Rick Keene Music Scene – Gowan’s Love Affair with Quebec Grows

It all comes down to passion …

French Canadians love the Montreal Canadiens. If you pay attention – they especially love the players that love the Canadiens as much as they do .

Enter Lawrence Gowan aka Gowan.

Photos Emily Eelkema

What does a Scottish-born, Canadian -raised, classically trained pianist have to do with hockey? Passion. Quebec and Francophones love the passion Gowan has for music. It is that simple …

That exuberance shone through once more in Drummondville on Tuesday evening for the first Quebec stop on Gowan’s (too few) solo tour. (His second Quebec show on the 24th of February in Ste Eustache is sold out.)

Quebec was monumental in getting Gowan’s career started upon the release of A Criminal Mind and Strange Animal. Quebec was also the place ( Montreal) where Tommy Shaw of Styx first witnessed Gowan’s passion as an opening act. That observation led Shaw to asking Gowan to replace Dennis DeYoung a few years later. Heck – even Tommy Shaw recognized the passion and he isn’t even French.

It is because Lawrence Gowan is part of Styx (since 1999) that his solo albums and tours are few and far between. Styx annually plays over 100 shows making them the hardest working band in the US.

Thankfully Lawrence, Larry or Gowan (depending on who you get) had some time to visit Canada without Styx and what a show it was. The spinning keyboard was there, the kilt was there and the passion was there within Gowan’s vast solo catalog.

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Those three songs opened the show with a jolt. Gowan and the band with as much energy as most bands peak at. Gowan, especially vital with the voice of a twenty year old. His love for Quebec shining through with mostly French bantering. Okay – sometimes Franglais but you get the point.

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Moonchild’s Psychedelic Holiday/Tomorrow Never Knows and Criminal Mind finished the ‘first half’ of the show. There is nothing that can give you goosebumps in this world more than listening to Gowan’s vocals during A Criminal Mind. Not only is the tune a show-stopper; it is in the top ten of best Canadian songs ever written. Gowan’s soul is exercised and launches with all it’s honesty to the crowd. Tears can flow …

Between songs all night – Gowan had the audience in stitches. Gowan is the male version of Jann Arden. Once his singing career is done, stand-up comedy would be his next best bet. 

Soul’s Road, Dancing on My Own Ground, All the Lovers in the World and Khedive continued the show with tenderness and a hard driving beat. Gowan’s band not quite Pop, not quite Rock and not quite Prog -Rock. The music is a combination of all genres including classical. Gowan – on the piano / synth; a master as showcased in the Styx tune Khedive. 

Guerilla Soldier, Strange Animal and Moonlight Desires concluded the evening with love and passion. Emotions traded from stage to audience. The punters who remember Gowan from the eighties ( their youth) reminded affectionately of the songs. The new fans introduced to the tunes for the first time. Most importantly; all ages were shown passion. 

Something Quebecers and Gowan know so well.

Visit Gowan Here !

 

David Henman – ‘ Me and Cousin Jim Wrote Our First Song When We Were Twelve …’ Part Two

David, Jim and Ritchie Henman – along with Myles Goodwyn; formed April Wine.

 

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Following stints with bands such as Prism ,The Dudes, and The DebutantesDavid Henman has never stopped playing music.

Please listen below in Part Two as David speaks on many things.

Stay tuned for part three.

 

 

 

 

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David Henman – ‘ Me and Cousin Jim Wrote Our First Song When We Were Twelve …’

David, Jim and Ritchie Henman – along with Myles Goodwyn; formed April Wine.

Following stints with bands such as Prism ,The Dudes, and The DebutantesDavid Henman has never stopped playing music.

Please listen below as David speaks of his last two projects.

Stay tuned for part two.

 

 

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What’s Happening in Montreal and The Greatest Half Hour of Music!

Lots going on in the city.

Lots of tunes, fun times and finally … warmth !

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Please listen below to several upcoming concert announcements, what’s coming on Rick Keene Music Scene and several great songs – new and old.

What better way to start off your weekend?

Click on The Montreal International Jazz Festival logo as well as Evenko to discover and buy tickets to a whole bunch of great shows in and around Montréal.

Talk soon …

 

 

 

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The Wisdom of Emerson, Lake and ‘Carl Palmer’ …

Carl Palmer has been around for a while …

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The sixty-four year old drummer from England, was born into a musical family. Both parents, his Grandfather and his siblings – all playing instruments around the Palmer homestead.

Beginning with his first professional gig at the age of sixteen, Carl has brushed shoulders or played with some of the legends in the music world. Heck – Mick Jagger and Keith Richards even got involved!

Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Reaching incredible heights in not one – two ‘Supergroups’ over the years, Palmer is still going strong. Touring with Asia and for the past little while, his own group, which brings the songs of Emerson, Lake and Palmer to a different level. Carl Palmer will be in Montreal on the 26th November at Le Gesu.

Please listen as Carl explains his influences, including his relationship with ‘the world’s greatest drummer‘ and what Montreal means to him after that fateful August evening in 1977.

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Carl?

Visit Carl Palmer Here!

Visit Emerson, Lake and Palmer Here!

Visit Le Gesu Here !

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Johnny Beaudine; History of Chicago Blues – Part Two

How many times has someone brought you to their car and showed you a double barrel shotgun in the trunk?

How many times was it a legendary musician who used it to show strength?

Well – Sax player and Chicago -born Blues player Johnny Beaudine may be one of very few who can answer in the affirmative.

Buddy Guy and Rick Keene
Buddy Guy and Rick Keene

 

Please listen to find out who the musician was and many more great tales from the South Side of Chicago …

Johnny?

 

Buy Tics Here!
Buy Tics Here!

 

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Johnny Beaudine; The Blues – ‘Live’ from Chicago ….Part One

How many times has someone sat down and explained how good Muddy Waters was. On how many occasions did someone tell a captive audience that Howlin’ Wolf was the best …

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How many of these storytellers actually played with and/ or  witnessed these legends first hand?

Not many.

This is where saxophone player Johnny Beaudine comes in.

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Two Chicago Boys - Tom Lavin ( Powder Blues Band) and Johnny Beaudine

Born in Chicago and receiving a Blues apprenticeship with men such as Otis Rush, James Cotton and Buddy Guy – allows Beaudine an insight very few have into the legacy of the Blues …

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Johnny Beaudine and his band Deep Blue

appear every Monday Night at

The House of Jazz in Montreal!

 

Buy Tics Here!
Buy Tics Here!

 

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Click on Image to Buy Tickets

 

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Guy Belanger; His ‘Turn’ at The Blues …

Quebec city born Guy Belanger knows a little something about The Blues.

Now – he knows a little bit more.

From his humble beginnings with guys like Bob Walsh up until a recent brush with greatness in Chicago, Guy has been schooled.

Now – it’s his turn to teach …

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Visitez Guy Ici!

 

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Buy Tics Here!

 

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Click on Image to Buy Tickets

 

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Jarrett Lobley; The Doctor is in The House- Literally ! Complete Interview !

Jarrett Lobley asked a lot of questions as a kid …

So much so – his Father limited them to a list of fifty a day to keep his son’s thirst quenched and his own sanity intact.

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Those questions paid off. Following stints as a homeless guy, talking with the homeless and travelling the globe in search of truth, Jarrett eventually settled down and became a doctor.

Despite his practice, Jarrett also works with addicts to enable their hopeful return to society.

Please listen to these crucial tales  of helping people and later – in part two; Jarrett’s music and the process of creating disc number two …

Jarrett?

 

 

Visit Jarrett Here!

 

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What’s Coming on Rick Keene Music Scene …

Wuz up? What’s happening? What’s going on?

A good question – especially if you are a music lover …

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I have some interviews coming with two new artists and the singer of a great new Jazz outfit out of Massachusetts. All in all – something for everyone.

Thanks for listening, have a great week and remember – keep your headphones on unless you are driving or walking across a busy road.

Talk soon …

 

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Leeward Fate - No Ordinary Kind iTunes cover

 

 

 

The Slacks; Montreal’s Oldest / Newest Rock Band

Once upon a time …

Men like Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley were dominating the musical landscape. They were the ‘kings’ of Rock n Roll.

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Teenagers were screaming, crying and tossing various items of clothes toward stages filled with energy. Parents were appalled. Priests tossed their hands into the air to combat the ‘devil music’ which possessed so many teenagers.

Fast forward a couple of decades …

 

The Stone Doctors raised $9,000 last night at Chez Maurice in Ste Lazare for the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Unit.

Way to go Boys!

 

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House of Jazz - Opening in Laval Sept. 6th
House of Jazz – Opening in Laval Sept. 6th

 

Hilary Jane; The Right Thing at ‘The Right Time’

Montrealer Hilary Jane has been singing in and around Montreal her entire life. Practically …

Now, following a series of events, life-altering events – she has decided to write and record her first full length album. It is a throwback to a different time and Hilary somehow makes it fresh again …

Please listen to this woman’s story and get ready to have your feet tapping!

Hilary …?

 

 

 

 

 

Please visit Hilary right here!

Support local talent!

 

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Coming soon … my interview with Jill Barber!

 

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Jill Barber

 

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Jeff Gunn at Steve’s Music; June 21st for A Guitar Workshop

Jeff Gunn has opened for Peter Gabriel, written the score for a movie starring Reese Witherspoon and  has composed many books for guitar players.

Saturday June 21st at Steve’ s Music downtown – he will be teaching what he knows. A workshop for all levels and players of different genres.

A for sure -stopover for the  Hendrix-wannabe. Make sure you bring your guitar!

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VISIT JEFF’S BOOK HERE!

* PLEASE EXCUSE AUDIO  IT WAS A VERY BAD CONNECTION.

THANK YOU.

 

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Melissa Bel – A Voice To Be Reckoned with …

Melissa Bel is an up and coming artist who loves playing in Quebec!

A Toronto native, the young ‘starlet’ has musical roots based in musical  soul. She will be performing at The Rialto Theater on Nov. 23rd. Her night will contain all original music with maybe one cover thrown in …

Which one and who is her favorite performer of all time?

No – it is not her Father although he may rank a close second …

Please listen to Melissa’s thoughts and stick around to watch and listen to one of her latest songs afterwards. A real Canadian to watch out for … ( yes that’s her as a little girl in the video).

Visit Melissa’s site right here!

Amanda Martinez – A New ‘Dawn’

Toronto‘s Amanda Martinez is coming for a visit …

Something the singer admits does not happen often. Funny – since Montreal is one of her favorite cities to sing in. Hot off the heals of an album release – Amanda is donating her voice to the third edition of Montreal Mundial. She will be performing on November 21 as part of a Woman of the World evening.

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Listen below as Amanda explains the album, her role in the 2010 World Cup and her love for children. Both her own and and through an organization which she is an ambassador for …

Ladies and Gentlemen … Amanda!

Visit Amanda’s Site Here!

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Angel Forrest; Reborn and Lovin’ It!

Angel Forrest has been singing around Montreal and abroad for many years. Days and nights spent on the road – honing a voice which balances between Jazz, Blues and almost anything else …

She has just recently released an album which, surprisingly – is her first Blues one with all original material in English.  It has been a long time coming and for once – Angel is being appreciated  outside the Province of Quebec and across Canada.

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Listen to a pair of Angel’s songs and hear the good news! Just like her singing – Angel’s reason for smiling will knock your socks off …

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Florence K ; A New Album – A ‘Fuller’ Sound

Florence K has just released a new album and is straight off her successful album launch at Club Soda.

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Florence and I had an opportunity to talk about the new album, her influences and where she is heading next. Florence K is the real deal and potentially – Canada and Quebec‘s next female superstar.

‘I’m Leaving You’ is a must buy CD which contains everything good about music including the voice of an angel.

Please visit Florence K’s site here !

Mundial Montreal;Third Time’s a Charm!

They say good things come in threes. With Mundial Montreal – true as true as true can be …

From November 19th – 22nd, the Festival will be featuring artists as ecclectic as a white egg on Easter Sunday. As an added bonus, this year’s edition will also showcase Aboriginal artists from across Canada.

Eekwol, Samian,Shauit,George Leach, Leela Gilday  and A Tribe Called Red – a few of the talented Native performers traversing the globe and honoring Montreal with their presence.

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The fun gets underway on the 19th at Sala Rossa on St,Laurent Blvd. IBEYI starts things off with a bargain! Fifteen dollars will catch a glimpse of the pair of twins born into Cuban royalty. A delight to the ears and eyes. Quite the first impreession for Mundial Montreal.

The four day Festival is a celebration of world music. Sounds from the four corners of the world. The Caribbean, The Americas, Eastern Europe, Quebec Folk and Africa …

Immensely pleasurable. Immensely talented.

Aside from Salla Rossa, a music lover can hear acts all around the city. Club Balattou, Le Savoy du Metropolis, L’Astral, Petit Campus and Le Sat. A variety of venues for a variety of art.

Lorraine Klaasen will be at Club Balattou on the 20th yet she is not the only woman to be spreading her angelic voice around the city. The following evening – the 21st, offers up a A Women of the World – themed night. A four lady act ( five ) in one night. Four parts women = one part of a Festival gifted with talent. Leelay Gilday, Mary Jane Lamond, Wendy Macisaac, Tanya Tagaq and Amanda Martinez will give reason to applaud women. More than once …

Th Quebec Folk scene is represented by Sagapool. The band of wayward gypsies-turned-family-men / women are back. Following a successful album and tour – the band will be in a more intimate surrounding at Le Savoy Du Metropolis.

Mundial Montreal is more than music. It also contains a summit. Meetings and discussions open to the public about the current state of music and the business environment.

An example? Your Wish to be Granted – an overview of Recording Grants for Artists.

Just one of the many activities scheduled with musicians, music -lovers and curiosity seekers in mind ….

Come celebrate Mundial Montreal!

Visit Mundial Montreal here for all the information needed.

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Stay tuned for interviews with many of the artists playing in the Festival!

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Natalie Renee; Just Like Everyone Else …

Ontario-born Natalie Renee is one smart girl …

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“I am in school right now for  Occupational Physiotherapy.” Explains Natalie from her home near Niagra Falls. ” I am doing the music on the side because it is a safe bet to have a back up plan. My plan is to continue to go to school and do music on the side and whichever one flourishes more – I will go in that direction. I hope the music takes off but until then – I will cover my rear.”

Natalie Renee started to take music seriously when she was twelve years old. She dabbled in musical theater and performed a lot on stage. Discovering that maybe musicals were not her niche – she then attempted opera until she discovered acoustic folk blues.

” I worked with a producer in Toronto who taught me how to write. He taught me how to (lyrically) put everything together. Not to be too wordy and to piece it all coherently. I was all over the place before that …”

Natalie did have it together enough to recognize a beautiful singer and songwriter. The late Eva Cassidy. A woman who Renee believes did not get her due until after her death from Cancer. A woman who Natalie believes had ‘the voice of an angel.’

Eva-Cassidy-r01” I’m also a huge fan of Celine Dion.” Admits Renee. “She is more Pop but I enjoy her performance. No one has a voice like her.Whether you like her music or not.”

Renee has just released her first full C.D. It is called ‘ When the Road Splits in Half’. A thirteen track album containing all original songs. Tunes which are all upbeat – something which Natalie believes is needed right now.

” We need a lot more of these songs these days. Some of the songs are about what I have experienced but others are about what is happening around me. I keep the audience in mind and change the words a bit so it is not always geared towards me. I want people to feel as if the songs are theirs also.”

One song on the new C.D. which Natalie is extremely proud of is the tune; ” Thank You‘. A song Renee wrote when she hit a low. A downpoint which Natalie believes everyone can relate to for various reasons. It was about a time in her life ( and everyone’s ) where they do not know where they are going. . It is a song for everyone.

” The message I am trying to get across is the biggest mistake we make is to stay in our lows. We focus so much on the negative things people do to us and we forget the amazing things that happen in our lives. When I hit a low, I catch myself. I really try to practice that when I start feeling low.”

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Natalie’s songs all come from her head. She then sings it to her bass player and it is brought to life. Natalie is not necessarily in a band but she does play with the same two guys most of the time. Mathew Ross ( bass, guitars, keyboards ) and Mike Fisher ( guitar). Two fellows who help greatly in putting the songs together. In essence – three people who feed off one another.

” Songwriting is something you cannot be selfish about.” Says Natalie. ” It is amazing what can happen when you open yourself to other people. You have to trust the people you work with.”

Currently, because of Natalie’s schoolwork, the gigs are few and far between. One of her most recent gigs was in Montreal, a place that is familiar to the dark-haired talent. A place where many of her relatives dwell …

” I do have a few in the province of Quebec.” Admits Natalie.’ A big proportion of my family are in Montreal, Trois Rivieres and Quebec City. It is nice that I can dip in the Province when I can. As a matter of fact, one of the songs I wrote has a French flavor. It is called Je T’aime. A song which is very special for two very special people.”

She continues.

” I wrote that song with my bass player for my grandparents. They had their 60th wedding anniversary last year and I though it was special because it was a great anniversary to reach at sixty. Not a lot of people hit that mark.”

Natalie played the song ‘live’ for her Grandparents and it was well received. Hugs and kisses aplenty following a Granddaughter’s gift to her elders. A special present for special people.

Natalie Renee is one smart girl …

Visit Natalie’s site here!

Gino Vannelli – All Those Nights in Montreal …

Hometown boy turned man; Gino Vannelli, is coming back to Montreal in November …

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What else is new?

The man who started his musical career as a drummer in Montreal and a current resident of Portland,Oregon – often comes home. He frequently visits his Mom and was most recently in Ste. Agathe to play a festival. He was also in Montreal scouting out the location for his next hometown gig. The Rialto Theater on Avenue de Parc. A newly renovated ‘concert hall‘ which impressed Mr. Vannelli immensely …

‘A few months ago I came to check out the Rialto because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play there. We met the owner Ezio and I was really impressed so I decided to play multiple nights there. It’s a beautiful theater and the sound is so good. Even the balconies – I felt as if you could reach out and touch people on stage.”

Vannelli is playing at the Rialto on the 2nd and 3rd of November. He is bringing his Portland band with him and people can expect new material from an upcoming Blues/ Jazz album along with some ‘twists’ on the classic stuff. Twists that Vannelli seems to have always been drawn to.

“I was a drummer first and was drawn to the premiere drummers of the time. Buddy Rich, Ed Thigpen, Alvin Jones and Max Roach. Those guys were the cutting edge Jazz guys. The pop guys back in the day, were bringing something new  – they were were being helped by new techniques of engineering. The idea of putting two mikes far away from the drummer and letting the room speak, that was done in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Suddenly, in the mid sixties, the British groups started to close mike the drums, placing the microphone on the bass drum and closer to the snare. I worked with Geoff Emerick, who did most of all the Beatles’ stuff and he explained how they made that transition . It was fascinating.”

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Gino Vannelli’s first started making waves in the seventies. Following a stint at McGill, a time when fellow Montrealers Frank Marino and Sass Jordan were rocking the local stages – Vannelli decided he was looking for something else. A different sound. Following a stint in New York city, Vannelli ended up in Los Angeles and earned a record deal at the age of twenty-one. Listening to Vannelli’s early catalog – the ‘full’  and the ‘big’ sound came through louder and clearer than most of the Rock or Pop music at that time …

” It felt natural to me …” Explains Vannelli. “It was how I heard and felt music at the time. I was very curious about synthesizers and how you could manipulate them to sound like ‘real’ instruments. It gave the records an interesting sound and I had these tunes on my mind at the time. Another thing was the rhythm section. I really liked the hard rockin’ rhythm sections like Wyman and Watts of the Stones. I made sure the band we had going in the mid-seventies and late seventies had a really great rhythm section and I think we succeeded …”

Succeed is an understatement …

09 03 11_7048xStarting in 1974 – the hits started coming in bunches.

‘People Gotta Move” made it to No. 22 on the Billboard Top 100. On February 15, 1975,Vannelli became the second Caucasian performer to appear on Soul Train – a television appearance which opened the doors for him to tour and open up for Stevie Wonder.

In 1978, the song “I Just Wanna Stop” – sent him on a high-flying trip which landed Vannelli back on earth a different guy. That song earned Gino a Grammy nomination, was number one on the charts in Canada and number four in the U.S. Along with “Crazy Life,” “Powerful People,” “Storm at Sunup,” “The Gist of the Gemini,” and “A Pauper in Paradise” – Vannelli earned four Juno awards including Best Male Performer in the 1970’s. Gino Vannelli was on top of the world …

He was not finished there. His musical appetite – just warming up …

Stay tuned for Part Two

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).

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“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 …

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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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Top Ten Signs The Beach Boys Are Coming!

Yes boys and girls – brace yourselves …

On Aug.10th at Maddie’ Place, on the South Shore of Montreal and almost in the heart of Kanawake, the boys of summer will be arriving!

What’s that you say? Baseball is coming back to our fair city? Isn’t Tim Raines a little overweight for that type of thing?

No – silly rabbits … Tricks are for hookers! The boys of summer is in reference to the musical team known as The Beach Boys. Or – as we say in Quebec; ‘ Les Gens Qui Port Les Speedos! Yes sir – the men ( or some of them) who brought sweet sounds to the ears of pets everywhere will be harmonizing half-hazardly half way to Hull …

How do we know these facts are true?

Here are the Top Ten Signs The Beach Boys are Coming!

10. The Barenaked Ladies will be the opening act thanks to Brian Wilson’s request.

9. . The local sex shops are completely sold out of the vibrators known as ‘Good Vibrations” …

8. Staff at all local area Old Folks’ homes reporting a surge in BeachBall requests and (much to the dismay of men of all ages ) skimpy red bikinis …

7. Lawyers! Everwhere …

6. Mike Love has been at L’Ofice de la Langue Fancais since last Friday trying desperately to convince the officials that ‘Les Garcons de la Plage’ would not be condusive to good ticket sales!

5. It’s all ‘Fun! Fun! Fun!‘ until three people lose eyes …

4. ‘In my Room’ currently number one for the many Quebecers suffering from Agoraphobia!

3. Kids everywhere asking their Fathers ‘just what is a ‘little Deuce Coop’ and do you have to be over eighteen to see it?

2. Suddenly – Rhondas everywhere are extremely busy!!

and the Number One Sign The Beach Boys are Coming?

1. Brian Wilson is outta bed!!!!!

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Alex Cross and his Rise to Fame

Would you sell your soul for fame? 

Sex, Drugs and Rock N’ Roll! A talentless loser’s drive to be famous leads him to naively making a deal with the devil for his soul. Follow Alex’s journey during his rise to fame until he learns the truth from a conspiracy theorist who exposes the hidden satanic agenda behind the music industry.

Medulla Oblongata Productions is happy to be presenting its’ first-ever theatre production at the 23rd annual St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival. Our company consist of a very dedicated and culturally diverse creative team from Japan, Hong Kong, Belgium, Quebec and the rest of Canada. Our talented 11-person cast are all artists in the Montreal theatre scene.

Alex Cross and His Rise to Fame is a play that offers a sarcastic and satirical look into the corporate dominance and commercialization of the music industry and the artists being exploited by it.

Written and directed by Franco DeCrescentis.

MainLine Theatre
3997, boulevard St. Laurent – Mtl (Qc)

8:15 p.m. – Saturday June 15th
Samedi 15 juin – 20h15

10:45 p.m. – Sunday June 16th
Dimanche 16 juin – 22h45

9:45 p.m. – Tuesday June 18th
Mardi 18 juin – 21h45

8:00 p.m. – Wednesday June19th
Mercredi 19 juin – 20h00

9:15 p.m. – Thursday June 20th
Jeudi 20 juin – 21h15

10:15 p.m. – Saturday June 22nd
Samedi 22 juin – 22h15

For more info, please visit these links:

PDF – Press Releasehttp://fburls.com/27-gccoM071  

website:
http://www.alexcrossandhisrisetofame.com/

To donate:
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/alex-cross-and-his-rise-to-fame

Please come back for my review tomorrow !

Derek Falls – Keepin’ the R and B Tradition Alive!

Tommy Falls – Derek’s father, loved rhythm and Blues. Little did he know, his son was listening to all his music. Otis Redding, Elvis Presley and all the great pioneers of soul, rock n roll and Blues.

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“One day, my Dad had a party and I asked him if I could play along with my guitar. My Dad asked where I got it. I told him  I wanted it so badly that I worked hard and saved all my money.”

Needless to say, the elder Falls, a guitar player himself – was pleased that his son wanted to carry on not only the great tradition of R and B, the family tradition as well …

“I guess I was about thirteen.” Explains Falls. “I would play alongside my Dad. Later, around sixteen – my friends and I started a band and we played all those great R and B tracks. It was the time of Corey Hart‘s popularity, so we started playing his songs as well. ‘Sunglasses at Night‘ , ‘Never Surrender‘ … those songs. I always played with my family band and me and my father and Brother starting playing at home and in shows ”

derek5Not immediately, yet a bit down the road, the father – son tandem evolved into The Mother Jones Band. It featured Derek on lead guitar and Father Tommy by his side playing a Blues rhythm guitar that would make John Lee Hooker himself – very proud. Following one album entitled ‘Father and Son‘ – Derek Falls decided to dip into his solo ‘pool’. He has released several videos, notably ‘Down at the Butcher Shop’ and has just finished recording his new cd; ‘The Better Side of Me’ …

‘I basically sat down, started strumming on the guitar and all these great songs came out. I decided to get a group of musicians together and record the album. I am especially happy Jim Zeller, Quebec‘s finest harmonica player is in the recording. His playing with my acoustic is just so real. It adds a whole dimension to the songs.”

The album, is a throwback to the old days.

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‘If I had a Minute”, a track which Derek played live on k103.7fm, is Derek and his guitar introducing a song – or, track two; ‘Corner Stop’.  The rest of the band kicks in with Luc Murphy leading the charge on flute. Derek’s riffs, reminiscent of Dylan’s ‘All Along the Watchtower‘, providing a backdrop for Murphy’s instrument flying like a bird gone wild. Some songs remain the same throughout. No need for ebbs and flows. Corner Stop  is one of those.

‘They say that I am Crazy’ is Derek’s rendition of Leonard Cohen. Lyrically and soulfully. Just when you think Derek may be too repetitive, too mundane –  suddenly the chorus picks up the song and delivers some funky riffs from a backseat derived through some devilish excursion into a Blues’ past riddled with guitar bullets.

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‘Down at the Butcher Shop’ and ‘Walk This Way‘ ( not to be confused with Aerosmith’s hit), rock out with a hard guitar and piercing solos by Falls. The great thing about Derek, is his non – shyness to add phrases introducing his directions while he goes. Hooker did it, Muddy Waters did it – now, add Falls to that list. Amid this ‘sound-a-like’ world which we live in, Falls’ tunes remain ‘old school’ yet at the same time – unique.

Like a Rolling Stone‘ and ‘Heading on Down the Road’ provide a slower Bluesy tracking device to the listener. Zeller’s harp and Emilie Desroches’ violin – providing an old – fashioned backdrop to Falls’ songwriting scriptures. Once more – a call goes out to the masters. Obvious that Tommy Falls’ inspiration added up in the plus column.

‘I’m a Strange Nor Ordinary Man‘ is the best song on the album. It’s a hit waiting in the wings. Zeller’s harp kicking off the sort of song heard in old western movies. Suddenly, Falls jumps in and it’s a 1970’s ‘woe is me’ feel good riff. Foot – tapping with an Allman Brothers – type chorus making an easy route to a smile more convenient. Falls’ solo near the end – magical!

‘The Better Side of Me’, the title track is haunting. Side by side with Radiohead’s ‘Creep’. Can ‘Creep’ be explained? You cannot explain ‘The Better side of Me’ either. Just listen and enjoy …

‘Angel Devine’ brings Luc Murphy and his flute back to the front of the line. A happy-go-lucky tune with a hint of The J. Geils Band‘s ‘Angel in Blue‘. Faintly. A great song to listen to while writing, thinking or driving in the night. Non – threatening in a threatening way.

‘King and Queen’ is the weordest song this side of a combination of Tiny Tim and Weird Al. Weird in such a great way. A fantastic song with Sergiu Popa on the accordion. Adding a ‘French ‘ feel straight from the boulevards of Gay Paris. Combined with Falls’ R and B influence and catchy lyrics – ‘King and Queen’; the second best song on the album.

‘Been a Long Time’, ‘derekCherry Love’, ‘I’ll Be There’ and ‘Who Do You Know’ finish the album in Derek Falls’ style. Four ballads which instill passion, romance and possibly the greatest blending of an electric guitar in slow tunes ever. Falls retains the uniqueness to write love songs which others would simply overdo and overdub. Falls simply strums from his heart and that noise is captured by the hearts within earshot.

Derek Falls will be playing most of his new tracks on the terrace at Annies sur La Lac on Friday the 10th of May. He will also be playing covers from the R and B greats.

Manu Pele – one of the best bass players from the Ivory Coast of Africa will be joining him along with a drummer to be named later.

Eat, drink and listen to Derek fill the air with sounds of happiness – old school style …

http://www.annies.ca/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Derek-Falls/127299527355165?ref=ts&fref=ts

http://www.reverbnation.com/derekfalls

http://www.derekdartist.com/

http://music.cbc.ca/#/artists/Derek-Falls

 

Jill Barber (Tres Smart ) Concert Review

They say the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Could it be possible the fastest way to a Francophone’s heart is through song? If so – songstress Jill Barber is a maverick of sorts.

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Singing as part of the Jazz All Year Long series – Barber held court at The Metropolis Thursday night and had the Francophone patrons eating out of her hand.

Singing eight French songs from her newly released album ‘Chansons’ – Barber innocently and honestly explained her love affair with Paris, Piaf and La Province du Quebec. It was non – threatening, her easy speak. She is trying through French lessons and interpretations of songs. The audience  fell in love with the ‘trying’ – hook, line and sinker.

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Then, there were the songs …

Imagine sitting on a sidewalk cafe in gay Paris. The birds are crooning from their perches high above as the sunlight paints romance with dabs of color. An accordion player sits at the corner. The sounds from the instrument intruding every nook, every cranny with mystique and casual prodding.

Add a grand piano. The keys sprinkling sounds of Spring like leaves on a journey into adulthood. An electric guitar piercing every so often – a pin prick on tender skin as lovers play. As partners make love.

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The drums. Keeping the pace as hard or soft as the candles blow in the night. Pulsating or providing a backdrop to silent whispers. Romantic sax, clarinet and an unassuming bass, flying over and beyond the lyrics, the compositions and the tone.

Barber’s voice. Child like. Mature. A hint of realness. Dispensing innocence like a scent paving the way home.

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Jill Barber has discovered a few things.

One; Francais is a hard language to grasp. Deux; French people love to hear an effort. Trois; French is the language of love …

Last night, Montreal discovered Jill Barber and fell in love with her …

Does anyone have Saku Koivu‘s phone number?

http://www.jillbarber.com/

March 9 – BLANKFEST QUEBEC V – It’s About The Homeless; Nothing More, Nothing Less

March 9 – BLANKFEST QUEBEC V – It’s About The Homeless; Nothing More, Nothing Less

Montreal is known for having one of Canada’s harshest and coldest winters, and every year it’s unfortunate that those who are homeless must endure the reality of living on the street.

Since its conception, Blankfest Quebec has been raising awareness and clothing (over 2,500 items to date) for Montreal’s homeless and shelter the Old Brewery Mission.

This year sees the return of the fifth annual charity event with city’s music community coming together once again to help those in need. Blankfest Quebec V will be held on March 9th at Piranha Bar (680 Ste. Catherine W.) with blues rockers Vinyl Hero, society fighters Fist of Freedom, metallers Dissension and the politically charged Forbidden Sin.

In addition to the Blankfest Quebec V, the Heavy Metal Music Association of Canada will be holding a fundraising brunch at Frite Alors (680 Ste. Catherine W.) the morning of March 9th at 11am to raise funds for the Old Brewery Mission along with a speakers panel on the topic of Charity & Music.

Note: H.M.M.A.C. will be accepting donations of rolled pennies at the brunch for those interested in getting rid of them.

Cost for brunch and panel is $20 with $5 to be donated to Old Brewery Mission. 

Speaking Panelist are the following:

Johanne McDonald – Executive Director – Old Brewery Mission

Jon Asher – Blankfest Quebec

Jason Rockman – CHOM 97.7FM

Norm Zimmerman – Steve’s Music Store

Ray Howard – Vinyl Hero

Blankfest V 2013 – Event Details

Facebook Event – https://www.facebook.com/events/224310721027493

Facebook Fanpage – Blankfest Quebec – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Blankfest-Quebec/124607864221341 

Old Brewery Mission – www.oldbrewerymission.ca and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mission-Old-Brewery-page-officielle/168973503131279

Date: Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Time: 8pm

Venue: Frite Alors, 680 Ste-Catherine W.

Cost: Admission is a Blanket or Donation of Winter Clothing

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About: The Old Brewery Mission Soothing homelessness. Solving homelessness.

About The Old Brewery Mission

Founded in 1889, The Old Brewery Mission is the largest resource for homeless men in Quebec and for homeless women in Canada. This non-profit organization provides a range of services that respond to the needs of Montreal’s homeless people as well as those at risk of becoming so, and endeavours to enable them to take control of their lives and assume their rightful place in the community. It is estimated that there are close to 20,000 homeless people in Montreal.

About: Blankfest Quebec is organized by Jon Asher, in collaboration with the Old Brewery Mission, and was launched after Jon read about his friend, New York City indie rock veteran Kenn Rowell of The Baghdaddios, who founded Blankfest in 1997 and has been organizing the annual blanket fundraiser in New York City for the past 17 years.

In the past, Rowell says, Blankfest NYC has raised more than 6,000 total donations that have been distributed to the homeless in the New York City area and has inspired similar efforts in New Jersey, Manhattan and Nottingham, UK. Among the many distinguished artists who have performed at past international Blank-Fests are: Rothberg (EMI), Buddy Cage (Grateful Dead), Marc Rizzo (Soulfly) and Meg Griffin (Sirius Radio).

One Road Keeps on Riding …

Mike and Tracy of the band One Road, are two guys who will not quit. Why should they …?

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They waited seventeen years to put out their dream album. It is a fantastic album backed with great videos. It’s not easy for the two – considering their music is caught in between.

In between what? Right in the middle of genres …

Their music is considered ‘country’ by rock radio. Somewhat funny because – the same stations play Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Tracy and Mike do not consider themselves in the same breaths as these acclaimed artists. They do not ( admittedly) come close. They do not however understand the dilemma  …

Country music in Quebec, as far as air play goes – relatively non – existent. In order for them to get airplay, the two men along with their friends have worked painstakingly hard to get noticed. Harder then they should have to.

“Right now – we are playing on 126 stations.” Says Tracy.” We have received ( as far as we know) 7,709 spins. It has taken a lot of phone calls all over Canada and the States to get noticed and right now we are considering hiring a publicist to make our lives easier …”

One Road are having fun. They have filmed two videos so far and are about to start their third. A new album is also in the works and these guys are very fan – friendly …

They always have contests going.

Like the new one. Jamaica anyone …?

That is where you may end up if you win the $3.000  gift certificate!

Buy their album from their site,  iTunes or at participating Harley Davidson dealer. Buy from the site –  send them a proof of purchase via email to  contact@oneroadtheband.com    Forward your confirmation of purchase email from iTunes or pay-pal.  At the Harley dealer fill out the card and you are automatically entered into the contest.  It runs from March 1st and ends May 1st.  All entries must be received no later than May 1st.

The winner will be announced on their show ” at the bar”  on May 15th 2013.  for contest details and rules visit their website at.

John Scofield

scofieldpress01SMLJazz legend John Scofield is leaving his home and the ‘warmer’ climate of New York State. He is bringing his trio to Quebec as part of the Jazz All Year Round series.

A veteran of many Montreal International Jazz Festivals, this will be the first time the guitarist sees other parts of the Province. ‘Sco’ – as he is known, is very excited …

“I am looking forward to seeing Quebec City and the rest of the beautiful province. I am also looking forward to playing with this trio, these are my go – to guys and I call this my Uber – Jam.”

Scofield is referring to bassist Scott Colley and drummer Bill Stewart. Combined with Scofield, a trio which will run the gamut of music. Not just Jazz – a bit of  rhythm and blues, Gospel and Country?

“There is always a bit of country in music.” Laughs John. ” I really think that Country, R and B and Blues are the cornerstones of all music. Look at the sixties. It was a fun time because every musician experimented with every genre. It was an innocent time in many ways and everything was new. Musicians had a lot of fun and the music wasn’t categorized like today.”

Scofield admits that categories did exist back then but there was more freedom. Freedom  creatively without being ‘cornered’ into a musical label.

” I love to do everything.” Adds John. ” I have to be careful to say if I love Jazz, Jazz – fusion, Blues or whatever …! If I get labelled as a fusion player, then it is easier to be criticized for playing bluesy – type stuff. It is simpler for me to not say too much and be able to branch out in different genres when I feel like it.”

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John Scofield considers Miles Davis as his mentor. ‘Sco’ learned a lot playing with Miles on three albums and doing multiple shows. ‘The Master’, as Scofield refers to the iconic Jazz innovator, was in a world of his own. Onstage and offstage …

“I was never ‘buddies’ with Miles, I don’t think anyone outside his family were real buddies. He was the type of guy who needed change. He was always changing and he taught me the single lesson which I continue to live by; keep it fresh!”

Another player who Miles took on as his bass player and played with John in Miles’ band was Daryl Jones, a guy who has played with Sting, Eric Clapton and is now the bass player in The Rolling Stones.

” Just before I starting playing with Miles, Marcus Williams was playing bass. Marcus went to school at Berkley with Vince Wilburn, who is Miles Davis’ nephew. Vince went to school with Daryl Jones ( The Rolling Stones) and Daryl was recruited  by Miles to play bass. Miles had a lot of friends and a lot of these guys ended up playing with him at some point.”

John continues.

” Daryl was just a kid when I played with him. He was what? Eighteen or something? He had no experience at all playing with any ‘famous’ players. Imagine that? I am very happy for him. He has done very well for himself and he was and is a great player.”

Scofield considers himself  fortunate  to play with so scofieldpress0049SMLmany different players these days. A line – up of his choice when and if he wants. He will not deny an occasion to play with a musician from different ‘walks’ of talent but does admit it is difficult to play with those who are less talented.

” I am not above anyone but playing with lesser talent is hard. You end up bringing yourself down to their level. I like – as I think most people do, to constantly grow and get better. You always want to improve and continue an education upwards.”

John Scofield, Scott Colley and Bill Stewart will play their first show in Quebec on February 6 in Gatineau. The trio will enable John to ‘see’ places such as Victoriaville, Shawinigan, Quebec City and Sherbrooke among other towns in La Belle Province.

What songs can a concert goer expect at any one of these shows?

” We are leaving it open.” Explains John. “Mostly the shows will contain Jazz standards but we will add different songs each night. A little R and B, Gospel and some fusion. A few ballads as well. It will be hard to play songs from my album Piety Street ( a gospel and R and B album recorded in New Orleans) since I cannot sing. Each show we will improvise a bit which is what music is all about. I’m addicted to free – form Jazz so …”

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Following his tour of Quebec, Scofield will be releasing an album and touring Europe. Uber – Jam Deux will consist of John,  Larry Goldings and Greg Hutchinson.

That tour will be ‘warmer’ for Scofield than his arrival in Quebec at the beginning of February. Warmer temperature – wise maybe. Warmer than the receptive audiences in Montreal? A place where Scofield’s playing has gained appreciation  for a couple of decades …?

Probably not.

The trio are playing in Montreal at L’Astral on Feb.13th. Opening act is Rafael Zaldivar

Martha Wainright Sings Offenbach

The adopted Montrealer follows in the footsteps of Ariane Moffatt and Pascale Picard in the creation of the soundtrack for this popular TV series created by Fabienne Larouche and broadcast on Radio-Canada.

As of Wednesday, January 23, 2013, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the universe of TRAUMA with music by Martha Wainwright by watching the first episode of the fourth season.

aHer interpretation of Ayoye (Offenbach) – the first single of the album to be released Tuesday, February 26, 2013 – will be made available the day after the first episode is shown. This go-live approach will be used throughout the season: every Thursday, you’ll be able to download the song heard in the previous night’s episode of TRAUMA, broadcast at 9pm on Radio-Canada.

Today the press screening of the first three episodes of TRAUMA was held in the company of Fabienne Larouche, Martha Wainwright, as well as several actors from the series.

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The songs of this fourth season, interpreted in French by Martha Wainwright, are taken from the repertoire of renowned Quebec artists like Offenbach, Daniel Bélanger, Claude Dubois, Ariane Moffatt and Mara Tremblay. She also includes three pieces from her own repertoire with a song from the McGarrigle sisters, all of which she adapted into the language of Molière. Fans of TRAUMA‘s intrigue will appreciate the carefully chosen songs that resonate with the emotions of each episode.

Martha Wainwright – Ayoye – Available January 24th 2013 on iTunes

Martha Wainwright – Trauma: Chansons de la série télé #4 – Available February 26th 2013

The new year is looking very busy for Martha Wainwright. Having jumped into the number one spot with the release of her album Come Home to Mama in October 2012, she’ll be embarking on a series of concerts across the country that will bring her to Western Canada in March 2013. The girl who literally seduced the Quebec press with her last album will be welcomed back by La Belle Province for several dates that will soon be announced.

See what else is happening with Martha …

Martha Wainright – Upcoming Shows

March 2
Winnipeg, Man. • West End Cultural Centre

March 3
Regina, Sask. • Artesian On 13th

March 4
Saskatoon, Sask. • The Bassment

March 5
Calgary, Alb. • The Ironwood

March 7
Nelson, C.-B. • The Royal

March 8
Kelowna, C.-B. • Minstrel Café

March 10
Victoria, C.-B. • TBA

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Vancouver, C.-B. • TBA

En Route To HVY MTL Announce BOTB 2013 Line Up Presented by Dungeonworks and Evenko

Following the success of the inaugural edition in 2012, Dungeon Works Productions and Evenko are proud to present En Route to Heavy MTL 2013 and the selected twenty bands that will be battling it out over the next five months to win one of two opening slots at this year’s 2013 HVY MTL.

With hundreds of applications this year from across the province of Quebec, the selection of bands was a difficult one as the talent pool was rich with head banging metal.

The line-up and genre nights are listed below with show dates at Les Katacombes (1635 St-Laurent Blvd) starting in January 2013.  The grand finale will feature the five bands with the top overall scores and will take place on June 2013 at Théatre Corona (2490 Rue Notre-Dame W) date TBD.

*Note: The panel of guest judges, both local and international alongside a number of industry representatives for each night will be announced at a later date. Last year’s judges included members of Testament, Voivod, Heaven & Hell, Megadeth, Slaves on Dope, Annihilator, Despised Icon and Cannibal Corpse.

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