I do an open format radio show on Radio Regent online out of Regent Park in Toronto every Friday from 5 p.m. til 7,called CORBY's ORBIT playing everymusic, so far no Death Metal or light opera but who knows?http://www.radioregent.com/
Illustration by John Kricfalusi
Listening in All the High Places illustration by John Kricfalusi
Mr. Steve Fruitman, 25 - year veteran of Toronto campus radio outpost CIUT, has closed down his folk-championing show, Back To The Sugar Camp this week.
He will be with me for my show this week, remembering the highs, hopes and perils of the program. As he transitions on CIUT into a new all-vinyl format on December 4th called 33*44*78, we'll have a chance to catch him in suspended animation as he shares his views on the tumults and treasures that contemporary Canadian roots music is currently negotiating.
From his final words on the Sugar Camp: So why aren’t there any commercial FM radio stations that can > provide us with folk/roots programing that highlight the magnitude > of the music recorded in this country? Why does the ‘muzic biz’ not > focus their attention on getting maximum exposure for their clients? > Where is the will to provide us with easily accessible radio that > showcases our home-grown musical talent and entertainment, anywhere > in this country?
My kind of talk. We will be getting all up in the music. Listen along.
The Skandalous All-Stars ~ Guns Of Navarone ~The Skatalites @ Lee's Palace tonight
*Ill Scarlet ~ Take A Ride ~ @ Club 108 tonight
5:10 Django - Belle - Rock
*Duane Andrews & Craig Young ~ The D-18 Song / Charlie's Boogie / Interview / Joe Batts Long Arm Liners (live) / Confessin' (live) / @The Tranzac tonight
5:30 Blue Motorcade (JFK Remains)
*Young Galaxy ~ In Fire ~ @ The Hoxton tonight
*Royal Canoe ~ Show Me Your Eyes ~ @ The Garrison Sunday
*Harlan Pepper ~ Secret Spy Decoder Ring ~ @ The Winter Garden for The Kennedy Suite tonight and Saturday NEW DISK
Poco ~ Dallas (by Walter Becker & Donald Fagen) ~ Head Over Heels
The Byrds ~ He Was A Friend Of Mine ~ Turn Turn Turn
5:50 Young Freeman Single
*Freeman Dre & The Kitchen Party ~ Wickedness / Apophenia / Outerview ~Single Release @ The Dakota Saturday
*K.C. Roberts & The Live Revolution feat. D-Sisive ~ Hanging From A Jet Plane Wheel @ Revival tonight NEW DISK
*Mark Berube ~ Confessions To A Streetlight ~ Russian Dolls ~ @ The Dakota Tues. 3 December NEW DISK
*J.D. Edwards ~ I Can Swim ~ Roads And Roads ~ @ The R.O.M. & The Dakota (10:30) tonight NEW DISK
Ana Egge ~ Driving With No Hands ~ @ The Dakota and on Corby's Orbit Friday, 6 December 7:00
*MAZ ~ Reel Du Lac Croche ~ Chasse Galerie NEW DISK
6:30 Fundamental Firmaments *Gregory Hoskins & Gary Craig ~ To Be Open / It's Always Something / Outerview with Gary Craig /The Map Of Above The Map Of Below CD Release @ The Drake Underground Tuesday, 27 November NEW DISK
6:45 Day Gets Shorter
Wayne Shorter ~ Pay As You Go / Toronto Live Music Incitements are declaimed over Second Genesis
Wayne Shorter Quartet @ Massey Hall tonight, 80th Year Celebration
The Treniers ~ Go! Go! Go! / It Rocks! It Rolls! It Swings!
Duane Andrews & Craig Young live at the Orbital Outset @ 5:00 p.m. sharp this Friday. Guitar gorgeousness. At the Tranzac Main Hall at 8:30!
Freeman Dre & The Kitchen Party single release at The Dakota Saturday and in convex conversation at 5:55 on the Orbital rooftop
Copious soulfulness of the J.D. Edwards Band at the Dakota @ 10:30 tonight!! And in Orbit at 6:15
Gregory Hoskins and Gary Craig have an evanescent new record called "The Map Of Above / The Map Of Below" premiering at The Drake Hotel Underground on Tuesday, 26 November. Gary Craig will intersect with us by phone at 6:30.
*Renee Rosnes ~ Ancient Footprints ~ Art & Soul @ The Jazz Bistro Friday & Saturday
*Diem Lafortune ~ If They Take Us In The Morning ~ Interview ~ Where Are All The Children? @ St. Nicholas Anglican Church's Acoustic Harvest Saturday
*Carl Henry ~ Charity Case / Interview / My Father @ El Mocambo Saturday
5:45 World Up
Rokia Traore ~ Kounandi ~Tchamantche@ Koerner Hall Wednesday, 27 November
*Jorge Miguel ~ Maso Menes ~ Guitarra Flamenca ~Winner of World Instrumental Album Of The Year @ CFMA
*Mike Stevens & Okaidja Afroso ~ Like A Little Bird ~ Canadafrica New Disk
6:00 Eastern Front
*Town Heroes ~ Sunday Movies @ Bovine Sex Club tonight & @ The Rivoli Sunday New Disk
*The Stanfields ~ The Battle Of Nowhere ~ @ Bovine Sex Club tonight & @ The Rivoli Sunday New Disk
6:15 Jack And Chill
*Veronica Domingues ~ I Get High / Interview / Love ~ Just Chill @ Revival Thursday, 21 November New Disk photo: Harry Fay / The Flood
6:30 Flow True
Anoushka Shankar ~ River Pulse ~ Traces Of You @ Koerner Hall Saturday 22 November
*Fevers ~ Angelie ~ No Room For Light New Disk
Benjamin Britten (22 November 1913 – 4 December 1976) London Symphony Orchestra ~ Belle Epine's Dance from The Prince Of The Pagodas ~ Britten's 100th year to be celebrated @ Aradia Ensemble @ Music Gallery Saturday and Toronto Mendelssohn Choir @ Yorkminster Baptist Church Wednesday
John Tavener (28 January 1944 – 12 November 2013) / Ulster Orchestra ~ The Protecting Veil
Nightmares On Wax ~ BBH / Thoughts @ The Hoxton Wednesday 20 Nov.~ with Toronto Music Locales evoked
6:50 Song Time Go See
*Paul Reddick ~ Dancing In A Dream ~ @ Castro's Sunday 4-7 p.m. & @ The Cameron House Wed. 20 November 10 p.m.
*Freeman Dre ~ Wickedness ~ Single Release @ The Dakota Saturday, 23 November and on CORBY'S ORBIT next week
At 5:00 Diem Lafortune ~ Home from Calgary CFMA's and ready to open for Ken Whitely at Acoustic Harvest WHEN: Sat. Nov. 16/13, 8pm, (doors 7:30pm)
WHERE: Robinson Hall, St. Nicholas Anglican Church 1512 Kingston Rd. (NE corner of Kingston Rd. and Manderley Drive- 1 block east of Warden Ave. in east end Toronto) ADMISSION: $25/$22 in advance INFO: 416-264-2235 Wheelchair Accessibility
At 5:30 JUno Reggae Award winner Carl Henrywill be talking about his show Saturday at the Elmo.
Veronica's next headlining show is November 21st at Revival for the Emerge One-Year Anniversary. She is visiting at 5:45 in support of her disk Just Chill.
Live from Calgary,
it’s Sunday night! Book your time away from network television to watch the super
heroes and heroines of folk, roots and world music get totally gregarious at http://www.rootsmusic.ca/
Sunday November 10 at 7:30 p.m. MDT/9:30 p.m. EST.
Canadian Aboriginal Music has gone through a robust year of rededication with the international
recognition of Idle No More providing an inspiring example of protest and
focus. The “Pow Wow Step” of A Tribe
Called Red made it to the Polaris Prize short list and the touring Beat Nation exhibition (currently in
the heart of Montreal) is drawing First Nations culture into an uncompromising
statement of the present and future of its cultural expressions. Toronto’s Mama D, aka Diem Lafortune, has certainly taken the B.S. by the horns with an
explicit stand on behalf of the poor, the oppressed and their potential
champions on her album, Beauty And Hard
Times. Lyrically, she digs deep into her life and history and laces urban
and natural images into a pulsating, militant call to action. She sings with
hard-won insights into the chances and dangers of progress, and drives home her
vital question:”What can we make of this?” Prince Rupert native Kristi Lane Sinclair has a
ground-breaking record (see RMC review http://www.rootsmusic.ca/cfma-nominee-kristi-lane-sinclairs-new-album/) called The Sea Alone, as mysterious, deep and raging as its
title. Kristi proudly self-identifies as an Aboriginal artist, although her
work could easily hold its own as a contestant for Contemporary Album or
English Songwriter awards. Soaring cello arrangements and intense drum and
guitar turmoil make it an amazingly accessible example of the kind of deserving
record that this celebration helps to elevate.
World Music Solo and Group categories assemble music featuring artists who sing
in neither of the official languages. As
language learner Deborah Ostrovsky’s fine essay, Finding East, points out, “There are so many places that
translation can’t reach”. Music is a perfect conduit for pulling the interested
Canadian ear into distant realities thatevade
close focus in the media or on the vicarious holiday trip. As Aviva Chernick
comments, “At least it gets the ball rolling”. When two of the diverse nominees
become recipients this evening in Calgary, the awards could potentially go to a
jazz band, a devotional singer, a pop star, an acoustic guitar virtuoso, a
klezmer ensemble or any one of a few pan-cultural mavericks.
Bass luminary Chris
Gartner last won for Second Nature, the fascinating Minor Empire album, in 2011 (dubbed
“Turk-tronica”). He is behind three of tonight’s offerings: as co-producer, on the
expansive and tender praise of Adonai on Aviva
Chernick’s When I Arrived You Were
Already There, and onthe inventive explorations of
contemporary world fusion music by Aviva’s group, Jaffa Road, titled after Leonard
Cohen’s crystalline phrase, Where The
Light Gets In, and also as bassist for Fray, the ensemble on Lenka
Lichtenberg’s virtuosic group hug, Embrace, which reconstructs
traditional elements of her Euro-Judaic legacy into scintillating dances of
celebration and desire. On his tenth
album, Ici Bas, Rien N’est Pas Possible (Here Below, Nothing Is Impossible),
Njacko Backo conjures a whirlwind
tour of Diasporic styles using Kalimba
Kalimba, an elite squad of enchanted musicians of variegated backgrounds. As
a Cameroonian, Njacko can be heard singing in English, French and Bamileke.
With Alex Cuba’s emotive Spanish singing over muscular electric guitar
and drum builds on Ruido En El Sistema,
he propels himself into a strategically powerful position of rock gestalt awareness. If he wins, and
speaks, his eloquent disdain for the diffusive effects of the term “world
music” as a containment idiom should prove educational and provocative.
The only way to find out is to watch tonight. Make the
broadcast the “folk-al” point of your evening. There will be a convenient chat
box for sideline commentary. We’ll be talking later, then?
*For The Master ~ Chase Away The Darkness ~ No Pretension NEW DISK
*Jaffa Road ~ Shavateynu Kabel ~ Where The Light Gets In CFMA Nominee
Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Soul Drummers Mix) ~ Diondlobala Njalo ~ Sono Maison Mere vol.1 Infected Mushroom ~ Smashing The Opponent ~ @ The Guvernment Saturday 5:20 Reckoning Ball *Alex Cuba ~ Unanime ~ Ruido En El SistemaCFMA Nominee
*Diem Lafortune ~ Shaking The Foundation ~ Beauty And Hard Times CFMA Nominee
Kaptein Kaliber ~ Hoc Enolt ~ LP! Digitalt Remastret
*Orchid Ensemble ~ Wind Desires The Clouds ~ Life Death Tears Dream CFMA Nominee
*New Pornographers ~ Centre For Holy Wars ~ Mass Romantic ~Destroyer @ The Opera House Saturday
*All But Six ~ Saving Grace ~ NEW DISK
6:00 Song Mongers
*David Baxter ~ Time Won't Wait ~Patina @ The Cameron House Saturday
*Old Man Luedecke ~ Song For Ian Tyson ~ Tender Is The Night CFMA Nominee
Jimmy Webb ~ The Moon's A Harsh Mistress @ Hugh's Room Saturday
*Jory Nash ~ Lay My Anger Down ~ Little Pilgrim CFMA Nominee
*Mark Berube ~ Ethiopia ~ Russian Dolls NEW DISK
6:20 Distinctly Of Vintages *Pharis & Jason Romero ~ Come On Home ~ Long Gone Out West Blues CFMA Nominee *Joel Fafard & Joel Schwartz ~ Payday / Interview with Joel Fafard / Long Black Veil ~ Borrowed Horses ~ @ The Gladstone Hotel Tuesday, for A Tune To Art, with 13 new artworks by Joe Fafard, 12 November * *Duane Andrews & Craig Young ~ Port Tobacco ~Charlie's Boogie @ The Tranzac (and on Corby's Orbit) Friday, 22 November NEW DISK 6:45 Probable Causes Of Delight Toronto Music Enticements read over: Chateau Flight ~ Camping Jazz Reminiscence Quartet ~ Inspiration *Steven Ambrose ~ All The Way / The Tender Trap ~ Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen & Sammy Cahn @ The Paintbox Bistro Saturday
Works of empathy, yearning, memory, comedy, incitement, resolve, and gusto will be rewarded this weekend at the Canadian Folk Music Awards in Calgary. Let’s continue to examine the tip sheet:
Producers, who are ideally responsible for making sure we hear both the forest AND the trees that fall in it, are a clandestine lot, with fetishes for isolated cottages and modified vintage equipment. They also, it is worth noting, are always men, (unless they are co-producing). Legend has it that if ear-avatar David Travers Smith even listens to your voicemail, you stand a fair chance of having a good record. He will be represented by two great records on Sunday: Ruth Moody’s These Wilder Things and Jaron Freeman-Fox’s The Opposite Of Everything. Jory Nash and David Francey are both musicians who have grown inner ears intricate enough to be welcomed into this micro-oscillation-worshipping tribe. Their outstanding auteurship on the gently rolling pop parables of Little Pilgrim and So Say We All, respectively, will be under consideration for the production cup. Steve Dawson long ago perfected the musician / producer hybrid paradigm. He also will be represented by two disks, out of the dozen or so that he has made in the past year: Kelly Joe Phelps’ tonally rich folk blues testimony on Brother Noah And The Whale and Jim Byrnes’ sweet record of late-fifties and early sixties country music covers, bleeding with tremolo and heartache, I Hear The Wind In The Wires. But do any of them actually have the spunk to stand up to a 4-CD musical audio novel with illustrated songbook? Rick Scott’s The Great Gazzoon, embraces genres from Gilbert & Sullivan to slam poetry, sound effects and cartoony voices. It may have been equaled in scope this year only by Corin Raymond’s double CD mini-coffee table book, an engaging opus of love, hard work and underground currency. Paper Nickels received a single nomination, in the Best Ensemble event, for The Sundowners.
Canada’s lyricists are world champions, famously. But the doggerel eat doggerel feud is silenced, as the power of what words can’t say takes the glory in the Instrumental Groupderby. The Boxcar Boys’ strategy is to take us back a century with the hype clarinosity of John David Williams (whose work is on three of the nominated disks), the woozy trombone of Karl Silviera, Tabasco string garnishings of girl-Boy fiddleuse Laura C.Bates, and the tuba turbine of Rob Teehan, enclosed in the time machinery of Ronen Segall’s wistful accordion twisting. It takes episodic journeys that leave you nostalgically blessed out. Featuring the same horn-men, the cinematic bombast of The Lemon Bucket Orkestra’s Lume, Lume blows through the same pipes, but is a different drug altogether. This isn’t a band, it’s a community. Scrums and huddles reconfigure the musical tactics in mid-song. Chanting, polyrhythms, and sporadic dynamics are the intoxicants that have accelerated their growth into the busiest live band in Toronto. The Opposite Of Everything‘s pervasive modernity of stance and Jaron’s superior axe bracket puts this disk head-to-head with Gord Grdina’s Haram for this slate’s new-trad component. Haram, meaning any act forbidden by Allah, is, in the musical sense, as haram as hell. They are a rocking slaughterhouse of western harmony and rhythm strained through meshes of Iraqi folk and Egyptian radio hits. Finally, there is a debut disk by The Log Drivers, young and highly-credentialed workers of Uilleann equations and Celtic chemistry. And, as all the girls know, there are none has the style of a log driver. All instrumental category contenders, btw, feature vocals.
Old Man Luedecke, besides being the most charismatic performer this side of Rich Aucoin, is a banjo wiz with a command of the contemporary vernacular, hip-hop syntax, and a voice full of starry delight. His Tender Is The Night disk is as comfortable as a pair of polar fleece overalls. His noms for Contemporary Singer and English Songwriter pit him doubly against John Wort Hannam. As for him, my friend the late Harley Fader (he’s not dead, just tardy) e-mails it best: “First I cry, then I get mad at J. Wort for making something beautiful that makes me cry, then I get sad for getting angry – try it out and see for yourself. I blame the dobro.” Justin Rutledge’s first self-produced record, Valleyheart, is crackled with warm reverb and tremulous solo and harmony sentiments, and has enough alt-countritude to automatically airlift the listener to a dim Tuscon saloon with twelve brands of tequila. He has carefully scheduled a break in his western tour to attend the festivities. Why don’t you do the same?
Roots Music Canada is proud to stream the Canadian Folk Music Awards for the fourth straight year, from beautiful Calgary, Alberta, on Sunday, November 10 at 9:30 PM EST/ 7:30 PM MST.
Unless laser travel is perfected sometime in the next week, I will probably not be attending the Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMA) in Calgary. There, traditionally, translucent sculptures will be conveyed, in a ceremony of velvet language, into the hands of complex, often hilariously wise talent, in appreciation of their excessive care in the creation, preservation and furtherance of soaring evanescent song-moments. Such an event needs to be felt, tasted and smelt to be properly absorbed. (Hint: it’s kind of peppery). For those many others who will be missing out on this profound thrill, let’s commiserate with a little handicapping. (Be sure your Metaphor Alert Bracelet is on before reading). (Editor’s note: You can all watch the awards! We’ll be live streaming them right here on RootsMusic.ca, Sunday November 10 at 7:30 p.m. MDT/9:30 p.m. EST. Stay tuned for more news.)
Toronto’s “Violinovator”, Mr. Jaron Freeman-Fox, with The Opposite of Everything, a wildly exuberant record, (produced by fest-fave David Travers-Smith) is widely nominated. His playing, in what cab be considered a country full of fiddlers, is both sublime and progressive. Two years ago, the trophy bounced off his fiddlestick into the net of Mr. Geoff Berner. No disgrace at all. Earlier this year he won an International Songwriting Award. That, and a brutal touring offensive this past summer may deliver the impact needed to impress the jurors, making him the opposite of loser. Attendees should be prepared for his omni-dimensional coif and wardrobe on the night of, regardless.
And in this corner, David Francey, pointedlybrandishing a contemporary folk album ominously devoid of fiddle. It’s also a well-crafted and diversely-themed record of wry reflection, passionately written as “a pathway up and out from under” some heavy life lessons. The trusted emotional repairman stands a good chance of taking the belt from strong contender, and melancholic deep thinker, Lynn Miles. He has publicly declared a readiness to arm-wrestle her in case of a tie. Lynn’s record, Downpour, is of the same cloth and pattern as her past decade of work, but the tunefulness and delicacy of focus on it is so highly spun that the Alice Munro-ness of her craftsmanship might carry her to the title once again. Watch out, btw, for Annabelle Chvostek’s Rise, already Juno-nommed, coming up with some razor-sharp protest songs hidden in her outside left hook.
David Francey also holds a stake in Emerging Artist nominee Ashley Condon, whose brightly-faceted debut, This Great Compromise, contains all of the echoes and elementsof a Canadian folk classic, though her fetching onstage charisma is missing. When unleashed, that may give her the critical edge during the workshops and “schmooze or lose” ambiance of the hotel-hugging days prior to the awards. But Trent Severn’s magical and well-blent harmonies are also formidable front-runners. In a nation which, besides fiddlers, sometimes seems to be made up entirely of womens’ harmony trios, their lushly expressed lyrical originality and deft choice of material are the strengths that may combine to propel them to follow the puck right into the crease.
At first listen, there is something ineffable, “some kinda ecstasy” in Long Gone Out West Blues.Pharis and Jason Romero have a high harmonic thread count and some unique, off-brand colours to offer to the occasionally over-dressed clotheshorse of Canadian folk blues. The authentic timbres of their voices and articulate finger-styles on vintage Martins offer a consistent absence-of-fashion-statement, tailor-made for the tired ear. Personally, I want them to be lucky.
Other artists snugly tucked into the closet of my heart have missed the lists entirely: Cara Luft, Matt Patershuk ,The Crackling, Lindi Ortega, Morlove, Sagapool, Metis Fiddler Quartet, Sarah Burton, Nancy Dutra, Charlie A’Court, and many others have completed hugely beautiful sonic landmarks this past year.
But most of them would probably have been presented in the already tightly-jammed category called Pushing The Boundaries. Every record in this race is a hands-down jackpot, not just significant in the advancement of the collective Canadian prestige in pioneering within genres, but as intensifications of each artist’s reach and grasp. New Country Rehab has elite musicianship, Raymond Chandler-level narrative and intense live interaction going for them already. Add to that, with Ghost Of Your Charms, orchestrated arrangements and resonant epic imagery that holds you like a graphic novel. Jaron Freeman-Fox has successfully balanced his ebullient vocals with a romping playfulness and surprising moments of poignance.Orchid Ensemble has gone beyond mere synthesis to organize beguiling and erotic courses of melody that have a mysterious link both to exotic Orientalism and to a Cloud Atlas future of terrifying and rebellious new dynamics. Lifting them above the lambent Beach Boys surface of their previous work, The Wilderness Of Manitoba’s Island Of Echoesis the most “un-roots” nominee in the pack. They engage in eerie landscapes of spatial trompe l’oreille and pastel electric guitar anthems that lift the spirit with a Sufic calm. And finally, Mr. Kevin Breit, guitar deity, has made a quiet work of genius with the humble title of Field Recording. It is performedbyfictional mandolin players, without a single guitar solo, and features his singing (admirable) and a slate of vocal compositions that are unanimously breath-taking. It would be a bloody shame for any of these offerings NOT to win.I still have no idea where to file any of them in my record collection.