Someone once said; “Rock n Roll is a vicious game …”
The music business is, in general, a very vicious game. More people are used and tossed aside than dishrags at a cheap restaurant. The good die young and the bad fade away unless their souls are sold to the devil.
Enter Mr. Jerry Mercer.
Some people have witnessed so much stuff in their lives – they forget what it is they have learned. Jerry Mercer is that guy. So much has gone in and stays, yet so much must be questioned to loosen the web surrounding the knowledge. From The Festival Express with Janis Joplin to Roy Buchanan. From April Wine to the rhythms of Cuba. Jerry Mercer has learned a lot and continues to grow.
Please listen below to a Birthday Tribute To Mr. Jerry Mercer
If aliens came from space and had to choose musicians from each Country that best represented the core and values of the land they come from, hands down – The Jim Cuddy Band would be headed to the stars.
The band, led by Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo fame, get the job done. All efforts go into playing music. No bells, no whistles and no dancing girls. Add the simple fact these people on stage with Jim are some of the finest this Country has to offer and the songs are a lesson in songwriting – The Jim Cuddy Band may be the largest ‘Roots’ outfit touring around.
Colin Cripps (guitar), Anne Lindsay (fiddle), Joel Anderson (drums), Bazil Donovan (bass) and Steve Cooper (keyboards). Five headliners on their own dazzled Place des Arts last evening with lessons in working as a unit and individually reaching profound depths of sound. The band delivering an array of Country-inspired Canadiana Folk Rock to a crowd ‘caught in the headlights’ of a powerful musical train.
Tunes from the new album CountryWide Soul were trotted out as pure as they were meant to be. Rarely do studio tracks obtain their form live and vice versa. The Jim Cuddy band manage to parlay both versions on a level whose only difference is the audience ‘noise’ and the energy an audience adds to the musicians. Cripps especially charged by the live interaction and his solos are monstrous. Cuddy in obvious awe of his guitar player’s talent.
Married Again, Countrywide Soul, Constellations, Roses at Your Feet along with Blue Rodeo classics Try, After the Rain and 5 days in May fit together like pieces of a winter puzzle. No damns in a concert as fluid as a stream winding through a thawing Canadian forest. The only shadows were the proper placements of light and dark within the highly crafted songs.
The new album contains one song that could be a Jim Cuddy original. One song that pays homage to the late Glen Campbell. Rhinestone Cowboy is Jim Cuddy. A feel good tune built wearing comfortable shoes and delivered from the heart. A celebration of music as the chorus is sung and known by almost everyone around the world. Live, a sing-a-long – an appreciation , allowing the sum of all parts of the evening’s show to come into fruition. A collective thank you to the band and to the punters. A chance for everyone in attendance to say; The Jim Cuddy Band. Period.
Director Nick Mead was a friend of Clarence Clemons, perhaps the most well known Sax player in the history of Rock n Roll. The two of them enjoyed their jobs because in the end – the work was not really work.
A trip to China following a Springsteen tour proved to be an eye opening experience for two men whose fate was sealed by a mutual love for one another and art.
Please listen below to my chat with Nick Mead about the film and his friend Clarence.
Whether it is the ubiquitous political crap or the never ending construction – Quebec musicians tend to flock to The Blues.
Every year, a contest is held to send the best Quebec Blues band or artist to Memphis – the Holy land of music. Every year,Quebec artists do very well in Memphis. The pressure is now on to live up to high expectations.
Please listen below to the five finalists for The Quebec to Memphis Blues Challenge.
Lawyer Suzanne Jarvie was living life with four kids. All of them doing what kids do. One day, nine years ago, a spiral staircase changed everything including Suzanne’s soul.
‘I played music my entire life. I sang a lot, I played piano and guitar. It was only after my son’s accident I started writing songs. That was the trigger.’
Suzanne’s eldest son was visiting his Father on Canada Day weekend. He was a normal healthy teenager. Suzanne, who was working in Toronto, received a call. Her son had fallen down a spiral staircase and was in a coma. It was a parent’s worst nightmare.
” He was airlifted to the hospital and they performed emergency brain surgery on him. We were told there was a good chance he would not survive.”
A week following the surgery,Suzanne and her family were in a state of flux. Waiting to either bury their son – have him wake up or stay forever asleep. Suzanne received a call from the nurse. Her son was starting to show signs of life.
“It was a miracle in the sense the doctors – nobody expected my son to recover the way he did. He has learned to walk and talk. He does have mental health issues (which all brain surgery patients have) and wonders what his life will be. Everyday I say we are lucky. My son is still with us.
A month into her son’s recovery, Suzanne was at home and she did something that she had never done before. She picked up a guitar and wrote a song. A simple song about her feelings toward her son and family which opened up the recess of her soul. In effect, it opened her new found musical career.
I don’t think I understood. I had all this stuff inside me I did not know I had. It helped me heal and there is something about the trauma that opened me up. There is something about externalizing feelings that help you heal. Then I had so many songs,I decided to release an album based on my family’s journey.
Spiral Road jump-started Suzanne’s music career. It garnered rave reviews from music critics in Canada, the United States and Europe and was nominated for an Independent Music Award in the Best Concept Album category.
Suzanne released her sophomore record In The Clear in 2019.
Picking up where Spiral Road left off, it explores the ongoing effects of a family tragedy, touching on themes such as addiction, freedom and forgiveness. Suzanne recently completed a European tour in support of her new record and will be returning for more performances in late 2019 and 2020.
Being a lawyer, you use a part of your brain that is not a part of your heart or creative soul. I was used to living in a space where your heart was not open.The tragedy opened me involuntarily and it was like a wrecking ball tore down all my walls.
Suzanne’s story may not be unique. Many people in the world today travel without ‘soul’ to survive in a world that can be cruel. Walls are essential.Walls are safe.
Im not sure anything less severe would have done it. It is a spiritual and mystical path I am on. It seems like it was meant to be in a weird way which is awful because I would do anything to have my son back the way he was.
Please listen below to some songs from the album In The Clear
Without realizing it – most Canadians are healed daily by music. It is the bandage of the soul.
Authors Terry Stuart and Robert Carli have decided to share this news in the form of music tales. Famous, not so famous and just plain good old Canadians share their experiences of what music has done to help them or the people in their lives.
As a bonus, within the book is also scientific proof and insight into the physio and mental benefits of music. Think of it as reading a tablet of Prozac .
Please listen below to my chat with Terry. A must listen and something to be shared if you love the human soul.
There is life in music – you just have to look and listen for it.
Most savvy music fans avoid the radio these days. It is filled with ‘fake tunes’. Corporate – pumped propaganda to coincide with the equally corporate-pumped newscasts. Music along with common sense should not be fueled by a station’s political agenda or beliefs.
Have a listen below to some events coming up, some great new tunes and a couple of classics.
Whitehorse took center stage at Montreal En Lumiere at L’Astral and demonstrated professional music without the usual ‘polished’dog and pony act attached.
Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland – the husband / wife duo are more comfortable than they should be. The chemistry both musically and spiritually was very apparent as they performed on the heels of their latest disc; The Northern South Vol. 2.
That album is the second installment of an homage to Blues’ classics. Make no mistake about it, on disc and live – the tunes are all Whitehorse.
Combining Rockabilly / Rock / Ballad sensibilities with Country ‘twang’ is not the only thing that separates Whitehorse from most. The harmonies between Luke and Melissa are both magical and soulful. Luke’s energy balanced by Melissa’s calmness. Luke’s Yin and Melissa’s Yang. White and the Horse.
Once upon a time – the pair did it all live. Both Luke and Melissa are multi-instrumentalists who took turns on stage filling musical gaps. Drums, guitars, bass – all interchanged through their own individualistic talents. Loops and programmed sounds were also added to fill the room with Whitehorse’s sound. Currently – a band has been added to ease the workload and place the spotlight on vocals, guitar and bass playing. Luke and Melissa focused? A force.
At L’Astral – their catalog was displayed properly. No runs of songs from the same album. Whether it was John the Revelator from their latest disc or Achilles’ Desire from The Fate of The World Depends on This Kiss. The tunes fit seamlessly in a show filled with appreciative fans. Whitehorse’s following growing more and more with each passing year. Whithorse’s experience growing with each passing album.
Every band or artist should pay attention to the duo’s success. Songwriting and musicianship done the old fashioned way is the key to both an enjoyable live experience and successful albums. It is not rocket science. Keeping it simple with enough talent and hard work is Whitehorse’s recipe for a climb which should be very high.
For the Western Canadian band The Sheepdogs – that is precisely what they are doing. And – doing it well.
When Rolling Stone magazine proclaims you as the band to watch out for, that is a lot of pressure. Judging from their performance at MTelus on a double bill with Montreal’s own The Damn Truth, the pressure appears to be in their favor. The crowd, the ultimate judges of success, was numerous and safe to say; satisfied customers on Saturday morning.
Following a powerful set from The Damn Truth, The Sheepdogs took the stage with pomp. The ceremony came after as the fans adjusted to the much different sound of the two bands on display. The Sheepdogs – much more grounded in Country and Pop to go with their Southern Rock n Roll. While The Damn Truth are in your face (take it or leave it), The Sheepdogs cater to the masses.
Who?, I’ve Got a Hole Where My Heart Should Be and Saturday Night started the twine rolling and from there on in – a simple matter of being strung along with good musicianship and catchy songwriting took precedent.
Ewan and Shamus Currie, Ryan Gullen and Sam Corbett are the men whose collaborations are grounded deeply in ‘roots’ music. Feel good tunes which are rich in traditional sounds. Bluegrass, Country, Folk and Blues. Easy going type stuff with an ingredient which is sorely missing these days in music. Storytelling. The Allman Brothers had it, CCR had it and so do The Sheepdogs. The knack for touching souls musically and lyrically. The knack of (figuratively) touching real people.
The set list is ripe with tales that add a connection to the fans (aka everybody). Human relations via words via truthful emotions. Relating to ‘stars’ on stages (and magazine covers) bridges the gap and increases bonds. Through songs such as Southern Dreaming, Kiss the Brass Ring, Up in Canada right until their mega hit encores – The Sheepdogs provide reliability. Meaningful thoughts build throughout and explode in a joyous singalong with the encore I Don’t Know. Good bands play – great bands let their fans ride a roller coaster live.
For the fans of Rock n Roll in Montreal – watching The Damn Truth emerge from seedlings in the garden of Montreal music has been – thus far, satisfactory. Yet in the immortal words of one of Rock music’s founding fathers; “I can’t get no …”
Obtaining ‘satisfaction’ as a Rock outfit is beyond reach if you take your craft seriously. Perfection is striven for yet always just out of a finger’s touch. That is the ingredient which separates bands with success and those without. Constantly working hard.
Montreal’s The Damn Truth have had more success in the Montreal Rock n Roll scene than anyone in the past five years. Touring with ZZ Top and opening for Styx – just two achievements reached. Working with top level producers and engineers; a couple more pats on the back. The latest notch in their guitar straps? Touring Quebec with the critically acclaimed band The Sheepdogs.
In 2012, the CD Dear in The Headlights was released. It was the beginning of numerous radio appearances and live shows which introduced the band to Montreal and eventually; the world. It was the beginning of introducing Lee -La Baum’s infectious energy and chameleon-like vocals. It was the start of showcasing Tom Shemerr’s raw piercing guitar riffs and groundbreaking solos. Drummer Dave Traina’s hard driving beats and unique rhythms a la Bonham. Newcomer PY Letellier on bass – grounds it all in slightly sloppy, groovy vehicule. All in all, the city of Montreal was introduced to a talented Rock outfit with an endless amount of work ethic and hunger.
Fast forward to MTeluson a cold January evening 2019 – nothing has changed onstage. The Damn Truth still perform as if it was their very first show and their musical life ( career) depended on the outcome. Success has not reached the ears of the band. If it has, then their love and passion for what they do – easily dismisses the accolades as a monkey dismisses a fly.
Whether pounding out tunes such as I Want You (He’s a Lightweight)or Kinda Awkward from their rookie CD to new tracks off their 2016 album Devlish Folk– one thing remains the same; the fans’ reaction.
There is something in the air when The Damn Truth play their hometown. It is beyond hometown support and /or love. It is beyond great tunes. It is superior to a Rock show. What The Damn Truth bring to the stage (aside from energy) is honesty. Integrity oozes through their sweat and into the first row. From there, like an epidemic – it is passed throughout the venue. The most jaded of music fans cannot dodge the bite of the band’s vicious and truthful fangs.
In this day and age of auto-tune, loops and programmed music, The Damn Truth are throwbacks to an era when music mattered more than the money. The days like the Fillmore West when the East Coast Blues, Funk and Country guys met and blended with the California music scene. The days (and nights) when those musicians talked about creativity and making great music. The days when bands played for the fans from the heart.
An audience cannot be fooled. An audience knows when a performer is real or calling it in. An audience knows authenticity. The Damn Truth are the real deal and that is why the audiences grow larger and larger at The Damn Truth shows.
I Want To Know What Love Is, Cold As Ice,Juke Box Heroand so many hits embedded into the souls of music fans of all genres.
The legendary rock band have a tour which is coming to Montreal on
March 12th !
Foreigner’s 18-city tour launches in Vancouver on February 22nd and rocks across Canada as the band – Mick Jones (lead guitar), Kelly Hansen (lead vocals), Tom Gimbel(rhythm guitar, sax, vocals), Jeff Pilson(bass, vocals), Michael Bluestein (keyboards), Bruce Watson (guitar) and Chris Frazier (drums) – bring Foreigner’s arsenal of hits to Canada.
Please listen below to my chat with multi-instrumentalist Tom Gimbel.Aside from his current job – Tom once toured with Van Halen as their sax player. Who knew?
William Burton – Le Réveil
Regroupement artistique francophone de l’Alberta (RAFA) – Nouveau Monde
Le R Premier – Planète Urbaine
Buzz Fortin – Session Buzz Fortin
Étienne Fletcher – Chérie, Chéri (réalisation : little jack films et brandon white)
Jacobus – Ma vie c’est un movie (réalisation : STEREO Films)
Marie-Clo – Taudis (réalisation : Groupe Média TFO)
Rayannah – En attendant demain (réalisation : Rayannah)
Shawn Jobin – Éléphant (réalisation : Xavier MC / Vandales)
23. Présence web
Les Rats d’Swompe
24. Conception visuelle
Aya Gano et Jeff Homère pour LeFLOFRANCO – Retranscrire
Christian Pelletier pour Mclean – Une dernière fois
Christian Pelletier et Marc Étienne Mongrain pour Damien Robitaille – Univers Parallèles
Élodie Evanno et Gabrielle Dubois pour Moonfruits – Ste-Quequepart
Gaëtan Vëno Joachim pour YAO – Lapsus
25. Réalisation et arrangements
Loig Morin pour Loig Morin – La Rivière
Mario Lepage pour Shawn Jobin – Éléphant
Mark Howard pour Cindy Doire – Panorama
Olivier Fairfield pour Marie-Clo – Faune
Olivier Fairfield et Simon Jutras pour Mclean – Une dernière fois
26. Prise de son et mixage
Don Benedictson pour Ariane Mahrÿke Lemire – Je deviens le loup
Don Benedictson pour Suzanne Kennelly – Suzanne Kennelly Jazz
Frédéric Levac et Marc-Antoine Joly pour Céleste Lévis – Donne-moi le temps
Loig Morin pour Loig Morin – La Rivière
Sébastien Perry et Stéphane Rancourt pour Mclean – Une dernière fois
27. Émission musicale télé ou web
Balade – Machine Gum Productions
Balade à Toronto IV – Machine Gum Productions
FrancoMusique – Roch et Catherine Archambault
Session Buzz Fortin – Buzz Fortin
Suivez-moi – Sabine Daniel Productions
36 Mille – Mathilde Hountchégnon
Intello-Productions inc. – Yaovi Hoyi
JKB Communications – José Bertrand
LaFab Musique – Michel Bénac– Nathalie Kleinschmit
Centre Culturel Frontenac
Festival du Bois – Centre francophone de Maillardville
Festival Edmonton chante
Le Centre culturel francophone de Vancouver
Enzo Carniel House of Echo / Florian Pellissier Quintet invite Roger Raspail / Bibi Tanga & The Selenites
L’Astral (Maison du Festival)
JAZZ ALL-YEAR ROUND
January 10th Taurey Butler Trio at 7pm.
People often comment on Taurey Butler’s resemblance to the young Oscar Peterson, in appearance as well as his winning combination of hard swing and melodic invention. Gratifying as it may be, he backs away from the compliment. There’s only one Oscar, he says. But there is no question that the one Oscar Peterson had a profound effect on Taurey’s life and his music.
Snooky was born in Norfolk, Virginia and raised in a small city called Woonsocket in Rhode Island. At the early age of 6, he began humming and singing songs to his mother while keeping the drumming beat going with his mouth. Even then, at that young age, music was in his bones. So, his journey began into the wonderful world of drumming. Upon arrival in Montreal, Quebec, he met an extremely talented and well known performer by the name of Freddy James. He later became his drummer and back-up vocalist in his dance R&B band, known as Fusion 3. For the next 6 to 7 years, they toured Japan, Africa, USA and Canada.
When the Freddy James era was over, he continued to successfully perform in night clubs, gospel choirs, and worked with other great musicians in studios. By the spring of 2010 he stayed in Montreal to work and finish writing another CD. He started playing regularly at the House of Jazz with Geraldine Hunt: His quartet,Snooksta and The Gangstas – became one of the headliners at the House of Jazz.
Dweezil Zappa, son of Frank – stopped by to chat about his upcoming Montreal show and the legacy of his Father. Given the notoriety of Frank Zappa’s humor in music and lyrics, it was interesting to hear Dweezil’s take on everything not funny. The genius of Frank as a guitar player, a writer, a producer and an engineer taking forefront of the chat. Zappa’s tune Bobby Brown was the summation of all parts for Dweezil noting that song was a Top Ten hit in Europe while North America banned it from radio play. Says Dweezil; ‘It was the most requested song on Valentine’s Day and at College and high school dances.’
Maybe it is time North America relaxed?
Local nurse Chantal Guimondreleased her dreams.
A Blues and Rock fan her entire life, Chantal put out a CD with covers of her favorite tunes as well as a couple of originals. Combined with a great backing band and a fantastic vocal range – Chantal ( who is retiring soon) has a nice career in front of her. Judging by the reaction of her first live appearance – sick people may have a different location to go and get healed.
Angela Harris took time to chat about her new album; A Woman Like Me.It is one of the purest ‘rootsy’ albums released in the past ten years in Canada. Combining Country, Folk and Rock with a powerful voice – Angela may be the most talented singer and songwriter in Canada. And – she has only really just begun.
Speaking of talented singer and songwriters – Barbra Lica is up to her tricks again. This time – Lica made a wrong turn and ended up putting out a superb Country disc. She went to a songwriter’s convention without knowing the folks who were putting it on were from Nashville. Well, as they say – the rest is history and Barbra released one of the best albums of her career thus far.
Joe Louis Walker ( friends with Hendrix and roommates with the late Mike Bloomfield) sat down to chat about his latest disc. Joe is always informative in his chats and not only educates with words, his new songs are always pushing the limits in terms of Gospel and R&B. A great album if you want to know where people like Beyonce really come from.
Ontario youngster Max Parker took time to chat about his new songs and subsequent upcoming studio album. Max – although acknowledging the Justin Bieber connection via age and location – quick to point out he is his own man. Catchy riffs and a more Bluesy feel than Bieber – Max will not be repeating Bieber’s mistakes if he gets that big. The internet can be a good thing sometimes …
Rock /Pop legend Alan Parsonstook time to chat (albeit briefly) about his first album in twenty years. The engineer, producer, writer and performer also discussed his DVD that has been implemented in Universities as a must have learning tool for studio recording. He also spoke of his friend and mentor – the late Geoff Emerich ( Beatles) and what Geoff meant to him. A great chat with a man who worked on Abbey Road, Let It Be and Pink Foyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.
John Muirheadknows how to become friends with musicians. Just release an album about playing gigs in different cities and sleeping wherever you end up. John’s disc is a the beginning of a career that will bring him to the highest places. Songwriting is new to him and now that he has discovered to sing about the truth and what he knows – the musical sky is the limit for John …
Reuben( Reuben and The Dark) stopped by just before hitting the road and coming to Montreal from BC. The chat revolved around his unique style and observations as a songwriter. Balancing the ebbs and flows of human emotion. The dark and the lights within and without. The band crashed their van outside Calgary on the way here and luckily none were seriously injured but some equipment was destroyed. Opening act ( in Montreal) John Jacob Magistery – saved the day and loaned Reuben and his mates what they needed. The show went on and it was a lesson in the rides of life – literally and figuratively.
It would not be complete on Rick Keene Music Scene without an annual chat with Steve Hackett of Genesis fame. This time – Steve spoke of Genesis’ landmark album Selling England by the Pound. Steve will be performing the album in it’s entirety in September 2019 in Montreal. The history of recording that album is a must hear for Genesis fans as things aren’t always what they seem.
Andy Kim took time out to chat about his induction onto Canada’s Walk of Fame. Combined with a resurgence of late with a critically acclaimed album; Andy’s fame is on the rise for the second time in his life. One of Canada’s greatest songwriters bares his soul and honesty for being ‘lucky’ in his life. A very humble and decent man .
Montreal’s own Justin Saladinowon the Quebec to Memphis Blues Challenge this year. Following in the footsteps of Steve Hill, Dawn Tyler Watson / Ben Racine Band and The Paul Deslauriers Band – Justin should take Memphis by storm. Hot on the heels of his most complete album to date (A Fool’s Heart), Saladino should be Quebec’s next global Blues / Rock star along with Jordan Officer.
Malcolm Bruce took time to speak of his band and what a band it is. Bruce is the son of legendary bass player Jack Bruce (Cream) and together with Eric Clapton’s nephew (Will Johns) and Ginger Baker’s son Kobi – the trio are paying homage to Cream. But wait. it is not what you think. No cash grab here. In the words of Malcolm; ‘Most people know my Dad for Cream and that only lasted a couple of years. My job is to spread the generous legacy and body of work of my late dad.’
The Proclaimersstopped by Montreal and amazed everyone with their songwriting skills. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) is the song everyone loves but it is the Zombie-esque harmonies that set them apart and allow the twins to continue their musical path. One of a few bands that get stronger as the show goes on.
Colin James took time out to chat about his new disc. Miles To Go is a throwback of the old Blues tunes that enamored the young James in the first place. James is continuing the trend among older Rockers ( Myles Goodwyn, The Stones, Randy Bachman) to pay homage to the Blues greats and release a Blues cover CD.
Lindsay Beaver is a Nova Scotia native current;y absorbing her Blues / Country / Rockabilly chops in Nashville. Lindsay spoke of her first CD and subsequent American tour. A Canadian making waves as a songwriter, singer and drummer. Alligator record top man has personally embraced Lindsay which saying quite a bit.
Black Mountain Whiskey Rebellionreleased a song (Holy Smoke) which is an indication of what very cool stuff is coming. Rather than release an EP or album – the band will be showcasing their stuff one song at a time. Not to be greedy but to market themselves. Their sound is a purposeful Muscle Shoalsone and that live on the floor feeling knocks your socks off. Once you listen – all the ‘star’ bands in Montreal crumple with weakness.
Blues veteran Jack DeKeyzertook time to chat about his homage album to the Blues’ greats. Checkmateis the name of the disc and Jack is in fine form as he covers some of the greatest tunes in not only Blues history – Rock as well.
How many people do you know that sell out stadiums and are the King ( musically) of their Country and then throw it all away for integrity?
Senri Oeof Japan is that guy. He was the darling of K Pop in Japan and was the Country’s equivalent of Michael Jackson. Senri loves Jazz so he moved to America and went back to school to learn his Jazz chops. How cool is that ?
2018 continued in August where it left off in July.
George Thorogood was back in Quebec for the second time in three months. Trois Rivieres en Blues was the setting this time around and the swagger returned. Thorogood was ‘safe’ at Place des Arts in Montreal and in Trois Rivieres; he discarded the condoms. Rock n Roll is dangerous and Lonesome George delivered.
Global Bluestrotter Harry Manxreleased an album with Canada’s best harp player Steve Marriner on board and Harry took time to chat about it. Marriner – fresh off touring with Colin James, adding an ingredient to Manx’ genius which complimented Harry’s style without taking anything away. Manx never sounded better.
TV’s Survivorman Les Stroudchatted about his new disc. A surprisingly sound album complete with menacing riffs and acute songwriting. Stroud’s insight into the environment taking control of the lyrics and musically, a blend of Neil Young and Bruce Cockburn took place. A brilliant disc.
The lead singer of The Guess Who, Derek Sharp took time to discuss the first new Guess Who album in twenty years. Sharp (also the husband of Sass Jordan) co-wrote half of the tracks and co produced the album. A throwback Rock n Roll disc with swing. A relief in this day and age and proving once and for all – the ‘ old guys’ know how to do it …
Continuing The Guess Who trend – guitarist and producer Will Evankovich spoke of the new album and his role as principle songwriter. Will, a relative newcomer to the band, provided old school mentalities and astute precision to an album that was recorded on analog equipment. Will is hot considering he also co-wrote and produced Styx’ latest album The Mission.
Continuing the Canadian Blues legacy is one Spencer Mackenzie. The young lad from Ontario has already won New Artist of The Year at The Maple Blues Awards and his album’s musicianship is far above his age in quality. A must see prodigy live if there ever was one. Buy Spencer’s new disc Cold November and support Canadian artists.
Twelve months have come and gone quicker than a man / woman looking for a one night stand. That’s what happens when music is in the air and in your soul.
Let’s take a look back shall we? Let us revisit the musical past of 2018.
Steve Hill finally released a live album after nine studio albums. He wanted to make sure it was done right and being the perfectionist Steve is – the delay came as no surprise. Check out the album; The One-Man Blues Rock Band, it’s a must have for Steve Hill fans.
The Box, one of the most successful bands to come from Quebec, returned with a brand new EP titled Take Me Home. Jean Marc Pisapia, the singer and songwriter for The Box,gave a three part interview about his career and the new EP. Very insightful if you are a fan of the eighties and Canadian music history.
Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo fame was in town with his side project The Jim Cuddy Band. Their performance at the Corona which included Jim’s two sons and Barney Bentall – blew some Canadian wind into the joint. Cuddy’s down to earth charm combined with an elite backing band was just what the music scene needed. Blue Rodeo ain’t got nothing on these guys and girls.
One of the co – founders of April Wine, Jim Henman, has been affected by the senseless shootings south of the border. He was so profoundly moved by the acts of violence – he wrote a song.
The song ‘Some of These Children’is a poignant and stirring take on events that have affected everyone. Parents, teachers, relatives and the entire world.
Jim Henman is donating fifty percent of all sales from the song to The Boys And Girls Club of Greater Halifax.This is a start to not only help the kids in Nova Scotia – to also send a message globally that us humans have had enough.
The Brooks resume includes opening up for The Doobie Brothers and Kool and The Gang. Two huge blowouts at the Montreal International Jazz Festival are also easy on the ears on a rhythmic C.V.
In May – the band (and what seemed like the entire city of Montreal), raised the roof at L’Astral and cemented their position as this city’s soon-to-be next Arcade Fire on the global scene.
April Wine’s Brian Greenway sat down and spoke of his career with April Wine and what came before. Bands such as The Wackersand The Dudes along with tales of playing at the historic Maples Inn before Myles Goodwyn grabbed him for super-stardom. Brian also spoke of his side project The Blues Bus with former Wine guitarist Gary Moffett.
Up and coming guitar player Paolo Stantereleased his third album; At It Again. The most complete recording of his career and cementing his position as one of the top ten guitar players in Quebec and Montreal.
In a music galaxy far, far away – a Canadian band altered the airwaves and sent Canada into an entirely different universe.
Crack of Dawn were the first black band to be signed to a major label (CBS) in Canada. Otis Redding’s producer discovered them and the band sold more albums than Earth, Wind and Fire in Canada. They were headed for stardom yet they disappeared.
In 2018 – they released a new album and started touring again. Proving once and for all – you can teach an old dog new tricks as long as the tricks are old.
April Wine co founder Jim Henmanwas in the news yet again. He recorded an album with his family. Something he wanted to do for a long while and finally finished it before it ‘is too late’.The Henman Family Albumis a delightful listen with all ten kids doing their musical thing.
Lawrence Gowan of Styx took time out to chat once again. Speaking with Larry, Lawrence or Gowan is always a history lesson and a lot of fun. The interview was a precursor to Styx’ appearance with Joan Jettand Tesla at Place Bell in Laval.
The League of Rockenlisted some local rock stars including Brian Greenway ( April Wine) and Corey Diabo( Jonas and The Massive Attraction) to coach musicians who normally just play in their basements. It is an event which showcases talent and at the same time, gives an opportunity for the players to hit a stage in front of a live audience for maybe the first and last time in their lives.
Local songwriter and guitar player Justin Saladinoreleased his album A Fool’s Heart. It was a coming of age for the young West Islander and music teacher. His vocals – a weak point before, came into fruition and the album cemented Justin’s place among the best in Montreal.
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In the big scheme of things, very few people saw Genesis live in their orginal formation.
Before fans knew it – Peter Gabriel was gone and shortly after, Steve Hackett followed. Fans of the original material who missed out on the theatrics and brilliant musicianship of the original line -up live were out of luck.
Out of luck until the Quebec – formed Musical Boxtook matters into their own hands and recreated the early years with precision. The Musical Box are the only Genesis Tribute band to be supported by the members of Genesis themselves.
They are that good.
Following twenty five years as the top Genesis tribute act – the members have decided to change things up a bit. An extravaganza is on the way …
Please listen below to my chat with the musical director and the ‘Mike Rutherford’ of The Musical Box, Sebastien Lamothe.
Canadian Walk of Fame and Canadian Music Hall of Fame member Andy Kim has many friends in the music business. Many of whom hold Andy in such high esteem – they will follow him anywhere.
Saturday night at The Corona Theater, some of those friends arrived in Montreal to participate in the fifth annual Andy Kim Christmas. A musical event which raises money for The Starlight Children’s Foundation. Broken Social Scene, La Force and Ron Sexsmith made the train trip from Toronto and joined some very talented Quebecers.
Marie – Mai, Coeur de Pirate, Hanorah, Brad Barr and Jake Clemons (the nephew of Clarence Clemons and a current resident of Montreal) welcomed Andy et al with Christmas bells on their toes. The scene was set for a night of giving.
Toronto comic Sean Cullen led the way with brilliant comedy aimed at Montreal from a Torontarian-point-of-view. Cullen, disregarding the MeToo movement (and pretty much all taboo subjects) exchanging barbs and wit with local emcee – CJAD’s Aaron Rand. The pauses between tunes; as unique as the tunes themselves.
In between Andy Kim singing his songs Rainbow Ride, Rock Me Gently and Sugar Sugar – the ‘stars’ of the show donated Folk, Country, Pop, Blues and Rock n Roll. There was something for everyone from the toe-tapping in-your-face Clemons’ Saxophone to La Force’s balladry. From Barr’s profound lyrical social conscience to Marie-Mai’s soulful Blues.
Concerts and music shows usually draw an audience of critics. Scribes ready at the drop of a hat to praise or destroy a performance. The Andy Kim Christmas Show somehow manages to remove all pens and all harshness. The spirit of the season and the generosity of the artists transcend reality. Music is performed and accepted the way it should be.
The Andy Kim Christmas show in Montreal even managed to draw Elvis to the building. The presence of the non-intentional (and vocal) look-a-like in the audience, adding magic to an already magical night. Cullen and Rand – taking the opportunity to include Elvis in their jabs every chance they had.
Canadian music is alive and well. Only a few of them were on a stage Saturday night that in the past has drawn artists such as Pagliaro, Roch Voisine and Sam Roberts. The Andy Kim Christmas Show is growing every year and attracting an array of diverse musical talent.
Who will be here next year? Andy Kim and whoever else decides to join him and pay it forward.