What’s Happening in Montreal and On Rick Keene Music Scene – Spooky!

So much is going on – even the Pope is gay!

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As usual – Montreal has a lot to offer in the music field. Concerts, shows – if it has a groove, this city adores it !

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Please listen below to what is coming music-wise and find out how to buy tickets online for most of the shows taking place in Montreal and beyond.

Thanks for listening! Talk soon …

Visit the Montreal Blues Society Here!

 

 

 

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Quebec to Memphis Blues Challenge at Bistro a Jo Jo – Oct. 6th

 Blues! Blues! Blues!

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It is all about the Blues. 

Especially the next couple of weeks at Bistro a Jo Jo on St. Denis in Montreal.

It is the Quebec to Memphis Blues Challenge. The winner of the eleven artists competing receive an opportunity to go to Memphis, Tennessee to test their skills there as well.

Some of the best Blues artists in Quebec will give their all starting on Oct. 6th.  Head on down to Bistro a Jo Jo and cheer your favorite artist on!

James Cotton
James Cotton and Rick Keene

Please listen below to some of the artists performing !

 

Visit the Montreal Blues Society Here!

 

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Jerry Mercer; As the Years Have Gone By …

To say that ex – April Wine drummer Jerry Mercer has been around is a gross understatement.

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Starting from scratch and working his way up from Trevor Payne and The Triangle to the wondrous  sounds of the Cuban rhythms – Jerry Mercer has played a lot of percussion.

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He ain’t done yet …

Please listen below to my chat with this legendary Canadian musician.

Jerry?

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Ria Reece is Out All Night ! That’s a Good Thing !

Ria Reece is new on the scene of music. Professionally – that is.

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Out All Night is her and her band’s take on Ria’s musical experiences growing up. A little bit of Etta James, a lit bit of this and a whole lotta R and B, Blues and Soul.

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It is the band’s first album of original material, Judging by the sound of it – there will be a whole bunch more to come.

Please listen below to my interview with Ria !

 

Visit Ria Right here!

 

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What’s Happening in Montreal and Rick Keene Music Scene

As usual – a lot going on …

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Please listen below to a few events coming up ! Click on Jazz Festival and Evenko logos to buy tickets to many great shows !

Thanks for listening! Talk soon.

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A Review of Keith Richards’ Documentary ‘Under the Influence’

Most people have dual citizenships. Keith Richards has dual personalities.

In the documentary ‘ Under the Influence ‘ ( available on Netflix) – the lines are blurred with orgasmic pleasure for a true music fan.

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The general population love Keith Richards. The masses also know very little about the man.

They know the myth. They have read the tales of decadent behavior and the seemingly endless nine lives which appear to pursue Richards on and off the stage. Everyone loves a survivor. Especially one who has written the songbook of Rock n Roll with a middle finger left off the fret and pointed straight at the powers that be.

Keith Richards at seventy – one years of age, can do no wrong. He has earned the right to captain the Black Pearl.

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‘Under the Influence’, the documentary which coincides with the release of Richards ‘ first solo album in over twenty years (Crosseyed Heart), is a showcase of Richards’ mindset in the studio as he lays down tracks with his ‘Xpensive’ mates.

Instead of this documentary being solely a marketing tool to help sell copies of an album made by a Grandfather who ( in Rock n Roll history) should be passed his prime, the film instead utilizes the celluloid moments to open the drapes and let the rays of American music display Richards’ crevasses on his worn face as valleys of knowledge. In short – ‘Under the Influence’ is a proper documentary.

In short – Keith Richards is a proper musician.

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The Stones’ guitarist has forgotten more than most know. The Stones’ guitarist happily has not forgotten more than most know.

Director Morgan Neville takes that knowledge and places it elegantly into a history class. Not a Blues class. Not a Rock n Roll class. Not a Country music class. Not even a Great American Songbook class.

Neville and Richards deliver a top of the line University music class with the above ingredients both separate and blurred together. Just as elegantly as Richards himself.

The best thing? Lazy people need not apply …

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In the 1960’s, the Beatles reinvented popular music. They too were influenced by the same men who laid the foundation for the Stones’ songbook. The Beatles remained white British boys while the Stones transformed into a bunch of Black kids playing the Blues to anyone who would scream. The Rolling Stones with Brian Jones , Mick Jagger and Keith Richards leading the way, introduced American Blues to America white folks.

In 2015, in glorious irony, at a time when the music business and an entire generation of musicians appear ‘lost for words’, along comes Keith Richards ‘under the influence’ once more.

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Satan, God or whoever runs the show – every once in a while sends Richards into the forest as a musical Robin Hood.  A rich man giving back to the poor.

In the eighties, when Rock n Roll and all it’s edgy guitars took backseat to synthesized drums machines and keyboards, it was Richards’ ‘Start Me Up’ riff that kept Chuck Berry sane. While Mick Jagger was experimenting with every sound heard by dogs and people as a solo artist, Richards angrily released the album ‘Talk is Cheap.’ A project that is held in highest esteem by any musician worth their weight in music.

Richards’ kept the Rock n Roll/ Blues and R and B barge afloat without a ‘Life’ jacket.

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Here is where the dual personality kicks in.

Richards’ has also kept Country music in people’s consciences. From ‘Country Honk’ off of Let It Bleed’, the entire Beggars Banquet album and into ‘Dead Flowers’ off of the Stones’ classic 1971 album Sticky Fingers and everything in between, Richards continues the tradition and love of Country on his new album Crosseyed Heart. Keith Richards along with Hank Williams, George Jones, Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Wanda Jackson and thousands or millions more – have kept the world balanced within the structure of ‘Rock n Roll’.

No Country music equals no Blues or vice versa. No Blues / Country  means no ‘Roll’ in the Rock.

Richards likes his Roll … thank you very much.

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There is so much in Keith Richards songwriting than meets the bloodshot eye. ‘Under the Influence’ gives a glimmer of what makes one half of  The Glimmer Twins glimmer.

Hogey Carmichael and the Great American Songbook were a huge part of Richards’ post – war English environment. Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Solomon Burke and all the Soul and R and B men are the foundations of Richards’ indestructible frame. Mix them all together within a man with the backbone of a lion? The main ingredient of Richards’ and the Stones’ longevity. The ability to place a song ahead of the solos.

Craftsmanship.

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‘Under the Influence’ is a thoughtful insight into an ageing man’s psyche. Musically and as a human being.

Many times during the film Richards’ is on the cusp of melancholy and wistfulness. Tears are welling up behind the shades as much as his influences are masked by the shades of Rock n Roll. The documentary – a rare peek into Keith Richards as a man who has conquered everything on his own terms and has no idea how he has ended up as one of the most – loved people on the planet. No idea how he has ended up still ‘ on the planet’ for that matter.

It is called integrity Mr. Richards. See you at The Crossroads ….

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Visit Keith here!

 

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The Kentucky Headhunters – ‘ John Bonham Dying Killed Our First Shot at Success …

The Kentucky HeadHunters are living proof – Country Music and Blues make up Rock n’ Roll …

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Johnnie Johnston

Starting in 1968 as The Itchy Brothers – the band came oh-so-close to stardom. An untimely death ultimately killed their chances of becoming ‘America’s Greatest Rock n Roll band’ yet, like Rock n Roll itself – they came back with a vengeance …

Please listen to Part One and Part Two of my interview with Richard Young. Richard talks about working with Chuck Berry’s pianist (and friend) Johnnie Johnston. The greatest sideman in the history of Rock n Roll.

Kentucky Headhunters Live
Kentucky Headhunters Live

 

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Visit The Kentucky HeadHunters Here!

 

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Colonel Tom Parker Has Not Left the Building! ‘Pour’ Him an ‘American’ Shot !

Colonel Tom Parker made a lot of money off Elvis Presley. Tom Parker of Toronto, aka Colonel Tom – has the same name as the famous promoter / Elvis career killer. 

That’s where the comparison stops …

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Tom Parker is a Country / Folk singer who plays Guitar and Mandolin. Unlike Elvis or Colonel Tom Parker – Tom ( of Toronto) writes his own tunes.

His latest offering is with his new found band; American Pour. 

Please listen to part one of my interview with Colonel Tom.

Discover much about him as well as the health of his wife Alex Pangman. Pangman – a survivor of two double lung transplants and a fantastic Jazz / Swing singer ( see link below).

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Visit Tom Here!

Hear Alex Pangman Here!


 

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Click Here!
Click Here!

 

 

 

 

Wanda Jackson – From Elvis to Jack White

Wanda Jackson dated Elvis Presley. Not bad eh?

Following forays into Rockabilly, Rock n Roll, Country and Gospel music – Mrs. Jackson is still going strong into her sixth decade. Her latest endeavor? Working with Jack White and Justin Townes Earle.

Please listen as Wanda explains her experiences.

All part of music history …

 

 

 

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Leeward Fate - No Ordinary Kind iTunes cover copy

 

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Jim Cuddy – Back to Nature …

Blue Rodeo are coming to Montreal on March the 2nd to Place des Arts. For Jim Cuddy – it’s natural.

This is the final show on a tour that has seen his son opening up and Juno nominations for Blue Rodeo and his eldest child; Devin. A fulfilling year to say the least …

Please listen as Jim explains his songs, his thinking about songwriting and his pride with his son. A Canadian legend to say the least.

Jim …?

 

 

Please visit Blue Rodeo Here!

 

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Company Example

 

 

Devin Cuddy – His Own man …

Devin Cuddy is the son of Jim Cuddy. Same last name, same love of music. That is where the connection stops. Sorta …

Devin Cuddy is on his own. Being the elder son in the Cuddy family, his independence is not new in the family scheme of things.

“All older sons are fiercely independent …” Says Jim Cuddy; father of both Devin and Blue Rodeo. “Anyone with an older son gets that …”

The Devin Cuddy Band is opening up for Blue Rodeo at Place des Arts on March 2nd. Please listen as Devin explains everything.

Devin …?

Visit Devin here …

One Road; A Little Bit Country – A Little Bit Rock n Roll

La la la la … life goes on …

Or so it goes for the band One Road.

Tracy and Mike’s lifelong dream of making a living as musicians – is far from over. Despite a learning curve larger than Justin Bieber’s list of arrest warrants, the duo are re-adjusting their game plan. Not changing – tweaking. A little change never hurt anyone after all …

Listen below as Tracy explains his next course and why he thinks something other than Marois must be changed in Quebec.

Tracy …?

 

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Please visit One Road here!

 

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‘Lil Andy – Up Close and Personal

Country music is alive and well in Montreal …

According to the genre’s rising star in this province – ‘Lil Andy would not like to play anywhere else – for long …

Listen as Andy explains many things including his latest CD, his influences and how he surprised his Mom!

Andy …?

Bobby Dove; Montreal’s Biggest Country Asset

Although Country music is not in very high demand in Quebec – especially ‘real’ Country music, singer and songwriter Bobby Dove is the one person who could change all that …

Blessed with vocals as sweet as Apple Pie – Bobby is determned to make a mark for herself in Montreal and the rest of Canada. Please listen as Miss Dove explains her album, her influences and her plans for the future.

Bobby … take it away!

Visit Bobby’s Site here!

Lee Mellor; The Country comes Begging to Town …

It’s a long way from Mersey to Montreal. It’s even a longer journey from the home of the Beatles to Nashville; music – wise.

Don’t tell Lee Mellor all this – he won’t believe you …

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The England – born singer / songwriter arrived in Canada at the ripe age of five. Bowmanville,Ontario was the new adress for the Mellors. This introduction to the space and vastness of Canadian soil, opened the door to Mellor’ s soul.

Highways, natives and trains. Say what?

” These themes are reoccuring in my songs and in my psyche. Somehow I think they have become part of my experience in Americanization. There is something about the sheer size of Canada that fascinates me!”

Not only is Mellor a great story telling music artist whose tastes contain a mixture of everyone from Bob Dylan to Otis Redding – Lee is also a published author. His first book; Cold North Killer; Canadian Serial Killer, can be found among the best in Canada when it comes to this rather gruesome subject.

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“It ( the book ), has opened so many doors for me. I have made acquaintances with prominent phychologists and police both here and in the U.S.” Says Mellor just before he hits the stage at Casa del Papalo on St.Laurent Blvd. ” In my own way, through my words and music, I am trying to serve humanity the best way I can. Not Mother Theresa or anything – just my part”

It does not require a pychologist to analyze what makes Mellor’s music rise to the top of the music heap. It’s all about telling a tale. Stories that come from someone aside from Lee himself.

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” When I write the songs, it’s another personality that takes over.” Says Lee. ” Its hard to explain but I become another character and I visualize the story through them.”

A good example of these ‘ characters’ is in the song; Liberty Street. A tune which is on Mellor’s first c.d – Ghost Town Heart. The disc was released in 2007.

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The song is the story of two perspectives.Two pairs of eyes seeing the pomp and pageantry of a military-type parade which takes place on main street in ‘anytown’ North America.

The first take is from a naive point of view. An innocent child not understanding the concept of the ‘trotting out’ of the flags of war. The secondary viewing is through the eyes of a war veteran. A person who has lived through and seen war first hand. That person’s view is jaded and along with the child’s outlook; a dislike of the parade takes place for different reasons.

Toss these derogatory views into the type of music which makes you want to hold your sweetheart tightly in ‘anytown Canada’, a moment is created by Mellor which rests profoundly in the heart.

It’s no secret why Mellor pens these types of songs.

Lee grew up listening to and admiring people such as Johnny Cash, Steve Earle, the Band, Gram Parsons and Towne Van Zandt. ‘Dirty Blues’ and ‘Dirty Country’ are the roots which hold Lee firm in his songwriting prowess.

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“I was attracted to these storytelling musicians because it seemed more real. It was all about the content of the lyrics more than the image.”

Mellor created his recent c.d; ‘Loser’, in the same fashion. The first disc was all about the sound being tight and produced perfectly. The first disc was also more country.

” ‘Loser’ is more raw and fun.” Says Mellor. “It is also more psychedelic, drawing from my love of the sixties and early seventies music. I would say the second disc is more rock n’ roll.”

Two albums and soon another book for Mellor. Rampage; Canadian Mass Murderer and Spree Killing should hit the bookstores in 2013. This time – Lee is chronicling Canadian killers who carry out dasterdly deeds such as the recent killings in Colorado.

Mr. Mellor is a very talented fellow. He plays guitar, banjo, mandolin and harmonica. He writes and produces all his music. He tries to find a balance in all this as the artistic side does not always pay the bills.

Lee is hoping to return to Concordia University in the fall. An institution which brought him to Montreal in the first place ( he obtained a history degree ). This time Mellor is after a PhD …

“My books or music do not take precedent over one another.” Says Lee. ” I don’ t chose one to make a living. I believe I need both to balance me out – keep me steady.”

Luckily for a fan, sitting at a Mellor concert invites all type of emotion which is far from steady. Drinking songs, ballads, foot – stompin’, dancing and even a taste of punk rock hits the audience squarely in their musical palates.

If Bluegrass, Country, Rock, Motown, Blues, Soul and Folk music are your tastes, grab Mellor’s music.

Van Morrison up your alley? Listen to Lee’s amazing talent and why not read a couple of ‘true crime’ books while the eclectic tunes are spinning in the background.

They won’t kill ya …

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Black Canyon – Quebec Country Music; American Style

According to Black Canyon’s bass player; the band would be much more popular if they lived in any other province than Quebec.

“This is the hardest place to make a living playing country music.” Says forty-one year old Sylvain.” The market that exists pressures us to play in French. Our love is American country and it is English. We don’t get as many gigs but we are singing what we love.”

Sylvain is a French Canadian currently residing in Rawdon,Qc. Sylvain has been playing country music since his mid- teens. He lied to join his first band.

“I played keyboards and piano. A band I knew and had heard was looking for a bass player. They knew me and that I loved country music and asked me to join. I did not know how to play bass and I was not nineteen. I lied about two things so I could join a country band.”

Sylvain’s quick study earned him a place and in the time it takes to get your dog back – the Rawdon resident was on his way. A long and winding route which led to his meeting with the members of Black Canyon. All except one.

The drummer Danny, was not born yet.

The man with his foot on the peddle of Canyon’s beat is the son of the lead guitarist; Rick.

” He ( Danny ) started playing with us for fun when he was ten. He ‘officially’ joined when he was twenty. That means he has played with us for fifteen years! Where does the time go …?” Wonders Danny’s Dad.

Lead vocalist and guitar player Ray doesn’t see it that way. Ray doesn’t see too many things … he is legally blind.

” I had glaucoma since I was a five. I’ve had a prosthetic eye since I was eight and my right eye only has five percent vision.” Says Ray between sets. ” I see light and I use a cane to walk about.”

Ray’s lack of vision is atoned for in his voice. A profound tool that takes hold of the crowd from the moment the band walks on stage.

Black Canyon plays all the classic and contemporary country tunes. George Strait is a favorite of Sylvains’, Ray loves Allan Jackson, Rick enjoys Merle Haggard and Danny’s idol is Gavin Garrison of the band Porcupine Tree. Say what?

” I love the way the guy plays! He is my role model along with Mike Portney from Dream Theatre. I love those guys’ styles.”

Dad Ricky is just happy his son loves playing with his band and Danny’s love of rock music growing up – brought no frowns from the family patriarch.

” There is so much talent in rock. How, as a lead guitarist and a music lover, could I possibly tell my son to not listen to anyone?”

Garrison – Unlikely Hero

Although Danny’s influences come from the extreme, a totally different realm than country, it is the diversity within country music that he loves. Swing, shuffle and straight hard hitting beats allow him to mix up his assaults on the ears. It allows a passion to shine through.

Jimmy Buffet’s Margueritaville , Merle Haggard’s ‘Ramblin Fever’ and Strait’s ‘All my Exes Live in Texas’ are some of the songs that helped the band earn the title of Best Country Act in 2000.

‘Up to no Good’ is an original tune that, on this night anyways – removed people from their seats and on to the dance floor. Black Canyon is enjoying their limited role as a predominant country band in Quebec.

George Jones, Farmer’s Daughter and Allan Jackson are a few of the big names that have recognized this. The band considers itself ‘privileged’ to have opened for the big names in country.

“We were supposed to open for Jones on his recent tour in Khanawake … unfortunately Mr.Jones took ill and the show was cancelled. As long as he is okay, that’s all that matters.” Says the band’s singer – Ray.

Rick, the group’s practical joker – agrees.

“We’ll just keep ‘walking’ around … Looking for the next gig. As Ray’s unofficial guide – I’ll take him by the arm and lead him to success!”

“Like the time he grabbed me to sit in the restaurant?” Answers Ray. ” He walked me around in circles through the hotel for an hour …!”

” No thanks …” He laughs.

At least it was in another province. Nobody recognized Quebec’s number one country band.

Not yet …!

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Black Canyon will be the house act every second Tuesday at Le Pionnier. They are also the main draw at Spurs Country Bar on St.Jacques in NDG.

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