Rick Keene Music Scene – Gowan’s Love Affair with Quebec Grows

It all comes down to passion …

French Canadians love the Montreal Canadiens. If you pay attention – they especially love the players that love the Canadiens as much as they do .

Enter Lawrence Gowan aka Gowan.

Photos Emily Eelkema

What does a Scottish-born, Canadian -raised, classically trained pianist have to do with hockey? Passion. Quebec and Francophones love the passion Gowan has for music. It is that simple …

That exuberance shone through once more in Drummondville on Tuesday evening for the first Quebec stop on Gowan’s (too few) solo tour. (His second Quebec show on the 24th of February in Ste Eustache is sold out.)

Quebec was monumental in getting Gowan’s career started upon the release of A Criminal Mind and Strange Animal. Quebec was also the place ( Montreal) where Tommy Shaw of Styx first witnessed Gowan’s passion as an opening act. That observation led Shaw to asking Gowan to replace Dennis DeYoung a few years later. Heck – even Tommy Shaw recognized the passion and he isn’t even French.

It is because Lawrence Gowan is part of Styx (since 1999) that his solo albums and tours are few and far between. Styx annually plays over 100 shows making them the hardest working band in the US.

Thankfully Lawrence, Larry or Gowan (depending on who you get) had some time to visit Canada without Styx and what a show it was. The spinning keyboard was there, the kilt was there and the passion was there within Gowan’s vast solo catalog.

Cosmetics
Desperate
Awake the Giant

Those three songs opened the show with a jolt. Gowan and the band with as much energy as most bands peak at. Gowan, especially vital with the voice of a twenty year old. His love for Quebec shining through with mostly French bantering. Okay – sometimes Franglais but you get the point.

Lost Brotherhood
Moonchild’s Psychedelic Holiday/Tomorrow Never Knows and Criminal Mind finished the ‘first half’ of the show. There is nothing that can give you goosebumps in this world more than listening to Gowan’s vocals during A Criminal Mind. Not only is the tune a show-stopper; it is in the top ten of best Canadian songs ever written. Gowan’s soul is exercised and launches with all it’s honesty to the crowd. Tears can flow …

Between songs all night – Gowan had the audience in stitches. Gowan is the male version of Jann Arden. Once his singing career is done, stand-up comedy would be his next best bet. 

Soul’s Road, Dancing on My Own Ground, All the Lovers in the World and Khedive continued the show with tenderness and a hard driving beat. Gowan’s band not quite Pop, not quite Rock and not quite Prog -Rock. The music is a combination of all genres including classical. Gowan – on the piano / synth; a master as showcased in the Styx tune Khedive. 

Guerilla Soldier, Strange Animal and Moonlight Desires concluded the evening with love and passion. Emotions traded from stage to audience. The punters who remember Gowan from the eighties ( their youth) reminded affectionately of the songs. The new fans introduced to the tunes for the first time. Most importantly; all ages were shown passion. 

Something Quebecers and Gowan know so well.

Visit Gowan Here !

 

Rick Keene Music Scene – Jeff Coffin Of The Dave Mathews Band Talks ‘On the Corner’

On The Corner was not received well upon it’s release in 1972. Times change …

The (now) landmark album by Miles Davis was ahead of it’s time. A precursor to 1970’s Funk, Rock and eventually Hip Hop. Miles – as usual, ahead of his time and ahead of the times.

Dave Liebman was on that album with Miles and it gave Jeff Coffin (Dave Mathews Band, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones) an idea. Coffin assembled an All Star band to do a live performance of On The Corner. A ‘gig’ that thankfully was recorded and a ‘gig’ that one day may be considered historic in itself.

Liebman, Coffin

Please listen below to my chat with Jeff about the album, Miles and The Dave Mathews Band.

Jeff? What’s Up?

Visit Jeff Here !

 

Rick Keene Music Scene – Colin James Talks Blues and A Juno Nomination

In 1989, Colin James had ‘Miles to Go’ in his career.

Kieth Richards and Colin James – 1994

Colin was given the Juno Award for Most Promising Male Artist. It was the same year that Back to the Future Two was released and Game Boy was one of the most popular toys on the market. Colin, the film and the (then) technologically advanced toy were all signs that life was changing.

Colin and B.B. King

The beginning of the 90’s saw more and more money going into the pockets of the businessmen. Artists, filmmakers and inventors had their souls sucked into commercial abysses. Blues artists – men like Buddy Guy and B.B. King (the forefathers of the music that laid the frame for all popular music) were pushed aside.

Thankfully – Canada came to the rescue with two guys who kept the Blues alive on a commercially successful stage. Jeff Healey and Colin James.

Since Jeff left for that grand stage in the sky, Colin remains as one of the last Canadian Blues men. A man who has seen the best and the worst of a music world within a long and storied career. Colin James knows The Blues and with his 2019 Juno nominated album Miles To Go – he has come full circle. Finally gaining the recognition he deserves as a profound Blues artist.

Please listen below to my chat with Colin about the upcoming Junos, his thoughts on The Blues and hear some tracks from his Juno nominated album Miles To Go.

Visit Colin Here

Rick Keene Music Scene – Juno Nominee Sue Foley is ‘The Ice Queen’

Canadian women going to Texas to play the Blues was not an everyday event …

The year was 1989 and Foley was planted deeply within the Austin Blues scene. It was a time for learning and because the (then) twenty – one year old Sue took her craft seriously, a quick assent took place.

Foley cut her ‘chops’ in the subsequent years and it all came into Canadian fruition in 2001 as Foley won a Juno Award for Best Blues Album. Love Comin’ Down cemented Foley’s place in Canadian music history.

Please listen below to my chat with Sue about her ‘time off’ from solo albums and her Juno nomination for Best Blues album in 2019 with her latest release – The Ice Queen

Visit Sue Here !

Rick keene Music Scene – Harry Manx and Steve Marriner Combine Blues and Gospel on New Album

A music bond goes a long way …

Harry Manx is a traveler who met Steve Marriner along his musical path. Marriner – in the words of Harry, is a musical prodigy. The pair are a perfect match to match musical wits.

Hellbound for Heaven is the message and the name of the album.

Please listen below to my chat with Harry and hear tunes from the new album due out on April 5th.

Harry? What’s up?

Visit Harry Here !

Rick Keene Music Scene – A Candid Chat with Dawn Tyler Watson; The Queen of The Montreal Blues

Dawn Tyler Watson could have left us for the big gig in the sky a couple of years ago. Thankfully – the Grim Reaper did not get the email …

photo Laura Carbone

Not only did Dawn recover from four blocked arteries, she went on to become the first Canadian and the second woman to win the IBC Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee. Not too shabby eh?

 

Please listen below to my chat with Dawn and find out about her health scare, her experiences since Memphis and news on her upcoming new album. Hear a track here !

Dawn? What’s up?

Visit Dawn Here !

Rick Keene Music Scene – Molly Johnson Talks Juno Nomination and A Much Needed Black History Website

History comes in many forms. Molly Johnson herself – is Canadian music history.

Molly is a pioneer. Musical theater, Theater, Disco, Funk, Rock / Pop and Jazz. Molly has not only done it all, she has excelled in all.

A Member of the Order of Canda

In 2019, Johnson has been nominated for a Juno Award in the Best Adult Contemporary Category. She has already won a Juno for Jazz Recording and this recent album places her in the company of some of her favorite artists.

This year is also fertile ground for a website she is starting up. A Black History informational tool which she hopes will be a go to place for teachers in all Canadian institutions.

Please LISTEN below to my chat with Molly. Hear some great tunes and find out why history is so IMPORTANT to all Canadian’s futures.