Raw talent cannot be taught.
Please listen below to my chat with Riiver and hear her soon-to-be-hit song Susie.
Riiver? What’s up?
Take Springsteen, add a sprinkle of Cat Stevens and what do you get?
Good music. Music from the heart. Music from the soul.
That is what the band The Rising Few bring to the mix. Add a producer who has worked with Keith Richards, David Grohl and David Bowie ( to name a few), this group of guys led by Cairo- born Karim – are heading in one direction. Up …!
Please listen as Karim talks about many things including a beautiful girl who inspired his song and ended up appearing in the video.
You know … rock star kinda stuff …
Her Father, John Charles, married Cynthia Lennon ( Julian’s Mom) when Chloe was fifteen years of age. Julian – who was good friends with Chloe’s Dad, introduced his Mom to the elder Charles. Chloe was pleasantly surprised when the couple announced their marriage plans. A ceremony which took place in Toronto.
Chloe Charles, because of the Lennon connection, is asked all the time about being the stepsister to Julian – son of ex-Beatle John.
“It really doesn’t bother me.” says Chloe from a restaurant on Queen street in downtown Toronto. ” I don’t tell people myself because I do not want people to feel I am not my own person. I am doing what I do on my own and my way.”
In Chloe’s case, her own way is very similar to her Mother. Chloe’s Mom is also a poet and a guitar player. Chloe grew up listening to her Mom and her Aunt singing and playing great tunes in the family living room.
” I was very shy as a child.” Admits Chloe. ” But you think I was shy? My Mom was ten times worse!” She laughs. ” My Mother is a fantastic singer and poet. She has never been able to get over her shyness to be able to stand and play in front of people except family and close friends. She has written a few books also that – one day, I will make sure are published.”
Chloe herself always knew what she wanted to do. Music was in her mind from an early age. Before any ties were joined with the Lennon legacy.
“I always have written poetry and playing guitar was my sanctuary. It was kind of like Yoga …” She laughs. ” It was always a place to go mentally and spiritually to get away from things. It’s something I have always loved doing.”
Chloe’s parents divorced when she was just over a year old. Chloe and her Mom at one point lived with Chloe’s maternal Grandfather. A man by the name of John Richmond. Through this man ( who sadly passed away recently), it is obvious from what side of the family Chloe’s artistic genes are strongest. Richmond, among other things, is the man responsible for the huge murals on both Maple Leaf Gardens and The Air Canada Center in Toronto.
” My Grandfather was such an independent spirit. He published books and magazines and traveled all over the world following his intuition. He (previous to his death) was in Mexico learning and practicing the art of that country. He was a huge inspiration and I miss him dearly. Life is short. We must appreciate every moment …”
Following a short stint in school studying Psychology, Chloe returned to music and realized it is what she’s supposed to be doing. Chloe’s Father was very supportive and gave her the opportunity to reflect on things following her exodus from school.
” I was introduced to and pushed ( in a nice way) into the black genre of music. I was singing R and B, Soul – that type of thing. It bothered me to sing other people’s music so I decided while in Germany to set a goal for myself. I was not returning to Canada without twelve songs written!”
That was in 2005-06. Chloe did write those twelve songs yet none are on her debut album. A disc which will be released on the 13th of February in North America. An album titled; Break the Balance.
“It has been released in Europe and I am returning to Germany to continue touring shortly after the CD launch party in Toronto.” Says Chloe. ” Right now, there are no dates set in Canada yet I believe I will be playing in Quebec and Ontario somewhere around June.”
‘Break the Balance’ is an album which carries the messages of Chloe’s psyche. Songs on the album which deal with things that – according to Chloe; most people cannot deal with …
” People are afraid to deal with certain truths. They cannot handle looking inside for fear of what they may find. This album deals with things from the past few years of my life. There are very dark and depressing songs on this album and a year from now – I will understand them better. I will be able to look back and see clearly what was going on in my conscience at the time …”
‘Break the Balance’ was put together in under a year although the whole process of producing and the business end – put the launch date further back. It has been released in Europe and Chloe is so happy with her ‘guys’ overseas.
” I have toured Germany for almost two years non – stop. I love it there and it shows the difference between North American and European mindsets. Over there, if the crowd likes a song or an artist – they just like it! Here, people will listen and turn to their friends and ask ” Do you like it? I like it – do you like?” Society here is so much about acceptance. In Europe they are more free.”
Chloe loves Canada and North America. She also loves all her friends – most of whom either play on the album or contributed with arrangements. Chloe’s favorite song on the disc is ‘My Child’. It is a song written with her Mother in mind. The type of song which instills the feeling of her Mom singing a Lullaby to a young Chloe.
” I was touring in Milan, Italy …” Explains Charles. ” I was having a rough time and called my Mom. I spoke to her for what was probably way too long yet she comforted me. “My Child’ came from that conversation.”
Another tune which ( if she had to choose another favorite song from the cd) is fond to her is ‘ Refrain from Fire’. A song about ‘wanting something you should not’. A lyrical and musical odyssey of ‘trying to keep away from dangerous places’.
“If I had to say what message I am sending out with this album through my words and music – it is simple. To be different …! Not try to be someone who you are not! ”
Even if your Step-mom is Cynthia Lennon. A very kind, wise and loving big sister …
Even if every once in a while you get together with Julian Lennon and NOT talk about anything to do with music …
An Irishman and Polishman walk into a kitchen …
Sounds like a joke doesn’t it? Sounds like two people doesn’t it?
In this case, the Polishman and the Irishman are the same person and the things that happened in the kitchen are no joke.
Freeman Dre of Toronto,Ontario – explains the origins of the name of his group.
“I’m born and raised in Toronto, from Irish-Polish ancestry. The Kitchen Party name is pretty literal. We used to play in my kitchen to friends. Eventually we moved on to venues but the name stayed.”
Those venues have been mostly in a musical triangle. New York, Montreal and Toronto. Three cities. One dream …
In reality, Freeman Dre has become of one Toronto’s most talked about singer-songwriters. His fresh take on songwriting and Folk traditions have garnered the attention of crowds and critics around the world. His collective, Fedora Upside Down, are changing the landscape of Toronto’s downtown music scene. His band – ‘The Kitchen Party’ are a cult following in progress.
Freeman explains the phenomenon.
“The name of the band is a reference to a kitchen in a partied-out Queen West pad in Toronto where, only a few years ago, the group threw impromptu shows until crowds started to spill into the street. Despite the casual atmosphere of which they originated – onstage ‘Kitchen Party’ is tighter than a three day bender. ”
Freeman was voted best songwriter in NOW magazine’s 2010 reader’s poll and nominated again in 2012. His musical narratives immediately command attention. Narratives with many influences …
“Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen along with less audible choices such as Neil Young, Howlin Wolf, Townes, Bruce Spingsteen, Hank Williams, Bon Scott and Handsome Ned.” I have tons more …” Explains Dre. ” I write the songs, sing them, and play guitar. This all started roughly about 4 years ago.”
Freeman takes one of Toronto’s most creatively- influenced neighborhoods
( Parkdale ) and spins the tales of the people who traverse the landscape on an average day. Stories which end up on his albums …
“Old Town is my second cd. The first is called “red door, second floor”. Adds Dre. ” My favorite tracks on Old Town are; ‘We All Fall Down’, ‘Laugh Yourself To Sleep’ and ‘Whatever it Takes’.”
“Probably because the recording of these songs went smoothly and they are all fun to perform.”
” ‘Old Town’, is a self-produced 10-song effort recalling the idea of story-telling in songs. Following a loose conceptual arc, it’s an immigration story inspired by Freeman’s ownfamily history that is sure to leave a listener reminiscing for the old country and challenging the new.”
Kitchen Party, or the core of the band – is made up of Freeman, LonTron Silver (Lonny Knapp), Marlon Chaplin, Mookie Komatsu, and Terry Wilkins. On any given night, the group can have up to twelve people join the onstage party.
“Especially when we include members of the fedora upside down collective (a 14 band collective started by me and the lemon bucket orkestra).” Adds Dre. “So the number of kitchen partiers varies really…”
Outside of music, Freeman attempts to avoid all forms of conventional employment.
“I pretty much eat, sleep, and dream music. My other obsession is hockey. I’m a avid follower and I used to be a decent player. I’m also a diehard sucker rooting for the Leafs.”
Sadly for Freeman Dre – that’s no joke either …
A music fan or someone who spends hours in front of YouTube or American television feeds is well aware by now …
Billy Joe Armstrong- the lead singer for the succesfuI band Green Day, turned into an ‘American idiot’ recently. He lost his composure on stage and in turn – deposited his rockin’ fanny into rehab.
In the words of the late, great Amy Winehouse … “No..no ..no ..!”
In any event, Rick Keene’s Music Scene was not fooled. A little investigative reporting uncovered the truth behind the singer’s rants …
Here are the top ten reasons Billy Joe lost his mind …
10. You try singing with bed bugs crawling in your pants!
9. Off to the left of the stage, Armstrong’s wife was holding a golf club and pointing to his cell phone. Rehab, a wise option …
8. ‘Just channeling the spirit of Sid Vicious …. gotta problem with that?’
7. A guy in the third row kept screaming ; “I love you Cher …!”
6. It ain’t easy being green! And blue and orange and purple and …
5. ‘For God sakes man …! Romney is running for president!’
4. ‘Sound check, backstage interviews, the show, hotels, planes, sit down and do kids’ homework and the next day do it all over again? Have you tried to do grade three calculus …?’
3. ‘Pete Townsend smashed guitars all the time! Nobody is on his case …?’
2. The leather pants of today provide more chaffing than their nineties predecessors …
And the number one reason for Billy Joe’s meltdown?
1. ‘Why should Bieber get all the hot young babes …?!’