Rick Keene Music Scene – The Strumbellas; A Chat About the Pureness of Music

Canada’s up and coming band are here !

In a few short years the band has gone from playing acoustic  folk inspired melodies to playing acoustic folk inspired melodies. The crowds just got bigger !

Please listen below to my chat with Darryl James about the new album, the fans and what to expect in the future.




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Montreal Jazz Festival Review – Joss Stone and Melissa Etheridge

On paper – Joss Stone and Melissa Etheridge look great as a double bill. In reality – they are greater than the sum of two parts …

When Joss Stone was in her Mother’s tummy, she attended one of her Mom’s favorite artists in concert. When Joss was seventeen – she sang as part of a duet with one of her Mom’s favorite artists. Last night at Places des Arts – Joss , once again, performed with one of her Mom’s favorite artists.

Melissa Etheridge remains constant in Joss Stone’s life.

Stone arrived on stage softly and that was about right for what was to transpire throughout most of the evening.

‘The Look of Love’, ‘Landlord’, ‘Stuck on You’ and ‘Victim of A Foolish Heart’ allowed Stone’s voice to shine through. In  past performances at the Jazz festival – too much ‘screaming’ took place which took away from the sheer talent of Joss’ vocals. There is a time and place for everything and sometimes at a Joss Stone show – the lines are blurred.

Not last night at Salle Wilfred Pelletier.

The band maybe were caught by surprise as well.

Joss swerving from set-list and improvising like a bird on a wire. Reading the crowd and judging reactions, just one part of Joss’ seemingly arrival at professionalism.

Comfortable in her skin and comfortable with charming banter. Her British humor and accent disarming critics, the audience and her band. The latter injected life into what can be ( at times) a monotonous trip while the former – a very good idea.

‘Put A Spell on You’ and ‘Son of A Preacher Man’ ended things on a high note. Joss and her mates raising the energy and injecting history into the night. Passing the baton to …


Melissa Etheridge

If Melissa Etheridge was loved before last night’s show in Montreal, this morning – the city must be erecting a statue of her atop Mont Royal.

What’s with all these artists pre – dating 1995? Was water different in the old days or has political correctness taken all the creativity and passion out of life ?

Etheridge arrived in town on the heels of her new album; Memphis Rock and Soul. Its an album paying homage to Stax Records and all the great tunes which inspired generations of musicians and fans. Horn heavy with R&B and Country music as the ground wiring. In short – the elements which were the beginnings of Rock n Roll.

Etheridge is one of  ‘those’ artists. A woman who has climbed, conquered, descended and now sits revered at the music clubhouse. Take away the battle with breast cancer and the same adulation and love is thrown her way for her music and activism on behalf of the ‘small folks’ in this world.

She doesn’t have to give a damn on stage yet she does – more than ever. 

Melissa’s new (old) songs from the new disc were solid. ‘Memphis Train’, ‘Respect Yourself’ and ‘Rock You Baby’. Three tunes which enveloped the show in a torn up stained envelope. Countless cigarette burns, whiskey stains and sweat were duplicated admirably by Etheridge and her posse. After all – growing up listening to Soul, Country and Rock n Roll in Kansas will leave a definitive impression.

Melissa’s energy was alarming. Anyone under the age of fifty who huffs and puffs while eating Mae Wests at their desk should be ashamed.

Non – stop talking between songs, non – stop guitar playing, non-stop walking from side to side. Toss in some impressive harmonica work and a mini drum solo near show’s end – everyone in attendance needed a nap from watching . Just the power vocally in classics such as ‘Somebody Bring Me Some Water’, ‘I’m the Only One’, ‘Like the Way I Do’ and ‘Come to my Window’ enough to light up the Jacques Cartier Bridge’s pretty blue lights.

 In 2005 – Joss Stone and Melissa Ethgeridge paid tribute to Janis Joplin at the Grammy Awards. Fast forward to Place des Arts last evening and the pair did it once again. The first time the talented duo have performed together since that emotional evening twelve years ago.

“Cry Baby’ and ‘ Piece of my Heart’ were meant for these two ladies of song. Stone’s range picking up the tenderness and the toughness while Etheridge’s emotion and vocals as raw as the spirit behind Joplin’s original impact. Rarely does a moment take place at The Festival these days that leave people talking for a few weeks or months. Ella Fitzgerald did it near the end of her life as she battled diabetes and last night, the combination of Etheridge’s survival status and Stone’s tutelage to one day be the grand lady of Soul – a perfect marriage on the alter of The Montreal International Jazz Festival’s legacy.

A piece of everyone’s heart was left at Place des Arts.


Visit The Jazz Festival here !


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Blues Festival Here!






Jazz Festival Reviews – Joss Stone

Joss Stone

In Montreal, it’s called ‘l’eau’ for your soul and that is exactly what Joss Stone provided at Metropolis on Sunday evening as the 36th Edition of The Montreal International Jazz Festival drew to a close.

What a way to go out … 


Joss Stone, complete with a ‘Superheavy’ resume constituting of collaborations with the likes of Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart and Damian Marley, arrived in town as a precursor to the release of her upcoming 7th studio album; ‘Water for Your Soul.’

Stone bears all on stage. Not the ‘ mind in the gutter’ type baring, more like ‘shed-inhibitions-and-display-the-soul’ type undressing. Complete with shoe-less feet ( a Stone trademark), Joss neither attempts nor delivers any preconceived corporate shows. She is a hippy chick – through and through.

victor diaz lamich Photos
victor diaz lamich Photos

The song ‘Spoiled’ introduced Stone’s tremendous ‘live’ voice to a very receptive Montreal crowd. Singers such as Stone and her predecessors in the Soul / Rock / Blues category (women such as Aretha Frankin and Janis Joplin)  are more times than not much better in person than their vinyl / digital representations. In other words – Memorex does not do Joss Stone justice.

Her arsenal on Sunday consisting of ‘L.O.V.E’ and ‘Baby Baby Baby’ are nothing new in the annals of popular music. The wheel has not been reinvented by Stone nor her band. In 2015 – it is difficult for any artist to truly come up with anything truly original  especially in the style which Stone has etched herself. Voices are original. Vocal styles are not.

‘Super Duper Love’, from the 2004 album ‘Mind Body and Soul’ is the closest Stone has to an identifying tombstone in the graveyard of music. Catchy, bouncy with a body of soul – Super Duper is a song that comes around once -in-a-Brittany Spears. Take away Spears’ voice and add some depth – Joss Stone is front and center with a hit of her own minus the Illuminati drama.


At twenty-eight years young, Stone carries herself with extreme class combined with a touch of innocent flirtatious behavior. Why not? An entertainer utilizes whatever they must to get people to enjoy the show. In Stone’s case – her charm is much more inherited than acted. Some are born to be special and Stone compete with vocals, looks and character – is one of the ‘lucky’ ones.

One surprise last evening was Stone’s version of A White Stripes Song.

‘Fell in love with a Girl ‘ is the Stripes ‘ version and Stone (making a statement on her sexual preference perhaps), altered the lyrics to “Fell in Love with a Boy’. Either way, a perfect rendition of a well chosen song to display Joss’ versatility and her willingness to take risks.

A trio of songs which stood out like a giraffe in a herd of antelope represented different stages in Stones’ career. ‘You Had Me’ and ‘Right to be Wrong’ are part of the ‘here’s Josh Stone’ period while ‘ While You Are Out Looking for Sugar ‘ is the ‘ where’s Joss going next’ phase of her ( so far) 14 million album-selling career. All three representing brassiness, vocal perfection and a seasoned vocabulary.


A couple of songs from the ‘Water for the Soul’ album were strutted out while with the song  “The Answer ‘ blending nicely from studio to live. Any songs from her work in the group Superheavy was sadly vacant. ‘Miracle Worker’ from Superheavy is another tombstone for Stone and it was a precursor for the upcoming  Reggae-inspired ‘Water for Your Soul’.

Oh well, at least Stone is not as perfect as she sounds or looks …

JossStone_WFYS_2015 (Album Cover)

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