On The Corner was not received well upon it’s release in 1972. Times change …
The (now) landmark album by Miles Davis was ahead of it’s time. A precursor to 1970’s Funk, Rock and eventually Hip Hop. Miles – as usual, ahead of his time and ahead of the times.
Dave Liebman was on that album with Miles and it gave Jeff Coffin (Dave Mathews Band, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones) an idea. Coffin assembled an All Star band to do a live performance of On The Corner. A ‘gig’ that thankfully was recorded and a ‘gig’ that one day may be considered historic in itself.
Please listen below to my chat with Jeff about the album, Miles and The Dave Mathews Band.
In 1989, Colin James had ‘Miles to Go’ in his career.
Colin was given the Juno Award for Most Promising Male Artist. It was the same year that Back to the Future Two was released and Game Boy was one of the most popular toys on the market. Colin, the film and the (then) technologically advanced toy were all signs that life was changing.
The beginning of the 90’s saw more and more money going into the pockets of the businessmen. Artists, filmmakers and inventors had their souls sucked into commercial abysses. Blues artists – men like Buddy Guy and B.B. King (the forefathers of the music that laid the frame for all popular music) were pushed aside.
Thankfully – Canada came to the rescue with two guys who kept the Blues alive on a commercially successful stage. Jeff Healey and Colin James.
Since Jeff left for that grand stage in the sky, Colin remains as one of the last Canadian Blues men. A man who has seen the best and the worst of a music world within a long and storied career. Colin James knows The Blues and with his 2019 Juno nominated album Miles To Go – he has come full circle. Finally gaining the recognition he deserves as a profound Blues artist.
Please listen below to my chat with Colin about the upcoming Junos, his thoughts on The Blues and hear some tracks from his Juno nominated album Miles To Go.
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.
For the fans of Rock n Roll in Montreal – watching The Damn Truth emerge from seedlings in the garden of Montreal music has been – thus far, satisfactory. Yet in the immortal words of one of Rock music’s founding fathers; “I can’t get no …”
Obtaining ‘satisfaction’ as a Rock outfit is beyond reach if you take your craft seriously. Perfection is striven for yet always just out of a finger’s touch. That is the ingredient which separates bands with success and those without. Constantly working hard.
Montreal’s The Damn Truth have had more success in the Montreal Rock n Roll scene than anyone in the past five years. Touring with ZZ Top and opening for Styx – just two achievements reached. Working with top level producers and engineers; a couple more pats on the back. The latest notch in their guitar straps? Touring Quebec with the critically acclaimed band The Sheepdogs.
In 2012, the CD Dear in The Headlights was released. It was the beginning of numerous radio appearances and live shows which introduced the band to Montreal and eventually; the world. It was the beginning of introducing Lee -La Baum’s infectious energy and chameleon-like vocals. It was the start of showcasing Tom Shemerr’s raw piercing guitar riffs and groundbreaking solos. Drummer Dave Traina’s hard driving beats and unique rhythms a la Bonham. Newcomer PY Letellier on bass – grounds it all in slightly sloppy, groovy vehicule. All in all, the city of Montreal was introduced to a talented Rock outfit with an endless amount of work ethic and hunger.
Fast forward to MTeluson a cold January evening 2019 – nothing has changed onstage. The Damn Truth still perform as if it was their very first show and their musical life ( career) depended on the outcome. Success has not reached the ears of the band. If it has, then their love and passion for what they do – easily dismisses the accolades as a monkey dismisses a fly.
Whether pounding out tunes such as I Want You (He’s a Lightweight)or Kinda Awkward from their rookie CD to new tracks off their 2016 album Devlish Folk– one thing remains the same; the fans’ reaction.
There is something in the air when The Damn Truth play their hometown. It is beyond hometown support and /or love. It is beyond great tunes. It is superior to a Rock show. What The Damn Truth bring to the stage (aside from energy) is honesty. Integrity oozes through their sweat and into the first row. From there, like an epidemic – it is passed throughout the venue. The most jaded of music fans cannot dodge the bite of the band’s vicious and truthful fangs.
In this day and age of auto-tune, loops and programmed music, The Damn Truth are throwbacks to an era when music mattered more than the money. The days like the Fillmore West when the East Coast Blues, Funk and Country guys met and blended with the California music scene. The days (and nights) when those musicians talked about creativity and making great music. The days when bands played for the fans from the heart.
An audience cannot be fooled. An audience knows when a performer is real or calling it in. An audience knows authenticity. The Damn Truth are the real deal and that is why the audiences grow larger and larger at The Damn Truth shows.