Steve Murphy/Westminster Park

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 Mackenzie

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

 

Brad Battle

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.

 

Cory Cruise

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

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.

 

The Vaudevillian

The Vaudevillian is something more than an anachronism – something bigger than a simple paradox in music – they are a debonair tour-d-force amongst the benign and predictable, they are earnestly and honestly a refreshing hark back to when music belonged to the people.

Jitterbug James and Norah Spades are lovers and partners in crime. He, the brash upstart who loved the songs of the dangerous times when Scott Joplin and Babe Ruth dominated the airwaves – when style and science broke new ground – when innocence was waning and the world was opening up wide. She the smart cookie, the piece of the puzzle that fit oh-so-well and made the music pop. The addition of the final piece of the puzzle was Piedmont Johnson, he of true Southern heritage and real dirt road chops, never a step away from the wellspring that gives birth to the rollicking, rocking joyride that you experience with any Vaudevillian show or record.

The story is real, the journey has just begun and we have a real sweetheart of a show with some amazing live performances and some choice tracks from their new Busted Flat Records release – Bringing Satan Down. It is left to be determined if these three want to bring the dark lord to his knees, or if they intend to merely bring him down for a hell of a party and a wicked jam for the ages – but we’ll let you know when we find out.

The Vaudevillian is a hoot, a howl, and a seriously good time for people of all walks – a trip down memory lane with brand new stories. This is a good one and it’s right here, on Barber Shop Podcast.

 

Sophia Radisch

We just love it when a young up-and-comer drops by the show as they ascend, phoenix like, into the upper echelons of the music industry – it gives us hope for the future. Sure, there are many great shows in the bank here at Barber Shop Podcast with many talented and fascinating individuals, but it is nice to be around for that brief period when youthful energy and a whirlwind of buzz is taking a special individual to their desired and deserved orbit.

Destiny is often referred to as when preparation meets hard work, and Sophia Radisch is indeed a child of destiny. Only 18, this remarkable young woman began performing on stage at the tender age of 12 – long after she had begun demonstrating obvious skills in musicality and prose. Possessing a vivid 3D imagination, the burgeoning artist was fostered by a keen and attentive family and soon caught the eyes of those in her hometown of Ottawa. As her repertoire grew, so did the buzz about this girl who could sing and write like someone much older and worldly, but still possessing the guileless innocence and earnest mannerisms of a genuine sweetheart. The phone kept ringing and record production led to film scoring led to musical stage and media exposure in an ever increasing regularity. Picking up a sponsorship from Gibson Guitars made the cynical observer give this young girl her deserved dues and being featured at NAMM recently allowed many of her fans from around the world to meet and interact with the redhead in the top hat they like so much.

Well, we were lucky enough to snag her for an hour in mid April 2017 and what a pure joy this evening was. Playing five live and showing off a sweet video, we get to know her a little better, and you can too. Here is her now – age 18, with a world of opportunity ahead of her. Something tells me Sophia Radisch is going to do just fine, and I for one will be cheering her on.

 

Shari & Jonny

Beloved is the best word to describe the duo of Shari & Jonny, two kindred soul singers who found their common voice thru divine necessity, the alchemy instantly good and forever etched in our collective minds. She, the seasoned stage pro and master of so many classics, and he, a young natural – phenom guitar player who either knew, or anticipated her ever nuance right from the get go. When it came time for him to sing, the recipe for beautiful music was complete, as the boy turned out to have quite the set of golden pipes himself.
What followed was many performances and many hours under the lights, delighting the spoiled patrons of the city with their blue-eyed soul, R&B, roots and classic AOR cuts done with a special interplay that led so many to demand a record of their own – and so they did.

Writing together was a new stretch, but sure enough, the words came to the lips and the fingers formed the chords on which those words rode, one after the other. Not always an easy affair, the songs produced bore witness to their creators easy harmony and all rejoiced.

This early April Wednesday saw the two in genteel spirits and proud anticipation as they made their debut appearance on episode #226, finally being cornered and captured for our enjoyment – the result of course being your enjoyment as well.
Sit right down, grab a beverage and enjoy yourself an hour of Shari & Jonny in the friendly confines of Barber Shop Podcast.

 

Thomas Wade

Country music fans are a loyal bunch with long memories, but many of them, like the rest of us, have let the memory of Thomas Wade slip away from them. This guy was the right age, sounding the right way at the right time when the “New Country” sound was blowing up and he was everywhere thanks to CMT, huge radio rotation and sold out tour dates. Add songwriting for the likes of Celine Dion all while riding a wave of success with his band Thomas Wade and the Waywards, and he could be forgiven for believing the world was fair and good, and his life was unfolding just as it should…….and then life happened.

It took a bit of time, but Thomas Wade started to realize he was losing his voice and in doing so, his livelihood. The very thing that had allowed his thoughts and visions to come alive and actually produce an income to support his wife and new child as well as his band family was slowly being taken away. Fighting against the debilitating effects, he managed to twist and channel his voice into something tonally acceptable, but the end was in sight – and it wasn’t pretty.
The better part of a decade ensued where the man in all his determination changed paths and perused excellence in another field, but singing was the furthest thing from his daily mindset – you see, he couldn’t even TALK for 2 years.

Well, those years are in the (recent) past, and at age 56, the spirit and belief in his eyes are those of a younger man – possessed with music that sweeps across the years and the genres – still in the prime of his passions, still with the songwriting and musicianship he has within him. Now however, there is a grateful maturity and a true sense of purpose as Thomas Wade takes a deep breath and strides to center stage once again to do what he was always meant to do.

Lucky us.

 

Greg Moverly

Music is art, it’s expression, communication in it’s most accessible form. From the beginning of time, stories and life lessons were shared between the generations with the use of music. Before there were IMAX 3D screens at every big mall, the nuances and subtleties of the story-line was fleshed out vividly with the living soundtrack.
Things are a little different but the gist is the same, every song has a story, and every story has an author. The problem lies in popular music wherein the songs are written by some 40 year old Swedish guy and run through an algorithmic processor before having the banality teleprompted to an pitch-corrected poster child for cosmetic surgery.

Ummmmm… ok, a bit harsh perhaps but it is important to compare the McDonald’s style of music to the jambalaya that is Greg Moverley – a singer-songwriter that on first blush is pretty conventional in the expected and approved unconventionality of the day, but it doesn’t take long to realize there is a genuine patina to this dude, something very real. If he were a visual artist he’d be called a primative, not a bad thing in context, meaning self taught, unique, guileless and “untrained” with a streak of innocence. Choosing none other than Hamilton’s Loo King and premier antlerist Dave Gould to produce his record was a natural fit as the unconventional and the unbowed used imagination and feel as their guide and the results are a beautiful thing indeed.

Greg Moverley is what he is and what he is is here and now on Barber Shop Podcast.