It’s said that back when they first started U2’s mastery of their craft was such they could turn a club into a stadium. Elliott Brood pulled off that neat trick in reverse, managing to change the cavernous Phoenix Concert Theatre into a jammy campus pub, replete with low hanging fog of weed smoke.
Exactly the accessories needed to frame the enthusiasm for the transplanted Toronto road warriors’ homecoming.
The sharp-dressed alt-country trio returned from a Western Canada tour in a triumphant mood, coming on at once both relaxed, sharp and more on the case than ever. This was demonstrated early on when Casey Laforet’s guitar rig went sideways and couldn’t be righted. A less experienced crew would have hesitated but after taking it around one more time, banjo picking Mark Sasso smoothly assumed lead duties and drummer Steve Pitkin dropped it down a couple of notches for a downright tasty semi-acoustic workout.
Once Laforet’s probs were ironed out, it was pedal to the neo-hoedown metal as the full house of Brood fanciers grooved out on everything thrown their way, even the still newish material from current album Days Into Years.
Say you turned down a hidden street in a strangely familiar city you’ve never been in before, following raucous Twenties blues tinged with the sad strain of Appalachia. You follow the music swirling with the smoke into a club looks like home base for time travellers. Burning through the haze onstage a sultry woman with knowing eyes and a slash of scarlet for a moth and a voice for the ages, from the ages. So you surrender to the slippery sound worming itself inside your brain and time slips and the faces around you in vintage dresses and fedoras give no clue as to what time it is, even when time it is.
Such is the sonic world of Little Miss Higgins and you’d best be aware it’ll suck in and flush you out a believer. It’s been like that since the age of four, when Jolene Higgins’ daddy brought home a piano and encouraged his wee daughter to bang away at it. “It was a mini grand piano. He brought it home and told me it was mine. I carved my name in the side and started taking piano lessons.”
As with most of the breed, in her teens Higgins switched to guitar and started playing rock’n’roll. Until she caught the blues infection off a local radio station and fell under the spell of great blues ladies like Memphis Minnie and Billie Holiday,
The season is upon us, not just Christmas but the Andy Kim Christmas Show 2011. Now in it’s 7th year, this show has become a tradition in Toronto, and the man behind it all is none other than Andy Kim.
Andy Kim found fame in New York City at just 16 years old when he wrote “How'd We Ever Get This Way?” the first of nine Billboard Top 40 hits, including #1 songs “Rock Me Gently” and “Sugar, Sugar”, names as one of Billboard's ‘Greatest Songs of All Time.’ A true Canadian son, Andy has been awarded the country's top industry honor twice; the JUNO Award for outstanding achievements in the record industry, as well as the "Indie Award" for Favorite Solo Artist in 2005.
Over his epic career, Andy has sold over 30 million records, with songs covered by music history's greats, including Wilson Pickett, Tom Jones, Michelle Wright, Ike & Tina Turner, and Bob Marley and has even been said to influence 80’s metal band Def Leppard. He has recently performed and co-wrote songs with Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies and Ron Sexsmith.
Up until the late ‘70s Canadian female artists were represented by Middle of the Road sweetness-and-light or Country cross-overs like Anne Murray and Carroll Baker; most were phenomenal vocalists, but not artistic trailblazers. Then punk kicked at the darkness until it bled razorblades and women became empowered enough to lead from the crotch. Several rallied to be Queen of the Outrage like Michaele Jordana from The Poles, The B-Girls, and The Curse.
But it took Carole Pope (fronting the band she co-founded with Kevan Staples called Rough Trade) to marry subterfuge with commerce and create the groundwork for sexual revolution and equality in an industry dominated by the good ole boys. Hell, King-of-the-Canadian Playboys Greg Godovitz of Goddo was so intimidated by her he wrote her a song. And as the next wave came and went, Jane Siberry, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Dalbello, Pope took no quarter. A relentless string of hits through the ‘80s has left her views on sex, religion and the body politic unrivaled in the mainstream [yeah, I’m pointing at you Madonna and Lady GaGa]. Even with Rough Trade long gone, Pope has continued pushing her own envelopes through the last two decades, including a warts-and-all autobiography. So here we are six years after her last ambient/trance/urban/rock solo effort, ‘Transcend’, and it can be said that she has not capitulated.
On Thursday, November 17, 2011, 13Thirteen Entertainment's Kit Andrew, on behalf of his partners George Coito and Kenny Rubin, was honoured with Tourism Barrie's New Tourism Product Award for the wildly successful CMT Music Festival.
The CMT Music Festival, brainchild of the award-winning producers at 13Thirteen Entertainment, took place from August 26 - 28, 2011 at the Burl's Creek Family Event Park. The festival featured an extraordinary roster of country music performers, including Lady Antebellum, The Heartbroken, Corb Lund, Rascal Flatts, Ronnie Dunn and Blake Shelton. With 20 performers playing across two main stages, music fans from far and wide enjoyed an amazing weekend of country music talent.
“We just want to thank everyone that contributed to making this a success. The attendance exceeded our expectations for its inaugural year…The positive feedback we have received has inspired us to look forward to our 2012 festival,” says Andrew.
Hosted by Tourism Barrie, the annual Toast to Tourism Excellence Awards, sponsored by OLG, celebrates the achievements made by business partners, who contribute to the promotion of Barrie tourism.
"Tourism Barrie believes CMT Music Festival, a three day event, will continue to attract thousands of attendees, from not only the province but border-states, bringing great economic benefits to the City of Barrie and region" says Linda Wilson, Managing Director of Tourism Barrie.