Rick Keene Music Scene – Top Ten Interviews of 2018

They say talk is cheap …

That may be the case many times yet when music is involved – talk is an education.

In the past year, discussions took place with eighty musicians. Add multiple chats with engineers, producers or people in the music business; the list is long and informative.

All these moments above are meant to be a platform to educate anyone who listens or reads. A chance for up and coming musicians to learn and established artists to teach.

Of all the interviews in the past year – the top ten have been chosen for different reasons. All of the interviews gave value yet below are the unique ones.

Please enjoy and check archives to listen.

Top Ten Interviews 2018

10. Colin James

The veteran Canadian Blues guitarist is always down to earth and honest. Entering into his fifties, James has a different outlook on life including the need to not ‘disguise’ anything anymore. His knowledge of The Blues’ history is vast and his energy to share is immense. A new album and a new tour are the tools James uses to carry on …

Colin James

9. Dweezil Zappa

It is not often one has an opportunity to speak with Rock n Roll royalty. The offspring of Frank Zappa is just that. Listening to Dweezil speak of his late father is a privilege. Only a son can relate the musicianship and thinking process behind a legend with direct knowledge. Dweezil’s own music is also related through the lens of his Dad. Frank – the ultimate muse.

8. George Thorogood

George Thorogood

Speaking to a man who is now a Rock n Roll legend is as advertised. Chatting with a man who learned his chops playing with the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker and Keith Richards is like earning an honorary degree. Blunt, to the point and honest – Lonesome George should not be his moniker. Long passed the days of not paying rent, Thorogood still conjures a devil-may-care attitude without the worry of going ‘out the door’. Everybody is funny and George is very funny too.

7. Kim Mitchell

The legendary musician and songwriter ( and former DJ) is a pleasure. Witty, well informed and a teenager at heart – the former front-man of Max Webster is the quintessential Canadian artist. Engaging and curious, Kim interviews back as he weaves his tales of lore. An insight into his near fatal heart attack – profound.

6. Malcolm Bruce

The son of legendary Cream bassist Jack Bruce is a chip off the bass block. Acknowledging his Father’s legacy and passing it on is first on a creative and musical list. Growing up in Rock royalty has enabled Malcolm the inside education to relive Cream’s music and add to his own. World matters? Do not get the English gentleman going. Like his Father- a lot of smarts are going on above the Bass.

5. Jean -Marc Pisapia

The front-man for The Box is animated, intelligent and appreciative of all that came his way. A unique chat which places not only The Box in perspective; the music business as well. Interesting anecdotes regarding youth, age and Fatherhood. Rarely does a man whose career hit the pinnacle faster than a speeding pick accept the equally quick demise with such happiness and distinguished responses. Part of the reason The Box has resurfaced lately with talent and songwriting that cannot be denied.

4. Andy Kim

Andy Kim

On December 1st 2018 – Andy Kim was inducted onto Canada’s Walk of Fame. This follows his already life size presence in Canada’s Music Hall of Fame. Kim is one of few Canadians that have had nine singles in the Top Forty chart and whose music has been covered by every artist imaginable. John Lennon himself was a huge fan. Say no more …

3. Gary Petersen

The original and current drummer of The Guess Who has been drumming since the beginning of Rock n Roll in the fifties. A survivor and a man whose (of late) physical impediments do not slow him down. His band – The Guess Who rivaled The Stones and The Beatles in the late sixties and early seventies. A man who knows that ‘if it ain’t got that swing’ – it don’t mean a damn thing.

2. Myles Goodwyn

How many people do you know who front their band for over four decades? How many songwriters in Canada have carved such a unique place in music. How many people do you know who wrote a song which was the first Canadian video to be played on MTV? The multiple Juno award winner and a member of Canada’s Music Hall of Fame recently released a book and a new album which uncovers his first love The Blues.

Alan Parsons

The Beatles started it all and Alan Parsons was there. Along with Geoff Emerick and George Martin – Parsons worked on the albums Let It Be and Abbey Road. If that weren’t enough – Alan also worked on The Dark Side of The Moon by Pink Floyd. Mr. Parsons then went on to write, produce and engineer one of the top bands of the eighties – The Alan Parsons Project. One of the most sought after technicians in the music business and a man with an astute ear for music.

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Top Ten Concerts of 2018

Attending all live music in Montreal is impossible.

Practically every crook and nook contains rhythms and vibes. World music, Blues, Rock – you name it, music is alive and well in the city .

Not all live music is performed by local musicians. Regularly – like pirates from a distant land; musicians arrive. They rape and pillage the souls of Montrealers and then they are gone. Gold pieces filling their guitar cases.

Arriving with a Top Ten Concerts List is not possible if integrity is involved. The simple fact that many live shows were missed adds to the incomplete puzzle. The most beautiful woman in the world, after all – is a choice ripe in location.

Please dissect the Top Ten Concerts of 2018 below with the knowledge they have been chosen from a well of sixty. Deep enough to siphon an amount comparable to the elite.

Top Ten Concerts of 2018

10. Steve Hackett

The former guitar player from Genesis loves playing in Montreal and Montreal loves having him. There are few guitar players in the world that play better than their glory years. Age is not kind to many. Hackett’s playing filled with an ever – growing knowledge and his touring band; second to none. Within the realm of Place des Arts, perfection is continually aimed for and forever obtained. A must see every time Steve is here.

9. Kim Churchill

The multi-talented singer/ songwriter from Down Under is ( for the most part) under the radar. Such is the sad state of mass media when artists that possess more talent than Boy George, scrape and claw to make a living. Kim’s live show is filled with musical and physical energy as Churchill trades keys, guitars, beat boxes and dancing with himself. The tunes are filled with Kim’s vocals emerging from his soul. Ballads mirror the journey of an artist in search of knowledge as he travels the globe.

8. Dr. Lonnie Smith

How many artists have mastered their craft for fifty years as a live performer? How many have mastered their instrument and continue to gain praise and achievements into their golden age? Dr. Lonnie Smith is the most sought after Hammond B3 player on the planet. Mostly due to not only hard work, Smith maintains an ability to grow by reaching into multiple genres and artists. Dr. Smith put on a Jazz clinic at Le Gesu as part of The Montreal International Jazz Festival. Every great commercial keyboard player on a Rock n Roll / Pop / Blues list will be erased following a performance by Dr. Lonnie Smith.

7. Jack Broadbent

Broadbent contains no bells nor whistles. A man, a chair, a guitar and a beer. Witnessing a live show by Broadbent conjures images of the old Delta Blues guys who laid down the framework for all music today. Bottleneck slide, a raspy voice and tunes dark like the night and crisp like a cold grey dawn. Songwriting combined with acute covers to remind everyone where Jack came from and at the same time – evolving into the future based on the past.

6. Jim Cuddy Band

Canadian music is filled with roots. Country, Folk and Blues intertwined with the vast landscape of Canada looming in the background like a canvas painted by the Group of Seven. Add Jim Cuddy, Barney Bentall and Jim’s two up and coming sons – the evening was as pure as pure could be. Every artist on stage taking turns in the spotlight showcasing their ability to headline on their own. Jim Cuddy has assembled a dream band to distract from his Blue Rodeo job. Not a bad side gig.

5. Jordan Officer

Quebec’s own Jordan Officer has made the leap. Opening up for one of his boyhood idols, Officer more than held his own as the opener for George Thorogood. Those in attendance unfamiliar with the most talented guitar player in Quebec and student of the Blues left with a deer-in-the-headlights look on their faces.The trio combined with Officer’s ability to play guitar unlike all Blues players in the province ( fiddle as well), elevated music to an entire different level. Rarely does an opening act place immense pressure on the headliner. Thorogood and his Destroyers must have been shaking in their boots.

4. Steven Wilson

Cut from the Prog Rock cloth – Wilson (known mainly for his band Porcupine Tree) is a man who makes Dave Grohl appear talent-less. Mainstream gravitates towards the flavor of the moment and those willing to sell their souls. Wilson is a true artist along the lines of Brian Wilson (albeit in a different genre). An Engineer, a producer, a multi instrumentalist and a premiere songwriter who avoids the fame. His band – oozing musical integrity like a bleeding Van Gogh. Balladry interrupting perfectly crafted instrumental based high caliber Rock with a toe inside the Prog. A must see for all music fans.

3. Cecile Mclorin Salvant

If Cecile had arrived on the scene forty or fifty years ago, she would be revered like Etta James, Billie Holiday and Etta James (to name a few). Blessed with the voice of several angels – Salvant’s range is second to none. A no frills performer who sings for the right reasons. Combining the sweetness of honey and the strength of a whiskey straight up,Cecile’s performance as part of the Jazz Festival was an evening for purists. Salvant did not disappoint.

2. Beth Hart

Honesty is the best policy. Beth Hart is the most down to Earth raw female performer on the planet. Then she takes that integrity and sings with the same convictions. Listening to Hart is almost like witnessing an accident on the side of the road that never happens. Akin to Keith Richards’ about to fall down walk – Hart invites concern. Once she stops running and drops the scissors – the most natural voice in the universe becomes the star. Blues, Rock and Jazz-inspired tunes fill the night with wonderment. Talent oozes down the aisles as Hart follows the notes into the audience with love and appreciation. An interactive experience with Hart’s vulnerabilities as the headliner.

1.Ranee Lee

Montreal’s Queen of Jazz put on the most memorable performance this city has maybe ever seen. The day before her appearance at the Montreal international Jazz Festival – Ranee lost her musical muse and husband. A devastating moment for anyone and a life altering moment.

Under extreme emotional circumstances – Ranee decided the show must go on as her husband Richard would have wanted.

Any show completed would have gained a standing ovation due to the circumstances. Heartbreak on the sleeves and a hole in the heart can be the wind that pushes the tightrope walker off the thin line. A musical death would have been accepted without critique.

Ranee reached deep. Ranee reached long. Ranee reached hard. As if Richard was seated next to her – Lee put on the performance of a lifetime. Holiday, James, Washington – the ladies of Lee’s youth appeared live through Ranee’s vocals. The strength and the power increasing as the night went on. Lee’s passion for the history and the music growing stronger as the mountain of grief lay before her. The stamina not giving in to the tiredness she felt. The glow of her husband leading the way like the star of a musical Bethlehem guiding Ranee’s soul through the dark.

One evening when the realities of life could not be avoided changed The Montreal International Jazz Festival into a mystical place. One woman who took on the realities of life with courage transformed The Montreal International Jazz festival into Magic.

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Rick Keene Music Scene – A Musical Chat by ‘Christmas’ Candlelight with The Lyric Theater Singers

Face it – Christmas is special …

Every year in December, the Lyric Theater Singers get to work. They rehearse and practice new and old arrangements of Christmas tunes.

This year is no different.

Please listen below to my chat with Chris  Barillaro – a lifelong employee of music and second banana to the musical director of The Lyric Theater Singers – Bob Bachelor.

Chris? What’s up?

Visit The Lyric Theater Singers Here !

 

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Rick Keene Music Scene – An ‘Engineered’ Discussion with Alan Parsons.

Alan Parsons got his start working with George Martin and Geoff Emerick. Not too shabby eh?

Learning from the likes of Martin and Emerick – gifted  Parsons with a foundation. One that has made him one of the most sought after engineers and producers in music.

Emerick and Parsons

Please listen below to my chat with Alan Parsons about Geoff Emerick, sound recording and Alan’s new album – his first in fifteen years.

Alan? What’s up?

 

 

Visit Alan Here !

Get Tickets for February 24th Here 

 

 

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Steve Hackett Is ‘Selling England by the Pound’ Part Two.

It was a ‘rushed’ album.

Genesis’ landmark record was in fruition before it was in fruition. Several of the songs were thoughts in the heads of Peter Gabriel,Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett.

It was guitarist Hackett who came up with the idea for perhaps what was the deciding song in Genesis’ soon-to-be upcoming superstar status. It was also an album where Steve Hackett made his mark as a guitar player.

Please listen below to Part Two of my chat with Steve about Selling England By The Pound.

Steve? What’s up?

 

Steve Will be in Montreal September 21st and 22nd. Get Tickets Here !

Visit Steve Here 

 

 

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Steven Wilson Puts On A Clinic.

It is true …

Many people don’t know who Steven Wilson is. Generally and within musical ‘popularity’, Wilson lives in an obscure place. For the punters of the world a very bad thing. For Wilson – a very good thing.

The creator of the band Porcupine Tree and his band-mates set up shop at Place des Arts in Montreal on Friday night. Combining Porcupine Tree material and material from Wilson’s various solo and band projects – the tunes were for the faint of soul …

Wilson is an innovator. He is also a man filled with musical conviction both from a songwriting perspective and a technical point of view. His attention to detail and exploration within all musical forms is an attribute to his Father’s teachings. Wilson is also no fool when combining the arts. The marriage of visual and audio conceptions are ‘making love on their honeymoon’ during a Wilson show. Perhaps the only time when unannounced voyeurism should not be condemned.

Think of Wilson as a leader of a cult. From the beginning of the night through to the end – his ‘followers’ are pumped and poised to drink his poison. The pent up energy within the anticipation ready to explode as a premature ejaculation. Only the commanders of their very own pirate ships possess this type of passion for perfection and rebelliousness. Only perfection parlays unique language to the passionate through words and music.

Thinking and retroactive responses fill the spaces left by the pauses in musical creativity. The roller coasters, the emotions of life envelop the band and the crowd. The synergy, allowing connections to arrive at mutual understandings. Bonds -unmistakable gluing of concrete agreements.

Progressive Rock (with hints of early day Genesis and King Crimson) pokes it’s head in between Heavy Metal and Pop / Rock. Ghostly appearances from Gabriel to McCartney float nearby without interrupting the moment of now. The polite ‘intrusions’ – mere knocks on the door of Wilson’s songwriting bedroom.

To sum up a show of Wilson’s (and the bands) genius – a crime against humanity. A war crime to make Cheney and Bush appear angelic.

Years and years of recording. Years and years of ‘schooling’. An insatiable thirst for creativity and a natural habit for mining the salt of the earth allow Steven Wilson a hiding place.

For the sake of humanity and musicianship – the flashlights should remain in their respective drawers.

Visit Steven Here !

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Steve Hackett Is ‘Selling England by the Pound’

It was a ‘rushed’ album.

Genesis’ landmark record was in fruition before it was in fruition. Several of the songs were thoughts in the heads of Peter Gabriel,Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett.

It was guitarist Hackett who came up with the idea for perhaps what was the deciding song in Genesis’ soon-to-be upcoming superstar status. It was also an album where Steve Hackett made his mark as a guitar player.

Please listen below to Part One of my chat with Steve about Selling England By The Pound.

Steve? What’s up?

 

Steve Will be in Montreal September 21st and 22nd. Get Tickets Here !

Visit Steve Here 

 

 

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