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

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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.