Life has its ups and downs, and the singer-songwriter rides those hills and valleys on a regular basis for they provide the chewy grist for milling. Careful to leave just enough texture while making the journey both evocative and palatable is what James Ferris does with great skill and passion. His style is instantly familiar, with the impassioned growl and fierce delivery – a home spun rocker with a light touch.
In the early days, the Nova Scotia kid was prone to rampant, unchecked musicality and his need to create meshed beautifully with his ability to write and play with conviction. Playing covers and classics gave him the template to create his own music, sure to knock on the very same doors as the iconic masters he had begun by emulating. Something special happened along the way, and by the time he moved to Hamilton, he was clearly prepared to bring his music to the table, a bountiful plenty for all to enjoy.
So positive is his performance, so committed are his lyrics, one is easily carried along to their own interpretations of the deeply personal journey of James Ferris. Producing art and music, James Ferris had carved himself out a spot in this town as a harbinger of positivity and pleasure, smiles for miles and a very sociable experience.
Showing up on the last Wednesday in August, James brings with him the smokin’ duo of Ron Cole on keys and Colin Lapsley on bass to flesh out his arrangements and serve up a spread of home cooking in the form of beautiful, original music.
Stop by for awhile at Barber Shop Podcast and enjoy the benefits of real, good, original music.
We pick our guests very carefully here at Barber Shop Podcast, the common thread is always a belief in music as a life force. No part timers, pseudo troubadours or poseurs make their way to the hallowed space that is BOXO Studio on Wednesday nights. So imagine our surprise when a group of seemingly balanced and rehearsed boys from the Toronto bedroom community of Milton got a hold of us and asked if they too might be featured on our wundershow…… well, I guess the sweet scent of The Hammer has spread far and wide, and if an outsider is ready to embrace is in all our gritty glory, well then; we too must stretch out our arms and embrace their fresh-scrubbed faces with their very own show.
In the very beginning, guitarists Ty MacKenzie and Kenny Drummond were the nexus of the group, their infectious synergy almost immediately drawing neighbour and bassist Steve McFarlane to the window, scratching and clawing at the door until they relented, and in doing so, added the slick, textured bass lines and sweet harmonies the these original tunes cried out for. After a switch of drummers last winter, the addition of Matt Frazer on the kit forged a very approachable yet unique sound that Winds Of The North can absolutely call their own.
The band really doesn’t sound like anybody while sounding just like every alt rock band that was charting in the 90’s. They take a song born from personal loss or triumph and build layers and texture in arrangement that show that every great song is much more than the sum of its tight, well-executed parts.
So here you have it… Yet another band, a great band, that you will probably never hear or hear of again. It’s tough enough to get gigs in a music town like Hamilton where you can play original music, it’s doubly hard in suburbia where they only want what they already know – pre packaged and individually portioned for your convenience. No, this is a band that will be seen and heard – and thanks to Barber Shop Podcast, they can be.
In high definition and hi fidelity Barber Shop Podcast goes to outer space and back, bouncing off satellites and towers to the safety and convenience of your home. Playing songs from their début self-titled EP, Winds Of The North blew in here and blew us away.
This show, on the surface, is about music. But scratch the surface and you will soon find that it’s really about life. For artists bleed for us on a regular basis, reaching into their heart and souls to purge the sadness and tragedy that we all encounter. The writer paints a landscape and then places the characters who we identify with on a stage for us to see ourselves when it might seem far too dark to do so.
This week, your eminent host Kevin was reeling from a life event on the heels of another crushing setback. Spirits were low and the usual boisterous, bombastic bravado had left the building. In its place sat a man who questioned why, and if anyone even cared..
Well – from the mists a troubadour by the name of Will Gillespie – he from the North, via Timmins, Sudbury and Toronto made his way with his trusty guitar to BOXO Studio for a time to commiserate. Giving homage to the songs that make us both think and feel, he tells his story and sings the songs of love and loss this broken being needed on a warm August night. Every tune a deeply personal tale of angst that reverberates deeply in any of us who have felt gold dust slip between our fingers.
It’s a cold world out there – but Will Gillespie and Barber Shop Podcast knitted a nice warm sweater that’s big enough for us all to share.
When Mark McNeil travel to Hamilton all those years ago for what was to be a summer job, you never expected that the rest of his life would be about Hamilton stories, Hamilton people and the lifeblood that is this place. And it early affinity for all things musical, including the Beatles, brought him into playing the guitar. His love of writing and meshing out a story was also started early, and when the musical kid got a night crime reporter job at The Hamilton Spectator in the 80’s, the die was cast in steel.
Mark McNeil uses his reporters chops to great effect on the critically acclaimed CD “Flashbacks” a veritable who’s who of Hamilton iconic figures, each tale fleshed out with wit and insight as to the true flavour of the town. Written as the soundtrack for the play James Street, the troubadour and storyteller manages to be both factual and fanciful in this musical marker.
On this fine night Mark drops by with Lester Smith filling the spaces with his signature sweet chops and harmonies and none other than Paul
Panchezak on the sparse kit to give even more Hamilton accent to these tunes, songs that can be found on his CD and right here, right now at Barber Shop Podcast.
To play music you must love music, and some have love affairs long before they ever begin that journey in earnest. George C.W. Douglas always knew music held a special place, a certain station in life. Growing up the sounds were an intoxicant that soon led to the life that led to the long, strange trip that has led him to here. Listening and watching all the arena rock greats of the era, only the names that spilled from commercial radio were on tap – some pretty great ones mind you, yet the knowledge and comfort songwriters had on him took root and started George Douglas on his path as a bona fide singer-songwriter. It was the seminal debut album by Blackie and the Rodeo Kings in tribute to the great Wille P. Bennett that really shook his foundation to the point where he began to see the true calling and Zeitgeist of the art form, a slew of troubadours and six string heroes that make the real good stuff in spades. It was when he decided to stop forgetting the memorable moments and live a sober life in the moment that his passion and calling came into focus. Taking with him the lessons of a life well lived, Douglas started writing, playing and believing in himself as the real deal.
Lo and behold, he has arrived. Stopping by BOXO Studio on this fine evening, George C.W. Douglas brings the super-talented Matty Simpson along to okay live and a few tracks from his Brock Zeman produced “Songs From The Big Muddy”
to share the magic of a mission accomplished.
Great fun, easy peasy,.. On Barber Shop Podcast.
Sometimes being at the right place at the right time is far far more than circumstance. To arrive at a destination, one must set a course and go for it.
Hailee Rose is one of those rare birds, adorned with vibrant plumage and possessing a voice that cuts through the noise, the silence and the generations. Born into a creative and supportive family, Hailee had a knack for the dramatic, singing and playing every imaginary part with absolute conviction. Never scared to put it all out there, she and her mom went to countless auditions and cattle-calls from a very tender age. Possessing vitality and confidence, her faith in the arts – and herself – never wained despite the continual rejections and promises of tomorrow offered as consolation. When the day came that the casting director for the Mirvish production of The Lion King said yes, she was ready. In a classic case of happenstance, one night a certain Dave Rave was in the audience and took note of the remarkable talent and presence displayed by the young Hailee Rose, not realizing that their paths would cross in a profound way one day.
Fast forward to 2014 and a local producer and music man Dave Beatty launched a workshop at his QED studios wherein musicians who had never been in a functioning band could get together and work out the myriad of elements necessary to play a concise set of music, together, in a supportive environment. Hailee Tose knew she could sing, thought she could write, and wanted to go. Within moments, those who were there saw and heard for themselves just how remarkable this girl was and word soon filtered out to none other than Dave Rave that this was a talent to be reckoned with. On the third session, Dave was in attendance and a believer. Working with someone like Dave Rave brought with it a truly remarkable set of credentials and contacts. Within a short time, they were writing and soon joined Carl Jennings to record a three song CD titled Everything’s Going to be Alright.
Writing sessions in New York, touring England, playing the Cavern Club in Liverpool, all thrust her into the spotlight – a place she was always destined to be.
Joining her and Dave in the studio this fine night, Dan Willer, Dave Bayley and legendary drummer Bucky Berger have a blast telling their tale and performing both the original and classic music with magnificent ease – the stuff of legend – in the making.
It’s all good… So good… On Barber Shop Podcast.
Sometimes the right head sits in the chair at Barber Shop Podcast at the right time to change things up and keep in style. Adam Carter grew up surrounded by great music thanks to a substantial and tasty record collection and steady support and encouragement within the town of a Lynden on the outskirts of Hamilton.
The discovery of an unloved guitar and the burning ambition to learn his chops saw a quick progression of ability and confidence. The early internet gift of on line guitar archives and easy-to-understand tablature notation meant Carter could learn a bucket full of songs – and learned to write his own as well.
Recruiting like minded high school chums and firming a band – the seriousness was balanced with all the youthful exuberance and honest hubris necessary to actually believe a life in music was not only possible, but likely.
Currently, Carter is indeed deep in the life investment that music requires as not only the music manager of Homegrown Hamilton but also the driving force in the human race, a recording act that can be a sprawling stage of interwoven creation or like tonight, just one man, a guitar, a looper pedal and the beautiful truth.
the human race – Adam Carter on this special episode of Barber Shop Podcast
You can’t get more Hamilton than The Shakers, four guys from West Hamilton who turned heads and turned up the volume in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Forged from the very best of Hamilton stock, cousins Dave (Rave) and Claude Deroches made music in the family tradition, locking down the familial groove and patterns that laid a solid cornerstone. Hooking up with Ric (The Mayor) Andrew in the mid seventies, Dave and Ric immediately recognized the synergy and harmonies that emerged, blending the country, blues and early rock n roll with the emerging aggressive and oh-so-danceable style that they and fellow Steel Town stalwarts Teenage Head owned so completely. Guitar slinger Tim Gibbons, all too aware of the talent and verve displayed by this burgeoning group, gladly assumed the guitar duties that Gordie Lewis had subbed in for and voila!, the greatest flash bang of the decade was born. Scoring multiple radio charts and packing houses across the land, The Shakers burned hot and bright for half a decade, eventually going their separate ways, each a force in the music business for years to come.
This fine night we are blessed with the glorious return of The Shakers, gearing up for a couple of big reunion shows in Hamilton and Toronto.
Loose, light and full of warm memories, we were all in a very good place indeed.
A very good night indeed – at Barber Shop Podcast.
Never before in 136 weeks have Ryan, Gary, and Kevin left the confines of BOXO Studio…. Not till this week anyway.
It’s Wednesday July 1 and that means Canada day round here.
This night was a Wednesday two weeks prior wherein we captured some area songwriters bringing forth songs in the most beautiful but vulnerable stage. Hamilton nightclubs are regular haunts for top notch songwriters but the venue and location of the ancient mason’s lodge brings with it a great mystique and provenance that bars can’t buy.
Attempting to film as the fly on the wall, we basically crashed the monthly event hosted by Jay Burr and Danny Medakovic with the unknown as our only assurance.
Faith it is, and faith it shall be.
Happy Birthday Canada from Barber Shop Podcast.
The Castor Troys are a driving punk rock / hard rock 4-piece out of Hamilton/Burlington, Ontario, Canada. Accessible, melodic, catchy, yet uncompromising. Peddlers of true stories and truer fiction.
Formed in 2009, The Castor Troys mix storyteller lyrics and a relentless sound that nevertheless comes from careful crafting.
With decades of experience under their collective belt, The Castor Troys draw influences from all different styles of rock and blues. Influences of Social Distortion, the Headstones, Bad Religion and the Offspring are definitely present here, but the scope of the sound goes well beyond those confines. With most members being multi-instrumentalists and song-writers, there’s always a wealth of creativity to draw on. The band has played stages such as the CBC Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, Sound of Music Festival, Burly Calling, PouzzaFest, and Canada’s Largest Ribfest. Members have shared the stage with many well-known bands including Finger Eleven, the Headstones, the Hanson Brothers (of puck-rock fame, not the mmmbop kids…) Theory of a Deadman, Propaghandi, The Marble Index, The Planet Smashers, LimbLifter, The Reason, Guttermouth, illScarlett and Silverstein, among others.
The Castor Troys are
Aaron Walsh – vocals
Chris Ledroit – guitar, vocals