Show Alert: Lust for Library Voices

Sun., Oct. 30
Phog Lounge
With Will Currie and the Country French
Dave Russell and the Precious Stones

"Bring more Americans." That was the edict handed down by Phog Lounge co-owner Tom Lucier when we bought our tickets for the return of Regina's Library Voices and Will Currie and the Country French (Waterloo). So Awake, You Sleepers! and come Party Like It's 2012. Discover two great Canadian indie alt-pop bands (and get Windsor's Dave Russell and the Precious Stones for a three-pack) for only $8, less than the price of a movie ticket. Library Voices are touring in support of their latest release, Summer of Lust, the follow-up to 2010's Denim On Denim.

When we saw Will Currie and the Country French (Waterloo) at the Phog last October, the band was preparing for the release of their first full-length album. They had already been championed by Sloan (who will be in Detroit at St. Andrews Hall on Nov. 11) and signed to Sloan's Murderecords label on the strength of their first EP. It took almost another year, but Awake, You Sleepers! finally made its debut earlier this month.

If you do come over the border for the show,
be sure to let Tom, Frank or Joe know!

HCFF 2011: #folkyeah

Yeah, we're still catching up on posts. But what better time to revisit what we did this summer than with the last weeks of fall upon us?

We've heard a lot about the big, multi-day, marathon folk festivals that define summer in Canada for our R3 friends: Winnipeg Folk Festival, Mariposa Folk Festival, Regina Folk Festival, Dawson City Music Fest, etc., etc. Maybe someday we'll be able to pitch our tent and attend one of these tests of musical abundance, endurance and sleep deprivation, but this summer we put the training wheels on and experienced our first folk festival Jul. 16-17 in London, Ont. at the Home County Folk Festival. Here are our most memorable moments.

• The Adventures in Solitude workshop with CBC Radio 3 host and author Grant Lawrence, Sam Taylor and Marty Kolls. A book well worth reading, two musicians well worth checking out.

Grant Lawrence

Sam Taylor
Marty Kolls 

• The butterfly that landed-- and lingered-- on Grant's back jeans pocket.

"There was a butterfly where?"
• The power failure during Harlan Pepper's set. Unnerved at the first, they stepped up to the plate, off the stage, and performed a great acoustic set. Best part: the boys trying to get the mature audience to sing along to "Reefer": "I smoke a little reefer and hope my problems fade away..."

• Shawarma on the patio of the Barakat Restaurant with R3 friends.

Emm Gryner. Her new album Northern Gospel is out now.

Hawksley Workman. We loved Hawksley, but couldn't help being a little disappointed by his (understandably) family-friendly set list.

• Our "for R3 blogger eyes only" screening of Winning America, CBC Radio 3's first documentary. Kudos to Brent Hodge.

•  A delightful breakfast the next morning at The Bag Lady, with a very hungover overbooked Grant Lawrence and an on-location taping of "Indie Craft Attack."

• Amazing back-to-back sets Sunday afternoon from Dan Mangan-- giving the audience a preview of his latest album Oh Fortune, already highly lauded just a month after its release on Sep. 27.

• And The Acorn.

Show Alert: Deadmau5 "changing the American concert landscape"

The Fillmore Detroit

Thurs., Oct. 20 and Fri., Oct. 21

"There's a revolution happening in music right now, and it's being led by a man with a giant mouse head," who happens to be Canadian electronic artist Joel Zimmerman, aka Deadmau5. Join the dance dance revolution at the Fillmore Detroit tonight or tomorrow. Read the complete article about Deadmau5 by Adam Graham, pop music writer for the Detroit News, here.

A Pack A Day: Smokin'!

Did the Sirens of sensibility go off? We in the Windsor/Detroit area are lucky to have the opportunity to experience TWO (2) (DEUX) shows in our cities. Vancouver BC's The Pack A.D. play garage rock/pop/punk/blues that is fierce, unapologetic, and loud as hell on both sides of the Detroit River this week.

The Pack's Unpersons Tour comes barreling off the 401 beginning at the CBC Radio 3 Searchlight Best Live Venue Phog Lounge on Wed. Oct. 19 and rolls into Corktown's classic PJ's Lager House on Thurs. Oct. 20. Bring your earplugs and your dancing shoes.

Photos: Russ Gordon/N2D Images

Show Review: Al Tuck

Al Tuck

What makes a great show? Perfect vocals? Flawless synchronization between band members? A hair-flailing, high-energy performance? Sure. But sometimes great shows, like Al Tuck with Max Marshall and Alison Corbett, aka Black Molly, as his impromptu backing band at Windsor's Phog Lounge on Jul. 26, aren't the most perfect ones. "It might get a little scrappy," Tuck warned us. Scrappy isn't among the many adjectives we'd read about Tuck (PEI), but by the end of the evening, it proved to be almost as accurate as the accolades and laments, and made us fans forever.

Max Marshall

Marshall, the opener that evening, is a multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist, multi-band (The Windsor Salt Band, ASK) Windsor/Toronto musician. He was charmingly self-conscious on stage playing his first solo gig, and his folk/classical-inspired set, including some of the most accomplished guitar work we've seen in a while, was just plain charming. Corbett (St. John's, NL) has a similar pedigree, and is best known as a member of The Burning Hell.

So why did these two experienced session musicians-- Corbett on the violin, Marshall on the upright bass-- have such a hard time following Al Tuck? We've done a bit of amateur jamming in our day, and once you've got the basic chords down, usually some form of the standard 1-4-5, it's fairly easy to keep up and maybe even improvise a little. But Tuck doesn't do a lot of basic. Yes, his songs have verses, choruses, melodies-- and often beautifully crafted, wandering chord progressions. To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, the songs of Al Tuck are a journey, not a destination.

Alison Corbett and Max Marshall

Marshall and Corbett gamely tried to keep up, but scrappy it was. It didn't help that Tuck had to abandon his buzzy "parlor" guitar for an electric, and borrowed Marshall's guitar as well. Both instruments seemed to require a lot of retuning to different keys between songs, giving Tuck plenty of time to entertain the modest audience with stories, humour and observations on par with Norm MacDonald. We were disappointed that we never had a chance to hear Corbett really cut loose on the violin before she had to leave.

After a break, Tuck returned more relaxed for a second set; Marshall's earlier solo stage nerves gave way to witty banter. When he finally implored Tuck to "Play something I know," the atmosphere changed from "face down on the page" (Brave Last Days, 1994) to everyone on the same page on hits like "brother from another mother" (My Blues Away, 2005), and at the request of jojodillon, a lovely rendition of "Wishing Well, recorded by Joel Plaskett but penned by Tuck himself. Happy ending to a scrappy show.

We picked up Tuck's 2010 release, All Time Favourites, afterwards and it didn't leave the CD player for days. With every listen, our appreciation grew, and we expect it to grow even more when Tuck's new release, Under Your Shadow (New Scotland Records), drops on Nov. 8. Listen to the single "Slapping the Make On You" (produced by Joel Plaskett) here. If you're lucky enough to live in eastern Canada, Tuck will be touring in support of the new album-- with Sudbury's Ox as his backing band.

Nov. 3: Kingston, ON-- the Mansion
Nov. 4: Ottawa, ON-- Raw Sugar
Nov. 5: Montreal, PQ-- Grumpy's
Nov. 8: Fredericton, NB-- The Capital
Nov. 9: Moncton, NB-- Plan B
Nov. 10: Halifax, NS-- The Carleton
Nov. 11: Charlottetown, PEI-- Hunter's

Photos: Russ Gordon/N2D Images