Album Reviews

Kelly McGrath O Holy Night

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Submitted by Laura Dodero

The wont of popular music performers to produce seasonal material celebrating the Christmas season is a tradition reaching back several decades and, typically, works as a ploy to print money by preying on people’s sentiments. Some offerings strike us as self-consciously crafted confections playing on popular tropes, but there are some efforts that come along each year notable for their musical creativity and unbridled honesty. Kelly McGrath’s latest single “O Holy Night” joins the ranks of the latter thanks to its pure-hearted theatricality that highlights the scale of McGrath’s vocal talents and the wise arrangement she chooses to move this tune along. Rather than tossing a bunch of needless musical tinsel onto the recording, McGrath chooses to take a much more minimalist approach certain to connect with audiences and the sparse musical accompaniment adorning the song is expertly applied and doesn’t betray even a hint of self-indulgence.

Kevin Fisher Beer Me

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Submitted by Pamela Bellmore

The dozen songs on Kevin Fisher’s debut 'Beer Me' have outstanding confidence in the way they come across despite being clearly comical in nature. He’s recruited a first-class cast of collaborators to bring the music to life and they come through on each of the twelve cuts with hard-edged gravitas that acts as a counterbalance of sorts to the comedic elements Fisher brings to bear through the words and vocal delivery. His extensive experience writing successfully for acts like Uncle Kracker and Sara Evans proves he can write every kind of tune you would imagine and it’s freeing to hear Fisher take the listener through twelve essentially silly songs without a moment of self-consciousness and just reveling in the moment. Beer Me is a fun ride from the start and we’re in good hands from the first song with an album that has no audible lulls.

Cameron Blake Fear Not

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Submitted by Laura Dodero

Fear Not, the second studio platter from Cameron Blake, will likely end up being one of the defining releases in Blake's musical career. You can't accuse him of aiming low. Blake's dozen songs on Fear Not make use of a supporting cast numbering nearly fifty musicians to take on the theme of fear. The songs, in a variety of contexts, explore the subject without any sentimentality or straining for effect. They succeed in a major way, thanks to his focus on the reality of this subject rather than just some grab bag of tropes and easy drama. It's autobiographical, or at least that suggestion is there, but Blake has a sharp interest in the lives of others outside his sphere that's reflected in his personal journey. The greatest artists often bring those things that drive their daily lives into their art and it's, invariably, a beautiful experience. Blake brings that experience to its near zenith with Fear Not.

The Mighty Bosscats: God Bless America

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Submitted by Iain Patience

This is a simply lovely album from a UK outfit with a blues-cum-Americana outlook, feel and beauty. Fronted by guitarist and songwriter Richard Townend, the band is tightly controlled with hints of seventies US, West Coast, Laurel Canyon sounds and sensibilities.

In many ways this has a Knopfleresque feel but, having been listening to this outfit for some years now, it is surely time to shrug aside that sort of thinking. Maybe, and probably inevitably, Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits have been influences and interests back in the past, but Townend has clearly slipped off that yolk and moved on with his own distinctive style and delicious delivery.

Townend is a mighty clever lyricist, a guy who can work a theme and run a rippling roll of fretwork and melody to match the thinking. The result is a genuinely individual and engaging musical take and outlook. I must confess to being a fan and advocate of this band and its music. With ‘God Bless America’ it seems evident that they have moved ahead, running onto a new path of irresistible modern, top-notch music, always with a blues edge at heart but aided by a keen eye towards the  Americana future. This is a true delight, an album to savor.

For more on Richard Townend and The Mighty Bosscats visit

Severine: Not Obsessed

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Submitted by Stephen Bailey

The imagination and depth of feeling that goes into realizing “Not Obsessed” make it much different than the average pop song. Severine’s single has the potential to break out in a big way commercially, but she takes no compromises to position the song in such a way. “Not Obsessed” comes off as an intensely personal lyrical and musical statement. Her youth is no impediment to projecting confidence and Severine’s vocal performance simmers with atmospherics and a satisfying emotional range. Severine was born in the United States initially, but her French-born parents soon decided to return to France and she grew up in an environment that promoted her musical development. The song’s subject matter isn’t necessarily remaking the wheel, but it’s equally impressive how Severine has established such a unique voice for speaking on familiar themes and subjects.

Flatt Lonesome Silence In These Walls

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Submitted by Joshua Stryde

The six members of Flatt Lonesome have grown a lot as individuals, band mates, songwriters, and musicians in the four years since they first appeared on the scene with a self-titled debut. This distinctive and retro-minded outfit has spent much of the early part of their run pay due deference to the rich history of country music, but these last four years has also found them expanding their purview to include increasingly sophisticated arrangements, more and more original material and discovering a wont for pushing the boundaries of the form while still loyally adhering to its expectations. There’s a lot of entertainment value spread out over these twelve tracks, but there’s also a feeling of life well lived that goes into these performances and they will likely strike a chord deep within listeners. Silence in These Walls is Flatt Lonesome’s best effort to date and sets the bar high for their future releases.

Caveboy Release New Single ‘New Touch’

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada
Photo Credit Ryan Lague

Recently in Toronto, Montreal's Caveboy blew the roof off at the Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class Showcase - demonstrating their innate power to command a crowd with their live performance. Sneak previewing their brand new track, New Touch - OUT TODAY, the trio had the audience grooving from the first beat of this tasty jam.

A New Christmas Florence K

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada 

Renowned Montreal vocalist and songwriter Florence K is offering a holiday treat to her fans this season with A New Christmas, an EP comprised of six brand new, all-original Christmas soon-to-be-standards. Set for release on Nov. 17 through Universal Music Canada, Florence K co-wrote four of the songs with veteran Canadian hit-maker Vince Degiorgio, with two duets contributed by famed Montreal DJ/producer Stefie Shock. Sung in both English and French, A New Christmas displays Florence K's appeal in both languages, underscored by the EP's overall festive and jazzy arrangements.

"Some of the greatest tunes in the world, in both the jazz and the pop universe are Christmas songs. I wanted to give myself a shot at writing some new melodies that people could sing along to and whistle during the Holiday season," said Florence K.

Trevor Drury Takes a "Trip to the Water"

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Submitted by Daniel Boyer

Trevor Drury’s journey from a Southern California upbringing into the world of international modeling no doubt informs the vast experience projected through his songs, but Drury’s far more than just some visually appealing young performer. There’s genuine musical substance you can hear on his latest single “Trip to the Water” born not only from his personal experiences, but just as much built from a musical life that began when he was just entering his pre-teen years and later led to higher musical education when he entered college. His voice isn’t conventionally beautiful in the manner of some budding pop stars, but it has a natural sound and emotive capabilities possessed by few of his contemporaries. There’s immense stylishness that he puts into this performance you simply don’t hear in songs from many of those same contemporaries. “Trip to the Water” resonates as a song about very human yearning and an intensely personal statement.

Dean Brody 8th Day Celebrates Country Girls

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​Submitted to Cashbox Canada

“8th Day” was written by Brody and his long-time producing partner, Matt Rovey. Like his previous single, “Time”, this track from Beautiful Freakshow has a more traditional Dean Brody sound. “8th Day” pays homage to strong, confident and sometimes-complicated women who were finely crafted to be in this world.

“My fans mean the world to me, and a lot of them happen to be incredible women who love country music,” says Brody. “I wanted to honour all female country fans by giving them a song that is about them and everything that makes them wonderful. It’s a fun song that everyone can sing along to on the radio or at a concert.”

In honour of the release of “8th Day”, Wednesday November 8th will be dubbed “National Country Girls Day”. Country girls (and guys) can participate by posting photos and stories on social media with the hashtag #NationalCountryGirlsDay to win a signed poster from Dean Brody.

Brody is hitting the road for a long-awaited return to the east coast in November. Atlantic-based fans can catch Brody in Halifax on November 23rd and 24th at Casino Nova Scotia. It was also recently announced that Brody will be joining the lineup at the sold-out CMC Rocks Fest in Queensland, Australia in March, 2018.

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