We’ve visited places and declare never to return or check off a wish list. Then there is the unexpected – a place of authentic magic – a place we develop a surreal affection for. Sometimes it’s just the nature of things – others, the people and surroundings and others – all three. Cape Breton is my north, North America land love.
September 21, 2004 Ivan’s Hurricane force winds tapped Cape Breton. I had the marvellous opportunity to drive the long winding mountainous cliffs that rise over the rolling seas and travel the interior – the Cabot Trail - then hang tight through Hurricane Ivan – play chicken with a fierce ocean and meet the people. It’s the terrain and warm embraces – the picturesque villages that color memories trimmed in the eloquent natural light of a Vermeer painting.
I’ve always appreciated the Rankin’s – that big Celtic tradition. Any chance to rekindle my long distance fondness for the East coast is always a welcomed treat, especially through its people. I caught up with celebrated singer – songwriter and actor, Heather Rankin for a chat about her first solo effort – Fine Line. Here’s a bit of that conversation.
Bill King: Do you still run the Red Shoe Pub?
Heather Rankin: We certainly do.
B.K: I take it’s a seasonal operation – when does it open?
Finger Eleven is a Canadian rock band from Burlington, Ontario, formed in 1990. They have released seven total studio albums (six as Finger Eleven and one as Rainbow Butt Monkeys), with their album The Greyest of Blue Skies bringing them into the mainstream. The 2003 self-titled album achieved Gold status in the United States and Platinum in Canada, largely from the success of the single "One Thing", which marked the band's first placing on the US Hot 100 Chart at number 16. Their 2007 album, Them vs. You vs. Me, launched the single "Paralyzer", which went on to top numerous charts including the Canadian Hot 100 and both US rock charts, as well as reaching No. 6 on the US Hot 100 and No. 12 on the Australian Singles Chart. They won the Juno Award for Rock Album of the Year in 2008. It was later certified gold status in the US and multi platinum in Canada. They released their sixth studio album, Life Turns Electric, on October 5, 2010; it was nominated for a Juno Award for Best Rock Album of the Year. They released their first single, "Living in a Dream", adding a little bit of more of funk rock and dance rock, just like their hit song "Paralyzer". Five Crooked Lines, their 7th studio album, was released July 31, 2015, with "Wolves and Doors" as the lead single.
Jamie Williams & The Roots Collective is a six-piece English outfit with a firm grasp on modern Americana with underlying blues and rock influences clearly part of its make-up. 'Live 'N' Kickin' is just that: a live recording, recorded at the 2015 Cropredy Fringe Festival (Cropredy is the annual home of the official Fairport Convention folk-roots bash) at the Brasenose Arms, a bar known to love this kind of kickin' music.
All fourteen tracks featured here are written by band-leader, Jamie Williams himself and range across the blues/rock/country/Americana gamut while positively pulsing with good-humour, stylish ouches and sheer joi de vivre. This is a noisy band, not a faint-heart in sight or sound. Almost everything in this melodic mix rocks and rolls, music to get people on their feet, to dance with and to.
Having been together for around five years, the current line-up is settled, sure-footed and satisfying. Williams leads on rhythm-guitar and vocals with strong, explosive at times, support from Lizzie B on acoustic guitar; Dave 'The Hat' Milligan on lead-guitar; Kev 'The Rock' Warner on bass; Nick 'Nix' Garner on harp, and Spencer Blackledge keeping the beat together on drums.
All in all this is a promising live album full to bursting with thumping, fiery tracks and up-tempo modern Americana music. A great discovery.
Weather's warming so all kinds of bands are hitting the road. Fans of Canadiana will be happy to know that one of the genre's paramount practitioners will be touring the land starting Mar.31.
Lost & Profound has long leveraged the moodiness of the northern climes to influence their songwriting, and most recent release Goodbye Mine brings a return of their signature melancholy-infused pop rock.Lead singer Lisa Boudreau and lyricist/guitarist/producer Terry Tompkins were never completely lost, but did take a break from making records together, experimenting separately in different music genres.Lost and Profound’s origins are in the underground music scene in Calgary, where Terry and Lisa first collaborated as the Psychedelic Folk Virgins. They relocated to Toronto in 1985, independently releasing their tequila-fueled Lost & Profound premiere The Bottled Romance of Nowhere. Polygram Records discovered the band and released their major label debut Lost & Profound, resulting in Top 20 single “Brand New Set of Lies” and a JUNO Award Nomination. They had two subsequent releases, and then recorded as Red Suede Red for their 2002 album. Their tours included a music video shoot and Much Music special in Varanasi, India along the Ganges.
Americana country psych band Nocona's music is based on the family tradition – from The Carter Family and The Louvin Brothers to Willie’s Family Picnic and the cool California breeziness of The Mamas and the Papas. At times the music finds the petulance and power of The Ramones and The Kinks, but it is tradition that comes out on stage every time Nocona bring their traveling circus to town.
Nocona is about energy--a rock band with history. They draw their roots from country, folk, punk and rock, taking the psychedelia of the 13 th Floor Elevators and mashing it up with the Bakersfield sound—Roky and Buck, Love and the Burrito Brothers. They’ve just released their 2 nd studio album, Long Gone Song, from which muso blog, Moxipop call Nocona, “…one of the most promising frontrunners of the Americana revival scene as of late.”