top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Premiere: Music Video For 'Where Does The Love Go' By Canadian Soul-Funk Collective The Commotions

By Stevie Connor.

Canadian Soul-Funk collective The Commotions favour the enduring power of real instruments. With 12 of the highest skilled Soul, Funk, and Jazz performers in the country, the stylistically Motown-to-Disco era band is celebrating 10 years as a group dedicated to both sonic and performance authenticity. Founded by Brian Asselin, touring member of Motown's legendary backing band, The Funk Brothers, the Ottawa based group has become the foremost national leader of the iconic Motown sound, and their American contemporaries have started to take notice. Staying true to the styles and eras that inspire them most, The Commotions rarely utilize computerized technology when crafting their music, with the understanding that a live musical performance whether on stage or in the studio, will capture a nearly visceral feeling that is otherwise almost impossible to create. Exploring relevant themes of love, joy, and living in the moment, The Commotions' incredible, stadium-sized music stands in tribute to the musical eras that inspire them, bridging their timeless and soul-stirring as sounds with careful modern articulations. The Commotions have received national airplay on CBC Radio 1, and have made television appearances on Global Morning Montreal and RogersTV in Ottawa. They have received glowing reviews from local Ottawa tastemaker publications, Apt613 and Ottawa Life Magazine, and are widely recognized as an explosively energetic, must see act in the music scene. The group has delighted fans at The Ottawa Jazz Festival, Ottawa Bluesfest, and numerous stages throughout Canada. The 12 musicians who make up the collective are each celebrated musicians in their own right, having worked with dozens of global superstars between them. Band leader and saxophonist Brian Asselin of Motown's The Funk Brothers has supported The Temptations, The Four Tops, and Mary Wells to name a few, while trumpeter Ed Lister has performed with Jann Arden and also The Temptations. Vocalist Rebecca Noelle was the runner up on La Voix in 2016, and sang backup vocals for the iconic family band, The Jacksons, while Jeff Rogers, also a vocalist, is a member of the International Blues Challenge Winning band Horojo Trio. Mackenzie Di Millo from Mack & Ben is also a lead vocalist, and drummer Jeff Asselin has worked with Leif Vollebkk. Rounding out the group are trumpet player Eric Littlewood, tenor saxophonist Mike Lett, baritone saxophonist Caelan Roberge-Toll, bassist Ken Seeley, David Gaw on guitar, and Deniz Lim Sersan on piano. Profoundly timeless yet remarkably timely, The Commotions' third album, "Volume III" catapults their already extraordinary sound to new heights as they dive deeper into their creativity than ever before. As lifelong students of music, the already expert group of musicians challenged themselves to write differently, play increasingly challenging notes in unison, and collaborate on all areas of their music. With the support of legendary Soul and Funk masterminds Dave Eskridge (Tower of Power), Philip Lassiter (Prince, Jill Scott, Kirk Franklin), and Mark Ferguson (Ella Fitzgerald, Holly Cole), among numerous others, The Commotions treated the creation of "Volume III" as a lesson, remarkably enhancing their sound, and breaking away from their own creative conventions. Vibrant, versatile, and bursting with unbelievable music, The Commotions link the sounds of yesterday and today with unparalleled attention to detail, musical mastery, and a continued willingness to learn. A musical journey for both the band and listener, "Volume III" places The Commotions firmly in their element, with expansive songs about romance, fun, and the need to come together.

Beginning with a crystalline, 80's era piano melody, the glowing lead track of the album, "Where Does the Love Go", builds into a stunning, full-bodied, emotive ballad about realizing a romantic relationship has changed. Featuring breathtaking vocal performances from Rebecca Noelle and Jeff Rogers, the call-and-response styled song grows rhythmically and vocally atop of the radiant swell of the horn section, leading to a chill-inducing expansive peak. Arranged by legendary multi-instrumentalist, Mark Ferguson (Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald), and co-written by Brian Asselin and North Easton (Bruce Cockburn, Great Big Sea), the song is inspired by the band Chicago, and pays homage to them lyrically and sonically. "Volume III" opens with "Feel The Commotion", a fun-loving, vibrant, and soulful invitation to live in the moment and have fun. With its retro-rhythm, full bodied funk from the five-artist-strong horn section, and soulful vocals, the song glistens like the rooms it's designed to be played in. Created with the dance floor in mind, the song beckons people to put their worries aside and dance to the music. Most closely reminiscent of the Motown sound, "Love In The Fast Lane" honours the Detroit-turned-stratospheric record label and its artists with subtle lyrical nods. The uptempo, driving themed song gently weaves song titles and famous lines into its verses. Arranged by Dave Eskridge (Tower of Power), the harmonious interplay of the instruments are fun and lighthearted, while the effortlessly catchy chorus calls out to potential love interest with sunny admiration. "The Time Is Now" is an old fashioned Jump-Swing track that prominently features The Commotions' stunning horn section. A song that bursts to life from the very first note, "The Time Is Now" offers an astonishingly intricate and fast-paced horn performance arranged by Michael B Nelson (Prince, Cory Wong). Calling the song a fun yet true challenge for the horn players in the group, the band showcases their impeccable harmony and remarkable skill on the track. A collective of 12 Canadian musical experts who still consider themselves students, The Commotions are a rare group of truly outstanding artists. Dedicated to preserving the sound and authenticity of real instruments performed by highly trained musicians, The Commotions third album is carefully designed to have listeners dance and move, while leaving a lasting emotional impact. From stadium-sized Funk to the magnetic pull of Soul, on "Volume III", The Commotions open themselves and their listeners up to the concept of trying something new, where even the most seasoned of artists learned valuable musical lessons when collaborating with their peers and biggest inspirations. With nostalgic textures and soulful warmth, The Commotions take their rightful place as Canada's Soul-Funk leaders with their explosively fresh third album.



bottom of page