New Releases: St. Patrick’s Day 2017 – Part 2/2

David Letterman bandleader and sidekick Paul Shaffer claims to front … the world’s most dangerous band. Paul is from Thunder Bay and has helped break a number of Canadian acts south of the border thanks to his influential position on the late-night chat show. On his new album, Paul brings in vocalists as diverse as Shaggy, Darius Rucker, and Bill Murray to deliver a wholesome banquet of adult contemporary with flashy musicianship.

Quite possibly the most eclectic album of the year belongs to The Cousins (Toronto), a duo of Barenaked Ladies’ Kevin Hearn and actor/comedian Harland Williams. And, yes, they are real life cousins. There are all kinds of flavours on Rattlesnake Love, from Utah cliff-dangling westerns to booming electronica, the common thread here being the delicious tongue-in-cheek lyrics. The title-track should succeed in etching a wily grin on your face. Jacques Jacobus of Clare, Nova Scotia’s Radio Radio completes solo project Le retour de Jacobus which is, as one would expect, a super fun hip hop masala.

Michel Robidoux has been an important behind-the-scenes figure in the Canadian music scene over the years. There is no way to do it justice by summarizing things here, but we will take a stab at it. In 1967, Michel Robidoux met Robert Charlebois and joined the troupe of L’Osstidcho. He then composed some of the most famous songs of the 70s, putting into music the lyrics of Luc Plamondon, Claude Gauthier and others. He lent his talents to shape the music of Jean-Pierre Ferland. He co-produced Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man album. Modern recording artist Pierre Lapointe decided to spearhead a project to honour Michel. Album Robidoux premier boasts a roster of front-ranking artists covering his songs presented in a more-or-less adult contemporary style.

After that weighty subject, we need to take a breather, and why not do so by heading over to Room 29. That’s where Chilly Gonzales cooked up some jazzy new tunes with Jarvis Cocker, lead singer of former British band Pulp. Moving to Waterloo, we can take a look at country artist Scotty James and his new record Streets which is a very pleasant disc, the fruit after the labour of a number of single releases.

Heading on up to Sherbrooke, we take in the sights of the hometown of platinum recording artist Vincent Vallières. His latest folky singer-songwriter album is Le temps des vivants, and it is the best-selling Canadian artist album at iTunes as of this writing. Need we say more? Finally, there is an EP this week. Til the Goin’ Gets Gone is the latest from acclaimed roots country artist Lindi Ortega (Toronto). All her discs are winners, and this one keeps things at a perfect score.

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The Six Reigning Queens of Canadian Country

We have determined the current queens of Canadian country from CCMA (Canadian Country Music Association) Female Artist of the Year nominations for the past two years (2014 and 2015). Based on a good word from one of their hit songs or albums and their style, we have created a title for each queen. Let’s get to know the Six Reigning Queens of Canadian Country! The music videos we have embedded below will give you a taste of each artist, though each queen is versatile in the songs she makes.

Terri Clark: The Queen of Life

terri clark

Terri was born in Montreal but grew up in Medicine Hat, Alberta. She has released ten albums since 1995 and has scored hits in the United States, not just on their country charts but the top 40 of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100! Here at home, Terri’s debut, self-titled album has achieved triple platinum certification for sales exceeding 300,000 copies. Many of her other works have seen gold/platinum certification as well. Terri Clark has won three JUNO awards to date.

Kira Isabella: The Queen of Love

kira isabella

Newer at it, Kira Isabella is from Ottawa and has released two albums so far. She won the CCMA Female Artist of the Year in 2013. Kira has scored Top 10 hits at Billboard Country Airplay and four entries on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. She has been nominated at the JUNOs twice thus far and has toured with Carrie Underwood.

Beverley Mahood: The Queen of Hope

beverley_mahood

An import from Northern Ireland, Beverley Mahood was raised in London, Ontario. Besides a music career, she is also a well-known television personality. Bev has released half a dozen albums since 1998 which have spawned a host of hits on country radio. She is the recipient of two JUNO nominations.

Jess Moskaluke: The Queen of Light

Jess Moskaluke

Langenburg, Saskatchewan’s Jess Moskaluke has won the CCMA Female Artist of the year the past two years (2014 and 2015). She is the first Canadian female to score a gold single since Shania Twain. Two EPs and one LP have appeared, and her feature in Paul Brandt’s “I’m an Open Road” helped the song make the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. She has a pair of JUNO nominations to her name.

Lindi Ortega: The Queen of Grace

lindi ortega

Specializing more on the roots and traditional side of country is acclaimed Torontonian Lindi Ortega. Six albums have hit the market since 2001 plus a few EPs. Lindi was featured in Billboard Country Airplay #1 hit “Bounty” by Dean Brody. She has won two years in a row for CCMA Roots Artist of the Year and has received two JUNO nominations.

MacKenzie Porter: The Queen of Fun

Porter for Faze 3

A successful actress and talented musician, Medicine Hat, Alberta’s JUNO nominated MacKenzie Porter is also the sister of Canadian Idol winner Kalan Porter. She is a Billboard Canadian Hot 100 charting artist. MacKenzie plays violin … oops … fiddle and has studied piano. Her debut, eponymous album came out in 2014.

The Four Kings of Country Airplay

There are the sizzling female soloists and the delicious groups and duos, but from 2013 through to 2015, it is four Canadian male soloists who have scored #1 hits on Billboard country airplay. Other artists have succeeded in different ways (awards, gold platinum certifications, etc.), but in this post, we take a look at the four Canadian kings of country airplay and review the songs that climbed to the very top. They are Gord Bamford, Dean Brody, Dallas Smith, and Brett Kissel via “When Your Lips Are So Close”, “Bounty” (with Lindi Ortega), “Wastin’ Gas”, and “Airwaves” respectively.

GORD BAMFORD

Gord Bamford m

Origin:  Lacombe, Alberta
Formal Debut:  2001
Certification Level:  Platinum
Studio Albums to Date:  7
Hot 100 Songs:  14
JUNO Awards:  3 nominations
CCMA Awards:  15
Interesting Fact:  Gord was born in Australia but emigrated to Canada when he was 5.
#1 Single:  “When Your Lips Are So Close”

DEAN BRODY

dean brody m

Origin:  Jaffray, British Columbia
Formal Debut:  2008
Certification Level:  Platinum
Studio Albums to Date:  5
Hot 100 Songs:  19
JUNO Awards:  1
CCMA Awards:  9
Interesting Fact:  Originally from BC, Dean now lives in Chester, Nova Scotia.
#1 Single:  “Bounty” (featuring Lindi Ortega)

DALLAS SMITH

dallas smith m

Origin:  Langley, British Columbia
Formal Debut:  2011
Certification Level:  Platinum
Studio Albums to Date:  2
Hot 100 Songs:  11
JUNO Awards:  1
CCMA Awards:  1
Interesting Fact:  Dallas used to be lead singer of rock band Default.
#1 Single:  “Wastin’ Gas”

BRETT KISSEL

brett kissel m

Origin:  Flat Lake, Alberta
Formal Debut:  2013
Certification Level:  Gold
Studio Albums to Date (major label):  2
Hot 100 Songs:  6
JUNO Awards:  1
CCMA Awards:  3
Interesting Fact:  Brett keeps a king of diamonds beneath his cowboy hat.
#1 Single:  “Airwaves”

New Albums for August 7, 2015

releases 7 august 2015 copy

Edmonton’s blue wave jangle popper Mac Demarco launches his latest album, Another One. Around since the early 90s and still going strong is Quebec thrash metal band Anonymus. The new album is called Envers et contre tous. Toronto’s Lindi Ortega, 3-time JUNO nominee and CCMA winner, returns in top form with her fourth formal studio LP, Faded Gloryville. Heartbeat City is an indie rock band from Winnipeg. Debut album Thunder Amongst Us contains very well-written tunes.

10+1 Anticipated Albums Out Before September 2015

upcoming summer collage 2015 artistic1

As future Canadian works come into focus, we are super stoked for what’s about to drop prior to the shallow-angle sun rays of September!

Burlington, Ontario rock band, known for radio staples like “Paralyzer”, draws five crooked lines with finger eleven to spell out a new album release set for July 31! August 7 will see another one surfed up by Edmonton blue wave jangle popper Mac Demarco as well as a dose of faded gloryville by exquisite Toronto country superstar Lindi Ortega! Holy smokes! But that’s not all…

Led by sumptuous female vocals, hard rock enthusiasts are pining heavily for the new release by Toronto’s Diemonds, Never Wanna Die, out August 14! Wow! But brace yourselves! One of the most anticipated albums of the year, Emotion, by Mission, BC superstar Carly Rae Jepsen graces August 21 in addition to Hideaway from Winnipeg’s marvellous JP Hoe! And if that’s not exciting enough…

Slated for launch on August 28 are a batch of mouth-watering delicacies! Toronto urban wizards k-os and The Weeknd BOTH churn out respectively Can’t Fly Without Gravity and Beauty Behind the Madness! Oh my freaky-deaky gosh! Even more, Vancouver alt-rock master Destroyer takes us into Poison Season, while Outremont, QC’s Coeur de Pirate will have everything comin’ up roses! How about one more?

Plus, rumoured for an August 21 release is the debut album by superb young hot shot Francesco Yates!

Consider us completely floored!

Canadian Music Blog’s Top 10 Music Video Faves of 2013

We are counting down our favourite music videos of 2013. Regardless of when the song came out, to be eligible, the MV had to have been released in 2013. In assembling our list, we were not concerned with how much we liked the song, simply with the video itself. If low on violence, raunchiness, expletives, and indulgence in consumption vices, while beautiful to look at, clever, creative and original, having great wardrobe choices, some breathtaking cinematography, or a stellar message, the music video had a good chance of making our list.

#10. “One in a Million” by Down With Webster

Down with Webster - One in a Million

The MV for this tune by multiplatinum dance-rap ensemble Down With Webster features the band playing instruments—including a choice drum set with gold DWW logo—on a black floor before a three-panel video screen. The plethora of images and video footage shown on the screen are timed to correspond with words and phrases of the lyrics as they are voiced, and they serve to maintain interest. We also like the segments showing the band dancing with white glow sticks wrapped around their bodies.

#9. “All It Takes Is a Moment” by Elise Estrada

Elise Estrada - All It Takes Is a Moment

Vancouver’s CRMA winning R&B specialist Elise Estrada put her new music on hold to write a charity single and shoot an MV on the devastation super typhoon Haiyan wreaked upon her birth country, The Philippines. It opens with a satellite photo of dense cloud formation and a written summary of the storm’s impact. Elise is dressed in classy attire and presents sincere gestures standing before a giant hollow tree linking 2006’s Lower Mainland storm which uprooted thousands of trees in Stanley Park to the thousands of Filipinos rendered homeless by Haiyan. Interspersed throughout the music video is footage of the destruction in Philippine lands and the heartbreak experienced by families who lost their children in the storm.

#8. “Running Guns” by Alyssa Reid

Alyssa Reid - Running Guns

The music video for this international star’s “Running Guns” was shot in a city, the metro population of which rivals Canada’s. Few would disagree that Tokyo is one of the world’s coolest hang out places and we get to see Alyssa on the run from gangsters. She emerges from a sleep room cubicle under surveillance. When grabbing a quick meal at a noodle shop, she leaves when noticing the waiter has an identifying tattoo on his arm. She checks the alleyway, lit by red lanterns, to see if she’s being followed and emerges to a city filled with neon lights. Little does she realize, the gangsters are hot in pursuit as she picks up a plush toy. She even sees the same tattoo mark on a balloon being sold by a child who points the gangsters in Alyssa’s direction as does a girl outside a karaoke venue. She gets into a taxi before realizing that the same insignia is hanging from the cab’s sun visor. When the gangsters finally catch up with her and pull back her hair, we see a surprise.

#7. “What I Wouldn’t Do” by Serena Ryder

Serena Ryder - What I Wouldn't Do

A Top 10 hit and platinum single by the end of the year, the success of Serena Ryder’s “What I Wouldn’t Do” was helped no doubt by its choice music video. The MV has Serena holding up a picture which constantly changes and shows video footage of the story. Above a young man in bed is a Post-It note reading “MEET THE PARENTS DAY 12 NOON SHARP”. His clock has the time at a quarter to 12, and his lover texts him asking if he’s still coming. He has 15 minutes to get dressed, groom himself and arrive on time to set a good impression with his girlfriend’s folks. Off he goes on a mad dash across town on foot. Of course, he must pick up some flowers along the way. Over bridges, past brick buildings, along the beach, time is running out, as he mounts a skateboard and crashes into someone coming around the corner. Next, he hops on a bicycle (that isn’t his) but runs into its owner who is putting up a “missing” poster and must return it to him. A child holding a nozzle decides to have some fun and spray him as he passes by, and he steps into a shop to grab some dry clothes. Yes, he does arrive on time. And with that, Serena crumples up the picture, puts it into her mouth, and blows a chewing gum bubble.

#6. “Echoes” by The Wilderness of Manitoba

The Wilderness of Manitoba - Echoes

This very clever video was directed by Canada’s John Albanis and shot in Death Valley, California, USA. It presents a gold ball rolling along on a surrealistic road trip through the Mojave Desert looking for its missing friend. It rolls down mounds of dirt and gravel, past tumbleweeds, bouncing along the sand. Beneath cliffs of red rock, the golden globe pauses reminiscing about its companion. It makes it to the highway and pauses to watch a video displayed on a billboard. Past rusted water towers and silos, our golden friend stops to consult a map. It picks up the pace scooting by dilapidated structures, one of which contains a television set showing footage of the two globes hanging out together. We then see the companion deflated beneath nail-containing wooden beams and corrugated metal sheets. Our protagonist kisses his love who is able to then self-inflate. The two are reunited and roll away together.

#5. “Goodbye” by Glenn Morrison

Glenn Morrison - Goodbye

The music video for the first charting single (featuring Islove) of this specialist of EDM features a handsome couple pulling up the barred gates to a cozy and beautiful room of colour and sunshine with Mexican décor. We can check off colour coordination as the man’s indigo suit matches the colour of the walls. He opens the sliding wooden doors of glass panes to another chamber circumambulating a snow globe. “And it starts to snow in the streets of Mexico.” When he touches it, we are magically transported into a glow-in-the dark, eye-popping feast.

#4. “Bounty” by Dean Brody featuring Lindi Ortega

Dean Brody - Bounty

After knifing a lecher attacking his girl and burying his corpse (but “not deep enough to fool the hounds”), Dean Brody finds himself on the run from law enforcement. The two wed quickly at a country chapel and then jump in a boxcar headed to Mexico. They build their own shack and raise their children in a foreign land. It’s a good old fashioned western wherein, with society’s institutions in an embryonic state, one must take justice into his own hands to protect the one he loves and face the consequences of living a more independent and isolated lifestyle. The music video contains some beautiful cinematography and makes us feel we are watching a short film. We love hearing Lindi Ortega too in this country radio chart topper.

#3. “I Was a Fool” by Tegan and Sara

Tegan and Sara - I Was a Fool

Single number two from album Heartthrob by the Calgarian twin sisters was a gold single, Top 20 hit, and made the Billboard Canadian year-end chart of 2013. The music video for “I Was a Fool” is simply gorgeous to look at. Tegan is featured on piano with Sara standing at a railing in a background of teal. The song is about a young woman’s heartbreak. She sits at a sunken fireplace with the pieces of a broken vinyl record on the rug which she later tosses out towards the sea. While society tends to belittle the psychological damage caused by heartbreak, it is as if Tegan and Sara surround the protagonist with support and friendship to help her through her grief.

#2. “Love Ocean” by Wanting

Wanting - Love Ocean

Vancouver’s bilingual import from Harbin, China was signed by Nettwerk Records (Sarah McLachlan, Coldplay). This year, she released her second album, Say the Words, with 10 English songs and three Chinese. The second track, “Ai de haiyang”, or “Love Ocean”, is an exquisitely composed masterpiece of song performed in Mandarin Chinese. The gorgeous music video was shot in and around Vancouver. It opens with blue ocean and sky, and a rosy grand piano appears which Wanting, dressed in white, plays on the beach. From there we move to the coastal city of skyscrapers and heavy traffic, and now Wanting is playing keys on a building rooftop with a powder blue backdrop. The whole video is just beautiful.

Canadian Music Blog’s 2013 Music Video of the Year

To see the year’s most anticipated collaboration from two of our foremost international superstars was grand enough but an added bonus is a music video which oozes with class and beauty. A diamond recording artist from small town Ontario weds frontman of a multiplatinum grunge band from small town Alberta who wrote a break up song together on the eve of their falling in love. They let loose a killer power ballad with a music video that booted the staleness out of a year of mostly bland shoots.

At an exquisite chateau in France, an elderly groundskeeper is raking leaves and seems to recall a romantic past. Within the mansion of paintings and hardwood floors, the songstress appears in ghostly form playing the piano in a high ceiling chamber beneath rays of sunlight. She is nearly unrecognizable in classy attire and enhanced natural beauty that would make princesses writhe with envy and men’s hearts skip a beat. Her husband looks like the perfect dapper gentleman. Together they tug at our heartstrings in an MV that has, to date, racked up over 28 million views. The Canadian Music Blog declares “Let Me Go” by Avril Lavigne (featuring Chad Kroeger) as 2013’s music video of the year.

Avril Lavigne - Let Me Go - Canadian Music Video of the Year 2013

Lindi Ortega: Wear Your Tin Star Proudly

Lindi Ortega - Tin StarDespite the success in the recent past of Shania Twain and in the distant past of Anne Murray, getting the songs of a Canadian female artist played on domestic country radio these days is a longshot at best. Consider that among the Top 50 country songs of 2012, there was not a single one performed by a Canadian female artist. As of late, female artists represent only 11% of total spins on country radio, and most of these are Americans. This grieves us, especially when we hear such marvels like Lindi Ortega. This Toronto-born JUNO-nominee recently released her fifth album, Tin Star, to rave reviews. In fact, rather than write a review ourselves, we would rather quote US magazine Entertainment Weekly which said, “…it’s one of the very finest albums of the year in any genre. And in this writer’s opinion, it’s the best country album of 2013.” As we said before, Lindi is a marvel. We have embedded the live video of the title-track below. The official music video can be viewed HERE.

Tin Star on iTunes      Lindi Ortega’s Website