Features

Winterfolk Roundup Various Clubs Toronto

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Photo: Peter Verity

Winterfolk XV was busier, punchier and way warmer than usual, all good things for the folk that swarmed over the bridge to check the annual feast of blues and roots musics of all kinds. Folkie Peter Verity opened the launch party at The Black Swan with an engrossing set largely drawn from recent album Sometimes A Journey. Accompanied by fiddle virtuoso Thomas Hamilton, Verity rolled out the haunting narratives and minor key melodies of fan faves“Blue as I Can Get”, “The Healing Rain” and “North Ontario” among others.

Next up, the bayou brewed quirkiness of Soozi Schlanger, vocals & lead fiddle and washboard, with Conny Nowe adding guitar and vocals. The pair helm Toronto's most loved Cajun dance band Swamperella, so we got some of that but Soozi focused on recent joints from her solo project soozimusic, of which the artist has said: "The songs paints a personal portrait that exposes the private world of the artist behind the scenes, the internal world...the motels and hotels, the long drives, the one night stands...witty, gutsy, vulnerable and true. Faves here were "Don't Let Go" and " Road Trip Again".

Matt Andersen - Honest Man

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Submitted by Don Graham

Matt Andersen has paid his dues (probably some of yours and mine as well) and is now reaping the rewards of his labour with international recognition and a jammed packed tour schedule.

We caught up with Matt at his home in Nova Scotia on the eve of the beginning of his new live show schedule -The Honest Man Tour. “I feel really fortunate that I’m able to go out on these tours and enough people like my music and support me to make it all possible.” This tour is a solo tour and I asked Matt, who tours with his band as well, ,whether he preferred the band set up or the solo configuration he said “I like them both, neither one is better, just different. As a solo I can change things but I do that with the band anyway. It’s fun to not do the same thing every night. Plus the band is used to me hollering at them on stage.”

And Matt is set to embark on a tour that will see him in the northeast United States in February and March with Canadian gigs in March and April as well before heading to Europe in May and June and back to Canada in July. The boy is busy and enjoying every minute of it. “I feel very fortunate to be able to work as much as I do and be able to share the music with the people.”

Dallas Old 97's Release Their 11th Studio Album Graveyard Whistling

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada
Old 97 Photo Credit Jason Garner

Dallas four-piece Old 97's is a pioneer ofthe alt-country movement. Years of hard work has earnedthem respect and veneration, yet they still retain theraucous energy, deceptive cleverness, and knockabout spiritthat first distinguished them from the pack. This attitude continues on their 11th studio album,Graveyard Whistling, out today.

Today the band released its music video for rollickingsingle "Good with God". Directed by Lee Kirk, the video isa parody of MTV's '120 Minutes' featuring an interview andlive-tracked performance with Fred Armisen (Portlandia, Late Night With Seth Meyers) andJenna Fischer (The Office). "Good with God" has also been a breakout at radio and is inside the top 20 on the AAA Chart.

"Lee Kirk and his team had written a great script andarranged for what would have been a very cool video when wediscovered at the last minute that our drummer would not beable to take part in the filming," explained lead singerand songwriter Rhett Miller. "Thank god that Fred Armisenis a world-class drummer in addition to being literally thefunniest man on the planet. What we wound up with wasunexpected and amazing. This video could have been an hourlong given all of the hilarious improv that Jenna and Freddid."

Forgotten Rebels Lee's Palace Toronto

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Submitted by Sam Jay Copeland
(Editor's note: We sent a next generation punk appreciator to see how an iconic punk act from the way past stacks up with the young uns.)

Go to a punk show for the music, stay for the ritual. A fan climbed onstage during the middle of a song (don't remember which one, possibly A.I.D.S.) and declared her eternal love for lead singer Mickey DeSadist. He allowed her to come on stage and dance around for a bit, whilst cautioning her to "please not show everybody in the crowd your boobs like you always do."

The house was packed, the average age was probably about 40, but there was still a strong contingent of younger people, mostly making themselves noticed by smashing against each other in the mosh pit while all except the most hardcore older folk stood by the sidelines. The Kensington Market veterans were all in attendance, with Steve Goof (of TheBunchOfFuckingGoofs) and his entourage of refugees from the 1980’s frequently parading to the bar and returning to the pit with 4 beers each.

Mickey was wearing a shiny golden Mad Hatter's costume from some alternate universe version of Alice in Wonderland as imagined by David Bowie. His stage presence was on point, soaking up the crowd's delight and stopping to make sarcastic commentary when appropriate. His beer gut emerged from the shimmering suit vest in a way that me and my friends concluded was in fact proud. Rather than concealing his middle aged girth behind a veil of glam rock influenced sexuality he had integrated it into the performance.

Rory Block – The Lady with the Blues

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Submitted by Iain Patience

Where do you start with Rory Block?  Something of an acoustic blues legend these days, she's a lady who has played with the greats, sat at their feet absorbing their multi-hued styles and tones while always striving to open new boxes with her sassy, savvy driving vocals and strident, percussive fretwork. For over fifty years, Block has thrown down the blues gauntlet, pushing herself to the limit at times, known for her bleeding, scarred and torn fingertips and her refusal to compromise her music in any way.

It's only fitting that she has most recently centred her focus on the old generation of pickers, the guys that influenced, inspired and instructed her in the music, legendary names that every blues-fan both knows and reveres. Guys who were her blues buddies, sharing their own evident love of the music with her, as she honed her craft and powered her way along the care-worn, blues highway.

Currently riding a well-deserved wave of popularity, Block's stunning, Stony Plain  'Mentor Series' of recent releases have not only reacquainted many with the traditional roots of the music but also showcased her own, startlingly colourful mastery of a range of different and divergent styles of playing. This is a lady who doesn't just play the blues - she pretty much is the blues incarnate.

BTW This Week- King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Old 97's, Danny Michel, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, Louie Louie, Ruthless Ones

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute 

Hailed by Rolling Stone as "one of the most compelling collectives of art-rock experimentalists in recent years, exploring a mix of high-concept musical odysseys that range from AM bubblegum to kaleidoscopic acid tests," Australian psychedelic seven-piece King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have expanded minds yet again with their latest song "Sleep Drifter".

"Sleep Drifter" is featured on the new album Flying Microtonal Banana, out February 24th via ATO Records. This album is King Gizzard's first-ever experience in microtonal tuning, which features intervals smaller than a semitone and not found in customary Western tuning octaves.

"Earlier this year we started experimenting with a custom microtonal guitar our friend Zak made for Stu," further explained drummer Eric Moore. "The guitar was modified to play in 24-TET tuning and could only be played with other microtonal instruments. We ended up giving everyone a budget of $200 to buy instruments and turn them microtonal. The record features the modified electric guitars, basses, keyboards and harmonica as well as a Turkish horn called a Zurna."

To say the King Gizzard crew is averse to comfort zones is an understatement.

Luke Nicholson Releases New Product on April 14

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Toronto singer/songwriter Luke Nicholson's new album Shape And Sound, out April 14 on Maggie's Room Records/Fontana North, displays once again the melodic gifts and poignant storytelling that has led him to be regarded as one of Canada's true songwriting craftsmen. The album also marks a sonic departure from Nicholson's previous work, drawing inspiration from the likes of The Lumineers and City & Colour.

Shape And Sound 's two-year journey following his previous release Frantic City not only led Nicholson to find his true artistic identity, it also encouraged him to firmly take the reins of his creative process. Nicholson worked closely with Marty Skrzypczyk, and between them they played every instrument while co-producing all the tracks from the beds up. Mixing was handled by Howie Beck, with Joao Carvalho applying his usual excellent mastering skills.

Kenny 'Blues Boss' Wayne - Jumpin' & Boppin'!

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Submitted by Sandy Graham
Biography Credit: Sarah French Publicity

Hailed as "an artist bringing the piano back to the front ranks of contemporary blues," multiple-award winning blues, boogie-woogie and jazz pianist Kenny 'Blues Boss' Wayne is called "Blues Boss" for a reason. His musical career began as a child prodigy in the 1960s and has continued to flourish for over 50 years with Wayne at the forefront of modern day blues piano practitioners.

Born in Spokane, Washington, raised in New Orleans and now based in British Columbia, Kenny 'Blues Boss' Wayne has built a stellar reputation within Canada and abroad for his lively attire and energetic concert performances. The zoot suited Wayne will be returning to Russia, South America, and Europe later in 2016, where he regularly sells out 800 to 1000 seat venues and headlines many international concerts and festivals.

Proudly Canadian: Blackie and the Rodeo Kings

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings originally formed in 1996 when Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson came together to record what was suppose to be a one- off tribute album to the great Canadian songwriter Willie P. Bennett.

At the time, all three members were deeply committed to burgeoning solo careers that they had no intentions of putting on hold, and had no plans to turn Blackie into an ongoing concern. Now twenty years later, 8 albums , one Juno award and several Juno nominations under their belts, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings have organically evolved into one of the finest roots-oriented bands in North America. Blackie and the Rodeo Kings remains one of Canada’s greatest musical treasures.

Midnight Oil Announce "The Great Circle 2017" World Tour Plus Major Archival Releases

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Legendary Australian rock band and agitators Midnight Oil today announced their first World Tour in over two decades including a stop in Toronto on May 20 at the Danforth Music Hall and in Vancouver at the Commodore Ballroom on June 2. They also unveiled plans to release three archival box sets including a collection called "The Overflow Tank" which will contain more than 14 hours of previously unreleased and rare material.

"The Great Circle 2017" World Tour will see the group's classic lineup literally circle around our overheating planet for 6 months, starting and ending with gigs in Sydney. Appropriately for a band forged in their hometown's sweat-drenched beer barns, the tour will begin in mid-April with an intimate local pub gig (details to be announced closer to the date). Midnight Oil will then perform 30 gigs around the world during the northern summer, playing iconic venues from Sao Paulo's Espaço das Americas and the Wiltern in L.A. to London's Hammersmith Apollo and The Olympia in Paris. They will share festival stages with artists like Arcade Fire, Sting and The Pixies and finally return to New Zealand after 20 years. This long-awaited World Tour will climax with 18 special homecoming concerts through October and November, 2017.

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