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.
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.”
From Southern Cal to middle Tennessee, Maddie Logan has made the pilgrimage that so many have made before her. The young singer/ songwriter realized that her love of country music and desire to be an active part of that scene could only be achieved by moving to the heart of the industry; Nashville, Tennessee. But she was still so young to make that move on her own. Enter a dedicated mom and dad who saw her potential and acted on it.
“I started singing probably at the age of 4 or 5 years old and writing my own little songs. My mom says while other little kids made drawings and paintings, I would come a sing them a song I made up,” Maddie said from her home just outside of Nashville.
When she was 13 years old the family decided to make the move to Nashville to help Maddie realize her dream.” My parents are so supportive of me and my career and their belief in me is huge part of what makes me determined to make this happen.
Her influences include Dolly Parton” a remarkable woman aswell as a great singer and songwriter and smart business woman” and her all time favorite Brad Paisley. I love Brad Paisley. I love the songs he writes, intelligent country and his stage presence. If I had to pick a dream act to open for it would be Brad Paisley.” And her dream duet partner ? “Brad Paisley.”
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.”
Submitted to Cashbox Canada Photo Credit Michael Maxxis
Big Sugar are a Canadian blues, reggae rock band. They were active from 1991 to 2004 and again since April 2010, currently still performing.
Big Sugar officially formed in 1988 in Toronto, Ontario, consisting of vocalist and guitarist Gordie Johnson, bassist Terry Wilkins, and drummer Al Cross, though the three musicians had already played together for several years as a supporting band for Molly Johnson's jazz performances and as an informal jam band with members of the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir. After Molly Johnson returned to rock music with Infidels, she helped her former bandmates to secure a record deal; their eponymous debut album was released in 1991 on Hypnotic Records.
“I’m ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable”. Leonard Cohen said these words not long ago. The iconic singer/songwriter whose work spanned nearly 50 years, died last week at the age of 82. Leonard Cohen's record label, Sony Music Canada, confirmed his death on the singer's Facebook page with the following statement.
"It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away. We have lost one of music's most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will be held at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief."
From some perspectives it could argued that death has been a part of Cohen’s writing since he began creating poetry but perhaps more present lately as he aged. It was probably brought more to the forefront when Cohen’s living musical contemporaries, the ones who planted the seeds for modern rock and folk music, started passing on in numbers. Elvis Presley, who was born a year after Cohen, died young in 1977 and earlier this year, so too did Presley’s longtime guitarist Scotty Moore. David Bowie, who released his debut the same year Cohen did, also died this year.
In July, Marianne Ihlen, who was Cohen’s lover and muse when they lived in Greece in the 60s died at the age of 81. She of course was the Marianne in “So Long, Marianne,”
Before she passed away, Cohen sent her a letter that was read to her on her deathbed.
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.
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.
Jen Lane and John Antoniuk are coming back to Eastern Canada for a fall tour and it looks like a lot of audiences are going to get to enjoy this heart-warming, down-to-earth couple right in their own hometown.
In celebration of Jen Lane’s latest record being released on vinyl, the Saskatoon couple has almost back-to-back-to-back dates all over Ontario and Quebec starting from November 1 and continuing right through to November 29. There are shows booked in Guelph, Orillia, Gravenhurst, Oakville, Wakefield, Montreal and the town of Durham in Grey-Bruce.
They are also continuing their twice-yearly residency at the Cameron House, the warm and cozy venue in downtown Toronto that just celebrated its 35th Anniversary. You’ll find John opening things up at 8 pm every Tuesday in November, followed by a long and lovely set by Jen Lane and her band.
Jen’s latest video is for the title track of her latest album, “This Life of Mine”. It’s a glimpse into the recording process and the studio where it was recorded, complete with very adorable alpacas. Here is the link to that video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTMzaS4MbdA
For details on the full eastern Canada tour, as well as more videos and streaming songs, visit Jen’s web page at jenlane.com
When we heard the words “lest we forget” years ago it really meant “we’re not going to forget”. How could we? There were reminders of the wars everywhere, veterans, freedoms we gained and kept because of our brave defenders and peace, glorious, hard earned peace. But honestly times have changed. For this generation born in the 90’s there hasn’t really been world peace. From the Gulf War of the 90’s, 9/11 and the continuing terrorist threats, it’s a volatile world we live in. With the passage of time there are fewer veterans still living to remind us of the past and fewer stories being told of the brave men and women who gave their lives for us.
War is a terrible thing. It is an organized conflict that is carried out by different countries against each other as a way of resolving differences. It is usually characterized by extreme violence, and economic destruction and multiple deaths. The way it is carried out is called warfare. An absence of war is usually called peace. War has been waged from the beginning of time and continues to this day, and every year on November the 11th, we here in Canada honour the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the rights and liberties of their homeland and its people. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month at 11 o’clock a moment of silence, often two minutes is observed across the country and a well-deserved respect is paid to armed forces past and present, dead, alive and wounded.