Canadian New Music At MIDEM

Jevon Rudder CD

Story: Cashbox Canada


In the thick of all the hype’n’hustle at MIDEM, which of course is where any serious player needs to be, it’s all too easy to miss out on the smaller gems. In the spirit of public service to all the attendees at MIDEM, here’s a short tip list to some music you really should hear while you’re there.

Jevon Rudder 

The Good, The Bad and The Lucky



This CD contains the sounds of the music genre called, “New Country.”  The vocals from track to track are as consistent as I have ever heard from this brand of music.  After years of being the drummer in several bands, Jevon has stepped into the Artist/Performer/Songwriter position and is carrying himself very well.  

The current single, “Country Style,” is taking the airwaves like a Texas tornado and other memorable cuts include: “Apologize”, “Bring It On”, and “ I Want It Back.”  This man pulls off a ballad with ease but shines like a new diamond on the up-tempo, sometimes sassy themes he writes about.  


Of special interest is the song “What Am I To You”, in which Rudder, himself an Army Reservist, addresses the makeup of the new war veterans, most often young men in their 20s, and the need to pay them due respect.

Jevon’s music should be included on any Country Music radio station’s playlist.  It is a perfect fit.
Rusty Russell


Don Graham

A Willing Heart  

Breakin’ Records/EMG

These 11 originals from a country rock veteran highlight the niche Graham has carved out for himself. It’s a little bit country, a little bit rock and a little bit Celtic. Teamed with his long-time associates from Chestnut Tree Productions, the Hill family, Bill and his son Andrew, Graham’s tales of personal relationships are lovingly arranged and executed.

From the clever, bluesy opening riff of ‘Got What It Takes’ to the stately harmonic cadences of the album closing title track, Graham has crafted an elegant, insightful collection of tunes that speak to the best in all of us. Plus there are guitar picker sounds of renown and tasty licks abound. Indeed, one of the sparkers here is ‘Play Like Scotty’ a string bending tribute to Scotty Moore, longstanding lead guitar player with Elvis Presley. 

Elsewhere, we get sweet Appalachian style picking on ‘Dug A Hole’, ‘The World Didn’t End’ is pure Nashville country, then the man does a sharp turn for the Tex-Mex-inflected ‘Como Te Amo’, featuring a vocal reminiscent of Marty Robbins. 

Which is another sharp point here; Graham’s vocals are correctly interpretive on every song, even when the tongue is gently applied to cheek with lines like "got swept away by mariachis”. One of the year’s best country releases.


James Lizzard 

Day 2 Déjà Vu

Liberty Lady


Day2 Déjà Vu are Jeff Fulford (lead vcls, gtrs), Sean MacLean (lead vcls, bass) and Justin Fulford (drums, percussion, backing vcls) and a big part of their punch comes from having dual lead singers. This ensues that both the sweet and the rough get the appropriate delivery and indicates a band with a reach beyond the indie rock clichés they occasional play into. Which is pretty much par for the course on a young band’s debut album and helps highlight just how hot the good stuff is. 

F’r instance, the one-two punch of Sad Face and She Wants America will forgive the strangely unresolved Inhale, which seems to stop just short of going all the way to full songhood and the girls will forgive them a roll cal of sins for the infectious indie dance rock of Lay You Down.


Which is probably as good a genre tag as to what this 905 area band is up to. Judging by the crowds which regularly show at T.Dot venues like Tattoo Rock Parlour and Cherry Cola Rockarolla to wig out to guitar rock, the boys have a large potential audience out there. It’s only a matter of time till they find each other. 

Then it’ll be all about Salvation and Burning In The Rain, which close out the album, leaving behind the sense of having been into something good. 

That’s supported by reports from the band’s album release party at Toronto’s Mod Club that yes indeed, did fair damsels dance and the men that love them did bang heads in appreciation of the barrage of guitar riffing roaring off the stage.

Overall an impressive debut that could vault Day2 Déjà Vu over the bar circuit and onto the level of Alexisonfire and Billy Talent.

James Lizzard


Linda Welby

A Story To Tell

Fontana North

Linda Welby, a young mother of eight from Ireland, and affectionately known as “The Galway Fiddler”, also the title of one of her songs, recently signed with Bullet Records (Nashville) and with one listen to her new CD “A Story To Tell” it is easy to see why Bullet wanted her on its roster. 


Welby brings a Celtic flair to today’s country and her story-telling is second to none on this collection of contemporary songs all written and produced by herself. Linda Welby has a very defined vision of where she is going and what is important in her life. Her passion for life, others and her music is defined with “Through You, I’ll Find My Way”, a song written as being told through the eyes of a person with Autism.

If you’re looking for something just a little bit different, but with the story telling and emotion that makes a good country song, then this CD is for you. Add it to your collection – you won’t be sorry. 

Rusty Russell



Rockit 88

Sweet Sugar Cane 

Fontana North

 Welcome to Sweet Sugar Cane, only the second album from T.Dot blues/roots rock band Rockit88 and it’s linked to the same pedigree as the music of The Band and early Van Morrison. Fronted by dual singing songwriters Neil Chapman and Bill King, Sweet Sugar Cane is the game changer for the band and the In Door to a whole new identity as an original act.

As such, the stakes are high but on most tracks, the band raises the bar then easily soars over it.

The album opens with 35 seconds of Southern fried Gershwin-ish piano riffs, which nicely sets up ‘Summertime Is Here’, a mid-temp invitation to party down summer style, sprinkled with slide guitar licks like stardust and the propulsive drumming of Jim Casson. From there it’s on to all manner of original material inflected with country blues (‘I Never Knew The Blues’), swamp rock touched by barrel house piano (‘Brother, Sister’). Among ballads so American Gothic stately you can almost see the Spanish moss hanging off them is the brilliant r'n'b infused ‘Angels Crying’ and the show-stopping title track, dusted with the kind of organ lines which link it to genre gems like ‘Long Black Veil’.


Folks say good material will elevate a band’s performance and certainly both King and Chapman bring their A games to the vocals, giving each tunes a specific signature. The ensemble playing is tight without feeling constricted and the sincerity just oozes out the tracks.

This is a class act all the way and the best album of roots Americana by a non-American band released this year. Essential listening for the fedora-wearing hipsters fooling around with roots music.

Big props to Toronto music magnate Gary Slaight, who not only inspired the album but also paid for it. Way to rock it dude; coin well spent. 

Lenny Stoute