New Releases for Halloween 2016

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Count Floyd 3D glasses going for 3 bucks and 25 for shipping and handling are not required for music. Yes, that’s an SCTV reference. Not all of the music below has spook factor but is available in time to keep the ghosts occupied so they don’t haunt your dreams on Monday night. (Nine of the 13 albums reviewed below are pictured above.)

Reminding us a little of Yoan, Sylvain Garneau adds his baritone pipes to new country album La clé du Bonheur. There are several bands around called Lowlands. The one we are concerned with hails from Guelph, ON. The new album Erie explores legend and dream based on stark Canadian landscapes. It’s a reflective folk-rock effort. Victoriaville’s Alain-François is adept at getting a folk party going with a perfect soundtrack for it and does so on album La fête.

Back Home on Native Land, Toronto’s folky The Hidden Cameras follow up 2014’s Age. Always good, Toronto roots collective Blue Rodeo reminds us why 12 JUNO awards deck its shelf with 15th studio album 1000 Arms. It’s been a while since dancey sythpop outfit Le Couleur released a full length album but now we have P.O.P. It’s one of the best albums out this week.

Franco rap continues to sell well in the Great White North. Souldia makes the Sacrifice of an album cover fit for Halloween. Gord Downie‘s highly anticipated album Secret Path is out, dedicated to the story of Chanie Wenjack’s escape from a residential school only to perish in the cold. It is the fifth solo album from Kingston, Ontario’s Tragically Hip frontman. The acclaimed Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà are back with Silence On Joue – Take 2 beautifully presenting instrumental classical style arrangements of music from the movies.

Quebec’s Sam Roberts Band launches a nicely done sci-fi themed album entitled TerraForm dabbling in some progressive rock. Tracks 1, 2, and 5 should get you hooked right away. We were also taken by Track 8 which has a catchy 60s vibe to it. Always good, quality music, as evidenced by half a dozen JUNO awards, proceeds therefrom. Now, onto this weeks EPs…

Shae Dupuy is from Cambridge, ON and impresses us with country disc Brave. In fact, we would say it is one of the best works of the year in the genre. Canadian R&B is in vogue these months, and Toronto’s Jahkoy is being called the male version of Rihanna. Foreign Water is quite catchy and should please fans of the genre. Finally, Calgary’s very promising pop group The New Electric releases solid disc Living Loud worth checking out for pop music enthusiasts.

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Gord Downie to Address Canadian Human Rights Abuses in New Album

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Gord Downie, lead singer of diamond group The Tragically Hip, will be releasing a new solo album accompanied by a graphic novel in a project called Secret Path scheduled for release October 18, 2016. That date marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old Aboriginal boy fleeing from abuses at one of Canada’s notorious residential schools. These were institutions set up by the Canadian government and administered by the Christian churches that forcefully removed Aboriginal children from their families in attempts to indoctrinate them in European culture. In addition to murder, rape, and malnourishment, many children suffered abuses such as having needles stuck in their tongues as punishment for speaking their native language. Downie says, “I never knew Chanie, the child his teachers misnamed Charlie, but I will always love him.”

The walk back to Wenjack’s home on the Marten Falls First Nation (NE of Thunder Bay) was a trek of 600 km, but Wenjack was desperate to flee from the nightmare. His corpse was found near railway tracks near Kenora, ON, 60 km from the school. He had died of exposure to cold October temperatures and hunger. “Chanie haunts me,” Downie says, “His story is Canada’s story. We are not the country we thought we were. History will be re-written. We are all accountable.”

The Secret Path project began as 10 poems which Gord later turned into songs. The album will be accompanied by an 88-page graphic novel telling Chanie’s story. It was illustrated by Jeff Lemire. Proceeds from sales will go to the Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation via The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at The University of Manitoba. Downie himself paid a recent visit to Chanie’s grave and met with his surviving family members. The First Nations community was heartened by the fact that despite having terminal brain cancer, Gord would make the journey, and it hopes the project will help move Canadians along the path towards reconciliation.

Gord Downie Joins The Sadies Beneath The Conquering Sun

Gord Downie The Sadies and the Conquering SunToronto quartet, The Sadies, has been releasing music for 16 years. JUNO nominations have happened twice. As well, Mike Roberts’ fiery animation for The Sadies’ “Rumbleseat” MV won an award. Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie has teamed with the band on new album The Conquering Sun. The two bands have toured together many times, so the teaming was almost inevitable. Downie has always been a great lyricist, and his twangy singing style is a good match for The Sadies’ roots music. The result is a cerebral and energetic metropolitan country sound that rocks as much as it wagon wheels. MV for “Crater” below.  iTunes