Sultans of String Premiere Video for the Song “Turkish Greensleeves” from Christmas Caravan

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SULTANS OF STRING PREMIERE VIDEO FOR THE SONG TURKISH GREENSLEEVES 

BAND ON TOUR OCTOBER/NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 

CHRISTMAS CARAVAN AVAILABLE NOW ON MCKHOOL RECORDS/CREATIVE ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK – A DIVISION OF SONY MUSIC

Sultans of String premiere a new video for the song “Turkish Greensleeves” featuring Gundem Yayli Grubu from their album Christmas Caravan. See it here: https://youtu.be/kIBRBPF7Gw0

The Sultans of String are: Chris McKhool · Chendy Leon, Jr. · Eddie Paton · Drew Birston · Kevin Laliberté. The band is set to take their genre-bending mix of songs to venues across Canada and US. See full schedule below for shows for the whole family.

“The world-music group Sultans of String aim for international hybrids on the holiday album Christmas Caravan” – New York Times Christmas Hits List

As we get closer to the holiday season expect to hear songs from the band’s acclaimed album Christmas Caravan. Released in 2017 Christmas Caravan charted at #6 on Billboard’s World Music Chart and delivers musical harmony with its diverse sound. Co-produced by bandleader and violinist Chris McKhool, along with John “Beetle” Bailey who has been nominated by the Canadian Folk Music Awards as producer of the year for the release (results Dec. 8).

“Sultans of String keeps imaginative imperatives in overdrive for the entirety of Christmas Caravan, a generous pitch for global unity through the music of Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. These five musicians have jubilantly recharged the classics with arrangements that demand attention” – Downbeat

Sultans of String are 3x JUNO nominees/3x CFMA winning ambassadors of musical diversity. In 2017 they were recognized by the Folk Music Ontario Awards who honored Chris McKhool and Richard Bona with The Songs From the Heart Folk Music from Around the World Award for their song “Sing For Kwanzaa” from Christmas Caravan.

one is hard-pressed to recall anything quite like Christmas Caravan by Canada’s iconic ensemble the Sultans of String” World Music Report

On Christmas Caravan you with find collaborations with 6x Grammy winning Paddy Moloney (The Chieftains), Ruben Blades & Luba Mason (Panamanian 7 Grammy and 5 Latin Grammy Award winner), platinum-selling jazz vocalist Nikki Yanofsky, 2x JUNO/Grammy Winner Alex Cuba, Benoit Bourque of Quebec’s Bottine Souriante (3x JUNOs, 4x Gold, 3x Platinum records), Sweet Honey in the Rock (Grammy winning all-woman, African-American a cappella group), Cameroon’s Richard Bona (Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock), Canada’s singer to the stars Rebecca Campbell (Emmylou Harris, Alanis Morissette), singer Mary Fahl from NYC’s October Project, a recording collective of Turkish Roma violinists in Istanbul, Sudanese-Canadian singer Waleed Abdulhamid, Nashville-based JUNO Award winning country singer Crystal Shawanda, sitar virtuoso Anwar Khurshid, and hang drum player David Charrier from France.

See them at the following venues across Canada and the US:

Oct 14 – Bluffton, OH – Bluffton Townhall Concert Series
Oct 18 – Terrebonne, QC Chapelle du Collège Saint-Sacrement / Trio
Oct 19 – Gorham, NH – Medallion Opera House
Oct 20 – Gorham, NH – Medallion Opera House (10 am for young audiences)
Oct 21 – L’Assomption, QC – Theatre Hector-Charland / Quartet
Nov 1 – El Dorado, CA – El Dorado County Community Concerts
Nov 2 – Auburn, CA – Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center (10 am & 1 pm for young audiences)
Nov 2 – Auburn, CA – Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center – evening show
Nov 3 – Santa Monica, CA – McCabe’s
Nov 4 – Santa Monica, CA – McCabe’s (10:30 am for young audiences)
Nov 22 – Owen Sound ON – Heartwood Hall
Nov 24 – Utopia ON – Utopia Hall
Nov 25 – Kitchener ON – Registry Theatre
Nov 29 – Invermere BC – Pynelogs Cultural Centre-Columbia Valley Arts
Dec 1 and 2 – Cranbrook BC – Symphony of the Kootenays
Dec 3 – Golden BC – Kicking Horse Culture
Dec 4 – Trail BC – Charles Bailey Theatre
Dec 5 – Vancouver BC – Centennial Theatre
Dec 7 – Maple Ridge BC – ACT Arts Centre
Dec 12 – Picton ON – Regent Theatre
Dec 13 – Markham ON – Flato Markham Theatre
Dec 14 – Sudbury ON – Collège Boréal Concert Hall
Dec 15 – Welland ON – Welland-Port Colborne Concert Assn
Dec 16 – London ON – Aeolian Hall
Dec 17 – Lindsay ON – Academy Theatre
Dec 18 – Ottawa ON – NAC Studio Theatre
Dec 19 – Bellows Falls VT – Stone Church Center
Dec 20 – Norfolk CT – Infinity Hall
Dec 21 – Stroudsburg PA – Chester Concerts
Dec 22 – Boston MA – Extended Play Sessions
Dec 23 – Cazenovia NY – Catherine Cummings Theater

Christmas Caravan was produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.  We would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario. This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.

www.sultansofstring.com
http://twitter.com/sultansofstring
www.facebook.com/sultansofstring
www.instagram.com/sultansofstring

Dana Gordon at Independent Music Media at HiDanaGirl@aol.com / #213-864-2690

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ANN VRIEND (AV) Releases New Single + Video IT’S HAPPENING w/ Special Performance by Sifton Elementary Student Choir

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TORONTO – Award-winning soul singer ANN VRIEND (AV) releases a new video and single entitled “IT’S HAPPENING.” Commissioned for a school fundraiser, the students of Sifton Elementary School Choir accompany AV on this empowering and gritty, inner-city soul anthem. The efforts will culminate on Friday, October 26at 2:15 pm with a special performance at the school, 4305 134 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB. For more info please visit www.annvriend.com.

AV sings her heart out about her views of the world; her matter-of-fact, non-sugar-coated observations from her inner city neighborhood; her hard life lessons – and yet there is a soulful, hopeful persistence for herself and the world to be better.

The children’s choir AV recruited to sing the song “It’s Happening” with her, are living proof that as she sings, the change to a more diverse and inclusive society “is already happening.” Propelled by an unstoppable and compelling electric piano groove, the lyrics describe the transcendence of tough circumstances, with a compassionate heart.  With her voice sounding like that of the late Aretha Franklin in her very early Gospel days, AV offers a powerful, socially conscious exhortation.

“It’s Happening” was recorded June 4, 2018, with students from the Sifton Elementary School Choir. Sifton Elementary is a school in North Edmonton where many students come from war-torn countries and traumatizing and/or impoverished situations. The funding of this recording was made possible via an anonymous donor who saw the students and AV perform at a school fundraiser on May 4, 2018. The donor was so moved and inspired by the performance of the song, that he immediately asked how it could be immortalized by a studio recording of it. A week later he graciously provided the funding for this endeavor.  A month to the day after their debut performance, the students, AV, and her producer and videographer, Tino Zolfo, were in the recording studio recording the song and making a music video for it. None of the students had been in a recording studio prior to this date, but have since inspired many people with their talent, hope, and enthusiasm for this venture. AV and all involved in the making of this video would like to thank everyone for listening and being part of this experience.

www.annvriend.com
https://open.spotify.com/album/3HPEpM2xRp3n3k3ujaKCUG
https://play.spotify.com/artist/3vjHMysd98leqhwDotu9fZ
www.youtube.com/user/AnnVriend
www.facebook.com/AnnVriend
https://twitter.com/AnnVriend
www.instagram.com/annvriend

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For more information, photos, mp3s, WAV files, CD copies, interviews, please contact:

MEDIA CONTACT:
SPEAK Music | Beverly Kreller, Publicist
bev@speak-music.com | 416-922-3620
Twitter: @SPEAKMusicPR
Facebook: www.facebook.com/beverly.kreller

“Merry Christmas Darling: Carpenters’ Christmas” Theatrical Touring Show Hits the Road For the Holiday Season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 10, 2018

“MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING: CARPENTERS’ CHRISTMAS”
THEATRICAL TOURING SHOW HITS THE ROAD FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON

 “WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN: CARPENTERS REMEMBERED” SHOW
RESUMES PERFORMANCES IN JANUARY

Starring Singer Michelle Berting Brett, Both Shows Celebrate the Music of the
Top-Selling Band of the 1970’s

Merry Christmas Darling: Carpenters’ Christmas, the special holiday version of We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered, the definitive celebration of the seminal brother and sister duo the Carpenters in words and music, begins a holiday season run of shows with a return to the Celebrity Theatre at Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort in Laughlin, Nevada immediately after Thanksgiving.  Playing November 28 through December 2 at the famed resort and casino, Merry Christmas Darling: Carpenters’ Christmas is based around the Carpenters’ iconic Christmas albums.

Led by singer Michelle Berting Brett and accompanied by a live, seven-piece Nashville band directed by Harry Sharpe, the show re-creates the Carpenters’ original sound, presenting an intimate behind-the-scenes portrait of one of the most successful recording acts of all time.

Merry Christmas Darling: Carpenters’ Christmas follows the format of its parent

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Michelle Berting Brett in “Merry Christmas Darling: Carpenters’ Christmas” (photo by Pierre Gautreau)

We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered in that the history of the Carpenters is told via their iconic songs. For the Christmas presentation, Berting Brett focuses attention on the duo’s Christmas albums and television specials as well as talking about their Christmas experiences.  The festive show includes holiday classics such as “Sleigh Ride,” “The Christmas Song,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Jingle Bells,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Do You Hear What I Hear,” and of course, “Merry Christmas Darling.”

The show’s holiday music is culled from the Carpenters’ Christmas Portrait (1978) and An Old-Fashioned Christmas (released in 1984 after the death of Karen Carpenter). A two-CD set of those two albums was released as the Christmas Collection, making Carpenters’ holiday music an enduring staple of every holiday season. The holiday edition of the show also generously intersperses the Carpenters’ well-known classics, among them “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Close To You” and a rousing medley of the Carpenters’ greatest hits.

The duo of Karen and Richard Carpenter have sold well over 100 million records worldwide, and 2019 will mark the 50th Anniversary of The Carpenters signing with A&M Records and releasing their first album.  The We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered show will be part of that celebration when the show returns to the Downey Theatre in Downey, California, hometown of the Carpenters, on April 25, 2019.

We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered, an intimate behind-the-scenes portrait of the pop music phenomenon that defined an era, has been playing in theatres and showrooms all over the US since 2013.  It grew out of an idea Berting Brett, a farm girl from a musical family in Saskatchewan, conceived after being told repeatedly that she sounded like Karen Carpenter.  Berting Brett, who studied opera and musical theatre and then toured the world in show bands and in her own cabaret shows while based in Toronto, was encouraged by her now-husband, producer Mark Brett, to create a one-woman show based around the Carpenters’ music.  The show played a small club in Toronto with Berting Brett accompanied only by a pianist. That was 2009, and now with this husband and wife team at the helm, the little SRO cabaret show has evolved into a touring production that has now played major showrooms in the U.S.

BroadwayWorld.com said of Brett:  “Michelle Berting Brett is essentially an adult Disney princess with a whole lot of stage presence, and a unique energy while telling their stories and singing their songs,” while music journalist Paul Grein, writing about that show in the Tolucan Times, stated:  “This is an exceptionally well-produced show that does justice to an act whose music has proved to be timeless.”

A CD of We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered, recorded in Nashville, includes performances of the Carpenters’ most memorable songs, among them “Close to You,” “Yesterday Once More,” “Rainy Days & Mondays” and, of course, “We’ve Only Just Begun.” It is available at shows as well as from CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon.

MCD-Carpenters' Christmas 2-Michelle Morrissette (Photographer)

Michelle Berting Brett with 7-piece backing band led by musical director Harry Sharpe performing
“Merry Christmas Darling: Carpenters’ Christmas” (photo by Michelle Morrisette)

“Merry Christmas Darling:  Carpenters’ Christmas”
2018 tour dates:

Wednesday, November 28 – Sunday, December 2 – Don’s Celebrity Theater, Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort, Laughlin, NV
Friday, December 7 – Wolf Den, Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT
Saturday, December 8 – Norwood Theatre, Norwood, MA
Sunday, December 9 – Paramount Hudson Valley Theatre, Peekskill, NY
Saturday, December 15 – Little River Casino,  Manistee, MI
Saturday, December 22 – Blue Water Resort & Casino, Parker, AZ

 “We’ve Only Just Begun:  Carpenters Remembered”
2019 tour dates:

Friday, January 4 – Maltz Jupiter Theatre – Jupiter,  FL
Sunday, January  6 – 2 PM Matinee – Central Park Performing Arts Center – Largo, FL
Wednesday, January 9 & Friday, January 11 – Falany Performing Arts Center, Waleska, GA
Thursday, January 10 – Donald W. Nixon Centre for Performing & Visual Arts, Newnan, GA
Saturday, January 12 – Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center, Evans, GA
Friday, February 15 – Kirby Center, Wilkes Barre, PA
Saturday, April 25, 2019 – Downey Theatre, Downey, CA

For media information, contact:
Sharon Weisz, W3 Public Relations
w3pr@yahoo.com  323-934-2700
www.w3publicrelations.com

Visit:
www.WeveOnlyJustBegunShow.com
www.Facebook.com/WeveOnlyJustBegun
www.Twitter.com/WOJBCarpenters

Video Links:

 

 

 

 

 

Good Bones is the Sophomore Video from Abby Zotz’s Upcoming CD, Local Honey, Releasing Oct. 13, 2018

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Canadian singer-songwriter Abby Zotz contemplates the stories an old house could tell in her second video release from her solo recording, Local Honey. Good Bones, another co-write with long-time collaborator and former Two Roads Home partner, Bryan Williston, has a warm folk-country feel and features her live band with videography and direction by Ryan Osman. 

“The song was inspired by the home of our friend Marney Simmons, a charming and traditional dwelling in Mulgrave, Nova Scotia that overlooks the Strait of Canso and Cape Breton Island,” Abby explains. “My mother’s family is from Belmont NS, and hers was another fine old place. It was easy to let our imaginations roam through time and create snapshots of lives lived within these walls.”

Ryan’s careful attention to detail and the presence of the band create the deep fondness and humour found in real human connection and add depth to the message of the song: “that we stand alone, but within a larger community, and that our bones, like a home’s, must be lived in and loved if we’re to make any sense of this life.”

Join Abby for her very special album release concert for Local Honey at Kingston Road United Church, 975 Kingston Rd, Toronto, ON M4E 1T1 on Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available at: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3603396

abbyzmusic.com

Chairman George lights up the NAC Fourth Stage, Oct. 17-18

Chairman George Greek-Chinese fusion album Bringing the Greek Party to China!
Chairman George lights up the NAC Fourth Stage Oct. 17-18
Local Greek-Chinese fusion master brings the Greek-Chinese party to Ottawa

CD Release Concert for Chairman George’s groundbreaking Greek-Chinese fusion album Bringing the Greek Party to China!. Extravaganza featuring popular Greek songs performed in Mandarin Chinese. Chairman George and his band offer the perfect musical introduction, from one ancient culture to another. It’s a Mediterranean cruise up the Yangtze, and this is the party. Also features Fred Guignion (electric guitars), Yadong Guan (pipa), Ross Murray (drums), Anders Drerup (guitars, electric bass, vox) and Zichan Yang (guzheng).  Ώπα!   干杯!
Local Greek-Chinese fusion master brings the Greek-Chinese party to Ottawa

“Boy, does it work!” — Penguin Eggs

“I am committed to multiculturalism and it is very refreshing and enjoyable to hear the cross-cultural elements… It was very entertaining — Eva Siekierska, member of the Bahai Community of Ottawa

“Possibly barking mad!” — Sing Out!

Canadians do not need to be reminded of the significance of Oct. 17, 2018.

It has been a long time coming.  It has been the subject of discussion and debate at home and abroad. Soon, the wait will be over.

For it is on that date that Ottawa’s internationally acclaimed Chairman George and band will light up the Fourth Stage with the first of two concerts in celebration of the release of the striking album Bringing the Greek Party to China!

A unique concoction that defies musical as well as linguistic constraints, George’s revolutionary collection of toe-tappers spotlights the sound of an artist who would dare play pied piper to a global village. Accompanied by some of the city’s finest players, “Chairman” George Sapounidis boldly lays waste to convention as Greek melodies are married to Mandarin Chinese vocals and traditional folk tunes are reborn as disco dance floor-fillers.

Fusion has never felt so good. Or been so much fun.

The subject of two documentary films, George Sapounidis has long pursued his dream of drawing new sounds from old worlds. He has sung and played Chinese favourites. He has recorded an album of Greek classics. The eccentric Greek-Canadian has indeed brought his party to China, on a series of well-received tours and appearances in front of hundreds of millions on Chinese television. Now, he is bringing it all back home, as Greece and China meet for a two-night musical summit in Ottawa.

The man has his bouzouki at the ready. Moreover, he has a stellar band that includes stalwart locals Fred Guignion, Anders Drerup and Ross Murray alongside Yadong Guan and Zichan Yang. It’s guitars meet guzheng as daring new adventures are forged. With a beat.

The latest Chairman George album has been described as “groundbreaking.” That seems an understatement: George’s new music bores a hole from Ottawa to Beijing. A pipeline, if you will, to bring an unnatural resource to a vast market.

It is a love letter from one ancient culture to another. A marriage of styles and sounds. The New Old World. A trans-Pacific partnership that seems a fair trade.

Prepare for two nights of bouzouki madness at the National Arts Centre’s Fourth Stage, Oct. 17 and 18. Tickets are $35 plus surcharges and are available at the NAC Box Office or through ticketmaster.ca. You may also order by phone at 1-888-991-2787.

Chairman George Official 2018 Music Video ‘Golden Night’

For further details or to set up an interview with Chairman George: info@chairmangeorge.com. chairmangeorge.com

Critically Acclaimed Blues-Rock Guitarist, Songwriter and Vocalist Jim Allchin Announces Prime Blues, His Newest LP, for Release September 21, 2018

Produced by Grammy and Blues Music Award Winner Tom Hambridge and featuring a team of veteran studio and touring professionals including special guests
Bobby Rush and Mike Zito

Jim Allchin Prime Blues

SEATTLE, WA, September 12, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ — Jim Allchin, American guitarist, philanthropist, and a former software executive, is releasing his fourth widely distributed contemporary blues album: Prime Blues. Prime Blues was produced by Producer and Grammy®, ASCAP and Blues Music Award winner Tom Hambridge, whose production credits include: Buddy Guy, Marcia Ball, Susan Tedeschi and James Cotton, among many others.

Prime Blues features 14 new tracks performed by an all-star group of musicians including: bassist Glenn Worf, rhythm guitarists Rob McNelley, Bob Britt and Kenny Greenburg, keyboardist Kevin McKendree, drummer Tom Hambridge, vocalist Mycle Wastman, The Memphis Horns and special guest vocalists Grammy-winner Bobby Rush, and Blues Award winner Mike Zito.

Hambridge stated: “I’m so very proud of this major step forward in Jim’s journey as a Bluesman. We had an absolute blast co-writing some of the songs, planning and recording Prime Blues and we’re anxious for blues fans around the globe to hear these incredible tunes and performances.”

Featured in Apple Music and receiving wide critical acclaim, Allchin’s last LP, Decisions, topped Contemporary Blues and Blues Rock charts for months and was named a Top 20 Blues Rock Album of 2017 by the venerable Roots Music Report (RMR), the number one independent music chart in the world. RMR compiles radio airplay data from radio stations around the globe that play Roots Music and is widely considered a real-time industry barometer.

The reviewers said:
• “Decisions is Jim Allchin’s best release to date!” Blues Bytes Review
• “Lovers of modern blues need to check him out.” Norman Darwen, Blues in the South Review
• “If you decide to hear some great music, here it is!” Smoky Mountain Blues Society
• “Allchin flat out rips!” Rick Bowen, NW Blues

Allchin added: “The title Prime Blues refers to both my love of the blues as well as my love of mathematics. Prime Blues is more concentrated blues than my past albums and at the same time more diverse in terms of style, guitar technique, and guitar tone. Each song tells a story – about an experience, life observation, or my life philosophy in general. I hope you find some of these songs just flat out fun. And about that mathematics reference? Study the grill cloth on the front cover and let us know what you see.”

Prime Blues is widely available from iTunesSpotifyAmazon and the official website, jimallchin.com for digital downloads and CDs.

Founded in 2013, Artisanship Music Nashville is a multimedia production, marketing and distribution company dedicated to uncommonly great music and the artists who love to create and perform for audiences around the globe. We work with both well-established and emerging artists from concept to launch on their musical, entertainment and educational endeavors. Artisanship Music is a proud member of the Americana Music Association, The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, NSAI and ASCAP.

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Abby Zotz Releases ‘Local Honey’, Melodic Pop for a Troubled World

Abby Zotz
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2018

PORT HOPE, ON – Abby Zotz is a singer-songwriter with a penchant for hope, happiness and honesty in a world that seems to be rapidly diminishing in all three. She’ll be bringing her sweet and saucy musical perspective, along with her fabulous band, to Headwaters Community Farm and Education Centre on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. “Headwaters is the perfect location for a soft launch of my new CD, Local Honey,” says Zotz, a resident of Port Hope. “We get to try out all of the new songs, feature some great covers and build on that brilliant sense of community and beauty that the farm offers in spades.”

Zotz has been writing songs and arranging music since her early years in Whitby and then Toronto. An award-winning singer and actor, she is perhaps best known as one-half of the folk pop duo, Two Roads Home, and still writes with long-time pal Bryan Williston. She’s also founder of a cappella trio The MadriGALS and a member of Strings Attached with beloved Wonderful Grand Band fiddler, Jamie Snider. With touches of Joni Mitchell, Sarah Harmer and Sarah McLachlan influencing her vocals and songwriting style, Abby cut her teeth singing everything from pop to folk to renaissance music and plays guitar, ukulele, bodhran and whistles. Her passion for musical variety and her search to find her own voice led her to record Local Honey, a collection of intimate yet relatable tunes infused with rich melody and touches of blues, gospel and folk that explores everything from mature love to struggling immigrant families and bad ass bullies.

“This is my voice, finally and always.”

Abby Zotz and Band Soft Launch for Local Honey
Wednesday August 15, 2018, 7-9 pm
Headwaters Farm
3517 Rowe Road, Cobourg ON
Tickets online at www.headwatersfarm.ca
info@headwatersfarm.ca / 289-829-0343
BYO Lawn Chair and refreshments


Big Hope is the First Video for Abby Zotz’s Upcoming CD, Local Honey,
Releasing Fall 2018

Big Hope is a co-write between Canadian singer-songwriter Abby Zotz and her former Two Roads Home partner Bryan Williston. Inspired by the challenges of a refugee family struggling to re-unite in Canada, it was shot by musician and videographer Joel Saunders. The gorgeous setting in the Scarborough Bluffs area of Toronto reflects the optimism and joy the song is infused with.

“Local Honey is my first solo CD, after 25 years of intense collaboration with other songwriters, singers and choirs,” says Zotz, one-half of former folk-pop due Two Roads Home, and a choral director and song arranger. “The album has its edges for sure, but its main message is hope, happiness and honesty. I refuse to lose sight of these. So Big Hope was the logical choice for a first video.”

Abby had a blast filming this video. It’s been a few years since she’s been in front of a camera – she was an actor for many years as well as a musician, but music ended up paying the bills better – imagine that!  However, it all came back to her easily and Joel’s editing has enriched the look and feel so much.

Watch the video on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/HT-_l73jWC8

For all enquiries, please contact:
Abby Zotz / abby@tworoadshome.com / 647.464.8449

Melodic Folk-pop, Singer-songwriter Abby Zotz Releases Music Video for “Big Hope”

Abby Zotz
Big Hope is the first video for Abby Zotz’s upcoming CD, Local Honey, releasing Sept. 2018

Big Hope is a co-write between Canadian singer-songwriter Abby Zotz and her former Two Roads Home partner Bryan Williston. Inspired by the challenges of a refugee family struggling to re-unite in Canada, it was shot by musician and videographer Joel Saunders. The gorgeous setting in the Scarborough Bluffs area of Toronto reflects the optimism and joy the song is infused with.

Abby had a blast filming this video. It’s been a few years since she’s been in front of a camera – she was an actor for many years as well as a musician, but music ended up paying the bills better – imagine that!  However, it all came back to her easily and Joel’s editing has enriched the look and feel so much.

Join me in congratulating my client Abby Zotz on this beautiful piece of work. I don’t know about you, but these days I feel as if we need Big Hope more than ever.

Hope you enjoy it!!

Learn more about Abby Zotz at abbyzmusic.com.

Canadian Songwriters Honored In US-Based International Songwriting Competition (ISC)

Faouzia

“Knock On My Door“ – Faouzia Ouihya (Faouzia) Carman, MB, Canada – Teen


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
 

Contact: Candace Avery
International Songwriting Competition
615.251.4441
press@songwritingcompetition.com
www.songwritingcompetition.com


Canadian Songwriters Honored In US-Based International Songwriting Competition (ISC)
Judges Include Lorde, Hardwell, Tom Waits, Nancy Wilson (Heart), Ziggy Marley,
Kaskade, The Mavericks, Martie Maguire (Dixie Chicks), Bastille, and More

April 18, 2018 — The International Songwriting Competition (ISC is pleased to announce its 2017 winners. Created in 2002, ISC is widely recognized as the most prestigious and respected songwriting competition in the world and received more than 16,000 entries from almost 140 countries. Prizes include more than $175,000 in cash and merchandise.

The Grand Prize winners this year are Nicholas Miller (better known as Illenium), Annika Wells, Kate Morgan, and Michael Biancaniello for the song “Crawl Outta Love Ft. Annika Wells.” The Grand Prize consists of $25,000 in cash (USD) and over $35,000 in additional prizes.

Winners hail from all over the world (61% of this year’s winners come from outside the USA) and range from talented amateurs to seasoned songwriting veterans. The 23 categories include all genres of contemporary music, from Rock to Pop to Country to R&B/Hip-Hop and more.

Canadian songwriters fared extremely well in ISC, garnering four First Places and three Third Places. Canadian winners also received 39 Honorable Mentions.

“This marks the first time in the competition’s history that Canadian songwriters have scored four First Places in categories,” says Candace Avery, ISC Founder and Director. “It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to write great songs, and ISC is honored to throw the spotlight on these talented Canadian songwriters and their achievements.”

Over the years ISC winners have included: Vance Joy, Bastille, Passenger, Kate Miller-Heidke, Lindsey Stirling, Gotye, The Band Perry, Kasey Chambers, Lupe Fiasco, Rachel Bloom, Gin Wigmore, Kimbra, Gregory Porter, Kehlani, For King & Country, and many more.

For a complete list of ISC 2017 winners and to hear the winning songs, go to: https://www.songwritingcompetition.com/winners.

The complete panel of judges includes:

Recording Artists
Lorde; Tom Waits; Ziggy Marley; American Authors; Nancy Wilson (Heart); Martie Maguire (Dixie Chicks); Booker T. Jones; The Mavericks; Sara Evans; Bastille; Keane; Hardwell; Danilo Perez; James McNally (Afro Celt Sound System); Billy Cobham; Gerald Casale (Devo); Natalie Grant Lee-Phillips; ; Krewella; Matt Nathanson; Amadou & Miriam; John Tibbs; Kaskade; John Mayall; Joe Louis Walker; Nicholas Gunn; Ashwin Batish; Lonnie Liston Smith; Walter Trout; Trilok Gurtu; Tommy Chong; and Tony Joe White.

Industry Executives
Gregg Nadel (President, Elektra Records); Seymour Stein (Chairman/CEO, Sire Records); Daniel Glass (President, Glassnote Records); John Esposito (Chairman/CEO, Warner Music Nashville); John Burk (President, Concord Label Group); Ed Vetri (President, Wind-Up Records); Bruce Iglauer (Founder/President, Alligator Records); Steve Yegelwel (Sr. VP, Island Records); Nate Albert (Executive VP of A&R, Capitol Records); Jacob Edgar (Founder, Cumbancha); Aaron Bay-Schuck (President of A&R, Interscope Records); Mike Easterlin (President, Fueled By Ramen/Roadrunner Records); Josh Bailey (Senior VP of A&R, Word Entertainment); Gordon Kerr (CEO, Black River Entertainment); Richard Stumpf (CEO, Atlas Publishing); Steve Greenberg (CEO, S-Curve Records); Kim Buie (VP of A&R, New West Records); AJ Tobey (Head of A&R, Rough Trade Publishing); Cory Robbins (Founder/President, Robbins Entertainment); Angel Carrasco (Latin Music Consultant); Julie Kertes (Editor/Manager, Hot Diggity Media); Laura Margolin (Publishing, Glassnote Records); Leib Ostrow (Founder/CEO, Music For Little People); Katherine Danes (Co-President, The Children’s Music Network); Claire S. Green (President, Parent’s Choice Foundation); Benjamin Groff (Founder, The Brill Building); Sas Metcalfe (President, Global Creative, Kobalt Music); Golnar Khosrowshahi (President, Reservoir Media Management); Carianne Marshall (Partner, Songs Music Publishing); Tamara Conniff (EVP, Roc Nation); Dara Frank (Head of Comedy Central Records/Viacom); Carl Caprioglio (Founder/CEO, Oglio Entertainment); and Elena Epstein (Director, National Parenting Product Awards).

ISC is sponsored by: AKG By Harman; Berklee College of Music; Celebrity Access; D’Addario; Dark Horse Institute; Disc Makers; Eventric; Gig Salad; JBL Professional by Harman; Lurrsen Mastering; Merch Cat; Musician Wellness; Musician’s Institute; ONErpm; PreSonus; SongU.com; Sweetwater Sound; PAWW Premium Sound; and Tunedly.

Entries are now open for the 2018 competition. For more information and to enter, go to http://www.songwritingcompetition.com.

For low-res photos of all winners, go to http://www.songwritingcompetition.com/winners

For high-res photos, please contact Candace Avery at press@songwritingcompetition.com

The list of 2017 Canadian winners is as follows:

First Place Winners

“Knock On My Door“ – Faouzia Ouihya (Faouzia)
Carman, MB, Canada – Teen

Born in Morocco and raised in the Canadian prairies, Faouzia is a young artist who is wowing audiences and industry alike with her contemporary pop hooks and heart-wrenching lyrics, not to mention a voice that is truly distinctive with a huge range, taking on subtle trills and stylings. Her first single “Knock On My Door” found its way onto regular rotation at Canadian radio, and the follow up “My Heart’s Grave” is already seeing adds in both Canada and her native Morocco. Already a multiple award winner in ISC, as well as the Grand Prize winner of the 2017 Unsigned Only Music Competition, Faouzia is an up-and-coming artistic force whose star just keeps shining brighter.

“Sheep“ – Darrelle London
Toronto, ON, Canada – Children’s Music

A piano pop singer/songwriter, Darrelle London is known for her clever quirkiness and has performed at festivals such as Lilith Fair, Canadian Music Week, Pop Overthrow, and more. She was named the Toronto Lilith Talent Search winner and the BellMedia Emerging Artist. London has attracted some celebrity supporters along the way, including fellow Canadian songstress Chantal Kreviazuk who discovered her music and collaborated with her on several songs for London’s album Eat A Peach. The celebrity blogger Perez Hilton has also been a vocal champion of her music. Her latest album is a lullaby EP entitled Sing To The Moon.

“This Little Light“ – Jaylene Johnson
Winnipeg, MB, Canada – Christian

Jaylene Johnson, is a singer/songwriter based in Winnipeg, MB. Her song, “Fallin'” took second place in the ISC last year in the Christian category. Her work has been heard on network TV shows including “Pretty Little Liars”, “So You Think You Can Dance”, and “Degrassi: The Next Generation”. Co-written songs have been recorded by artists including JJ Heller, ‪Amy Sky, Brian Doerksen and ‪Luke McMaster among others. Her most recent album, Potter & Clay, was nominated for a Juno Award, a Western Canadian Music Award, and several Covenant Awards. Two of her songs earned songwriting trophies at the Covenant Awards this year.

“Untouchable“ – Dylan Edward Roberts (King Dylan)
Calgary, AB, Canada – Music Video

The winner of the Music Video category for his stop-motion animation video of the song  “Untouchable,” King Dylan (the King didn’t give himself that name – it was written in his high school yearbook) is best described as if Blink 182 had a lovechild with Eminem and Lady Gaga’s backup dancers. This one-man machine has performed live for thousands across Canada and released a handful of albums and music videos. Previously he played bass guitar in the hard Rock band Broken Ride (Regional Radio Star winners 2013), performed in and produced the hip hop group The DC Show, and played piano for the band Lost In Film at CMW 2014. Dylan has also just finished a new full-length album featuring “Untouchable” and eleven other hard-hitting tracks. The award-winning video utilized over 4,000 photos of legos taken over the course of 450+ hours.

Third Place Winners

“Backroads” – Jimmy Zee (The Jimmy Zee Band) – Vancouver, BC, Canada – Blues

“Never Have Time” – Jared Salte, Bethany Salte (The Royal Foundry) – Sherwood Park, AB, Canada – Rock

“Tequila” – Johnny Simmen, Hunter Leath, Matt McGinn – Toronto, ON, Canada – Country

Honorable Mentions

“A Flat Miner” – Troy Kokol – Calgary, AB, Canada – Comedy/Novelty
“Ambition” – Soul – Toronto, ON, Canada – R&B/Hip-Hop
“Ask Too Much Ft. Spence Holden” – Spencer Heaslip, Spence Milne-O’Neil (Taabu) –  Dundas, ON, Canada – EDM (Electronic Dance Music)
“Baby, I Understand” – Kat Goldman – Toronto, ON, Canada – Folk/Singer-Songwriter
“Beautiful Thing” – Aaron Buchholz, Ian Eskelin – Langley, BC, Canada – Christian
“Booger Song” – Tim Machin (Sing Along Tim And The Pacifiers) – Toronto, ON, Canada – Children’s Music
“Campfire ” – Dinah Desrochers, Aaron Cadwaladr, Phil Wipper, Jocelyn Hallett (The Kerplunks) – Gabriola Island, BC, Canada – Children’s Music
“Chills” – James Barker, Donovan Woods, Travis Wood, Gavin Slate (James Barker Band) – Toronto, ON, Canada – Country
“Ciento Viente” – Roman Smirnov – Newmarket, ON, Canada – Instrumental
“Don’t Give Up” – Maggie Szabo, Stefan Lit, Chaz Mason – Dundas, ON, Canada – Pop/Top 40
“Eleven! ” – Dylan Bell, Ed Hanley, Suba Sankaran (Autorickshaw) – Toronto, ON, Canada – Children’s Music
“Fall In Love Again” – Chris Graham, Mikalyn Hay (Xtro And Mikalyn Hay) – Toronto, ON, Canada – Teen
“Firetruck Firetruck” – John Donnelly (Rockin’ Robin And The Magical Tree) – Delta, BC, Canada – Children’s Music
“Freedom” – Ariana Gillis – Vineland, ON, Canada – Folk/Singer-Songwriter
“Gamblin Man” – Richard Tichelman – Surrey, BC, Canada – Teen
“Good Thing Go” – Powell Peebles, Brett Sheroky, Andy Wills (Powell Peebles) – North Vancouver, BC, Canada – Country
“House On Fire” – Don Oriolo, Jason Gleed, Chris Bolger – Toronto, ON, Canada – Rock
“I Don’t Want To Lose You” – Luca Fogale – Burnaby, BC, Canada – Performance
“Knock On My Door” – Faouzia Ouihya (Faouzia) – Carman, MB, Canada – Unsigned Only
“Lay It Down” – Jordan St. Cyr, Jaylene Johnson, Ben Calhoun, Taylor Watson – Niverville, MB, Canada – Christian
“Love It Up” – Tyler Lorette, Roberta Quilico – Courtice, ON, Canada – Performance
“Lowdown” – Matt Zimbel, Doug Wilde (Manteca) – Toronto, ON, Canada – Instrumental
“Move On Down
The Track” – Spencer Mackenzie, Rich Mackenzie (Spencer Mackenzie) – Ridgeway, ON, Canada – Blues
“My Heart’s Grave” – Faouzia Ouihya (Faouzia) – Carman, MB, Canada – Pop/Top 40
“My Heart’s Grave” – Faouzia Ouihya (Faouzia) – Carman, MB, Canada – Teen
“Nosotros” – Christopher Alexander Gaitan Valencia (Ness El Digital) – Montreal, QC, Canada – Latin Music
“Roses” – Gus McMillan, Robyn Dell’Unto – (Gus McMIllan) – Toronto, ON, Canada – AC (Adult Contemporary)
“Sanctuary City” – Cat Toren (Cat Toren’s HUMAN KIND) – Vancouver, BC, Canada – Jazz
“Sing For Kwanzaa” – Chris McKhool, Richard Bona (Sultans Of String) – Toronto, ON, Canada – World Music
“Summer” – Paula Eve Kirman – Edmonton, AB, Canada – Lyrics Only
“Temptation” – Debra Power – Airdrie, AB, Canada – Blues
“The Pee Song” – Jason Gleed (Redd Butts ) – Toronto, ON, Canada – Comedy/Novelty
“This Little Light” – Jaylene Johnson – Winnipeg, MB, Canada – Unpublished
“Three Words” – Sara Diamond, Austin Tecks, Noah Barer (Sarah Diamond) – Montreal, QC, Canada – Unpublished
“Unsure” – Sara Diamond, Austin Tecks, Noah Barer (Sarah Diamond) – Montreal, QC, Canada    – Unsigned Only
“Untouchable” – Dylan Edward Roberts (King Dylan) – Calgary, AB, Canada – Unsigned Only
“What’s A Boy Gotta Do” – Sean Thomas – Langley, BC, Canada – Teen
“When You Think No One Loves You ” – David Leask, Daryl Burgess (David Leask) – Mississauga, ON, Canada – Performance
“Worth It” – Wes Mason – Rockwood, ON, Canada – AC (Adult Contemporary)

###

In Conversation with Wayne Byrne, Author of The Cinema of Tom DiCillo: Include Me Out

Title: The Cinema of Tom DiCillo: Include Me Out
Author:  Wayne Byrne
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Released: September 2017
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9780231185356

The Cinema of Tom DiCillo

As the author of this insightful and entertaining book, he delves in deep and comes up with the goods. Through his conversations with Tom we see the thought processes and strategies on each of his films, his hopes and frustrations, and everything in between. One thing about Tom, he doesn’t hold back. We also hear from many of Tom’s collaborators, and he has worked with some of the best in this business.

In short, this wonderful book details the ultimate triumphant journey of one of independent cinema’s smartest, funniest and fiercest warriors. ~ Steve Buscemi


As a long-time fan of the award-winning, independent, New York filmmaker and recording artist, I was very excited to be among the first readers of Wayne Byrne’s well-written, fascinating, detailed analysis of The Cinema of Tom DiCillo.  Irish author Wayne Byrne’s book is comprised of a series of essays about each of DiCillo’s eight films – Johnny Suede, Living in Oblivion, Box of Moonlight, The Real Blonde, Double Whammy, Delirious, When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors, and Down in Shadowland – embellished with insider insight from some of the films’ stars.

Wayne, congratulations on your auspicious debut as a writer! I read somewhere that you never intended to be a writer, so how was it that you became one?

Thank you, Christine.  It’s such a great feeling whenever I hear those words.  It reminds me that the book is a real thing.  I’m getting used to the thrill of walking into a book store and seeing it on the shelf.

What I meant by that reference to never intending to be a writer was that I never consciously set out to become one, in the sense that I never said, “I would love to be a  writer when I grow up,” nor ever pursued it academically.  It just wasn’t on my radar when wondering what to do with myself.  I always thought writers were Ivy League academic types, an exclusive club that I would never be privy to, and my not being academically inclined meant it was just never a consideration.

I wrote this book out of necessity.  I wanted to own a book on Tom DiCillo and for that to happen I had to write it myself.  That is the essence of the “accidental writer” quote you are referring to.

Even though writing is now my life, there’s an element of accident, or perhaps fate, to my professional breakthroughs.  At some stage many years ago, I started writing my own movie reviews for nothing other than the fun of cataloging what I was watching.  At the suggestion of my friend I submitted this massive portfolio of amateur scribbling to the editor of a newspaper just for the sake of doing something with them.  I didn’t think anything would come of it, and looking back on those writings now, I’m surprised something did.  The editor replied to set up a meeting with me.  So, I went in and he pretty much hired me then and there as their film critic and columnist.  I couldn’t believe it!  I did that for two years, before the Arts pages were cut from the paper to allow for more advertising inches.  But it was the springboard for my professional writing career.

I’m currently a music journalist, again not something I intentionally set out to do.  I was asked by the editor of a highly-regarded magazine here in Ireland called Hot Press if I would be interested in joining them as a regular contributor.  This was after I had sold to them what I thought was a one-off freelance piece that I wrote about a musician friend of mine.  I’ve been an avid reader of that magazine for twenty years so it’s very exciting to now be part of it.  What an honor to be asked to join them.

I’m familiar with Hot Press as I’ve been to Ireland three times and read it while I was there. It’s an excellent magazine! I think that being a music journalist is possibly one of the coolest jobs in the world. Do you still have fun with it or is it simply work?

Oh I absolutely have fun. Of course there are occasions where you don’t necessarily like a band that you are reviewing, either live or their album, or you’re not familiar with an artist that you have to interview, but you have to be fair and diligent and go do your homework and have some context going in.  Often I end up very surprised that I like an album that I would normally have reservations about.  If I’m unfamiliar with a band who I’m reviewing I will often go and listen to their back catalogue.  But yes, I am fully aware of how cool a job it is.  Getting paid to go to a Morrissey concert or listen to the new Weezer album?  Hell yes!  But it is an important magazine and I treat it as such, with absolute professionalism.

Can you speak to your process as a writer? Where do you like to write? Do you listen to music when you’re writing?

My process has certainly changed over time, having become busier and juggling various writing jobs. When I began writing The Cinema of Tom DiCillo, I wasn’t under any contract, I had no publishing deal, and so I had no deadline.  While there was a certain level of uncertainty there in not knowing if all of this work was ever going to be published or not, it also gave me complete freedom of time and effort.  It allowed me to write the book I truly wanted to write.  It meant I could wait for people to become free to interview them.  If a very busy actor said they could talk to me in two months that was fine, I would wait, rather than having to move on without them.  Only when I was ready and happy with my book, and had satisfactorily covered everything I wanted to, did I say, “it’s finished!”  It took me nearly five years, from developing the idea, research, interviews, writing, editing, getting a publishing deal, proofreading the final text, arranging the illustrative materials, coordinating all the Interview Release Forms, and then seeing it published.

It sounds like a long time, but it is time-consuming, especially in wanting it to be of an extremely high quality and a definitive study of Tom’s work, and I was also learning to become a writer as I wrote.  I have no formal training and I’ve never taken a class on writing or literature; I learned as I was doing it.  I don’t know if that would work for everyone, but it worked for me.  And after it was finished, I submitted the manuscript to some publishing houses and there weren’t too many people I sent it to before I got the reply that I wanted.  I knew I wanted to sign with Columbia because they own Wallflower Press, an imprint that has released some of the absolute best books on films and directors.  It was the company I had always wished would release a book on Tom DiCillo. And now they have, but I wrote it, which is still surreal to me.

I tend to write exclusively, at home. If I don’t have my easy chair by the fireplace, then I don’t write. I don’t listen to music while working on the books, but when I’m writing about a specific film I will have it playing in the background, so I can jump in at any time to analyze a particular scene for any number of reasons: thematically, aesthetically, technically.

But when writing for the magazine I do listen to music, because I have to if I’m discussing a particular album or song, and so I will inevitably end up hearing something, some small musical flourish or nuance in a song that I didn’t hear upon first listen but I can now work it into the article or review.

One thing that you and I have in common is that we have both met Tom DiCillo and have had the pleasure of getting to know him. How did you initially meet Tom and how long did you know him before you decided to write a book about his films?

My first contact with Tom was just as a fan, contributing conversation to his blog posts. Soon enough I had cause to contact him in a professional capacity to request an interview for the release of When You’re Strange, as I was writing about it in my coverage of various film festivals.  The idea for the book came about a year into being acquainted with Tom personally, having written him several times and covered his work for various publications.  It was during this period that I mentioned to Tom that I had wanted to buy a book on his work for many years but all I could find were some career overviews in film encyclopedias and reference books; no books wholly devoted to him.  So, at some stage I put forward the idea that I wanted to write the first book on his career.

As Tom is my favorite director, I knew I was in this rare position of being able to talk to him and pick his brain.  Before I began the actual work I experienced some moments of insecurity, not knowing a single thing about how to write a book, and I started questioning how you go about doing that – do you have to go to college to be a writer? How do you become a published author?  I really didn’t know how the whole system of professional writing worked.  But when Tom gave me his blessing and support it encouraged me to just go for it, to write it and worry about becoming published later.

How difficult was it to gain access to the actors that you interviewed for the book?

Not difficult at all, thankfully, for 99% of them.  In almost all cases Tom introduced me personally to the actor and we talked and arranged everything between us.  Brad Pitt was a different story.  There was a team of “people” I had to maneuver through. I would get some positive responses such as “Brad is considering it but is very busy at the moment and will get back to you.”  This went on for a period of time and at this stage I was close to finishing the book.  I felt it was just about ready, so spending more time waiting on responses from people was starting to drag the whole endeavor out.  I asked once more, stating that I needed to know if Brad was in or out because I had to finish the book and they came back and said Brad had, after carefully considering it, decided he could not contribute at that time.  While it wasn’t the answer I would have liked, especially after the kernels of hope I had received, I appreciated that it was at least a firm answer.

Who would you say provided you with the most detailed insight into Tom’s process as a filmmaker, aside from Tom?

It’s hard to name any one person.  Everyone brought their own great insights into Tom, but Catherine Keener, Steve Buscemi, and Chris Noth gave me perhaps the most detailed account of what Tom is like as a person and as a filmmaker, because they have either worked with him a lot or have known him for a long time.  In the case of Chris Noth, he and Tom’s friendship goes back to their acting class and cater-waiting days in the early-eighties.  Chris gave me so much insight.  We spoke at length about their very long friendship, reminiscing about the old days of trying to make it in movies in New York in the 1980s, and their time working together on Law & Order.  Likewise, Steve Buscemi has known Tom since around that time as well and so there’s a great history there between them.

What was the most surprising thing that you learned about him?

It was fascinating to discover the intimate details of his life before the films and the fame: his background, his family life, his influences, his world view, and the relationships created early on with other artists.  It was those more personal moments that were revelatory, and very interesting and rewarding to me as a writer.  No detail was too minor or superfluous.  It all added up to help me create what I hope is a definitive work of this great artist.

I believe your book is the definitive work about Tom DiCillo.

I really appreciate that, Christine. I’m happy to have written something that would be considered Wayne Byrnedefinitive, but I also always look forward to any other film commentators or scholars writing about Tom, I would always be interested to hear of other people’s opinions on the films, maybe spotting something I didn’t see or analyzing something from a different perspective.  The great thing about any arts criticism is that it’s completely subjective.  Every person brings their own personal history and sensibilities to their experience of a work that makes it exclusively their own. What I see in Tom’s work could be completely different to what another writer sees, and I would always be interested to hear what other people see in his work.

I find it difficult to pick a favorite of Tom’s films, can you?

It depends on what day of the week it is.  I find it hard to pick one favorite, but I do know the ones I connect most immediately with for different reasons.  Johnny Suede will always be the most important film for me, so it is probably my personal favorite, as it was the film that opened my eyes to cinema.  It’s because of that film that we’re having this interview.  While Living In Oblivion is perhaps the definitive DiCillo film, being so perfect in every way, and being released at the time it was, it’s such a crucial piece of American Independent Cinema.  But, objectively speaking, I do think that Delirious is a frontrunner as his best work.

That said, I have programmed Tom’s films at many events (festivals, clubs, etc.) and the film that most people tell me is their favorite is Box of Moonlight.  Something about that film really clicks with audiences.  What Al Fountain (John Turturro) experiences in that film is probably something many people experience in their lives at some point, and Tom pulls it off with such cinematic skill, a deft surrealist aesthetic, and with great humor and pathos, those elements which are so distinctly DiCillo.

I agree with you about Delirious.

It’s a masterpiece. It has such a vital energy, such a range of emotion, and a stunning command of style. Tom was really firing on all cylinders on that one; the performances speak for themselves, and it has some of the best scenes of Tom’s entire catalogue.  For me it is easily the best American film of the last decade. Certainly it’s my favorite film to come out since Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut.

For me, one of the things I enjoyed the most about your book was that you elaborated on the themes that run throughout Tom’s films. Can you reiterate those themes for my readers?

Yes, of course.  It is one of the main objectives of the book, to acknowledge and analyze the crucial and relevant themes that run throughout Tom’s films.  I have always been very unsatisfied with critical commentary of Tom’s work, because very few, if any, acknowledge the themes at the heart of the films.  Rather, they look to the immediate context of satire, trying to pick up on sly digs here and there at these venerated institutions, painting Tom as purely an iconoclast.  And that’s fine, but there is so much more to Tom’s films than that.  I think a lot of critics overlook the pathos of Tom’s work.

Look at the thread of familial discord that runs through from Johnny Suede right up to Down in Shadowland.  Even When You’re Strange, a film about The Doors, shares many of the same themes as other DiCillo films, such as the illusion of fame, the fragility of ego, identity crises, the severed connection of family and the toll that takes on someone.  It’s amazing that all of these ideas remain present in a documentary ostensibly about one of the biggest rock bands of the last fifty years. Because of Tom’s ability to weave these deeply personal themes throughout, the film becomes less an objective biography of a band, but, for those familiar with DiCillo and his work, a very intimate portrait of two artists: Jim Morrison and Tom DiCillo.

You’re so right!  That’s something I’ve never been able to put into words, but you’ve nailed it. When You’re Strange is how I first connected with Tom so it will always have a special place in my heart as a result, but I also happen to be a big Doors fan.

I was very familiar with The Doors but never a “fan”.  But, testament to the power of Tom’s film, I am now a fan.  I now deeply admire their mysterious style of music and their prodigious musicianship.  I love the whole social and political historical context that was going on around them, which makes them a fascinating band to write about. The chapter on When You’re Strange is one of my favorite chapters in the book.  I interviewed drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger for it, which is a pretty cool thing, to have those guys in there.

I love that you mention how wonderfully eclectic the soundtrack to Box of Moonlight (Wall of Voodoo, Peter Murphy, Nick Cave) is as it was a highlight for me.  One of the things that so attracted me to Tom’s personal music project, The Black and Blue Orkestre, was how his musical influences resonated throughout their first album. Tom’s taste in music really endeared me to him. Do you feel the same way?

Tom’s involvement in music is very important to me and to our friendship.  We have spent a lot of time working on music together.  I played guitar and piano on the Black and Blue Orkestre track In Your Dreams.  I’m very proud of it.  It was very exciting working with Tom on vocals and the actor Kevin Corrigan on bass – my job was made easier working with such skilled performers.  I love Tom’s voice and the sonic universe that he creates.  It just makes you want to grab the guitar and start recording, it’s so inspiring.

Tom’s use of music in his films is also wonderful, it is so crucial to the tone and atmosphere that he creates.  And the fact that he uses some of my favorite bands – such as those you just mentioned – just sweetens the deal.

I had no idea that you played guitar and piano on In Your Dreams!  That’s fantastic! I can’t wait for Tom to release the new songs that he’s recording with The Black and Blue Orkestre. Have you collaborated with him on any of them?

Thank you, I appreciate that. Yes, that song is pretty amazing.  I love how Tom mixed that song, it sounds terrific.  I have worked on a number of tunes, but I’m not sure what songs will end up on the next release, as this is Tom’s project and I just came in and did some guitar.  I like that session player aspect of working with the bones of a track, fleshing out the sound and my work is done.  Tom then does his production and engineering work on it and I just look forward to hearing the finished version just like any other fan.

Who are some of your favorite recording artists?

Music is a big part of me.  I love everything from 1930s dance bands, to 60s surf music, to 80s pop, to hardcore punk.  I’m inspired by every kind of music.  If you are over at my house for dinner or a beer, you could hear anything from The Circle Jerks to Slim Whitman to John Denver to Madonna.  I’ve started collecting vinyl, so I’m going back to albums I really love and relishing the great sound of records, so I’ve recently been listening to the first two albums from Bruce Hornsby and The Range (The Way It Is and Scenes from the Southside), Heartbeat City by The Cars, Lives in the Balance by Jackson Browne, Diesel and Dust by Midnight Oil, Court and Spark by Joni Mitchell.

I know I probably sound like some nostalgic dinosaur pining for my lost youth, when there is a whole world of new music out there, but I hear enough of the new stuff in my job writing for Hot Press (legendary Irish music magazine), so when I’m home and relaxing I tend to listen to the albums that continue to thrill and comfort.  I’m tragically unhip when it comes to music – I just like what I like.

My favorite albums would include:

Tango in the Night by Fleetwood Mac
Midnight to Midnight by The Psychedelic Furs
Déjà vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Book of Love by Book of Love
Heaven on Earth by Belinda Carlisle
Candy Apple Grey by Husker Du
Heaven or Las Vegas by The Cocteau Twins
In My Tribe by 10,000 Maniacs
Famous Monsters by The Misfits
Straight to Goodbye by Pale Divine

Wow, that’s an eclectic collection of favorite albums, but I love it!  If it’s any consolation, I’m probably just as tragically unhip when it comes to music because I still love listening to 70s and 80s music the most but maybe that’s the same for everyone who came of age in a certain time period.  The music of our youth remains special to us forever.  Are you familiar with The Tragically Hip who are from my hometown of Kingston, Ontario? I couldn’t resist slipping that in here…

Yes absolutely, I am a great admirer of The Tragically Hip.  Road Apples is a great album, and I absolutely love Small Town Bringdown EP – which has, for me, some of their best songs – Small Town Bringdown, Last American Exit, I’m a Werewolf Baby…just sublime! The production is fantastic, very much of that late-80s era. Just sublime!  You must have been able to see them live during those times, which would have been great.

What has writing this book taught you about filmmaking and The Arts in general?

That I know almost nothing about filmmaking.  I am truly in awe of filmmakers. They’re part of my intense interest in the subject of cinema.  Yes, I detailed a lot of the production methods and behind the scenes activity of Tom’s films, but filmmaking is still a mystery to me, and I hope it always is a mystery.  I want whatever magic is conjured in creating the art to remain elusive.  I want to retain some of that awe that was instilled in me upon seeing Masters of the Universe in the movie theatre when I was four.

I do sometimes ask the question of myself, “Who am I to write about or teach film?”  I have never been on a film set.  I have never acted or directed.  All I can offer are my opinions and thoughts on the films, back it up with some words from those who were there and have actually made the films, and then try and edit it into some kind of legible or readable context.  That, really, is my job.  I’m just spreading the word about movies and artists I love.  I consider myself less a writer and more a proactive fan.

Of the Arts in general, writing this book has made me appreciate the dedication of every other writer who takes the time to write about a subject that fascinates them, no matter what discipline they work in, because their passion fuels the passion of others.  I hope my book fills the gap on the shelf that Tom DiCillo fans have been waiting to fill, and I hope it inspires others in the way that other film commentators have inspired me.

Who or what will your next book be about?

This has taken a lot of people by surprise, because it’s a completely different cinematic universe to that which I cover in The Cinema of Tom DiCillo, but my next book will be on Burt Reynolds.

Some people think that because you love art films and write about independent cinema that you wouldn’t have any time for the kind of stuff that Burt Reynolds is known for, but I always ask, “well, what do you know of Burt?” and the answer is inevitably Deliverance, Smokey and the Bandit, and The Cannonball Run.  They aren’t aware of or haven’t seen the eighty other films he has made, some of which are simply fantastic works of cinema. Reynolds has worked with some of the greatest directors, and to name just a few of the brilliant films he has starred in with these filmmakers: Hustle (by Robert Aldrich), Starting Over (by Alan J. Pakula), Breaking In (by Bill Forsyth), At Long Last Love (Peter Bogdanovich), Navajo Joe (by Sergio Corbucci), Semi-Tough (by Michael Ritchie), White Lightning (by Joseph Sargeant).

My writing process on this one is completely different to that of The Cinema of Tom DiCillo.  On that book I spent five years writing about eight films.  On the Burt Reynolds book, I have one year to write about eighty films and several entire TV shows, the major ones that Burt starred in, which means Riverboat, Gunsmoke, Hawk, Dan August, B.L. Stryker, and Evening Shade.  And I couldn’t be happier, but it means I am extremely busy. There’s a lot of people to interview, a lot of films to analyze and write about, and I still have my bill-paying day and night jobs (librarian and journalist) to keep me busy.  So when I’m not in work I’m still at work.

Will it be published by Columbia University Press?

No, this book isn’t the kind of thing that Columbia would go for.  Columbia is really focused on publishing works on contemporary, influential directors who are presently relevant throughout the entire spectrum of World Cinema, and whose work has immediate academic currency, all of which applies to Tom DiCillo.  Burt Reynolds, however, doesn’t necessarily fall into those categories because he hasn’t directed a film in nearly two decades, is mainly celebrated for his acting work rather than his directing, and some people might not see the “academic” value of my writing about Cop and a Half or Smokey and the Bandit II.

My Burt Reynolds book needed a publisher who understands and shares my perspective on Burt Reynolds; that he is one of the truly great American film stars and an enduring icon of US cinema. There is something absolutely compelling about him every moment he is on the screen, and he’s one of the few actors left who you can genuinely call a living legend.  As a book of film history and film criticism it will benefit from Reynolds’ prolific and expansive work which spans many important movements through American film history, going from the Golden Age studio system of the late 50s, through the New Hollywood of the 60s and 70s, to the blockbuster world of the 80s, and indie cinema of the 90s and up to today. For this book I’ve already been talking to some great directors, cinematographers, and actors – some truly fascinating people.

I signed with a distinguished publisher who have an amazing catalogue of film books to their name and who immediately understood what I wanted to do and shared my enthusiasm for the man.  They also saw the gap in the market for a book on Burt Reynolds’ actual films because while there have been books on him in the past, they were more concerned with his personal life.  I have no interest in his personal life, but I absolutely love his films.  He’s probably my favorite movie star, alongside John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Doris Day, Steve Buscemi, and Dennis Hopper.

I’ve definitely enjoyed some of Burt Reynolds’ work that I’ve seen but I’m sure that after I read your new book, I’ll want to revisit his work.  I’ll look forward to that!

Thanks Christine! Yeah, I hope it encourages people to check out his work which has gone under the radar or is simply forgotten.  It’s also a celebration of and tribute to this great figure of cinema and his vast body of work, as well as an opportunity to appreciate the art of the films.  Burt has recurrently worked with some of the finest cinematographers, such as William A. Fraker, Nick McLean Sr., Vilmos Zsigmond, to name just a few.  You don’t read much technical and aesthetic analysis of many of Burt’s films, and so that’s partly what I’m doing.

I think I could talk to you for days, Wayne, but I should probably end our conversation here. Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me and for sharing your passions with my readers.

It was my pleasure, Christine.  I hope people enjoy the book and go out and watch Tom DiCillo films. That’s really what it’s all about.