Rick Keene Music Scene – ‘ Wave 21’ Adding a Much Needed Country Element to the Montreal Music Scene

Every musician is – a little bit Country …

Following in the true vain of the roots of popular music, Mary-Lynn Doroschuk ( daughter of Stefan Doroschuk of Men Without Hats fame) is bursting on to the music scene with fresh and creative Country / Rockabilly / Pop songs.

Poignant lyrics with crisp riffs and energetic upbeat tempos are balanced nicely with the touching tones of melancholy within the album’s balladry.

Please listen below to my chat with Mary-Lynn and hear some great tunes from

Wave 21.

 

Visit Wave 21 here !

 

 

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Rick Keene Music Scene; Jazz Festival Review – Boz Scaggs Redefines His ‘Public’ Image

Admit it. Lido Shuffle is all you know …

Boz Scaggs is that type of artist.

The masses think that if an artist is outta sight – outta mind, they must be dead or their career is. True fans know – artists such as Scaggs do not care about hits.

William RoyceBozScaggs – is known for vocals with The Steve Miller Band. he is also known for Lido Shuffle and Lowdown, both of which were from his critically acclaimed album Silk Degrees (released 1976). The 1970s were very kind to Scaggs and that decade is what brought many people to Theatre Maisonneuve during the Montreal Jazz Festival.

What Scaggs and his formidable band did bring was intense and tight. aside from the aforementioned ‘hits’ – Scaggs et al were a highly professional unit led by the voice of an angel. At seventy-four years young, Scaggs can sing better than most people half his age.

Jojo (1980) led things off and in no time – the punters were standing at attention as the reality of a musical night hit like a ton of piano keys. Drowning in the Sea of Love, It’s Over and Gone Baby Gone set the table for a tune that established the groove that most bands strive for live. The Feeling Is Gone – a Bobby Bland cover saw Scaggs and his mates hit that ‘small club’ feeling. The sold out crowd picked up on it immediately and as they say; the rest of the night was ‘gravy’.

Scaggs knows music as his tutelage with The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section dictates as well as having the future members of Toto play on his album Silk Degrees. Those acquired skills and knowledge shine through live as Scaggs not only holds court on vocals – his guitar playing with just the right space; a pleasure to witness. Scaggs’ knowledge also dictates to let his band play their parts with freedom and respect.

Cadillac Walk – the Moon Martin cover, led the crowd into familiar territory as Lido Shuffle and Lowdown played out hard and with appreciation by all. The show ended with the ‘we know you will be back applause and that is when the music took over from the hits.

What Can I Say, Somebody Loan Me a Dime ( Fenton Robinson) and Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell gave the BAND and Boz the room (and joy) to say thanks to both the fans and the history of where they came from. The latter giving proof that Rock n Roll once ruled the world and that swing was a big part of it.

Visit Boz Here !

Rick Keene Music Scene; Jazz Festival Interview – Jordan Officer Blows the Roof Off Place des Arts !

Jordan Officer is a groundbreaking artist. Kinda …

Groundbreaking in a way that combines his talent with old school tools and old school sounds.

You see – Jordan is a scholar. A student of where music comes from. Blending Dick Dale with Joe Bonamassa. Bob Wills with Stevie Ray Vaughn. Guitar with the fiddle. All elements of music that make music what it is today in all genres.

Please listen below as Jordan discusses his ‘roof shattering ‘ show at Place des Arts as part of The Jazz Festival. A show that should place Officer into the music stratosphere.

Jordan? What’s up?

Visit Jordan Here !

 

 

Rick Keene Music Scene; Jazz Festival Review – George Thorogood ‘Destroys’ The Jazz Festival ( for a few hours).

What is there to say about George Thorogood that hasn’t been said before ?

Electrifying ! Exciting ! Raw energy ! Just some of the adjectives used to describe Lonesome George and his music ensemble The Destroyers. Okay – so those words were utilized by George himself. So what ?

One of the reasons George (et al) were here as part of The Montreal International Jazz Festival some forty years following their first Montreal appearance is because George is a salesman. A barterer bent on selling The Blues, the legacy of the Blues and his own Bluesy tunes. George is indeed a salesman but he ain’t selling junk.

Legend has it that George heard the Stones and wanted ( needed?) a guitar in hand. History has it that Thorogood utilized that Chuck Berry, Elmore James, Muddy Waters, Brian Jones and Keith Richards tone to create and master the art of selling energy. The forefathers of The Blues required attitude to make it work. Thorogood took that attitude and defined attitude – ness. Attitude – ness with a capital A.

Earlier in the day – George received the B.B. King Award from the co – founder of the Montreal Jazz Festival Andre Menard at a press conference. During the question and answer period, Thorogood was praised for ‘sticking to his guns and remaining true to himself.’ In true George fashion he quickly dispelled that notion. “It’s all I know. I never tried to become someone else or remain true to my music. Three chords is all I know …”

Before an almost sold out Salle Wilfred Pelletier at Place des Arts, Thorogood went on to display those ‘three’chords with conviction. 

Rock Party, I Drink Alone, Bad to the Bone, Move It On Over and One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer were all served in a dirty glass. Shaken – not stirred. Tunes that everyone came to hear set the night right. The stage was staged but the passion was not.

George may be getting older and his movements not as quick as the older days but age will do that to any musician. Active ones such as George are more noticeable when the energy is harnessed instead of wasted. A smart transition for Thorgood as longevity will never end the love affair he has with his fans.

Thorgood has reached the ‘right’ to play as a legendary figure. He is allowed to make mistakes (which he doesn’t) and talk more and play less (which he doesn’t).

In all genres of music, once you have outlived the sin, the business side and all the rotten side orders that come with it and still have gas in the tank to bleed on the stage; you do not drink alone with nobody else.

Everybody is funny that way. Now George is funny too …

George Thorogood will be at Trois Rivieres en Blues in August. Click here! 

Visit  Lonesome George Here!

Rick Keene Music Scene – Montreal Jazz Festival Review; Jann Arden Keeps Them Laughing

Variety shows once ruled television …

 

Music, comedy and drama – all inclusive in an hour long Sunday night program. A Jann Arden concert is a one woman variation on the above formula as all the aforementioned elements shine within.

From the get – go, Arden is a joker in a self depreciating kinda way. Whether it is her ‘poor choice of pants’, her broken top (fixed quickly by a nearby clamp) or her ‘shot’ at Shania Twain – Arden uses humor as quick as any Canadian can. Oh – and she can sing with the best of them also.

Where No One Knows Me, Wishing That,  At Seventeen, I Would Die For You , Not Your Little Girl .

Just a few of the starters served up between the comedic antidotes. Reminders that a long time ago (it seems), before the TV appearances on the Rick Mercer Report and all the humor Arden is associated with – there was ( and is) a truly talented songwriter. 

 

You Don’t Know Me, Anyone Who Had a Heart (Burt Bacharach cover), To Sir With Love, Could I Be Your Girl and  Little Bird – signified the sounds and vocals that are immediately Arden.

Like Murray, like Celine and like Sarah – Arden has a distinct style and persona in her voice and presence. Like all the above, a certain melancholia takes the reins and pushes the audience into a happy sadness.  A certain comfort in the sounds of Canada. In the sounds of refection.

If one song defines the image of Arden – Insensitive would be a non sensitive choice.

The punters on their feet with so much adoration in their hearts for Arden and the song Insensitve – a group hug was minutes away as the defining moment became just that. Add a backing band filled with so much integrity – it was difficult to not bask in the pure joy of music. Of Arden’s music.

If there was any danger of a show-gone-bad, it was Arden’s temporary explanation of her drinking problem. Something she says has stopped. Up to that point – a roll was upheld and gaining strength. Arden holding the recipe for success. In this day and age, sad stories are aplenty. Arden took what was an escape for the punters and dropped more reality into their problems. Connecting with some yet disconnecting from most who were out to have as good time.

Visit The 39th Edition of The Festival Here !

BackTraxx Here !

 

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Montreal Jazz Festival Review; Cecile McLorin Salvant – The Voice of An Angel

A voice is an instrument.

Aside from Lisa Fischer ( Twenty Feet to Stardom, Rolling Stones back-up singer) – vocalists like Cecile MClorin Salvant come around as often as Haley’s comet.

With the same ease as most walk, Salvant traverses the scales, intonations and vocal range as elegantly as a debutante at a coming of age party. Salvant does so with as much effort as flicking a fly away from the dinner plate.

FogEverything I’ve Got Belongs to YouSpoonful and Stepsister’s Lament were just some of the main courses Salvant’s band served to the audience (and Salvant) with precision, texture and a lot of breathing room for Salvant to play. 

Tunes such as Spoonful – familiar yet somehow as fresh as the cool wind blowing in from the St. Lawrence river. Cecile, reaching to depths known only to her as the mask of Howlin’ Wolf’s classic song is removed and tossed aside to display the inner beauty of Salvant.

 

It could be a spoonful of coffee
It could be a spoonful of tea
But one little spoon of your precious love
Is good enough for me

 

Wives and LoversSi J’étais Blanche (Bobby Falk / Leo Lelièvre / Henri Varna), Omie WiseNever Will I Marry and The Ballad of the Shape of Things – a concert whose content made up for all the Divas in the world making millions through auto tune. Salvant enjoying the experience as if no one was in the room …

Darkies Never Dream and Sam Jones’ Blues stood apart with their opposite moods and lyrics. The former – as whimsical as a stroll through the park with cotton candy blowing in your face while the latter; a testament to all those with dreams dancing in their souls. Both songs somewhat biographical in a third person sense from Salvant. A storyteller conveying  fiction into a non fiction audience.

If Cecile Mclorin Salvant’s voice is an instrument – the world’s problems will be fixed with no labor or service charges added on.

Visit The 39th Edition of The Festival Here !

BackTraxx Here !

 

Join me Thursdays 7 -10pm on Rock -FM.ca

Rick Keene Music Scene – Montreal Jazz Festival Review; Charlotte Gainsbourg / Aliocha

An acoustic guitar and a great voice – sometimes is not enough.

Aliocha Schneider was BORN TO BE AN ARTIST …

All of his siblings are actors and so is he. Like most artisans – the craft can cast shadows on many different walls. Writing and performing songs – an extension of creative output for the twenty – four year old Montrealer.

Vocally – Aliocha, is unique. A gift has been bestowed upon him and in a world filled with ‘voices’ – Aliocha’s distinct delivery and tone immediately gain notice from the virgin punter. The original tunes come from the heart. Raw pain emerges and transports the messages into waiting wounds.

 Volodia Schneider (Aliocha’s  brother) on percussion, guitarist Christian Sean and bassist Tom Tartarin lend expert (albeit simplistic) accompaniment to Aliocha’s catalog. A stack of songs which require some peaks and arcs. Like most young artists today  – Aliocha’s sound contains melancholic undertones. The set-list ingredients are similar and contain nothing to lift and drop the audience. No roller coaster at this amusement park except for the ‘surprise’ visit by Charlotte Cardin in a ‘return the favor’ moment from last year’s festival when Cardin invited Aliocha on stage with her.   

Artists have something they want to say. To deliver their pain or profound wisdom to the masses. Aliocha does just that yet being an actor – he must learn to implement the same techniques as Alfred Hitchcock did if he wishes to achieve musical success.

Suspense, intrigue, drama and comedy. A show / career is a story – not one scene.

Charlotte Gainsbourg

Much like Carla Bruni – Gainsbourg is an actress turned singer and songwriter. Unlike Bruni, Charlotte creates unique songs and sounds. Combined with a beautiful voice and ( in this day and age) a flamboyant stage – Charlotte’s spectacle seemed appealing. Seemed …

Much like her opening act, song after song became one long song. If not for the stoppages – where one tune stopped and the other commenced; a conundrum took place for the uninitiated. Unless you are the most acute fan. Unless you are Charlotte Gainsbourg (or her band).

Combining Synth Pop and Rave like beats is unique and interesting. Melodic ballads are included with finesse and power. Art for art’s sake on display and perhaps Charlotte is to her audience what Buddy Guy is to the Blues. Given the nature of her success and providing tunes for TV shows and films – Gainsbourg’s music is not meant to be enjoyed live.

Gainsbourg is a talent on keys,  in vocals and songwriting. Her ability to grasp audiences with her ‘under the top’ style is refreshing when ‘Divas’ are overtly front and center as front-women. Charlotte and her band convey music for what is is. No drama from a woman known for her dramatic roles. An enjoyable experience if film studies with musical scores are of interest.

 

Visit The 39th Edition of The Festival Here !

BackTraxx Here !

 

Join me Thursdays 7 -10pm on Rock -FM.ca