Backstage with Douglas McLeanSocial shar

Douglas McLean started playing music at the age of 11 years as a drummer. He wrote his first song at age 15 and he started recording when he was 20 years old. He has recorded 5 albums and written some 60 or more songs including several videos.

Douglas has a deep love for poetry, particularly the works of Leonard Cohen, T.S Eliot and Rumi. His songs reflect those deep influences and as a lyricist, he chooses to pursue language as a deep stimulus for understanding; and the practiced art of what Van Morrison calls “the inarticulate speech of the heart”.

 

Several of his recorded songs have been positioned in the Top 20 in local Muskoka Radio. He plays local shows and concerts usually joined by his wife, violinist, Arlene McLean.

 

McLean also does work with other artists as an executive producer ; videography; radio host , and writing for local newspapers.

Douglas has talked with many artists about their songwriting process, you can listen to these interviews, with music from their albums, interspersed throughout.

Listen To More Interviews From Our Vaults HERE

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MUSIC & CHAT  

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Jack Starr

 

Backstage with Douglas McLean is very pleased to offer this remarkable conversation with Legendary Heavy Metal Rock Blues Guitarist Jack Starr sharing insight into the making of Jack Starr's Burning Starr, Souls of the Innocent, released on Global Rock Records, on July 15, 2022.

 

Turn up the featured song as loud as you can !!    

 

Jack, a co-founder of influential and beloved metal band Virgin Steele (Jack has a great story about how a couple of the guys in Metallica told him at a music festival in France that they really liked his song Children of the Storm, which was on the first Virgin Steele album), has been a household name in the metal scene for decades and has always surrounded himself with exceptional musicians. Jack also helped Queensryche get their first record deal back in the day.

 

The current lineup of Burning Starr, who all play on the new album, includes the sensational vocals of Alexx Panza, thunderous drummer Rhino (ex-Manowar) and Jack’s longtime pal and bandmate, bassist Ned Meloni (who previously played with UFO’s Paul Chapman and former Rainbow/Deep Purple singer Joe Lynn Turner) on bass.

 

Souls Of the Innocent continues Jack and the band's commitment to true U.S. style power metal, with Panza continuing the band’s legacy of discovering and showcasing great vocal talent within its ranks.

Starr, a native of Paris, France, emerged from the New York City rock and metal scene in 1981, forming, together with drummer Joey Ayvazian, vocalist David DeFeis and bassist Joe O’Rielly, the first incarnation of the now legendary metal band Virgin Steele.

 

The band was selected in 1982 by Shrapnel Records to appear on the label's compilation album U.S. Metal Volume 2. The song Starr sent in for the compilation was "Children of the Storm.”

 

After only two albums, 1981’s  Virgin Steele and Guardians of the Flame , released in 1982, Starr left Virgin Steele in 1983 because of musical differences with DeFeis.

 

In 1984, Starr started his solo recording career with the album Out of the Darkness, featuring former Riot vocalist Rhett Forrester, members of The Rods and former Rainbow drummer Gary Driscoll.

 

It was released in Europe by Music for Nations and was picked as one of the best albums of the year by the music magazines Kerrang! and Metal Forces. Starr changed the name of his band to Jack Starr's Burning Starr and between 1984 and 1989 he produced both solo and band albums; five solo albums and four band albums. 

 

The music on those albums is classic American eighties metal, a style that has garnered the band a devoted worldwide fan base including a great deal of respect from many musician peers within the metal community. In 1989 the band dissolved and Starr joined short-lived bands like Strider and Smoke Stack Lightning. 

 

In 2006, Jack, a huge blues fan, formed a self-titled blues band before reforming Jack Starr’s Burning Starr in 2008. Global Rock Records will also be reissuing between 2022-23 eight classic back catalog releases from the band including:

 

Rock The American Way (1985)

No Turning Back (1986)

Blaze Of Glory (1987)

Burning Starr 1989 (1989)

Burning Starr V - The Strider Project (1991)

Burning Starr VI - Under A Savage Sky (2003)

Land Of The Dead (2011)

Keep The Metal Burning - Live In Germany 2013

 

Jack Starr’s Burning Starr is preparing to hit the road to promote Souls of the Innocent so be on the lookout!

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Demons Behind Me

Ships In The Night

All Out War

Souls Of The Innocent

Winds Of War

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jackstarrsburningstarr

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Melissa Lauren

Melissa Lauren joins Douglas this week in conversation about her phenomenal new album ‘My Voice’. Melissa is a charming, vibrant conversationalist. It was such an honour to meet her.

Melissa Lauren wants to be heard. And not just because of 'My Voice', her dazzling new jazz-pop crossover gem. The singer-songwriter’s third album is her most accomplished to date and yes, you bet she wants it heard.

 

But her mission is larger than that. As Lauren explains, "If there’s an overarching theme to the new album’s 11 songs — a mix of originals and thoughtfully selected covers all expertly helmed by producer, mixer, and multi-instrumentalist Tyler Emond (Tyler Shaw, Alessia Cara, Matt Dusk) — it’s “the boundaries that get in the way of communicating.”

 

And nothing brings the boundaries quite like a lockdown triggered by a global pandemic, during which Lauren and musician husband Nathan Hiltz were marooned at home together, forced to contemplate themselves and each other as the comfortably distracting routines of daily life evaporated.

 

Yet by candidly distilling the experience into her songwriting on My Voice, Lauren has created an album that serves as a musical touchstone for anyone struggling to articulate the challenges, good and bad, of managing close relationships during difficult times. Call it a sonic roadmap.

 

“It was a tough time for Nathan and me and we got into a lot of fights,” Lauren admits with a laugh. “But I realized it all came down to feeling like you weren’t being heard, to a lack of communication. Signals can get crossed and misunderstandings can happen, but you can’t give up trying to have your voice heard. And you mustn’t forget to listen.”

 

Ironically, from that uneasy place sprang the vibrant, mostly upbeat songs on 'My Voice', which are exalted by an ace band including Hiltz on various guitars and banjo, Emond on everything from bass to keyboards, mandolin to guitar, as well as drummer-percussionist Dave MacDougall, pedal steel player Kevin “The General” Neal, and Jessica Deutsch on violin and viola.

 

At the centre of it all is Lauren’s crystal clear, emotive voice which is almost otherworldly in its range. So dexterous are Lauren’s performances that a song by Rufus Wainwright (“Oh What A World”) makes perfect sense alongside one by Cole Porter (“Easy to Love”), another by Irving Berlin (“What’ll I Do”), a Jann Arden pop hit (“Insensitive”) plus Lauren’s own compositions chronicling life in all its messy, lovely, weird, infuriating grandeur.

 

“Jazz is my first love, and those standards were important to include,” she says, adding — take note jazz fans — that she wrote her own intro for “What’ll I Do” and a set of alternate lyrics to Walter Donaldson’s “My Blue Heaven,” dedicated to her husband and which daughter Leah abetted.

 

Lauren continues: “At the same time, I think there’s something for everyone on this album. Musically, I can grab people who might not typically like jazz while lyrically, there are conversations almost everyone has had at some point in their life. My Voice dances between new and old, jazz and pop.”

 

Indeed, the album does waltz between intriguing themes and shape-shifting aural landscapes. Take the first single, the gently orchestral, undulating Lauren original “The Day We Stopped.” The song was sparked by a moment of mentally stepping outside of a heavy conflict with her husband, to take a minute to feel the sun. “That song was raw and very much in the moment,” she says.

 

Elsewhere, Lauren gives voice to a woman who kills her abusive husband because a bird on her shoulder tells her to (the inky, snaking, bass-led ballad “My Blue Friend”); contemplates two people lost from each other despite being in the same car (“Back to You,” which drapes Lauren’s silken voice across simple acoustic guitar); and the soaring gospel-tinged title track “which is about illuminating each other’s voices.”

 

The new album also sharpened Lauren’s writing while giving way to a new way of working. “I don’t wait around for inspiration. I treat songwriting like a job. But I am always alert to inspiration so that when I do put pen to paper, I have things to draw from.

 

“One thing that was different this time around was I’d make note of songs I’d hear watching a movie or shopping or whatever. When time came to write and I was seeking inspiration, I’d go back and listen to those songs and ask myself how I could capture that essence,” she laughs “but without ripping anything off!”

 

Central to the album was producer Emond who Lauren says was uniquely able to interpret her vision, no matter what form that took. “I’d say something like, ‘Let’s make it moody, desert, nice’ and he’d know exactly what I wanted,” she howls.

 

“Tyler is a fantastic musician and extremely well-versed in jazz, classical, world music. He also knows how to make something radio-friendly. I am proud of how Tyler and I worked within the jazz-pop spectrum, making deliberate choices as to which side each song would fall.” 

Not that a single genre could define Lauren’s diverse career anyway. Beginning as a teenager, she performed throughout North America with the Toronto All-Star Big Band, all the while developing herself as an inimitable songwriter and performer.

 

Two previous solo albums, 2015’s Your Mess and 2012’s The Other Side, gathered universal acclaim, leading to marquee performances across Canada and around the world including (but not limited to) Folk Alliance International, the Halifax International Jazz Festival, and the New Skool Rules Festival in the Netherlands, plus concerts in Eastern Europe.

 

Additionally, her voice was featured on five tracks by Montreal electronic producer Hibernate, one included on a compilation by British dance pioneer Paul Oakenfold. Yet despite these many disparate potential avenues for success, Lauren’s focus remains squarely on her own voice, brilliantly showcased on My Voice.

 

“I sincerely hope the album gets radio play,” she says. “It’s a great way to reach people and have them hear the songs as they were intended, not reconfigured for a live setting. That said, I cannot wait to get out there and tour the album this fall.” 

 

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Stop

My Blue Friend

My Voice

What'll I Do

Insensitive

The Day We Stopped

Until They Change The Song

 

Website: https://melissalaurenmusic.ca/home

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile

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Danny Marks

Danny Marks is a legend in the Canadian Music Scene and one of the most exciting live performers you’ll ever get to see. Douglas spoke to Danny in May 2022. “I have long wanted to share this conversation with folks on The Sound Café and here it is !” states McLean.   

 

In 2006, Danny was given the "Blues with a Feeling Award" at The Maples Blues Awards for lifetime achievement in music and broadcasting.

 

This iconic rocker's roots go back to the sixties as a founding member of Capitol Records' group, Edward Bear. After a span as a journeyman session musician throughout the seventies, Danny settled in to the club scene, establishing a cult following as a genre bender in music and humour.

A house band gig at Toronto's famed Albert's Hall led him to host his own nation-wide TV show, Stormy Monday. Through the eighties, Danny starred in CBC radio's hit series the Hum Line.

Most recently, Danny Marks recorded two original music albums, Guitarchaeology and True, before paying tribute to Toronto's R&B roots with Big Town Boy in 2005.

Danny's in his thirteenth year as the radio host of JAZZ.FM91's Saturday night blues show, bluz.fm.

As a child, young Danny would lock himself in his room with a stack of 45's, an old Seabreeze record player, and a fantasy of having his own radio show. More than a few years later this pre-pubescent propensity paid off.

Danny's not one to be type cast. "Mostly, for now I've backed off on the bar work. Sure I miss the social life but I need to concentrate on other things."

Some of those other things include radio and TV jingles, where Danny’s voice and guitar are in big demand, and, a new album needs to be written, recorded, and released. Guitarchaeology spent one whole year on the Top Ten on Sam the Record Man’s Indie chart. With the next album, Danny takes aim at the mainstream, and why not, in the pre millennium, it’s all alternative.

 

 

FEATURED SONGS :

El Kabong

Man on the Radio

Land Where Blues Began

Hey, New York Town

You, Me And Mexico

Spy Guitar

 

Website: http://www.dannym.com/

Bandcamp: https://www.facebook.com/danny.marks3

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Queen M

 

Marcia Alderson and Craig Smith join Douglas In conversation about their exciting collaboration Queen M.

 

Queen M is Neo soul mixed with vintage Motown and Reggae influences.

Since she released her debut single “Colour Of Her Skin” in February 2022, the world has quickly come to know Queen M as one of the powerful new voices in Canadian Soul music. With her new single, “Evolution Of Queen M,” she shares more of her unique life story, while simultaneously cranking up the vintage funk with her band, led by producer/guitarist Craig Smith.

 

 “Colour Of Her Skin” was inspired by her parents’ struggle against racism in Canada during the1950s and ‘60s, but on “Evolution Of Queen M” she draws from her own traumatic experience of ending a four decade-long relationship that began when she was just 15 years old. “I like to think of this as my ‘divorce song,’” she explains. “It’s about reclaiming yourself, which for me was the result of coming out of literally the only relationship I’ve really ever known. It‘s about finding the courage to leave and finding the strength to not only survive, but thrive. It is about finding what truly makes you happy and I have. I barely recognize myself now with my newfound freedom.”

 

Gaining that freedom is partly what led Marcia Alderson to transform herself into Queen M, and create original music for the first time. Based in Collingwood, Ontario, the popular weekend getaway destination north of Toronto, Alderson built her reputation over the course of many years performing the music of her two primary influences, Motown and Bob Marley. However, the end of her marriage, combined with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, provided the motivation for Alderson to use her powerful voice to speak her truth.

 

Now as Queen M, she is making up for lost time and joining the ranks of the great contemporary artists both in Canada and around the world who are carrying the torch for classic Soul Music.

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Colour of Her Skin

Evolution of Queen M

 

Website: https://queenm.ca

Bandcamp: https://queenm.bandcamp.com/

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Ansley Simpson

Ansley Simpson’s newest album “She Fell From the Sky” is master work in song writing, storytelling and compelling recording. In this, her second album Ansley take us all on a timeless journey that will open the heart and mind with profound insight and hopefully instill a sense of urgency and purpose for those who have ears to hear.   

 

“The 11 tracks of  ‘She Fell From The Sky’ take us on this journey, as only Simpson can guide us. Through them, the emotional core of every second reverberates through the body, the unwavering strength of Simpson’s voice giving breath to Sky Woman’s story. Simpson sings like no other, their voice like the wind in the trees rising from your feet and her guitar follows like an extension of her body.”  Niko Stratis – from www.ansleysimpson.com

Ansley Simpson is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabe musician, artist, and member of Alderville First Nation, and is known for poetic lyrics, deeply moving vocal-only performances, and dream-like arrangements.

 

The Tkaronto-based musician garnered two Indigenous Music Nominations and won Best New Artist in 2018 for the debut album “Breakwall”. In 2021, the collaborative work on Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s album “Theory of Ice'' landed a coveted place on the shortlist for the Polaris Prize.

 

Ansley’s a natural performer that holds audiences spellbound with storytelling embedded both in and out of the songs. The songwriting process was featured in an episode of APTN’s Indigenous Music series “Amplify'' for the single “Firewater” and the original score enlivened the powerful message throughout Tanya Talaga’s award-winning documentary “Spirit to Soar''.

 

Ansley’s highly anticipated sophomore album “She Fell from the Sky'' is a journey through Indigenous reclamation coming out now, on the label Gizhiiwe (GIH jzee way).

FEATURED SONGS:

Migration

Secret Lover

The Wake

Without Warning

Untether

Website: https://www.ansleysimpson.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ansley.simpson

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Blackie and the Rodeo Kings

No other band has bought together such individual talent to such a collective, enduring musical style than Blackie and The Rodeo Kings. Songwriters Colin Linden, Tom Wilson and Stephen Fearing have blazed the airways with their own unique brand of song and performance but as Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, they have mastered and crafted a music genre all to themselves. Loved and much revered by fans and audiences around the world, their albums and long career have become iconic in the roots-rock and folk–country genre.

 

Tom Wilson and Colin Linden joined Backstage’s Douglas McLean for conversation about their stirring and powerful new album, O Glory, and other works from their vast catalogue.   

If any band was uniquely positioned to withstand the impossible demands made by despicable COVID-19, it was Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. The proof is in their blazing new album, O Glory. While much of the planet struggled to find new ways of working, singer/songwriter and guitarists Stephen Fearing, Colin Linden, and Tom Wilson coolly leveraged the flexibility that’s sustained them for 25 years, sheltering in their respective home bases of Victoria, BC, Nashville, TN, and Hamilton, ON, while using technology to bridge the chasm separating them from each other and from their rhythm section of Gary Craig and John Dymond.

With Linden producing from his Nashville digs, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings wrote and recorded 13 alternately roots-rock, folk, country, and Americana-style songs, ultimately crafting what Linden confirms is the band’s most “spiritual and political” musical statement to date.

Adds Fearing, “Like a lot of musicians, after the initial shock of the pandemic lockdown, the impetus became finding ways to connect with the world. Technology has come so far in the last few years, and it has made remote recording possible. I pounced on it. Colin gave me a lot of advice and took charge musically. It was then a matter of coming up with songs and getting them to each other.”

As they have since forming as a one-off to honour late folk hero Willie P. Bennett — continuing as smitten audiences demanded it — the JUNO Award–winning Blackie and the Rodeo Kings chase musical excellence while having a ball playing with their friends. Talk about a great gig.

FEATURED SONGS:

Blue Moon Drive (feat. Chuck Copenace)

Has Anyone Seen My Baby Here Tonight?

Stop and Listen

Grand River

I Sleep Like a Fugitive

I Will See You in the Morning

Website: www.blackieandtherodeokings.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/BlackieBand

Twitter: twitter.com/therodeokings

Instagram: www.instagram.com/blackieandtherodeokings

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Matthew Barber

 

Released on July 22, 2022, “No Singing or Dancing”, follows up on Barber’s 2018 highly successful album ‘Phase of the Moon” . Throughout the six song EP, Matthew Barber demonstrates yet again why he is a much beloved and revered songwriter in the pantheon of Canadian performers.   

Matthew Barber is a Toronto-based singer-songwriter who has been plying his trade for two decades, releasing ten records and touring across four continents along the way. His work has garnered a couple of Juno nominations, a handful of Canadian Folk Music award nominations, and even a pair of Montreal English Theatre awards for his musical contributions in the world of the dramatic arts.

 

Most comfortable slinging an acoustic guitar and crooning to an attentive audience, Barber has been known to plug in and get sweaty in the din of a rock club as well from time to time. Like his heroes Neil Young and Bob Dylan, he feeds off of the contrast of intimate solo performance and electric band energy and this balance has been reflected in his body of work. From his early Paper Bag Records and Warner Music Canada days and continuing throughout his longstanding relationship with Outside Music, Barber’s album Ghost Notes has garnered millions of streams, was nominated for a Juno Award, with almost every track from the record licensed to both film and TV spots, including Hockey Night in Canada, Heartland, Gabriel’s Inferno and more.

 

As the road miles have accumulated, Barber’s live shows have leaned away from the raucous and more to the mellow side of things. In 2016 Matthew collaborated with his talented sister Jill Barber and the result was The Family Album and an extensive tour with three generations along for the ride. Many memorable tours happened before and after, including a 20-city tour of China, a couple of forays in Europe, several trips Down Under and countless miles on the trans-Canada highway.

 

In 2020 Barber was eight shows in to a sold-out U.S. tour supporting his pal Noah Reid when everything shut down and the world changed forever. Being homebound led him to focus more on his love of being in the studio and he acted as producer on a handful of records for other folks, including up and coming duo Clever Hopes, singer-songwriter Ian Lake and the aforementioned Reid with whom he has now made three albums. 2022 will see Barber releasing new music of his own for the first time since 2018’s Phase Of The Moon and he is very excited about it.

 

FEATURED SONGS:

No Singing Or Dancing

Viral

Does Anybody Really Know?

Every Time You Cry

Sing Me To Sleep

 

Website: https://www.matthewbarber.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/matt.barber.102

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Ken Yates

 

Welcome to Backstage with Douglas McLean.

 

I was delighted to speak again with Ken Yates, June 14,2022 about his beautiful new album, ‘Cerulean’.

 

Born and raised in London, Canada, Ken Yates has gained a reputation as one of his country’s brightest rising singer-songwriters. The winner of two Canadian Folk Music Awards for Songwriter of the Year and New Artist of the Year, Yates has spent recent years expanding his sound and touring North America and Europe.

 

His new album Cerulean (out on Soundly Music 6/3/22) steps firmly into indie folk and alternative territories, and captures Yates at his most vulnerable. The cool-hued record was written as an intimate reckoning as he grieved his dying mother, giving listeners a vivid window into the rollercoaster of intense thoughts and emotions that accompany such a personal, yet universal experience.

 

“I used to go searching for the darkness. With this record, the darkness found me first. This is me finding my way out of it.”

 

Channeling pain into beauty, Ken Yates’ fourth album is a breathtaking triumph of the human spirit. The cool-hued Cerulean captures the artist’s intimate reckoning as he grieved his dying mother, giving listeners a vivid window into the rollercoaster of intense thoughts and emotions that accompany such a personal, yet universal experience. The result is a transcendent record that surges with tightly held energy and intimate moments. The listener hears the artist growing in real time, moving towards a space of acceptance and peace as he himself moved to the country, began therapy, and wrote the songs he needed to hear.

 

Cerulean may be born from grief, but it is not musically grieving: its surefooted and softly radiant arrangements shine with the quiet hope of a soul put through the wringer. “This is the first time that I’ve made a record where I feel like the songs were going to be written whether I wanted to release an album or not,” Yates explains. “I was writing because I needed to. I never would have described songwriting as a cathartic process in the past; it was just something I liked to do.”

 

With three albums under his belt, the Ontario born songwriter spent the past decade establishing himself as a talented folk artist with a penchant for thoughtful lyrics and evocative melodies. He won two Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2017, and supported Passenger on both the European and North American legs of his recent tour.

 

Nonetheless, Cerulean feels like a hard reset on Yates’ art and artistry. Reuniting with producer Jim Bryson, the album firmly steps into indie folk and alternative territories – he cites Big Thief, Andy Shauf, and The War On Drugs as a few of his inspirations. Thematically, this is Yates at his most honest and raw. "The record begins with a tone of paranoia facing the daily fear of what the world is becoming," he explains. “As the album progresses, the songs begin to look more and more inward. Moving through the anxiety and bitterness I was feeling. Still, there’s a lot of positivity in it. Maybe I was trying to take a step back to remind myself of all the good things and the full spectrum of color in my life.  My wife and I moved out of our apartment in Toronto to the country, got a dog, and found a bigger space where I was able to make a little musical corner for myself. I started seeing a therapist too. That, along with working on this record, helped pull me out of the foggy bitterness I was in.

 

Reflecting back now, I can almost hear myself processing what I was going through in real time, to the point where even the track listing was obvious– an accurate timeline of the feelings and emotions I was dealing with.”

 

Cerulean opens with “The Big One (ft. Kathleen Edwards),” an achingly poignant song that starts, quite poetically, at the end. “A friend kept talking about The Big One, a high-magnitude earthquake expected to strike the Pacific Northwest. In the last couple of years it feels like we have all developed a slight doomsday mentality, myself included; feeling like the world might be ending. Of course, we’re not really sure how, so that song is reckoning with the ‘armageddon’, and a realization of how trivial a lot of our personal relationships or conflicts can be when we are staring face-to-face with the end. The only thing to do is ride out your last few moments with the people you love.”

 

Yates dives deeper into himself as Cerulean progresses, searching for meaning in the world and working through everything from insomnia, denial, and nihilism, to hope and appreciation. The artist envelops himself in a blanket of plaintive, somber introspection on “Best of the Broken Things,” a comforting ballad in which he gives a pep talk to his own reflection.

 

An album standout, he paints a portrait of relatable restlessness on “Don’t Mean to Wake You” (ft. Stephanie Lambring), a warm and driving folk rock reverie. Yates finds himself lost in a pool of thoughts that gnaw at him so much that he has to turn over and wake his partner. It’s as much an attempt to save himself from himself, as it is a gentle cry for help.

 

The dynamic and driving “Honest Light” similarly finds him reassuring himself, this time from within. “My wife always refers to golden hour as ‘honest light’, when the light illuminates all the dust on your floor and the crumbs on your counter”, Yates explains. “I had the line, ‘life is like a cheap wine, it don’t get any better with time.’ I merged the title and line together as sort of this acceptance that things are not alright, but you’ll be alright.”

 

This mature recognition of life’s imperfection proves the lifeblood of Cerulean, and every time Yates seems to be on the verge of sinking, he swims – held afloat not only by his own inner strength, but also by his community. Cerulean is a group effort, with features from singer/songwriter contemporaries including Kathleen Edwards, Stephanie Lambring, Katie Pruitt, and more.

 

“Although these songs were born in a period of isolation, it turned out to be my most collaborative album yet.  There are full band arrangements on every song, and a few of my favourite artists lenT their voices, which really brought this record to life”.

 

After forty minutes spent exploring a world of vulnerable depths and soaring sonics, Cerulean closes in a moment of tranquility. “The final song, ‘Cerulean’, is about searching for balance – an equilibrium. We move through this endless colour wheel of emotions every day, but you have to find those small moments of peace and acceptance, and reassure yourself, ‘I’m okay.’

 

Yates’ mother Beverley passed away in August 2021.

“I’m strangely in a better headspace now than I was a year ago when she was still with us,” he admits. “I may owe that to taking a hard look at myself through the lens of these songs”.

 

Now that he’s on the other side, Yates says this album proved a transformative experience – allowing him to grow, while giving him some much-needed resolution to the past few years.

 

“I feel more open than ever, at peace with where I am as an artist,” he reflects. “This is the first time I’ve had a real personal story I wanted to tell. It does feel like I’ve had a moment to reset my life, and now I can start to share that with the rest of the world.”

 

Loss is a shared human experience. Through Cerulean, Ken Yates not only puts the full scope of his own healing process on display, but he also reminds us that we’re not alone in our pain – and that with time, we may just find our way to acceptance.

 

Written by Mitch Mosk - Atwood Magazine

SOURCE - http://www.kenyates.com/

 

 

FEATURED SONGS:

The Big One (feat. Kathleen Edwards)

Cerulean

When We Came Home

Half-Clenched Teeth

Don't Mean to Wake You (feat. Stephanie Lambring)

Honest Light (feat. Caroline Marie Brooks)

Website: http://www.kenyates.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kenyatesmusic1/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Ken_Yates

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The Olympic Symphonium

Backstage with Douglas McLean met with Graeme Walker and Kyle Cunjak to discuss the release of two new singles called Beauty in the B-Sides – Singles. 

 

Formed in 2005, in Fredericton, New Brunswick, as a side project to explore song writing styles that didn’t work in their other bands at the time, Nick Cobham, on guitar, Kyle Cunjak on bass and guitar, and Graeme Walker, on guitar and bass, began recording soon after. Joined by Dennis Goodwin on lap steel, guitar, and banjo, the band has added five successful albums to their catalogue.

 

The Olympic Symphonium have been trudging through the murkier depths of the Canadian music stream since 2005. The band has crafted a full, lush sound that is entirely their own. A sound that features emotional musical flourishes, soaring harmonies that float in and out, and dramatic lyrical content. It is the sound of a strange and beautiful tension.

Whether it's the complexity of family life, the inevitability of death, the mundanity of life on the road, or struggles with mental illness, each band member writes with their own life experiences in mind and combines those with that of the other members in a Voltron like fashion to form one strong and varied body of work. Four become one to create a singular vision and sound. It's the sound of a band not afraid to go deep into the darkness, to go against the current and swim upstream.

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Look At Her Now

The Execution (feat. Drew Jurecka)

How to Be (feat. Tim Crabtree)

Comedy

The Middle

Glory of Love

Website: http://theolympicsymphonium.com/

Website: https://www.forwardmusicgroup.com/

Facebookl: https://www.facebook.com/TheOlympicSymphonium

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Crystal Shawanda

Crystal Shawanda will be at Etwell Concert Series, 2012 Etwell Rd, Huntsville. Sunday August 07,2022 at 3:00pm

 

Recent Juno winner for outstanding blues album, Crystal Shawanda is highly established as one of the leading female Blues singers in North America.The Ojibwe Potawatomi Indigenous singer was born in Wiikwemkoong First Nation on Manitoulin Island in Ontario and even though she now lives in Nashville, she keeps her roots close to her heart and soul. One has to look no further than her latest CD “Church House Blues” to feel the connection.

 

There’s a tendency these days to try to pigeonhole any artist that attempts to breach the boundaries. Chalk it up to the restrictions of radio playlists or the media’s attempt to strictly define musicians by the music it believes artists ought to be making, creative instincts be damned. Nevertheless Crystal Shawanda opted to defy those demands and chart her own path forward.

 

Initially signed to RCA in 2007, she hit her stride as a country singer and songwriter when she scored a top 20 hit with her song “You Can Let Go” and subsequently tallied sales of over 50,000 copies of her debut album Dawn of a New Day and subsequently debuted in the Billboard Top 20. She began to realize that the blues had captured her muse, and with that, she left the label, shifted her stance and began recording albums that reflected her love of blues and her natural affinity for that sound.

 

As she once told an interviewer, “The whole time I was singing Patsy Cline on stage, I was singing Etta James at home.”

Her new album Church House Blues (released April 17th on True North Records) reflects that dedication and devotion and finds her co-writing seven of the ten songs on the album. Produced by her husband, collaborator and cowriter Dewayne Strobel, it not only marks her fourth blues effort to date, but one of her most demonstrative as well. That’s evident at the outset, from the fiery delivery of the title track, the riveting drive of “New Orleans Is Sinking,” and the assertive strains of “Rather Be Alone,” to the quiet, contemplative desire and despair that scorches “Evil Memory,” the radio-ready hooks illuminated in “Hey Love,” and the emotive strains instilled in the bittersweet ballads “When It Comes To Love” and “Bigger Than the Blues.” At the center of it all is Crystal’s evocative vocals, a powerful, provocative force of nature that elevates each encounter and sends the album’s entries soaring towards the stratosphere.

Credit is also due to some spectacular guest artists, including session superstar Dave Roe on bass (Johnny Cash, Yola, Ceelo Green, among the many), the McCrary Sisters on backing vocals, Dana Robbins of Delbert McClinton’s band on sax, and Peter Keys of Lynyrd Skynyrd playing keys.

FEATURED SONGS:

Wang Dang Doodle/

Church House Blues

How Bad Do You Want It

Hey Love

Pray Sister Pray

Evil Memory

Website: http://crystalshawanda.co/

Facebookl: https://www.facebook.com/crystalshawandaofficial

YouTube Channelhttps://www.youtube.com/user/crystalshawanda2011

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Downchild Blues Band

 

Legendary Downchild Blues Band will be at Algonquin Theatre July 21st 2022 continuing to celebrate their 50th Anniversary Tour.

 

Chuck Jackson, lead singer and harmonica player with Downchild for over 30 years,  took some time to talk with Douglas McLean about the tour and some of the legendary songs the band will delight Huntsville audiences with. 

 

The show will feature some wonderful live songs from their illustrious career.   

 

Roaring through bracing, high-octane performances since 1969, the band founded and continuously steered by harmonica and guitar ace Donnie “Mr. Downchild” Walsh is as vibrant today as when Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belushi went sniffing around for inspiration for their brilliant Blues Brothers venture back in the 1970s. The pair elevated Downchild’s “Shotgun Blues” and Walsh’s “(I Got Everything I Need) Almost” to smash status on their 1978 Briefcase Full of Blues record.

Actually, the 2017 iteration of Downchild — with each member boasting a minimum of 20 years of service — might be the most electrifying.

Internal combustion certainly describes scorchers like the swaggering, harp-goosed “Mississippi Woman, Mississauga Man,” the thundering piano-pummelled title track, and opener “Albany, Albany” which contrasts a singalong chorus with sharp melody forwarded by Pat Carey’s marvellously skronking sax.

Indeed, if Downchild didn’t exist, the blues world would have to invent them. Who else could so clearly serve as contemporary torchbearers for riveting original music firmly rooted in tradition while acting as a thriving spiritual link to past greats like Sonny Boy Williamson II, James Cotton, and B.B. King.

But don’t take our word for it. Downchild’s epic reputation has been reaffirmed time and again.

Witness their 2014 Blues Album of the Year Juno Award for, Can You Hear The Music — their second Juno win overall. Their boatload of Maple Blues Awards. Their marquee billing on the globe’s most prestigious stages. And, of course, their inimitable 1973 reading of Big Joe Turner’s classic “Flip, Flop and Fly” which placed Walsh and band co-founder, late brother Richard “Hock” Walsh on the charts and in the souls of music fans worldwide.

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Gonnna Tell Your Mother (Live)

(I Got Everything I Need) Almost (Live)

Flip Flop and Fly (Live) [feat. Dan Aykroyd, Paul Shaffer, David Wilcox, Kenny Neal, Gene Taylor & Erja Lyytinen]

Mississippi Woman, Mississauga Man (Live) [feat. Erja Lyytinen]

Tryin' To Keep Her 88's Straight with Jane Vasey

Can You Hear the Music (Live)

 

Website: https://downchild.com/

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/profile      

Huntsville Tickets: https://huntsvillefestival.ca/event/the-legendary-downchild-blues-band/

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Byrdy

 

With their debut album Byrdy released April 15,2022, the band have found their wings.

 

Their new album is a monster. Singer-songwriter and founder of Byrdy, Robyn White spoke to host Douglas McLean about the band’s genesis, development and many of the songs off the release.    

 

Byrdy collaborated with the amazing Black Suit Devil and welcomed Xadio Valak on lead guitar. He also recorded, mixed and performed on the album. 

 

Byrdy is a 6 piece band with keyboards, 2 lead singers, 2 guitarists, bass and drums.

 

Their sound is dramatic punctuated by stellar performances, coupled with compelling song writing and production.  

Website: https://www.byrdyband.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/byrdytheband

                

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Chuck Wright

 

“Chuck Wright’s ‘Sheltering Sky’, is a superb mix of modern songwriting and stellar performances.  Dipping in and out of styles and genres, Wright’s timely songs and lyrics, will kick you right in the heart and the head at the same time. A powerful surprise that needs careful, attentive listening.” - Douglas McLean, The Sound Cafe Magazine. 

 

Chuck Wright, longtime Quiet Riot bassist, is proud and excited to release his debut solo album, Chuck Wright ‘s Sheltering Sky, on Los Angeles-based Cleopatra Records.   

 

The album features guest appearances by several of Wright’s musical peers including keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater/Billy Idol), guitarist Lanny Cordola (House of Lords), vocalist Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen), Troy Luccketta (Tesla) and the late Mr. Big drummer, Pat Torpey.

 

The album’s 11 tracks also illustrate Wright’s impressive songwriting ability as he either wrote or co-wrote all nine original songs on the album.  Also included is an edgy, intense version of Bjork’s “Army of Me” along with a soulful, Celtic-rock take on the The Youngbloods classic, “Darkness, Darkness.”  Chuck also produced and engineered most of the album.

 

Sheltering Sky exhibits a diversity and breadth of musical styles that embraces facets of Wright’s hard rock legacy while also delving into a more varied side of Chuck’s musical vision with well-written songs that feature ethereal guitar work, tasteful, soulful 70s era influences, Prog, Jazz Fusion and even a bit of heavy funk.  Besides his usual outstanding bass work as performed on a variety of different bass instruments, Wright also contributes on keys and acoustic guitar on several tracks.

 

Wright is best known as a long-time member of multi-platinum heavy metal band Quiet Riot. He originally joined Quiet Riot in 1981, playing bass on the tracks "Metal Health (Bang Your Head)" and "Don't Wanna Let You Go," as well as singing background vocals on all tracks from the 1983 multi-platinum album Metal Health, which was the first metal album to ever reach #1 on the Billboard 200 chart (in November 1983).

 

He performed, toured the world, and recorded with Quiet Riot on-and-off for 26 years…recording nine albums with the band, before departing the band again. 

 

Wright is also a former member of hard rock band Giuffria, and a founding member of hard rock band, House of Lords, for which he recorded four albums.

 

His reputation as a sought-after bass player has landed him gigs with Alice Cooper, Slash, Gregg Allman, Carmine Appice, Ronnie Montrose, John Waite, and Pat Travers, amongst others.

 

Wright has appeared on over 100 worldwide record releases, playing bass, and producing albums of various styles, including ambient trance, reggae, rap, country, and, of course, rock.

Wright has headed up Ultimate Jam Night, a long-running live music show since January 2015, at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood. Ultimate Jam Night features up to 60 pro musicians each week.

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Army Of Me

The Weight Of Silence

Darkness Darkness

The Other Side

Farewell Horizon

Giving Up The Ghost

Throwin; Stones

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChuckWrightOfficial

                

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The Bros. Landreth

 

The Bros. Landreth welcome a new day with 'Come Morning', an album that marks both a rebirth and refinement of the JUNO-winning band's blend of North American roots music and harmony-heavy soul.

 

The most immersive, emotive record of the Landreths' career, 'Come Morning' finds brothers Joey and Dave lacing their melody-driven songs with layers of atmospheric synth, organ, and textured guitar. The group's previous albums shone a light on their strength as a live act, capturing the spontaneity and sonic stomp of a band of hard-touring road warriors. If those records unfolded like snapshots of The Bros. Landreth's night-time shows, then 'Come Morning' sketches a markedly different picture, showcasing the introspection and clarity that comes with a long period of rest. 

 

For Joey and Dave, rest wasn't always an easy thing to find. After pursuing separate careers as sidemen, they launched The Bros. Landreth with 2013's 'Let It Lie', a debut album that drew upon the shared soundtrack of their childhood — Bonnie Raitt's blues, Little Feat's funky country-rock, Ry Cooder's eclectic instrumentals, Lyle Lovett's twangy traditionalism — for a sound that saluted the past while planting its flag firmly in the present. 'Let It Lie' was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, winning the 2015 JUNO Award for "Roots & Traditional Album Of The Year - Group," earning The Bros. Landreth a nomination for "International Artist of the Year" at the 2016 UK Americana Music Awards, and receiving praise from heroes like Bonnie Raitt. Years of near-constant touring in support of its release left the brothers exhausted, however, and the band took a three-year break before regrouping for 2019's ''87'.

 

When the Covid-19 pandemic brought ''87''s' accompanying tour to a halt, Joey and Dave began recording a new batch of songs in near-seclusion, pulling long hours in the studio and building songs one instrument at a time. They layered, experimented, and twisted sounds into something new, working alongside longtime co-producer Murray Pulver and a small group of guests. What emerged from those sessions was 'Come Morning': a transportive album built for the heart, the head, and the headphones.

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Stay

Drive All Night (Radio Edit)

Made Up Mind

After The Rain

Salvation Bound

Back To Thee

Don't Feel Like Crying (feat. Leith Ross)

Website: https://www.thebroslandreth.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebroslandreth

                

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Matt Weidinger

Matt Weidinger sat down with host Douglas McLean in conversation about his career to date, his song writing and his show he performed at Peter’s Players on May 21 just passed - Matt Weidinger Presents: The Music of Van Morrison 

Matt is a versatile musician, an exciting songwriter and performer plus being a genuine, friendly, and knowledgeable musicologist.

“The 28-year-old Kitchener, Ontario native is a passionate young songwriter, who is well known for his mature rock/soul vocals and impressive multi-instrumental (organ, guitar) talents.

His unmistakable earthly tones captivate the hearts of anyone who hears it. He performs like a veteran musician on the piano and organ, and is equally proficient on guitar, or mandolin.

Although some consider him a throw back of the ’60s, he still has the capacity to grab the attention of both the old, young and everyone in between. He’s an “old soul” who easily commands the attention of any crowd. His passion for music and performing is contagious.

Starting his music career at the ripe age of 15, Weidinger has had the pleasure of playing a variety of venues around Southwestern Ontario on a weekly basis. He also performs at multiple blues festivals around the province.” - Peter’s Players

 

FEATURED SONGS:

It Ain't Easy

Morning Comfort

Step Out

Going to California

He Don't Need Love

 

Website: https://mattweidinger1.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mattweidingermusic

                

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Bonham-Bullick

Talented singer-songwriter Deborah Bonham and guitarist-songwriter Peter Bullick (who are husband and wife), along with their band and special guests, have recorded a new 13-track self-titled covers album which is an inspiring blend of blues, rock, and a bit of soul. The music on this excellent new album, which was released on Quarto Valley Records (QVR) on April 29, is in the tradition of the great blues-rock of the 1970s whilst also being deeply entrenched in classic blues and soul.

 

Deborah Bonham, the younger sister of legendary rock drummer John Bonham, of Led Zeppelin fame, is a powerful vocalist, well versed in rock blues. She has worked with and graced the stages of Paul Rogers, Robert Plant and many more of the 70’s greats. Her new album is filled with the songs she loves, dedicated to the great blues artists of yesteryear.

 

Peter Bullick is a versatile, masterful guitarist who long worked with the legendary Paul Rogers and many others.

 

FEAURED SONGS:

See What You're Doing To Me

What Did I Do Wrong

Trouble Blues

When This World Comes To An End

It Ain't Easy

Website: https://www.deborahbonham.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/deborahbonham

                    https://www.facebook.com/DeborahBonhamOfficial

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The Kentucky Headhunters

           

Greg Martin of the Kentucky Headhunters, joins host Douglas McLean to discuss the band’s new album, ‘ That’s A Fact Jack!’, guitars, radio shows and song writing.

 

Overall, the Kentucky Headhunters have released eight studio albums, three compilations, and twenty-three singles. They have toured the world countless times and still perform relentlessly to their rabid fan base.  They also had time to finally make their Grand Ole Opry debut in December 2021.

 

The band’s early music was country oriented but over time they’ve developed into a band that also plays and records head-crushing rock ‘n’ roll, fiery Southern guitar rock and a knack for serious blues that showcases just how overall talented these guys are.  Greg Martin’s guitar playing shines throughout the eye of this musical hurricane no matter what style of music they perform.  He’s probably the main reason many folks describe the band’s sound as “guitar-heavy, rambunctious music.”

 

 A highlight of Martin’s life over the past 20+ years has been his radio show, the previously mentioned Lowdown Hoedown.  Greg’s gift of gab, sense of humor, down-to-earth personality, and an ability to both entertain his audience and relate comfortably to his on-air/studio guests have made the show a popular regional must-listen radio staple. 

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Stumblin' (Live)

That's A Fact Jack

Heart and Soul

Let's All Get Together and Fight

Water Colors, in the Rain

Website: http://kentuckyheadhunters.net/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kentuckyheadhunters

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Blue Rodeo

            

 

For thirty years, Blue Rodeo have been a dominant force on the Canadian music scene. Known for their exemplary song writing and thrilling performances, Blue Rodeo are considered one of Canada’s greatest and most beloved bands. 

 

 

Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo joined host Douglas McLean in conversation regarding their phenomenal new album ‘Many a Mile’, a set of songs to be treasured and loved for years to come. 

 

Coherent certainly, though even hardcore Blue Rodeo fans are likely to be floored by the sheer sonic scope of Many A Mile, which, while slotting broadly into the alt-country/rock category long associated with the band, the album also contains a constellation of surprising textures and touches across its 12 songs.

FEATURED SONGS:

Never Like This Before

When You Were Wild

All In Your Hands

I Will Wait for You

Ride Your Bike

 

Website: https://www.bluerodeo.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlueRodeo

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/BlueRodeoOfficial

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Dale Bozzio

            

One of music's most recognizable and influential artists, Missing Person's, Dale Bozzio, shares her most intimate and inspirational moments in her superb autobiography, ‘ Life is So Strange’.

 

Bozzio kisses and tells all, weaving stories from throughout her entire life including her childhood, her time as a Playboy bunny, her fateful introduction to Frank Zappa, her meteoric rise with Missing Persons, her love affair and collaborations with Prince, and so much more!

 

In conversation with Douglas McLean about her illustrious career and the song writing that has sustained her whole adventurous life.

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Mental Hopscotch

Crew Slut

Somewhere There Forever (feat. Dale Bozzio)

Destination Unknown (feat. Dale Bozzio)

Simon Simon

Riot in English

Website: https://www.dalebozzio.today/home

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DaleBozzio

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist

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Jerry Leger

            

Born in the mid-80s, singer-songwriter Jerry Leger came of age in the Upper Beaches area of Toronto. Surrounded by music from a young age, his grandfather first turned him onto Hank Williams, constantly playing the youngster a plethora of the honky tonk master’s great recordings. Although Williams’ voice came from another world in terms of time, geography, and class, Leger was intrigued by the ways that Williams’ songs told a story and often conjured up mysterious images in his head.

 

Other seminal influences were slowly added including John Lennon (and the Beatles), Bob Dylan, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Leonard Cohen, Elvis Costello, Neil Young, the Everly Brothers, Tom Waits, and Gordon Lightfoot.

 

Jerry Leger’s newest album, Nothing Pressing, released March 16th, 2022, is the best! Full of energetic and carefully crafted melodies and lyrics, Leger again displays why so many think he is one Canada’s great rock and roll artists, as well a pre-eminent songwriter. Jerry joined Douglas McLean in conversation about his career, songwriting approach, tour plans and before his show on April 01, 2022 at Bracebridge Hall in Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada.  

FEATURED SONGS:

Kill It with Kindness

A Page You've Turned

The Great Unknown

Have You Ever Been Happy?

Nothing Pressing

Survived Like a Stone

Wait a Little Longer

Website: http://jerryleger.com

Bandcamp:  https://jerryleger.bandcamp.com/music

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jerrylegermusic

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist

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Big Little Lions

            

Big Little Lions are an award winning duo, Helen Austin and Paul Otten,  who were born out of a collaboration that won them a JUNO Award in 2014. Since then they have been cranking out infectious folk pop songs that are jam-packed with emotion and tight harmonies that sound like the product of two people working side-by-side instead of living in different countries.

They have released 6 albums to date, which have garnered them awards including the CFMA Ensemble of the Year, Independent Music Awards Americana Single of the Year and the John Lennon Songwriting Competition Song of the Year. Their critically acclaimed music has appeared on the CBC’s Top 20 and featured on shows like q and Vinyl Cafe. The duo are both hugely prolific songwriters - their music has been placed in hundreds of movie trailers, ads, network TV shows and on MTV.

They are currently releasing a new song a month, most of which are on some great Spotify editorial playlists. Their music has been dubbed ‘a blissful marriage of new folk and sophisticated pop’ by Mariposa Folk Festival, and is packed with emotion and tight harmonies.

 “What is truly amazing about Big Little Lions is that its two members, Helen Austin and Paul Otten, were born to make music together, their voices made to combine, but they are in different countries. It just goes to show you, destiny is a powerful force.” [east of 8th] 

AWARDS:

John Lennon Songwriting Competition Song of the Year
JUNO Award 
CFMA Ensemble of the Year
Nominated for many CFMA Awards
Nominated for many Western Canadian Music Awards
International Songwriting Competition and Unsigned Only Winners various years
Canadian Songwriting Competition Folk Winner
Independent Music Award Americana Song of the Year
CBC’s Top 20
CBC q
CBC Vinyl Cafe
Hundreds of movie trailers, ads, network TV shows plus MTV

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Choose Forward

Only A Friend Like You

Never Mind The Weather

Time Doesn't Stop

We Were Young

Someday

Website: https://biglittlelions.com

Bandcamp:  https://biglittlelions.bandcamp.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/biglittlelions

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist

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Matt Andersen

Matt Andersen is a Canadian blues guitarist and singer-songwriter from Perth-Andover, New Brunswick, signed to True North Records. He is a Juno Award nominee. His musical career started in 2002 with the New Brunswick band Flat Top.

Known for his powerful vocals and guitar wizardry, Matt Andersen has toured the world performing his one-man stage show, delighting audiences time and again. He returned to Huntsville, ON March 20th, 2022 to the Algonquin theatre for a single show, which began a busy touring schedule for the rest of the summer, across Canada, United States and Europe.

 

His new album, House to House, released March 04,2022 is a stunning display of his artistry. Performed only on acoustic guitar and joined by some friends on vocals, the songs, many co-written with some of Canada’s top songwriters, is a powerful testament to the grace and healing gift of music. Intimate, tender and timely, Matt Andersen takes the listener on a journey of renewal with deep emotionally insight, through an historic period when hope seems lost and love unrecognizable.

In addition to headlining major festivals, clubs and theatres throughout North America, Europe and Australia, Andersen has shared the stage and toured with Bo DiddleyBuddy GuyGregg AllmanTedeschi Trucks BandRandy BachmanLittle FeatApril WineAmericaLoverboyJonny LangSerena Ryder, and Beth Hart.

   

FEATURED SONGS:

The Gift

Other Side of Goodbye

Time for the Wicked to Rest

Coal Mining Blues

All We Need

People Get Ready

Website: http://www.stubbyfingers.ca/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mattandersenofficial

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album

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Séan McCann

A lot has happened in the almost 10 years since Séan McCann exited the iconic and world-renowned Newfoundland folk-rock outfit that he co-founded- GREAT BIG SEA. He’s released six successful solo albums touching on a range of subjects from Canadian life and culture to spotlighting national hardships like the infamous 2016 wildfires that devastated Fort McMurray, Alberta, in which he partnered with the Canadian Red Cross.

 

A philanthropist as much as he is an artist, McCann also organized a songwriters benefit in 2017 in support of veterans suffering from PTSD and addiction, enlisting his fellow musician friends, Joel Plaskett, Sarah Harmer, and Jeremy Fisher. In recognition of these efforts and his other advocacy work for people living with mental health and addiction issues, McCann earned the Order of Canada in 2020.

 

Séan McCann’s own battle with overcoming alcohol addiction, coming clean, and owning his truth has been key to his growth as a husband, a father, a musician, and a human. Armed with the strength and support of his wife, Andrea Aragon, McCann co-penned his first book One Good Reason (2020). “It’s the story of how love saved their marriage, and music saved his life. It is the story of a man freed from the weight of a lie; a man who is changing his narrative and never forgetting... that he is not alone.”

 

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Fire Down Below

Run

Lonesome Sea

Deep Blue Sea

End of the World

Go To Sea No More

Chariot

 

 

Website: https://seanmccannsings.com/

Website:  https://seanmccannsings.com/shantyman-songs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreatBigSean

Twitter: https://twitter.com/seanmccannsings 

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T. Buckley

Award-winning Canadian songwriter T. Buckley (T is for Tim not related to the late Tim Buckley) looks through the lens of life with his second solo album, Frame By Frame, released November 5, 2021 via Fallen Tree Records.

 

Buckley delivers another trademark smooth and soulful vocal performance that makes him one of western Canada's most talked-about artists. The recording sessions were fused in the winter of 2020 at the National Music Centre in Calgary, Alberta, with notable producer Jeff Kynoch and a core group of players: Jesse Dollimont on mandolin, guitar and backing vocals; Mitch Jay on stringed things; Steve Fletcher on keys and organs; Dan Stadnicki on drums; and Keith Rempel on bass. Kynoch's open-minded sonic approach makes for an excellent pairing with Buckley's spirit of creatively pushing the envelope.

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Miles We Put Behind

Wildfire

Settlers' Town

Father's Child

Solid Ground

Kira's Song

 

 

Website:  http://www.tbuckley.ca/

Website:  https://tbuckley.bandcamp.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tbuckleymusic

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John Pippus

 

For his 5th full-length release, Hermosa Star - Family Album, Vancouver-based singer-songwriter John Pippus is following a new path, away from his reputation for innovative blues and into the groove of his folk and roots influences. His wife, classically trained musician Pam Searle, sings in close harmony on every track, their decades of singing together evident in how well their voices blend.

 

Son Jacob Pippus — an in-demand drummer on the Vancouver scene — was enlisted, along with former bandmate, Peg Wilson, on bass and back-up vocals. Together they recorded 10 original folk-roots songs as well as the traditional 'Will The Circle Be Unbroken' to close off the album.

 

 

FEATURED SONGS :

Two Sides To Every Lie

Some Days

Seen A Ghost

The Devil's On His Way

Crush The Fear

Just A Dance

Whole World Watching (For Ukraine)

 

 

 

Website:  www.johnpippus.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JohnPippusMusic

Bandcamp:  johnpippus.bandcamp.com

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Bruce Cockburn

 

For 50 years, this Canadian musical legend has been capturing in song the essence of human experience – while fiercely striving to make it better.

 

 

One of Canada’s finest artists, Bruce Cockburn has enjoyed an illustrious career shaped by politics, spirituality, and musical diversity. His remarkable journey has seen him embrace folk, jazz, rock, and worldbeat styles while travelling to such far-flung places as Guatemala, Mali, Mozambique, and Nepal, and writing memorable songs about his ever-expanding world of wonders. “My job,” he explains, “is to try and trap the spirit of things in the scratches of pen on paper and the pulling of notes out of metal.”

That scratching and pulling has earned Cockburn high praise as an exceptional songwriter and a revered guitarist. His songs of romance, protest, and spiritual discovery are among the best to have emerged from Canada over the last 50 years. His guitar playing, both acoustic and electric, has placed him in the company of the world’s top instrumentalists. And he remains deeply respected for his activism on issues from native rights and land mines to the environment and Third World debt, working for organizations such as Oxfam, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, and Friends of the Earth.

Throughout his career, Cockburn has deftly captured the joy, pain, fear, and faith of human experience in song. Whether singing about retreating to the country or going up against chaos, tackling imperialist lies or embracing ecclesiastical truths, he has always expressed a tough yet hopeful stance: to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight. “We can’t settle for things as they are,” he once warned. “If you don’t tackle the problems, they’re going to get worse.”

For his many achievements, the Ottawa-born artist has been honoured with 13 Juno Awards, an induction into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, as well as the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, and has been made an Officer of the Order of Canada. But, he never rests on his laurels. “I’d rather think about what I’m going to do next,” says Cockburn. “My models for graceful aging are guys like John Lee Hooker and Mississippi John Hurt, who never stop working till they drop, as I fully expect to be doing, and just getting better as musicians and as human beings.”

His commitment to growth has made Bruce Cockburn both an exemplary citizen and a legendary artist whose prized songbook will be celebrated for many years to come.

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Stab at Matter

Sweetness and Light

All the Diamonds In the World

Wondering Where The Lions Are

Thoughts On a Rainy Afternoon

Beautiful Creatures

Each One Lost

If I Had A Rocket Launcher

Pacing The Cage

 

 

Website:  brucecockburn.com

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Lilli Lewis

 

New Orleans Folk Rock Diva Lilli Lewis released, Americana, her third full album for Louisiana Red Hot Records on October 29th 2021. The album was co-produced by Lewis and iconic indie producer Mark Bingham. Notable guest artists include cellist Rick Nelson (Afghan Whigs, Polyphonic Spree), folk favourite Gina Forsyth, and Seattle Blues Legend Lady A.

 

The record returned Lewis to her folk and roots origins, and reflects two sides of her America, that of her father’s church, and that of the “white-gaze” world that existed beyond those walls.

 

Of the collection Lewis says “these stories were meant to reflect the humanity of the forgotten, because in times like these, it feels like dignity can seem really hard to come by.”

 

Trained as an opera singer and classical pianist, singer-songwriter Lewis has been a composer, producer and performing artist for over two decades. She released her first album The Coming of John in 2003, and has been known as the Folk Rock Diva since then.

 

FEATURED SONGS:

We Shall Overcome

Copper John

Beauty Beyond Reason

Fly

Wednesday's Child

My American Heart (feat. Gina Forsyth) [Benediction]

As the story goes, Lilli Lewis should never have been. Before she was born, Lewis’ mother was told her baby probably wouldn’t survive due to lung trouble, so the fact that Lewis now makes a living singing with those same lungs is a gift she never takes for granted. Lewis uses her voice to bring what she calls sacred songs into profane spaces, and though she’s abandoned trying to define her sound, she hopes her audiences leave shows knowing two things: that they are brilliant as they are, and that they have the ability to use that brilliance to make a better world.

 

Website:  lillilewisproject.com

Link Tree:  linktr.ee/folkrockdiva

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Troy Sinister

 

Troy Sinister has  been a professional musician for over 40 years now. He owned and operated  two independent Labels, (and saw the standard format of recorded music change from LP to Cassette to CD & now mp3s).

 

For a decade, Troy played bass, recorded and toured with self- destructive Toronto Punk legends, The Sinisters. He also recorded and toured with The Falls River Fiends, the Dregs of Humanity and the Legendary O'Lantern Brothers. Troy likes to say he has done it all and he’s got the “lousy T-shirt and scars to prove it”.

 

Currently he lives in Muskoka, Ontario and has been playing bass for Ol' Stampy's Saloon and the Juan Barbosa Band. They (Stampy Juan & Troy) have a kickass redneck party band called "The Juke Box Scoundrels" that gig around the Muskoka area. Troy’s most recent band  is "GORD" the super Canuck Hard Rawk Band with Lewis Hodgson, Ryan Clark and Sean McIlroy.

 

So turn up it up loud and let all the neighbours know, Tory Sinister is in conversation about his legendary career.  (Source: Troy Sinister – Reverbnation).

 

Featured Songs:

Just Got Bored

Sick N' Wired

Shame

The Devils Jukebox***

Feeling Alright

 

  

Website:  https://www.reverbnation.com/troysinister

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/troy.sinister

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theofficialthesinisters

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Erik Bleich

Douglas McLean is proud to present a long detailed conversation with artist, Erik Bleich from Toronto about his newest album.

Erik Bleich released on Valentine’s Day 2022, the five song EP, More Than Anything You’ve Feared which is a vulnerable song cycle built around the rise and falls, mental instability and quiet bliss of domestic partnership. Written and recorded in the pre-pandemic, “Before Times”, this vulnerable offering is perhaps more relevant now than ever. From shared loss to personal triumphs, Bleich's intimate writing is swathed at times in murky strings, familiar waltzes and eerie soundscapes. The latter giving way to kaleidoscopic waves of chiming glockenspiel, trumpet fanfare and lush swells of accordion, violin, and battered guitar.

Whether weaving his lonesome way between shy-witted banter and sprawling narratives in a quiet living room or leading a cinematic, chamber folk ensemble in a lifeful venue, Bleich’s vulnerability and playfulness shine in equal measure, connecting with audiences wherever he goes.

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Emily

Thistle Speck

Calico Night

Pink Guitar

Birds

                 

Website:  http://erikbleich.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/erikbleichmusic 

Bandcamp: https://erikbleich.bandcamp.com/album/more-than-anything-youve-feared

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Taivi

 

Taivi is a Canadian Folk/Roots Musician, Songwriter and Artist.

 

Rising Tide is an incredible set of songs and tales delivered with  pristine musicianship and collaboration, that is both stirring and exemplary.

 

Taivi’s debut album, Rising Tide, launched to critical and popular acclaim – posting in the top 25 of the International Folk DJ Chart, receiving 4 of 5 stars from the Netherlands and taking the top spot of the Roots Music chart in Kamloops beside her longtime hero Buffy Sainte Marie.

 

While dedicating much of her life to social justice, behind the scenes Taivi's music was gaining traction. Beyond classical and popular music, she was immersed in folk-roots traditions from North America, Latin America and Scandinavia, dove into ancient Indonesian gamelan music, and explored choral work. More and more she was drawn to writing songs.

 

Taivi is Toronto-based with ancestral roots in Estonia - a nation known for having changed its destiny through a “singing revolution.” She carries the genes.  

 

Her music  can convey her close connection to the land, reflect experiences of those close to her, speak of things left unsaid, and at times - express the joy of being here. 

 

Her project, “Beyond the Walls,” was recorded & filmed in the first year of the pandemic with photographs submitted from around the world.

FEATURED SONGS:

Keep On Moving

One More Dance

Parry Sound

The Clearwater

Get On Home

Turn My Light On

                        

Website: https://www.taivimusic.com/

Music:  https://www.taivimusic.com/rising-tide

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/taivimuse

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Noah Zacharin

Noah Zacharin is a widely acclaimed guitar master, multi-genre songwriter, and dynamic performer. He was given his first guitar at age 9, wrote his first song at 13, and began performing at 14. In December 2015 Zacharin became a full-time recording and touring musician, and is more thrilled than ever to be doing what he's always done. Born in Montreal, Zacharin splits his time between Toronto, the road, and an off-grid cabin on the Canadian Shield.

 

He has been called "a stunning guitarist...no stylistic boundaries" (Holger Peterson, CBC, Stony Plain Records), "a wonderful songwriter and performer" (Paul Mills, Borealis Records), "a poet, a songwriter, a singer we have been waiting for" (the late Penny Lang), "a great guitarist/ singer/ songwriter...a wonderfully musical player" (Randy Finney, Founder TFGA), "in a league of his own" (Brian Gladstone, Founder and AD Winterfolk Festival), "one of the best songwriters this country has produced" (the late great Rick Fielding, recording artist, radio host), and "deserving to be mentioned in the same breath with names such as James Taylor and David Wilcox" (Minor 7th).

 

Zacharin's recordings have all garnered popular and critical praise: Strange Rider made a number of ‘Best-Of’ lists for 2016.

 

As a soloist he has opened shows for Odetta, David Lindley, Dave Van Ronk, Jesse Winchester, Alex de Grassi, and Fairport Convention, and performed internationally in 100's of venues from club to concert hall. As a producer and instrumentalist he has performed with some of Canada's finest and appears on some 60 recordings from across North America. As a writer, his songs have been recorded by popular performer and radio host Laura Fernandez (who translated the song into Spanish), Rolling Stone (India) Cover Artist Rehan Dalal, and double-slide master, the late Brian Cober.

 

Noah Zacharin is also an award-winning poet ("a remarkable ability to articulate efficient, powerfully condensed ideas": What 18/19) and translator, having won McGill’s Chester- Macnaghten poetry prize and Matrix Magazine’s translation prize. He has published hundreds of poems, translations, and reviews, in periodicals and anthologies worldwide, and is currently at work on several volumes of poetry, and a number of children's books.

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Woke Like A Lark

Sweet Home Chicago

Morning Comes On

Declare Your Love

Fan The Flame

Convertible Kind

Ten Tons Of Road -  Live, January 8th 2015

Waiting On Your Love

 

                         

Website:  www.noahsong.com/lyrics-backend/2018/4/10/ready-to-fly

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Jim McCarty

As the drummer and one of the original founding members of the legendary  Yardbirds, Jim McCarty has made a life in music that spans several successful bands, numerous recordings, a solo career of deeply touching songwriter. as an author he has two books and joins Douglas McLean to discuss his latest , ‘She Walks In Beauty’  as well has his long musical adventure.

 

The Yardbirds are famous not only for a series of unforgettable hits during the sixties but also introducing the world to three of rock most notable solo guitarists; Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton.   

 

What’s makes Jim McCarty’s story so amazing is his continuous search for what he terms the “Bigger Picture”, as well as his prodigious work as a drummer, songwriter, band leader and author, throughout the past sixty years.

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Over, Under, Sideways, Down

So Many Questions

Stop Living Life In The Past

Lost Women

Island

Charmed

 

 

                         

Website/Social: 

http://www.jamesmccarty.com/

https://www.facebook.com/jim.mccarty.9

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M.D. Dunn

 

M.D. Dunn has performed for three decades and released nine albums since 1993. His latest album, The River Lately, was released in 2018, and his third book of poems, Even the Weapons (BuschekBooks) was published in 2014. Mark's music has been played on CBC, NPR, and many college and community stations. He most frequently performs as a soloist, but has worked with several bands (The Innocent Weapon Ensemble, New Toque, Clay Rooster, Uncle OSAP & the Collection Agency, and many more).

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Solace

Beauty

Miracles Happen (and frequently go unnoticed) Even on a Day Like This

I thank you, god

The Cowardice of Kings

Ghost Water

We Need Everyone

 

 

                                   

Website: http://www.mddunn.com/

Bandcamp: https://mddunn.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mdaviddunn 

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Joe Louis Walker

 

 

Joe Louis Walker’s new album, ECLECTIC ELECTRIC was  released on November 12, 2021, on Los Angeles-based record label Cleopatra Records. It is a joyous recording featuring  great new originals from the legendary bluesman, and some exquisite covers from the vast American Song catalogue.  

 

The follow up to his powerful ‘Blues Comin' On’ released in 2020, Walker newest album explores the sound’s he loves best with his band and guest performers, all adding up to an exciting set of new songs and memorable moments. Joe, an articulate spokesperson for the blues and his generation of musicians, speaks candidly and openly with Douglas McLean, in a new interview following their chat in 2020. ( see The Sound Café Vault,  episode #21,  April 23,2021 ).   

 

ECLECTIC ELECTRIC features an amazing array of talented guest artists. 

 

Here is the track list along with the names of the guests:

1.    Uptown Girl Blues – Songwriters: Joe Louis Walker/JoJo Russo/John Lindsay Bradford – Featuring Jimmy Vivino on guitar

2. Wine – Songwriter:  Sonny West – Featuring Steve Berlin on baritone sax

3. Bad Betty – Songwriter:  Joe Louis Walker

4. Gone and Alone – Songwriter:  Joe Louis Walker

5. Hotel California – Songwriters:  Don Henley/Glenn Frey/Don Felder – Featuring Murali Coryell on guitar

6. Regal Blues – Songwriters:  Joe Louis Walker/JoJo Russo – Featuring the B.B. King Blues Band and Doyle Bramhall II on guitar

7. Make no Mistake – Songwriters: Keith Richards/Steve Jordan

8. Two Trains Running – Songwriter:  McKinley Morganfield

9. Werewolves of London – Songwriters:  Warren Zevon/Waddy Wachtel/LeRoy Marinell – Featuring Waddy Wachtel on guitar

10. Lady in Red – Songwriters:  Jimmy Barnett/Brad Sexton – Featuring Bette Smith on vocal

11. All She Wants to Do is Dance – Songwriter:  Danny Kortchmar

 

 Joe Louis Walker is one of the greatest bluesmen of his generation. He is a four-time Blues Music Award winner and 2013 Blues Hall of Fame inductee who has appeared on multiple Grammy-winning albums. He is known worldwide as one of the genre’s top musical trailblazers—a mesmerizing guitarist and soul-testifying vocalist.  

The New York Times raves, “Walker is a singer with a Cadillac of a voice. He delivers no-nonsense, gutsy blues. His guitar solos are fast, wiry and incisive, moaning with bluesy despair.” Rolling Stone simply calls him “ferocious.”

 

And Billboard writes:  “His playing blows all over the map…gutbucket blues, joyous gospel, Rolling Stones-style rock crunch, and aching R&B. Walker’s guitar playing is fine and fierce."

 

Joe won the 2016 Blues Foundation Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year award at the Blues Foundation Awards ceremony in Memphis.  The Blues Music Awards are universally recognized as the highest accolade afforded blues music performers. The annual Blues Music Awards ceremony is the premier event for blues professionals, musicians, and fans from all over the world. 

 

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Wine

Hotel California

Make no Mistake

Gone and Alone

Regal Blues

Uptown Girl Blues

Werewolves Of London

 

                                           

Website: https://www.joelouiswalker.com/

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Paul Cafcae

 

 

Paul Cafcae’s music has been described as “a unique sound – something bands try to attain for years, often without success.” An original, exciting songwriter and performer, Paul Cafcae’s new album, ‘Where I Am’,  is a thrilling and riveting set of timely and insightful songs. Paul joined Douglas in a forthright and compelling interview.  

Paul Cafcae’s musical journey began at the age of 6 when his parents enrolled him into music school for accordion in the Soviet Union. Attending classes 4 days a week, the future songwriter was taught music theory, harmony, solfeggio, rhythm and music literature, with regular instrumental classes in accordion, piano, as well as vocals. At 15 he shifted his focus toward guitar. Quickly making it his instrument of choice, Cafcae started performing in rock bands in Europe.

 

Since moving to Canada in 2009, Paul has become known as a passionate performer and songwriter who blends a number of compatible genres, rockabilly, blues, and country rock. The aesthetics of his songs bearing a vintage, old tape Americana quality.

 

 

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Ontario Rocker

Not Your Kind

I A'int Shook

Nervous

Longest Day Of The Year

Quarantine blues #1 (Kitchen Version).

 

Website: https://www.paulcafcae.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cafcae 

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Hawksley Workman

Before heading out to some late summer concerts, Hawksley Workman talked at length to Douglas McLean about his new album, Less Rage More Tears, and a wide variety of other topics and songs.

 

Hawksley Workman is a JUNO Award-winning and Gold Record certified singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Since his ground-breaking self-produced indie debut For Him and The Girls (1999) through to chart-topping singles of 2020, Hawksley has careened between major label international smash hits to Canadiana soaked indie releases.  Boasting a catalogue of 17 solo records, Hawksley’s genre defying style strings together folk, chart pop and irrepressible cabaret. His show-stopping vocals on songs about weather, love, heartbreak and tales of end-times have garnered him a league of devoted fans.

 

Performing over a thousand shows worldwide, Hawksley has headlined prestigious venues like Massey Hall and The Olympia in Paris. For a uniquely Canadian artist Hawksley has built loyal fan bases in the UK, France, Norway and Australia launching many successful tours, demystifying and delighting fans while drawing on an enviable catalogue of mischievous favourites, glammy stompers and heartfelt hymns to small town Canada.

 

Hawksley’s latest release, Less Rage More Tears was released October 23, 2020 on his indie label Isadora Records.  The single "Just a Dream", which reached #1 on the CBC Music Top 20 chart, is a nostalgic feast and a perfect anthem for our collective melancholy.

Hawksley has a string of concerts coming up over the festive period and into the New Year.

 

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Around Here

Wound You

Young and Wasted

We're Not Broken Yet

Sweet Hallelujah

Battlefords

Birds In Train Stations

 

                                             

Website: https://hawksleyworkman.com/

Facebook: https://hawksleyworkman.com/

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Joe Nolan

Joe Nolan is a treasured Canadian songwriter with a new album “Scrapper” emerging from the pandemic lockdown. Recorded at Scott Franchuk’s famed Riverdale Recorders studio in Edmonton, AB., the eleven songs on  “Scrapper” are another demonstration of Nolan prodigious creative powers. 

 

Joe Nolan spoke to Douglas McLean in June 2021 about the album release which was released October 2021.

Joe Nolan, who has been heralded by outlets such as the Globe & Mail and No Depression as an Americana wunderkind, is a Canadian rising star to watch out for in 2021. Nolan has been a staple songwriter in the music industry for over a decade making his first two albums in Nashville with heavyweight producer Colin Linden. He’s also recorded an EP with Hawksley Workman and John Gullmarstam in Sweden. Now he continues to build upon the massive year that came in the wake of his 2018 independently released album Cry Baby and his 2020 release Drifters.

 

By March 2020, Joe Nolan was a serious musical contender. He’d just returned to his hometown of Edmonton, Canada, after playing a bout of shows in Europe, the culmination of over 170 live dates that previous year, in part thanks to signing on with agent Mongrel Music Agency (Chuck Prophet, Lake Street Dive). He’d signed record deals with Rootsy Records in Sweden (John Prine, Patti Griffin, Anderson East) and Fallen Tree Records in Canada. He’d won trophies, including the Cobalt award for his songwriting at The Maple Blues Awards 2018/2020, as well as a nomination at the Breakout West Awards 2020.

 

Now was his time.

 

Then came COVID-19.

 

It knocked him down.

 

But, he wasn’t knocked out.

 

Instead he experienced a rush of artistic energy. The singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist took the learnings from previous setbacks and channeled them into song, after song, after song.

 

Those songs coalesced to become his latest heavyweight album, Scrapper.

 

“I wanted to make something a little bit more edgy this time,” says Joe Nolan. “Something with some meat on the bone, something a little more punchy and gritty but I also wanted to match that energy with softness and sensitivity.”

 

The result is eleven songs, some finished hours before the last minute recording session he was able to book at Scott Franchuk’s famed Riverdale Recorders studio in Edmonton, AB.

 

The honest, intimate, original music that Joe Nolan produces can be hard to define. It’s influenced by folk and blues, compared to Leif Vollebekk and Chuck Prophet, John Prine and Jeff Tweedy, Buddy Miller and Guy Clark. Yet with his tender approach and instrumentation, he prefers to just say its Roots music, “because that’s where everything I do stems from.”

 

 The songs cover themes of loneliness on the road, the struggles of not having a rooted home and the misunderstandings that divide friends and lovers. It’s a look outside the ring of a touring musician, with a sadness hidden beneath the melodic beauty, revealing itself as the album unfolds. Perhaps it is the spirit that comes from survival, perseverance and fortified resolve to get out there again.

 

“It's almost like I don't have a choice,” accepts Nolan. “I don't think I will ever stop, or retire. This is my life, it's hard to explain, but it's something I just have to do.”

 

By getting back to his roots Nolan took a personal journey through his own family history. Stories from the past came out, accompanied by family photos, some of which have made it onto the album and single covers. They feature his grandfather, a resilient mentor, prominently. And so, Nolan realized the value in those physical connections with family. The links that form when performing on a stage. And he relished the joy of putting a record on the player and reading the liner notes and lyrics.

 

As for where Scrapper will take Nolan, he’s already booking regional outdoor shows as the restrictions lift, and is looking forward to getting back in the live ring, touring songs not just from Scrapper, but also his album Drifters, released in the early days of the 2020 lockdowns. It was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award 2021, and lauded by music magazine Exclaim! for “His blend of roots and folk [that] is refreshingly un-jaded and full-bodied” in their 9/10 review, and other publications including Folk Radio UK and Americana Highways.

 

Nolan continues to prove on this next offering that he truly is an undeniable artist, dynamic performer, and virtuosic talent that can not be ignored.

 

As the album Scrapper closes, the final song fades away, and you’ll hear the faint voice of a woman whispering, “I miss you, when are you coming home?”

 

 For Joe Nolan, whose home is on a stage performing for you, the answer lies in the name of the song. It’s called “See You Soon.

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Here's To Hoping

Mountain

Start The Car

Stand up for Your Love

Sweet Lil' Blues

Where Do I Go From Here

                                             

Website: www.joenolanmusic.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/joe.nolan.5

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Sue Foley

 

Stony Plain Records announced an October 22 release date for Pinky’s Blues, the new album from award-winning blues guitarist-singer Sue Foley. Featuring several of Sue Foley originals, as well as songs from some of her favourite blues and roots artists, Pinky’s Blues was recorded at Fire Station Studios in San Marcos, Texas. Joining Sue Foley (guitar, vocals) for the recording sessions were Jon Penner (bass), Chris “Whipper” Layton (drums) and Mike Flanigin (Hammond B3 organ), who also produced the album. The legendary Jimmie Vaughan joins in as a special guest on rhythm guitar for the track, “Hurricane Girl.” 

 

Pinky’s Blues is the follow up to Sue Foley’s award-winning breakout album, The Ice Queen, released in 2018. Foley’s new album is a raw, electric guitar driven romp through the backroads of Texas blues, with Foley’s signature pink paisley Fender Telecaster, “Pinky,” at the wheel. She won “Best Traditional Female (Koko Taylor Award)” at the 2020 Blues Music Awards in Memphis, was nominated for a Juno Award (Canadian Grammy), and she took home the award for “Best Guitar Player” at the Toronto Maple Blues Awards. For the last few years Foley and her band have kept a rigorous touring schedule across the USA, Canada and Europe. Some highlights were appearances at The Beacon Theater (NYC), guesting with Jimmie Vaughan (opening for Eric Clapton) at Royal Albert Hall in London, Montreal Jazz Festival, Ottawa Bluesfest  (w/ Buddy Guy), Moulin Blues (Holland), NPR’s Mountain Stage (with Bela Fleck), Doheny Blues Festival, and the Jungle Show in Austin, Texas.

 

Foley and producer Mike Flanigin decided to make the album in the middle of the COVID lockdown in 2020.

 

"Mike, drummer Chris Layton and I had just finished making Mike's album, West Texas Blues, and we needed another challenge to keep us busy," Foley says. "And because we'd been hanging out together we were comfortable in each other's presence, and this would be a very low-key closed session. I brought in Jon Penner to play bass, who was my first bass player and had been on all my early records. So just the four of us along with engineer Chris Bell went into the studio and recorded the entire album in three days. What you're hearing is live, off the floor, in the moment the music was played totally spontaneously and, mainly, improvised. And, we wanted to make something representative of the Texas blues that we had been schooled on in Austin. So, we picked great songs and I wrote a few of my own to round things out. Everything on it is a labour of love.” 

 

 

FEATURED SONGS: 

Dallas Man      

Hurricane Girl 

Southern Men 

Pinky's Blues  

Stop These Teardrops        

The Lucky Ones  * Sue Foley with Jimmie Vaughan

                                             

Website: http://suefoley.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/suefoleyofficial

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Briar Summers

Taken By Storm Records is pleased to announce the upcoming release of Briar Summers' debut album, From The Ashes.

 

Her debut album, From The Ashes, is out now. Produced and mixed by three- time Grammy Award-winning producer David Bottrill (Tool, Rush, Peter Gabriel), Briar is joined by a cast of superb Canadian talent that includes Ben Riley (drums), Chris Stringer (guitars), Drew Jurecka (violin), Daniel Dennis (cello), Jamie Bestwick (bass), Logan Coey (drums), Jason Logue (trumpet), Dylan Teakle (beats).

 

Briar and her producer joined us to discuss the album in May 2021 before the album was released.

 

From The Ashes was released on compact disc and all digital platforms October 8th. (It will be available on vinyl in early 2022.)

 

Her first single “Stronger,” released earlier this year, has seen significant airplay on local and campus radio, in addition to a spin or two on CBC.

 

The fact that she’s only 17 has not kept her from headlining local festivals such as Muskoka Pride and Muskoka Vegfest, or from sharing the stage with renowned artists like Jim Cuddy, Julian Taylor, Miranda Mulholland, Kandle Osborne, Sarah Slean and Hawksley Workman, or from receiving such honours as the Bill Waterhouse Award from the Town of Huntsville and Governor General’s Academic Medal from her high school.

 

 

 

FEATURED SONGS:

From the Ashes

I Won't

Stronger

Wingless Angel

How to Fly

 

Website: https://www.briarsummers.com/

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Del Barber

Del Barber has what surely must be considered a quintessential Canadian voice – natural, pure and tender. His songs are sparked with imagery that only a person deeply connected to a vast open space could conjure. With his new release, ‘Stray Dogs’, a collection of so-called unfinished demos, Barber takes us even deeper into his chosen art form. There is not one song out of place and every one hits the mark.

 

Often referred to as Canada’s John Prine, Barber’s songs do have characters and misadventures, but there can really be no comparison. Barber is a distinctive artist, weaving his tales in an approach both vocally and musically that is entirely his own. Presented through a veil of pedal steel and lush guitars, Barber’s beautiful singing floats inside these tunes like a call from a dear distant friend, as fresh as the dew, glittering over a field in a bright summer sunrise. 

 

Following up on his 2020 Juno-nominated album, Easy Keeper, Stray Dogs has a touch of something for every taste. More importantly, Barber lets you in, invites you to spend time with a maturing songwriter, continuing to hone his song craft. Polished to a fine gloss, they reflect back all that he has learned, felt and seen and they shine.  Although subtly titled ‘B Sides’, every song is an A plus to my ears. Nothing exemplifies this more than the closing tune, ‘Just A Little Heat’, which plies all the characteristics of a Del Barber classic – understated, plaintive, and direct. Comforting and soothing in its cloak of simple mandolin and guitar, Del holds you close through the storm and points to where the sun peaks through a far horizon, clouded with weather. All things must pass and we know it. We are so lucky to have Del Barber singing by our side as we journey onward.  -DMc

 

FEATURED SONGS:     

Ronnie and Rose

Meantime

Friends Like Us

Love & Wine

Coming Home With the Summer

Just A Little Heat

 

Website: https://delbarber.com 

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Ron Sexsmith

Ron Sexsmith has long been considered one of Canada’s pre-eminent songwriters and performers. With a career spanning close to four decades, Sexsmith has received well-earned praise for his superlative songs for their stylistic purity and emotional depth. He has recorded fifteen albums and joined Backstage to discuss his latest album, Hermitage released in the spring of 2020.

 

A gifted singer and songwriter whose songs are by turns earnest and playful, Ron Sexsmith has won acclaim not only from critics but from fellow performers like Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, and John Hiatt -- some of the same artists who initially inspired Sexsmith himself to become a musician. He has a talent for catchy but graceful melodies that's matched by his skills as a lyricist, drawing compact sketches of love and the trials of everyday life that are heartfelt and compassionate even when he's being witty, and warm without becoming overly sentimental. Sexsmith's songs are fine examples of pop classicism, while his work as a recording artist has found him maturing steadily throughout his career.

 

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Radio

Morning Town

Think of You Fondly

Glow in the Dark Stars

There's a Rhythm

Love Shines

 

 

Website: http://www.ronsexsmith.com/

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Durham County Poets

 

One of the most infectious and surprising uplifting bands on the Canadian Blues scene, Durham County Poets joins Douglas McLean to talk about their upcoming tour and their JUNO nomination for Blues Album of the Year, for their album ‘Hand Me Down Blues’.   

Durham County Poets grew out of the lively music scene in Ormstown, QC, once called Durham. The five seasoned musicians, all of whom are also songwriters, work together individually and collaboratively in composing their music. Delving into a variety of styles and genres, their musical influences include a broad range, woven together to create their own authentic style.

They have released 4 indie albums in 10 years with their latest-almost-all-blues effort receiving a JUNO nomination, followed by 2 Maple Blues nominations and a Canadian Folk Music Awards nomination for Kevin. In fact, the band was all set to travel to Saskatoon in March 2020 to participate in JUNO Festival week (and back up Dawn Tyler Watson), when the awards were cancelled, and a new reality kicked in: being virtual. This the band embraced, their first ‘online gig’ seen by thousands, courtesy of Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.

The obvious joie-de-vivre they express in performance is reflected in the good-time feel the band creates, captivating audiences consistently with their tight grooves and seemingly effortless performances, laced with Kevin’s own funny observations of life. As Nate Dow from the Fallout Shelter in Massachusetts said “Lead singer Kevin Harvey and his band are sonic shape shifters of the first order. Whether it’s blues, folk, soul, country, gospel, or New Orleans swing, they purvey it with skill, aplomb and pure honesty.”

Touring to date has taken them to the Ottawa Blues, Rochester Jazz, Montreal Folk, Deep Roots Nova Scotia Festivals, and Wintergrass Seattle, Port-Credit’s Southside Shuffle and the Pop-up ‘Superfolk’ in Morin Heights QC.

 

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Hand Me Down Blues

Monday Morning

The Great Divide

I've Been Living with the Blues

Evil in the Heart.

With a Little Help from My Friends

 

 

Website: https://durhamcountypoets.com

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The Hello Darlins

 

Douglas McLean chats with The Hello Darlins for his latest Sound Cafe Podcast.

 

With the release of their debut album, Go By Feel, in June 2021, the Hello Darlins from Calgary, Alberta, confirmed the promise that their initial 2020 single releases indicated. Steeped in a the rich tradition of Americana Folk Roots musicality and song writing, the Hello Darlins have become an overnight sensation on major streaming platforms and digital airwaves.

 

The writing producing team of vocalist/producer, Candace Lacina and keyboardist/producer, Mike Little, join host Douglas McLean, to share highlights in the creation of one of the most exciting album releases of 2021. The magic and thrilling performances of this duo have fashioned an instant classic, rich in songs of the highest caliber, destined to be listener favourite for years to come.

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Behind The Drive

Catch That Train

Aberdeen (feat. Joey Landreth)

Lonely in Las Vegas

Never Get over You

Still Waters (feat. Matt Andersen)

Go by Feel

Website: https://thehellodarlins.com/

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The Weber Brothers

 

Over the past 16 years they’ve recorded 12 independent albums and toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.

 

Ryan and Sam Weber left their Baltimore, MD home one night as teenagers, with the aim of meeting their idol, rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins, and ten hours later showed up at his doorstep. “The Hawk”, the elder statesman of rock whose former protégés (Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson) went on to reshape music history as “The Band”, was duly impressed by the pair’s immense raw talent, and promptly invited them to audition for his storied backing band, The Hawks. Mere months later, after surviving the intense musical apprenticeship of his fabled “Rock ‘n’ Roll Boot-camp,” they were in: full-blooded Hawks. By the ages of 18 and 21 they had already performed alongside Kris Kristofferson, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Jeff Healey and the Tragically Hip to name a few.

 

To many, The Weber Brothers are the baddest band in the land. To many others, their story sits like an ancient volume in an old bookstore, dust covered, tucked away behind hundreds of newer, shinier books. Untouched. Waiting to be discovered. Regardless of what side you’re on, there’s an undeniable truth. In the rough and tumble world of rock and roll, The Weber Brothers have been around the block.

 

‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ marks the brothers 13th full length release, and is a reunion of sorts with Baltimore MD based musician/producer extraordinaire Timothy Bracken, who just so happens to have ridden the same bus to elementary school as The Weber Brothers, in their shared hometown of Westminster, MD. The trio of Ryan, Sam, and Tim has been making music together for 30 years, and with Bracken’s masterfully adept hand wielding the mixing, mastering, and production duties, ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ fires on all cylinders and leaps from the speakers, offering the listener an exciting and compelling hour-long thrill ride.

 

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Choose Your Own Adventure

Toys In The Junkyard

Listen

We Were Let Down

Hypothermia

God Help Us

Website: https://weberbrothers.com

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Mike Goudreau

Mike Goudreau presents his 21st independent release “The Isolation Blues”, a collection of 14 brand new original songs. This production was recorded remotely, with long time collaborators and cronies during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, between September 2020 and February 2021.

Mike wrote and recorded the songs from his home studio. He sings, plays guitar and bass on this adventure. Tried and true musical partner Dany Roy wrote the horn arrangements and recorded all the sax and trumpet parts from his home studio in Montreal. For his part, Jean-François Bégin, who has been with the band for 11 years, recorded and played drums and percussion from his home studio in Sherbrooke.

Other guests include harmonica player extraordinaire Pascal “Per” Veillette on three songs, and Vermont keyboardist Ira Friedman on Hammond Organ and piano, also for three tracks.

This is an eclectic mix of straight-ahead Chicago, Delta and Texas style Blues, Soul, Southern Rock, Swamp Blues, Rock ’n’ Roll, and Goudreau’ signature, the album opener, a Swinging Jump Blues, will get your fingers snapping and toes tapping on the first downbeat!

Despite being recorded remotely, the album sounds like it was recorded live off the studio floor and stands up to previously recorded world-class albums that Mike has gotten us used to.

Mike’s influences for this album include the likes of Louis Jordan, Albert & B.B. King, CCR, J.J. Cale, The Allman Brothers, Robert Cray and Stevie Ray Vaughn, to name some of the best!

Since 2007, Goudreau’s songs have continued to be featured in dozens of Hollywood films and network TV shows, and 2019-2020 was no exception with his original songs placed in films like The Banker (with Samuel Jackson, 2020), the feature film Dark Waters (2019), the CBS TV show Dynasty (2020), and the Christmas TV movie The Happiest Season (Hulu 2020), to name only a few.

You can get Mike Goudreau’s new album through cdbaby.com or mikegoudreau.com. It is also available on ITunes, Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify and most popular streaming and downloading platforms.

 

FEATURED SONGS:

Let's Go Down To The River

Hear My Prayer

The Mooch

Half Day from Home

Isolation Blues

Since My Baby Left Me

My Only Lady

 

 

Website: https://mikegoudreau.com

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Murray McLauchlan

 

Murray McLauchlan’s new album, HOURGLASS, released July 09,2021, finds the poet and legendary songwriter, contemplative and sincere in  his attempt to reflect within himself, on current concerns and social issues facing people of all walks of life. Drawn from front news pages, McLauchlan portrays his own deep awakening to the plight of others crushed by systemic racism, privilege and economic disparity.      

 

His newest album, released through his long term partnership with True North Record, is testament to his artistic integrity. He uses all of his skill as a songwriter to share with his audience his views and thoughts on situations that are, at best, untenable, outrageous and an affront to human decency.  “Change will and must come “ and as a songwriter and public figure, McLauchlan feels honour bound to speak up and speak out. 

 

 

FEATURED SONGS: 

Farmer's Song

I Live On A White Cloud

The One Percent

Run Away To Sea

America

A Thomson Day (For Tom Thomson)

 

 

Website: https://www.murraymclauchlan.com/

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