Every year at this time we’re treated to a wave of upbeat, bouncy, light-hearted, walkin’ on sunshiney music from what’s characterized as summer albums. Well, this isn’t one of those. This one’s summery as road rash from dropping your chopper at speed, summery as waking up in pissed jeans.
If you know these VanTown baad gurlz, you know this is how they always roll. Nasty, unrepentant, with a subversive sense of fun. And on 'Sorry' they be rolling like a mofo 18-wheeler. Ok, like a crack-fuelled 18-wheeler because White Lung deals in a finger-bleeding speed punk few bands can match. 'Sorry' offers you some of the best of the genre in a sizzling 19 minutes and it’s tres important that it’s out on small but increasingly influential hardcore label Deranged, which put out the earliest material from local genre biggies 'Fucked Up'.
The instrumental firestorm puts the melodic and listenability factor squarely on the shoulders of vocalist Mish Ways and she’s up for it. She’s been refashioning the punk vocalist framework for sometime and the resulting snarl’n’ insinuate style brings immediacy to the songs. Yeah, the comparisons abound, L7, Hole and like that but like UK’s Savages, this band is carving its initals into the flesh of the past.
It’s probably not fair to say Dustin Bentall’s growing into his skin but we just said it anyway. You Are An Island is being positioned as the ‘sister’ album to 2012’s Orion EP, carrying on and expanding on the alt-rock sound, which showed up to party on that one.
Central to all that is the input from Bentall’s hard touring band, which includes stellar performances from Ryan Guldemond (Mother Mother) and fiddler Kendel Carson (Belle Starr, Outlaw Social), The other heavy factor in the mix, the stylistic input from producer Ryan Dahle, who reportedly was able to steer the band in a more inclusive direction from the standard country thang.
The result’s a tougher, more flamboyant and breezing down a Prairie highway kind of album. Exactly the aesthetic you’d expect from a road warrior, studded with quality lyrics in which Bentall becomes totally invested. Just check current single “Shine” and “Dreaming Of A Nightmare”, two of dude’s best vocal workouts yet. In breaking away from his past, Dusty and crew have fashioned an album which breathes fresh air into the alt country backroom, just in time to keep the entire genre from suffocating. No small thanks to a more involved rhythm section and the whiskey-soaked, punk-dusted fiddlin’ of Kendal Carson.
As dude reminds us with not too much tongue in cheek, from where he’s at it’s a “Pretty Good Life.”
There was a time in the early days of my career in radio, we lived for the mags and charts to arrive to see what was getting played on the airwaves at other stations. In Canada, RPM ruled, and it was a truly Canadian magazine, arriving with stories and charts to guide us. Stan Klees and Walt Grealis were the first to see the value of our own chart system.
As Music Directors, we watched for Billboard, Radio & Records, and Cash Box (as it was known as two names back then) to publish their charts, and that decided what American music we played. In AM, Rosalie Tremblay at CKLW was the guru of hits, and then if you could land CKGM, CHED, CKLG, CFUN, CFTR, etc. you had a hit. But it all started with the US Charts as the main influence, and thanks to Stan and Walt at RPM, then Record Week, Joey Cee’s baby followed, then Farrell and The Record would follow suit.
I would have no way of knowing back then that one day I would be an owner of the Canadian version of Cashbox and a shareholder in the U.S. ‘mother ship’. (Yes for the record, no pun intended, Cashbox Canada is owned and operated by Canadians. We recently celebrated four years of surviving in this ever changing business.)
Canada is a place where a misunderstood black kid from Ohio can find commonalities with people across the country. Enough commonalities to want to make Canada my home.
I have had the privilege of travelling coast to coast in Canada. I’ve driven through the Rockies. I was adopted by the Pointed Sticks, my blood brothers, in Vancouver. While in Saskatchewan I saw the Northern Lights. I discovered French Canada through music and partied until the dawn’s early light at the Limelight in Montreal. I have been ‘’screeched in’’ (a ceremony involving a shot of 40 proof rum, a short recitation and the kissing of a cod) several times in Newfoundland. My girlfriend, who is from NL, is amazed with how many CFA’s (Come From Aways) take part in this tradition and that I would chose to do it twice! My first radio boss was a Newfoundlander - the exceptionally eccentric mad genius, true gentleman and father of Captain Canada comics, Geoff Sterling.
Every place I have been in this country, Canadians, new and old, have always welcomed me into their homes. Even before Much Music, I often got invited home for dinner or a party in my honour which, I later realized, was just a good excuse to party. These were some of the best of times.
“ Hello. I’m Johnny Cash.” Seeing this in print, any Cash fan will automatically hear this country music legend’s deep baritone voice saying these familiar words.
There really are not a lot of artists that warrant having a museum all to themselves but Johnny Cash is one who not only warrants but deserves such a venue. On May 29th & 30th, 2013, the Johnny Cash Museum opened in the heart of downtown Nashville, Tennessee, just off of the famous Broadway strip. Apparently the creator Bill Miller was looking for a spot on Broadway for the museum but found a prime location on 3rd Avenue, about 500 feet from the main strip. If you think about it “off Broadway” is perfect location for someone like The Man in Black. He was never really one ‘walk the line’ in Nashville. Right from jump street he recorded what he wanted, how he wanted and wasn’t about to be told what to do. A little off the main drag. Willie and Waylon get credit for the Outlaw movement but for me, Johnny Cash was the original Outlaw. He is also a member in three major Hall of Fames; The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, The Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.