B.A. Johnston is a truly Canadian anomaly, heroically Hamilton and a troubadour of hedonistic humor. Inside the head of the the wry realist that The Globe And Mail has labeled “Canada’s New Stompin’ Tom”, the many years of experience travelling the barrooms and campuses of this great land has indeed earned him a uniqely qualified perspective on this great land. Often his songs stem from a turn-of-phrase or jolted memory that he hammers together with his Casio samples or his trusty beater guitar to make deceptively simple, cunningly silly homages to what he thinks, what he sees, what he feels…sorta like an artist except not,
Say what you will about BA. Johnson, he has proven time and time again that everone has a taste in music and if it’s reminiscent of beer and donair sauce, well so be it.
Dropping in on the eve of his St. Patrick’s Day CD Release show at TAH, B.A. sat down with Kev and had a nice relaxing talk about this crazy business and how awesome and awful life can be at the same time.
It’s a very fine day, and this is a very fine show with cuts from Gremlins 3 and the fireside ethos that is B.A. Johnston.
Tim is the one cat in town who knows what he’s talking about the way it is. While others have retreated into history or occasional reunion shows, Tim has been recording and playing live for the good people of the GTA. From his earliest days punking and rocking, the blues were a part of his repertoire and persona. The cool truth that flows from the tru blues masters is something that cannot be approximated by the pretenders. Tim Gibbons has been playing his brand of the blues since the halcion Hess era of the turn of the century when live music was king and his Little Red Blues band with Claude DesRoches and Bucky Buchanan were the kings of kings. This latest and greatest version of Tim, the swamp blues classic to be features those guys as well as a few other rounders of note – and what a note.
Great from front to back – great from start to finish, this night it’s just Tim and Kevin talkin up the town they love and havin a toast to the future – that’s lookin good.
Two years ago we had these two gems on the show and the response was out of this world. Thanks to a sweet viral video of Robin and friend Sam Klass doing a Blondie tune in a car on the way to the airport – almost 5 million people got to see and hear what we in Hamilton know so well – this girl can SING! Friend and fellow songstress Brennagh Burns has her own style, equally as mesmerizing while totally different. Together something magical happens and knowing this, these two came to us on the eve of their kick off show here in town before heading south – Thelma and Louise style – but with guitars….
You get the best of both worlds here at Barber Shop Podcast, the thrill of live, original music right in your home and a look at two real talents who are doing their thing and living their life – beautifully.
Some cats howl at the door to let you know they want in and others take a little more work. Sean Le Sage is definitely one of those cats, having appeared here with Ian Andrews as one of the Smokin’ Scoundrels – and he is well known around town as a musician’s musician. Shy and reserved, his attitude allows him to practice what so many preach, the art of listening. To play, to write, to sing at the level that makes people take notice – first one must learn to listen.
Showing the affinity and ability to both reproduce the sounds he heard at home and the ones he heard in his head, Le Sage found his inevitable way to the blues, the cornerstone of popular music and the holy grail for those seeking truth and beauty in it’s simple yet complex nuances and woven patterns. Running into him at a local show I was able to corner him and set a date to hear his unique take on the music live on acoustic guitar and a few tasty demos from his upcoming album.
Sit down and grab a nice big slice of the good stuff and ENJOY the music of Sean Le Sage on Barber Shop Podcast.
James Favron is what us old guys call a millennial. Born in a technological saturated environment, the nuances of the poet songwriter is often buried in the bits and bytes we feast so lazily upon. Fortunately for us, these are a shitload of them out there, and many of these exquisite 20 – something’s possess a steely eye and a finely tuned ear to the power of the beautiful word and the magic of music.
Born and raised in Rexdale where the city greys, the home life afforded him gave the tools and inspiration of many styles of music and the nimble mind and fingers of James Favron began to explore brave new worlds. Stockpiling ideas into lines and lines into songs was – and is – a process that must be worked thru with diligence and purpose, the eager faithfulness of youth surely rewarded in due time. Life, mairrage, children, all followed and a move to the sleepy enclave of Dunville in Southern Ontario has provided the nest for his creative hatchlings to grow.
This night was a good one – the guests were spot on and the music, as you will now hear, is as legit as the summer nights are long. There’s a lot in store and you’ve got a front row seat right here on Barber Shop Podcast.
There exists in the musical universe a solid group of musicians who have been around long enough to keep doing something, and do it well, without necessarily touring the country or even the region for that matter. The ability to write, record, play and grace the stage periodically places these gems in a semi-obscure state where only a relative few souls get the pleasure to experience it. Tonight is a perfect example of this scenario as the guys from EYEROLLERS make their long awaited return to BOXO Studio, the first time so long ago that almost none of the original equipment (or saggy furniture) remains. Brothers Grant and Stu Marshall have had a front row seat, or a stage left view for enough gigs that their easy syncopation is signature in the lush guitar play and that sly fox John Connoly has maintained the joyus lust of live performance and the cynic’s eye on the big picture pile on with the playful but directed drumming of Dave Christie to provide a counter punch to the front end making a mixture that is at once familiar and new.
Sure the music is always awesome on Barber Shop Podcast, but the earnest and honest discourse is what brings people back to discover new people and new music – and this one is a goody. When guests are smart, funny and themselves we all get to somewhere we didn’t know we were even going.
Gotta give credit where credit is due, and these three guys have a lot of Hamilton music history to their credit. Cashing in on a lot of hard won experience, The trio of Pete Moss, Adam Cannon and Cory Brouwer have genealogy in Porcelain Youth, The Virginia Wolves, Magnetic Lever, and Lee Baby Sims – each outfit a solid offering to not only to what was being said musically but what was likewise being received with gusto. Being taken seriously for a long time helps when it comes time to put together something that’s going to run. It’s clear to see that with the formation of Slo Motions there is an attitude that delivers an altitude, a measure of confidence that allows the next incarnation of the band to get somewhere fast with everybody on board sporting a huge grin. These guys are favourites around here for the same reasons they do ok in general – smart lads with a sense of humor, great songs and work ethic to make it stick.
If you like it when all the pieces slot in together nicely then you’ll like this one. If you’re a big fan of top-shelf musicianship and sweet melodies, this episode will do nicely. If you want to hear great voices in harmony and the manifestation of thoughts into a nicely crafted and interesting art piece then sit down and let this episode of Barber Shop Podcast serve as the gateway drug for real independent music.
How we all got here is always a great story, even if “here” is a different place for each one of us. In all the years, and all the shows, there is a common theme that runs throughout each and every episode – and that is the journey to find one’s own voice. Common themes abound, but eventually the lessons meld, the influences are metabolized and the myna bird school of vocal approximations gives way to something best described as style.
Hanna Bech has got all kinds of style, noteworthy because it is clearly her – she who speaks for many with quiet voices, so many who may have felt less than welcome around some of the more esoteric of tables life presents us in this trip. What she did find was music, band class, like-minded quirky nutty, funny and smart kids who grew into adults who inhabit the halls of influence at all levels. When once it was easy to pick on the nerd, the nerd has become the captains of industry and the trend setters of this millennium so far.
In this, the very last day of January, we get to know Hanna a little, find out about how she found the time, team and temperament to take her calling and make it her reason for living. How the quiet introspect found the courage to write, sing, perform and record a body of work that is at once comforting and challenging. Real, original music, produced locally by good, good people on a daily basis. Not to be confused with the factory-produced big business model of corprate music, but the kind of music that hits you like the scentof a pie cooling on a windowsill – something that still does to you what music is supposed to make you do, think and feel – all on it’s own
Hanna can be proud of what she’s done – true to honesty and integrity, berift of the shallow, self serving ego so many smug pretenders dish out on a daily basis – she’s the cure for what ails a cynical and sarcastic generation.
Dave Pomfret has been hip to the music scene for a long time – with a few long breaks in between. Forming up with the Munday Nuns in the early 90’s with a few seminal Steeltown players, the ferocity and velocity of the early days left a mark literally and figuratively, the makings of great songs and great shows imparted in a very permanent fashion. When time came to release his first album of personal work, the long-awaited No Rush record was a testament to everything he had remembered, a few of those lingering feelings perfectly summed up within it’s storyline.
Life being what it is gives and takes – the triumphs and tragedies of the ensuing years saw Dave Pomfret make decisions about his life and his work that changed so much about the same guy. The clarity of sobriety allowed him to form and maintain the friendships and musical relationships with some of the very best players and the very best souls in town – and the result is absolutely worth the wait. A Devil’s Urge shows the care and effort (not to mention expense) required to make a collection of songs stand out – telling vivid tales with both serious and sarcastic, deep and delicious for the ear and mind.
On this, the first show of 2017 we sit down with Dave and Brennagh Burns to perform a few choice numbers live and bring us up to date on what has brought Dave Pomfret here, the wherefore and why, the bits of history that can get lost so easily were it not for the poets and troubadours, the drawers and dreamers, the seekers and the preachers – this is what they do – and because of this, it’s why we do what we do – every week, on Barber Shop Podcast
Mike Williams has been around as long as dirt – and I mean that in the best way possible. As the years pass by and the new boss becomes the old boss, some things have a legitimate place in the foundation of the music scene in Hamilton since the late 70’s. Playin bass for some of the biggest, brightest and brashest of guitar slingers, drummers and front men, Mike witnessed and participated first hand in the story as it unfolded, never more than a few feet from the best of the best, never one to tell tales – until tonight that is. Finding himself waining and wanting of a charge of energy and a new direction, a meeting with Junkhouse alum Russ Wilson led to the compilation of some of the tunes that had been compiled, and with the addition of some true blue friends and compatriots – a self titled album of songs was produced that showcases Mike Williams as a front man after all these years. Soft, sweet and melodic notes lilt throughout as the gritty realism of yesterday’s dirt gave bloom to the side of the man that only time can coax out.
It was – and is – a night I won’t forget for a very personal reason. For over 200 weeks the dog known as Deeogee greeted and approved of every single musician that came through these doors, a sage spirit that so many knew and grew to love. This was his last show, and as the show began I knew that the next day was going to be our very last car ride together, a farewell to a best friend – and for that I dedicate this show to friends that have your back until the end.