Rick Keene Music Scene – Evenko Concert Week !

For the second year, evenko announces that it will be joining Live Nation Canada in National Concert Week celebrations!

Concert Week will take place from May 1st through May 7th and give fans the exclusive opportunity to purchase tickets for just $20 (all-in including fees). The offer will include tickets to many in-demand shows, like; Eros Ramazzotti, Florence + The Machine, Pentatonix, Heart, Bryan Adams, Def Leppard, The Chainsmokers, Corey Hart, Marie-Mai, Loud, Patrick Bruel, Jay Du Temple, Rufus Wainwright, Alessia Cara, David Foster and more!

For one week only, fans can get their hands on these $20 all-in tickets beginning Wednesday, May 1st at 9am at evenko.ca, through Tuesday, May 7 at 11:59pm.

Produced by evenko, Concert Week is a time for artists and fans to celebrate their love of live music.

Visit Evenko Here !

Montreal En Lumiere Preview; Feb 19th – March 1st

Montreal En Lumiere is in it’s 16th season. 

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Click on the link above to see all the activities which take place in and around Montreal.

Please listen below to discover some of the performers and what they may be playing at their shows.

Montreal En Lumiere …. lights, camera …. action!

 

 

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Jann Arden; Friday Night Lights!

They clapped, they cheered and they stood. In between – Jann Arden actually sang a few songs …

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Arden, on the heels of her latest album; ‘Everything Almost’ – took the stage at The Olympia in Montreal on a warm September evening. Warm outside and warm in people’s hearts.

Such was the vibration felt around the venue from the mostly over-forty female audience. Put it this way, not a lot of Zeppelin fans fist pumping on Ste. Catherine street. Why would there be …?

Arden is not that type of singer although she dressed like a Joan Jett wannabe to start. Leather was in fashion yet – as she stated in one of the evening’s many monologues; ” You knew what you were getting …”

Well Joan Jett  was not it …

Simplicity and quality tunes is what the audience got.  Oh – and humor. Was humor mentioned?

That’s what those in attendance received in  a very cold ( temperature – wise) Olympia Theater.  No ‘avant garden’ for Arden and her touring entourage. No biting heads off bats. Save for a few ‘Elvis – esque’ lighted images of Arden behind the band and smoke (which made Salt Peter on fire seem weak in comparison),  basically a no frills  show visually …

Musically – especially for an Arden fan; filled with frills.

Commencing with ‘Counting Mercies’ from the new album and heading back through the past ‘ not-so-darkly’ and ‘darkly’ – Jann Arden proved her voice was still atop the heap of female songstresses in Canada. Following fifty -two years of good times and bad , Arden ‘s catalog an open book on a now gilded sleeve …

‘Wishing That’ brought tears in the most simplest way. ‘Insensitive’ – creative ( necessarily?) due to the number of times the ‘ flagpole’ song has been performed over the years. ‘Live and in person’  – the tune seemed unimpressive as some songs do compared to the polished studio version.  Insensitive appeared ‘insensitive’, rushed and void of soul. High expectations may have played a part in the letdown …

 ‘Hard to Be Alive’ was a Celtic high point with backing singer and front -woman in her own right – Allison Cornell, displaying more talent in a fiddle than most musicians display talent. Cornell – according to Arden; one of the most talented people on the planet complete with a horse farm. Then again, according to Arden, every member on stage were the most talented people on the planet. What else can she say? These guys suck ..?

One of those people Keith Scott, known mainly as Bryan Adams’ guitar player – set the tone around the midway mark with a ‘very planned”  Summer of 69‘ riff which laid a path for a sing-a-long.  Dangerous territory since those three minutes displayed Arden’s only weakness. Not being diverse enough to write Rock / Pop tunes. The energy surrounding Adams’ tune higher than any musical moment in Arden’s own arsenal.

Therein lies the beauty of Jann Arden. Keenly aware of her inability to pump the crowd with her tunes  – Arden relies on her own sense of humor (plus covers) and utilizes every moment vacant to display those wares. Whether waiting for a patron to go (and come back) from the washroom and / or inviting a drunken punter on stage for a ‘selfie’ moment – Arden mocks herself, the audience, her band members and everything in between.

These are the high energy moments  of the show normally saved for rockin’ songs that groups such as  Rush, The Guess Who and (insert Canadian band here) use in their concerts. All ballads for Jann (mostly) equals humor equals relative success. Easy …

Arden should place more time and effort into continuing her progressive career  on a variety of songs and genres. If the humor is removed  ( approx. thirty complete minutes), then Arden’s show in grave danger of  a sleep-fest unless the audience members are holding hands, in love and / or afraid of Rock n Roll.

If part of the latter group – Jann Arden’s concert is the best (and funniest) show this side of Laugh-In.

Most of Jann’s fans will remember that show.

Younger ones don’t care  and won’t show up …

Highlights

You’re So Vain – Carly Simon Cover

Summer of 69 – Bryan Adams Cover

Karolina

Hard to Be Alive

You Were Never Broken

You Love Me Back ( encore)

Happy ( Allison Cornell)

Everything Almost

Comedy Segments

 

Listen to my interview here …

 

 

 

Great Canadian Rock Show Part Three

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Lennex, Santers, Mainline, Bravebelt, Klaatu …

Heard of these guys? Probably. You just do not know it.

Five Canadian bands who paved the way for guys like Bryan Adams and (sigh) Justin Bieber. Commercially – anyways. Bands who did not get their fair due airplay -wise and monetarily. Some did – most had a cup of coffee in the show but in those days, record companies led the corrupt way for most.

In part three, Ritchie Henman ( co-founder of April Wine), speaks about The Wackers from a front ( back?) seat view and Mitchell Field talks about Hellfield. A band who opened for The Cars at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Ready Ritchie? Mitchell? Alright fellas …let’s go ….!

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Gino Vannelli; All Those Nights in Montreal. Part Two

Gino Vannelli had a lot of ambition as a young man growing up in Montreal. According to him – you have to have that fire to succeed.

The+Best+Of+Gino+Vannelli“I was filled with fire as a kid. I moved to New York when I was young and signed a record deal by the time I was twenty-one, which was fairly young for even today’s standards. None of that would have happened without that fire. As I have gotten older, I would not say the fire has gone away but it is tamed. I became more interested in different styles and improving my vocal techniques. It has became an interesting musical journey …”

That trip is not over …

Vannelli is in the process of recording a new album which will be ‘in record stores near you’ in 2014. An album that will contain all original material. Material devoted to Jazz and Blues. Something Vannelli wants to get off his chest.

” I love the process.” Says Gino. ” I love to hear the results of hard work and the desire to make art. I love the sound of music. I love to play piano and I love to sing. Right now with all the new technology, I love to be in front of the computer, programming and using new school applications with old school ways.”

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Growing up in Montreal, Vannelli was gaining fame around the same time as guys like Frank Marino. He really did not hang with him or guys like him because he was not a rocker. He did not fit in with most of the people making waves in the Montreal or Quebec music scene back in the 70’s. The state of the Canadian recording scene also had something to do with it …

“I had different visions musically. I wanted to explore music on my own terms and I knew I needed good producers and sound technicians. Back in those days – that did not exist in Canada. Now it is a different story. Starting in the mid-eighties, with the advent of Celine Dion and Bryan Adams – studios got really good in Canada. When I started, studios in Canada were in the infancy stage. You could not make the kind of music you wanted because producers and musicians were not skilled in the process of making records.”

Vannelli, a resident of Portland ,Oregon – is using all the skill he has gathered over the years to good use. For him – he learned his singing skill as he went along with no one to teach him the ups and downs of what it takes to be a singer. Gino is giving master voice lessons in Oregon. Something he wishes had existed for him when he was a young man starting out.

“I have ten students from all over the world. I have been doing this for threeginovannelliscan0032 years now. They are all good singers. I started doing this when I was living in Holland a couple of years ago. It is a lot of fun to teach up and coming singers and it is a great learning experience for me as well. Once in a while – I run into really great singers and it is wonderful. I have done this in Italy and France as well…”

Vannelli teaches the intangibles. Stuff that singers come across while on the road touring …

” A lot of people come in and think they can hit every note in the world. I say okay, what are you going to do if you just flew ten hours and you are tired? What happens when you are sick? Are you going to be able to hit those notes? We call it conscience singing – being aware of everything around you. Phonetically, annotative, diction and concepts are part of it along with theory and technical. There is a lot involved in singing. It’s a human being that’s travelling and you must really learn the ropes.”

Vannelli grew up listening to his Grandfather play the guitar but it was his Father who influenced him mostly – music wise. His Dad was a Big Band fan who brought home a lot of records. A real music lover …

” He had Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgreald, Classical and Opera records … He had everything and I was very fortunate to grow up in that atmosphere. He was a huge music fan and it made me a bit of a musicologist. I know the players , the bands, the singers who go way back to the 1930s. I studied classical music and my favorite period is the French Impressionists of the late 19th century. My taste run wild when it comes to music. I appreciate everything right down to Americana and Bluegrass. I like to mix and match when it comes to  recording. It’s like an artist mixing colors – the music process is about talking all genres and implicating it in the sound they are making .”

Something Vannelli will be doing in an upcoming television show …

Stay Tuned for Part Three

One Road; On the Path to Stardom

One road usually goes two ways …

East – West or North – South. For the duo, One Road … North is the direction they’re headed following their debut album.

For Tracy and Mike, two men fulfilling a vacant prophecy from the days of their youth, the opening song just doesn’t complete the void – the tune overflows into music heaven …

‘Ride On’ does not sound like a debut song on a debut album. Instead – the maturity of decades rebounds through the inner ear with mountains of pleasure. The song should be a staple on every music station with a taste for good old fashioned balladry, lyricism and keynote guitar playing. Really, the song is that good and better than veteran groups such as Kiss could only dream of in their twilight years …

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If there is a problem with track two – or, for that matter, the remainder of the album … it’s the simple matter of attempting to reach a bar set extremely high by the first song. It’s not easy living up to your past successes, especially if they are recent.

Track two delivers the same maturity combined with a sound distinctive yet dangerous. If Bon Jovi is to your liking – ‘Change is gonna Come’ is right up your alley. Mike delivers a guitar solo which could make Sambora call …

The thing that sets One Road apart from many musicians, is the realism provided by Tracy’s lyrics. They are profound. Tracy sings and writes from the heart.

The track ‘On my Way’ is a prime example. Tracy admits he has made mistakes in his life. He also admits his love for the woman who has stood behind him. Add Mike’s equally spirit- driven riffs on guitar, a ‘last call’ song at any local watering hole. A final dance before a night of romance …

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‘You Gotta Live’ tells a tale. A story about anyone’s neighbor and the mundane aspects of life. Advice is given between hard riffs and soft chords. Words of wisdom to live life to the fullest.

How do bikers dispel manners? Through music of course …

Exactly what ‘Raise a Glass’ does. ‘Good old memories’ giving thanks to the relationship between the pair of friends. Once more, Tracy’s lyrics providing fodder for thought. Supplying immense pleasure to make a listener smile. Everyone has or has had the connection which takes place in the song. If not – through the song, it is possible.

Harmonica and subdued guitars start off the second best song on the disc. Once more, Bon Jovi comes to mind in ‘End of the Road’. A common theme is found through the album. Hope, inspiration and lessons. Life lessons are at the forefront and it is a good thing.

‘Long Way to Go’ is an extension of ‘End of the Road’. Instead of having two songs, the duo should have combined the best elements of the pair of songs, tossed them into a blender and released one interesting song instead of a filler which ‘Long Way’ is …

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‘Blue Skies’ commences a party. Complete with a ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ drum beat to get things going. The song is an anthem in a One Road concert. Mike’s catchy riffs sometimes channel ZZ Top on this tune. The tune gets the foot stomping and the vocal chords primed to sing along. This tune was needed and delivered by the novice songwriters.

Tracy could be a Hells Angels version of Rod Stewart or Bryan Adams. The raspiness of his voice, the cigarette – drenched range perfect for ‘One More Day’. Sadly, the lyrics are tired on this song. Been there – done that. A listener may forgive due to Mike’s great guitar and a very catchy chorus …

‘Lady Luck’ thankfully picks up the pace and alters the mindset which was in danger of getting weighed down in melancholy. A combination of blues/ country/ Southern Rock make the pair of rookies once more sound like pros. This would be a great song live. Especially as the song ends. One word about Lady Luck according to Tracy; bitch!

The disc ends with a ‘Screwdriver’. A celebration of an album completed. The kind of song which makes you want a drink while listening. Amother anthem for the bikers of the world. Picture pool cues, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jack Daniels and chicks leaning on Mike’s guitar …

That’s the band – One Road …

Listen Here!

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