The Folk Sinners

There is a special place in Hamilton that serves perfectly to exemplify the cause and effect of greatness on the music and youth of a generation – Westdale High School and the late 70’s. Thanks to a bunch of friends who formed Teenage Head, the sound and fury they so aptly channeled became a siren song for many contemporaries in the following decades, including a few of the fine gentlemen featured in tonight’s episode of Barber Shop Podcast.

Ralph Nicole was and is a West Hamilton boy, perhaps not as ensconced as some other of the denizens who were part of the musical milieu of that era, but he was hungry for a piece of that dream. When the likes of Kerr, Lewis, Mahon, De Roches and Stipanitz fused the New York Dolls with Eddie Cochran, the world took notice one street at a time – and Ralph was one of the very first on board. Developing and defining his own sound thru all the trials of time and life saw the man and his music write his own story – one that continues to this day with The Folk Sinners, a rag-tag band of brothers who paint a swirling image of notes and lyrics in a colourful homage to the stories he’s telling now. Laying somewhere between the blooming fields and the cold ground, the moods are a familiar but unique take on the classic themes of world beats and local sensibilities, an effective and powerful carpet to magically ride over the lands below.

This fine Wednesday night sees Ralph in fine form, leading the band of brothers in a special performance that you’ll only see here. Featuring Ed Kopas on guitar, Bruce Mallory on bass, Rob Jarovi on keys and the venerable Michael Keena on drums, we get the scoop on the early days, the crazy nights and the path that has led us all here today. You’ll get to see and hear the band perform live as well as hearing some of the great tracks from their self-titled CD as well as the great insights and magic moments you won’t find anywhere else out there.

Ralph Nicole is the real deal and as with all things, being real and perusing excellence will see you arrive where you belong and all the fakes in the world predicting your demise will be damned to whisper your name like Rosebud in a snowstorm.

Long live independent media.


Bill Majoros featuring Steve Eggers

Something great about this show that often goes unheralded is the “other” musicians who accompany our guests, and tonight is a great example of that. Way back in our second year, Bill Majoros brought the beginnings of his “The Record Collector” opus to our studio and fleshed those songs out with the help of femme fantastics Kori Pop and Anna Timmons. That episode discusses Bill’s remarkable past as a force in modern music over the years and gives a glimpse into this creators mind while laying out the sonic tiles that would form the mosaic.

This time around it’s Steve Eggers who comes along and his history and insights play well with his bass to help us see where it’s all arrived on this fine autumn Wednesday in 2016.

Music is not only the background of our lives but is also the score, both shaping and reflecting our world with the lights and filters of our surroundings. Pop music more than other forms has held the sugar fix for our youth, sweetening the bitter and allowing our desires a life outside the ethos. Those sensibilities remain in this candy land over generations and although the format and methodology may change as we advance, the message and sentiment remain. Light, gauzy and heavy with atmosphere, pop music serves a purpose and these two professors certainly know the formula.

Smart discussion, revealing insights, musical history and real opinions exist here interspersed with live studio performances and cuts from a truly great record collector is what we got – and all you need is a comfortable seat and an hour and a bit.


Halloween is a special time of year, a night that adults can be kids and kids can be anything they want. Add to that a big ol bag of candy and you’ve got the makings of a pretty potent party.

Well, we’ve gone one better this year – bringing you the spookiest and crushingly macabre sights and sounds of Kryptcreeper, a ghoulish punk rock outfit from the Hammer that has risen from the grave in the nick of time to claim your soul.

Music in this town takes on all shapes and sizes but the bricks of this group are solid, each player an MVP in this game, each sharing a love for that hyper-aggressive, pentatonic punk that doesn’t shy away from melody and musicality while still legitimately raging at anything that moves.

Bringing that bullshit filter to bear isn’t a pray-and-spray affair but more a targeted affair, the politics of rage alive and well in 2016 – and we are pretty happy about it.

Another Wednesday, another show, another great band you won’t find on the Uncle Grumpy comedy hour or anywhere else but right here – on Barber Shop Podcast.


Famous Framus

Songs are stories told by angels and sung by mortals. Some are light breezy distractions and some are profoundly visceral, the most brutal singular moments fashioned into a necklace of emotions, memories and discoveries. Famous Framus had been one of our favourites going way back and his first appearance fleshed out the blue collar origins and uniquely Canadian flavoured delta blues and Ozarkian tinged songs. Within the person was a humble and genuine man who had a the knack for wordplay and thrust in a deliberate two step.
For all of us, life writes it’s own script, and we don’t get to edit it when things go bad. Bad doesn’t come close to describing losing a child, every parents worst nightmare and what Famous Framus faced when his beloved son was taken suddenly – a chasm deeper than any before and a very real threat to the life and vitality of parents who together feel the weight of such a thing. Healing from that trauma is a long process that is necessary when fighting to honour a life and accept the inevitable acceptance to go forward.
Writing and recording an album about the boy, the man, and the spirit he knows, the therapeutic benefits of getting those ragged emotions somehow to evolve into a universal story to such a personal journey led to the inevitable result – something as real as it gets in the way only a song from the heart can deliver. It’s his pride, his pain, his son who is honoured in this record, and showcases in this very special episode of Barber Shop Podcast. World class music all comes from the same place, the heart and mind of the artist who lays it all out for us.

Judi Rideout and the X Husbands

A sweet voice will only get you so far without great stories to sing, and Judi Rideout has some epic tales to share. Hailing from that fertile ground along the North Shore of Lake Erie, the country/roots tinged tales of love and loss are testament to years spent living life with open eyes and a tender heart. Each song is a freeze-frame from both a time and a place in her life, and a few were penned with either ex-husband #1 or ex-husband #2, both skilled songwriters in their own right. What this means is that mere words are transformed into palpable emotion, every turn of phrase another turn of the page in her life scrap-book. Years of dedication and devotion to the craft made for a weighty document and when it was decided to make a full-length album at Hamilton’s Porcelain Records, she was ready and willing to go for it.
Listening to each track is a wonderfully refreshing experience, bereft of cloying inference, choosing instead the Devine path of openness and sage vulnerability.
Visiting Barber Shop Podcast on a gloriously warm October evening, the beer was as cold as the band was hot. Accompanying her on guitar we have Mark Foley on guitar and backing vocals, Justine Fischer on bass, Tom Wells keeping time and silky Sam DeRosa bending notes on the harp to round out the sound sublimely. Between the tequila and the laughs, a wonderful little thing happened and you’re about to have a front-row seat for the whole thing. Playing four brand new songs live and four tracks from the new CD “Ex-Husband”, Judi Rideout demonstrates precisely why she’s connecting so well with fans everywhere – she’s honest – lovely, sweet – and I believe her….
You will too.


Foster Pottery Company

Steve Foster has had a pretty good seat to see Hamilton music past and present more clearly than most. His early days from blues gigs with veteran Johnny Crawford to his place with Crawlin’ Kingsnakes and Stoked are documented on his two previous appearances on the show, as is his present place as sound engineer with Chorus Entertainment means that he’s been there and seen that in the past thirty years. Making a life in music isn’t easy, the demands often far outweighing the financial benefits for the most part. As the brick and mortar of the business becomes one’s barometer, the ethereal joy it once carried fades. Being very aware that there isn’t much milk and honey awaiting local aging rock stars, the reasons to not do music often seem more compelling than the need to pick up the guitar and make another dream, another band and another plan a reality. The only thing that tilts the field is a little thing called passion. When passion is in the mix, everything else suddenly doesn’t matter so much. When the songs in your head start to take shape, the feeling is intoxicating – when it’s now being shared and played by kindred souls it’s downright addictive.

Foster Pottery Company was the company started by his grandfather many years ago and is the name of the three-piece Rock n roll outfit that is debuting here tonight.

Teaming up with long time friends Mike Northcott on bass and Mike Keena on drums, the band has a pace and ferocity that belies the sageness contained within. Big swelling guitar riffs riding atop a tight and rollicking rhythm section, great harmonies and a sweat fuelled set is what you can expect from these seasoned purveyors and you won’t be disappointed.

Great guys, great stories and a sneak peek at some new tunes brings you up to date of what’s in store musically and is sure to leave you wanting more. More is good.


Ron Baumber

Sometimes in life, our true loves come and go more than once – the fire smouldering but never truly extinguished. Such was – and is the case with Ron Baumber, a singer-songwriter who was right there, a key player in the heyday of the craft in the Canadian epicentre of Toronto. The burgeoning scene in Yorkville and the other bohemian boroughs were rife with the words and music that defined a generation. Ron Baumber certainly lived that life, and when time and life undercut the stability of that rock he built his life upon, the guitar and the pen were put down – for a while at least.

Years may pass but the need to create never does, so when the desire to pick up where he left off grew too strong to ignore, the creative flow started anew and a new journey was underway.

The various pieces started fitting together bit by bit and the songs began to pile up – good songs full of the lessons and perspective that only life can offer. Teaming up with like minded musicians who shared the desire to perform paid dividends and that passion and commitment has yielded a remarkable testament to the dreams that never die.

Ron Baumber & Friends have captured that feel and feature up to eight musicians whose individual voices combine brilliantly with the spacial awareness that comes with time and experience, the notes swirling and turning without stepping on toes.

On this fine night we feature Ron with but one of these band mates, another chap who had stepped away from the stage for years before teaming up and rediscovering the passion that started this raging affair in the first place. Gerry Mayor sits in, playing the very same saxophone he’s had since high school. The focus is on the songs, the context is in the story, and it’s all right here on this episode of Barber Shop Podcast.


Episode #200 – Tim Potocic/Supercrawl 2016

Something really cool is going down in The Hammer this weekend – something that is like steroids for the music scene in this town, something remarkable called Supercrawl. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past eight years, Supercrawl is an amazing overdose of art, music and fashion crammed into a few closed-off blocks of James Street, transforming the concrete canyons into a real-life stage like no other. 

The dude at the helm of this mighty ship is Tim Potocic, the home town visionary who has parlayed his experiences of 90’s powerhouse Tristin Psionic into a key partnership with a band-mate and longtime friend, cohorts who took everything they knew and all they believed in – and formed Sonic Unyon, a small label with big dreams and the killer work ethic that makes ideas transform into a sublime reality.  Residing in the heart of downtown, the little record company that could began to develop and promote concerts and festivals, real life stages onto which the creative visions of the artist can be delivered to a receptive audience – from the lips to the ears of the next generation of folks to whom real, original music is the crucial ingredient. The hard scrabble of James Street North began to transform and evolve due to the monthly happening on the second Friday of every month – a little thing called Art Crawl that made that mean street suddenly inviting and comforting in a bohemian fashion, cool, trendy but somehow untainted by the monetization and fiduciary concerns that exist when art and commerce collides. In 2008 the idea of a street festival took flight with the first Super Crawl and  every year since the spectacle had grown in size and impact. Hamilton has always been known as a music town. We have always had a remarkable core of steadfast artists who could invest in their world on a street, in a neighborhood, uniquely their own. Now it seems everyone wants in, a sure signal that the little idea is now the blueprint on how to take a bit of skill, a deep passion, and a whole lot of community to create the most exciting three days in all of Ontario. Yup, it’s not rocket science but it’s close – let’s call it rock science and Tim Potocic is the mad genius we get to know tonight, on Barber Shop Podcast.


Checkerboard Floors

Just west of Steeltown lies the fertile ground of Haldimand County and the city of Brantford – a place that punches far above its weight musically speaking. In that zone of influence between there and the town of Paris (not France 😉 live the lads who comprise the makings of tonight’s guests, Checkerboard Floors. Comprised of Derek Palagano, Tyler Wilson, Matt Outerson and Rob Shorney perform in every wing shack and mall bar they can book with their cover band, gaining the precious experience and chops along the way to invest in their vehicle of original music, making compelling and legitimate art in an environment that is often barren of the nourishment that steady gigs and regular praise brings. Steady progress, absolute conviction and a faith in the results bore fruit and when it became time to retreat to the boutique studio of guitarist Wilson’s creation led to the further creation of their debut album ART PROJECT in 2014, a 10 song, full length CD that showcases the slick arrangements and crafty vocal interplay within the band, the vexing voice of Palango strong yet plaintive atop the mix with Wilson’s fretboard flourishes and Outerson’s hinge evident in his harmonies and low passes, each instrument and voice both pushing and pulling the others effortlessly, creating just the right tension to make the heartstrings sing. Yup, these lads are both nothing special and the next best thing all at once. You’d be forgiven if you overlooked Checkerboard Floors whole going about your daily tasks – but you should definitely go back for a closer look – it’s well worth the time and effort.  This fine night, the last night of August, we welcome our western neighbors with open arms, lending a hand and an ear as yet another great band you’ll likely never get to hear or see without this little glimpse – who knows, you might just fall in love all over again.


Radio Free Universe

The guys in RFU have been on this show a couple of times before, their story and legitimate claim to groove rock supremacy well established in the years covering that time span. This time, the magical third appearance, has the honor of showcasing the band in a rare stripped down acoustic version for only the second time ever, but also heralds the release of their latest CD Casa del Diablo as a full length, full bore record of monumental riffs and big league vocals riding on a powder keg beat.
When you have the right formula, it’s only a matter of time before the world beats a path to your door and Radio Free Universe has made that secret blend of rock and roll a standard that they are willing to fight for.
This fine summer night we welcomed George, Marcus and Ashton (sans Ryan) to the studio to do what we do best. Never short on insight and opinion, George is as honest and passionate about discourse and discussion as he is about his songs. Marcus is as spot on as ever providing the ideal foil and Ashton makes with the egg shaker when he’s not showing off his guitar skills. Together they show why they are so loved and respected around here. Keeping it real and really tight with a light step of confidence provides a great soundtrack to the life and times of a little ol rock band outa Hamilton Ontario. Sure, T-dot likes em too, and we don’t mind if our neighbors get an earful of the good stuff as long as we can sup it up at home in grand style with friends and family.