Juke Box Hero The Musical

Fri Mar 01, 2019

A little background... the rock musical for me started in Collinwood High School in Cleveland, Ohio, where we all played music, trying to live up to the lyrics of Juke Box Hero long before it was written -that was the magic of Foreigner.

They captured the universality of rock ‘n’ roll dreams, just like Bruce Springsteen, Meatloaf, Journey, Elton John and so many others of the '70s. We lived the lyrics, the music of Foreigner from the beginning. They gave words to our generation’s collective evolving rock ‘n’ roll dreams as if in the Akashic Records, encoded on our DNA. That alone for any music fan or musician is the ultimate compliment.

To survive the battle of time, music intact, the spirit of the songs resonating upon each listen to the anthem "I want to know what love is". Add the commercial success of 80 million records sold, induction into the all-important prestigious Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013 by Billy Joel...Damn, that is great!

Mick Jones and Lou Gramm shared the honors; they have had several reunions over years, now called Foreigner Then and Now.

Winterfolk 2019 Roundup

Fri Mar 01, 2019

“And all the bars were filled to the rafters with tales of narrowly averted disasters and the whiskey was flowing... Like never before”... - Ani DiFranco

OPENING PARTY, MAGGIE AND MR. ROGERS, THE BLACK SWAN

The opening party of Winterfolk XXVII had packed the Black Swan (locally known by an older generation as The Dirty Duck) with a crowd of mostly middle-aged, white jazz folk and blues aficionados. There were a few exceptions to this demographic trend, as evidenced by the presence of a black jazz freak bobbing his head at the table in front of me when I arrived and sat in the side section which was still marked with a bygone era's segregated marker declaring it as exclusively for 'Women and Escorts.'

The staff appears to be mostly young people and on stage, the night's opening act (Maggie and Mr. Rogers) consisted of a very young petite woman and a very old looking bespectacled man playing music that seemed straight out of O Brother, Where Art Thou? As I gazed at the stage, Maggie seemed to make eye contact with me as she sang about a 'Truth In My Eyes' and her love for her sweet city. (maggieandmrrogers.com)

John Mayall Nobody Told Me

Fri Feb 22, 2019

There are few musicians who genuinely merit the description ‘legendary,’ maybe a handful at most. But with an octogenarian, UK bluesman, John Mayall, we have the real deal. Nobody could question or disagree that this is a guy who is truly a living legend. Now aged 85, Mayall has been a US West Coast resident for around half his life, and yet he is still often viewed as a UK blues phenomenon. Speaking to the man at home in LA, he is relaxed, warmly welcoming and excited to be again on the brink of a global tour to promote his latest album, ‘ Nobody Told Me.’

Monte Mader Pour Me Whiskey

Fri Feb 22, 2019

To quote an old Timbuk3 song, Monte Mader’s future’s so bright she has to wear shades. This young Wyoming born singer/singer is about to break through with a new album and kickin’ single. A little country and a whole lotta rock “Pour Me Whiskey" from 'The Devil I Know' album will grab your attention and your ears. This is not Monte’s first rodeo, her debut EP with Big Sky, Skydive, brought Monte’s name to people’s attention and the new EP The Devil I Know will solidify her place in the industry.

Folk Alliance International 2019 Wasn’t That A Party!

Fri Feb 22, 2019

Once again a great success, Folk Alliance International’s annual international professional development and networking conference, the world’s largest gathering of the Folk music community and industry with over 2500 delegates has completed yet another great event.

This year, it took place this year in Montreal, Quebec, Canada between February 13th to 17th at the iconic Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel. This hotel, of course, is the location where John Lennon and Yoko staged their bed in for peace in 1969 and in suite #1742 recorded Give Peace a Chance. And the location is on land that was the territories of the Kanien’keha-ka and Kahnawa-ke people. The Folk Alliance International’s mission is to serve, strengthen, and engage the global folk music community through preservation, presentation, and promotion.

Kathryn Grimm’s Blues Tools

Fri Feb 15, 2019

Musician/singer/songwriter Kathryn Grimm’s new CD “BLUES TOOLS” is a twelve-song collection of mostly original material in the Electric Blues/Rock genre. The first song of the CD was born in Los Angeles just over a year ago where Kathryn was gigging as a bassist for another artist. In the spare room of a kind couple’s home who put her up “The Best of Me,” her self-proclaimed anthem for domestic violence, was spontaneously penned. “I’d been wracking my brain for some time trying to find a way to write a song with a subliminal message for victims of abuse. Using simple language my hope was for them to see themselves and be inspired to find help. I truly believe that’s what I've accomplished with this song. What I didn’t realize at the time is that I was writing about my own situation.”

Pretty Woman: The Musical

Fri Feb 15, 2019

One of the most beloved romances of all time is now on Broadway! Pretty Woman: The Musical, features direction and choreography by two-time Tony Award® winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde, Hairspray), an original score by Grammy® winner Bryan Adams (“Summer of ’69,” “Everything I Do”) and his longtime songwriting partner Jim Vallance, and a book by the movie’s legendary director Garry Marshall and screenwriter J.F. Lawton. Starring Samantha Barks and Andy Karl.

Once upon a time in the late ’80s, unlikely soul mates Vivian and Edward overcame all odds to find each other… and themselves. Experience the moments you love from the movie — and get to know these iconic characters in a whole new way — in this dazzlingly theatrical take on a love story for the ages. Brought to life by a powerhouse creative team representing the best of music, Hollywood and Broadway, Pretty Woman: The Musical will lift your spirits and light up your heart.

Fall In Love All Over Again with Pretty Woman: The Musical.

Western Swing Authority Live and Swingin’!

Fri Feb 08, 2019

On this Toronto February night, the 25 degrees below zero temperature was bone chilling and teeth chattering but inside the city’s iconic venue Hugh’s Room Live it was Texas hot. From the moment the band hit the stage toes were tapping, hands were clapping and bodies were swaying in swing time. The seven-piece group featuring twin fiddles, Shane Guse and Dan Howlett, guitar whiz Paul Chapman, upright bassist, Matthew Lima, drummer Gary Craig, who did a remarkable job subbing for regular drummer Jimmy Boudreau, steel guitar legend Ed (Pee Wee Charles) Ringwald and vocalist extraordinaire Stacey Lee Guse are in stratosphere all their own.

Orit Shimoni Lost On The Road To Nowhere

Fri Feb 08, 2019

The great thing about following the career of an artist for a long time is watching said artist evolve and grow. Such is the case with singer/songwriter Orit Shimoni, a true troubadour in every sense of the word. I have watched her grow musically and have had the pleasure of reviewing and enjoying her albums through the years. Her latest effort Lost On the Road to Nowhere, a 13 song collection, is in my humble opinion her best to date. Orit is a modern-day gypsy, really not having a fixed address, but with homes all over the world, literally. Orit was born Isreal, lived in Montreal and recorded this last CD in the home studio of Martin van de Vrught in the Netherlands. The work was produced by the multitalented de Vrught who lent his skills on guitar, lap and pedal steel, banjo and percussion to the tracks and blended in perfectly with Orit’s guitar and allowed the songs and the sincere and gripping vocals be the stars.

Weird Omen Release A Place I Want to Know

Fri Jan 25, 2019

Weird Omen is a garage rock trio from France and on February 1st they will release their infectious 7′′ single “A Place I Want To Know/Girls Are Dancing On The Highway” via Dirty Water Records. The band’s unique sound is bolstered by baritone sax player Fred Rollercoaster, and it features Sister Ray on guitar and Remi Pablo on drums. Look for the 7′′ to come out in anticipation of the band’s upcoming full-length Surrealistic Feast, due out in mid-March via the UK label.

The Strumbellas Announce New Album and Spring Tour Dates

Fri Jan 25, 2019

The Strumbellas are thrilled to announce their fourth album, Rattlesnake, is set for release on March 29th, 2019, out in Canada via the band’s own imprint, Underneath A Mountain Records, under exclusive license to eOne Music Canada; and internationally with Glassnote Records. The band recently released the video for Salvation, the first single from the new album, which is currently sitting at #12 on the Alt-Rock chart in Canada and has surpassed two million streams worldwide. Pre-order/pre-save Rattlesnake here.

Taj Express: The Bollywood Musical Revue Comes to Toronto

Fri Jan 18, 2019

Civic Theatres Toronto presents the glitter and sparkle of Bollywood with the Canadian premiere of Taj Express, at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts Theatre November 23 – December 1, 2019.  Tickets go on sale to the public this Friday, February 18, 10AM and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.ca, by phone, or in person at select Civic Theatres Toronto box offices. 

Set to an unforgettable soundtrack featuring the songs of Academy Award-winning composer A.R. Rahman(Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) Taj Express explodes with the sounds of India and captures the vibrant, expressive spirit of the world of Bollywood movies that have been entertaining billions of people for generations. Through a fusion of film, dance, and music, this dazzling international sensation takes audiences on a live cinematic journey through modern Indian culture and society. The production is a high energy celebration of new India’s pop music, Bollywood culture, and deep traditions featuring colorful costumes, joyful dance, and thrilling live music.

Sun K Release New Video High In the City

Fri Jan 18, 2019

Following the release of their sophomore album, Bleeding Hearts, Toronto-based rock band, Sun K, have shared the fun visual for the track, High In The City. Have a look at the video for High In The City, which premiered today with Indie88. They have also announced upcoming tour dates taking the band across Ontario and Quebec with Huttch, as well as a string of shows in the Maritimes. See below for the tour details and don’t miss the band’s energetic live show when they come through your town!

The High In The City music video is all about the quintessential summer day in Toronto with friends,” says lead singer and guitarist, Kristian Montano. “We met up with Laura-Lynn Petrick and hopped on a boat to the island to drink beers, take a dip, have a rip, light some fireworks (among other things) and in general get a little weird with friends. We hope this video serves as a reminder that the days are getting longer and summer is on its way!

Kjell Gustavsson Rhythm & Blues Orchestra Down at the Saloon

Fri Jan 11, 2019

Down at the Saloon is one of those surprise releases that turns up delivering a knock-out blow. Who, what, where? you ask yourself. The answer in order being: Kjell Gustavsson & his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra; an album that absolutely boils, full of wonderful blues-edged fun and talent; a band from Sweden recorded and released by Sweden’s, Malmo-based independent label, Rootsy.

This is a truly excellent album. Ten self-penned tracks, bulging at the seams with full-tilt R&B, and a nine-piece band that covers all bases from guitars, drums, Memphis horns to driving squeeze-box and searing vocals. I had the good luck to catch this band live recently and will add that they really can produce the goods. 

Anyone with even a passing interest or love of US band, the Mavericks, will certainly enjoy this one. If anything, this band has a much clearer true-blues and roots grounding than their American counterparts. If there’s a real surprise here, it must be why we’ve never heard of this top-quality outfit before now. It appears they have been around for many years in their native Nordic homeland where they already have an ardent following.

Mr! Mouray releases New Single Sunshine Supermarket

Fri Jan 11, 2019

On the heels of the holiday single The Christmas Belles, Toronto’s Mr! Mouray has released another great single ‘Sunshine Supermarket’ from the upcoming EP “Atlantic”.

Mr! Mouray formed in 2018 from the remnants of three successful Toronto alt-rock acts: singer/guitarist Simon Bedford-James (Swedish/MaDE), Dominic Whelan (The Mahones), and Jaimie Vernon (Moving Targetz/Swindled). They yearned for the days of more classic melodic pop influences and have embraced their AM radio upbringing.

Their first album, 'Bats In Disguise,' and its title track was a refreshing pop-rock debut in Canada in the Fall of 2018 followed immediately by their break-out Christmas hit "Christmas Belles."

‘Sunshine Supermarket’ is garage grunge at its best, reminiscent of the 80/90s music feel, where the delivery was raw on honest, combining clear vocals with thundering guitar riffs. Released on the legendary icon label Bullseye Canada label, the influence of Jaimie Vernon is all over this track. As the man who brought so much to the industry and a founding member of Mr! Mouray, he had this to say:

Allen Finney Salt Breeze With Kites

Fri Jan 11, 2019

This is one of those surprising releases that sort of catches you unaware, pins you to the speaker and delivers loads of straight-forward pleasure and delight.

Finney is a USA-born, bluesman of some stature now long based in Sweden, where he plies his trade as a genuinely gripping guitarist and blues-based performer. Each track here holds elements of both beauty and surprise as Finney moves effortlessly from light jazz flourishes, full-tilt headlong blues, R&B and echoes of funk and soul.

Vocals are smoothly delivered, while the supporting musicians all come together perfectly to create a wholesome sound and vibe that simply works near-perfectly. In reality, this is an album that carries no dead-wood, no fill-ups or filling, instead of providing some deliciously emotive lyrics matched by some on-the-button musical support, melody, and flavour.

Jaimie Vernon and Mr! Mouray Celebrate with Christmas Belles

Fri Dec 21, 2018

For those of you who know Jaimie Vernon, then you know his musical knowledge and passion is beyond measure.

So when he recently announced he was part of a new band it was no surprise to us all because after all, you can’t keep a good music man down. Mr! Mouray was loosely named after a classic song - now think Dean Martin ‘when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie – Mr! Mouray!!

Now with the holiday season upon us Jaimie and musical partners have released a new single ‘Christmas Belles’ and it is truly a great production.

The most striking part of this song is it was written by Jaimie Vernon, and for those of us who know him and musical history, he is a rocker through and through. That is why the song is surprisingly sweet and sentimental with a nostalgic feel, combining great vocals with strong harmonies, the production builds into a great offering with a very positive lyric pattern. Kudos to these guys!

Give it a listen!
https://youtu.be/MQoaeelH658

John Legend A Legendary Christmas

Fri Dec 14, 2018

John Legend is a nine-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist, critically-acclaimed concert performer, philanthropist/social activist, and was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people. Legend’s debut album, Get Lifted (2004) sold more than three million copies worldwide and earned an astounding eight Grammy nominations with three wins for Best New Artist, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B album.

Legend’s follow-up album, Once Again (2006) earned RIAA platinum certification and a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. High off the success of his third consecutive Top 10 album, Evolver (2008), Legend embarked on an extensive world tour with an 11 piece band - his largest traveling show to date. Inspired by the monumental 2008 Presidential election, Legend teamed up with The Roots to release the socially conscious album, Wake Up! (2010.)

Dianne Reeves Better Than Christmas!

Fri Dec 07, 2018

Dianne Reeves performance at the George Weston Recital Hall was perfection, a wonderful new take on Holiday Music and her excellent catalogue anchored this astounding show.

Like Aretha Franklin, a song could not have a better friend than, Dianne Reeves, one of the most awarded singers on the planet. The National Endowments for the Arts Jazz Masters Award, three consecutive years of Grammys with a total of five Grammys. Her music is the stories of her life in music and songs like "Better Days".

Her live performance and band are flawless, warm friendly and fun.

Her musical catalogue has no boundaries, Jazz to Dance Hall.

To my surprise every time I check her website there is a new award posted!

It's a just music to us old hippies, no boundaries, genres or categories.

Breathing new life into the classics, while bringing contemporary music in the realm of Jazz on her latest Grammy Award Winning, "Beautiful Life".

The last sessions of Dianne's mentor, cousin, producer, musical genius at large, the late great George Duke... a favorite of Frank Zappa and mine.

Sandra Bouza Releases Introductory EP - Three Years

Fri Nov 30, 2018

Toronto’s Sandra Bouza has just released Three Years — three songs in a nod to her sobriety that crystallize her journey can help others open up to healing and confidence, or simply draw you into her story and struggles.

Sandra says, “for years I’ve been hiding behind other people’s songs. With Three Years, I’m grateful to have the confidence to step out with songs I am immensely proud of and so emotionally connected to. I’m committed to continuing this journey because I have so much more to say, and I’m finally at a place where I’m not afraid to say it.”

Having spent three years in Morocco where music and healing were very much on the forefront of Sandra’s priorities, she’s a fascinating and insightful artist. Canadian R&B/pop singer Sandra Bouza has a lot to offer through her music and life experience.

On her introductory EP, Three Years, produced by Hill Kourkoutis (Jules, SATE, Eh440), the Toronto native who has lived, studied or worked all over the world, let her stories breathe in songs that are deeply personal.