Music

David Byrne: American Utopia Sony Centre For The Performing Arts Toronto ON

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Submitted By Lenny Stoute

Just about the time, David Byrne was stagger dancing around a grey stage to "Blind", bulldozers were leveling the Beijing studio of dissident artist Ai Wei Wei, as arts programs across North America were getting the shiv in the ribs and Riot Pussy are again doing time. Once again, subversive art is under attack everywhere. So layered with the joyous and uplifting, especially as in bodies out of seats. David was a laying out a to-do list for the resistance. Ah, but we were there for the music and that never flagged nor disappointed. The set covered material from Talking Heads, Byrne solo albums from all periods, some collabs, a Love The Giant and some from the newbie, most given redos to fit a fun and funky vibe.

Keeping it grounded, between "Dog’s Mind" and "Everybody’s Coming to My House," Byrne encouraged everyone to vote “in every election they possibly can”. He acknowledged that things up here were quite different from in the US, which was loudly applauded but cautioned us not to get smug, quipping "Two words. Ford Brothers." When doing "Burning Down The House," he delivered lines like "we're in for nasty weather," with a touch of vehemence.

BTW Honyock, Dead Soft, Hosannas, June West, Carmen Toth, Tragedy Ann

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Listening to Honyock feels like walking through a post-war home that hasn’t been redecorated since 1975. Here, smoke-stained curtains obscure a hazy sun and a floral couch faces a stern stone fireplace. And, here, a dusty electric organ rests against a wood-paneled wall where, in any other house, a flat screen might sit. But while sitting at the Formica table beside a rattling, honey-colored Frigidaire, this home feels familiar, comfortable. This transportive power of Honyock’s music, though, is no serendipitous accident. Indeed, their first full-length El Castillo, produced by David Vandervelde (Father John Misty, Jay Bennett), seems like the outcome of some cosmic strategy—of fate, or something similar.

Like the best bands that take cues from the past—Wilco and Dr. Dog, Whitney and Kevin Morby, The Sacramento four piece combines the aesthetic of this era with songwriting that’s as distinctive as it is memorable. “Patron” features a dusty, retro aesthetic—a sun-faded roadside hotel, a cactus’s long shadow. It’s hard not to hear Elvis Costello or Roy Orbison in this opening track.

“It kind of came out of this persistent pattern in my life of being intimate with drug abuse and drug abusers,” Spencer says. “Those people can be the sweetest friends you’ve ever met, but they disappear a lot too. You have this duel emotion of ‘I would do anything to help you’ while admonishing them for their own lack of will.”

David Vaters Asks Us to ‘Forgive’

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

In these current times, with all the political tensions, climate issues, racism and unrest, the message from this Canadian-born artist couldn’t be more timely.

Forgive.

David Vaters has released a moving video with the song ‘Forgive’. The video is a heart-rendering addition to a well-written, moving song, taken from the album entitled “Volume 2 – A Voice in the Wilderness, and to date has over 10 million streams and views on digital music platforms.

Forgive. A very small word but such a huge undertaking for many of us to do.  But yet, many of us would hope for people to forgive us for things we might have done, maybe not intentionally and sometimes done by just being careless about others.

With Vaters’ ‘pay it forward’ take in the video, a simple gesture of a crumpled piece of paper handed to strangers really hits home to the viewer. Take that and combine it with a great song and you have a hit with a great message.

To date ‘Forgive’ has had over 1.2 million streams on Soundcloud and over 130,000 views on YouTube prior to its official release. And we are pretty sure those numbers have risen since this story was published.

A fan of David Vaters recently said,“this timely song is needed in a world that seems to be getting more intolerant and ever more hostile.”

Elvis Costello & The Imposters’ New Album Released October 12

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Elvis Costello and The Imposters – Steve Nieve (keyboards), Davey Faragher (bass), Pete Thomas (drums) – have made a sensational new album that ranks alongside the best work this singularly great artist has ever produced.

Recorded in Hollywood, New York City and Vancouver, British Columbia, Look Now is beautiful in its simplicity, reflective in its lyrical vision, surrounded by melodies and orchestrations that are nothing short of heavenly. It’s the first album Costello has made with The Imposters since the 2008 release of Momofuku and his first new album since the acclaimed 2013 Roots collaboration, Wise Up Ghost.

Anyone anywhere in the world who has seen Elvis Costello and The Imposters live can testify to their unmitigated swagger. Costello’s suspicion that it was time to return to the studio was confirmed while on the Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers tour of the USA, last summer and he realized the power and sheer musicality of The Imposters had never really been fully captured on one record.

I knew if we could make an album with the scope of Imperial Bedroom and some of the beauty and emotion of Painted From Memory, we would really have something,” said Costello.

BTW Lightning Echoes, Sammy Duke, Miss Emily, The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Alternative pop duo Lightning Echoes is taking listeners on a spherical journey of sound with their newest release, “In Circles”, available now from the usual suspects.

The Vancouver-based pairing is equal parts singer/songwriter Kaitlin Deavy and producer Alejandro Zarazúa. Having teamed up in February 2018 amidst their respective studies on music and production, the multi-instrumentalists were driven by their shared vision of music and human connection. On “In Circles” you’ll hear seemingly simple melodies swirling among complex layers of indie, folk, and what the two call “smart pop” elements.

“We wrote “In Circles” before officially becoming Lightning Echoes,” explains Zarazúa. He and Deavy studied Music Technology together and, after being assigned to work together, started opting to consistently until it blossomed into a long-term partnership we see — and hear — today. “It was actually part of our final portfolio project for the music program we studied together. We wanted some live material for the portfolio, so we invited some friends to the studio and recorded four songs that day.”

Sylvia Tyson & Scarlet Rivera at Hugh’s Room Live

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Submitted by Don Graham
Sylvia Tyson Photo Credit Christopher Lawson

They’re back! Sylvia Tyson and Scarlet Rivera will once again light up Hugh’s Room stage on August 7th.  They last appeared there together in 2016 where they put on a show for the ages and there’s no reason to believe that this upcoming night won’t be just as epic Canada’s living legend and a huge part of the fabric of Canadiana and our roots, Sylvia Tyson is a joy to watch and I’m pretty sure  she will  perform some staples from the Ian and Sylvia days including “Someday Soon” and “Four Strong Winds” And her big hit as a songwriter that she performed two years ago where she said “the first song I ever wrote in 1962,” which  was “You Were On My Mind” a big hit for We Five”. Sylvia said tongue in cheek, “My accountant asked me if I could write another one of these.”

Violin legend Scarlet Rivera is the perfect compliment to Sylvia spellbinding presentation. Scarlet is a legend in her own right having performed with Bob Dylan in The Rolling Thunder Review among a host of others greats.

Sylvia Tyson began her journey in 1959  as one half of the duo, Ian and Sylvia. She wrote her first song, “You Were On My Mind” in 1962, and three years later it reached #3 on the charts for a group called We Five, subsequently hitting the British charts as a hit for Crispian St Peter.

BTW Rayland Baxter, Moby, Annie Bonsignore, Rae Spoon, Stephanie Ratcliff, Sirens Of Shanti

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Alt-country/Americana artist Rayland Baxter has offered a new song from the Butch Walker-produced project, Wide Awake.. "79 Shiny Revolvers" was the first song Rayland wrote during his three-month-long isolation quest at Franklin, Kentucky's secluded Thunder Sound Studios. He composed fifty songs there, ten of which eventually became Wide Awake.

"79 Shiny Revolvers" is, in Rayland's own estimation, one of the most important songs he's ever written. Its lyrics burst with irony and cutting humour to interrogate our nation's fixation on guns: "You really wanna save the world, man / well, I wanna save it too / we can blow em away / the American way."

Says Rayland, "'79 Shiny Revolvers' is a satirical and sensitive song about the shortcomings of our human race. I watch and I write, not only as an onlooker but as a participant. As the world continues to swing around the sun, I cannot help but notice that we are good people. However, our shortcomings have been highlighted by a long line of imperfect decisions. Leonard Cohen died the day I wrote this song."

Listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6VKdDcDCBY

Amos Lee Unveils Hang On Hang On

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

This was the hardest song for me to sing on the album,” says Amos Lee of Hang On, Hang On – the cathartic and soulful ballad at the center of his upcoming My New Moon (August 31 / Dualtone Records). While the record is largely focused on Amos finding strength in the courage of others – from relationships he built through Musicians on Call and the Wounded Warrior Project to inspiration he took from the Parkland survivors - Hang On, Hang On sees Amos use these experiences to work through profound loss in his own life. Written after Amos lost his grandmother, the song is set around the last night he spent with her: “I would’ve stayed forever,” he sings, “but it didn’t work out that way.” Listen to Hang On, Hang On, here.

BTW Barney Bentall, Kill No Albatross, Elizabeth Shepherd, Dizzy Mystics, minihorse, Ellevator, Allen Stone, Go North Music Festival

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Barney Bentall Photo Credit Mark Maryanovich

True that storytelling through song has never been a weak point for JUNO Award-winning Barney Bentall. He continues to prove this with a rare excursion into single land on “Don’t Wait For Me Marie” and its cinematic, century-swapping video, available on YouTube now!

Between frames of fire and wild horses comes the tale of languished lust and Western greed, woven in a way only Bentall can deliver.

The song, of note, is one of many on The Drifter & The Preacher that Bentall says “ultimately wrote itself.

“There are times I look back and think, ‘well, that’s not where I thought this one was going to go,’” says Bentall. “With ‘Don’t Wait For Me Marie’ I thought, ‘I’m going to write a song about a guy leaving the Fraser Valley near Vancouver in the 1800s to look for gold in the Cariboo.’ I wanted it to be an uptempo bluegrass song because we were starting The High Bar Gang… I was very immersed in that style of music.

“Ultimately, it didn’t quite feel right so I decided to try the song with minor chords and an edgier feel. The feeling, subtext and meaning of the song did a one-eighty and I thought, ‘this was what I was looking for! A song takes you where it wants to take you if you are open and you surrender to those moments. I love the way music can do that in words.”

Singer Trudy Lynn Declares Blues Keep Knockin’

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Six-time Blues Music Award nominee Trudy Lynn will release her new CD, Blues Keep Knockin’ from Connor Ray Music on July 27. Backing Trudy’s vocals on the new disc are musicians Steve Krase – harmonica; David Carter – guitar; Terry Dry – bass; Matt Johnson – drums; Jim Brady – trumpet; and Dan Carpenter – sax; with special guests Bob Lanza and Carolyn Wonderland on guitar.

Trudy was recently honored with three nominations for the Living Blues Magazine Awards, with voting currently underway at the magazine’s website: www.livingblues.com.

“I want to thank all my blues fans new and old, or should I say ‘mature,’ for being with me through my journey with the blues, both near and far,” Trudy says in the album liner notes. “My name is Trudy Lynn and I sing the blues for you, some old some new and some borrowed too. I love singing the blues! The blues knocks on my door, on my window and my heart. I must sing and I sing only what I feel and I sing to make you feel exactly what I feel!”

Blues Keep Knockin’ features ten soul-drenched songs dripping with blues and R&B. In addition to a new original song written by Trudy (the album’s title track), she puts her own stamp on covers of songs from Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Big Maybelle, Big Bill Broonzy and Jimmy Rogers, among others.

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