In the words of comedian Emo Philips; ‘It’s New To Me’
Just because things have never been heard before, it doesn’t mean they were not done before. The ‘tree falls in the forest’ scenario. In music – many artists come from one place and wind up in another. Travelling the globe physically and spiritually. Antennas up, hands on chords.
Please listen below to some new tunes from Paul Reddick and John Oates among others.
The saxophone used to be an integral part of Rock n Roll music.
Fast forward to 2020 and – not so much. Along with Jazz – inspired drumming, the saxophoneadded energy and emotion to Rock n Roll. Not only did the Sax add layers – it also grounded the musician’s and listener’s souls.
Please listen below to some of the best Sax solos in Rock n Roll history.
Like Covid itself, Drive -In concerts are polarizing.
Some artists such as Kim Mitchell do not like the idea. First – a live show increases the performance of the artist. The energy between the audience and the stage is like a shot of heroin. Creativity and comfort- ability replaces the trepidation of catalogs new and old in artists new or old. People sitting in their cars and honking after a song? A definitive no -no for artists such as Mitchell. Energy cannot pass through glass after all?
Another reason artists do not like the idea in the time of a pandemic is safety.Lives before money. Health before happiness. In Kim Mitchell’s case, he is also part of the high risk category health -wise since his heart attack a few years ago. Covid’s (the government’s) effects paint many canvasses in vastly different colors. Mitchell not wanting to place himself or his audience in danger.
Therefore it is a slippery slope that folks like The Damn Truth and Evenko maneuvered. They were damned if they did – damned if they did not.
Saturday evening at The Royalmount Drive – In Theater, Montreal’s premiere Rock n Roll band The Damn Truth (along with Osheaga and Evenko), did something that Montreal has never seen or heard before. A Rock n Roll Drive – In concert.
The excitement in a punter as they approached the entrance (with the stage looming in the background) momentarily erased everything Covid. Suddenly you were fifteen again and visions of Elton John at Jarry Park danced through your head quicker than an Elton John hissy fit. Suddenly you were transported to the days in front of The Montreal Forum at Atwater Park. Part of the fun of live music is the anticipation. The people you encounter along the way to the opening chords, all with the same goal in mind, is a profound variable that sets live music apart from a turntable in a basement. The buzz in the air, the smoke in the air.The music from the ‘flavors of the day’ creating magic in the air through surrounding mega – watt speakers. Ambience 101.
Live music has no competition to fill the soul.
The staff at Roylamount Drive – In are Grade A. They politely guide you to a parking space which has been delegated two meters apart from your neighbor. Instructions to wear a mask in washrooms and any indoor space are transmitted and received. Food comes to you through mask wearing vendors while roller-blading masked females attempt to sell band merchandise. Zeppelin, The Stones and The Beatles are the violins to this initial voyage for all passengers.
‘The stage is set, the band will start playing and suddenly your heart is pounding.Wishing secretly you were a star.’
If you are going to a pandemic drive – in concert to pick up chicks or Ken lookalikes; fudge about it.
Social distancing police (aka security) have eyes on you. Step away from the front of you car into the aisles to dance or talk to a neighbor two meters away? Frowned upon. Mask or no mask – your parking spot is your home for social distancing. You better really like the person you came with or start calling a lawyer who specializes in homicide.
Life itself, day-to-day operations have many conflicting rules with Covid and a Drive In Rock n Roll concert imitates life. A non masked walk to the merchandise table or to the food vendors or to anywhere except in the aisles is allowed. You can speak to anyone along the way respecting social distancing rules with mask on face or mask (brass) in pocket. That feeling of ‘Yes sir – No sir’ sung by The Kinks many moons ago is non Rock n Roll. Rebellion and teenage (adult) angst is the prime motivator behind Rock music. A drive in concert does not allow the finger in the face of authority. For that reason – the energy from the crowd, the gas to the artist is absent. No dancing in front of cars, no screaming in front of cars and polite applause following a song is not a Mick Jagger’s grand-kids’ concert.
The Damn Truth put on a top notch show musically and performance -wise. Lee -La Baum, the lead vocalist, enthusiastic thanking everyone for coming and how much live music is missed by the band. Baum’s vocals as crisp or soft as the stages of life itself. New songs were preformed by The Damn Truth for the first time as isolation paused the band’s new record recording sessions. Isolation paused the fan’s hunger. Guitarist Tom Shemer, bassist PY Letellier and drummer Dave Traina did not display rust. A sign of a professional band is the ability to drive fast and safe – blindfolded or not.
My revolution is in disconclusion
Allegations of hope
There’s no room for people like you and me here
We’re devilish folk
The audience had great intentions as well. Pressure seemed deflated in their faces as they viewed the stage,the screen and the ambiance. A relief to be out. A relief to be doing something ‘normal’ once again.
Volume 1 from Roots Super Group Set for Release September 4 on Stony Plain Records
Stony Plain Records announces a September 4 release date for the first volume of music from roots “super group,” New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers: Charlie Musselwhite, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Jimbo Mathus, the late Jim Dickinson, and North Mississippi Allstars members Luther Dickinson and Cody Dickinson.
Recorded at the Zebra Ranch Recording Studio in Coldwater, Mississippi, the 10 blues-drenched tracks of sublime roots music on New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers Volume 1 will be followed in the spring of 2021 by Volume 2.
The New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers originated back in November 2007, when musician brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson sat down for a guitar jam with ex-Squirrel Nut Zippers leader Jimbo Mathus, along with blues greats Charlie Musselwhite, Alvin Youngblood Hart and the late Memphis pianist, producer and all around musical stylist Jim Dickinson, gathered for a roots music extravaganza recording under the group name of the New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers.
New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers Volume 1 Track Listing
1. Blues Why You Worry Me (featuring Charlie Musselwhite)
2. Pony Blues (featuring Alvin Youngblood Hart)
3. Night Time (featuring Jimbo Mathus)
4. Come on Down to My House (featuring Jim Dickinson)
5. K.C. Moan (featuring Charlie Musselwhite)
6. Let’s Work Together (featuring Jim Dickinson)
7. Shake It and Break It (featuring Jimbo Mathus)
8. Stone Free (featuring Alvin Youngblood Hart)
9. Stop and Listen Blues (featuring Alvin Youngblood Hart)
Many people play guitar. Many people write songs. Few study the history of music as profoundly as Jordan Officer.
Jordan Officer came into his own opening up for George Thorogood. It was a double bill at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. The Montreal crowd – stunned by Jordan Officer and his band’s groundbreaking set.
Please listen below to my interview with Jordan Officer about his three new albums. Country, Jazz and The Blues. Three genres which make upJordan Officer.
Country music, like most of society, has lost it’s soul. You cannot sing about a love relationship complete with heartbreak if you declared a life of celibacy and live in a monastery.
That said – the new generation of Country artists do their best to add the legacy of Country music to their new songs within a modern day commercial world. You cannot blame the butcher if a cow is not well fed.
Please listen below to some of The Best New Country Songs Released in 2020
Peter Varvaro is one of the hardest working men in Montreal.
Fifteen hours a day or more for twenty five years, Pete has provided the best food and the best entertainment in Montreal.
Covid has affected all restaurants very badly yet no other restaurant must put up with the constant harassment from town officials and local merchants / residents. Jealousy and language issues pre and post Covid have sent Pete to court more than any hard working man should have to. Ever changing bylaws regarding signs, no parking signs erected at a moment’s notice; the list of harassment is long.
Please listen below to the type of music that will be back live at Smoke Meat Pete one day. Support Smoke Meat Pete and all local businesses.
Kim Mitchell has a new album coming out titled; ‘The Big Fantasize’
It is his first album in thirteen years and the word ‘Anticipation’ is an understatement for music fans everywhere.
Very few artists in this great Country can be called a legend. Kim is one of the greats and a songwriter whose talent is grossly overlooked on the world stage. Thankfully – Canada loves him and he will be inducted into The Canadian Songwriter Hall of Fame
Please listen below to my interview with Kim and Hear Kim’s Brand New Song ‘Wishes’.
Just because live music has come to a halt, that does not mean new music has.
From Nova Scotia to Vancouver. Winnipeg to Ontario. Musicians from Canadian cities and Provinces are everywhere and filled with talent.
Please appreciate some of Canada’s great new tunes including Kim Mitchell and listen below for a chance to have your music on an upcoming release from award winning fiddlers Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy.
The O Canada Jazz Orchestra which has been captured in a virtual performance of Hersog’s world class, high energy and infinitely swinging new arrangement of “O Canada!”
Hersog created the orchestra and the arrangement with the intention of showcasing the camaraderie that exists among Canadian jazz musicians in these difficult times.
The musicians, who come from all ten Canadian provinces, include folks like Christine Jensen, Joel Miller, Bria Skonberg
Hersog’s 17-piece ensemble is rife with Juno Award winners, Canadian jazz heavy weights, and even a recipient of the Order of Canada. There are musicians representing all ten Canadian provinces. Formed with the intention of showcasing the camaraderie that exists among Canadian jazz musicians in these difficult times, this ensemble delivers a world class, high energy, and infinitely swinging performance of the Canadian National Anthem.
Daniel Hersog’s O Canada Jazz Orchestra
Christine Jensen – BC/QC Remi Bolduc – QC Phil Dwyer – BC Joel Miller – NB/QC Ben Henriques – BC Mike Herriott – NL Brad Turner – BC Bria Skonberg – BC Al Muirhead – AB William Carn – ON Dale Sorensen – PEI Andrew Jackson – NS Sharman King – BC Jocelyn Marie Gould – MB Amanda Tosoff – BC/ON Gent Laird – SK Mark Kelso – ON
Toronto’s ViVA TRIO Releases Special Rendition of “O CANADA” with Multi-Award Winning Top Canadian Artists
In honor of Canada Day 2020, internationally acclaimed vocalist trio ViVA Trio have assembled an incredible all-Canadian cast of talent to perform their rendition of “O Canada” virtually this June 25th and July 1st.
The multi-date performance will feature ViVA Trio’s sopranos Anna Bateman & Katya Tchoubar and mezzo-soprano Erin Fisher — a stunning set in their own right.
The trio is joined by multi-JUNO Award-nominee Gavin Hope (The Nylons), JUNO Award-winning and GRAMMY Award-nominated MET Opera regular and Officer of the Order of Canada Russell Braun, JUNO Award-nominated tenor Mark Masri, The North of Nashville Star winning singer and actor Graham Scott Fleming, and female vocalist and star of Stargate: Atlantis Rachel Luttrell.
Instrumentalists for the piece include pianist Mark Camilleri — who has shared the stage with Il Divo, Celine Dion, Sting, Andrea Bocelli, Paul Anka, Sarah McLachlan, David Foster, Sheryl Crow, Eric Clapton, to name a few — and internationally recognized violinist Vasil Popadiuk.
The collaboration is set to honor the spirit of Canada Day and create a sense of community — most especially whilst the COVID-19 pandemic keeps Canadians at home. “This Canada Day will be one that we all remember forever, for numerous reasons,” ViVA Trio’s Erin Fisher says. “We hope our version of the anthem will lift people’s spirits, and overflow with Canadian pride.”
A FREE FATHER’S DAY CHARITY CONCERT IN SUPPORT OF THE UNISON BENEVOLENT FUND
SPECIAL GUESTS – DAN AYKROYD, COLIN JAMES, JAMES COTTON, COLIN LINDEN, JONAS & WAYNE JACKSON OF THE MEMPHIS HORNS
In celebration of Father’s Day and what would have been the final date of The Legendary Downchild Blues Band’s 50th Anniversary Tour, the band are streaming their “Live At Massey Hall” concert in its entirety as a FREE SHOW for fans on Sunday, June 21, 2020 at 7:00 Pm (EST), all in support of a very important cause, the Unison Benevolent Fund.
Downchild were joined on stage by some very special guests for their historic “Live At Massey Hall” performance, including Hollywood Star Dan Aykroyd, blues/rock icon Colin James, American blues legend, James Cotton, Grammy Award winner Colin Linden, Montreal chart topping rocker Jonas and the one and only Wayne Jackson of The Memphis Horns.
Downchild will premier their “Live At Massey Hall” concert for an exclusive one-night-only viewing on their official Youtube Channel on June 21st at 7:00 PM (EST)
All donations made to Unison will be matched by Spotify as part of the Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief project that has been created to amplify the efforts of organizations that focus on helping those most in need, like the Unison Benevolent Fund. Spotify will match donations made to Unison dollar for dollar up to a collective total of $10 million USD.