August 2011

NADJA
: Everything’s Going My Way


Nadja

MP3 Disques/Select

A problem with the current batch of over-souling Divas like Adele and Alicia Keyes is that they are genetically modified caricatures of the Ladies of Soul distilled through modern lenses. Someone with the talent of Nadja lives and breathes Motown, Hitsville and wears proudly the tradition of Dinah, Ella, Billy and Aretha by always putting the song, and not necessarily the performance, first.

“Everything’s Going My Way” is a straight up R & B record like the ones Barry Gordy used to make – if Gordy had been working in 48 channels of stereo. Though Nadja doesn’t write the material on the album she immediately lays claim and brands the lesser-known songs like the single “Oh! No!” “Love Is Leaving Me”, “Baby I’m Lonely”, “Baby You”, “Wish To Unwish” and the title track with her own style. These tracks all evoke Motown’s finest pop moments.

Her voice often bursts with multi-range hints of Roberta Flack, Dionne Warwick, Shawne Jackson, Liberty Silver and Diana Ross. To that end, there is a rather pedestrian version of The Supreme’s “Baby Love” where “Love Child” or “Reflections” may have suited Nadja’s breadth as a singer a little more snuggly.

Where Nadja truly, and blatantly, excels at separating the girls from the Divas is in her interpretation of standards like the breezy “Ya Ya”, the anthemic  “The Impossible Dream”, Dorothy Moore’s iconic “Misty Blue” and the soul wrenching “At Last” which is easily the single best performance on the CD.

Montreal artist Jenn Mierau releases self-produced "HUSH" Sept.13

Jenn Mierau 1

Story: Bill Delingat

It could be because of her years of classical piano solitude, or may be because she is a voracious autodidact.  Or it might be because she likes to do things the hard way.  Whatever the reason, Montreal’s Jenn Mierau has chosen to embark on the road of self-producing and recording, with her just-completed work “HUSH”.

Learning from other producers, Mierau added in the playing of bass and electric guitar on her tracks and started experimenting with found-sound samples and vocal layering on top of her Wurlitzer and vocals. The result is an acoustic-ish, electro-ish labor of love highlighting her sweet and often called sexy voice.

Mierau counteracts her hours in the digital world by making artwork the old analog way: knitting, string art and yes, even her version of macaroni art. For this album, she took the approach one step further by rug-hooking a 14,400 stitch self-portrait, while recording a time-lapse video of the process. The digital version of the artwork is remarkable, but the physical CD – which replicates the entire rug, front to back and side to side – is a mini marvel on its own!

Drake Jensen: Well on his way to finding you

Drake Jensen

Story: Lenny Stoute

Faced with a landscape of rocky crags and vast expanses of ocean, with nary a cowpoke in sight, for generations the people of Cape Breton have turned to country music. Why this is so likely has a lot to do with the type of music they first heard on the radio or that was available in local record stores. Country singer Drake Jensen grew up in Glace Bay, Cape Breton, a location defined by coal mining, fishing and music all around.

“ Growing up I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t music in the house. I was used to singing along with my parents’ record player and of course, most of what they would play would be country. The Celtic music was all around too but country music was the real popular music of the time”.

Growing up in The Glace, Jensen got into classic guitar at 12 and by 15, like any self-respecting teenager, was playing in a rock band, more keyboards than guitar. But as happened with the classical phase, Drake found he didn’t like it much and drifted back to his country roots.

The next phase was all about gigging around wherever they’d let him plug in, honing song writing skills and bettering his vocal chops in the service of bringing original interpretations to existing material. He’d hit on the notion of being an interpretive singer as a way of getting attention and it proved to indeed be the way forward.

In 2001 Jensen released his take on an Anne Murray hit.” A Little Bit Of Good News” and scored his first taste of lower-case stardom as the tune scored airplay throughout the Maritimes

"Made in China" Has new meaning with a twist of Canadian in the mix

Made In China

Story:Bill Delingat

In the early 50’s “Made in China” was known as a stamp on the bottom of cheap goods brought in as competition to the more expensive North American original items. In the ever changing World market, “Made in China” is commonly known as one of the phrases associated  with world economics.

The China growth also includes the entertainment industry which is booming as well. Right in the main stream is a band called M.I.C. who are burning up the stages on television and “live houses”. Where did this new artist originate from? Hong Kong, No, Beijing, wrong again, Canada, right on!

Yvon Serré, the leader ,writer ,guitarist and front man of M.ade I.n C.hina was born in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario. He first picked up a guitar at the age of 8 and within three years was playing lead in his first band ‘Love Boat’ and at the ripe old age of 14, was writing his own songs and playing in bands such as  ‘The Junior Beatles’ ,’Rock Wizard’ and ‘Thalassa.’ Serré quickly progressed to performing at major rock clubs with his off the wall stage antics.

It was at one of these gigs in Montreal at The Club Soda that the band was spotted by producer Denis Pantis who signed them to his label “Les Disque Millionare /Rockbec” where the band released a single and went on the road to support it. Serré soon formed the “Yvon Serré Groupe” , but this time wrote all original material.