Rick Keene Music Scene – Gowan’s Love Affair with Quebec Grows

It all comes down to passion …

French Canadians love the Montreal Canadiens. If you pay attention – they especially love the players that love the Canadiens as much as they do .

Enter Lawrence Gowan aka Gowan.

Photos Emily Eelkema

What does a Scottish-born, Canadian -raised, classically trained pianist have to do with hockey? Passion. Quebec and Francophones love the passion Gowan has for music. It is that simple …

That exuberance shone through once more in Drummondville on Tuesday evening for the first Quebec stop on Gowan’s (too few) solo tour. (His second Quebec show on the 24th of February in Ste Eustache is sold out.)

Quebec was monumental in getting Gowan’s career started upon the release of A Criminal Mind and Strange Animal. Quebec was also the place ( Montreal) where Tommy Shaw of Styx first witnessed Gowan’s passion as an opening act. That observation led Shaw to asking Gowan to replace Dennis DeYoung a few years later. Heck – even Tommy Shaw recognized the passion and he isn’t even French.

It is because Lawrence Gowan is part of Styx (since 1999) that his solo albums and tours are few and far between. Styx annually plays over 100 shows making them the hardest working band in the US.

Thankfully Lawrence, Larry or Gowan (depending on who you get) had some time to visit Canada without Styx and what a show it was. The spinning keyboard was there, the kilt was there and the passion was there within Gowan’s vast solo catalog.

Cosmetics
Desperate
Awake the Giant

Those three songs opened the show with a jolt. Gowan and the band with as much energy as most bands peak at. Gowan, especially vital with the voice of a twenty year old. His love for Quebec shining through with mostly French bantering. Okay – sometimes Franglais but you get the point.

Lost Brotherhood
Moonchild’s Psychedelic Holiday/Tomorrow Never Knows and Criminal Mind finished the ‘first half’ of the show. There is nothing that can give you goosebumps in this world more than listening to Gowan’s vocals during A Criminal Mind. Not only is the tune a show-stopper; it is in the top ten of best Canadian songs ever written. Gowan’s soul is exercised and launches with all it’s honesty to the crowd. Tears can flow …

Between songs all night – Gowan had the audience in stitches. Gowan is the male version of Jann Arden. Once his singing career is done, stand-up comedy would be his next best bet. 

Soul’s Road, Dancing on My Own Ground, All the Lovers in the World and Khedive continued the show with tenderness and a hard driving beat. Gowan’s band not quite Pop, not quite Rock and not quite Prog -Rock. The music is a combination of all genres including classical. Gowan – on the piano / synth; a master as showcased in the Styx tune Khedive. 

Guerilla Soldier, Strange Animal and Moonlight Desires concluded the evening with love and passion. Emotions traded from stage to audience. The punters who remember Gowan from the eighties ( their youth) reminded affectionately of the songs. The new fans introduced to the tunes for the first time. Most importantly; all ages were shown passion. 

Something Quebecers and Gowan know so well.

Visit Gowan Here !

 

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 – There Is ‘No Woman’ Like Angela Harris

It is all about the roots after all …

Angela Harris knows all about the ‘roots’ of music. It is in her blood and DNA. In fact – Bluegrass and Country were all around her as a child …

Please listen below to my chat with Angela about her new disc;

A Woman Like Me.

Angela? What’s up?

 

 

Visit Angela Here !

 

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Rock for Dimes This Friday !

Raising money for the March of Dimes via Rock n Roll.

Pretty cool …

Hosting Rock for Dimes 2014

Every year in several Canadian cities – corporate guys and gals get together and put on a Rock show.

This year, in Montreal – the event takes place on November 16th at The Corona Theater. It promises to be a night to remember and another big total of money raised for the March of Dimes Canada.

Please listen below to my chat with Marc Dore – chairperson for Rock of Dimes Montreal.

Marc? What’s up?

Visit Rock for Dimes Here

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Hey Dweezil! Where Did You Find That One? Concert Review

How do you describe Frank Zappa’s music?

Easy. A blend of Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Genesis, Yes, Rush, The Ramones, The Kinks, the Beatles and every artist between 1920 until present day.

Frank Zappa’s brilliance as a writer, producer, arranger, guitar player and every other position within an intellectual realm artistically and socially was put on display via Dweezil Zappa in Laval last night. Epic could be the best way to describe the evening.

The Purple Lagoon, Andy and Don’t You Want a Man Like Me opened things up along with the punter’s minds who were not far behind in realizing music exists beyond corporate radio. The name of this tour is Choice Cuts. An insight into the non commercial world of Frank Zappa. Given Frank’s songs were mostly non radio friendly, choosing ‘choice’ tracks should be easy.

Think again …

Firstly – Dweezil’s Muthas are not your Father’s band. When each player within a band could headline on their own – something special is on the way. Dweezil himself – one of the finest guitar players ‘off the beaten path’ and an astute songwriter to boot. Detach the Zappa moniker and all it’s expectations – Dweezil could very well be in the same breath as Vai, Satriano et al. in the mainstream conscientiousness. Frank probably would want it this way and ensure the Zappa legacy maintains musical integrity.

As the show moved along – perhaps the ladies initially stole the show. Vocalist Cian Coey and multi – instrumentalist Scheila Gonzalez were on fire. Frank Zappa’s tunes contained whimsical female voices along with serious style. Both Scheila and Cian added their parts with conviction. Cian alone – stealing the spotlight throughout the evening with power, finesse and grace. An indication the ‘top forty’ radio female vocalists are nowhere near the best. Scheila no slouch either as her vocals more than impressed and her Sax playing otherworldly. Frank would be proud.

Call Any Vegetable, Tell Me You Love Me and T’Mershi Duween. Three more tunes which only the die hard Frank fans know aside from the band.

Drummer Ryan Brown, bassist Kurt Morgan, Chris Norton on keys and guitarist / vocalist Adam Minkoff were on the same bus. Travelling the Zappa songbook at light-speed. Shining alone when called upon and perfectly in sync with grooves as sweet as the most perfect five hour Funk jam. The completeness allowing Dweezil to do his thang.

Steve Vai was one of Dweezil’s teachers back in the day. Frank Zappa was one of Dweezil’s muses. Dweezil has worked with every guitar player worth their weight in gold. Nothing could go wrong within a solo and Dweezil’s own curiosity to grow as an artist – adds to the special moments when Dweezil takes the spotlight.

Suzy Creamcheese, Valley Girl, Zoot Allures, Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow and Joe’s Garage – the show and the intensity continued.

Serious musicians playing serious licks. Only the students of music can understand and appreciate Dweezil’s (The Muthas) take on his Father’s songs. Only serious students of music can appreciate Frank Zappa and his genius.

They can describe Frank Zappa’s music …

Visit Dweezil Here !

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