June 19, 2010 Leave a comment
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June 19, 2010 Leave a comment
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June 19, 2010 Leave a comment
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HEAD DOWN-HOW IT ALL BREAKS DOWN-john emms cd review

June 16, 2010 Leave a comment

You have to appreciate the hard work and dedication that a lot of local artists do to pursue their passion. Timmins punk/pop rockers Head Down are a prime example.
I recently attended their cd release party at the Vic Tavern and totally enjoyed the vibe this trio puts out.
The place was packed with their hard core fans and the band’s energy was all consuming.
The trio made up of guitarist/vocalist Dale Yungwirth, drummer Krys Saudino and bass player Brad Quinn are promoting their new fourth independent cd titled How It All Breaks Down.
Right from the faded in explosive opening salvo of Up Against The Wall and the sing a long gang vocal to Holding Out the band welds together a pop sensibility within the sonic speed driven assault of Saudino’s drumming.
It’s something that has to heard to be appreciated. The arrangements are super tight and adventurous as displayed on Move Ahead one of my fave cuts. If you take the attitude and smack of something like Nirvana’s Drain You and married it Weezer’s early work you have an idea of Head Down’s sound.
Their is also a nice dynamic happening with the the harmony vocals on every track notalbly tracks such as Go Slowly and Stay Awake. The attitude of this cd is driven home aggressivley on the ending track Make This Point.
After you consume these songs, you realize lyrically the band is in great shape. It’s very intelligent and you can easily see why fans dig into lyrics such as this from Make This Right
“Let’s pick it up again tonight, without limits to daylight, meet up where bonds are tight. Without our skeptics and our igonorance aside we redeem ourselves to ourselves.  And when we wake up and we realize that friendships have been rewound and tightly tied. This is our life, This is our high and here we will confide”
Head Down have great attitude, and the band’s music is refeshing and vital.
Don’t delay, You can pick up the cd at Cd Plus Timmins Square and Proud Tattoos for $9.99
In other news. I just completed an interview with lead vocalist Brian Vollmer from Canuck classic hard rockers Helix. The band has the original classic lineup back together and will be at The Vic July 2nd for a no holds barred show. Look for that soon.
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Sarah McLachlan-Laws of Illusion-“Gorgeous songcraft” john emms cd review

June 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Delivering an album this good 20 years into your career is no easy feat. But Laws of Illusion Sarah McLachlan’s first cd in 7 years catches her at a creative peak.

 With 10 new songs and 3 bonus singles, McLachlan enticies the listener with gorgeous songcraft and an intuitive sense of her own abilities.

 If there is one word that could describe McLachlan’s work here it is atmospheric.

In addition, a big plus from the stellar opening track Awakenings and throughout the album is the fact that there is a band atmopshere. Contributers like drummer Matt Chamberlain and  guitarists Colin Cripps, Bill Dillon and Luke Doucet make important dynamic touches behind McLachlan’s superb song choices.

The bouncy piano pop of the first single Loving You Is Easy is effortless. Indeed  the meat of the album comes via the superb melodies of songs like Changes , Illusions Of Bliss, and Out of Tune as well as the  Gabrile-esque pop of Heartbreak.

Producer/Musician Pierre Marchand’s contributions to this cd as usual cannot not be overlooked. Whether as an engineer or player Marchand offers up an organic sense of  musicianship that creates a balance of old and new without sacrifice to McLachlan’s songwriting.

Look for at least 3 major singles to appear from this album.  McLachlan’s hugely popular Lilith Fair is almost underway and the  Grammy winner looks poised and ready to tour behind a very strong album

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist who writes product reviews for all major and some indie labels. His new roots/rock radio show COLLECTION OF SONGS is available as a podcast on Apple iTunes and can heard  24/7 here

JOHN is a member of THE SHAFTMEN and his new solo cd is due out in July 2010

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June 9, 2010 2 comments

This dvd has been the missing link in my love affair with the original vinyl recording of The Rolling Stone’s  Exile On Main Street. 

For literally a million other fans, it’s possible it will be a must have piece of  “Stones”  history, which of course will make the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment (the distributor) very happy.

But for now just for a pargraph or so let’s back up a bit

I bought the original vinyl copy of this album in the summer of 1972 at Sam The Record Man in Toronto. Some of my friends were not sure if  was all that great. 

I disagreed.  I lived this album. Thirty something years later I still find the soul of  this recording to mean something in my life.  Sure I’m older I have a grandson, I have been through many of life’s up and downs, played in lots of blues rock bands and yet still this album lingers. Vintage seems to be a good description.

Back to the DVD.  Due out June 22/2010 this dvd shows some amazing archival footage and photos of The Rolling Stones at Nellcote. This where some of the songs were initially recorded but had yet to be fully devoloped.

 The film also has narration from Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and photographer Dominque Tarle as well as Anita Pallenberg and engineer Andy Johns.

In addition you get assorted rock star cameo comments from Jack White, Sheryl Crow film director Martin Scorcese and current Rolling Stone producer/musician Don Was to name a few. 

At 145 minutes it goes in depth to say the least. The only thing better than this would be a full on 2 hour archival concert from the 1972 American Tour.

As Bill Wyman states in an interview segment on this dvd  “No band could touch us at this point in our career.  No one was  even close”

Amen to that.  This dvd will available June 22/2010

John Emms is a veteran music journalist and musician. Emms does product reviews for many major and indie labels. His new rock roots radio show COLLECTION OF SONGS is now available as a podcast at Apple iTunes and online at

JOHN is the songwriter/vocalist with THE SHAFTMEN  His new solo cd will be out July 2010

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June 9, 2010 1 comment

Unforced and totally organic Celleste’s Ready To Fly is  easily one of the most vibrant and refreshing cd’s  I have heard this year.

 Let’s put it this way,  When you listen to about 20 new cd’s a month you may only really completley dig a new artist 2 or 3 times in the entire year. Celleste’s Ready to Fly is one of the those finds.

 This cd took  me by complete surprise. First off the songs, vibe, and Celleste’s vocal work hits you in a distinctive way.

Almost dare I say like an old vinyl recording. If  that was not enough producer and co-songwriter Eric Dick’s skill at integrating  melodies and riffs is at the heart of the cd.

I love the fact the cd blasts off with two distinctive rockers Real Love and Yer Goin’ Down.  The riffs and hooks are deep. From there the acoustic rootsy Drive and piano based Falling capture a deeper vocal feel and ambience.

The mid tempo Whatcha Doing To Me and the  70’s classic rock Dreamboat Annie  Heart era title track expand what Dick and Celleste are tring to achieve.

The feel of a classic rock recording in 2010. To their credit  they come awful close.  

John Emms is a veteran published journalist working with major  and indie labels.  His new roots/rock radio show can be heard here and as a feature podcast on Apple iTunes John is the songwriter/vocalist with The Shaftmen  His new solo c d will be out  July 2010

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April 18, 2010 3 comments

After 25 years of being a class act, it’s scary to think JACK DE KEYZER is now hitting his full stride


I have been a huge JACK DE KEYZER supporter for many years. Perhaps some people  may have grown tired of my absolute steadfast proclamations that Jack is one of the leading lights of blues music in NORTH AMERICA.

Well, with his most recent album THE CORKTOWN SESSIONS being virtually stuck in my vehicle’s cd player for the last 7 months it only seems right his recent 2010 Juno win for BLUES ALBUM of the year is icing on the cake.

I’ve been writing reviews, playing his music on my new radio show and finally put my own natural trust in Jack to produce and play on both of our SHAFTMEN CD’S.

I could go into huge  detail why you need THE CORKTOWN SESSIONS as part of your blues collection, but any artist who bridges the gap between blues, roots, jazz and plain ol’ rock n roll deserves your full attention.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran musician, radio show host and music journalist

Visit John and THE SHAFTMEN at

listen or purchase THE SHAFTMEN’S music at

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April 9, 2010 4 comments

REALITY TV I DO NOT LIKE….SHANIA TWAIN I LIKE..Oprah Network/Shania in front of cameras…..I will watch..

Will it be torture, tease, or just plain fantastic????



BIG marketing,  equals big ratings, equals revival of SHANIA’S career.

I DON’T  see making a t.v. reality show as “going out on your shield” Or taking risks.

 But it will take work and long hours, because t.v. is not easy. It’s bloody well demanding

I’m sure OZZY sold more cd’s after their hit reality show THE OSBOURNES drew huge numbers after 52 episodes. They even “reloaded it”



Maybe I will make an apperance as the local music journalist/critic who tries to convince SHANIA..TO WRITE SONGS CLOSE TO HER HEART..LET THEM SEE YOUR SOUL..


SHANIA-(LOOKING TROUBLED) Do you think all this is unecessary John. The people following me around in my daily life. asking me  to do things I cannot possibly have the inner strength  to accomplish?

JOHN-(HOLDING SHANIA’S HAND GENTLY) Shania. People love you for what you are. They want to feel the inner you. Look Shania if you give your heart, you will get it back A MILLION TIMES

SHANIA has already created one of the most enduirng pop recordings of all time with UP

Absolute great cd..SHANIA..YOU CAN DO IT AGAIN..But let’s see some of that inner beauty


How about Shania picks or writes 12  new songs. How about 12 new songs, that have soul, depth and really connect.

Let’s say about motherhood, life, love, and loss.

What do you Shania fans think?? Let me hear from you

JOHN EMMS is a long time music journalist and musician
JOHN is also the lead singer/songwriter with THE SHAFTMEN (see article below)..THE BAND HAVE 2 CD’S OUT AT ITUNES ..check them out

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THE SHAFTMEN on itunes-CANADIAN BAND MAKING BLUES ROCK COOL AGAIN/massive audience far from dead

April 4, 2010 1 comment

With the recent sales and interest in Jimi Hendrix ‘s remastered back catologue, the upcoming FREE FOREVER DVD, and the crossover success of Stevie Winwood/Eric Claptons’s  LIVE AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN   BLUES ROCK is making a comeback!

 IT HAD TO HAPPEN  AND CANADA LEADS THE WAY..BRAND NEW catchy songs like the new singles BLUES SCHOOL and 25TONS from Canada’s SHAFTMEN are on the verge of  busting open a revival that could re-energize  RECORD LABELS, RADIO and to an extent the BLUES genre.

The crossover success of CANNED HEAT”S On the Road Again, CREAM’S White Room, or acts like STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN,  FOGHAT , JOHNNY WINTER, THE JEFF BECK GROUP or TEN YEARS AFTER was no fluke. THEY SOLD IN THE MILLIONS 

IN THE US..Blues Rock is about to make a comeback..BUT IT NEEDS NEW SONGS and NEW BLOOD.

CANADA’S SHAFTMEN have the songs and riffs to answer that call 



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March 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Jeff Healey’s final jazz  album titled Last Call is the sonic and emotional equivalent of  a walk on a warm summer night or a cozy sunday morning with a cup of good coffee. What makes the cd truly entertaining is in the choice of material

Songs like Time On My Hands, Autumn In New York, Deep Purple. and the opening track Holding My Honey’s Hand are melodic and inviting. Healey’s overdubbing of guitar, muted trumpet and smooth vocal tones capture the timelessness of the songs.

Helping out Healey is the  shimmering piano work of Ross Wooldridge. Check out his chops on Autumn in New York, Laura,  Keeping Myself For You and his solo on Deep Purple.. Wooldridge also doubles on clarinet. Elsewhere Jazz Wizards violin player Drew Jurecka and Healey swing the hell  out of the track The Wildcat and nail the rhythmic jaunt of Black and Blue Bottom.

Don’t forget this is an easy going jazz album. However Healey guitar fans will note Jeff does contribute some fantastic acoustic guitar on Hong Kong Blues and many other points throughout the cd.  Kudos to Silverbirch mastering engineer Andy Krehm for achieving the  warmth and nuances of  Healey’s chops in the most ‘vinyl” of ways.

Diverse, warm and engaging Last Call is a  surprise jazz treat at any level of the genre..

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jimi hendrix new cd VALLEYS OF NEPTUNE-REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS/cd out march 9th

March 6, 2010 1 comment

WOW..IS THE WORD when  I received this new cd of mindblowing unreleased JIMI HENDRIX material . THIS material not only SHOWS HIS GUITAR GENIUS but more than that details his creative ORGANIC output after the Electric Ladyland album.

THE BIG NEWS is a lot of the songs here feature just the trio format live in the studio, AND THEY SMOKE.

 The majority is Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums as well as cameos from Billy Cox on bass and Rocki Dzidzormu on percussion.

It’s important to point out that songs like STONE FREE, RED HOUSE, HEAR MY TRAIN A COMIN’ AND FIRE are included on this cd BUT NEVER THESE VERSIONS..

The sheer power of the trio despite Hendrix fueding with bassist Redding at the time cannot be overstated on Elmore James’ Bleeding Heart, Mr Bad Luck, Lover Man and a blistering unreleased version of Fire. IT’S THAT GOOD

There is even an instrumental of Cream’s Sunshine of Your Love, which is pure jam!

The mixing/engineering work of EDDIE KRAMER on this set  is nothing short of  exceptional. Elsewhere The killer title track and the song Ships Passing Through The Night gives a clear indication of where Hendrix could take his songs.

Fans will also want to check out the detailed 20 page booklet. No Hendrix fan should be without this release!!!

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February 26, 2010 1 comment

HI FOLKS…from anywhere in this BIG WORLD…get online and JOIN ME 

here are some links

my radio podbean page

where you can hear archival shows

my cool new home page

where there is a player

just click the show

that’s right here

and the actual radio station….   where you can listen in every thursday night 8-9 p.m.

I’ m gigging a very hip  one hour of music featuring rock, pop, blues, roots, and outlaw country music. 


Of course i will have my musical friends drop in..TO SAY HELLO..and maybe DO an INTERVIEW or two.




 CHUCK JACKSON from the Downchild Blues Band,…my fave blues rockers





NOTE Cochrane Polar Bear Radio REPEATS The Thursday show EVERY SUNDAY 2 TILL 3 P.M.

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Taylor, Shania, Vince, Elvis, The Shaftmen, Hank Sr, Waylon, who’s really singing? by john emms

February 3, 2010 2 comments

VINCE GILL is known as being a great player and excellent country vocalist

Gill has also been quoted as being against the “whole auto-tune craze” that is affecting modern country music.

Hell what would  have Hank Williams Sr, and good Ol’ Waylon Jennings thought of this madness

Fast forward to Taylor Swift’s big Grammy winning night.  I was not alone with my unflattering  commentary on Taylor Swift’s Grammy vocal performance.  Many publications weighed in. Let’s chalk it up to a rough night. We have all had them.

So then does it really matter?  Well yes. THE BEATLES USED THE IN HOUSE P.A AT SHEA STADIUM IN 1965 …WITH A CROWD OF 55,000…..George Jones, Roy Orbison and Ray Charles were some of the best singers ever. NO tricks..just sing  

Taylor has the smarts and  talent to learn from this. Some people have suggested that Swift was brave not to use auto-tune. I can tell you most of the performers I know and admire have to my knowledge not used the pitch correction device in the studio or in live performance.

Personally you can watch any of our Shaftmen live takes on youtube recorded with one camera and small microphone, and most of the time my voice is pretty stable.  And I can tell  you like most singers I have some pitch problems. For me it’s  the emotion of the performance

Taylor Swift is the youngest person to ever win A Grammy for Album of the Year, and  Heck maybe i’m off by one or two but Shania Twain has won 5 GrammyAwards. ELVIS PRESLEY WON ONLY 3 GRAMMY AWARDS..WOW..YOU SAY 

The 2010 Grammy audience share was up, and that was with the censoring of a riveting show from Eminem, Lil Wayne and Drake.

What does all this say about the future of the industry To quote my friends. “Most of the buying consumer must be stupid”

I’ m going to go old school with Vince Gill  on this one. WE ALL LOVE GREAT MUSIC..BUT LET’S GET BACK TO REAL SINGING AND REAL PLAYING 

 HECK, I don’t know if SHANIA has in the past or if she tours again will decide to use auto-tune or pitch correction.

 I honestly don’t think she needs it. She started out like the rest of us. Little ol’ p.a. system with an old microphone handed down. If we can’t sing with the best gear in the world then  maybe we should all get practicing .



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top rock/pop cd’s from 2009-by john emms–john mayer, mark knopfler, blue rodeo & more

January 28, 2010 Leave a comment

All of my picks.. are usually BAND ORIENTATED…MUSICIAN ..CRAFTED..IT’S THE WAY I ROLL BABY…I’m not a Grammy Awards type of guy…but it is the best time to pick up the top cd’s of 2009..Prices are lower and record companies and retail wants to move the product. HERE ARE MY PICKS

JOHN MAYER-BATTLE STUDIES-Well crafted songs are key..not as much guitar work as some of his fans would like. He has his blues trio for that..excellent

MARK KNOPFLER-Get Lucky-Great story songs, super fine production..this album just breathes organic quality

BLUE RODEO-The Things We left Beyind-Challenging themselves and their fans with inventive yet familar ways to show off their superb songwritiing and playing.

TOM PETTY and  The Heartbreakers-Live Anthology-I don’t usually pick music that has been done in the past. but this extended live set IS SO GOOD..that it honestly shows they may be the best band on the planet

BLACK CROWES-Until The Freeze-A ROOTS MASTERPIECE..which will catch people off guard..gorgeous songs and playing

DAVE MATTHEWS BAND-BIG WHISKEY & THE GROOGRUX KING-Dedicated to their late sax player Leroi Moore..DMB..catch fire and never let up..complicated grooves sound easy in their hands..

BOB DYLAN-Together Through Life-Bob gets the blues and that’s good

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN-Working on a Dream- An adult dose of one of the best songwriters on the planet

PEARL JAM-Backspacer-Never heard the band play better.. Eddie Vedder is at the top of his game-KILLER STUFF 

U2-No line on the Horizon-I like the singles..yet  have always been slow to be a huge fan..this disc pushes what the band does…  intelligent songs and Bono’s passion cannot be ignored..great tunege..

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blues music evolves.. top picks 2009 by john emms

January 7, 2010 3 comments

BLUES MUSIC  is changing and evolving to include more blues rock, soul and roots than ever before. VERY COOL … 

Here are  top blues cd picks for 2009, plus very good honourable mentions

JOE LOUIS WALKER-(pictured 2nd from top)  BETWEEN A ROCK AND THE  BLUES-solid songwriting, astounding vocal work R & B and soul influenced music

SONNY LANDRETH-LEVEE TOWN-By far Sonny’s best and most realized work of his career.Outstanding!!!

RONNIE EARL- LIVING IN THE LIGHT-Spiritual,  absorbing and moving Earl delivers (again)

ROY ROGERS-SPLIT DECISION- Tradition with hipness. Quality songs!

DEREK TRUCKS BAND-ALREADY FREE-(see 3rd photo) Integration of roots, and blues, may be their career album?. It’s that good

JOHN MAYALL-TOUGH..gets better with every listen, guitarist Rocky Athas shines

DOWNCHILD BLUES BAND-I NEED A HAT-new songs that just smoke. Superb vocal work by Chuck Jackson and sizzling guitar and arrangments from  MR DOWNCHILD Donnie Walsh  (see top photo)

ROBERT CRAY-THIS TIME-Groove, Groove and more Groove. Tight and soulful  

DUKE ROBILLARD-STOMP THE BLUES-Always evolving as a musician. Consistent and joyous music.

BIG JAMES-RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW-Big surprise here. Great vocal work. Lots of soul, less blues

COCO MONTOYA-THE ESSENTIAL-I Don’t usually do compilations, but this is bang on stuff

solid honourable mentions-these cd’s all contain some great blues tracks


 SAB & THE FAMILY BAND-FLYIN HIGH LIVIN’ FREE-produced by Michael Fonfara



THE SHAFTMEN -PAYCHEQUE BLUES-produced by Jack de Keyzer

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, with over 20 years of working with all major and  indie  music labels both domestic and international.

JOHN is also a musician and songwriter/vocalist with blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN 


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great way to start 2010..and shania’s new show will blast of 2011-a look back-Shania’s BIG HEART blasts into 2010-Olympic torch run captivates thousands-by john emms

January 2, 2010 Leave a comment


It would not be Timmins if it was not minus 40 below zero with the wind chill would it”  said SHANIA TWAIN  while laughing and grinning from ear to ear as she stood on a makeshift stage speaking to the thousands in attendance  at the Timmins leg of the Olympic torch run

As most of you readers know I’m usually in the role as a music journalist, or as a musician with our band THE SHAFTMEN but tonight I got caught up in the excitement of  the Olympic torch relay with Shania Twain.

SHANIA’S BIG HEART RULES- I don’t have to tell all of you fans that, look at the smile on that face

I have ALWAYS been a huge SHANIA supporter and equal Timmins area born supporter of everything heritage and culture in our city. 

I have stayed clear of the  controversey relating to who should carry in the Olympic torch. Most of you SHANIA fans worldwide who will  read this don’t know that we have an Olympic gold medalist in KATHY KREINER who won GOLD at the  1976 Olympics in Innsbruck Austria.

IN FACT, she is the only Timmins born native  to win Gold at any Olympic summer or winter.


Mayor Tom Laughren drew BIG applause when he mentioned both Kathy and her sister Laurie who also was a medalist.


I was standing about 4 or 5 feet from the stage with my skin literally frozen and fingers barely able to function  with my grandson James. He is a HUGE Shania fan and I wanted to get him up close and personal

I CAN ONLY  imagine what SHANIA was feeling but I can say that the feelings from all of the fans gathered despite the bitter cold was overwhelming


SHANIA mentioned “how much spirit Timmins and indeed people of the North have for standing hours in freezing cold”  She is bang on right. There is a lot of heart and soul in this town and tonIght it was out in full force, just like it was when Kathy Kriener came home a national sports hero.

From Eilleen’s humble beginnings to her many awards and Global status one thing is for sure. Tonight’s Olypmpic Torch Run will have her heart and head spinning as she lays down to sleep. BRAVO EVERYONE

JOHN EMMS is a 20 year veteran music journalist. He has written many articles about SHANIA and many other artists. He also does cd, dvd reviews for all major domestic and International labels.

JOHN is also the songwriter/vocalist with THE SHAFTMEN…you can see more of Timmins history and the band at

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shania twain torch mania- hey fans have some fun and nostalgia–look out july 2-1999-original rock report-by john emms

January 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Hey everyone-it’s SHANIA -35 below celsius.wind chill as we wait for SHANIA to bring in the olympic torch..let’s go back to a sunny CANADA DAY JULY 1, 1999  It was a day none of SHANIA’s  FAN’S WORLDWIDE..will ever forget.her homecoming concert in front of over 20,000 is how I wrote it up the next day

JOHN EMMS-IS PUTTING on the long john underwear..and heading out to see our girl bring home the Olympic Torch

you can also have fun and visit john at

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SHANIA TWAIN FANS-take a timmins video stroll-with THE SHAFTMEN-by john emms

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

HEY SHANIA FANS..take a video stroll..through our great city of TIMMINS with this cool Shaftmen track tilted UNDERGROUND ROCK N can  purchase your own copy of this song with many other great local area artists on the Timmins 100 year Anniversary you can visit the SHAFTMEN..AT

in fact, you  purchsase both SHAFTMEN cd’s at the shania twain centre

here is the video link

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December 28, 2009 1 comment

 Shania Twain will be here in Timmins in a few days to be part of the Olympic torch relay, that will eventually take over 100 days and 45,000 kilometers to complete. As sure as that Olympic torch has been carried down many streets and in many cities and towns everywhere in Canada,  SHANIA in her own personal way has taken many a long road home to her hometown.

Think about it folks. A long way from the Mattagami reserve, a long way from singing at telethons and the Maple Leaf Hotel where Stompin Tom made his mark. A long way from the  Deerhurst musical revues. And even a long way from some early negative Nashville attitudes towards her own initial musical endeavours and first recordings in America.   For that fact alone I dare anyone to say Shania  did  not work her way to her cureent musical status.

 Not a lot of people would have hung in there. In fact 90 percent of us would have quit long before. Maybe that’s why I have always admired Shania Twain’s drive, talent and ambition. I’ve covered Shania from the first years of writing this column when I was running through a history of Timmins rock and pop.

Those music columns were not the first time, I was aware of her drive and ambition. For that we may have to go back maybe 7 or 8 years earlier to the early 80’s. If I was not playing a gig with a band I was singing with at the Airport Hotel, or across the street at the Rocking Tap, or maybe seeing some cool Toronto band like Coney Hatch at the The Empire Hotet, you would have seen me soaking in some “vibes’ at J.P’s Lounge at the Escapade Hotel.

At the time a lot of the musicians in our area were always aware of each other’s bands and musical efforts. We played the same bars, we watched each other’s sets. Even though it was competition it was fun. Becoming aware of Eileen’s talent had came through the local muscians grapevine but in a very different way.

 I was writing a lot of songs at the time, and had even joined SOCAN years earlier. There were only a few bands and musicians who were willing to try out their own songs.  Guy Martin (David Hartt)  was one of them, and that fact was something we shared then and do to this day. I knew if Dave and drummer Mike Chabot (Elmer Thudd) and later Shania’s boyfriend were involved it was going to be a pretty decent band.

It was a small musical community so it was no surprise when I heard Dave was working with a female lead singer. That was the extent of it.  Being a lead vocalist myself  I had to check out their gigs. Longshot was the name of the band, and despite the fact I wanted to hear some original songs I was impressed by the band and the lead vocalist’s ability to perform cover material like Journey, Pat Benatar and Toronto. That was the first time I saw Shania onstage, and it would not be the last.

Eileen had it then and Shania has it now.  I still believe that her 2002 album UP is one of the finest pop albums ever recorded. A lot of the that album’s big sound and eventual success was due to her ex-husband Mutt Lange. Lange was and probably still should be considered on a musical level the Phil Spector of his time. A visionary producer, engineer and musician with the midas touch. Still Twain’s career has been a team effort.  Make no mistake it was not a fluke.

It sometimes gets swept under the rug, but  Eileen was a musician early on. She knew chords on the guitar, she understood musical arrangements, she understood harmonies and different vocal keys and cues. If you combine that with hard work and crucial timing you have in a nutshell what Shania’s current status is today. GLOBAL

As fans know Shania’s musical output covers many genres including pop, new country and rock. It is anticipated that Twain will release an album of new material in 2010.  In that respect it means a return to the celebrity circuit. Having said that I don’t thnk anyone should expect any media attention to her private life with her son Eja who is now  8 years of age, the same age as my own grandson.

As a music journalist that private side of a musician’s life has never interested me, unless it relates directly to the artist’s work. However having the chance to catch a Shania recordiing session is of course of great interest to this journalist. With Twain and other international artsits it can take often a year or two to write and record new product. As 2010 unfolds for Shania Twain, you can look for more of my insight, observations and reviews of her current and past musical efforts.

JOHN EMMS has been a published music journalist for 20 years. He has coverd SHANIA in many different columns. JOHN also does product reviews for all major domestic labels in Canada and Internationally. 

JOHN is the songwriter/vocalist with THE SHAFTMEN . The band’s new disc PAYC HEQUE receiving national  daily airplay at CBC RADIO

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December 23, 2009 Leave a comment


MAKING our own mark as a band  has never been about reguritating the “hits of the day” If you do that for too long you may end up being a walking jukebox in constant reproduction. Make no mistake, you can still have a ton of fun, but I personally don’t think you move ahead as a musician.

From the first jam 5 years ago to now releasing 2 original CD’S, being part of  2 compilation cd’s, receiving daily national airplay, lots of youtube videos and  many gigs later our band is still writing, playing and recording new material. Our latest album PAYCHEQUE BLUES was a major step up in production, originality and learning. Recording and working head to head with a musician of JACK DE KEYZER’S calibre is a  labour of love.  If you don’t own a copy, you really should check it out, it rocks the blues big time.
We write a lot about our heritage and culture in the North. It has  everything to do with our sound. I truly believe what we are as musicians comes from our DNA and in a big part from  living our  lives in a mining town in Northern Ontario. Bob Seger’s Michigan, Bruce Springsteen’s New Jersey or Eminem’s Detroit all have a major impact on their music. The Shaftmen are no different.   

Mike Charette, John Savard, Gil Boissonneault,  and myself along with some piano from Bob Pell and of coures JACK played  every single note on the cd. Other than Jack’s role as a producer, Jamie Mongeon’s role as an engineer, and mine as the songwriter everyone played what they wanted. John Savard has moved on but he played a lot of great guitar, especially in the live context. John can play the blues, no doubt about it.

Recently PAUL COLAMECO sat in and joined us onstage as lead guitarist.  P.C.’s chops as most people know and witnessed first hand are extraordinary.  JOE DI MARCO has joined the band as our keyboard player, and he is already making an impact.  Other than a few suggestions sometimes to Joe because he has way less miles on him (lucky guy) everyone (including Joe)  play what they feel within the context of the song. THAT IS EXCITING

If  God is willing and with a little luck were going to have some more fun in 2010. “Can’t say why but I feel like walking the line, I’m trading in those gray skies for the sweet sunshine, I got the blues on the run, baby and  I’m feeling fine”

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best blu-ray concert discs-2009-EAGLE ROCK LEADS THE WAY-john emms reviews

December 21, 2009 2 comments

BLU-RAY discs with quality picture and amazing surround or stereo mixes is THE way to experience “live” concerts in your living room. Personally speaking  EAGLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT is without a doubt a leader in this field. Crisp images, clarity of detail and their amazing audio formats notably the DTS HD Master Audio are superb.


Jeff Beck-Live at Ronnie Scott’s-Exciting performances with mind blowing solos..stunning picture, great tonal balance

Paul Rodgers-Live in Glasgow-Killer video tranfer.Fantastic mix on everything..That voice-may be the best in rock

Rolling Stones-Shine A Light-Martin Scorsese-is the best filmaker on earth-the camera work is stunning.- audio mix is good but Eagle Rock’s blu-rays have more audio depth-Hey it’s the Stones is all u need to know 

Diana Krall-Live in Rio-Krall’s voice is superb, the orhestra sounds like it’s in your front room-not for your rockin party..better late at night, superb quality

John Mayall-& The Bluesbresakers/Friends-70 th Birhday Concert-the blu-ray detail, audio, and video is hands down killer with this release-MAYALL IS IN TOP FORM TO BOOT

Eric Clapton/Steve Winwood-Live From Madison Square Garden-Great aduio stereo presence on both vocalists, camera work is detailed and yes the this is a quality show

Iron Madien-Flight 666-This blu-ray disc is from different concerts-so the AUDIO IS not as potent as it would be if it was a one shot concert..having said that..most will probably not notice-…my fave headbangers FOR SURE

Carlos Santana-Presents Blues At Montreux-Carlos jams with Buddy Guy, Bobby Parker, and Clarence Gatemouth Brown..blues mania on blu-ray..some  amazing guitar performances

here are other HIGH QUALITY  blu-ray CONCERT discs—U NEED-


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shania twain- A rare breed..john emms-review nuggets

December 18, 2009 1 comment


john emms is  a published music journalist for 20 years working with all major labels. JOHN is also the lead vocalist/songwriter with THE SHAFTMEN..

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john mayer-battle studies-john emms cd reviews

December 17, 2009 1 comment

JOHN MAYER is one of the most misunderstood and brilliant musicians of  his generation. An incredible guitarist and gifted songwriter Mayer recordings always display craft over guitar heroics. This can be frustrating for fans of his fiery chops.

Battle Studies his new cd continues this trend. Everything on this Cd screams solid songwriting and excellent vocal  work. Tracks like Heartbreak Warfare,  the folky Who Says, and the George Harrison influence on Friends Lovers or Nothing are understated gems of love won or lost. Perfectly Lonely has a great R & B groove, and his cover of Crossroads is bang on. Gorgeous production values and superb stickwork from from Steve Jordan and  in the pocket bass work from Pino Palladino  emphasize the class of this recording.

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BLUE RODEO-john emms cd reviews-the things we left behind

November 26, 2009 1 comment

Thank God and the passion within that BLUE RODEO still have FIRE IN THEIR  BELLY. Think that’s easy. Did you get this memo?

Conventional wisdom states that after countless albums, tours and the music business being what it is few artists can still dig deep to come up with the goods late in an already successful career.

Jim Cuddy, Greg Keelor, Bazil Donavan, Glenn Milchem and Bob Egan apparently never recieved that memo. Instead the band has forged an album rich in lyrical content and high in muscianship.

Should anyone care that a band spreads out and tackles a double album opus in these non attention to detail times?

That would depend on who’s listenening. I stil listen  to records the old fashioned way.

 WITH MY EARS. The disc opens with a soon to be Greg Keelor classic. (You may recall he has written a few already)  It’s the title track and offers up shimmering colors, intimate lyrics and a powerful Beatlesque chorus that blows you out of the room. Jim Cuddy fires up the “rhodes” piano mid tempo One More Night with his passionate vocal,   small town vibe and everyman stance it displays Cuddy and the band at the top of their game.

Despite these new inflections fans can still take stock that Waiitng for the World, One Light Left In Heaven and Sheba all three Cuddy tracks offer up craftsmanship without sacrificing melody and depth.

However, Keelor always known to take chances with his material spreads the sound into a wide  open D concept soundscape  with the refreshing Million Miles and his gorgeous “Harvest’ era Neil Young inspired  Don’t Let The Darkness In Your Head.

The beauty of Blue Rodeo as an outfit is that multi-instrumentalistist Egan, Milchem’s expressive stickwork and Donavan’s always vital bass lines invoke musicanship first and foremost providing Keelor and Cuddy’s song framework with emotion. With this in mind it should be said that as a recent add in tour and  studio player piano man Bob Boguski adds tremendous depth and clarity to a lot of the material

Other highlights include the big ambience of Venus Rising, The Band Stage Fright era roots inflections of  Arizona Dust and Keelor’s own Lost Togther era track Wasted.

Earlier in the year as this album was being mixed I had conversations with Keelor and Cuddy about how this album was going to be meant and conceived as a double album/four sided opus. For the band to pull this off with integrity intact remains a testament to the band’s musicality.   Yes, it’s good, and I NOW HAVE THE DOUBLE VINYL..which I will write about shortly

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joss stone/carrie underwood.john emms cd reviews/play on

November 9, 2009 1 comment

joss stone 3





As most people are aware both Stone and Underwood are exceptional vocalists. The difference on these releases is that Stone’s cd comes off more  organic to her own talent. On tracks like Parrallel Lines  the new single Free Me, and her gorgeous cover of Ray Charles’ I Believe It To My Soul Stone reaches an emotional depth while keeping the tempo upbeat, making intelligent lyrical choices on her own songs, and singing the hell out of the tracks.

Stone seems in lock and step with the musicians among them David Sanborn and Jeff Beck and feeds off of their chops . Underwood relies on a more polished studio approach on Play On  where ballads rule. That may be fine, but there seems less distinction in the overall songcraft. Even the rock single Cowboy Casanova sounds like a Mutt Lange/Def Leppard outake.

Elsewhere Mama’s Song, Temporay Home, and Someday When I Stop Loving You all containing superb vocals sound like they could have come from any country album over the last 5 years by any female vocalist

The better songs on Play On such as the funky Undo It and the banjo jump/rock vibe of Songs Like This find  Underwood simply getting closer to a performance feel. If you have ever watched Underwood on stage you know just how captivating she can be

Elsewhere on Colour Me Free Stone’s  originals like the smoldering Lady, the unforced duet Big Ol’ Game with Raphael Saadiq and the political soul show stopper Governmentalist with it’s terrffic wordplay  really push her talent in a good way.

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The Jayhawks-JOHN EMMS-review..anthology-music from the north country

October 26, 2009 2 comments

jayhawks anthology cover

In the mid 80’s Alternative Country became a buzz word and catch phrase for music that had it’s inspiration and influence rooted in rock n roll, rural attitude and turned up and turned on musicians. Personally it brought me back to the earlier work of Bob Dylan, The Band, The Byrds and the first four albums by The Eagles. I recognized it again when I first heard Blue Rodeo, Wilco, Lucinda Williams and  The Jayhawks.

At the root of all these recordings are songs of substance. This 20 song compilation is a dandy overseen by one of the band’s  main songwriters Gary Louris.

There are  10 tracks from the band’s classic Americana work that yielded the albums Blue Earth, Hollywood Town Hall  and Tomorrow The Green Grass. 

However what becomes apparent  on this cd is that the period from 1996 to 2002 where Louris took over the lead role with other talented players is in fact a solid and criminally overlooked piece of the band’s recorded legacy. 

As of this writing co-leaders Gary Louris and Mark Olsen have been back together doing some acoustic shows . For Canadians fans of Blue Rodeo this is a must have collection.

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harry connick jr.JOHN EMMS REVIEW.your review..hip but hit & miss..

October 20, 2009 Leave a comment

harry connick jr

My wife plays Frank Sinatra every Sunday morning. It’s relaxed and hip music. She also digs Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Buble’..I could probably understand why. However after about 3 or 4 solid listens I as a MUSIC JOURNALIST and my wife as A FAN have mixed feelings for HC’ s new cd. .. For me, it’s one of the best reecorded cd’s I have heard this year. Clean and uncluttered with amazing audio, and  superb musicianship. This cd folows in the mold of  the Rod Stewart/Barry Manilow Great Amercian songbook idea.

As with the other cd’s in this genre sometimes THE ORIGINAL SONGS ARE OFTEN HARD TO BEAT

Having said that Connick’s take on The Beatles And I Love Her,Don McLean’s And I Love You So, and the opening Frank Sinatra inspired All the Way with Tenor sax by Branford Marsalis are superb.  HC ‘s take on Elton John’s Your Song  The Carpenters Close To You, and a few others miss the mark when I compare it to the vibe of the orignal hits

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status quo-pictures dvd JOHN EMMS review..”the real thing”

October 20, 2009 1 comment














WHAT A  HUGE SURPRISE-Maybe all of us here in North America should clue into the fact that this band is one of the best  “boogie” bands on the  planet BAR NONE..I basically have not heard of these guys since they opened Live Aid in what 1985 ??..Now here comes this LIVE FROM MONTREUX DVD in 2009 that sets your head in a spin. A few facts. These guys have sold over 118 million albums, have achieved more British single hits than The Rolling Stones. Holy crap.

BOTTOM LINE..   THE REAL THING… 21 SONGS,  GREAT 5.1 SOUND..THESE TRACKS.. have just enough cool changes..that just kill……………….THE MOST FUN I HAVE HAD IN YEARS

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September 24, 2009 1 comment

joe lous walker 2009-[rock & the blues (2)WALKER is the perfect blues/roots vehicle for any music label (in this case Stony Plain Records) because he offers listeners such a wide pallete of dazzling song options. Produced expertly by the legendary Duke Robillard Walker has no problem walking the line between the roots of blues with the healthy infusion of rock or soul.

Just check out the mule kick of I’ve Been Down, the whiplash stroll of I’m Tide and cross tie soul of Black Widow Spider.

There is a sense of urgency about this album that jumps out of your speakers. The hard driving If There’s A Heaven with the earthy tones of Kevin Eubanks and the spellbinding slow  minor chord blues of Hallways with it’s  gorgeous piano and guitar solo breaks reach far further into the passion of where many artists would even would dare to go. That is commitment folks!

Tell Me Why written by Duke Robillard is a ‘serves you right to suffer’ barn burner that could be a Rolling Stones Exile On Main Street outake that Buddy Guy or Jagger/Richards would have killed to have recorded. An incredible vocal take by Walker both on the aforementioned track and on The Ray Charles penned Blackjack

The album ends with the wah wah rip of  Big Fine Woman and the acoustic Delta-ish vibe of Send You Back.

Walker is not stuck between A Rock and the Blues he’s  burning rubber at the Crossroads



p[assioonatealiking  So Long Cases i npoint are the sweatyking ofd roots tastePassionate playing,  well constructed material and

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September 23, 2009 Leave a comment

whitney 2009 1

For the past  seven years since her last cd much of Whitney Houston’s life has been pushed onto the front pages of every tabloid in the world. And usually not in a good way.

Maybe some of this has been self inflicted. Most of us will never know and nor should we want to.  It’s her life.

However when Houston  launches into the slow soul gospel of  her title track you know she means business. I dare anyone to turn this track way up, stand in the room and let her voice flow through your heart and not be affected.

It’s truly one of the finest vocal moments I have heard in the past few years.

 I’m not crazy about the whole album, but make no mistake there are enough vital tracks here that it will quantify what can be described as “Whitney’s Comeback”  Case in point is her cover of the Leon Russell chestunut A Song For You. Starting out slow and deliberate with strength Houston and her producers then turn the track into a Euro dance  number. Not a good idea to my ears.

But believe me, she still has the goods almost purely by her instinct to know what is good for her vocally and songwise.

 I love the fact she does not sing ballads all through the disc. The album statrts with the pumping bass line on the Alicia Keys written track Million Dollar Bill. and Houston commands her vocal range by not over singing on the  excellent Call You Tonight, and that goes for the AOR power of Worth It, a track I guarantee evcery couple will love. In fact, Houston sings ” I know somebody is gonna make love to this song tonight”.  She’s right.

After 170 million combined albums, singles and videos sold all over the world it’s not about money or how any homes you have. For most singers of this calibre it’s about  proving that her musical insight and talent is not hype.  On this return she proves that beyond any doubt.

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gary moore-john emms cd reviews-the essential montreux-blues power”

September 16, 2009 2 comments

gary moore pic (2)Like his Irish colleague RORY GALLAGHER..GARY MOORE’S true spirit and soul comes to the fore at a “live” gig. This set of 5 cd’s from Montreux has some of the best blues guitar playing by anyone, anywhere at anytime. I’m often left shaking my head at end of one of Moore’s searing solos. The first cd is taken from 1990 the time when the Belfast native had just released his Still Got The Blues album.  Midnight Blues, the Otis Rush classic All Your Love and Cold Cold Feeling with guest Albert Collins are standouts. Disc 2 comes from 1995 and features a horn section on some tracks and 5 Peter Green songs. Green of course is probably Moore’s single biggest influence. Tracks like Long Grey Mare, Oh Pretty Women, and the slow blues of I Loved Another Women are simply killer. If that was not enough John Mayall’s Key To Love and Freddie King’s the Stumble blaze.

Disc 3 comes from 1997 and is a rock set. Literally only an handful of  blues, and 9 of the 11 tracks are Moore originals When I’m in a blues mood it I will skip this cd.  However I have to say it is by far the most interesting cd in the pack and I will play it from start to finish. Disc4 is back to the blues with blues standards from Elmore James, Jimmy Rogers, Otis Rush,  Wilie Dixon and even a rockin’ cover of Jimi Hendrix chestunt Fire and a dazzling take on Thin Lizzy’s  Parisienne Walkways written with Phil Lynott

Disc 5 comes from 2001 bookending Moore’s astounding journey at the world reknown festival. Check out his take on Stormy Monday,  and B.B. Kings’; You Upset Me Baby. Then again in his  own songs Too Tired and How Man Lies are rough and ready blues rock. FOR THE GARY MOORE FAN-THIS IS ESSENTIAL

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JOHN MAYALL-john emms cd reviews-TOUGH-Mayall gets heavy

September 9, 2009 1 comment


Yes it took me by surprise.  I was thinking  something more mellower and tradtional along the lines of Road Dogs 2005 or In the Palace of The King 2007

This is believe or not Mayall’s 57th album and at age 76 this cd proves  his talent  is firmly intact. 

There are band changes this time out for Mayall. In fact, Mayall’s  replacement for the supereb axe of Buddy Whittington is ROCKY ATHAS,  and out of the box on NOTHING TO DO WITH LOVE  Athas  searing and intelligent fret work steps into the breach with killer results. Athas then  continues this all the way through the entire cd.

Elsewhere on Playing with Love as on opening song  Mayall’s biting Little Walter-ish harp work is smack dab in the mix with new bassist Greg Rzab’s groove bass and new drummer Jay Davenport  Not to be outdone Mayall swings on An Eye for An Eye and goes drop d tuning on the tough love of How Far Down.

Elsewhere the glue that holds Mayall’s band remains the excellent playing of organ/piano man Tom Canning

Canning is in fine form throughout. Check out the effortless drive of That Good Old Rockin Blues or the funk of Just what Your Looking For

This is cd a wakeup call for you young guns and blues rockers. JOHN MAYALL remains vital and engaged

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THE BEATLES john emms cd reviews/ REMASTERES/must have

September 9, 2009 Leave a comment

bl w j1beatles carFrom sonic sparkle to warm reverb touches to almost the same but louder THE BEATLES REMASTERED catologue is a mammoth undertaking. I received a 32 track Sampler, Rubber Soul, Beatles For Sale, Help and The White Album

But before I start on the SOUND. Let me tell you the Historcial Notes,  Recording Notes,  the Limited Edition Packaging, and Mini documentary videos for your PC OR MAC are PRIMO

THIS IS WORTH THE PRICE ALONE.killer photos, superb historical facts all in one paakage

The crisp sparkle of  NO REPLY that opens  Beatles For Sale is staggering. The vocal work wil blow you out of the room and that goes ditto for John Lennon’s incredible vocal to Chuck Berry’s Rock N Roll Music and Paul’s gorgeous I’ll Follow The Sun  On other songs like Ringo’ s vocal on Honey Don’t it is not as startling.

The White Album retains extra packaging on deluxe paper and also the same poster (but smaller) from the original vinyl. Again sound-wise results are good to mind blowing. Disc One standouts are Lennon’s Glass Onion, Happiness is a Warm Gun and a very warm vinyl to Martha My Dear and the stupendous Blackbird from Paul.

 On Disc 2 the bass work of McCartney on Birthday comes out thumping, Lennon’s vocal work on Sexy Sadie is more in your face, and ditto for George Harrison’s Savoy Truffle, while Ringo’s Good Night with Orchestra arrangemt from George Martin may be the best remastered thing I hear on the whole disc. WOW..

Rubber Soul and Help offer more of the same but make no mistake there is sonic upgrade. I did not receive Sgt Pepper’s or Magical Mystery Tour which I can only think will blow your mind. Every track is mastered from the original stereo anaolog master tapes

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jeff healey-organic blues- songs from the road cd review

August 16, 2009 1 comment

JeffHealeyLiveThere is a joyful feeling to this recording. Everything is in the moment. It makes you proud to be a musician. Honestly I have played this 7 times in 3 weeks. That is a lot  when you recieve tons of  cd’s for review every month.

Yes Jeff is gone but we have this music to remind us of his enormous talent. Remember the name Dan Noordemeer. He is the band’s other guitarist besides Jeff and he simply sparkles. Whether it’s the harmony leads with Jeff on Angel Eyes, his solid rythmn work on I Think I Love You Too Much, or the alternate chopping licks on I‘ m Ready and  Stop Breaking Down.  He is just a joy to listen to.

Elsewhere bassist Alec Fraser digs deep,  he sings lead on Cream’s White Room and then produces and mixes this cd. 

 Guess Who/BTO axe man Randy Bachman rips nasty leads with Jeff on Hoochie Coochie Man, and the crowd and band carry the George Harrison classic while My Guitar Gently Weeps. Last but not least solid mastering  job by  Andy Krehm .  This reminds me why we just love to play and gig.

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dave matthews band-cd review big whiskey & the grookrux king

July 7, 2009 1 comment

dave matthews band 2009Hands down the most intelligent rock/pop recording of the last 2 or 3 years.

Why you ask???..Simple folks..Matthews and band do not cater, dumb down nor really care what you think..Debuting at No 1 in over 20 countries is cool, but DMB work from the head and heart in such a way that the American Idols of the world  will never understand.

FUNNY THE WAY IT a monster first single. However that track is possibly trumped by the pure funky pop of Why I Am, the horn driven Shake Me Like A Monkey, and the atmospheric beauty of Lying in The Hands of God.

Elsewhere the new gift here is electric guitars. It’s already been stated in other reviews..

But hell IT’S ABOUT TIME !!! 

For me personally aggressvie, meaty guitars was the misssing link with DMB. Check them out on tracks like Squirm, Time Bomb, Shake Me Like a Monkey and flashes throughout the disc.

DMB sax man Leroi Moore a founding member of DMB died in an accident with the making of this the group’s seventh album. It may sound like a cliche but Moore must be happy considering his bandmates are carrying on being one of the more intelligent bands on the planet.  john e

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pete yorn/ review/back and fourth

July 2, 2009 Leave a comment

pete yorn.

yorn 2THIS ALBUM  has it’s place for me this summer. Yet, SUMMER albums for me  are not what they used to be.  Sure, I will get back into my Blue Rodeo laments.  I’ll  tap the Van Morrison into the six pack cd changer, and last week I took Yorn’s latest for a spin. 

Maybe I’m too busy , maybe I want to dig deeper into heartbreak. Maybe it’s easier to sing the blues

Maybe as Yorn sings in Paradise Cove ” I got what I wanted and It’s never enough, And that could be bad for us both” Yeah that’s the one for me.

Relationships are at the heart of this record.  On the track Close and the more uptempo Last Summer Yorn yearns for the newness of an old relationship. but so do we all.

Listen this is not a rock record. In fact it simmers, but there is plenty of passion. Long Time Nothing New is the prime example.  It’s the good downer stuff. Plenty of imagery swashes and drifts.

Just let your mind take over on a long drive.

Heck, if your really thinking about the one that got away Don’t Wanna Cry will take you out to that sea of heartbreak.

Look it’s like this.  “Same old town, Loose ends surround me, Always drags you down”..That’s Yorn talking baby, but he’s in the ballpark

john e

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duke robillard/review..stomp the blues tonight

July 2, 2009 1 comment

duke coverduke robillardLet’s face it Robillard has forgot more about blues music than most younger musicians currently know. That’s a stone cold fact.

As a throwback to his days with ROOMFUL OF BLUES, this disc proves to be very worthy.

With the  updated engineering of today coupled with Duke’s killer feel you might think you’re in some smoky club mid fifties but with the perfect seat, and nice clean ambience to boot. I’m talkin’  smack dab in your living room folks!!

The  material is mostly from the 1940’s and 50’s, and with the players all of Robillard alumni, the actual recording comes off as musicians totally in sync with the project.

In short they all love this stuff! That’s the trick folks.

Johnny Watson’s 3 Hours Past Midnight is a prime example of  how good the band and cd sounds. Nothing is forced and Duke whips off one of those ringing pure vibrato single note type solos, that are so good it makes you smile from ear to ear.

Elsewhere the horns play charts that anchor up the  melodies of Baby You Don’t Know and Do Me Right, and simply swing like hell on the title track written by Robillard 

I ‘m not in love with all 16 tracks for one reason only.

If Duke had cut this cd back to 10 or 12 songs it would have been more  like an old vinyl album experience.

Other highlights are Look But Don’t Touch with Sunny Crownover,   the Ike Turner jump of Tore Up and the much recorded Early In the Morning, done here with real class.

Standout chops throughout the disc from drummer Mark Teixeira, sax guru Doug James, basssit Marty Ballou and Bruce Bears on piano.

You can’t fake this stuf baby, and that’s what makes this disc so vital.

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bob dylan together through life reviewed

June 19, 2009 Leave a comment

bob dylan sepia 2009bob dylan reviewed together through life

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ronnie earl AND THE BROADCASTERS cd review living in the light

June 18, 2009 4 comments

earl coverronnie earl photoREJOICE..THIS  album  may change the way you listen to blues.  It is that powerful.

The soul and feel it is simply mindblowing. Following up his  successfull Hope Radio Sessions cd and dvd releases on Stony Plain Records Earl is in a a very reflective and engaging work ethic

Earl and the band’s cover of Bob Dylan’s What Can I do for You sung by Dave Keller is the most poignant and soul serching track you will hear this year.  Earl’s winding guitar solo at the end the track  is breathtaking.

Elsewhere the disc deals out around 5 gorgeous instrumentals the best being Pastorale which closes the album and two long  tracks SOS and Recovery Blues both showing the sheer dynamics and feel of the BROADCASTERS as a band.

Not enough can be said about the way this group interpets the songs. IT IS OUTSTANDING

EARL’S guitar work has always reminded me of the way Mike
Bloomfields’s work got under your skin. yes, it’s that GOOD

Kim Wilson drops into the mix for 3 tracks the most notable being the 9 nminute opus Child of a Survivor where he and the band push, pull and get reflective on the homage to the events of the very real Jewish holocaust. This  album will move you…john emms

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ted nugent reviewed motor city mayhem blu-ray

June 18, 2009 Leave a comment

USA_album_EVBRD33336This disc kicks major ass. The reason is simple.

Nobody has more fun than ‘THE NUGE’..this guy just lives to play rock n roll. It’s in every facial nuance, and every lick from start to finish. The other real kick is Nugent can still rip on the guitar. This thing is a weapon in his hands.

Filmed on July 4 2008, it’s Nuge’s 6000th show..yeah six thousand. If that was not enough this is 3 piece set for the most part. Mick Brown on drums and Greg Smith on bass know Nugent’s every move. it’s so tight it’s scary.

Sure you’ve heard all the tracks before.  Cat Scratch Fever, Free For All, Weekend Warrior, Wango Tango. but hell these are killer versions. Derek St Holmes joins Ted for Stranglehold, Hey Baby and of course Cat Scratch Fever and Johnny Bee Badanjek rips up the Mitch Ryder classic Jenny Take A Ride

If you can have this much passion after 40 years, I say bravo Tedster..ripping

john emms..for emm srock reviews

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lucinda williams rodney crowell reviewed

June 18, 2009 Leave a comment

lucinda williams rodney crowell reviewed

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roy rogers split decision review-slide king

June 17, 2009 1 comment

bl w j1roy rogers split decision reviewed

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commander cody new here

May 12, 2009 1 comment

commander cody cd coverWhatever you do pick up the Commander’s new disc. THIS DISC IS know it by the title. Killer tracks and some remakes..ROLL YER OWN, They Kicked me out of The Band, the classic Wine Do Your Stuff, and Ok Hotel are standouts .  Outstanding recklesss boogie, outlaw country and plain good ol’ rock n roll await you

new disc dopers, drunks and everyday losers next at the rock report

new disc dopers, drunks and everyday losers at the rock report

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