A blog about music from Canada and beyond.

Long reads, short reads and bite-size bits.

Music Review: Dolly Parton - Pure & Simple

Music Review: Dolly Parton - Pure & Simple
Now 70, Dolly is unstoppable. The country music icon, currently on a 60-date tour, is celebrating her 50th year in show business as well as her 50th wedding anniversary. She’s in the midst of a four-movie deal with NBC, working on a sequel to the acclaimed Dolly-inspired Coat of Many Colors TV movie. Dolly’s 43rd studio album is a testament to her marriage to retired businessman Carl Thomas Dean. “All the songs I’ve written [for it] are love songs because I’m celebrating 50 years with my husband this year,” says Dolly. “So I thought it would be...
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Feature Article: Cowboy Troubadour - Ian Tyson

Feature Article: Cowboy Troubadour - Ian Tyson
The auditorium was a sea of cowboy hats in a variety of styles—High Sierra, Ridgetop and Cattleman. The ranchers, cowhands and wives were assembled last month in a convention centre in northern Nevada for a tribute to the 19th-century American western artist Charles Russell. But the first performer to step onstage was not an American--it was Canada’s Ian Tyson. With his white cowboy hat tipped at a rakish angle and a white kerchief tied flamboyantly around his neck, Tyson fit right in. Carrying an acoustic guitar and accompanied by his band, th...
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Blog post: Listen to This - Serena Ryder

Blog post: Listen to This - Serena Ryder
Serena Ryder's got our number. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the Juno-winning artist from tiny Millbrook, Ont., who’s won the hearts of Canadian fans with her big, bluesy voice and anthemic songs. Now, the “Stompa (What I Wouldn't Do)” singer is back with a stirring, gospel-inflected rock number that seems certain to get listeners clapping their hands and stomping their feet all over again. Listen: Serena Ryder - Got Your Number
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Blog post: Listen to This Band - Transviolet

Blog post: Listen to This Band - Transviolet
From Los Angeles via New York comes a fresh new group, led by sassy Sarah McTaggart, with a hot summer jam. The electro-pop sounds of this track are catchy and hypnotic — in other words, totally irresistible. “Only love you when you’re someone,” singer McTaggart coos over a bubbly beat. “I wrote this song about my love/hate relationship with Los Angeles,” explains McTaggart, who shares stylistic similarities with Lorde and Lana Del Rey. “Everyone here wants something so desperately.” Be warned: the three-minute song, a dystopian cocktail of des...
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Music Review: The Tragically Hip - Man Machine Poem

Music Review: The Tragically Hip - Man Machine Poem
News that the Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer shocked a nation that has long embraced the band affectionately known as just “the Hip.” The May revelation also made tickets to its summer tour. There’s a deep love for the Hip, whose songs seem to define what it means to be Canadian. The band, which gave a command performance for the Queen in 2002, showcases the talents of poet-singer Downie throughout their latest album. On “In a World Possessed by the Human Mind,” his lyrics have a spooky foreshadowing: “Just give me the n...
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Feature Article: Beatlemania Toronto Style

Feature Article: Beatlemania Toronto Style
The Beatles changed the world in countless ways, but they also dramatically changed Toronto over three consecutive years of performances (1964 to 1966) at Maple Leaf Gardens. Almost overnight, the city was hit with a cultural shift of seismic proportions: Boys grew Beatle-bangs, girls pinned photos of John, Paul, George and Ringo on their walls and parents worried about the sanity of their teenaged children. Canada’s folk darlings, Ian & Sylvia, had ruled up to that point, but as the male half of that duo, Ian Tyson, remembers, “the minute ...
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Blog post: Bill King's Conversation with Nicholas Jennings

Blog post: Bill King's Conversation with Nicholas Jennings
I’ve had a casual relationship with music journalist Nicholas Jennings through the years; always a fan of his writing and passion for music. We served together on a panel years back for one of those Ontario Arts giveaways and mostly saw eye to eye. We just happen to be sharing duties with a not so generous singer hell bent on not freeing any grant money to other female singers. This is why I’m not a big fan of these practices other than you do meet some lovely folks who you’d likely never spend a solid three to six hour sit down most days. We p...
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