BTW -DISCOVERIES, Chris Gostling & The Tempo, Denielle Bassels, Jupiter Hollow, Laughed The Boy, Robbie Lane and The Disciples
Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Photo at right: Chris Gostling
It's time again for DISCOVERIES, a showcase series that brings four artists together, have each one work to bring out as many family members, friends and fans as they are able and then the room fills up to give each of the four artists attention and support. This year's lineup:
Ezra Jordan started piano lessons at five, and drums at nine. He shifted focus to singing and writing songs while studying music at the University of Guelph, and while playing keyboards in Warner Bros. artist Scott Helmans band. He continued his studies at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, where he graduated from the Independent Artist Program. He is now working on writing and recording his first solo project, which is a blend of Alt. Pop and R&B. Ezra can currently be seen playing with his band in clubs around Toronto.
Tyler Simmons is a young Toronto born singer/songwriter with a rich, warm tone mixed with a gentle rasp that gives him a unique and inspiring sound. At home on guitar and keys, Tyler spends much of his time writing independently or collaborating with others to create songs that connect with his young and growing audience. This past summer, Tyler was the only male vocalist to receive a full paid Rock Scholarship to Berklees 5 week program. Tyler has had the good fortune of performing a Sebastian Kole original with JRDN, opening for Tyler Shaw (2015) and Andy Grammar (2014) and performing at other incredible events & venues.
Lilly Mason is a fixture on the Toronto music scene, as a singer, songwriter and freelance musician. Starting out fronting the local soul/funk band The BreakDown, she branched out to explore her own sound with the release of debut EP Follow the Sound in 2013. Lillys work is influenced by the bright, surreal nature of visual artists like Dali; the raw soul and vocal power of Etta James and Amy Winehouse; and the experimental dance and pop structures of artists like Grimes. Relationships are a focus of Lillys songwriting. She approaches dark themes and painful truths, with a heart full of enthusiastic hope for change and growth."
Mikalyn Hay s smooth vocals, flowing melodies and harmonies are instinctive and she operates at a speed and capacity at a level much beyond her years. Mikalyn combines this natural ability with relentless learning and is constantly seeking to collaborate and study from the best. Already a seasoned performer, she spends weekend jamming at open-mics, festivals, and gigs, accompanying herself on the keys doing originals and covers ranging from Radiohead to Cohen. Her 5 songs released over the past year have been earning accolades and awards and inspires her to continue writing and performing, in order to connect artistically with her growing audience. Discoveries happens at The Transzac, 292 Brunswick, Tues. Feb.7 with an 8 pm showtime.
Toronto roots-rock outfit Chris Gostling & The Tempo's full-length debut album, Breath, Blood & Tempo is officially out today through Bandcamp . The album title says it all: three of lifes necessities whether youre a musician or not. For Chris Gostling, music is life, and his life is in this album. The themes come decked out in a mix of alt-country, folk, and rock that ranges from the laidback to the downright rowdy, with all arrangements totally on point. Although the 13-track record marks a new beginning for Gostling, it also in many ways culminates the long journey of honing a sound through countless gigs, and developing a lyrical voice in tune with the spirit of folk-rocks greatest figures.
Recorded with John Dinsmore (NQ Arbuckle) at his Toronto studio, Lincoln County Social Club, Breath, Blood & Tempo presents, on one hand, a clear snapshot of the nights Gostling and his groupbassist Adam McNeill, drummerJustin Cathcart and violinist Andrew Proctorhave kept audiences in jam-packed Toronto venues enraptured for hours. At the same time, the album extends a welcome to the uninitiated by presenting a vital new addition to the Canadian folk-rock scene. Whether he is performing solo or with The Tempo, the time has now come for Chris Gostling to embrace the rest of Canada, and vice versa. Breath, Blood & Tempo is an album that speaks honestly on behalf of us all.
Saturday Feb. 4 Chatham ON Sam's Percolator Thursday Feb. 16 Toronto ON The Cameron House
Vancouver-based country rockers the Real Ponchos are independently releasing their sophomore full-length album To The Dusty World on February 10th and the band will celebrate the release of the album with a rip roarin' hometown show at Wise Hall on release day.
Real Ponchos music is subtle and revelatory. Deep grooves buoyed by rugged vocals and burning guitar. Songs inspired by human suffering with a folk sentiment at the core that opens the heart wide with luscious and spacious improvisation, while keeping feet on the floor with tight, soulful rhythm. The band - Ben Arsenault (lead vocals/guitar),Emile Scott (lead vocals/guitar), Emlyn Scherk (drums) and Michael Wagler (bass) - works in the lineage established by those before them, following those who have taken folk traditions into the modern age. Real Ponchos embrace non-duality to create sincere and distinctive music that draws many different musical comparisons.
"The most common comparisons we get after shows are probably the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers," says Ben Arsenault. "We try to take that classic live sound and couch it in more modern tones, with a spaciousness and rhythm that comes from jazz, Brazilian and African influences."
Real Ponchos released their debut, a self-titled EP, in 2013.They followed that up a year later with their first full length, Since I Let You Go, which received warm reviews from music critics across the country and earned the band a place amongst The Georgia Straights Top 10 Vancouver Bands of 2014.
To The Dusty World was recorded at Vancouver's Afterlife Studios in late 2015 by John Raham. The decision to record the new album was instigated in part by drummer Emlyn Scherks relocation to Scotland. The band felt they needed to get in the studio to record the material they'd been working on over the past couple of years, before he left the country. The record is, in many ways, a continuation of the sound the band developed and captured with the previous release Since I Let You Go. Whereas that release focused on matters of the heart and loss, To The Dusty World is more inwardly focused on the self and that is especially evident on the first single 'No Show'.
"'No Show' is a transition song," Arsenault explains. "It's about seeing the aimless path of your self-centered life, and longing for something more solid." To The Dusty World will be available on Spotify, Apple Music/iTunes, and other digital retailers/streaming services on Friday, February 10th. Real Ponchos have plans to tour throughout Canada later this year, for more info and the most up to date tour listings, please visit: realponchos.com
REAL PONCHOS VANCOUVER ALBUM RELEASE SHOW
When: Friday, February 10th
Where: The Wise Hall + Lounge (1882 Adanac Street)
Doors: 8:00PM, Openers: James Green Band
Tickets: $15 at the door
Indie-swing chanteuse Denielle Bassels releases her much-anticipated debut album, What About Wool Wishbags, a caravan of gypsy jazz, blues, folk, with a tinge of pop, all wrapped in an innovative and scintillating package Feb.10. Bassels performs a saucy set of originals with her swingin band at Torontos Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street West, on Wednesday, February 8, at 7:30 pm. Already an award-winning artist the song "Cool Cool Water" from her 2013 EP Gypsy Summer, garnered the Grand Prize in the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Competition, for Jazz, and as well, she was Finalist in the JLSC for the originals "Catch'er And She Gone" and "Dreamer" the Toronto-based Denielle Bassels and her Quintet have been entertaining audiences in venues all over the GTA, and are building a reputation.
A commanding stage presence and swinging band immerse you in her stories, drawing inspiration from the early 1920's to the modern day. With the help of producer and long-time collaborator Mike Mathieson (who also plays ukulele and percussion on the album), she seamlessly connects the familiar tropes of swing, blues, and folk in a way thats fresh, exciting and alluring. While listening to this well-crafted, uniquely produced album What About Wool Wishbags, it's tempting to make comparisons to Amy Winehouse, Corrine Bailey Rae, even Billie Holiday, but the enchanting, bewitching Bassels is creating an impressive sound all her own.
She messes with tradition just enough to make it super interesting, like the use of crazy, ethereal whistling at the end of "Little Boats," where drawling horns open this lazy, quicksand lullabye, replete with tender harmonies, a ukelele, and a muted trumpet solo. The album certainly isnt short on harmonies throughout. "We Smile" is a sweet, simple, folky tune that conjures up a Hawaiian vacation. The ocean sounds provide the foundation for this vocal harmony showcase. The title track also has a Hawaiian feel, with ukulele and three-part harmonies, but then the horns dig in with zany Broadway/circus interludes. "Cool Cool Water" features a vocal reminiscent of Billie Holidays timbre in the slow-burning intro, that cools off quickly with a snappy, railroad-track snare and an inspired violin solo. Some irresistible Andrews Sisters-style harmonies round out the sound.
Toe-tapping, swingin' gypsy jazz is her wheelhouse, and the tune " Silly Lion" exemplifies it. The pizzicato violin plucks are produced to sound a little like a Caribbean steel pan drum. The violin soars above the rhythmic punch, and because of the surrealistic lyrics, the quirky production style and inventive arrangements, she truly expands the template of the genre she's working with.
Bassels smoky vocal approach in the opening track " And Nothing Else" is emblematic of the freedom that the song describes. With minimal, percolating guitar, unexpected handclaps, upright bass and a fiddle solo at the end, it evokes the 1930s-style of Hot Club de France jazz. In "I'll Go Your Way," her whimsical references to the Mona Lisa and Champs dElysee, paints a little portrait of an American in Paris, and along with the Django Reinhardt guitar style and Stphane Grappelli-like solo violin, it cements the connection with the Hot Club scene of the '30s.
"So Nice To Talk To" uncovers more of Bassels wit as she lovingly deflates romance when her beau says, "Let me fly you to the moon," and she replies, "But I have plans this afternoon." Somewhat of a departure from the rest of the songs, "Spiders Kiss" is a haunting waltz with a dark atmosphere. She goes with an uncharacteristic whispery vocal and a Hungarian-style violin melody that sets the tone.
Barrie, ON's ambient progressive metal / rock duo JUPITER HOLLOW announce they will be performing the following Ontario show dates in support of debut EP 'Odyssey' released on Jan 13th.
Feb 26 - Toronto, ON @ Mod Club
March 3 - Barrie, ON @ The Foxx Lounge
April 15 - Toronto, ON @ Cherry Cola's N Rock & Rolla Cabaret Lounge
'Odyssey' is a concept record featuring 5 tracks to introduce JUPITER HOLLOW's ambient experimental progressive songwriting plus act as a prelude to their planned full length 'AHDOMN'. The duo was birthed in 2015 and have already mastered the art of bringing their fans on an audio and visual experience. Their sound is usually referred to as spacey, experimental and refreshing, reminding listeners of bands like Tool, Pink Floyd, A Perfect Circle, Tesseract, The Contortionist and Rush. Consisting of two young, passionate and driven Canadian artists, Grant MacKenzie (21) and Kenny Parry (18), the pair perform with a dominating stage presence, while captivating their audiences with their unique sonic journey, plus they've got a handle on prog rock that belies their tender years.
Kensie scruff rockers Laughed The Boy have a work ethic that nicely balances the stoner vibe and it's been paying off. Here's frontguy Chris Panacci to tell it:" We had been playing shows around the area and while rehearsing we ended up with an albums worth of fresh material. We headed into the studio soon after to record nine new tracks that will make up our debut full length LP. "This second single is from Laughed the Boys forthcoming album Here is Fine.You'll find the dreamy atmosphere of the song is set by hook driven guitar lines and complemented by wistfully moody lyrics. The track is the follow-up to last year's well-received debut single ' Indifferent '. Our LP officially releases on February 10th. Hope people like it."
Genre fans will want to jump on this one fast as it a sure sellout. Beat the Winter Blues offers two sets from legacy soulman Robbie Lane and The Disciples,Sun. Feb. 26 at Seven44 Restaurant &Lounge, 744 Mount Pleasant. 5 pm. Call 416 489 7931 for reservations.