Monday, March 25, 2013
A week or two ago we attended another of Wrycraft's tribute shows at Hugh's Room. This one was in honour of Carole King. The lady knows how to write a song, and the performers Michael chose certainly knew how to perform them. The stipulation was that each performer would choose (or be assigned...make no mistake, sometimes Michael picks your songs for you) one song from the early Brill Building years (when Carole was married to and writing with Gerry Goffin) and one from the Tapestry years. The amazing thing is how many songs Ms King wrote that have made an impact on our internal jukeboxes! With every song somebody in the capacity crowd whispered (or gasped) "I didn't know she wrote that!" Yep, songs that we knew in versions by The Monkees, Herman's Hermits, or James Taylor...they all flowed from the pen of Carole King. And the artists involved turned them inside and out but however they played 'em...they still had that unmistakeable meldoy that wouldn't let you go. Paul Reddick, who was accompanied by Colin Cripps on guitar, turned his tuens into blues, Chloe Charles offered R&B, George Koller had Carvin Winans to gospelize a pair and Aaron Jensen and Countermeasure sang accapella...gorgeous. Every one of the eight acts gave it their all. And with songs as good as Carole King's that made it a pretty special evening. Then there was an opportunity to see The Zombies in concert! That's right! The Zombies. Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone together with a tight as a drum band playing all the songs. Oldies like "She's Not There," "Tell Her No," and "Time of the Season" plus solo tracks from Colin's career, and "Hold You Head Up" from Argent. The crowd was...ummm...grey haired but young at heart, and the band was fantastic sounding like the originals on the old stuff and not unlike Steely Dan on the new songs. I picked up the new CD and have been playing it ever since. Rod & Colin signed everything. Gerry & the Pacemakers are coming to Fallsview Casino in June, so I bought a pair of tickets for that. Of all the Merseybeat bands they were my favourite (next to The Beatles, of course). It will only be Gerry Marsden and a band of professionals but Gerry still has the voice! Jesse Winchester is coming back too, after recovering from throat cancer. The tribute CD that Jimmy Buffett put together is a great introduction to Jesse's work, but you have to hear Jesse do his songs. The guy's a genius of relaxed singing and a fine songwriter too.
Friday, March 8, 2013
Monday, January 7, 2013
song that made him the absolute star of the night. He had remixed some of Taylor's own recording of "Traffic Jam" and sang and played guitar over JT's backing. It was stunning and deserved all the applause and cheers! Wrycraft admitted, "I don't even know what to say about that." If you can render Michael speechless you're really doin' something! Unfortunately the night reached its nadir right after Jacob's mountaintop experience. The duo Scarlett Jane took the stage and murdered both "You've Got a Friend" and "Steamroller". Their harmonies were off, their grasp of the blues non-existent, they acted as though they'd been practising looking 'sexy' in front of the mirror at home. They should've listened to the original recordings a couple more times. Hugely disappointing. Then Michael called all the artists back on stage for a rousing romp through the classic "Sweet Baby James". These closers are usually as loose as a goose (or a flock of geese) and Friday night was no exception, but it did help to take the sting off a bit. Out into the cold for an easy drive home, and a weekend spent listening to the originals. Gotta love that sweet lovin' man JT! Baby, don't you loose your lip on him!
Thursday, November 29, 2012
here to read my take on Heartbreak a 2 disc set produced by John & Rick Chelew. Bert Jansch is an under-appreciated guitarist whose last couple of albums brought him back to where he belongs. A re-issue campaign has provided some real treats for fans of acoustic guitar playing.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Critics at Large, but suffice it to say...we had a ball! Kelly Jay, Roly, Rheal, the Ghetto and Sonnie along with all the support rocked the joint! Saw Skip Prokop out in the foyer! Steve Strongman and his band were excellent as usual. This weekend it's off to Hugh's Room for another of Wrycraft's Tribute Shows, this one to Tom Waits. Sounds like fun to me. We want to wish the McMaster Marauders best of luck in the Vanier Cup this weekend too! Go Mac, Go!
Monday, November 5, 2012
Had to miss my niece's wedding out in Red Deer, but belated congratulations to Amy and Jason! Hope you had a great party, and wish you all the best! Saturday night we went to the Studio Theatre at Hamilton Place to see Judy Collins! She walked out on stage at precisely 8pm, accompanied by her pianist and musical director Russ Walden. The stage was fairly plain, except for a dozen red roses in front of the grand piano. Russ took the bench and Judy came to centre stage carrying her 12-string Martin. She began with "Chelsea Morning" the first of a number of Canadian composed songs she would sing this evening. She forgot a word or two, but the audience (which seemed to be entirely made up of rabid Judy Collins fans) helped her along. They would do so again.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
link. Before that I read Neil Young's book Waging Heavy Peace which I also wrote about at Critics at Large. I've been reading quite a few books by musicians lately, including this fascinating one by Talking Heads' David Byrne. Not an autobiography, really, but certainly a book informed by the life and career of its author! I wrote about a few new blues albums here. And about a Jesse Winchester Tribute album here. I even discuss new CDs from Bill Bourne and Annabelle Chvostek. Over at Sleeping Hedgehog I reviewed a new 2 CD collection of all of Dion's singles on the Laurie label! Great stuff.