For most people, up is the proper direction to head when things get really bad. A message of hope when despair is your only friend.
The Montreal Canadiens appear to love misery. Problem is – misery does not like company and for the first time in many years, the company is sending a message.
Like Toronto, another perennial loser, The Bell Center will never be empty because half the seats sold are corporate. The people who attend in this capacity – do not have a clue about the game of hockey nor do they care.They wheel and deal and take selfies to display their status as ‘fans.’
Luckily, the salt of the earth, the walk – ins, the true fans are staying away. Mirrors to the soul of a once proud franchise. Reflecting ugly decisions and greed.
Please listen below to what may just be the playlist of The Montreal Canadiens’ management team. If not – maybe they will listen and learn.
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.
Melody Gardot is one of those artists who do not fit into the ‘norm’. With all the penthouse suites belonging to the likes of Lady Gaga, Celine Dion and Adele, Melody lives on the middle floor. Seemingly, by choice. Seemingly – not by choice?
Artists like Gardot, sing and play their instruments for the art. Not to say anything bad about the aforementioned artists, they just have a different view of music and how to deliver it.
Melody was here on Saturday night as part of The Montreal International Jazz Festival with an orchestra. The group of exceptional musicians on stage with Gardot not only enhanced the performance but allowed Melody the canvas on which to paint. A flexible backdrop (if you will) to enhance Gardot’s colors.
Tunes such as Baby I’m a Fool, Who Will Comfort Me and If The Stars Were Mine – showcased Gardot’s chameleon – like personality. Her frailty, her strength and her seductive nature brought the audience on a trip. Gardot’s way of giving a tour of the foyer, the dining room , the kitchen and eventually – her bedroom door. The portal to her many moods and likes is on display but at the door you must stop. Gardot (through song choice) teases and seduces but does not allow entrance into her bed.
Upon completion of a Gardot concert , the charm – the wit and the attraction of a multi-talented artist beams high in the sky like a musical Bat signal. Music officiants knew it was there, music fans more aware than ever and the passing fan safe in the knowledge that force – fed mainstream music can be beat by elegance and charm.
Canadian women going to Texas to play the Blues was not an everyday event …
The year was 1989 and Foley was planted deeply within the Austin Blues scene. It was a time for learning and because the (then) twenty – one year old Sue took her craft seriously, a quick assent took place.
Foley cut her ‘chops’ in the subsequent years and it all came into Canadian fruition in 2001 as Foley won a Juno Award for Best Blues Album. Love Comin’ Down cemented Foley’s place in Canadian music history.
Please listen below to my chat with Sue about her ‘time off’ from solo albums and her Juno nomination for Best Blues album in 2019 with her latest release – The Ice Queen
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.
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.
Big Wreck celebrated twenty years as a band with a bang on show at The Corona. The loyal fans were not disappointed by the raw Rock / Alternative. /Grunge tunes spun by lead singer and principal songwriter Ian Thornley.
Canadian Country Star Tim Hickswas in town with a new album and injecting some much needed exposure of Country music to Quebec. The Country scene in this province is kinda underground yet Hicks brought the fans from behind their barns and into the spotlight.
Former Genesis guitar man Steve Hackett was in town in what appears as almost an annual event. The love affair between Hackett / Genesis and this province has never been more amorous as Hackett et al performed the Genesis catalog along with his solo stuff.
Kim Churchill, aka the man from Down Under, has more talent in his finger than the majority of ‘your top forty’ radio stars. Kim was in town promoting his new album and it was the second time in three years Kim was touring Quebec. The provincial love affair is nearing Steve Hackett territory.
Devon Cuddy(son of Jim) and his Devon Cuddy Band were in Montreal promoting their new EP. Devin is a chip of the old ‘Rodeo’ and just may surpass Dad in success due to his songwriting and piano playing (without the help of Greg Keelor).
Pianist Mike Jones released a magical album with a magician. Jones – happens to be the piano player for Las Vegas act Penn and Teller. Jones convinced Penn to record an album. Jones took four hours of his time to speak of the album, his favorite piano players (of all time) and Jazz in general. One of the most informative chats I have been privy to.
Montrealer Sule Heitnerreleased an album and took some time to chat about it. Sule is one of the most talented guitar players playing in Montreal and his smooth voice and songwriting are a tip of the hat to old school R & B.
Eastern town-shipper and Blues veteran Mike Goudreau released an album of alternative takes. Songs that were there (but not really) all rolled into a pure Blues (and fun album). Goudreau also spoke of his success selling music to Hollywood.
Model / actress/ songwriter / singer Carla Bruni was at L’Olympia sporting her new album. Mick Jagger’s former squeeze and former first lady of France put on a bilingual show complete with a cover of Jagger / Richards’ Miss You. Serenity ruled with often humorous banter from this talented lady.
The most talented and adventurous student of The Blues in Quebec – Jordan Officer released an album entitled Three Rivers. Adding fiddle to his arsenal – Officer’s foray into his first love (The Blues) continues it’s assent to the highest peaks.
Inspired by the #MeToo movement – Rosie and The Riveters released an album to empower women and to also tell some sordid stories of their own. This Western Canadian – based trio make toes tap and hearts sing with pure music. A lot of tongue-in- cheek humor gets the message across also.
Montreal writer and author Kristian Gravenor has unearthed quite a few tales of the Montreal music scene in his book; Montreal 375 Tales of Eating, Drinking, Living and Loving.
On any given evening, a music lover could walk downtown Montreal and visit numerous clubs. All of them hosting bands and / or DJs. You wanted Jazz? No problem. Rock n Roll? Check out Kristian’s labor of love.
Canadian legend Kim Mitchellwas in Quebec city because he is Kim Mitchell. Kim took some time to chat before his show and what a show it was. Timeless tunes and Canadian wit ruled the night with a soda in hand …
Bluesman Jack Broadbent was in town at L’Astral strutting his acoustic stuff. Very few men or woman take the time to understand and learn to play The Blues with conviction and place the likes of Robert Johnson in their pockets. Broadbent is the next generation of Blues-men who do it for the right reasons.
Canadian Music Hall of Fame member and front-man for April Wine Myles Goodwyn, released a solo album filled with the Blues and special guests. Myles proved that his first love in music will give him ‘miles’ to go in his career after (if) April Wine calls it a day. A two part chat revealed much about the man who remains an enigma to many.
Former Bostonian-turned-Montrealer-turned-New York-er Emma Frank released an album which may be one of the best of 2018. Ocean Av is the name and songwriting is Emma’s game. The album helped return Emma to Montreal as part of The Montreal International Jazz Festival.
Stay tuned for Part Two of 2018 In Review !
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Retired Montreal DJ, promoter and all round music guru Sheldon Kaganhas written a book detailing all his memories from a musical life unmatched. Whether it is an unsavory meeting with Miles Davis or an ‘almost superstar concert’ quashed by an unexpected death – Sheldon delivers a life story which every music lover must read.
Music does not need to be a ticketed item. A musician does not need to be a global star to warrant accolades. Montrealer Steve Creepis the hardest working musician in Montreal. His acoustics and band sets take place seven nights a week in places such as Brutopia and various McKibbons outlets (among others). Very few musicians have such a vast knowledge and repertoire of all genres. Steve is so good – former Montreal Canadien Tomas Plekanec sought Steve out following many Canadiens’ home games. Buy a beer or two, have a meal and support Mr. Creep.
On January 26th for seven days you will cruise through locations including Nassau, The Bahamas, Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, and Key West, Florida.
The line-up on this cruise is a joint effort of Blue Note president Don Was and Blue Note Jazz Clubs president Steven Bensusan. Joining Kosins on the bill is Marcus Miller, Robert Glasper, David Sanborn, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Logan Richardson, Luques Curtis, Wynton Marsalis, Kurt Elling, José James, Christian Scott, Terence Blanchard, Jason Moran, Kandace Springs, Wycliffe Gordon, Eric Marienthal, Ben Williams, Taylor McFerrin, Terrace Martin, Derrick Hodge, Geoffrey Keezer, and many more! There will be various venues of different size, with main shows played twice nightly in the ship’s largest venue.
Grammy-winning Southern rockers The Kentucky Headhunters are back on Alligator with Live At The Ramblin’ Man Fair, a raucous live album recorded in front of 25,000 screaming fans at the UK’s famed rock festival. In addition to the full live set, the album features three bonus studio tracks from the legendary Meet Me In Bluesland sessions featuring the late Johnnie Johnson, known for his seminal piano work on Chuck Berry’s most influential and famous songs.
Live At The Ramblin’ Man Fair features an adrenaline-fueled set list with the Headhunters at the top of their game at their first-ever UK performance. Mixing six high-energy originals, searing blues rockers and a thunderous take on The Beatles’ Don’t Let Me Down, the Headhunters have never sounded more intense and fun.
Closing out the album are three recently discovered tracks featuring Rock &’ Roll Hall of Famer Johnnie Johnson on piano with the band, boldly underscoring the Kentucky Headhunters’ deep blues chops and Johnnie’s mastery of rockin’ piano.
Not only is Jess Canadian, she is also the heir to Shania Twain’s Country throne. Jess has won most Country awards lately and she treks into Christmas territory with an album filled with her favorites growing up. As roots as a Christmas album will get.
Not only is David Myles one of the best vocalists and songwriters in Canada – he also owns one of the largest hearts. Every year David puts on Christmas shows in malls in Nova Scotia and raises money for the less fortunate. Backed by his excellent album; It’s Christmas, a must see show and a must buy album.
Easy. A blend of Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Genesis, Yes, Rush, The Ramones, The Kinks, the Beatles and every artist between 1920 until present day.
Frank Zappa’s brilliance as a writer, producer, arranger, guitar player and every other position within an intellectual realm artistically and socially was put on display via Dweezil Zappa in Laval last night. Epic could be the best way to describe the evening.
The Purple Lagoon, Andy and Don’t You Want a Man Like Me opened things up along with the punter’s minds who were not far behind in realizing music exists beyond corporate radio. The name of this tour is Choice Cuts.An insight into the non commercial world of Frank Zappa. Given Frank’s songs were mostly non radio friendly, choosing ‘choice’ tracks should be easy.
Think again …
Firstly – Dweezil’s Muthas are not your Father’s band. When each player within a band could headline on their own – something special is on the way. Dweezil himself – one of the finest guitar players ‘off the beaten path’ and an astute songwriter to boot. Detach the Zappa moniker and all it’s expectations – Dweezil could very well be in the same breath as Vai, Satriano et al. in the mainstream conscientiousness. Frank probably would want it this way and ensure the Zappa legacy maintains musical integrity.
As the show moved along – perhaps the ladies initially stole the show. Vocalist Cian Coey and multi – instrumentalist Scheila Gonzalez were on fire. Frank Zappa’s tunes contained whimsical female voices along with serious style. Both Scheila and Cian added their parts with conviction. Cian alone – stealing the spotlight throughout the evening with power, finesse and grace. An indication the ‘top forty’ radio female vocalists are nowhere near the best. Scheila no slouch either as her vocals more than impressed and her Sax playing otherworldly. Frank would be proud.
Call Any Vegetable, Tell Me You Love Me and T’Mershi Duween. Three more tunes which only the die hard Frank fans know aside from the band.
Drummer Ryan Brown, bassist Kurt Morgan, Chris Norton on keys and guitarist / vocalist Adam Minkoff were on the same bus. Travelling the Zappa songbook at light-speed. Shining alone when called upon and perfectly in sync with grooves as sweet as the most perfect five hour Funk jam. The completeness allowing Dweezil to do his thang.
Steve Vai was one of Dweezil’s teachers back in the day. Frank Zappa was one of Dweezil’s muses. Dweezil has worked with every guitar player worth their weight in gold. Nothing could go wrong within a solo and Dweezil’s own curiosity to grow as an artist – adds to the special moments when Dweezil takes the spotlight.
Suzy Creamcheese, Valley Girl, Zoot Allures, Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow and Joe’s Garage – the show and the intensity continued.
Serious musicians playing serious licks. Only the students of music can understand and appreciate Dweezil’s (The Muthas) take on his Father’s songs. Only serious students of music can appreciate Frank Zappa and his genius.
Some bands fall through the cracks as far as recognition goes. Stiff Little Fingers are one of those bands.
Born at the height of Punk music’s global popularity, the band emerged from a Country that was not known for Rock music.
‘I have no doubt there were many talented musicians and songwriters in Ireland …” Says original and current member and songwriter Jake Burns. ” Due to the fear factor of losing jobs (that were few and far between) and the non acceptance of Northern Ireland musicians due to the political unrest in Ireland, sadly many chose or were forced to stay put.”
Stiff Little Fingers, a group of schoolboy friends formed in 1977. A time when groups such as The Ramones and The Sex Pistols were gaining momentum. It was another band however which many comparisons were made.
“Everyone kept telling us we sounded like The Clash and we were asked if they were a huge influence.” Says Burns on the eve of their November 10th show in Montreal. “We never really spoke with the guys from The Clash and wondered if they took us as a threat or admired us.”
Four albums in three years starting in 1979 saw the band emerge as a voice of unrest for not only the people of Ireland – the entire world. Punk music and Stiff Little Fingers were affecting fans and non fans alike.
“When I started writing songs, I had a little difficulty coming up with ideas and they were forced’ Says Burns. ” I spoke with someone and once I realized it is important to write what you know – that is when things changed for me as a songwriter and the band.
Stiff Little Fingers then suffered the same fate as many bands. Knowing each other for so long and being on the road and always together, the fighting started.
” All these years later, in hindsight – all we needed to do was to take a step back and we would have been fine …” Admits Jake. ” It was not about dislike, it was about the stress of the business and a lot of pressure to maintain a band.”
In 1987, following a hiatus and Jake partaking in a solo effort and collaborations, Stiff Little Fingers reunited and despite the words of the music business; The Fingers embarked on what would become a very successful tour in Germany to sold out crowds. Burns and the band have never looked back.
Since their reformation, Stiff Little Fingers have released six albums with the last being the critically acclaimed 2014’s ‘No Going Back’.
Jake Burns still follows the recipe of writing what he knows for success.
” I went through some major life changes such as a divorce and relocation to a different continent and I did not think anyone would want to listen to a middle age guy sing about a mid-life crisis and divorce. Luckily I was wrong …”
Stiff Little Fingers are in Montreal Saturday night November 10th at Foufounes Electriques.
Frank Zappa’s son Dweezil, is a chip off the old block even though it is not sought out. Call it instinct, call it learned behavior or call it genetic – the artistic blood does circulate and will eventually come out in layered colors.
Please listen below to Part One of my chat with Dweezil Zappa. Topics include his Dad, his guitar playing and many other interesting tidbits. Stay tuned for Part Two.
The Blues are steeped in tradition of making deals with the Devil at the crossroads. Bad in the Blues is a good thing.
Justin Saladino and his band were the baddest thing on stage Tuesday night as they competed and won The Quebec to Memphis Blues Challenge. The next step? Conquering the biggest Blues stage in the world.
Please listen belowto my chat with Justin about the win and his steadfast work ethic to be better all the time.