Music

My Christmas Memory

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Submitted by Don Graham

Every year we at Cashbox get to write a little vignette describing a favourite Christmas memory and every year I think I don’t have any more, I‘ve told them all.  But turns out that’s not true and the beauty is it forces me to travel back in time to various stages of  my life, looking for a new Christmas memory.

So I thought this year maybe I’d write about something that happened after my childhood, when I was an adult. Nah, that won’t work. All my real happy memories of Christmas are from when I was a young boy. Christmas was different then. It was commercial alright, but not to extent it is now. As kids we each got one “big” present and a bunch of little things like socks or gloves or a little book. Our stockings had an orange, always an orange, some nuts; walnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans and such. And usually a little candy and chocolate. It really was more about family and all being together on that special day. My feeling and memory of is of a huge, full tree covered in long strands of tinsel, great big lights, not the puny little lights of today, big round, fragile Christmas balls of red, green, silver and blue. A beautiful angel that perched on top of the tree and angel hair scattered all around.

BTW- Bernice, Melanie Peterson, Jen Lane, Ault Sisters, Saxsyndrum, Tasseomancy, Susan Aglukark, Psychic Mind, Donkey

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Not at all Christmassy but bright fun all the same is “St Lucia”, newest video from artpop crew Bernice, pairs soulful vocal melodies with playful sonic tripouts. Bernice vocalist/songwriter Robin Dann says artist Sonia Beckwith-Cole, who directed the “St Lucia” video, was the clear choice – “Her animation felt completely right to me, and I knew she would make something so beautiful for the song's world.”

“When I first heard the song I imagined pinks and blues, a lot of textures and water, water, water,” director/animator Sonia Beckwith-Cole says of her inspiration for the video. “The song talks about how as a woman you are connected to a lineage of women that are a part of you, and contribute to who you are, while somehow still being distant. The verses bring up these complicated feelings and the chorus brings us escape from these worries to be present in a moment of joy. The woman in my story starts out in a confused wandering state surrounded by dark, obscured imagery. When she finally dives off the edge of a waterfall the imagery becomes bright, colourful and full of movement and she finds solace with friends in the water.”

BTW-Your Boy Tony Braxton, The Funk Hunters, Zoe Sky Jordan, Liam Titcomb, Royal Canoe, Dylan Shay, Lily Frost, Melanie Peterson, Sharon Jones

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Earlier this year, rapper, radio host, and now soft rock singer, Shad released a surprise album, Adult Contempt, under the name Your Boy Tony Braxton. He is preparing to hit the stage with Tokyo Police Club for three nights at The Mod Club on December 8, 9 and 10 in support.

Recently Your Boy Tony Braxton shared the music video for album track “Good (Enough).” The video, directed by Justin Broadbent, takes us on a trip back to the 90s and features Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning trying to rent a copy of Speed 2 on VHS.

"So, this is a song about a man who's just beginning to understand what's behind his loneliness, insecurity, and rage," explains Shad. While Broadbent added "I wanted to make a video that affirmed it was ok to like things like Speed 2. We often get in our heads about our futures or art making and need to take a step back and truly enjoy things for what they are."

Veteran Canadian Radio Host Holger Petersen Releases Second Book of Musical Conversations

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

While Holger Petersen’s best known for his blues-based radio programs, he’s just as interested in artists who work in other roots music genres — Cajun musicians Zachary Richard and Bobby Charles, Allen Toussaint, Sam The Sham, Van Dyke Parks, Rory Block, Mose Allison, Billy Boy Arnold, UK singers Maggie Bell and Maddy Prior (together), guitarists James Burton and Albert Lee (together) and songwriters Chip Taylor, Dan Penn/Spooner Oldham (together) and Tony Joe White are among those whose interviews are included.

Each of the conversations is introduced by Petersen’s personal recollections of the artists he’s meeting, and the book’s foreword is contributed by Grammy-winning musicologist Rob Bowman. As Bowman explains, “Talking Music 2 is an important collection, as interviews with the majority of the artists included are not common and certainly do not get included in question- and-answer format interview anthologies such as this.

“The strength of these interviews is Petersen’s conversational tone and the ease he has with the artists he is talking to.”

In addition to his ongoing 30-year run at CBC, Petersen has hosted “Natch’l Blues” on the Alberta radio network CKUA since 1969. He estimates that he’s done well over 3,000 interviews — and the conversations in Talking Music 2 were originally recorded for his radio programs, or at side-stages at folk festival.

BTW-Tribe Royal, Nuela Charles, Thomas D'Arcy/Hawksley Workman, HorseThief, MONA, PUP, Charlotte Day Wilson, River Tiber, Silver Hearts

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Getting off to a folk rocky start with Tribe Royal, a four piece out of Ottawa. The band was born from the partnership of Terry O'Brien and Chris Kerwin, two aspiring songwriters, and their shared interest in the musical giants of the 20th century. When their bandmates Bram Al-Najjar and Mike Giamberardino joined, the result was a dynamic relationship that has crafted the band's sound into the genres it now encompasses.

Tribe Royal's sound can be described as an alchemic blend of folk music, 60's British Rock and 90's Alternative Rock. At the core of the Tribe are three unique singing voices that can be layered for 3-part harmony, or woven to create imaginative counterpoints. Their sound and songs have a nostalgic feeling to them, introspective yet vibrant; grounded in honest experiences and youthful memories.

Since the band's formation in January 2014, Tribe Royal has earned a reputation as a hardworking and ambitious group. They have released one LP, " Samadhi", with a second 'Colours of the Sun' recently released . In just over two years , they have played more than 150 shows in 20 different cities. Their love for music has connected them with thousands of people of all ages, through small private benefit performances, and large-scale rock venues.

BTW- Scott Earl Hardy, Floating Room, Divine Brown, Frigs, Ann Vriend, CoCo Love Alcorn, Sean Jones, Peter Jackson, Danny Marks

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Like a real-life character out of Bruce McDonald’s classic film Hard Core Logo, Scott Earl Hardy has played the same dives across Canada more times than he’d care to mention, been on the wrong end of too many bad deals, and survived his share of near-death experiences. Yet, through it all, he never lost his passion for writing and performing rock and roll in its most dangerous form.

Hearing Hardy’s new album, Love Kills Slow, without knowing any of this, one could easily assume that its go-for-broke arrangements and no-holds-barred lyrics were the work of an artist at least half Hardy’s age. But deep within these grooves lies punk rock’s original promise, fulfilled by music only someone with Hardy’s credentials could create.

Love Kills Slow is a collection of the best tracks Hardy has recorded over the past few years at producer John Dinsmore’s Toronto studio, Lincoln County Social Club. Dinsmore also contributed scorching lead guitar, after laying the foundation on bass with his NQ Arbuckle rhythm section mate Mark Kesper on drums.

The Balconies Release Music Video For “Rhonda”

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Alt-rockers, The Balconies, have had a banner season already with the release of their epic new album, Rhonda, and have kicked off their fall tour that will take them across the country through November and December. Now, with their adopted-hometown Toronto show set to hit the stage at Lee’s Palace tonight, the group is excited to share the next piece of Rhonda – a stunning music video for the title track. Watch the story unfold here.

“Finding balance is a challenge for everyone,” says frontwoman, Jacquie Neville. “How do we find time to be social, creative, alone and reflective, and also find time to make a living? As musicians, it’s difficult to find a balance between doing what you really want, and what you need to in order to survive. We consider it very important to do things that fuel our passion, and inspire and empower us. RHONDA, our heroine, struggles to achieve equilibrium in her life: she wants to reject working a traditional job, but fears of uncertainty, and her insecurities, hold her back.”

BTW - Ween, Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs, Twin Rains, Carl McIntosh & Loose Ends, Oliver Mtukudzi, The Jerry Cans, Women Blues Review, Donkey, Lily Frost, The Skints

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

This week, it's a righteously mixed bag. First off, the re-release of Ween's seminal release, GodWeenSatan, and its genesis, as remembered by Dean Ween (Mickey Melchiondo).

“They say you only get one chance to make your first record and that's very true. The thing with Ween though, we had already been together for a while by the time our debut album, GodWeenSatan, was initially released, and had amassed a TON of tunes. I hadn't thought of GWS as a new album, but more of a "greatest hits" of our first six years together.”

"GWS was re-released by Restless Records on September 11, 2001 - a day that lives in infamy. We had planned a show at our local bar, John and Peter's in New Hope, PA, on September 14 to celebrate the reissue. If you are old enough to remember 9/11, you remember the feeling of dread and that things would never be the same, ever. We didn't know whether to cancel the gig or not, but ultimately decided that we shouldn't let the tragedy affect our plans.”

BTW- Debra-Jean Creelman, Kinnie Starr, Oh Pep, Avery Raquel, Jen Lane, Friendly Rich, Public Animal, Terra Lightfoot, Blue Goose

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Photo at right: Debra-Jean Creelman

Vancouver's Debra-Jean Creelman is making a name in Americana roots circles for her singing and songwriting. An accomplished singer having found success early with Canadian indie pop act Mother Mother, Debra went on to focus on her solo career in 2008. She's also lent her voice to a bevy of notable Canadian artists, including Frazey Ford, the Wooden Sky, the Crackling, Louise Burns, Aidan Knight, Dustin Bentall, and Pugs and Crows. For the Railtown Sessions, Debra-Jean steps to the left of the folk/roots idiom and brings an ethereal quality to the collection. On "Midnight Sun" her voice pierces a wall of fuzz reminiscent of 50's doo-wop and 60's psychedelia. "Up in Smoke" winds its way in a meditative fashion while "Maybe They Were Right" brings grit and swagger. She sings "It's so hard to speak my heart, when my mind is breaking" on the slow burning "In the Dark", full of vulnerability. All in all, the swelling distortion and strong yet delicate vocals of Debra's Session echo the howl of the locomotives grinding their way out of Railtown.

Uncovered 10-Bowie & Queen

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Koerner Hall- Various Artists
Submitted by Lenny Stoute

For their tenth anniversary production of the UnCovered series, the folks at Up Stage Theatre went uptown to Koerner Hall to stage the potentially tangy UnCovered: Queen & Bowie. That potential was not often realised as the storyline offered many occasions on which, rather than a clash of creative views, we had consensual arrival at a soft middle ground.

But you don't go to Uncovered for strong storylines, you're there for the music and on that front, the cast and band delivered the goods. The strong line-up offered Brent Carver (Tony Award-winner), Divine Brown (Juno Award-winner), Melissa O’Neil (Canadian Idol-winner, Broadway’s Les Miserables), Sara Farb (Stratford Festival), Maev Beaty (Stratford Festival), Gabe Grey (Beeba Boys, Bomb Girls), Andrew Penner (Sunparlour Players, Soulpepper), Kelly Holiff (Charlottetown Festival), Robert Markus (Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival), Arinea Hermans (2016 Banks Prize Winner) and Jahlen Barnes (2016 Banks Prize Winner).

As befitting the theatricality of the material, they were backed by an orchestra of piano, violin, cello, guitar, bass and percussion, which made for intricate layering of sounds absent from the originals. Full marks for creating unique arrangements tailored to the story within each song's lyrics.

With the two towering catalogues of Bowie and Queen to work from, there was no shortage of killer story songs in the set, though 'Killer Queen' wasn't one of them.

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