Rick Keene Music Scene – Girl Pow-R Rocking The Airwaves !

The girls are in control of their futures.


Georgia Vlachos recently chatted with Carina of the Toronto based girl group; Girl Pow-R

Carina: Nice to meet you.
G: You as well! 
     Just after International Women’s Day, tell me about GIRL POW-R.  How did the group come to be?

C:  In April, 2017, Dawn Canon decided she wanted to put together a girl band to empower girls and convey a positive
     message.  She asked for video auditions then held live auditions and chose 6 girls of various ages that were also diverse.


G: How old are you?
C: 17.


G: And the youngest member is 10?
C: I think she just turned 11.


G: You were recently nominated for a Juno award; how exciting is that?
C: SO exciting!  We were all very excited!  Our family and friends, our whole social circle is so happy and extremely 
    supportive!  We’ve released a video of a medley of songs we put together featuring songs from the other artists that were also nominated.


G:  I understand you do covers but also original material and that you play instruments.
C: Yeah, I play lead guitar on all our songs.


G: You’re all young and in school, at different stages considering your ages.  How do you manage with school and everything it entails, family, friends, rehearsals and life generally?
C: Really good time management skills!  Most of us go to Art Schools that are very demanding so we do occasionally miss rehearsal.


G: Are you all friends?
C: Oh yeah.  I consider them to be my best friends.


G: Are you all from Toronto?
C: No, but around Toronto.  We rehearse every Sunday in Mississauga.  First we work on choreography, then vocals and
     music.We also go live on Instagram and interact with our fans.  They ask us questions and we stay connected that
   way.


G: You have very positive messages in your songs and emphasize the need for change in several social issues.  Do you
     have any direct experience with any of these issues?
C: I had experience with bullying when I was younger.  I now try to help other kids with the same problem and
    encourage others to volunteer to help them.
    My cause is ‘Give Peace a Chance’.


G: Very John Lennon!
C: Yeah.  We recorded a cover of it.
G: I’ll have to look for that….
    You really do have important messages to get across.
    Do you get nervous going on stage knowing how many people are in the audience?
C: Yeah.  Nervous and excited because I think of the final outcome so then I’m more excited especially when the
    band before us has like, a million followers!


G: Musically, who are some of your influences?
C: The Spice Girls, Little Mix from The U.K., Ariana Grande, Allessia Cara, Camilla Camea.
     It’s really exciting that Allessia Cara is hosting The Junos…


G: Tell me about the pink jackets.
C: Well, pink is usually associated with girls and we were told that they were so bright that we were visible from everywhere!  It was like uniform attention. We also have Jean jackets that we wear.


G: With the microphones on the back?
C: Exactly!


G: So, since this is a teen / tween band, what happens when you’re no longer a teen?
C: Well, room will be made within the group.  I’m one of the original members so I can mentor younger members and also participate in the making of the music and continue with the band.


G: You’re working very hard!
C: Well, I have good morals, good values and believe in good causes.  It can be a challenge to make rehearsals…


G: Have you performed outside of Ontario?
C: All of our performances are done in the summer.  We had an international tour last summer and played in The
    U.S.  It was my first time in New York!  We made a lot of contacts and we keep up with social media.  We’re
    very consistent with that!


G: Yes, very important!
     Any plans to come to Montreal?
C: Yeah!  In early May, we’ll be there for ‘Rise Up’, a talent competition.


G: Well, it was lovely speaking to you, getting to know you a little bit and, again, best of luck at The Junos!
C: Thank you!

Visit Girl Pow-R Here

Megan Bonnell – One Chance for a First Impression …

Ontario-born Megan Bonnell speaks of her debut album with love. ‘Hunt and Chase’ was her introduction to having her songs produced with precision.

Please listen as she talks about that process as well as songwriting and a trip –  ‘down the rabbit hole ‘ ?

Megan …?

 

Visit Megan Right Here!

 

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Replay The Beatles

 

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Katrina Leskanich; ‘Ridin’ the Wave’

Katrina Leskanich has a new album out …

Most music lovers – specifically 1980’s music lovers, remember her as Katrina of  Katrina and the Waves. It’s a shame. This talented singer and songwriter deserves better than selective memory.

 

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On the eve of a North American tour, a jaunt which begins in New York City – Katrina speaks of her new album Blisland as well as her love for music. There is also a Canadian connection with her big hit from the 1980’s.

Walkin’ on … something …

Katrina?

 

 

Please Visit Katrina Here!

 

Join me and Sean Mckeogh Thursday at 6:15pm on k103.7fm

We welcome former April Wine guitarist Gary Moffet into the studio for a live performance and some chat …

 

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Guitar Player Alert! Jeff is ‘Gunn’ – ing for You!

Oshawa native Jeff Gunn is on a mission …

A while ago – he learned there was more to guitar playing than meets the eye …er … ears …

His goal?

To instruct players on how to take their skills and take them to the next level. Not only that …

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Visit Jeff Here!

 

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Martin Goyette

 

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Montreal International Jazz Festival 2014 – Recap Part One.

In the words of Ed Robertson of The Barenaked Ladies; ‘That’s Jazz!”

The front-man of Canada’s funnest band, mocking the Festival’s choice of The Barenaked Ladies as an act at Le Festival International de Jazz de Montreal.

No doubt, over the years – the Festival has swayed from Jazz.

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For purists – something which angers them. For music fans – pure bliss.

Over the years, Jazz has been incorporated into many genres. It has been mixed and matched, tossed about, commercialized, non- commercialized and sold-out via television commercials like every other genre.

To have music such as Pop, Rock, New Age, Indie, Blues and any other label invented by record companies to sell discs – morph into the clubs and venues at The Montreal Jazz Festival; as natural as Frank Sinatra singing ‘My Way’.

As long as Jazz remains prominent, with men such as Oliver Jones taking center stage, really – ‘it’s all fun and games until someone loses an Ipamena’.

Jazz Festival Fun Facts

 

In 2004, The Guiness Book of World Records listed the Jazz festival as the biggest in the world! Who better to know than Guinness drinkers …

In thirty-five years, 500 young musicians have learned through the Camp de Blues and have had the opportunity to perform their new skills live on stage. That means Michael Buble was four years old when the Camp de Blues started.

3000 (approx.) musicians perform in the festival every year (3500 if you include every busker and street performer).

Twenty-six countries are represented.

Fifty-two free ‘ big act’ shows have been put on between the years 1986 – 2008

11 700 000 Tourists have visited the festival in thirty years.

45 600 000 visitors in thirty years.

400 Journalists accredited every year.

8 000 000 Internet visitors

42 100 Tweets and Facebook mentions

1020 Employees at the Festival.

 

The Shows

 

This edition of the Festival was magical. Some of the biggest names in music graced the stages – both indoor and out.

Diana Krall, Elvis Costello, Diana Ross, Michael Buble, Aretha Franklin, B.B King, Tony Bennett and Ginger Baker to name few.

Other ‘not-so-famous-acts’ also performed …

That is the beauty of the Festival – music is everywhere and everywhere there is music.

From the non – Jazz ‘Jazzy’  Barenaked Ladies and Violent Femmes to John Roney heading the nightly Jazz jams at the Hyatt Regency; the Festival is – for ten days, musical heaven.

 

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Stay tuned for my reviews on Go Van Gogh, Ginger Baker, Elvis Costello, Diana Krall, Barenaked Ladies, Scarlett Jane, Violent Femmes, Jill Barber and Burning Spears / Sly and Robbie.

Plus much more …

 

Cody Chestnutt

 

Who is Cody Chestnutt?

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Easy. Put Marvin GayeBarry WhiteLionel 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.

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‘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.

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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 …

 

Daniel Lanois / Emmylou Harris

 

The evening started strangely …

Daniel Lanois, the famed producer of most notably U2 fame – arrived on stage dressed as a beachcomber. That – in itself; not strange at all.

 

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What followed was a little unsettling for most at Place des Arts.

Film makers smiled yet aside from their collective orgasmic sighs – the venue was, as a whole; unnerved. The first ten minutes of a film (Adam Vollick) played out on a screen directly behind the musical set-up. The entire ‘montage’ could have been better spent on the couch watching the boob tube.  Vollick (Lanois?) delivered the same nothingness. Complete with an assumed high speed chase through trees and the lens of a camera, followed by scenes from films such as Hitchcock’s Vertigo – the audience clapped politely before berating the moment to confidants sitting arms-lengths away.

Truffaut and Hitchcock would have departed once the music began.

Began it did.

Lanois along with bass player Jim Wilson and drummer Brian Blade – commenced what the punters paid for. A set which delivered ‘that haunting U2 sound’. A sound which gave Lanois the freedom to give concerts with trees as opening acts. It was easy for a first time Lanois concert-goer to decipher the U2-Lanois connection.

The song ‘Fire’ started a slow burning blaze which concluded with the legendary Emmylou Harris on stage setting the night on fire.

Lanois is obsessed with slide guitar. Playing pedal steel or on his feet with a pick, Daniel appears to be in a state of learning his craft. Creating his craft. The opening song along with the follow-up Marie-Claire; both improvisational and ( as noted earlier) – haunting. The concentration on Lanois’ face brought glimpses into the man’s vision. Searching into a world he has yet to discover.

Brian Blade, ‘the stickman’ behind the grooves;  as crisp and professional as a drummer for Lanois should be. Lanois mentioned he was going to jam with his mates and Blade reconstructed the ghosts of Rich, Blakey and Krupa. Sometimes with speed, occasionally with finesse yet mostly with the perfect time. Enthusiasm sustained.

Jim Wilson – Blade’s running-mate and Lanois’ sometime vocal partner; carried off both duties with ample flair. Not over bearing (even as the pair joined Harris in a menage-a-vocal with the tune ‘ Calling my Children Home’), just right in his ability to jump in and back as the songs dictated. Wilson – a longtime collaborator with Lanois was at ease. A bass player with the know how to blend.

Up and comer ( some say the next Emmylou), Trixie Whitley joined Lanois for the songs; Nomad and Last Time. The latter allowing her true vocals to shine as whatever nerves appeared at first – were quickly submerged below the applause line. Rarely do singers have the ability to unearth the scales and deliver from the ‘belly’. Whitley proved she has the chops and with Lanois on her side as one of the top music producers in the business, Whitley is well on her way. The young lady also plays drums. Sitting alongside Blade – beat by beat matching the urgency and softness  required. A rising talent. An ash emerging from the Fire.

The legend arrived …

Emmylou Harris – politely; is seasoned.

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One of the true songstresses of our time who fought and stood brave at a time when music was ruled by men with less than flattering glances at women. There is Bonnie RaittWanda Jackson and Harris. Each one paving the way for the Molly Thomassons, the Joan Jetts and The Heart Sisters – Anne and Nancy Wilson. Lanois was wise to produce a collaboration with Emmylou in 1995.  That album; ‘Wrecking Ball’ – on full display last night.

Harris has not lost the angel in her voice. Words surrounded the most hardened souls in attendance with innocence, bravery and experience.

Songs such as May This Be Love ( Hendrix),  Orphan Girl ( Gillian Welch) and ‘Sweet Old World’ among the chosen songs. Calling My Children Home almost ended the session. The Maker did.

Sadly the concert with Emmylou at the helm was not three hours longer.  Lanois, Wilson, Harris and Blade hit stride during the final song. A comfortably falls into every concert with every artist ( save Tiny Tim?) A groove is reached and last night – that groove was obtained during The Maker. Even Lanois’ sullen guitar smiled. Reaching notes unheard during the preceding tunes.

Following a praise bestowed for Kings – the band resurfaced and continued the continuity. ‘Sometimes’ along  with Neil Young’s Wrecking Ball – lit the final match in a fire which began two and a half hours earlier. Like a distant light burning on a shore far away – this concert was a beacon for ships travelling to Montreal for the Jazz Festival.

Lanois et al made it easy. They made it clear.

The 2014 Edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival is officially underway.

In Lanois’ words; Jazz-like …

 

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Rick Keene Music Scene Presents; What’s Going On?

As the talented Ranee Lee sings in her latest album ...’What’s Going On’?

Perfect words for what is upcoming on Rick Keene Music Scene along with a few new tracks from some Canadian groups.

In the case of Go Van Gogh – hear one of their classic songs as a per-cursor to their June 26th Jazz Festival appearance at Club Soda and my interview with Daniel Tierney.

So – what’s going on …?

 

Stay tuned for some awesome photos of Strangers in the Night 10

Thanks for Listening!

 

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Nine Women Singing the Blues …

How often can one witness nine talented women playing and singing the Blues?

Hopefully – this is the start of something great … and more often!

Please listen as Josee Brault explains what is happening on Saturday night at Smoke Meat Petes.

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* One Love is from Ranee Lee’s new album.

 

 

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Molly Thomason; Put Another Dime in the Jukebox Baby!

For England – born Molly Thomason, her third album is a charm.

With a love of Joan Jett propelling her through Toronto ( her adopted home), Molly’s star is on the rise. Citing two of Canada’s sweethearts as influences, it is easy to hear why Molly uses the ‘teenage angst’ in her favor.

Columbus Field is the name of the album. Columbus Field is the place where some of her thoughts arrive from. Dirty, gritty and complete with ear-catching melodies, Columbus Field is a record to be reckoned with.

Molly …?

Please visit Molly’s site HERE!

Melissa Bel – A Voice To Be Reckoned with …

Melissa Bel is an up and coming artist who loves playing in Quebec!

A Toronto native, the young ‘starlet’ has musical roots based in musical  soul. She will be performing at The Rialto Theater on Nov. 23rd. Her night will contain all original music with maybe one cover thrown in …

Which one and who is her favorite performer of all time?

No – it is not her Father although he may rank a close second …

Please listen to Melissa’s thoughts and stick around to watch and listen to one of her latest songs afterwards. A real Canadian to watch out for … ( yes that’s her as a little girl in the video).

Visit Melissa’s site right here!

Amanda Martinez – A New ‘Dawn’

Toronto‘s Amanda Martinez is coming for a visit …

Something the singer admits does not happen often. Funny – since Montreal is one of her favorite cities to sing in. Hot off the heals of an album release – Amanda is donating her voice to the third edition of Montreal Mundial. She will be performing on November 21 as part of a Woman of the World evening.

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Listen below as Amanda explains the album, her role in the 2010 World Cup and her love for children. Both her own and and through an organization which she is an ambassador for …

Ladies and Gentlemen … Amanda!

Visit Amanda’s Site Here!

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Joe Louis Walker Knows The Blues Part Three

After all these years in the business …

Jlwandbonnieraitt1Joe Louis Walker is still having fun.

“I am having fun because a lot of guys who taught me – so many guys who invested in me as a musician with a kind word; like Muddy Waters allowing me to open for him in Toronto … I feel as I solidified so many people’s faith in me. It solidifies my Mom and Dad‘s faith in me. My kids and my Grand-kids … To be able to say i am still alive and be allowed to do what I do. By the grace of God, I am not laying on a slab like so many musicians.”

Walker’s crowning achievement – so far, is the same as one of his mentors; Buddy Guy. Guy’s most fulfilling moment? Playing at the White House for President Obama following a youthful experience of pickin’ cotton …

” Same thing man … same thing!” Says Walker.” I was gathering produce as a sixteen year old and was watching my parents pick produce as a kid! I played for George Bush at the White House and seeing how the Blues got me from there to there – I know exactly what Buddy is talking about.”

Walker’s oldest daughter is a singer. She sings with him frequently and plays the keyboards. She has not recorded anything on her own but  Joe believes that is coming soon. Walker also has a Grandson. His birthday is the 28th of December, three days following Joe’s and ( according to Grandpa ) a great Christmas present (albeit a little late). Joe admits his Grandson is quite the harmonica player and would enjoy playing drums in the future.  According to Joe; ‘He beats on everything’!

Walker’s kid and Grandchild are the only things, music-wise – that Joe listens to under the age of thirty. The only music he listens to – on a regular basis …

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” I don’t like Pop music because it just repeats itself and I don’t have time to listen to the radio. Once in a while I will listen to a Blues station on Sirius or something but that’s about it …”

He continues.

“I was with Ronnie ( Wood ) a couple of weeks ago, and he introduces me to these kids. To show you how unattached I am – I leave the room and people are saying wow you met those guys? They are the biggest group in the world! I say what …? One Direction … ? I thought Ronnie said New Direction! I was wondering ’cause New Direction is a Black group!”

Joe Louis believes that every musician must start at the bottom. He uses everyone in music history as a refrence to that. Anyone who is worth his weight in talent. Elvis, Muddy … they all got their experience through the school of hard knocks.

“When these guys started out – everyone who was groundbreaking; The Stones, Elvis, The Beatles, Jimi, B.B. … they all were vilified. Elvis got run through the wringer for playing ‘that kind of music’ played by ‘those kind of people’. People wouldn’t speak to him and wouldn’t let him  in hotels. I love what Mick ( Jagger ) says – he says; ‘ We used to be the band that everyone hated, now – we are the band that everybody loves to love’. You have to have a sense of humor about it – that’s the key. These guys had guts. Imagine playing that ‘ kind ‘ of music back in the fifties and sixties? In America? In the South?”

Walker believes the world is better off now although he still encounters racism once in a while. He believes the world is more dangerous in many ways, yet the new generation is able to see various people in positions of power. Various people in positions to make decisions. The young adults are seeing that a lot of things they were told as kids are not  true. According to Joe – the youth are realizing everybody has a brain, everybody’s blood beats red and the President of the United States is an African American but he also just happened to be –  the smartest guy in the room.

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” I think kids today are shedding a lot of baggage that was given by my generation and they do not buy into it.” Explains Walker.” They do have a large task in front of them but they are prepared for it. They know they have to work on the environment, they know they have to work on woman’s and kid’s rights. They are less for war and realize that communication is a better option.”

He continues .

“They see that other people are not holding them back and they see wars are holding them back. They see that everyone deserves an education, not just rich people, not just Democrats and not just Republicans. Young people see that because they are experiencing it. They know they have to save the environment – they are aware that so goes the honeybees, so goes us. So goes the ice caps – so goes us. Young people have figured out that  Wall Street or whatever are the cause for many of the problems and that Wall Street is not a real purpose. A real purpose is to help people, a real purpose is not to have an agenda as a political party …”

Walker teaches master classes in places such as Spain and Turkey. He is surrounded by kids from all over the world and maintains a front row seat in his role as an observer of how  kids’ brains work …

“They all say ‘we have to save the planet’ and ‘take care of ‘humanistic things’ – not ‘materialistic things’.” Says Joe. “They believe if they have a billion dollars, maybe they should educate people to reverse Global Warming. Older people don’t care, they see a bear on an iceberg floating around by himself and they say; that’s a bear!” He laughs.” No! That’s not just a bear … that’s an icecap melting! That’s why there is a Tsunami every week! That’s why there is flooding in New Jersey and Colorado…”

Walker believes these problems will be rectified by the new generation just like his generation from the sixties had to deal with issues such as Vietnam and racism. It was not easy.

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” We did not buy into many things. We had to get rid of baggage but we had to march against it and fight. It wasn’t easy – people died for racism, people died for Vietnam and people are going to die now. People are going to die in Iraq, people are going to die in Afghanistan. If they get into Syria – they will die in Syria. You cannot go and colonize somewhere and live there. If you look  through history -usually the colonizer always has to leave.”

One guy who ‘left’ too soon (according to Walker) – was Stevie Ray Vaughan. A friend, a fellow blues-man and the only guy ( in Joe’s mind ) who came close to playing guitar like Jimi Hendrix. A man who Joe believes was just getting ‘soul’ in his voice before he passed away. Soul to match the feeling emanating from Vaughan’s guitar.

Walker’s all time favorite Blues guitarist and the man responsible for modern day Blues  – is B.B. King. His second choice …? Buddy Guy. Two players who respectively altered the way the Blues were played.

Joe Louis Walker’s recent album is titled ‘Hellfire’. A disc which is filled with fire and is reminiscent of the early seventies Stones’ sound. A dirty, gritty Blues album that combines classic riffs, feelings from the heart and a groove that won’t let feet rest …

In other words; a combination of B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Bo Diddley. In other words; a combination of every Blues player.

In other words; Joe Louis Walker …

Joe Louis Walker is at L’Astral in Montreal on Friday the 27th of September

Get tickets and info here!

Natalie Renee; Just Like Everyone Else …

Ontario-born Natalie Renee is one smart girl …

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“I am in school right now for  Occupational Physiotherapy.” Explains Natalie from her home near Niagra Falls. ” I am doing the music on the side because it is a safe bet to have a back up plan. My plan is to continue to go to school and do music on the side and whichever one flourishes more – I will go in that direction. I hope the music takes off but until then – I will cover my rear.”

Natalie Renee started to take music seriously when she was twelve years old. She dabbled in musical theater and performed a lot on stage. Discovering that maybe musicals were not her niche – she then attempted opera until she discovered acoustic folk blues.

” I worked with a producer in Toronto who taught me how to write. He taught me how to (lyrically) put everything together. Not to be too wordy and to piece it all coherently. I was all over the place before that …”

Natalie did have it together enough to recognize a beautiful singer and songwriter. The late Eva Cassidy. A woman who Renee believes did not get her due until after her death from Cancer. A woman who Natalie believes had ‘the voice of an angel.’

Eva-Cassidy-r01” I’m also a huge fan of Celine Dion.” Admits Renee. “She is more Pop but I enjoy her performance. No one has a voice like her.Whether you like her music or not.”

Renee has just released her first full C.D. It is called ‘ When the Road Splits in Half’. A thirteen track album containing all original songs. Tunes which are all upbeat – something which Natalie believes is needed right now.

” We need a lot more of these songs these days. Some of the songs are about what I have experienced but others are about what is happening around me. I keep the audience in mind and change the words a bit so it is not always geared towards me. I want people to feel as if the songs are theirs also.”

One song on the new C.D. which Natalie is extremely proud of is the tune; ” Thank You‘. A song Renee wrote when she hit a low. A downpoint which Natalie believes everyone can relate to for various reasons. It was about a time in her life ( and everyone’s ) where they do not know where they are going. . It is a song for everyone.

” The message I am trying to get across is the biggest mistake we make is to stay in our lows. We focus so much on the negative things people do to us and we forget the amazing things that happen in our lives. When I hit a low, I catch myself. I really try to practice that when I start feeling low.”

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Natalie’s songs all come from her head. She then sings it to her bass player and it is brought to life. Natalie is not necessarily in a band but she does play with the same two guys most of the time. Mathew Ross ( bass, guitars, keyboards ) and Mike Fisher ( guitar). Two fellows who help greatly in putting the songs together. In essence – three people who feed off one another.

” Songwriting is something you cannot be selfish about.” Says Natalie. ” It is amazing what can happen when you open yourself to other people. You have to trust the people you work with.”

Currently, because of Natalie’s schoolwork, the gigs are few and far between. One of her most recent gigs was in Montreal, a place that is familiar to the dark-haired talent. A place where many of her relatives dwell …

” I do have a few in the province of Quebec.” Admits Natalie.’ A big proportion of my family are in Montreal, Trois Rivieres and Quebec City. It is nice that I can dip in the Province when I can. As a matter of fact, one of the songs I wrote has a French flavor. It is called Je T’aime. A song which is very special for two very special people.”

She continues.

” I wrote that song with my bass player for my grandparents. They had their 60th wedding anniversary last year and I though it was special because it was a great anniversary to reach at sixty. Not a lot of people hit that mark.”

Natalie played the song ‘live’ for her Grandparents and it was well received. Hugs and kisses aplenty following a Granddaughter’s gift to her elders. A special present for special people.

Natalie Renee is one smart girl …

Visit Natalie’s site here!

9th Red Hot & Blue Rockabilly Weekend at The Rialto

Double Concept Productions once again presents the Annual Red Hot & Blue (RHB) Rockabilly Weekend, now in its ninth year, from August 29th to September 1st, 2013.

Held for the first time at the lavish Rialto Theatre, Stray Cat Lee Rocker opens the festival as part of a double bill also featuring the superb Long Island-based The Lustre Kings, rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson’s back-up band at this summer’s Jazz Festival.

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Those in search of THE perfect outfit will be delighted to attend the vintage-inspired fashion show, an event sure to satisfy the needs of even the most indecisive shoppers. Models of all shapes and sizes will strut their stuff on the catwalk showcasing the threads of Montréal designers Recyclash eco-design clothing, Geneviève Régnier, Coca Bella, X20 boutiques, and Toutounes Atomiques. The fashion show will also feature California designer Bernie Dexter’s fabulous pinup dresses.

The guys won’t feel left out with Canadian burlesque artists The Lady Josephine and Kitty Kin-Evil charming their pants off with a mix of comedy and sultry tease.

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Friday, August 30th, will feature Filly & the Flops, a band of energetic Montréal musicians comprised of ex-members of
Urban Steel Workers of Montreal, followed by the Honeybees, a band from Chicago whose harmonies are worthy of comparisons to the Andrew Sisters. Next up will be Toronto’s Greasemarks who are sure to do their thing raw and right.

The evening will conclude with Rocky Velvet’s anticipated return to the Red Hot and Blue stage, after stealing the show in  2010.
Get the Wild Cat in you moving! Satisfy your dancing needs with Jittery Jack & Gizzelle (Wild Records, California) who are determined to get you on the dance floor. Kicking off the night is the Tennessee Voodoo Coupe and let’s not forget the annual Jive Contest Saturday evening: blue Suede shoes, crinoline and acrobatics on display!

Seduced by a bit of chrome and the sweet humming sound of a motorcycle? As of noon on Sunday, September 1st, the Jardin Tiki, the haven of kitsch par excellence, will be transformed into a motorcycle and car show exhibiting both vintage and modified vehicles. We bet you’ll be unable to resist the charm of the alluring pin-up ladies participating in this year’s Miss RHB contest. The afternoon soundtrack will be provided by the surf rock of The Typhoons and DJ Matchbox.

Filly and the Flops
Filly and the Flops

The delectable evening meal will be enjoyed to the sounds of Big Rude Jake and Alyssa Young. The evening will be hosted by the duo, who will play throughout the evening and set the scene for an exciting special event—Tiki cocktails and Hawaiian dancers to boot, with a performance by the Aloha Lani Dance Group of Montreal!

All weekend, various kiosks will be open upstairs in the Rialto Hall with hair styling, tattooing, clothing, etc., and on Sat. Aug.30th from 1:00 – 4:30pm, 60-minute beginner and advanced dance workshops will be offered at affordable prices.

For all event details including various price packages, visit the Rockabilly Jam site at http://www.rockabillyjam.com or
consult the Rialto calendar at http://www.theatrerialto.ca/en/calendar.html

RIALTO THEATRE: 5723, av. du Parc, Montreal, QC H2V 4G9 http://www.theatrerialto.caBOX OFFICE: (open Mon. through Sat. 12-6pm) 5719, av. du Parc, Montreal, QC H2V 4G9 or call 514-770-7773

Emelie – Claire Barlow; The Juno, the Duck, the Mouse and ‘Bunny’

For Emelie – Claire Barlow, the fifth time is a charm.

Following four previous Juno nominations, Barlow finally won a 2013 award for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year. The album is called ‘Seule ce  Soir’ . A disc which was recorded in 2012 and was initially intended as a compilation of all her French songs she has done over the years.

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‘Most of my records have one or two songs in French and we played most of them live. I just thought it was time to  re – record  them because over the years they have evolved. So the project took on a life of its own. Half the record is newly recorded versions of old songs and the other half are new songs. ”

Barlow, combining new and old – did not discover that a huge gap existed between the compositions. According to the native of Toronto, the blending of material was smooth.

“I found the album worked in a very cohesive way. For me, my creative process is taking a song and changing the arrangement completely and making them my own style. An example would be Croissants de Soleil. Ginette Reno is very pop oriented and we took her song, stripped it down and made it a lush romantic Bossa Nova. Because I have a band that has played with me for several years, there is a consistency in the record between the older and newer songs. They all sound as if they come from the same place.”

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Barlow makes no bones about the fact that she is in control of the arrangements and the writing process. She chooses the repertoire and the album name. Although, over the years she has mellowed and given up more of her ‘ perfectionist’  habits, she has learned  to ‘trust’ more people. Changing arrangements, especially on stage,  used to stress her out. Now – she realizes that sometimes, the most  interesting things come from the need of adapting it. Having musicians who are world class helps that process quite a bit.

Emelie – Claire explains …

” I sit at the piano and come up with the ideas and write out the charts for the bands. They are very generous musicians who bring their own ideas and styles and then – things evolve. Especially after playing the songs live.  Getting older and trusting everyone more leaves me more freedom to improvise on stage. Don’t forget, we are also traveling with a different amount of musicians sometimes. We may not have a piano player one show. My voice will compensate for that missing sound and my voice becomes the piano. If the horns are the instrument that is missing, same thing – my voice fills in that gap.”

emilie488152-000009_LREmelie – Claire’s voice is very ‘instrumental’ in her career.

Starting at the age of nine, Barlow has used her voice in television commercials singing jingles which appears to have launched an ensuing  career which started about fifteen years ago. Barlow plays or ‘acts’  characters in animated television series ( see link below).

Singing Jazz or doing voices are equally comfortable for the late thirties Barlowe and she is currently the voice behind an animated character in the television series; Almost Naked Animals. It is in the third season and Emelie plays ‘Bunny‘, a rabbit aptly named and ( as it turns out ), aptly placed as well …

“I moved into a new place about six months ago and I actually have a mantle. I took my Juno award – which is quite heavy ( I may use it to work on my biceps), and surrounded it with a stuffed animal of ‘Bunny’ along with a glass duck and a mouse. They are all looking at my Juno – it is pretty funny.”

The Juno, the Duck, the Mouse and 'Bunny'.
The Juno, the Duck, the Mouse and ‘Bunny’.

Something that is not very humorous, is when Emelie discovered that she had won the Juno award. She was on tour and could not attend the ceremonies. She came off stage following a one-of-kind performance and was informed by her trumpet player she had won. According to Barlow – shock was the first emotion that invaded her body.

” I was in total shock, it took a while to sink in and when it did – it was such a great feeling. It is hard to describe. I was also a lot happier than I thought I would be.” She laughs. “It was a little disappointing not being there to accept it but then I realized that I was surrounded by the people that made it happen and that I had  just finished doing what I loved.The ensuing ‘craziness’ that took place celebrating was memorable and will always be that. A great memory.”

Emelie – Claire was also overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and affection from her family and friends. According to Barlow – it was the most moving part of receiving the award. A feeling which was overwhelming in a good way and fills her with happiness and pride. Her parents, both professional musicians ( Dad’s an award winning  Jazz percussionist and Mom’s a singer), were so thrilled and excited for her. All this means a lot to Emelie yet this place in her life was not so much envisioned as it just came about naturally…

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“I really don’t know what I imagined.” Admits Barlow.” I think it’s just a path I followed from the beginning without even questioning it. My parents were very busy session musicians and I spent a lot of time in studios. It all feels normal to me and even now, when I am in a little studio, locked away from the craziness of the world around me – I feel safe and cozy. I am in my little cocoon and that’s perfect for me.”

Emelie admits the music business is very tough and when an award happens like this – it is a sign indicative of how people feel. It validates what she does and although she would still make music regardless – she cannot help but feel all her hard work is worthwhile. The end justifies the means.

Emelie- Claire Barlow is playing July 5th at Theatre Maissoneuve as part of the Montreal International Jazz Festival. A theater which – according to Emelie, is a beautiful place to play. She will be performing a lot of her new songs – both young and old, and bringing a full band along for the ride. That way – her music will be heard as recorded. She also has a couple of special guests joining her on stage yet she is not at the liberty to say who they are at the moment.

“I cannot remember exactly …” Says Emelie.” I think this will be my fifth appearance at the Jazz Festival and I love it. Montreal audiences are so passionate and they make you perform so much better …”

The fifth time is a charm after all …

Visit Emelie’s site here !

Voice and animation work

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A Conversation with Chloe Charles …

Ontario – born singer, song-writer and poet Chloe Charles is related to Julian Lennon.

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Her Father, John Charles, married Cynthia Lennon ( Julian’s Mom) when Chloe was fifteen years of age. Julian – who was good friends with Chloe’s Dad, introduced his Mom to the elder Charles. Chloe was pleasantly surprised when the couple announced their marriage plans. A ceremony which took place in Toronto.

Chloe Charles, because of the Lennon connection, is asked all the time about being the stepsister to Julian – son of ex-Beatle John.

“It really doesn’t bother me.” says Chloe from a restaurant on Queen street in downtown Toronto. ” I don’t tell people myself because I do not want people to feel I am not my own person. I am doing what I do on my own and my way.”

In Chloe’s case, her own way is very similar to her Mother. Chloe’s Mom is also a poet and a guitar player. Chloe grew up listening to her Mom and her Aunt singing and playing great tunes in the family living room.

chloe4” I was very shy as a child.” Admits Chloe. ” But you think I was shy? My Mom was ten times worse!” She laughs. ” My Mother is a fantastic singer  and poet. She has never been able to get over her shyness to be able to stand and play in front of people except family and close friends. She has written a few books also that – one day,  I will make sure are published.”

Chloe herself always knew what she wanted to do.  Music was in her mind from an early age. Before any ties were joined with the Lennon legacy.

“I always have written poetry and playing guitar was my sanctuary. It was kind of like Yoga …” She laughs. ” It was always a place to go mentally and spiritually to get away from things. It’s something I have always loved doing.”

Chloe’s parents divorced when she was just over a year old. Chloe and her Mom at one point lived with Chloe’s maternal Grandfather. A man by the name of John Richmond. Through this man ( who sadly passed away recently),  it is obvious from what side of the family Chloe’s artistic genes are strongest. Richmond, among other things, is the man responsible for the huge murals on both Maple Leaf Gardens and The Air Canada Center in Toronto.

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” My Grandfather was such an independent spirit. He published books and magazines and traveled all over the world following his intuition. He (previous to his death) was in Mexico learning and practicing the art of that country. He was a huge inspiration and I miss him dearly. Life is short. We must appreciate every moment …”

Following a short stint in school studying Psychology, Chloe returned to music and realized it is what she’s supposed to be doing. Chloe’s Father was very supportive and gave her the opportunity to reflect on things following her exodus from school.

” I was introduced to and pushed ( in a  nice way) into the black genre of music. I was singing R and B, Soul – that type of thing. It bothered me to sing other people’s music so I decided while in Germany to set a goal for myself. I was not returning to Canada without twelve songs written!”

That was in 2005-06. Chloe did write those twelve songs yet none  are on her debut album. A disc which will be released on the 13th of February in North America. An album titled; Break the Balance.

“It has been released in Europe and I am returning to Germany to continue touring shortly after the CD launch party in Toronto.” Says Chloe. ” Right now, there are no dates set in Canada yet I believe I will be playing in Quebec and Ontario somewhere around June.”

‘Break the Balance’ is an album which carries the messages of Chloe’s psyche. Songs on the album  which deal with things that – according to Chloe; most people cannot deal with …

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” People are afraid to deal with certain truths. They cannot handle looking inside for fear of what they may find. This album deals with things from the past few years of my life. There are very dark and depressing songs on this album and a year from now – I will understand them better. I will be able to look back and see clearly what was going on in my conscience at the time …”

‘Break the Balance’ was put together in under a year although the whole process of producing and the business end – put the launch date further back. It has been released in Europe and Chloe is so happy with her ‘guys’ overseas.

chloe71-450x278” I have toured Germany for almost two years non – stop. I love it there and it shows the difference between North American and European mindsets. Over there, if the crowd likes a song or an artist – they just like it! Here, people will listen and turn to their friends and ask ” Do you like it? I like it – do you like?” Society here is so much about acceptance. In Europe they are more free.”

Chloe loves Canada and North America. She also loves all her friends – most of whom either play on the album or contributed with arrangements. Chloe’s favorite song on the disc is ‘My Child’. It is a song written with her Mother in mind. The type of song which instills the feeling of her Mom singing a Lullaby to a young Chloe.

” I was touring in Milan, Italy …” Explains Charles. ” I was having a rough time and called my Mom. I spoke to her for what was probably way too long yet she comforted me. “My Child’ came from that conversation.”

Another tune which ( if she had to choose another favorite song from the cd) is fond to her is ‘ Refrain from Fire’. A song about ‘wanting something you should not’. A lyrical and musical odyssey of ‘trying to keep away from dangerous places’.

Julian and Cynthia Lennon
Julian and Cynthia Lennon

“If I had to say what message I am sending out with this album through my words and music – it is simple. To be different …! Not try to be someone who you are not! ”

Even if your Step-mom is Cynthia Lennon. A very kind, wise and loving big sister …

Even if every once in a while you get together with Julian Lennon and NOT talk about anything to do with music

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Lennon’s Stepsister? A Canadian and Talented …

Kicking off the new year with a bang seems like the only appropriate thing to do after closing 2012 with such wild success.

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Having just returned from her European tour with a dizzying number of interviews and features (incl. Rolling Stone, Die Zeit), Chloe Charles is perfectly poised for her home turf celebration of “Break The Balance” at Toronto hub, The Revival, Feb 13th.

A mere two years ago, this young singer-songwriter and self-taught guitarist released her debut EP, Little Green Bud – a fitting title, too, as it set the tone for a fully blossoming career that’s about to go off the scales with Break The Balance.  Since Little Green Bud, music critics and fans alike have been scurrying to put into words what it is that Chloe does. She’s that spellbindingly different.

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Julian Lennon and John Charles

Best of luck with that.

The press have likened Chloe to everyone from Björk to Billie Holiday, Amy Winehouse to Adele, and Alicia Keys to Joni Mitchell. While this reflects her unfathomable range, it goes a long way towards describing why this singing sorceress’ musical magic defies any and all straitjackets of classification.

Fans, presenters and media around the world have responded warmly to this one-of-a-kind voice, offering Chloe 300 shows across 8 countries in only 2 years, features in (German versions of) Rolling Stone and Elle, the cover of International Musician magazine, the Harbourfront’s Soundclash Award, CBC feature on Here & Now (Song of the Week), an invitation to join the Guild Guitar family, and showcases at SXSW, NXNE, CMW and Folk Alliance.

Weaned on an early childhood in the lush, dense woods of Ontario, the beauty and its uninterrupted silence forged her relationship with sound and the art of listening.

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In her teens, Chloe’s father married into a musical dynasty when he became the husband of Cynthia and stepfather of Julian Lennon. Becoming Lennon’s stepsister provided Chloe with an uncommon picture of the world and the place of celebrity within it, while cementing her desire to create and follow her own muse.

Her discovery of classical guitar just a few short years ago fuelled a love for all things stringed and resonant, plotting a roadmap for a territory inhabited by cello, violin and bass  – each song a mini-symphonic stopping point.  Here, her penchant for orchestral soul pop and jazz – and a blend of many influences in-between – could happily co-exist within a timeless and ethereal soundscape.

So, who would dare produce the debut CD of this transcendent force field? No less than Duane Lundy (Ben Sollee, Vandaveer) shared the reins with Charles on the development of Break The Balance while Peter Moore (Cowboy Junkies, Willie P. Bennett) handled some of the mastering.

aThe lead and hallmark track, “Business”, dedicated to everyone going through an identity crisis, sets an edgy pace for this inaugural, full-length release. Voice becomes instrument against an upbeat collision of strings, percussion and powerful chorus – the uniqueness of which serves the narrative perfectly – love is ours, just as we are.

On “My Child”– a soft, delicate number relying on the harp effect from her classical guitar, Chloe takes the lovely melody and wraps words around it like a motherly blanket.

From the title track’s poignant testament to love, to “Soldier”, which turns the meaning of bravery on its head, Chloe asks us to look at life from a fresh perspective.

And this is only a taste of Break The Balance’s 12-song menu.  Indeed, if the response to her appetizer of an EP is any indication, Break The Balance is bound to tip things even further in her favor.

Listen here!

http://www.chloecharles.com/music

Visit her site!

 http://www.chloecharles.com

Chloe Charles CD Release
 Singing sorceress weaves musical magic with new CD, “Break The Balance”

WHEN:                     Wed Feb 13, 8:00-9:30pm

WHERE:                  The Revival, 783 College St, Toronto

TIX:                         $15 advance http://guestli.st/142446  or  $20 door

INFO:                       
416-535-7888  http:www.revivalbar.com

Jimi Hendrix; Courtesy of Ron Davis

[Toronto ON]   Ron Davis is all about injecting fun into his jazz, hoping to celebrate its glory days when his favorite genre was the unchallenged ‘pop’ music of its time. And since you can never have too much fun, Davis’ new offering, Blue Modules, with a veritable musical feast — a sumptuous sonic spread with each of its 3 courses served over 3 nights at jazz hub, Chalkers, Jan 20, 27 and Feb 3!

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It’s all about celebration – of jazz, of classical music and funk – not to mention rap, blues and world music. Davis intends to bust down the walls of each genre. With Blue Modules, he succeeds. Embrace it all – as he does, with an outcome that is so seamlessly fresh and playful, you can’t help but let go and join him for a uniquely satisfying ride.

Surrounding himself with a top-flight crew of like-minded, innovative players, Davis’ compatriots are Ross Macintyre on bass, Roger Travassos on drums and percussion, as well as such guests as the electrifying Donna Grantis on guitar and actor Diego Matamoros on vocals. Boasting a truly eclectic mix of songs not expected  on a jazz release, he and his simpatico adventurers apply what can only be called Ron Davis’ signature spirit of improvisation.

With Blue Modules, Davis underlines his skills as a phenomenal instrumentalist, a composer and an arranger. He jumps from grand piano to Fender Rhodes, celeste and back again – honouring the true progression of his sense of what jazz can be. At the same time, he reinforces his fan base – those who know him for his swing-based, post-bop approach to the genre of jazz piano – by taking a few risks in the name of good fun.

On Blue Modules, Davis assaults some surprising covers, interspersing them with smart, lively originals. The funky “Pawpwalk” recalls the ‘80s in general and Lonnie Liston Smith in particular, with some decisive guitar incisions by Grantis, at her most controlled. Sesame Street’s “Mahna Mahna” keeps its sassy N’awlins line and if you can keep Elmo out of your head, it’s a spirited reinvention showcasing Davis’s piano talents, with some big-bottomed, nimble bass-playing from Ross Macintyre.

Davis’ cover of Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas” owes something to Sin City but, minus its typical bombast, is more indebted to Vince Guaraldi – with an outstanding percussive contribution from Travassos. And if that isn’t twist enough, Davis’ cover of Hendrix’ “Voodoo ChileSlight Return” marks an appearance from Diego Matamoros’ talking vocal (in the sole non-instrumental track ) – reinventing the piece full-circle like something birthed in a dub poetry club.

That Blue Modules is a progressive step forward is best summed up by the title track – a solid original that features a heartfelt stew of sounds that steer clear of labeling, allowing the groove to chart its own course and strike a nerve. This smooth, funky and highly elastic track best defines Davis’ spirited sense of where he wants the music to take you.

Indeed, taking something so sacrosanct as a Beatles’ song – most notably and aptly titled, “You Can’t Do That”, speaks volumes to this new-found direction – the reinvention of pop on his terms. Chances are good you’ll dig it as hard as Davis and his chosen musicians choose to dish it out.

http://www.rondavismusic.com

WHO ‘N’ WHAT:      Ron Davis – Blue Modules CD Release!


WHEN:                    A Rollin’ Release — Sun Jan 20,  

                                                Sun  Jan 27  &  Sun Feb   3
7:00—10:00 pm

WHERE:                  Chalkers
247 Marlee Ave, Toronto
VENUE INFO/TIX:    http://www.chalkerspub.com  (416) 789-2531  reservations@chalkerspub.com

Concert Review – Jesse Cook

It did not take long …

Within moments of Jesse Cook taking the stage, an obvious affection spilled through the seats of Salle Wilfred Pelletier and inflicted the stage with an amorous disease. Getting sick never seemed so much fun.

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Cook was in Montreal last Friday on the coat tails of his latest album – The Blue Guitar Sessions. An album which Cook elegantly described to the sold out theater as a disc to play ‘right after you are dumped’. One sad song after another which gave the 47 year old Jesse ‘immense pleasure’ while penning the disc. A happiness which Cook wished upon his audience as they listened to his melancholy tunes.

It was a sadomasochistic offering of the most divine musical intervention.

Cook, along with ‘Chendy’ Leon, Chris Church, Nicholas Hernandez and Dennis Mohammed delivered a mixture of old and new tunes to a fan base which absolutely are in love with the music. ‘Gravity‘ from the album of the same name ( Cook’s 2nd studio offering), erupted the crown into a welcoming frenzy which the musicians on stage reciprocated affectionately.

Emma-Lee_selfportrait1_ed-150x150A frenzy which was nurtured by Emma-Lee. The Toronto-born songstress who was invited to sing on Cook’s new disc as well as be the opening act. Lee warmed the crowd with her voice which appeared to be older than the woman herself. Accompanied by Church, Lee set the table with an outpouring of vocal styling which may one day place her alongside Norah Jones as a top selling act.

Cook himself is a very funny guy in a self – depreciating way. His banter contains stories of the making of discs, the writing of songs or just tales which come to mind. One such tale was of learning a trick from Dizzy Gillespie. It seems that Gillespie, once upon a time, would toss a handkerchief into the air near the end of a song which he was performing live. Following a few lovely ‘floating’ moments – the handkerchief landed upon the stage and all the musicians in his band would simultaneous ‘wham!’ – end the song. Cook went on to explain how – when he attempted the same thing, the handkerchief fell straight down. No floating. Jesse explained how ever since, he now uses a baton …

A large contingent of PBS employees were on hand for the show. Having made the trip from places such as Burlington, Vt. and Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Cook was featured in a television special and the various suits and their wives / husbands made the trek to bask in what appears their ‘new – found’ hero’s limelight. There was a lot of noise during the show from what appeared to be loyal fans. Afterwards, it was obvious, a lot of these folk were in Montreal for the ride and their musical discussions were limited. There is always hope this will be the start of a musical education for our neighbors to the South …

Especially if they happen to pay attention to the work of drummer extraordinaire, ‘Chendy’ Leon. This man stole the show …

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Cook is talented although he does take some criticism from guitar men who believe he is a ‘McDonalds Flamenco player’. In other words, taking the easy route to fame by playing a watered – down version of Flamenco. Leon, however – is the real deal …

His percussion is so profound, it lights up the stage with every kick on bass and zap of a cymbal. The beauty is in the effortless playing. From his first percussion lesson, given to him by his father in Havana, Cuba, when he was only four years old, “Chendy” learned at an incredible rate. At the age of 18 he began his professional career, playing and recording with many famous Cuban bands and artists and  he is the most sought out drummer for Latin music in the country.

The second half of the show contained all the gems. Emma-Lee returned to the stage and sang; ‘I Put a Spell on You’ and ‘Ne me Quitte Pas’. A haunting took place as the lights at Place des Arts silhouetted Lee’s ghostly voice. Cook’s intense plucking via nylon strings – an educational experience as  the crispness of the notes as clear as the sound of a fish splashing into a cool lake in the early dawn.

The encore discovered the band, following a  brief disappearance, returning to stage left and to the right of the audience. A Capella sing a long took place which was a very nice moment. The  musicians’ tales were sung true to heart ..

Let’s hope the PBS people took note …

Kristina Maria honored at the SOCAN Awards Gala

At the 23rd annual SOCAN Awards Gala, held last night at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, Kristina Maria received the Pop / Rock award for her song Let’s Play, with over 100,000 air-plays on national radio. Hosted by Seamus O’Regan, the SOCAN Gala recognizes the accomplishments of its members on the national and international levels, honoring the talent of Canadian songwriters, lyricists and music publishers.

Since the release of this first single, Kristina Maria has achieved great radio success in Canada. This Franco-Ontarian became known to the francophone markets of Quebec and France thanks to the hit Co-Pilot, recorded as a duet with the singer Corneille. Together, Kristina Maria and Corneille sang before more than 200,000 people on Morocco’s Agadir Beach for the 7th edition of the Concert for Tolerance in the Middle East.

For this festive season, two new singles from the singer can be heard across the radio waves. On the English side, Karma has blown up the charts, climbing this week to #19 of BDS Canada.

On the French side, Kristina Maria has, for the first time, sung the French parts herself on the bilingual version of We Belong Together. As well, Kristina Maria will participate in a TV special dedicated to Celine Dion that will be broadcast on France’s NRJ12 this December.