Daryl Hall and John Oates – It’s As If They Never Left ! Montreal Concert Review

If Starsky and Hutch played music, they would appear as Daryl Hall and John Oates circa 2016 …


For those who grew up adoring the number one Rock duo of all time (sales) and have not seen them for a while, the show last night at The Bell Center must have been shocking.

Daryl Hall is a replica of David Soul merged with The Dude from The Big Lebowski. Oates has lost the big moustache and the Afro-ish hair. A flattened Paul Michael Glaser if you will. The good news? Appearances may have changed but the music is the same old song and dance.

Hall And Oates, arose from the soulful side of Philadelphia, Pa. in the 1970’s. th (6)Fusing Pop, Rock, R&B and Soul into one distinct sound. A noise instantly recognizable as was the case in Montreal last night as the tune ‘Maneater’ started things off. The bass as distinctive as a red barn in a field of wheat.

The patrons of the Bell Center aged fifty and up were immersed in nostalgia. It was hard to avoid ManEater or any other Hall and Oates’ songs in the 1980’s. The duo were embraced by the video age as the New Wave / Soulful / Pop  – street boys.  More than any other duo in history, Hall and Oates  rode the cash grab decade and ran with it.

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“Out of Touch’ came next and the lightbulbs containing memory filaments circulated like firecrackers at a stag party gone wrong. The only crinkle at first appeared through Hall’s wavery voice. Seemingly not as strong as the eighties and / or on disc. Oates – au contraire, sounding vocally healthy and a slightly older version of himself was strictly physical.

‘Did It in a Minute’, the pair’s Top Ten single from 1981’s Private Eyes LP, lasted about a minute too long. Live in 2016, the song was a shadow of it’s former self and whatever momentum was gained in the evening’s first two songs, petered out faster than a casanova filled with one drink too many. The only good denominator and a foreshadow of things to come – the artful and soulful Sax emerging from Charles DeChant. Solidifying and grounding the sound all night.

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An evening filled with so much promise started to feel mailed in. Partly because of the similarities within the duo’s songwriting and partly because … well, the eighties were that way. For a fleeting moment, Hall and Oates were covering Hall and Oates.

‘Say it ain’t So’ was prophetic and a long evening appeared imminent until the great Barry Mann song ‘ You Lost That Lovin’ Feeling’ grabbed the senses. Women were hooked and the men cringed. Le Centre Bell fell victim to soul. 

‘This next song took us out of Philly and to places like Montreal ‘.  Hall’s words an introduction to the tune which got everything back on track. A groove was hit and the band settled in for the rest of the evening within the 1974 song Grounds for Separation’. The soul of South Philly never more apparent as Hall and Oates mesmerized the crowd. A perfect lead-in to probably their most soulful ‘Hit’; Sarah Smile’. The latter two songs pre-1980 over production values and an insight into the true songwriting skills of the dynamic duo. If the show last night was a work week, the latter two songs; Wednesday night with Popcorn on the couch.

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‘Do What You Want To’ and Sarah Smile showcased beautiful guitar solos by Shane Therriot.  Hall and Oates songs are not solo friendly. Therriot made an argument they should be. Along with DeChant on Sax – a double dose of guilty pleasures and a welcome break in the sometimes similar sound of the main act.

Whatever worries  on Hall’s  vocals were left behind. Hitting his Marvin Gaye / Ray Charles stride, Hall’s initial weak voice an aberration. 

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‘I Won’t Go for That’ and the encore ‘Rich Girl’ reminded the room of the elephant. Or – in this case; elephants !

The Bell center on it’s feet dancing the night away.

Decipher Hall and Oates as much as you like. Hall is Lennon, Oates is McCartney. The Rock / Blues element combined with the ear-to-the ground sensibility that kept things fresh in yesteryear. Hall and Oates have sold more albums than any other duo in history.

Starsky and Hutch would be proud even though Private Eyes were not necessary but front and center in the end.

Visit Hall and Oates Here !

Working Man Blues CD Cover

Cody Chestnutt Review – Montreal International Jazz Festival 2014

Who is Cody Chestnutt?


Easy. Put Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Lionel Ritchie and practically every other R and B singer from the 1970’s into a blender, add some influence by The Roots and – TA DA! A Cody Chestnutt shake.

Shake? The audience at Club Soda did just that!

If anything, the man who just flew in from L.A – was a ball of energy. Mind you – that energy did dissipate once in a blue while in songs such as ‘Up in the Tree House‘. A tune Cody introduced comically as ‘going from the tree house to the crack house’.

_MG_9979The song; a Monkee-ish / Mamas and Papas / Turtles melody depicting a sentimental side to the energetic Chestnutt. A dreamy trip into the psyche of psychedelia. It was a welcome break to a concert which to that point was deliciously repetitive.

Rock, Funk, Hip Hop and Blues. Singular, accumulative or blended by genre one at a time – Chestnutt and his tight – loose band of gypsies enticed smiles from the get-go. Easy to see why The Roots chose his song ‘The Seed’ to do on their album; Phrenology,

‘That’s Still Mama’  channeled Gaye to a rhythmic ‘T’. Complete with horns and Geoffrey Gaines’ demonic bass holding Chestnutt to the ground level, Cody showcased his voice. A query to fans as Chestnutt cannot be stereotyped into a genre. At times the tune bordered on ‘Shaft’ and could well be the soundtrack to a 70’s cop show. Nothing wrong with that. No thing wrong with Joel Johnson’guitar licks either.


‘Under the Spell of the Handout’placed the keyboards in full throttle as Cody and his mates sped along with drummer Stephen Fryson keeping the pedal to the metal at a fanatic pace.

‘Love is More Than a Wedding Day‘ gave everyone a reason to smile. A summer song which the audience participated in by singing the chorus ‘ I Believe in Love’ or more to the point ” I Believe’.

That is the beauty of a Chestnutt show. Non threatening. A huge love-in. A simple reminder of why music was invented in the first place. More times than not; the audience joining in whether by Chestnutt’s demand or on their choice..

‘Gunpowder on the Letter’ a throwback to the Blues blending into Rock n Roll. A song suited for a Little Richard – Jerry Lee Lewis album. ‘Thank You‘ – perhaps exactly that. Another copy of the songs of days gone by. Sung elegantly and heartfelt by Cody and his backing vocals.

The steal of the show was Alvin Giles on keyboards. Tinkering softly or providing a piano- based rhythm a la boogie woogie on the R and B gems: the show void without him.



In short – Chestnutt followed up a very successful appearance at the PoP Montreal Festival last year with a return to Montreal at this year’s Jazz Festival. A fact not foreign to Cody himself as he said the word ‘Montreal’ or some variation thereof at least thirty times.

Yes Cody – Montreal realizes and appreciates your ability to decipher the city where you are playing. Montreal thanks you for coming and bringing the ‘real’ music ‘back’ with you.

Until next time …



 Visit Cody Here!




Hear My Interview with Myriam Here!

Myriam Phiro will be at

The House of Jazz

July 3rd 8:30pm



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

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


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

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

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

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

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

The album, is a throwback to the old days.


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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