With a fresh new EP out (‘Tail Draggin’; July 2012), Ottawa’s rockabilly roots trio Dang Guilty took their show down the road to The Branch in Kemptville; a stage quickly becoming one of Eastern Ontario’s best. The trio is made up of Joel Hayward on guitar and vocals (rocking kick ass boots), Andy Clapson on the drums and the ever charismatic, modern era pirate, James Rooke on the double bass.
The band treated the audience to all the songs on their EP, as well as a not-so-secret bonus track. The recording is refreshingly raw and under-produced, reminiscent of their live show. In our opinion, their standout tracks are called ‘Exorcise Me’ and ‘El Dorado’ as they will have you singing along within a few bars. In addition to their own tunes, they also pulled off up-beat, hillbilly boogie versions of early rock ‘n roll standards including an awesome rendition of Hank Williams ‘Hey Good Lookin’ a la Carl Perkins as well as favorites of Bob Dylan, The Band, Tom Waits, and Johnny Cash.
In all, our introduction to Dang Guilty was a positive one and we are looking forward to seeing them again soon. On our wish list for their next show is a dance floor, because this is definitely music that would get the audience out of their seats. Adding keys to make it a quartet is another suggestion to help fill the sound of the live show. We left The Branch with full bellies, a jockey full of bourbon and Dang Guilty’s EP blasting their swinging tunes.
Is there anything hotter to men and more empowering to women than a super-cool, female, six-string bass player? We think not. Erik Lind & The Orchard kicked things off to a full house at the Black Sheep Inn last night and noted that it was a “dream come true” to play the iconic venue. People were instantly grooving to their easy pop-rock tunes which featured smooth vocals and lovely harmonies, as well as really nice guitar work by Mikael Tobias. The audience was treated primarily to tracks off their 6-song EP “Great White North” (released Fall 2012) that are reminiscent of ‘Wintersleep’, ‘The Great Lake Swimmers’, and a perhaps a mellower version of ‘Kings of Leon’. We were impressed from start to finish by Erik Lind & The Orchard’s talent and professionalism; these guys (and gal!) are the real deal and we look forward to the release of a full-length album soon!
It’s remarkable how few drummers are lead singers, but taking cues from greats such as ‘Genesis’ and ‘The Band’, Little Stella has done just that. Rising to the occasion after a fantastic opening set (see above), the boys put on a great show. Their music has a sound that is very ‘current’, very alternative pop, but some seriously ‘80s influences are lying just beneath the surface with their keyboard style and the guest appearance of a soprano sax on a couple of tunes. Little Stella’s music is easy to like and had the audience happily bopping along to the catchy melodies from their self-titled EP. The Twitter-sphere was abuzz with positive comments after the show, including one from the Black Sheep Inn themselves who referred to them as “one of the most exciting young bands to emerge in Canada in the last 5 years”. We agree these guys have loads of potential and we are looking forward to seeing Little Stella improve and develop into more seasoned musicians as they gather more experience.
Last night we hit the long and dusty to take in a couple of alt-country acts at Neat Coffee Shop in Burnstown, ON. It was our first concert at Neat, so we were eager to investigate! First up was Dustin Bentall (Aporia Records) progeny of the legendary Barney Bentall but with the potential to become a star in his own right with his talented songwriting, smooth vocals, and boyish charm. Dustin kicked off his set with a couple of solo acoustic numbers including the tear-jerking heartbreaker ‘Good Money’ and a comedic break-up song titled ‘Nine Inch Nails’ which won ‘Country Song of the Year’ at the 2008 Independent Music Awards of North America. He was later joined by his band, the Smokes, who provided solid backing to a string of crowd-pleasing tunes, including selections from their most recent album ‘Six Shooter’ and their new EP ‘Orion’.
Dustin and the Smokes later did double-duty when they backed lead act Lindi Ortega (Last Gang Records) who took the stage in her famous ‘little red boots’ and her signature ruby-red lips. Lindi launched the evening with Cigarettes and Truckstops (from her eponymous latest album), and played a series of hits including crowd favourites from her previous, Juno-award nominated album ‘Little Red Boots’.
Lindi’s performance was slightly reminiscent of Neko Case – both of whom have big voices and channel a modern-day Patsy Cline/Dolly Parton. Lindi paid reverence to the Man in Black both in garb and by playing a couple of tribute songs, garnering an enthusiastic crowd response to ‘Delia’s Gone’ and ‘Folsom Prison Blues’. She capped off a perfect evening with a sing-along rendition of ‘Mercedes Benz’ which would’ve left even Janis in awe of her talent.
Lindi has it all; a powerhouse of a voice, strong guitar skills, and great stage presence! For those of you who’ve not yet checked out Neat Cafe, we strongly recommend that you make the road trip! It’s a pleasurable unique culinary and musical experience in the most unlikely of places. We can’t wait to go back!
This past snowy Saturday (January 19, 2013), the Black Sheep Inn offered the perfect place of refuge for music-lovers. Ottawa trip-hop group Sound of Lions played to a packed-house and kept the energy levels high. Taking advantage of the keen crowd, ‘Sound of Lions’ took the opportunity to put new perspectives on tracks from their debut album ’11:44’ such as ‘Enders’ and ‘Eights’, as well as testing new material including ‘Telephone’ and ‘Grey’. The haunting vocals of lead singer Whitney Delion combined with the cool rhymes/beats and smooth harmonies of the rest of the band made us wonder if this is what the love child of Macy Grey and Jack Johnson would sound like… For a taste of their music, check out their great video for ‘Storm Chaser‘.
Their efforts this Saturday resulted in a very smooth combination of hip-hop, soul, and jazz that kept the crowd feeling warm regardless of the weather outside. Don’t miss their upcoming show at the NAC on March 14!
Thanks to Soren Sosman for this review; photo credit to Joel Bedford.
No one could have predicted how appropriate it was going to be to have ‘Claude Munson & The Storm Outside‘ open for ‘Sound of Lions’ last night. Tensions were running high after a white knuckle drive up Highway 105 to the Black Sheep Inn amid a mixture of heavy snow and freezing rain; but all that stress was released shortly after the band hit the stage. The room was full of fans, new and old, who were instantly swaying and toe tapping to the catchy folk-pop beats and no one could resist the endearing personality of Claude Munson. With a voice like Jay Malinowski of Bedouin Soundclash and music with loose similarities to local folk-rock hero Jim Bryson, the arrangements were right at home at the Black Sheep. One nearby fan was overheard calling Claude “a modern day Neil Sedaka.” Their self-titled debut album has an easy listening feel (and great cover art!), which will readily find a home on your favourite playlist. We are looking forward to hearing more from these guys in 2013!
Listening to Tara Holloway’s passionate, whiskey-bitten voice at Bassline Station was a great way to warm up from the cold last night. Tara is a veteran of the Ottawa indie music scene with vocals that make all those listening realize that they are hearing something special. She played a great mix of her recently re-released album, ‘Sins To Confess‘ (Light Organ Records) including the new addition to the disc, ‘My Heart Goes‘, which brings a more mainstream pop sound to her collection. Tara is currently working on her new album which will be out later this year and she is just weeks away from another tour, which includes an Ottawa date at Raw Sugar Café on February 27th. Don’t miss this upcoming show!
MyNewProject is a brand new indie rock duo that formed a few months ago when singer-songwriter Robb Kerr stumbled upon guitar virtuoso, Greg Szepietowski, in his own backyard. Their sound is one that will appeal to broad audience and has a retro 90’s alternative rock vibe; Robb’s voice can be likened to Eddy Vedder or Scot Weiland and Greg’s mastery of the guitar will blow you away. The set consisted of masterfully performed covers of Tool, John Lennon, Cream, and The Police to name a few, but the real highlight of their set included their original songs. Their heart wrenching ‘No Place Like Home‘ gave a comforting feeling of nostalgia and familiarity, which will surely make this song a hit. Take the opportunity to see this up-and-coming group when they bring their incredible talent to Annie & Clyde’s new music venue in the Glebe on February 15th. We are looking forward to enjoying more of their work and watching this ‘new project’ flourish. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for a release of their original stuff on their Facebook page!
From the opening song in their first set until their encores after the second set, lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Shawn Tavenier had the full attention of all the patrons and the staff of the establishment. His soulful voice – which has similar depth and range of the likes of Jon Bon Jovi and Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes – carried the room through a journey of emotion and energy as he expertly segued from various ballads to the band’s signature blues/rock style anthems.
The unusual combination of two lead guitarists delivering a plethora of tasty licks and a mandolin making an appearance during songs such as the impressive cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California” was a real treat. Drummer Shane McEwan never missed a beat – a feat made all the more impressive given that he was without his usual drum kit after they were stolen during a recent dog park heist.
The set was largely built around their most recent album, Princes and Kings, with hits from their previous recordings and the perfect mix of classic covers thrown in to keep the crowd engaged and singing along throughout the night.
Don’t miss any opportunity to see Silver Creek in a smaller setting, as it won’t be long before they are filling much larger, less intimate venues. Go to www.silvercreekmusic.ca for performance dates and to find out more about the band.