Et Tu Ready for Et Tu Bruce’

Once upon a time …

There were a whole bunch of musical groups who saturated the airwaves with harmony.

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The Byrds, The Zombies, The Beatles and The Beach Boys to name but few …

Once upon a time – music was all about the sweet harmonies. The coming together of voices in an unique blend of scales. Falsetto praised Baritone and Baritone supported Falsetto. A harmonious conjecture in the sounds of life.

Somewhere, with exception, that sound disappeared. Until now …

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Et Tu Bruce’ is a quartet from England. A rock foursome schooled in the sounds of the sixties.

Brian Wilson was a huge influence on me …” Admits singer and guitarist Jamie White. ” Pet Sounds along with The Zombies’ masterpiece Oddesey and Oracle are both magical albums complete with unbelievable harmonies. Definite masterpieces.”

The group, together for three years, are slowly captivating audiences with their inaugural CD – Suburban Sunshine.

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“We are self produced and have our own label. Right now – we are just trying to get exposure. We have gotten airplay here (England) and are looking to branch out to North America.”

Thanks to one of their idols, that dream will come true ..

“We are opening up for The Zombies on March 16th in Austin as part of the Austin Psych Fest.” Says White. ” We are truly looking forward to that!”

The songs on the disc are rare. Unique in the fact that every one of them could be a hit single. ‘It’s All Nothing’ ( Molotov), the rose amongst roses …

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The tune starts off with a bass line and is joined shortly by a percussion defined by a primitive feel. Once the vocals kick in complete with ‘sixties – styled’ lyrics – the listener is hooked. Add some guitar work reminiscent of Mick Taylor’s splendid work on the Stones’ song Heartbreaker, all that is missing are harmonies. Kidding … The harmonies arrive in the form of The Byrds or America. A song sure to grab North America by storm.

‘Stars Fall’ is the band’s current track du jour. A radio – friendly psychedelic ode to a romantic reasoning of the senses. Women will make their men listen and poke them in the ribs. A ‘proposal’ song a la ‘Crash’ by The Dave Mathews Band. Once more – as with most of the tracks , harmony is harmonious.

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The rest of the songs; gems like ‘Never Say Trevor Again’, ‘Never See You Cry’ and ‘This City’, Beatle- esque / ELO masterpieces which will leave the ‘punter’ singing all day long. Sometimes – Lennon can be heard. Sometimes McCartney. All the time – Et Tu Bruce’ is present.

“One of my influences was Jeff Lynne from ELO.” Admits White. ” They wrote such pretty melodies and are a rare band. All the bands with harmonious sounds from the 60’s like The Beach Boys.”

Listen to the album. Over and over again. By choice. By need. By curiosity …

Saturation can be a good thing.

Jim Henman Still Has That ‘Same Old Feeling ‘ …

It has been a long time since Jim Henman recruited Myles Goodwyn to play in a band which became known as April Wine

new_cover_All these years later, Mr. Henman – a pioneer in Canadian music, has a new album and it is a return to his roots. All the music he loved growing up – returns to haunt the musician along with his many fans. Thank the Lord – Henman has a great memory.

The Singing Brakeman”, Jimmie Rodgers and ragtime guitarist/singer Blind Blake layered the roots for Jim Henman.

‘Same Old Feeling’ was released in 2012. A  collection of his many loves. It is a treasure of tunes which makes every listener  feel at home …

Track One; ‘ Slow Down’ – is a song Jim loved as a kid but always enjoyed playing more as  a country blues tune. Originally written by Larry Williams and recorded by The Beatles among many others, the opening chords of Jim’s version, all of three seconds, proves Henman is a likeable fellow. This song and this type of music can do that to a fellow or woman. The chorus sets the hay straight in the back of the truck and Henman, as the driver, ensures just the proper amount of bumps are hit at the beginning of this joyous ride. Country blues are not meant to sound smooth – live or recorded. Henman’s lifetime experience is aware and delivers it on cue.

‘You Can Have My Heart‘ – the second song, delivers Henman’s heart right on a golden platter via Hank Williams. “This is my Hank song.” says Henman. “Not to sound vain but I can picture Hank singing this.”

The song is a gentle introduction to Henman’s songwriting prowess that commenced along with Myles Goodwyn’s back in the mid – sixties with Woodie’s Termites. “It feels good and it’s a true story for me.” Admits Henman. In this day and age where television shows, movies and music seem to pump out hatred by the minute, it is easy to forget that great songs contain stories. Great songs contain melodies which provoke whistling. This Henman gem does just that …

The title track; ‘Same Old Feeling’ is a remarkable song and a play on words … or feelings. Henman has carried this song with him for forty years. He started writing it in a cottage, completed the process many years later in a cottage and guess what? The song is about a cottage … go figure? Henman finds the finished product happy and laid – back. He had a good time writing it and hopes a listener will as well. No doubt as once more Jim provides comfort. Jim enables us to ‘walk in the warm, warm rain’ and not get wet.

‘Could be Heaven’ – according to David and Ritchie Henman’s cousin – brings out his ‘old rock n roll’ self. Written in ten minutes – Jim loves the solo and the end of the song which bookends the fifties – style guitar riff to start the song. Reminiscent of  old April Wine songs … Coincidence? Nothing complicated – just old-time rock n roll. The kind of stuff that got the Silver Beatles hoppin’!

‘Thats The Way It Goes’ is a tune about a beach.  A sandy piece of land which is close to where Henman resides. Martinique  is the name of the beach and ‘Baboo’ is the name of the cat. A combination which makes a great tune.   A tasteful, delightful romp led by John Appleby’s mandolin playing and followed by Jim’s next – door – neighbor – style vocals. Great songs lead to whistling. This song includes whistling. A great song to listen to by the water while your feet dangle in nostalgia.

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Ritchie, David and Jim Henman

‘That’s All I Got’ is Jim Henman’s autobiographical song. It is important to listen to the words on this song which could have been easily recorded by The Band. It reels the details of Henman’s rise to fame with April Wine and his ‘would be ‘ demise if he had stuck around to watch it destroy him. A musical sense throughout the song dictates happiness yet a skylight remains open for a feeling of doom to chase the Halifax native along.

‘Walk Right In’
“It feels like this song has always been in my head.” says Henman of the Gus Cannon tune “I have played it for years at home .. I like this feel and what Charlie Phillips did in the solos … Love it! Chuck Buckett on drums really did it for me when he added his  drum ideas!”

‘I Don’t Have No Blues’ was written 15 years ago by Henman and wrote itself according to Jim. His appreciation of John Sebastian‘s songwriting comes out in this tune. Jim is telling us “I don’t have no blues’ and we kinda believe him. “It’s a blues tune that is not a blues tune ..” Says Henman. Whatever it is – it is a toe tapping acoustic number ripe with a century of artists’ souls and acoustic playing which gently stokes a flame long ago extinguished by hip hop and rap.

The last track is not final.

‘Shame Shame Boogie’ is a fictitious song about a guy in Waverly where Jim lived as a teen. A small town story and a tale which could be about ‘many people’ concludes Henman. The club they ( many people) went to was named Creeque Alley in Dartmouth, N.S . “For anyone who knows what I mean by Shame Shame Boogie …. they get it!” Adds Jim. ” The audience loved to sing along with the chorus .. I love it when that happens!’

Henman is doing a full band version of this song with a certain Myles Goodwyn on electric guitar. It will be released as a single. It is due out in a few months.

Hmmm … Myles and Henman playing together once again! I bet they get that “Same old feeling!’

http://jimhenman.com/

©rickkeene

Texarillo; The Blues Come Full Circle

A funny thing happened on the way to success for Montreal born Dwane Rechil. He hit the blues … again!

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“It’s funny …” Says the forty – seven-year old singer, songwriter and guitar master. ” For years playing in my heavy rock band Top Johnny, I was always waiting for success to come. I was always on edge, never quite content with what I was doing. I thought I was having fun yet now that I am playing the Blues – I have never been more content in my life.”

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Rechil

Rechil is referring to his new band; Texarillo.

A band which has played together for a couple of years. A band which has just completed its first full album and is getting ready for the launch party on Feb. 7 at Calistoga Grill in Pte Claire.

A launch which will launch Rechil and his mates, Ricardo Bacardi ( Bass and vocals) and Ken Loudmann ( Drums and percussion) into the upper levels of  the Montreal Blues scene.

That’s the plan anyways …

“Right now, we are number ten on the Reverbnation Blues charts.” Says Rechil right before one of the band’s many gigs. ” The album has not been officially launched and it was only ready on the 18th of January. Not bad eh?”

Not bad at all for a trio which delivers high-octane Blues on any given night.

“I think what makes me and the band different from most Blues bands, is the fact that I come from a heavy metal band.” Says Rechil. “Blues was always my first love and now I have returned with an education in music. The songs on the album are an indication of my experience over the years.”

Drummer Loudmann is no slouch in the experience department either. Ken started playing drums when he was but three years old. An entire lifetime sits behind the ‘kit’ and provides an anchor for Rechil’ s songs and Bacardi’s profound bass playing.

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Ken Loudmann

” I was not influenced by any one drummer.” Explains Ken. ” Really – it is a mixture of many drummers and drumming styles. I grew up listening to Jazz, Country, Rock – you name it. I saw Buddy Rich play five times so obviously it paid off, yet he was not a principle influence. I knew that Rich was an exception. He was born into a Vaudeville family and started playing on stage when he was three years old.

C’ mon – he was in another world, one that was out of my reach so I never strove to be like him …!”

Bacardi’s bass playing, along with a  sense of humor that injects even more life into a stage show ripe with Rechil’s uncanny ability to connect with an audience –  anchored deeply in the 1980’s. An era which Bacardi pinpoints as the training ground for his guitar and eventual bass playing.

” I just missed the Kiss period ( referring to the band Kiss – not the affectionate lip posturing).” Explains Ricardo. ” So my influences were Van Halen, AC/ DC and even U2 … I enjoyed the overall sound. Obviously Eddy Van Halen is a great guitar player and so is The Edge. I was more influenced by the overall sound these guys put out …”

Playing guitar is also what Rechil loves doing. It is something he started learning at the age of twelve after his Dad bought him an acoustic guitar. By the tender age of  thirteen; Rechil was –  a two song virtuoso.

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Ricardo Bacardi

” I knew how to play ‘Wish You Were Here’  by Pink Floyd and ‘Stairway to Heaven‘ by Led Zeppelin.” States Rechil with a hint of pride.

” My favorite artist was Jimi Hendrix. To this day – when I listen to his songs. I still discover something new in them. I still cannot understand how someone could be that creative musically. Hendrix was not just a great guitar player, what made him stand out was his songwriting. He was a genius …”

Texarillo’s new album – ‘Black Satin Blues’, was a year in the making. All songs were composed by Rechil and he would create demos and play them to Ken and Ricardo. Three times a week, the trio would get together to  practice and record them. Unfortunately yet fortunately, gigs interrupted the process as the band did not want to play any new songs live. According to Rechil, there was no point having a CD launch if everyone has heard the new stuff.

Otherwise – everyone in the band would get the blues …

Which is exactly what  Rechil requires for happiness!

Texarillo Official Site

http://www.texarillo.com/index.html

A Conversation with Chloe Charles …

Ontario – born singer, song-writer and poet Chloe Charles is related to Julian Lennon.

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Her Father, John Charles, married Cynthia Lennon ( Julian’s Mom) when Chloe was fifteen years of age. Julian – who was good friends with Chloe’s Dad, introduced his Mom to the elder Charles. Chloe was pleasantly surprised when the couple announced their marriage plans. A ceremony which took place in Toronto.

Chloe Charles, because of the Lennon connection, is asked all the time about being the stepsister to Julian – son of ex-Beatle John.

“It really doesn’t bother me.” says Chloe from a restaurant on Queen street in downtown Toronto. ” I don’t tell people myself because I do not want people to feel I am not my own person. I am doing what I do on my own and my way.”

In Chloe’s case, her own way is very similar to her Mother. Chloe’s Mom is also a poet and a guitar player. Chloe grew up listening to her Mom and her Aunt singing and playing great tunes in the family living room.

chloe4” I was very shy as a child.” Admits Chloe. ” But you think I was shy? My Mom was ten times worse!” She laughs. ” My Mother is a fantastic singer  and poet. She has never been able to get over her shyness to be able to stand and play in front of people except family and close friends. She has written a few books also that – one day,  I will make sure are published.”

Chloe herself always knew what she wanted to do.  Music was in her mind from an early age. Before any ties were joined with the Lennon legacy.

“I always have written poetry and playing guitar was my sanctuary. It was kind of like Yoga …” She laughs. ” It was always a place to go mentally and spiritually to get away from things. It’s something I have always loved doing.”

Chloe’s parents divorced when she was just over a year old. Chloe and her Mom at one point lived with Chloe’s maternal Grandfather. A man by the name of John Richmond. Through this man ( who sadly passed away recently),  it is obvious from what side of the family Chloe’s artistic genes are strongest. Richmond, among other things, is the man responsible for the huge murals on both Maple Leaf Gardens and The Air Canada Center in Toronto.

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” My Grandfather was such an independent spirit. He published books and magazines and traveled all over the world following his intuition. He (previous to his death) was in Mexico learning and practicing the art of that country. He was a huge inspiration and I miss him dearly. Life is short. We must appreciate every moment …”

Following a short stint in school studying Psychology, Chloe returned to music and realized it is what she’s supposed to be doing. Chloe’s Father was very supportive and gave her the opportunity to reflect on things following her exodus from school.

” I was introduced to and pushed ( in a  nice way) into the black genre of music. I was singing R and B, Soul – that type of thing. It bothered me to sing other people’s music so I decided while in Germany to set a goal for myself. I was not returning to Canada without twelve songs written!”

That was in 2005-06. Chloe did write those twelve songs yet none  are on her debut album. A disc which will be released on the 13th of February in North America. An album titled; Break the Balance.

“It has been released in Europe and I am returning to Germany to continue touring shortly after the CD launch party in Toronto.” Says Chloe. ” Right now, there are no dates set in Canada yet I believe I will be playing in Quebec and Ontario somewhere around June.”

‘Break the Balance’ is an album which carries the messages of Chloe’s psyche. Songs on the album  which deal with things that – according to Chloe; most people cannot deal with …

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” People are afraid to deal with certain truths. They cannot handle looking inside for fear of what they may find. This album deals with things from the past few years of my life. There are very dark and depressing songs on this album and a year from now – I will understand them better. I will be able to look back and see clearly what was going on in my conscience at the time …”

‘Break the Balance’ was put together in under a year although the whole process of producing and the business end – put the launch date further back. It has been released in Europe and Chloe is so happy with her ‘guys’ overseas.

chloe71-450x278” I have toured Germany for almost two years non – stop. I love it there and it shows the difference between North American and European mindsets. Over there, if the crowd likes a song or an artist – they just like it! Here, people will listen and turn to their friends and ask ” Do you like it? I like it – do you like?” Society here is so much about acceptance. In Europe they are more free.”

Chloe loves Canada and North America. She also loves all her friends – most of whom either play on the album or contributed with arrangements. Chloe’s favorite song on the disc is ‘My Child’. It is a song written with her Mother in mind. The type of song which instills the feeling of her Mom singing a Lullaby to a young Chloe.

” I was touring in Milan, Italy …” Explains Charles. ” I was having a rough time and called my Mom. I spoke to her for what was probably way too long yet she comforted me. “My Child’ came from that conversation.”

Another tune which ( if she had to choose another favorite song from the cd) is fond to her is ‘ Refrain from Fire’. A song about ‘wanting something you should not’. A lyrical and musical odyssey of ‘trying to keep away from dangerous places’.

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Julian and Cynthia Lennon

“If I had to say what message I am sending out with this album through my words and music – it is simple. To be different …! Not try to be someone who you are not! ”

Even if your Step-mom is Cynthia Lennon. A very kind, wise and loving big sister …

Even if every once in a while you get together with Julian Lennon and NOT talk about anything to do with music

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Like a ‘Dear in the Headlights’ – The Damn Truth!

What would happen if you took The Sheepdogs  and The Black Keys and combined them with Jack White? Pretty amazing music n’est pas? Well – a band by the name of The Damn Truth would also arise from the musical ashes in the form of a high – flying bird. The fowl’s name …?

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A CD called ‘ Dear in the Headlights’. A CD which will knock the socks off anyone who lives and breathes by old time Rock n Roll – early seventies style …

If this band does not surpass the wannabe -like-a seventies-band like The Sheepdogs, then all hopes of Rock n Roll regaining a rightful ownership of the airwaves, sadly – done like dinner. The album is that good. The band; that damn good …

Wow!

Where do we start …?

71c8873c032f11e28d6622000a1fbc43_6Track one? Nah. Skip to the most toe-tapping cut on the album. Listen and hope it skips. It’s a throwback to vinyl and the guitar riff is monumental. Track eight is titled ‘Montreal’. Track eight will ‘chew you up and spit you out’ – ‘leave you naked on the floor’. Do Montrealers know Montealers and the city or what? Listen to the track on the dance floor, listen while cooking dinner or listen while getting a tooth pulled; either choice will have everyone dancing until sweat provides more traction under the feet. I dare the listener to not smile and stay still. Impossible …

Track #9. Just a Reflection. A showcase for lead singer  Lee-La Baum’s  voice and  acoustic guitar playing. She plays the way an acoustic guitar ought to be strummed. The instrument is used with power. A truer sound develops into a duet with Tom Shemer. As lovely as the moon glows – as lovely a tune for an afternoon of play. A recollection of thoughts to make thoughts jump forward. Once more – Lee-La’s vocals come from a soul which appears relieved to rid itself of the angst. Her acoustic guitar – an entire different scope of intellectual finger -playing. A song to listen to with hearts on sleeves …

The Damn Truth, as a band, display the individuality they confess to strive for on the next tune; Kinda Awkward.

954e3220032e11e282fd22000a1e8a9e_6The song starts off with a wicked bass line from David Massé. Lee-La joins the fray soon after with a voice subdued by a heavenly effect. Shemer, as if to add an exclamation mark multiplied by two – punctuates everything with such menacing guitar riffs – it’s a wonder that drummer Dave Traina stands out. Well, stand out he does. His work on the snare alone – enough to make Mitch Mitchell of Hendrix fame, sit behind a drum kit and notice.

The third track; I Want You, will make you understand what it was like to listen to Janis Joplin for the first time.

Lee-La is such an incredible talent who ejects all notions of self awareness into an audience. Her soul – out there. Flying, hovering and inflicting damage on the eardrums like a pleasant love-bite from a songbird. ‘I Want You’ is a mid-sixties song. Shemer’s soul is right alongside of Lee-La’s. Side by side – in your face.

When the band started thinking of making a record, they wanted to do something that reflects each member personally. They take a lot of pride that the band is unique and different. 430476b8032f11e28d1322000a1cba90_6

Track#5 – the title track, does that with perfection …

‘Dear in the Headlights’ is magical in so many ways – it underestimates the greatness of the rest of the creative genius which is taking place. Which says enough if enough could be said. Shemer’s riff soars like a lost lullaby and Lee-La’s acoustic attempts in vain to trap the melodic drama which ensues. Songs like this cannot be explained. Not by the artist nor the ‘punter’. Every seat is a good one and standing room only is required. Especially if ‘Downtown’ is the destination.

Track six continues the awe factor.

Most albums, especially debut ones – leave a audience in despair for the lack of being able to create ten good songs. The Damn Truth do  lie in this respect. Every track is different. Every track is different yet the sameness remains. Powerful drums, hard bass lines, guitar-playing so creative and poignant. Eyebrows raise and grow higher. The golden age of Led Zeppelin has returned …

b3f609fa032e11e2b23022000a1cbb39_6Picture Perfect’ – track seven, channels Zeppelin, Rush and every band which was good at Rock n Roll in the late sixties. No redundancy in the instruments. No stagnant solos, no holds barred. Refreshing in it’s uniqueness yet unique within it’s freshness.

According to band members; working on ‘Dear In The Headlights’ was deep and at times, very hard. They dealt with countless issues of mental health and addictions.

We opened the doors wide and let everything fly out. No holding back. We wanted an honest record and we had to deal with the implications of that.”

We wanted to take our personal experiences and reflections, turn them inside out on themselves, capturing a mood and raw emotion that would satisfy our soul. The result was very human – we all go through different moods and emotions daily at one point you feel like a totally different person then you felt just a few moments ago. So does this record. The mood changes almost from song to song, that’s what we wanted. A body of work that reflects what it’s like to be human for us. That celebrates the changes we go through and makes us all dears in the headlights.”

Listen to the album here …

The 80’s – WTF? Part Two

The decade of non-decadence.

The ten year span which melted all genres of music into one simple genre, Seemingly.

An era which crafted one hit wonders by the dozen. People singing soft, people dancing and people carrying about to the much maligned sound of the synthesizer. The attempted killer of the guitar … for the most part!

The Pychedelic Furs – Pretty in Pink 1983

XTC – Senses Working Overtime 1982

Pete Shelley – Homosapien 1981

Men Without Hats – Safety Dance 1983

Simple MindsDon’t You ( Forget about Me) 1985

Big Country – In a Big Country 1983

Strange Advance – We Run 1985

Robert Palmer – Addicted to Love 1985

The Human League – Don’t You Want Me 1981

The Rolling StonesHarlem Shuffle 1986

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 80’s … WTF?

As we stride through the recesses of our music memory banks, it is relatively easy to place songs and artists into distinctive categories.

aThe 1950’s – a decade ushered in with Jazz, Big Bands and the birth of Rock n Roll. The 60’s? A spawning pool for the Brits to grab American Blues and introduce it back to the Americans. A movement which invented modern-day music as we know it. This decade was also rich in R and B and Motown.

The 1970’s saw the British Invasion reach it’s pinnacle and an anti – anti – establishment in the form of punk rock arrive with nothing but contempt for everyone including the punks themselves. It was also a decade which tossed outrageous clothes, Disco and Funk into the musical history book.

The decade of the 90’s returned popular music to guitar rock in the form of Grunge. A revival for rock n roll in its purest form. Towards the end, a return to R and B in the form of Rap and at the same time setting the table for the new millennium in the form of Hip Hop

aWhat’s that …? What about the 1980’s?

Feather your hair, place your pastel blue jacket on your open shirt complete with fake tan. Grab your synthesizer and unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the 1980’s …

Gary Numan – Cars 1979

Talk Talk – It’s My Life 1984

Duran Duran – Hungry Like a Wolf 1984

Culture Club – Do You Really Want Hurt Me 1982

Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now 1984

Billy Idol – Dancing with Myself 1982

Devo – Whip It 1980

Tears for Fears – Shout 1984

Soft Cell – Tainted Love 1981

The BugglesVideo Killed the Radio Star 1979 ( Included in the 1980’s because it was the first video to be played on MTV.  MTV, at that time – was what crack cocaine is to the youths of today back in the 1980’s. Back in the Twilight Zone.)

Stay tuned for Part Two …

Listen to Gary Numan’s take on nostalgia bands .