Friday, May 26, 2017

Raise the Caliber - Art Creates Change at Only One Gallery - Toronto June 1-15, 2017

From a media release:

Raise the Caliber - Art Creates Change
Only One Gallery - Toronto
June 1-15, 2017

Check out the Facebook Event

TORONTO - Raise the Caliber – Art Creates Change is an art exhibit coming to Only One Gallery in Toronto from June 1 to June 15 that aims to drive awareness about illegal gun violence and gun control issues. Featuring multi-medium works from artists Doug Schwartz (DetroitWick) and Tracy Hiner (Black Crow Studios) who use decommissioned guns and bullets, confiscated through amnesty programs, these artists show how tools of destruction can be transformed into beautiful works of art.
Photograph by Tracy Hiner
Launching May 31st 2017 and running for two weeks (June 1-15), this will be the first showing outside of the US for both artists with their Raise The Caliber® art and we are tremendously excited to be able to bring it to Canada.

Accompanying Doug and Tracy for the opening will be Carey Lowell - celebrated actor and talented ceramicist, featuring her collection of Hummingbird Candles. All these artist were united by Jessica Mindich - jewelry designer and founder of Raise The Caliber®, an advocacy campaign raising awareness about illegal gun violence. Mindich will also be featuring her Caliber Collection® jewelry in a Pop-Up Shop during the show.

Scary Statistic: There were 355 firearm related injuries a year between 2008 and 2012 in Canada involving youth under 25.
* Taken from SickKids/ICES study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Lucite Sculpture by Doug Schwartz
Some of the people behind the show:
*Jessica Mindich (jewelry designer and founder of Raise The Caliber; also uses recycled gun-metal to create accessories for women and men)
*Doug Schwartz (artwork encases decommissioned guns and shell casings in solid lucite to create three-dimensional sculptures)
*Tracey Hiner (immerses guns and shell casings in fish tanks filled with water with added coloured liquids to create incredible photography prints)
*Carey Lowell (actress and designer at Hummingbird Ceramics; creates hand-crafted ceramic candles featuring shell casings swept from crime scenes)
*Toronto’s Sebastien Centner (driving force behind the team bringing the exhibit to Toronto. He is also executive director of Toronto-based hospitality company Eatertainment, and always has his hands in interesting things happening in the city)
Photograph by Tracy Hiner
**Works of art featured in the exhibit will be available for purchase throughout the duration of the exhibit.
**The presented artworks’ prices range from $195 to $20,000 CAD, with portions of the proceeds benefiting Raise The Caliber.

Four Great Plays - Four Great Playwrights: Ticket Deals In New York City

From a media release:

Four Great Plays - Four Great Playwrights
Sweat by Lynn Nottage
Venus by Suzan-Lori Parks
Sojourners & Her Portmanteau by Mfoniso Udofia
BELLA: An American Tall Tale - Book, Music, Lyrics by Kirsten Childs

NEW YORK CITY - Right now, there are four productions written and/or performed by black women gracing New York City stages. Here's how to get ticket deals and take them all in.

Tony Nominee Michelle Wilson
2017 Pulitzer Prize in Drama
Three Tony Award nominations including BEST PLAY
by Lynn Nottage
directed by Kate Whoriskey
Now playing on Broadway

Save up to $40 off regular ticket prices with code SW2WTG (reg. $99 & $149)'

To Purchase Tickets:
Online: and enter code SW2WTG.
By Phone: Call TelechargeOffers at 212.947.8844 and mention code SW2WTG.
In Person: Studio 54 Box Office, 254 W. 54th Street, NYC.

Filled with warm humor and tremendous heart, SWEAT tells the story of a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets and laughs while working together on the factory floor. But when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight to stay afloat.

For more information about SWEAT visit

by Suzan-Lori Parks
directed by Lear deBessonet
Now playing thru June 4

All Tickets $30

To Purchase Tickets:
Online: Click here.
By Phone: Call 212.244.7529.
In Person: Pershing Square Signature Center Box Office, 480 W. 42nd Street @ 10th Avenue.
Zanaib Jah in Venus

Traveling from her home in southern Africa for what she hoped would be a better life, Saartjie Baartman became an unfortunate star on the 19th Century London freak show circuit. This Obie Award-winning play gives vibrant life to the story of Baartman’s journey to London, her rise to fame as the “Hottentot Venus,” and her eventual relationship with a French scientist. Inspired by the true story of Baartman, Venus is a tragic-carnival, an intense and devastating journey honoring the life of Baartman and examining the way we live and love today.

For more information visit

Adepero Oduye
by Mfoniso Udofia
directed by Ed Sylvanus

Now playing thru June 11
2 -for-1 tickets -- See both plays for $65 with code DUET2FOR1.

To Purchase Tickets:
Online:  NYTW.ORG and enter code DUET2FOR1.
By Phone: Call 212-460-5475 and mention code DUET2FOR1.
In Person: New York Theatre Workshop Box Office, 79 East 4th Street.

In a two-part theatrical event, NYTW Usual Suspect Ed Sylvanus Iskandar brings to life the singularly poetic world of playwright and NYTW Usual Suspect Mfoniso Udofia’s Sojourners and Her Portmanteau.

Performed in repertory, these two chapters of Udofia's sweeping, nine-part saga, The Ufot Cycle, chronicle the triumphs and losses of the tenacious matriarch of a Nigerian family. In Sojourners, a young, pregnant Abasiama struggles with the responsibilities of her arranged marriage as her husband becomes seduced by 1970s American culture. Intent on finishing her university studies so that she can return to Nigeria, Abasiama weighs her dreams and obligations as she attempts to move forward.

Decades later, the full impact of her decision erupts when Abasiama’s family is reunited in Her Portmanteau. As Nigerian traditions clash with the realities of American life, Abasiama and her daughters must confront complex familial legacies that span time, geography, language and culture. Presented in two parts, this heartrending pairing probes into the ties that bind mothers and daughters and how we define home.

Produced in association with The Playwrights Realm.
For more information visit

Ashley D. Kelley
BELLA: An American Tall Tale
Book, Music, Lyrics by Kirsten Childs
Directed by Robert O'Hara
Choreographed by Camille A. Brown
Now playing thru July 2

Tickets $37.50 (reg. $59 and up) with code BELMAR for performances through June 11 at Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenues, NYC.

To Purchase Tickets:
Online: Click here and enter code BELMAR
By Phone: Call Ticket Central at  212.279.4200 and mention code BELMAR.
In Person: Ticket Central Box Office, 416 W. 42nd Street, noon - 8pm.

All aboard for a Western musical adventure the likes of which you’ve never experienced. As a wanted woman of mythic proportions looks to begin life anew out west, Bella takes us on the trip of a lifetime to escape her scandalous past and bounce into the arms of her awaiting Buffalo Soldier. Rowdy, wild, and hilarious, Kirsten Childs infuses this tall tale with soulful tunes and madcap antics aplenty. Giddy-up to our get-down!

For more information visit

Latinx at Joe's Pub New York City All Summer Long - June-August 2017

From a media release:


Find Tickets For All Events

NEW YORK CITY - Joe's Pub is proud to host an exciting and diverse array of upcoming Latinx events!! Highlights include all-women mariachi group Mariachi Flor de Toloache on June 16 and 17; singer/songwriter Dorian Wood performing songs from his new album XALÁ on June 24; Argentine folk band Mavi Díaz & Las Folkies with special guest Maria Volonte on July 19; Cuban son and bolero outfit El Septeto Santiaguero on July 28; That's Not Tango celebrating Astor Piazzolla on the 25th anniversary of his death on August 5 and 6; and, Brazilian pop musician Aline Muniz on August 10.

Friday, June 16 at 9:30PM / Saturday, June 17 at 11:30PM - $25
All-women mariachi group and Latin Grammy nominees Mariachi Flor de Toloache is lead by singers Mireya I. Ramos (founder) and Shae Fiol (original member). Reminiscent of the early days of mariachi, the group started as a trio of harp, violin and vihuela; today, Mariachi Flor De Toloache performs as a full mariachi ensemble. The members hail from diverse cultural backgrounds such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Australia, Colombia, Germany, Italy and the United States. This diversity defines its unique flavor and sound. The result of this cultural bouquet is an edgy, versatile and fresh take on traditional Mexican music. Opening both shows will be Edna Vazquez, a Latin American artist based in the Northwest who performs original music that pays homage to her many influences from across the Americas. Edna has traveled far and wide to share their message of light, love and cultural healing.

Saturday, June 24 at 11:30PM $15
Singer/composer Dorian Wood returns to Joe's Pub to perform songs from his emotionally-charged new album, XALÁ. "Armed with a vocal charisma that would befit a preacher and an experimental streak that would make avant-gardists swoon" (WNYC), Dorian is a wunderkind with a headstrong DIY discipline. He has brought his emotionally-charged performances to concert halls, museums, music venues and performance spaces throughout the US, Mexico and Europe, with a voice that channels the skill and ferocity of such auteurs as Scott Walker, Nina Simone and Tom Waits.

Wednesday, July 19 at 9:30PM $20
Lead by Argentine musical powerhouse Mavi Díaz, the band Mavi Díaz & Las Folkies is reinvigorating the rich folk traditions of Argentina with their original compositions, feminine point of view and electrifying live performances. This all-female band is deeply steeped in the Argentine folk tradition. Daughter of harmonica virtuoso Hugo Díaz, Mavi was surrounded by the best music from an early age. A pop star in her twenties as a founding member of the path-breaking group Viuda e Hijas de Roque Enroll, Mavi went on to an illustrious career as a performer, composer and vocal arranger.

Friday, July 28 at 7PM and 9:30PM
$15 Advance / $20 Door
Direct from the famous Casa de la Trova club in their hometown Santiago de Cuba, the cradle of son and bolero, El Septeto Santiaguero is the foremost son music ensemble on the current Cuban scene. Founded in 1995 by tres guitar virtuoso Fernado Dewar, Septeto has taken their contemporary perspective to the septeto format and have recorded eight albums in their two decade history. Their most recent release, Tributu a Los Compadres, is a collaboration with Jose 'El Canario' Alberto and was blessed with a 2016 Grammy nomination in the Tropical Latin category and a 2015 Latin Grammy win.

Saturday, August 5 at 7PM / Sunday, August 6 at 7PM - $30
You've heard his music -- now meet the man. On the 25th anniversary of his death, That's Not Tango explores Astor Piazzolla's complicated personal relationships and far-reaching musical legacy. In words and live music, Piazzolla's imaginary and restless spirit takes us from his birthplace in Argentina through a childhood as a would-be hoodlum on the mean streets of New York's Lower East Side. We travel with him as a young man back to Argentina where he becomes a professional bandoneon player, band leader, and ultimately, composer, studying with the legendary teacher, Nadia Boulanger. This is the story of a kid who detested the scratchy tango records his father insisted on playing every night, to someone who grew up to become the savior of tango and, along the way, a towering figure in 20th century music. Conceived and written by Lesley Karsten (with co-writer Stephen Wadsworth), the show features Karsten as Piazzolla with pianist Brandt Fredriksen, bandoneon player J.P. Jofre, and violinist Nick Danielson.

Thursday, August 10 at 9:30PM - $15
Music fans in the US will soon have a chance to hear an exciting new voice emerging from Brazil's diverse music scene, singer/songwriter Aline Muniz, presented in association with Brasil Summerfest. With three acclaimed albums already released in Brazil, Muniz is highly regarded for her sophisticated compositions and sultry vocal style, and her US debut Aline Muniz / Brazilian Pop Music will introduce fans stateside to her fresh global pop sound. Showcasing a broad range of influences from bossa nova, classic MPB (Música Popular Brasileira) to electronica and pop, Aline collaborated on the song selection with acclaimed Brazilian producer Béco Dranoff for the 17-track collection, which features popular original songs from her three previous albums such as "Mensagem de Amor" and the recently released track "Eu, Voce e Mais Ninguém" (You, Me and No One Else) featuring a stunning video filmed in NYC's Meatpacking District, alongside Muniz's exquisite reinterpretations of songs including "Ribbon in the Sky" (Stevie Wonder), "Tempos Modernos" (Lulu Santos), and "Jack Soul Brasileiro" (Lenine).

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Recently released: American High - Bones in the Attic, Flowers in the Basement (Independent - March 8 2017)

Recently released:
American High - Bones in the Attic, Flowers in the Basement
(Independent - March 8, 2017)

Buy The CD

Bones in the Attic, Flowers in the Basesment is the first release for Sacramento, CA based quartet, American High. The band is cagey about names and bios, but not about the message of their music.

"This is an anti-war record.  Songs like SEPTEMBER and I CAN'T CHANGE are our attempts to put a human face on the costs of trying to force the world to do what we want them to do.  We think everyone should concentrate on minding our own business rather than point guns at each other and demand obedience."

Take retro pop, add a dash of acoustic/electric punk, Cali surf songs, melodic sixties pop, and even shades of classic Americana here and there, shake it up, and you'll get an idea of their sound.

"We think songs are more interesting when they can be seen in different ways.  We shun the tired INTRO-CHORUS-INTRO-CHORUS-LEAD-CHORUS-EXIT blueprint."

It's a sense of invention and urgency that drives the songs. The lyrics are clever without becoming overwrought, and like the music, they draw from a range of influences. From Fairfield, CA,

Take a bus ride, suicide
Chance a ticket to go
And if I never get there
It just means I was never meant to go...

Moon is a stand out track with a relentless, hypnotic groove that ends abruptly, surprisingly. That's part of their musical bag of tricks. Test Pilot is another great track that mixes driving pop rock with interesting rhythmic changes and an almost contrapuntal approach in parts.

Band members go only by their initials - D.T.(rhythm guitar), E.S.(lead guitar), F.M. (Bass), T.M. (drums) - so I can't say who's singing lead or harmony, but there's a nice sense of expression and great harmonies to go around.

Along with social commentary, the songs delve into the usual romantic vein that's given an edge by their inventive sense of musicality. Forgive+Forget You has an interesting sound, part retro pop, part country/Americana, with a distinctly modern sensibility.

I want to burn it down
Burn it down forever
So when you see me
You can't try to pretend

This is a cut well above the usual alt-rock crowd, and it will be interesting to hear from this crew in the years to come.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Upcoming Release: Jody Cooper - 'Serenades & Odes to a Cracked World' Part 1 (Independent - June 2 2017)

Upcoming Release:
Jody Cooper - 'Serenades & Odes to a Cracked World' (part 1)
(Independent - June 2, 2017)

Buy The CD

“With everything that's happening in the world, the time has come for people to start engaging with the problems around them in an attempt to make a positive change. This album is my attempt.”

That's a statement by singer songwriter Jody Cooper about his latest release. It's an album with a message, but one where relevant words meld with solid pop/rock songs and musicianship for an entertaining delivery.

Multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, performer, busker and “Walking Jukebox“, Jody Cooper grew up as an English boy in a Scottish village, and was drawn to music early. From violin lessons as a six year old, he graduated to local bands as a teenager. After a few years playing in bands, he went to the University of Liverpool for a degree in music. That led to Ten A Penny, his 2007 indie release, a stint in Sense of Sound, an a cappella group, more releases and extensive touring.

In 2013, he left the UK for Germany, more touring, and a couple of single releases. After his first visit and concerts to the U.S. in 2016, 2017 he's released his most ambitious project so far, 'Serenades and Odes to a Cracked World': his first crowd-funded concept album on the themes of
disintegration (part 1) and integration (part 2, release TBC).

One is the first single from the release, a piano driven ballad with a meditative message of unity.

When all is said and done,
When every race is won,
When all that's left is blame,
When will we ever learn?
There's only one.

Forsake The Joneses blends its anti-corporate consumer message inside a driving pop rock song. Jody plays all the instruments himself on the album, including lead and backing vocals, bass, acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, and percussion.

He's got a great voice for the genre, melodic and expressive, but with a rough edge where he needs it. He lists the Beatles as one of his early influences, and his compositions flow into a similarly melodic pop vein, but he adds a more modern alt-rock sensibility.

There's a little romance mixed in with the social commentary. Don't Know You Now is a stand out track, mixing plaintive vocals and clever lyrics with a multi-layered arrangement. Home is another intriguing track with interesting changes and a haunting melody.

Jody's an accomplished musician, singer, and composer, and all of those talents go into making this an interesting listen - for both the words and the music.

Album Tracklisting:
1. I Forsake the Joneses
2. Leave a Light On
3. One
4. You Can't Make It on Your Own
5. Don't Know You Now
6. Living in Hell
7. Home
8. The Great Divide
9. Silence
10. You Say You Own Me (But You Don't Own Me)
11. Breakdown
12. It's Alright
13. Song for the Oppressed (Cruelty Dies)

Official website:

Shahed Mohseni Zonoozi - The Journey & Inter-Continental Concerts

Shahed Mohseni Zonoozi - The Journey
Inter-Continental Concerts

Download The CD For Free

The Journey is the brainchild of Shahed Mohseni Zonoozi, a collection of music that you could truthfully call a global collaboration.

The Journey is the 1st official music album of Inter-Continental Concerts. Inter-Continental Concerts (ICC) is a multimedia production organization that produces music, live concerts, performance videos and feature films. Their goal? ICC values diversity and promotes unity among all people on earth. The primary goal is to bring together artists from around the world to participate in various productions and projects, including - so far - about 145 artists from over 45 nationalities.

Iranian award winning Musician/Media Producer Shahed Mohseni Zonoozi has a passion for music and its ability to cut across cultural and even language barriers. Born in Tehran, he's now based in Los Angeles, and got his start in music at the age of eight, paying the Santoor, a traditional Iranian instrument. He started composing music not long after. He's got a varied background in IT, video production, and computer engineering, as well as sound engineering and video production.

The music takes you on a lively sonic journey that fuses traditions from Asia to the Mediterranean and the African continent, where Spanish guitar and Middle Eastern rhythms dance around West African drumming. As a collaborative project, the music draws on a web of global influences, and they emerge in a seamless groove.

Eternal Love has the synthy pulse of dance music, embellished with layers of melodic flute, and an insistent world beat. It's a seamless marriage of electronic and acoustic instrumentation. In Life, a virtuosic guitar riff merges into a driving beat, rap, and a vocal line in Russian.

Persian Norwuz takes the traditional music of Iran and adds modern pop and dance riffs. It's a stylistic smorgasbord, but one that adds up to solid music that ultimately needs no explanation. There's

You don't have to know what styles or genres, or even what instruments they are playing to enjoy the music that is played with obvious passion. It's eminently danceable and perfect for parties.

"World music" is often an inadequate term, one that's used to label undefinable music, and that's the case with this release. Simply put, this is modern music of our world.

Accordion : Sefkat Saglamer
Bass  : Emmanuel Paul, Shahed Mohseni Zonoozi
Drums : Samson Tinz
Electric Guitar : Babak Mahbaei, Emmanuel Oluga
Electric Piano : Izu David
Flute : Behzad Heidarshenas, Isil Akgüç
Guitars  : Salar Hamzei, Shahed Mohseni Zonoozi
Piano, Synths & Santoor : Shahed Mohseni Zonoozi
Percussions : Ehsan Shafiee, Mehrdad Jadidzadeh, Okan Sadioglu
Violin : Isam Qaimari
Vocalists: Judith Okon, Shahed Mohseni Zonoozi, Chinedu Ayinotu, Shakhnoza Kurbonshoeva, Qais Nedal Rahal, Sam M. Pour, Nubi Kayode, Tambe Maria, Gaius Rosilu, Yasaman Behshad
Rap Artists : Maria Musaeva, Olaniyi Teidi (DJ Java)

Composers / Writers:
Music Composer and Songwriter: Shahed Mohseni Zonoozi
Salar Hamzei (Spanish Guitar Solos for “The Cyprus Station” and “Life”)
Nubi Kayode (Songwriter of “My Life is Çok Güzel")
Maria Musaeva (words for “Life”)
Sam M. Pour (Words for “The Fellowship”)

Track listing:
1.    The Cyprus Station
2.    Eternal Love
3.    Life (In Russian Language)
4.    Persian Nowruz
5.    Gole Eshgham (In Tajik Farsi Language)
6.    Far Away
7.    Power of Love
8.    The Fellowship
9.    My Life is Çok Güzel
10.    Unrecognized Country


Recently Released: Jakob Pek - Acoustic Medicine (Independent - May 4 2017)

Recently Released:
Jakob Pek - Acoustic Medicine
(Independent - May 4, 2017)

Buy The CD

Acoustic Medicine is the result of three years of Jakob Pek's experimentation with the acoustic guitar. Guitar is actually not Jakob's first instrument. Violin is the first instrument Jakob picked up at the age of four. Since then, he's also added piano and percussion.

The results come out in soundscapes that meander in and around the varied musical influences from the classic folk vibe of Surrendered to Grace, to the avant garde sounds of Sweet Memory's Melody. He explores tone in Angel's Hymn, and a variety of global influences in The Great Return.

He draws from a wide range of influences and sources, and uses a variety of techniques, including fingerstyle, bowing, and alternate tunings to create a range of sounds and effects.

This is meditative music, engaging the mind as well as the ears. It's avant garde for those who may not care about the avant garde, with warmth and sonic experimentation in an easy partnership.

Along with his solo work, Jakob performs regularly as half of DunkelpeK, a duo he formed with like-minded percussionist Nava Dunkelman. He has also performed with many pioneers of contemporary music such as Fred Frith, Arrington de Dionyso, Theresa Wong, Rent Romus, Chris Brown and David Behrman.

Jakob's more notable performances have included the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, the Musica Medicina Festival in Pisac, Peru, and the Haight Ashbury Street Fair in San Francisco.

1. Surrendered To Grace
2. Acoustic Medicine
3. The Great Return
4. Angel’s Hymn
5. Sweet Memory’s Melody

Recently Released Space Motel - Arrival (Independent - February 1st 2017)

Recently Released
Space Motel - Arrival
(Independent - February 1st 2017)

Buy The CD

Space Motel's second release builds on their growing reputation for finely crafted funk/jazz/rock. However you classify it - or whether you do - you'll find yourself moving to the irresistible grooves of this album by the Providence, Rhode Island USA band.

Space Motel builds around a core of Jim Muro (Rock/Reggae group On The Drop, touring with 311, Spin Doctors, Bad Fish, State Radio,) Willie Myette, Zach Paquette and Nate Davignon (Mystic jammers). Space Motel first got together in 2007, and recorded their first album Departure between 2008-2012. Departure was officially released in 2015.

Their sophomore release builds on their strengths - tight musianship, expressive and capable vocals, including churchy harmonies, and a distinctive, if tinged dark and plaintive, sense of songwriting that defies today's formulaic pop models.

The crew of nine musicians on the album is made up of seasoned players, including Garrett Shiderwho's been touring the world continuously since 2010 as the lead singer and rhythm guitar player for Parliament-Funkedelic, and a horn section of Frankie Moniz on Tenor Saxophone and Grayson Farmer on Trumpet sitting in for Can You Use This and Don't Lean. The welcome addition adds a layer enbellishing the sinuous throb of the vocals and bass. Don't Lean has a lilting, reggae-flavored swing, with the horns adding to a melodic swing.

The music is compelling and hypnotic, with a fluid sense of style and melody that includes Latin and Caribbean influences. Jim Muro's vocals are adept, with a nice range and raspy edge that gives them emotion. From Way Home,

Do what you want to do;
Say what you want to say.
Just know that in the end,
They're going to make you pay.

That edge in his voice, and the way that he bends it, gives it just the right plaintive note to carry the words. On songs like It's Not Over, he's accompanied by harmony vocals and lush instrumentation.

Space Motel delivers songs that stick in your head and sweep you into a tightly crafted, danceable groove.

Band lineup for Arrival:
Jim Muro: Lead Vocals & Guitar; Garrett Shider: Vocals & Guitar; Willie Myette: Keyboards; Zach Paquette: Bass; Nate Davignon: Drums; Mike Baez: Acoustic Guitar & Lead Guitar-Tracks 1,2 & 7; Steve Malec: Lead Guitar-Track 5; Frankie Moniz: Tenor Saxophone-Tracks 2 & 3; Grayson Farmer: Trumpet-Tracks 2 & 3

Track listings:
1. Intro
2. Can You Use This
3. Don't Lean
4. Blackwoods
5. Unexplainable
6. Way Home
7. Going The Wrong Way
8. Arrival
9. It's Not Over


Acoustic Folk Recently released: Deb Montgomery - 'Long Long Journey' May 1, 2017

Recently released:
Deb Montgomery - Long Long Journey
(Independent - May 1, 2017)

Buy The CD

Acoustic/folk singer/songwriter Deb Montgomery recently released her debut full-length solo album, Long Long Journey. It's a thoughtful journey into modern folk lit up by her melodic and expressive vocals.

Canadian born, she's now based in Seattle, Washington, after a stint in New York City. Her career has spanned twenty years and four records, some film credits, and the pleasure of sharing stages recording with musicians, writers, and producers—like Andy Stochansky (Ani Difranco), Ron Sexsmith, Bob Wiseman, and Julia Kent—along with playing solo.

Her lyrics are thoughtful, with a romantic heart. From Long, Long Journey,

Pierce me, pierce you
Let your love cut me through
You know I need what is true
You know how much I need you

"I think of songwriting as my cave wall etchings: sometimes prison walls, sometimes dream walls, sometimes mysteries, and sometimes stories.  Songwriting for me has been a way through…" she says in a media release.

The words are poetically insightful. From Fear,

It don't matter where I put my fear
When I'm pushed, it reappears...

A taste of the stripped down style:

Long Long Journey is a Collection of Songs from the last twenty years, including newly crafted tracks. She recorded the album with Floyd Reitsma in Seattle, at Studio Litho.

A varied finger picking style of playing and a voice that can go from sweet to harder edged flesh out the words with a sense of passionate sincerity. On Awake, she switches to a subdued piano accompaniment and throws the focus directly on the words. I want to stay awake...with you.

Love Rocks You enters a more rhythmic, upbeat mode and words that are half spoken, half sung for a sound that evolves into a trance-like groove. With the classic stripped down folk instrumentation of acoustic guitar and voice, Deb pulls a variety of directions to explore.


A version of Fly Free performed with a full band:

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Discover Germany: Celebrating 25 years of the sun-kissed Saxon Wine Route

From a media release:

Celebrating 25 years of the sun-kissed Saxon Wine Route

Find Out More

If you're looking for a place filled with wine and wonder, then Saxony is the destination for you. From these ancient hillsides adorned with vineyards, you can gaze down at the Elbe river's glistening waters and its famous palaces.

The region's stunning beauty is enough of a reason to visit in itself, yet the landscape is so artfully interwoven with indulgence and history that you'll struggle to find an excuse to stay away. 25 years ago, the 55km stretch of land that lies between the towns of Pirna and Diesbar-Seusslitz was officially designated the Saxon Wine Route. However, we know from the writings of monks that its history dates back all the way back to the 12th century. It's no surprise that the route has captured people's attention for so long. Winding your way through the sun-kissed Elbe valley, you'll almost feel as if you're in the Mediterranean.

A history told through the grapevine

There's more than one way to explore the Saxon Wine Route. For instance, you can travel by river cruiser between Dresden and Meissen, cycle along the Elbe Cycle Route or go walking on the 90km hiking trail. This takes you past steep hillsides with terraced vineyards and 400-year-old dry stone walls to magnificent viewpoints, idyllic villages and historical wine cellars. There's plenty of art, culture and architectural variety to experience along the way, and a stunning landscape to enjoy that provides the perfect soil for a whole 61 different varieties of grape. Thirty-five official vintners produce high-quality wines that are then sold at their vineyards, local wine taverns along the route and fine restaurants.

Dresden - Florence can wait!

In Dresden, you can drench yourself in culture at the Green Vault or Grünes Gewölbe in Dresden, a unique historic museum incorporating the largest collection of treasures in Europe. Founded by Augustus the Strong in 1723, it holds a variety of exhibits from the Baroque to Classical eras. That's just the tip of the iceberg.

Of course: Culture

Resistance is futile in Dresden. It starts with the main train station, covered by leading architect Sir Norman Foster and does not end at the kennel for a long time. It wait Raphael's "Sistine Madonna" and the works of Gerhard Richter and Otto Dix. You'll want to drink in the baroque splendor of the Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) as well as the very special architectural style of the "Military History Museum" by Daniel Libeskind. And in between: take a ride on a Gondola on the Carolasee, stroll through the zoo or take in the panoramic view from the town hall tower.

Sizzling Nightlife

At night the city is divided: Elegant and bourgeois left bank of the Elbe, where long robes find their way to the opera. Across the river: a hot young nightclub scene and the avant-garde. Pub crawl through the Neustadt, club nights in the industrial area and so many other ways to stay up all night.

Dresden information on the Frauenkirche
Neumarkt 2
01067 Dresden
Tel .: +49 351 501501

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Recently Released: D.G. Adams- This Old Heart (Jump Attack Records - March 18, 2017)

Recently Released:
D.G. Adams- This Old Heart
(Jump Attack Records - March 18, 2017)

Listen on Spotify

This Old Heart is the third album for Vancouver folk rocker D.G. Adams. While he's been writing music since the age of 15, Adams was active as a classically trained actor and teacher of Shakespeare for more than three decades, long before his first music release in 2000, Feminine Endings.

Adams is a singer/songwriter in the folk/rock tradition. Lyrically, he covers the usual boy-girl territory along with dashes of philosophy, politics, and life in general. From Fuck Life And Fuck The World,

2 1/2 years on heroin,
And I just can't stay awake...

The upbeat music and pop singer delivery disguise the message in a shiny cover. It's a ruse he uses more than once on the album. This Song Is Not True, the first single, spotlights his expressive vocals against churchy organ chords and keyboard, breaking into a swingy groove that belies the words.

This song is not true
It's about you
You went to church
With your abuser
While you look happy...

There's a nice stylistic variety on the album, including pop rockers like Stallion Man and Disposable Friends, along with a Latin-inspired groove on La Terraza. Mafia Princess is a jazzy little piano-driven tune where he talks about meeting a girl at a funeral, one who's like a bad hangover.

When it comes to the words, at any rate, expect the unexpected.

Along with the new music - which he calls his main passion - Adams still appears in movies and on television, including recently in Lionsgate’s “Power Rangers (2017)”, Fox's "Alcatraz", Lifetime's "Merlin and the Book of Beasts", and MGM's "The Betrayed", along with acting and directing for theatre.

Members/Instruments: D.G Adams: songwriter, lead vocals acoustic guitar; Aline Bobbin: violin / Torquil Campbell: Background vocals, keyboards / Alexi Johnson: background vocal / D. Jeremy Price Jones: electric and acoustic guitars / Lucas Marincelj: bass, mandolin, background vocal / Kaj Falch-Nielsen: acoustic guitar / Karina Pry: acoustic piano, organ, keyboards, background vocals / Edward Whelan: tambourine / Shane Wilson: Drums


A live version of Mother, from the album - 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Jazz/Classical: Saxophonist/Composer Quinsin Nachoff 'Ethereal Trio' (May 19 2017 - Whirlwind Recordings)

From a media release"

Saxophonist/Composer Quinsin Nachoff Discovers New Approaches to Melding Exploratory Jazz and Classical Music with his Ethereal Trio
May 19, 2017 - Whirlwind Recordings

Buy the Ethereal Trio

The adventurous trio's self-titled debut, out May 19 from Whirlwind Recordings, features bassist Mark Helias and drummer Dan Weiss.

"There's a push and pull between the visceral and cerebral, between jazz and modern classical... intensity and modernity, a brashness and in-your-face confidence of delivery." - Dan .McClenaghan, All About Jazz
Quinsin Nachoff by
Saxophonist/composer Quinsin Nachoff has become renowned for his unique and ingenious mergers of modern jazz and contemporary classic music. His music daringly ventures to the farthest edges of both idioms while dancing elegantly along the often uneasy borderline between them. While it shares the same roots, Nachoff's new Ethereal Trio takes a somewhat different approach - as the name implies, there's something looser, more elusive and free-ranging, about this trio as opposed to the more rigorous hybridization of some of Nachoff's other ensembles (Flux, the Horizons Ensemble, Magic Numbers).

In part, that's due to the musicians involved. The Ethereal Trio - whose self-titled debut will be released May 19, 2017 via Whirlwind Recordings - teams Nachoff with two of modern music's most forward-thinking artists: bassist Mark Helias and drummer Dan Weiss. Both are inveterate explorers well-versed in absorbing a variety of complex musical vocabularies and expressing them in personal and compelling fashion. But the singularly, well, ethereal feeling of this music can also be credited to Nachoff's astute compositions, which blend methodically composed material with free improvisation in a way that leaves enticing, inspirational space for all three to roam.

Quinsin Nachoff by
"As a contrast to some of my other recent projects," Nachoff says, "this ensemble allows me to explore as a saxophonist, visiting different pillars and languages within the jazz tradition but striving for a personal sound and narrative."

The Ethereal Trio was birthed directly from the composer's interest in merging jazz and classical influences. Nachoff was commissioned by the Penderecki String Quartet to compose "Stars and Constellations: Scorpio," a piece for string quartet and saxophone trio, which prompted the New York-based, Canadian-born saxophonist to further the idea of establishing a chordless trio as a distinct project away from his larger ensemble successes. A stand-alone concert with seasoned Helias and Weiss created the conceptual spark, and following the writing of new material early in 2016, a series of concerts in New York, Toronto and Montreal neatly led to this recording.

"I enjoy writing this way as it gives me two distinct voices that I can really work with," Nachoff says. "As a bassist, Mark Helias is such an experienced musician - I can compose harmonically or contrapuntally and he always expands it to such an extent that we're never missing harmony; if we play in more of an open setting, it leaves us more freedom. Dan Weiss is a master of dealing with anything rhythmically -so he can be very free within even something very structured. All three of us love to investigate different colors and extended techniques, so many different directions are possible. Once we've understood what the direction is for each composition, that's when the magic starts to happen."

Each piece on the album has its own plot and internal logic, yet the trio's predominant vibe is searching and otherworldly - hence the "ethereal" tag, which should not be understood as implying something delicate or dreamlike. This is fiery, passionate, relentlessly venturesome music that boldly seeks new discoveries in the far reaches of Nachoff's structures. The titles seem to juggle left and right brain notions in provocative ways, suggesting a mixture of art and science that finds equal stimulation in both the speculative and the cerebral.

Quinsin Nachoff by Heather MacEachern
"Clairvoyant Jest" opens the album with Nachoff's saxophone dancing across rhythmically twisted swing, characterized by double-stopped, open-stringed bass and harmonics which highlight the harmonic motion. "Gravitas" follows, focusing on freer response and reflection as its questioning saxophone motifs are interpreted by arco bass. Suggesting a change in our imaginative picture of the world, "Imagination Reconstruction" pairs sax and Helias' bass harmonics magnificently, and the ten-minute progression of "Portrait in Sepia Tones" ramps up into a superbly percussive maelstrom. "Push-Pull Topology" possesses an underlying walking bass thread, stretching and pulling different rhythms - fives over fours over threes - while the bristling landscapes of "Subliminal Circularity" summon the leader's equally raw and rippling saxophonic tones.

Quinsin Nachoff relishes the freedom and the opportunities this trio offers: "I'm regularly involved in projects which include a lot of composing, arranging and organizational effort to make them happen. This Ethereal Trio album became much more about simply playing the saxophone, which was extremely fun and rewarding - and these musicians are such a pleasure to play with. That's the world I like to live in."

Here's a teaser: