Cliff Stevens – Explaining Why ” Grass Won’t Grow’ !

 In Montreal – Cliff Stevens is known as ‘ Slowhand ‘. 

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Something that came as a surprise to Stevens at one point in his musical life.

” I loved Clapton and loved playing his music.” Says Cliff from his ‘home away from home’ Morocco. “Everywhere I played or went, people kept telling me I sounded like Clapton and looked like him too. It took me a while but I caught on and starting doing a tribute to him!’ He laughs.

For those who know Cliff, guitar playing and music is at the top of his priorities. A craft he works very hard at and the results are in full glossy form musically and personally on his second album; ‘Grass Won’t Grow’. A disc which combines elements of one of Clapton’s favorite songwriters – J.J. Cale.

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Cale

” Writing the songs, I did not conscientiously think of Cale but there is definitely that influence in there.” Admits Cliff.  “Cale was so influential on Clapton’s career with songs like ‘Cocaine’,  my affection of Clapton’s music is an extension of Cale.”

‘Grass Won’t Grow’  is a record which Stevens is extremely fond of and the album has hard work combined with personal lyrics. In short, an accumulation of Steven’s life so far. Any artist whose passion for music leads them into romantic troubles will identify immediately with the album’s theme and the album’s second song ‘Price You Pay’

” It’s my life …” chuckles Cliff. ” I’ve had a few relationships over the years which don’t work out because of my lifestyle as a working musician. It isn’t easy being on the road and committing to a union of two people. The end of some were my fault and some were because of my unwillingness to ‘stay home’ The lyrics are all about my feelings, thoughts and emotions.”

Stevens’ ‘unwillingness ‘ to stay home is somewhat  reflective of the live music scene in Montreal. Something which has sadly diminished in the past few years.

” Doing my music or the Clapton tribute, the scene in Montreal was not enough to make a living.” Explains Cliff.

” There are places I play and continually get work when I am Montreal  but it is just not enough to pay the bills. I have come to Morocco for a few years now and it is a great place for travelling musicians. My  expenses  are small in Morocco  and there is enough work to keep coming back.”

‘Grass Won’t Grow’ is a love affair for Stevens with a combination of Blues, Country and a small dose of Rock n Roll. Catchy choruses and clever riffs enhance Stevens’ solos with a genuine feeling of togetherness. A feeling Stevens contributes to the musicians playing on the album.

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” I could not have done it without them” Admits Cliff.” I was so lucky these guys had time to help me out. ”

Stevens explains.

“Sam Harrisson ( Paul Deslauriers Band)  is on drums,  Alec McElcheran (one of Montreal’s most sought after session players) is on Bass and Eric Sauve adds Piano and Organ. The professionalism and experience these guys added were unbelievable. Their advice on arrangements – just enough to make the songs work that much better. It sounds clichéd but I really don’t think it ( the album) would have that continuous feel without them. Simon ( Jodoin) and Marc ( Theriault) engineered and mastered the album and without them, none of us are very good …”

‘Grass Won’t Grow’ opens with an easy-going flare. Unlike some ‘Blues’ albums, there is nothing repetitive to the senses. 

‘The track that seems to be getting a lot of airplay is ‘Runnin’.” Explains Stevens.  “It is more Rock and Pop than the others and it surprised me a bit. I’m just happy people like it. Of course – there is a Blues foundation within the song which most Rock n Roll has. “

“Don’t You Say’ – the opening track and the second tune ‘Price You Pay’, both contain a Stevie Ray Vaughn ‘Coldshot ‘ kinda feel. A tune custom-made for having a drink after a hard day’s work. The theme of a disenchanted female, absorbed by Stevens’ relaxing riffs and raspy vocals. Company for the misunderstood musician.

The’pearl’ of the album, a song which everyone should be singing along to once the chorus is embedded in their earphones is the title track; ‘Grass won’t Grow’. An infectious upbeat number destined for a movie soundtrack. A feel good upbeat number which, at the very least – leaves the listener humming all day.

‘Cryin’ My Heart Out’  is the aw shucks tune. The song which lyrically would make any woman forgive Cliff. With a touch of an eighties  Colin James , the song remains distinctively Stevens. Something about the voice on this song and the album which arrives as pure and unadulterated. The powerful lead in by the band and more powerful solo is a must listen for any fan of the Blues ballad.

‘All Through the Night’ , should have been on The Beatles’ Abbey road album. A dark feel grounded by menacing riffs and an eerie solo. Blood curling stuff which grabs by the guitar neck and chokes you into the Blues-y Rock feeling of  early seventies  California. Spine – chillin’.

Please listen below to sample some of the songs on

‘Grass Won’t Grow’. 

 

Visit Cliff Here !

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Visit The League of Rock Here!

 Visit Evenko Here !

Visit The Hi – Fins Here !

 

 

Delfeayo Marsalis – Making America Great Again ! Part Three.

 Delfeayo Marsalis comes from Jazz royalty.

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The Marsalis clan are considered to be building blocks and messengers for the great tradition of New Orleans music. Carrying the torch and integrity of  great American Jazz.

Delfeayo Marsalis, perhaps more than his brothers Wynton and Branford, or – in a different way, is educating  the folks in real time. Adorning the American landscape with words and music, profound in history and poignant at a time when America is wounded.

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Please listen below to part three of my chat as Delfeayo explains Jazz in New Orleans and the message of pure spiritual sounds which are integral to the past and future of great music in America and around the world.

Delfeayo? What’s Up?

 

 

Visit Delfeayo Here !

 

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Visit The League of Rock Here!

 Visit Evenko Here !

Visit The Hi – Fins Here !

Visit Cliff Here !
Visit Cliff Here !

 

 

The League of Rock Montreal – Showcasing One Month of Hard Work !

 

Well – to coin the name of a recent video title, this is it …

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The League of Rock Montreal, following four weeks of rehearsals, is showcasing the results on November 2nd at McKibbons West Island.

The first step towards the bands recording their songs on to CD at a professional studio in Showcase Number One. 

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It has been an interesting journey thus far. All these musical men and woman meeting for the first time a month ago. Drummers, singers, bass players, guitar players and a keyboardist. Each with specific styles. Each with different tastes in music. Each with one goal. To learn, grow and become better musicians.

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On November 2nd, the results will be known to each performer. They will discover, how much they have improved and – how much they have not. So far, they have been practicing in a studio with their backs to where the audience will be on Tuesday. On the second day in November, they’ll be performing on stage. A different animal. A completely different ‘tune’.

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Thankfully, the groups have had some help along the way.

Montreal chapter president Gary Johnston has not only ‘ barked’ instructions to the would be ‘rock stars’ , he has also recruited some very knowledgeable musicians to encourage and teach the League of Rock bands.

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In order, Brian Greenway ( April Wine), Corey Diabo ( Jonas and The Massive Attraction), Warwick artist Simon Daigle and Roy Nichol (April Wine) have ‘lent’ their experience to the aspiring musicians.

Last Wednesday, Roy Nichol ( above picture) was very instrumental in shaping a somewhat anxious bunch of previous ‘clay’ into magnificent sculptures of Rock.

The current April Wine drummer – explaining things that only an experienced musician could. Initiating talks on how a successful band operates. Something not known to the ‘naked ear’.  After all, most fans of any type of music, show up and enjoy the show. Not much thought is put into the behind-the-scenes work and discipline required to make a functioning band function.

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The interesting thing about the four bands participating in The League of Rock Montreal is the short period of time they had to choose three songs and tighten them into form.

Remember, not everyone in each band may like a song choice. Not everyone in each band knew the chosen song  a month ago. This is where the League of Rock coaches helped.

Nichol, last week, explaining to a vocalist, not to ‘read the words’. Explaining how the vocalist rides the foundation of a song which is led by a drummer ( usually) . Trusting the musicians and learning to ride the wave.

Once the bands became aware that even experienced musicians must shove trepidation to the side, it facilitated the process for The League of Rock bands and aided in the transformation  of creating a full sound . A tight sound. A cohesive sound. A unit …

The League of Rock coaches ease the nerves. The League of Rock coaches simplify things.

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Brian Greenway

Wednesday Nov. 2nd at McKibbons Pointe Claire will be a test. A test of nerves, an exam of technique and a result to head back to the studio with to work on. New knowledge to return to the studio and  tamper and fiddle with anything or everything that went wrong.

Step one to becoming a working band. 

Visit The League of Rock Here!

Visit McKibbons Here !

 

 Visit Evenko Here

Visit The Hi – Fins Here !

Visit Cliff Here !
Visit Cliff Here !

 

 

Delfeayo Marsalis – Making America Great Again ! Part Two.

 Delfeayo Marsalis comes from Jazz royalty.

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The Marsalis clan are considered to be building blocks and messengers for the great tradition of New Orleans music. Carrying the torch and integrity of  great American Jazz.

Delfeayo Marsalis, perhaps more than his brothers Wynton and Branford, or – in a different way, is educating  the folks in real time. Adorning the American landscape with words and music, profound in history and poignant at a time when America is wounded.

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Please listen below to part two of my chat as Delfeayo explains Jazz in New Orleans and the message of pure spiritual sounds which are integral to the past and future of great music in America and around the world.

Delfeayo? What’s Up?

 

 

Stay Tuned for Part Three !

Visit Delfeayo Here !

 

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Visit The League of Rock Here!

 Visit Evenko Here !

Visit The Hi – Fins Here !

Visit Cliff Here !
Visit Cliff Here !

 

 

Delfeayo Marsalis – Making America Great Again ! Part One.

 Delfeayo Marsalis comes from Jazz royalty.

th-16

The Marsalis clan are considered to be building blocks and messengers for the great tradition of New Orleans music. Carrying the torch and integrity of  great American Jazz.

Delfeayo Marsalis, perhaps more than his brothers Wynton and Branford, or – in a different way, is educating  the folks in real time. Adorning the American landscape with words and music, profound in history and poignant at a time when America is wounded.

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Please listen below to part one of my chat as Delfeayo explains Jazz in New Orleans and the message of pure spiritual sounds which are integral to the past and future of great music in America and around the world.

Delfeayo? What’s Up?

 

Stay Tuned for Part Two !

Visit Delfeayo Here !

 

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Visit The League of Rock Here!

 Visit Evenko Here !

Visit The Hi – Fins Here !

Visit Cliff Here !
Visit Cliff Here !

 

 

Guitarist Cameron Mizell – Filling Up The ‘Negative Spaces’. Part Two

 A Blues Saxophone player once told the tale of playing alongside legendary harp player James Cotton in Chicago.

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On stage, during a tune, the saxophonist leaned over and asked Cotton how he was doing. The band was tight and judging by the reaction of the crowd, the groove was happening.

Cotton spoke into his ear two words which altered the Sax player’s life in music;

Empty Spaces.

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Guitarist Cameron Mizell takes those words and elevates them into the stratosphere in his new album; Negative Spaces.

Imagining other worlds within the empty spaces as the origins of magical and inspiring notes. A level of conscientiousness both grounded and otherworldly. A record worthy of critical and mass praise from musical souls.

Please listen to Part Two as Cameron completes a journey into the world of

Negative Spaces.

Cameron?

 

Visit Cameron Here !

 

 

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Visit The League of Rock Here!

 

 Visit Evenko Here !

 

 

Visit The Hi – Fins Here !

 

 

Guitarist Cameron Mizell – Filling Up The ‘Negative Spaces’. Part One

 

 

A Blues Saxophone player once told the tale of playing alongside legendary harp player James Cotton in Chicago.

th-13

On stage, during a tune, the saxophonist leaned over and asked Cotton how he was doing. The band was tight and judging by the reaction of the crowd, the groove was happening.

Cotton spoke into his ear two words which altered the Sax player’s life in music;

Empty Spaces.

download-1

Guitarist Cameron Mizell takes those words and elevates them into the stratosphere in his new album; Negative Spaces.

Imagining other worlds within the empty spaces as the origins of magical and inspiring notes. A level of conscientiousness both grounded and otherworldly. A record worthy of critical and mass praise from musical souls.

Please listen to Part One as Cameron commences a journey into the world of

Negative Spaces.

Cameron?

Visit Cameron Here !

 

 

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Visit The League of Rock Here!

 

 Visit Evenko Here !

 

 

Visit The Hi – Fins Here !

 

 

Rick Keene Music Scene – The Best Album of 2016 ( Thus Far …)

Rarely an album comes along which captivates an audience from start to finish. 

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Adding genres while subtracting sounds. ‘Negative Spaces’ become the stars of the show while telling intricate tales of musicianship.

Please listen below to the most compelling and brilliant album thus far in 2016.

Thanks for Listening ! Talk soon !

 

 

Visit THE ALBUM HERE !

 

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Sign Up for The Leaue of Rock Here Mention Rick Keene Music Scene and Receive a $150.00 discount !

 

Visit Dwane Dixon Blues Here and Buy the New Album;

Working Man Blues