Tune in to Rick Keene on K103.7 fm

Friday the 28th of September will be my debut on air at k103.7fm at 5 :15 pm. This will be a regular feature every Friday on the station. 

Sean Mckeogh, the afternoon host and I –  will discuss the people I have interviewed, the cd’s I have reviewed and the upcoming shows in Montreal. It will also give an opportunity for the station and I to play and promote a song from a new artist and album.

Please contact me if you would like me to listen and review a cd. This could be the opportunity of a lifetime to have your music introduced to the listening public …

Thank you for your support, thanks to k103.7fm for providing an opportunity for me to do this but most of all – thanks to all the musicians who keep the world sane.

Tune in … won’t ya?

Sincerely,

Rick Keene

Rickkeene2@gmail.com

Carolyn Fe Blues Collective at the House of Jazz

Outside, it was chilly.

The rain came and went like an unwanted vagrant who has pressed his luck panhandling once too often …

Inside – the House of Jazz welcomed one and all with it’ s fiery ambiance. A band of bluesmen providing the engine for a warm evening’s jaunt.

Drinks were flowing as smiles accompanied the delicious food.

Ladies and Gentlemen … I give you an evening with Carolyn Fe Blues Collective ..

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Up next … A review of the lovely Brie Neilson’s cd!

Photos courtesy of Kid Mercury Entertainment – Montreal’s most dynamic kids magician and entertainer!

Tune into K103.7 fm and listen to the great music by even greater people!

Brie Neilson – A Happy Song at the ‘Picture Show’

‘Sweet hot chocolate and one hand in my pocket …’

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These are some of the lyrics included in Brie Nielson’s ‘ Happy Song’, a tune which is a small part of a bigger ‘ Picture  Show’. An album which will be officially launched on October 4 at Sala Rossa – 4848 blvd St. Laurent in Montreal.

Alannis Morisette had one hand in her pocket while the other was giving high fives. Brie Neilson, of Vancouver, B.C – carries sweet hot chocolate in the hand which is not embedded in her pocket.
A poignant difference which should give Brie ‘ the upper hand ‘. After all – not everyone likes high fives. Practically everyone loves ‘sweet hot chocolate’!

Music swirling around like a warm breeze on a damp early morning . This is what Brie donates to the listener. A potpourri of incense burning brightly and softly in the background of a cozy den. A rustic blend of acoustic guitars, a horn section worthy of more than a footnote and the knee jerking tight – knit beats of a rhythm section gone mad …

Comfortabilty is what Neilson and her band of ‘Othermen’ add to a world which walks ankle deep in troubles. Real and imagined. Brie Nielson’s songs are real and so is her conviction – filled voice.

This is her second ep since moving to Montreal and aside from being part of a spectacular band named ‘ The Unsettlers’, Brie is determined to make believers of her music.

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The title track – ‘ Picture Show’ is a tune that gets your toes a tappin’. It starts off with guitar and Brie’s soothing voice. When Tim van de Ven ( drums) and Ram Krishnan’s ( bass) rhythm section joins the fray … a road trip to partyville starts its journey. Declan O’Donovan’s slick piano work just makes everything that much more ‘giddy.’ By the time the horns kick in – the listener should be dancing in the backseat …

‘Now I Know’ is a song that showcases Brie’s vocals and O’Donovan’s deft touch on the piano. Acoustic strummin’ gathers thoughts as the tune is a perfect vehicule to perhaps gaze out the window on the trip. Reflective, profound and real. A gem. A diamond.

Ever listen to the Monty Python song; ‘Always look on the bright side of life’? Neilson’s tune – ‘Happy Song’ is reminiscent although on a slower pace.The energy behind the message is just waiting to bust free like a caged lion.Short and sweet, the song is as advertised; happy!

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Neilson - No Secret Here

‘Secrets’ opens up with slick guitar work and kicks into a groove – a non threatening groove. Neislon’s voice like a newly arrived angel on a planet filled with impish toads. Close your eyes – safety is what sets Brie apart from the normal blend of feminine choruses circling the globe.

Alex Gutjar plays trumpet on the album and arranges fellow horn players Franco Proietti (baritone sax) and Kyla Campbell (trombone) and Brie herself
(trumpet). Alex is a genius on the track ‘Green’. He grabs the steering wheel and lifts a spirit tired by life’s troubles into a world where cabarets, cotton candy and Ferris wheels provide the background. O’Donovan’s snappy piano once more spitting in the same direction of this breezy composition.

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When a tune is fifty percent better than most of the songs heard on tired radio stations and at the same time is the bridge between a more modern sound and the refreshing sounds of yesteryear – well, Brie and her othermen are doing something right.

‘Big Guy’ does just that.

A commotIon takes place. A perfect blend of the disc’s ‘folky’ rythyms and the sounds of today. Halfway through ‘The Picture Show’, the projectionist alters the reel. Oak trees replace the maples on this auditory scenic journey. A voyage which is pleasantly urged along thanks to the backing vocals of David Simard. A voice heard throughout the record.

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‘Dress me up’ is Brie’s jazzy demand for a date. Cocky and assertive with a blues feel footed in the rhythms of life – logically and ethically. Sounds heard before yet new and intriguing. Take her advice, offer a hand – you may get a kiss on the cheek.

Following a journey of folk, blues, jazz, cabaret-ish sing alongs and leg moving rolls, the following two songs appear to involve a getting to know process. ‘Oh my Darling’ and ‘I Can Do It Alone’ provide a stripped down Neilson. Lyrically and musically. Both are ballads worthy of a child’s bedtime. Brie allows someone in with honesty while her band takes backseat. Two songs which showcase two sides of a woman. A pair of soft spoken syllables …

In the sixties, Nancy Sinatra sang a little ditty called ‘These Boots are Made for Walking’. Brie’s song ‘Be Alone’ is a modern day version …

An underlying groove reminds of Sinatra’s statement but provides more elements. A sure -to- be favourite live tune which compels a standing ovation upon completion. Just one of those songs which could represent an entire generation. A statement of a person with a big heart who just needs a little time on their own.

The final track is Beatle- esque. Shades of ‘Oh Darling’ front a love song straight from the fifties. Roller skates, poodle skirts and milk shakes outside a drive-in theatre. A feel good hommage to a simpler time.

Hats off to Brie and her Othermen. This is the type of record which should he sold and dispersed onto an unsuspecting public.

The type of record which is … happy!

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Please support this brilliant artist and re- learn the way music is supposed to be played …

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Brie Neilson: Vocals, guitar and trumpet Ram Krishnan: Vocals, bass, tambourine Tim van de Ven: Drums Declan O’Donovan: Vocals, piano, organ David Simard: Vocals, guitar Alex Gutjahr: Trumpet, horn arrangements Franco Proietti: Baritone sax Kyla Campbell: Trombone


Brieneilson.com

Jeff Healey meets Rick Keene

It was at the height of his popularity.

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I was a roadie for a summer. My cousin’s group; Sleight of Hand, put me through the rigors of Rock n Roll. The girls and drugs completed my basic training.

Sleight of Hand was the opening act for Jeff Healey in Lindsay,Ont .

It was exciting for everyone in the band. The Canadian blues-based guitarist was a homegrown star with songs like; ‘Angel Eyes’ and ‘ Hideaway’. The latter nominated for a Grammy award for best rock Instrumental song.

The Jeff Healey Band had also portrayed the house band in the Patrick Swayze film; Roadhouse. Bassist Joe Rockman, drummer Tom Stephen and Healey were on the top of the Canadian music mountain – peaking at just the right time.

I was setting up Sleight’s equipment and was approached by Healey’s manager. Apparently, the guy who operated the lights for Jeff’s group was running late. The manager asked me if I could do it if he did not show by the time Healy was starting.

Who was I to say no? A job which may lead to an encounter with bigger stars or prettier girls. Or prettier stars and bigger girls?

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Once Sleight of Hand finished, their equipment packed away into a run – down Chevrolet van, the manager of Healey acknowledged the absence of the light guy. I was in as the man responsible for fans ‘seeing’ the blind guitarist in different colored lights.

On top of a stepladder was my position for the following two hours. Altering on cue ( according to Healey’ s solos ) – the spotlight on the band and it’s leader.

I advised the manager, although I was a fan, all of Healy’s songs were not in my repertoire as a fan. Especially not as a light dude. ‘ No worries’ stated the forty – something guy, ‘Jeff won’t notice if you screw up!’

The show went on. I missed a few cues by a few seconds while the ladder shook under my ‘skaky -due-to-nerves’ legs. All in all, a successful debut in front of 5,000 small town screaming inhabitants.

Afterwards, it was time to live the backstage life with backstage rock folks and various backstage hangers-on.

My cousin and I – sandwiched between a table of booze and a table of food, noticed Healey sitting on the couch with his arms around a not-so-pretty woman. My cousin, the sleuth he was, figured that Jeff’s bandmates had told Healey the woman in question was attractive as a joke. A ‘blind’ stab at humour.

It was confirmed later by the bass player. By then, the point and joke were moot. Healey was in love and vice versa. A match in Lindsay,Ontario.

Healey himself, following a conversation later on – one of the most down to earth guys. Not a presumptuous bone in his body. He discussed his record collection consisting of 78’s. A collection which was famous. He shared his tales of kinship with Patrick Swayze while filming the movie Roadhouse. The two had the utmost respect for one another.

Swayze having to overcome his pretty boy image to prove his acting and Healey to overcome the stigma of blindness. An unlikely bond created by the weaknesses of others. A bond created in death as both left too soon …

Healey never quite matched that period of success again – commercially. He passed away in 2008 from cancer. It was another form of cancer, retinoblastimo, which lifted his sight when he was eleven months old.

Jeff worked with many famous musicians over his career. It was Stevie Ray Vaughn who discovered him which led to his first record contract. Healey informed me of the first time they spoke.

“He comes up to me, introduces himself and goes on to say how good I am. Imagine, Stevie Ray – one of my heroes, praising me …!”

Jeff also did not realize that night he was in the presence of another famous person – sorta …

Sleight of Hand’s lead singer; Dave Bingham, was also the singer for a group called The Ugly Ducklings back in 1967. The group had a number one song in Canada for a few months. ‘Gaslight’ was a homegrown hit and managed to surpass the Rolling Stones – if only for a brief period.

George Harrison and Jeff Lynne were also two guys Healey worked with as the Toronto born singer covered ‘ While my guitar gently weeps.’ Harrison and Lynne sang back-up.

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Healey was a month away from releasing his first blues/ rock album in eight years when he died. Between the time I met him, he recorded and played various Jazz oriented albums, releasing three cd’s and toured Europe extensively.

Don’t know Jeff Healey that well? In the words of the man himself when I asked if I could have a drink from the table filled with booze;

” Go ahead – explore! That’s what it’s there for …”

I Think I Busted a Button on my Trousers … Hope they don’ t fall down; Part Two

It was all about the music.

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Women and even drugs tossed aside if it interfered with the tunes. Their founder; Brian Jones, cast from the love of his life as drugs and erratic playing interrupted the Stones’ legacy. A premature death in life – a fitting death for a rock n roll figure.

Hunt, Faithful, Bianca and Pallenberg. Add Jones’ many conauests. The damsels in constant distress. The women who some bore offspring, the women who could never be Yoko Onos …

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Mick Taylor ended the sixties giving the Stones a lead guitar until the lifestyle, their lifestyle, would no longer suit the graduate of the blues . A legacy imprinted into the discs of some of the greatest tunes to bring in the band’ s second decade. Love, was not in vain.

Enter Richards’ twin. Ronnie Wood. A five string sparring partner. Someone to practice the fine art of weaving . Who better to return the Stones to their roots – who better to keep the peace between Jagger and Richards. Who better to keep the band rolling into a new decade of a changing music world.

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Satisfaction – one of ( if not the biggest ) anthems of the sixties. Miss You – one of the biggest ( anthems ) songs of the seventies. How does a band, almost twenty years into a career carry on and top that? With the exception of old blues men and solo artists – the band was entering uncharted music waters.

Simple.

Start me Up.

The biggest song of the eighties. A tune which made even the famous tongue logo – wag with envy … Three decades, three hugely succesful anthems which set the band up for a forray into corporate America.

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Tumbin ‘Dice , Happy, Beast of Burden. Play with Fire, Get off of my cloud, Waiting on a friend – an arsenal small in the Stones’ catalogue, huge for every band with the exception of the Beatles.

Richards ‘ pulled through a ten year heroin addiction. A blind Angel from Quebec – hitching a ride to Toronto. Pleading with a judge to not place the rock n roll convict behind bars for heroin trafficking. A blind Angel the guitarist claims saved his life. A blind Angel who has been flown to a show on every tour since …

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Muddy Waters, discovered painting the ceiling at Chess studios to earn some money. The band’s hero. A man partly responsible for their very existence – forced to manual labor because of greedy record executives. The revenue from the group’ s next show, placed into the pocket of the original Rollin ‘ Stone.

Elvis, the Beatles, the love generation, glam rock, Disco and Punk Rock. Dead. Zeppelin, Gram Parsons, Morrison, Joplin and Hendrix. Dead.

The Stones rolled on …

The eighties and the largest grossing tour Rock n Roll would witness to that point – a glint in the Glimmer Twins’ eyes. A tour which was about to commence …

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Make it FUNKY – CONCERT DVD

First things first.

What is witnessed in this documentary/ concert film, is not for the faint – hearted. In other words; Justin Bieber fans stay away.

‘Make it Funky‘ tells the tale of New Orleans music. A combination of blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel, soul and funk. Rock n roll? You bet …

According to one of the performers in the almost three hour concert which is featured in the DVD, New Orleans music has a sound of it’s own. Keith Richards knows a little about sound and about being different.
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This docu- cert weaves a fine road through a thick tapestry of N’Orlean mud. The groundwork as astonishing as the music itself. The groundwork the architectural plans of modern day music.

Meet the Neville clan. There are quite a few of these home grown boys carrying the messages of music in their instrument cases. Aaron, in what may be the most compelling statement of the film, tells how his song ‘Tell It Like It Is ‘ grew into a global monster hit. Mr. Neville did not receive much money for it – in fact, next to nothing. Profoundly, Neville explains how this was a good thing. The riches he richly deserved, would have surely killed him.

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Make it funky sheds light on the darkness called racism. Many of the founding fathers of modern day music discovered themselves banished from the clubs which showcased the very tunes they themselves made famous.

The origins of this movie commenced inside the head of Allen Toussaint. If James Brown is the godfather of soul, Toussaint may be the patriarch of the New Orleans sound. By no means did he invent it yet there are few who carry the torch so highly and publicly as Toussaint.

What the Rolling Stones have done and continue to do for the forefathers of blues, Allen is doing for the greats of New Orleans.

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The late Earl Palmer, considered the grandfather of Rock n Roll drumming is featured and honoured by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Kermit Ruffins, Irma Thomas and the human riff himself – Keith Richards. Palmer, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 84, provides the backbeat for the musical journey from the days of segregation through to the newest member of the Neville clan on guitar.

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You got horns, you got funk on the piano and you got a whole lot of New Orleans ripping up the stage. This is soul- defining stuff which pretty much makes the majority of music since seem amateurish in comparison.

Toussaint knows; first things first …

Carolyn Fe – Blues Collective; Collectively Yours …

Sometimes – it is not about the money.

Such is this case with a bunch of blues musicians who have come together from different areas of the globe.

According to bassist Oisin Little of London, England; no matter how much he loves the blues – it would not be the same if he did not also love his bandmates.

“They are truly great people …!” Says the transplanted Brit. ” We can all count on evolving our music because we are all on the same page.”

Little was originally into punk rock back in England when a concert- going experience changed his views.

Punk – Not for Little

Blues was my first love and I started to lean towards punk. I was at a show and some guy – out of nowhere, just wound up and sucker punched some guy in the head. I thought this was not they type of thing I wanted in my music or personal life.”

Although drummer Dan Legault never dealt with the same experience, a different background is something he can relate to. The forty – one year old Pointe Claire,Qc.resident grew up a fan of heavy metal. Zeppelin, Ronnie James Dio, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden were more his speed. This eventually led to a gig in a band named Ecclestone. A job which had Legault’s former band open for Nazareth.

Since those days, Legault plays in two other cover bands which make money and that is the reason for it. In Carolyn Fe – Blues Collective, it is about the love of the blues and a little more;

” One of the reasons we ( Carolyn ) and I hooked up nine years ago was because we both wanted the same thing; blues with an edge.”

Photo courtesy Litratista.com

Following an initial hook- up through music message boards, Carolyn and Dan together wrote and produced the bands first EP titled; 100 Percent. A six song disc which included the songs; Curse, Indigo Heat and Trumpet Man Blues. A trio which placed Carolyn Fe on the blues map with long runs on Chom – fm and Planete Jazz.

Original Sin, the band’s first full length c.d. was a smashing success upon it’s release in 2011. Not only was it nominated in the following categories; Best Female Artist (Canada), 2012 Nominee for Quebec’s Lys Bleus Best Blues Album (Canada), 2011 Nominee for Best International Release by Blues(USA)- the album displays the versatility in the band.

Legault’s Levon Helm influence, Little’s absolute worship of Peter Green ( founding member of Fleetwood Mac ), Carolyn’s love of Big Mama Thornton, keyboardist Tim Alleyne’s Booker T influence and the newest member; guitarist extraordinaire – Rami Cassab’s love of Jazz fusionist Scott Henderson.

All of these mixes combine to make Original Sin a blues album with a definate edge.

Cassab, originally of Egypt – loves playing jazz and funk. Something which is remarkable considering he did not have the opportunity to listen to any of these styles growing up. Once he arrived in Canada – Elvis, Deep Purple and Gentle Giant became his musical education.

A schooling which blends nicely with keyboardist Tim Alleyne. A Montrealer who started playing acoustic guitar and saxophone but stopped because it interfered with his keyboard playing. Alleyne’s education began at the age of eight with a Montreal teacher who had gained notoriety in the late sixties. A man by the name of Trevor Payne.

Collectively, these guys and a woman – bring a lot of experience from a lot of different backgrounds.

Carolyn is a multi – talented artist. Originally from the Phillipines – as a professional actor, Carolyn has been gracing the stage and camera in various theatre productions, TV and movie spots.   Altera Vitae Productions is her own theatre production company, a non-profit organization where each theatrical presentation is partnered with a community organization whose mandate is similar to the theme of the play. Altera Vitae Productions aims to assist the community organization with its public awareness program.

As a singer, Carolyn co-founded the band DD Swank where – under the pseudonym of Mama B, she sang in French, English and Spanish.

If the new CD is an Original Sin, it is a good thing that seven more deadly ones will follow …

Carolyn Fe Blues Collective is playing June 8 at the House of Jazz. ( please see upcoming shows on the main menu for details ).

Visit Carolyn – Fe.com for more information on this fabulous lady and her talented band.

Stay tuned for a review of the cd and show

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This Day in Music History …

1959, Bob Zimmerman graduated from high school in Hibbing, Minnesota. Zimmerman was known as a greaser to classmates in the remote rural community, because of his long sideburns and leather jacket.

1964, The Rolling Stones played their first-ever live date in the U.S. when they appeared at the Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino, California.

1968, The Jimi Hendrix Experience appeared on the Dusty Springfield TV show filmed on ATV, in London, England.

1971, Grand Funk Railroad smashed the record held by The Beatles when they sold out New York’s Shea Stadium in 72 hours.

1976, The Who, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Little Feat, Outlaws and Streetwalkers appeared at Celtic Football Club, Glasgow, Scotland. Tickets cost £4 ($7).

1977, Alice Cooper’s boa constrictor, a co-star of his live act suffered a fatal bite from a rat it was being fed for breakfast. Cooper held auditions for a replacement and a snake named “Angel” got the gig.

1979, blues legend Muddy Waters (aged 64), married Marva Jean Brooks on her 25th birthday.

1983, during a 48-date North American tour U2 played at Red Rocks Amphitheater near Denver. The show was recorded and released as U2 Live At Red Rocks: Under A Blood Red Sky.

1990, American punk rock singer Stiv Bators of the Dead Boys and The Lords of the New Church died after being hit by a taxi in Paris, France. For more on this, see This Day in Music Spotlight.

1993, Country singer Conway Twitty died from an abdominal aortic aneurysm. He had the 1958 U.S. & U.K. #1 single “It’s Only Make Believe.” Until 2000, he held the record for the most #1 singles of any country act, with 45. He lived in Hendersonville, Tennessee, just north of Nashville, where he built a country music entertainment complex called Twitty City.

1993, Mariah Carey married the President of Sony Music, Tommy Mottola in Manhattan, guest’s included Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand and Ozzy Osbourne. (The couple separated in 1997).

2007, Sir Paul McCartney released his 21st solo album, Memory Almost Full on the new Hear Music Starbucks label. It was later announced that all copies sold through U.K. Starbucks would not be eligible for the U.K. charts as the 533 stores were not registered with the Official Chart Company. The album was being played non-stop in more than 10,000 Starbucks outlets across 29 countries.

Born on this day:

1946, Freddie Stone, guitar, Sly and The Family Stone
1947, Tom Evans, bass, vocals, Badfinger
1956, Richard Butler, vocals, Psychedelic Furs
1971, Mark Wahlberg, Marky Mark, New Kids On The Block