Reviews

Orit Shimoni Soft Like Snow

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Submitted by Don Graham

Orit Shimoni, the artist formerly known as Little Birdie, has a brand new album and it’s a dandy. The ten song set, ‘Soft Like Snow’, shows a whole other side to Orit than previous works. She has been dubbed “one of the nation’s most alluring vocalists,” by The Calgary Herald and “one of the most lyrically impactful vocalists” by Beatroute Magazine, and “a songwriters songwriter” by Cashbox Magazine Canada.

Orit (pronounced Oreet) became a full bore “hit the road “ touring musician after releasing two, highly acclaimed albums in Montreal.  She relocated to Berlin, Germany,   to write and record her third album. From that point on she has officially been living out of a suitcase. This is what makes her the songwriter she is. Songwriters often go on “songwriting trips” just to soak up a different climate, different customs and people. For Orit that is her life, always moving, always learning and experiencing by osmosis, life at its best and worst. She gets to write her songs on the road and perform them for a variety of crowds.

We have been fortunate to have followed Orit’s journey, first reviewing her ‘Bitter Is The New Sweet’ album in 2014, and watching her grow and mature as an artist, songwriter and a person has been exciting to watch.

Sean Jones Candyland

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

'Twas standing room only and given a plurality of fervent dancers, precious little of it, resulting in a bump 'n' hustle vibe for the entirety of Sean Jones set inside Candyland. The gig was the closer for Jones' summer tour and the rising soul star's fanbase was out in force. Which is tres femme and demographically varied. There were rich white ladies from round Rosedale way, inherited from his Casa Loma summer residency, fly soul girls from the burbs, downtown hipster club babes, all up on it from the get go.

Backed by a nine-piece crew including sax, trombone and horn, Jones passed on a set salted with his classic interpretations in favour of leaning heavily on material from current album, Waiting For Midnight. Opening with the crackling tempo of 'Pot Of Gold,", the pace never slackened as Jones gave the people what they came for: hot, sexy, up-tempo soul via " One In A Million,' "Night Time Is The Right Time", "Out My Window" ,"Bad Till I'm Good" and the anthemic ballad "In My Arms"

Mark Harrison - Turpentine

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Submitted by Iain Patience

Mark Harrison is a London-based, UK acoustic bluesman. "Turpentine" is his latest self-produced release featuring thirteen self-penned tracks that showcase his acoustic picking and tasteful slide-work.

Harrison is always interesting. Originality sparkles with every album released and he works in a real old-school style but always gilded by his mordant wit and refreshingly reflective thinking at the core. Old school with a positive, contemporary twist pretty much illustrates this guy's style and musical approach.

Roots music is always his main base and he has a wonderful ability to take unexpected subjects, twist and tune them up with humor, innovation and downright originality.

Harrison's last release in 2015, "On The Chicken Sandwich Train" was an album that burst at the seams with his skewed, piercing take on normally taboo subjects like death and disposal. It was also one of the finest UK independent traditional blues offerings of the year.

Now, once again, with "Turpentine," Harrison has pushed out the musical and lyrical boat to deliver a truly unique album that is immediately appealing and arresting. An exceptionally clever, thought-provoking release from an acoustic blues/roots craftsman of note, "Turpentine," and Harrison, is clearly one to keep on your music radar.

Dan Farrell Hop In

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Submitted by Don Graham

Five decades of musical experience, from the 1970's through the 2010's covers a lot of creative ground and the end result is obvious in singer/songwriter Dan Farrell's new CD , Hop In. You can't buy this kind of creative knowledge, it can only be obtained through the proverbial " time in " theory.

Dan Farrell has been involved in professional music for over 40 years. In 1972 and for the balance of the 70's, Dan hit the road with a variety of touring bands as a keyboard player and background singer eventually becoming a lead singer. In the 80's he continued doing club gigs and one of his original songs "When You Know It's Me" with its B side "Is It Ever Good To Know" got picked up by over 100 stations across Canada.

Then came the 90's and Dan branched out to playing the piano and trying his hand at acting on theatre stages.With the turn of the century Dan's chance to shine and show what his 40 years of experience has led him to where he is now with the release of his new solo offering 'Hop In'.

Lady Be Good: The Christmas Album

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Lively + Charming + Talented - That is Lady Be Good.

Lady Be Good is a collection of modern pop, classic jazz and soulful RnB. Lady Be Good is led by vocalist Kat Langdon and features some of the best musicians Toronto has to offer. Every member is a working professional musician bringing their individual experience and artistry to the group.

Lady Be Good started in August 2013 as a side project of vocalist and bandleader, Kat Langdon. Together with George Chenery (bass), Ewen Farncombe (keyboard) and Louis Baranyi-Irvine (drums), the band quickly grew into one of the most sought-after acts in the city. In 2016, Lady Be Good expanded to include The Collective, offering additional musicians available for corporate events.

While the newly expanded team delighted clients and couples, the original group worked on creating something new. Kat, George, Ewen and Louis embarked on their first recording project, The Christmas Album, that was released on November 18, 2016.

The Ault Sisters -120 Diner

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

An unseasonably warm November wind was setting the mood for The Ault Sisters at 120 Diner. The Mississauga trio, mostly still in their teens, work the retro swing thing and work it with style and grace. Case in point, they faced a tiny crowdlet  and went about engaging everyone of us with a full-on performance. In the process turning out vivid interpretations of such as "Ain't Misbehaving" and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" . Between sets they worked the room like it was packed solid, stopping by each table to check that everyone was liking the vibe.  Which was inclusive enough for a sweet, swinging, almost scatlike take on Van Morrison's "Moondance."

What they're currently up to was highlighted by an original, "Wasting My Time With You", a soulful nugget with a contemporary feel even as it references The Andrews Sisters and The Ronettes.  It's part of an album currently in the production stage and due in March 2017. If this single's an example of its DNA, it should be a grabby one.

For more information visit www.aultsisters.com

KC Roberts & The Live Revolution-Revival

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Heading west as the temp drops and the wind kicks up. Good thing next stop is Revival and the incendiary funk styling of KC Roberts & The Live Revolution. The recipe they cook from involves classic Stax funk, D.C. late Eighties acid funk and the hard-as-diamond power funk of Living Colour. An irresistible floor-filler of a mashup when delivered by the Parkdale octet and abetted by the urgent, testifyin' vocals of K C. The set leaned into recent album From The North and its crowd pleasing faves including "Diamond On The Dancefloor", "Soulwalk" "Find You Again" and "Tribe Beneath The Storm," as the folks on the floor didn't so much dance as pulsate like a massive, single-minded sweaty life form.

For the diehards, they hauled out back catalogue bullets "Drift Away," "Money Ways," "Between The Cracks," "Fire Burning" and the fans were literally throwing themselves into it as the band blazed on, three piece brass section to the fore and the backline of bassist Matt Fullbrook and drummer Chino de Villa keeping the beat strong. The gig was promoted as the last one for the band in 2016 but if you're into it, wouldn't be a bad idea to keep an ear open over the holiday season.

Leaving the Revival and checking out the lineup for the second show, it must be said that the funk sure brings out the diversity. One nation under a groove indeed.

For More Information Visit www.kcroberts.ca

Kaia Kater – Nine Pin

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Submitted By Iain Patience

Canadian Kaia Kater comes to the table with a sophomore release featuring fifteen tracks that showcase her own writing skills firmly at the fore with a couple of traditional interloping arrangements to complete the full package.

Her old-style, Appalachan frailing banjo-work is centre-stage for the most part coupled with her fine, soulful yet under-stated vocal delivery.

This is an album that is bound to appeal to lovers of traditional acoustic music with a Piedmont edge and background setting. In truth it’s hard to ignore the quality, maturity and confidence Kater brings to this second-time project outing just as it’s also near-impossible to avoid warm comparisons with the initial work of Rhiannan Giddens and the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

While Giddens’ career trajectory, like her Chocolate Drop partner Dom Flemings, is clearly on a high, Kater has yet to truly register in the popular, acoustic trad consciousness. However, on the basis of this excellent offering, this is a state of affairs that’s surely bound to change pretty quickly. Kater is surely a star waiting in the wings. Overall, Nine Pin is a true delight well worth cocking an ear towards. A wonderful and original lady and delightful music discovery, for sure.

I Prevail’s Debut Album Lifelines Out Now On Fearless Records

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Detroit rock band, I Prevail’s, highly anticipated debut album, Lifelines, is out now on Fearless Records. Fans can purchase digital copies at iTunes, physical copies at all major retailers, and stream it at their music service of choice.

In concurrence with the album release, I Prevail has also premiered a new music video for their explosive new single, Stuck In Your Head. Watch it here.

I Prevail’s new album, Lifelines, follows the band’s breakout, 2014 EP, Heart vs. Mind. The record scored the band worldwide notoriety and mainstream media attention with the massively successful cover of Taylor Swift’s Blank Space, which has since been certified Gold, and streamed over 27 million times. Now, I Prevail has returned with an incredible new record to prove their place among the scene’s most elite bands.

Lifelines was recorded at Wall of Sound Studios in Riley, MI, with producers B.J. Perry and John Pregler, and features a number of standout tracks that fans have already fallen in love with, like Scars, Come And Get It, and Stuck In Your Head. The band’s unique blend of alternative rock and melodic hardcore is scoring rave reviews from critics.

Following their recent tour with Pierce The Veil, I Prevail will return to the road this December for their headlining Rebel Without A Clause Tour 2016, with support from Sleepwave, Hotel Books and Bad Seed Rising.

See complete list of dates below:

Richard Ray Farrell – I Sing The Blues Eclectic

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Submitted By Iain Patience

I Sing The Blues Eclectic first saw the light of day in 2011 but is once more now available this year. Farrell is a US expat now resident in southern Spain where he gigs at clubs and festivals with a fine following and well deserved growing reputation.

This twelve-track release is little short of a showcase of his talents as both a picker and a singer/songwriter. Farrell slides effortlessly from style to style, acoustic-biased with some excellent harp-work and growling vocals that absolutely hit the blues-spot every time. He switches from resonator to straight acoustic picking and in reality there’s not a scrap of dead-wood in the mix, a genuine tribute to his writing and playing abilities.

He has clearly mastered the art of Piedmont picking, Texas shuffle and boogie woogie and has the confidence to incorporate all styles in the album. The closer is a near-gospel/spiritual number that echoes the Staples, the Revelators and Blind Boys at times while “Listenin’ To The Falling Rain” is one of those songs that immediately registers, beds itself and is a number many will recognise without ever having realised who was the driving force behind it.

Overall, this is one of those all too rare things – an album of true beauty, masterful, soulful and succulently blues-inspired.

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