Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pre-Christmas Rant

Well here it is December 7th, and I haven't blogged anything since October. We're only a couple of weeks away from Christmas, in fact today is the first official celebration of the season (our Holiday Luncheon at work). I've planned to sing perhaps the most obscure "Christmas" song I could find...Arlo Guthrie's "The Pause of Mister Clause".
Over the past two months I've seen a couple of great shows, and heard some very interesting music. I'll tell you a little about what's been going on.
After Jimmy Webb at Hugh's Room the first album I heard was the 2-disc set from Keith Richards Wingless Angels. It's an acquired taste for sure, raw pre-reggae chants, but give it a little time and it grows on you.
Reading David Clayton-Thomas's autobiography gave me an urge to hear his new CD, Soul Ballads which is just what it says...DCT singing soul music, and it's not bad at all, the guy still has quite a presence. And the band is big and swingin'. Wish I could say the same for Phil Collins' Goin' Back. The original tracks are vastly better than Phil's take on them.
The new Clapton is a mellow but pleasant look to the past, as Eric settles in to a groove remembering songs he grew up with. David Gilmour's guitar is front and centre all over the electronica of The Orb's Metallic Spheres. Dhani Harrison is the best thing about Fistful of Mercy (his band with Ben Harper and Joseph Arthur)...and it's just because he reminds me so much of his father.
Went to see Steve Earle at Hamilton Place's Studio Theatre, and he did not disappoint (well...truth be told, I was disappointed not to get him to sign his book, but...) he played a broad selection of tunes from his whole career up to and including an unreleased song.
Read a couple good books, Bill Flanagan's Evening's Empire a novel about the management of a 60s rock band through good times and bad. It really captured the
era. Bob Dylan in America by Sean Wilentz was a tad academic for my taste, I shouldn't have been surprised, since Wilentz is a history professor. However there was enough fascinating detail to keep me plugging through it. Keith Richard's Life was probably the book of the season, and I've been listening to the e-book version read by Keith and Johnny Depp. Highly entertaining.
It's been a big season for Dylan with the release of The Witmark Demos, the mono versions of his first batch of albums in an expensive box set, the afore-mentioned Wilentz book and a collection of Dylan essays by Greil Marcus. Ooh, mama, can this really be the end?
Then I went to see Leon Redbone at the Studio Theatre. His shtick grew a tad tiresome, but he sure can play the guitar.
The last show I attended was Lunch at Allen's. Ian Thomas, Murray Maclachlan, Cindy Church and Marc Jordan, blending perfectly on old classics or new songs from their recent release More Lunch at Allen's. Beautiful.
The big news has nothing to do with music, film, literature, or any other such frivolity...My son came home from Afghanistan. Safe and sound. Whew, what a relief.
Then this week he and I both bought iPads...so it's been dueling apps ever since. I'll report further when I have more information.
(Oh, and here's a drawing I did of David Lindley)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How I spent the summer...

WOW! I haven't blogged anything since June! I can hardly believe it. After seeing Jersey Boys I took some vacation time and worked on my Mom's front and back yards. We went to see Allen Toussaint and Mavis Staples in Toronto (June 30th) and they put on a marvelous show. Colin James joined Mavis for "I'll Take You There" but both Mavis's and Allen's band were fantastic.
On the 17th of July we had to take Chloe (our shih-tzu) to the vet for the last time. It was a sad day.
Some dandy CDs came along during the summer. Los Lobos Tin Can Trust, Jimmy webb's Just Across the River, Red Horse featuring Eliza Gilkyson, John Gorka and Lucy Kaplansky, and a surprise from Tom Jones! Praise and Blame has been on my playlist ever since it came out. Wow, that guy can sing! And with the minimal backing band it's a rebirth. Don't miss this one!
Friday night at the Festival of Friends was a lot of fun. First some homemade gumbo at Dave & Sylvia's (and a drink or two) then over to Gage Park for Richie Havens, Buckwheat Zydeco and then Dr. John. A splendid time was had by all!
August 11th was (as it alsways is) my birthday. Gloria and the boys got me a new guitar. Then on the 12th it was over to Hugh's Room with Rich for Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Jack didn't care for us snapping photos but he sure liked seeing the programme from the Mariposa Folk Festival circa 1970 that I brought with me. "Can I show this to my girlfriend?" he asked. "Sure, go ahead!" was my reply, and he signed it for me. Another great show.
Visited Michael Wrycraft in Toronto and Ian Thomas at his home studio, to ask about their archives for work. Read books by Ginger Baker, David Clayton-Thomas, Rosanne Cash and James Lee Burke. All in all a good summer.
Now it's fall, and it's dark outside, raining. They haven't turned off the chilled water in the buidling so it's only 18 degrees in the office.
But life goes on.
Saturday night we went back to Hugh's Room to see Jimmy Webb. He puts on a dandy intimate show. He is an extraordinary pianist and songwriter, and so what if Harry Nilsson is right about his voice. Harry told him (according to Jimmy's story) "Jimmy, there's only one thing wrong with your voice...it sucks!" Jimmy replied, "Well Harry...what's with 'I put the lime in the coconut? You call that songwriting?"
Still lots of good music coming out. Robert Plant, Richard Thompson, Bachman-Turner, Bill Frisell, even a new CD of gospel music from legendary guitar slinger James Burton! Mavis Staples, produced by Jeff Tweedy, Neil Young produced by Daniel Lanois and Wingless Angels produced by Keith Richards! Who could ask for more?
That's about it for now. I'll be back sooner than three months from now.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Paul Quarrington

Reading Paul Quarrington's memoir Cigar Box Banjo and I have to say, that considering Paul received the news about his lung cancer partway through the writing of this book, and then changed his approach, the finished product is funny, uplifting and a flat-out dandy read.
I've always liked Quarrington's books. From my first reading of Home Game, his first novel, through King Leary and The Life of Hope his books have grabbed me. And I can't begin to explain how I enjoyed Whale Music, maybe the best book ever written about Brian Wilson! Except it's about the Howl Brothers! Great film too.
After I read Home Game I sent a letter to Paul c/o his publisher, and he replied. We entered into a brief letter writing relationship. Then it was over. Didn't see him for a few years, until his band Pork Belly Futures appeared at the Scottish Rite, opening a reading by Ian Rankin. The band was fun, playing Paul's songs about Hemingway, and Michael Ondaatje, and they had a special guest guitarist. Danny Weis (who had played in Rhinoceros back in the day) was filling in. We (my wife and I) rode in the elevator with Danny. After the reading, I talked to Paul and reminded him of the letters. Who remembers letters from ten years ago? Well, since one of my letters included the suggestion that a character in Home Game should be portrayed by Gilda Radner...he remembered.
So, this is all to say that even though there's sadness in the pages of Cigar Box Banjo there's life too, and hope, and humour, and a lesson for us all. Keep livin' til you just can't live anymore. Enjoy every sandwich.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Jersey Boys

Last night my wife and I attended a performance of Jersey Boys at the Toronto Centre for the Arts way up in North York. It was a special Media Event, which means that we truly were 'guests'. Now I must confess that I've never been much of a fan of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons based on their records playing in between songs of the British Invasion during the '60s. No, I was a definite Beatles fan, it was Gerry & the Pacemakers, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, and so on for me. None of that show-biz glitz that Frankie and the boys put out. I should also say that I never owned a Four Seasons record. Not one. As best I can recall, not even a random song on a soundtrack album made it into my collection. Until last night that is.
Upon checking in at the theatre we received 2 CDs (The Very Best of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and Jersey Boys the soundtrack), more Valli than I ever imagined. Over pre-show drinks in the bar Alan Cross spoke about the importance of the Four Seasons in the on-going history of new music. While admitting that they were "a bit outside [his] normal area of expertise" he gave a potted history of their accomplishments that made them sound important to the younger journalists who had attended. We elders smiled and nodded.
As the show began (with a hip-hop rendition of "Oh, What a Night" entitled "Ces Soirees-la") my heart sank. I couldn't make out the rap, and the sound was loud and muddy. Then the actor playing Tommy DeVito appeared and commenced his story, and from that moment on, I was hooked. The production was marvelous. The story engaging. And the music, which I had never warmed up to in nearly 50 years, seemed perfect for this kind of presentation. I developed an appreciation for the compositional skills of Bob Gaudio (et al) and, well...I'm a sucker for good harmony singing anyway. The show had me. And it kept me too. Right to the end.
Just enough good humour, and historical accuracy to keep a music historian (even an amateur one) interested...and the music. I can't say enough about it. I left the theatre, like everyone else, humming or singing the songs.
"Oh, What a Night" indeed!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

since April...

Wow! Has it really been so long since I last blogged?
Just checking the diary to see where I've been and what I've been up to.
I read a couple of books, two about Van Morrison. Greil Marcus's When That Rough God Does Riding has been fairly controversial amongst rabid Van-fans, but it seems pretty clear to me that Marcus is as big a fan as any of us, but is not afraid to tell how disappointed he's been in long stretches of Morrison's output over the years. I agree with him. While I think that weak Morrison is better than a lot of the other stuff that's out there, when measured against himself...Van has had some dry periods. Hymns to the Silence by Peter Mills should please everybody. It's a decent read as well.
Bought the new Roky Erickson (with Okkervil River) album (yep, vinyl) on Record Store Day. And while I was never a big fan of Roky in his heyday, it sounds like he may be back to stay. I found a used copy of The Best of Allan Sherman and really enjoyed listening to those classic tunes. He's still a funny guy!
We went to the DVD release concert for Steve Strongman's Live at the Barn. The show was great, the band rocked the Studio Theatre. And the DVD is not bad either.
I've been talking with Michael Wrycraft (the graphic artist responsible for so many great CD packages and posters for Northern Blues and Borealis). I hope to be able to announce that McMaster has A Man Called Wrycraft's archives pretty soon.
Recently that most Southern Californian of all songwriters Jackson Browne released a double CD with that most polyester of guitar players David Lindley. Love Is Strange is a beautiful recording of a concert in Spain. Lovely stuff.
Then we spent a week in Saint John, New Brunswick for a conference (CNIE) and series of meetings (OUETDA). A day for touring built in let us visit St. Stephen's (Ganong Chocolate Factory), St. Andrew's by the Sea (too early for whale watching) and St. Martin's (world famous chowder, mmmm). Oh, and a visit or two to one of Canada's classic independent record stores...Backstreet Records. Great little shop.
Right now I'm reading Stieg Larsson's third Lisbeth Salander/Mikael Blomkvist book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Sad to say...there won't be any more.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gordon Lightfoot...at Hamilton Place

It's been 43 years since I last attended a concert by Gordon Lightfoot. Way back in 1967, at one of many celebrations for Canada's Centennial my brother Al and I saw him (along with Rich Little and The Big Town Boys) at Confederation Park. He was playing with Red Shea and John Stockfish, supporting the just released Did She Mention My Name. I went home, bought a couple albums and learned a bunch of his songs. And then essentially moved on. There was so much else to listen to. So many other songs to play. In 1999 I received the four CD set, Songbook for Christmas, and started listening again. Last night I had the opportunity to be reacquainted with this Canadian legend as he played at Hamilton Place.
We had seats in the 2nd balcony. The stage was set with enough equipment all on top of an Indian carpet, and when the band arrived a buzz ran through the audience. These people were there to sit in front of the man who has become the country's true poet laureate, and they gave him a standing ovation as he walked on-stage. He hadn't even picked up a guitar yet.
Nowadays the band is bigger. Lead guitar is handled by Terry Clements (who's been with Lightfoot since 1970), bass is Rick Haynes (he joined in 1969), Barry Keane has been Gord's drummer since 1976, and newcomer Mike Heffernan joined up in 1981. This unit has remained constant since '87. Wow! No wonder they play together so effortlessly. The sound through the night was beautifully clean, perfectly polished, and a bit quiet. You had to lean forward on your seat to hear from time to time. Of course, maybe it was the Gord wannabe sitting behind us, who sang along with every song, even if he didn't know the words. Or maybe it was the old gent in the next seat, sucking on candies wrapped in what seemed like endless cellophane. At least the girl in front of us was silent as she texted on her cell phone every five minutes!
Apart from all the distractions, Lightfoot did not disappoint. He played two 45 minute sets, separated by a half hour break during which he changed jackets from pink to blue. I said, "The other one must be all sweaty." My companion said, "From what?" And I had to admit, Lightfoot made it seem easy. The band was tight, Gord's guitars were mixed just right. His picking every bit as agile as ever. It was somewhere in the vocal levels that you noticed a difference. He's no longer got that powerful baritone, it has been reduced to a virtual whisper. So leaning forward to hear became more important.
Don't get me wrong, he still hits most (if not all) of the notes, but his halting phrasing is more exaggerated as if singing in bursts of exhalation. If it all wasn't mixed so gorgeously you could be distracted by, say...the guy behind you clapping about three lines in to each song as he realizes which of Gord's Gold is up next.
Lightfoot took us through a career of well known songs, like "Did She Mention My Name," "Let It Ride," "Carefree Highway," "Ribbon of Darkness," "Sundown," and more. He punctuated the classics with less well-known material, after all he has 44 years of tunes to draw from. He told a couple stories trying to connect with the audience. He quipped that "...reports of [his] death have been greatly exaggerated," echoing Mark Twain, in reference to a Twitter rumour from a few weeks ago. He asked "Who the hell would write a song about a loon in love," as he introduced "Ring-Necked Loon" and he alluded to some post-Mariposa shenanigans with Jerry Jeff Walker and Doug Kershaw back in the 60s.
The second set was similar to the first, starting off with "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" and ending with "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" which bracketed "Baby Step Back" and "Home From the Forest" among others. The band left the stage for a few minutes, and then returned for a quick encore of "Blackberry Wine". The girl in front of me texted on her Blackberry, I whined!
It was over. The legend took a couple of bows and waved goodbye. Maybe in another 40 years or so...

Monday, April 12, 2010

More Marigolds...

Friday night we went down to the Pearl Company again, to see the Marigolds. Now the Marigolds, you may recall, is a trio of solo singers joined together to create some heavenly harmonies. Suzie Vinnick, Gwen Swick and Caitlin Hanford (in reverse alphabetical order) each have solo CDs for sale at the show, but a Marigolds' show is a night for groupwork.
Gwen Swick plays bass and sings in a rich voice that seems able to shift into any range. Her enunciation is precise and crisp, and her lyrics are filled with images that are at once obvious and surprising. It's like, "How clever! Why didn't I think of that?" "Anyone Can Dream" is the perfect example as she sings of the raft that dreamt of being Noah's ark! Brilliant! She lives in Elora, ON with Randall Coryell, who is an associate Marigold, being the drummer of the group.
Coryell is a king of percussion, and uses everything at hand, from the regular kit, to a long bolt holding washers and nuts to get the right sound. L:egend has it he even used his daughter's head to percussive effect!
Caitlin Hanford hails from Washington State, and brings the country inflection to the group. She plays a big ol' Gibson guitar, and writes songs about trains, and walking along the highway. Listen to "Ramble Down the Line" or "When I'm Walking With You" to get an idea. She's the tallest Marigold. Sometimes she tells little stories, like how she saw a cardinal outside the window and "just knew that Jacvkie Washington's spirit" had inhabited that bird. "Yes, indeedy!"
That leaves Suzie Vinnick, who plays lead guitar (she's got some chops!), and sings anything from blues to jazz to old standards. She can rock too, as you'll see if you listen to her solo CD. She also seems to be the business head of the group, doing the ads for the merch table, and carrying the little bag of change. Her songs show a tremendous range of styles and subject matter. Flying is one concern of Suzie's as "Trip To the Moon" and "Sometimes I Think I Can Fly" exhibit. And when she sings, you'll be sure she can fly!
Now that's the group, individually, but when they perform together, they become a separate entity...the Marigolds. And there's nothing like Marigolds' music to brighten a day, or night. In the warm and comfortable setting of the Pearl Company the feeling is like a living room concert, with a group of friends. Oh, wait a minute, I had invited about 16 people, so in fact it was a group of friends. There were another 20 or so folks in the audience, and I have to say, it's a bit disappointing. The Pearl brings in these remarkable musicians and they play to a half empty room, and yet every performer I've seen here has given their all to the group who turned out.
The Marigolds sang tunes from both their CDs, to the obvious delight of all who attended. They came back for an encore of Jackie DeShannon's "Put a Little Love In Your Heart" and then said "goodnight"...and what a good night it was.
Thanks Barbara and Gary for keeping the Pearl Company rolling. Thanks Gwen, Caitlin and Suzie (and Randall) for a great Friday night!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jon Anderson...

at the Studio Theatre, Hamilton Place (April 3, 2010).

That's Jon Anderson, the lead singer from YES! That's right. In a theatre that holds, maybe 400. And, there was no-one else on stage either. Not Rick Wakeman, or Patrick Moraz, not Bill Bruford, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, or any of the other dozen or so members of YES from the past 40 years. Just Jon Anderson, and a couple of acoustic instruments. Oh, and of course, his extraordinary voice!

After being close to death from acute respiratory failure only two years ago, Jon has come back to play these solo shows. He has released a double live CD, called Live From LaLa Land which is very similar to the show we saw the other night except you might even say that the show at the Studio Theatre was stripped down even further. No midi-guitar this time, just a nylon string guitar, and a 'strummer', and a trusty ukulele. And a piano, for the weirdest part of the night, but more about that later.

Starting with "Long Distance Runaround" and "Yours is No Disgrace" Anderson gave us a virtual history of YES, focused on the vocals and without the symphonic backing we're so used to. The melodies were all there, and Anderson's alto-tenor voice pure and clear, but a song that might take up the whole side of a record was reduced to only a couple of minutes as Anderson sang the chorus and verses, with no long solo spots.

It's a fascinating exercise, to reduce these classic tracks to their ultimate facets. Melody and lyric. That's it. All accompanied by Anderson's rather clumsy guitar strumming. No fine finger-picking for him, he picks a beat and stays with it. And I have to say, it works somehow. It's like Jon Anderson 'folk-singer' and I imagine it takes a lot of gumption to do it. He admits he came to guitar playing late, but my ears told me he meant only a year or two ago, he confesses that he began at age 22. Well, that's over 40 years ago. I'm pretty sure I've improved more than this over the same length of time! I hope so.

But I don't want to dwell on the guitar playing because it was the singing that was impressed me, that and his spirit. The man is filled with good vibes. He is contagious with them. And his fans were rabid to soak them up. We sat in the balcony, but those on the floor close to the edge of the stage, were sending back all the love he put forth. And his wife of 13 years sat right there too, in front of the stage, dead centre. He sang to her, on this their anniversary. It was lovely.

The piano songs? Odd, abstract bits of noodling with noodled lyrics too. My least favourite part of the night, but still he's a charming performer, and well worth a ticket.

Jean-Paul De Roover & City of Glass

at The Pearl Company, Hamilton, ON, March 10, 2010

Do you remember as a child, playing with Lego? Building some imaginary thing with dozens, no hundreds of small plastic pieces and being amazed as it took shape before your eyes? My father spent his retirement years constructing beautiful models of houses out of popsicle sticks. He worked with an exacto knife and white glue, even cutting sheets of sandpaper into representations of shingles which he then glued to the roof. Hinges on the doors? Made from pins! An artist I know creates his sculptures by tirelessly welding thousands of rods together to create huge representational constructions. This desire to create a whole from many disparate pieces is what keeps Jean-Paul De Roover working on his music. Even when playing to empty rooms, he displays an excitement about the creative process that is contagious, even thrilling. The first time I saw him play was last fall on a Thursday night, the Pearl Company accommodates nearly 200 but there were only five of us there. Last night the numbers were more like twenty, and we were scattered around the room, on the most comfortable chairs. Did the small turnout bother J-P? Not so you'd notice. He bounced, and danced with his guitar, a Fender acoustic that he borrowed from his sister. He's an energetic performer, I don't think I noticed that the first time, but watching him last night left me exhausted.

Upon arrival at the Pearl Company, Hamilton's gem of a new performance space, J-P greeted me like an old friend. (I had written about the autumn show on my blog.) He looked at the small group of friends I'd brought, and said, "Well, you did your part! You've quadrupled the audience!" We laughed and shared stories about what we'd been doing since last we met. He is just starting a new, longer tour. And playing with opening acts. Tonight it's Vancouver's City of Glass.

City of Glass is a quartet made up of Michael Champion (guitar/vocals), David Phu (guitar/backing vocals), Georgia Korba (bass) and Alex Cumming (drums). They list New Order, Coldplay, Weezer and Deathcab for Cutie as their influences, but they play mainly original material. They joked about doing an AC/DC tune but when it came down to it the one cover version was a Radiohead cut. That's the kind of ambient rock they play, chilly almost spiky guitars, against solid rhythm from Alex and Georgia. Georgia plays a Fender Precision and it's bigger than she is, but she has mastered the beast. Their set was plagued by a few audio problems, the wrong mix in the monitors and a rented amp that gave up the ghost, but they weather the storm well, and their fifty minute set was well received. Then they repaired to the merch counter to flog their T-shirts, buttons and CDs. And they come back to watch De Roover. They opened for him the previous night in Toronto. They know what's coming.

Jean-Paul doesn't take too long to set up. His gear is all placed on a construction of red plastic tubes, not unlike a building toy from his youth. His whole thing is constructivism. Even the package his CD/DVD comes in is an art piece, it has no text, and unfolds to create a house. But on the red construction is a series of little boxes, looping gear, a drum pad, samplers, cables, buttons, pedals into which the guitar is plugged and a pair of microphones. He wears a set of headphones, and begins to build. Whether he starts with voice, "Ahahahahahahaaah!" maybe "Bada, baadaa, baaaaadip!" or a guitar part, he then adds harmony, rhythm, texture. Beats appear out of the ether. He sings the melody, and his melodies are strong, and then layers a harmony, and a third voice over top. He controls all of this by bending and twisting, stopping this track, starting that one, playing some rhythm guitar, he looks like he might fall, but catches himself, eats a bite of a butter tart, and all the while the audience is enrapt. They are singing along with songs they did not know three minutes ago. They spontaneously applaud. You can hear them whispering, "Wow! How does he do that?"

It's like this for over an hour. He plays his original songs. Most of them have one word titles like "Walk," "Lapse," "The Knife," "Fix." My favourite might be the new one, it's untitled so far. The chorus is "I love you," but J-P thinks that's too obvious a title, a bit too generic. I think of it as "Blue." It's a fine song. He wraps up with an audience participation tune, where he puts down his guitar and walks around the entire place shaking everyone's hand and thanking us for coming. It's a nice touch.

Jean-Paul is building his audience the same way he builds his music. He bonds an ever growing number of people together with the glue of his personality, his creativity and his imagination. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that he's just plain musical, too!

Thanks to Barbara and Gary at the Pearl Company for bringing outstanding new music like Jean-Paul De Roover and City of Glass to this city.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pearl Company last night...

Jean-Paul De Roover was back in town last night, at the marvelous Pearl Company. A group from Vancouver called City of Glass opened and did a Coldplay thing. Not bad, a pleasant hour, well, apart from the downer lyrics, and the failed amp. They said they were going to Long & McQuade today to throw the amp through the window. That'd be a sight to see.
J-P was excellent as he demonstrated what one guy with a lot of loops and effects, and unlimited imagination can do. The thing I like most about him is his sense of melody. It's not all abstract art...there's real structure to it.
I bought a copy of John "Drumbo" French's book Beefheart: Through the Eyes of Magic from the man himself, and it arrived in the mail yesterday. It's a honking big book filled with dense print and pictures galore. Memories from everyone who was there, and great stories. Over 800 pages means I won't be reading it at bedtime, it's too heavy to hold up! But I will spend quite a bit of time with it, the excerpts I've previewed are fascinating. And don't forget Mike Barnes' biography of the Captain; or Zoot Horn Rollo's Lunar Notes; or Kevin Courrier's Trout Mask Replica written in the 33 1/3 series.
I watched Paris, Texas the other day. The new Criterion Blu-Ray is a tremendous transfer, and includes a wealth of extra stuff. Even interviews with Ry Cooder.
The Patti Smith book, Just Kids is a good read, and the DVD Dream of Life makes a great complement to it. And you might as well go all out an pick up her compilation CD set Land and you'll gain a new appreciation for Patti!
Going home to listen to some new Jimi Hendrix music. I'll let you know what I think.
See you!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happy New Year (belated)

Wow! I can hardly believe it! I haven't blogged since a month before Christmas! And so much has happened.
I told you about Bruce Cockburn at Hamilton Place.
I picked up signed copies of Stephen Stills Manassas Pieces and Rosanne Cash's glorious The List. This is one of my favourite albums of 2009, excpet for the weird version of "Long Black Veil" it's perfect. Then I read Always Been There which tells the story of the list Johnny Cash gave to Rosanne and how it impacted the recording of that album. Lots of other new releases too, McCartney's Good Evening New York, Norah Jones, Fire In My Bones (a 3 disc set of African-American Gospel), a re-issue of Bob Carpenter's Silent Passage which features Lowell George! Tom Petty's bargain of the year, 4 discs of live material for under $20! Wow! Read the new McCartney bio, which tells the same old story. There was an interesting quote from Ringo the other day. Someone has asked him to write HIS autobiography, but they only want the Beatles years. He says he's done a lot more stuff, and I for one would be interested in that! We've read everything there is to read about Hamburg, and Pete Best...let's move on!
Still thinking about Billy Bragg. That was a remarkable show! Saw The Good Lovelies at The Pearl Company. And Randy Bachman at the Glenn Gould Theatre.
And here we are in February, 2010. FEBRUARY! Where does the time go?
Ry Cooder will be releasing a new album in a month or so, with the Chieftains. Looking forward to that one.
See you soon.