aren’t there to sit and drink,” she said. “They are there to watch the musicians and most of them are musicians themselves so they appreciate the music. It’s a nice change.”
Over the past year and a half, the Acoustic Café has showcased everything from guitarists and singer-songwriters to a drum circle, a harpist and an organ player.
Musicians have come from as far as Toronto, Brockfield, Kingston and Port Colborne to perform.
“We’re still looking to get a string quartet in here,” Posan said.
The Acoustic Café is open to musicians of all levels and most genres.
“If you think you can do it for an hour, this is a great place to get in your first performance for someone who’s not mom and dad,” Posan said.
Visit www.musicentre.com for more information about Acoustic Café and a full list of performers.