Features

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.”

Doing the Shag at CMW

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

K, now calm down. It's not a euphemism for the horizontal bop, as in the UK, but a new/old dance craze that's sweeping the American South. Although the idea of a mass shag-in did cross my mind. Let's think of it as a cross between swing and jitterbug, a prog-rock kind of mutation. Individual dancers bring their own thang to the floor, with the result shag is by now hybridized as all get out and very entertaining. Consequently, when the shaggers from North Myrtle Beach hit the floor at the Rivoli, it was like somebody dropped a cherry bomb. Sliding and gliding, there were rubberized ankles, way limber legs, intricate, close order jive moves, a dab of dirty dancing here and there, grace and kinetic beauty everywhere.

The term "Carolina Shag" is thought to have originated along the Atlantic Ocean strands between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina, during the 1940s. According to Bo Bryan, a Carolina Shag historian and resident of Beaufort County, the term was coined at Carolina Beach, North Carolina. The Carolina Shag is a descendant of Carolina Jitterbug, and its predecessor, Little Apple which was the white version of the Big Apple (dance) (whose origins can be traced to Columbia, South Carolina in 1937) after whites sat (after "jumping the Jim Crow rope") in the balconies in the black clubs to watch the dancing.   

Canadian Music Week From the Artist’s Point of View

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Submitted by Terry O’Brien of Tribe Royal
Photo Credit Terry O’Brien

I got into Toronto around noon on the Thursday for Canadian Music Week. I met up with Sandy, Don, Lenny and Gary from the Cashbox Canada team and right away we were in the thick of it. The conference was incredibly productive for us and we made a lot of headway.

Around 7 pm I left the Sheraton and made my way to the Dakota Tavern to catch Charlie The Kid's set. The ambient lighting and intimate setting made for the perfect atmosphere. Right off the top, the crowd was engaged and he had everyone singing along. He took it to the next level by handing out kazoos and inviting the crowd to help him out. Can't say I've ever seen that before.

After that, I made my way over to the Painted Lady where the Lionyls were about to take the stage. The place was packed from wall to wall and the moment the band took the stage the party started. They jumped right into 'Midnight Hour' and kept the pressure on the crowd with a killer mix of ripping guitar solos, smooth vocals, funky bass lines and heavy percussion.

When the Lionyls' set was over I decided to head to the Drake Hotel. I passed by the Dakota again and was excited to see a group forming around Charlie The Kid. After a matter of minutes, a full-on street jam was underway and even the security was involved. It's those kinds of special moments that make Canadian Music Week 110% worth the trip. Good times all around.

Don Graham: Getting Back To His Roots

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Toronto-based, Montreal-born and raised singer/songwriter Don Graham is getting back to his roots. Graham heads back down the 401 Highway on May 25th to perform at the Mariposa Café. “ I’m really looking forward to this gig, I get to go back where it all started for me and play with the guy that I started with all those years ago, Bill Hill,” Graham said from his home in the Beach in Toronto. The one night only show will mark the first time Graham has performed in Montreal in close to 25 years and the first Graham and Hill have shared a stage in the same amount of time. Graham said “Starting out in the 1970’s I was fortunate to have Bill as my guitar player and a strong bond of friendship was formed that has lasted all these years. Billy was one of the premier guitarists of that time and I learned a ton from him. Hill said from his home in Montreal “ I really enjoy playing with Don. I love his writing and we’ve written some gems together. This is going to a fun night. I might even have to tune for this gig, he said with a laugh.”

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