Our host, Jeff Woods
Meet Jeff Woods. Jeff hosts our Crow Sessions and conducts a short interview at some point during the show. Jeff’s a good dude!
The most talked about Jeff Woods attribute is his voice. It has been heard on radio and television for decades. Jeff’s career continues to be about communication and he is known for sounding as though he's speaking just to you, despite the fact that his reach has extended to a weekly audience exceeding one million listeners.
Beyond talking on the radio and television as a host or a guest, Jeff's presence continues to extend to commercial voice-over and narration, and to the stage as an emcee and speaker.
Woods has been at the center of conversation and context around music for 30+ years. He was the creator and host of The Legends of Classic Rock, heard internationally over 14 seasons. His many one-on-one interviews include David Bowie, R.E.M, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Rush, Ozzy Osbourne, The Band, Pearl Jam, Carlos Santana, Metallica, The Doors, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, and so many more.
Jeff's current radio series "Records & Rockstars" complements his artist interview/performance podcast of the same name, and his first work of non-fiction in print - the acclaimed "Radio, Records & Rockstars”, now out in Audio Book and selling at Amazon, Audible & iTunes.
Please join us on January 15th as we welcome the incredible Barney Bentall to the Crow Stage for our first Crow Session of 2019!
Jeff Woods will be hosting and interviewing Barney between sets.
After a half decade layoff from recording on his own, Barney Bentall returns with his finest, his most powerful, and most incisive album to date, The Drifter & The Preacher on True North Records.
A rugged, fiercely ambitious work, The Drifter & The Preacher combines an intensely personal artistry with a broader vision of a public figure coming to terms with his ordered life as a musician, as a songwriter, as a husband, as a father, and as a son while turning in his most urgent, and forceful performance in memory.
The album was recorded and mixed in Vancouver by John Raham at Afterlife Studios, excepting “Moon At The Door,” recorded and mixed by Sheldon Zaharko at Monarch Studios.
While his catalog overflows with stellar music, this masterful, expertly crafted album is in the vein of the best recordings of Blue Rodeo, Jackson Browne, John Prine, Ian Tyson, Ron Hynes, and Tom Cochrane, and may prove to be a truly defining moment in Barney’s musical legacy.
Despite several sabbaticals from the musical wars, Barney remains very much part of the fabric of Canadian music culture.
As frequent collaborator Jim Cuddy, who guested on “Won’t Change The World,” notes, “Barney had a similar trajectory as a neo-roots troubadour to the one we experienced in Blue Rodeo. He has so successfully transitioned from fronting a rock band to being a true Canadian troubadour in the tradition of Lightfoot, McLauchlan, and Cohen. I have loved his solo records, and they have frequently brought me to tears. He is a very poignant songwriter. His voice has the ring of authenticity, and I am easily swept up in the narrative of his songs. His records are my ‘go to’ ones when I need some familiarity to soothe my worries. Quite a man, quite an artist.”
The songbird of the East, Catherine Maclellan will be flying to Ontario for a one night stand on February 5th.
Be there to see her land!
Catherine MacLellan has become one of Canada’s finest and favourite singer-songwriters on her own merits. She’s kept away from the media circus and celebrity scene, preferring to live at home in rural P.E.I. She’s worked diligently at her craft, releasing a series of remarkable, creative albums, culminating in the Juno Award-winning The Raven’s Sunfrom 2014, to go along with multiple East Coast Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards, and Music PEI Awards. Most impressively, she has chosen to carve out her career path without trading on her family name.
That’s pretty hard to do, when your father is one of the country’s most famous songwriters. Gene MacLellan wrote two world-wide, multi-million selling smash hits: “Snowbird” by Anne Murray, and “Put Your Hand in the Hand” by Ocean. There are dozens more gems, including “The Call”, “Bidin’ My Time”, “Shilo Song” and “The Reunion Song”. But Catherine insisted on making it on her own.
“I didn’t know who I was yet, and so I didn’t want to be in his shadow and have that kind of pressure on me,“ she explained. “People would talk about my dad, but I would try to steer the conversation away from that for the first while.”
But now, that’s changed. MacLellan has gone from shying away from those songs to fully embracing them, with a stunning new album celebrating her father’s musical legacy. If It’s Alright With You – The Songs of Gene MacLellan contains 13 of her father’s most famous compositions, songs that propelled him to fame nearly 50 years ago, and remain the gold standard for Canadian songwriting.
“I don’t put a lot of stock into awards, but when Chris (Gauthier, her producer) and I did The Raven’s Sun and we won the Juno, it felt like, ‘Okay, I did it,’ I know who I am, and people seem to also, and they appreciate my music on its own. Now I want to share my dad’s music and it’s also an opportunity for me to get to know him better. The more I get to know his songs, the closer I feel to him.”
The discovery for MacLellan had been sometimes bittersweet. She lost her father while still in her mid-teens when he died in 1995.
“I think really for me it was part of my journey of healing. I thought that I was over the grief of losing my dad. I thought I had dealt with it in lots of rational ways, which I guess I had, but I hadn’t actually emotionally finished that journey,“ she said. “But now that my daughter is eleven, and I’m starting to see my brother’s kids playing music and they’re even playing some of dad’s songs, I see the generational thing is really cool. I’m really proud to be walking in his footsteps.”
She’s taken the journey one step further; in addition to the album, MacLellan has written a new theatre show that will debut in July in Charlottetown, at the P.E.I. Brewing Company stage. Also called If It’s Alright With You, it’s filled with stories from her father’s life, from surprising revelations to intimate descriptions of their time together. It will feature the selections from this album, as well as lesser-known and even unreleased songs she’s discovered in her family archives. After the show finishes its run in P.E.I. in the summer, she’ll take it on tour across the country in the coming months.
With her grace and charm, Catherine MacLellan has captivated audiences since her 2004 solo debut. She’s capable of the deepest emotional connections through her intimate lyrics as well as easy-going and light-hearted fun. There’s some of all that on If It’s Alright By You, as well as some surprising interpretations, a welcome reminder for old fans of her father’s, and an introduction for a new generation.
“He would be happy to know that his songs continue on, being remembered and given a new spark,“ she said. “A young, regular guy, from a regular upbringing, very humble beginnings, what one guy can do.”
Please join us and our host Jeff Woods in welcoming Lowest of the Low’s Ron Hawkins for a very personal show on the Crow Stage.
Ron Hawkins has long been revered as one of Canada's greatest contemporary singer-songwriters. As lead singer/multi-instrumentalist and main songwriter of Canada's legendary Lowest of the Low, Ron Hawkins has enjoyed many accolades through the years:
In 1996, 2000 and again in 2005, Chart Magazine honoured the group's 1991 debut album, Shakespeare My Butt, with spots in the top 10 of the Top 100 Canadian Albums of All Time. In 2000 and once again in 2015, Hawkins was voted Songwriter of the Year by NOW Magazine's reader's poll. Also in 2000, Ron received Toronto station 102.1 The Edge's Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2008 The Lowest of the Low was inducted into the Canadian Indie Rock Hall of Fame and awarded gold records for Shakespeare My Butt.
Over the years, Ron has written and released four LOTL albums, five solo discs, three records with his band The Rusty Nails, and two records (one a double album) as Ron Hawkins and The Do Good Assassins. Adding them all up, Ron has released 15 albums of original material to date and has just released “Shakespeare My Box” a commemorative vinyl box set of the entire Lowest of the Low catalogue.
My little home studio is only nine feet by nine feet but it’s packed with toys and musical goodies. It’s a bit like going down the rabbit hole.”
We are very excited to welcome The Song and Dance Man himself, Jason Collett to the Crow Stage.
THERE ARE MORNINGS when I need some comfort right from the get go. I wake up, with the sun (hopefully) streaming in and I feel alone. Even when Im surrounded by my girls and my love and the possessions that make up my life, I dont know where Im bound, and I dont remember where Ive been. Most of the time when I feel this way, I do what Ive always done I put on a record. I let the room warm up in its melodies, I let myself be still. And like a drug that takes a few minutes to work, by the third song, Im not alone anymore. I remember where I came from, and even have a little bit of a clue as to where Im going.
This Sunday past, when I felt this lonely feeling, I put on Reckon, the new album by a man I know (and kind of idolize, but dont tell him that) called Jason Collett. Yeah, you probably know him too. If youve loved Canadian music for the last twenty years of your life, or even if youre only twenty yourself, youve probably heard him sing to you; you might have seen him keeping the Broken Social Scene in line with nothing more than a stomping foot and an acoustic guitar.
You might have seen him seducing a crowd with his songs in little clubs and big arenas and every other goddamn size of room in between all over Canada, all over the world. You might know him from your neighbourhood; hes the handsome one who always seems to have a kid with him. Hes the one who shows up, who takes care, who helps out. Yeah, I told you you know him?
Anyway. Woke up. Stood up. Couldnt find my place. And so I listened to Reckon. And all I can tell you is that by the end of it, I had remembered all kinds of things that mattered to me, and I felt better. I remembered how much I love melody. Jason has a way of finding them so easily, like shells on the beach. but he doesnt polish them up; he leaves the brine and the sand on there, which only serves to reveal the beauty of those patterns going on underneath, the texture and colour of something hidden and therefore made more beautiful.
I remembered that I live in a big empty country, a place where stories wrapped in songs have always been a way for this vast place called Canada (kind of a shitty name for a country, but anyway) to seem smaller somehow. Mitchell, Young, Cohen, Cockburn, Collett weve always been good at this kind of music music about you, about the things that have happened and the places you hope to go. Jason knows that if you want to travel this country from one end to the other, you better have a story in your pocket, and the bravery to tell it. And while nobody minds if you stretch the truth a little, it better have some truth in its heart.
I remembered little things too, like if youre gonna make a record, its ALWAYS a good idea to get some strings on there. Theres something about that febrile sound of a bow across a string that makes you more aware of the miracle of harmony. Strings are all over Reckon; guitar strings, violin strings, and lyrical ones; patterns and themes and ideas that stretch out and pull you in, make you feel like your listening to a teacher and a jester, and make you feel, yeah, less alone. Somebody gets it. And hes singing it for you.
There is something different going on in reckon though, something more than a conversation thats personal; something more pointed, and a little more dangerous. You see, Jason is a dad, and a citizen, and so it follows that hes no longer anyones fool. And Reckon is definitely a record that takes on the poisonous political atmosphere of the day.
From King James Rag, a song so groovy you might not initially notice the disgust at its lyrical heart, to I Wanna Rob A Bank, a song whose title kind of says it all, but whose music makes you want to roll the getaway car windows down and sing along, Reckon takes on the venal greed and hypocrisy of modern Canada and the world with a lightness of touch, but no lack of vitriol. Folk music, if you want to call it that, or rock and roll, if youre more comfortable with the term, has always been partly about calling out the fat cats and the scumbags, and on this record Jason brings humour, passion and subtlety to doing just that; Woody Guthrie wrote on his guitar this machine kills fascists.
Jasons music is too appealing to kill. But if youre the kind of heartless bastard hes going after on this album, it might just sneak up on you, and when you arent looking. By the time it was over for the first time, Reckon was a friend of mine; just like Jasons other albums; just like Jason. I put it on again; and then again. You know why? Well, cause it was fuckin good, that sure helped. Song after song that unfurled in a way that they have a word for: virtuosic. But its on repeat these days and will be for many days to come I reckon (see what I did there?) because on a morning I felt a little lost, it did what all truly great albums do; it put up a sign that pointed me back to the beauty in just being here. I dont really know how I would have gotten through this weird old life if albums like Reckon didnt do that for me every now and then. On a pretty cold morning, Reckon stood up for me, and for all those who feel like the world is getting crueler by the day. It gave me hooks to sing, to cheer my heart; it gave me beats and sex and a little rage, like rock and roll music is supposed to, to make me bold; it gave me a story to follow, and the story sounded a lot like my own; Reckon was there, and it always will be. And if you listen, Ill bet even money it will be there for you too; waiting on the shelf, or in the cloud, to take you in again, and put you back down on the ground at the end.
Oh by the way, you might notice theres another album that comes along with Reckon. This collection is a summing up, I guess you could say, or at least a look back at where Jason has come from, and where hes going. As he picks up listeners with each album, many of whom are younger than some this guys kids, it seems like a good idea to give them a primer on some his finest moments from before. When you write this songs this well, and this consistently, its easy to put out new stuff, and its crucial to let new listeners hear the best of the older stuff. And its free. Which, as we all know, seems to be the way the kids like their music these days. Gotta go; got songs to write, a kid to feed. one of the annoying things about being a musician is that every time you hear a record this good, it makes you feel like youre a lazy prick and you gotta work harder. So its back to work. I forgot where I was for a second so I listened to Reckon; Reckon put me back on the road. And Im on my way again
Torquil Campbell (June 2012)