Rick Keene Music Scene -April Wine’s Co-Founder Jim Henman Has Had Enough of School Shootings and Is Doing Something About It !

Children are the future …

Imagine how the world will appear in ten years? Imagine there is no safe zone at all? Homes and schools – the two places where kids should feel safe. A pair of sacred turfs now affected more and more by gun violence in the United States of America.

One of the co – founders of April Wine, Jim Henman , has been affected by the senseless shootings south of the border. He was so profoundly moved by the acts of violence – he wrote a song.

The song ‘Some of These Children’ is a poignant and stirring take on events that have affected everyone. Parents, teachers, relatives and the entire world.

Uncomfortable numb as they walk and continue their lives in shock and disbelief.

Jim Henman is donating fifty percent of all sales from the song to The Boys And Girls Club of Greater Halifax. This is a start to not only help the kids in Nova Scotia – to also send a message globally that us humans have had enough.

Please listen below to my chat with Jim and hear the song ‘Some of These Children’. Please share this as much as possible …

Click on the link below and buy the song.

Making a difference and sending a message can do something.

Buy

Some of These Children Here !

Visit Jim Here !

Visit April Wine Here

Visit BackTraxx Here !

Booking Information and Audio Video Here !

Tune in Thursdays from 7 pm to 10pm

Rick Keene Music Scene

New Tunes, Old Tunes and Comedy !

Rock -Fm.ca

Rick Keene Music Scene -April Wine’s Brian Greenway; Part of Canadian Music History

What you hear on stage is only

the tip of a musician’s iceberg.

Starting with Mashmakhan , guitarist Brian Greenway has had a very colorful and fruitful musical career. The Wackers , The Dudes , April Wine and now two new entities to keep Brian’s musical chops fresh and alive .

Brian Greenway’s Blues Bus and Brian’s Attic Dust Solo Show.

Please listen below to my chat with Brian about all the above and discover where you can go see and hear the music live for charity!

Brian? What’s Up?

Correction *The West island Blues Festival is June 16th – apologies.

Visit April Wine Here

Visit The Blues Bus Here

Visit The West island Blues Festival here !

Visit BackTraxx Here !

Booking Information and Audio Video Here !

Tune in Thursdays from 7 pm to 10pm

Rick Keene Music Scene

New Tunes, Old Tunes and Comedy !

Rock -Fm.ca

Rick Keene Music Scene – Paolo Stante ; The Next Generation of Montreal Guitarists

Practice makes perfect …

For guitarist Paolo Stante – the less he thinks – the more he feels the music.

Just prior to the release of his third disc; At It Again – that is the essence of Paolo’s music. Experience through gigging and writing has brought less panic to Stante’s craft and in turn, At It Again is his most complete album thus far.

Please have a listen below to my chat with Paolo and discover some very good tunes and masterful guitar work.

Paolo? What’s Up?

Visit Paolo Here !

Visit BackTraxx Here !

Booking Information and Audio Video Here !

Tune in Thursdays from 7 pm to 10pm

Rick Keene Music Scene

New Tunes, Old Tunes and Comedy !

Rock -Fm.ca

Rick Keene Music Scene – BackTraxx; Bringing Hairspray and Rock n Roll Back from The Eighties !

Remember when Rock was energetic?

 

 

The bands, the fans and the music all had big hair and the experience of going to a show was electrifying ? An event? An experience that sculpted you for life ?

Not to worry, that experience is back and once you attend a show by the band BackTraxx – your hairdresser will become very rich !

Please listen below to my chat with Pat McTurner and Ben Carr from BackTraxx.

 

Got your hairspray ready ?

 

 

Visit BackTraxx Here !

 

Booking  Information and Audio Video Here !

 

 

 

 

 

Tune in Thursdays from 7 pm to 10pm

Rick Keene Music Scene

New Tunes, Old Tunes and Comedy !

Rock -Fm.ca

Rick Keene Music Scene – Wake Up Music World, It Is The ‘Crack of Dawn’ !

In a music galaxy far, far away – a Canadian band altered the airwaves and  sent Canada into an entirely different universe.

 

 

Crack of Dawn were the first black band to be signed to a major label (CBS) in Canada.

Otis Redding’s producer discovered them and the band sold more albums than Earth, Wind and Fire in Canada. They were headed for stardom yet they disappeared.

Until now …

 

Please listen below to my chat with Arvin Jones (Sax) and Trevor Daley (Trombone) as they explain Crack of Dawn.

Guys? What’s Up?

 

 

Visit Crack of Dawn Here !

 

 

 

 

Tune in Thursdays from 7 pm to 10pm

Rick Keene Music Scene

New Tunes, Old Tunes and Comedy !

Rock -Fm.ca

Rick Keene Music Scene – April Wine Co – Founder Jim Henman’s Family Affair !

Without Jim Henman – April Wine may have never been the same. Without The Henman Family, East Coast music may not have been the same.

 

Jim Henman ( bass) along with cousins David (Guitar) and Ritchie (Drums) started the band April Wine. Jim grabbed his old mate from a band called Woody’s Termites and recruited him to join April Wine. That fellow, Myles Goodwyn, along with April Wine – went on to unimaginable heights including an induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

 

 

Long before the April Wine ‘family’ began, Jim was a member of another clan. This unit were named The Henmans and it contained ten kids.

These ‘kids’ have all gotten together and put out an album. It is the first time the family of musical ‘students’ have recorded together and for some – the first time writing songs.

 

Jeannie Henman

 

Please listen below as the eldest brother Jim explains the family, the songs and the thoughts behind the Henman Family Album.

 

Jim? What’s Up?

 

Visit Jim Henman Here !

 

 

Tune in Thursdays from 7 pm to 10pm

Rick Keene Music Scene

New Tunes, Old Tunes and Comedy !

Rock -Fm.ca

Rick Keene Music Scene – Local Montreal Band East of Sunday Chosen As The Opening Act For Carvin Jones!

Never shut the door on an opportunity.

Up and coming local musicians require all the help they can get. Live venues are closing, CD sales are slumping and the money that comes in from iTunes and other streaming services is barely enough to buy guitar strings for most bands.

When out of town musicians arrive in Montreal, people that have toured most of the world – sometimes they look to support local talent by having local talent support them.

Carvin Jones is from Phoenix and he has chosen the band East of Sunday as his opening act on June 21st. The group was chosen from a very long list of original Montreal musicians.

Buy Tickets Here !

 

 

Thanks to a collaboration between The League of Rock Montreal and Rick Keene Music Scene – Carvin Jones’ ‘The Ultimate Guitar Experience of the Year’ show promises to be a huge and exciting event with East of Sunday as the opener.

 

 

The show is a show of firsts. Carvin Jones and The Carvin Jones Band are in Montreal for the first time in their career and East of Sunday are virgins entering the grand room known as Club Soda. 

Hold on to your hats to witness a guitar show unlike any you have seen !

 

Combining intense musicianship with an even more intense performance – Carvin Jones must be seen live to understand the energy. Videos and recordings do not serve justice.

Some artists require an audience and some audiences require Carvin Jones !

 

Listen to my interview with Carvin Here !

Stay tuned for my Chat with

East of Sunday !

 

Visit East of Sunday Here !

 

 

 

 

Tune in Thursdays from 7 pm to 10pm

Rick Keene Music Scene

New Tunes, Old Tunes and Comedy !

Rock -Fm.ca

Rick Keene Music Scene – Lawrence Gowan of Styx; Adding Power to Styx Through His Musical Influences

Lawrence Gowan, Larry or Gowan are interesting guys …

Always open about music, Lawrence Gowan (Styx) enjoys exploring the past with Gowan and Larry. After all – those two alter egos made him into the front-man for Styx, arguably the most popular American band in history.

Please enjoy my chat below with Lawrence as we discuss his influences as well as Styx’ upcoming show in Montreal on

July 3rd with Tesla and

Joan Jett and The BlackHearts.

Lawrence? What’s Up?

Visit Styx Here !

Buy Tickets Here !

Tune in Thursdays from 7 pm to 10pm

Rick Keene Music Scene

New Tunes, Old Tunes and Comedy !

Rock -Fm.ca

Rick Keene Music Scene – Styx Hits Trois Rivieres Like a Ton of Bricks !

Smack dab in the middle of the Trois Rivieres Blues Festival – a classic Rock band arrived. 

Phillips and Shaw

Like most bands of the sixties and early seventies, Styx were somewhat schooled in the Blues. They took that sound and evolved into something else. Something borrowed yet something new. Synthesizers, keyboards and harmonies complimented by gritty guitar riffs gave birth to Styx’ place in the history of Progressive Rock, Rock and eventually Pop ( show tunes?) 

Three chords travel well. 

Gowan and Phillips

 ‘Prog Rock’ was and remains hugely popular in Quebec. Bands like Genesis and Yes. Artists such as Chris de Burgh. The Robert Segarini – led The Dudes. Quebec always seemed to latch on to ‘the something new’ label as long as it was passionate and good. As long as it was energetic and loud. 

So why the departure of fans or lack of aforementioned fans at the Styx show in Trois Rivieres ? 

Something was amiss yet it was not the band as they delivered a high octane Rock show on the heels of their best album in twenty years. The album The Mission. Sitting nicely on the Billboard 100. 

So what gives ?

Young

 French people love Guy Lafleur but they wouldn’t pay good money to watch him play hockey anymore. What does this have to do with Styx? How are sports and music similar in this forum? 

Blame it on Classic Rock radio and blame it on the Blues. 

Phillips

The majority of the people in attendance were Blues’ fans attending a Festival. A gathering of a genre. Birds with similar feathers flocking together ready to pounce on the ‘Trout’ next to the river. Face it, when you go to McDonald’s – you don’t want pizza. If it’s thrust at you, you sample it, decide if it’s your taste and either eat it or throw it in the trash. Styx were pizzas to many ‘diners’ and they headed for the exits with visions of red clowns in the distance. 

Shaw

Where were the Prog Rock and Styx fans and why weren’t there more in attendance? 

Like the Lafleur fans – some people love Styx but think of the band as way past their prime. Just like the mentality of  Lafleur’s posse. Ten bucks maybe. Anything over that price? In the words of Tretiak – nyet. 

A case of beer, a condom and catcalls outside the local pool hall much better time spent and worthy of hard earned money. YouTube and the record player in the attic a much more efficient way to listen to Crystal Ball. 

Young and Shaw

Somewhere or someplace in the past fifteen years or so, classic Rock radio stations stopped playing and / or promoting classic Rock band’s new albums. Not just some bands who were around when Gilligan’s Island didn’t include the Professor and Mary Anne in the theme song, all the groups from that ‘three hour tour’ are left without life jackets if they release new and great songs. Ironically – the classic bands are drowned out by the very stations the bands helped create. 

Styx

If classic Rock radio within a two hour radius of Trois Rivieres would have played not one – all of the tracks from Styx’ new album The Mission since it’s release, the price of admission is suddenly ‘cheap’ and the show – suddenly ‘rich’. Just like that, Styx and Prog Rock fans from far and wide would have made the pilgrimage to the promised land. ‘If you build it, they will come’. 

Unlike the Styx show the following evening in Pte Claire, there was no charity, no corporate bandwagon backslapping and no media – to – get- a- pass coverage en masse. 

Trois Rivieres and Styx were left to die. 

Shaw

What was missed by many in Trois Rivieres and witnessed by more in Pointe Claire was a Styx show complete with all the hits, pomp and ceremony expected at a Styx show. The hardest working band in music ( over 170 shows annually ) delivered more energy than Hydro Quebec on a stormy evening. More passion than Subban at the beginning of a hockey shift. 

Led theatrically by Lawrence Gowan on keys and vocals ( a member since 1999)  – Styx are a working band that would put any young band properly to bed at a decent hour.  

Shaw and Young ( two original members) attempt to outdual one another on guitar. Pushing each other to reach that point every musician strives for yet never obtains. Phillips and Sucherman, the well fuelled battery. Pounding the rythyms to perfection yet leaving space for the songs to breathe. Leaving space for each of them to lead and follow and for the unique harmonies of Styx to flourish. 

Aside from hits such as Suite Madame Blue, Come Sail Away and Fooling Yourself – a pair of tunes from The Mission were the jawdroppers. 

Chameleon songs disguised nicely within the vast and diverse Styx catalogue. The opener – Gone Gone Gone, as infectious as an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. Riveting energy ricocheting off anything it could rattle. Typical Styx harmonies lighting the way for the opening song ( on disc and live) to place roots and grow into what will eventually be an oaken Styx classic. As strong, as tall and as rough as Renegade. 

The surprise of the evening was not only the quality of (one of The Mission’s new songs) Radio Silence,  but the audience’s reaction to it. Like a thief in the night, the ballad – type song slips in nicely between the albums Equinox and Grand Illusion. The punters accepting it as old. As something they heard from Styx but cannot place it. A real Fedora- off type moment for a band that started many moons ago. A hats- off moment for a band that recently had a moon named after them. 

Heck – if NASA has heard The Mission more times than an average Rock fan, then music may as well be sung by aliens floating in a tin can. Planet Earth will turn blue. 

It ain’t rocket science. 

Phillips

                         Visit Styx Here!

Rick Keene Music Scene – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band?

Sgt. Pepper ? Familiar ?

 

 

Chances are the guys above know him well.

It’s been fifty years since the four headed monster known as The Beatles recorded an album that forever changed popular music. ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ altered the way people sang, recorded and marketed their music. A feather in the Fab Four’s hat to be sure.

 

The San Francisco String Trio know Sgt. Pepper and they love him ! So much so – their album  “May I Introduce You‘ pays homage to The Beatles’ landmark album.

Please listen below to hear some new / old songs from the album. A disc that everyone hums along to at one point in their lives !

Thanks for listening ! Talk soon !

 

Listen below to my chat with Larry Day about Strangers in the Night 13 !

 

 

 

 

Visit Styx Here !

Visit Strangers in the Night Here !

 

 

Visit Jarrett Lobley Project Here !

 

 

Rick Keene Music Scene – Larry Day Talks Strangers in the Night 13!

Once upon a time, in a bar far far away …

Strangers in the Night – an idea born in the parking lot of a bar named The Firm, featured one band. The Boogie Wonder Band were the event’s initial entertainment and from that point on; founder Larry Day never looked back.

 

Fast forward twelve years and the 2017 edition is poised to be the biggest and best yet! More food, more space and one of the biggest selling bands of all time ! Strangers in the Night 13 is on a ‘Mission’ and the super-group Styx just happen to have a new album of the same name!

 

The album; The Mission has accomplished it’s mission. In 2017 – Styx is back on the Billboard 100 and they are landing in Quebec on August 25th.

Please listen below to my chat with founder Larry Day. He has been a big fan of Styx since the mid seventies. Discover his thoughts on Strangers in the Night 13 and find out what you need to know to attend what should be the biggest show ever in the West Island!

Thanks for listening ! Talk soon !

Larry? What’s up?

 

 

Listen below to my chat with Gowan! A member of Styx since 1999!

 

 

 

Visit Styx Here !

Visit Strangers in the Night Here !

 

 

Visit Jarrett Lobley Project Here !

 

 

Rick Keene Music Scene -I Dont Like Spiders and Snakes But That Ain’t What it Takes to Love Cecile Doo Kingue !

Cecile Doo Kingue is ready …

Ready for what?

Her first appearance at The Jazz Festival under her own name with her own trio.

Pretty cool as this ‘road traveler’ has enhanced her level of performance to an entire different level. Songwriting is one thing she accomplished a while ago. Playing non stop since the release of her last album has created almost perfection. Something musicians spend a lifetime never achieving or else – hunger would disappear. 

Please listen below to my chat with Cecile. Have some bug spray close by !

 

 

 The Montreal International Jazz Festival 

Click Here for Tickets

 

Visit Strangers in the Night Here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Rick Keene Music Scene – Corey Diabo Talks National Aboriginal Day; June 21st Cabot Square

 

Corey Diabo is not your average guitar player.

Traditionally – a Rock n Roll fan and soon later; a Blues guru of sorts. Corey hooked up with his pal Jonas Tomalty and in almost 20 years – all Hell broke loose. That fire – burning intensely to this day.

Please listen below as Corey discusses his involvement in National Aboriginal Day, his thoughts on guitar players and that one time ( in band camp?) – he opened for Van Halen and jammed backstage with Eddie Van Halen

Corey? What’s Up?

 

 

Listen to my interview with Joss Stone below !

 

Joss is playing July 5th as part of a double bill with Melissa Etheridge as part of  The Montreal International Jazz Festival 

Click Here for Tickets

 

Visit Strangers in the Night Here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Rick Keene Music Scene – Jazz Festival Preview; Joss Stone

Joss Stone has been around for a while.

Considering she is only thirty years old – it seems as if ‘thirty’ is the new ‘sixty’ in terms of what she has accomplished thus far in her career.

Dave Stewart and Mick Jagger, just two of the names who have aided Joss on her musical education. What singers influenced her and who does she hold in high esteem?

Please listen below to my chat with Joss and find out !

Joss? What’s up?

 

 

Joss is playing July 5th as part of a double bill with Melissa Etheridge as part of The Montreal International Jazz Festival 

Click Here for Tickets


 

Visit Strangers in the Night Here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Rick Keene Music Scene – Backstage Pass to Styx’ New Album; The Mission

Once in a lifetime …

 

That is how often a band like Styx comes along.

From the mid seventies until a decade later, no band from America wrote so many hits and gained so many fans.

High energy Rock n Roll, theatrical know how and heart wrenching balladry. Styx was and remains – the blueprint for a successful Rock n Roll band.

Now – as if a double exclamation point was needed, Styx has emerged from the studio with ‘The Mission’. An album which solidifies their place atop the American Rock n Roll charts.

Please listen below to  a very special segment as the members of Styx talk about The Mission. Hear the tracks as well !

Special to

Rick Keene Music Scene.com

 

 

 

Visit Strangers in the Night here!

Visit Styxworld Here !

 

Visit The Montreal Folk Festival Here !

 

 

The Montreal International Jazz Festival 

Click Here for Tickets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Rick Keene Music Scene Presents A Musical Salute to The Flintstones!

The Flintstones changed lives …

Everyone around the world who had access to television (and in recent years – a DVD player) was affected by The Flintstones.

Lessons were learned, morality was taught as the men, women, kids and dinosaurs in Bedrock toiled through their daily lives. The Flintstones babysat millions of people around the world. 

 

A big part of the Flintstones’ phenomena was the opening theme song. As catchy a tune ever penned in the history of music.

 

Please listen below to some tunes inspired and / or written for

The Flintstones !

 

Please listen below to my chat with the legendary Garland Jeffreys!

Garland will be here May 5th

Club Soda !

Part One

Part Two

Visit Garland Here !

 

Visit Club Soda Here !

 

Garland Jeffreys Talks John Lennon and His New Album 14 Steps to Harlem

Garland Jeffreys is ‘still here ‘ …

 

Not only is he still here, his recent performances and latest album are among the best he has ever done ( or close to it).

The seventy three year old native of Brooklyn, N.Y. has been around the block. Been there and done so much in the music business. Whether cementing his friendship with Lou Reed, joining Bruce Springsteen on stage or educating the masses through poignant racial lyrics – Garland Jeffreys is a survivor.

Please listen below to  my chat with Garland preceding his upcoming Montreal show May 5th at Club Soda.

As always, Garland will be accompanied on stage by a handpicked group of accomplished musicians: Mark Bosch on guitar (Ian Hunter, Carole King), Brian Stanley on bass (Bryan Adams, Mike Scott / The Waterboys), Charly Roth on keyboards (Dennis Leary, Suzanne Vega, Edgar Winter) and Tom Curiano on drums (Dana Fuchs, Phil Roy, Jon DeRosa).

Hear some tracks off the new album; 14 Steps to Harlem.

Part One

 

Part Two

 

Visit Garland Here !

 

Visit Club Soda Here !

 

Garland Jeffreys Talks Lou Reed, Bo Diddley and His Love of Music.

 

Garland Jeffreys is ‘still here ‘ …

 

Not only is he still here, his recent performances and latest album are among the best he has ever done ( or close to it).

The seventy three year old native of Brooklyn, N.Y. has been around the block. Been there and done so much in the music business. Whether cementing his friendship with Lou Reed, joining Bruce Springsteen on stage or educating the masses through poignant racial lyrics – Garland Jeffreys is a survivor.

Please listen below to part one of my chat with Garland preceding his upcoming Montreal show May 5th at Club Soda.

As always, Garland will be accompanied on stage by a handpicked group of accomplished musicians: Mark Bosch on guitar (Ian Hunter, Carole King), Brian Stanley on bass (Bryan Adams, Mike Scott / The Waterboys), Charly Roth on keyboards (Dennis Leary, Suzanne Vega, Edgar Winter) and Tom Curiano on drums (Dana Fuchs, Phil Roy, Jon DeRosa).

Hear some tracks off the new album; 14 Steps to Harlem.

 

Visit Garland Here !

 

Visit Club Soda Here !

 

First Time in Montreal! New Styx Song on Rick Keene Music Scene !

The long awaited Styx album is coming out in June! No , this is not a ‘Grand Illusion ‘ nor are you ‘ Fooling Yourself ‘ …

The new album , ‘The Mission‘, the band’s first in fourteen years – is out June 16th !

Stay tuned for exclusive interviews on Rick Keene Music Scene !

     

                Watch New Song Here !


                Visit StyxWorld Here !

Rick Keene Music Scene – Hey Montreal? What’s the Word on the Street and The Talk on the Turnpike?

Face it – Montreal always has a lot of live music going on …

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Join Here !

Jazz, Blues, Rock, Reggae … and somewhere, someone – is playing along with spoons.

Please listen below to some of these shows, some great tunes and get an idea on how to buy tickets! Whether it be local musicians or visitors from afar – music fans are always smiling in Montreal !

Thanks for Listening ! Talk soon !

 

 

 

 

Please Sign Up for The League of Rock Here !

Go to the referral box and mention

Rick Keene Music Scene and receive a

$150.00 discount !

Official sponsor of League of Rock Montreal

 

Buy The Album Here !
Buy The Album Here !

 

 

 

Rick Keene Music Scene – The League of Rock Has Arrived in Montreal and Why This is Important !

There are many reasons why The League of Rock arriving in Montreal is important and none of them have anything to do with Jack Black.

In fact – a school of Rock could not be further from the reality of The League of RockTwo different animals – one musical head ( so to speak).

Click Here !
Click Here !

League of Rock is an opportunity for musicians who normally don’t play in venues –  to rehearse, get coached (by professional Rock stars), record a song, join a band and play live ! The final event is professionally filmed and there is free beer and pizza !

Did I mention free beer and pizza ?

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Please listen below as Montreal’s League of Rock President and CEO Gary Johnston explains everything you need to know to become part of A League of Rock.

Thanks for listening ! Talk soon …

 

Please Sign Up for The League of Rock Here !

Go to the referral box and mention

Rick Keene Music Scene and receive a

$150.00 discount !

Official Sponsor

 

Buy The Album Here !
Buy The Album Here !

 

 

 

Rick Keene Music Scene – League of Rock Montreal, A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen, Pat Loiselle and Pete Dumoulin

In the summertime, where the weather is fine …

In This life Art

Summer time in Montreal. Musically – a great place to be! Jazz Festivals, Rock Festivals and for the first time in Montreal; A League of Rock !

Click Here !
Click Here !

League of Rock is an opportunity for musicians who normally don’t play in venues –  to rehearse, get coached by professional Rock stars, record a song, join a band and play live ! The final event is professionally filmed and there is free beer and pizza !

Did I mention free beer and pizza ?

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Up next on Rick Keene Music Scene – my interview with Gary Johnson about The League of Rock !

In the meantime, Please listen below to some great tunes and some events coming up in Montreal !

Thanks for listening ! Talk soon …

 

 

Dwane Dixon Portrait.
Buy Dwane Dixon’s Album Here !

 

 

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Top Ten Concerts of 2013

Obviously – I cannot be everywhere. If that were the case, my shoe bill would be sky high!

Seriously folks  –  it is difficult enough to choose ten shows as the best in Montreal during the course of a year. If I could be everywhere, the list would consist of the top one hundred. I would be deaf and broke. Thankfully, I am not deaf. Realistically – I am broke. One out of two ain’t bad ( What’s that? Sorry you have to speak up).

Experiencing  shows in Montreal is an experience unlike anywhere else. Every musician I speak to – from Jerry Mercer of April Wine to Holly Cole does admit; there are no crowds in the world like Montreal. Savvy, emotional and passionate. Three adjectives ripe in truth. For these reasons – artists are quickly reminded if and when, their shows are good, great or soaring into other atmospheres.

Montreal – the perfect odometer for the racing pulse of visiting and local musicians.

The Jazz Festival. The best in the world, brought some fantastic acts this past summer season. Xavier Rudd, Holly Cole, Mo Kenney, Lyle Lovett and Chris Isaak, Molly Ringwald and Dr. John to name very few. A pure delight for the music fan – rain or shine ( please visit the archive section for a recap of the Jazz Festival).

Without further ramblings ( or shoes) – here is my Top Ten List of the 2013 concerts of which I attended. Agree to disagree or agree. One thing is certain, every musician deserves to be on the list …

10. Micheal Kaeshammer 

One of the most talented pianists this country boasts. German – born, Canadian-raised ( half his life), Kaeshammer delivered an old school lesson in Boogie Woogie, Jazz and Zydecho-based Blues and Rock n Roll. Kaeshammer was in Montreal on November 1st at L’Astral promoting his latest disc; ‘Tell You How I Feel’ ( a homage to Alain Toussaint). Michael awed the crowd with his non-stop banter, piano playing and (mostly) hard driving tunes. The type of show, no one wanted to end. In fact – Kaeshammer played beyond his time limit and came back again and again.

9. Steve Earle

The one man who can give Keith Richards a run for his millions in the bad boy category. A survivor of drug addiction, alcoholism and jail time – Earle brought his act to Montreal at the Corona Theater on August 9th.

He was in town promoting his 15th studio album; ‘ The Low Highway’. Steve Earle & the Dukes (& Duchesses), the best band Earle ever had ( according to Earle), brought a high caliber – all music show to Montreal.

Most artists, young and old get caught up in self-importance and either banter too much or indulge in the ‘greatness’ of their music. Not Earle. His show is strictly business. Not show business. A treat to hear songs such as ‘Guitar Town’ and ‘ Copperhead Road’ live. A treat to hear the man along with  husband and wife multi-instrumentalists Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore and the rhythm section of  Kelley Looney and Will Rigby, tear the venue apart with truisms both lyrically and musically.

8. Lee Rocker

The former ( current?) Stray Cat double Bass player was here on Aug.29th to open up the 9th annual Red Hot and Blue Rockabilly Festival at The Rialto Theater.

Rocker performed songs from his new disc; Night Train to Memphis along with classic Stray Cat tunes and classic tunes period. The hardest working double bass player in North America delivered ‘Rumble in Brighton Tonight’, ‘Stray Cat Strut’, ‘Night Train to Memphis’ and ‘Rockabilly Boogie’ the way Carl Perkins and Scotty Moore would have.

Combining Country, Rock and the hard driving sounds of guitarist Buzz Campbell, guitarist/slide player Brophy Dale and  drummer Jimmy Sage, Rocker delivered an excellent blend of showmanship and a hard-earned, natural talent for his instrument. Once the show started – everyone danced. And danced … and danced…

7. The Damn Truth

Montreal’s own band-on-the-rise, played a few times in the city. The throwback sound of the glory days of Rock from the early seventies – along with the incredible vocals of Lee La Baum, set and continues to set Montreal on fire.

Songs such as ‘ Montreal’, ‘Kinda Awkward’ and ‘ I Want You ( He’s a Lightweight) – showcasing Tom Shemmer’s ‘ guitar work, Dave Traina’s primal drums and David Masse’s complimentary bass. In concert – Lee La, Tom and Masse never stand still enough to get a good picture.

Combine Led Zeppelin, The Kinks and Janis Joplin – the sum of all parts equals The Damn Truth. The Damn Future of Rock in Montreal …! Arcade who …?

6. Heart

Ann and Nancy Wilson – arrived in Montreal on the 25th of March at Le Centre Bell. Two of the pioneers of women in rock …

Given the fact the ladies have not really had a hit for decades – plus the fact they are closing in on collecting pensions, it was easy to enter the arena poised with cynicism. Well – nobody told the Wilson sisters!

Ann’s voice on ‘Alone’ – alone, made the entire night special.

Singing like the year was 1977 – Ann delivered the Heart songbook impeccably. Combined with Nancy’s vocals and experienced guitar playing; hits like ‘Magic Man’, ‘Dreamboat Annie’, ‘Barracuda’ and ‘Crazy on You’ brought several standing ovations to the crowd. With lead guitarist Craig Bartock,  keyboard player Debbie Shair, bassist Kristian Attard, and drummer Ben Smith along for the ride – the Wilson’s delivered at times, a rock n roll show circa 1978. Including covers of Led Zeppelin and The Who’s ‘ Love Reign O’er Me ( with Pete Townshend’s brother Simon), no doubt the world has not heard the end of Heart’s heart …

5.The Specials

Performing as part of The Montreal International Jazz Festival – the English band made everyone stand up and take notice at Metropolis. They were special …

The British ska legends, formed in 1977 – performed for the first time in Montreal following a thirty year absence. That abyss made the heart grow fonder for fans and the Festival walk-ins. Staples such as  ‘Do the Dog’,  ‘A Message To You, Rudy’, ‘Little Bitch, ‘Ghost Town’, ‘Concrete Jungle,’ ‘Rat Race’ and ‘Too Much Too Young’ – amazed the senses.

A glance around the club was truly an inspiring sight. Fever-pitched dancing was addictive. Partly because of the music and partly because of the band members themselves. Rarely does an entire band dance around the stage and rarely do men their age have that type of energy. The group made everyone realize what music is about.

Smiling and dancing. Two ingredients that made at least one evening at The Jazz festival – very special …

4. The Rolling Stones

The bad boys of Rock n Roll played in Montreal at The Bell Center on June 9th. They rolled into town as part of their Fifty and Counting Tour.The question on everyone’s mind? Do Mick, Keef, Charlie and Ronnie ( Darryl Jones) still have it?

A conundrum this greatest Rock n Roll band in the world. Judged against past tours, past hits, past bad behavior and (for the first time in their history) over-the-top ticket prices. Somewhere – among all this, is a band performing on stage. Four guys who have written the book on ‘How to Be  Rockstars’.

Ask someone who is not over fifty, question the early twenties contingent who have just seen a Stones’ show for the very first time; ‘How was the show?’ This is where the only real answer arrives to get a take on The Stones circa 2013. A non judgmental musicologist who just wants to party, move their feet and listen to tunes while under the influence of God-knows-what …

Ironically like the over sixty crowd did when they saw the band in the sixties. Or – the over fifty people who saw them in the seventies. The plus forty group who saw them in the eighties. Get my point?

The Stones were never technically sound even at their peak. One night in 1962 – 69, ’72, ’75, ’78, ’81’, ’89’, ’94, ’97, 2002 and ’06 – they were the worst sounding band heard this side of Tiny Tim. On the same tours – the greatest ever heard on a selected and presumably sober ( non sober) night. That is the beauty of Rock n Roll. That is the beauty of The Rolling Stones.

On June 9th, ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’, ‘Satisfaction’ and twenty-odd more classic songs were performed by men who are the royalty of Rock. Was it the best show they have put on? No. Was it the worst performance of their ‘long and winding’ careers? No.  It was Rock n Roll delivered by legends. Pirates. Pioneers. Saints and sinners. Men who have forgotten more than David Grohl will ever learn. Richards may be having difficulty playing with his arthritic – laced fingers ( knobs), yet Mick, Ronnie and Charlie amaze with their ability to play and perform like the young Rock n Roll rebels they once were. Former guitarist Mick Taylor appeared on Midnight Rambler to remind everyone of possibly the greatest Blues-based Rock n Roll song the world will ever know.

and we like it, like it … yes we do …!

3. The Eagles

Do you know the History of The Eagles? Sit down and have a listen …

That is what happened on the 4th of November at Le Centre Bell. People sat and they listened to the soundtrack of the seventies – Country / Rock style.

As with Heart – when a group or solo artist disappears from the top one hundred, it is easy to dismiss their legacies and skills with reminders of their not-so-good stuff which appeared to be the reason they left; exit stage left. Out of nowhere, they return and as was the case of The Eagles – the songs and the talent astound the masses and create new fans.

With former member Bernie Leadon  joining Don Henley and Glenn Frey in an acoustic trio to start and Joe Walsh completing ‘the circle’ later on – the 14,400 Bell Center show really did go ‘full circle’.  First the songs. ‘Desperado’, ‘Hotel California’, ‘One of These Nights’, ‘The Long Run’ …etc etc. Performed with the vinyl perfection of the records which made women croon and men get in touch with their feminine sides they never knew they had.

Wistfulness embraced the Bell Center in November. A sing-a-long to end all sing-a-longs. As each song was introduced; lights went on in people’s eyes. Beams of remembrance. Beacons of times gone by and moments lost. The Eagles’ story contains many ballads and just when that legacy risked placing the crowd into ‘Bedtime for Bonzo’ mode – Joe Walsh saved the day.

‘Life’s Been Good’ for Walsh and he injected much needed life into the second half. ‘Rocky Mountain Way’ – played by Walsh by Walsh circa 1977.  The man is a Rock n Roll guitarist and will always be that rebel. A treat to witness him, Frey, Henley et al.

A treat to re- read The History of the Eagles …

2. Styx

What is with these bands everyone thought were dead? In the case of Styx – arguably, dead in the water until Gowan joined in 1999.

There is a reason why Styx are one of the most consistent and money – making acts on tour in North America for the past three decades. The show. It’s all about the show combined with a catalog unmatched by many. ‘Grand Illusion’, ‘Lady’, ‘Come Sail Away’, ‘Sweet Madame Blue’. Three tunes which provide so much energy. A trio of songs when added to Gowan’s own ‘Criminal Mind’ and ‘Strange Animal’; a five-some of classic rock done by pioneers of prog rock – North America style.

The Olympia show on the 17th November was not about the songs or Tommy Shaw and James Young. It was about the atmosphere and anticipation felt in the sold-out show. It was the type of feeling that once upon a time engulfed this city before a show at The  Montreal Forum, Le Moustache or the old Maples Inn. An electricity filled the air. Enough wattage to power Young and Shaw’s guitars.

Gowan, the ever -theatrical Gowan, more than replacing Dennis DeYoung in the band with his contagious energy. Enveloping the crowd with his own personal stamp of approval. Sure the band no longer writes any hits. Sure the band delivers straight, hard-edged rock and synthesizer sounds straight from the hair days of the eighties. Sure the band delivers tunes as sickening ( for Rock purists) as ‘Too Much Time on My Hands’. For the money – Styx put on a ‘Rock Show’ that McCartney and Wings would be proud of …

Styx continue to be ‘Renegades’ …

1. Bonnie Raitt

Raitt appeared at Theatre St. Denis on the 14th of November. Everyone in attendance will remember that date as if it were the 14th of February. A love -affair …

Performing classics such as ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’, ‘Something to Talk About’, ‘Angel from Montgomery’ and ‘Love Sneakin’ Up on You’ – Ms. Raitt demonstrated the classiness, the sexiness and the rawness of Blues the way Blues should be played. In town – on the heals of her 2012 album ‘Slipstream’, a disc which won Best Americana Album – Raitt along with guitarist George Marinelli and organ and keyboard player Mike Finnegan, set the tone for a a show. 

Keyboardist Mike Finnigan got the spotlight for a blues vocal on “I Got News for You’ and may possibly be the best in the business at doing what he does. Jaw-dropping as was opening act Marc Cohn’s duet with Raitt in the encore. The pair delivering Van Morrison’s soulful ‘Crazy Love’. Cohn set the mood ( and the bar ) high as the opener. In his set, Mr. Cohn exchanged pianos and guitars  as he sang  Dylan’s ‘Perfect Love’,  Ray Charles’ ’29 Ways’ and paid homage to the late great Band singer Levon Helm on the moving “Listening to Levon.”

Raiit is at the point in her life ( sixty – four) where she does not need to impress anyone. This comes across in her behavior. No nervousness. No pretentiousness. Just a gal singing and playing at the top of her game to songs such as ‘Thing Called Love’, ‘Million Miles’ and ‘Dimming of the Day’. Nobody plays slide guitar like Raitt or as effortlessly.

For Raitt, a survivor and pioneer among women Blues singers – it’s all about the jam. She has played with everyone who was and is everyone in the Blues scene. Hooker, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Clapton, the Stones. Following a career going on forty -two years, it is easy to see Raitt is a student intent on giving to the fans what some legendary artists have given to her …

Honorable mentions

 Tedeschi Trucks Band

Rod Stewart

Buddy Guy

John Scofield Trio

Jill Barber

The Cat Empire

Lyle Lovett / Chris Isaak

Gino Vannelli

Grace Potter and The Nocturnals

Joe Louis Walker

April Wine

Bettye Lavette

Terez Montcalm

Thanks to all the musicians both local and afar.