Rick Keene Music Scene – 2018 Year in Review Part Three

Half way through the year – the music kept coming.

The folks at The Montreal International Jazz Festival announced their line up and the stage was set ( so to speak).

June

Jann Arden was in town and at this point in her musical career – she is the Elton John of Canadian women.

The hits and the magic within new tunes are gone and she is relying on her past glories to fill joints around the Country. Thankfully, she is a very funny woman and the banter alone is worth half the price of admission. Add the hits from twenty years ago – you get fully what you paid for.

East of Sunday – Carvin Jones

Blues guitarist extraordinaire Carvin Jones made his first appearance in Montreal and local band East of Sunday opened up.

Jones is a monster on guitar and his showmanship – second to none. Think Buddy Guy without the powerful voice. East of Sunday are poised to take the Montreal Rock throne away from The Damn Truth. Look out this coming summer as both Carvin and East of Sunday will hit the road with heat.

Paul Young / Midge Ure

Paul Young was one of the biggest stars of the 1980’s video wave and Ure co-wrote Do They Know It’s Christmas for Band Aid. Ure was also the leader of Ultravox and a member of Thin Lizzy among other things.

Ure and Young held a double bill at Club Soda and only one showed up.

Ure was fine as he gained strength with his tunes – hits and all. Young, on the other hand was, well … old. Paul stumbled through a set continually struggling to hit notes and stay in key. When he did get in sync – his voice was weak. A sign of the end or an off night? Things that make you go hmmm …

Dr. Lonnie Smith

The good doctor ( the most sought after Hammond B3 player in all genres) put on a clinic at Le Gesu. Fifty years in the spotlight and recording with the who is who of music has enabled Smith to assume command over the audience, his band-mates and his instrument. Anyone who witnesses a Smith performance – is blessed.

Aram Demirjian

Conductor Demirjian sat down and spoke of his upcoming Montreal gig with Dreamworks Animation. The gig is a full orchestra playing the soundtrack live of DreamWorks classics such as Shrek and How To Train Your Dragon.

In the beginning of cinema, live orchestras were the only form of sound for a viewing audience. To witness and hear the experience in 2018 is a welcome change to digital dust.

Cecile Mclorant- Salvant

The second best female singer walking the planet ( Lisa Fischer would be first) put on a lesson in vocals. Adding all the great ingredients from all the great Jazz ladies ( Holiday, James, Fitzgerald) and her own unique voice, Salvant is the driver. Complete command of everything and she is’ just starting out’. A must see concert if you must see.

Charlotte Gainsbourg

If there ever was a female artist who did all for ‘art’s sake’- it is Gainsbourg. The actress / composer / songwriter / singer / writer / painter and poet lays all her emotions on her sleeve.

Her show at MTelus was not for the non intellects. Combining electronica and common place rythym with her piano sensibility is mesmerizing to the punters. Her fan base is devoted, loyal and safe to say; artistic.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Rick Keene Music Scene -The Musical Box;Turning Genesis Into An Extravanza

In the big scheme of things, very few people saw Genesis live in their orginal formation.

Before fans knew it – Peter Gabriel was gone and shortly after, Steve Hackett followed. Fans of the original material who missed out on the theatrics and brilliant musicianship of the original  line -up live were out of luck.

Out of luck until the Quebec – formed Musical Box took matters into their own hands and recreated the early years with precision. The Musical Box are the only Genesis Tribute band to be supported by the members of Genesis themselves.

They are that good.

Following twenty five years as the top Genesis tribute act – the members have decided to change things up a bit. An extravaganza is on the way …

Please listen below to my chat with the musical director and the ‘Mike Rutherford’ of The Musical Box,  Sebastien Lamothe.

Sebastien? What’s up?

 

 

Visit The Musical Box Here !

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Rick Keene Music Scene – Andy Kim Plays Santa for Starlight Children’s Foundation

Pay it forward …

Canadian Walk of Fame and Canadian Music Hall of Fame member Andy Kim has many friends in the music business. Many of whom hold Andy in such high esteem – they will follow him anywhere.


Saturday night at The Corona Theater, some of those friends arrived in Montreal to participate in the fifth annual Andy Kim Christmas. A musical event which raises money for The Starlight Children’s Foundation. Broken Social Scene, La Force and Ron Sexsmith made the train trip from Toronto and joined some very talented Quebecers.

Jake Clemons

Marie – Mai, Coeur de Pirate, Hanorah, Brad Barr and Jake Clemons (the nephew of Clarence Clemons and a current resident of Montreal) welcomed Andy et al with Christmas bells on their toes. The scene was set for a night of giving.

Sean Cullen

Toronto comic Sean Cullen led the way with brilliant comedy aimed at Montreal from a Torontarian-point-of-view. Cullen, disregarding the MeToo movement (and pretty much all taboo subjects) exchanging barbs and wit with local emcee – CJAD’s Aaron Rand. The pauses between tunes; as unique as the tunes themselves.

Hanorah

In between Andy Kim singing his songs Rainbow Ride, Rock Me Gently and Sugar Sugar – the ‘stars’ of the show donated Folk, Country, Pop, Blues and Rock n Roll. There was something for everyone from the toe-tapping in-your-face Clemons’ Saxophone to La Force’s balladry. From Barr’s profound lyrical social conscience to Marie-Mai’s soulful Blues.

Marie-Mai

Concerts and music shows usually draw an audience of critics. Scribes ready at the drop of a hat to praise or destroy a performance. The Andy Kim Christmas Show somehow manages to remove all pens and all harshness. The spirit of the season and the generosity of the artists transcend reality. Music is performed and accepted the way it should be.

Coeur de Pirate

The Andy Kim Christmas show in Montreal even managed to draw Elvis to the building. The presence of the non-intentional (and vocal) look-a-like in the audience, adding magic to an already magical night. Cullen and Rand – taking the opportunity to include Elvis in their jabs every chance they had.

Canadian music is alive and well. Only a few of them were on a stage Saturday night that in the past has drawn artists such as Pagliaro, Roch Voisine and Sam Roberts. The Andy Kim Christmas Show is growing every year and attracting an array of diverse musical talent.

Who will be here next year? Andy Kim and whoever else decides to join him and pay it forward.

Visit Andy Kim here !

Visit Starlight Children’s Foundation here !

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 !

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 !

This slideshow requires JavaScript.