Roots rockin' beardos and JUNO Award Winners The Bros. Landreth have dropped an EP of cover songs titled Undercover Bros., or rather a collection of “songs we wish we wrote,” says vocalist / guitarist Joey Landreth. Beginning October 9, the songs were released one-by-one with a new track appearing each week on the band’s Spotify playlist. The EP includes tracks by Steely Dan, Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Paul McCartney, and Ry Cooder.
"We’ve always leaned heavily on our influences and wore them on our sleeves,” says Landreth. “We wanted to find a way to say thanks to those whom we have borrowed so much from by recording our renditions of their tunes.
Each of the songs make their way into The Bros. live set from time to time, and the band has been on another extensive North American tour since October 17.Fans can let The Bros. Landreth know what other songs they would like to hear them cover and can vote on a selection of chart-topping pop songs that they’d like to see the band put their spin on.
Earlier this year The Bros. Landreth were honoured with the JUNO Award for Roots Album Of The Year. Their record, Let It Lie, is album about open highway and broken hearts, anchored by the bluesy wail of electric guitars, the swell of B3 organ, and the harmonized swoon of two voices that were born to mesh. Rolling Stone has called them “...four Manitobans who understand that in blues music, it's all about the swagger, not the speed.”
An excellent ten track album of traditional acoustic blues from Canada, Tim Williams simply has to be one of the finest pickers on the planet these days. A former double award winner at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, this release highlights his captivating style and talent to full effect.
Both of Williams' previous recent releases, 'Blue Highway' and 'Evenings Among Friends' - a re-release of an earlier effort - were wonderful bits of striking resonator and acoustic guitar-led blues work. With 'So Low' Williams confirms his clearly well-deserved place at the hi-end of the acoustic blues-tree.
Tracks covered include the jazz-inspired 'If You Live' from Mose Allison; Broonzy's 'My Big Money - a lesser-known gem; Blind Boy Fuller's 'Pistol Slapper', here titled 'Pistol Snapper', with Williams' own take on it as part of the ever-evolving folk-process; Johnny Cash's 'Big River'; and Tampa Red's classic 'The Witching Hour'. Many tracks are self-penned and showcase the guy's deep absorption in and understanding of the music and traditional blues in general.
Closing with his own composition, 'Lightnin',' a clear homage to his own personal hero, Texan Lightnin' Hopkins, this album is a genuine revelation, filled with neat guitar chops and intricate picking in styles that range through Delta to Piedmont, Texas to Chicago and most of the USA's notable blues-posts in between. A positive delight.
I rarely watch award shows and invest little interest in the outcome but the other night I decided to give this line-up a fair viewing.
The past decade award shows have been dominated by tuneless rappers and the “bling” scene. Nothing wrong with that, all in step with the times but the night’s set-up resembled the kind of big entertainment shows we used to get courtesy the Grammys or Academy Awards when song and dance brought us a mutually satisfying stopover.
From the downbeat with Jennifer Lopez in full costume and dance troupe in synch the next ten minutes was a riveting high stepping affair reminiscent of those Busby Berkeley extravaganzas nearly a century before to some of the year’s biggest hits, “Where Are U Now, Anaconda, Uptown Funk’ and Hotline Bling.” Musicians for the most part detest dancing. It just gets in the way of a good solo, a bit of technical wizardry, but since the days of vaudeville, dance and music have had some grand dust-ups.
Arianna Grande is most likely Lopez’s heir apparent. As the voice matures so will movement. Grande at twenty-two inhabited the stage as if cast in the movie A Star is Born – a starlet in waiting. The dance sequence to her hit “Focus” was spot on. White gloves, platform heels, cream colored dress – the big dream theatrical showpiece.
The dancing never let up. Justin Bieber rocked the night with a three song finale - a visual mash-up. The dance was precise, every move popped, the singing dead on - even the cloudburst; a bit of Vegas schmaltz, worked.
The Trews are set to showcase their quieter side with an acoustic tour of western Canada and Ontario this coming February and March (see full schedule below).
To coincide with these dates, the band is re-issuing their 2009 live acoustic album Friends & Total Strangers in a deluxe expanded edition, out November 27, 2015 via Home Music Canada / Entertainment One. The remastered set will include four previously unreleased tracks from The Trews' January 2009 sessions at Glenn Gould Studios in Toronto: "Every Inambition," "Makin' Sunshine," "No Time For Later," and "Not Ready To Go." Friends & Total Strangers will also be available on vinyl for the first time, as a double LP (available on tour in 2016) that can be purchased online or at the shows.
Lead guitarist John-Angus MacDonald produced all tracks on Friends & Total Strangers and recent production credits include JUNO nominated album The Union by The Glorious Sons which spawned the #1 single, "The Contender" at Active Rock Radio (Mediabase) this past month.
McKenna Mendelson Mainline is a seminal Canadian blues band, working the same English club circuit as the then up and coming bands Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin. In the spring of 1969, the band was signed to Liberty Records. (United Artists)
Much of McKenna Mendelson Mainline (MMM; see disambiguation at MMM)'s uniqueness stemmed from the originality of their approach to the blues genre. In the summer of 1968, in May, Toronto, Canada blues guitarist Mike McKenna (born April 15, 1946 in Toronto) formerly of Luke & The Apostles, placed an ad in The Toronto Star seeking musicians for a new project. In replying to the ad, acoustic blues artist Joe Mendelson (born July 30, 1944 in Toronto) suggested to McKenna that the idea of searching for blues musicians through the want ad milieu was an exercise in naïveté. Nevertheless, the two worked well creatively and the basis of McKenna Mendelson Mainline's dynasty was formed.