Welcome to my shop. Let me cut your mop. The name is Kevin Barber. I hope you will feel free to read my thoughts on pretty well anything going on in the world today - inside and outside my head. So pal, how do you like it?
Travellers travel – thats what they do. Be it the actual journey across the world or the metaphysical trip one takes mentally, Carolyna Lovely has both in spades. Long a Hamilton standard for both her writing and playing – she also was more than adept at the nuts-and-bolts part of the game – and she made things happen. When it became clear to her that Steel Town didn’t have her for good, she set out to travel, winding up in Australia working the land as well as her fertile mind. She can be tough but who the hell wants soft in this world? Her knack for picking not only a song but a style to suit the mood is legendary, and the proof is very much in the pudding on this one as she once again becomes the thing she dreamed. A new record and a return to her beloved Canada to tour it’s expansive beauty. It’s a damn good thing we have the time and place to welcome her – Barber Shop Podcast style.
Everywhere you look in this business there are stories, it’s part and parcel of what you sign up for in a way and Shawn Brush has a pretty good one for all of us to know. It’s said music will either tell your story if you let it, and combining all the disciplines is hard enough without having additional hurdles along your journey. The fact that Shawn has continually brushed off limitations with wit and humor and a shitload of talent for over twenty years, speaks for the man’s universally respected character. From the early years of learning his craft his keen ear and eye played into his mature songwriting. Soon Shawn was not only churning out one or two records every year, he was and is featured on many seminal Hamilton/GTA recording sessions as his name became well known in certain circles. Because there was such a deep variety of artists and styles, his prowess as a multi instrumentalist for almost any style proceeded him more and more, Sometimes when you push yourself that hard it’s a bit tough on the equipment and Shawn pushes himself very hard to do many things that many of us take for granted. He enjoys tremendous support in the art and music communities and as he embarks on yet another phase in an incredible career, he is getting set to tour again after getting a new conversion van to bring The Krooked Cowboy to your neck of the woods.
This was a very special night for us, splitting the studio up and jamming a few originals with Harry and George while spinning a few oldies and just talking about the life and times of a pretty remarkable guy who has always stood behind his mark.
What happens when a gorgeous, obscenely talented American chick falls for a ruff-n-tumble former punk from Canada, forms a splash-n-brass 7 piece band, fall in love, get married and have a kid while still in their formative twenties? Well, you keep writing your life story and stitch together a sweet little tapestry of the continuation of that very life – you record an EP and you book yourself a spot on the best live music podcast going and send your song files to a drummer and pedal steel player and perform together live for the first time EVER.
Its an honor to be witness to the birth and evolution of something – more so something beautiful. Music is the magic that makes us all part of the same journey and its great to have the best seat in the house.
Music travels. It transcends space and time, the crystallized essence of what one feels, knows and wishes fleshed out in the here and now for time eternal. A life in music contains many such moments, the inevitable ups and downs, highs and lows, all part of a much bigger picture. Kyle Pacey is one such individual who both personally and stylistically is wed to a time and place that is at the same time frozen in a bygone era and also incredibly relevant to where we are today. Stylistically he lays down a cool jazzy vibe and vocals that speak of the universal wants and needs, scattering effluent verbology over a nuanced groove. Personally, he has lived through those times, and the passion and conviction he carries ensures that those who get to hear him are treated to something real and good.
Being brutally honest in a soulfully poignant way has become the hallmark of Hamilton’s Tomi Swick since he broke nationally by winning a Juno all those years ago. A whole lifetime – or two – have provided a wealth of material in those years, an old soul catching up with himself. Writers seldom give themselves credit, and singers – well singers you see have a contentious relationship with their own abilities, always hearing a little more of the mistakes and a little less of the greatness than others might, a constant battle to flesh out the bones of a song with absolute legitimacy. Tomi Swick suffered a catastrophic injury to his voices – an ending far too soon into a promising career that had already seen more ups and downs than many full careers witness and could provide ample resource material for years of songwriting to come. If Tomi Swick was going to make it back was only in question for a short time, but how remained a mystery until all the pieces were gradually put in place along with the accrued wisdom and steely determination that only redemption can provide.
It is a true blessing to have an hour with Tomi Swick here at BOXO Studio, this being a very significant night for a number of reasons. Not only was this the first time we got Tomi one-on-one (the first appearance was with Andy Griffiths) but this is the very first show that our esteemed audio guy Gary Greenland covered for Ryan and ran the entire show by himself – and did a great job as you will see and hear. Tomi Swick plays 4 new – never before recorded songs live in-studio and we get a few cuts from the gorgeous The Yukon Hotel, his latest and greatest CD from Sleight Music along with stories and memories of his life in – and out – of music.
Bands out of London Ontario have a pedigree of sorts, quite often comprised of a great cross section of the province’s brightest minds and a musically steeped geography that lends itself to smart, quality musicianship. When there is a symbiotic relationship between the members, the underpinnings aren’t often easily conveyed by just one of the members. On this fine Wednesday, a gent by the name of Steve Murphy made the trek to Hamilton to represent the group as a solo act, stripping down the lush arrangements and laying bare his soul for our voyeuristic pleasure. The members of WESTMINSTER PARK might not have made the trip with Steve, but the message sure got thru loud and clear. Possessing a melancholy wistful nature, Steve Murphy writes the kind of songs that lament and linger, often touching on the nerve that is still swollen or pinched, turning the key in a lock of our own making. The record he brought along is entitled Fig. 4: Molt, Rebirth and serves to carefully examine the cause and effect of our humanity with deeply personal tomes that share a common element with the listener. Steve’s wife Colleen along with Melissa Parrott and Steve Presant created a brilliant work that is at once playful and cautionary while remaining musical and true. The fact that Steve has the pluck to carry the load solo allowed something very special to happen as the intimacy of the moment was exploited to full advantage with the deft finger picking and powerfully subdued vocals in his performances.
As far as shows go – this is a bittersweet showcase of just how far Barber Shop Podcast has come in the past 5 years. The High Fidelity audio and High Definition video look as professional as our guest sounds, bringing original, independent music to the four corners of the world each and every week.
Spencer turned 18 this week and it’s nice to see time catch up with him because he’s been pulling the weight of a man for quite a few years now. The blues is a trap you see – seemingly simple to play and write – but there you see is the rub. The blues can spot a fraud a mile away, and the form insists there are no substitutes for authenticity when bending notes and holding audience in the holes and havens that provide safe haven for the (usually senior) players and audiences on the blues circuit in Southern Ontario.
Hailing from the mighty Niagara region of Southern Ontario, Spence Mackenzie is literally at the crossroads of the greatest blues migration in the world. As the freedom train rolled over the years, the true blues-men of the delta region, or Kansas City, Chicago or Memphis had to ride the rails thru these parts if they were to get to ANY other part of Canada over the past three quarters of a century. The seeds of that tree were scattered far and wide with out golden horseshoe getting more than it’s fair share. Born into a musical family, the kid showed an affection and affinity for the blues box and soon the riffs were becoming more natural and more a part of his soul. The secrets of the masters became clear as he mastered the classics, and his father was willing and able to pen the experienced and nuanced lines that must bear scrutiny and repeating in a song that transpires mere homage and becomes a true original.
It was a fine late spring evening when the then 17 year old Mackenzie journeyed up the highway to Steeltown to sit down with Kevin to talk about his new CD “Infected With The Blues” and with that all the usual stuff – and a few things no one saw coming. Everyone had a good time and we were treated to Spence playing stripped down with just an acoustic and his ever increasing voice. It was a fine night indeed – and you get to relive it now, on Barber Shop Podcast
It’s no secret that the difference between being known as a great and a great unknown is the combination of hard work, dedication , talent – and luck. Often the souls that create incredible works of music do so in relative obscurity, known to those who inhabit a scene or a city – but not to the public at large who would certainly find something extremely profound in these gems. Week after week, the talent that lurks just below the surface is on display here at Barber Shop Podcast, and this week is no different as we sit down with another Niagara artist, Brad Battle.
Brad Battle brings with him an honest and earnest work ethic to his music – sonic beauties right on the edge of maudlin without a hint of guile that you get with a factory produced song. He writes from the heart, from a very personal perspective that we can somehow all identify with. Taking with him the doubts and fears, the triumphs and tragedies, Brad Battle literally writes and sings his heart out for both his and our salvation. Universal themes of pride and prejudice, lost directions and a keen situational awareness, he uses his deft playing and sublime songwriting to make these mind memes into something far more pertinent for the listener.
This guy could bring the house down fronting a rollicking band or melt heart strings in an intimate and personal setting – as he does so well here, on this episode of Barber Shop Podcast.
Music is art and art is communication. How we reach out to each other has been the story of humanity itself. This show strives to feature storytellers who craft the most spellbinding tales with musical artistry and deft prose, all while being delivered in a voice that must stir others with it’s earnest authenticity. Not all strive for this, and those who do aren’t always able to combine these disciplines in the way that Cory Cruise can so very well. Cory Cruise is one of those rarities, a 7 time Niagara Music Awards winner in categories that span the board, but also a bonafide sweetheart who volunteers in support of Veterans support and transitioning prisoners. While others moan and grumble, this beacon of positivity actually goes out and does things that lift us all. Maintaining a sense of balance and humility in the face of snakes and ladders, the tale of how this guy found his way into music and what he’s done while there is a life lesson that’s worth the time even if it were not for the performances and album cuts that round out this episode.
It’s just a little too hard to label Cory Cruise, and that suits him just fine. Be it country, pop, roots or adult contemporary, he knows what you really are is a music fan – a fan of good music and he’s not about to disappoint. Cory Cruise is the real deal and you’re going to love this most outstanding episode of Barber Shop Podcast.
Quarter In The Bag is an increasingly rare bird these days – an original rock n roll outfit that doesn’t sound like every other band trying to break out in this winner-take-some world of original music. Now, make no mistake, the boys surely do hark back in time to the tried and true elements of goodness found in so many of the truly great power trios that laid the foundation in stone. Rob Honey knows how to write, knows how to play, and knows that the show is paramount….that is to say, you’d better be willing to go balls to the wall 24/7 if you want to live let alone succeed. Teaming up with Troy Mosley on Bass and Adam Platsko on drums, these boys culled the very best of their dad’s record collection and combined it with their own bends and breaks to drive home a very legit cornerstone in what is sure to be a sprawling estate of rock n’ roll.
The former members of The Mercy Beat and Dead End Sessions, the guys started putting their sounds and ideas down in the fall of 2015 and sharpened their stick accordingly until they were ready to record their debut 6 song EP at Burlington’s B Town Sound with engineer Mickey Ellsworth and engineer/producer Jordan Viaene (of Kandy Face) to make a truly ass-kicking offering, full of memorable hooks, break downs and soaring fits of harmonized rage and angst – all in good fun.
It’s fun when we have the whole band stop in and this was no exception as the boys plugged in and dropped the needle on over an hour of great times and great tunes. This town is full of amazing talent and we at Barber Shop Podcast will continue to beat the bushes and comb the streets for the very best in original, independent music – each and every week – on Barber Shop Podcast.