Rick Keene Music Scene – Jeff Gunn’s ‘Sonic Tales’ A Must Listen for Every Guitar Player

Adding layers to a canvas sounds easy …

Every artist can add and subtract tones from their work of art. Experimenting and learning tones from around the world and ‘adjusting’ the canvas is an entirely different thing.

On Jeff Gunn’s latest offering ‘Sonic Tales’, exploration is the key. An entry into the sounds of an instrument Jeff has nurtured. Few guitar players have devoted so much time to not only growing themselves as players yet passing that knowledge on to other students.

Please listen below to my chat with Jeff and hear some great tunes from the album Sonic Tales.

Jeff? What’s up?

Visit Jeff Here !

Rick Keene Music Scene – Top Concerts To See in October and Some of the Best CDs …

Montreal’s music festi – ganza has come to an end. Summer and all it’s rhythmic get togethers have ended quicker than a Bill Cosby guilty verdict.

Fall has arrived and with it – an ‘orange is the new black’ list of musical events. Montreal is filled with live music right up to Hallowe’en.

A music lover is no short of CDs to buy either. Something which is important to keep the future of music alive and well. Streaming does not pay the rent.

If you are a Blues lover, The Roxboro Sessions by Riot and The Blues Devils along with Colin James’ Miles to Go are great choices.

The Devils will jump start your heart with powerful vocals and piercing guitar solos a la Southern tinged Blues. James, au contraire – returns to his roots and pays homage to the forefathers of not only Blues yet modern day music as we know it. Colin also tosses two of his new originals to keep you thirsty for more. At 53- James ain’t quite dead yet.

If old school Rockabilly and Rock n Roll is your thing, the latest offering by Lindsay Beaver is a must. The Canadian / Jazz student / Blues student / vocalist / drummer from Nova Scotia is a once-in-a-lifetime phenom. Her album ‘ Tough As Love’ combines Rock and R&B with Jazz sensibilities that would make Amy Winehouse proud.

Beaver; Poised for Stardom


Beginning in October, here are just a few choices to make the now chilly nights easier to take …

October 4th – Elton John. Bell Center

Elton John is saying farewell. Is this for real or will he become the solo version of The Who and entertain the masses with one farewell tour after another? Time will tell but in the meantime, it is one final (?) chance to see if Sir Elton has a hissy fit in between the songbook of the seventies

October 9th – Liz Phair. Corona

Liz always always always puts on a ‘ wear it on your sleeve’ performance. There is no doubt her ‘ Amps on the Lawn’ Tour will be different. A night to forget what is ‘bad’ about music and soak in the realness of it all.

October 10th – Mike Love. Le Belmont.

One of the hardest working musicians on the planet ( his shoes were worn out at the Jazz Festival ) returns with his brand of Hawaiian Reggae. A multi – instrumentalist aka one man band oozes spirituality through voice, beats and song. A must see.

October 16th – Phil Collins. Bell Center

No one knows what to expect from the former front-man of Genesis and the man who sold his musical soul for fame and fortune in the 80s. Retired due to back issues for a long stretch, Collins is worth the trip to the ‘house that Corey destroyed’ if only to sing along to the songbook of the eighties ‘one last time.’

October 21st. Andrea Bocelli. Bell Center.

It’s Andrea Bocelli. Need I say more?

October 29th – Dean Brody. Imperial.

If Country acoustic is your ‘thang’ – then Brody will get your house, car and truck back. In a Country music field filled with penthouse dwelling ‘ never drove a truck’ pretenders, Brody is as close to a Haggard shot as they come.

October 31st– Violent Femmes. MTelus.

What is a better way to spend Hallowe’en than singing ‘ Blister on the Sun’ as loud as you can? A very underrated band in the scheme of things with great harmony and even greater guitar playing. The ultimate sing-a-long band.

Visit Evenko for Tickets

Visit Smoke Meat Pete for Live Blues

Visit The House of Jazz Here !


Andrea England; Hope and Other Sins – Album Review

Andrea England  has just released her second album. Seven years after her first and fourteen years following a car accident which almost killed her …

The story is a Hollywood one. Andrea England Hope and other sins

England was delivering her first ep to a record store in Ottawa. The accident brought her career to a full stop and she carried on with a fresh outlook. Andrea determined to turn her lemons into lemonade – and she has … thank you very much.

‘Lemonade’ is the title of her  award-winning debut in 2005.  Indeed ” it’s all about lemonade …”

The accident and later heart-related illness further cemented England’s resolve to hone her craft. A songwriter with 140 compositions and counting, her collaborations with an international who’s who of songwriting professionals include Dan Hill, Bruce Brody (Rickie Lee Jones, Patty Smith), Bryan Allen (Heart), Jeremy Ruzumna (Macy Gray), Liz Rodrigues (Eminem), and many others.

England has returned to a solo project with Hopes and Other Sins. A project, judging by the first track – ‘The Thought of You’, which should  rank very high among the angels which were so close to being Andrea’s roommates over a decade ago.

‘The Thought of You’ reminds a listener immediately of a woman by the name of  Sheryl Crow. Or – is it Shania Twain.  Bonnie Raitt maybe …?

Therein lies the beauty of the first track. A summation of  everything beautiful in music. Ingredients which compliment a voice that  sends music gracefully into the airwaves. England is one of few who sing without effort. Singing is her ‘calling’ and with the first song, a feeling is born between the listener and singer. A pact is completed and signed when guitarist Colin Linden’s slide enters the picture. A perfect combination of balladry and an edge to compliment the ‘other sins’. Did I mention John Whynot’s  organ playing at the beginning of the song …?

Andrea_England‘Lonely’ starts off with guitars complete with attitude. England jumps into the mix with her best impersonation of a sixteen year old girl sitting on a chain-link fence while the band trades licks and other things on the porch behind. Great music includes country and blues. The forefathers of Madonna’s limousines. Thank the lord, England is deep with her memories and even more profound with her band selection. ‘ Lonely’ is a feel good bottle of beer mixed with ginger ale. A ‘Shanty’ of great taste.

Real blues is meant to be listened on vinyl. Scratched and abused by the million times it has been listened to. ‘Hothouse Flower” is exactly the type of song which can accompany so many moods and feelings. Dumped? Put in on. In love …? Put in on. Cooking breakfast following an evening with your new found love? Put this acoustic / organ foot -tapping number on and enjoy the moment again and again … It’s a delightful way to poke the Devil in the eyes with your white satin fork and innocence of days gone by …

‘Fool’s Gold’ will be the favorite of any fan of Rickie Lee Jones.

If England spent any time with Jones it must have been like long lost twins meeting for the first time in years. ‘Fool’s Gold’ starts off showcasing Bruce Brody’s artful piano playing. A twinge of romance and feelings of a pre sex-ting era. England’s pronunciation of ‘hanging on to nothing’ and the chorus – a reminder of Lee Jones’ classic ‘Last Chance Texaco’. Brody has worked with Rickie Lee Jones. A coincidence that Brody and England are together …?

“When I was a young girl I did not know what Mama meant …”.


Fitting lyrics within a fitting coming of age story in the song ‘Laundry’. A tale of life lessons sung so beautifully by England – every Mother should make their teenage daughters listen carefully.  “I took my ring off for a minute and put it on a shelf ..” The best song on the album!

‘Drive’ continues the angelic ways of England’s voice. A continuing saga in life’s tales. A tale of getting in the car and attempting to chase memories of a love affair gone bad. Anyone who thinks clearly while driving for long distances can relate to this tune. Andrea has been places with her soul and as the album progresses, the obvious is never more obvious. Colin Linden accentuates the feeling with divine intervention. A marriage for the ages.

Wistfulness comes to mind describing the album Hope and Other Sins. Wistfulness and melancholia. The world requires England’s messages. The world filled with so many mixed messages, it requires self – effectiveness more than ever.

‘I’m Not Ready Yet’, ‘Picture of You’ and ‘Trying’ are a trilogy of gazing at the moon a la Tom Waits. Minus the gruffness. Seldom do a group of musicians become so entwined on the same song sheet that the song sheet itself  – tossed into the wind. The songs follow suite like butterflies engaging on a journey filled with hopes, dreams and reality. Dan Dugmore, who has played with Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor, becomes the real star on these tunes. His pedal steel guitar  playing become the tears of a lost contagion of planet earth denizens looking for answers in an asylum seeking a keeper. Andrea is asking why. A listener can give the answers from within themselves if they try hard enough.

The disc concludes with instructions for the future.

‘Learn to Dance’ a last message from a group of professionals to keep hope and try. Instructions to never give up with a back-beat of positive musical notes. A perfect book end to the disc’s opening track. A second pop – oriented track which includes the profound lyrics – “Life is like a river flowing ..”

Listen to England’s disc. You will buy it.

You will “Learn to Dance’ and be singing choruses all day long …

Visit her site; http://www.andreaengland.com/


Andrea England: Vocals, Harmony Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Colin Linden: Acoustic Guitars, Electric Guitars, Mandolin, Dobro, Harmony Vocals
John Whynot: Piano And Organ
Gary Craig: Drums And Percussion
John Dymond: Bass


Bruce Brody: Piano on “Fool’s Gold”
Damhnait Doyle: Harmony Vocals on “The Thought of You”
Liz Rodrigues: Harmony Vocals on “Learn To Dance” and “Lonely”
Carolyn Dawn Johnson: Harmony Vocals on “Trying,” and “Hothouse Flower”
Dan Dugmore: Pedal Steel on “Picture Of You,” “Trying,” and “I’m Not Ready Yet”
Gordie Sampson: Acoustic Guitar on “The Thought Of You,” Lyric Guitar on “Drive,” Mandolin on “Picture Of You”

The Darling DeMaes.

Once upon a time …

There was a girl living in Oregon. Eugene,Oregon to be precise.


It was a town filled with hippies. A real – peace and love kind of town. This young lady adored music. She played piano growing up for her Dad. A man who loved the Beatles and at the same time, was very proud of her daughter’s singing and keyboard playing. According to Tasha Cyr, so much so – her Father would inadvertently embarrass her by playing her songs to visiting guests …

At the age of seventeen, she moved back to Montreal with a new skill. A guitar playing skill. An acoustic guitar playing skill. This young lady brought her love of the Dave Mathews Band and John Mayer to university where she also became involved in theatre. Places such as Brutopia Pub and Grumpys – her new found Montreal venues where she was able to showcase her musical skills.

Meanwhile …

There was a young man, originally from Vancouver who was living in Asia teaching English. The young man spent a lot of his down time, writing songs with his acoustic guitar. His influences as a young man; Nirvana, BoyzIIMen,New Kids on the Block,Pearl Jam and the Beatles.


Following his departure from South Korea, the man in question decided to broaden his horizons and instead of returning to his western roots – the aspiring writer and musician chose Quebec because of it’s flourishing artistic scene.

Frequenting places where music was played, places such as Brutopia and Grumpys, Erik Virtanen met other artists and formed a band.The Darling DeMaes.

The lady singer in the band at that time, one day received a gift. A pregnancy. A condition which eased the pain of the band letting her go. A mutual parting of ways during the recording of the group’s first cd ; A Users Guide to Raising the Dead ( Songs of Spring ).

The young lady who was embarrassed by her father so many years ago – met the young man who had written forty plus songs while living abroad. Tasha Cyr fell in love with Erik Virtanen because of his songwriting. Tasha also joined the current roster Trevor Lashmore, Marc Andre Mongrain, Stephan Jovanovich and Erik in the Darling DeMaes as a singer/ piano/ keyboard/ guitar player..


Tasha and Erik are engaged to be married. Tasha, Erik and the rest of the group are finishing up the recording of their second cd.

It is titled; ‘Celebration’.

Not – once upon a time …


Stay tuned for a review of the bands first album …