Fri, Jul 21
Sun, Jul 23
Tom Cochrane with Red Rider, The Sadies, Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet, Basia Bulat, Lindi Ortega, The Wooden Sky, Northcote, The Dudes, 54-40, Jess Moskaluke
461 Main Street
Bengough, SK, S0C 0K0
Doors 2:00 PM
Since their formation in 1994, Toronto's Sadies have developed, even perfected, a style of music that is uniquely their own. Possessing a deep fondness and reverence for the best of country, bluegrass and blues (CBGB!), they are equally informed and influenced by everything from 60s garage and psychedelic rock (Pebbles, Nuggets, et al) to surf instrumentals and punk rock. You're as likely to find an enthusiastic fan of Negative Approach or Crime as one of Santo & Johnny or Merle Travis within their ranks. It's all relevant and it all fits and that sort of depth goes a long way in helping to understand how they came to develop such a broad platform from which to launch their own musical explorations.
Through a trio of brilliant albums that began with 2002's "Stories Often Told", 2004's "Favourite Colours" and 2007's Juno Award nominated, "New Seasons" – they finally topped themselves with 2010's "Darker Circles" an accomplished album that received a Juno Award for Best Video and was short-listed for the 2011 Polaris Prize. "Darker Circles" was a departure from their previous releases, which despite having some fairly, er, dark themes and subject matter, resonated strongly with fans and critics alike. It stands out as the most fully-realized song cycle from the group – until now.
September 17th, 2013 will see the release of "Internal Sounds" an album that heralds a new level of achievement for The Sadies. This was largely due to refusing to be pressured by any deadlines but their own, taking their time over a period of nearly a year to get everything "just right" and using up every resource they had and every favour they could call in. "Internal Sounds" marks the first time Dallas Good has assumed the producer's role and this helped craft a record that is the closest the band has yet come to capturing their sound on an album. Vocals are clear and prominent, guitars are positioned high in the mix and the album has a tone that is overall fuller and richer. Some key assistance was provided by Peter J. Moore (mixing/mastering) and Gary Louris (who has produced much of the bands past work) with some vocal coaching and control room refereeing. The resulting album greatly benefits from all of these considerations and is by far the most confident and assured of their career. The final track features an amazing vocal performance from Buffy Sainte-Marie that is a thrill to hear and a fantastic way to finish off the record.
The numerous collaborations that the band has been involved with over the years have resulted in some of the most surprising and fun work they've done. These feature a tremendous range of artists from expat British punk rockers (Mekons' Jon Langford – "Mayors of The Moon" Album), L.A. troubadours (John Doe, formerly of X – "Country Club"), old timey R&B masters (Andre Williams – more on him later), to up and coming alt-country starlets (Neko Case "The Tigers Have Spoken" many tours and contributions to many of her solo albums). They've also worked extensively with ex- Pussy Galore founder and current Jon Spencer Blues Explosion frontman Jon Spencer's "Heavy Trash" project with NYC guitarist Matt Verta-Ray – they've backed Matt and Jon extensively on tour and played on much of their "Going Way Out With Heavy Trash" album as well. There's hardly ever been a band as versatile and adventurous as The Sadies which is why they don't have too many peers with that kind of track record.
When Garth Hudson, organist with the Canadian rock institution, The Band, put together an all-Canadian collaboration album recently he leaned heavily on The Sadies, who, in addition to contributing their version of "The Shape I'm In", backed the much-loved Mary Margaret O'Hara on her contribution "Out Of The Blue". They also played with Neil Young on his rendition of "This Wheel's On Fire". This ultimately led to being invited to open for Neil Young and Crazy Horse all across Canada in late 2012.
The Sadies have also recently performed live on several occasions with former Guess Who founder and Canuck songwriting legend Randy Bachman where they were thrilled to get a chance to perform some of their own favourite super-obscure Guess Who songs with the man himself. Of The Sadies, Bachman has this to say; "It's quite different when I play with The Sadies than when I play with anyone else. I love the stand-up bass, it gives an incredible gigantic bottom end sound. I think the two brothers Dallas and Travis are just amazing guitar players. They've got their own cool identity".
The band continues to enjoy a long and fruitful relationship with 50s R&B legend Andre Williams. In 2012 the excellent "Night and Day" album was released to much acclaim. Previously they'd put together a country album with
him, "Red Dirt" which was a blast for all involved and saw the band do several memorable gigs with Mr. Rhythm throughout the US & Canada before heading off to Europe for a well-received month-long tour playing the classic hits as well as a lot of the new material. Andre once said "You cannot find a better bunch of characters, men or musicians than The Sadies".
Growing up in a musical family served the Good siblings well. Being the sons of noted Canadian country music icon Bruce Good and their singer / schoolteacher mom, Margaret and hanging out around their "Good Brothers" extended family, they learned a thing or ten about music. This helped them foster the broad appreciation and respect for the best of bluegrass, country and gospel that has continued to serve them well from an early age. Just this year saw the release of the Good Family Album via the Cowboy Junkies' Latent Recordings label. The album features Dallas, older brother Travis, Cousin D'Arcy on fiddle and vocals, Mom, Dad & Uncle Larry (2/3 of the Good Brothers) as well as the rest of The Sadies. Everybody sings, everybody plays and it's a diverse and entertaining collection of songs. No Depression raves "I almost defy you to listen to this album and not find yourself continutally gawping at the quality on display. A high-water mark for North American (not just Canadian) music."
The Sadies have consistently pushed themselves forward into new areas while refining their approach to what they do – creating a constantly evolving catalogue of work and picking up legions of new converts with each successive tour. Their concerts, legendary since their earliest days have only gotten better over the years. Though the three-hour marathons of yore may happen less frequently, The Sadies have always prided themselves on a well-paced live show, starting off strong and gradually building things up to fever pitch then bringing it back home (often with a nice surprise or two along the way), before sending everyone home with a smile on their face. The live experience has it all, blistering instrumentals, country rave-ups, super-human guitar interplay and mind blowing psychedelic expeditions that can end up anywhere. There are not many bands that have been together nearly two decades that are truly making the best music of their careers, but The Sadies have definitely established themselves as one of the leaders in that very uncrowded field.
These fellows thrive by a simple rule, if you make a mistake in the studio, you do it over – but you don't make mistakes onstage. The live show has to do everything the records do (just a little faster and a little drunker). They're ready to hit your town in support of the release of the remarkable new album "Internal Sounds" this fall. If you've never seen them live, the time to change that is now – if you've seen them before, it's time to take another look. And buy yourself a copy of "Internal Sounds" it might end up being the best record you'll hear this year!
~ Greg Dinwoodie, friend
Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet
Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet existed originally between 1984 and 1995, and released three albums, a dozen singles, appeared on numerous compilations (including the formative "It Came From Canada" series), toured extensively throughout North America and England and were one of the first Canadian bands to record a Peel Session for BBC D.J. John Peel. They beat David Foster and Liona Boyd out of one of the two Juno's they were nominated for, backed B-52's vocalist Fred Schneider on his "Just Fred" album, and scored a couple of feature films and the television series Kids in the Hall. CBCs Grant Lawrence called them Canada's Best Instrumental Band of All Time, The
Constantines' Bry Webb claims (erroneously) that they never wrote a bad song, and they were finalists in The Toronto Star's poll of Best Toronto Band Ever. They are the creators of the song often referred to as Canada's third national anthem - Having An Average Weekend, their song used as theme to the Kids In The Hall series. The reconstituted Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet's founding members Brian Connelly and
Don Pyle are joined by extended family member Dallas Good, of The Sadies, playing bass
guitar for the foreseeable future, and are gearing up for an exhaustive and exhausting reissue
campaign of their music. Yep Roc records of North Carolina release the deluxe four-LP box set
Oh, I Guess We Were A Fucking Surf Band After All… , for Record Store Day, April 17, 2016
setting the stage for a glut of live performances following that. The handful of shows the
reanimated band have done have been overwhelmingly successful and reveal how the band's
stature has grown since first disbanding.
We don't know how long they are back for but they are here now!
Basia entered the public's ears in 2007 with a critically acclaimed foray into indie-folk. Her characteristic honeyed vibrato, baroque femininity, sweetly minimal arrangements and silver arrowhead-like lyrics make her one of Canada's most conspicuous talents. Her third, Juno-nominated and 2014 Polaris prize short listed album Tall Tall Shadow charted a new path with echo and reverb, electronic flutters and electric autoharp alchemizing heartbreak into buoyant, inventive, hook-laden pop. Her 2016 Polaris shortlisted, Jim James (My Morning Jacket) – produced album, Good Advice, is a fizzing, phosphorescent affair, filled with songs of desire and redemption, lit up with a bottle-rocket of liberated, faintly psychedelic sounds.
There's a sign on the outskirts of town.
A buzzard sits atop it. The grass brown and parched below. It's dusty, faded, chipped at the edges, graffiti filling the empty white spaces, a bullet hole or two visible in the large, black letters that read:
Welcome to Faded Gloryville. Leave your dreams behind.
In the eyes and imagination of acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter Lindi Ortega it's a place we've all been, we're all familiar with or will one day know all to well.
Some visit. Some stay. Some escape. Some leave only to return again.
And for Lindi, it was also the source of inspiration — in title and in spirit — for her stunning new collection of country-kissed songs that make up her fourth full-length release set to come out on new Last Gang Record imprint, The Grand Tour.
It is an album that is filled with the sights and sounds and souls of those who've found themselves in Faded Gloryville, brought to its saloons, flophouses and cheap motels by drink, by debt, by vanity, heartbreak, failure, fear or misfortune.
Her first glimpse of the place, oddly enough, was in another artistic vision, that of the Jeff Bridges film Crazy Heart, which depicts a fellow musician exiled in a similar metaphorical town, down-and-out, drunk and debasing himself and his talents for those who could care less.
"I had a moment where I thought, 'Could this be me? Could I wind up like this?' " says Lindi. "That was a very honest question to myself."
That fact, the idea that she would question that shouldn't come as much of a surprise to those familiar with the subject matter of her past work, specifically 2013's Juno Award-nominated Tin Star, considering much of it was powered by Lindi's experiences as a young, struggling artist in the equally as fabled and dream-dashing place of Nashville, where she now makes her home.
Just as it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to those familiar with her incredible gifts that the feisty, fiery and fierce force of nature had no intention of taking up permanent residency in Faded Gloryville.
It was a pitstop. She took what she needed, saw the sights, hung with the locals, and high-tailed it out of there, hitting the road to capture its essence in three very different recording sessions.
The first two were with producers familiar to her work, Dave Cobb who was behind the boards for Tin Star, and fellow Canadian castaway Colin Linden, who helped her realize her vision for 2012's Polaris Prize nominated Cigarettes & Truckstops.
The results of those, Lindi says, should be pleasing to those many fans who've discovered her over the years, fallen hard for her own unique take on the torch and twang of her country influences such as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn that has taken her around the world to enthusiastic audiences everywhere.
The final session, though, was one that took her in a somewhat different direction, towards a more Muscle Shoals sound utilized by those that came before her such as Solomon Burke, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke — artists she expresses an affinity and fondness for.
Helping her navigate the new terrain were John Paul White from The Civil Wars and Ben Tanner from the Alabama Shakes, who co-produced in their studio in the deep south what Lindi describes as three of the album's more "soulful tunes."
"I feel like country music, itself, is all encompassing. There are different facets of it," Lindi explains."And I love all of it, and I've always wanted to explore all sounds country-wise. I've explored bluegrass, I've explored outlaw country, I've explored classic country. And now I'm exploring this vibe. Maybe it isn't necessarily country but it's connected to the south. So I feel that it makes sense."
And despite the three different directions Lindi took in the recording process, together, the nine originals and a heartfelt cover of the Bee Gees' classic "To Love Somebody", do all make sense, delivering what is the singer-songwriter's most assured, varied and engaging release to date.
It features everything from barnburner songs and the good ol' foot-stomping, toe-tapping numbers to the ballads that Lindi has made her calling card, all delivered with an energy and emotional investment that makes them utterly her own.
And, of course, wrapped up in those fashionably tattered yet toney musical threads are the tales of those long-time denizens of Faded Gloryville, delivered with a remarkable amount of smarts, heart and humour.
"There ain't no stars in Faded Gloryville," she croons on the title cut. "We've chased our dreams into the ground/If disillusion has some hope to kill/Here nobody wears a crown."And here's where you'll find the downtrodden and forgotten, the sinners and saintless, the jaded and jaundiced.
There's Cheech & Chong-esque enabler couple in "Run Down Neighborhood", whose derelict dates are down to the local convenience store.
There's the victim of addiction in "Run Amuck", who learns the hard way that, "When you run with the Devil you burn everything you touch/Bridges and money and everyone you love."
And here, too, is the very Lindi-like subject of affection in the song "I Ain't That Girl", who warns her would-be suitor that his money, status and Mercedes convertible aren't going to get the job done: "Ain't gonna tell you any lies/I've got a thing for long-haired guys/You're too clean-cut with polished shoes/I like 'em rugged with tattoos."
These are just some of those that find themselves in that town where dreams are left behind and all but forgotten. They may be those we know. They may be us. They may one day be.
But lest you think that the album is one with no hope, an obituary for those who find themselves at the outskirts and on their way into a life from which there is no return, Lindi points to the opening song "Ashes", which speaks of rising, Phoenix-like, out of that heartbreak and despair and finding oneself, evolving into something more. Ultimately this story, her story, everyone's story can and should be one of redemption.
"I always look at it like in order to get to Paradise you have to travel through Faded Gloryville," she says.
The Wooden Sky
Navigating the strife and uncertainty of evolving friendships, lost loves, death and the ever-shifting challenges of the music industry, Gavin Gardiner (vocals/guitar), Andrew Kekewich (drums) and Simon Walker (multi-instrumentalist) found themselves in a new place: holed up in Toronto's west-end—in Gardiner's garage-turned-studio to be exact. With the help of familiar collaborators Edwin Huizinga (violin) and Andrew Wyatt (bass and vocals), the band spent grueling hours together digging deeper into their sound, looking both for answers to their doubts, and a way to quiet them.
The results, you could say, are loud.
The album was conceived amidst many changes for the band—saying goodbye to both a founding member and their longtime record label. In the process of putting the pieces back together, The Wooden Sky looked to the talent and brawn of friend and producer Chris Stringer. Together they worked and reworked the songs, studio-hopping around Toronto in order to give each track a unique shape and space on the record.
With Let's Be Ready, The Wooden Sky draws on nostalgia to capture the warmth of the tunes that inspired them to make music in the first place. This warmth—coupled with a freshness that looks to the future—serves up a new sound and new hope for the band. Let's Be Ready acknowledges the pains of the past but with a gentle optimism and acceptance.
Let's Be Ready also marks the first release from the bands new record label, Chelsea Records. Chelsea grew out of the rubble in which the band found itself in early 2014, but has nonetheless come as a welcome change with exciting new possibilities in tow. In the future, the band hopes Chelsea will be able to provide this for other committed artists as they too grow and develop, providing them with the resources and freedom they need to forge ahead in their careers.
Thanks to a devoted and ever-growing international fan base, (the result of a strong history of touring-success in Canada and abroad), and with a string of awards and nominations under the belt (including a 2012 Juno nod), the band is set to leave any remaining doubts behind. Letting their hair grow long and armed with perhaps their most confident record to date The Wooden Sky is poised to cross the world reaching new heights on the back of it's latest album, Let's Be Ready.
NORTHCOTE is Matt Goud, Stephen McGillivray, Mike Battle & Derek Heathfield.
2015 - Hope Is Made of Steel is the third full-length album from Northcote, the moniker of Canadian songwriter Matt Goud. The album arrives September 2015 and is an exciting step forward for the hard working artist. 2014 saw Goud and his band mates build their audience around the world with over 160 shows throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and the UK. The new record reflects Northcote's punk rock and folk influences while sonically embracing the rock sound that they have developed through 18 months of near constant touring on the road.
"When I was putting together songs for this record, I wanted to pursue the ones that didn't feel necessarily like Northcote-type songs." Goud says. There was a big batch that I knew could work and that could fit well with the other records, but I wanted to pursue the material that felt surprising and challenging to me. The record feels vulnerable in that way and reflects some of the experiences I have had in life and from all the touring we have done."
Hope Is Made of Steel confirms emphatically that Northcote has emerged from a coffee house singer/songwriter into something more fleshed out and fierce. Following years of solo touring around the world, Goud and his band mates Stephen McGillivray (guitar), Mike Battle (bass) and Derek Heathfield (drums) ventured together on Northcote's European headlining tour and in the Spring of 2015 the same group supported New Jersey icons The Gaslight Anthem on a five-week tour across North America. Northcote's larger scale full band tours of the past months have foreshadowed Hope Is Made Of Steel, which is forged by Americana-rock electric guitar and soulful hard-hitting rock drums.
"I've been touring solo or with various arrangements for almost seven years and I'm in a place where I want to start playing more electric guitar, feeling that energy and freedom you get with playing the songs loud and with the band. With this record it is a priority for me to bring a more dynamic show on the road."
Along with a heavy touring schedule Goud, his wife Brittany and their two dogs Libby and Gigi have uprooted twice in the past year moving from Victoria to Ottawa and back again, nearly 3,000 miles in each direction. The theme of movement and finding ones place in the world continues to be a central theme for Northcote, however this time the feeling is more clearly communicated and soaked in experience.
"In between tours I was writing songs in the basement of Lydia's bar on Bank Street in Ottawa. When we decided to move back to Victoria, Britt went ahead of the dogs and I to find an apartment. I spent a couple more weeks alone in Ottawa before driving the car across the country with the dogs. Upon arrival in Victoria, I turned around and immediately started tracking the new album in Vancouver that very next weekend. We had the bed tracks done before the moving truck showed up. I think that stress and energy influenced the album positively by allowing me to be more raw and direct in the writing and making of the record."
Hope Is Made Of Steel was produced by Vancouver-based Musician and Producer Dave Genn (54-40, Hedley, Matthew Good Band). Additional special collaborators and contributors include producer Gavin Brown (Metric, Billy Talent), and guest vocal appearances by Canadian songstress Hannah Georgas, and two of Goud's biggest influences – Chuck Ragan and Dave Hause.
Goud credits the artists he has toured with in the past two years as influences on his work ethic, and approach to writing and performing live.
"I was lucky enough in the past couple years to support some of my heroes in music. I learned that seizing the moment in front of you is the most important aspect to touring. I look up to musicians like Chuck (Ragan) and Dave (Hause) in particular and how their personality and spirit is so visible in their music. I think there is a lot of dread in that vulnerability, but there is also a type of freedom. I've always been attracted to artists who are 'laying-it-on-the-line', no matter what the genre may be."
Although the album sounds brave and fresh, there is plenty of dynamic and variety here. 'Small Town Dreams' is the third track and represents a progression for the band to a more alternative/modern rock leaning sound. The song tells the story of small town youthful naivety – all the hopes and dreams of the two characters someday making it to the big city. In contrast, the track 'Leaving Wyoming' echoes the sensitivity and heart-on-your-sleeve storytelling that of tracks from previous albums such as 'Speak Freely' from the album Northcote (2013) and 'Under the Streetlights' from the album Gather No Dust (2011).
"There is a clarity to the songs that I think I may have struggled with in the past." Goud admits. "I remember playing at the Horseshoe in Toronto last summer and a friend asked me what a particular song of mine meant to me, and I didn't haven't a very clear answer. I feel on this record, I have written a batch of songs that are more direct and that feels less safe. I challenged myself to be more lyrically direct on this album, and I believe I have accomplished that."
The Dudes are legit. They make rock songs that come from the most closely guarded vaults of the emotional banks. They sing about the triumph of good over no good. They trumpet the march of the working class lady. They tell stories of love gained and lost, knife fights, cops and kindness. The Dudes want you to see them play live. They would like you to laugh and dance. After the show, they want to give you a high five. Matt will teach you a special handshake. Bob will ask you for your phone number. They used to have a brown van that took them across Canada thrice. Now its paid the price. She's sitting along the highway at a petrocan in Winnipeg and the last they checked, the doors were still unlocked. You know, if you want to go sit in it or something. Soon they will come to your town in a blue van. Will you be there? Maybe sleep on your floor?
54•40 is Neil Osborne, Brad Merritt, Matt Johnson & Dave Genn. Inspired by the punk/new music scene of Vancouver, BC, 54•40 first performed at the dawn of 1981. After 30 years, 16 releases and more than 2000 performances, the secret to 54•40′s longevity is their ability to redefine and reinvent themselves – taking long-time 54•40 fans on a thrill ride, and continually picking up new young fans along the way. 54•40 has an unbelievable catalogue of hit songs that they can pull from to include in their live performances. Songs such as Baby Ran, She La, Casual Viewin', One Gun, Ocean Pearl, Love You All, Music Man, I Go Blind, One Day In Your Life, Assoholic, Radio Luv Song, Baby Have Some Faith, Miss You, Blame Your Parents, Easy to Love, Crossing a Canyon, Since When, Nice to Luv You, and Lies to Me.