New Music Mondays

December 1, 2014

It has been more than a few Mondays since I last shared my musical ramblings, but it’s back and more personal and raw.

Just over two weeks ago, I co-MC’d a talent show in support of our workplace charitable campaign. This show was an opportunity to have fun and celebrate the diverse talents that exist within the federal public service. And from my perspective we had fun.

You can check out some of the highlights and talent here.

Now as an emcee, I was also encouraged to share my musical talents. I’m not convinced that there is talent, but in the spirit of community, I took the plunge and shared.

I will spare the results, but if you have a morbid interest, and are even a basic Internet sleuth, you can find the video.

I’m rambling for early Monday morning and will get to the point. After the show, a long time friend invited me over to his place to record the song.

Matt is a musician, has worked in professional recording studios and suggested he could ‘spice’ up my very amateurish song. I took him up on the offer.

This wasn’t a simple hit record and play. He helped me rearrange the song, trim some verses and together we came up with a chorus.

Matt laid down a drum beat, a bass line and also added another guitar track. I was impressed. He worked that board – well like a professional.

His feedback was honest and direct but luckily I was doing this for simple fun, so no bruises.

I have a rough cut of a song. It’s comes in at a short 2 and a half minutes. I’m looking forward to hearing the final version and look forward to the next recording session.

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New Music Mondays

July 7, 2014

Festival season is upon us. No sooner is the last note played at the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, then we welcome the RBC Ottawa Bluesfest!

Bluesfest is celebrating its 20th Anniversary and takes place each July. The festival itself has evolved, on many fronts, over the last 20 years. We have seen a progression from a blues-centric showcase to one that celebrates and promotes mainstream pop, nostalgic rock, and everything in between. It’s evolution is something I appreciate and is likely one of the reasons, why I have been a volunteer for the last 4 festivals.

Another reason to support Bluesfest is the opportunity to be introduced to music from artists that I have not had the pleasure of knowing.

With its first weekend over, I’ve already been introduced to the Honey Island Swamp Band, as well as, Shovels and Rope. If I were to judge Bluesfest on these introductions alone, I’d call this year’s installment a success!

Honey Island Swamp Band is often described as bayou Americana. I wouldn’t disagree with this description, but would add that it’s a wonderful mashup of southern funk and country-fried rhythm and blues! Definitely worth a listen. I’ll be on the search for their upcoming release, Cane Sugar!

Admittedly, I was introduced to Shovels and Rope earlier this year by Erin Gee, but this was the first time, in fact, Ottawa’s first time to hear and see them live. They did not disappoint! This husband and wife duo, from South Carolina, brought with them such an immense energy to their live show, I look forward to seeing them again and on a larger stage!

They successfully blend Shovels & Rope traditional folk, rock and roll, country rock, and blues into their music. Easily – the highlight of this year’s installment of Bluesfest! Their new album, Swimmin’ Time comes out later this month! I’ve added it to my must buy list.

That’s it for now. Still lots of great music to be seen and heard at Bluesfest! Go out! Explore. Experience. Enjoy!

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Shovels and Rope

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Honey Island Swamp Band

New Music Monday

April 28, 2014

Full disclosure. My admiration for the Tragically Hip is unrelenting. From the late 1980’s, their music has been a constant for me. I’ve seen countless shows, crossed international borders to see them and have a library of photos from past shows.

So when I heard that Justin Rutledge was releasing an album of covers, I was intrigued. I have heard various covers of various Hip songs, from Sarah Polley’s cover of Courage, to the Sterephonics’ cover of Fiddler’s Green, I’ve been surprised by his imaginative and creative interpretations.

Daredevil, Justin Rutledge’s latest album, came out on April 22 and it’s been on heavy rotation over the last week. I don’t know the history of the name of the album, but can only imagine that it’s a reflection of the guts it took to take on a project like this.

These are not simply covers, but rather stripped down and rebuilt testaments to a band and the music from Justin Rutledge’s formative years.

You won’t hear the anthemic ‘New Orleans is Sinking’, or the culturally entrenched ‘Wheat Kings’, but you will hear an album of covers that will surprise you. The arrangements and the guest voices of Andy Maize (Skydiggers) , Jenn Grant, Brendan Canning and others have produced an eerily haunting album – one where when you close your eyes, you are transported to this surreal state of wonderment.

Put it Off, Fiddler’s Green and Grace, Too are some of my favourites! Whether you are a fan of The Hip or Justin Rutledge, you’ll be happy with Daredevil.

Take a it for a spin. Let me know what you think!

To learn more about Justin Rutledge:
Facebook: Justin Rutledge Music
Twitter: @JustinJRutledge
Web: justinrutledge.com

Music Mondays

April 21, 2014

I’m switching gears a bit this week, but the focus will still be on music. This past weekend was Record Store Day (RSD). Being new to the vinyl & vintage audio scene, I really wanted to get into the spirit.

This year, RSD landed it squarely in the middle of a long weekend – an added bonus. The Record Centre is in my ‘hood, but I wanted to make it extra special and decided a trip south of the border was in order. I’m not talking a long road trip, more like an afternoon excursion to the border towns of Massena and Potsdam, NY.

I figured what better way to experience RSD than to visit small town America, after-all RSD has it’s genesis in celebrating and supporting small independent record stores. I imagined walking into an ageless record store, hearing the sounds of Bob Dylan or Neil Young blasting from a pair of vintage speakers and talking with a time-weathered music aficionado about the must have records and the latest releases.

High on my list was the latest offering (posthumously) from Johnny Cash, Neil Young’s surprise release of an album of covers and some older releases from the Drive-By Truckers.

I seemingly forgot about some of the messages often heard in the sounds of Cash, Young and the Drive-By Truckers – hard times continue to cripple small town America. Although I asked – there were no longer such places of musical escapism in either town. The last one shuttered its doors over two years ago. I was too late.

Dejected and feeling a little guilty (Catholic guilt I suppose) for not supporting RSD earlier, I pointed the car north and headed back home.

Notwithstanding this disappointment, I made a mental note to follow through on an idea that has been percolating in the back corners of my mind – more on that in a later post.

Fuelled by disappointment I ventured into the basement of the ex-laws to paw my way through their aging collection of vinyl. I managed to find some some albums which fit squarely within my musical leanings and some I am interested in learning more about. I have already managed to listen to Black Uhuru and some Mississippi John Hurt.

Later today, I will put on Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA‘, U2’s ‘Rattle and Hum‘ and Bob Marley & the Wailers’ 1973 release, ‘Catch a Fire‘. Am looking forward this journey back into our musical past.

Monday’s drawing to a close and so is this post. Before I head back home, I’ll take a stroll up to The Record Centre and say hello to John!

Take care and happy listening.

New Music Mondays

April 7, 2014

When it comes to finding new music, we look to our friends, we explore our local music scene & there may be a chance we find something on our local radio station.

For me I have relied heavily on CBC’s Radio 2, and the focus of this post NoiseTrade.

With NoiseTrade, you have access to thousands of songs, thousands of albums. It’s free (sort of. there is value in your personal information) and it’s legal. In exchange for your email address and your postal code, you can find your next favourite artist, the next emerging big hit or that gem that you’ll want to keep to yourself.

So how does this all work? Artists can upload an entire album, live recordings, b-sides and other rarities. Instantly their music becomes available, ready to be explored and enjoyed.

Like what you hear? Well you can leave a ‘tip’ for the artist. There are examples where artists have released an entire album and through the ‘tips’ raised money for a variety of causes. From where I am listening, it’s a win-win-win!

Like the Blues, Country, Folk or Indie Rock? You can search by genre. Have you heard a new artist and want to check them out? You can see if they have posted any additional music.

Frequently there are collaborations and great samplers that are offered. These samplers are a wonderful way of being introduced to new music. Someone has taken the time to put together the ultimate mixed-taped for your listening pleasure.

So – the next time you are feeling a bit tired of the radio or your own personal music collection, go check out NoiseTrade. If you find an artist you like, please share it!

Happy Listening!

Marc

New Music Mondays

March 31, 2014

This past weekend, my music library tipped over the 28,000 songs mark. Admittedly there are songs on there that I haven’t listened to in a long while, and there are compilations that I revisit frequently.

This week, I wanted to share with you an album that will (already has) been getting some having playing time. And like with any good music, it often comes on a referral. This referral comes from @strombo and his radio show from March 16.

Rita Chiarelli’s ‘Rest My Bones’, complete with back-up vocals from some of the prison’s talented singers, draws you back to the genesis of the blues and provides a suitable backdrop for the spirit of the blues. This isn’t surprising given that Lead Belly spent some time there and was visited by Alan Lomax, a collector of early American Folk Music.

After hearing that song, I went out and picked up Music from the Big House. I wasn’t disappointed. There’s such a raw energy and feel to the music, so much so, I can’t wait for the DVD to arrive. Other highlights for me include ‘Don’t Let Him Catch You’, ‘Rain On Me’ and ‘Midnight Special’.

I recognize that this isn’t a new soundtrack, but it’s new to me and just may be to you. If you are a fan of the blues, or early American folk music, you’ll appreciate this soundtrack. Give it a listen and let me know your thoughts.