Frazey Ford Brings Her Soul-Soaked Sound to Joe’s Pub

Entering Joe’s Pub the night of Nov 11, I saw this great photo of the recently deceased Allen Toussaint, playing with Elvis Costello. It seemed a suitable inspiration for one of my most anticipated shows of this fall: Frazey Ford playing her first Manhattan show in several years. Ford’s recent album, “Indian Ocean,” is an infectiously listenable collection of songs that brings a unique fusion of Canadian folk and southern soul and R&B to listeners’ ears. The new record was triggered when filmmaker and Muddy Waters biographer Robert Gordon heard Ford’s warm, dusky voice on a Memphis radio station, and missing an ID of who he’d just heard, called the station for her name. Soon, he’d helped arrange for Ford to record at Royal Studios in Memphis, home base for soul master Al Green, where she got the chance to play with his backing band the Hi Rhythm Section, working with Green’s longtime producer Willie Mitchell.

When I saw the stage set-up at Joe’s Pub, I was glad to see room had been made for horn players, so I knew the sounds of the new album would be faithfully rendered in this show. When the band came out, I saw Ford, decked out in a retro-looking hat and sparkly pant suit, flanked by players on trumpet, sax, lead guitar, bass, and drummer, with a back-up singer and Ford playing acoustic guitar. The six-piece outfit made for a very full sound. They launched in to songs from the current album: “Three Old Trees,” “September Fields,” “Natural Law,” “Done,” and “You’re Not Free,” as well as “Bird of Paradise,” from her earlier album, “Obadiah.” Her stage banter was fun, and funny, centering on the “draft-dodging” hippie family she grew up a part of in Canada, having presumably fled the US at some earlier point. Just like her recorded work, I found her singing consistently interesting in this live show, with a broken sort of phrasing that always projects her lyrics into interesting sonic space. I highly recommend you check out Ford on the video of “Done” (below) and on her current tour.

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI

Hollerado Kicks out Some Jams w/an Assist from Swiss Water Decaf

As a regular listener to CBC Radio 3 since 2009, I bet I’ve heard Hollerado’s music dozens of times, with hundreds of plays collectively, and I’ve always enjoyed their hook-rich songs. And yet, somehow, I had never seen them live. That’s why I was really excited last Thursday afternoon when 2014 Radio 3 Fan of the Year Regina Sienra, aka Reginula—who lives in Mexico City, and who guest-blogged on Honourary Canadian earlier this year—placed this item on my Facebook wall:

I didn’t know anything about the venue, Swiss Water Coffee Studio, but since it was being promoted as a free show, that didn’t concern me much. When I arrived, on the south side of Houston near Lafayette St, I found a bright, clean pop-up space whose walls were painted with promos for Swiss Water, which I learned is a coffee company that specializes in making coffee they pledge is the most caffeine-free of any decaf, and the very best of that variety. In fact, Swiss Water (Twitter: @swisswater) was actually offering free cups of their brew right there in the space. Though I’m a longtime black tea drinker, and a coffee-avoider, I accepted a paper cup from a barista in a Swiss Water apron and took a few sips. I found it pleasant enough, quite aromatic, and it didn’t leave me feeling as if I’d just taken some rocket fuel onboard. I was glad Swiss Water had decided to use a live rock show to promote their coffee and their brand identity, which includes a philanthropic element, Grounds for Healing.

Waiting for Hollerado to take the stage, I began chatting with someone I noticed arranging tables, getting the space ready for the show.  This I learned was Patricia Johansen-Mitchell, who told me she’s with a company called Strategic Coffee Concepts. She explained her company was working on the branding exercise with Swiss Water, for this, their first foray in to NYC. She said the pop-up space opened on Oct 30 and would run through Nov 8, serving Swiss Water decaf every day. Having left home without a pen, Patty kindly loaned me one. When I checked out Swiss Water’s Twitter feed, I saw they’re actually a Canadian outfit, located in Burnaby, BC.  It didn’t seem incongruous that Hollerado was playing the space—at a minimum the company and the band have Canadian roots in common, even though the latter hails from Manotick, Ontario—now based in Toronto— while the company is out west. Waiting for the band to begin, I situated myself at a table and set up my notebook and iPad. I noticed some fellas who looked like they could be in the band, so before they got on stage I walked up and introduced myself to, it turned out, lead guitarist Nick Boyd. I gave him my card and explained I write two blogs, including this one where I write about Canadian bands, authors, politics, media, and related topics. Moments later, the lights dimmed, Nick and I signed off, and it was time for the show.

Hollerado played a generous, full set, more than an hour, during which they exhibited a lively stage presence, joking and making good-natured fun of each other. Menno, a sandy-haired player in the middle of the photos is the rhythm guitarist, lead vocalist, and seeming front man, though he is far from the only singer, or participant in japes with the audience. He was flanked on his right by the aforementioned Nick Boyd, while Dean Baxter on bass took the place to Menno’s left, and behind those three, drummer Jake Boyd stamped out the beats. Nick Boyd’s lead guitar was recessed in the band’s mix, but it never disappeared, and made for an interesting, atypical guitar tone. Baxter’s bass was tasty and audible throughout, even though I was standing on the side away from his position. Group vocals with rousing choruses are one of Hollerado’s signatures, and lots of them were sung this night by three or all four of their voices. The sound is brash and very loud, at moments, but amid the fierce attack the vibe created is nonetheless always genial, pumping out memorable melodies that lodge nicely in the mind’s ear. They traversed much of their catalog, playing “Firefly,” “Good Day at the Races,” Pick Me Up,” Riverside,” “Desire 126,” and “Juliette,” all of which can be heard at their CBC Radio 3 band page, and a couple new songs I hope to hear on an upcoming album. Hollerado seems remarkably stable, for a rock band. They’ve been together as a four-piece since around 2007, and have a label, Royal Mountain Records, that puts out their albums, as well as the big bands Pup, and Alvvays, at least in Canada.

 

After the show I met Swiss Water’s CEO, Frank Dennis, another friendly presence in the space. Like me, he’d loved Hollerado’s set, and we had a pleasant chat about favorite Canadian groups. As the band began packing up their equipment, I waved good night to them, and walked next door to a bar for a beer. Once I had a pilsener poured for me, I took out my little bike light, and began reading my book, Riverside Drive, a crime novel I’ve been enjoying, by Windsor, Ontario writer Michael Januska. A few minutes later I looked up and there was Hollerado, carrying their instruments and coming in for a beer with, I learned, a couple of Brooklyn musician friends who had also been at the show. The band members saw me, too. Menno and I began talking enthusiastically about the outcome of the recent Canadian elections, and I accepted their offer when they asked if I’d like to join them at their table. We continued talking politics, then Nick and Jake and I launched into a discussion of favorite super-groups from the 1960s-’70s—Cream, Yardbirds, and Led Zeppelin, among others. We talked about drummers, and drumming, and I told Jake about a close friend of my college-age son—a very talented drummer—who’s joined the US Army so he can play in the Army band and travel the world making music. Jake had heard of that opportunity, and pointed out he must be a superb player, since candidates must go through competitive auditions before they are offered a spot in the Army’s musical outfit.

We also discussed one of my favorite Canadian musicians, Matt Mays, as I regaled them with an account of the time when, in the wee hours one early morning at Toronto’s Cameron House, country rocker Sam Cash invited Mays to share a mic with him, including a heartfelt rendition of Neil Young’s “Helpless,” with which everyone in the bar sang along; a book I’d recently edited by Toronto science journalist Elaine Dewar, Smarts: The Boundary-busting Story of Intelligence; the classic role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons, and The Big Book of Swashbuckling Adventure, an anthology of classic genre fiction I agented by Lawrence Ellsworth, one of D&D’s early creators; the CBC Radio 3 community, including friend Russ Gordon whose music blog is Go NORTH to Windsor, SOUTH to Detroit; and dogs, since Nick showed a photo of his new puppy, which prompted me to mention the great black Lab of my teens and early adulthood, Noah

After one last Lagunitas IPA, I bade farewell to the band, and wished them all well as they flew back to Toronto the following day for a show the next night. I hope Hollerado come back to NYC real soon, so I can hear them again, and let other live music fans here know about the fun show they put on.

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Rallying Against Stephen Harper with Canadians in Brooklyn

I was glad I could offer my personal support to Canadian expatriots in the NY area who rallied last night to mobilize voters back home to help vote the Stephen Harper government out of power in the federal election next Monday, October 19. Among the musical guests that played were Slow Down, Molasses, a rockin’ band from Sasketchewan. I chatted with Levi, one of the 5-piece band’s guitarists, and his friend, Amanda. Gillian Frank—an expat who’s filed suit against the current government’s restrictions on the voting rights of Canadians living abroad, contrary to provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms—was also in the house and gave a rousing talk. Frank’s website is LetCanadiansVote.com.

I was also pleased to see that a number of journalists—both independent correspondents and representatives of traditional media, like the Guardian, which ran this video report today—came out to cover the event. Among the latter group was CBC’s correspondent in New York, Steven D’Souza, who I saw holding a mic emblazoned with the CBC logo on it while he conducted an interview with a woman who spoke about how Canada’s reputation abroad, always stellar when she travels, has suffered around the world. As he asked her questions, I recognized his voice from listening to CBC radio. He interviewed me, too, asking why an American had come to this event. I explained about my lifelong affinity for Canada, and my bi-national bent, in which I’ve long been interested in politics, culture, and media in Canada and the US. I added that the longer Harper’s been in power, the more I’ve been reminded of the George W. Bush presidency, a disastrous siege from which the US is still recovering. I’ll add here what I wish I’d also said: the CBC is an essential national service and I hope with great fervency that the next Canadian government will fully restore funding and support for the future of the national broadcaster. No more #CBCCuts, please.

D’Souza carried a tripod, a small bank of lights, and a digital SLR with video capabilities, making him a veritable one-man band/media producer.

The venue in Brooklyn was intriguing, a former car wash called Williamsburg Hand & Detail that’s recently been converted to a music venue. I had a chat with “Donovan,” one of the proprietors of the new venue. There was indoor space, where the bands played, and outdoor space, where spontaneous art-making was encouraged, including a big photograph of Stephen Harper on which people were drawing new facial features and pungent messages. Wearing a PEI ball-cap obtained during a vacation to Canada’s smallest province some years ago, and a CBC Radio 3 t-shirt under my jacket, I met lots of interesting people, with whom I discussed politics, music, baseball, and books. Here are more pictures from the event.

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI

Fall Live Music Lineup Already Filled w/Highlights like Frazey Ford at Joe’s Pub Nov 11

As the end of August hoves in to view, one of the most welcome signs of fall is the upcoming return of touring Canadian musicians to NYC music venues, as it seems many acts seemed were off the road for much of the season. Actually, I know where many of my fave Canadian artists have been: playing in and partaking of the great summer festival season that stretches across the great land to the north. Happily, my fall music calendar already includes the Strumbellas at Rockwood Music Hall on Sept 10; Kathryn Calder at Mercury Lounge on Sept 11; Corb Lund on Oct 8 at Mercury LoungeRah Rah (on a bill with Dear Rouge) in the Studio at Webster Hall on Oct 21; The Sadies (with punk legend John Doe) at Hill Country on Oct 24; and Elliott BROOD at Mercury Lounge on Nov 14.

And tonight I learned that Frazey Ford will be at Joe’s Pub on November 11. If you haven’t heard her yet, she’s really terrific, singing with a warm, dusky voice and consistently interesting phrasing that always projects her lyrics into interesting sonic space. Her latest album is called “Indian Ocean,” an infectious blend of Memphis soul and Canadian folk. Below is a video of a live set she did for radio station KEXP in Seattle, including several songs from the new release. I hope you like her sound. If you’ve already been to live shows at Joe’s Pub, you know what a classy venue it is. I wrote up Jill Barber’s show there in 2013. If you haven’t been to Joe’s Pub yet, I recommend you try fitting the Nov 11 show into your budget and your schedule. You’ll be in for a treat, with the great Frazey Ford at Joe’s Pub, a live music room with superb acoustics and ambience.

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI

NXNE Day IV—Celebrating Community at the CBC Radio3 Picnic

During this year’s NXNE, Toronto’s great music festival, Honourary Canadian is publishing guest posts by Regina Sienra, aka Reginula, a music journalist who hails from Mexico City. She’s a stalwart fan of Canadian indie music, and has been recognized by the CBC Radio 3 community as our Fan of the Year. You can follow Regina on Twitter and Instagram where her handle is @Reginula. From one honourary Canadian to another, I’m delighted to be publishing her work here—Philip Turner.

Every June for the past five years, the CBC Radio 3 community has gathered in Toronto’s Trinity-Bellwoods Park for a fan picnic on the Saturday of NXNE to celebrate an extraordinary community that always supports and watches the back of the Canadian indie music scene.

Attendees from all over Canada, the US, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the UK, and other countries, savor the opportunity to spend quality time with a handful of indie musicians who offer to play acoustic tunes at the picnic, gratis I should add. The performers this year were Kathryn Calder, David Vertesi, Rolfe Klausener from The Acorn and Murder Murder, a band that recently participated in CBC’s Searchlight contest, winning the Northern Ontario region. Among the hosts for the picnic is erstwhile Radio 3 host Grant Lawrence, who emcees the proceedings. The photo above shows all the picnickers and musicians in a group shot taken by Vancouver photographer Christine Macavoy.

Kathryn Calder performed a couple sons from her new, self-titled album, as well as her classic “Turn a Light On,” accompanied only by herself on acoustic guitar, which is pretty special considering Calder is more often seen playing keys with the The New Pornographers, who were slated to play Yonge-Dundas Square later that night.

David Vertesi, longtime member of the Vancouver band, Hey Ocean!, performed songs from his recent album “Cardiography,” and although he only had a few hours of sleep after finishing a NXNE set at 3am that morning, Vertesi delivered a mesmerizing performance under the trees. David Vertesi

Rolf Klausener, introduced by CBC Radio 3’s Lana Gay, performed “Dominion,” from his Polaris long-listed album, as well as songs from her earlier work, sharing some stories about his family and how his 2008 Polaris-Prize nominated album Glory Hope Mountain was inspired by his mom’s journey as an immigrant from Nicaragua to Canada.

The New Pornographers are true headliners, which earned them the prime time slot Saturday night at Yonge-Dundas Square. Performing after California sensation Best Coast and Canadian act Mise en Scene, the Pornos hit the stage without longtime members Destroyer and Neko Case (she was in the NYC area for the Clearwater Festival).

To make up for the absence of the auburn-haired crooner, the band crammed some other hits in to the setlist and, as in the past years, Kathryn Calder took charge of Neko’s songs.

Rather than focusing on 2014’s “Brill Bruisers,” the band went through their entire history and played songs like “Slow Descent into Alcoholism,” “Sing me Spanish Techno” and “All the Old Showstoppers,” closing the evening at a packed YDS with fan favorite “The Bleeding Heart Show.”

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI

NXNE 2015 Day III, Enjoying Born Ruffians & Hollerado at Yonge-Dundas Square

Because I couldn’t be in Toronto for this year’s NXNE, the city’s great music festival, Honourary Canadian is publishing guest posts by Regina Sienra, aka Reginula, a music journalist who hails from Mexico City. She’s a stalwart fan of Canadian indie music, recognized by the CBC Radio 3 community as our Fan of the Year. You can follow Regina on Twitter and Instagram where her handle is @Reginula. From one honourary Canadian to another, I’m delighted to be publishing her work here! Philip Turner, Publisher, The Great Gray Bridge and Honourary Canadian.

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One of the best opportunities NXNE offers live music fans is close proximity to both new and classic acts from the local Toronto and Ontario scene, as well as acts from the rest of Canada and internationally. On Friday, the ones in charge of that approach were the guys from MusicOntario, who threw an afternoon party at The Garrison.

KASHKA, latest project from Kat Burns, leader of the seminal band founded in 2006, Forest City Lovers, performed at this party around 5 in the afternoon, an unusual set time for her. “I feel a vampire,” and it’s understandable, her electronic sound—rather than the indie, almost folk sound from her earlier projects—would fit better at a nighttime party. Still, Kat and her bandmates delivered a relaxing set that included tracks from her 2014 release “Bound.”

One of the biggest shows of the festival had just been announced only four days earlier: Hollerado and Born Ruffians would play a free show at Yonge and Dundas Square on Friday night. YDSQ is like the Times Square of Toronto, and crowds are big at these NXNE shows, especially with two big Ontario acts, definitely what NXNE must’ve been hoping for when they booked the show.

Always stylish and rhythmic Born Ruffians hit the stage around 8:30, opening with their latest single “Oh Cecilia.” The setlist included songs from all of their albums, pleasing both long time fans and newcomers. Singer Luke Lalonde is a charming man on stage indeed, but bassist (Name)’s energy on stage and virtuosity is the soul of the band. Luke Lalonde announced they will be releasing a new album later this year.

Up next came Hollerado, with a brand new female member to help the quartet on keys, guitar, and backing vocals. First song of the set was “Pick Me Up,” the upbeat track from their 2013 release, “White Paint.” Stage props were brought in to play as that first tune that included lots of strewn confetti. Also, when the band played “Firefly,” a song from their recent effort, “111 Songs,” several personalities came on stage to throw white illuminated balls onto the crowd.

The set also included some new songs that will be on Hollerado’s next album. From those samples, it’s somewhat noticeable the band has moved on from their striking sound to a calmer, a là “Pinkerton” sound.

Down west on Dundas Street, CBC Music also held a showcase featuring Jane’s Party, Iceage (a Danish band), CATL and Ben Caplan, the latter being joined by a band called The Casual Smokers, a group of musicians Caplan himself discovered on Queen St in Toronto. The sheer number of musicians on stage enhanced the intense presentation of Caplan, the bearded singer whose voice often resembles an articulate growl.

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Day II of NXNE 2015, Celebrating Paper Bag Records

Because I couldn’t be in Toronto for this year’s NXNE, the city’s great music festival, Honourary Canadian is publishing guest posts by Regina Sienra, aka Reginula, a music journalist who hails from Mexico City. She’s a stalwart fan of Canadian indie music, recognized by the CBC Radio 3 community as our Fan of the Year. You can follow Regina on Twitter and Instagram where her handle is @Reginula. From one honourary Canadian to another, I’m delighted to be publishing her work here! Philip Turner, Publisher, The Great Gray Bridge and Honourary Canadian.

Day 2 of NXNE 2015 kicked off with a brief but fulfilling set by Calgary-bred, Toronto-based band Fast Romantics, who were playing a Black Box Session for Indie88, a radio station that in less than two years has become an institution on the local scene. The set list consisted of “Julia,” their latest single, “Funeral Song,” and a cover of Pulp’s “Common People.” The second song had to be played twice, but the crowd didn’t mind and stuck around for everything offered to their ears.

Paper Bag Records and the entire #Paper100 party ruled the day from fairly early on, kicking off activities with acoustic shows at the Tiny Record Shop (and the adjacent vintage clothing store), on Queen St in Toronto’s east end. Headliner Sam Roberts played new versions of classic songs for a few dozen people and even stuck around until every fan waiting for him had an autograph or a picture with him.

Hosted by CBC Radio 3’s Lana Gay, the main party kicked off at 8pm at Lee’s Palace, legendary music venue on Bloor Street. Over the next seven hours, some seventeen acts took to the stage, playing brief sets w/revolving mixes & matches of lineups. The extravaganza—celebrating the label’s 100th release over the past thirteen years—showcased venerable members of their catalog, such as Rural Alberta Advantage lead singer Nils Edenloff, who told the audience he was playing without his “blanket of confidence,” bandmates Amy Cole and Paul Banwatt, to acts newly signed by Paperbag like Alana Yorke from Halifax and Hey Mother Death from Cape Breton Island.

DIANA, Frog Eyes, YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN, aka YT/ST, The Acorn, Mozart’s Sister, PS I Love You: Paper Bag Records’ history and diversity played, comprising the soul of the party, that went from rootsy singer/songwriters, to electronic acts and heavy indie rock.

The night had promised a lot of surprises, and didn’t disappoint: One of the surprises was the appearance of Born Ruffians, who played a cover of Tokyo Police Club’s “Nature of the Experiment,” but the biggest jaw dropper was a hush-hush appearance by Broken Social Scene stalwarts Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew to celebrate Paper Bag Records involvement with the release and success of their groundbreaking album “You Forgot it in People.” Kevin Drew credits PBR’s Trevor Larocque with sending the album to Pitchfork, who posted the superb 9.2 review that launched the album and made the band’s reputation.

The heroes of the evening? Cuff the Duke, whose frotnman Wayne Petti played last night with Grey Lands. CtD members appeared as the house band throughout the long enjoyable day, jamming with every act that needed support, including this BSS roster presentation that included “Lovers Spit” (sang by a singer from The Luyas), “KC Accidental” and “Almost Crimes.”

Here’s to another 100, Paper Bag Records!

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First Night of NXNE 2015, Great Start to a Favorite Urban Festival

During this year’s NXNE, Toronto’s great music festival, Honourary Canadian will be publishing guest posts by my friend Regina Sienra, aka Reginula, a music journalist who hails from Mexico City. She’s a stalwart fan of Canadian indie music, and has been recognized by the CBC Radio 3 community as our Fan of the Year.  Below is a shot of Reginula (l.) with CBC Radio 3 host Lana Gay. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram where her handle is @Reginula. From one honourary Canadian to another, I’m delighted to be publishing her work here—Philip Turner. 

The 2015 edition of NXNE kicked off slowly, but in an extremely powerful way. After some major changes on the administrative side, Northby got rid of the Interactive section, changed the ticketing deal—now some special shows require an extra ticket—and added several new venues to their roster, including a new NXNE hub (bye, bye awkward process at the Hyatt) at the intersection of Queen and Spadina, near where much of the festival action happens at legendary venues like the Horseshoe Tavern, the Rivoli, and Cameron House.

As usual, it’s not common to see the big names on the first day of the schedule, but this doesn’t mean one can’t bump into old favorites and make great new discoveries.

The Royal Foundry is definitely among the latter category, an exciting discovery for me. Hailing from Edmonton, this duo is comprised of Jared and Bethany, a couple married for about 18 months and a musical ensemble for about twice that span. They recently won the Northern Alberta region of CBC Music’s Searchlight contest, and though it’s just the two of them on stage, they are a force of nature producing mesmerizing upbeat folk filled with romantic lyrics. Despite the early hour for the show (8pm) and the small venue, the crowd was very engaged by the duo’s performance (Thanks to @shonicar3 for use of her Instagram picture of Royal Foundry).

Back on Spadina and Queen at the Horseshoe Tavern for a 9pm set, I enjoyed hearing Girlfriends and Boyfriends who brought their heavily influenced ’80s rock east from Vancouver. They play a rather different musical genre than what’s currently coming out of the west coast scene. It was a fun warm up for the powerful bands that would hit the stage later.

A more roots option was available a few steps down Queen Street at the Rivoli, with NQ Arbuckle, front man of a perennially popular local alt-country outfit, and a favorite of CBC host Tom Power. NQ (stands for Neville Quentin) delivered a set full of hits and emotion, as he and his great band have done for many years. His banter was filled with stories about the songs, the set was perfect to take a seat and get ready for what was about to unfold over the next couple sets of live music. (Thanks to @shonicar3 for use of her Instagram picture of NQ and gang).

Moon King, local wonder praised by international media, was one of the biggest names of the night, fulfilling everyone’s expectations of what powerful and intense shoegaze rock sounds like. Daniel Benjamin and Maddy Wilde were joined by a bassist and a drummer in a set only a bit longer than thirty minutes that left everybody hungry for more from them.

Greylands, a garage rock side project of Cuff the Duke’s Wayne Petti was the option I chose to say goodnight to the first night of NXNE, with no mellowing down required. Mind-numbing distortion is put on the spotlight during Greylands sets, which is completed by Petti’s actions on and off stage, throwing his guitar away and hitting it against a monitor to create even more distortion. For those curious about this band, they will play again during Paper100, a highlight of the NXNE schedule, celebrating the work of Paperbag records. I’m eager to for Day II!

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI