Saturday, September 18, 2010

'Ninety miles an hour girl, is the speed I drive..'

Today is the 40th anniversary of the death of James Marshall Hendrix, who lived, died & found fame an ocean away from home. Almost as a reminder that he had to come to England to kickstart his career, there's a pretty cool painting of the man as icon in the Virgin Atlantic departure lounge at Heathrow.

I recently saw a great documentary called Rock Prophecies on PBS about rock photographer Robert M. Knight, whose ongoing legacy contains a portfolio of some great Hendrix photographs.

Monday, September 6, 2010

'With your invisible radio cracklin'..

I first saw Canadian guitarist Chris Velan play a couple of times earlier in the summer at the River to River festival downtown and I enjoyed his sets a lot. He's a clever songwriter and good musician.

He's been working on a new album the last few weeks - he's had another favorite of mine James Maddock come in to play with him. The recording sessions have been in Brooklyn (the wife and I even bumped into him at our local thai place one night) and he's using a few Monday gigs at the Rockwood Music Hall in the city to try out some of the new material, which sounds great.

Here's one of his new songs: very much in his style, infectious and melodic. Looking forward to hearing the album in its entirety.

There's also nice page for his music here at CBC Radio3, where you can read about his travels to Guinea and work with Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars.

I got to the Rockwood about 45 minutes before Chris was due on, and I'm glad I did. The act on stage when I arrived was really a wonderful surprise. Singer-songwriter Christie Lenée from Philly was captivating.

She's been described as sounding a bit like Ani DiFranco and that's a good comparison; there's also echoes of Tracy Chapman or Joni Mitchell and - if it doesn't sound too incongruous - instrumentally she reminds me of Pat Metheny, Gordon Giltrap or Jon Gomm (check out the video below). I picked up her album "Set It Free" as well as an EP and really enjoyed what I heard. I'm looking forward to seeing her play again, either solo or with one of her bands. You can sample her tracks here at ReverbNation - try "Daylight Comes".

'It don't amount to nothing if together we don't stand..'

Happy Labor Day.

Friday, September 3, 2010

'My eyes are half-asleep and so's my head...'

I haven't been able to get this out of my head since I heard it. Paul Shevlin is another greatly promising talent from home. Please check him out, and buy his new single "Lift Up Your Head" on iTunes. (You can hear it, and other tracks - particularly listen to "You Won't Last The Night" - on his MySpace page)

Thursday, September 2, 2010


We're all very happy to have the opera-rocking, roundabout-shocking, party-frocking, eye-popping stepdaughter back home from Europe, where she was taking part in the Vianden International Music Festival and summer school. This is a clip of her performing "Ave Verum" by Gounoud at the Trinitarier Church in Vianden last week. (She's up there, in the balcony... honestly).

Glad she's back for a while. We're driving her southwards for another year of school next weekend. At her age, parents aren't supposed to know much. But there's three things we know for sure:

We're proud of everything she does,
time flies,
nothing ever changes.