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
MUSIC & CHAT
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.
Wang Dang Doodle/
Church House Blues
How Bad Do You Want It
Pray Sister Pray
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/crystalshawanda2011
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.
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)
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel
Huntsville Tickets: https://huntsvillefestival.ca/event/the-legendary-downchild-blues-band/
Sabrina Fallah is a rock singer, songwriter and guitarist from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She grew up listening to Michelle Branch, Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson, Simple Plan, etc. Her influences are Green Day, Bon Jovi and Billy Idol. She has been told that when she sings with her raspy, edgy, and powerful voice, she sounds like Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, The Cranberries and Melissa Etheridge.
The producers Sabrina has had the opportunity to work with are Stuart Epps (Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Twisted Sister), Chris Birkett (Peter Gabriel, Quincy Jones, Buffy Sainte Marie, Sinead O’Connor) and Kent Wells (Dolly Parton). Sabrina has released two EP’s, a single, and a compilation CD with a bonus track.
In January 2019, Sabrina got signed to Dance Plant Records with distribution for her music by The Orchard on iTunes. In November, Sabrina got her first mainstream interview and got her songs “The Frontline” and “Hurt” aired on WSBS Radio (860 AM and 94.1 FM) with Ron Carson, Massachusetts, United States. Thanks to Ron Carson for giving her that very first opportunity, her music has been picked up by many more mainstream stations.
In 2020, Sabrina had an interview with Brian Sullivan on WBLQ 1230 AM in Westerly, Rhode Island, United States. A friendship was established and in 2021, Brian asked Sabrina to join him as his co-host on his morning show “Brian Sullivan’s Early Show”, which is on Saturdays at 6am EST. Sabrina loves being on the radio and is thankful for the opportunity.
Sabrina’s music is getting airplay on Kent County Classic Rock I-105.5 FM AND AM 1450 in West Warwick, Rhode Island, United States. She is very grateful that Crazy Chris and DJ Gadget have given her music a chance to be played on a Classic Rock Station.
Her music has been played, featured and some are in rotation on mainstream stations internationally. Her music has also been featured on iHeartRadio stations.
Kiss Is A Killer
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.
“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.
Army Of Me
The Weight Of Silence
The Other Side
Giving Up The Ghost
Graven (Matty McKechnie) is a Nepean (now part of Ottawa), Ontario, Canada-born indie folk musician and songwriter who used to make bedroom rap cassettes in his teens under the name “Man Of Steel”. With 14 major musical releases in the world since 2000, Graven can get equal-parts heavy and passionate or quiet and sonorous.
He received notable critical acclaim for his album “Years” (2020) which was produced by Jim Bryson (multi-album song-maker, past collaborator with The Tragically Hip, and co-producer of Kathleen Edwards award winning album “Total Freedom” alongside Kacey Musgraves’ producer Ian Fitchuk). Graven’s songs have been called ‘thunderous’ and ‘warm’ in the same breath, and his varied musical influences make for a wild set of sonics and open-hearted lyricism that still stay rooted in his honest signature sound.
His 15th album “Simple Complex” came out February 25th 2022 and was recorded at Fang Studios in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The album was mixed by JUNO and multi ECMA winner Joel Plaskett with sonic assistance from Charles Austin (engineer, songwriter in The Super Friendz). It was important for Graven to record the new album with Charles in Nova Scotia, as he was an inspirational figure in his early music career and recorded Graven’s first full length release in Halifax in 2001.
Graven has shared stages with Steve Poltz, Kathryn Calder (The New Pornographers), Slow Leaves, Megan Nash (2019 JUNO nominee), Al Tuck, and has also shared festival stages with The Dave Matthews Band, Norah Jones, Larkin Poe, The Roots, The Foo Fighters, Beck and many more.
Coming in with a loud fuzzy bang for Graven’s 15th release, it's "Simple Complex". This album constitutes a musical map of Matty’s mind for the past few years and all of the major traumas and changes he’s been through on a roughshod soul-rebuilding journey towards self-love. This record also represents the idea that so many things are seemingly simple but very complex in nature, and the power-packed 8 songs speak to those themes:
Relationships, Self-Love, Music, The Past, Letting Go, Accepting Pain, Stepping Into Who You Are, and Death and Memory. It's sonically wilder than anything Graven has done, and that was largely due to Charles Austin running wild on every track and playing several instruments (bass, lead guitars, slide, omnichord and more). Kevin Corbett also added multiple sonic layers (pedal steel, electric guitar, bass) as did Jeff Gay (piano, synth) and the beat and foundation builder Jordan Murphy (drums, percussion).
The songs are also geared towards Graven’s musical heroes in their composition and style as the album documents a lot of his life. It was mixed by Joel Plaskett (who even added a guitar solo on the song “Exploded”) and recorded in his very own Fang Studios in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia over 6 days.
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.
Drive All Night (Radio Edit)
Made Up Mind
After The Rain
Back To Thee
Don't Feel Like Crying (feat. Leith Ross)
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
It Ain't Easy
Going to California
He Don't Need Love
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.
See What You're Doing To Me
What Did I Do Wrong
When This World Comes To An End
It Ain't Easy
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.
That's A Fact Jack
Heart and Soul
Let's All Get Together and Fight
Water Colors, in the Rain
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.
Never Like This Before
When You Were Wild
All In Your Hands
I Will Wait for You
Ride Your Bike
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.
Somewhere There Forever (feat. Dale Bozzio)
Destination Unknown (feat. Dale Bozzio)
Riot in English
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.
Kill It with Kindness
A Page You've Turned
The Great Unknown
Have You Ever Been Happy?
Survived Like a Stone
Wait a Little Longer
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]
John Lennon Songwriting Competition Song of the Year
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 Vinyl Cafe
Hundreds of movie trailers, ads, network TV shows plus MTV
Only A Friend Like You
Never Mind The Weather
Time Doesn't Stop
We Were Young
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 Diddley, Buddy Guy, Gregg Allman, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Randy Bachman, Little Feat, April Wine, America, Loverboy, Jonny Lang, Serena Ryder, and Beth Hart.
Other Side of Goodbye
Time for the Wicked to Rest
Coal Mining Blues
All We Need
People Get Ready
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.”
Fire Down Below
Deep Blue Sea
End of the World
Go To Sea No More
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.
Miles We Put Behind
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
Seen A Ghost
The Devil's On His Way
Crush The Fear
Just A Dance
Whole World Watching (For Ukraine)
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.
Stab at Matter
Sweetness and Light
All the Diamonds In the World
Wondering Where The Lions Are
Thoughts On a Rainy Afternoon
Each One Lost
If I Had A Rocket Launcher
Pacing The Cage
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.
We Shall Overcome
Beauty Beyond Reason
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.
Link Tree: linktr.ee/folkrockdiva
Pianist, singer and songwriter Debra Power is known for her powerhouse vocals and boogie woogie piano playing. Based out of Calgary Alberta, she released her debut album garnering a nomination for Western Canadian Music Award for Blues Artist of the Year. She has had three songs in the Semi-Finals of the ISC blues category, and in 2018 she was a finalist with her original song Temptation.
September 2020 saw Debra pick up her second YYC Music award (Calgary Alberta) for Blues Recording of the Year. She was nominated once again in 2021 for Western Canadian Music Award Blues Artist of the Year. In 2016 and 2018, she was a
semi-finalist IBC in Memphis, TN.
Her new album ‘I'm Not From Chicago’ was released February 06, 2022.
The new release features a stellar cast of award winning blues artists including Harpdog Brown and Keeshea Pratt, and with an array of originals that capture the traditional Chicago sound with boogie woogie stylings and heartfelt lyrics. Feature tracks on this 3rd release from Debra Power include "The Last Time I Saw Memphis' featuring departed bluesman Harpdog Brown on harp and backup vocals. Harpdog is also featured on "New Shade of Blue" and the title cut "I'm not from Chicago".
Another feature track from the album is "What Colour is Love" and it is bound to reach any blues fan with a true sister blues song outlining a universal subject with two of the best female voices in the blues today. The song inspires us all to remember how love for one another has nothing to do with the colour of our skin. The song is a unique strong duet with warm harmonies from Debra and Keeshea.
The album features a full band sound accompanied by Debra's strong vocals and one of a kind boogie piano playing. Debra Power's 3rd release is available at Bandcamp and digital retailers.
What Colour Is Love
If We Haven't Got Love
New Shade Of Blue
Streets Of Heaven
I'm Not From Chicago
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).
Just Got Bored
Sick N' Wired
The Devils Jukebox***
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.
A gifted musician with advanced abilities on a complex array of instruments, such as violin, piano, drums, percussion and most notably guitar – an instrument she has almost exclusively re-imagined for her own creative purposes. Bronwyn is also an innovative, thrilling songwriter, arranger, record producer and a vocalist with an astounding command of both melodic and harmony singing.
With two recorded works released in the past six years, ‘Release’ in 2015 and ‘Momentum’ in 2018, Bronwyn was in deep production mode for the release her third album in her self described trilogy called "The Evolution Trilogy", when she was confronted with a serious life altering illness. Fortunately for all us, Bronwyn has successfully overcome most of the adverse effects of her illness and is preparing soon to return to finally recording her final album in the trilogy, ‘Acceleration’.
On & On
On The Ground
Caught Washing Windows
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.
Keep On Moving
One More Dance
Get On Home
Turn My Light On
Jamie Oppenheimer is well known throughout the Muskoka region of Ontario, Canada, as a radio host and well liked community minded supporter of music events, performers and songwriters. With a collection of well over 100 songs of his own, he is also well known as a prolific songwriter, albeit, a rare live performer.
He released my first CD, "Imposters Game" as a fundraiser for Hunters Bay Radio, The Bay 88.7 FM around 2015. Lyrical Workers airs Thursday nights from 8-11pm on Hunters Bay Radio https://muskokaradio.com
Where You Live, Where You Die
Morgan Rider is a Canadian musician and singer-songwriter who plays folk, blues and soul music. He performs solo as well as with his band Deep Dark River.
Born in 1989 and raised on the east end of Toronto, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Morgan Rider had his earliest imaginations of life as a musician through a rather tumultuous childhood. His days and evenings were often spent listening to his mother rehearse her choral repertoire and play the piano, which blossomed his love and understanding of music at an early age. It wasn’t long before his clanging upon the old family upright piano and allusions of standing on massive stages earned him his first guitar and a position in his first band at 11 years old.
The imagery of the travelling troubadour and some of the older, rootsy styles of music always fascinated Morgan, however. As he began to start a family in Ontario, it was then he also began to further explore his interests in roots music by recording and experimenting in his home studio. Between the summers of 2017 and 2020, Morgan wrote, recorded and released 5 studio albums, including 4 with his band ‘Deep Dark River’, his recent solo album ‘Folklore’, his latest single ‘Northern Soul’, along with a score of music videos.
Morgan performs solo, as well as with his metallic folk band – The Deep Dark River. Morgan Rider has performed well over a thousand concerts and international festivals around the world, averaging over 150 a year. He has also earned numerous awards and has had his music licensed for various media formats – most recently an online ad campaign for Lexus Luxury Car Co.
“…an album that concentrates on storytelling through music combining Folk, Blues and classical elements to craft and weave a story and musical experience led by the powerful voice of Morgan Rider that will truly echo and resonate with the listener…” – Crannk.com
“…Morgan Rider And The Deep Dark River don’t back down from having impressive musicianship throughout the album, it creates a great soundtrack to what is such a well written story…” – Metal Injection
“…I rarely stumble upon a piece of music with such strong and poetic lyrical depiction. There is something very beautiful in Morgan Rider’s poetic writing, something rather enigmatic and mysterious…” – Metal-Temple
When the Waves Are Stilled [Acoustic]
Old Sad Story
From the North
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.
Woke Like A Lark
Sweet Home Chicago
Morning Comes On
Declare Your Love
Fan The Flame
Ten Tons Of Road - Live, January 8th 2015
Waiting On Your Love
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.
Over, Under, Sideways, Down
So Many Questions
Stop Living Life In The Past
Carmine Appice & Fernando Perdomo
The Appice Perdomo Project
Legendary drummer Carmine Appice has joined forces with multi-instrumentalist and rising studio star Fernando Perdomo to form The Appice Perdomo Project (aka APP), whose debut album 'Energy Overload' was released in September 2021 on Cleopatra Records.
As drummer for Vanilla Fudge, Carmine Appice set the grooves for the groundbreaking band‘s 1967 psychedelic debut, inadvertently inventing Stoner Rock in the process. The Fudge had no precedent. The band was totally unique. With Mark Stein‘s mysterioso wash of Grand Guignol keyboard theatrics, Tim Bogert‘s amazing and trippy bass runs, and guitarist Vince Martell‘s era-happy soloing, Appice boomed like no other drummer in rock history.
Their debut album still stands today as a Hard Rock classic. Vanilla Fudge went on to tour with Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and even had Led Zeppelin as an opening act.”
Fernando Perdomo is a powerhouse of the LA music scene who lives and breathes music LA Weekly dubbed him as “The millennial answer to Todd Rundgren.” A veteran at 37, he has made a name for himself as an in-demand producer, singer/songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.
He is a featured guitarist in the Netflix documentary "Echo In The Canyon" where his is seen backing up Jakob Dylan, Fiona Apple, Brian Wilson, Norah Jones, Regina Spektor, Cat Power, and Jade Castrinos. He is also played on every track on the official soundtrack album of the film along with Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Josh Homme as well as the aforementioned artists.
You Keep Me Hangin' On
Do You Think I'm Sexy Tape
Sticking To Guitar
Funky Jackson Tape
Maybe I'm Amazed Tape
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).
Miracles Happen (and frequently go unnoticed) Even on a Day Like This
I thank you, god
The Cowardice of Kings
We Need Everyone
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.
Make no Mistake
Gone and Alone
Uptown Girl Blues
Werewolves Of London
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.
Not Your Kind
I A'int Shook
Longest Day Of The Year
Quarantine blues #1 (Kitchen Version).
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.
Young and Wasted
We're Not Broken Yet
Birds In Train Stations
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.
Here's To Hoping
Start The Car
Stand up for Your Love
Sweet Lil' Blues
Where Do I Go From Here
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.”
Stop These Teardrops
The Lucky Ones * Sue Foley with Jimmie Vaughan
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.
From the Ashes
How to Fly
Caroline Marie Brooks
A lifelong musician and creator, Caroline Marie Brooks is perhaps best-known as a member of heralded folk/country harmony trio The Good Lovelies, though she’s also lent her singing and six-string talents to friends like Kathleen Edwards, Jim Bryson, Lily Frost, and Peter Katz on projects of their own.
Her debut solo album, Everything at the Same Time (Sept 24, 2021) draws inspiration from her upbringing in a close-knit, creative family from Whitby, Ontario, and from the one she now shares with her partner and two children, and dog Jim.
Everything at the Same Time was recorded in the midst of an age when sometimes living through our memories of easier days may be all that we have. It asks only that we live and be present in the moment and to remember that though the days are long, the years are all too short. The inevitability of change looms in the distant, and Caroline Marie Brooks challenges you to hold on to the gift of the times we are in.
Recorded and co-produced with her dear friend Jim Bryson (Kathleen Edwards, Skydiggers, Suzie Ungerleider) at his Fixed Hinge studio (Stittsville, ON), Dream Date studio (Toronto, ON), and across southern Ontario at many of the featured musicians’ homes. Stay tuned for the official video for "Birdsong", more Live at Dream Date videos and an upcoming virtual show - all to be announced soon.
Lights Go Down
To the Waves
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
Ronnie and Rose
Friends Like Us
Love & Wine
Coming Home With the Summer
Just A Little Heat
The Salt Cellars
The Salt Cellars come from the south side of Algonquin Park.
Like a scene from 'Northern Exposure', these eclectic artists found each other in an area filled with like-minded individuals.
Virginia deCarle and Rob Bersan are the singer/songwriter foundation and in 2016, they formed the duo, 'The Salt Cellars'.
Together, they began to write songs and perform in the Wilno and Bancroft areas, getting great feedback from audiences who attended their shows. People loved the tight harmonies and skilled musicianship.
In 2017, Ron Kapitain, consummate harmonica, accordion & keyboard player from the Maynooth area, joined the band.
In late 2017, the trio met Anax Junius Music Studio producer, Richard Joudrey (Blue Peter/Rational Youth). Impressed by their originality, he was excited to begin production of their first CD entitled, 'Truth'. The band has now grown to include Rick Joudrey on bass, Anne Wilde on backing vocals and Brendon Burgess on percussion and drums.
You Don't Know Me
Reap What You've Sown
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.
Think of You Fondly
Glow in the Dark Stars
There's a Rhythm
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.
Hand Me Down Blues
The Great Divide
I've Been Living with the Blues
Evil in the Heart.
With a Little Help from My Friends
Douglas McLean chats with James Jones for his latest Sound Cafe Podcast.
“Creative nerd with a fetish for making music.
I love honesty / beauty / harmony / loyalty /
Creating some of the most exciting, innovative and challenging pop music in the Huntsville area of Ontario, Canada, James Jones, better know as itsnotu.me, produces dazzling songs and soundscapes that meet the modern demands of the ever changing and evolving pop music world.
Magic Moon (DMX Radio Edit)
Get Out Of My Head
The Girl At Number Nine
If you were to you combine the melodic cleverness of McCartney , the progressive feel of The Weeknd and sensitivity of an Ed Sheeran song you would capture the best way to describe the music of artist ITSNOTU.ME.
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.
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
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.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Toys In The Junkyard
We Were Let Down
God Help Us
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.
Let's Go Down To The River
Hear My Prayer
Half Day from Home
Since My Baby Left Me
My Only Lady
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.
I Live On A White Cloud
The One Percent
Run Away To Sea
A Thomson Day (For Tom Thomson)
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