All You Need is Police Protection! Fifty Years Since The Beatles Played in Montreal; Part Two

How time flies …


The Beatles took the world by storm. Creating a sensation which – to this day; remains unmatched. What was it about these four lads from Liverpool? Their hair? Their suits? Their silly English accents combined with even sillier humor?

All of the above for sure yet without an amazing ability to create timeless tunes, sing-a-long melodies and poignant love tales; the imagery meant nothing. Face it – even cute puppies grow up!


Please listen as John Oriettas and I discuss The Beatles as well as John’s upcoming performance on Sunday September 7th at Oscar Peterson Hall. An occasion for his group; REPLAY – to mark the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ only two shows in Montreal. An occasion to mark history …

John? Paul? Geoge? Ringo?


MBD9 Final


Visit Replay here!


Lawrence Gowan; ‘ I Would Have Been an Astronaut …’

Lawrence Gowan aka Gowan – is a ‘Scot‘ at heart ….


Born in Scotland and transplanted to Ontario ( Scarborough) as a child, the writer of one of the best Canadian ballads of all time ( Criminal Mind), is a man well-traveled.

Whether mixing his first album in England at the very same place Lennon recorded Imagine or jamming’ with the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis and The Band for Ronnie Hawkins‘ birthday bash – this classically trained pianist is at a happy place right now. Being part of one of the top grossing touring acts in the past ten years – does that to a man …

Since ‘officially’ joining Styx in 1999 – Gowan is enjoying a combination of high-octane rock n roll via the band’s catalog along with his signature songs. A perfect fit for a man whose stage presence fills a void . A hole placed in Styx when Dennis DeYoung departed. A band-aid which became a permanent ‘scar’ ….

Gowan explains his experience, Styx’s ‘double fantasy’ and the group’s upcoming show in

Montreal on November 17 at L’Olympia Theater.

Please visit Gowan’s site here !

Visit Styx here!


John Lennon in Montreal? Yes and No …

Marcus Cahill was born far from Liverpool. It did not matter …

” My Father was a guitar player and a Beatle fan.” Says Marcus Cahill (aka John Lennon).” To make me go to sleep as a child he would sing ‘Rocky Raccoon‘ or ‘ Yellow Submarine‘. He would do it every night. As I grew up – I would start playing his records. Because I was born after The Beatles broke up, I had all their albums. I did not have to wait for The White Album to come out or something like that …”

john lennon
Marcus Cahill

Cahill – from Dublin, Ireland, is not a fanatic.

He does not pretend to know everything about John Lennon or The Beatles. He does not know the names of their Moms, the places where they ate their dinner as young lads or what size pants they wear. What he does know – their music and the legacy is something which is amazing to him on so many levels.

“The music? This is where I am good …” Explains Marcus. ” I studied all the records, I know all the sniffles, the pauses and all the nuances. When kids were outside playing ball or something – I was in my room studying The Beatles’ records. I started at around five years of age. It was not just Lennon or the Beatles, I knew the complete ‘Band On the Run‘ record when I was five. All of McCartney‘s solos, George’s and Ringo’s.”

Marcus wants people to know, especially the true Beatles’ fans – he IS NOT John Lennon and he is not pretending to take his place. Normally, most people he meets, accept him for what he does yet there was one occasion when ‘a fan’ took exception to Cahill’s portrayal of the dead Beatle …

Marcus explains ….

” I was at The Cavern and I had just finished playing a set … I went outside and this huge guy, about six- foot -five comes up to me … WHO do you think you are? He says … You think you are John Lennon? You are messing with history …! I thought I was dead! I mean this guy really wanted to beat me up! Thankfully – I managed to calm him down and we had an ale together … what a fright that was …!”


Imagine; The John Lennon Tribute – is a combination of the Beatles’ catalog and Lennon’s. Each half of the show, divided up as such. A compliment to both Cahill and Producer Richard Beaucage. The pair were careful not to become ‘just another Beatles tribute band’ …

” We are doing a few songs off of ‘Double Fantasy‘” says Cahill. ” The first half – we are careful to not do all the great Beatles’ songs because Lennon’s catalog does not compare. We do not want people to be let down in the second half although if you know John’s songs – it is hard to be let down. ”

He continues.

“We also have great images which will be projected around the Theater during the show. The cool thing is – I have had a lot more time to rehearse than John did. It is something I am proud to do so well. Fans will not be disappointed!”

Marcus Cahill plays all instruments. Not at once on stage, but he plays guitar and piano during the show. The first song of the first set ( a surprise), will kick off the show in the right way. A memorable moment which will set the mood for the evening’s entertainment. It’s a Beatles’ song that Lennon sings and wrote the lyrics for. Combined with Cahill’s uncanny resemblance and an eerily Lennon-esque voice – Marcus will make believers out of everyone.

Far from Liverpool …

The show takes place at The Rialto Theater on Oct. 11th.

Imagine the fun …

Visit the Rialto Theater for tickets and details

Tune in to k103.7fm on Friday @ 5:15pm as Sean McKeough and I will have two tickets to give away!

One Road or Une Rue …?

In a Quebec market which is bogged down in radio politics, One Road, after almost an entire year of charting and obtaining radio airplay everywhere in Canada – still cannot get their ‘Southern Rock‘ sound on the radio in Quebec ( k103.7fm excluded).


“To say that our sound is ‘too country’ for a rock station and then play Lynyrd Skynyrd and even Mumford and Sons – well that is a little hard to believe.” Says Tracy. ” I know that at least three of our songs are just as good or better than the ‘Country Rock‘ that plays on stations in Montreal.”

Instead of getting mad or even – Tracy and Mike decided if you cannot beat them, bypass them. In other words; ‘When in Rome – sing in French!’

wpid-oneroad-rideon-18-205x210‘ We decided to release a song in French and tap into the French market.  It is called Forge. Why not we thought? So far – the song is very popular but now we have learned the French market is even smaller than the English one. ” Laughs Tracy. ” We just cant seem to catch a break in our hometown, it is frustrating!”

Forge ( the English version is named Glory),  tailor made for a movie or television soundtrack. Tracy’s brassiness as ‘in your face’ as ever and Mike’s guitar – haunting with every note ….

‘I got together with a friend of mine who speaks only French.”SaysTracy. “He helped me write the lyrics and Mike and I had already written the music. It was a smooth transition …”

One Road will be playing this upcoming Saturday, Aug. 24th in the first annual BBQ for the Palliative Care Center in Dorion. Their first album ‘Ride On’ will be played in it’s entirety as well as the new French song Forge.

‘It is for a really good cause and we do not make a cent.” Says Tracy. “Everyone should come down and hear One Road rock the house. Our CD is available for sale ( five dollars goes to the Palliative Care Center)  and you can bring your own booze and food. Start up the BBQ and listen to us sing. My four Choppers will be on display as well. All custom made bikes. Impressive – even  to me …


The show starts at 7pm at 2890 Meunier. The park will be open all day starting at 2pm. Hamburgers, HotDogs, Soft Drinks and Water will be on hand.

Tickets are $15.00 on site and all proceeds go to the Palliative Care center.

Visit One Road’s site here …. 

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Druckfarben – Old School Prog Rock

There are a three things one should not do on acid …

The first –  drive a moped around the skeleton of a skating rink – with or without ice. The second most inane thing possible?  Listen to ‘ Several Small Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict’ by Pink Floyd.

The third? Listen to the inaugural album by Canadian band Druckfarben.


Unless of course a listener would like to relive the glory days of bands like Yes and Genesis. Then by all means, take a hit or two and brace for a psychedelic journey through the recesses of your mind. Welcome to the Druckfarben zone. It is 1971 and Fragile may be your state of mind …

The band consists of Troy Feener on drums, Peter Murray on vocals and bass, Ed Bernard on guitars, mandolin and vocals, William Hare on keyboards and Phil Naro on vocals. These guys know how to hit a forty – something music fan directly in their memory bank. If a memory still exists.

Yes’ great song ‘Roundabout‘, injects acoustics, a great bass line by Squire and keys into such great harmony, it is no wonder the song hit #13 on the charts for the legendary progressive rock group from England. Druckfarben’s first song, ELPO – continues the journey where Yes stopped their Purple Microdot trip.

ddnaro6Hare’s non – fragile fingers introduce a listener to Murray’s bass and Feener’s drums. Something is building. Something is reaching a crescendo. Suddenly, the bass and Bernard’s guitars settle into a fine machine before a sound unlike a combination of early Rush and Genesis takes control. Free form instrumental grabbing the ears and tossing them into track two.

Influenza will freak even the most hardened hippy out.

Vocalist Phil Naro sounds so much like Ian Anderson on this song, a trip down the corridors of post-Beatle high school takes place with Gentle Giant nearby. The bass is so quick and driving, keyboards so uplifting, the whole of the song is one journey inexplicably contained within itself. Every instrument taking turns. Improving with each toss and indentation of the chord. No stopping now. Pink elephants or not …

‘Smaller Wooden Frog’ starts with a Stanley Kubrick – styled piano intro. Evilness seems near yet the song soon implodes to an anthem. Rising guitar high with hope is soon counter balanced by a bass line. The enemy of the song. The arch-rival. A duel takes place – a tale of two very talented musicians nearing the proximity of their heightened powers. Finally – Naro settles things in much the same fashion as Anderson / Gabriel would have. Naro nears perfection within this gilded band.

‘Dead Play Awake’, the second longest track on the disc at 6:47 sounds familiar. It has a likeable element. Bernard’s guitar is that element. It soars around like a bird on a happy journey. Flying above Naro’s once again impeccable vocals. It appears each song is an epic tale of several years experience through these men who have managed to arrest time in the form of navigating the waters of oh so bad 2013 music.

‘Walk Away’ should not have its own name.

It is a continuation of Dead Play Awake. This is not a knock, it is a component of reality. Dead Play Awake was a tale and Walk Away is the fabulous climatic ending. Druckfarben’s finishing touch. A finale worthy of open arms greeting a sunrise following a black stormy night. The beauty of the band’s ability to toss aside trends and dead – end music executives like pebbles from their shoes.

‘Seems So Real’, the beginning keys – reminiscent of ‘Gravity’ by Max Webster. A little but not really. An acoustic guitar serenades Naro’s voice. An acoustic guitar sets the tone for a soothing serenade only the way this group could. Balladry Druckfarben style …

‘Nat Nayah’ is such a beautiful continuation. With apologies to Naro or perhaps kudos, eyes closed – Ian Anderson is fronting a millennium version of Yes illuminated by illuminating keyboards, strong beats and melodic chord interplay by a guitar ripe with creativity.

If a weak song exists, it is Sons of Anakin. On this album.

A tribulation. A canvas of which to paint tools of the trade winds. It offers nothing new nor old. It exists as is. It exists as a sometime Frank Zappa jam.

Sometimes the end can be the beginning. ‘Nonchalant’ is the start of a career. Druckfarben’s ‘piece of non – resistance.

A mandolin – led force which enters strong and soft. The song will take a breath and suspend it in time. A song for lovers. A period piece for the romantic inclinations stuck too often amid the fog of the world’s imposing ways. Genesis once sang a beautiful song named Ripples.

Druckfarben makes them come back …

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Andrea England; Hope and Other Sins – Album Review

Andrea England  has just released her second album. Seven years after her first and fourteen years following a car accident which almost killed her …

The story is a Hollywood one. Andrea England Hope and other sins

England was delivering her first ep to a record store in Ottawa. The accident brought her career to a full stop and she carried on with a fresh outlook. Andrea determined to turn her lemons into lemonade – and she has … thank you very much.

‘Lemonade’ is the title of her  award-winning debut in 2005.  Indeed ” it’s all about lemonade …”

The accident and later heart-related illness further cemented England’s resolve to hone her craft. A songwriter with 140 compositions and counting, her collaborations with an international who’s who of songwriting professionals include Dan Hill, Bruce Brody (Rickie Lee Jones, Patty Smith), Bryan Allen (Heart), Jeremy Ruzumna (Macy Gray), Liz Rodrigues (Eminem), and many others.

England has returned to a solo project with Hopes and Other Sins. A project, judging by the first track – ‘The Thought of You’, which should  rank very high among the angels which were so close to being Andrea’s roommates over a decade ago.

‘The Thought of You’ reminds a listener immediately of a woman by the name of  Sheryl Crow. Or – is it Shania Twain.  Bonnie Raitt maybe …?

Therein lies the beauty of the first track. A summation of  everything beautiful in music. Ingredients which compliment a voice that  sends music gracefully into the airwaves. England is one of few who sing without effort. Singing is her ‘calling’ and with the first song, a feeling is born between the listener and singer. A pact is completed and signed when guitarist Colin Linden’s slide enters the picture. A perfect combination of balladry and an edge to compliment the ‘other sins’. Did I mention John Whynot’s  organ playing at the beginning of the song …?

Andrea_England‘Lonely’ starts off with guitars complete with attitude. England jumps into the mix with her best impersonation of a sixteen year old girl sitting on a chain-link fence while the band trades licks and other things on the porch behind. Great music includes country and blues. The forefathers of Madonna’s limousines. Thank the lord, England is deep with her memories and even more profound with her band selection. ‘ Lonely’ is a feel good bottle of beer mixed with ginger ale. A ‘Shanty’ of great taste.

Real blues is meant to be listened on vinyl. Scratched and abused by the million times it has been listened to. ‘Hothouse Flower” is exactly the type of song which can accompany so many moods and feelings. Dumped? Put in on. In love …? Put in on. Cooking breakfast following an evening with your new found love? Put this acoustic / organ foot -tapping number on and enjoy the moment again and again … It’s a delightful way to poke the Devil in the eyes with your white satin fork and innocence of days gone by …

‘Fool’s Gold’ will be the favorite of any fan of Rickie Lee Jones.

If England spent any time with Jones it must have been like long lost twins meeting for the first time in years. ‘Fool’s Gold’ starts off showcasing Bruce Brody’s artful piano playing. A twinge of romance and feelings of a pre sex-ting era. England’s pronunciation of ‘hanging on to nothing’ and the chorus – a reminder of Lee Jones’ classic ‘Last Chance Texaco’. Brody has worked with Rickie Lee Jones. A coincidence that Brody and England are together …?

“When I was a young girl I did not know what Mama meant …”.


Fitting lyrics within a fitting coming of age story in the song ‘Laundry’. A tale of life lessons sung so beautifully by England – every Mother should make their teenage daughters listen carefully.  “I took my ring off for a minute and put it on a shelf ..” The best song on the album!

‘Drive’ continues the angelic ways of England’s voice. A continuing saga in life’s tales. A tale of getting in the car and attempting to chase memories of a love affair gone bad. Anyone who thinks clearly while driving for long distances can relate to this tune. Andrea has been places with her soul and as the album progresses, the obvious is never more obvious. Colin Linden accentuates the feeling with divine intervention. A marriage for the ages.

Wistfulness comes to mind describing the album Hope and Other Sins. Wistfulness and melancholia. The world requires England’s messages. The world filled with so many mixed messages, it requires self – effectiveness more than ever.

‘I’m Not Ready Yet’, ‘Picture of You’ and ‘Trying’ are a trilogy of gazing at the moon a la Tom Waits. Minus the gruffness. Seldom do a group of musicians become so entwined on the same song sheet that the song sheet itself  – tossed into the wind. The songs follow suite like butterflies engaging on a journey filled with hopes, dreams and reality. Dan Dugmore, who has played with Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor, becomes the real star on these tunes. His pedal steel guitar  playing become the tears of a lost contagion of planet earth denizens looking for answers in an asylum seeking a keeper. Andrea is asking why. A listener can give the answers from within themselves if they try hard enough.

The disc concludes with instructions for the future.

‘Learn to Dance’ a last message from a group of professionals to keep hope and try. Instructions to never give up with a back-beat of positive musical notes. A perfect book end to the disc’s opening track. A second pop – oriented track which includes the profound lyrics – “Life is like a river flowing ..”

Listen to England’s disc. You will buy it.

You will “Learn to Dance’ and be singing choruses all day long …

Visit her site;


Andrea England: Vocals, Harmony Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Colin Linden: Acoustic Guitars, Electric Guitars, Mandolin, Dobro, Harmony Vocals
John Whynot: Piano And Organ
Gary Craig: Drums And Percussion
John Dymond: Bass


Bruce Brody: Piano on “Fool’s Gold”
Damhnait Doyle: Harmony Vocals on “The Thought of You”
Liz Rodrigues: Harmony Vocals on “Learn To Dance” and “Lonely”
Carolyn Dawn Johnson: Harmony Vocals on “Trying,” and “Hothouse Flower”
Dan Dugmore: Pedal Steel on “Picture Of You,” “Trying,” and “I’m Not Ready Yet”
Gordie Sampson: Acoustic Guitar on “The Thought Of You,” Lyric Guitar on “Drive,” Mandolin on “Picture Of You”

The Hi – Fins; Everyone’s Cup of Tea

A record collection contains many gems.

The Dave Clarke Five, the Kinks, the Monkees, the Who, the Stones and the Beatles. Six groups which make up a good contigent of the British Invasion. Now – if it were possible to sit and listen to all these bands plus a few more in one night – LIVE, would a music fan sit at home? Of course not  …

Montreal group the Hi-Fins, provides exactly that. A taste of the British Invasion right in the neighborhood. An evening without the kids or the headaches of daily life. Paul McCrowe, the bass player, explains how the band achieved it’s name;

“Spy ( the guitarist ) and I have known each other since we were twelve. Spy was heavily into crosswords and we were trying to come up with a name. So there was a word that he came across “hyphen”. We both liked the word and came up with “Hi-Fins”, which – if you read between the lines, the symbol hyphen is there plus Hi-Fi.” He continues.” Hi -Fi is 60’s technology for  noise solution. All in all the name is a play on words. We thought we would be clever enough for someone to maybe figure it out when they see it! Some have …!” He laughs.

One thing which is simple to figure out is the band is blessed to have Mitchell Field on board as the drummer. Field grew up in England and was one of the fortunate few to have watched the Beatles play at the Marquee Club in London. Long before the band gained cult status.

“I was nine.” Says the fifty- seven year old Mitchell. ” I saw them all back then. The Kinks, the Who – it was a lesson which made me passionate about music and right then I decided to be a lifetime musician.” Mitchell left school and started to live his dream and played drums for Johnny Lee Hooker at one time. He then went on to play  with a band called Hellfield in the late seventies in Toronto. That band obtained moderate  success and opened up for bands such as Foreigner, the Cars and Kim Mitchell.

“Ya – we are very fortunate to have Mitchell in the band.” Says Paul. ” It is a funny story of how he joined.” He laughs. ” We put an ad on Craigslist and he answered it. When he came for the audition, he said ‘ Okay boys – show me what you got …!’ Spy and I looked at each other for a second and said ‘um…why don’t you show us what you got! We are auditioning you …!”

From the get -go, these three guys hit it off and following the second song in ‘the audition’ – a certain chemistry existed. They did not have to work too hard at achieving their very own ‘wall of sound’. ” People come up to us all the time and ask whether we have taped music playing in the background.” Says Spy. ” Or – they ask if we have a guitarist hidden somewhere. The sound is all in the way Paul plays bass. It becomes like a second guitar and the band’s sound is fuller.”

That must be the case. In a recent show at Le Pionnier, the room was packed with all ages. The kids in their early adulthood seemed to really dig the music that their parents grew up on. They were boppin’ and dancing all night long. Right along with their parents to ‘A Hard Day’s Night ,’ Satisfaction’, ‘You Really Got Me’ and ‘My Generation’.

A concert with the Hi – Fins contains many gems…

Listen to the Hi -Fins here

Please stay tuned for a more in-depth interview with Mitchell Field and the boys ….

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