Rick Keene Music Scene – A Review of The Helen Reddy Biopic; ‘I Am Woman’

Biopics are hit and miss.

Bohemian Rhapsody – the Queen Inc. biopic depicting the life and times of the band Queen and it’s front-man Freddie Mercury; a sullied misrepresentation of music history and the memory of the late Mercury himself. Smoke and mirrors should never overshadow smoke and mirrors with smoke and mirrors.

With trepidation – a viewing of the Helen Reddy film ‘ I Am Woman’ on the heels of Reddy’s recent passing, a must for any music fan. A must for any fan of equal rights among people regardless of race, gender or color.

Anyone who was around in the mid seventies throughout the first half of the eighties knows Helen Reddy. There were times when the Australian – born singer was on every talk show in America. She was the first Australian woman to have a hit song on the U.S. charts and was also the first ‘Aussie’ to have an American TV show. Depending on your age (sex) – Reddy was either a celebrity, a singer or an activist. Depending on your intellect – Reddy was all three , a single Mom, wife and Mother again.

Helen Reddy

Helen Reddy – like far too many who ride the fame vehicle, end up victims of the very reason they seek out their dreams. Reaching the pinnacle of success has broken rungs and one misstep can lead to a great fall. In Reddy’s case, her husband and manager was her one misstep. Jeff Wald (played by Evan Peters in the film) was strong enough to provide a great assent for seemingly the right reasons. His weaknesses seeking credibility, fame for himself and cocaine – the wrong reasons.

Tilda Cobham-Hervey as Reddy

The story of Reddy ( played by Tilda Cobham-Hervey ) is a single Mom (daughter Traci in tow) arriving in New York after winning a singing contest in Australia under the guise of getting a record contract. Upon discovering ‘Boy Bands’ and ‘Rock n Roll’ were the flavor of the moment, Reddy is left to fend for herself and her daughter as a singer in piano and dive bars. Her future leaning toward a return to Australia for the sake of her daughter.

Molly Broadstock Traci Reddy

Two people entered Reddy’s life at this point. A pair as different as Apples and Oranges.

Lilian Roxon was the friend, the mentor and the muse. The lifelong crutch whose strength and courage as a woman in a male dominated world was instrumental in Reddy’s decision to stay the course and not return to Australia. To show daughter Traci that a woman who follows her dreams is the best role model Reddy could be.

Danielle Macdonald as Lilian Roxon.

Jeff Wald took Reddy away from New York and Roxon. As manager and lover – Wald was anxious to make a name for himself in the entertainment world and to make Reddy a star. The film makes it clear from the beginning, Reddy was a naive easy going person who was a gentle soul. Wald – the thing she needed in her life. Arrogance, connections and money. A relationship built on pushes and pulls and plenty of Wald – initiated fights. Reddy’s quiet but strong ego trampled at times by Wald’s maniacal approach. Reddy’s convictions hemming her eventual success and calming the pre- cocaine rants of Wald.

Wald and Reddy

Through talent and timing – Reddy’s career took off with the song ‘I Am Woman’. Song requests and record sales sped up with help from the growing women’s movement in the U.S and the world. Art imitated life as Reddy became a voice (through song) for millions of women around the world. Reddy’s story of strength and courage within her own world was what the woman’s movement was all about. A script writer could not have done better.

There is no doubt that Reddy’s story is special. A tale of not giving up in the music world and not giving in to a male dominated society. The song to this day, an unofficial anthem to Equal Rights and the women’s movement. What is in doubt is whether Helen Reddy would have had a singing career if not for the timing of the song ‘I Am Woman’.

Based on Reddy’s strength to overcome the collapse of her finances (Wald’s cocaine addiction) and her subsequent second career as a clinical hypnotherapist, it is safe to say – Reddy would have been a singing star regardless of I Am Woman.

Helen Reddy – 25 October 1941 – 29 September 2020

Advertise or sponsor


Rick Keene Music Scene – A Preview of The New Gord Downie Album.

In July 2017 – Gord Downie recorded his final songs before passing away from brain cancer in October of the same year.

Here is a two song preview of the new double album due out on October 17th

The name of the album is;

Away is Mine

Visit Gord Here

Rick Keene Music Scene – Listen to The Best New Blues Players Stop By and Say Hello !

It is okay to have The Blues

The Blues are the cornerstone of popular music along with Jazz and Country. The Blues are thriving despite mainstream media’s lack of attention.

Please listen below as several Blues artists stop by and introduce some new Blues tunes.

Visit Jesse Protected.com Here

Rick Keene Music Scene – One of The Greatest Songs in Canadian History Celebrates a Rebirth

If you are a music fan and you have not heard The Kings’ ‘This Beat Goes On / Switchin’ To Glide‘, shame on you.

It has been forty years this month since that song hit the Billboard Top 100. The Kings were ( for all intensive purposes) a one hit wonder. August 23rd, 1980, The Kings also marked history by closing the now-legendary Heatwave Festival in Toronoto. The Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, Nick Lowe and Rockpile, Teenage Head, the B-52’s, and The Kings.

Historic !

That story is of a hard-working band hailing from Vancouver, BC and Oakville, ON that appeared on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, was nominated for a JUNO Award, named ‘Most Promising Group’ by Cashbox Magazine, hit Platinum-selling status, and has released five studio albums, two live albums, a live DVD, an anthology, a documentary, and numerous hit singles — including “another rocking two-fer,” “Circle of Friends / Man That I Am.”  The 2018 single was somewhat like arriving full circle; it was mixed in Nashville by industry legend Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, KISS), who also helmed the same role on their 1980’s debut, The Kings Are Here, and sophomore follow-up, Amazon Beach.

The Kings

Their midnight appearance at the now-storied Toronto-area festival — produced by John Brower–that’s inspired the exclusive release of The Kings: Live at Heatwave, a 30-minute concert movie

“The Kings and Teenage Head were the only bands that gave permission to be filmed,” recalls founding member Dave Diamond. “As Teenage Head’s audio has disappeared, this is the only surviving, authentic, and original sync footage from that day.”

“It was digitally restored frame by frame from its 16mm colour negative, and combined with authentic, remastered sound,” adds fellow founder Mister Zero. Sonny Keyes also chimes in: “The sound was recorded onsite by Comfort Sound’s Doug McClement on 8 track half inch analog tape and sounds amazing!”

“We’d worked hard and were ready for a gig like this,” says drummer Max Styles.

The Heatwave Festival at Mosport Park turned heads from the onset between its high profile roster, ultimate crowd size, and that it sat at a cultural turning point in the evolution of new wave music. (It was also marred with some scandal, but… Aren’t they all?)

“For some reason, they didn’t film our whole 55 minute set,” Diamond muses. “But there’s almost half an hour here, and we’re very proud of it.”

Visit The Kings Here and Hear The Beat Goes On / Switchin’ To Glide

Visit Jesse Protected.com Here


Rick Keene

Montreal, Qc

438 820 6936

Michel Pagliaro; Quebec’s Greatest Songwriter?

 Michel Pagliaro is a legend in Quebec …

Anglophone artists, Francophone artists – any genre, unconsciously or consciously affected  by ‘Pag’.

Rarely do artists create such a vast ‘society affecting’ songbook in a quick period of time. The Guess Who, Dylan,The Beatles, The Stones,Elvis and Pag.

For this reason, it is fitting after all these years for a tribute album. Eleven of Pagliaro’s songs performed by twelve Quebec artists. A brilliant CD package for immense listening pleasure.


Carl Bastien supervises a disc long overdue. A void within the borders is now filled. Pag and Gerry Boulet can now walk hand in hand across the Plains of Abraham.

Please listen below to some tunes from Pag Revisited.

Visit Pag Here !

Rick Keene Music Scene – A Backstage Pass

Smoke is behind the curtain and mirrors are in front of it.

Any person involved in some capacity within the entertainment business is well aware – entertainment is not as magical as it appears. To keep the ‘spell’ alive in both the souls of the entertainers and the audience, humanity and the various sordid (and not so sordid) tales must rise above the dark and often murky business waters.

A Backstage Pass will allow some insights into the other side of midnight and shed light on the dark recesses of unused amplifiers and discarded condoms. During the Covid epidemic ( the proper definition of any disease that targets the aged and sick for a short period of time), A Backstage Pass is a portal. In many ways, it explains the media – promotion relationship so important to defining the smoke and mirrors which are essential to musicians and songwriters. It also is a magnifying glass into the relationships between musicians and the reason the closeness of the craft creates art perennially. Please enjoy.

Tom Cochrane

A Backstage Pass – The Ugly Ducklings Chapter One

Once upon a time in a Rock n Roll galaxy far, far away – there was a Canadian band with the moniker The Ugly Ducklings. The group was formed in 1965 with Dave Bingham (lead vocals, harmonica), Glynn Bell (Rythym), Roger Mayne (lead guitar), John Read (bass), and Robin Boers (drums). Their sound was reminiscent of bands such as The Kinks, The Rolling Stones and The Who. Unlike The Beatles and The Beach Boys’ sound that every teenager in the world was desperately attempting to capture – The Ugly Ducklings preferred the raw choppy sound instantly labelled as ‘Garage Rock’ . The very sounds that were a precursor to The Ramones and The Clash. A pre – cursor to Punk Rock.

The Ugly Ducklings

The Toronto- based group released six singles in 1966 and 1967 and one album; Somewhere Outside in 1967. In the summer and fall of 1967, the band’s song “Gaslight” became a Top Forty Hit across Canada, peaking at #17 on the RPM Chart and reaching #1 on CHUM 1050 in Toronto. Gaslight shoved The Rolling Stones aside from the charts and displaced The Stones’ “Dandelion” and the B Side “We Love You”. The Ugly Ducklings left their mark by also having three of their singles on the local 1050 CHUM AM charts in Toronto.

Like many tales in the naked city of Rock n Roll, success does not guarantee anything. In a world where one soap detergent quickly replaces another – The Ugly Ducklings were never able to duplicate or grow upon their initial success. Life goes on. Band members toss away their dreams (and groupies) and settle in. Jobs replace dreams and families interrupt the creative garage jams with rattles, homework and tons of bills. Music evolves into a pastime rather than a growing concern.

Lead Singer Dave Bingham

Sleight of Hand Chapter Two

Once upon a time in a Rock n Roll galaxy closer than the earlier one, there was a Canadian band with the moniker Sleight of Hand. The group was based out of Peterborough, Ontario, yet in true Rock n Roll nature – the five headed monster lived more of a gypsy-like existence. The band was co founded by Gary Hornbeck, a well known session guitar player in Eastern, Southern, Western and Northern Ontario. The middle of the conservative Province? Sure … why not? Gary had a cup of coffee in the show opening up for Molly Hatchett in Florida before returning to Ontario.

Sleight of Hand

Sleight of Hand were a Bluesy, Chunky, Southern blend of Rock n Roll and riffs. Within the band lay a chemistry that is essential to any type of success and / or relationship. A musical balancing of atoms and ions and electrons and any word that ended in ‘ons’. Onstage, creating monumental openings and closings with classic covers from the likes of Grand Funk Railroad and Bad Company. In between – their own musings were introduced , tried out and perfected with the energy of the crowd dictating the twerking of the content later in studio. The Rock songs were authentic, crisp and sound. The ballads were heartfelt. Perfectly placed solos created crevasses in which a tear could fall.

Sleight of Hand consisted of Marty Hepburn – Les Paul & bkg. vox ,Whitey Somers – Bass & bkg. vox, Gary Hornbeck – Fender Stratocaster, Dave “Stix” Bourque – Drums and the former singer songwriter of The Ugly DucklingsDave Bingham on lead vocals.

Bingham and Hornbeck were friends and after years of working ‘day jobs’ – Bingham, once again, poised to hit the big time as Sleight of Hand won radio station Q107’s Homegrown Contest in Toronto and several other contests in Ontario. Confabbing Bingham’s uncanny ability to write catchy and pure Rock songs and with a cast of characters as solid as Mark Messier as the captain of a hockey team, Sleight of Hand were rising and rising fast. Marty and Gary’s weaving, interchanging chords and leads. Whitey’s rock solid way of keeping the balloon from floating away and Bourque’s metronome pounding all complimented Bingham’s legacy and prowess on vocals.

With Bingham and Hornbeck leading the way – the group was penciled in as an opener for The Jeff Healey Band. A shot at recognition for Bingham he never had with The Ugly Ducklings – a shot in his home country with a profound Canadian star.

Once upon a time in Rock n Roll galaxies far, far away – there were two Canadian bands with the monikers The Ugly Ducklings and Sleight of Hand. Two entities with one common denominator; Dave Bingham. A music every-man representing the millions of musicians and songwriters who have never received the accolades they deserve.

Raise a glass to the hard working musician.

Rick Keene Music Scene – Producer Chris Birkett Explains Chris Birkett – Part Two

Nothing compares to Chris Birkett.

Award winning producer Chris Birkett has worked with artists who – collectively, have sold more than 100 million records worldwide. Put that in your console and smoke it.

The Pogues, The Talking Heads, Sinead O’Connor and Sir Bob Geldof; a few of the artists that have made Chris one of the most sought after producers in the music business.

Please listen below to my chat with Chris about producing and his new album 11:11 with The Free Spirits.

Visit Chris Here

Smoke Meat Pete Here

Rick Keene Music Scene – Producer Chris Birkett Explains Chris Birkett

Nothing compares to Chris Birkett.

Award winning producer Chris Birkett has worked with artists who – collectively, have sold more than 100 million records worldwide. Put that in your console and smoke it.

The Pogues, The Talking Heads, Sinead O’Connor and Sir Bob Geldof; a few of the artists that have made Chris one of the most sought after producers in the music business.

Please listen below to my chat with Chris about producing and his new album 11:11 with The Free Spirits.

Visit Chris Here

Smoke Meat Pete Here

Rick Keene Music Scene – Some Of The Best Music Films on Netflix

The stories of musicians are the stories of music.

Learning about your favorite artist opens the doors to the talent that preceded them. It can and should be – a learning experience.

It is not difficult in this day and age to discover music films. Biopics, documentaries and concert features. One click of a mouse gets you where you want to go rather quickly.

Netflix is the choice of many movie and music lovers. As the popularity of the platform grows, so does the edition of music pieces. So what to watch as you crash on the couch, potato in hand?

Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)

The tale of Country singer Loretta Lynn never gets old.Not only does it remind everyone of how Country music once was, it is a premiere vehicule for understanding the arc of American fame.

Get On Up (2014)

The biopic of The Godfather of Soul is an eye opener for those who only know James’ music. Brown comes across as a bit crazy yet who can blame the guy? Abuse, poverty and abandonment is where James came from. What could possibly go wrong along the road to success?


Young(er) fans of music know Texas’ ZZ Top from MTV. Beards, cars and legs. It was the era of video. The imagery and capabilities of directors made or killed an artist. Many bands from the early seventies went the way of the DoDo bird when Cabbage Patch Kids ruled the day. Blues bands on TV? Forget about it. Somehow ZZ Top retained their Blues’ roots and commercially hit it bigger than before. Watch the film to know the stories behind the beards.

The Rolling Stones: Olé Olé Olé! A Trip Across Latin America(2016)

Ya ya – another Stones’ concert flick. So what? That is where a fan of music and culture is wrong. This documentary of the Rolling Stones’ Latin tour contains very little concert footage. It deals with the cultures of the different cities and Countries through the Stones’ eyes and ears. A fascinating glimpse into a band who are walking encyclopedias of music history and learning all the time. The film and tour concludes with The Rolling Stones performing in Cuba. The very first Rock n Roll band to accomplish that feat.

See Stones’ Trailer Here

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (2019)

Cool and hip started before the Swingin’ Sixties and before Woodstock. It all started with Miles Davis. He could well be – the very first Rock n Roll star. Not as a player; it was his attitude that set the bar high for the Keith Richards’ of the world.

Miles had it all. The genuis, the creativity, the musicianship and the courage to do what he wanted. A well overdue documentary explaining and displaying why Miles Davis is Miles Davis from some of the cats that played with him.

Smoke Meat Pete Music Here

Rick Keene Music Scene – Bif Naked Teaches Natural Healing Through Mona Lisa Healing

A survivor in many ways.

Bif Naked is not what you think. She is not the bad ass woman in the videos or on stage. She is a self described nerd with a lot to say. Her educated opinion, along with music business street-smarts, makes her a survivor with plenty left in the tank.

Breast cancer, heart surgery, and kidney failure have not stopped Bif from launching MonaLisa Healing, a premium, organic all-hemp CBD online boutique available in Canada, the United States, and soon to the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand

Please listen below to Part Two of my chat with Bif.

Visit Bif Here

Mona Lisa Healing Here

Rick Keene Music Scene – Bif Naked’s Silence Is Over. It is Time to Speak …

A survivor in many ways.

Bif Naked is not what you think. She is not the bad ass woman in the videos or on stage. She is a self described nerd with a lot to say. Her educated opinion, along with music business street-smarts, makes her a survivor with plenty left in the tank.

Breast cancer, heart surgery, and kidney failure have not stopped Bif from launching MonaLisa Healing, a premium, organic all-hemp CBD online boutique available in Canada, the United States, and soon to the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand

Please listen below to Part One of my chat with Bif.

Visit Bif Here

Mona Lisa Healing Here

Rick Keene Music Scene – Hump Day Extravaganza

The middle of the week requires a boost.

It is easy to turn on what you are used to hearing. Simple can translate into laziness. With a little effort – a new world can be at your listening fingertips.

Click on the play buttons below to listen to some great albums and tunes.

Rick Keene Music Scene – Denise Leslie Returns To The Past on New CD

Memories are dramatically punctuated with music.

Denise Leslie is no different than most. Music sculpted crevasses into her form and those around her. Creating poignant memories which walk with her everyday. The soul cannot be altered.

One Fine Morning is the name of the disc which showcases a few of the songs which shaped her younger years. Arrangements sticking close to the originals yet adding the flare of Denise and her band-mates.

Please listen below to my chat with Denise and discover what music made her into the person she is today.

Visit Denise Here

Smoke Meat Pete Music Here

Rick Keene Music Scene – ‘Happy’ 76th Birthday Keith Richards

Elegantly wasted.

The man voted number one as ‘mostly likely to die’ for a decade and a half. The writer and co-writer of over 400 songs. The guy responsible for keeping Rock n Roll guitar alive in the keyboard driven decade of the eighties.

Keith Richards or Keef as he is very affectionately known is a man of musical and life integrity. ‘Black and White’ is how he sees most things and his wisdom on ‘Life’ as he let us know in his book of the same title – has no equal.

Please listen below to a few selected tracks from Keith’s solo work and a couple of classic Stones’tunes.

Visit Keef Here

The Rolling Stones Here

Smoke Meat Pete Here


Legendary guitarist, singer, songwriter and Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Famer Elvin Bishop will receive the Chris Strachwitz Legacy Award from The Arhoolie Foundation at the second annual Arhoolie Awards And Benefit Show in San Francisco on Friday, November 22.

Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio (Elvin on guitar and vocals, Bob Welsh on piano and guitar and Willy Jordan on cajón and vocals) will headline the event which will take place at The Chapel, 770 Valencia Street, in San Francisco. More information can be found at arhoolie.org/2019benefit.

The honor, according to Arhoolie.org, “recognizes exceptional musicians, teachers, community organizations, documentarians, and individuals working creatively to help keep tradition-based styles of music alive and moving forward. Nominations are made by board members, friends, and experts in our field. Winners are chosen by Chris Strachwitz and the Arhoolie Foundation board of directors. This award is simply meant to encourage, support, and shine a light on extraordinary individuals and organizations, and to help them continue their good work.”

Bishop’s latest Alligator Records release (and second with The Big Fun Trio) is Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here. Living Blues calls it “joyously raunchy, fun-loving music.” Both Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here and their previous self-titled album, Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio, received Grammy Award nominations. According to Bishop, “With a trio there’s no place to hide­—you’ve got to be pourin’ everything you got right out front. You need to be totally into it all the time. It’s really cool to see how people react to the goin’-for-it feel of the music.”

Ever since Bishop first hit the scene with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band back in 1965, he’s blazed his own musical trail. Whether he was playing raw, eye-popping blues, or penning the evergreen radio hit Fooled Around And Fell In Love, or touring the world for decades delivering his original, good-time countrified blues, Bishop has always inspired his fans with his rowdy guitar playing and witty, slice-of-life songs. Rolling Stone calls Bishop “a legendary guitarist” whose playing is “impeccable and spirited…a distinguished American player.”

Elvin Bishop Here

Smoke Meat Pete Here

Rick Keene Music Scene – Jessica Rhaye Re-Imagines Bob Dylan in a Ramshackle Parade

Ring them bells …

Jessica Rhaye and The Ramshackle Parade have released an album with tunes that Bob Dylan may want to re imagine. Jessica and her mates redo the songs of Dylan through other people’s interpretations as well as Dylan’s originals. Confused?

Please listen below to my chat with Jessica and hear some amazing takes on Bob Dylan’s tunes.

Visit Jessica and The Ramshackle Parade Here

Visit Smoke Meat Pete Here

Thanks for Listening !

Rick Keene Music Scene – New Tracks, Concert Listings and Things That Make You Go Hmm…

Just like life, music never stops until the plug is pulled.

Tunes arrive daily. Some fantastic, some great, some average and some bad. In the scheme of things, as long as an effort is made; everything is beautiful.

Please listen below to some of the best new tracks floating around and find out where you can see some shows live in Montreal.

Visit Smoke Meat Pete Here!

Visit Blueberry Guitars Here !

Rick Keene Music Scene – New Releases

Something new is always around the corner.

If the world housed only the business type people, the vibes of the universe would pass by us like a ship searching for a beacon under stormy skies.

Please listen below to some new releases or soon-to-be released tunes. Thanks !

Visit Smoke Meat Pete Here!

Visit Blueberry Guitars Here !

Rick Keene Music Scene – Smoke Meat Pete Blues Playlist

You need to live to understand The Blues.

Pain, suffering and misery. No person on earth is immune to it. The Blues understands it all and the human soul understands The Blues.

Please listen below to some of the best Blues’ tunes circulating like medicine.

Visit Smoke Meat Pete Here !

Rick Keene Music Scene – Reggae Does Rock n Roll

Eric Clapton may have shot the sheriff but he certainly did not shoot the Rastafarian deputy.

If Clapton had shot the deputy, the world would be void of rhythms and soul. Reggae is a genre but it is also the source of many a Rock song’s inspiration. Like The Blues, Jazz and Country – Reggae is one of the cornerstones of modern day Rock and Pop music.

Have a listen below to some very popular Rock songs done Reggae – style !

Smoke Meat Pete Live Music Here

Rick Keene Music Scene – When The Road Bends; Tales of a Gypsy Caravan

You cannot walk straight when the road bends 

Roman Proverb


When Johnny Depp gives a testimonial for a film, a musician or a toaster oven; people listen. In the documentary: When the road bends; Tales of a Gypsy Caravan, people are there to listen and listen some more…

The film follows an eighteen show American tour with Gypsies from four countries. It is fitting the show opens up with th e line; “Don’t worry, she’ll follow the lights! They don’t call her the Queen of the Gypsies for nothing!”

Fitting because the darkened walk towards the lights is symbolic. The general public watching this film are led toward costumes and music most have never listened to – or seen.

The Queen of the Gypsies begins to sing. Aside from the language – she could be an older Celine Dion with an added few pounds. An older Celine Dion without the fake emotions. The Queen sings with profound conviction. What arrives from her diaphragm is lived. Picture your grandmother who gave birth to eight kids and raised them alone. This is the depth of experience which sets the tone for the film.

A tone you do not catch at the corner bar. Not in America anyways.

The film’s and the organizer’s intent is to bring people together though music. It must be through music as many of the performers don’t speak the same language.


Romanian is one of those languages spoken and it is by the founders of the tour. A group of stringed musicians who support their village with the funds raised by their music. They are called Farat and are responsible for actor Depp’s involvement.

Mr. Depp met these guys during the filming of the movie: The Man who Cried. It seems Depp shared a small trailer with these men for two months. A time spent playing music for hours with wine exchanging hands. The music was the means of communication – along with eyeballs and hand gestures …

Depp’s mission is obvious.

He pleads for the public to re – learn their ignorance of the myth of the Gypsy. A stigma attached over the years through the very medium which made him famous – film.

In Depp’s words; the Nazis perpetrated a genocide on the Romanian people. The murder of thousands of woman and children. Killings which left the inhabitants to roam. Also in the actor’s words; the Gypsies will not steal your socks or whatever. The sad thing? A weight these people, these beautiful people – carry with them everyday.

The real star of the film is the positive vibe in the music and the characters. A script could not be written to portray these people accurately.

Beginning with the Queen of the Gypsies to the old man who funds school fees to young musicians in his village, this documentary provides hope to the downtrodden. Music keeps the spirit alive.

In each song from another of the touring acts from India, the group Maharaja tells stories. Something the leader can do through his own personal experiences.


His mother died from cancer when he was a boy and his father soon followed; death by drinking his pain away. The young man was left to care for his younger siblings. Something he does though music and dance.

Director Jasmine Dellal continues her quest to tell the tale of Gypies through Flamenco – another of the movie’s many influential sounds. Dancing, vibrant colours and equally vibrant characters. A great mix for the open – minded music fan.

Four musical acts – four types of Gypsies.

The road keeps bending. It’s up to the viewer to make things straight the next time they think of the word Gypsy.

* This film is available on DVD 

Rick Keene Music Scene – Sandy Horne Talks Past, Present and Future of The Spoons

Growing up fast …

That is exactly what happened to a bunch of ‘kids’ from Burlington, Ontario. How many people or musicians do you know of that were on the first episode of Much Music?

Please listen below to my chat with original member and bassist Sandy Horne. Hear some great tunes off the new album; New Day New World.

Sandy? What’s up?

Visit The Spoons Here !

Rick Keene Music Scene – Top Picks for Live Music in Montreal

The city and surrounding areas are ripe with tunes for the picking this week.

Plenty of live music of all genres to pick through and to choose your favorites. Pop may be your thing. Rock may be your thing. Blues may be your thing. Whatever the case – check below and discover Montreal music at it’s best!

Have a listen below to some of the tunes coming your way!

Strangers in the Night Here

Smoke Meat Pete Here

Rick Keene Music Scene – WTF Is Going On?

Start your week informed.

Plenty of interviews coming up, shows to attend and people to see.

Why don’t you have a listen below ?

Visit Strangers in the Night Here !

Smoke Meat Pete Music Schedule Here

Stay Tuned for My Chat With Jean – Marc Pisapia of The Box

Rick Keene Music Scene – Wave 21 Poised to Hit Like a Tsunami

There is a rise of Canadian Country / Rock / Pop music happening with WAVE 21. This is a group with diverse styles in personality, music, and overall talent. WAVE 21 is also an interesting band since they are new yet very experienced at the same time.

Band leader Mary-Lynn Doroschuck is the daughter of Stefan Doroschuk and niece of Ivan Doroschuk. Both men were / are from the Canadian New Wave Pop sensation Men Without Hats. Mary-Lynn is ready to continue her family’s legacy while expanding into her own musical landscape.

Ron Roxtar sat down and spoke with Mary -Lynn.

Roxtar: Hello, Mary-Lynn.

Mary-Lynn: Hello Ron. Thanks so much for the call and the support.

Roxtar: It’s my pleasure. So let me ask you growing up who were your main influences?

Mary-Lynn: Growing up in a musical family they were my biggest influences. There was always music or instruments being played in and around the house.

Early on I took vocal lessons and sang at church then at school a bit. When I was 12 or 13 I performed in school talent shows. I also learned how to play classical guitar.

Roxtar: What about outside the family?

Mary-Lynn: Oh, outside the family? I’d have to say country music was a big influence on me. It seemed like if I was at a friends house they’d have country music playing and then back at home there would always be country music too. I really began to understand and like the lyrics because there was depth and emotion to it.

Because of my dad being in Men Without Hats, there was an obvious attachment to 80’s synth and new wave I would listen to that kind of music as well.

As far as younger music goes I like Evanescence, Green Day, Simple Plan, and I really like Blink-182.

I loved Billy Talent. I was such a fan of them for years. One of the first songs I learned to play on guitar was Fallen Leaves and I performed it at a summer camp talent show.

Roxtar: What was the first concert you went to?

Mary-Lynn: When I was like seven I went with my family to Mont Tremblant Blues Fest. I saw Johnny Winter and Steve Hill.

The first concert that I went to that I wanted to go to was Billy Talent with Alexisonfire at the Bell Centre. My mom even came with me to make sure I’d be safe.

Roxtar: Your sister Emmy-Lou is also a member of Wave 21 on keyboards. How did that come to be?

Mary-Lynn: Right. Okay so growing up we both learned to play classical guitar. I had no desire at all to learn the piano or keyboards, but she did. So what happened was we learned off of each other. It just grew and grew.

Roxtar: That’s kind of how you decided to form Wave 21?

Mary-Lynn: The thing is for me it was a long time coming. I knew I wanted to be in a band. For my sister, it was very different. She was like “I like writing songs and being in the studio but I have my own life.” She’s always been involved with music and Wave 21 as a band, but she’s involved in so many other areas we have to have a replacement for her on keyboards for now when we do live shows. Presently on keyboards we have John Macomber.

Roxtar: So who else is in the band Wave 21?

Mary-Lynn: We have my dad Stefan Doroschuk on bass. We have a new guitar player whose name is Jimmy Gibson and he’s really good. We have a drummer Tim Van de Ver. He’s also a member of Acid Test.

Roxtar: Speaking of drums you have a major name on your album in Kenny Aranoff ( John Mellencamp, Melissa Etheridge). How did you get Kenny to play drums on the album?

Mary-Lynn: Well we didn’t have a full-time drummer at the time. We wrote the drum parts and through a connection with my dad, Kenny played the tracks in Nashville and then we synced them up with our songs here.

When we record the next album Tim Van de Ver is going to play drums because he’s really experienced and we like what he does. Plus it’s way more convenient.

Roxtar: With the album out what are some of your favorite songs?

Mary-Lynn: The album is very divided. There’s a bit of rock, country and pop in it. I always held onto the first song Ya Ya Ya that opens the album as my go to rock song. It’ll Be One of These Days is my pop song and Here We Go is my killer country song that is the gem of the whole album. It was co-written by my dad and a friend of his Mack Mackenzie like 15 years ago. My absolute favorite song is Set Me Free. It’s a song about a really bad breakup I went through in high school that took me a long time to get over. That song really helped to literally Set Me Free.

There’s an angrier song called The Fun Times that really inspired me. It was a difficult time I was having and my dad was even asking me “What’s going on?” At the time he was trying to make the song sound like Lou Reed. I started to listen to all of Lou Reed’s albums and got really inspired. So I released all my anger on that song and it has it’s own style and is heavy. It’s so great to hear live and people are really into it when we play it.

Roxtar: What are your top three desert island discs?

Mary-Lynn: I’d have to say, Lou Reed, Blue Mask. I’d go with Abbey Road by The Beatles. I think I listened to that album on over 3,000 repeats when I was younger. I remember thinking this is the best thing ever.

As a last one, I’d go with Enema of the State by Blink-182. It’s a classic. It’s got songs on it that everybody knows.

Roxtar: Growing up with your father and uncle as members of Men Without Hats were you a fan?

Mary-Lynn: Oh Yes! My sister and I listened to Men Without Hats so much that we were banned from playing it in the house by my dad. We know the words to every song even the

weird obscure ones. I abused listening to them. I even had their vinyl albums on my bedroom wall.

My dad has a home studio where we recorded the Wave 21 album. All the equipment that’s there was used on the last Men Without Hats album. When we were really young my sister and I actually provided backing vocals on the last Men Without Hats album which I think might have only been used as effects but we’re on it.

Roxtar: So since your dad was the guitarist of Men Without Hats and now he’s in your band it’s almost like it’s come full circle.

Mary-Lynn: Oh, for sure. I’ve even been offered to go on the road with my uncle Ivan in Men Without Hats. Some of the songs on my album were almost half written by my dad. It’s family and teamwork. I like the influence.

Roxtar: I have to ask you, Mary-Lynn, is there any chance of you twisting your dad’s arm so you guys do a Men Without Hats song in a Wave 21 set. If you think about it I’m sure a lot of people are going there to expect that.

Mary-Lynn: Oh my!! The thing is our style of music is so different. Plus Men Without Hats is so keyboard-oriented that our keyboard player would have to really hone in on it like a lot, but he could totally do it.

Now that you mention it we should do a Men Without Hats song. Maybe we should do Safety Dance.

Roxtar: Another good idea might be for Wave 21 to open for Men Without Hats someday soon.

Mary-Lynn: That would be a really great idea. I wish I heard from my uncle more than I do. If he did let Wave 21 open for him I would be forever grateful.

It would make even more sense because Wave 21 was the original name of the band my dad and uncle were in before they were Men Without Hats.

Roxtar: So it is even more full circle than before.

Mary-Lynn: Absolutely and I love all these ideas you’re putting out. Thanks so much for sharing it. Sometimes artists get caught up in their own ideas and they need to hear an outside idea from someone even if it’s a fan or a journalist like yourself. If it works it works. I think it’s great. Now I’m going to have talk to my dad and get him to do Safety Dance at the next Wave 21 shows.

Make sure to see Wave 21 at their upcoming live events. The first one is August 16th at Smoke Meat Pete. The second is at Piranha Bar on Aug 23rd.

Let’s see if Mary-Lynn was able to convince her dad to get Wave 21 to play a Men Without Hats song?

Rick Keene Music Scene – The ‘Rock Doc’ Neil Ratner Talks Music Industry, Anesthesiology and Michael Jackson

Special to Rick Keene Music Scene.com

Neil Ratner is a name that has been associated with the Rock n Roll scene since the 1960s. While pursuing a career as a drummer, Neil got a gig working on the road that led to associations with Emerson Lake and Palmer, Pink Floyd and later on the king of pop himself; Michael Jackson.

Neil recently released his book Rock Doc which is a blend of fascinating fun stories of the Rock n Roll lifestyle to heartfelt messages about charity and personal redemption. Neil gave Ron Roxtar a call from Ratner’s Woodstock N.Y. office.

Roxtar: Hi Neil, Thanks for the call. You know looking over your career I’m not even sure what to say it is you do. Tour manager, anesthesiologist, author and maybe we can say future rock star.

Neil: (laughing) Thank you for that although I feel my days of trying to be a rock star are well behind me.

Roxtar: You have your latest book out now, Rock Doc.

Neil: Yes it’s been out for a while now. It has so many interesting stories and people in it. There are ups and downs in life’s lessons. Even though I wasn’t trying to be an author I was always writing down on pieces of paper.

Roxtar: So what were your initial beginnings?

Neil: Growing up I always had two dreams. One was to be a doctor and like most people growing up in the 60’s we all wanted to be rock stars. I wanted to be a drummer so I played in bands in high school through to college.

Roxtar: I heard you came up here to Montreal to join a band.

Neil: Oh yeah! I was hoping you’d ask me about that. It was the local rock station up there CHOM-FM. They said a band up in St. Agathe was looking for a drummer. I called the station and they got me in touch with the band who said to come on up, which I did. I was the drummer in that band for about four months. I don’t even remember the name of the band but it fell apart and then I came back to the States.

Roxtar: So after that experience what happened?

Neil: It was the summer between my sophomore and junior year I took an apartment in the city because I had a job at the hospital that I thought would help me get into medical school. I found out by chance that my upstairs neighbor is a musician. I knocked on his door and he’s standing there with a guitar slung over his shoulder. He invites me in and tells me his name is Rick Derringer. I was like “You mean Rick Derringer from the McCoys?!” He was like “Yeah.” From that, we became very good friends and he heard me play the drums. I asked him to help get me a job. One day he calls me up and says he’s got a gig for me but not as a drummer. He was working with Johnny Winter at the time. Johnny had a brother named Edgar who was forming a band and they needed a manager so my whole life took a major left turn.

Roxtar: So in a chance meeting everything changed you ended up eventually working for some big names like Pink Floyd and (ELP) Emerson Lake and Palmer.

Neil: Yeah, well I spent more than a year with Edgar Winter’s band it was called White Trash. I then met a big-time manager who was managing Humble Pie, J Geils Band, Peter Frampton and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.

They were at the time changing management and they offered me a job to go over to London and run their lights and stage production. I was basically the general operations director.

After about a year I noticed all these bands were using too many companies. They had a lighting company, a sound company, accountants and more. This is back in the day where it made things very complex. I got this idea to form a company called Circus. It would provide trucking, lights, sound and everything that a group needed under one tent so to speak.

Ratner – Watts

The guy who helped me form this company was named Peter Watts. He was the husband of an old girlfriend of mine from college and we just happened to meet up in London one day. Peter was the sound technician for Pink Floyd. One day he came to me and said “You know we’ve never used anybody for anything. We’ve always been self-contained. Now we’ve got this new album coming out called Dark Side of the Moon and for the tour I want us to be the first to use quadraphonic sound and digital lighting. The only way we can do it is if you combine forces with us. So we did the Dark Side of the Moon tour and even afterwards a couple of other things. After five or six years I had pretty much set out do everything I wanted to do before I got an epiphany to follow my other dream which was to become a doctor.

Roxtar: So after achieving let’s say some of your accomplishments in the music business you go back to wanting to be a doctor.

Neil: Well you have to remember, Ron, one of my first dreams was to be a doctor. Plus those years in the music business was taking a toll on my body and I ended up in the hospital with kidney stones.

I remember watching this movie one night about American medical students on their way to becoming doctors and that’s when I got my epiphany. I had achieved everything on the business side of things and I was not going to be the rock n roll star drummer I wanted to be so it was time to go back to being what I wanted to be which was a doctor.

That was a ten-year journey since I had stopped going to college. I had to study outside of the US. I studied for years at a Mexican medical school, then a year of unpaid internship just to get back into the American system. I then did a couple of years of surgical residency. After ten years I finally had switched to anesthesiology and became an anesthesiologist.

Roxtar: Someone coming from the world of music let’s say back into medicine there seems to be a connection. I’ve read that some doctors play music during operations and it’s almost as if music can if not be a cure, certainly can be a helping healing factor.

Neil: Well I’ll tell you a funny story about that. At the end of your residency, everybody has to do some sort of research project. Mostly everyone does a scientific study of some kind. I had an interest in consciousness in a sense. There is a type of procedure doctors do that’s called conscious procedure where the patient is not completely out but certainly not wide awake. It’s somewhere in between. As an anesthesiologist I somehow knew if I could play music in a patient’s ear during the surgical procedure we could use fewer drugs and decrease the stress and tension of that patient.

All the doctors laughed at me and thought why would I ever want to do that, but I persisted. In the end, my study did show that there was a great benefit to music being played almost as if it as an extra drug.

Then after a little while, I realized I didn’t want to be a hospital-based anesthesiologist. I looked around and noticed that a lot of doctors wanted to perform procedures in their own offices but couldn’t because the equipment wasn’t monitored properly. So I offered my services and would go into the doctors offices to be their anesthesiologist. I was one of the first to do that in New York City.

Roxtar: You also spearheaded doing some overseas charity work. You were instrumental in helping the victims of the bombing attacks in Kenya and Tanzania that took place, which was the first time the world heard about Al- Qaeda.

Neil: Absolutely. I was in New York when the acute bombings happened. We arrived afterwards. A friend of mine who lives in Kenya called me up. They were aware of my previous charity work. My wife and I had been to Africa and we were very concerned for the Indigenous people. We went to a very remote village near the Somalian border.

We went down there all self-contained and started a bush clinic for the local tribes there. We started a mission of mercy down there working along with the various charities. A friend of mine helped me to get started on making three micro bakeries in some of the poorest of the regions. One of the most meaningful things you can do in life is to give back to those less fortunate than yourself.

Roxtar: If someone’s going to buy this book what exactly will they be reading about?

Neil: They’ll be getting an incredible journey about different areas of life. One journey is about the rock n roll business of the late ’60s and early to mid-’70s. That was a really good time in rock n roll because that’s when the business was developing. You’ll read about ELP, Pink Floyd and others. There are stories about the rock festivals and how we made sure we were doing our best to make things happen in the right way.

Another journey is about what it’s like to go into the world of medicine at an older age in a foreign language in a foreign place and what that’s like. With that comes the journey of anesthesiology. The world of plastic surgery and celebrities.

From there is the journey of meeting Michael Jackson and not only becoming his doctor but his close personal friend. I spent eight years with Michael traveling and being with him in various ways.

There is a journey about me getting into a little bit of trouble. From that, I learned to be a humanitarian and try to do good in life.

The book has all of those things and more. I’m getting a great response and people are really enjoying it. Let me add there’s even a section of pictures so you get that as well.

Roxtar: So what was it like to work with Michael Jackson?

Neil: You know Michael was a great guy. A lot of people did not have an opportunity to get close to Michael and I was one of the few who did have that opportunity. He was a great friend.

We could talk about anything. We talked about spirituality, nature, even old rock n roll. We talked about anything.

Mandela, Jackson, Ratner and His Wife

He was very supportive. The time that I was in trouble in life he was incredibly supportive. He was what a friend should be. I have very fond memories of him.

He was also a great humanitarian and a lot of his efforts were unheralded. There was a time when we were in South Africa. He insisted on going to the hospital there. This is at a time when people were still very afraid of HIV. Michael was not afraid to go in and mingle or hold the patients. He wasn’t afraid to touch them, whereas most people never would. I had some great times with my friend, Michael Jackson.

One of the greatest things Michael did was introduce me to Nelson Mandela. That was an amazing thing and because of it I got to meet Nelson on a couple of occasions afterwards. During one of those meetings he helped to finance the first micro-bakery I talked about earlier.

Ratner – Winter

Roxtar: You are stranded on a desert island with no hope of ever being rescued. What are your top three desert island discs?

Neil: Oooh, that’s a tough one. (thinking) Okay, I got it. Gaucho by Steely Dan.

My second would have to be Dark Side of The Moon. If you’re on a desert island you’re going to want to have a record that takes you far away from there in your mind.

For my third, I’d want to have a real rock n roll record. I’m going to get personal and go with Edgar Winter’s Roadwork. I really think it is one of the best rock n roll records out there and not many people know it.

Contact Ron Roxtar


Rick Keene Music Scene – Cliff Stevens Takes It To the Next Level on Latest Disc

Road warriors gain knowledge.

Montreal’s Cliff Stevens has the air miles to prove his wisdom. Known firstly from his uncanny days duplicating Eric Clapton, Cliff has put those days behind him. Instead – Cliff’s long overdue writing and composing are making a name for himself in Canada and abroad.

Stevens’ last album Grass Won’t Grow climbed the charts and his new album Nobody But You is outdoing it’s predecessor.

Please have a listen below to my chat with Cliff about the new album and a brand new video. Cliff? What’s up?

Watch Video Here for Word Of Worry !

Visit Cliff Here !

Rick Keene Music Scene – Uncovering The Covers …

Under the surface may be hot and moist. Unless you go deep, you will never know.

The original tunes from a band sometimes are foreplay. A tease to bigger and better things or a precursor to erectile dysfunction. Either way, a different lover adds spice to a love affair.

Have a listen below to cover versions of tunes from a very known band. See if you can guess the name of the artist covering the tune before the end of the song.

Thanks for Listening !

Rick Keene Music Scene – New Tracks for Your Listening Pleasure …

Ya gotta keep up with the Jones.

Living in the fridge is not always a good idea even if you are a huge fan of Weird AL. It is good to venture out into the warm atmosphere of new tunes.

Have a listen below to some new tracks from Canadian artists. Won’t ya?

Thanks for listening !

Rick Keene Music Scene – Montreal Becomes Margaritaville

Who is looking for their shakers this morning ?

Gathering outside MTELUS before the Jimmy Buffett concert were Hawaiian and Caribbean style shirts along with a few grass skirts.  Which meant only one thing; the loyal fan-base called The Parrotheads were here to support Jimmy Buffett. This was a special night since Buffett has not performed in Montreal since 1977 when he opened for The Eagles. 

At 8:10pm, Jimmy Buffett and his band known as The Coral Reefer Band casually walked on stage to raucous applause. Licence to Chill. Jimmy was quick to mention that this concert was going to be a Holiday since that was the name of the second song. In fact, throughout the show, Buffett wanted everyone to feel it was the weekend. The song Volcano sent that message with an exclamation point. The tune; complete with the sound of a rumbling volcano. Guitarist Mac McAnally, a professional on acoustic, paired vocally with Buffett on the tune It’s Five O’clock Somewhere. The Beach Boys would be proud.

Regardless of the fact that there was no production, minimal lighting or stage presence, Buffett and his band along with the audience were having a fun. Jimmy parlayed his joy in both official languages. Buffett spoke often in French much to the glee of the Francophones in attendance. Buffett also switched guitars as much as he switched languages all night yet his mentioning of Canadian icons (his heroes) Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen was the salt in the Margarita for the Canadian audience. If the punters were not hooked yet; Buffett’s rendition of the Leonard Cohen classic Suzanne sealed the deal.

Buffett kept The Jazz Festival alive with a couple of Jazz – styled tunes. The aptly named Jazz Police Bar portion of the show saw Buffett sitting on a stool with a glass of wine and two backup singers. Nadirah Shakoor and Tina Gullickson were simply joyous as they displayed their range in a brand new song. 

Cheeseburger in Paradise was a surprise. Buffett et al put on a much more rocking version than the audience is used to . Another new song,The World is What You Make It was so great with it’s infectious  singalong chorus “La, la, la, la, la”, as good as any of the classics Buffett has delivered. All hands were in the air waving left to right for Fins. The show’s closer, of course, was Margaritaville. The encore then began with a Van Morrison cover of Brown Eyed Girl and Buffett was joined by a young violinist for the closing tune. Her accompaniment enhanced Buffett’s acoustic on L’air De Louisiana and the audience were left smiling.

Buffett’s first show in Montreal in forty-four years was a generous two hour and fifteen minute gift. Let’s see how long it takes for him to come back and find his lost shaker.

Written by Ron Roxtar