Thursday, May 31, 2012

Artist: The Smugglers, Album: Mutiny In Stereo, Song: Shock The Shanker!

"What's the state, what's the state I'm in, I need a rock n' roll fix.  I'm headed east to the capital city to hear familiar licks.  Oh there's dancin' and kissin' and fuckin' around."  The Smugglers were a punk band from Vancouver, British Columbia.  They were Grant Lawrence, David Carswell, Beez, Nicholas Thomas and Graham Watson.  They met in high school and released their first independent album in 1991.  They released 8 albums over their 15 year career as a band and played shows all over the world.  They were signed to a number of independent labels to help their distribution which included Vancouver based, Mint Records as well as U.S. label, Lookout Records.  The band was known for their wildly energetic stage presence and often had audience participation activities like dance contests.  Mutiny In Stereo, was their final album in 2004 and a very good one.  Shock The Shanker! is perhaps one of the coolest three minute rock tunes ever made.  I absolutely love this song and could listen to it over and over again.  I would also recommend this tune to any fan of AC/DC.  Front man, Grant Lawrence, is likely more well known today for his work as a radio personality for the CBC as well as a published author.  He is also married to Canadian songstress, Jill Barber.  You can follow him at  Guitarist, David Carswell, produced the album and runs his own studio called, JC/DC (, in Vancouver.  He has worked on some very successful releases by The New Pornographers as well as Tegan and Sara (see blog 9/15/10).  He also played guitar with another popular Vancouver punk band called, The Evaporators, which included Nardwuar The Human Serviette.  You can purchase the album, Mutiny In Stereo, from Itunes and you can hear a song sample of Shock The Shanker! there as well.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Artist: The Poppy Family, Album: A Good Thing Lost 1968-1973, Song: Where Evil Grows

The Poppy Family were a band from Vancouver, British Columbia, that formed in 1968.  They were the husband and wife team of Terry and Susan Jacks along with Craig McCaw and Satwant Singh.  Many of the band's television performances and promotional spots focused only on the couple and by their second album, only the two of them remained.  Susan actually played in a band with future Chilliwack member, Claire Lawrence, before joining Terry.  The Poppy Family was actually called The Powerline and later, Winkin', Blinkin' And Nob, before they settled on their famous name.  The band had a flowery folk pop appeal and seemed to do quite well in North America despite the popularity of British Invasion rock and roll.  The band's first major label single entitled, Which Way You Goin', Billy?, charted as high as #2 on the US Billboard charts.  Only The Beatles kept them out of the number one spot.  The song also won a Juno award in 1970.  In 1971, the band released their sophomore album, Poppy Seeds, which featured this classic, Where Evil Grows.  Terry did all of the writing and producing and this particular track was written about the abuse of the environment in B.C. by the pulp and paper mills along with the governments that endorsed their actions.  The song was another international hit for the band but apparently, the b-side of the single was played more in some markets rather than the single itself which prevented it from achieving gold status sales.  You can check out the band performing the song live in 1971 on Kenny Rogers' hit TV show (  Touring would eventually take it's toll on the couple.  They turned down an opportunity to play on the Ed Sullivan Show and in 1973, divorced and dissolved the band.  They did continue to record as solo artists on their jointly owned label, Goldfish Records.  Terry would have a monster hit in 1973 with the song, Seasons In The Sun, and in 1974, recorded under the name, The Hood (see blog 6/25/11).  In 1996, their discography was given the re-mastered treatment and a nice compilation of their work entitled, A Good Thing Lost, was released.  You can find the song, Where Evil Grows, on this compilation and it is available for download from Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Artist: Amelia Curran, Album: Lullabies For Barflies, Song: Fool's Gold

"Only fools surround me but I do what I am told.  I follow the right side rules, follow the left wing principles."  Amelia Curran is a singer songwriter who is originally from Newfoundland but is now based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  She released her debut album in 2000 and then formed the band, The SenseAmelia Project (see blog 5/13/11) for one release a year later.  She followed that album up with her solo sophomore release (and third album in three years) entitled, Lullabies For Barflies, in 2002.  She plays folk based music with a nod to the past.  I find her vocally, to be as captivating as Ferron (see blog 2/2/12) or Ellen McIlwaine (see blog 5/9/12) without the slide guitar.  Fool's Gold is an absolutely stunning song from her 2002 release.  You can check it out at  Amelia would follow up this album with two more releases in 2006 and 2009.  Her 2009 release, Hunter Hunter, won the Juno award for Roots And Traditional Album Of The Year: Solo Artist, in 2010.  She beat out the likes of Corb Lund (see blog 7/31/11) and Bahamas (see blog 1/22/11) to win the award that year.  You can check out a promotional video of her talking about the making of her Juno award winning album as well as her home province of Newfoundland (  Amelia is going to be embarking on a European tour within the coming month and has just posted some new material on You Tube (  Perhaps a new release isn't far off.  You can follow her at  You can purchase the album, Lullabies For Barflies, on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Artist: Zen Bungalow, Album: Milky, Song: This Could Very Well Be True

"Fatalist, Chauvinist, Egotistical Bastard, it doesn't matter what you think anymore."  Zen Bungalow were a 4pc rock band from Winnipeg, Manitoba.  They were Greg Lev, Rod Slaughter, Grant Page and Al Wolanin.  They were part of the independent alternative rock wave that took place during the early 90's in Canada.  The one album that I am familiar with was their 1993 release, Milky.  I'm not sure if there were any others.  I remember hearing a tune called, This Could Very Well Be True, quite often on Toronto's local alternative station, CFNY 102.1, back in the day.  They also received some strong support from college radio.  The band was featured on a number of Indie Can Rock compilations as well.  This particular track is reminiscent of The Smiths ("This Charming Man", "Panic", "How Soon Is Now?").  Their music certainly had a pop sensibility about it but managed to remain relevant within the larger grunge or hard rock alternative genre that was slowly taking over the music industry at the time.  The band used three different producers for this particular release.  Chris Wardman of Blue Peter fame (see blog 10/4/11) was one of them although he didn't produce this track.  Both Lev and Slaughter were the lyricists for the band.  Slaughter would form the bands, Duotang (see blog 11/30/10) and Novillero in later years.  He is currently playing in a band called, The Shallow End, with some of his former band mates from Novillero (  Milky is a very difficult release to find these days. At the time of this blog, there was one copy trading on Ebay for $30.  You can listen to this track along with some of the other songs from the album, Milky, on their MySpace page (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Artist: The Clumsy Lovers, Album: Under The Covers With The Clumsy Lovers, Song: Single Girl

"My husband chews tobacco and he snores in his sleep.  Lord I wish I was a single girl again."  The Clumsy Lovers are a band (of many styles) from Vancouver, British Columbia.  You could call their music folk, bluegrass, Celtic or even rock.  They formed during the mid to late nineties playing local bars before deciding to record.  They released their first album in 1998 and to date, have 8 releases.  Their most recent release was in 2010.  They have won a number of regional awards for their music and have toured across North America.  In 2004, they signed with Nettwerk Records and released a couple of albums with the label.  Under The Covers, was recorded in 2001 and features band members, Jason Homey, Chris Jonat, Andrea Lewis, Devin Rice and Trevor Rogers.  The album is a collection of cover songs.  Some are famous rock tunes that we all know and love while others are more traditional tunes.  They do renditions of songs like I'm On Fire (Bruce Springsteen), Where The Streets Have No Name (U2), Norwegian Wood (Beatles) and my personal favourite, Centerfold (J. Geils Band).  During their rendition of Centerfold, the band breaks into the music from Salt 'n' Pepa's hit, Push It.  One song that deserves an extra spin is their cover of the traditional song, Single Girl.  Fiddler, Andrea Lewis, takes over the mike for this tune.  You can watch the band perform an extended version of the song from a show in 2011 (  The band is still playing today and is currently playing shows in the U.S..  You can follow them at  You can purchase, Under The Covers, from their website.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Artist: Ginger, Album: Suddenly I Came To My Senses, Song: Evaporate

Ginger were a rock band from Vancouver, British Columbia.  They rose from the ashes of another very popular 80's band called, The Grapes Of Wrath (see blog 12/30/11).  Following the 1991 release of The Grapes Of Wrath album, These Days, founding member, Kevin Kane decided to quit the band citing creative and personal differences.  The three remaining members; brothers Chris and Tom Hooper along with keyboardist, Vincent Jones, forged ahead under the name, Ginger.  Their former band name wasn't available as a result of legal differences with their former band mate, Kane.  Ginger remained with Nettwerk Records though and released their self titled debut EP in 1993 before their full length debut entitled, Far Out, was released a year later.  The band went on tour to support Sarah McLachlan as well.  Their sound was similar to the sound of their former band and one of their earliest singles, Solid Ground, did well with alternative rock and college radio.  They followed up, Far Out, with one more album in 1996 entitled, Suddenly I Came To My Senses, which saw the band exploring new territory with their sound.  I'm not sure that the album was as commercially successful as their first but we all know that doesn't necessarily speak to how strong an album is.  One track that really caught my ear from this release was the song, Evaporate.  You can listen to a song sample and purchase the album on Itunes.  The band would break up following this release.  Tom Hooper has since reformed The Grapes Of Wrath as well as established himself as a solo artist.  You can follow Tom at and The Grapes Of Wrath at  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Artist: Black Dub, Album: Black Dub, Song: Ring The Alarm

Black Dub are a New York band that is led by the famous Canadian producer, Daniel Lanois (see blog 9/16/10).  Lanois needs no introduction to most.  He produced one of the biggest rock albums in musical history by a band named, U2.  Long before that though, he and his brother operated a studio in Hamilton which laid their imprint on tons of local recordings by up and coming Canadian bands.  In 2009, Lanois, along with jazz drummer, Brian Blade, Daryl Johnson and Trixie Whitley, formed the band, Black Dub, and released their self titled debut on Jive Records in 2010.  The album is a melting pot of styles ranging from roots to r&b and even reggae.  With regards to the latter, they perform a very inventive cover of the Winston Riley song, Ring The Alarm, that was popularized by Tenor Saw during the 80's and then given the hip hop treatment by The Fu-Shnickens during the early 90's.  You can check them out playing the tune live in studio at  This is a really cool disc and it has everything you should expect from a Daniel Lanois recording.  The production is wonderful and keyboardist/singer, Trixie Whitley, has a gritty soulful voice.  She is actually the daughter of the late, American blues guitarist, Chris Whitley.  Black Dub embarked on an international tour in support of this album and the album was nominated in 2011 for Adult Alternative Album Of The Year at the Junos.  Interestingly enough, they lost out to the Daniel Lanois produced album, Le Noise, by Neil Young.  Lanois has currently set up shop in Toronto with his new recording studio and you can follow his band at  You can purchase Black Dub's album on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Artist: The Satanatras, Album: Eight Ate Hate, Song: Out Of The Blue

The Satanatras were a punk band from Toronto, Ontario.  Front man, Jeff Beardall, was originally from New Brunswick.  He started a band called, Guilt Parade, in 1985 and released a few albums.  The band relocated to Toronto and signed with Fringe Records.  They toured Canada as well as the U.S. before breaking up during the early 90's.  Beardall would then hook up with Dallas Good of The Sadies and form, The Satanatras.  The band didn't have a long run and Dallas Good left the band before their full length album, Eight Ate Hate, was released in 1994 with Raw Energy Records.  I believe there was another indie EP entitled, 777, which preceded this release in 1992.  They were a popular act within the city at that time and were part of a vibrant scene that included bands like hHead ("Collide"), Groovy Religion ("Suki") as well as Change Of Heart (see blog 6/30/11).  This is a really rare disc and it has some great tunes on it especially the album opener, Out Of The Blue.  The other two members of the band for this release in 1994, were Ruston Baldwin and Christian Wagner.  Ruston would go on to play drums for a number of punk bands like Dogs With Jobs.  At the time of this blog, there were copies of Eight Ate Hate trading on Amazon between $10 and $20.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Artist: Lois Fletcher, Album: K-tel Canadian Mint 22 Original Artists, Song: I Am What I Am

"I am what I am, I'm just one of the people.  I'm happy to live till I die."  Lois Fletcher was a Canadian singer who got her big break following an appearance on Canadian television.  She began touring with a folk troupe during the early sixties and after a New York gig, landed a job with the band, The Back Porch Majority.  Folk groups were huge during the mid sixties and it wasn't uncommon for the bands to have 10 members.  The scene also spawned some performers who would go on to have greater success like Barry McGuire ("Eve Of Destruction') and Gene Clark of The Byrds ("So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star", "Mr. Spaceman", "My Back Pages").  Lois would also release a number of singles as a solo artist during the sixties and seventies but none bigger than this tune, I Am What I Am, in 1974 with Playboy Records.  You can check out the tune at  The song was written and composed by Richard Kerr and Scott English who would go on to greater fame penning some major hits for Barry Manilow.  The song was also recorded by a reggae band from the U.K. called, Greyhound, in 1972.  You can hear their version at  Unfortunately, there isn't much written about Lois Fletcher so a proper chronology of her career before and after this hit is hard to piece together.  The song is also very difficult to come by these days.  I found a copy on a worn out version of the K-tel compilation entitled, Canadian Mint.  At the time of this blog, there were vinyl copies of the 45 single trading on Ebay for $20.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Artist: Black Pool, Album: We The Living, Song: Days and Days

"Look out, here she comes with loopy curls and skirts that swirl.  She don't shave her legs but she gives me looks that last me for days and days."  Black Pool were a rock band from Halifax, Nova Scotia.  They formed in 1989 and released their first album a year later.  In 1991, Chris Murphy of Sloan fame, joined the band on bass for their 1991 release, We The Living.  It was recorded with the Justin Entertainment label and distributed by MCA Records.  Along with Chris, there was band leader, John Wesley Chisholm, Chip Sutherland and Phil Sedore.  This is a very good album and it's an absolute shame it is now out of print.  They had a single off it called, A Man On Pier 21, which is a great tune but I just love this album opener entitled, Days And Days.  It is straight up Americana similar to The BoDeans ("Fadeaway", "She's A Runaway").  You can check it out at  Chris Murphy would depart following the recording of this album and start Sloan later that same year.  The rest of Black Pool would soldier on for a third release in 1992 with Super Friendz (see blog 2/25/11) lead man, Matt Murphy, on guitar before breaking up.  John Wesley Chisholm would go on to perform with the band, The Johnny Favourite Swing Orchestra, before entering the world of film production.  He is currently the president of Arcadia Entertainment ( which has produced a number of documentary pieces.  He is also still performing as a musician.  He has a band called, The Jubilee Swing Orchestra ( but has also recorded some roots flavoured material which you can listen to on his Myspace page (  The Black Pool discography isn't widely available today.  At the time of this blog, there were no copies of the album, We The Living, available for sale on-line.  There is a release entitled, Black Pool - Scraps From The Table, that is for sale on Arcadia Entertainment's website under the "Shop" link.  It includes the song, Days And Days.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Artist: Gentleman Reg, Album: Jet Black, Song: You Can't Get It Back

Gentleman Reg is a singer songwriter from Toronto, Ontario.  He recorded his indie debut in 2000 entitled, Theoretical Girl, and proceeded to churn out two more releases over the next four years.  He has played with The Hidden Cameras as well as with members of The Broken Social Scene, Islands (see blog 11/28/10),  The Great Lake Swimmers, Sloan, The Constantines (see blog 8/15/11) and Ohbijou to name a few.  In 2008, he signed with Arts & Crafts; home to Feist and The Broken Social Scene.  He re-released some songs from his previous albums on a compilation entitled, Little Buildings, and then primed the world for his fifth album, Jet Black, by releasing the single, You Can't Get It Back.  This is an absolute glam rock classic.  I hear a lot of Marc Bolan (aka T.Rex, "I Love To Boogie") and David Bowie in this tune.  It is also similar to David Garza's This Euphoria album.  It is a wonderful song that deserved more recognition than it received and you can check it out at  I came upon his music quite late.  I happened to turn on the TV one day and saw this program called, Transit, which featured the band performing in an old streetcar (  He is definitely an artist deserving of much more recognition than he receives.  You can follow Gentleman Reg at  You can purchase the album, Jet Black, from Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Artist: Vilain Pingouin, Album: Vilain Pingouin, Song: Le Train

Vilain Pingouin are a francophone rock band from Quebec.  They are Rudy Caya, Michel Vaillancourt, Rudolf Fortier, Claude Samson and Frederik Bonicard.  They formed in 1986, although Caya and Vaillancourt had been playing together since the early eighties.  The band won some regional talent contests which led to the release of their first couple of singles in 1989.  The popularity of those songs attracted the attention of local indie label, Audiogram, who signed the band and released their self titled debut album in 1990.  Audiogram has represented a number of great French artists over the years, such as Adam Chaki (see blog 8/10/10), Bran Van 3000 ("Astounded", "Everywhere"), Damien Robitaille (see blog 2/16/12), Jean Leloup (see blog 3/19/11) and Ocean.  The band toured Quebec relentlessly, playing hundreds of shows.  They also realized the benefit of video and their singles received strong rotation on Much Music's French affiliate, Musique Plus.  As a result, their debut album achieved gold status sales within the province.  The band went on to win a number of regional awards and were also nominated for the Juno for Best Selling Francophone album in 1992.  Le Train, was a major hit for the band off their self titled debut.  You can check it out at  Vilain Pingouin would go on to release four albums between 1990 and 2003.  You can check them out at  You can purchase their self titled debut on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Artist: Slowburn, Album, Slowburn, Song: Whatever

Slowburn were a rock band from Vancouver, British Columbia.  They formed during the early nineties and released one independent album in 1994 before signing with the Handsome Boy record label.  They released their major label self titled debut in 1996.  Handsome Boy was run by a man named, Jeff Rogers, who found earlier success while managing The Crash Test Dummies.  He then started up this label which included some talented young bands like Rusty and Groovy Religion.  Slowburn were Robert Watkins, Harvey Windsor, Cliff Boyd and Charles Boname.  Their self titled debut was produced at the legendary Mushroom Studios by Chris Wardman (see blog 10/4/11) of Blue Peter fame.  When you look back at Canada's alternative rock scene during the 90's and some of the bands that encompassed it.  You'd be hard pressed to find an album that wasn't produced by Wardman.  He had his hands all over this album along with some pretty big releases from Rusty, Sons Of Freedom as well as The Watchmen.  Slowburn's album received some strong radio and video rotation upon it's release.  The lead track, Whatever, is one of those long lost alternative gems.  Everyone can remember how the song goes but often forget the band's name.  You can check out the video at  The album also featured the talents of 54-40's Dave Genn and included an XTC cover entitled, Complicated Game.  Unfortunately though, the band broke up after this release.  You can purchase the album on Itunes though.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Artist: Ellen McIlwaine, Album: The Real Ellen McIlwaine, Song: Higher Ground

Ellen McIlwaine is a singer songwriter who was born in Nashville but spent most of her childhood growing up in Japan.  Her adopted parents were missionaries and she actually attended a Canadian school while in Japan.  She returned to the U.S. and by the mid sixties, was performing as a solo artist in Greenwich Village with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters.  Her slide guitar playing is legendary and her first two solo albums in 1972 and '73 with Polydor Records, are key recordings for any music enthusiast.  She moved to Montreal in 1975, to record her third album, The Real Ellen McIlwaine.  This album featured a blazing cover of Stevie Wonder's Higher Ground, from his Innervisions release in 1973.  You can check it out on You Tube (  Ellen would relocate to Canada permanently in 1987 and today, still lives in Calgary, Alberta and is still touring.  She was nominated by the Toronto Blues Society in 2011 for a Lifetime Achievement Award but lost out to Paul James (see blog 12/2/11).  You can follow her at  I discovered her music very late and was obviously blown away by what I heard.  You can check out some blazing tunes from her first couple of releases on a compilation entitled, Up From The Skies, which is available on Itunes.  Tunes like "We The People", "Sliding", "Can't Find My Way Home" and "Farther Along", will blow your mind.  She has a number of covers in her song list but I can assure you that they are all very inventive.  The album, The Real Ellen McIlwaine, was re-released as a combo with her 1982 album, Everybody Needs It, on Stony Plain Records.  That album is available on Itunes as well and it includes the song, Higher Ground.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!    

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Artist: Emma-Lee, Album: Backseat Heroine, Song: Figure It Out

Emma-Lee is a singer songwriter from Toronto, Ontario.  She released her debut album in 2008 with Bumstead Records.  Her voice is second to none which she has been belting out for a few years now but she appears to be really hitting her stride with this new release.   And deservedly so.  Her debut album was a well crafted genre bending mix of music that included pop, roots, blues and jazz.  The latter (jazz) became more of a label to categorize her music which she quickly contradicts with her sophomore release, Backseat Heroine.  This album is one of the finest Canadian releases for 2012.  She co-wrote songs with American songstress, Nicole Atkins ("War Torn", "Under The Milky Way") as well as Luke Doucet (see blog 8/22/11), Jill Barber ("Hard Line") and band mate, Karen Kosowski.  She also self produced the album at The Chalet in Uxbridge, Ontario with band mates, Marc Rogers and Karen Kosowski.  Figure It Out, is her new single and perhaps the masterpiece on the album.  I don't think you can write a more perfect tune than this.  Soulful and melodic.  This tune was meant for radio.  It has a real throwback feel to it as though it was recorded during the 70's.  I also find her vocals reminiscent of singer songwriter, Tift Merritt ("Stray Paper").  Emma is actually inviting her fans to record their own version of the song in a contest on her website. You can check out the excellent video for, Figure It Out, on You Tube (  Emma has just returned from a western tour supporting Luke Doucet's band, Whitehorse, and is currently playing shows in Eastern Canada.  You can follow her at  You can purchase the album, Backseat Heroine, on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Artist: Rude City Riot, Album: Nothin' But Time, Song: Imposter Man

"Hit 'em with the pan, the imposter man.  Ain't no excuse.  Dump 'em in the van, the imposter man.  Before it get loose."  Rude City Riot are a ska band from Vancouver, British Columbia.  They are Dustin Lionheart III, Scott Atkins, Luis Garzon, Jonny McCormack, Kevin Tang, Sean Kight, Steffen Peter and Peter Bowles.  The band released their debut EP in 2008 with local label, SkaSpot Records.  SkaSpot is run by a man named Dan Cowan, who has been around the Canadian music scene for decades with bands like Toronto (see blog 9/22/10), Chilliwack, Doucette, The Irish Rovers (see blog 12/1/11) as well as The Villains (see blog 5/13/11).  The EP garnered some regional acclaim and a couple of the tunes were re-recorded and included on their debut full length in 2011 entitled, Nothin' But Time.  This time, the album was released on the Stomp label out of Montreal (  Rude City Riot's sound is a mix of punk and ska.  Imposter Man, is a polished ska tune from their 2011 release.  You can check out the video at  The band has toured North America in support of their music and has recently completed a Canadian tour with The Planet Smashers and The Real McKenzies (see blog 4/21/11).  You can follow them at  You can purchase the album, Nothin' But Time, on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Artist: Plex, Album: Brain Storm, Song: The Way It Should Be

"I've had about as much as I can take.  Don't try and push your religion on me.  There's men deciding everybody's fate.  We all know that's not the way it should be."  Plex is an aboriginal hip hop artist originally from Edmonton but now based in Toronto, Ontario.  He started rapping with a collective known as Won 18 during the late nineties.  They released one album before Plex ventured out on his own.  He played shows and toured for the better part of 4 years before his debut release in 2009 entitled, Brain Storm.  The album received a lot of critical acclaim internationally due to the strength of the single, The Way It Should Be.  The song features fellow aboriginal rapper and CBC personality, Wab Kinew.  The video has been shown in numerous film festivals around the world and has won awards.  Plex has toured all over North America in support of this album.  He runs his own label called, New Leaf Entertainment, and is due to release his sophomore album, Demons, this summer.  The Way It Should Be, is a fantastic tune with a message and a cool reggae beat.  You can check out the exceptional video at!the-way-it-should-be.  You can follow Plex at  You can purchase the album, Brain Storm, on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Artist: Steel River, Album: Weighin' Heavy, Song: Ten Pound Note

Steel River were a rock band from Toronto, Ontario.  They were John Dudgeon, Bob Forrester, Rob Cockell, Tony Dunning and Ray Angrove.  They started out as a R'n'B band before changing their name in 1969 to Steel River.  They enlisted the support of renown producer, Greg Hambleton.  Hambleton ran the Axe Records label and produced works for Charity Brown and Thundermug (see blog 8/29/10).  His brother is Fergus Hambleton of The Sattalites (see blog 9/10/10) as well as A Passing Fancy fame.  Steel River released their debut album, Weighin' Heavy, in 1970.  The album did very well here in Canada and was also released internationally, helping the band tour abroad.  The success of the album was largely due to their first single which was a Jay Telfer (A Passing Fancy) song entitled, Ten Pound Note.  This tune still receives some heavy airplay on classic rock radio in Toronto.  You can check it out at  The band would go on to release one more album in 1971 which again, contained a successful single entitled, Southbound Train.  The band would perform together until 1974 before breaking up.  Today, their discography remains a rarity.  At the time of this blog, there were vinyl copies trading on Ebay and Discogs between $20 and $50.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Artist: Jay Sparrow, Album: The Running, Song: Lily

"Chaka Kahn filled the hallways of the casino.  I made my way from the room to the camino.  I'm a stranger in a strange world.  This Las Vegas is a circus as I'm sure you've heard so goodbye, to that girl in room eleven twenty five.  Goodbye, oooh Lily don't cry."  Jay Sparrow is a singer songwriter from Thunder Bay, Ontario but now based in Edmonton, Alberta.  He started out in a punk band called, The Murder City Sparrows.  They were really talented and if you get a chance you should check out their album, Dead Horse Disco, on Itunes.  The album was produced by Big Sugar's Gordie Johnson.  Somewhere along the line though, Sparrow became disenchanted with the punk genre and decided to embark on a more roots based solo career.  The Running, was his debut album released in 2008 and it may have overlapped with his time in the band, The Murder City Sparrows.  Jay has since released 2 full length albums as well as 2 EP's of original material.  3 of the 4 albums were all released in 2010.  He runs his own label called, Break Pattern Records ( and has toured nationally in support of his music.  He also won a national song contest put on by the CBC in 2009.  I just love this guy's music and this particular release has some great tunes on it.  Lily, is a lyrical masterpiece that sounds a lot like the work of Conor Oberst ("Sausalito") and frankly, should garner the same sort of critical acclaim as him.  But the world just doesn't work that way.  Here's hoping more people discover his great music.  You can hear a song sample on Itunes and purchase it there as well.  You can follow Sparrow at Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Artist: Susan Aglukark, Album: Big Feeling, Song: Into The Ocean

"Down, down into the ocean."  Susan Aglukark is a singer songwriter from Nunavut.  She was discovered by CBC and released her debut in 1993.  She ended up walking away with two Juno awards for Best New Solo Artist and Best Music Of Aboriginal Canada Recording in 1995 as a result.  Her sophomore album entitled, This Child, in 1995, was massive and catapulted her to national fame.  The album achieved triple platinum sales.  She has recorded six albums to date and has been nominated for a Juno 10 times and has won 3.  She has been awarded the Order Of Canada and has played for Prime Ministers and Presidents as well as such dignitaries as Nelson Mandela and The Queen.  Big Feeling was her fourth release in 2004.  It won the Juno for Aboriginal Recording Of The Year.  It was produced by a man named Ben Mink.  Mink is notorious for his work with K.D. Lang and many other artists ranging from Heart to Feist.  He plays on the album as well and co-wrote many of the songs.  The album is very strong and there are a number of great tracks.  I just love this song called, Into The Ocean.  You can listen to a sound sample on Itunes and purchase the song there as well.  You can follow Susan at  Thanks for reading and enjoy!