Features

Don McLean ‘Mr American Pie’ in the Botanical Gardens

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Submitted by Iain Patience

Don McLean is one of those rare characters, a true US music icon with a song-writing knack and a melodic thrust few can ever reach, let alone match. With a new album just out, ‘Botanical Gardens,’ he is relaxed, assured and happy to look back at his fifty years on the road, a modern troubadour who still loves the buzz of live performance.

I love being out there, on-stage, never knowing what might happen. I’m flying and I only hope everybody gets it and it goes well and is not a disaster. I don’t wear a harness. I’m like a wild horse,’ he says with evident relish.

With his latest release, ‘Botanical Gardens,’ the first in around eight years, McLean touches many of his usual bases - love, relationships and reflective compassion and concern. The title track was inspired by his time playing in Sydney, Australia, a few years ago when he discovered a wonderful public park full of exotic plants and trees a peaceful oasis, a mere stone’s throw from the city’s famous landmark Opera House. ‘I remember lots of colour, flowers, bulbs, palm trees, tropical plants all around. And I walked around there, juxtaposing my thoughts of New York – lacking colour at its worst - as I wandered. I’ve never truly liked New York City. I moved Upstate after college in around 1968.

BTW - Kalle Mattson, Idles, Jimmy Rankin, Mike Edel, Melodic Yoza, Slamboni, Mitski

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Photo: Kalle Mattson
Photo Credit Colin Medley

Alt folkie Kalle Mattson is coming round with a new album, Youth .a coming-of-age record about innocence lost, promises denied, and the purgatory of one’s mid-20s. When Mattson began writing the album, his motto was “folk is dead”, but he still demoed all the songs, “just me and an acoustic guitar in my bedroom ...unique, I know,” he says. While the songs may begin on the ol’ six-string, the final tracks on Youth. see Mattson shifting the focus to keyboards and drum machines with help from producer Colin Munroe (Drake, Sky Ferreira).

WATCH AND SHARE THE ALBUM TEASER VIDEO HERE

Folk music is about storytelling, which is something Mattson knows well enough. “People latched on to my last album because there was a story,” he says. “Writing in a box was exciting and interesting to me: here’s a theme, so how far can you go with it, and how can you make it seem like a cohesive piece?” For Youth., he set out to write about his time growing up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, a small border town between Great Lakes Superior and Huron. He credits “the Soo” with giving him ambition—to get the heck out of there.

Ry Cooder The Return of the Prodigal Son

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Submitted by Iain Patience

When one of the world’s most accomplished, admired and revered guitarists tells you that how he plays is: “………nothing special. It’s just music. All music’s the same, all that folk stuff. You just play what you know. You listen to the other guys and try to compliment them,” you know you’re dealing with a master of understatement. And with Ry Cooder, the humility continues in a similar vein as he looks back over half a century at the absolute peak of musical genius.

From his sideman work with the Rolling Stones – Cooder’s the stinging slide-picker on ‘Sister Morphine’ on the ‘Sticky Fingers’ album – in the 1960s to his remarkable emergence as a movie music score writer twenty years later, Cooder has always been a guy with a passion for music, performance and unexpected twists and turns. Always ready to play out his socio-political beliefs and hopes in musical form, Cooder never shuns controversy when he feels the time is right, or there’s a need to push back against convention or authority.

Take his work with the Buena Vista Social Club, for example, an album and a band that he championed at a considerable personal expense in the late 1980s when the USA operated an absolute embargo on all things Cuban. Cooder, in typically resourceful, committed mode, hooked up with a bunch of aging Cuban musicians and brought their sheer, shining brilliance to the global stage, picking up a Grammy in the process and a personal $25,000 fine for breaching the trade embargo back home Stateside.

BTW Velvet Code, Dale Boyle, Sam Weber, Tia Brazda, Haerts, Tri-Continental

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Here's another Canuck star in the making, this time in the field of electropop. Award-winning electropop artist Velvet Code has announced the August 22, 2018 release of his highly-anticipated first single “Break The Silence”, from his upcoming sophomore album. Collaborating with industry legend Wendy Starland (the woman responsible for developing and discovering Lady Gaga), “Break The Silence” is being billed as a confident follow-up to Code’s previously acclaimed work, which has been featured on hit television shows such as Jersey Shore and The Hills.

Deriving musical influences from the likes of Freddy Mercury, Depeche Mode and Imagine Dragons, Velvet’s new single aims to shine the light on the pressing issue of mental health. Throughout his career, the openly gay musician has dealt with varying degrees of depression and anxiety and is hoping that messages in his music will help listeners going through difficult times

“With this new single and album, I’ve reached deep into my soul to expose the truth about my life over the last number of years,” says Velvet. “When writing Break The Silence, I was dealing with issues surrounding my own self-worth — resulting in this release being the most brutally honest version of me. I hope that listeners can relate, gain clarity, and realize that they are not alone in their struggles.”

Meet The New Swedish POP/Indie/Folk Maestro Simon Alexander!

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LABEL: REHN MUSIC GROUP

Submitted to Cashbox Canada
Simon Alexander Photo Credit Ian Moloney

Last single “Slide” was added to Spotify New Music Friday lists in Germany, Switzerland,Norway, Denmark & Iceland as well as native Spotify-playlisting on lists as "Hangover Friendly" and "New Talent" Slide was also featured in various blogs as museek.de - altitude - dansendeberen - popmuzik.se and more.

Simon Alexander is announced for Sweden’s biggest Showcase Festival LIVE AT HEART in September 2018. http://liveatheart.se. Then in October, it is on to the Oxjam Camden Festival - London UK - German Tour spring 2019.

With a sound influenced by greats like Jeff Buckley and Neil Young to more modern songwriters like Hozier and Matt Corby, Simon Alexander is taking on the Singer/Songwriter - Folk/Indie scene bringing his profound lyrics and heartfelt melodies.

Simon Alexander was born and raised on the west coast of Sweden. From early years the interest for music was immense, and Simon spends the majority of his time as a drummer in various constellations while writing on his own material behind closed doors.

Live at Heart Ready to Showcase over 200 Acts in Sweden

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

It all began in 2010 when Live at Heart’s founders Anders Damberg and Johannes Nilsson wanted to create a space for local, unsigned bands to play for larger audiences. In its first year, Live at Heart featured 102 different acts and hosted gigs on 10 different venues around Örebro.

Over the years, Live at Heart has evolved into a creative industry conference and showcase festival – attended by hundreds of artists, filmmakers and creative professionals from all over the world. The event has grown into one of the biggest of its kind in all of Scandinavia and is considered one of the best festivals in the world.

Live at Heart is a showcase festival, meaning that we are showcasing the stars of tomorrow and giving promising creative talents the opportunity to get discovered and boost their careers. More than 200 music acts and independent film screenings in the heart of Örebro.

Peter AstedtPeter AstedtThe talent is not just from Sweden, the artists are from all over the world, including Canada, a lineup that Peter Astedt has garnered from his many trips to CMW, MIDEM and SXSW over the years.

BTW Colour Film, Basement Revolver, Jim Kweskin, Vince Gill, Leo Vance, Annie Bonsignore, Dilly Dally, The Flatliners

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Some say this is pop music for your mind’s eye. With songs that play like home movies rich in imagery and characters, Colour Film is the stage name of Hamilton, ON's multitalented Matthew de Zoete. The moniker embodies his idea of songs as little films, where a combination of characters, stories, and emotions create a visual element in the listener's mind. His latest release Super 8 blends pop and folk to set six of these cinematic songs in an atmospheric soundscape conjured with producer Les Cooper (Jill Barber, Good Lovelies). Imagine Nick Drake cheering up a bit and meeting Beck.

Since 2006, de Zoete (pronounced "duh-ZOO-tuh") has released three previous albums under his own name and toured throughout North America and Europe. He has shared the stage with acts such as Serena Ryder, Great Lake Swimmers, and Whitehorse, and he's performed at festivals including North by Northeast, Canadian Music Week, JUNOfest, and Stukafest (Netherlands).

The song is a duet with Caroline Brooks of the Good Lovelies: https://soundcloud.com/colour-film-791058487/open-road

Watch the video for the lush folk of Open Road. https://youtu.be/2W42zohp3oE

James Leblanc and The Winchesters Still Needing Your Pledge for The Devil Between My Ears

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Submitted by Don Graham

James Leblanc and The Winchesters are trying hard to reach their goal on Pledge Music but still need your help. James and The Winchesters are based in the Muscle Shoals area and are hard at work at The Nutthouse Recording Studio recording their album ‘The Devil Between My Ears’. Bandleader James Leblanc, “Thanks for this opportunity to keep getting 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 is gonna be steppin’ out and singin’ some leads, so I’m pumped. And I am happy to tell you that the new album is coming along. We still need your help with pre-orders through our PledgeMusic campaign.”

The band concept, although still the basic James Leblanc sound that is so gripping, has the added colors of a band feel with the super talented Angela Hacker providing great vocals as a counterpoint to James, signature honest, pure and sincere take on the tunes. The band is as tight as anything you’ll hear with fellow Shreveport native Jimmy Nutt laying the foundation with rock solid bass lines, Evan Lane on drums and Brad Kuhn on keys.

Carlos Santana Up Close and Personal

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Submitted by Iain Patience

Carlos Santana is, without doubt, one of the finest guitarists modern music has to offer. From his explosive appearance on the Woodstock stage fifty years ago, in 1969, through his work with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and the legendary blues duo of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper, Santana has remained a unique, instantly recognizable figure in both the blues and world music camps.

Now, with a new band behind him and an ambition and optimism that he believes is leading him back to his ‘blues roots,’ he is about to hit the road with a promise of Santana at his very best, a bluesman with a purpose and a genuine desire to take the music world by the scruff of its neck and deliver a promise that he believes will push him straight back into the spotlight where many would agree he clearly belongs.

When Did Casey Kasem Finally Sign Off of the American Top 40?

Courtesy of Rob Durkee

On August 6, 1988, thirty years ago Monday, August 6, 1988, thousands of "American Top 40" fans tuned in to hear Casey Kasem do what was believed to be his very last AT40 show. Shadoe Stevens would replace him at the mike the following week. Fans particularly wanted to hear how Casey would end the show, fully expecting him to say goodbye.

Only he didn't. After promoting his TV show, Casey said, "Til then, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."

No farewell from Casey...but that was because it really WASN'T "farewell" for him. He would be back. The ABC network would actually PAY Casey to NOT count 'em down for the rest of 1988 and the first two weekends of 1989. But that's when Casey's contract with ABC expired. On the weekend of January 21, 1989, Casey sounded like he'd never been away when he debuted with "Casey's Top 40" on the Westwood One radio network. He was just starting a then-unheard-of radio contract for a disc jockey....five years, $15 million.

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