Album Reviews

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

John Legend A Legendary Christmas

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

John Legend is a nine-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist, critically-acclaimed concert performer, philanthropist/social activist, and was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people. Legend’s debut album, Get Lifted (2004) sold more than three million copies worldwide and earned an astounding eight Grammy nominations with three wins for Best New Artist, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B album.

Legend’s follow-up album, Once Again (2006) earned RIAA platinum certification and a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. High off the success of his third consecutive Top 10 album, Evolver (2008), Legend embarked on an extensive world tour with an 11 piece band - his largest traveling show to date. Inspired by the monumental 2008 Presidential election, Legend teamed up with The Roots to release the socially conscious album, Wake Up! (2010.)

The album was nominated for five Grammy Awards and won Best R&B Album, Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B song (for “Shine”- an original composition also featured in Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim’s documentary film Waiting for Superman) along with two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Album and Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration. In 2007, Legend launched the Show Me Campaign, a nonprofit organization fighting poverty around the world. John also sits on the Boards of The Education Equality Project, Teach for America, and the Harlem Village Academies.

Dianne Reeves Better Than Christmas!

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Submitted by Michael Williams

Dianne Reeves performance at the George Weston Recital Hall was perfection, a wonderful new take on Holiday Music and her excellent catalogue anchored this astounding show.


Like Aretha Franklin, a song could not have a better friend than, Dianne Reeves, one of the most awarded singers on the planet. The National Endowments for the Arts Jazz Masters Award, three consecutive years of Grammys with a total of five Grammys. Her music is the stories of her life in music and songs like "Better Days".

Her live performance and band are flawless, warm friendly and fun.

Her musical catalogue has no boundaries, Jazz to Dance Hall.

To my surprise every time I check her website there is a new award posted!

It's a just music to us old hippies, no boundaries, genres or categories.

Breathing new life into the classics, while bringing contemporary music in the realm of Jazz on her latest Grammy Award Winning, "Beautiful Life".

The last sessions of Dianne's mentor, cousin, producer, musical genius at large, the late great George Duke... a favorite of Frank Zappa and mine.

His influence and teaching are strong throughout Dianne's life and musical career, her family is the basis for all this talent she shares with the world and we are always in line for greatness, love and light when she appears in Canada. Only she can turn a Christmas concert in a soulful event to be remembered.

Did you see Dianne Reeves? The Answer should always be yes!

Sandra Bouza Releases Introductory EP - Three Years

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Lucinda Williams And Buick 6

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Submitted By Lenny Stoute
Photo:Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto. ON.

 

The crowd awaiting the entry of Miss Rootlessness was much like the songs on Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. There were rockers, roots gals, country fans, lovers of Americana, soulpatched blues dudes and guitar slingers everywhere you looked. All giving it up for Lucinda from the moment she strolled onstage to the final ringing chords. Backed by Buick 6,that being guitar player Stuart Mathis, equal parts sizzling solos and nuanced picking on the downtempo numbers, bassist David Sutton, who alternated between electric and stand-up, and drummer Butch Norton, a former member of Eels and a man with a Jason Bonham style touchon the skins, Williams launched into the tour of the Southlands that’s at the spine of Car Wheels…, this night celebrating its 25 anniversary.

Long Range Hustle Welcomes You to Town

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Long Range Hustle have been treating our ears to tastes of new music, with the summer release of their driving lead single, Morning Clover, and the anthemic, Crush You – which dropped on Friday and landed on Spotify’s New Music Friday Canada playlist. Today, the Toronto rockers are thrilled to share the details of their forthcoming full-length release – Town. Set for release on February 15, 2019, the album brings about a refined and evolved sound for the group, reflective of their persistent drive to push themselves as songwriters and performers. Pre-order Town here.

Recorded at The Bathouse Studio outside of Kingston, the band worked with acclaimed Scottish producer and mixer, Tony Doogan (Belle & Sebastian, Wintersleep, Snow Patrol), to create the new album. “Town is a record that aims to take the cross-section on of a fictional small-town,” comments vocalist/guitarist/violinist, Paul Brogee. “It’s a product of the formative years we spent in rural Canada. We tried to create characters whose experiences blur the line between bleak and hopeful, and to score those lives with music that felt distinctly human.”

Midnight Shine: I Need Angels

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“I wrote I Need Angels because there are a lot of people struggling in Canada’s Indigenous far North communities. We’ve had a lot of loss, a lot of tragedies, and I think it’s important for me as an artist to shed light on these issues,” says Midnight Shine frontman Adrian Sutherland, who hails from the Cree community of Attawapiskat in remote Northern Ontario. 

“Being isolated in the North can be very tough, and I know a lot of people who suffer from depression. The song is about that inner struggle to keep positive and not give up, and to hang on to hope and faith despite the darkness.”

Attawapiskat is no stranger to media attention. The community of roughly 2000 has been associated with many distressing issues over the years, including suicide. Adrian has had family members take their own lives, and he sometimes struggles with his own mental health. 

ABOUT THE SONG
I Need Angels was written by Adrian Sutherland, with Midnight Shine bandmates Zach Tomatuk and Stanley Louttit as co-writers, and John-Angus MacDonald (The Trews) producing. It’s from Midnight Shine’s third album, High Road, which came out in spring 2018. 

Sutherland hopes that ultimately, I Need Angels will serve to help others. Anyone who would like to have the song can download it for FREE from Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/midnightshineonline/i-need-angels

The Trews Release New Single ‘Vintage Love’

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada
Photo Credit Kayla Rocca

The Trews have released the brand new video for their single "Vintage Love". The video captures live performances from this summer at The Rec Room Toronto, The Kee to Bala, The CNE, and an intimate gig at Hard Luck in Toronto.

"Vintage Love", which is currently sitting at #10 on the Active Radio charts in Canada, comes off the band's most recent effort Civilianires (Cadence Recordings). The album debuted on the Current Album chart at #6, #3 on Digital Current Album chart and the #1 on the Alternative Album chart.

The Trews have a ton of upcoming tour dates over the coming months. They will return to their roots, playing a show in Halifax on November 9th at The Marquee, followed by a very special performance for Hometown Hockey in Glace Bay on November 11th.

In December the band will hop on the CP Holiday Train to perform across parts of Canada and the U.S. More information can be found here: https://www.cpr.ca/holiday-train/united-states

In the New Year, The Trews will head out on a national tour that will kick off at the end of January, having them make stops in Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Toronto and more - see below for full list of tour dates. The band is also excited to bring along Edmonton rock 'n' rollers, Altameda for select dates.

Tour Dates

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