BTW- Charlotte Cornfield, Chris Velan, Ivory Hours, Social Mystics, Melanie Peterson ,The Dirty Nil, The Blue Goose

Charlotte Cornfield.jpg

Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Photo at right: Charlotte Cornfield

From a lady who digs deep with her music, Charlotte Cornfield’s newest turn, Future Snowbird, is set for release Mar. 11. The album grew from the Toronto songwriter’s time living in New York and the background noise of her moments in the city: a formative relationship, a vicious bout of psoriasis, and an overall constellation of ups and downs.

Full of clever, heart-wrenching songs sung in a lived-in, streetwise drawl, the album was recorded live off the floor at Rooster Studios in Toronto with Cornfield's longtime bandmates Sam Gleason, Damon Hankoff, Kathryn Palumbo, and Sam Rosenberg, and produced and engineered by Don Kerr (Ron Sexsmith, The Rheostatics), with guest performances by Tim Darcy (Ought) and Johnny Spence (Tegan & Sara). The result is Cornfield's strongest statement to date, each song a moodscape all its own.

Recently Charlotte Cornfield completed a residency at the prestigious Banff Centre, where she recorded and collaborated with Brendan Canning, Kevin Drew, and Charles Spearin of Broken Social Scene. Aside from her work as a solo artist, Charlotte Cornfield has held down the drum chair for Ben Caplan, Peter Nevins, and Adrian Underhill. She recently began working on a new project with Tim Darcy of Ought, and beyond her own discography she has a vault of recording and performing credits as a drummer and singer with The Provincial Archive, Anais Mitchell, The Reverend John DeLore, and The Keys. Her songs have appeared in films and television shows internationally, and she's shared stages with the likes of Sharon Van Etten, Sun Kil Moon, and Lake Street Dive.

To help kick off the support tour, Cornfield is treating listeners with “Big Volcano, Small Town”, a true ‘on-the-road’ track from her upcoming album, Future Snowbird. "I wrote this song while I was travelling with my friend Adrienne in the Pacific Northwest one summer,” says Cornfield. “We were taking Greyhounds and checking out little towns and hanging by the ocean. I remember feeling so nomadic, like I could go anywhere and anything could happen."

While the song itself is picturesque, the recording process behind it wasn’t quite so. "When we recorded ‘Big Volcano, Small Town’ everyone in the band was sick. It was January in Toronto, cold and flu season, and morale wasn't very high. But then we got this beautiful take. There is this blue note that Damon Hankoff played on the piano toward the end of the song that was a total accident, but I think it's the best thing on the record. Pure magic."

LISTEN TO AND SHARE “BIG VOLCANO, SMALL TOWN” HERE
WATCH AND SHARE THE VIDEO FOR “BIG VOLCANO, SMALL TOWN” HERE

CHARLOTTE CORNFIELD TOUR DATES
Mar 3 - Kingston, ON - Sleepless Goat
Mar 4 - Montreal, QC - Casa Del Popolo
Mar 5 - Ottawa, ON - Pressed
Mar 10 - Hamilton, ON - Casino Artspace
Mar 11 - Toronto, ON - Burdock
Mar 12 - Peterborough, ON - The Spill
Mar 17 - Guelph, ON - Ebar

Chris VelanChris VelanMontreal songwriter and producer Chris Velan dropped sixth LP, Glow March 4 and is all aglow as he preps for hitting the road to show off the thing. As a teaser, he's just put out a tres trippy video for the title track Glow. Directed by Velan himself, the video was filmed “at the height of summer over the course of three magical days in an old-growth forest in a provincial park outside of Victoria,” he says. “The two, feral-looking brothers in the story are sons of friends of mine and they did such a wonderful job at just being themselves in their acting debut. The final product has this beautiful hazy and dreamlike quality to it that captures the hymnal feel of the song.”

The song's true potential didn't emerge until it was time to record. “Glow was originally an up-tempo, happy-sounding track,” he says. “But when we got to recording it in the studio, we quickly realized the feel and arrangement didn’t match the solemn and reflective lyrics. The take that made it on the album was our first attempt at re-imagining the song. If you listen closely, you can almost hear us unlocking the tune as we’re playing it.”

In studio to record Glow was Co-producer Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Basia Bulat, Wolf Parade, Vic Chestnutt) and an all-star band of local musicians; Jamie Thompson (Islands, The Unicorns) sitting at the drums, Morgan Moore (Barr Brothers, Blood and Glass) on bass, Max Henry (Suuns) playing keys, with Ariel Engle (AroarA) and Ngabo Kiroko (Dear Denizen) providing backup vocals. Glow is the most accomplished, seamless mingling of Velan’s musical predilections - dancing from quiet, intimate passages, growing on pulse smooth rhythms. It’s a DNA that draws from his singer-songwriter craft as much as from West African guitar pop, vintage-era rock steady, and dance-floor eighties rock.

The songs on Glow want to pull back the curtain and let the light in. They’re about taking that long, unflinching look in the mirror, shattering mythologies, both personal and collective, and naming the lies that keep us caged. Whether refusing the clean-up job of a prophet in “Listen, Elijah”, or invoking grace in “Call Me Into Your Heart,"Velan's latest collection of songs seems intent on finding joy at the end of the world - where no matter how frightening the outcome, the end is never the end, just a great new beginning.

It’s a path of inquiry that began for Velan on his previous album, The Long Goodbye, a raw and confessional reckoning with the break-up of a long-term relationship. While echoes of that ache remain in his latest release, the writing now looks forward with a faith in the blossoming power of love, connection, and the other intangibles that sustain life and will.

WATCH AND SHARE THE NEW VIDEO FOR TITLE TRACK “GLOW” HERE

Ivory HoursIvory HoursFor London, ON based alt-pop trio Ivory Hours 2015 was an amazing year. Their debut full-length album 'Morning Light' came in June, the band went on to win 102.1 The Edge’s ‘Next Big Thing’ contest and followed that with their grand prize win of Canada’s Walk of Fame Emerging Artist Mentorship Program. Now, with the release of their latest single 'Dreamer' Ivory Hours will be embarking on an epic 2 month Cross-Canada Tour.

Ivory Hours was formed by Luke Roes (Vocals/Guitar) in 2012 and features Chris Levesque (Bass) and Thomas Perquin (Drums). The band released 2 EPs - 'Two Keys' in 2013 and 'Mary' in 2014, collections of bright pop tunes which prefigured 'Morning Light' The album's a big helping of infectious pop tunes co-produced by Dan Brodbeck (The Cranberries, Dolores O'Riordan) and mastered by Joao Carvalho (Lights, Stars). The first single ‘Warpaint’ created a buzz at Canadian radio and online with the help of a clever stop-motion video that now has over 65,000 views on YouTube. In early December 2015, Ivory Hours premiered the MuchFACT funded video for their second single ‘Dreamer’.

This upcoming Canadian tour marks the first time that Ivory Hours has toured the country coast to coast, and singer Luke Roes is looking forward to taking the band's catchy, melodic tunes nationwide. "We've been looking forward to this cross-country run for a long time. We can't wait to hit the road!"

Ivory Hours continues to push hard on all fronts, with a new album and acoustic release in the works and a showcase spot at Canadian Music Week in May.

IVORY HOURS // SPRING 2016 CANADIAN TOUR DATES
MARCH 4 - SAULT STE MARIE, ON // LOPLOPS
MARCH 5 - THUNDER BAY, ON // THE FOUNDRY
MARCH 6 - KENORA, ON // 901 WESTSIDE
MARCH 11 - CALGARY, AB // THE PALOMINO
MARCH 12 - KELOWNA, BC // FERNANDOS
MARCH 18 - VANCOUVER, BC // THE MEDIA CLUB
MARCH 19 - KAMLOOPS, BC // THE DIRTY JERSEY
MARCH 22 - ROSSLAND, BC // THE FLYING STEAMSHOVEL
MARCH 24 - EDMONTON, AB // MERCURY ROOM
MARCH 25 - SASKATOON, SK // VANGELIS TAVERN
MARCH 26 - WINNIPEG, MB // LE GARAGE
MARCH 31 - KINGSTON, ON // THE BROOKLYN
APRIL 1 - OTTAWA, ON // LIVE ON ELGIN
APRIL 2 - MONTREAL, QC // REGGIE'S BAR
APRIL 5 - CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI // BABA'S
APRIL 6 - MONCTON, NB // PLAN B
APRIL 7 - HALIFAX, NS // THE CARLETON
APRIL 8 - FREDRICTON, NB // THE CAPITAL
APRIL 9 - ST. JOHN, NB // PEPPER'S PUB
APRIL 22 - TORONTO, ON // MOD CLUB
APRIL 28 - GUELPH, ON // EBAR
APRIL 29 - PETERBOROUGH, ON // THE RED DOG
APRIL 30 - HAMILTON, ON // HOMEGROWN

Creative Works Studio (CWS) – an arts based occupational therapy program under the umbrella of St. Michael’s Hospital in partnership with the Good Shepherd Non-Profit Homes Inc., brings the issue of mental health to light, with the release of Social Mystics’ debut CD Coming Out of Darkness.

The release concert happens Tuesday, March 8th at Toronto’s Tranzac Club, with doors open at 7:00 pm and music starting at 7:30 pm. The concert will feature a performance by Social Mystics, as well as a display of art by Creative Works Studio members. There’ll be some merchandise from the studio, including greeting cards and limited edition music-themed ceramics. The CDs will be for sale at $15 each with all proceeds going to support Creative Works Studio. For more information please visit creativeworks-studio.ca/site/socialmystics/.

To Listen/download: creativeworks-studio.ca/site/social-mystics-media Password: SocialMystics2016

You don't need a crystal ball to see that these optimistic Social Mystics have a brighter future in a better world. They’re well on their way to creating that for themselves with their debut album Coming Out of Darkness. They’re proudly and loudly marching to the beat of a different drum, led by singer-songwriter and Creative Lead of CWS Isabel Fryszberg, and volunteer co-facilitator and former English teacher, Laraine McMahon-Nelson.

It’s now a well-known fact that music is therapy in all its forms and can be a welcome, healing part of the recovery process for many suffering from various illnesses. Coming Out of Darkness was created with just that in mind, and is the result of a decade's worth of songwriting that has taken place during Wednesday afternoon music sessions at Creative Works Studio. Members work with facilitators to create lyrics, and Fryszberg leads the musical composition aspect and plays guitar. Member John Reid also contributes with his great guitar skills. The group has written 50 songs together over the years and has picked their finest for this 10-track album.

The songs unabashedly and defiantly focus on breaking stereotypical ideas about mental health issues, such as in the lazy and light track “Crazy Moon,” or the uptempo protest song “I’m in the DSM” – a.k.a. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is the handbook used by health care professionals as the authoritative guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders. DSM contains descriptions, symptoms, and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders – where the group calls out all the medications they have to take. Songs like “Hold on to the Good” and “The Days of Magic” contain more uplifting and hopeful messages – if not somewhat nostalgic – that represent the other part of the healing equation.

Melanie PetersonMelanie PetersonShe's been called “Mary Poppins with a broken heart” but don't entirely buy into that. Melanie Peterson's second full-length album ‘Anywhere From Here’ carries a tad more edge than that. The T.Dot singer, songwriter takes the album release party to Toronto's The Piston Mar.16. Peterson also launches her first single and video (track three) from the new CD titled “Fallback Plan”.

VIDEO: youtu.be/w39T2-VnMJ4.
AUDIO: soundcloud.com/melanie-peterson/melanie-peterson-fallback-plan

With Peterson’s guitar driven, optimistic love songs and lilting voice, ‘Anywhere From Here’ continues to embrace her folk-pop influences. It was recorded in Toronto at Slaughterhouse 754, and, as with two of Petersons prior records (2013’s first full-length album ‘Unbreakable’ and 2014’s six-song cover EP ‘Read It On The Radio’), it was produced and engineered by Mitch Girio (Morgan Doctor, Dave Borins, Emma Lee, David Newland and Kirsten Jones).

Peterson wants it known, “Anywhere From Here isn't just about music, it's about knowing you can get anywhere from where you are, no matter where that is. I'm so excited for the CD release party! I feel like I've been waiting for centuries for this show. I'm so glad we’re at this point and people can celebrate with the band and I, as we play all the songs live and in the order they appear on the album.”

Peterson earned her spot within Toronto’s independent music scene when she was invited to host and perform her original songs in the monthly female singer-songwriter night called Girls Girls Girls at the renowned Cameron House (September 2010 to December 2012), and in March 2012 when she initially showcased at Canadian Music Week. She was invited back to perform two showcases at CMW 2013 and in that same year she launched her first full-length album ‘Unbreakable’ in Toronto. Melanie followed that up with a triumphant NXNE showcase in June and a successful Southern Ontario tour.

The Dirty NilThe Dirty NilHere's the funnest debut album this week. It comes from Dundas ON rock unit The Dirty Nil, and Higher Power is the summation of all the singles and EP-type releases they've put out for some time.

So there's lots of distortion, pedal to the metal guitar lines, crunch hooks, a wailing soul in lead singer Luke Bentham and hooks, hooks, hooks.

Having built their considerable live rep on garagey alt rock and a fierce punky grunge, dudes don't stray from the template, concentrating on making such as "Lowlives", "Bury Me at the Rodeo," "Friends In The Sky" and "Wrestle Yü to Husker Dü" set up house inside your head before you know it. Other tunes in the back end of the album, not so much. As a document of just how it is with The Dirty Nil, Higher Power testifies to their raw power and flair for the ruckus, and is sure to bring fresh bodies to the fray.

Mike FitzpatrickMike FitzpatrickGary KendallGary KendallThe Blues at The Goose Sunday program never fails to provide stellar entertainment from the best of local talent, but the March lineup is extra special. Here's what the venerable Etobicoke blues joint has on offer.

Mar.6 Mike Branton & Michael Fonfara.
Mar.13 Adam Beer-Colacino & Gene Hardy.
Mar.20 Robin Bank$ & Teddy Leonard
Mar. 27 Brooke & Dwayne Blackburn.

All of these folk will be ably supported by the resident rhythm section of Downchild Blues Band alumni Gary Kendall and Mike Fitzpatrick, a pair as solid as they come.

Check for deets at www.thebluegoosetavern.com.