Album Reviews

Eleonor Leone Bye Boy Bye

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Submitted by Terrence O’Brien

Creativity, style and power. Those are just a few of the elements that Sweden-based artist Eleonor Léone brought to the table during Newfoundland’s first edition of the international music festival Live At Heart. Together with her DJ and best friend Alexandra, the duo set off for Canada in a major step towards bringing their music to the world stage.

At the age of 5 Eleonor joined a musical group that toured all over Scandinavia and since then she hasn’t looked back. Making appearances in all kinds of shows from musicals to dance productions, (‘FAME’, ‘Me and my girl’, and ‘Moderskärlek’ to name a few) Eleonore has always had a love for performing. In fact, she has gone above and beyond performance to take on other roles in the industry such as choreographer for productions in De Geerhallen, collaborations with various fashion shows as well as working with the Symphony Orchestra in Norrköping. It’s safe to say that Eleonor Léone is fearless and has decided early on to make a life out of doing what she loves.

Lindsay Ell – Canada’s Country Music Superstar

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Submitted by Jason Sheppard

Canada’s Lindsay Ell is burning up the worldwide country music charts and earning many new fans - including some of country music’s biggest performers.

You could say that Worth the Wait, the title of Lindsay Ell’s 2017 EP, sums up her life quite well. Hailed as a 'Top Country Artist to Watch' by the Huffington Post in 2015, Ell has since rocketed to country music stardom.

Ell spoke to The Herald from her home in Nashville about her rise to the top of the country music charts, touring with country’s biggest acts, her recent chart-topping albums and about being nominated for a Canadian Country Music Award in the same category as one of her idols, Shania Twain.

Ell, who was born and grew up in Calgary, started playing piano at six-years-old and then, the guitar at eight. “Playing the guitar become part of my blood,” Ell told us. “I just fell in love with it so much.” These days, she usually performs with her custom Les Paul Goddess and Martin acoustic guitars.

When Ell was 15, she met famed Canadian musician Randy Bachman (of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner-Overdrive) and they began writing together. The result was the album Consider This. “Randy was really the one who taught me how to write a song,” she said. “He taught me how to tap into that world.” She then toured with another legend – American blues guitarist Buddy Guy. “That was such an incredible tour,” Ell remembers. “I was just so inspired by that.”

Oh Pep! Release New Video, New Album and Get Set to Tour

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Melbourne, Australia's Oh Pep! are back with their sophomore effort, I Wasn't Only Thinking About You..., out October 26th on ATO Records. Today, the duo share the second single and accompanying video - "Hurt Nobody." 20-year-old director Emily Dynes led an all-female team in the production of the video saying, "'Hurt Nobody' touched me from the very first time I heard it. The song encapsulates a very guttural, raw and female type of pain, so it felt like the natural fit to bring together a young female-led team of creatives for the project. It was an absolute privilege to work on such a beautiful song for a band I deeply admire, and a complete joy to spend three days shooting and dancing across the mountains in the alpine region of Victoria, Australia." The video features performer Cecilia Low.

Oh Pep! will be out on tour throughout North America, Australia and Europe with both headlining dates and dates supporting Gregory Alan Isakov and Middle Kids. Leg one kicks off in San Francisco on October 6th in support of Gregory Allen Isakov and includes headlining date in Toronto on October 29 at Baby G's

Patrik Drops Two Releases for Preview for EP Spadina

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada
Patrik Photo Credit Malick Issa

Toronto x Montreal rapper, Patrik, drops two releases to preview his forthcoming EP, Spadina, including the bright new track, Diamonds, and visuals for his single, StayLone (prod. By Retro). Diamonds will appear on Spadina, set for release on November 9. The song launches Patrik into album mode, as he makes his rounds in the city to share insight on the process, recently appearing in an interview segment on YTV’s The Zone. Check it out here, and stream Diamonds for a sample of the new record.

“Diamonds is about the way we marvel at materialism. We always believe that having more makes us happy. So, Diamonds is to talk about how we can have so much material belongings & still be dead inside,” Patrik says of the single.

“The Spadina EP is me reminiscing of all the important lessons & experiences I’ve had through my youth into adulthood while growing up on Toronto,” Patrik continues. “The stories that have built me to be who I am today, as well as the wisdom I have to share with the people who listen to it.”

Every Soul’s a Star on New Dave Keller CD, Due from Catfood Records on October 19

Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Catfood Records announces the October 19 release of Every Soul’s a Star, the label debut from acclaimed soul/blues singer and guitarist Dave Keller. Produced by Grammy-winner Jim Gaines (Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Luther Allison) and recorded at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas, Every Soul’s a Star showcases 10 original songs, plus a scintillating cover of the Aretha Franklin classic, “Baby, I Love You.”

Keller’s soulful vocals are beautifully supported by The Rays, which includes not only legendary Motown guitarist Johnny McGee, but also Bob Trenchard – bass; Dan Ferguson - Hammond B3, Wurlitzer, keyboards; Richy Puga – drums; Mike Middleton – trumpet; Nick Flood - tenor and baritone sax, plus the heavenly voices of Janelle Thompson and Shakara Weston - background vocals; and Christopher Serrano – percussion.

Catfood label head Bob Trenchard calls Dave Keller, “The most-talented songwriter I've ever worked with,” and it was he who suggested Jim Gaines to produce the new project.

“This record, for me, is about honoring the star in each person,” Dave Keller says. “The songs are about both love and heartbreak, of course, but also speak about the beauty in each of us, as unique individuals and as people standing up together. This record feels like my strongest yet. I felt more at ease singing than I've ever felt in the studio. That comfort helped me sing more dynamically than I've ever sung before on record.”

Dik Banovich Hot Cookin’ Mama

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Submitted by Iain Patience

Banovich is an interesting guy, a guitar picker and songwriter with his feet firmly planted in both blues and Americana music traditions, a wealthy combination that often produces genuine pearls when least expected.

Following on from his 2016 release ‘Acoustic Roots and Blues,’ Banovich here serves up a cracking dish of modern classics peppered with his own writing in the genre, while always pushed along by his punchy and often fiery fretwork. Tracks range from classic standards like ‘Walkin’ the Dog’ and ‘Walking Blues’ to the folk-roots classic, ‘Black is the Color’ and the seldom heard ‘Blues Run the Game’ originally from the mostly long-forgotten and overlooked sixties US writer-picker, Jackson C Frank.

As a result, Banovich, a Scot who was partly raised in the blues hotbed of Chicago, brings a refreshingly delightful and innovative take to the blues music table with ‘Hot Cookin’ Mama,’ a twelve-track release that rocks and ripples with sensitivity, hooks and hotspots throughout. This is an acoustic-driven album to savor, a rare thing these days, and a thing of great beauty. Buy it while you can.

https://www.facebook.com/dikbanovich?__tn__=*s-R

William Bell : Born Under a Bad Sign

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Submitted by Iain Patience

Veteran blues-soul man William Bell smiles when I suggest he’s been working the music business for half a century, before correcting me with a laugh: “Sixty years now, in fact,” he says. Bell was one of the earliest Stax musicians, signed to the label back in 1961 primarily as a songwriter, he always had the ambition to make his mark as both writer and performer. An ambition he readily achieved and three-score years later, he continues to deliver top-notch material with scarcely a trace of effort.
Currently working on a new album, Bell is studio-bound though he still loves life out on the road: “I never tire of the travel, meeting the fans, working hard,” he confirms. “Right now I’m working on a bunch of new songs, some for other artists, and some for a new release I’m working with.”

When Bell talks about writing for others, it’s near-impossible to overestimate his past power, a force that remains vital and dynamic. With credits that include co-authoring the massive blues standard, ‘Born Under A Bad Sign,’ and ‘Private Number,’ – recorded with Judy Clay in 1968 – this is a guy to take note of. He is particularly pleased to add: “When Carole King, a wonderful writer, records one of your songs, ‘Every Day Will Be Like a Holiday,’ you know you’re doing something right.”

Lost Cousins Release Soaring New Single ‘City Escape’

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Psych-rock outfit Lost Cousins are no strangers to places of deep unfamiliarity. The group's journey to pursue music thus far has re-directed their inspirations, allowing them to examine grappling life transitions and the domino effects of choice. You can stream and share the band's new single "City Escape" below - officially out on all DSPs this Friday, August 31.

"STREAM / SHARE "CITY ESCAPE" @ SOUNDCLOUD"

Growing up, moving on, and pushing forward into change isn't always as easy as it looks - but consistently reaps big rewards. This is none more apparent than on the track "City Escape" with a steady, pulsing riff before the drums kick in and you feel swept away before the vocals cue up.

"City Escape is about a relationship that spans two different cities," the band explained. "It speaks to feeling trapped within a certain space and routine, and finding solace in another person's day-to-day. The lyrics reminisce on time spent in unfamiliar new places, and how this experience can feel like an escape from reality."

Lost Cousins - Cam Duffin (drums), Lloyd McArton (guitar, saxophone), and Thomas Dashney (keyboards) - are influenced by contemporary indie rock outfits like Tame Impala, Bombay Bicycle Club, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Local Natives, but pull, too, from the foundations of rock music, and pop sensibilities to create anthems to sing-along to.

Jill Jackson Are We There Yet?

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Submitted by Iain Patience

This is hardly a blues release but, that said, it’s a truly wonderful album from a young(ish) Scottish singer-songwriter, who can sure put together a fine lyrical flourish with some equally fine melodies. All ten tracks are self-written and the package was produced by musician, Boo Hewardine, in Glasgow, at Rab Noakes’ Kyoti Recording studios. The result is a truly exceptional release, an irresistible offering that is both hauntingly aching and delightful in pretty much equal measure.

Jackson has delivered an album that takes you back to an era of naivety and undiluted beauty, simpering schooldays and the birth of rock-n-roll, with edges of Buddy Holly and a nostalgic nod to a time when life was just so much simpler. Her writing is purposeful and prose-like, with a strong sense of imagery and an impact that pulls the entire package together with an unexpected power and purpose. Anyone of a certain age, especially those who recall Holly, Haley, Elvis and the birth of modern pop music with the Beatles and the like, will recognise the themes Jackson presents and the warmth of her vocal delivery, coupled with very fine support from a range of diverse UK musical talents, ensure that this offering is never boring, trite or easily forgotten.

Canadian Roots and Blues Singer, Songwriter Judy Brown Releases 'Say It’

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

British Columbia roots and blues singer, songwriter, guitarist Judy Brown celebrates the southern Ontario launch of her new full-length solo recording titled ‘Say It’ with two key concerts. The first show is in Hamilton at Mississippi Queen Foods Restaurant on Thursday, September 6, and the second is in Mississauga at the Southside Shuffle, 20th Anniversary Port Credit Blues and Jazz Festival on Friday, September 7, 2018. Note: See all concert details below.

Produced by Maple Blues and JUNO award-winners Gary Kendall (Downchild Blues Band) and Teddy Leonard (Fathead) – ‘Say It’ (released May 18, 2018) – represents Brown’s journey in roots and blues that began in Alberta, followed by 30 years in the Toronto music scene and now marks an exciting next chapter. After taking time to raise her two children, in 2017, Brown made a move west to Nelson, BC (to be near family and a supportive arts community) and returned to recording with long-time musical friends and collaborators Kendall and Leonard.

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