Rory Block Keepin’ Outta Trouble

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Photo credit: Sergio Kurhajec

Stony Plain Records announces a November 18 release date for Rory Block’s new CD, Keepin’ Outta Trouble, the sixth album in her “Mentor Series” saluting the blues masters who’ve had a profound impact on her music. This time, she pays tribute to Bukka White, one of the most influential country blues artists in history, bringing the soul and meaning of White’s songs to life as if heard for the first time since they were written and performed by the man, himself.

Rory Block is one of the most-acclaimed acoustic blues artists. She has won five Blues Music Awards in the “Traditional Blues Female Artist” and “Acoustic Blues Album of the Year” categories from The Blues Foundation.

Keepin’ Outta Trouble: a Tribute to Bukka White, was produced by Rory Block and Rob Davis. All guitars and vocals are performed by Rory Block, who also plays various percussion parts, including: “guitar bongos,” plastic storage tubs and boxes of Quaker Oats with wooden spoons and plastic salad forks. Rory uses her Martin Signature Model guitar throughout with a 14 mm deep well socket for a slide.

The Statistics Release Brand New Single ‘Old Habits’

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Submitted To Cashbox Canada

Prince George alt-rock duo The Statistics are excited to announce the release of their brand new single 'Old Habits' with the premiere of the video on Permanent Rain Press. The Statistics will also be hitting the road in support of the new single and video, playing a string of Western Canadian Tour Dates starting in Vancouver on September 29th. See below for full tour listings. 

The Statistics are Darby and Erin Yule, a pair of brothers from Prince George, BC, who play Alternative Rock. They released their debut EP Haunts in 2014 and the single 'Jealous Heart' in January of this year. Their new single 'Old Habits' and the previous single 'Jealous Heart' will both be included on a brand new EP set to be released in 2017.

'Old Habits' was recorded partly at Vertical Studios in Vancouver and partly in their own home, and the overall sound is a bit more alt-country than alt-rock. 

"'Old Habits' is about two people who just can’t make the timing of their relationship work," explains frontman Darby Yule. "We’ve been describing it as a song for the drives you take when you’ve got a lot your mind. It features the lovely Amy Kirkpatrick on guest vocals. We tried to include a California Sound/Country Rock vibe to the song which is new for the band. All the instruments were recorded by us and a large portion was done in our own home."

Jim Kweskin Live and Pickin’

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Submitted by Don Graham

Jim Kweskin is not a household name but in the music world the folks he has influenced with his music and jug band style has been a huge influence on modern music. Rock critic Ed Ward has listed The Jim Kweskin Jug Band as  one the most important bands of the early 1960s, a list that  included the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and  the Byrds.

Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band was the original “Americana” band, the original “roots” band. The first incarnation consisted of Kweskin, Fritz Richmond Geoff Muldaur, Bob Siggins and Bruno Wolfe, starting out  in Boston in the 1960s. Maria D'Amato who married to Geoff Muldaur and became Maria Muldaur.  Muldaur, a former member of the Even Dozen Jug Band, joined the band in 1963. The Kweskin Jug Band were together for five years merging the sounds of early American  rural music,  playing a mix of  classic blues , hillbilly country, ragtime, jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll.

With the folk surge of the ‘60’s the timing was perfect for their unique brand of music. They influenced a lot of musicians looking for a unique sound and The Lovin’ Spoonfu drew a lot from the Jug Band and an another notable evolution was a band that became the Grateful  Dead with Gerry Garcia. The Jim Kweskin Jug Band had a style and enthusiasm that couldn’t be matched. In Jim’s words “We didn’t sound like anybody ever sounded before. What we were doing was taking the old styles and building new things out of them. We were ourselves all the time.”

Sylvia Tyson Timeless Talent Live

Sylvia Tyson Photo Credit: Christopher Lawson

Submitted by Don Graham
Photo Credit Christopher Lawson

There was a buzz in Toronto’s iconic Hugh’s Room on Monday night. There is always a bit of a buzz preshow but this was a buzz of a different register. Canada’s living legend and a huge part of the fabric of Canadiana and our roots, Sylvia Tyson was in the house. The anticipation was palpable as fans and admirers eagerly awaited her arrival on stage.

Sylvia slowly made her way through the crowd to get to the stage  accompanied by violin  legend Scarlet Rivera ( Scarlet came to international acclaim on Bob Dylan’s Desire and Hard Rain albums, and is included on his Biograph and Bootleg Compilations. She also toured with Dylan on several live tours, including The Rolling Thunder Revue and bass player Randall.Kempf, who is coming up on 40 years of service with Sylvia.

Sylvia took the stage looking every bit the classy star that she is, in a red top, blue jeans and her trademark cowgirl boots, this pair trimmed in red. It was her birthday and the first words out of her mouth were “Doesn’t seem like 77 years!” Indeed not, and doesn’t look like 77 years either. The richness and power in her distinct voice is as vibrant as ever.

Barbra Lica Set to Release New Album!

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Barbra Lica is a fast-rising star in the Canadian Jazz scene and has been receiving accolades for a unique vocal ability that stresses subtlety and grace. Based in Toronto, Canada, Barbra’s live show captivates audiences all over North America with her genuine warmth and confident stage presence. She has announced her third album, I’m Still Learning” will be released through Justin Time Records on September 30, 2016.

A deep passion for jazz and the music of classic American vocalists like Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole, and Betty Hutton led Barbra to pursue a Bachelor of Music specializing in Jazz Voice Performance at the University of Toronto, where she simultaneously studied Human Biology. She laughingly recalls, "I'd be doing my jazz combo rehearsals in my lab coat then running down to the sciences building!" She honed her performance chops on historic Toronto stages such as The Rex Hotel and The Old Mill with the likes of the John MacLeod Big Band and the Dave Young Sextet. In 2013, Barbra was runner-up in the prestigious Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition in New York City.

Now a seasoned live act on the Canadian club and festival circuit, Barbra consistently performs at venues from intimate spaces to prestigious auditoriums, such as Toronto’s Jazz Bistro and Koerner Hall. Most recently, she has been billed as an opening act for such acts as Christian McBride, Pat Metheny, and Terence Blanchard.

The Gloaming 2

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

The second offering of  this five-piece Irish-American supergroup who are truly  have become a phenomenon, packing out concert halls around the world with their blend of traditional influences and subtle experimentation. After the success of the first The Gloaming this now explains the attraction of sellout crowds.

Combining Irish songs, poetry and prose, the fiddles of Martin Hayes and Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh mix well with the beautiful piano work of New York’s Thomas Bartlett, then add in the powerful vocals of Iarla Ó Lionáird.

The opening track “The Pilgrim’s Song “ is a haunting piano and vocal offering, with beautiful fiddle truly showing off the quality sound of The Gloaming.

“Fáinleog” (The Wanderer) is a faeirie like song, capturing the essence of Ireland and its people.

“The Hare” (In the Corn) has a Southern influenced  to it, with sweet fiddle and gentle piano, with a well produced sound.

“Oisin’s Song” switches over to an acoustic feel, with a folky production while the vocal adds to the magic sound while “The Booley House” takes you back to the traditional slow jigs and reels sound so familiar to us all in North America.

“Repeal the Union” features the talented fiddle offerings of this group of musicians, while the piano stays behind in the background, while enhancing the music.

Michelle Willis: See Us Through

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Submitted by Lee Fraser

This past Sunday night, Michelle Willis held back-to-back early and late CD release shows to introduce her first ever solo album, “See Us Through”. The fact that it’s her debut is pretty surprising, given the fact that Michelle has toured Europe, Canada and the US, and that every show she plays in her hometown of Toronto is filled to capacity with her adoring fans.

But debut album it is and it has been worth the wait. The Michelle Willis style of music is a little jazz, a little funk and a whole lot of amazing vocals. “See Us Through” is the kind of album that envelopes you in warmth and beauty. The lyrics lift you up, even if you are nowhere close to being down, and provide a solid footing of optimism and encouragement. The arrangements are very rich; most tracks have jazz-like percussion and rhythm. The guitar work of Thom Gill and the moody violin of Hugh Marsh are evidence of two incredibly talented musicians who know just what flair to add to a strong foundation. Michelle’s piano is playful while being sophisticated.

Tom Rush Rush Hour At Hugh’s Room

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Submitted by Don Graham

It had been over three years since Tom Rush had performed  at Hugh’s Room in Toronto and the overflow crowd was a testament to how well loved and missed the man had been. When long time friend and former waitress at the iconic Riverboat in Toronto, Jane Harbury, introduced him and Tom ambled, yes ambled , to the stage you could almost feel the room smile with love and loyalty. Tom acknowledged how he happy was to be back in Canada although not without some trepidation, “ I’m 75 now and that’s about 99 Canadian!”

Tom and accompanist Matt Nakoa (more on Matt later) started the night off with a tune that gave an idea as to what was in store, “It’s Gonna Get Hot Tonight” and the party had begun.  For his second song Tom explained,“I’m going to do a new song and the reason I’m doing it so early in the set is cause if it sucks I have the rest of night to redeem myself.”  After he finished “Come See ‘Bout Me” the crowd let him know “it didn’t suck.”  Next up was a song by The Austin Lounge Lizards, “How can you not like a band that has a  song called ‘Jesus Loves Me, But He Can’t Stand You” called “Old Blevins.” Needs to be  heard to be fully appreciated but is perfectly suited to a Tom Rush set.

Eric Bibb & North Country Far with Danny Thompson: The Happiest Man In The World

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Submitted by Iain Patience

Eric Bibb may have good reason to be the Happiest Man in the World, with top quality music seemingly pouring from the guy on a regular basis. This is his second release inside twelve months, following hot on the heels of the highly acclaimed Lead Belly's Gold which featured French harp-man Jean Jacques Milteau and was released on the same label (Stony Plain in USA).

This time round, Bibb is joined by one of the finest double-bass players on the planet with England's Danny Thompson thumping along rhythmically throughout. Thompson has played with almost everyone of note in the modern roots/folk music world from his days with Pentangle, through Richard Thompson (no relation) and Scotland's late John Martyn.

The result, is pretty much as might be expected. An album of simply wonderful blues-tinged acoustic music featuring Bibb's distinctive and mellow vocals alongside his fine fretwork on both guitar and banjo. All fourteen tracks are penned by Bibb himself here, and as usual with the man he sticks to tradition at its core while always moving the music forward with thoughtful lyrics and plangent melodies that linger.

An absolute gem and a must-have album for lovers of Bibb and his refreshing style of acoustic roots/blues music.

Josh Harty: Holding On

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Submitted by Iain Patience

Josh Harty is a mid-West, singer-songwriter with a keen eye, observant lyrics and a fine, driving guitar-style that pulses with feeling and fire. "Holding On" is his fifth or sixth offering, full of sly takes on life, love, the trials and pleasures rare of a journeyman musician's time out on the road, and just about everything in between.

Harty's fretwork is crisp, zingy and always compelling, catching you unawares almost, at times, with hints of traditional country in the mix; Chet seems to hang in the background balance at times, followed by ole Doc Waltson before he twists the tail, snapping free with a trace of Knopfler at his best and a clear grip of the very fundementals of good quality modern country music/Americana.

His lyrics cast a thoughtful eye on all the usual themes with a laconic feel that at times conjures up the spirit of Hank Williams Jnr or Kris Kristofferson mixed with John Prine. Whatever the theme, whatever the thought, he always hits the spot in "Holding On" with deliciously rhythmic drive and melodies that linger in the mind long after the disc has reached its close.

Harty is one of those genuine guys, a jobbing musician who travels almost constantly, chasing a dream, a rainbow, a whiff of challenge or change, always with one ear open for the next passing lyrical train that he might just pull into. "Holding On" is an album well worth discovering if you've yet to catch this guy. For the rest of us, it's simply a very nice release indeed.

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