Back in 1988, Sally Robinson approached Jody Benjamin about possibly creating a duo. Jody, (a very fit and energetic dance instructor who had just taken up guitar), leapt in the air with enthusiasm! Hence, the Toasted Westerns were conceived. They played on the streets of Ottawa that summer and started to build their repertoire.
Eventually, they grew from a duo to a 5-piece band. “The Full Platter” included Ann Downey on bass, Carolyn Stewart on fiddle and Wayne Robicheau on drums. The Toasted Westerns’ sandwich was Jody & Sally; Ann was the fries, Carolyn the coleslaw and Wayne, being the only guy, was the “lone pickle”. Vince Halfhide eventually replaced Carolyn, spiced up the group by becoming the hot sauce.
In 1996, they produced Out to Lunch. They were interviewed by Peter Gzowski, and were invited to play at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Jody & Sally toured across the country that summer, doing house concerts.
The Toasted Westerns were known as Ottawa’s Favourite Singing Sandwich, playing in duo, trio and Full Platter format for 20 years.
The Toasted Westerns Trio is happy to be re-uniting to play at Grassroots, 2019. It will be the first time they’ve played together in a decade.