Features

BTW-Iskwé, Melissa Bel, Rococode, Lemon Bucket Orkestra, The Olympic Symphonium, Kelela, Ariana Gillis

ISKW Photo Credit Lisa MacIntosh.jpeg

Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Iskwé Photo Credit Lisa MacIntosh

In a world where the sum of our lives is defined through another’s gaze, genuinely unchained artists like Winnipeg-bred Hamilton-based Iskwé (pronounced iss-kway) are a rare breed. Named one of the ‘Top 10 Artists to Watch’ by CBC Music, Iskwé (‘woman’ in Cree) is set to release her sophomore album, The Fight Within, on November 3rd (Independent). The album features the new single Soldier . Listen, buy and share here hyperurl.co/IskweSoldier . The lady's currently on a cross Canada tour in support of the forthcoming album. Her unmistakable sound weaves her Irish and Cree/Dené/Métis roots with poignant politically charged lyrics, dark soulful R&B rhythms, electronic flourishes, and trip-hop breakbeats. Iskwé teamed up with several notable producers for the new album including The Darcys on Nobody Knows, Hayden Wolf on Soldier and Will I See; and Keolya on Sometimes and The Storm.

Jim Cressman and Invictus Entertainment Group The Gold Standard

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Submitted by Don Graham

The music business has changed significantly over the past twenty years, even over the last five to ten years. With the growth of the interweb and recording options and artists being able to reach their base on a daily basis, the roles of all parties have evolved and changed as well. The art of music management has taken on a need for different and more diversified skill sets. Enter Jim Cressman, the owner and president of multiple award-winning concert promoting firm, artist agency and music management firm – Invictus Entertainment Group. Cressman is also the president of Big Star Recordings a record label jointly ventured with Universal Music Group Canada.

Jim recognizes the shift and had this to say, “It's the best time to be in the business in history. Thanks to the Internet, artists have a direct line to build their own fanbase, following and consumers. Middlemen like myself have to work harder than ever to justify our existence, and that's a good thing. Anytime the industry is forced to raise their standards, and artists are more empowered, we end up with a stronger business.”

I have been watching Jim Cressman and his steady growth for a number of years and my respect for him and his business acumen grows daily. He is a man of great integrity and razor-sharp business sense.

Kevin Breit Releases Johnny Goldtooth and The Chevy Casanovas

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Acclaimed Toronto-based guitarist Kevin Breit is set to release his new CD, Johnny Goldtooth and The Chevy Casanovas on Sunday, November 26 at Lula Lounge in Toronto. The new disc, available on Stony Plain Records, was written and produced by Kevin Breit. The evening will feature Kevin Breit along with Ian DeSouza, Gary Taylor and special guests.

Kevin Breit is a master guitarist who has recorded with the likes of Norah Jones, Taj Mahal, Rosanne Cash, k.d. lang, Cassandra Wilson and Hugh Laurie. With unmatched artistic vision, Kevin has created the joyful and whimsical Johnny Goldtooth and The Chevy Casanovas as a guitar-driven musical journey through genius. Joining Breit on this all-instrumental album are Vincent Henry (Amy Winehouse, Tom Waits), Michael Ward Bergeman (Yo Yo Ma), Davide DiRenzo (Cassandra Wilson) and Gary Diggins (R Murray Schaffer). Known for hisinimitable guitar playing, exquisite lyrics and eccentric performances, Breit is a humble Canadian musical treasure. With multiple awards, including a Maple Blues Award, National Jazz Award and two JUNO awards (Canada’s Grammy) for his own recordings, as well as for his work on albums that have a collective 10 Grammy Awards, Breit’s unparalleled creativity is infinite.

BTW- Joseph, Metz, Headstones, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Martha Wainwright, Lily Frost, Mark Newman, U.S.Girls

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

All femme trio Joseph returns with a seven-track EP, Stay Awake, released digitally by ATO Records. The collection includes three new songs - "All," which opens the set, a demo of "50, 60, 80" and the closing track, "Stay Awake" plus re-imagined versions of two older songs and stunning covers of Tears For Fears' "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" and the Rolling Stones' " Moonlight Mile."

Natalie Schepman, who founded Joseph with her two sisters, Allison Closner and Meegan Closner, says, "Stay Awake is a small collection of songs we put together to help ourselves deal with heaviness. It's a bit of telling it like it is. It's a bit of a 'keep going.'"

"When we were recently reminded of Tears for Fears' song 'Everybody Wants to Rule The World,' it hit us how pertinent it is today even though it was written in the 80's. Today, maybe more than ever," explains Natalie, who added a few lines after the bridge that especially speak to the times we live in:

'Make the most of freedom and pleasure.

All I know is take care of each other.

An open door, a seat at the table, there's enough to go around.'

Ken Whiteley’s Sunday Gospel Matinee @ Hugh’s Room Live

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Ken Whiteley’s Sunday Gospel Matinee @ Hugh’s Room Live

Submitted to Cashbox Canada

For those of you not familiar with "Sacred Steel", it is one of the mostexciting musical forms on the planet and Chuck is one of its greatestexponents. Ken first met the award winning pedal steel guitaristChuck Campbell on a Memphis elevator. Even before Kenheard the African-American Sacred Steel superstar groupThe Campbell Brothersperform, Ken sensed that here were musicians he'd love to make music with.The next day after he heard them play, the deal was sealed. Chuck Campbellplayed on two of Ken's cds – ‘Listening’ and ‘Another Day's Journey’. With The Campbell Brothers, Chuck has beenfeatured at Luminato, the Hummingbird Centre, The Kennedy Centre, TheHollywood Bowl and has toured extensively across North America and Europe.The last time Chuck appeared on Ken’s Sunday Gospel series it wasstanding room only so we suggest you get your ticketsearly.

Robert Plant Carry Fire

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Submitted Iain Patience

The world is peppered with musical magpies, musicians who are ever searching, listening out for new, refreshingly interesting rhythms and tones, the next nugget of aural treasure lurking just around the next corner.  For most, there might, if lucky, be a sudden awakening, a new discovery that torches the flame once again and pushes them into a challenging new area or zone. But when you’re Robert Plant your pickings tend to produce pearls.

With Plant’s latest offering, ‘Carry Fire’ on Warner/Nonesuch Records, we have an album that ricochets from area to area, never sitting lazily in any one softly sagging musical zone. From the opening track, with its sparkling, up-beat, up-tempo shades of modern blues and Americana, through the scorching passion of the title track to others that are mesmerising at times and haul indefinably intriguing eastern scales and instrumentation into the forefront, this is an album that is instantly disarming and delicious. Plant includes a take on one of his own personal, life-long favourites, the mid-fifties number, ‘Bluebirds Over the Mountain,’ where he shares the vocals with New Yorker and ex-Pretender, Chrissie Hynde.

In short, this is Plant working his balls off with an evident love, interest and immersion in the changing rhythms of the world around him.

Gord Downie 1964-2017

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Submitted by Don Graham

There are a handful of artists that by name alone are broadstroked with a red and white Canadian brush. Gordon Lightfoot, Anne Murray and Leonard Cohen to name a few are as Canadian as hockey and maple syrup.

Gord Downie, the lead singer and founder of the Tragically Hip, who passed away last week, also fits into that elite group. A statement released via the band's official Twitter account and posted on its website read as follows "Last night Gord quietly passed away with his beloved children and family close by. Gord knew this day was coming -- his response was to spend this precious time as he always had -- making music, making memories and expressing deep gratitude to his family and friends for a life well lived, often sealing it with a kiss ... on the lips." He was only 53 years old.


Gord was born in Kingston, Ontario with an impassioned love of hockey and with Harry Sinden as his godfather he became a lifelong Boston Bruins fan. But music and songwriting was his calling and first love. The Tragically Hip was formed in 1984 and became one of Canada's most beloved groups with hits such as "Wheat Kings," "Bobcaygeon" and "Ahead by a Century." Downie also released five solo albums from 2001 to 2016 and as much as Canada loved Downie, he loved his country back.

BTW-The Treble, Slow Leaves, The Pack A.D., Skydiggers, Trio Da Kali/ Kronos Quartet, Friendly Rich

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Winnipeg band The Treble has announced their fifth installment of 24 Shows in 24 Hours will take place on October 20 and 21. This year the band has chosen to partner with and raise funds for The National Canadian Mental Health Association.

The Treble will play acoustic sets each hour at a variety of businesses, venues, and historical and recognizable landmarks across Winnipeg, in exchange for donations that will go to support the CMHA. Since its inception, the event has grown significantly, and for its fifth anniversary, this year's iteration promises to be a truly special experience. Since it's inception in 2011, 24 Shows in 24 Hours has raised nearly $20,000 for charity partners including the Canadian Red Cross, Winnipeg Harvest, Free The Children, and Cancer Care Manitoba.

"A band that plays all day and all night for mental health knows the kind of energy it takes to make a difference," says Mark Henick, CMHA National Director of Strategic Initiatives. "The Canadian Mental Health Association thanks The Treble and all its supporters for their commitment and their generosity."

As The Years Go By Randy Ray and Mark Kearney

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

The first thing that strikes you when talking to co-author Randy Ray is his enthusiasm about Canadian artists and how important doing this book was to his mission. Amazing he could stay that enthusiastic about the hard world of publishing, considering this is Book # 10 in his archives.

Ray first encountered Mark Kearney in 1977 when they were rookie reporters at the London Free Press in London, Ont. It was to be a kinship that would last decades and lead to their latest book, As The Years Go By, Conversations with Canada’s folk, pop and rock pioneers.

It all started for Randy Ray in 1967-68, when he went to High School in Scarborough, Ontario and eventually met the love of his life, Janis, who would be his future wife. They danced at the High School dances amidst the basketball nets and his destiny would be with this girl who stole his heart while he fell in love with the live music playing in the gym.

“I was a basement drummer when I was young. That and being a ‘CHUM Bug’ – 1050 Chum influenced me back in the day. So many great memories for me and the Chum charts influenced what 45’s we bought at the local store. That was the beginning of my lifelong romance with music.”

Ken TobiasKen Tobias

BTW Terra Lightfoot, Little Miss Higgins, The New Pornographers, Primus, In The Valley Below, Miles Electric Band, Moulettes

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Photo: Terra Lightfoot Photo Credit Dustin Rabin 

Terra Lightfoot's multi talents are on show in a new video for the lead single off her forthcoming studio album. "Paradise" premiered on CBC's q and is now available for streaming and download stores. Lightfoot's upcoming full-length, New Mistakes, is set for release on October 13 via Sonic Unyon Records. The "Paradise" video, directed by Dustin Rabin (photographer for Paul McCartney, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, and director of performance-based videos for Billy Talent), sees its premiere via American Songwriter.

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