Music

Cordovas Make Their Ato Record Debut with That Santa Fe Channel

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Rooted in triple-stacked harmonies, southern storytelling, and cosmic country twang, Cordovas create their own version of American roots-rock with That Santa Fe Channel, out August 10th on ATO Records. That Santa Fe Channel was produced by the Milk Carton Kids' Kenneth Pattengale in East Nashville, not far from the home that doubles as the band's rehearsal space, headquarters, and shared living quarters. The album is timely - and timeless - blurring the lines between rock, country, and amplified folk music. It's highlighted by unbelievable harmonies, loose-yet-masterful musicianship and undeniable songwriting chops.

Years before Cordovas' formation, bandleader Joe Firstman travelled the country as a solo musician. Raised in North Carolina, he moved to Hollywood as a determined 20-year-old, signing a major-label deal with Atlantic Records. When a dizzying blur of acclaimed shows - including opening dates for Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson - weren't enough to satisfy the expectations of a big-budget record label, Firstman lost his contract and took a new job as music director on Last Call with Carson Daly. It was good work, with Firstman performing nightly alongside first-rate musicians like Thundercat and Kamasi Washington.

BTW Century Thief, Lief Hall, CARLO, Dee & The Grand Brothers, NXNE, Trent Severn, Betty Moon, Excuses, Excuses, Tara Shannon

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Here's a genre-defying crew with a lot of reach and some neat riffing.

For starters, check the ever-expanding orchestral folk-pop of ''Deaf Beneath The Waves" here: https://soundcloud.com/century-thief/sets/deaf-beneath-the-waves
Bandcamp: https://centurythief.bandcamp.com/album/deaf-beneath-the-waves
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/4Hg8Z90V37E4uuDj6cvd62?si=rTRxh3oeSoulYxXv__ytBw

Century Thief is a six-piece band based in Toronto, ON. They bring a blend of introspection and energy, sometimes soft, sometimes noisy experimental indie rock featuring brass, woodwinds, keys, guitars, bass, drums and multi-layered vocal harmonies.

Their favourite description comes from a sound engineer in Montreal, who described the band as trash lounge folk prog rock. Drawing on influences like Broken Social Scene, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Wilco, and Elliott Smith, it seems pretty apt. They are noisy and melodic, with a touch of salty nostalgia.

James LeBlanc and the Winchesters: The Devil Between My Ears

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Submitted by Don Graham

Americana singer/songwriter James LeBlanc is embarking on a brand new exciting project fresh on the heels of his critically acclaimed CD ‘The Nature of the Beast’. We caught up with James at his home in the Muscle Shoals area of North Alabama. “Thanks for this opportunity to get the word out. The first thing I want y’all to know is I ’m grateful to be able to make records. We have a blast doing it and it’s so much fun. I am pumped for this album, it’s going to a little different from my solo CDs, a little more of a band feel and is gonna be a little more aggressive. We will be exploring some southern rock aspects of ourselves, a little more edge to it musically. Plus my lady, the super talented Angela Hacker, is gonna be steppin’ out and singin’ some leads, so I’m pumped.”

James has started a Pledge Music campaign to get this project out there. “What I want to say to people about the campaign is ‘We need you’ We’re trying to bypass all the middlemen and red tape and bring somethin’ straight to you from us. No filters. “Here’s the info on the campaign in James’ words.

“Hey, guys! I am SO HAPPY to finally tell you . . . we have started recording the new album. And this time, you can be a vital part of the process by helping us with pre-orders through our new PledgeMusic campaign. It's really simple. Just click on the link, watch the video, then scan through all the great items and packages we have available for pre-sale. https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/jamesleblanc

Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip Twentyfive Live at Blues Baltica

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Twentyfive Live at Blues Baltica” is the new album release from Finnish Blues Award-winning blues-rock group Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip. This is the follow-up to the critically acclaimed 2015 “Ain´t Bad Yet” album, which was produced by Grammy Award-winning John Porter. With this live album, Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip celebrate their 25 years career as a touring blues band. This performance was a part of the “Ain´t Bad Yet – 25-Live” anniversary tour. It represents 25-years of hard work and chronicles the band’s most popular material from this period. Through the years, the band has been frequently asked: “When are you going to do a live album”. Now, after delivering six studio albums, they thought it was the right time.

"This vibrant concert in front of 1200 enthusiastic listeners demonstrates clearly this band’s special qualities: the finest songwriting, outstanding instrumentals and first-class singing satisfy any desire. Unbelievable were the force and the intensity that went into every single song of this concert. On top of that, the guys showed an enthusiasm on stage that can even be heard on this album”, says Helge Nickel (Baltic Blues Society)

BTW Tara Shannon, Conor Gains, Cowboy Junkies, Lee Aaron, The Young Novelists, The Trews, Ghost

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Gonna start off on a serious note this week. Award-winning adult contemporary artist Tara Shannon is proud to align with LymeHope , a not-for-profit organization dedicated to education and outreach on the subject of Lyme and related diseases in Canada. After being personally affected by the disease in recent months, this cause is close to the artist’s heart. LymeHope aims to raise awareness on the devastating disease affecting four-million Canadians. Known for supporting local and national charitable campaigns throughout her career, including the Butterfly Child project and Big Brothers and Big Sisters’ BeYou , Tara looks forward to lending her voice to LymeHope.

Lyme Disease, a serious bacterial infection which can affect every organ system in the body, is completely unheard of to 30% of Canadians. Tara will be working closely with LymeHope’s co-founders Jennifer Kravis and Sue Faber on their educational campaigns designed to raise awareness across Canada.

CMW In a 1,000 Words- Cupcake/Chippy Nonstop, Lydia Lunch, Aloe Blacc, Beams, Sunshine & The Blue Moon, Vaquero Negro, Maria Robot, Troker, Grown Up Avenger Stuff, Julian Taylor, Sc Mira, Harry Manx

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute & Sammy Jay Copeland
Photo at right: Lydia Lunch

CMW round our way was a fairly sedate affair, with the notable exceptions of the Cupcakke/Chippy Nonstop and Lydia Lunch shows. The former was a feast of raw, sex funky rap witticisms that had its share of squirm-making moments at the Mod Club. Billed as  Lydia Lunch Retrovirus, the show at Hard Luck Bar was a full-on career retrospective from 1977 to the present. Thing is, LL's output has veered from shrill No Wave to sludge rock to Goth psychedelia and beyond. All that was delivered in the mostly sludge rock style, robbing the material of its original intent. All of which didn't seem to matter to the newbies in the crowd. As she remarked to an overzealous fan near the end of a fairly shambolic show, "If this set makes sense to you, then you’re about as fucked up as I am.”

Doing the Shag at CMW

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

K, now calm down. It's not a euphemism for the horizontal bop, as in the UK, but a new/old dance craze that's sweeping the American South. Although the idea of a mass shag-in did cross my mind. Let's think of it as a cross between swing and jitterbug, a prog-rock kind of mutation. Individual dancers bring their own thang to the floor, with the result shag is by now hybridized as all get out and very entertaining. Consequently, when the shaggers from North Myrtle Beach hit the floor at the Rivoli, it was like somebody dropped a cherry bomb. Sliding and gliding, there were rubberized ankles, way limber legs, intricate, close order jive moves, a dab of dirty dancing here and there, grace and kinetic beauty everywhere.

The term "Carolina Shag" is thought to have originated along the Atlantic Ocean strands between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina, during the 1940s. According to Bo Bryan, a Carolina Shag historian and resident of Beaufort County, the term was coined at Carolina Beach, North Carolina. The Carolina Shag is a descendant of Carolina Jitterbug, and its predecessor, Little Apple which was the white version of the Big Apple (dance) (whose origins can be traced to Columbia, South Carolina in 1937) after whites sat (after "jumping the Jim Crow rope") in the balconies in the black clubs to watch the dancing.   

Canadian Music Week From the Artist’s Point of View

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Submitted by Terry O’Brien of Tribe Royal
Photo Credit Terry O’Brien

I got into Toronto around noon on the Thursday for Canadian Music Week. I met up with Sandy, Don, Lenny and Gary from the Cashbox Canada team and right away we were in the thick of it. The conference was incredibly productive for us and we made a lot of headway.

Around 7 pm I left the Sheraton and made my way to the Dakota Tavern to catch Charlie The Kid's set. The ambient lighting and intimate setting made for the perfect atmosphere. Right off the top, the crowd was engaged and he had everyone singing along. He took it to the next level by handing out kazoos and inviting the crowd to help him out. Can't say I've ever seen that before.

After that, I made my way over to the Painted Lady where the Lionyls were about to take the stage. The place was packed from wall to wall and the moment the band took the stage the party started. They jumped right into 'Midnight Hour' and kept the pressure on the crowd with a killer mix of ripping guitar solos, smooth vocals, funky bass lines and heavy percussion.

When the Lionyls' set was over I decided to head to the Drake Hotel. I passed by the Dakota again and was excited to see a group forming around Charlie The Kid. After a matter of minutes, a full-on street jam was underway and even the security was involved. It's those kinds of special moments that make Canadian Music Week 110% worth the trip. Good times all around.

Don Graham: Getting Back To His Roots

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Toronto-based, Montreal-born and raised singer/songwriter Don Graham is getting back to his roots. Graham heads back down the 401 Highway on May 25th to perform at the Mariposa Café. “ I’m really looking forward to this gig, I get to go back where it all started for me and play with the guy that I started with all those years ago, Bill Hill,” Graham said from his home in the Beach in Toronto. The one night only show will mark the first time Graham has performed in Montreal in close to 25 years and the first Graham and Hill have shared a stage in the same amount of time. Graham said “Starting out in the 1970’s I was fortunate to have Bill as my guitar player and a strong bond of friendship was formed that has lasted all these years. Billy was one of the premier guitarists of that time and I learned a ton from him. Hill said from his home in Montreal “ I really enjoy playing with Don. I love his writing and we’ve written some gems together. This is going to a fun night. I might even have to tune for this gig, he said with a laugh.”

BTW- Good Lovelies, Margaret Glaspy, JP Maurice, Dálava/Lenka Lichtenberg, Natalie Prass, Rufus John

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 Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Juno Award-winning and definitely on a Spring roll, Good Lovelies' are on a tour which began with a buzzworthy show at Massey Hall on Friday, May 11th as special guests of headliner Royal Wood and carries on into June. The set showcases current album, Shapeshifters.

"We are so excited to announce our upcoming Canadian tour," shares the band. "This spring we will bring our new album, Shapeshifters, from Ontario to British Columbia. This tour is the culmination of years of writing and recording our latest album, and we hope you will join us as we, and our friends Mark Mariash (drums) and Steve Zsirai (Bass), bring these new songs to life."

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