Articles Tagged ‘music’

GAME DAY! Time to get pumped with Metallica, The Trews, Blackwell, and more


Songs have been an integral part of sports and public spectacle, perhaps even before music was itself one of the contests alongside the physical events of the ancient Olympics.

A giant inflatable REDBLACKS helmet welcomes fans to the pep rally at Marion Dewar Plaza, Ottawa City Hall. July 17th, 2014. Photos by Glenn Nuotio

When the July 17 pep rally was announced to cheer on the OTTAWA REDBLACKS before their Friday, July 18 sold-out home opener against the Toronto Argonauts, the football fan in me had to check it out. With the added news that popular Atlantic Canadian rock band The Trews were chosen to play Friday’s first-ever pregame show at TD Place, the musician in me wondered how else music would play a part in the festivities.

At one point in the pep rally, mascot Big Joe flipped his axe handle over into a pretend mic and lip-synched a Shania Twain song. That was followed by Ottawa-based country vocal trio Blackwell singing “REDBLACKS style”, a modified-version of their new single “Redneck Style,” which will be released to radio next week.

Questions swirled: With a sold-out stadium crowd on Friday and a diverse city with CFL players from all over North America, would the soundtrack to motivate this new generation of #RNation take a regional Ontario approach?

Not being a huge country rock fan, was I just being a music snob?

Did our new CFL team have an official song yet?

What kind of music did the REDBLACKS as a team play in practice getting ready this week?

What about each player? What music do they need to prepare for the big moment?

I surveyed others at the rally to see if I could find out some answers.

Read the rest of this entry »

OUTSIDE VOICE: Amanda Rheaume on the responsibility and opportunity of writing family stories

OUTSIDE VOICE  is a new feature. It follows musician and writer Glenn Nuotio as he chats with artists, musicians, news-makers and community builders. This new column is published at


Amanda Rheaume plays her 6th Ottawa Bluesfest Friday July 11 at 6 PM on the River Stage. PHOTO CREDIT- KIM VINCENT

I am, at best, an awkward morning person. I get my chance to call songwriter and performer Amanda Rheaume at 9:15 a.m. during the week she’s preparing for her Ottawa Bluesfest performance on Friday, July 11th at 6 p.m. on The River Stage. I’m certain this is her first interview of the day, but she does have to take another call at 9:45 a.m.

Amanda Rheaume: I’m awake early a lot, actually.

Glenn Nuotio: How many gigs are you doing a year right now?

AR: I didn’t count it this year yet, but it’s usually between 150 to 180 or so. It really depends if I have an album and if I’m doing more touring.

We talk about her latest album “Keep a Fire” (2013). Amanda details the early co-writing process of songs with John MacDonald, leading her to learn more about her Métis heritage and interpret her personal family history. Listening to the album’s shift of historical and emotional elements, I notice the differences in arrangements between “Keep a Fire” and her last album “Light of Another Day.” Both were produced by Ross Murray.

AR: I first met Ross years ago. First of all he’s a fantastic musician, but he’s just so good at kinda getting the best out of me, song-wise, but also vocally. I find that’s he’s just so great …  if I bring a song to him, and there’s just voice and guitar, he’s really good at keeping that original essence of the song. His vision is just really good at working with the artist and maintaining the original vision of the music and the songs. He plays drums and percussion and all sorts of other hilarious things on the album as well. It’s just this big, creative, fun time.

GN: What was it like to embody the emotional contexts of your ancestors?

AR: There was a panic that all of this information would leave once people passed away. It became really important to me to have family stories and Canadian stories. People have said to me ‘ Oh I wouldn’t even bother looking back. There’s nothing interesting.’ You know, you’d be surprised. You just have to ask and you just have to look. I mean, we all come from somewhere and somewhere important. Decisions are made for our life to be this way. I think it’s important to honour that.

Read the rest of this entry »

SOUND SEEKERS: New CD From The Musettes

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani   

The Musettes Press photo 2

Ottawa folk trio The Musettes bring The Good Lovelies to mind. The Musettes’ first EP, Wanderlust, has that soothing-yet-soulful quality evident in the work of that other folk trio of international renown.

The Musettes play fiddle, guitar, ukulele, drums, melodica and mandolin — and use their own voices as instruments — on the five-song EP produced by Jonathan Chandler of the band Amos the Transparent. They also have a knack for whimsy and well-chosen cover tunes. Their version of I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons has more than 35,000 YouTube views.

They’ll bring those group harmonies and foot-stomping sounds to St. Luke’s Church on Saturday, June 21 for their EP release party. Ahead of that gig , Sound Seekers asked The Musettes a few questions.

Introduce everyone? Who is in The Musettes?
The Musettes are Rachel Harrison, singer, guitarist and songwriter extraordinaire! Meaghan LaGrandeur (singer, fiddler and songwriter!) and Lora Bidner, who is an amazing singer, piano player and songwriter.

When and how did you come together?
We all met at Canterbury High School and graduated from the music program.

Read the rest of this entry »

SOUND SEEKERS: Festival season begins!

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani   

SABphoto crop

 Dave Forcier, Steve Adamyk, Davey Quesnelle. Steve Adamyk Band play Club SAW June 14 for Ottawa Explosion

Ottawa Explosion kicks things off, plus a new track from Steve Adamyk Band

Festival season is upon us. The following weeks offer plenty of opportunities to catch live music. The bouncing and beer-drinking starts with the annual punk fest known as Ottawa Explosion.

At that festival, which takes place June 12-15 at about 10 different venues in the city, you can catch a number of punk/grunge/rawk acts, including hometowners The Steve Adamyk Band.

The trio’s new album is called Dial Tone and their label, Dirtnap Records, recently posted this new tune called “Crash Course in Therapy.” Check it out. It’s a minute-and-a-half of Gabba Gabba goodness from the band’s fourth album, to be released July 1.

See the Steve Adamyk Bank at Club SAW Saturday, June 14 and find the full Ottawa Explosion lineup here .

On the subject of concert lineups, we took an office poll of Ottawa Magazine editors for hot picks from this year’s festival rosters. Here’s who we want to see.

Ottawa Explosion: Steve Adamyk Band, Big Dick, Pookie & the Poodlez, Mother’s Children, Kappa Chow

Westfest: Fevers, A Tribe Called Red, The Peptides, Pony Girl

Ottawa Jazz Festival: Austra, DJ Rekha, The Bad Plus does Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Bela Fleck & Brooklyn Rider, Holly Cole, Colin Stetson, Sandra Nkake, Socalled, Aretha Franklin

Bluesfest: Sly & Robbie, Drive By Truckers, St. Vincent, Andrew Bird, Blondie, The Killers

Ottawa Folk Fest: Lorde, Jill Zmud, M. Ward, Wooden Sky, Lora Bidner, The Milk Carton Kids.

What are you seeing on the live circuit this summer? Comment here or tweet us @ottawamag

SOUND SEEKERS: Free Music! Fevers “Dance Cry Dance” gets remix love

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani   

Fevers. Photo by

Fevers. Photo by Shooter McNally

Fevers release remixes of their banger track

Ottawa indie-electro band Fevers has a new remix EP. You can get it for free by liking their Facebook page. On the album, there are a handful of reworkings of their banger track “Dance Cry Dance,” one of the poppy highlights from their dark-pop full-length album No Room for Light, which was released last summer.

Upon the record’s release, Sound Seekers said:

“The album wavers between revelry, melancholy and back again as captured in the song, “Dance Cry Dance” with its anthemic wail about forgetting all your problems. The full-length album is a stunning, outta-the-park debut from the city’s top-shelf indie-electro band.”
Out of all the album’s songs, “Dance Cry Dance” is an obvious candidate for remixing, both from a technical aspect — there are plenty of spots to drop in beats or change up the the pace — and also from a sense of song. The tune’s mix of pathos and party gives producers plenty of options for amplification and embellishment of either mood.

There are fine takes on the song from Adam Saikaley, who gives “Dance Cry Dance” a disco-bounce aesthetic, while Dialoog adds an out-there ambience that’s pretty magical. There’s a version redone by Legion of Green Men, plus a transformation of the track “In Your Bones” that was helped along by star producer Damian Taylor (Bjork, The Killers, Austra).

To help explain the album, we turned to each member of Fevers to ask them to champion a track from the album.

Here goes:

Track One: Dance Cry Dance (Radio Edit)

Jim Hopkins (bass): “It’s the original — you can’t go wrong! Joking aside, we did cut it down a little bit for the radio. You know those guys don’t like you going past four minutes!”

Read the rest of this entry »

SOUND SEEKERS: Push Play for Party

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani

Photo cutline: Ouimet and Pedersen Take Time Out to Twerk; a studio session

Ouimet and Pedersen: a studio session

Recently, musician Matt Ouimet sent a note around looking for shares, retweets and the like. It was for a new project he’s calling The Party Band.

The email told a story of a time last summer when Ouimet and his pal Craig Pedersen got together to do some beer drinking. It was a rather efficient session. After two hours, the duo had knocked down a few dead soldiers and written some 22 hits.

Later on, with some sober second thought, Ouimet and Pedersen took another listen to the tracks. They did some arranging and weeding out, and then asked around for a few extra musicians to play on the recording of what would become The Party Band album.

“We embarked on making a record the exact wrong way you should,” Ouimet wrote. “By inviting our friends to mail their parts recorded at home — or visit one at a time in the studio, while only referencing some very basic follow tracks.” Meaning, once they arrived at the studio (or started recording at home in the bathroom-as-sound-studio), players were playing as they thought they should, without hearing themselves in context of a full band.

Once he had all the musical pieces together, Ouimet mixed, massaged, and mastered the project and posted it online here.

Have a click on the Bandcamp link and let the thing stream. What you’ll hear is some noodling that works its way up to a master jam track by track.

It’s not just any ole beer-drinking, male-bonding, ritual-happy, accident project. The album started as a fun idea and was helped along by a long list of Ouimet’s and Pedersen’s pals who happen to be “Local Musical Heroes,” as Ouimet put it — with the capital L-M-H.

Herewith, the list of LMH contributors to the new party band album:

  • Craig Pedersen (trumpet, vocals)
  • Matt Ouimet (drums, bass, guitar, keys, percussion)
  • Tyler Harris (sax)
  • Detonator, feat. Ryan Purchase and Mike Schultz (trombone)
  • Phil Shaw Bova (drums)
  • Metronome & the Time feat. Dave Dudley, Matt Godin and Ouimet (percussion)
  • Jeremy Fisher (tambourine)
  • Stuart Watkins (bass)
  • Phil Victor Bova (bass)
  • Blake Jacobs (guitar)
  • Pat Lawler (guitar)
  • Wayne Eagles (guitar)
  • John Higney (guitar)
  • Don Cummings (organ)
  • Steve Boudreau (keys)
  • Renee Yoxon (vocals)
  • Sherri MacLeod (vocals)

Given the logistical nightmare of wrangling a dozen or so musicians together, (herding cats etc., etc.) The Party Band doesn’t plan a live show. This one is a click-and-party type thing.

Ouimet and Pedersen take time out to twerk

Ouimet and Pedersen take time out to twerk

SOUND SEEKERS: Searchlight Brings the Spotlight

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani


high res

Ottawa’s very talented Erin Saoirse Adair. She made it to the Top 4 spot in the recent CBC Searchlight competition, which sought out the best musicians and songwriters from around Canada. She plays a pass-the-hat show at the Lunenburg Pub, May 22 at 9 p.m.

Ottawa singer-songwriter Erin Saoirse Adair represented Ottawa well on the national CBC Searchlight contest, aimed at discovering new Canadian talent. She was listed as one of the top 4 Canadian artists in the contest, which closed earlier this month. The winning band was Lauren Mann & The Fairly Odd Folk from Calgary, Alta.

Sound Seekers spoke to Adair about the contest.

SOUND SEEKERS: What was it like to be named in the top 4 and get an endorsement from Torquil Campbell (Stars)?

Erin Saoirse Adair: What an incredible experience Searchlight has been. It was huge ego boast to receive endorsements from all the judges and Torquil Campbell in particular. To have my music appreciated by such incredible songwriters such as Sarah Slean and Torquil Campbell was very inspiring and definitely showed me that I am on the right track with my career. Sarah Slean tweeted me the other day and said she enjoyed listening to my CD while she was cleaning her apartment. That made my day.

SS: What has it meant to place fourth? Have you seen any ripple effects from all the publicity around the contest?

ESA: Being in the National Top 4 for the CBC Searchlight competition has showed me how much support I have from my friends and fans. I could not be more grateful for this support. Thousands of people across the country heard my music and whether they hated it or loved it, they had a strong reaction and this showed how far I made it in the competition. I found the reaction to my music has been overwhelmingly positive, and this is shown in the expansion of my social media presence and in many new gigs to be performed this summer and fall.

SS: What would it mean to have won?

ESA: If I had won, I would have been able to buy a new keyboard and some more gear. Though I didn’t win the entire competition, I feel like Searchlight was very fruitful in how it expanded my fanbase. Being played several times on CBC Radio and getting endorsements from the judges was definitely a win.

SS: What kind of comments have you heard? Why do you think you placed so well?

ESA: I worked very hard at promoting my entry in the competition. I created videos, memes, and constantly tweeted. After this initial push for votes, the support I was receiving snowballed. I received many positive comments, and some negative comments. I feel like listeners either had a strong negative or strong positive reaction to my music, and this polarized reaction is what pushed me forward in the competition. As a good friend of mine always said, “Whether they hate you or they love you, they’re still talking about you.”

SS: What’s happening at the show on Thursday (May 22)? Is it part of the Searchlight contest?

ESA: No, the show isn’t part of the competition. It is my first solo show in a long time, and I am very excited to showcase my new material. I have several new songs, and have been experimenting with new arrangements on the piano. The show on Thursday is part of the FREE Acoustic Thursday’s series at the Lunenburg Pub. I am sharing the bill with local musician Chuck Karn.

SS: Were you aware of the other musicians in the Top 4 before the contest?

ESA: I had heard of Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk, but I hadn’t heard of the other two. I have been living sort of under a rock for the past few years, and most of the music I listen to is as least 40 years old.

SS: Tell us about your second album.

ESA: I am currently working on releasing a second CD. This record, more than the first, will deal with my experiences with sexual assault, mental health issues and poverty. Most of the songs are deeply political in that they directly address these issues. One of my favourites is a song I wrote about my experiences with alcoholism, and in particular, how substance abuse issues can directly stem from being abused in your workplace. Substance abuse problems are often stigmatized, mainly in how they relate to poverty. If you’re poor and are exploited by an employer on day to day basis, you will want to drink after work to “wind down,” and when you’re being constantly abused in your workplace, you will turn to substances as a way to escape from your life. The tentative title of this song is “I Want Drugs (Fire Your Boss),” and I plan to release this as a single in September. The CD is set to be released in the spring of 2015.

Many other songs on my album are about rape culture, as this is something that I deal with as a sexual assault survivor. I write songs to challenge the misogynists and rape apologists who tell me that I should be silent. I think we should live in a world where sexual assault survivors are able to openly talk about their experiences without being slut-shamed or blamed for the abuse that has been perpetuated against them.

There are many other themes that I work on in my CD such as anti-racism, indigenous issues, and cultural appropriation, and this is different than my debut CD because I will be singing more songs about social justice.

I am currently working on creating a crowd-funding campaign through to release my CD. This will be finished within the next two weeks.

Erin Saoirse Adair plays a pass-the-hat show at the Lunenburg Pub, May 22 at 9 p.m. Check here for more details.


Erin Saoirse Adair: “Whether they hate you or they love you, they’re still talking about you”


SOUND SEEKERS: Rock Lottery Outtakes, Bloopers, and Real Life Moments

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani.  


“The one of the three people on the couch is what happened after rock lottery in 2013,” says organizer Samantha Everts. “Complete exhaustion!”

What? The sixth annual rock lottery takes place Saturday, May 17 at Babylon Nightclub. 8 p.m. $10. Bring a non-perishable item for the food bank. Tickets available at Vertigo Records or at the door.

What happens? The day before — on May 16-25 Ottawa musicians of all stripes throw their names into a hat and are randomly regrouped into five new bands.

How does it work? The new bands have 24 hours to create a half-hour set of all original music, which is performed on the night of May 17 in front of a live audience.

What ensues? Uneven pairings, like having three drummers in one band, say. Hilarity. Awkward moments. A lot of fun. (Last year’s event sold out).

Who are the players? Band participants for the 2014 Ottawa Rock Lottery (ORL) include members of BlakDenim, Old Whiskey Road, Cold Capital, The Goodluck Assembly, The Strain, and Kalle Mattson.

Who else? Samantha Everts is head organizer of the ORL. She also runs an artist consultancy company called You Rock Red. “I’m basically like a freelance manager and promotions expert,” she explains. She started as a grant writer for artists, and has since expanded her business. “When a band has no idea how to fund and record their dream album, I can step in and guide them.”

Love! There have been at least two couples that have fallen in love at the rock lottery. One pairing happened in the first year when burlesque performers opened the show and one of the participants fell pretty hard for a dancer.

Roomies. The band Pony Girl, performing at this year’s Ottawa Jazz Festival, formed out of the ORL. Most of them are roommates and they started the business Log Creative Bureau as a result of meeting at the event.

Er, Let’s Try That Again. Everts recalls falling off the stage one year after introducing a band. She hit the hi-hat on her way down. 

Lyrical Gangsters. Last year, Kalle Mattson’s ORL band was called Nicolas Cage in Con Air and every song was about a Nic Cage movie. In 2008, another band decided to just use comic book story lines for their lyrics.

photobooth sneak peek

(Top Left) Samantha Evert, organizer for Ottawa Rock Lottery, with a mash-up of Ottawa musicians

SOUND SEEKERS: Royal Wood’s Royal Reveal

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani.

Royal Wood

Royal Wood plays a full-band show on Saturday, May 10 at the National Arts Centre

Royal Wood buggered off for six weeks and came back a changed man. The story of that transformation comes alive on The Burning Bright, the folk-rock singer’s fifth album.

Last May, Wood rented a cabin in Ireland, some 10 kilometres from Rathkenny where his mother’s family came from. The spot had all the markers one looks for when seeking forced isolation, Walden Pond style. 

Wood’s cabin was off a dirt road, surrounded by greenery, and seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. It didn’t have any technological indulgences like a TV, a phone, or access to the internet, and Wood had no imposed schedule. Every day he got up and did what he was inspired to do, like go for a run, read, or write songs. 

Wood was wanting for an escape.

The success of his fourth album, We Were Born to Glory, left him with a breakneck schedule, burnout, and a bit of a sour taste in his mouth. 

“I did a pop experiment,” he says of the 2012 album. “It was up tempo and fun, but there wasn’t a lot of real, genuine heart to it,” he says.

While he doesn’t regret the album of what he describes as “radio-compressed, crunched pop,” he says the experience left him feeling like he had to go make art again.

“I’d be at the merch table and I didn’t want to point people to that record or play those songs,” Wood says. “I totally didn’t feel like the artist that I wanted to be up to, and until that record.”

We’re sitting inside the office of NAC Presents producer Simone Deneau. Wood was in Ottawa for a press day in March and obligingly did rounds of interviews, live performances, and photo shoots for various outlets. He even took this selfie with my phone. 

Wood's selfie

Wood’s selfie

Wood was forthcoming about the album’s inspirations, including the vagaries of the music industry machine and the demise of his marriage to songwriter Sarah Slean. 

He describes their separation as a paradigm shift.

“You enter this word as a couple, ’til death do us part,” he explains—and then it all changes. “I have great respect for marriage and commitment, I have no issue with it,” he says. “We’re thankfully friends and still love each other, but it’s just—it’s just life,” he shrugs.

That frankness, nostalgia, and wistfulness comes across beautifully on the new album. It’s heavy-hearted throughout, with telling titles such as, “White Flag,” and “It’s Only Love.” There is a bit of pop respite with “Forever and Ever,” a buoyant little breath amidst the pretty sorrow.

Wood divides his time between downtown Toronto and a studio in L.A. where he produces other songwriters’ albums. He recently took over his parents’ farm outside of Peterborough and manages a team of organic farmers who are setting up a co-operative to serve families, markets, and restaurants in the area.

 He’s also partway through his sommelier certificate at George Brown College and is hoping to become a master sommelier eventually. He brings tasting notes and textbooks on the road and brings his wine knowledge to the stage.

At his performance this weekend, Wood will discuss some of the wines he chose for the show. The NAC will serve his selections from Fielding Estate and Jackson Triggs before the show and at intermission.

Expect a big-band performance befitting a soft-seat theatre, with plenty of lighting cues and other dramatics to amplify the songs.

Royal Wood plays a full-band show on Saturday, May 10 at the National Arts Centre as part of the NAC Presents series. Opening guest: Peter Katz. 7:30 p.m. Pre-show wine pouring at 6:45 p.m. Ticket packages, including wine, a signed poster, and a copy of the new CD available ($54). General tickets starting at $29.

The fall NAC Presents lineup was announced this week. Highlights include:

  • Timber Timbre (Sept. 18)
  • Owen Pallett (Sept. 27)

Sarah McLachlan (Nov. 14)

Buck 65 (Nov. 22)
  • Jenn Grant (Nov. 28-29)

The Skydiggers (Dec. 12-13)

SOUND SEEKERS: Andrew McPherson expands on the creation of the latest Eccodek album Singing In Tongues

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani.


(Photo: Karolina Kuras)

Guelph musician and producer Andrew McPherson has spearheaded the fusion band Eccodek for more than a decade. He takes global sounds and tweaks them for the clubs, adding an electronic dimension to wailin’ groovy tracks that bring to mind Bill Laswell, among others. His newest album is called Singing in Tongues. You can grab a free song download for a limited time here. Sound Seekers caught up with McPherson to talk about the new album, which focuses on the work of Jah Youssouf.

Sound Seekers: Explain your new album Singing in Tongues.
Andrew McPherson
: It’s a cool story. A local music legend named Lewis Melville had done the original off-the-floor sessions with Jah in Guelph back in 2009, I believe. Nothing was ever done with the recordings and Lewis just kept saying to me, “Listen man, I’ve got these great elements that would totally be great for the Eccodek zone. Do you wanna check ‘em out?”

Read the rest of this entry »