Canadiana Singer-Songwriter Harlan Wells Releases “Waiting For June” at The Cameron House Saturday, May 14th

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2016

Harlan Wells

[Toronto, ON]  Why should you be at The Cameron House in Toronto on Saturday, May 14, 2016? One of Canada’s finest singer-songwriters, Harlan Wells, is throwing a CD release party for his latest album, Waiting For June, and it’s “…the sort of album that kind of grabs you by the hand and says “come on in.”

Producer/engineer Peter Hamilton (Blue Rodeo, Leonard Cohen, Steve Earle) and Wells each share the same reverence for the seminal Canadian group, The Band. With this influence and approach in mind, they began recording at Canterbury Studio in Toronto with the intention of producing an all-organic, live off-the-floor, anti-sampling, anti-computer, album of new Harlan Wells songs. Described as Northern Americana, or Canadiana, the new record Waiting for June, is a compelling alchemy of cross-genres such as country, folk, roots rock, and blues. Ultimately, it’s a singer/songwriter’s record. However, Wells’ stellar song writing is not the only reason you should be at The Cameron House on May 14th for his CD release party. His band, which consists of Jillian Mendez (back-up vocals), Peter Hamilton (bass), Eric Morin (drums), Russell Gray (guitar), John Smith (accordion and organ), and the legendary Burke Carroll (pedal steel) are incredible musicians who have worked with some of the biggest names in Canadian music and this promises to be an evening of music that you won’t soon forget.

“Reminiscent of the great Canadian singer/songwriters like Ian Tyson and Gordon Lightfoot” ~ Billboard Magazine

“He’s good, he’s very good.” ~ Gordon Lightfoot

“In twenty years, I turned down a lot of artists seeking management, including Ron Sexsmith and Alison Krauss; I wasn’t about to let Harlan Wells slip by me.” ~ Barry Harvey (Gordon Lightfoot)

“Harlan Wells, a Troubadour in the classic sense.” ~ Lenny Stoute, CASHBOX Magazine

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Harlan Wells began playing music professionally when he was fifteen years old; by eighteen, he had left home for the road. Thousands of miles of highway, hundreds of small towns and antiquated hotel rooms, as well as, the sordid characters which inhabited them, left an indelible impression which would later influence his prolific song writing. Wells affirms that his youth was abandoned and still lies scattered along the Trans-Canada Highway. Most of his twenties were spent playing the Toronto club circuit, including the venerable El Mocambo and The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern. One night, while performing in a popular Yorkville club, music legend Keith Emerson lunged at Wells as he stepped off the stage. He grabbed Wells by his shirt collar, looked him straight in the eye, and not so gently offered some wise, yet gin-soaked, advice: “write your own songs or perish.”

Wells believes, “At the end of the day, you have to be true to yourself and believe in what you do. To tell you the truth, I write these songs for myself. My music has always been my catharsis; it’s what has kept this world from driving me stark raving mad.”

Waiting for June is available now on iTunes but there’s nothing quite like getting a CD autographed by the artist on the night of his very special CD release party. Saturday, May 14th at The Cameron House, is where every roots rock fan in the Greater GTA ought to be.

www.harlanwells.com

Toronto Singer-Songwriter Melanie Peterson Releases ‘Anywhere From Here’ at The Piston, March 16th

Melanie PetersonToronto singer-songwriter – referred to by BBC Radio as “Mary Poppins with
a broken heart” – launches her second full-length album ‘Anywhere From Here’
at The Piston in Toronto on March 16, and releases new video for the first
single “Fallback Plan”

“Melanie Peterson is destined for great things. With aching vibrato that
reminds one of early Joni Mitchell she weaves the stories of her life into
her music with effortless ease.” ~ Beaches Living.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2016

[Toronto, ON] – Toronto singer, songwriter and actress Melanie Peterson releases her second full-length album ‘Anywhere From Here’ at The Piston in Toronto (also available on iTunes March 16). Special guest opener is Toronto’s Bri-Anne Swan.

Peterson also launches her first single and video (track three) from the new CD titled “Fallback Plan”. The video was directed by Nathaniel Fox-Pappas at Khemical Kiss Productions, Toronto.

With Peterson’s guitar driven, optimistic love songs and lilting voice, ‘Anywhere From Here’ continues to embrace her folk-pop influences. It was recorded in Toronto at Slaughterhouse 754, and, as with two of Peterson’s prior records (2013’s first full-length album ‘Unbreakable’ and 2014’s six-song cover EP ‘Read It On The Radio’), it was produced and engineered by Mitch Girio (Morgan Doctor, Dave Borins, Emma-Lee, David Newland and Kirsten Jones).

WHO:  Melanie Peterson and band members (all of whom performed on the new
album); Mitch Girio (guitar/backing vocals), Peter Collins (bass/backing vocals) and Peter Lambert (drums/violin/backing vocals).

WHERE:  The Piston, 937 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, M6H 1L5.

WHEN:  Wednesday, March 16, 2016; doors 8:00 p.m., opener 8:30 p.m., headliner 9:00 p.m.

HOW MUCH:  $10.00 at the door.

ARTIST QUOTE:  Melanie Peterson states, “Anywhere From Here isn’t just about music, Melanie Peterson Anywhere From Hereit’s about knowing you can get anywhere from where you are, no matter where that is. I’m so excited for the CD release party! I feel like I’ve been waiting for centuries for this show. I’m so glad we’re at this point and people can celebrate with the band and I, as we play all the songs live and in the order they appear on the album.”

FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/924327417664323

ARTIST INFO: http://melaniepeterson.ca

Peterson earned her spot within Toronto’s independent music scene when she was invited to host and perform her original songs in the monthly female singer-songwriter night called Girls Girls Girls at the renowned Cameron House (September 2010 to December 2012), and in March 2012 when she initially showcased at Canadian Music Week. She was invited back to perform two showcases at CMW 2013 and in that same year she launched her first full-length album ‘Unbreakable’ in Toronto. Melanie followed that up with a
triumphant NXNE showcase in June and a successful Southern Ontario tour.

MEDIA QUOTES:

“Melanie Peterson’s final performance at Sauce on the Danforth in Toronto for 2015 went out ‘like a Lion’. It was a free gig but it certainly came under the heading of ‘Bang for your Buck’. This is an artist who knows how to entertain an audience, playing three 45 minute sets to a packed house of admiring fans.” ~ Frank Mcfadden, Snapd Beach/Danforth

“A melodically enchanting songwriter and musically adept guitarist, she has the crowd eating out of her hand. I’d call her music smooth pop as it is as inviting as it is sweet.” ~ Gary 17, Toronto Moon Magazine

“I’ve been a fan of Melanie Peterson’s songwriting since first hearing her just over three years ago and subsequently listening to her wonderful After The Fall cd. My favourite tune from that album is “Unbreakable”, which I regard as her signature tune and first ‘hit’.” ~ Gary 17, Toronto Moon Magazine, April, 2013

“If you are looking for super live music, check out Melanie Peterson, a terrific singer and songwriter. She sounds just as good live as she does on her album.  She has a beautiful voice and her songwriting is tops too.” ~ Joe Warmington, Toronto Sun, May 2011

“…we have very much enjoyed playing a variety of tracks from ‘Unbreakable’, Melanie’s first full length CD release and my Saturday morning listeners have been quick to let us know they enjoy what Melanie does!” ~ Monica Winfield, host, BBC Radio Leicester, 2013

“Unbreakable is a definite feel good album, and Melanie’s soft but not overly tender vocals lays out each song within the distinct genre form as the songs on Unbreakable range from Jazz, Pop, Folk and even a bit of Pop/Rock.” ~ Matt Hartwick, Kingston Music Reviews, 2013

“I can hear the Joni Mitchell influence in her voice, but there is a significant difference between the two—Joni’s voice is cool, introverted and detached, whereas Melanie’s is warmth personified. She has the ability to imbue her vocals with palpable emotion without going over the top.” ~ Altrockchick.com

ABOUT:

Blessed with a voice reminiscent of an early Joni Mitchell, and an ability to imbue her vocals with palpable and authentic emotion, Saskatoon born, Toronto based singer-songwriter and actress Melanie Peterson – standing on the edge of her second full-length release ‘Anywhere From Here’ – has nimbly become one of the brightest lights on the Toronto music scene. Previously, she has released a five song EP called ‘After the Fall’ (2010), her first full-length album ‘Unbreakable’ (2013) and a six-song cover EP titled ‘Read It On The Radio’ (2014).

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For media information, CDs, photos and interviews please contact:

Laurie Lockhart
GET THE MESSAGE Publicity
Email: mailto:publicity@getthemessagepr.ca
Facebook.com/GETTHEMESSAGEpublicity / Twitter.com/getthemessagepr
http://www.getthemessagepr.ca

For more artist information please visit:

melaniepeterson.ca
Facebook.com/misswatermeloni
Twitter.com/MissWatermeloni
YouTube.com/user/mellysings

“Stay In The Boat”: Troubadour Wyatt Easterling’s Poignant Ode to the Depressed

Wyatt EasterlingI’m just getting to know Country, Americana & Folk troubadour and producer Wyatt Easterling through Music Business Mentoring, a platform he launched earlier this year with singer-songwriters Marlene D’Aoust and Jen Smith that features an incredible resource of leading music industry professionals who are acting as mentors to those who are trying to find their way in a very challenging business.

When life feels like it’s too much to handle we may think about stepping out, but that’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Things are seldom as bad as they seem so I say: “Stay In The Boat.” ~ Wyatt Easterling

Wyatt doesn’t know that I struggle with depression and may not know that I’ve been grieving the death of my sister and best friend, Karen, who passed away 14 months ago from ovarian cancer leaving her husband and twelve-year-old twins behind. To say it’s been a challenging couple of years for me and my family has been an understatement. I have often not wanted to “stay in the boat” myself but I’m fortunate to have enough support in my life to keep me from jumping over board. However, not everyone does.

As synchronicity would have it, Wyatt reached out to me and shared his song “Stay In The Boat” because he noticed a post I made on behalf of my client, ArtsCan Circle, about the rising aboriginal suicide rate in Ontario and he thought I might like to share it with ArtsCan Circle colleagues and supporters. ArtsCan Circle is a not-for-profit organization that sends teams of musicians and artists to remote Indigenous communities engaging groups of children and youth in workshops to facilitate creative expression and teach skills in playing musical instruments, songwriting, visual arts and performance arts. ArtsCan Circle gives those at-risk youth a reason to “stay in the boat.” So, not only would I like to share this thoughtful, poignant song with them, but I’d like to share it with you too and with anyone who suffers from depression.

Former head of A&R for Atlantic Records Nashville, songwriter, producer,  executive and session player, Wyatt Easterling describes the inspiration behind his song:

Stay In The Boat

“A life long friend of mine called me back in the summer as I sat on a plane waiting to pull away Stay In The Boatfrom the gate, and as we talked, he began to reveal to me that he was suffering through a growing discontentment with the world around him. As the conversation progressed I began to realize that he was slipping into a serious depression and I became uneasy with some of his dark humor.  When he pointed out that I would know what happened if his sailboat came ashore one day without him, I could only say “hang in there,” things will be brighter tomorrow.

About this time the flight attendant said I’d have to turn off my phone to prepare for takeoff, but before I did I fired off a text to my pal: “We don’t know what tomorrow will bring so just stay in the boat.” Isn’t it funny how we always make a stab at humor when we don’t know what to say?

I spent the next three weeks touring from Michigan out to Alberta, Canada checking in with my friend, as frequently as guys will do, which is to say about once a week. My way of broaching the subject was to simply ask: “How ya doing,” his response: “I’m still in the boat.” “Just stay in the boat” became our motto as we hung up with each other.

This song came together over the ensuing miles in the car, running along the Bow River in Calgary and hanging out in airports. I finished it during a 4-hour layover in Charlotte waiting for a 25-minute flight to Raleigh.

Two days after I got home from my tour Robin Williams did the unthinkable. A week later I was in Nashville producing a cd for an artist and as fate would have it there was time to record this song. If you think it could help someone please pass it along.”

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

When you don’t quite know what to say to your loved one who is suffering from depression, try sharing this song with them or with anyone whom you believe would gain comfort from it.

“Stay In The Boat” is available through CD Baby and iTunes.

www.wyatteasterling.com

Kingston, Ontario Singer-Songwriter Jenica Rayne Releases Retro Country Rock Album, ‘Hit The Ground Running’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 10, 2014

 

Kingston, Ontario Singer-Songwriter Jenica Rayne Releases Retro Country Rock Album, ‘Hit The Ground Running

Hit The Ground Running by Jenica Rayne
[Kingston ON] Kingston’s own passionate singer-songwriter, storyteller and seasoned performer Jenica Rayne of Jenica and The RayneMakers and Calamity Janes will release her brand new solo, retro 70s / Country Rock album entitled Hit The Ground Running at BLUMartini Bar & Grill, 178 Ontario Street in Kingston on Sunday, October 26, 2014, 7:30 pm. Her band for the evening will feature Doug Reansbury on electric guitar/BG vocals, Alec Barken on bass, Ken Hall on keys, Duncan Holt on drums, James Wannamaker on tenor sax, Janet MacRae on trumpet, Lynne Hanson and Sandy Stubbert on BG vocals, Danielle Lennon on violin and Rayne on guitar/vocals. Tickets for the CD Release show are available at Tara Foods and Brian’s Record Option.

Hit The Ground Running includes some of Kingston’s and Vancouver’s finest musicians. Recorded during 2013/2014 in Duncan Holt’s Concept Audio Studio in Kingston, and in Vancouver at Hammond Avenue Studio with Rayne’s longtime friend and producer Simon Kendall, the album offers many thoughtful Country Pop/Rock ballads with string arrangements and piano. The title track, “Hit The Ground Running” is an Anthemic Country Rock ballad that starts out slow & builds to mid tempo with brass arrangements and an orchestral sounding chorus, while the up tempo, road tripping “Faster” is Country/Rock inspired by true life events while performing in Mexico.

Rayne wanted to weave the musical influences of her Vancouver players with the sounds of her musician friends here in Kingston. It took a year but she got the sound she was looking for. Her mature alto voice is well-worn like your favourite pair of cowboy boots and her Retro Country Rock compositions and thought-provoking lyrics will take you back to the 70s. This album will fit in perfectly with your Blue Rodeo and Patty Griffin LPs.

Jenica Rayne is a jazz trained, accomplished guitarist and storyteller Jenica Rayne at the farmdescribing soul-searching, fun-loving and heartbreaking experiences. Audiences become engaged, reflective and revitalized with her shows. She has released four previous critically acclaimed solo CDs: Hall of Memories (1999), Essential Elements (2005), Live Rayne (2007) and Love is Love (2013), as well as Calamity Janes (2013) with the Calamity Janes Band.

Rayne recently appeared on CTV Morning in Vancouver with Jessie/Genie Award winner Simon Kendall and has shared the stage with many of Canada’s finest performers. She teaches music and guitar at the Kingston School of Music and is now ranked #1 in Folk / Folk/Rock by ReverbNation in Kingston, and #67 nationally.

Hit The Ground Running is available on iTunes and CD Baby.

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Website: www.jenicarayne.com
Music: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/JenicaRayne
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenicaRayneLive
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenicaRayne
CBC Music: http://music.cbc.ca/#/artists/Jenica-Rayne

MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Sherri Provost-Williams
Email: sprovostwilliams@gmail.com
Phone: 1-613-331-3006
Phone: 1-613-539-2774

 

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

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Things Just Keep Getting Better for Montreal Son JON DAVIS who Launches “BETTER” Music Video at La Sala Rossa, Oct. 2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 12, 2014


Things just keep getting Better for Montreal son JON DAVIS
who Launches “BETTER” Music Video
@
LA SALA ROSSA – OCT 2, 8:00PM
(presented by Hello Darlin’ Productions)

 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)

[Montreal QC]  Jon Davis has achieved full lift-off with the music video launch of ‘Better’– a powerful audio and visual landscape that showcases an uplifting theme of hope for these turbulent times.

‘Better’ and its parent album ‘Open Shore’, highlights Davis’ painterly ability to translate human emotion of struggle into delicate canvasses of light blue steel and shale grey, with splashes of golden hue.

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

Jon’s journey itself has most certainly moved out of the shadows into the light. Within the past year alone, he has performed in Josh Groban’s world tour, sang for Celine Dion in Gregory Charles’ Mondial Choral at her “Chantez pour Sainte-Justine avec Céline Dion” fundraiser, taught a Bachelor music program at UQAM, as well as performed and recorded with Montreal luminary Pierre Lapointe — all of which would have been impossible just a few short years ago.

Participation in these projects is most certainly a great achievement. But it’s through hisoriginal music where Jon truly shines. Possessed of a delicate and at once unique and chameleonic voice (think James Taylor meets Nick Drake meets Coldplay), Jon’s no holds barred outlook on music and life, shows that there can be a “Better” outcome for all of us.

____________________________________________________________

WHO:
Jon Davis ‘Better’ Music Video Launch (pres. by Hello Darlin’ Productions)

WHERE:
La Sala Rossa, 4848 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montreal

WHEN:
Thursday, October 2, 8:00pm

TIX:
$20 / $15 students & advance  (514) 844-4227  www.lasalarossa.com

ARTIST WEB:
www.jondavismusic.ca

____________________________________________________________

“Stunningly executed… [Open Shore is] an album that deserves to be heard from beginning to end…[has] a hook that may have to be surgically removed.”
Leicester Bangs, UK  

“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

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

“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 is one of my favourite 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

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

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.

Black Canadian Awards 2014 Event Announces Anslem Douglas Among Top 6 Nominees Best Caribbean Style Artist

Anslem Douglas Project A.D.CONGRATULATIONS TO ANSLEM DOUGLAS!
FINAL VOTING WILL RUN FEBRUARY 13 – 26!

Anslem Douglas, songwriter of the internationally-acclaimed and Grammy Award-winning hit “Who Let The Dogs Out?,” has placed in the top six list of nominees, alongside AMMOYE, JAHSMIN DALEY, SHALLI, SOCA EMPEROR and MS PAIGE for Best Caribbean Style Artist at the upcoming BLACK CANADIAN AWARDS 2014 Event. Other award nominees include JULLY BLACK, K’NAAN, SAIDAH BABA TALIBAH, and KARDINAL OFFISHALL. Stay tuned for more information on the awards and the new website launch on February 1st. 

For current information please visit www.anslemmusic.com /www.BlackCanadians.com

Who hasn’t heard of the 2000 massive internationally-acclaimed hit and Grammy Award-winning single “Who Let The Dogs Out?” Sure it was made famous by the Baha Men (a band that utilized a popular style of Bahamian music called Junkanoo), but did you know it was written and recorded two years before, in the very exciting and traditional soca style by Trinidadian-born and now Toronto-based singer-songwriter Anslem Douglas? It was originally, affectionately called “Doggie” and here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O27fagObxaM to that first recording, which was a huge hit in the Caribbean initially – and which is very different from the version that most of us know. The covered version was a chart success in many countries, and also became a popular song at U.S. sporting events and was featured in the 2009 hit comedy The Hangover.

The Black Canadian Awards ceremony is an event that reflects a commitment to showcasing and celebrating achievements of Black Canadian professionals, artists, trailblazers and leaders within the community. The organization has received more than 20,000 total nomination votes over the past eight months.

The Black Canadian Awards will be hosted in Toronto on March 1st, 2014 at the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Theatre, with more than1,000 people in attendance. Volunteering, affiliations and sponsorship opportunities are available.

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

Beverly Kreller
SPEAK Music
www.speak-music.com
bev@speak-music.com
416-922-3620

Twitter: @SPEAKMusicPR
Facebook: www.facebook.com/beverly.kreller

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.

You Can Help Country Music Recording Artist Adam Gregory Make His 6th Studio Album!

Adam Gregory receiving Slaight Humanitarian Award at 2013 CCMA AwardsI have worked with Country music recording artist Adam Gregory for about a year and a half and not only is he one of the nicest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure to get to know, but he has the most devoted, loyal fans of all of the musicians I’ve ever worked with as a social media manager!

I’m not by nature, a country music fan, I’m a rock/alternative rock girl, but I decided that I had to give Adam’s music a good listen because I wanted to know why his fans are so supportive of him. Well, I can tell you this, it’s because he has a fantastic voice, is born to sing, and he writes some excellent songs! Plus, there’s that super nice guy factor too! In fact, he won the prestigious Slaight Humanitarian Award at this year’s Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMAS) for his tireless work with Adam Helps The House for Ronald McDonald House.


When Adam told me that he was going to launch a Kickstarter campaign to help fund his 6th studio album, I couldn’t wait to help him promote it because I believe in this young man’s talent and vision, 100%! I want him to succeed in this endeavor with every fiber of my being because this is the type of person who deserves to be supported, so I was the first person to back him when he pressed that green LAUNCH button!

Adam’s Kickstarter campaign is now live and you can check it out at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1113525430/adam-gregorys-6th-studio-album to find out what kinds of very cool incentives he has to offer you in thanks for your pledges. If there was ever a musician to be proud to support in a crowdfunding campaign, Adam Gregory is it!

Here, I’ll let him speak for himself. Watch this:

 

If you can’t make a pledge to Adam’s campaign, please consider helping him spread the word about his Kickstarter campaign by posting about it on your Facebook page or personal profile, Twitter, Google +, or even your own blog. Pay it Forward and be proud you did!

You can find Adam Gregory online at:

www.adamgregory.com
www.facebook.com/adamgregoryofficial
twitter.com/AdamGregorySong