Some of my favorite places are up north… Heck, we ALL might have to move up there if a certain person, who shall remain nameless, gets anywhere near the house that is white… But there will be no politics here… unless they are musical! So trump that.
I have somewhat fond memories of a family trip to Montreal and Quebec, though my parents probably only remember me torturing my little brother in the back seat…
The… ENTIRE… trip!
Yeah, I was an odd and off kid. Sorry, Dan.
I definitely need to get back to experience Moishe’s Steaks and the bagels at St. Viateur! I also love Toronto, and not just for The House Of Chan (best steak I have EVER had) or the Roots Outlet Store… Okay, maybe just a bit for both of those places…
And I adore Vancouver, such a cosmopolitan city… and yes, I could easily live in the market on Granville Island.
Other than that, my only real connection to Canada, aside from a few Canuck friends, is hearing the Canadian National Anthem at some hockey games, and listening to Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Barenaked Ladies and the phenomenal band Sloan. And okay, Poutine kind of rocks. Yes, you should check out Smoke’s Poutinerie in Hollywood… You’re welcome, Alan!
Thanks to the post about Nick Marzock and The Explorers Club (who have a new record coming out VERY soon!), I got a message from MTS Management Group and an introduction to two of their artists. I love how the internet works some times… and appreciate how one door usually opens another… and when those doors open… quite often… there is great music coming out of them!
BILLY GRIMA – SUGAR & CREAM
Billy hails from the Caledon Hills of Ontario, Canada, by way of Australia, and started singing when he was just 8. Now he calls Toronto home.
His singer/songwriters skills are on full display on this 2015 record, his third to date, and tracks like the retro and soulful “Calendar Girl” make great use of horns. I started hearing a little of U2’s “Angel Of Harlem” until it moved rather nicely into a mashup of Billy Joel and Van Morrison.
Same goes with the title track “Sugar & Cream”, which has a great rockin’, R&B feel. Those two, along with “Caroline” are my stand out tracks and personal favorites. “Caroline” clocks in at 8:23 and sounds like it could have been a Styx ballad. Definitely some Dennis DeYoung, especially in the chorus… Absolutely love this song!
Some tracks like “I Miss You Baby” are surprisingly long (10:11), but don’t feel it… This beautiful ballad might be the song to play to get that long-lost-love back in your life. It’s a real stunner. You can also try “Picture Of You And Me” for a slow dance and a little late night seduction.
This is what I would call a feel good record… perfect for a day in the backyard and a weekend get together. If you like Jason Mraz and some ’80s sounding pop and rock (I don’t know why, but this album has me hearing The Outfield a bit, too)… with a dose of good old Americana folk, check out Billy Grima.
ED ROMAN – LETTERS FROM HIGH LATITUDES
Ed is a singer/songwriter from Shelburne, Ontario… and reminds me of another Ed, namely Ed Robertson from Barenaked Ladies. Definitely a similar vocal quality, especially on the opener “I Told You So.” His voice just has a wink and a nod to it…
“World Keeps On Turning” definitely has that Paul Simon/Graceland era feel, and leads perfectly into “Roly’s Cottage”. I dig the harp on this instrumental and joyous number. If this song doesn’t make you feel good and get you up and dancing, I think you may need a doctor… or at least a pulse. I love me my lyrics, but I think this is my favorite track on the record!
Not only is “Jamaica” a fun song… but I appreciate that the video shoot was part of a humanitarian aid delivering trip. He also uses his music to support vets, so it’s literally music with a cause. Good stuff! And it definitely fits in with the “socio-political, earthly-conscious and globally-aware messages” he writes about.
“Rosetta Stone” has a jazzy flare, especially on the smoky horn solo… and Ed pulls out the Rockin’ Funk in “In Your Eyes”.
I like the diversity and range of sounds… and both of these records show that really good music is coming from our friends up north.
So here’s to great music, here’s to French fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds… and here’s to Canada!