Features

Norbert Putnam Walking In Memphis

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Submitted by Don Graham

Musician, Producer, Arranger, Publisher, Studio Owner, best-selling Author; Norbert Putnam has had a lot of awards and accolades thrust upon him in his long illustrious career and is about to have another to add to his collection. On August 13th, 2018, three days after his birthday and three days prior to the anniversary of the death of one of Norbert’s favorite artists to have played on sessions with his true, close friend, Elvis Presley, he will be honored in Memphis Tennessee with a Brass Note on Beale Street. Known as the Beale Street Brass Note Walk of Fame it was started to offer a tangible embodiment of the many talented people who had put Memphis music and Beale Street on the world map and includes musicians, composers, disc jockeys, promoters and music supporters with celebrating them on the concrete sidewalks along Beale Street.

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.

Elvis Presley The Boy Who Would Be King

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January 6, 1935 - August 16, 1977
Submitted by Don Graham

On August 16, 1977, 41 years ago, we lost one of the most significant artists on human beings the world has ever known.  Elvis Presley. Although the anniversary of his death is not as universally recognized as years past his impact on the world has not diminished. In 2010 we wrote the story “The Boy Who Would Be King” and thought it appropriate to rerun it for your reading enjoyment. Elvis didn’t like being called the King and at one show where they held up a sign saying Elvis Is King. He asked them to take it down saying there is only one King and pointed heavenward. Hope you enjoy the read.

On January 8th, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi, was born to Gladys and Vernon Presley, a baby boy. He would be named Elvis Aaron Presley, and one day would be known simply as…..The King.

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.

Denis Element I’m Where a Memory (Can Die For a Night)

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Submitted by Don Graham

Cover Photo Credit Ash Photography Services

The recipe for this country music feel-good story includes; Nashville legend, Vern Gosdin aka The Voice, Beverly Gosdin, Vern’s widow, Dana Hudson, singer/songwriter and Denis Element, Canadian country singer/songwriter.

Together this combination of people all came together to create this great story. “This is what I’ve wanted to do all my life. I grew up with my Dad listening to George Jones, Hank Sr. and Merle. And of course, Vern Gosdin. It was three years ago that my wife, Pauline, began posting my videos on social media. Not long after I began to build a fan base that loved traditional country music and the loved my vocals. I posted a song by Vern Gosdin and shortly after Beverly Gosdin (Vern's widow), who is in Nashville, started messaging me." In the words of Beverly Gosdin,"I had connected with Canadian singer/songwriter Denis Element out of Hamilton, Ontario. I had seen Denis doing a version of Vern's song, I'm Where a Memory (Can Die for a Night). I invited Denis to record his version in Nashville, Tennessee. Dana Hudson sang so much that he invited him to also record "Check My Memory" (a song written years before by Hudson). Denis cut it with some of Nashville's greats on the session, including Scotty Sanders, Buddy Hyatt from Toto and the man himself, Brent Mason. This will be the follow-up single after "I'm Where a Memory (Can Die for a Night). I'm excited to see where this goes from here."

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.

Rory Block A Woman’s Soul: A Tribute to Bessie Smith

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Cover Photo Credit: Sergio Kurhajec
Submitted by Sandy Graham

As a young teenager Rory Block — her full name is Aurora — grew up in New York’s Greenwich Village at the height of the “folk revival.” At 14, already an accomplished guitarist, she discovered the Delta blues — then part of the wide world of folk music. She vividly remembers hearing Mississippi John Hurt in 1963, and spending time with Son House, Fred McDowell and the Reverend Gary Davis.

Her first recordings (under the pseudonym Sunshine Kate) were made for Elektra Records, but she didn’t return to the studio until 1975 when she recorded for RCA Victor and Chrysalis before signing to Rounder Records, for whom she cut more than a dozen albums. She has also recorded for a number of other labels, in between endless tour schedules.

Along the way, she has won five W.C. Handy Awards (now known simply as Blues Awards) from the Blues Foundation, two for “Traditional Blues Female Artist,” and three for “Acoustic Blues Album of the Year.” She’s earned a gold record in Holland, and toured from one end of the United States to the other end of Canada, not to mention Poland and Norway and Italy and a half a dozen more European countries.

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