Reviews

BILLY ALLEN: Keep On Loving Me

BILLY ALLEN Keep On Loving Me Cover

COUNTRY (Reviewed 8/6/10)
BILLY ALLEN
Keep On Loving Me

KMA Records (Nashville) keeps producing top of the line, quality acts and Billy Allen is no exception. He lists the likes of Wilson Pickett and Merle Haggard as two of his influences and you can here in his vocal performance.

From an upbeat tune to a traditional country ballad you can hear and feel Allen’s
connection to the music he performs. His take on “Green, Green Grass of Home” is
not gold – it’s platinum!

4/5 stars
Rusty Russell

BOBBY CARLSON: Bobby Carlson

bobby-carlson.jpg

COUNTRY (Reviewed 8/6/10)
BOBBY CARLSON
Bobby Carlson

Bobby Carlson’s self titled CD is New Country with an occasional sound that borrows from the past.  Bobby Carlson glides from track to track with ease and a style that simply sounds like what you hear on Country radio stations these days.  “She’s Got My Heart” is bound to be found on the charts soon, if it isn’t already.

The themes of the songs vary as they should on a CD but regardless of whether it is up-tempo or a tear jerking ballad Bobby handles the vocals with perfection. This is a must-hear.

4/5 stars
Rusty Russell

DAVID NALL: Klean Kountry

DAVID NALL Klean Kountry Cover

COUNTRY/GOSPEL
DAVID NALL
Klean Kountry

There seems to be no end to the great country music that is produced in Texas! David Nall, probably best known for his gospel recordings has a gem with “Klean Kounty” collection of “pure country” all of which could climb up the country charts.

Nall, a multi-award winning performer and songwriter demonstrates his passion not only for his music but for his home state of Texas with songs like “Something ‘Bout Texas” and “I’m Well-Known In San Antone”. His gospel roots shine through on “The Cross On I-40”.

If you like your country with a traditional style similar to that of George Strait but with a uniqueness that can only shines through from a songwriter and singer who holds true to their own style, then give a listen to a David Nall recording today. You won’t regret it.

4/5 stars
Rusty Russell

LINDA WELBY: A Story To Tell

Linda Welby A Story To Tell Cover

COUNTRY/INTERNATIONAL
LINDA WELBY
A Story To Tell

Linda Welby, a young mother of eight from Ireland, and affectionately known as “The Galway Fiddler”, also the title of one of her songs, recently signed with Bullet Records (Nashville) and with one listen to her new CD “A Story To Tell” it is easy to see why Bullet wanted her on its roster.

Welby brings a Celtic flair to today’s country and her story-telling is second to none on this collection of contemporary songs all written and produced by herself. Linda Welby has a very defined vision of where she is going and what is important in her life. Her passion for life, others and her music is defined with “Through You, I’ll Find My Way”, a song written as being told through the eyes of a person with Autism.

If you’re looking for something just a little bit different, but with the story telling and emotion that makes a good country song, then this CD is for you. Add it to your collection – you won’t be sorry.

4/5 stars

Rusty Russell

Bye Bye Baby (Baby Goodbye!)  Jersey Boys Final Performance in Toronto, Canada

Jersey Boys Recording

By Natasha Slinko
 
After an extremely successful, two year run, Jersey Boys will be playing their final farewell show on Sunday, August 22 at 7:30 pm. Over the past two years, Jersey Boys has received standing ovation time after time, be it a media filled audience or theatre goers that loved this era and the songs of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  Friends, couples and families have flooded the theatre over one million strong and were charmed and won over, and in true theatre style to show their appreciation, they stood up and cheered.
 
Jersey Boys takes us back to a time in space, when things were a little simpler and showed the true turn of events on the Jersey shores.  The incredible songs, the songwriting and composing and of course, the Boys in the hood, whose vocals and harmonies just made you want to cheer and at times, cry. They were just that good. No wonder Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons took audiences by storm.  They didn’t just slowly walk up to their audience, they roared right up on top of them and the audience just went crazy for their incredible and unique sound.  And this fabulous show Jersey Boys, has shown us, that they still do.
 

SELINA MARTIN: Disaster Fantasies

SELINA MARTIN

Unsigned

This third album from one of the T.Dot’s more versatile young singer/songwriters takes a decided turn for the hard rockin’. Judging by the audience reaction at The Garrison for its coming out party, the turn is well worth the taking.

This feisty art rocker been simmering under for two album and on this third one, has busted wide open, kicking down the genre walls on the way out. Cute as a bullet and with the requisite pedigree, having worked with Rheostatics alumni Dave Bidini, Michael Phillip Wojewoda and Martin Toelli, Martin always assembles spit hot players for her projects.

Disaster Fantasies is no exception; the lineup includes long-time collaborator Doug Friesen (bass), Josh Van Tassel (drums), Chris Stringer (bass), Martin Toelli (Guitars) and another long-time collaborator, Annelise Noronha (lead accordion, guitars).

Mash ‘em all together with en eye for lyric detail and an ear for making it stick and it’s like Joni Mitchell and Annie Lennox hooking up for sour mash martinis.

And beats there a heart so cold that can’t love the indie gal covering a Rush tune?. Coming on with a jazzy, finger poppin’ take, she delivers “The Spirit Of Radio’ just this side of a nod and a wink. With ‘Rape During Wartime’ the Talking Heads essence is obvious and Martin wears it well.

Iggy Pop at Dundas Square

Iggy Pop 1

What was once old is new again

By Bill Delingat
It was some 40 years ago when the phone rang and the agent said, “how would you guys like to open up for the Stooges?” the reply was “Iggy and the Stooges, you got to be kidding?” Well they weren’t and here we were off to Guelph University, a hard rock quartet from Toronto called “Draco” on a cold winter evening flipping out that not only would we be some of the first this side of the border to hear the notorious Stooges, but actually open up for them. The press was full of stories of self mutilation and stage diving of the front man that called himself “Iggy Pop” and we couldn’t wait to meet and talk to him; well that didn’t really happen. We arrived for sound check at one of the University’s Convocation halls somewhere on the fringe of the campus with wall to wall carpeting and a stage placed at one end. Back in the make shift green room we were told that the “Stooges” had arrived as there was speculation they may be a “no show” and we would be sharing the change room with them. The band members were all very friendly and we were swapping ideas on what kind of guitar strings do you use and what kind of amp etc. but no Iggy. In fact he was there but in another persona, James Newell Osterberg, Jr. born April 21, 1947 a shy young guy who peered in every now and then and we assumed was the roadie or techie and it wasn’t until he donned the drummers belt with a huge buckle that the metamorphosis that began “Iggy Pop” was in the house.

IN GODDO WE TRUST

Goodo Live

By Bill Delingat

When the hit musical “Rock of Ages” was scheduled to come to Toronto, someone should have thought of a production of “GODDO”. With the monolithic backdrop and all the lights a blazing this was as much of a theatrical setting that any theatre goers would pay for and on top of it all, this was the real deal. In its own way, it was scripted, as the stage was set for the 35th reunion of the power chord heavy metal trio that gave us hard edge tunes like “Pretty Bad Boy, “Under my Hat”, “So Walk On”,” Sweet Thing” and many more, joined together for a concert and film shoot for a soon to be released TV show and DVD documentary appropriately named “IN GODDO WE TRUST”.

Megan Morrison: MOVIN’ ON

Megan Morrison

(Unsigned)
by Lenny Stoute

Newest country darlin' on the horizon is the real deal; a rodeo ridin’, calf ropin’ big smilin’ blonde from Holstein, ON. Can’t get much more cow town than that nor more hometown girl than Megan Morrison. The lady’s just dropped her second album, Movin’ On and it shows an artist rolling straight up that blacktop to US success travelled by Shania, Terri Clark and pioneer Anne Murray. It’s trafficking in country pop with loads of citified appeal and a knack for a heart-tugging country lyric.

The album kicks off with the catchy one-two upbeat combo of ‘Everywhere I Go’ and the aptly titled ‘Dancing In The Rain’, then swiftly shifts gears for ‘I Can Love Anyone I Want To’, done with a more defiant edge than the version cut by Nashville alt country comer Cindy Roberts. This pattern pretty much continues throughout, a back and forth between upbeat pop and reflective country balladering.

Even as it pays all the right dues to Nashville, ‘Movin’ On’ comes off as an accomplished sophomore offering with a distinct personality. Producer Joel Feeney gets much credit for shaping the sound and as co-writer of three of the album’s tunes. He keeps a radio-friendly ear on the proceedings without applying too much sheen, which allows Morrison to step outside her persona in embracing the protagonist’s cheeky innuendo in ‘Party Girl’ and the downright gritty perspective of ‘Old Habit Town’.

Two Roads to Exile

Simon Wynberg

by Dr. Robert Tomaro

Walter Braunfels – String Quintet
Adolf Busch – String Sextet
by ARC (Artists of the Royal Conservatory)
on RCA Red Seal

German composers Adolf Busch and Walter Braunfels were linked in life by twin tragic destinies of Nazi persecution that decimated their careers. Now, happily, they are linked aesthetically and effulgently on this new release by RCA Red Seal. Their chamber music is performed exquisitely by ARC, one of Canada’s premier ensembles. Comprised of senior faculty members of the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, ARC breathes vibrant new life into these important and long neglected offerings.

The composers, who we find here on parallel musical roads, were actually quite different in life. Busch, a blond, square jawed Westphalian and a famous violin virtuoso, was universally hailed by the public and the Nazis, alike. Hitler dubbed him “our German violinist”. But Busch was a true Cosmopolitan and was horrified at the onset of anti-Semitic hatred. He would admonish audiences from the stage if he saw Nazi salutes in the house: “Go to your brown shirt meetings and do that, but not here”. He would rail at correspondence that closed with “Heil Hitler”, replying: “That’s not a German greeting as far as I am concerned”, both terribly dangerous practices at the time.

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