We carry on from last week with some cool releases coming out of Canada either in the last few weeks or about to be unleashed, there is some amazing music out there if you dig a little.
Here are some recommendations worth a listen ....
Judy Brown - Say It
Judy Brown’s long-overdue solo debut album, scheduled for an early 2018 release, will highlight Brown’s formidable voice delivering her sincere and occasionally humorous self penned songs with solid backing from her long-time, award-winning musical friends bassist Gary Kendall and guitarist Teddy Leonard.
Guitarist Judy Brown writes and performs her unique blend of original roots, blues and country songs, telling stories about love, loss and resiliency.
The Young Novelists - In City & Country
While their upcoming album in city & country will technically be their fourth album, it is their third studio album and second under the current moniker. Their last record ' Made Us Strangers ' landed them a Canadian Folk Music Award for New / Emerging Artist, and a Vocal Group of the Year nomination.
The same year, the band won the Grassy Hill Connecticut Folk Songwriting competition and James received the Ontario Art Council’s prestigious Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award. But 2016 was an even bigger year for the two — Spink quit her job as a scientist, they packed their things (and their five year old son Simon), and went on a massive North American tour. After over 100 shows, including a 10-week stint on the road, the pair returned to Toronto to start working on ' In City & Country ' , drawing inspiration from their travels.
M.D. Dunn - The River Lately
M.D. Dunn (call him Mark, if you like) has been performing for nearly three decades. His ninth 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 lives in Sault Ste Marie and tours regularly. As a guitarist, Mark has developed a unique finger picking style. He most frequently performs as a soloist, but has several bands depending on the music and the venue.
Noah Zacharin - A Startle Of Wings
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 has always done. Born in Montreal, Zacharin splits his time between Toronto, the road, and an off-grid cabin on the Canadian Shield.
the Andrew Collins Trio - Tongue and Groove
Mando maestro Andrew Collins finds himself at the epicentre of Canada’s burgeoning acoustic / roots music scene. He didn’t invent it – but he's certainly been a contributor, having co-founded seriously noteworthy Canadian bands like the Creaking Tree String Quartet, the Foggy Hogtown Boys and, more recently, his namesake Trio. That’s not to mention the fact that this prolific, robust performer – comfortable on mandolin, fiddle, guitar, mandola and mandocello – composes, produces, arranges, writes and teaches across multiple genres, including a popular collision of folk, jazz, bluegrass, celtic, and classical.
They just released a new double album, grafting 11 vocal cuts (tongues) to 11 instrumentals (grooves) to create a seamless finish with their cleverly monikered double album, Tongue & Groove. Each cut is milled to perfection and represents a back-to-basics visitation on what the band does best -- spontaneity of the stage and rapid-fire, improvisational exchanges.
We are gearing up for the holiday weekend here in the Toronto area where I am blessed to have my home, I will be chillin' out in the sun ( hopefully ) to some amazing new releases that have just come in, I thought I'd give you a sneak peak of some of the CD's that will be making their way onto the Blues & Roots Radio airwaves very soon ....
So here we go and in no particular order
Justin Saladino Band
Homegrown Montrealer, Justin Saladino leads a guitar-driven roots rock group. Following their 2016 release “No Worries,” the Justin Saladino Band brought their music to audiences at the ‘Montreal International Jazz Festival,’ ‘Tremblant International Blues Festival,’ ‘Rogers Cup,’ ‘Trois-Rivière en Blues’ and the ‘Toronto Blues Summit.’ In 2018, the 21st annual Maple Blues Awards nominated the group for “New Artist of the Year.” The groups first LP, “A Fool’s Heart” is set to release in 2018.
At 23 years old, Justin has been on the scene for over a decade. Having performed alongside the likes of Victor Wainright, Steve Strongman, Frank Marino, Paul Deslauriers, Jack de Keyzer, and Ronnie Baker Brookes; he’s seen first hand how it’s done. Learning from the masters and translating these experience into his own project, the Justin Saladino Band puts on a dynamic show, demonstrating a wide palette of sounds from heavy blues/rock riffs to folky acoustic tones all while keeping the audience grooving.
Originally from Camebridge, Southern Ontario, Conor has toured the world writing songs about his experiences, this is his first solo release, and the album is the result of choosing from over 100 songs written that he felt would fit this project.
‘Lucky Hand’ is Steve Dawson’s first record of instrumental music since ‘Rattlesnake Cage’ came out in 2014 and represents a high point of more than two decades of musical searching. Comprised of 10 instrumental tracks of solo, duo and full-bodied string quartet works, Dawson has never released music as sweeping, dynamic and visually suggestive as this.
Dana Sipos inhabited the far north before going nomad and her captivatingly nuanced songs are filled with a wild wind and a haunting surrealism. She tours extensively, occasionally by bicycle, tall ship, canoe and train. Her last album Roll Up the Night Sky, released on underground Nashville label Muddy Roots Records, was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award in the Pushing the Boundaries category. Trick of the Light, her new album recorded with experimental producer Sandro Perri will be released in May 2018 on Roaring Girl Records.
Miller, MacDonald and Cormier
Ben Miller & Anita MacDonald have become renowned across Atlantic Canada and further afield for their synergistic, pipe and fiddle driven style of Gaelic dance-music. Joining together the musical traditions of Cape Breton and the Scottish Highlands, while incorporating influences from Ireland, Shetland and beyond, Ben and Anita have created a signature sound,
As well as performing as a duo, Ben and Anita tour as a trio with Acadian multi-instrumentalist, Zakk Cormier. Zakk is a dynamic musician with deep roots in the musical community of Prince Edward Island. He brings his talents as a sympathetic guitar accompanist, as well as the driving rhythm of Acadian foot-percussion. As Miller | MacDonald | Cormier, these three young artists create a powerful sound, which transcends the boundaries between Cape Breton, Scottish, and Acadian traditions.
Featuring the work of songwriters Jen Charters, Nathan Turner, and Brendan Steele, Red Haven tells a story that is both entertaining and incisive. Each brings a unique flavour to the band: Charters, lightning-quick gypsy jazz saxophone and powerful blues vocals; Turner, uplifting songs with a country lilt from behind the upright bass; and Steele, dark and angular guitar lines to match cutting lyrics. Their creative chemistry got a injection of energy with the adoption of drummer Max Ley into the group, who brought prog-rock chops with just the right amount of swagger and swing.
I reckon that will be pretty varied and interesting listening for the weekend, I hope i can fit the royal wedding in between ... NOT !
Check these artists out, I'll have some fresh albums for you next time.
Stay safe and have a great week ahead !
' Where there is no vision, there is no hope.'
An interesting quote, one which when uttered 6 years ago was scoffed at by some people I was briefly associated with.
Apparently to have a ' Vision ' was akin to stating in 1833 that you wanted to invent a computer ( See Babbage ), back then, ( not 1833, i'm talking Canada 2012 ) to mention ' Visions ' in meetings of organizations I got involved with, was met with eye rolling and whispers of ' FFS ! '
' Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success '
I have met a lot of successful people in many walks of life in my time, from the manufacturing industries, through to telecommunications, and many entrepreneurs who run successful businesses, I count many musicians and independent businesses in the music industry as entrepreneurs. What strikes me above all else about each and every one of them is that they have fire, passion and a ' Vision ' of where they want to see their business going.
The most successful of these people you'd be surprised to know, are not the ones who are trying to make bucket loads of money, they are actually the ones who are following their dreams and making the sacrifices to reach the ' Vision ' they had for whatever field they are in, and as one successful artist said to me recently, ' When I stopped chasing the money, I started to make money '
There are a lot of people trying to do exactly the same thing in the music industry, and most involved are trying to make loads of money, sometimes, they really don't care whose toes are tread on to make that money, they'll do whatever it takes to find the pot of gold they perceive to be at the end of the rainbow.
I do know personally many who are doing what they do in the music industry for the love of it, they work extremely hard for very little return, there is not a lot of income to be made and the only reason I see why they do it is because it's their passion, I completely get that, many hold down two or three jobs to enable them to pursue their passion, lets face it, unless your name is Amazon, Facebook, Google or Apple you are pushing that boulder, money goes to money is the old adage.
Someone once sarcastically wrote a line about me, it went like this ' How does it feel to be on the outside looking in ? ' ... well, pretty damn good if you ask me !
The goldfish bowl often gets a bit murky and full of shit, It's better on the outside than being inside seeing the castle pass you by every 10 seconds, but then again to be fair, the person who wrote the line probably would not realize that it was the same castle, I digress, but it has to do with the point.
Having a Vision is the starting point and foundation of your business, do what you love doing with passion and integrity, people can see a hustler coming from a hundred yards away, and when you are dealing with genuine, successful people, they think more of the fact that you are trying to make a go of whatever business is your passion than they do of you trying to make a fast buck, and more often than not they will offer to help in some way, however small.
There is one important part of the whole picture - note I did not say Vision :). You have to be a team player, you will never get to where you want to go without help from someone along the journey, take advice, accept help, absorb suggestions, you don't have to act on each and every part, but, if you go with your gut feelings on these situations you will generally be doing the right thing. I have been the recipient of some amazing gifts of peoples friendships, time, knowledge, and, witnessed their passion - some people have a passion in seeing others succeed .
When you get to the stage where someone has helped, you have implemented a suggestion, or taken advice however small it may be, and you witness the fruits of that and share it, that is the real success.
We have seen our numbers grow at Blues and Roots Radio from 64 listeners a month four years ago, to in excess of 2.5 Million a year. That was achieved through the help of many others who bought into the vision, who saw the passion, who gave their time, help and advice. The benefit is not mine in all of this, the benefit in my eyes is for the artists that we represent, they entrust us to take their message into the homes and offices of the listening audience around the world, if that helps them, it brings me contentment knowing what I have done has helped another.
It all started with a radio show 6 years ago, but that's a story for another day !
' What We Think,We Become ' - Buddha
Until next week
Hello from BRR HQ
Do you ever think that you are getting ahead ? ... and then someone comes up with a great idea and you think, wow ! that's cool ! ... and then you realize the guy who is going to make it happen is... errr ... you !
I had one of those moments last week, let me tell you, when things like this are presented it's inspirational, that people freely give their ideas and advice just blows me away, Blues & Roots Radio has had so many of these moments recently and we are very grateful.
Sometimes when you are in a situation and your head is down busy working, you don't see the bigger picture, being so involved makes you unaware of how others perceive or see things, I am always learning and always open to change, if it's for the better, I think it's necessary to keep things fresh and hopefully exciting for everyone involved.
Last week was a light bulb moment, it has made us explore opportunities, add new content and give things a tweek or two in the right places.
As is always the case at Blues & Roots Radio there are multiple things happening at once, we have new feature writers, a brand new radio show launching this weekend and we have some new features that are happening to our website.
Yes that Kat Goldman !
I am super excited to say that over the last couple of weeks I have been working with Kat on a brand new series of articles called ' The Disgruntled Songwriter ' where she will be sharing some musings of life as a modern day songwriter, there are already about 6 articles in the bag, two of which will be presented when we launch the pages on May 1st... so stay tuned for that ! ... and .. did I mention she is pretty funny !
Since releasing her debut album, The Great Disappearing Act (produced by JUNO winner Gavin Brown) in 2002, Kat Goldman has been regarded as one of Canada’s best singer/songwriters. Her work has been covered by an array of international artists, including Grammy nominees The Duhks, and prolific American singer-songwriter Dar Williams who has long been one of Kat’s great supporters. One of the album’s standout tracks, “Annabel,” has been featured in a number of television series and documentaries, along with being quoted in author Kathleen Winter’s Giller Prize-nominated novel of the same name.
Her 2007 sophomore album Sing Your Song came after she survived nearly being killed by a car crashing through a store window, and the record’s inspirational tone earned widespread acclaim, including being named one of CBC Radio’s Top 10 albums of that year.
In 2009, she began studying English Literature at Boston University, which had a strong influence on her next album, 2013’s Gypsy Girl, which explored her wanderlust and yearning for home.
Now with her latest release The Workingman’s Blues, Kat Goldman fully evokes her time in Boston when violence and racial tension were on the rise, due largely to a decline in sustainable employment.
Watch out for the first article May 1st
NEW RADIO SHOW APRIL 28th
Jamie & Ian's New Horizons
We are launching a brand new show on the BRR Essential channel on Saturday April 28th at 2pm EDT, 7pm GMT featuring content tailored exclusively for Blues & Roots Radio by Ian O'Regan and Jamie Sinclair, they will be presenting roots, americana, country blues, folk, rock and more weekly. The show will also be repeated each Monday evening at 10pm EDT.
Both Ian and Jamie have broad musical tastes and are a lot of fun which you'll soon find out, I reckon it's going to be a huge hit and I hope you can tune in and find out more.
We will be launching a new look website this weekend, as I said at the start of the blog we have had some amazing input from industry professionals and have been working on some tweeks to the existing site, we hope it makes for a more engaging visit.
With continued growth in traffic and visitors to the site, which is in excess of 2.5 million a year, we felt it necessary to update, refresh and make everyone's visit an easy and enjoyable experience. We always embrace change, especially when advice is being given by those whose knowledge we value.
Big thank you to all those that have helped us, you all know who you are, we appreciate everything you have done.
now... I have to get back to building bloody website pages :)
Until next week !
Hello to all and thanks for reading this weeks blog, wherever in the world you are.
I have a busy couple of weeks ahead attending gigs and there is one in particular that I am very excited to be going to.
Put the date in your diary if you are in the Toronto area, April 28th sees Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar Launch their brand new album ' Run To Me '
It's another outstanding release by Sam and she has raised the bar even higher on this one showcasing her sound with a ten piece band.
I was lucky to have been able to sit down with her this week to chat about the release, the show on Blues & Roots Radio - Under The Radar - airs at 10pm EDT on Thursday April 19th, it's repeated on Sunday April 22nd at 9am EDT and again on Wednesday April 25th.
We speak about the highs and lows of being an independent artist, and the elation an album release brings, we chat about her band which is rammed full of talent, and we talk also about some of the tracks, for instance, Good Trouble was written about a true life episode in Samantha's life, she saved someone who had been shot in a drive by shooting while she was attending a music conference, she sat down with co-writer Suzie Vinnick and penned the track bringing out an anthemic upbeat vibe to a memory that was very dark, you'll want to hear the full story, trust me.
I've been pals with Sam for a few years now, I've watched her grow her sound from an americana roots feel with The Haggard to the development and evolution from Send The Nightingale, which was the first Delta Sugar release in 2015, to this brand new fuller soul sound on Run To Me, it's spectacular, and I am so proud for her.
Any young bands out there that aspire to making music a full time career should take a good look at Samantha, her work ethic is incredible, her integrity is second to none, she has just been signed to Gypsy Soul Records who are based in Toronto, and I think this will allow her to broaden her fan base outside of Canada, she has a seven week tour of Europe lined up for 2019, I know she is going to go down well.
Tickets for the show at The Horseshoe Tavern and other tour dates as well as the link to buy the new album can be found here samanthamartinmusic.com
I highly recommend taking in a show if she is playing near you, and you need to have the new album in your collection, you will thank me !
Just before I go, I wanted to say a huge thank you to the CARAS Board of Directors and Staff for appointing me a judge at this years JUNO Awards, and for the letter of recognition received this week, it was a great honour for me to have been part of the process, the awards this year were spectacular in Vancouver, next year they move to London, Ontario and I hope to be a part of it once again.
Check out our news page for a list of live music dates for your diary.
Until next time