Rick Keene Music Scene – 2018 Year in Review Part Four

The music kept coming.

The Montreal International Jazz Festival got underway and this year was a great mix for fans of all genres.

July

Gary Petersen – the original drummer for The Guess Who (and a man who started drumming before Rock n Roll’s heyday) took some time out to chat about his career and the future of The Guess Who. Petersen has never stopped playing for the band (he owns the name) and along with his mates; the first brand new Guess Who album in twenty years  hit the shelves in September. An educational chat for sure.

Lonesome George Thorogood took time to chat following the release of his first ever solo album (Party Of One) and previous to his show at The Montreal Jazz Festival and Trois Rivieres en Blues.

The word legend is tossed about too easily these days but not in George’s case.  He started his career busking and within three years opened for Muddy Waters and The Rolling Stones.

Not too shabby.

Sometimes the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Mary -Lynn Doroschuk just happens to be the daughter of Stefan Doroschuk (Men Without Hats). Mary-Lynn has a new band called Wave 21. A Country -Alt unit filled with catchy tunes and classy riffs. A Montreal group to keep your ears on. A Montreal band that will only get bigger.

Joan Jett graced Place Bell along with Tesla and Styx.

Jett as powerful as ever with Punky licks and attitude while Tesla catered to the more Heavy minded fans in attendance. Styx – making their fourth appearance in Quebec in the past seven years commanded even more respect than before. They were hot and the night lasted longer than any Grand Illusion.

Beth Hart

If Beth Hart stayed home and sang lullabies to her kids, the world would be a much sadder place.

Hart and her trio were in Montreal for The Jazz Festival and Beth stole the hearts of everyone. Telling stories of her very dysfunctional upbringing between soaring vocals and soft balladry – Place des Arts was on the verge of a collective hanky giveaway.

On this planet – no female singer can reach into their souls so deep and raise the roof so high within a song. Multiply that by fifteen tunes and see how tired you are from a Beth Hart show.

Boz Scaggs

Boz was here as part of The Jazz Festival and what a surprise musician he turned out to be. Unless you were / are a huge fan or came from a certain decade, Boz (to the general music world) was a two hit wonder. Like many musicians from the 70s and even the 80s, the limelight and success don’t go hand in hand. Boz has more talent playing, singing and producing/ arranging than about 75% of those with hits before or since. Put that in your hat and smoke it.

Jordan Officer opened up for George Thorogood at Place des Arts as part of The Jazz Festival and blew the roof off the joint. Officer has turned the corner in his Blues comeback and had George’s Destroyers shaking in their boots. Trois Rivieres is Jordan’s latest record and it will be considered the turning point in a soon too be mammoth career.

Ranee Lee

Easily the concert of the year in Montreal. 

Lee’s husband / musical mentor Richard passed away the morning of her Jazz Festival show and for most artists – the plug would have been pulled. Not only did Ranee perform, she outperformed any of the numerous award winning shows she had done before. Emotions were high (the crowd knew of the circumstances) yet Ranee used the emotion to grow stronger with each song. The concert will go down as one of  the greatest  in Montreal music history.

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Rick Keene Music Scene – 2018 Year in Review Part Three

Half way through the year – the music kept coming.

The folks at The Montreal International Jazz Festival announced their line up and the stage was set ( so to speak).

June

Jann Arden was in town and at this point in her musical career – she is the Elton John of Canadian women.

The hits and the magic within new tunes are gone and she is relying on her past glories to fill joints around the Country. Thankfully, she is a very funny woman and the banter alone is worth half the price of admission. Add the hits from twenty years ago – you get fully what you paid for.

East of Sunday – Carvin Jones

Blues guitarist extraordinaire Carvin Jones made his first appearance in Montreal and local band East of Sunday opened up.

Jones is a monster on guitar and his showmanship – second to none. Think Buddy Guy without the powerful voice. East of Sunday are poised to take the Montreal Rock throne away from The Damn Truth. Look out this coming summer as both Carvin and East of Sunday will hit the road with heat.

Paul Young / Midge Ure

Paul Young was one of the biggest stars of the 1980’s video wave and Ure co-wrote Do They Know It’s Christmas for Band Aid. Ure was also the leader of Ultravox and a member of Thin Lizzy among other things.

Ure and Young held a double bill at Club Soda and only one showed up.

Ure was fine as he gained strength with his tunes – hits and all. Young, on the other hand was, well … old. Paul stumbled through a set continually struggling to hit notes and stay in key. When he did get in sync – his voice was weak. A sign of the end or an off night? Things that make you go hmmm …

Dr. Lonnie Smith

The good doctor ( the most sought after Hammond B3 player in all genres) put on a clinic at Le Gesu. Fifty years in the spotlight and recording with the who is who of music has enabled Smith to assume command over the audience, his band-mates and his instrument. Anyone who witnesses a Smith performance – is blessed.

Aram Demirjian

Conductor Demirjian sat down and spoke of his upcoming Montreal gig with Dreamworks Animation. The gig is a full orchestra playing the soundtrack live of DreamWorks classics such as Shrek and How To Train Your Dragon.

In the beginning of cinema, live orchestras were the only form of sound for a viewing audience. To witness and hear the experience in 2018 is a welcome change to digital dust.

Cecile Mclorant- Salvant

The second best female singer walking the planet ( Lisa Fischer would be first) put on a lesson in vocals. Adding all the great ingredients from all the great Jazz ladies ( Holiday, James, Fitzgerald) and her own unique voice, Salvant is the driver. Complete command of everything and she is’ just starting out’. A must see concert if you must see.

Charlotte Gainsbourg

If there ever was a female artist who did all for ‘art’s sake’- it is Gainsbourg. The actress / composer / songwriter / singer / writer / painter and poet lays all her emotions on her sleeve.

Her show at MTelus was not for the non intellects. Combining electronica and common place rythym with her piano sensibility is mesmerizing to the punters. Her fan base is devoted, loyal and safe to say; artistic.

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Rick Keene Music Scene – 2018 Year in Review – Part Two

What a year it was …

Twelve months have come and gone quicker than a man / woman looking for a one night stand. That’s what happens when music is in the air and in your soul.

Let’s take a look back shall we? Let us revisit the musical past of 2018.

April

Steve Hill finally released a live album after nine studio albums. He wanted to make sure it was done right and being the perfectionist Steve is – the delay came as no surprise. Check out the album; The One-Man Blues Rock Band, it’s a must have for Steve Hill fans.

The Box, one of the most successful bands to come from Quebec, returned with a brand new EP titled Take Me Home. Jean Marc Pisapia, the singer and songwriter for The Box, gave a three part interview about his career and the new EP. Very insightful if you are a fan of the eighties and Canadian music history.

Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo fame was in town with his side project The Jim Cuddy Band. Their performance at the Corona which included Jim’s two sons and Barney Bentall – blew some Canadian wind into the joint. Cuddy’s down to earth charm combined with an elite backing band was just what the music scene needed. Blue Rodeo ain’t got nothing on these guys and girls.

May

One of the co – founders of April Wine, Jim Henman , has been affected by the senseless shootings south of the border. He was so profoundly moved by the acts of violence – he wrote a song.

The song ‘Some of These Children’ is a poignant and stirring take on events that have affected everyone. Parents, teachers, relatives and the entire world.

Jim Henman is donating fifty percent of all sales from the song to The Boys And Girls Club of Greater Halifax. This is a start to not only help the kids in Nova Scotia – to also send a message globally that us humans have had enough.

Buy Jim Henman’s song here !

The Brooks resume includes opening up for The Doobie Brothers and Kool and The Gang. Two huge blowouts at the Montreal International Jazz Festival are also easy on the ears on a rhythmic C.V.

In May – the band (and what seemed like the entire city of Montreal), raised the roof at L’Astral and cemented their position as this city’s soon-to-be next Arcade Fire on the global scene.

April Wine’s Brian Greenway sat down and spoke of his career with April Wine and what came before. Bands such as The Wackers and The Dudes along with tales of playing at the historic Maples Inn before Myles Goodwyn grabbed him for super-stardom. Brian also spoke of his side project The Blues Bus with former Wine guitarist Gary Moffett.

Up and coming guitar player Paolo Stante released his third album; At It Again. The most complete recording of his career and cementing his position as one of the top ten guitar players in Quebec and Montreal.

In a music galaxy far, far away – a Canadian band altered the airwaves and sent Canada into an entirely different universe.

Crack of Dawn were the first black band to be signed to a major label (CBS) in Canada. Otis Redding’s producer discovered them and the band sold more albums than Earth, Wind and Fire in Canada. They were headed for stardom yet they disappeared.

In 2018 – they released a new album and started touring again. Proving once and for all – you can teach an old dog new tricks as long as the tricks are old.

April Wine co founder Jim Henman was in the news yet again. He recorded an album with his family. Something he wanted to do for a long while and finally finished it before it ‘is too late’. The Henman Family Album is a delightful listen with all ten kids doing their musical thing.

Lawrence Gowan of Styx took time out to chat once again. Speaking with Larry, Lawrence or Gowan is always a history lesson and a lot of fun. The interview was a precursor to Styx’ appearance with Joan Jett and Tesla at Place Bell in Laval.

The League of Rock enlisted some local rock stars including Brian Greenway ( April Wine) and Corey Diabo ( Jonas and The Massive Attraction) to coach musicians who normally just play in their basements. It is an event which showcases talent and at the same time, gives an opportunity for the players to hit a stage in front of a live audience for maybe the first and last time in their lives.

Local songwriter and guitar player Justin Saladino released his album A Fool’s Heart. It was a coming of age for the young West Islander and music teacher. His vocals – a weak point before, came into fruition and the album cemented Justin’s place among the best in Montreal.

If You Like What I do – please donate here to help me support music.

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Rick Keene Music Scene – 2018 Year in Review – Part One.

What a year it was …

Twelve months have come and gone quicker than a man / woman looking for a one night stand. That’s what happens when music is in the air and in your soul.

Let’s take a look back shall we? Let us revisit the musical past of 2018.

January

Big Wreck celebrated twenty years as a band with a bang on show at The Corona. The loyal fans were not disappointed by the raw Rock / Alternative. /Grunge tunes spun by lead singer and principal songwriter Ian Thornley.

Canadian Country Star Tim Hicks was in town with a new album and injecting some much needed exposure of Country music to Quebec. The Country scene in this province is kinda underground yet Hicks brought the fans from behind their barns and into the spotlight.

Former Genesis guitar man Steve Hackett was in town in what appears as almost an annual event. The love affair between Hackett / Genesis and this province has never been more amorous as Hackett et al performed the Genesis catalog along with his solo stuff.

February

Kim Churchill, aka the man from Down Under, has more talent in his finger than the majority of ‘your top forty’ radio stars. Kim was in town promoting his new album and it was the second time in three years Kim was touring Quebec. The provincial love affair is nearing Steve Hackett territory.

Devon Cuddy (son of Jim) and his Devon Cuddy Band were in Montreal promoting their new EP. Devin is a chip of the old ‘Rodeo’ and just may surpass Dad in success due to his songwriting and piano playing (without the help of Greg Keelor).

Pianist Mike Jones released a magical album with a magician. Jones – happens to be the piano player for Las Vegas act Penn and Teller. Jones convinced Penn to record an album. Jones took four hours of his time to speak of the album, his favorite piano players (of all time) and Jazz in general. One of the most informative chats I have been privy to.

Montrealer Sule Heitner released an album and took some time to chat about it. Sule is one of the most talented guitar players playing in Montreal and his smooth voice and songwriting are a tip of the hat to old school R & B.

Eastern town-shipper and Blues veteran Mike Goudreau released an album of alternative takes. Songs that were there (but not really) all rolled into a pure Blues (and fun album). Goudreau also spoke of his success selling music to Hollywood.

Model / actress/ songwriter / singer Carla Bruni was at L’Olympia sporting her new album. Mick Jagger’s former squeeze and former first lady of France put on a bilingual show complete with a cover of Jagger / Richards’ Miss You. Serenity ruled with often humorous banter from this talented lady.

March

The most talented and adventurous student of The Blues in Quebec – Jordan Officer released an album entitled Three Rivers. Adding fiddle to his arsenal – Officer’s foray into his first love (The Blues) continues it’s assent to the highest peaks.

Inspired by the #MeToo movement – Rosie and The Riveters released an album to empower women and to also tell some sordid stories of their own. This Western Canadian – based trio make toes tap and hearts sing with pure music. A lot of tongue-in- cheek humor gets the message across also.

Montreal writer and author Kristian Gravenor has unearthed quite a few tales of the Montreal music scene in his book; Montreal 375 Tales of Eating, Drinking, Living and Loving.

On any given evening, a music lover could walk downtown Montreal and visit numerous clubs. All of them hosting bands and / or DJs. You wanted Jazz? No problem. Rock n Roll? Check out Kristian’s labor of love.

Canadian legend Kim Mitchell was in Quebec city because he is Kim Mitchell. Kim took some time to chat before his show and what a show it was. Timeless tunes and Canadian wit ruled the night with a soda in hand …

Bluesman Jack Broadbent was in town at L’Astral strutting his acoustic stuff. Very few men or woman take the time to understand and learn to play The Blues with conviction and place the likes of Robert Johnson in their pockets. Broadbent is the next generation of Blues-men who do it for the right reasons.

Canadian Music Hall of Fame member and front-man for April Wine Myles Goodwyn, released a solo album filled with the Blues and special guests. Myles proved that his first love in music will give him ‘miles’ to go in his career after (if) April Wine calls it a day. A two part chat revealed much about the man who remains an enigma to many.

Former Bostonian-turned-Montrealer-turned-New York-er Emma Frank released an album which may be one of the best of 2018. Ocean Av is the name and songwriting is Emma’s game. The album helped return Emma to Montreal as part of The Montreal International Jazz Festival.

Stay tuned for Part Two of 2018 In Review !

If You Like What I do – please donate here to help me support music.

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Musical Christmas Gifts

Tis the season to be musical.

 

Here are a few options or gifts to place under the Christmas tree. If you like what I do – then donate here and give me a gift too!

The Damn Truth

Two concerts in January are ‘not be missed’.

January 25th sees Montreal’s own The Damn Truth along with The Sheepdogs. A double bill which will shake away the post- Christmas cobwebs.

January 26th sees Bryan Adams at The Bell Center. If you have never seen him live or think ‘what’s he done lately?’ – buying a ticket to a three hour sing a long is a must.

Visit Evenko for both shows.

Sheldon Kagan’s Memoirs

Retired Montreal DJ, promoter and all round music guru Sheldon Kagan has written a book detailing all his memories from a musical life unmatched. Whether it is an unsavory meeting with Miles Davis or an ‘almost superstar concert’ quashed by an unexpected death – Sheldon delivers a life story which every music lover must read.

Get Sheldon’s Book Here

 

Steve Creep Shows

Music does not need to be a ticketed item. A musician does not need to be a global star to warrant accolades. Montrealer Steve Creep is the hardest working musician in Montreal. His acoustics and band sets take place seven nights a week in places such as Brutopia and various McKibbons outlets (among others). Very few musicians have such a vast knowledge and repertoire of all genres. Steve is so good – former Montreal Canadien Tomas Plekanec sought Steve out following many Canadiens’ home games. Buy a beer or two, have a meal and support Mr. Creep.

Follow Steve Here !

2019 Blue Note at Sea

 

On January 26th for seven days you will cruise through locations including Nassau, The Bahamas, Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, and Key West, Florida.

The line-up on this cruise is a joint effort of Blue Note president Don Was and Blue Note Jazz Clubs president Steven Bensusan. Joining Kosins on the bill is Marcus Miller, Robert Glasper, David Sanborn, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Logan Richardson, Luques Curtis, Wynton Marsalis, Kurt Elling, José James, Christian Scott, Terence Blanchard, Jason Moran, Kandace Springs, Wycliffe Gordon, Eric Marienthal, Ben Williams, Taylor McFerrin, Terrace Martin, Derrick Hodge, Geoffrey Keezer, and many more! There will be various venues of different size, with main shows played twice nightly in the ship’s largest venue.

Blue Note at Sea Info Here 

 

New Kentucky Headhunters CD

Grammy-winning Southern rockers The Kentucky Headhunters are back on Alligator with Live At The Ramblin’ Man Fair, a raucous live album recorded in front of 25,000 screaming fans at the UK’s famed rock festival. In addition to the full live set, the album features three bonus studio tracks from the legendary Meet Me In Bluesland sessions featuring the late Johnnie Johnson, known for his seminal piano work on Chuck Berry’s most influential and famous songs.

Live At The Ramblin’ Man Fair features an adrenaline-fueled set list with the Headhunters at the top of their game at their first-ever UK performance. Mixing six high-energy originals, searing blues rockers and a thunderous take on The Beatles’ Don’t Let Me Down, the Headhunters have never sounded more intense and fun.

Closing out the album are three recently discovered tracks featuring Rock &’ Roll Hall of Famer Johnnie Johnson on piano with the band, boldly underscoring the Kentucky Headhunters’ deep blues chops and Johnnie’s mastery of rockin’ piano.

Visit The Kentucky Headhunters Here!

 

Jess Mosaluke Christmas Album

Not only is Jess Canadian, she is also the heir to Shania Twain’s Country throne. Jess has won most Country awards lately and she treks into Christmas territory with an album filled with her favorites growing up. As roots as a  Christmas album will get.

Visit Jess Here !

David Myles Christmas Album

 

Not only is David Myles one of the best vocalists and songwriters in Canada – he also owns one of the largest hearts. Every year David puts on Christmas shows in malls in Nova Scotia and raises money for the less fortunate. Backed by his excellent album; It’s Christmas, a must see show and a must buy album.

Visit David Here !

Merry Christmas and Follow Me For More Christmas Ideas All Year Round.

If You Like What I do – please donate here to help me support music.

 

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Rick Keene Music Scene -The Musical Box;Turning Genesis Into An Extravanza

In the big scheme of things, very few people saw Genesis live in their orginal formation.

Before fans knew it – Peter Gabriel was gone and shortly after, Steve Hackett followed. Fans of the original material who missed out on the theatrics and brilliant musicianship of the original  line -up live were out of luck.

Out of luck until the Quebec – formed Musical Box took matters into their own hands and recreated the early years with precision. The Musical Box are the only Genesis Tribute band to be supported by the members of Genesis themselves.

They are that good.

Following twenty five years as the top Genesis tribute act – the members have decided to change things up a bit. An extravaganza is on the way …

Please listen below to my chat with the musical director and the ‘Mike Rutherford’ of The Musical Box,  Sebastien Lamothe.

Sebastien? What’s up?

 

 

Visit The Musical Box Here !

 

 

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Andy Kim Plays Santa for Starlight Children’s Foundation

Pay it forward …

Canadian Walk of Fame and Canadian Music Hall of Fame member Andy Kim has many friends in the music business. Many of whom hold Andy in such high esteem – they will follow him anywhere.


Saturday night at The Corona Theater, some of those friends arrived in Montreal to participate in the fifth annual Andy Kim Christmas. A musical event which raises money for The Starlight Children’s Foundation. Broken Social Scene, La Force and Ron Sexsmith made the train trip from Toronto and joined some very talented Quebecers.

Jake Clemons

Marie – Mai, Coeur de Pirate, Hanorah, Brad Barr and Jake Clemons (the nephew of Clarence Clemons and a current resident of Montreal) welcomed Andy et al with Christmas bells on their toes. The scene was set for a night of giving.

Sean Cullen

Toronto comic Sean Cullen led the way with brilliant comedy aimed at Montreal from a Torontarian-point-of-view. Cullen, disregarding the MeToo movement (and pretty much all taboo subjects) exchanging barbs and wit with local emcee – CJAD’s Aaron Rand. The pauses between tunes; as unique as the tunes themselves.

Hanorah

In between Andy Kim singing his songs Rainbow Ride, Rock Me Gently and Sugar Sugar – the ‘stars’ of the show donated Folk, Country, Pop, Blues and Rock n Roll. There was something for everyone from the toe-tapping in-your-face Clemons’ Saxophone to La Force’s balladry. From Barr’s profound lyrical social conscience to Marie-Mai’s soulful Blues.

Marie-Mai

Concerts and music shows usually draw an audience of critics. Scribes ready at the drop of a hat to praise or destroy a performance. The Andy Kim Christmas Show somehow manages to remove all pens and all harshness. The spirit of the season and the generosity of the artists transcend reality. Music is performed and accepted the way it should be.

Coeur de Pirate

The Andy Kim Christmas show in Montreal even managed to draw Elvis to the building. The presence of the non-intentional (and vocal) look-a-like in the audience, adding magic to an already magical night. Cullen and Rand – taking the opportunity to include Elvis in their jabs every chance they had.

Canadian music is alive and well. Only a few of them were on a stage Saturday night that in the past has drawn artists such as Pagliaro, Roch Voisine and Sam Roberts. The Andy Kim Christmas Show is growing every year and attracting an array of diverse musical talent.

Who will be here next year? Andy Kim and whoever else decides to join him and pay it forward.

Visit Andy Kim here !

Visit Starlight Children’s Foundation here !

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