Album Reviews

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.

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.

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.

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