Features

BTW Dennis Ellsworth, Jim Andralis & The Syntonics, Jordan Officer, Terra Lightfoot, Yukon Blonde, Jonas Tomalty, The Greasemarks

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

The change has come for Dennis Ellsworth. It's in the title and in the grooves of fifth solo album Things Change, which finds Ellswort embracing a dynamic new power pop sound, as opposed to the roots rock approach he has previously been known for.

The Prince Edward Island native's currently taking it to the people on a national ticking all the major boxes. The approach can be credited in part to Ellsworth teaming up with Joel Plaskett, who assumed production duties and enlisted compadres Charles Austin (Superfriendz) and Dave Marsh (longtime drummer in Plaskett’s backing band the Emergency), to participate. The results on Things Change are a brilliant convergence of his irresistible songwriting chops with Plaskett and co.’s trademark vintage guitar-driven sound.

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.

Audra Santa The Power And The Pain

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

From Thunder Bay to Melbourne, Toronto to Cannes, Audra Santa's a happening thing. Started happening in Australia, where she spent ten happy years exploring the Aussie badlands and goodlands, playing in various musical projects, including progressive rock band, The Wandering, and Indie-folk duo, Amon and Audra. Her powerful, expressive vocals and talent for instaconnections with people were simply too evident for Audra not to go solo. Recording commenced at Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne over Easter 2016 with high enthusiasm on all sides. For Audra though, it was a being put in a blender kind of thing, high on getting her songs down, low down inside with the certain knowledge that the marriage she had cherished with all her being, had put aside her music for at one point, was going off the cliff.

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

David Vaters A Voice in the Wilderness

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Submitted by Don Graham

David Vaters is making the music he was meant to make and the world is taking notice. And with the state of affairs on the planet these days the world needs David Vaters’ uplifting and inspirational songs to bring a positive balance to life. There have been some detours on the road to David’s destiny but patience and laser focus helped get him to this point in his life and career.

“I started writing songs at age 15 and at 16 I was offered a record contract, an 8 single deal, but it would have involved leaving school and that wasn’t going to happen. So I put it on hold for a while.” But David’s passion and talent as a singer/songwriter was not to be denied. He spent many years honing and fine-tuning his songwriting skills and working with great musicians in North America and the U.K. and began work on ‘A Voice in the Wilderness Volume 1.’ “I was fortunate to start a business with my brother making merchandise and branding T-shirts and the like. We were responsible for Brooks Running shoes among other things. I ended up moving back to Canada from Tennessee to a home in the wilderness which was strange because I had titled my work ‘A Voice In The Wilderness’ before I knew I’d be living there.”

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.

The Ultimate Dance Party with Michael Williams at the Duke Live

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Michael Williams is a Canadian television personality who may be best known for his work as a VJ at MuchMusic from 1984 to 1993. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Williams moved to Montreal in the 1970s to attend the Communications Arts School at Loyola (now Concordia University). While attending the school, he started a DJ service in the receptive musical city of Montreal and started
Williams was part of MuchMusic's core opening team of VJ's alongside J. D. Roberts, Erica Ehm, and Christopher Ward. Williams hosted various shows including Soul in the City, RapCity, Electric Circus, Pepsi Power Hour and The NewMusic. To this day people stop Michael in the street and ask for his autograph, or tell him what an influence he had on them during this Much days. Some thank him for being an inspiration to them.

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.”

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