Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review -- KYLER SCHOGEN -- Pocket Fulla Nothin'

POCKET FULLA NOTHIN'
Kyler Schogen
SunCave Records
6.5-out-of-10

Hailing from Edmonton Kyler Schogen hits a sweet spot musically, that area just where rock, blues and folk converge. It is a place which musically is almost ideal, at least to my ears, a devout blues lover, who appreciates a good rock song, and the lyrical strength of folk.
It's a crossover locale others have visited, some making it their musical home. Schogen should certainly make it his residence since he is clearly at home in this neighbourhood.
In Schogen's case the music has more blues to it than rock. It's not a smooth 50/50 mix, but he does use elements of both.
On a tune such as Ebb and Flow Schogen mixes in a bit more of an obvious rock flavour, whereas the title cut has more of a pure blues beat.
Just Got Eyes For Me is another driving blues cut that catches attention.
Musically the 13-cuts here are pleasing, although vocally Schogen might not make it to anyone's top-10. It's not that he is bad at the microphone, but he just never seems to quite punch it up to a higher gear to match the work of the bans.
The end result is a pleasing CD, but one you just feel he could have taken a notch, or two higher.
Still it's an effort worth lending an ear to, just maybe regularly.
Check it out at www.myspace.com/kylerschogen
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper July 27, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- DEL BARBER -- Love Songs For The Last 20

LOVE SONGS FOR THE LAST 20
Del Barber
Indie
8.5-out-of-10

Del Barber's latest effort, Love Songs for the Last 20, is along this year's finalists at the Western Canadian Music Awards for Best Solo Roots Album.
Being among the six finalists for a major award such as those of the WCMA tells you something about the fine music you're going to get when you pop this disc into the player, and Barber does not disappoint. Of course the disc also earned Barber a Juno nomination, so the pedigree is in place.
Barber, who hails from Winnipeg, has a good handle on what it is to play roots music. The disk takes elements of folk and country and blends them seamlessly.
The title song is a perfect example of the idea of alternative country, a song that owes its roots to older music, yet lyrically holds its place in the current era of song writing. That can be said of the entire CD. Barber clearly has a poet's soul the way he writes a song, and there is certainly an element of a modern cowboy minstrel here too. Barber might not ride a horse like an old cowboy crooner, but you can tell he's at home singing story songs around a campfire just the same. You only need to listen to Miles and Years to know that.
Barber may not win the WCMA nod, but you will certainly be a winner if you buy this disk. It's a great effort.
Check it out at www.delbarber.com
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper July 27, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- MONKEY JUNK -- To Behold

TO BEHOLD
Monkey Junk
Stony Plain
9-out-of-10

Experience me has taught me to expect to love most CDs coming out of Stony Plain Records.
And really you have to be intrigued by a blues band with the name Monkey Junk.
So it came as no surprise at all that I was immediately impressed by the disk To Behold.
Monkey Junk is Matt Sobb on drums, Tony D on guitar and Steve Marriner lead vocals, harmonica and guitar. Together the trio offers up what I term modern blues. There is healthy rock flavour here, but the heartbeat is purely the blues.
The disk starts off with Mother's Crying, a cut with a throwback country rock-a-billy beat, and it sets the mood for what is generally energetic blues.
You're Gonna Change (Or I'm Gonna Leave) follows in style and tempo.
Right Now gets into a bit more of a soul undertone.
From there the rock begins to creep into the music a bit more, and cuts such as Let Her Down, You Don't Know and All About You are the best examples, and are the best of a very fine CD.
This is a must have blues CD this summer. Find it, buy it, enjoy it.
Check it out at www.stonyplainrecords.com
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper July 20, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- DONALD RAY JOHNSON -- It's TIme

IT's TIME
Donald Ray Johnson
MarVista Records
8-out-of-10

Donald Ray Johnson is a bluesman with a track record. Born in Texas, and now based in Calgary, he has some four decades in the blues business, and has garnered a Grammy Award win, and twice being a Maple Blues Award nominee. He was also voted Best Male Blues Vocalist 2007 by Real Blues Magazine.
So the pedigree is there for Johnson, and that comes through clearly on It's Time.
Johnson's voice remains clear, powerful, appealing,
When Johnson tears into Change Is Going To Come you know you are in for a treat. It's a blues classic in the making.
Through 10-songs Johnson shows why his career has stood the test of time, he's just plain good.
Songs such as Heavy Love, Girl Friend Blues, Louisiana Country Girl and Rainy Night In Georgia are the best cuts on the disk, the later a slower paced song, rich with mood.
Johnson is a veteran blues craftsman showing just what the blues are all about, and he does with the clear confidence of a lifetime behind a microphone.
A wonderful offering to check out.
Check it out at www.donaldray.com
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper July 20, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- REDBIRD -- We're All Friends and Lovers Until It Falls Apart

WE'RE ALL FRIENDS and LOVERS UNTIL IT FALLS APART
Redbird
Indie
7-out-of-10

We’re All Friends and Lovers Until It Falls Apart is the debut EP from Vancouver band, Redbird, a group some fortunate local music fans will remember from when the band recently performed locally at 5th Avenue Cup & Saucer in Yorkton.
Redbird is the latest musical vehicle for singer/songwriter Savannah Leigh Wellman who has fronted previous variations of her own group, but has made her greatest strides since the formation of Redbird which includes Wellman (vocals and acoustic guitar), John Sponarski (guitar), Jeremy Appleton (bass) and Ben Brown (drums).
"I've gone through so many variations of bands over the past 10-years, but am really happy with where I'm at now with Redbird," Wellman told Yorkton This Week in a May interview.
Certainly the resulting EP is a solid debut for Wellman and Redbird, a definite rock band, albeit one where lyrics and vocals are at the forefront.
"I have a pretty wide range of influences, and I think that definitely comes through in my writing," said Wellman. "I admire the word-craft of greats like Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, but also really appreciate the beauty of a catchy melody and harmonies like Fleetwood Mac. I'm also a huge rock and roll fan - this summer I'll be seeing the Black Keys and Sam Roberts Band in outdoor concerts, and I couldn't be more excited! I think I take a little bit of all of those aspects and try to roll them into my own music."
Whatever the specific influences are Wellman has blended them into a great personal sound for Redbird.
There are some fine songs here, in particular In the Hands of Ghosts and West Wind, a couple of tunes as fine as any I've heard in rock in recent months.
As I have often lamented good EPs are always just a bit disappointing because you'd like more than six songs when the band is good. That is the case here, since most of the songs are above average. Oh Please My Heart being the one exception, as it gets a bit repetitious with repeated vocal, but non-word interludes.
Still there is way more positive here than not, and it is certainly easy to recommend music fans check this one out.
Check it out at www.redbirdmusic.ca
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper July 13, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- JJ GUY -- Old Time Dance Album

OLD TIME DANCE ALBUM
JJ Guy
Indie
8-out-of-10

There are certain times as a reviewer you realize just how long you've been giving opinions on music, and when I began spinning JJ Guy's latest fiddle release it was one of those times.
It was back in 2007 I reviewed Guy's fiddle release Cadillac, and October 2009 the appropriately named Fiddler, both offerings garnering 8-out-of-10 scores.
Well here it is four years after Cadillac and Guy is back with Old Time Dance Album, and there is no reason not to make it a third straight eight score.
Now I should preface things here just a bit, as the name implies this is old time dance music, the kind I grew up remembering being played by local fiddlers at talent shows at rural summer fairs such as Connaught, Golburn and Shand. That was half a lifetime ago, and I'll admit at the time I would have never admitted to listening to the music, let alone liking it, but now as I have eclipsed 50-years, I have come to realize the old tunes stuck with somehow.
This is a recording of traditional fiddle which Guy outlines are suitable for a range of dances.
Darling Nelly Gray/Soldier's Joy is a medley for the Virginia reel, while The Old Spinning Wheel is a two step.
There are also numbers for the fox trot, barn dance, heel and toe polka and others.
So if old time fiddle is in your blood Guy does it well, so check it out for a transfusion.
Check it out at www.jjguy.ca
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper July 13, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- NICK FAYE & THE DEPUTIES -- The Last Best West

THE LAST BEST WEST
Nick Faye & the Deputies
Indie
8-out-of-10

Nick Faye is a name you might want to remember because this Regina-based musician writes a darned fine soft rock song, and quite frankly performs them just fine too.
Faye recently performed locally at 5th Avenue Cup & Saucer in Yorkton, where it was just Faye and his guitar. It was a more intimate representation of his music in the cozy venue, but the disk in this case is better.
Faye's music works better with a full band in support of it. The music comes across more like it was meant to be.
All the songs were written by Faye, and he writes what he knows, with songs reflective of Saskatchewan. You see our province in the lyrics of songs such as Hawks Above and Bankend, and they are more enjoyable as a result.
This disk also has some local relevance. Faye has family in Foam Lake, and Byron Chambers, formally of Yorkton is both a musician on the disk, and he recorded, mixed and mastered The Last Best West. Joining Faye and Chambers on the album is Adam Ennis.
In addition Emily Kohlert from Yorkton took the CD's interior photo art.
While there are good reasons to check out this disk to support local and Saskatchewan talent, the best reason to buy it is because it's a great piece of music.
Check it out at www.myspace.com/nickfaye
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper June 29, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- JERRY STAMP -- Bloodwork

BLOODWORK
Jerry Stamp
Indie
6.5-out-of-10

Jerry Stamp is a prolific musician out of Newfoundland.
I say prolific with meaning in this case with Stamp's hands in five albums in a single year.
Somewhere amid the recording this acoustic artist still finds time to tour including being the 'boats' aspect of a recent Boats to Barley Tour with Nick Faye which included a stop in Yorkton.
In Yorkton it was just Stamp and his guitar and that was just fine for a performer who owes a lot of his sound to folk roots.
Stamp has a sound which certainly fits the notion of East Coast music. There is a high level of reality in the lyrics.
There are several songs here which are quite appealing, including Tonight, Pretty Things, And The Waves Crash … and Stars Don't Call.
This is a disk which requires some listener investment in as much as you need to hear the lyrics to truly appreciate the detailed pictures Stamp paints here.
If you are willing to make that investment, and you like folk-based music, this is one to search out.
Check it out at www.myspace.com/jerrystamp
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper June 29, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- PORTAGE & MAIN -- Self-Titled

SELF-TITLED
Portage & Main
Indie
8-out-of-10

Portage & Main sounds like a band which might call Winnipeg, but they actually travel Canada out of British Columbia sharing their folkie-influenced brand of music.
On the disk the roots of this band's music is rather obvious. On a song such as The Morning After you can hear The Eagles at a time when the world thought them rock, but they were more folk on their softer songs than most admitted.
Neil Young is also quite apparent in the material.
John Sponarski and Harold Donnelly are the writers behind this folk-rockband, but Portage & Main also includes the talents of Georges Couling on keys, Ben Brown on drums, and Mike Agranovich on bass .
The band, which was recently in Yorkton at 5th Ave Cup & Saucer where they performed as a stripped down three-piece acoustic unit, have a laid back, relaxed style that is completely satisfying.
The 12-song CD has several notable cuts, including I'm Going Down Tonight, Nothing (Take What You Need) and I'd Never Climbed A Mountain.
This is a disk from a band not yet garnering headlines, but listen to this disk and you will believe they should be better known than they are.
Check it out at www.portageandmainband.com
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper June 22, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- TEXTING MacKENZIE -- KARATEKA

KARATEKA
Texting MacKenzie
Indie
6.5-out-of-10

Coming out of Guelph, Ont. is the band Texting MacKenzie.
This is a three-piece indie rock band which has a definite tongue-in-cheek approach to its material.
Robin Jools Wright pens most of the band's material and he mines a definite humour vein for his music.
Indier Than Thou and Lemonade are a couple of examples of how Wright works with lyrics which turn phrases and use word play to good effect.
The resulting body of work is catchy, although admittedly it may not be an approach appreciated by all. This is music which works in a live venue, such as the band's recent visit to 5th Avenue Cup & Saucer in the city, but past some college stations the material may not find a ready radio audience.
Texting MacKenzie might never earn regular play in a collection it does suit a particular mood, when you want some indie rock which makes you smile.
Check it out at www.myspace.com/textingmackenzie
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper June 22, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- KENNY WAYNE -- An Old Rock On A Roll

AN OLD ROCK ON A ROLL
Kenny Wayne
Stony Plain
7.5-out-of-10

Canadian blues fans are going to recognize the name Kenny Wayne from a string of disks on Electro-Fi Records, including the 2006 Blues Record of the Year Juno for 'Let It Loose'.
While Wayne is a blues veteran An Old Rock On A Roll is a first release on the popular Stony Plain label.
The new disk highlights 13-songs, all penned by Wayne. Original blues is always a pleasure to listen too. Of course when Wayne is behind the music you are in for something better than the average.
Cuts such as Devil Woman, Searching For My Baby, and the title cut are all excellent offerings, although in truth Wayne doesn't misstep on the disk.
Wayne flat out plays a fine piano and enhanced by the baritone sax work of Doug James and the tenor sax of Sax Gordon the CD is outstanding.
It doesn't hurt Duke Robillard is on hand to lay down the guitar either. He is one of the best with six strings.
This is a smooth blues offering which speaks to the confidence a veteran like Wayne can bring to a disk.
Most definitely a disk to put high on a blues-lover's want list.
Check it out at www.stonyplainrecords.com
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper June 15, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- RAY MANZAREK & ROY ROGERS -- Translucent Blues

TRANSLUCENT BLUES Ray Manzarek & Roy Rogers
BLIND PIG RECORDS
8.5-out-of-10

There are record labels you get to know you can trust, and Blind Pig is certainly one of those. You see the logo of the grinning porker with sunglasses and you are pretty much sure the disk is a winner.
Now add into the equation Ray Manzarek's musical roots extend back to a group called The Doors, and you get the feeling Translucent Blues is going to be a rather special disk.
The disk really highlights music which is the offspring of rock and blues. Not exactly classic blues, which may limit the appeal for some, Manzarek and Rogers combine to create something quite unique and fabulously refreshing.
For example there is an underlying beat to Kick which reminds of The Doors, yet it is still a full blues effort.
Of course with Roy Rogers offering his fine skills on slide guitar to the disk, as Manzarek plays keyboards and applies his vintage voice, it's hard not to be impressed.
In Rogers' case he is a performer with pedigree. He has performed with Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Steve Miller, Linda Ronstadt, and Sammy Hagar and been nominated for 8 Grammy's as producer, songwriter and performer.
There are 12 songs here, and every one is rock solid. I'd highly recommend checking this one.
Check it out at www.blindpigrecords.com
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper June 15, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- VARIOUS ARTISTS -- 35 Years of Stony Plain

35 Years of Stony Plain
Various artists
Stony Plain
9-out-of-10

Regular readers will know I have something of a soft spot for the Stony Plain label out of Alberta.
The label doesn't roll out a lot of disks in a year, but the ones they do are usually as solid as you can get.
Specializing in blues, swing, and older style country, Stony Plain has endured where many smaller labels have failed, in large part no doubt to the stellar line-up of performers who have recorded for the label through the years.
So when the new compilation disk celebrating 35-years of Stony Plain music arrived I knew it was going to be golden.
Generally speaking I'm not a huge fan of compilation disks. I find they have a hard time holding together in terms of style.
In the case of what is essentially a sampler of a label's best, you have to just forget about thematics and instead focus on the strength of each cut.
In the case of Stony Plain's 35 years, there are 41-songs on a two-disk set, eight of the songs previously unreleased, three by Bob Carpenter, four by Robert Nighthawk and one by the famous King Biscuit Boy.
Among the other performers, the list is impressive with the likes of Jeff Healey, Duke Robillard, Amos Garrett, Ian Tyson and Long John Baldry.
Add in a third disk of bonus DVD videos and docs and this is a great package which will keep you entertained for hours.
Showing a bit of age in terms of how long I have been at this review stuff, I enjoyed Stony Plain's 25-year collection, and their 30-year disks, both sets being well worth being in any music collection.
This 35-year retrospective collection continues that fine tradition. A definite winner.
Check it out at www.stonyplainrecords.com
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper June 1, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- BARBARA LYNN DORAN -- Self-Titled

SELF-TITLED
Barbara Lynn Doran
Indie
7-out-of-10

Scarborough, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto may not seem like the place from which a country singer would emerge, but that is exactly the case with Barbara Lynn Doran.
Citing a diverse range of artists among her favourites; Olivia Newton John, Madonna, Tori Amos, Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, it was the country influences which ultimately won out with Doran.
Doran likes her country slower. Her voice seems best suited to a country song laden with emotion.
Cuts such as Innocence and Little Misunderstood are among the best of a solid six-song debut disk.
On her website Doran notes that Little Misunderstood is in large part autobiographical. “This song is my life in a nutshell. I’ve always been misjudged and misunderstood and I thought it was a great title for my first single," she explained.
Doran is like a lot of country of singers these days, musically solid, but not exactly offering something which completely knocks your socks off. That said, this is a disk which holds promise of being the launching pad of a new star in terms of Canadian country.
Check it out at www.barbaralynndoran.ca
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper June 1, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- COLD DRIVEN -- The Wicked Side Of Me

THE WICKED SIDE OF ME
Cold Driven
Indie
9-out-of-10

Time seems to fly by when dealing with indie bands, even the best of them.
Cold Driven is an example. It does not seem like it was three years ago that I was first introduced to this band with its release of Steel Chambers, a disk that warranted an 8.5-out-of-10 in a June 4, 2008 review.
Local fans might remember the band from a gig at Rayzer's in the Yorkton Hotel when that venue was doing live music before local apathy killed the bar's interest in supporting traveling bands.
Now nearly exactly three years later the B.C.based band is back with The Wicked Side of Me.
The good news is that Cold Driven does not miss a step with the new disk, although with only six songs and a short intro you are left wanting more.
Of course if the disk had a dozen songs, and they were all as good as the six here, you'd wish there was more.
The band includes brothers Billy and Dennis Nickell and Ben and Shane Bouthillier and Jeremy McLachlan. The five piece unit allows for a big, full band, straight ahead rock sound, which is a comforting place to be for this listener.
From the opening Kingdom Come, or through all six songs Cold Driven does not miss a beat.
The title cut is simply great rock, albeit with a definite melancholy atmosphere. It will feed a certain mood for certain.
Now That I'm Gone is another strong cut on a disk with no weak spot.
Overall this is a CD that should be owned.
Check it out at www.colddriven.com
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper May 25, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- MORGAN CAMERON ROSS -- Self-Titled

SELF-TITLED
Morgan Cameron Ross
Indie
6.5-out-of-10

This is the solo debut for Morgan Cameron Ross, although he has been on the music scene for awhile as the lead for Toronto's Birds of Wales the past half dozen years.
As a solo effort Ross is able to provide a more varied, individualistic sound, something he does with such relish the overall cohesiveness of the disk is compromised.
My Brother Went To Prison has a sort of Celtic feel. It could easily be picked up by John McDermott and fit him perfectly.
Then Ross gives us 13C, a new-age country style song. It's actually one of the better cuts here, although thematically it seems out of place.
In general though this is a sort of pop, soft rock effort, which has a hard time rising to the point of being memorable.
Every Mile and Passing Year, Storybook Romance and Hey There Darlin are examples. If you like the mellow, soft rock sound you may well find Ross' effort solid.
If not you may wish to pass.
Check him out at www.morgancameronross.com
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper May 25, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- RORY BLOCK -- Shake Em' On Down -- A Tribute to Mississippi Fred McDowell

SHAKE 'EM ON DOWN
A Tribute to Mississippi Fred McDowell
Rory Block
Stony Plain
9.5-out-of-10

Oh my goodness there are times you just fall into the music of a CD and know you are exactly where you want to be.
The country blues of Rory Block is exactly that sort of album.
I have reviewed other blues disks in recent weeks, but it has been a while since a Stony Plain release crossed the desk. One song into Block's latest effort and I realized just how much I missed the great blues this Canadian recording company regularly releases.
Now in the case of Block a listener should expect nothing but the best. This gal is a veteran of the genre with a discography of some 20+ albums. That sort of longevity speaks volume about any artist's talent.
In this case Block is paying tribute to Mississippi Fred McDowell one of those artists who really helped define country blues.
McDowell apparently also helped define a young Block.
"I met Fred McDowell at a time in my life when I was most impressionable, and when the effect would deeply inspire and educate, That experience (along with meeting other surviving country blues masters such as Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, Bukka White and Reverend Gary Davis) would become a life-long influence," noted Block on CD.
Thank goodness Block had the opportunity to meet the blues icons because listening to Shake 'em On Down you recognize the blues is exactly where she should be.
A slightly gravelled voice, fine guitar, and a mix of songs from McDowell and Block's own pen all combine to make this a simply amazing disk that any blues fan must have.
McDowell’s numbers include Kokomo Blues, Worried Mind and the title track, while Block offers up new classics in the old style such as Ancestral Home and The Breadline.
The best CD disk I've had the pleasure to review in ages. All I can say is grab this jewel.
Check it out at www.stonyplainrecords.com
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper May 18, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- JOHNNY HATCH -- Indie

Johnny Hatch
Indie
6-out-of-10

Johnny Hatch is from B.C., although he currently calls Regina home.
With Happiness Instead we have a disk which Hatch terms alternative, folk-rock.
All right alternative maybe, but I don't hear the folk heart here at all.
In fact, the disk comes across with what I think of more as a 'California-sound'. Now defining that sound isn't necessarily easy, nor exactly cut and dried, but this effort fits.
Lucky Seven Yeah! is an example. A nice beat teamed with a catchy, but all too repetitious lyric set. The result, the toe taps for a spin or two, but the interest in the song fades pretty quickly.
Hatch likes using a tag line in a song repeatedly. Find The Door uses the same concept, and on the heels of Lucky Seven Yeah! is actually a bit annoying because of it.
The music here is catchy, some of the effects on songs such as Let There Be Peace are actually pretty cool.
However the lyrics are thin, mostly superficial, and that detracts from the disk in a major way.
Check Hatch out at www.johnnyhatch.net , and go from there.
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper May 18, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- MIRRORS AND DOORS -- Jean Paul De Roover

MIRRORS and DOORS
Jean Paul De Roover
Indie
8.5-out-of-10

Jean Paul De Roover is one of those artists who really does need to be seen live to really appreciate what he does musically.
I was afforded that opportunity recently when De Roover appeared at 5th Avenue Cup & Saucer in Yorkton. The soloist really opened my eyes to what can be accomplished using the voice and a bit of modern tech as tools to create background sounds on the go.
De Roover uses an on-stage recording device to record little bits of vocal manipulation, hand claps, finger snaps, and single guitar string harmonics, which are then played back in a reoccurring loop as elements of the song.
Now the artist could simply pre-record the tracks and use the recording over and over, but by doing it as part of the stage show the audience is taken inside the process, given a look at the ingenuity of the process, whereby De Roover creates a more diverse sound than you would expect from just a guitar and voice.
The CD Mirrors and Doors, is a full disk of studio recorded music, with a full sound, De Roover's voice and guitar blending smoothly on every cut.
I Need You is the lead cut, and is the best of the bunch, which is saying something on an indie folk-rock disk which is actually very solid from start to finish. De Roover has some definite polish to his work, not unexpected from a performer who has toured cost-to-coast repeatedly.
The travels have allowed him to write some fine lyrics reflective of life and emotions.
Never, The Knife, and the title cuts are other memorable efforts here.
It is worth mentioning De Roover has an acappella EP Pitch Pipes, that will remind of efforts by The Nylons. Very good in that it truly shows the voice as a musical instrument in the background of each cut.
If you ever have a chance to see De Roover live take it, and in the meantime his disks are well worth searching out.
Check it out at www.jeanpaulderoover.com
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper April 27, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- SHE WAS A BOY -- Yael Naim & David Donatien

SHE WAS A BOY
Yael Naim & David Donatien
Indie
7-out-of-10

Yael Naim and David Donatien are from France, although fear not She Was A Boy is in English, and yes that surprised me a little too.
Yael Naim has a beautiful, sort of natural, relaxed, vocal style. It really comes across as effortless, yet satisfying on the title cut, although on every song she does a nice, almost sweet job.
The music is acoustic folk-pop, and in that vein the lyrics are often life and circumstance reflective.
Since the genre is rather broad it is not a surprise, or out of place that a song such as Never Change is actually quite bluesy.
Naim is the creative force behind the CD too, have composed and written every cut except Go to the River, where Donatien takes the writing lead. Donatien's work is one of the most solidly pop efforts on the CD.
That said Stupid Goal is fully pop too.
In general terms this is a bit more to the pop side of things than I generally like, although Naim's vocal style does soften that a bit.
A bit of an acquired taste, yet one worth giving a listen to. Check Naim out at www.yaelweb.com , and go from there.
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper May 4, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- NORTHERN RANGE -- Larry Krause

NORTHERN RANGE
Larry Krause
Indie
8.5-out-of-10

It's always interesting to interview a singer before listening to their disk.
In the case of Saskatchewan singer Larry Krause that was doubly the case.
In the interview he noted "there are lots of musical influences that have made their mark, including a lot of traditional country performers, whose music I listened to and still perform; Johnny Horton, George Jones, George Strait, others like Garth Brooks and Toby Keith..
"But some of the greatest influences were harmony styles like the Statler Brothers-the type of music we sang in church, and also Ian Tyson, whose music and the disappearing lifestyle that the Cowboyography album and era represented, probably had the most impact and influence on my music, performing style and songwriting nuances."
Any one musician who even knows who Johnny Horton is these days gains marks from me, and being a fan of Tyson's Cowboyography tells you this guy knows what country western music is at its heart.
The disk arrives and I give it a spin, and it's like going back to the country music I grew up on.
Years Flyin' By, Footprints in the Moss, My Own Heart's Delight, in fact practically the entire CD reminds of Marty Robbins and Tyson and George Jones.
"I consider myself a western/roots singer/songwriter, with a very prairie-rural insight into the stories, people and times of the west," said Krause in the interview.
Therein lies the soul of country western music. The songs ring true for those who actually work the soil and raise the cattle and ride the horses.
Krause has a great grasp on the 'real' of Canadian Prairie life, and he reflects that in his wonderful lyrics.
A singer/songwriter, who will perform at the Legion Hall in Yorkton this Friday(29th), perhaps caught out of time in terms of becoming widely successful but lovers of old country will want this disk as part of their collection.
Check it out at www.larrykrause.ca
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper April 27, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

Review -- DEVIL TAKE ME DOWN -- Jimmy Zee

DEVIL TAKE ME DOWN
Jimmy Zee
Indie
7-out-of-10

Devil Take Me Down earned Jimmy Zee a nomination in the blues category from the Western Canadian Music Awards so it has some pedigree.
Zee, who hails from B.C., assembled some fine musicians to put together this disk including a blues bud of mine Harp Dog Brown. It's always cool when he's playing 'harp' on a tune.
As for Zee himself he has a bluesy, growly-flavoured voice, and in the genre that is always a good thing in terms of sound.
With Devil Take Me Down Zee has a solid blues album featuring 13-songs, all of them self-penned except for a remake of the classic Roxy Roller.
In writing the dozen tunes Zee shows a well-experienced pen, and turns out some fine material, the title cut among them.
Bad End Boys, Show Me and Boston City are songs which caught my ear.
Overall a blues disk out of Western Canada I enjoyed from start-to-finish.
Check him out at www.zeeblues.com
— CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week DANIELSnewspaper April 27, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada