May 2012

Steamboat: Rules



Steamboat is a seven-piece band with retro soul inclinations, made up of folks with serious cred as sessions players for luminaries like Sandro Perri and Alex Lukashevsky. So while the creativeness is potential, the musicianship is guaranteed. Not that they ever let that get in the way of the good times on this debut album. Guided by keysman and lead singer Matt McLaren, Steamboat kicks it with all the rollicking exuberance of a throw-together jam band.

McLaren’s vocal derives from Guess Who-era Burton Cummings, a perfect fit for the material’s Seventies bent. Shit gets really sublime when the clean and razor-sharp soprano pipes of  Maylee Todd kick in. The hot ticket here is “Don’t Try To Fool Me,”, the vocals in perfect complementary synch rididing atop a wicked catchy groove.

Helping keep the grooves deep and funky, bassist Mike Smith and axeman Nick Taylor, ably abetted by a dance-inciting passages from the horn section, coming together best on “Hey Marvin” and “Chains.”

Recorded at 6 Nassau Studios and Hallamusic in a co-production between the band and Jeff McMurrich (Fucked Up, Owen Pallett, Constantines), Rules emerges as an engaging collection of old school, ass shaking blue eyed soul.

Possibly the first wall-to-wall party animal album of the summer.

James Lizzard

Bill King - Gloryland (Tales From the South)


Acclaimed pianist, composer, photographer, musical director and producer - what more can you say about Bill King? You can say this new CD is his best recorded offering yet.
Pulling from his southern roots (King is actually American, but settled here in Canada) this CD is dedicated to his family and their heritage.

Bill King is respectful of his long line of Southern history. "Gloryland traces the roots of our family from the Ohio River, all the way down to Tennessee where my Dad was born, and the hills of Kentucky over through to Pennsylvania and to other parts of the South. This is where we spent our childhood, and the trips we made, visiting relatives and friends, and everything of that nature. The sound at that time was the Grand Old Opry, it was also Folk, Roots, Blues, some Jazz and a mixture of everything, a bit of 'mountain music', violins, fiddles, but that was all absorbed in this type of music."

Without going track by track (you have to listen to the whole CD to experience the musical journey) it is Bill King at his best. 'The Devil Has 666 Fingers', 'Gloryland' and 'One Blues Dress Hanging in the Wind' are my personal favourites. It is hard to chose favourites, though, as it really is a CD that should be experienced from beginning to end.

Mothers and Music


By Don Graham

Mothers Day is this Sunday and what a great time to honour our mothers, whether they are gone or are still here.  What does Mothers Day have to do with music and Cashbox? Not a lot, directly I guess, but when I got to thinking about music without mothers or their influence it staggered me to see the importance.

Would we have country music without MOTHER Maybelle? Rock ‘n’ Roll without That’s Alright MAMA?  How about The MOTHERS of Invention? California pop without the MAMA’S and Papas?  What songs wouldn’t have been written without our connection to mothers? MAMA Tried, Merle Haggard, Your MAMA Don’t Dance, Loggins and Messina, MAMA Told Me Not To Come, Three Dog Night, MAMA liked the Roses, Elvis Presley and all the way back to My MAMMY, Al Jolson. And the list goes on.

So take a little time this Sunday to pay homage to your mother, if she’s already passed on, pray for  her, if she’s still here, hug her tighter than ever and thank her for all she’s done.

We all have a lot to do in this busy world we live in but NEVER get to busy to call your Mama!!

West Side Story at The Toronto Centre for the Arts

The Gang Fight Photo Credit Carol Rosegg.jpg

May 8 - June 3, 2012
Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Photo Credits: Carol Rosegg

Fifty five years ago, a contemporary musical adaptation of Romeo & Juliet premiered on Broadway and changed the face of musical theatre forever. Dancap Productions presents the first national tour of the smash hit Broadway revival of West Side Story running from May 8 - June 3, 2012 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts.

Combining operatic vocals with ballet inspired dancing, The Bernstein and Sondheim score is considered to be one of Broadway's finest featuring songs from the play like the famous gang scene with 'The Jet Song', 'Something's Coming', 'Tonight', 'America' 'I Feel Pretty' and the unforgettable and haunting 'Somewhere'. Although Tony (Ross Lekites) and Maria (Evy Ortiz) are obviously the stars of the ensemble, Anita (Michelle Arevena) and Riff (Drew Foster) Bernardo (German Santiago) held the audience captive as well.

A Pear of Aces


Story: Don Graham

They're a little bit country, a little bit city, a little bit sweet and a little bit gritty.

Refreshing, original, clean, crisp, talented; all words that come to mind when listening to the new PEAR CD, Sweet 'n' Gritty.  The duo of wife and husband, Lynae and Denis Dufresne, are definitely a self contained package;  singers, songwriters and excellent musicians.  Lynae is a world class fiddle player and Denis was 2011 CCMA's Fiddle Player of the Year as well as Mandolin Player of the Year. In fact, the two met when they both auditioned for the highly touted fiddle show Barrage in 1997. They both got the gig and after a short period of time began to notice each other as more than just fellow musicians. As Lynae said with a laugh, " After a little while I looked at Denis and thought " He's a good musician AND he's also kinda cute!!"

The show "Barrage: The  World On Stage" toured extensively for 5 years and was aired by every PBS station in the United States and the title CD climbed as high as #5 on the world charts. The Disney Corporation billed it as "the hottest fiddle show in the world" and Lynae and Denis are proud of their contribution to the production. Being part of that cast enabled them to tour Canada, the United States, Scotland, England, Scandinavia and even China.

In 2003 Lynae and Denis left the Barrage show and began lending their musical talents to some of the top acts in Canada, recording and playing live at festivals, honing their skills and perfecting their craft.