Top Ten Musical Reasons to be Thankful

Where would we be without music?

Even the Monkees give pleasure to thousands globally through real and imagined tunes.

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Here now are the Top Ten Musical Reasons to be Thankful!

10. All the Blues and Country artists who set the foundation for popular music today. Rock, R and B, Soul, Disco, Rap, Hip Hop – practically all genres owe gratitude to the men and women from the past and present.

9. Miles Davis, Stan Getz and Charlie Parker.

8. Les Paul.

7. Leo Fender

6. Buddy Rich, Max Roach and Gene Krupa

5. Soundmen and women.

4. The Stones / The Beatles

3. Bob Dylan

2. Elvis

and the Number One Reason to be Thankful Musically??

1. Roadies!

Concert Review; Pat Travers

Friday night at Cabaret Mille End – Pat Travers brought his high caliber guitar chops to Montreal. It was the first time in almost twenty years the songwriter of ‘Crash and Burn’ flicked his pick to a Montreal audience.

One can only wonder why it took so long …?

IMAG0365Travers – a transplanted Canadian. An Ottawa – raised son who has been living in Orlando, Fla. since 1980, arrived at the worse possible time. His long awaited appearance marred by the opening of the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Hundreds of people who may have jumped on the ‘guitar rock’ bandwagon and attended Pat’s show – instead acting like sheep and flocking to La Place de Festival to witness Feist destroy a grand opening …

The Pat Travers Band was here in support of their new album which will be released near the end of July. The disc is titled ; ‘ Can Do’. A fitting title for the man who for so many years was known as the ‘ Boom! Boom!Out go the Lights!’ guy. Fitting because Travers ‘can do’ it better than most and he proved it with a couple of his new songs …

IMAG0382‘Can Do’ – the title track, is a genuine rocker. A wake up the kids and shake the neighbors kinda tune. It is entrenched with a more mature Travers soloing with his trademark lightning fast fingers. Digits that may just be a little quicker than five years ago. An fact Travers himself attributes to a fitness regime he started in 2004. The song is a powerhouse and puts The Pat Travers Band in perfect harmony. As tight as a girdle on an obese person.

Another new song performed before 200 people last night – is a ballad. It is Travers’ soon-to-be-hit. If Pat owned a supermarket, the song ‘Diamond Girl’ would be his lost leader. A ‘Pop’ tune which is tailor made for radio airplay although it is not Travers’ style. An ode to a woman who makes her man feel lucky to have her. Soft guitar licks reminiscent of an angel’s wings flapping in the wind. A shadow – light as a feather, hovering over a sweet message to a woman who is loved …

‘Crash and Burn’ – the evening’s biggest moment; talent-wise.

The original ‘hit for Travers and a tune indicative of the early eighties sound. With hints of Frank Marino‘s ‘Dragonfly’ – this song dominated the airwaves and is a perfect example of what happens when guitar meets bass. A bleeding so natural – so uniquely splendid, it is the song which kept Travers afloat on the sea of music for so many years. Last night, for the length of the song – a haunting feeling engulfed the venue. Travers – ‘the ghost from music past’, narrating his experience and wisdom onto fans of old and new.

The surprise of the evening was the Blues portion of the show. A two song IMAG0378homage to Robert Johnson and Blind Willie McTell. Travers is a Blues guy so the choices not too bizarre. The surprise was – just how well the band pulled the songs off. They were profound with guitar, deeper with bass and depth -defying with a backseat drum kit.  Drummer Sandy Genero; a human metronome. Snapping the snare allowing bassist Rodney O’ Quinn the passage to rhythm built on old – school Blues. An opening of the vault into music history. Kirk McKim – Pat’s best friend and fellow axeman, fueling a fire lit with a passion for the music that inspired Rock n Roll.

Richard Newell’s (aka King Biscuit Boy) spirit was front and center just like any Pat Travers show. ‘Boom Boom – Out Go the Lights’ – a song which Travers heard through the ‘biscuit man’  at the age of thirteen, played live like it always is. Raw, energetic and a genuine crowd pleaser. Travers’ voice – complete with a raspiness owned by few – performed by fewer. ‘Snortin’ Whiskey and Drinkin’ Cocaine’ – another standard Travers fare in concert. A bookend to ‘Boom Boom’. An ignition switch to an engine primed with seventies oil.

Travers’ uniqueness shone through Friday night. Like a beacon cutting through a fog that hovered over the opening of the Jazz festival.

Rightly so …

One Road; On the Path to Stardom

One road usually goes two ways …

East – West or North – South. For the duo, One Road … North is the direction they’re headed following their debut album.

For Tracy and Mike, two men fulfilling a vacant prophecy from the days of their youth, the opening song just doesn’t complete the void – the tune overflows into music heaven …

‘Ride On’ does not sound like a debut song on a debut album. Instead – the maturity of decades rebounds through the inner ear with mountains of pleasure. The song should be a staple on every music station with a taste for good old fashioned balladry, lyricism and keynote guitar playing. Really, the song is that good and better than veteran groups such as Kiss could only dream of in their twilight years …

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If there is a problem with track two – or, for that matter, the remainder of the album … it’s the simple matter of attempting to reach a bar set extremely high by the first song. It’s not easy living up to your past successes, especially if they are recent.

Track two delivers the same maturity combined with a sound distinctive yet dangerous. If Bon Jovi is to your liking – ‘Change is gonna Come’ is right up your alley. Mike delivers a guitar solo which could make Sambora call …

The thing that sets One Road apart from many musicians, is the realism provided by Tracy’s lyrics. They are profound. Tracy sings and writes from the heart.

The track ‘On my Way’ is a prime example. Tracy admits he has made mistakes in his life. He also admits his love for the woman who has stood behind him. Add Mike’s equally spirit- driven riffs on guitar, a ‘last call’ song at any local watering hole. A final dance before a night of romance …

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‘You Gotta Live’ tells a tale. A story about anyone’s neighbor and the mundane aspects of life. Advice is given between hard riffs and soft chords. Words of wisdom to live life to the fullest.

How do bikers dispel manners? Through music of course …

Exactly what ‘Raise a Glass’ does. ‘Good old memories’ giving thanks to the relationship between the pair of friends. Once more, Tracy’s lyrics providing fodder for thought. Supplying immense pleasure to make a listener smile. Everyone has or has had the connection which takes place in the song. If not – through the song, it is possible.

Harmonica and subdued guitars start off the second best song on the disc. Once more, Bon Jovi comes to mind in ‘End of the Road’. A common theme is found through the album. Hope, inspiration and lessons. Life lessons are at the forefront and it is a good thing.

‘Long Way to Go’ is an extension of ‘End of the Road’. Instead of having two songs, the duo should have combined the best elements of the pair of songs, tossed them into a blender and released one interesting song instead of a filler which ‘Long Way’ is …

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‘Blue Skies’ commences a party. Complete with a ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ drum beat to get things going. The song is an anthem in a One Road concert. Mike’s catchy riffs sometimes channel ZZ Top on this tune. The tune gets the foot stomping and the vocal chords primed to sing along. This tune was needed and delivered by the novice songwriters.

Tracy could be a Hells Angels version of Rod Stewart or Bryan Adams. The raspiness of his voice, the cigarette – drenched range perfect for ‘One More Day’. Sadly, the lyrics are tired on this song. Been there – done that. A listener may forgive due to Mike’s great guitar and a very catchy chorus …

‘Lady Luck’ thankfully picks up the pace and alters the mindset which was in danger of getting weighed down in melancholy. A combination of blues/ country/ Southern Rock make the pair of rookies once more sound like pros. This would be a great song live. Especially as the song ends. One word about Lady Luck according to Tracy; bitch!

The disc ends with a ‘Screwdriver’. A celebration of an album completed. The kind of song which makes you want a drink while listening. Amother anthem for the bikers of the world. Picture pool cues, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jack Daniels and chicks leaning on Mike’s guitar …

That’s the band – One Road …

Listen Here!

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Air Supply; Making ‘Money’ Out of Nothing at All …

Not sure what happened last night …

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Air Supply played before an almost sold out crowd at Metropolis and it wasn’t pretty. Sure, some of the mostly forty ( + ) year old women in attendance were pretty. Sure some of the mostly twenty (+) year old barmaids were pretty – heck, even one bouncer was kinda cute .. Following that – pure ugliness; musically.

That’s not to say it was a bad show. It was a very tight and talented unit who backed up singers Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock. The ugliness came in the lack of anything bordering on  ‘out on a limb’, cutting edge music. Every guitar solo sounded the same in every song, a monkey could have played the simple drums beats and …  get the picture … ?

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Therein lies the beauty of Air Supply. There are no risks – therefore no losses. Status quo for the boys from down under and the women love it. The men? Let’sjust say it was go with the wife to Air Supply or eat frozen donkeys for a month.

Watching Air Supply is amazing however.Amazing how many songs they have written and performed with the word ‘love’ in the title …

‘All out of Love’, ‘Making Love out of Nothing at All’, ‘Lost in Love, ‘The One you Love’ … If love is not in the title, then the rest of their catalogue is about losing a woman, getting her back or how lovely she was to begin with. Hundreds of men went home last night and were smacked just because they were not a member of Air Supply. This pair know women more than a gynecologist with six sisters.

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The band put out a greatest hits album in 1983. The same year, the band apparently gained writer’s block and never wrote another hit song (they lost that ‘loving’ feeling ). Thank the Lord! If they had not misplaced their talent for writing love songs, the Olympic Stadium would have had to been rented and that’s costly. Besides – the Metropolis is the type of place for a ‘love’-in …

Graham and Russell are old pros. They perform their ‘love’ songs with ‘love’. Constantly touching their hearts after each song and saying the right words to the women who were crying out from their chairs with each passing hit. Russell ( not Russell ), creating the tender ( upload to YouTube) moment and serenading a blonde – haired beauty into submission or at the very least – his dressing room …

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One woman, who was (for all intensive purposes), negative three years of age when Air Supply was high on the charts and ‘love’ – practically threw her panties at the stage with every song. Jumping, shrieking and acting as if she were her Mom at a Beatles concert circa 1964.

Not sure what happened last night … Whatever it was, you gotta ‘love’ it!

Tune in to K103.7fm at 5:15pm and hear me discuss the Zachary Richard show, Air Supply and hear a song by … ?

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Top Ten Rock n Roll Bands of All Time

It’ s a hard call …

Amassing arsenals of music executed to the utmost of rock band’s abilities and narrowing them down to ten. Daunting yes – impossible?  Not really …

Beauty is in the ‘ear ‘ of the beholder, a full agreement can never be reached with lists like these. The only certainty is the top two on the list must be forever linked as 1-2 or 2-1 for obvious reasons.

10. Rush

This iconic Canadian band is responsible for more popular air guitar and drum solos than anyone aside from Led Zeppelin. The softness of ‘The Trees’ to the hard rockin ‘Tom Sawyer’ all the way back to Lakeside Park and a return to 2112. This Canadian trio surpassed the Guess Who many moons ago as Canada’s number one band of all time. Unlike the Guess Who – Peart, Lee and Lifeson have talent beyond three chords. Three nerds – four decades … do the math!

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9. The Velvet Underground

Has there been a band which leaned toward decadence and the rock n roll lifestyle more than the Rolling Stones? Yes … The Velvet Underground combined r and b, pop, blues and lovely romantic poetry with a lust for the drug culture at a time when the world was learning to ‘achieve satisfaction’. Lou Reed and John Cale observed the New York seedy elements from the inside looking inside. Nico joined the mix and Warhol kicked their habits onto a unsuspecting mass of bohemian tramps searching for a home.

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8. Black Sabbath

The pre- cursor and major influence for every Def Leppard, Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper wannabe. Satanicly – induced and proud of it, the lads dipped deep into the Hades and came up with decades of bat – eating, cloak – wearing gothic- inspired followers. Paranoid? Of course … Fairies wear boots and such strides may induce fear and indulge parents to lock the doors on their non -bible stompin’ offspring!

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7. U2

The only post- 1980 group to claim global domination and retain the crown. Sometimes over- indulgent via Bono’s over the top preaching and waning messages, the group from Ireland remain intact. ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’, ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’, ‘ I Still Haven’t Found What I’m looking For’ and even the more recent ‘Vertigo’ – will outlast and remain ‘poignant’ for years to come. Something few bands can claim on such a scale.

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6. Genesis

No band is responsible for progressive rock more than Genesis. Starting with Peter Gabriel and the iconic ‘Lamb Lies Down on Broadway’ and ‘Selling England by the Pound’ all the way to the eighties and pop – genius Phil Collins leading the way, Genesis was near the top of the heap for almost twenty straight years. Unheard of on most basement turntables.

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5. The Who

Smashing guitars, thematic albums with entire storyboards, punk – rockish antics before punk rock and some of the greatest rock songs of all time. Add a show which delivered chaos weekly amid vocals bordering on operatic melodies – deaf dumb and blind kids knew they would die before they got old. Who are you indeed …!

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4. Led Zeppelin

Considered the forefathers of heavy metal and the first to blend blues with hard – driving beats and tender ballads. Owning and operating a timeless vehicle by the name of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and driving it through paths partnered with Physical Graffiti, Zeppelin spawned three generations of air guitar and pretend drummers. Page – an innovator on guitar and Plant; a symbol of sexiness with a voice unmatched to this day. Some guy named John Bonham led and continues to lead the way as Zeppelin remain near the top of awe – inspiring conversation and sing – a-long choruses …

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3. Pink Floyd

If someone was afraid to utilize their ‘doors of perception’ and indulge in L.S.D – Pink Floyd did it for them. Logically, musically, lyrically and properly. Starting with Sid Barrett and continuing into realms meant for candidates of induced mind control experimentation – the British group dated the extremes normally associated with insanity. The only band in history able to transcend worlds and shape imagery into a fascinating trip understood by few yet admired by many.

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2. The Beatles

The band which started it all. The band which made every kid in the world believe that music, their very own music could be delivered to a mass audience. The most successful prolific songwriting duo in history unfortunately done in by the love of a woman. Live? An enigma as the amps and sound equipment not yet formed by the time of their demise. Number one on the list if longevity remained an acquaintance and not a foe. Number one on the list if a beginning period of fluffy love songs did not exist.

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1. The Rolling Stones

No band put up with the ‘attacks’ of government while trying to start a career. Fighting drug busts, the popularity of the Beatles, the death of the founding member, the death and chaos of Altamont, the changes in music landscape, the ‘ death’ of guitar rock, the video age, punk rock, disco and age – the Stones continue to survive. The only group to be sucessful in every genre – a musical juggernaut blessed with an insatiable appetite for the blues. A common denominator which strays not from a catalogue of six hundred plus songs. Jagger – the poster boy for every lead singer and Richards – the poster boy for every guitarist and decadent human being living with a middle finger to rules and regulations. Critics of the latest song have said; “Its great except for Jagger’s voice …” In 1964, critics adorned the pages of music reviews with the same vowels and syllables. Composers of an album considered best of all time – Exile on Main Street, responsible for one of greatest live albums of all time – Get Yer Ya- Ya’s Out and owners of five of the biggest grossing tours of all time.

Time is on their side …

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Zachary Richard ; Zydeco comes Home

Are stories your thing …?

If so – a Zachary Richard concert is the place to be. Historically, musically and most importantly; emotionally.

Last night at L’Astral, as part of the Jazz All Year Long series, M. Richard of New Yorek, Louisiana – utilized numerous skills to pulverize a sold out crowd into submission. A happy submission …

‘Le Fou ‘ is Richard’s 20th studio album and on stage, surrounded by Nicolas Fiszman on bass, Eric Sauviant on guitar and Justin Allard on drums – the ‘ adopted’ Quebecer introduced his new disc to a welcoming, predominantly Francophone audience.

Wow!

Beginning with the first song of the night, ‘Laisse le Vent Souffle’ (Let the Storm Wind Blow) – Richard made sure the emotional gusts were captured by an audience obviously in love with the man.

The first set contained folksy songs which arrive from a profound place in the holder of three doctorate degrees’ heart.  Seldom do words flow from fountain of truths as is the case with M.Richard. The lyrics in songs such as ‘ La Chanson des Migrateurs’ ( The Migrant’s Song) and ‘Original ou Caribou’ ( Moose or Caribou ) transcend the plains of consciencness.

There are messages in each song and this singer (who just happens to be a published poet as well) – delivers notes of resistance and mankind’s craziness in such a manner, acceptance is not just a fact – it evolves into a way of life …

Musically, Richard strums the guitar, plays the harp and accordion. Musically, Zachary Richard and his backing band fly above most artists occupying the high levels of charted music. The Black Keys would be a great opening act for a foursome this divine.

And … M. Richard is funny to boot!

Following the first song and sweeping the band introductions out of the way, Richard explained that a lot of tunes the audience would be hearing – ‘they would not know’! ‘ Its okay …’ Continued Richard. ‘ We don’t know them either!’

With such ‘Socratic’ gems tossed into a salad bar containing pure Louisiana – based Zydeco fruits of love, Richard had the audience ‘alive and jumping’ in the second set.

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The songs ‘Sweet Sweet’,’ Clif’s Zydeco ‘ and ‘ Dancing at Double D’s’ – kicked even the most dormant moose into a mood reserved for an anxious child on Christmas morning. The ‘ slightly above middle – aged ‘ crowd stood , clapped and slapped in anticipation of every note arriving from a stage equipped with talent.

‘ You don’t know how this song ends ‘ Quipped the sixty – two year old songwriter right in the middle of a song. ‘ It’s okay – neither do we ..’

Just another element of humour which – along with the music, brought numerous smiles to the enthusiastic crowd. Numerous smiles and numerous standing ovations.

‘Most people think I am Quebecoise’ Stated one of the patriarchs of the Cajun sound from center stage. ‘ I am from Louisiana and was the only white boy growing up in my neighborhood. I remember cleaning the glass with my hand and looking through a window at all the Zydeco musicians playing Cajun music …’

As mentioned … Zachary Richard is a storyteller …

Watch Zachary Richard video here!

S.U.N ( SOMETHING UNTO NOTHING )

S.U.N. (SOMETHING UNTO NOTHING) have signed a deal with record company Robo Records (a division of Waterfront Ent. Group), distributed through Fontana / Universal Music Distribution and home to such illustrious artists as John Waite, The Bangles, Brian Ray, Orianthi and Mickey Dolenz. 

S.U.N.’s first single “I’m The One” is impacting radio throughout October, 2012…with the full CD release later in the Fall. 

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Legendary multi-platinum selling Canadian vocalist and multiple Juno Award winner Sass Jordan, has teamed up with songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brian Tichy. Tichy is known for his tours of duty with Billy Idol, Foreigner, Ozzy and currently Whitesnake. They are recording an album of anthemic rock songs, under the band name S.U.N. 

Previously working together is what united Jordan and Tichy to collaborate on the new music.

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“I had played drums on Sass’s ‘RATS’ record” explains Tichy. “I knew she was one of the best rock singers out there. So after many years, we reconnected and tried a bit of writing together”.

Both felt that in order to write the best, trend-free music they could, they needed to get away. “We didn’t realize where we were going when we started out”, says Jordan. “As we continued the songwriting path from quintessential rock tunes entitled ‘Burned’ to ‘Mobile Again’ to ‘Nomad’ and on … The whole thing started to take shape in the form of a 70’s odyssey, a time travel trajectory.” 

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Completing the band that drives this music home is Michael Devin (Whitesnake, Jason Bonham’s Led Zep Exp., Kenny Wayne Shepherd ) on bass and Tommy Stewart on drums (Godsmack, Lo Pro, Everclear, Fuel). “We are completely thrilled and ready to rock” says Rob Christie (President of Robo Records.

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Please stay tuned for part two of Sass Jordan …

Check out S.U.N here !