Sultans of String Release Official Music Video for “Will You Marry Me”

Award-winning world music super group Sultans of String have just released their brand new video for the Chris McKhool penned “Will You Marry Me”, the proposal song he wrote for his lovely wife Catherine who appears in the video with their beautiful young daughter, River. Not only is this the perfect proposal song but I think it’s the perfect song for a first dance at a wedding too. Unabashedly romantic, this is certainly one of Sultans of String’s finest!

 

Toronto, Markham, Oshawa- Mark your calendars!Sultans of String Live with Ontario Philharmonic

Friday, November 28, 2014 – 8pm
with the Ontario Philharmonic
Regent Theatre
50 King St E, Oshawa
http://www.ontariophil.ca/
905-579-6711

Saturday, November 29, 2014 – 8pm
with the Ontario Philharmonic
Flato Markham Theatre
171 Town Centre Blvd, Markham
http://tinyurl.com/q8ac9st
905-579-6711

Thursday, December 4, 2014 – 8pm
Sultans and Divas
Koerner Hall
273 Bloor St W, Toronto
http://performance.rcmusic.ca/event/sultans_divas
416-408-0208 $35+

First up, two shows with the amazing Ontario Philharmonic performing the songs from their 2014 multiple award winning album, “Symphony!”, at Oshawa’s Regent Theatre on November 28 and Flato Markham Theatre on November 29.

I used to play classical violin in the youth symphony orchestras. I really love that sound and one of the things that I like to do with Sultans of String is lead us in different directions so that we can explore different sides of our musical selves. I thought it would be a really fantastic musical exploration to hear those world music grooves and rhythms and melodies with the majesty and the glory of the symphony orchestra. There really is nothing like it! ~ Chris McKhool

 

Then Sultans of String perform a collaborative concert with a whole team of heavy hitters in “Sultans & Divas – Discoveries in Canadian Arab Performing Arts” at Toronto’s Koerner Hall, December 4, 2014. The Canadian Arab Institute is co-producing this glittering cultural event featuring a dynamic assortment of opera, world music, literature and dance.

Sultans and Divas at Koerner HallAward-winning singer and actress Julie Nesrallah will perform Arab-inspired arias; critically acclaimed soprano Miriam Khalil will offer renditions of the legendary Fairuz; the Montreal orchestra OktoEcho, appearing for the first time in Toronto, will perform their own brilliant blend of East-West sounds; and Juno-nominated Sultans of String will deliver their joyful and liberating fusion music.

Quotes

“A new fusion of roots and classical…the results are mind blowing.  Even though the instrumentation is different, you get the feeling this is Strunz & Farah or Willie & Lobo or Gypsy Kings taken to the next level of the game, sometimes all at once… any fan of world beat or contemporary instrumental music is sure to absolutely flip for this gem.  Hot stuff throughout and a sure bet to notch a Juno and any other award winning hardware to come its way.“ ~ Midwest Record, Chicago 

“What this band does is not only good fun, it’s stocked wall-to-wall with irresistible international musics – gypsy jazz classics, flamenco music, Inuit melody, ukulele raveups, visiting musicians from the Chieftains…Lebanese music, you name it. If it’s got strings and fingerboards, count them in. What they never forget to provide, though, is enough melodic charm to beguile almost anyone. The large orchestra certainly does give them gravitas but, on their own, they’ve got as much charm as they need.” ~ Buffalo News 

 

Glenn McFarlane Releases New CD “Music and Friends” Available October 10th, 2014

Glenn McFarlaneFor Immediate Release:
October 9, 2014

[Brampton ON]
Brampton Folk Club President and long-time member of the Celtic and East Coast duo Brown Ale, Glenn McFarlane, is proud and excited to be releasing his second solo CD. As the title implies, “Music and Friends” is a collection of original songs celebrating two things that are very important to him. The songs are fun and lively folk songs that reflect his East Coast roots, along with strong elements of country, folk-rock and world music, with an underlying theme of camaraderie throughout the album. Like his last release “Food for Thought”, the CD was engineered and co-produced by Wendell Ferguson, James Gordon and Jon Grant, to better capture the diverse musical styles on the album.

Also reflective of the CD title is the long list of special guests on the album, which includes Ferguson, Gordon, Grant, his Brown Ale bandmate Les Smith, his brother Keith McFarlane, Jason LaPrade, Don Ablett, Peter Jellard, Alec Fraser, Mike Shotten, Mark Rolland, and two large groups of backup singers. Some of these guests appear in cartoon form on the album cover in a jam session.

To help launch the album, Glenn has released a YouTube video of his song “Offense Scores, Defense Wins Games”. Arranged for commercial country stations, the song is a light-hearted country-rocker, about what it takes to win, regardless of sport. Another song, “Let’s Talk New Brunswick!” was released last year with a video collage of photos taken in Glenn’s native province. Many of the photos were shot during his “Prodigal Son(g)s Tour” last year, where he sang songs about New Brunswick in New Brunswick, even performing on New Brunswick Day. (A song documenting the tour is included on the CD.) Both YouTube videos can be accessed through his new and improved website www.glennmcfarlane.ca, under the Videos page. Samples of all songs, as well as their lyrics are also posted.

Glenn is celebrating his CD release with a series of concerts in Southern Ontario. He will be performing all shows with his brother Keith on percussion and backing vocals. Keeping in the spirit of the CD, he will be joined by special guests on some of these shows. For example, his Celteclectic bandmates Les Smith and Jon Grant will join him at the November 1st concert in Brampton. Other guests include finger style guitarist Don Ablett (who performs on the album) and Steve Kossen, who organizes a popular open stage event in Bolton.

For more information, please visit Glenn’s website at www.glennmcfarlane.ca.


“Music and Friends” – Track Listing

1          It’s a Beautiful Day for a Beer – up-tempo country song about summer long weekends

2          Come See the Stars – romantic acoustic folk waltz

3          Middle Aged and Overweight – whimsical up-tempo acoustic country piece

4          Offense Scores, Defense Wins Games – hard driving country rocker

5          I Am the Kyle – slow dramatic accordion based song about a Newfoundland steamship

6          Let’s Talk New Brunswick! – high energy “Maritime Rap” piece

7          The Prodigal Son(g)s Tour – Acadian style account of my New Brunswick tour

8          An Instrumental Break – a medley of three instrumentals, from lullaby to flamenco

9          Music and Friends – Music Hall style sing-a-long waltz

10        The Christmas Truce – dramatic story song about the 1st Christmas of World War 1

11        The Ballad of Kwakiutl – cheesy country parody about Brampton’s infamous statue

12        Jerry and Jim – mellow rock song saluting April Wine’s bass player and drummer

13        Decompress – parody of Bob Dylan circa 1965

14        Stan Rogers – dramatic folk rock piece about the Canadian folk music icon

 

Live Appearances in Support of “Music and Friends”

Saturday, October 18th, 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

  • Folk Music Ontario Conference, Mayfair Room, Westin Bristol Place, Toronto
  • Featured as part of the Brampton Folk Club Sponsored Showcase

Saturday, November 1st, 8:00 p.m. to 10 p.m.

  • Brampton Golf Club, 7700 Kennedy Road, Brampton
  • A Fundraiser for Brampton Civic Hospital

Saturday, November 15th, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

  • Bolton United Church, 8 Nancy Street, Bolton
  • A Fundraiser for Bolton United Church

Saturday, November 29th – 11:15 a.m. to 12 noon

  • Freewheeling Folk Show, Hamilton, 93.3 FM
  • 45 minute interview, featuring live performances and tracks from the album
  • Podcast available at http://cfmu.msumcmaster.ca/

Friday, December 6th, 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Paul’s United Church, 30 Main St. South, Brampton
  • Opening for Boreal’s “Songs for the Snowy Season” concert

– 30 –

Singer-Songwriter Glenn McFarlane Releases Video for “Offense Scores, Defense Wins Games”

Glenn McFarlaneSinger-songwriter Glenn McFarlane hails originally from New Brunswick and now makes his home in Brampton, Ontario. In addition to his solo endeavours, he is also one/half of the Celtic and East Coast duo Brown Ale and one/third of the Celtic-Rock trio Celteclectic. Glenn is a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, harmonica, mandolin, accordion, bouzouki) who is the President and co-founder of the Brampton Folk Club, the 2009 Brampton Arts Person of the Year and a songwriter who was honoured with the 2011 OCFF Songs From the Heart Winner (Humour). He has released one solo CD to date, Food For Thought, and is about to release his second CD, Music and Friends.

With Glenn, you get a high energy, well-paced set of primarily fun and funny folk songs.  Some have an East Coast feel to them, others are more country, while still others have elements of rock or even world music in them. His well-crafted originals have a sing-a-long familiarity to them that gets the audience involved.

The one theme throughout Glenn’s songs is camaraderie. He sings about family and friends (“Music and Friends”, “It’s a Beautiful Day for a Beer”), likes to make fun of himself  (“Middle Aged and Overweight”, “Music, Sports, Sex and Beer”), raps about his East Coast roots (“Let’s Talk New Brunswick”, “Lobster Roll”)  brings dramatic  historical events to life (“Newfoundland 9-1-1”,  The Christmas Truce”), and balances it all out with the odd love song (“The Wedding Video”, “Come See the Stars”). You will be entertained!

In his latest video, Glenn McFarlane performs his original song “Offense Scores, Defense Wins Games”, which will be featured on his upcoming CD “Music and Friends”. The song is dedicated to Stan Butler (Brampton/North Bay Battalion) and José Mourinho (Chelsea Blues) and takes a lighthearted look at what it takes to win. The song is engineered and co-produced by Wendell Ferguson at The Dungeon, Toronto. The video also features Keith McFarlane as the coach and Ryan Hind as the owner. Special thanks to the Ontario Soccer Centre in Woodbridge and the Mississauga Munro Table Hockey Tournament.


On Saturday, November 1st, Glenn McFarlane will be releasing his second solo CD at a fundraiser concert for Brampton Civic Hospital at the Brampton Golf Club (7700 Kennedy Road), starting at 8 pm. As the title implies, “Music and Friends” is a collection of original songs celebrating two things that are very important to him. The songs are fun and lively folk songs that reflect his East Coast roots, along with strong elements of country, folk-rock and world music, with an underlying theme of camaraderie throughout the album. Joining Glenn will be his brother Keith on percussion, along with special guests Les Smith and Jon Grant from Brown Ale and Celteclectic. All proceeds for the concert will be donated to the Brampton Civic Hospital. For more information, please visit Glenn’s website at www.glennmcfarlane.ca.

And I’ll Let That Big Old Whistle Blow My Blues Away by Jay Aymar

Jay AymarJay Aymar is a self-described ramblin’ Canadian songwriter who mixes elements of folk, roots & country music with thoughtful, often poetic lyrics. I’m thinking that he’s the natural successor to Stompin’ Tom Connors in fact. There aren’t many singers like Jay Aymar – an honest journeyman of music – and there aren’t many bloggers out there like Jay either. His blog Road Stories reveals this Gen-x troubadour’s musings on life, love and livin’ on the road. I like to think of Jay as my friend and I try to read his blogs whenever I can find the time because they’re like sitting round a campfire and listening to him wax philosophical with me over a few beers. I recently read this one and loved it so much that I told Jay and he said I was free to pass it on in any way I wished. Now, it’s true, he’s long-winded, but believe me, he always has a point, and the journey to that point is always fun.  ‘And I’ll let that big old whistle blow my blues away’ was originally published on Jay’s Road Stories blog on October 23, 2013.

A recent review from the bible of roots magazines in Canada – Penguin EggsJay Aymar Overtime on Jay Aymar’s latest CD, Overtime:

 Judging by the maturity, sophistication and clever bent to his lyrics and delivery, he has not been resting on his laurels, such as they maybe….there is no quibble about raising him to the higher rungs on the steep ladder of Canadian singer/songwriters, not just his contemporaries but of all time.” Doug Swanson, Summer 2013, Penguin Eggs Magazine

 

‘And I’ll let that big old whistle blow my blues away’

“I was conceived in the summer of love
a little bundle of joy sent down from above
and while a half a million hippies left Yasgur with some trash
I was rockin’ in the cradle to the sweet Johnny Cash”

This is from my song ‘Seriously Delirious’ which I put out in 2011 on the CD ‘Passing Through’.

It’s 100% autobiographical and was written as a result of meeting the legendary John Prine.

My girlfriend at the time bought some tickets to Massey Hall to see John perform and somehow managed to get us backstage to meet him. Was it George Bernard Shaw who suggested being wary of meeting ones idols for fear that it will only lead to future disappointment for the fan? I believe it was.

We lined up backstage to acquire autographs, one by one. He signed my copy of Fair and Square – ‘All the best  Jay’ … John Prine.  All the Best – being a song from his comeback album The Missing Years. Still one of my favourite CD’s of all time. I rank it next to Graceland for the surprise comeback and enjoyment factor. (well maybe that’s a stretch but it’s one hell of a piece of work). While we posed for photos with him and the band we were encouraged to stick around for some food and to simply hang out. Wow! What a nice gesture. I believe my level of knowledge about his catalogue and back story was enough to ingratiate ourselves into this party for an extended hang.

Then I was afforded some time to just sit and talk with John himself.  After our conversation (during which he had learned that he was a major influence on me as a writer) he shouted out to the band “Bring these two out for a few drinks tonight and tell them some lies about us!”

“I can’t go out drinking right now but these guys could be into it Jay.”

At which point, his guitar player Jason Wilbur said he was obligated to call his wife for a long chat and couldn’t go out, however, Dave – his double bass player said “Sure…sounds like fun!”

So we went out to a local martini bar and discussed the Nashville music scene with Dave for about three hours.

So much of what happens to us in life is by sheer coincidence or luck. Dave mentioned that the go-to bass player for a few shows in Nashville (where Prine lives) was unavailable and he ran into a guy on the street that same night who tipped him off and suggested he might be able to get him in as a filler. Long story short, he’s been touring with John ever since. That’s going back about ten years now. I believe Dave’s married with children and finally taking deep breaths knowing the financial ‘wolf is finally from the door’.

At the end of the evening, he’d likely heard my girlfriend going on about my songwriting and John’s influence to the point where he took some pity on us and offered us to come along for the next show in London. Wow! What a guy.

“Just show up at the theatre tomorrow and pick up your backstage passes at the window and come join us after the show!”

Done.

We arrived in London (ON) the following day and were escorted to the fifth row from the front of the stage. Remarkable seats. I took it all in and sat transfixed like a kid in a candy store drooling over the embarrassment of riches. From ‘Hello in There’ to ‘Lake Marie’ (Dylan’s favourite Prine song) to ‘Grandpa was a Carpenter’ and on and on.

We reconnected again after the show and another great visit. It was during this conversation where the discussion of autobiographical writing came up. Writing a song specifically about oneself. The idea being that if you write a few of those songs ‘specifically’ about yourself, then you won’t have to waste precious time explaining to folks after the show exactly who you are – what your purpose is – what you’re all about…essentially.

I went home and started the song Seriously Delirious.

Verse 2
“My old man engineered that train
Like a streak bolt of lightning right through the rain
He said keep your head steady son and don’t look back
and that’s how you keep the train on the track”

After my dad (John Delbert Aymar) returned home from serving the entirety of WW2, he wanted to explore the world away from his village near Saulnierville, NS.  Still in his early twenties, he decided to head into Toronto with his cousin. The point being, whenever anyone of us has leaned on him for advice or felt down about things, he’s always said “The past is the past. Look forward. You can’t change the past. If I were to have dwelled upon the events of that war then how could have I managed to move on?”

It always seemed like such a dial-in answer for many years, but as always, these types of sentiments as simple as they appear, hold powerful truths for a reason.  I often saw my dad as the engineer of his train. He was pulling eight box cars and mom holding down the Caboose and keeping it all together. (Perhaps it’s the female spirit that looks back and keeps our history into perspective – I’m not sure, but I do know my mom was amazing at grounding us in family tradition.) So, I wrote those words about my Dad as a train engineer and made the “rockin in the cradle to the sweet Johnny Cash” reference quite deliberately – as a bit of an inside joke within the family.

You see, my dad has this old Hawaiian guitar he picked up from a guy he visited in prison. As the story goes, he visited an old acquaintance in the Comeauville jail.  During the visit, the guy wanted five bucks for his cheap guitar (evidently for a carton of cigarettes). The transaction went down and this was ultimately become the first guitar I would see in my life. 

It had painted palm trees and various birds and a Hawaiian sunset on the front of it. It was a Spanish guitar with nylon strings. It seemed more of a prop or a toy then a real guitar. My earliest childhood memories are of my dad popping his collar, pretending to play that guitar while gyrating his hips like Elvis – screaming ‘YOU AIN’T NOTHING BUT A HOUND DOG’  in front of all of us. I was transfixed.

I remember the very, very first record player was a small stand alone player with just a few records in the rack below it.

Johnny Cash’s Greatest Hits sat amongst the few gems. I believe it was of his early Sun recordings and it was incredible.

For the longest time, it all just made sense to me. The cheap guitar from a guy in prison – was that Folsom Prison? The train songs the rockabilly beat. The joy it brought. It taught me so much.

That said, our family was not even remotely into country music.

My dad’s true passion was swing jazz and crooners. At 92 he can still sing Nat King Cole’s Mona Lisa and send the shiver up the spine of anyone who’d care to listen. The only reason that album ever made it into our house was through my brother Dave (likely) or Bob (also likely).

So as time marched on, I learned that it was all connected. Everything. Prine was influenced by Cash. Cash didn’t really do time in prison other than for a few public intoxication’s. Our family guitar was from a guy in prison. I eventually discovered the epic Live from Folsom and Live from San Quentin Cash albums. I eventually discovered the entire world of fiction based on these themes – from Voltaire’s Candide to Crime and Punishment …oh hell…it goes on and on. From learning about Mandela to watching movies like Cool Hand Luke.

It can seem like a romantic notion in some ways to think that Johnny Cash performed for the incarcerated. A selfless gesture indeed. Those live recordings capture the palpable energy of a man in his prime, singing to those without a lot of hope.  What could that be like? Wow…only Cash could have pulled that off.  Until it was asked of me. I said ‘ABSOLUTELY YES!’

Wait…what? Really? What just happened?

Early last week I received an email from Jill Zmud, a talented folk songwriter, community activist and all around cool girl from Ottawa, ON. She coordinates a program called Art Beat which connects folk musicians with local schools and hospitals (for starters). During a previous conference, for example, I volunteered to discuss ‘FOLK MUSIC’ and ‘SONGWRITING’ and ‘LIFE ON THE ROAD’ to about 60 grade 7-8 students at a southern Ontario elementary school. It was amazing! As always, these gestures always pay us back ten-fold. The discussion with the kids slowly turned into me talking about how folk music has always represented the underdog.

“You kids want change? How we gonna do that? Folk music?”

and the kids screamed out “YEAH!”

“OK… I propose we have big speakers playing music during lunch break in the cafeteria! Why don’t we have music playing during lunch?” Who wants music?”

Repeat after me “WE WANT MUSIC…WE WANT MUSIC!”

“LOUDER…STOMP YOUR FEET…I WANT YOU TO ALL STOMP YOUR FEET AND SCREAM SO LOUD THAT THE PRINCIPLE WILL COME UP HERE AND FINALLY LISTEN TO US!”

And they did. And the principle arrived at the door a few minutes later. Strapped with my guitar, I whispered to him in the hallway, ‘Just play along, I’m teaching them how to protest!”

And he was brilliant. He stormed into the classroom to become a perfect foil.

“What’s all this about?”

“We want music in the cafeteria during lunch hour!”

The kids laughed, the teacher laughed, I laughed and I had them sing my one and only children’s song ‘Apple Pickin’ and we all walked away richer for the experience. I’ve often thought if I were to retire from music, teaching would be such a noble profession.

Art Beat had worked it’s magic. Everyone benefited from the experience.

Now this time, Jill’s Art Beat email was a bit different. “Jay, we’ve been trying to have a correctional facility sign up for Art Beat for many years…and it finally happened! They’ve agreed to let a performer come in and sing! We thought of you immediately.”

“Why did you think of me Jill? Have you been looking through my past? lol…”

“No we were just discussing your record and …”

“My RECORD! How did I know it was illegal to smoke weed in Cuba?”

“No Jay, your latest record – OVERTIME

“Oh yeah…of course – Overtime!” (Thank you Tommy Chong)

I guess word had spread a bit about my Johnny Cash fixation. Playing tributes on occasion and singing Cash songs long – long before he was cool again. In fact I remember singing his songs during the late 80′s and early 90′s when people would grimace. Yes, there was a time for a while when he was dismissed and this always seemed strange to me.

Regardless, I agreed to perform in the Brampton Correctional Facility last Thursday as a part of Art Beat.

Without thinking about it too much, I simply romanticized the task at hand and embraced the concept.

Hey Aymar (I said to myself), you’ve been singing about this stuff for so long, now it’s time to embrace the fact that the river has led you here. This amazing journey has actually brought you to this place. Ok here we go.

I arrived at the front desk on Thursday at 1pm. Without giving this any thought whatsoever I mentioned my name and purpose and they led me to the recreation room. In came the men who sat in a circular format in front of me. Several guards were on hand to brief me in a room prior to the concert.

They introduced me as a Canadian songwriter who tours ‘all around the world’ and ‘has just finished a 120 show tour’ which was all true, but it seemed to really give the guys (perhaps) a sense that I WAS Johnny Cash as someone immediately screamed out “CASH!”

As I prepared for the first song, the warden leaned into my ear and whispered “You’ll be fine son…they’re an appreciative audience!”

As I was about to hit the first chord, I looked up and saw the crowd. Something happened when I looked into the faces of the guys staring at me. I was grief stricken. Can’t explain it. I began to tremble on the inside. This wasn’t a nervousness or fear, but in fact a deep, deep feeling of empathy. I didn’t know what to do. I hadn’t prepared for this. After thousands of shows in my life, I’d never felt this stuck. This feeling became overwhelming. This wasn’t a fucking joke – nothing about this was like Johnny Cash in Folsom….my dad buying a guitar from a guy in prison…Cool Hand Luke. Those fantasy images were just that. Fantasy! This was reality – I was in the middle of it – and I was suddenly grief stricken by the stark realness of it all.

Behind the men was a booth where two guards watched the proceedings from above everyone. It was all cool and controlled. I played my first original song then quickly got back to the CASH request. I said ‘Who was requesting Johnny Cash?” Someone from the back raised his hand. I said “Ok man, how about A Boy Named Sue!”

And off it went. During that Silverstein classic is a verse where the father ‘took out a knife and cut off a piece of my ear” …at which point everyone laughed out loud and FINALLY the tension was cut.

I was beyond relieved.

I looked up into the tower and saw two of the guards clapping and dancing a bit which eased my mind a bit more.

Then I asked if there were any guitar players in the crowd. Someone yelled out “Honky-Tonk!”

“Where’s Honky-Tonk?”

And he was right there off to the side. Humbly raising his hand.

“You feel like playing a song for everyone Honky-Tonk? Who wants to hear Honky-Tonk?” The place erupted and much like the elementary kids pretending to protest,  the guys began chanting “Honky-Tonk! Honky-Tonk!”

It was just then that I realized I may have been breaking protocol but they allowed Honky-Tonk to come and join me for the rest of the show. He was escorted to a room where his guitar awaited and arrived ready for showtime. He was a great player and was happy to sit back and simply accompany me with some picking on the songs.

Then, as though time evaporated, I looked up at the clock to realize the concert was over and my John Henry was required for a few pieces of paper.

Before I left, the staff and I had a brief conversation about ‘simple gestures of kindness’ in this type of environment. On how there may be an outside chance that ONE inmate may have seen light in all of this…a seed may have been planted in some soul…enough to hold on to…HOPE. I welled up.

I finally made it out to my car – shaking. I sat in the parking lot for twenty minutes, closed my eyes and said some prayers to the great universe asking for my own redemption. “Save those souls and give them hope. Thank you for bringing me into this world with all of the advantages of love. Thanks for allowing me to have the opportunity, strength and gift to do this.”

Then I thought about my own dad. Not the guy from “A Boy Named Sue” but the guy who stood up in front of me with his Hawaiian guitar, shaking his hips, screaming “HOUND DOG!” That guy. The same guy who said “Never look back – you can’t change the past”, the guy who provided for his eight children day in a day out without ever complaining. The loyal husband and father who kept us all on the straight and narrow. The same guy who bought the record player for his family (when we didn’t have a lot of extra money) so he could play his trad jazz and we could play our rock and roll.

I left the parking lot and drove to the four day conference where like-minded folkies had converged on a hotel in Mississauga.  Remember: GIVING BACK – PAYING IT FORWARD -this is all run of the mill kind of stuff for people in this community. It’s all part of the tradition. It’s part of the spirit. I felt safe here amongst this tribe. There were times over the weekend though that I couldn’t ‘shake’ the feeling of what had transformed me during that prison concert. In fact, there were times when I couldn’t stop smiling about it – and times when I couldn’t hide my grief. Never have I carried around so many mixed emotions from one incident.

Upon my arrival home the first person to call me up was my dad.

“Good morning son, I just wanted to know how the concert in the prison worked out?” I gave him detailed account of the events and asked “Dad, I’m not sure why I have these mixed emotions about it all? It’s like I don’t understand how I feel about what happened? Strange isn’t it?”

“It’s not strange at all. I really did expect this. Sometimes we don’t have answers for how we feel.  Just move on. It’s over!”

Just like the song:
‘Keep your head steady and don’t look back
That’s how you keep the train on the track’

In a few short months, I’ll be back at home sharing Christmas with the family. We’ll enjoy music and laughter once again.

As always I’ll be performing a local show, only this year I’ll have a new song to be added to my repertoire: John Prine’s Christmas in Prison. Dedicated to my Dad, Prine and his band, Cash, the Brampton Correctional Facility, Art Beat, Folk Music Ontario and the great healing power of music.

Next stop…

FURTHER DOWN THE LINE.

Valdy and Kris + Dee at Chalmers United Church, Fri. Nov. 15

ValdyThe Live Wire Music Series is ending its 2013 season with a Canadian music legend. Two-time Juno Award winner and member of the Order of Canada, Valdy, will make his first ever appearance on the Live Wire stage. For this special concert Live Wire will be moving to Chalmers United Church, a perfect venue for Valdy, a performer famous for engaging audiences in his intimate live shows. Opening the evening will be Kingston’s own Kris and Dee.

Live Wire Music Series presents 

Valdy with special guests Kris and Dee 

Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, 7:30pm
Chalmers United Church, 212 Barrie St., Kingston, ON 

Tickets: $20 in advance and $25 at the door available now at Brian’s Record Option, Tara Foods and online at www.livewiremusicseries.ca

Valdy, born Valdemar Horsdal in Ottawa, Canada has been part of the fabric of Canadian pop and folk music for over 35 years. A man with a thousand friends, from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island to Texas to New Zealand, he’s a singer, guitarist and songwriter who catches the small but telling moments that make up life.

Remembered for Play Me a Rock and Roll Song, his bitter-sweet memory of finding himself, a relaxed and amiable storyteller, facing a rambunctious audience at the Aldergrove Rock Festival circa 1968, Valdy has sold almost half a million copies of his 13 albums, has two Juno Awards (Folk Singer of the Year and Folk Entertainer of the Year), a total of seven Juno nominations and four Gold albums to his credit.

Valdy’s recent CDs include Contenders, a collaboration with friend and fellow singer/songwriter, Gary Fjellgaard, with whom he has an absolute blast touring, and a solo release, Viva Valdy: Live at Last, a two-CD package, one live, one studio, with a total of 25 tunes, and a lyric booklet.

One of Canada’s most influential songwriters, Valdy’s composition A Good Song was recorded under the title Just a Man by the venerable Quincy Jones (he sang lead on the recording!). Play Me a Rock and Roll Song has been recorded by a few artists, including John Kay of Steppenwolf.

Along the way, Valdy has taken his music to a dozen different countries, from Denmark to Australia and been an often-invited performer at the prestigious Kerrville Festival in Texas. His recent television appearances include Canada AM and Open Mike with Mike Bullard. Valdy has also been a panelist on Front Page Challenge, and played a lead role in an episode of The Beachcombers original series.

Today, he is based on Salt Spring Island, where he lives with his wife Kathleen, three dogs and a large cat. All three children are grown, flown and doing famously living in or near Vancouver or Colorado.

Visit Valdy on the web at http://www.valdy.com.

KRIS + DEE

Their debut album Still Here Inside (2011) gained the pair international recognition when it was selected for the Starbucks WorldwideKris and Dee Playlist. They are being discovered in Canada as well, having been chosen with Leonard Cohen, Lucinda Williams and David Bowie as one of the Top Artists of 2012 by Ottawa’s CKCU FM. With a contemporary take on a traditional folk sound, Dee weaves poetic melodies through Kris’s pop hooks and lush, chill grooves.

Music journalist Paul Myers writes, “The soundscape Kris paints under Dee’s intimate vocalizations evokes time spent out of the machine. The lyrics speak to reality and the harshness of existence while the music is defiantly dignified in the face of it.”

http://www.krisanddee.com/

Stephen Fearing Presents Roots on the Wire – 3 Live Streaming Concerts

Stephen Fearing Roots on the Wire Live Streaming Concerts

I’m a big fan of multiple Juno winning, Canadian singer-songwriter Stephen Fearing, (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Fearing & White) so it is a real thrill for me to be able to work with him and to help him promote this fantastic gift to his fans and to music lovers in North America.

Roots on the Wire allows you to enjoy Stephen Fearing in a live-streaming format from the comfort of your own home, cottage, or wherever your computer takes you. The online series will be broadcast (in real-time) in three parts. Concert #1 (June 26th) – Features Fearing’s current touring show. Concert #2 (July 31st) – A complete solo performance of the Juno Award winning album Yellowjacket. Concert #3 (August 28th) – will be a set of songs chosen and voted on by you, the fans.

All shows will take place at 9:30 pm EST.

Each show is available to anyone, anywhere. For more details, visit www.stephenfearing.com

You can join the Facebook events for these concerts at the following links.  Be sure to invite your friends!

Concert #1 – June 26, 2013 – Fearing’s current touring show including songs from his new album, Between Hurricanes.

Concert #2 – July 31, 2013 – A complete solo performance of the Juno Award winning album Yellowjacket.

Concert #3 – August 28, 2013 – A set of songs chosen and voted on by the fans.

In a very stressful, busy world we don’t often take time to enjoy the little things and yet it’s so important to focus on beauty and those things that bring us joy. Stephen’s music brings me joy and I hope that if you listen in, that you will feel the same way.

Montreal Singer-Songwriter Jon Davis at NXNE – The Central – June 13, 9 pm

Jon Davis

“Here’s a nod to a new Canadian singing talent… Jon Davis is generating buzz for his Indie/Folk/Rock.”
CTV News @ Six

 “If you like James Taylor, I think you will absolutely love Jon Davis. Very, very nice voice! “
CBC Radio 1 (Daybreak)
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WHO:  Jon Davis Showcases ‘Open Shore’ at NXNE
Open Shore will surely open doors for this songster who serves up feisty folk, indie-seasoned rock and fluff-free pop 

WHERE:  The Central, 603 Markham St, Toronto

WHEN:  June 13th, 9pm 

TIX/INFO:  $12  (416) 913-4586  info@thecentralbar.ca

ARTIST WEB:  http://jondavismusic.ca

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[Toronto ON]
  Jon Davis has achieved full lift-off with the launch of his sophomore release –Open Shore – a powerful, 11-track album showcasing a painterly ability to translate human emotion into delicate aural canvasses of light blue steel and shale grey, with splashes of golden hue. 

Possessed of a delicate, almost chameleonic voice, you can hear distant similarities in style from James Taylor to Nick Drake, Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Royal Wood, to Lindsey Buckingham. Anyone looking to appreciate this for themselves should earmark Davis’ NXNE showcase on June 13th.

Having endured a traumatic head injury in ’06, Davis found himself hurtling along a path towards recovery – moving past personal hardships to arrive at a destination where obstacles became opportunities.

One of these is most certainly Open Shore, which speaks to this challenging but triumphant journey. A talent in full bloom, Davis colours this disc with a full complement of smart, insightful lyrics across hook-laden melodies, caressing folk and jazz with an indie-seasoned rock edge, leavened with strong elements of fluff-free pop.

Throughout are messages of hope, and the search for endless possibility. You can hear this in the opening track – “Overcome”. Wrapped in a buoyant, James Taylor-esque joie de vivre, it firmly positions Davis as having cleared the shadows by moving into the light.

Davis presents “After The Birds” as a heartfelt paean to balancing needs over our wants. His soft singing voice, reminiscent of the late Kenny Rankin, sets its sparse presentation into motion as a moody, sweeping soundscape before it spins out of control in the vein of “Aladdin Sane”.

Counter this with the timeless poetry of Thomas Moore in  “If All Those Endearing Young Charms” as Davis’ gentle, acoustic guitar-driven approach rekindles Nick Drake – his solemn, weathered vocal hitting home his transformation of Moore’s words depicting the power of love over appearances.

Through Open Shore, Jon Davis challenges how we view our world and what we can do to make it better. It’s an uplifting wake-up call that’s as reassuring as the gentle, forever lapping of the waves, offering us the encouragement we need to get past personal trials by showing us how to – as he does in “The Scarecrow and the Sunflower” – touch the beauty.

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“A Canadian who we (and not only James Taylor fans) should keep an eye out for.” ~ www.altcountryforum.nl, The Netherlands

“Stunningly executed… [Open Shore is] an album that deserves to be heard from beginning to end…it would be utterly remiss to sign off without drawing attention to tracks like “Forest in the City”, which hits like a wave, or “Curtain”, which is beautifully constructed, with a hook that may have to be surgically removed.” ~ Leicester Bangs, UK

 “Jon Davis’ musical chops and training are of the highest caliber, they have to be to get your foot in the door in this industry. I urge other presenters to get this guy on their stage in any capacity available.” ~ Matt Large, Hello Darlin’ Productions / The Wintergreen Concert Series

“Jon Davis’ warm vocals and understated guitar create an intimate mood that softly envelops the listener. His music is a blend of Folk and Jazz reminiscent of James Taylor and Nilsson yet his sound, purely his own. Jon is by far one of the most talented singer-songwriters to emerge since Van Morrison.” ~ Alex Boicel, BET Jazz / Cayenne Jazz Festival)

“Although it is tempting to compare him to James Taylor  this reviewer thinks that’s just a starting point. Listen to everything Jon puts on the plate and he is very much his “own man”, I loved it and you will too.” ~ Don Howard, Watermark Concerts

“Jon Davis is one of my favorite performers. He is eclectic, passionate, uniquely multi-talented yet vulnerable and unassuming. He delivers with quiet confidence, yet possesses bold and raw passion.” ~ Holly Fleming, The Yellowdoor

MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Audio/Video/Interviews/Photos

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Lisa Weitz,  LW Communications
http://www.lwcommunications.ca
lw@lwcommunications.ca
416-624-3466 (office)
416-846-6877 (cell)

Live Wire Music Series Presents Jayme Stone’s Room of Wonders and Ruth Moody Trio on Fri. Apr. 12th

Live Wire Music Series shows for April and May 2013Live Wire Music Series Kingston presents: 

A Juno Award Winners Extravaganza!

Jayme Stone’s Room of Wonders with very special guest The Ruth Moody Trio

FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2013 AT THE OCTAVE THEATRE, 711 DALTON AVE., IN KINGSTON, 7:30 P.M.

Two-time Juno-winning banjoist Jayme Stone thrives on unexpected inspiration: Japanese poetry, Brazilian literature, instruments he found while traveling in remote Malian villages. His Juno Award winning albums, most notably Africa to Appalachia, both defy and honour the banjo’s long role in the world’s music, turning historical connections into compelling music. Jayme’s ROOM OF WONDERS 4 piece group is a polyrhythmic journey to Mali with stops at other mysterious and wondrous parts of the world.

Ruth Moody is a Juno Award winning songwriter from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Although best known for her work with The Wailin’ Jennys — Ruth was a founding member and is still an integral part of the popular trio — she is an artist of exceptional depth and grace in her own right. Critics have lauded her ethereal vocals, impressive multi-instrumentalism, and her masterful songwriting. Written with a maturity and wisdom that belies her age, her songs are timeless, universal, and exceptionally well-crafted, all sung with an intimacy and honesty that is unmistakably hers. Ruth has performed in sold-out venues around the world, made numerous critically acclaimed albums, and appeared more than a dozen times on the U.S. radio show A Prairie Home Companion.

Tickets: $20 in advance and $25 at the door, available at Brian’s Record Option (613 542-2452) and Tara Foods.

www.ruthmoody.com
www.jaymestone.com

Live Wire Music Series is a totally volunteer not for profit group that brings exciting and diverse musical acts to Kingston, Ontario from across Canada and around the world. We also bring many of these musicians into local schools for concerts and music workshops. We present 6 public concerts (at The Octave Theatre and Chalmers United Church) and 20–25 school concerts per year throughout Frontenac County. We hope you will add this exciting concert to your entertainment listings.

Live Wire Music Series Presents Kelli Trottier Trio and Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite of Everything on Fri. Feb. 1st

Kelli Trottier Jaron Freeman-FoxLive Wire Music Series Kingston is excited to announce its outstanding 2013 series, starring many of Canada’s finest musicians. It begins on Friday, February 1st at The Octave Theatre, 711 Dalton Ave., with a co-bill featuring Kingston’s own Kelli Trottier Trio together with Jaron Freeman-Fox and the Opposite of Everything. This will be a high-energy show with two completely different violin virtuosi, each with a superb backing band and an eclectic range of material.

Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door available at Brian’s Record Option (613-542-2452) and at Tara Foods (613-546-4439).

Our email address and website are livewiremusicseries@gmail.com & http://livewiremusicseries.ca

Originally from the B.C. interior, Jaron Freeman-Fox is now based in Toronto, where he has assembled an ensemble of some of that city’s finest players. Contorting the violin into new traditions, violinist/composer Jaron Freeman-Fox dances down the fine line between the beautiful and the ridiculous, while redefining what the violin can do.

The hyper-kinetic Jaron Freeman-Fox is the Jimi Hendrix of the violin. With the chops of a classical virtuoso and the soul of a wild-eyed punk, he plays world music in the truest sense of the word, leaping from gypsy to klezmer to celtic to country without skipping a beat.” ~ The Ottawa International Jazz Festival 

“As soon as The Opposite of Everything hits the stage, the groove is irresistible and young and old dance in front of the stage – setting the tone with a creative cover of “People are Strange.” Throughout the set, Freeman-Fox bounces and sings while playing his five-string electric violin.

John Freeman plays wicked clarinet solos and Johnny Spence makes the accordion look sexy. Controlled frenzy on stage spills onto the dance floor during the set, especially when the band plays “The Rabid Rabbi.” The band leaves the stage and it’s too soon –obvious that the audience wants more. Haven’t heard of the Freeman-Fox & the Opposite of Everything? See them live and they could possibly be your new favourite band.”  ~ The Walleye

www.theoppositeofeverything.com

Born and raised in the hotbed of musical tradition and innovation that is Ontario’s Ottawa Valley, Kelli Trottier discovered her passion for entertaining, learned her craft, and developed her distinctive style while still right at home. Now, Kelli’s talent carries her to stages across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Far North, making fans and friends at every venue along the way. Kelli’s musical odyssey of dance, fiddle and song began early in life as she studied and mastered the unique and fluid style of step-dance that evolved with the loggers and woodsmen of the historic Ottawa River watershed, and learned fiddle from the senior masters of Celtic and Scottish traditional music. Developing her art from these deep and lasting roots, while allowing the influences of contemporary music to help shape her performing and recording career, has earned Kelli a dedicated and growing following and glowing accolades from promoters, organizers and fans. She has performed for Canadian soldiers in the Middle East and for the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic. She has brought twenty thousand NHL Ottawa Senators Fans to their feet many times as the featured mid-game entertainer.

“I wanted you to know how much we enjoyed your concert tonight. It was a wonderful evening and your natural style with the audience made it extra special.  As we listened to you, many of us had the feeling we were witnessing a great Canadian talent about to skyrocket, and we were there to see the launching!

www.kellitrottier.com

The 2013 Live Wire Music Winter/Spring Series

Live Wire Music Series Presents The Krüger Brothers with Special Guest Jeremy Fisher on Fri. Nov. 30th

Live Wire Music Series presents: 

The Krüger Brothers with special guest Jeremy Fisher 
Chalmers United Church, Kingston
Friday, Nov. 30th, 7:30 pm
Tickets: $20 in advance and $25 at the door (if available)
@ Brian’s Record Option (613 542-2452) and Tara Foods

Kingston music lovers are in for a rare treat on Friday, November 30th when the great Swiss-born U.S. based trio, The Krüger Brothers bring their unique and powerful brand of acoustic music to Chalmers United Church as part of the Live Wire Music Series. Kingston will be one of only five Ontario cities where they will play. The band, which started as a couple of rag-tag musicians busking for spare change in Munich, is approaching their 40th anniversary with 15 albums under the Krüger Brothers name. Their highly unusual mix of traditional bluegrass, folk, jazz, and classical styles and their joyous and technically accomplished playing on banjo, guitar and bass have made them one of the top touring ensembles in North America.  In addition to their famously innovative instrumental abilities, both brothers Uwe and Jens Krüger are blessed with rich baritone singing voices and their song writing and vocal work are exceptional.

The Kruger Brothers are just about as fine a band as I’ve ever played with…I love to play music with them – Doc Watson

The Krugers are nothing short of magnificent. – Bluegrass Journal

I used to think the banjo was somewhat limited to certain styles, until I heard Jens Kruger. Jens has played some of the most beautiful and expressive banjo I’ve ever heard. – Ron Block, Alison Krauss and Union Station

Born and raised in Europe, brothers Jens and Uwe Krüger started singing and playing instruments at a very young age. Growing up in a family where music was an important part of life, they were exposed to a wide diversity of abiding musical influences. The brothers were performing regularly by the time they were 11 and 12 years old, and they began their professional career in 1979. Joel Landsberg, a native of New York City who also had a very extensive musical upbringing, joined the brothers in the early 90s and together they established the incomparable sound that the trio is known for today, built around the playing of Jens Kruger, considered one of the top two or three 5 string banjo players in the world. The Krüger Brothers moved to the United States in 2002, and are based in Wilkesboro, NC.

The Krüger Brothers were awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant for Music from the Spring a sym­phonic suite composed and orchestrated by Jens Krüger, which premiered in 2007. In late 2010, the Krüger Brothers premiered the Appalachian Concerto, a concerto for banjo, bass, guitar, and string quartet. In addition to their regular concert schedule they perform these pieces regularly with select symphony orchestras and string quartets throughout the world.

To get an idea of just how good The Krüger Brothers are, take a peek at these two videos – the first, an instrumental and the second a beautiful and touching tribute to their mother. Then read some of the comments.

http://youtu.be/G5qHkxnLtiw

http://youtu.be/wIomLzwaygQ

Opening the concert will be the wonderfully engaging Jeremy Fisher, a Juno nominee and terrific live performer.

“Listening to Mint Juleps, the fifth album by two-time Juno Award nominee Jeremy Fisher, is like ambling through the long and relaxed dog days of summer. The acoustic-driven collection of 12 songs reunites Fisher with his folk-drenched musical roots and is a veritable throwback to the golden era of the singer-songwriter.

That’s not to say that Jeremy Fisher lives in the past. On the contrary, the Ottawa-based musician’s craft is deeply imbued with a modern insight that has made him a strong and enduring musical storyteller. He thus inhabits a one-of-a-kind space in this current musical landscape as a rather timeless troubadour.”

www.jeremyfishermusic.com