BTW- Steph Cameron, Overcoats, Andrew Waines, Luke Nicholson, Nagata Shachu, CMW French Showcase live, CMW picks

Steph Cameron Credit Mark Maryanovich

Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Photo at right: Steph Cameron Credit Mark Maryanovich

Saskatoon-based roots singer / songwriter Steph Cameron is sharing “Winterwood,” the latest track from her upcoming album Daybreak Over Jackson Street. “Winterwood” is about “being at the mercy of uncertain forces,” says Cameron. “Of a moment where time is frozen and clear and our own vulnerability is stark and beautiful.”

Cameron supported Daybreak Over Jackson Street with a hometown release show on April 15 in Saskatoon before making her way to Toronto for Canadian Music Week.

In 2014, Steph Cameron arrived on the scene like a bracing gust of fresh musical air with her debut record Sad-Eyed Lonesome Lady, receiving unanimously enthusiastic reviews. “This is a monumental, brilliant album… heralds the crowning of a bright new talent,” declared PopMatters in calling it the #1 Canadian album of 2014. No Depression termed it “a stunning debut,” while Exclaim! noted that “ Sad-Eyed Lonesome Lady delights from start to finish. Steph Cameron is the real deal.” The record also made the coveted longlist for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize in 2015.

Daybreak Over Jackson Street navigates subtle changes in stylistic terrain. If the debut felt as if it emerged fully-formed from the bohemian streets of Greenwich Village circa 1963, then the extra maturity of this album gives it more of an early ‘70s Laurel or Topanga Canyon atmosphere. As with the debut, , Daybreak Over Jackson Street was recorded at elite Toronto studio Revolution Recording with producer Joe Dunphy. It retains the sparse template of her first record – one voice, one guitar, both recorded in intimate fashion and to tape. Many of these new songs feature a more mature Cameron looking back upon earlier turbulent times. “As I get a bit older I’m able to recall my youth from a different perspective. Many of these songs draw their content from the life and relationships I had in my youth; to people and places, particularly East Vancouver.” She describes “Daybreak Over Jackson Street” as a song “about living in an impoverished neighbourhood in an urban setting. That song acknowledges some of the elements of life in a slum.” A similar locale, East Vancouver, permeates “Richard,” a haunting ode to a troubled comrade left behind – ‘a hotel is a real sad place for living’.

Having spent some time living in The Kootenays, the great outdoors appears in Cameron’s “That’s What Love Is,” a lovely and gentle tune featuring a circular guitar pattern and such atmospheric imagery as ‘late at night when the coyotes call, the dogs whimper and the leaves fall’. Then there is the fast and breezy “Little Blue Bird,” one ‘sitting in the snow, staring at the stars dreaming of the railroad cars’ .

Apr 22 – Toronto, ON – The Dakota Tavern (8 PM) - CMW

OvercoatsOvercoats

Earlier this year, Overcoats’ first single “Hold Me Close” spent several week on CBC’s Radio 2 Top 20. Today, Pigeons & Planes premiered the latest song from the duo’s debut album YOUNG, due out April 21 via Arts & Crafts. The introspective track “Kai’s Song” sees members Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell reflecting on the small daily changes that can add up to make someone almost unrecognizable. Pigeons & Planes claims that “Overcoats shine with their vocal harmonies and timeless songwriting, creating an intriguing blend of modern and classic styles.”

The act just wrapped a run of dates supporting Maggie Rogers and will embark on a nationwide headlining tour this month. In addition, the band has picked up dates opening for Joseph this June. For a look at their live show, watch their recent NPR Tiny Desk Concert. Co-produced by Nicolas Vernhes (The War On Drugs, Dirty Projectors) and Autre Ne Veut, YOUNG is a story about growing up told through the lens of two women who are wise beyond their years.

Hana and JJ started Overcoats while they were college roommates and they co-wrote all twelve songs on YOUNG. The two were drawn to each other when they first met as teenagers in 2011, finding connection in a love of diverse musical styles, and forging a closeness that verges on sisterhood. Both members of Overcoats describe the first time hearing each other sing as an epiphany: the harmony of their voices leading to personal, individual discovery.

OVERCOATS TOUR DATES
Apr 20 - Brooklyn, NY - Rough Trade
Apr 26 - Washington, DC - DC9
Apr 27 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
Apr 28 - Boston, MA - Cafe 939
Apr 29 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
Apr 30 - Montreal, QC - Divan Orange
May 2 – Pontiac, MI – The Pike Room at The Crofoot *
May 3 - Grand Rapids, MI - Calvin College
May 4 – Chicago, IL – Schubas
May 5 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th St Entry
May 6 – Kansas City, MO – Middle of the Map Festival
May 8 - Milwaukee, WI - Colectivo
May 9 - Indianapolis, IN - White Rabbit Cabaret
May 10 - Louisville, KY - Zanzabar
May 12 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Tavern
May 13 - Pittsburgh, PA - Club Café
June 1 – Hamden, CT – The Outer Space +
June 2 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom +
June 3-4 – Toronto, Canada – Field Trip
June 7 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall +
June 8 – San Diego, CA – The Casbah
June 9 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo
June 10 – San Francisco, CA – Swedish American Hall
June 12 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
June 13 – Seattle, WA – Barboza
June 14 – Vancouver, BC – The Cobalt

Andrew WainesAndrew Waines

Emerging Canadian artist Andrew Waines releases the official music video for his debut single “ Loving Carefully .” Directed by Maxym Perron in sunny St. Lucia, the video captures Waines on a tropical getaway trying to win the hearts of two beautiful women at the same time. Recorded in Nashville alongside producer Maks Gabriel, “Loving Carefully” is an infectious, easy-listening and upbeat pop song, with sweet traces of bluesy influences throughout. Waines’ single was initially released to Canadian Top 40 radio back in March, which also marked the official launch of his professional music career.

“We chose to shoot in St. Lucia because we liked the idea of a tropical paradise; it’s the perfect setting for people to fall in love,” says Waines . “The warm, welcoming vibe of the island tied in perfectly with what I envisioned for ‘Loving Carefully.’ You feel like anything can happen there, it’s very exhilarating. It’s the same feeling you get when you’re falling for someone."

The video follows him juggling between two potential love interests, charming his way into their hearts without them knowing he’s pursuing them both. In a day and age where so many are lusting to find love, Waines’ single conveys some of the challenges of when modern-day relationships lack an honest foundation and the hardships that occur when someone blindly makes decisions geared with their heart, instead of their mind.

The 19-year-old Ottawa based singer/songwriter is drawing comparisons to Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes on account of the guitar chops and soulful vocals. Already a staple on the Ottawa music scene, the dude's looking to get playing in the rest of Canada so he's writing and demoing up the followup singles. Stay tuned. andrewwainesmusic.com

Luke Nicholson Luke Nicholson

Toronto singer/songwriter Luke Nicholson’s new album Shape And Sound is being exclusively streamed at the Canadian music blog Great Dark Wonder. Nicholson officially celebrates the album's release with a show at Toronto's Burdock Music Hall on Wed., April 19.

Shape And Sound displays once again the melodic gifts and poignant storytelling that has led Luke Nicholson 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.

First single “All Your Dresses” gets straight to the heart of everything Shape And Sound represents, paying tribute to two of the most important relationships in Nicholson’s life. Using clothes as a metaphor, the song illustrates special moments shared between a husband and wife, and also the ideals his father instilled in him to be a good man and father, captured through the simple image of a tie.

Born into a large, creative family in Lakefield, Ontario (one of his brothers is singer/songwriter Royal Wood), Luke Nicholson had his first major breakthrough in 2007 when the track “Breathe” from the film Poor Boys Game earned a Genie nomination for Best Original Song. Nicholson’s debut album Mad Love came out in 2012, spawning three CBC Radio 2 Top 20 singles and earning glowing reviews in Europe, most notably from Rolling Stone (Germany) which named Nicholson “One To Watch” after he performed at Berlin's prestigious IFA gala. Next came the Frantic City LP in 2015, following a whirlwind year touring the world, including showcases at Midem in France and the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg. The album yielded the well-received singles "Maggie's Song" and "Sadie."

Nagata ShachuNagata Shachu

Japanese taiko group Nagata Shachu pounded the doors off Regent Park's Aki Studio Theatre Saturday night at the album release show for current release 'Toronto Taiko Tales’. Not that it's all explosive dynamics but high energy choreography and enthusiastic execution are in the DNA of taiko. Still, the way they were able to bring those drums down to the sound of a gentle breeze susurrating then back up to thunderous resolves on some numbers, would have brought tears to the eyes of any grunge muso in the house.

Theo Lawrence and The Hearts Credit Brice MartinatTheo Lawrence and The Hearts Credit Brice MartinatThe choreography was superb and built subtly so by the second half of the show, attention was riveted on the moves, combining modern with trad Japanese ritual movements that veered close to modern dance especially in the homestretch. There were also a couple of 6/8 numbers that for the most part would have sounded at home on a jazz stage.

It's a given that taiko is a passionate genre but who knew Nagata Shachu made makeout music? Apparently the couple stage left, highest tier, working sweet lip lock during the 'slow jam' passages at the end of the first set. LOL.

Cleo T.Cleo T.Counterpointing the thunder were some spectrally beautiful melodies generated by hand cymbals and other exotic percussion instruments. Some of the brass passages showed a melodic complexity and tonal range akin to the Gamelan music of Thailand, played by percussionists whose sleights of hand were as elegantly choreographed as anything we saw all the show.

Nagata Shachu is Kiyoshi Nagata (taiko, shinobue/flute), Aki Takahashi (shamisen, vocals), Tony Nguyen (taiko), Kayo Homma-Komori (taiko), Jason Huang (taiko) and Naoya Kobayashi (taiko). Check them out next time you're up for a cardio rush.

The muchly anticipated French showcase at CMW goes down at the Rivoli April 19 and the running order is like so.

ImanyImanyTété
8 p.m.
Theo Lawrence & The Hearts

9 p.m.
Imany
10 p.m.
Cleo T.

11 p.m.
Caspian Pool

midnight

Elsewhere at CMW there's Papa Roach Danforth Music Hall Apr.18, Flasher Baby G Apr.19, Sebadoh Horseshoe Tavern Apr.20, The Dandy Warhol's Lee's Palace Apr.21, High Valley Great Hall Apr.22, Earl Sweatshirt Phoenix Concert Theatre Apr.22 and so, so much more 'cause this is Music City y'all.