Music

BTW- Debra-Jean Creelman, Kinnie Starr, Oh Pep, Avery Raquel, Jen Lane, Friendly Rich, Public Animal, Terra Lightfoot, Blue Goose

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Photo at right: Debra-Jean Creelman

Vancouver's Debra-Jean Creelman is making a name in Americana roots circles for her singing and songwriting. An accomplished singer having found success early with Canadian indie pop act Mother Mother, Debra went on to focus on her solo career in 2008. She's also lent her voice to a bevy of notable Canadian artists, including Frazey Ford, the Wooden Sky, the Crackling, Louise Burns, Aidan Knight, Dustin Bentall, and Pugs and Crows. For the Railtown Sessions, Debra-Jean steps to the left of the folk/roots idiom and brings an ethereal quality to the collection. On "Midnight Sun" her voice pierces a wall of fuzz reminiscent of 50's doo-wop and 60's psychedelia. "Up in Smoke" winds its way in a meditative fashion while "Maybe They Were Right" brings grit and swagger. She sings "It's so hard to speak my heart, when my mind is breaking" on the slow burning "In the Dark", full of vulnerability. All in all, the swelling distortion and strong yet delicate vocals of Debra's Session echo the howl of the locomotives grinding their way out of Railtown.

Uncovered 10-Bowie & Queen

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Koerner Hall- Various Artists
Submitted by Lenny Stoute

For their tenth anniversary production of the UnCovered series, the folks at Up Stage Theatre went uptown to Koerner Hall to stage the potentially tangy UnCovered: Queen & Bowie. That potential was not often realised as the storyline offered many occasions on which, rather than a clash of creative views, we had consensual arrival at a soft middle ground.

But you don't go to Uncovered for strong storylines, you're there for the music and on that front, the cast and band delivered the goods. The strong line-up offered Brent Carver (Tony Award-winner), Divine Brown (Juno Award-winner), Melissa O’Neil (Canadian Idol-winner, Broadway’s Les Miserables), Sara Farb (Stratford Festival), Maev Beaty (Stratford Festival), Gabe Grey (Beeba Boys, Bomb Girls), Andrew Penner (Sunparlour Players, Soulpepper), Kelly Holiff (Charlottetown Festival), Robert Markus (Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival), Arinea Hermans (2016 Banks Prize Winner) and Jahlen Barnes (2016 Banks Prize Winner).

As befitting the theatricality of the material, they were backed by an orchestra of piano, violin, cello, guitar, bass and percussion, which made for intricate layering of sounds absent from the originals. Full marks for creating unique arrangements tailored to the story within each song's lyrics.

With the two towering catalogues of Bowie and Queen to work from, there was no shortage of killer story songs in the set, though 'Killer Queen' wasn't one of them.

Jen and John Tour Ontario & Quebec

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Submitted by Lee Fraser

Jen Lane and John Antoniuk are coming back to Eastern Canada for a fall tour and it looks like a lot of audiences are going to get to enjoy this heart-warming, down-to-earth couple right in their own hometown.

In celebration of Jen Lane’s latest record being released on vinyl, the Saskatoon couple has almost back-to-back-to-back dates all over Ontario and Quebec starting from November 1 and continuing right through to November 29.  There are shows booked in Guelph, Orillia, Gravenhurst, Oakville, Wakefield, Montreal and the town of Durham in Grey-Bruce.

They are also continuing their twice-yearly residency at the Cameron House, the warm and cozy venue in downtown Toronto that just celebrated its 35th Anniversary.  You’ll find John opening things up at 8 pm every Tuesday in November, followed by a long and lovely set by Jen Lane and her band.

Jen’s latest video is for the title track of her latest album, “This Life of Mine”. It’s a glimpse into the recording process and the studio where it was recorded, complete with very adorable alpacas. Here is the link to that video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTMzaS4MbdA

For details on the full eastern Canada tour, as well as more videos and streaming songs, visit Jen’s web page at jenlane.com

BTW with Lenny Stoute Megan Bonnell, Botany, Moby, Andy Shauf , Songsbury, Sean McCann, Future States, Divine Brown

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Singer-songwriter Megan Bonnell is currently on a cross Canada tour this fall with Great Lake Swimmers. Hitting up five of the provinces, the tour will see Megan perform solo for crowds from Sudbury, Winnipeg, Calgary, Nelson, Saskatoon, and Sault Ste. Marie, to name a few. The tour kicked off Monday, October 24th and to get her fans pumped for the show Bonnell`s released a stunning acoustic video performance of her song, Broken Hearted Avenue, off her current release Magnolia, a lush instropective discourse of an album.

"I love that this tour takes us winding around Lake Superior, across the prairies, and into the mountains. Everything seems to fit perfectly together on this run. The Great Lake Swimmers every night; in churches and small towns. I feel very lucky." Megan continues, "Fall is such a reflective time of year, and to witness the way it takes hold differently in each province, is really poetic to me. It makes me feel inspired to be playing each night under these wonderful circumstances."

Eric Andersen The Shadow and the Light

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Submitted by Don Graham

Eric Andersen, one of the founding fathers of the great American Folk Family, continues to evolve and reinvent himself.  It’s as though he has an unquenchable thirst to create new works and adapt the works of other literary icons of the past. For me that is the mark of a true artist, constantly moving the finish line and looking for new ways to express himself and not fearful of taking the great works of others and translating them into song in his own undeniable fashion.

And that is just what he has done with Albert Camus, the great French-Algerian 20th Century philosopher. The paintings of Oliver Jordan were what first inspired Eric to reinvestigate the works of Albert Camus which in turn  inspired him  to write the songs for The Shadow and the Light album.  Camus, whose productivity was from 1935 until his tragic demise  in  a car wreck in 1960, was similar to Eric  in that they both sought the truth in their words.

Andersen managed to take the text of Camus and expertly transform them into four songs; The Plague,( Song of Denial) The Stranger, (Song of Revenge) The Rebel (Song of Revolt)  and The Fall (Song of  Gravity).  Kind of like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Each song is haunting in its content and production with the sincere, honest vocals that have become Eric’s stock in trade.

BTW-MONA, Diamond Mind, Lowlands, Laura Rain and the Caesars, Laughed The Boy, Lori Cullen, Little Scream, Piper Hayes

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Good to hear from this crew again. It's been a few years since MONA (Nick Brown, Zach Lindsay, Alex Lindsay, Jordan Young & Justin Wilson) released anything so there\s a palpable excitement around the band and its fans regarding the Oct. 28 unveiling of the six song EP, "In The Middle"

The five piece has seen rejigging and creative tensions since their last release and has come with a renewed sense of purpose and a fresh and vibrant set of newly penned songs that may very well be the best of their career. MONA recently gave fans a sneak peak of what they've been working on.

"We have always been a tight knit group, but the vibe is the best it's been and we are looking forward to bringing these songs to the public," says front man Nick Brown. The band is currently preparing to join fellow label mates - The Wombats - as special guests on the second leg of their North American Tour for a handful of exclusive shows that will run until the first week of October. The first show kicks off on Tuesday, September 27th in Denver. In addition to the series of dates with The Wombats, Mona will be opening for July Talk on their North American Tour later this fall. The tour will run through mid-December. 

The Golden Voice of Bonnie Dobson

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Submitted by Iain Patience
Photo: L-R Jim Cuddy, Bonnie Dobson, Gordon Lightfoot

With a hand cupped to an ear the echoing whisper can almost be heard: '……Who?.... Bonnie who?…..Bonnie Dobson….who?,' as it filters through the hall. A strange state of affairs indeed, because Bonnie Dobson is one of music's true survivors, a lady with a gorgeous, glorious voice that over half a century since her emergence in New York's nascent folk-music scene, still glints like gold.

Originally from Toronto, Canada, Dobson worked the incipient US folk scene alongside Judy Collins and Joan Baez, and was ranked by Time Magazine as one of the top three folk-musicians and singers in 1960s USA alongside them.

She played all the famed haunts, now steeped in legend and musical myth and folklore, hanging out in Gerde's Folk City, The Gaslight, The Bitter End. The lady toured extensively with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Mississippi John Hurt, and worked with Pete Seeger, Reverend Gary Davis, Lightnin' Hopkins, Artie and Happy Traum - always working her way and looking astutely around the world surrounding her as she wrote songs of love and loss and prescient, at times disturbing, thought.

David Bromberg Band - The Blues, The Whole Blues And Nothing But The Blues

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Submitted By Iain Patience

Any new release from US roots master guitarist David Bromberg is bound to whip up a fair music feeding frenzy. For around fifty years, I personally have been an unashamed, outright huge fan of this guy and his spectacularly significant, genre-crossing musical magic. When I first heard him back around 1970, I became an avowed fan, chasing up releases as and when and where I could find them. With this latest release, Bromberg has again shown just how wonderfully versatile and untamed he really is. This is Delaware-based Bromberg returning to his blues roots with complete ease and startling control.

Kicking off with “Walking Blues,” he goes on through the old traditional number “900 Miles”, a simply superb take on “Delia” and a wonderful version of “Bulldog Blues” mixed together with his own material always brimming with his trademark Jewish humor and laconic, lyrical delivery. It hardly need be said it features some exceptional fretwork with the iconic Bromberg switching effortlessly between, electric, acoustic and slide styles at the drop of the proverbial hat.

Asked about the release, he says he considers it the best thing he’s done to date, heaping praise on producer Larry Campbell for his understanding of what Bromberg was aiming to produce and Justin Guip who engineered the project with minimal fuss or difficulty in the studio.  ‘What do I hope to get from this album,’ he muses briefly before chuckling, ‘Worldwide domination!’

BTW- Jadea Kelly, Moon Tan, Royal Canoe, Adam Baldwin, Anna Atkinson, Jimmy Bowsill & Carlos Del Junco

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Dividing her time between Toronto, ON and Nashville, TN, Canadian Songstress Jadea Kelly is very familiar with life on the road. This fall she'll embark on a tour with Winnipeg's Sweet Alibi and share songs from her compelling and intimate third studio record, Love & Lust. The album was released to rave reviews on June 3, 2016 via her own label Darth Jadea Music (distributed by Fontana North). The new record includes the CBC Radio 2 lauded track Make It Easy and Exclaim declares it to be "Kelly's finest work yet." Check out the brand new LIVE video of her track Good Girl (co-written w/ Robyn Dell'Unto and Stew Crookes), captured at her sold-out Toronto show at The Drake.

Love & Lust features 11 lovingly crafted and thoughtfully executed songs. "Beauty" in particular is perhaps the most delicate and forgiving of songs on this album, co-written with Canadian artist Peter Katz. The song was chosen to accompany a tribute video to celebrate Terry Fox, Day 11 of the Paralympics opening montage and has amassed on Facebook. Prior to the release of Love & Lust, Kelly headed into Union Sound Company to capture a collection of live performances for the new material.

Jane Harbury’s Live Discoveries

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Submitted by Don Graham
Discoveries Photo Credit Pat Blythe A Girl With A Camera The Picture Taker

Hugh’s Room in Toronto is a highwater mark for artists and entertainers. It’s a big room and the stage has been graced by many, many legends. Jimmy Webb, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Eric Andersen, Sylvia Tyson, Jesse Winchester and so many more. It’s a room emerging artists strive to perform at. But local publicist and music veteran Jane Harbury wanted to find a way to make that dream a reality for bubbling under artists before their big break and for over a decade has been providing them an opportunity. “All the talent on stage is handpicked by me. This isn’t a talent contest or American Idol, these are artist that impressed me enough to believe that they are almost there.” And Jane should know, she worked at the iconic Riverboat in Yorkville during the folk boom and saw many of today’s legends in their infancy. “These folks you’ll see tonight on stage are just steps away from achieving  their goals and I’m proud to be able to help them by providing a stage like Hugh’s Room. If this were baseball these folks are Triple A, one jump away from the Show.”

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