Another year come and gone, and many of us are chomping at the bits while we anxiously wait for 2016 to finally come to a close. Yes, it’s been a rough year in the world of music. But it’s not all bad news, guys. 2016 heralded some brilliant albums, some of which were made right here in Ottawa. Below are our choices for top local albums of 2016.
Two Jar Grind – S.T.
From the very first second of the first track “Here’s To All I Never Had” you can’t help but draw parallels to early acoustic Against Me! thanks to shouting vocals bursting with simple honesty. I say this gushingly of a band I have fallen in love with where all three sing and features a guitarist, accordion player and percussionist rocking a washboard. Yes, a freaking washboard!As I listened to the songs on the six song debut, I really felt like I was sitting down with the band as they worked their way through figuring out their place in the world, their priorities and their ambitions. You instantly feel a friendship forming with them.
At first, I perceived it as merely a piece of cake, but as I cut into it I saw something else – something much more substantial. The Ottawa-based group’s EP Winter Sucks begins with a thin slice of melodically frosted pop punk guitar, which is joined at full force by the hurried, driving pound of the rhythm section. Immediately the head nods, the sun shines and we are in a place that we have been to before. But then, of course, comes the opening line, as vocalist Brittany Neron asks, “why don’t you smile?”. The album’s first cut, ‘”Cat Call”, should become a permanent installation on the streets of Ottawa, so next time when some seedy bastard passes unsolicited comment on a woman’s appearance, she can point towards one of the mounted speakers before telling him to fuck off. It is a frustrated and poignant reply to this kind of street harassment, told with wit and a sneer; a refreshing burst of personal commentary that carries with it great social significance. This is exactly the kind of voice we need to hear in punk today.
The album, for which the duo play all the instruments and do all the vocals, was inspired by an abandoned island in the Rideau Lakes… With the combination of mystery and ghost stories at its foundation, Goodnight Boy’s 15-song self-titled album is one to be listened to from start to finish. It is a work of grunge and lo-fi rock rooted in folk principals of story telling and spirited emotion. Having seen them play many of the songs live before to hearing the recording, I have had the amazing luxury to witness a band truly growing up.
Ottawa’s most prolific pop-punker Steve Adamyk has done it again with an excellent 13-song album with all the energy, “wo-ohs”, and power-pop perfection we have come to expect from Adamyk and his band. This certainly isn’t a Paul Simon album… Just like their live performances, this album doesn’t really ever slow or give you a moment to relax, with most songs coming in at under two minutes. And just because it is pop-punk, power-pop, or garage… or whatever you’d call it – don’t think all these songs are love songs or about partying. Songs like the angry “Die Dead Forever” and the dark “False Teeth” show Adamyk’s depth beyond the prototypical sound of the genre. Fret not though, there are still super catchy tracks like “Carry On” and great rocking tracks like “Swallow You Whole” that will win you over right away and make you want to sing a long.
Ottawa born and raised, Métis singer-songwriter Amanda Rheaume released a wonderful album this year full of loss and grieving which she perfectly balanced with hope. The first single off Rheaume’s fourth album, Holding Patterns, is “Red Dress,” where Rheaume honours the over 1,180 murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls in Canada. The song was co-written by Jim Bryson and features Canadian great Chantal Kreviazuk on vocals. The album as a whole is a wonderful step forward for the very talented singer-songwriter and dare I say it a move to being a little more radio-friendly in all the right ways.
A Tribe Called Red – We Are The Halluci Nation
Indigenous DJ trio A Tribe Called Red returned with an immense 15-track masterpiece on We Are the Halluci Nation, taking traditional rhythms and beats of pow wow and transforming them into the powerful backbone of electronic- and dubstep-inspired anthems. This album is global; the Halluci Nation extends beyond political borders. It delves head-on into the ongoing impact of colonialism with poignant interludes by author Joseph Boyden. With appearances by acclaimed throat singer Tanya Tagaq, as well as Yassin Bey (a.k.a. Mos Def), Lido Pimienta, and more, ATCR has created the most crucial album of the year, one that all Canadians need to hear.
Excerpt taken from Matias’ piece in Mixtape Magazine’s Best of 2016 issue, found here.
Telecomo – Promo Only EP
While this band is new, its members boast impressive resumes. Telecomo is a three-piece garage rock group consisting of lead vocalist and guitarist Adam Saikaley (Ceremony/Hilotrons), bassist Gary Franks (Roberta Bondar/Ceremony), and drummer Pat Johnson (The Acorn/Silkken Laumann). Their debut Promo Only EP is one that Ottawa was primed and ready for, and people ate it up – hook, line, and sinker. This punchy four-track EP is everything you’d want from a garage album – it is unpretentious, simple, and extremely fun and satisfying to listen to. Its lo-fi aesthetic induces nostalgic episodes in those who remember the sounds of rock and roll gone by. I stand beside what I said in my initial review – “The Detroit garage rock gods of the 80’s would surely open their scuffed, wrought iron gates for Telecomo”.
Saint Clare are a hidden gem here in Ottawa. No one sounds quite like them, and they’re only getting better. Matthew Saint Clare’s distinctive voice leads the charge as each song on the album builds on the last, and we’re left with a mountain. The band has come into their own on this record, and they exude confidence in their songwriting and execution. Whether it’s the explosive horns section, enchanting lyricism, or unmistakable chemistry and sound, one thing is for sure – Saint Clare isn’t going anywhere. Keep your ears open for these guys in 2017.
Full article found here.
Sleepy and the Noise – Altitudes EP
On their debut release, Sleepy & the Noise’s sound is full and raw, but not overdone or aggressive. Those partial to Pavement or Dinosaur Jr. will be able to sink into Sleepy and the Noise’s sound right away, as they take us on a fun ride that is not only short and punchy, but also contains several moments of cunning lyricism and undaunted instrumentals. […] My favourite track, if I had to choose, would be the song “Mountains & Valleys,” one that elucidates Pasiak’s word-smithing abilities and strong use of metaphors and imagery in his songwriting. Moreover, some irresistible guitar tones and backup vocals by Fitzpatrick makes it one that you won’t be able to resist having on repeat.
Slack Bridges is all about combining different visions, influences, and styles and turning them into a unique cohesive sound. EP1 is the product of countless meetings and band practices hashing out exactly what that sound would be. Barr describes the approach as “destroy to create” – someone brings a small song idea to the table, and the band jams and builds on that idea as a group. It normally gets taken in five or six directions before they settle on a final idea.
EP1 is a groove-laden, intricately layered onslaught of soulful jams that are clearly the product of time, effort, and a lot of chemistry. Each track off the 4-song EP offers a display of each member’s strengths, at times allowing Barr’s bass lines and Selody’s ardent sax to take the lead it tracks like “Lion City” or Ward’s irresistible keys to reel us in on “All For You.” Gilmour’s deep and dynamic vocals tie it all together, offering daring melodies and smooth, seamless transitions between notes in the same vein as Leon Bridges.
Each year, CUPE selects an organization or initiative to support with funds raised from the concert. This year, The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) partnered with CUPE in support of their Sisters In Spirit initiative, drawing a crowd of more than 7000 people at the stadium. Furthermore, in attendance was the Honourable Justice Murry Sinclair (Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada), as well as Elder Irene Lindsay (Board Elder of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, amongst many other aboriginal support organizations across Canada).
We spoke to the NWAC’s Jenn Jefferys to find out more about the event itself, as well as the NWAC’s mandate and overall goals.
1. Can you tell us a bit about this yearly CUPE event and what it’s all about?
The Canadian Union of Public Employees’ ‘Rock for Public Services’ is an annual event put on by CUPE Local 580 and CUPE Ontario created to raise awareness of the importance of public services in Canada. Each year the Union selects a charity they feel is worth generating more buzz about, and this year (in their eighth year) they selected NWAC and Sisters in Spirit.
Each year they host a different selection of bands. This year featured Amanda Rheaume, Matt Mays and headliner Sam Roberts Band. It was incredible. It was actually Sam Roberts’ birthday on Saturday, so he was especially stoked to be performing for us. Such a nice guy!
2. What is the NWAC? Why is it so important?
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is a non-profit organization founded in 1974 to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies.
We do some very important work surrounding the prevention of violence against indigenous women, fostering the entrepreneurship and business knowledge in indigenous women, building bridges between government and traditional native culture, and much more.
This organization is especially critical right now and in the coming months due to the nature of our socio-political climate and the urgency of Aboriginal plight. I would argue that there has never been such a cross-cultural appetite toward fostering reconciliation. and building a better world for Canada’s Aboriginal peoples – particularly women.
Also, given the fact that our new Prime Minister and our new Minister for Indigenous Affairs have stated that they are in favour of a National Inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women (long awaited and long demanded from this organization and many more) NWAC will be playing an integral part in building a more compassionate and prosperous future for indigenous women. It’s a very exciting time for us.
3. How did the event help the NWAC towards achieving its goals?
Saturday’s concert raised more than $12,000 for our Sisters in Spirit initiative — a project funded by Status of Women Canada and created to conduct research and raise awareness of the alarming high rates of violence against Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.
More than 7,000 people turned up to the event to show their support for our cause and enjoy the music. It was a massive success — so incredibly inspiring — especially since so many people there were so young and so thirsty for knowledge on indigenous peoples and culture. It’s clear that things are finally changing.
It was a great opportunity for us to talk about what we do and how the public can support our work.
4. How can the public learn more/stay informed/support the NWAC’s efforts going forward?
NWAC is always looking for volunteers and seeking donations to keep our work going. You can follow us on Twitter @NWAC_CA to stay informed, visit our website at nwac.ca or just give us a call anytime toll free at +1 800-461-4043. We’d love to talk to anyone willing to support our cause and help us grow.
About Jenn Jefferys
Jenn Jefferys is the Communications Officer for the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC). NWAC’s mission is to help empower women by being involved in developing and changing legislation which affects them, and involving them in the development and delivery of programs promoting equal opportunity for Aboriginal women.
Another local band coming to a stage near you this afternoon for the MEGAPHONO Festival is the Mehdi Cayenne Club, an intense folk rock Ottawa outfit.
Mehdi Hamdad has been playing music since he was a teenager and he’s been organizing and playing shows for over a decade now. The Mehdi Cayenne Club was formed in 2009, on the day Michael Jackson died — June 25. Mehdi is the songwriter in both French and English for all the songs, but completes his pieces with the help of his bandmates Olivier Fairfield and François Gravel.
“I bring all the songs (they grow on me like fungi), but they’re always enhanced by the composing and arranging skills of the others, who are all accomplished creators in their own right,” says Mehdi. “Songs are mostly about problem solving and, well, who doesn’t have problems?”
A problem he doesn’t have is choosing which language to write in, since it all just comes naturally. In a constant state of output, Mehdi puts every impulse and idea into his craft. Although he doesn’t award any particular importance to his bilinguism, he sees it as a means to an end.
“The apparent dichotomies of my identity are well exemplified by bilingualism,” he explains. “I do think that this ambiguity can foster more understanding between people and cultures. There must be a way out of us vs. them, red team vs. blue team mentalities, and I think bilingualism is perhaps a minor metaphor for developing a sense of being ‘us’ and ‘them.'”
On top of being a band member he performs solo shows, poetry nights, theatre pieces and even MCs events. His wide range of venues, from TEDxGatineau to Hearst High School, exemplify his ability to walk onto any stage and bring his brand of honest joie de vivre easily. He plays so many shows a year he doesn’t know how many.
His dance punk, or folky pop rock with a twist, make him an easy listen. His lyrics, however, are sharp, sometimes sad things. Being as openly emotional on his debut LUMINATA as on his sophomore release NA NA BOO BOO, we can expect nothing less from his third studio album, set to be released in May. The Medhi Cayenne Club is currently in studio with their new songs.
When asked what his favourite accomplishment would be, he had this to say: “There isn’t a specific event more than others… Generally I am grateful for the synergistic exchange that happens every time we sweat together, every time we sing together. I am grateful I can be honest on stage, in my songs – that’s all I have. Prizes and achievements are nice, but the feeling of being vulnerable and honest while going all out on stage… it’s what I’ll take to my grave.”
The Mehdi Cayenne Club will play today at 4 p.m. at Pressed Café with Jeremy Fisher and Amanda Rheaume as part of MEGAPHONO Festival. Check ’em out!
On Saturday Aug. 30, the OAG Annex at City Hall opened a photo exhibit by Jamie Kronick, a local musician and photographer. As a drummer, he’s wound a path throughout Ottawa alongside several other artists including Laurent Bourque, Her Harbour & Goodbox Assembly. As a photographer, he’s shot his ass off, as any good photographer should, and taken the time to compose and document along the way. It’s a through a combination of his two designations that Jamie Kronick brought the exhibit The Songwriter to life.
In 2010, the series began as his graduating series at the School of Photographic Arts (SPAO) where Kronick graduated in 2011. The collection on display now showcases 20 of these portraits but the total number is actually 27. Kronick is a photographer who understands his opportunities as they come as well as his subject. The singer-songwriter is a type of artist well know for public expression but less celebrated for creative introspection. There are thousands of moments that lead to the live show or the recorded album to which we are not privy. Being able to convince 27 of this species to be relaxed in these most intimate moments, which they might prize more than most, is a feat.
Songwriters create their work in the comfort of their bedrooms, living rooms, offices or studios, each unique from one to the next. These spaces function as a bridge between an idea and its materialization into music. This series acts as a documentation not only of persons, but also as a visualization of the relationships that take place among person, place and process. – Jamie Kronick
We’re invited to see The Songwriter in his or her creative cocoon as documented by Kronick from now until Oct. 12. The mix is both of emerging and well-known musicians, each in a room that fits her or his expression of distance or intensity. This Thursday, Sept. 4, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. join Jamie Kronick, and potentially several of his subjects, for the vernissage. Check out the video that Herd Magazine put together below.
Ottawa’s RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest begins on July 3rd and will feature 30 great local groups. Here is a list in alphabetical order to help you support local at this year’s Bluesfest!
Métis singer-songwriter Amanda Rheaume is a powerful vocalist with just a touch of grit and an instantly-accessible roots-pop-Americana sound. She has been impressing concert goers for around a decade in Ottawa and throughout North-America with her music and her infectious personality. Her latest release Keep Fire has earned her a Juno Nomination in the category Aboriginal Album of the Year. You can be swoon by Amanda July 11th at 6 PM on the River Stage.
Amos the Transparent
A six-piece band that plays wonderful folk-inspired, indie-pop which Jian Ghomeshi, host of CBC’s radio show Q, referred to as them as “Canadian Wilco.” Amos the Transparent can really dazzle a crowd with their excellent musicianship. They will be playing July 3rd at 5 PM on the Black Sheep Stage.
Angelique Francis Angelique Francis is a singer, songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist (piano, drums, key board, harmonica, upright bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and the electric Bass). In July of 2011, after a country wide search, Angelique was selected by Ottawa Blues Festival as one of three next emerging female Canadian Artists ( The She’s The One Competition), she was only 13 years old at the time. Angelique plays July 4th at 6 PM in the Barney Danson Theatre.
Atherton Atherton is one of Ottawa’s finest hip-hop talents and most entertaining MC’s. In 2012 he released his third album No Threat, which features a tonne of great tracks chalked full of references to Orleans where he grew up and other neighbourhoods around town. Atherton is also the host of one of the city’s best monthly events, Hip-Hop Karaoke. Atherton performs on the hip-hop heavy day July 12th at 2 PM on the Claridge Homes Stage.
Average Times For fans of high energy garage rock and punk rock. Average Times are coming off an awesome set at Ottawa Explosion Weekend, which you can read about here. Their self-titled debut, full of energetic quick hitters, made our list of the best local releases of 2013. Head bob and rock out with Average Times July 9th at 6:15 PM on the River Stage.
Bella Cat Bella Cat is a rarity at the Bluesfest, as she actually plays the blues. Playing blues, soul, and jazz with very catchy melodies which will bring you back to the 50s and 60s. Not only do they play beautiful music, but Bella Cat’s booming and powerful voice will amaze. You can catch Bella Cat on Thursday, July 10 at 6 PM at the Barney Danson Theatre.
BlakDenim BlakDenim will fill the stage with nine members on stage and fill your ears with very dancy funk music with hip-hop vocals overlaid. They infuse hip-hop, funk, rock, soul and jazz with lyrical content that ranges from the serious to the absurd, their tone from sweet to heavy, all connected by head-nodding and hip shaking melodies. So go shake your groove thang and get down with your bad self with BlakDenim Saturday July 5 at 2 PM on the Black Sheep Stage.
Boyhood Boyhood is one of Ottawa’s most intriguing bands with there very outside the box psych-pop sound. If you are into strange and quite creative music, then don’t miss out on this project. Boyhood is really just Caylie Runciman, who does all of the composition, writing and recording herself. But has a few musicians join her when she plays live. Come get lost in Caylie’s musical vision July 6th at 2 PM on the Black Sheep Stage.
Cold Capital Taking their cue from classic blues and rock traditions, Cold Capital‘s guitar driven music mixes blues, roots, soul and country into a boiler pot of rock n’ roll. With influences spanning from Wilco to the Rolling Stones to Gary Clark Jr., the band is a perfect fit for the Bluesfest. Catch them July 4th at 6 PM on the Blacksheep Stage.
They are a four piece indie rock band draws influences from artists such as The Black Keys, Tokyo Police Club and Jack White. Farewell Davidson‘s music has great hooks and many sing-a-long opportunities which is always fun. Come sing with Farewell Davidson July 13th at 1 PM on the River Stage.
Formed from the ashes of Crash 13 in the latter stages of 1999, Fiftymen play country rock through and through, with dusty twang surging through its veins. Beyond the twang are strong lyrics about hard luck, heart ache, jealousy, revenge and redemption. Get your stomping shoes on and go check them out July 6th at 6 PM on the River Stage.
A modern combination of blues and roots, Firebelly add some sweet sweet harmonica play and strong vocals. In true blues fashion the four-piece does not shy away from other genres such as elements of funk, swing, jazz and country. They play July 10th at 6 PM on the Black Sheep Stage.
James Leclaire From fis- pumping, stomp your feet working-man anthems to soulful ballads of love, heartache and loss, James Leclaire’s songs are all about storytelling. He is backed by a band called the Cable 22’s and just released his third studio album Of What is Left and has been compared to Steve Earl. James and the Cable 22 will be playing July 3rd at 6 PM at Barney Danson Theatre.
John Allaire and the Campistas John Allaire is an experienced, award-winning singer/songwriter , including American Songwriter Assoc. “Best Lyrics” Award in 2009 for “Magnets” (Nashville, TN). He has been making music for over 30 years and has a gift for weaving captivating musical stories. Drawing on his experiences and surroundings John’s musical repertoire includes songs with sincere, intelligent lyrics that are introspective and deeply personal, as well as tunes that are light-hearted and humourous. Check out this local talent on one of the main stage, July 12th at 3 PM on the Bell Stage.
Jonathan Becker and The North Fields Jonathan Becker and The North Fields play rock and roll with roots in folk, country, and post punk. Jonathan’s voice was an instantly recognizable rasp that delivers very heartfelt lyrics. The five piece released a wonderful five-song EP early this year and are just coming back from a tour which took them through Ontario, Quebec and some stops on Canada’s East coast. Check them out with a cold brew on July 12th at 3 PM on the River Stage.
Probably one of the happiest and most excited people in Ottawa right now as he was named to the Polaris Prize Short-List for his latest album, the wonderful Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold. The amazing accomplishment is well deserved for the absolutly talented Kalle Mattson and his band. The folk rockers often remind me of Winnipeg based The Weakerthans, as they can play super uplifting tunes that get you up and dancing and then follow it up with a beautiful gut-wrenchingly powerful fingerpicking soft songs. Go see what all the buzz is about July 5th at 2 PM on the Claridge Homes Stage.
Keturah Johnson Band Keturah Johnson has one of the most powerful and beautiful voices I have ever heard. She has spent most of her music making career as a solo artist, but late last year added a great group of talented musicians around her to take her sound to the next level. Their is so much soul and passion that flows through her lyrics and her incredible voice, that is now complimented by a full band sound. Don’t miss being blown away July 11 at 6 PM in the Barney Danson Theatre.
The Mackenzie Rhythm Section
One of the most fun get out of your seats and shake your hips band playing the entire festival. The Mackenzie Rhythm Section describe themselves as Soulstep, soul sang from the heart and rock solid funk. To be honest I could not say it any better myself. Shine up your dancing shoes, practice your best moves and come get jiggy with it July 5th at 6 PM in the Barney Danson Theatre.
Back with the blues, Old Stereo play very funky soulful blues music. The four-piece has been greatly influenced by Gary Clark Jr. so fans of his should not miss them July 5th at 1:30 PM on the River Stage.
Old Whiskey Road
Six-piece americana and country style band with a wonderful balance of male and female vocals. Old Whiskey Road draw influences from Wilco to Neil Young and to Ryan Adams, a great bunch of excellent singer songwriters. They hit the stage July 6th at 2pm on the Claridge Homes Stage.
Pith and the Parenchymas
Probably one of the youngest acts playing the festival, Pith and the Parenchymas play very interesting experimental folk that is mature beyond their years. It is quite exciting to see the younger generation add twists to a style that has been around for decades. Pith and the Parenchymas just released their debut full length album, Songs of the Neverending Ugly Lizard. Go experience something you have never heard before July 8th at 7:30 in the Barney Danson Theatre.
Scattered Clouds Scattered Clouds‘s psychedelic rock will channel the ghosts of Lebreton Flats past. Brooding rhythms and precise noise from this experimental 3-piece underline film noir imagery. Get taken away on a psychedelic journey July 3rd at 7:30 pm in the Barney Danson Theatre.
No it is not our beloved national Olympic rowing hero. It is a group of very talented artists from Ottawa who formed an 80’s style dance band. Silkken Laumann‘s lead singer Rolf Klausener’s voice is hypnotic and the music is very much a blast from the past. Their amazing debut album Not Forever Enough is available for free, here. Kick off your Friday night in style and in dance with Silkken Laumann July 4th at 6 PM on the River Stage.
The “Northern-fried” rock and soul band made their debut in 2006 at Bluesfest and have since made big waves around the country. Silver Creek has had such highs as playing the main stage at Bluesfest in 2009 and have back Blue Rodeo on tour. Silver Creek get the honour of once again rocking the main stage (the Bell Stage) July 5th at 3 PM.
Sound of Lions Sound of Lions were the winners of “Best New Act” and “Album of the Year” in the Ottawa XPress’ readers’ poll back in 2011 and have carried that momentum with them. They have an amazing combination of a beautiful female vocals teamed up with a very strong emcee rapping over trip-hop beats. They will take their unique sound and high level of energy to the stage on July 12th at 1:30 PM on the River Stage.
Still Winter Hills
Five-piece country band that channels the days of old. Sill Winter Hills sounds like a band that could have opened for Neil Young during his heyday. They have perfected the sound of those who came before them, while carving out their own unique sound. Check out these country boys and go back in time with them on July 13th at 2pm on the Claridge Stage.
The Split Speaking of going back in time, let The Split teleport you back to when funky-soul bands laden with brass ensembles were king. Fans of Lee Fields, Charles Bradley and James Brown cannot afford to miss out on this talented act. You can catch this soulful act July 5, at 3:30 on the Black Sheep Stage.
Female fronted alternative rock band who’s influences range from The Pixies, Arcade Fire and Nina Simone. Tindervox is a four-piece but you would never know from the great depth of their sound and their haunting songs. If you are brave enough, check them out July 6th at 3 PM in the Barney Danson Theatre.
They play traditionally-based Ukrainian style music merged with punk rock power chords. Ukrania is perfect for fans of Gogol Bordello and gypsy style rock. They are up-beat, fun, dancy and sing all their songs in Ukrainian. Come learn a new language, gain international travel and have a party with Ukrania July 10th at 6PM on the River Stage.
Last but not least, the 30th local act, Wicked Grin. Since 2003 Wicked Grin have been playing their full-tilt blues with a groove that just won’t quit much to the enjoyment of concert goers. Wicked Grin recently won the Ottawa Blues Society “Road To Memphis” Challenge and represented Ottawa at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN, in January 2014. You can catch their blues with bite July 12th at 6 PM on the Black Sheep Stage.
October is breast cancer awareness month and a group of Canadian “babes” are doing their part to raise money for the cause.
This year’s Babes4Breasts is a National Benefit Concert fundraising for a variety of Breast Cancer charities. The concert is taking place tomorrow, Thursday, October 24th at Southminster United Church. Doors open at 7:30pm and the show gets underway at 8pm. Five excellent performers will be tickling your ear drums as they sit on stage together in a song circle for this great cause. They are Ana Miura (organizer), Amanda Rheaume, Lyndell Montgomery, Matthew Barber and James Keelaghan. Tickets are only $20 in advance, and proceeds go to help find a cure to a disease that touches us all.
Another of the great Babes4Breasts’s initiatives is the compilation album they recently released. The 15-song album features Rose Cousins, Jenn Grant, Oh Susanna with Jim Bryson, Amanda Rheaume, Matthew Barber, and many more. The wonderful mix of beautiful songs is available digitally on iTunes or can be ordered in physical format here. The CD will also be available at the show, for those looking to double up their contribution. Proceeds from the sale of these albums will go to a variety of breast cancer related charities including the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society, and more.
Babes4Breasts was built from a desire to do good and unite women across the country. Founder Ana Miura enlisted the help of many talented, female musicians (and male musicians) and has raised over $50,000 to date!
Check out what is happening at the 20th annual edition of the Folkfest which will be taking over Hog’s Back Park starting today.
The festival runs from September 4th to the 8th at Hog’s Back Park. And even though Neil Young is no longer playing, there is plenty to see and do. Here are some of Ottawa Showbox’s daily recommendations.
Day 1: Wednesday September 4th
The first day is your chance to see one of the most influential female performers of all time, the ”Godmother of Punk,” Patti Smith. She is also a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and holds the title of “Commandeur des Arts et Lettres” from the French Ministry of Culture. Her amazing fusion of rock and poetry is not to be missed. Patti and her band take to the stage at 7 pm. Here is a taste of what you can expect Wednesday night, aka tonight.
Thursday is the tale of local vs big name. There are four great local acts rocking the park that day; Little Stella (6-7 pm), Three Little Birds (6:30-7:30 pm), Shannon Rose & the Thorns (7-7:45 pm) and Amos the Transparent (8-9 pm). I have seen all of these bands several times and let me tell you, you are in for a treat with each one. Also you can feel good about supporting local, as it is always a great decision. Therefore I would recommend stage-hopping from local to local and then cap off the night with Vampire Weekend, who take to the main stage at 9:30pm.
Day 3: Friday September 6th
Friday is a battleground which will see folk and hip hop thrown down. First the challenger, hip hop, will be represented by the ridiculously talented Canadian rapper Shad and Compton, California’s amazing Kendrick Lamar. Folk is firing back with Ottawa’s Amanda Rheaume (6-6:45 pm), Canterbury High alumni Tall Trees (6:15-7:15 pm) and Canadian singer-songwriter-guitarist Matt Andersen (8-9:15 pm). Also worth noting, the referee for all of this is indie-rock, championed by Toronto’s Born Ruffians (6-7 pm).
There is a lot going on over the weekend portion, with over 18 bands a day and a bunch of workshops. I picked out three or four artists a day and a few workshops I would recommend.
Day 4: Saturday September 7th
Music-wise I would strongly recommend finding the time to check out 21-year-old Mac DeMarco from Montreal. His smooth-flowing rock sound will be just what the doctor ordered for your late afternoon. He goes on at 4 pm. The next must-see is Vancouver’s Hey Ocean! They are touted as one of Canada best up-and-coming bands and they play with a ton of dancy energy on stage. Lastly, The Avett Brothers are closing out the night, and will be the perfect period to the sentence. Two of the members, Scott and Seth Avett, are actually brothers, and there is something very special about watching two brothers harmonizing on stage. The boys are a blend of folk, country, bluegrass, rock and pop, check them out at 9 pm.
Two of the workshops that I would recommend on the Saturday are Femme Fatale, with Ottawa’s own Shannon Rose and Catriona Sturton. A group of fabulous female artists share stories and songs in an intimate workshop setting. Second, although it is not really a workshop, but rather a freaking cool opportunity, check out an interview with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. Listen in on a conversation between Danny Michel and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield as they discuss space and music. The conversation will be accompanied by music performed by Danny, Chris and his brother Dave.
Day 5: Sunday September 8th
On the last day of the festival there are some delicious treats lined up for you. I don’t really need to convince anyone to go see Gordon Lightfoot or The Wailers, because it’s freaking Gordon Lightfoot and The Wailers! So here are some other bands you should definitely check out. Ottawa’s Dave Norris & Local Ivan kick off the day at 1 pm and have been described as ”sublimely jangles its folk-pop cacophony of organ, wind instruments, percussion, and perfectly-layered vocals” by Amanda Putz of CBC Radio 3. Not much else to say there. Also from Ottawa, Claude Munson and the Storm Outside will be serenading you with ambient folk-rock at 2 pm. Another Ottawa great, singer-songwriter Lynn Miles plays at 7 pm. My final musical recommendation is Carolina Chocolate Drops, winner of the 2010 Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album. If you don’t believe me, take a look at what the New York Times said about them: “They dip into styles of Southern black music from the 1920s and ‘30s—string-band music, jug-band music, fife and drum, early jazz—and beam their curiosity outward. They make short work of their instructive mission and spend their energy on things that require it, like flatfoot dancing, jug playing, and shouting.” You will thank me after you see them.
Workshop-wise, I would suggest Guitar Masterclass at 4 pm with Ottawa’s John Carroll. The workshop is a combination interview / workshop highlighting the masterful guitar skills and songwriting of Chris Smither. And lastly, The History & Evolution of Reggae Music at 5 pm, hosted by Danny Michel and members of The Wailers.
I hope this helps you all figure out what to do this week, for the complete schedule click here, and if you are looking for tickets please follow this link.
Here is the third installment in our series of previews of the awesome local talent playing this year’s Ottawa Bluesfest. We’re hoping to do this weekly, to help you discover your new favourite Ottawa band or musician to see at the festival!
What to say about Amanda Rheaume. She is Métis singer/songwriter with a powerful voice which has just the right touch of grittiness to it. This independent artist makes lovely roots and pop-folk music. She was the winner of the Live 88.5 Big Money Shot in 2008 and she never looked back. Amanda has released 3 full length albums, toured the country as well as Europe, she even had a stint in Afghanistan with Canadian troops. Amanda just finished up her new album and I can not wait for it to be released. It will be a little treck to go see Amanda play, as they have her playing at the Rideau Center at noon on Friday, July 12, but it will be worth it.
The Goodluck Assembly are one of Ottawa’s premier alternative rock bands. Formed by brothers Bruce and Mike Libbos and then complemented with the additions of Jamie Kronick and Matthew Mowbray the band is ready to show you what they got. Their latest album ‘Demonstrations’ was recorded in Brooklyn, New York, during Hurricane Sandy, with the help of producers Gus Van Go & Werner F (The Stills, Hollerado, Les Trois Accords). The band has worked with producers who have recorded with such great bands, so you can ensure yourself that you are in for quite the treat. Check out The Goodluck Assembly on July 8th at 7:00 pm at the River Stage.
John Carroll & The Epic Proportions
If you have ever walked by The Laffayette on a Wednesday nigth, you have already heard the great John Carroll. If not, let me assure you that this traditional blues and country folk artist is not to be missed. On top of that, consider the fact that instead of playing solo, he will have a full band by his side, The Epic Proportions. Many of Carroll’s songs are these epic tales told in such a way that you always wished there was another chapter. You can read a previous review of one of his live performances I did here. But don’t settle for my review, go check them at on the River Stage at 1:45 on Sunday July 14th.
There might not be a lot of punk rock at Bluesfest this year, but punk rocker don’t fret, the Steve Adamyk Band has you covered. The band was born from the ashes of two great Ottawa bands, Million Dollar Marxists and Sedatives. They play trash-pop inspired by seventies and eighties punk and nineties garage rock. These Ottawa rockers have taken their show on the road, playing Europe, SXSW, Sled Island festival and Juno Fest. Their third album, called Third, was released in February of this year. Check out the first single off Third, “Katacombs,” right below. You can catch them on one of the main stages, the Bell Stage at 1:00 pm Sunday July 7th.