Album Reviews

Kathryn Grimm’s Blues Tools

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Musician/singer/songwriter Kathryn Grimm’s new CD “BLUES TOOLS” is a twelve-song collection of mostly original material in the Electric Blues/Rock genre. The first song of the CD was born in Los Angeles just over a year ago where Kathryn was gigging as a bassist for another artist. In the spare room of a kind couple’s home who put her up “The Best of Me,” her self-proclaimed anthem for domestic violence, was spontaneously penned. “I’d been wracking my brain for some time trying to find a way to write a song with a subliminal message for victims of abuse. Using simple language my hope was for them to see themselves and be inspired to find help. I truly believe that’s what I've accomplished with this song. What I didn’t realize at the time is that I was writing about my own situation.”

Kathryn’s chronic introspection has resulted in several autobiographical ditties on the CD. “God Is Testing Me” was written minutes after she discovered her van had been stolen in broad daylight with her gear inside. “Talking To The Wind” has an infectious Latin Blues groove and is an ode to “being with someone incapable of listening”. “C’mon Home” is a song about the regrets of mistreating someone, “a stinging reminder of a former immature me”.

Orit Shimoni Lost On The Road To Nowhere

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Submitted by Don Graham

The great thing about following the career of an artist for a long time is watching said artist evolve and grow. Such is the case with singer/songwriter Orit Shimoni, a true troubadour in every sense of the word. I have watched her grow musically and have had the pleasure of reviewing and enjoying her albums through the years. Her latest effort Lost On the Road to Nowhere, a 13 song collection, is in my humble opinion her best to date. Orit is a modern-day gypsy, really not having a fixed address, but with homes all over the world, literally. Orit was born Isreal, lived in Montreal and recorded this last CD in the home studio of Martin van de Vrught in the Netherlands. The work was produced by the multitalented de Vrught who lent his skills on guitar, lap and pedal steel, banjo and percussion to the tracks and blended in perfectly with Orit’s guitar and allowed the songs and the sincere and gripping vocals be the stars.

Western Swing Authority Live and Swingin’!

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Submitted by Don Graham

On this Toronto February night, the 25 degrees below zero temperature was bone chilling and teeth chattering but inside the city’s iconic venue Hugh’s Room Live it was Texas hot. From the moment the band hit the stage toes were tapping, hands were clapping and bodies were swaying in swing time. The seven-piece group featuring twin fiddles, Shane Guse and Dan Howlett, guitar whiz Paul Chapman, upright bassist, Matthew Lima, drummer Gary Craig, who did a remarkable job subbing for regular drummer Jimmy Boudreau, steel guitar legend Ed (Pee Wee Charles) Ringwald and vocalist extraordinaire Stacey Lee Guse are in stratosphere all their own.

The Strumbellas Announce New Album and Spring Tour Dates

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

The Strumbellas are thrilled to announce their fourth album, Rattlesnake, is set for release on March 29th, 2019, out in Canada via the band’s own imprint, Underneath A Mountain Records, under exclusive license to eOne Music Canada; and internationally with Glassnote Records. The band recently released the video for Salvation, the first single from the new album, which is currently sitting at #12 on the Alt-Rock chart in Canada and has surpassed two million streams worldwide. Pre-order/pre-save Rattlesnake here.

Rattlesnake marks a stylistic turn from the group’s melancholy, introspective releases, to an uplifting album with songs that focus more on optimism. Produced by Tim Pagnotta (Elle King, Walk the Moon), co-produced and engineered by Brian Phillips, the album was recorded on the band’s home turf, at the legendary Bathouse Recording Studio outside of Kingston, ON and at Revolution Recording in Toronto, ON.  The nine-track body of work is the sunny side of the street follow-up to The Strumbellas’ Billboard Charting third album, Hope, which featured the #1 single, Spirits.

Weird Omen Release A Place I Want to Know

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Weird Omen is a garage rock trio from France and on February 1st they will release their infectious 7′′ single “A Place I Want To Know/Girls Are Dancing On The Highway” via Dirty Water Records. The band’s unique sound is bolstered by baritone sax player Fred Rollercoaster, and it features Sister Ray on guitar and Remi Pablo on drums. Look for the 7′′ to come out in anticipation of the band’s upcoming full-length Surrealistic Feast, due out in mid-March via the UK label.

With Fred Rollercoaster’s baritone sax effectively providing the band’s low end, he leads the way on “A Place I Want To Know” cooking the track with a wild-sounding heat. When Sister Ray joins the commotion on guitar, sunny hues of West Coast acid rock blare thru with warped and reverberating tones as Remi Pablo drives the beat like a speed freak on a broken drum kit. It’s a white knuckle ride as the trio gallops along with a slippery rhythmic sense while spastic blasts of strychnine seem to propel them headlong into nervous outbursts of revved-up double time.

Weird Omen - A Place I Want To Know (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
https://youtu.be/ig2BNnlQbwE

Sun K Release New Video High In the City

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Following the release of their sophomore album, Bleeding Hearts, Toronto-based rock band, Sun K, have shared the fun visual for the track, High In The City. Have a look at the video for High In The City, which premiered today with Indie88. They have also announced upcoming tour dates taking the band across Ontario and Quebec with Huttch, as well as a string of shows in the Maritimes. See below for the tour details and don’t miss the band’s energetic live show when they come through your town!

The High In The City music video is all about the quintessential summer day in Toronto with friends,” says lead singer and guitarist, Kristian Montano. “We met up with Laura-Lynn Petrick and hopped on a boat to the island to drink beers, take a dip, have a rip, light some fireworks (among other things) and in general get a little weird with friends. We hope this video serves as a reminder that the days are getting longer and summer is on its way!

Rock ‘n’ roll, if it serves one direct purpose, is to articulate life lived to the fullest, this is what Sun K aims to do on their thunderous sophomore record, Bleeding Hearts. Released on October 19th via Nevado Records, the record celebrates the oft-felt mythic dramas that occur while you’re young and foolish.

Mr! Mouray releases New Single Sunshine Supermarket

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

On the heels of the holiday single The Christmas Belles, Toronto’s Mr! Mouray has released another great single ‘Sunshine Supermarket’ from the upcoming EP “Atlantic”.

Mr! Mouray formed in 2018 from the remnants of three successful Toronto alt-rock acts: singer/guitarist Simon Bedford-James (Swedish/MaDE), Dominic Whelan (The Mahones), and Jaimie Vernon (Moving Targetz/Swindled). They yearned for the days of more classic melodic pop influences and have embraced their AM radio upbringing.

Their first album, 'Bats In Disguise,' and its title track was a refreshing pop-rock debut in Canada in the Fall of 2018 followed immediately by their break-out Christmas hit "Christmas Belles."

‘Sunshine Supermarket’ is garage grunge at its best, reminiscent of the 80/90s music feel, where the delivery was raw on honest, combining clear vocals with thundering guitar riffs. Released on the legendary icon label Bullseye Canada label, the influence of Jaimie Vernon is all over this track. As the man who brought so much to the industry and a founding member of Mr! Mouray, he had this to say:

"Following our debut release 'Bats In Disguise" in October 2018 we headed back into the studio with producer Brian Gagnon Hallowe'en weekend and began work on our follow-up EP 'Atlantic'. "Sunshine Supermarket" is another Simon Bedford-James tune that we thought had some great pop sensibilities so we unanimously decided to lead with the tune for our first introduction into 2019."

Watch and listen here 

Kjell Gustavsson Rhythm & Blues Orchestra Down at the Saloon

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Submitted by Iain Patience

Down at the Saloon is one of those surprise releases that turns up delivering a knock-out blow. Who, what, where? you ask yourself. The answer in order being: Kjell Gustavsson & his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra; an album that absolutely boils, full of wonderful blues-edged fun and talent; a band from Sweden recorded and released by Sweden’s, Malmo-based independent label, Rootsy.

This is a truly excellent album. Ten self-penned tracks, bulging at the seams with full-tilt R&B, and a nine-piece band that covers all bases from guitars, drums, Memphis horns to driving squeeze-box and searing vocals. I had the good luck to catch this band live recently and will add that they really can produce the goods. 

Anyone with even a passing interest or love of US band, the Mavericks, will certainly enjoy this one. If anything, this band has a much clearer true-blues and roots grounding than their American counterparts. If there’s a real surprise here, it must be why we’ve never heard of this top-quality outfit before now. It appears they have been around for many years in their native Nordic homeland where they already have an ardent following.

It’s a lucky thing for the rest of us that Rootsy has elected to push out this simply wonderful release, so the rest of us can hear this band and play catch-up with their music. Make no mistake, this is a fabulous album. I absolutely love it.

For more visit kjellgustavsson.se

Allen Finney Salt Breeze With Kites

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Submitted by Iain Patience

This is one of those surprising releases that sort of catches you unaware, pins you to the speaker and delivers loads of straight-forward pleasure and delight.

Finney is a USA-born, bluesman of some stature now long based in Sweden, where he plies his trade as a genuinely gripping guitarist and blues-based performer. Each track here holds elements of both beauty and surprise as Finney moves effortlessly from light jazz flourishes, full-tilt headlong blues, R&B and echoes of funk and soul.

Vocals are smoothly delivered, while the supporting musicians all come together perfectly to create a wholesome sound and vibe that simply works near-perfectly. In reality, this is an album that carries no dead-wood, no fill-ups or filling, instead of providing some deliciously emotive lyrics matched by some on-the-button musical support, melody, and flavour.

Among the support players here, we find Sweden’s Christer Lyssarides, a long-time guitarist buddy of Eric Bibb, and a guy with an evident ability and talent that is always apparent just below the surface. Finney himself is no mean picker, and his fretwork is always forefront together with his voice and soulful delivery. At times, there are sparks of humour to be found in the lyrics while at others there’s the usual gamut of emotions from love, loss, heartache and hurt to hope and desire.

‘Salt Breeze with Kites’ and Allen Finney is a positive winner, a keeper, an album to discover, savor, enjoy and play often.

Jaimie Vernon and Mr! Mouray Celebrate with Christmas Belles

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

For those of you who know Jaimie Vernon, then you know his musical knowledge and passion is beyond measure.

So when he recently announced he was part of a new band it was no surprise to us all because after all, you can’t keep a good music man down. Mr! Mouray was loosely named after a classic song - now think Dean Martin ‘when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie – Mr! Mouray!!

Now with the holiday season upon us Jaimie and musical partners have released a new single ‘Christmas Belles’ and it is truly a great production.

The most striking part of this song is it was written by Jaimie Vernon, and for those of us who know him and musical history, he is a rocker through and through. That is why the song is surprisingly sweet and sentimental with a nostalgic feel, combining great vocals with strong harmonies, the production builds into a great offering with a very positive lyric pattern. Kudos to these guys!

Give it a listen!
https://youtu.be/MQoaeelH658

Christmas Belles – Christmas Bells
Written By Jaimie Vernon

The Christmas Belles are out tonight
Singing songs of joy
The Christmas bells have peeled their rounds
For every girl and boy

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