Franny Wisp and Her Washboard wsg Glacial Erratic
Jul
24
8:00 PM20:00

Franny Wisp and Her Washboard wsg Glacial Erratic

Franny Wisp & Her Washboard - A brilliant comedic and musical act!


The Franny Wisp & Her Washboard show is a funny, self-deprecating response to a society that is preoccupied with youth, beauty, success and romantic relationships. Her satire and wit are expressed musically through song, spoken word, wicked washboard rhythms and electric kick drum.

To laugh at her misgivings and insecurities allows us to be kinder and gentler with ourselves.  That’s what Franny Wisp & Her Washboard is all about - she creates an experience that connects us in a celebratory and often poignant way.

A night of surprizes, music, laughs and incredible food at the Crow on Wednesday July 24. Be entertained.

Dinner reservations get preferred seating. Show starts at 8.






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Eamon Mcgrath
Jul
26
9:30 PM21:30

Eamon Mcgrath

With over 300 songs written and recorded, album of the year credits, and multiple continent-spanning tours, Eamon McGrath has developed a body of work that could rival that of any artist 15 years his senior. This is the house that punk rock built: a fierce DIY attitude and constantly-changing style has guided McGrath across the globe on countless tours, stories from which have been cultivated in innumerable journal entries and song lyrics. He is based in Toronto, Ontario.

With over 100,000 kilometres of highway, railroad and sky behind him, McGrath continues to blaze an impassioned trail of music that finds a sound and voice somewhere between punk rock, country, folk and rock and roll. Taking him to locations as geographically diverse as Reykjavik, Palma de Majorca, Warsaw, and everywhere in between, McGrath and his guitar represent a new dawn of singer-songwriting that's injected with the raw, fierce energy of punk rock: not in the sense of an acoustic performer hollering at the top of his lungs to simulate the energy of a full band, but instead something more rooted in a passionate commitment to your craft and a blind and zealous determination to your vision, wrapped in a sonic texture as rough as the road itself.



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Matt Weidinger
Aug
16
9:30 AM09:30

Matt Weidinger

Matt Weidinger has a voice like no other. The 23-year-old Kitchener, ON native is a passionate young songwriter, who is well known for his mature rock/soul vocals and impressive multi-instrumental (keyboards, guitars) talents.

Weidinger has spent the last year focusing primarily on his work with the band LumberJunk and his songwriting, which included several sold-out shows and the release of two EPs..

His unmistakable earthly tones captivate the hearts of anyone who hears it. He performs like a veteran musician on the piano and organ, and is equally proficient on guitar, bass or mandolin.

Although some consider him a throw back of the '60s, he still has the capacity to grab the attention of both the old, young and everyone in between. He's an “old soul” who easily commands the attention of any crowd. His passion for music and performing is contagious.

Starting his music career at the ripe age of 15, Weidinger has had the pleasure of playing a variety of venues around Southwestern Ontario on a weekly basis. He also performs at multiple blues festivals around the province.

“His raspiness is used often to accentuate the emotion he emulates. Yet, it’s never overdone. He knows what he is doing”. Dubecki, Craig, Velvet Rope. V.1.15.



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Gary Cain Band
Aug
17
9:30 AM09:30

Gary Cain Band

With one foot planted firmly in the Blues, and the other foot planted in seemingly everything else, The Gary Cain Band bring a fresh and unique musical style defined by their debut release, “Twangadelic Bluesophunk”.

www.ghsstrings.com










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Austin McCarthy Band
Aug
23
9:30 AM09:30

Austin McCarthy Band

Based out of Montreal, Austin McCarthy is in continuous pursuit of his musical dreams while completing his Finance degree at Concordia University. By blending soulful guitar playing with organic lyrics Austin creates an effortless mix of pop and blues on his debut EP 'reverie'.

 

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The Vaudevillian
Aug
30
9:30 AM09:30

The Vaudevillian

The Vaudevillian
1930's Jugband Blues
"The Dirty 30's duo, The Vaudevillian make you get off your doggone caboose & do the lindy hop! The old fashioned gentleman, Jitterbug James & sweetheart Norah Spades bring you dancing numbers from the prohibition period! Thank goodness PROHIBITION IS OVER! Get ready to shine your shoes to do the skoodle um skoo!"
https://thevaudevillian.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/thevaudevillian/
https://www.facebook.com/thevaudevillianmusic/
Record Label- https://bustedflatrecords.com/
Videos-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRzlIisCrmA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdYNwC0WpPI

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Little Magic Sam
Aug
31
9:30 AM09:30

Little Magic Sam

When the world gets down on Little Magic Sam, he gets down on a Les Paul. Hailing from St.Thomas, ON, Sam Taylor is a born entertainer with a penchant for raw blues music, and lyrics that bely someone much older than his 27 years. With an enormous stage presence, it comes as no surprise that this multi-talented singer/songwriter has been performing internationally since the age of 7.

 

After graduating from Fanshawe College with a diploma in Music Industry Arts, Sam headed into EMAC Studios with producer Moe Berg (of Pursuit of Happiness) on two original songs; Thought of Leaving and Loaded Gun, both of which received airplay across Southern Ontario. Loaded Gun has also been featured in the tv shows Haven, Cracked, and Degrassi. Sam’s versatile and honest songwriting gives his music the emotional edge that sets him apart as a talented up and comer. His songwriting can be heard on his collaborations with other Canadian recording artists, the most notable being Chad Price. He has also shared the stage with Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones), Gordon Lightfoot, and Whitehorse.

 

Little Magic Sam was thrilled to get the opportunity to record what would become his debut E.P. at the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis, TN. Look for Little Magic Sam’s new E.P. on all major music platforms, CD and limited edition vinyl as of February 21st, 2019.

 

Little Magic Sam currently resides in Toronto where he performs regularly across the city, including a monthly residency at Sauce on the Danforth.

 



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Crow Session featuring Great Lake Swimmers
Oct
8
5:30 PM17:30

Crow Session featuring Great Lake Swimmers

CROW. BAR AND VARIETY is a small restaurant/music venue in Collingwood Ontario and on various Tuesday nights we host intimate dinner shows with some of North America's award winning' or up and coming musicians. Dinner shows will feature a prix fix menu of celebrated Chef Shaun Edmonstone award winning cuisine. Our Crow Sessions are hosted by the very charismatic Jeff Woods, Radio personality and author.

Capacity is 74 seated and 10 show only seats at the stage front

On October 8th we are excited to present Great Lake Swimmers!

2019 marks the 16th anniversary of Great Lake Swimmers. The JUNO

nominated, Polaris Prize shortlisted Toronto group, fronted by lead singer-songwriter Tony Dekker are pleased to announce new album The Waves, The Wake, releasing August 17, 2018 via Nettwerk. Recorded in the 145 year old Bishop Cronyn Memorial Church and produced by Chris Stringer (Union Sound),Tony decided to challenge himself by writing new music without

any acoustic guitar which has always been his instrumental mainstay. He further

digressed from previous songwriting patterns by looking at each track individually

and then tailoring the instrumentation to bring each song to life in its own distinctive way. The new record is preceded by a six track EP titled Side Effects, that features new songs

The Talking Wind, Falling Apart and Side Effects as well as fan favourites Your Rocky Spine, Quiet Your Mind and I Became Awake.

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Daniel Champagne
Nov
13
6:00 PM18:00

Daniel Champagne

ABOUT DANIEL CHAMPAGNE One reviewer recently wrote –‘Daniel Champagne exudes a natural ease on stage, as he sings poignant lyrics and beautifully crafted melodies that invariably whisk the heart up with grand romanticism. Coupled with an exhilarating guitar talent that transcends mere acoustic playing to replicate a whole band, Champagne is just magical’ (themusic.com.au) The story goes that the young Australian singer, songwriter and one-of-a-kind guitar virtuoso first picked up his instrument of choice as a five-year-old following in the footsteps of a musical father. He began writing songs at 12, training classically throughout his teens and performing solo wherever he could, honing his craft and developing what would become the dynamite live show that he is renowned for today. At 18 he left school, turned professional and hit the road. The next five years saw him traversing North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, New Zealand and of course, his homeland Australia playing such festivals as Vancouver andMariposa Folk (Canada), Belgium’s Labadoux Festival and Australia’s Woodford, Falls Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival and the legendary Byron Bay Bluesfest. As well as touring and sharing stages with the likes of Lucinda Williams, Judy Collins, INXS, John Butler, KT Tunstall and Ani DiFranco, Jake Shimabukuro, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Tommy Emmanuel, Albert Lee and Kaki King –all of this while writing, producing and independently releasing two Eps, Gypsy Moon Volumes 1 and 2, his first long player ‘Pint of Mystery’ (2011) ‘My Own Design’ (2009) and ‘Wide Eyed and Open’ (2010), and the ‘Real Live’ offering in 2012. His latest full length release “Fault Lines” (2017) is available now and his new project, Satellite City EP(2018) is comprised of three singles, Satellite City (out Sept 14), Indigo (out Oct 12), and The Great Divide (out Nov 1).As one reviewer recently wrote, “still in his early twenties, the distances he has been would be more frequently associated with veterans of the Folk scene” (The Dwarf)

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Johnson Crook
Jul
20
9:30 PM21:30

Johnson Crook

What the quartet—Noel Johnson (rhythm guitars/vocals), brothers Nathan (lead guitar/vocals) and Trevor Crook (drums/vocals) and Jared Craig (bass/vocals)—share is a love of pure, honest music stemming from their small-town backgrounds. Drawing inspiration from groups like The Eagles, Avett Brothers and The Band. Each member of Johnson Crook contributes equally, injecting their unique personalities into the overall sound built on four voices. After touring their release, ‘The album’, for the last year they are now ready to bring new music to fans in 2019.

5$ cover charge

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Goodnight, Sunrise
Jul
19
9:30 PM21:30

Goodnight, Sunrise

Goodnight, Sunrise is an indie-rock-and-roll-super-fun-dance-party band from Toronto, Canada.  Founded in 2011 through a shared love of pop hooks, EDM drops, and the raw power of classic rock, their sound has naturally evolved into a hybrid reminiscent of CHVRCHES, Muse, and July Talk.  Armed with confetti, glowsticks, and an abundance of relentless energy, they’ve taken their explosive live show to over 300 audiences across Canada, and Europe

5$ cover charge

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DIGGING ROOTS.  CROW SESSION #20
Jul
17
5:30 PM17:30

DIGGING ROOTS. CROW SESSION #20

On July 17th we are featuring Digging Roots in our 20th Crow Session. Please join us for a delicious Prix Fixe dinner (vegetarian option)and the show. Jeff will dig a little deeper into Raven and Shoshona's life during a half time interview.

Digging Roots utilize traditional and contemporary artistic practices, themes, traditions, forms, and are committed to and influenced by, the broad and diverse music community and creative culture that we live in. They pursue their art as a means of survival personally and culturally, as a way to know their own truth, as a way of connecting with community, as a means of resistance, as a tool of positive change, as an instrument of joy, as a way to keep tradition alive, and as a way to move forward.

Digging Roots was founded around the creative husband-wife songwriting team of Raven and ShoShona. They challenge one another to create music that is process driven and explorative, both aesthetically and thematically. They are influenced by their traditional Anishinabek and Onkwehonwe music, world music and a wealth of popular forms including roots, blues, jazz, folk, reggae, hip-hop and rock. Their music remains the focus of their artistic expression, growth and development, and is a means of exploring their identity as Indigenous creators and contemporary artists. They connect to a unique world view that is rooted culturally, socially and politically in their Indigenous communities.

Over ten years theyve been utilizing the traditional North American Anishinabek compositional approach of music creation called Song Lines whereby melodies and rhythms are created by tracing the rise and fall of horizons within a landscape. This is a musical way of reconnecting with the earth and the hidden melodies and rhythms that are contained on her. By utilizing and integrating traditional approaches to music composition Digging Roots have also combined western and eastern approaches to their compositions. Reflective of a contemporary Indigenous identity their music is equally expressive of a global human experience as they connect with audiences on this musical and humanistic basis.

Considering their music genre global blues the JUNO winning six -piece Indigenous band from the Toronto have been touring in North America, Australia and Europe. In 2017 they were on the road for nine months playing listening rooms at festivals and listening rooms in Canada and Australia.

Their latest JUNO nominated album For The Light brings more global-blues infused songs and audience round dances to their national and international tours. For the last year, Digging Roots have been in studios from Australia to Canada producing their latest album Zhawenim and they have released a single and video for their song AK-47 which explores the concept of love as a weapon in reclaiming our humanity. Digging Roots is a musical group that balances femininity and masculinity with Indigenous tradition and modern aesthetics. Their goal is to engage wider audiences with their Anishinabek music and cultural ideals.

Additionally, Digging Roots have toured in Australia seven times since 2010 with three of those tours in 2018. Theve performed at several festivals that include Byron Bay Bluesfest, Woodford Folk Festival, and on country from Northern Territory to the Sydney Opera House.

Digging Roots were awarded the first Cobalt Prize for Contemporary Blues Composition at the 2015 Maple Blues Awards. The creator and benefactor of the award, musician Paul Reddick, presented Digging Roots the grand prize for their song Hwy 17.

It is absolutely inspiring to hear these artistic people make such luminous musical statementsa must hear piece of work. 4-and-a-half stars. Jeff Mon, The Winnipeg Free Press

Hopeful and empowering4 out of 5 stars. Patrick Langston, The Ottawa Citizen

Funky native music fueled by a sexy soulful blend of reg- gae n blues. Jeffery Morgan, Detroit Metro Times

[DiggingRoots] are driven by a sense of those roots and that history they reference in the name of their duo, and thats the center of their unique sound. You can listen on the level of lyrics or on the level of groove and musical experimentation, but better to listen more than once to take it all in. Your basic quiet folk record, its not. Dirty Linen, Issue #125

a sophisticated fusion of reggae, blues, jazz, hip hop The Hamilton Spectator

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Freeman Dre and the Kitchen Party
Jul
13
9:30 PM21:30

Freeman Dre and the Kitchen Party

With lyrical dexterity and baritone rasp that has earned him the fitting (albeit lazy) comparison to the holy triumvirate: Dylan, Waits, and Cohen, Freeman Dre is today’s street-wise troubadour. The Toronto-based singer songwriter hails from the once gritty but quickly-gentrifying neighborhood of Parkdale. It’s a place where junkies, winos and new immigrants exist in the shadow spaces between condo towers and artists lofts. Even as gentrification pushes them out, these wayward characters find a home in Freeman Dre’s songs. The tunes—direct, memorable, romantic, and informed by folk-rock tradition as much as his Irish and Polish roots—invoke beer-swilling singalongs, foot stomping dance parties, and more than a few tears. Like the late night shot of whiskey, Freeman’s Dre music hits you straight in the gut and then fills your head with the foolish idea that, with enough love, anything is possible.

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Apollo Suns
Jul
5
9:30 PM21:30

Apollo Suns

Born from the fusing of four uniquely talented Winnipeg, Canada based musicians, Apollo Suns have created a refreshing and innovative sound combining instrumental, rock, jazz and experimental music.

Apollo Suns began in 2015 by Ed Durocher (guitar) and Dave Guenette’s (bass) and they soon after picked up Ethan McKibben (drums) and Chad Braun(keyboards). Trumpet player, Phil Collins, and percussionist, Paul Klassen, often accompany their live shows.

Apollo Suns constantly challenge themselves in their writing by constructing jazz influenced songs with the end goal of maintaining an overall accessible and catchy track for listeners of all kinds.

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 The Crow Sessions No. 19:  Carol Pope round 2
Jun
26
5:30 PM17:30

The Crow Sessions No. 19: Carol Pope round 2

Carole Pope’s first show on Tuesday June 25th has sold out so on June 26th we are very exited to present Carole Pope again!

Im sure you all remember Rough Trade and the somewhat, teen anthem High School Confidential from 1980. Carole has been busy making music ever since. Come hear what she's been doing since then when our host, radio personality Jeff Woods gets a crack at her in the half time interview.

Please join us for a delicious Prix Fixe dinner (vegetarian option)and the show.

Dinner and a show. 80.00 plus tax

Show only 45.00 plus tax

Carole Pope is an agent provocateur pushing the boundaries of sexuality, sexual politics, and the status quo. Short listed for the Polaris prize, her work has been recognized with three Juno Awards, multiple independent music awards, a Genie Award. 4 gold, 1 platinum and 1 double platinum album. Her latest single This is Not A Test (Sony Red) is available everywhere. A new collaboration with Kevin Hearn (BNL Lou Reed) RESIST IT is out now.

Pope has toured with David Bowie and performed at Roskilde, World Pride, MOCCA, Fashion Cares 25 with Elton John, Largo, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The AGO, ROM, Arts Wells, Luminato, Joes Pub, The Global Cabaret Festival, The Frostbite Festival, Reykjavik, The Vancouver Folk Festival. Riverfest, Toronto, Los Angeles, Montreal, San Diego, San Francisco Prides, the Michigan Womyns Festival and the Viper Room. She appeared in SUCK a Vampire movie along with guest stars Moby, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper and Henry Rollins

Pope has contributed music to film and television, including Transparent Season Two, Love or Whatever, Never saw it Coming, The L Word, General Idea Art AIDs and the fin de siecle The Trailer Park Boys Movie, This Revolution, Queer As Folk, The Five Senses, and Cruising. Her seminal band Rough Trade was on the short list for the Polaris Prize and were inducted into the Indy Hall of Fame during Canadian Music Week.

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The Crow Sessions No. 19:  Carol Pope
Jun
25
5:30 PM17:30

The Crow Sessions No. 19: Carol Pope

On June 25th we are very exited to present Carole Pope! Im sure you all remember Rough Trade and the somewhat, teen anthem High School Confidential from 1980. Carole has been busy making music ever since. Come hear what she's been doing since then when our host, radio personality Jeff Woods gets a crack at her in the half time interview.

Please join us for a delicious Prix Fixe dinner (vegetarian option)and the show.

Dinner and a show. 80.00 plus tax

Show only 45.00 plus tax

Carole Pope is an agent provocateur pushing the boundaries of sexuality, sexual politics, and the status quo. Short listed for the Polaris prize, her work has been recognized with three Juno Awards, multiple independent music awards, a Genie Award. 4 gold, 1 platinum and 1 double platinum album. Her latest single This is Not A Test (Sony Red) is available everywhere. A new collaboration with Kevin Hearn (BNL Lou Reed) RESIST IT is out now.

Pope has toured with David Bowie and performed at Roskilde, World Pride, MOCCA, Fashion Cares 25 with Elton John, Largo, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The AGO, ROM, Arts Wells, Luminato, Joes Pub, The Global Cabaret Festival, The Frostbite Festival, Reykjavik, The Vancouver Folk Festival. Riverfest, Toronto, Los Angeles, Montreal, San Diego, San Francisco Prides, the Michigan Womyns Festival and the Viper Room. She appeared in SUCK a Vampire movie along with guest stars Moby, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper and Henry Rollins

Pope has contributed music to film and television, including Transparent Season Two, Love or Whatever, Never saw it Coming, The L Word, General Idea Art AIDs and the fin de siecle The Trailer Park Boys Movie, This Revolution, Queer As Folk, The Five Senses, and Cruising. Her seminal band Rough Trade was on the short list for the Polaris Prize and were inducted into the Indy Hall of Fame during Canadian Music Week.

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Father Christmas
Jun
21
9:30 PM21:30

Father Christmas

"Father Christmas (Chezz Recs) - 4 piece psych-pop from Toronto


Fresh off their residency at Dakota Tavern, the fellas in Father Christmas are back at the Crow for 2 sets that will send you to the moon and back

Last visit was filled with delicious eats & cocktails, classic stage banter and ski-shots

Reimagining genre and form, Father Christmas experiments and improvises, pushing the envelope with space and sound
In 2017 Father Christmas released their debut album 'Naturally' on Chezz Records internationally to critical acclaim.

Currently FC are in the studio mixing their latest EP 'Equalizer' which explores space and technology while keeping the same tones and themes explored in 'Naturally'



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Jerry Leger and the Situation
Jun
15
9:30 PM21:30

Jerry Leger and the Situation

"One of the best songwriters I've heard in quite some time." - Ron Sexsmith


"One of the best Canadian songwriters." - Rolling Stone


"A commanding and astounding listen." - PopMatters


Acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter Jerry Leger has received praise in Rolling Stone, Pop Matters, Globe & Mail, The Toronto Star, No Depression, Americana UK, Paste and from fellow songwriters such as Ron Sexsmith, Doug Paisley and Michael Timmins (of Cowboy Junkies, who is also Leger's producer/label head at Latent Recordings), yet he's remained somewhat under-the-radar. I'm sure he wouldn't mind commercial success but perhaps the career as a cult artist suits him better, as in the same fashion as songwriters like John Prine and Tom Waits. Both sold modestly but were highly-regarded artists for half of their careers before becoming musical legends; and like these writers, Leger is prolific, uncompromising and fixated on artistic success. The examples are throughout the new Too Broke To Die: Retrospective 2005-2019 and promote further listening of his already large and impressive body of work. The examples are throughout his already large and impressive body of work.


The compilation will be available physically (limited edition) at all of Jerry Leger’s April & May run of shows in Europe and digitally worldwide March 29th. Leger has toured Canada and the States multiple times playing shows with The Sadies, Justin Townes Earle, Doug Paisley, Deer Tick, Ron Sexsmith, the late great Jesse Winchester, Tift Merritt and Dawes, among others. In 2018, he made his European debut with two tours in support of his acclaimed (Polaris considered) double LP Nonsense and Heartache(Latent/Warner/Proper). They included dates with Trampled By Turtles, Sarah Shook & The Disarmers and the Take Root Fest, sharing the bill with artists such as Neko Case, Kurt Vile, Father John Misty, Shakey Graves, Alejandro Escovedo and more.


https://youtu.be/OCHGFOZTeUU


https://youtu.be/-Z1iY2XMTcw


http://www.jerryleger.co

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Ace of Wands
May
18
9:30 PM21:30

Ace of Wands

Ace of Wands is the music and songwriting of Lee Rose. Joined by Anna Mernieks and Jody Brumell, the band blends soaring vocals, violin, synth-bass and guitar into songs inspired by the supernatural, elemental forces and physical sensation. Drawing on a background of rock and roll, classical violin training and folk music, Ace of Wands expands their songwriting to incorporate facets of cinematic soundscapes, pop melodies and interlocking guitars and vocals. Motivated by the tarot card of the same name, the music is about will and determination; to create and destroy, and to bring about physical, mental and spiritual transformation.

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Jane's Party
May
17
9:30 PM21:30

Jane's Party

Formed in 2008, Toronto-based pop-rock quartet Jane's Party - comprised of Devon Richardson, Tom Ionescu, Jeff Giles, and Zach Sutton - are preparing for their fourth, highly anticipated full-length, “Casual Island”, out February 15, 2019.

  “Casual Island” began as a set of home studio demos inspired by Jane's Party's experience supporting Tom Odell's “No Bad Days” tour across Europe in 2016. After returning home the band immediately called up producer Derek Hoffman (The Trews, Arkells, Elwins, Willa), and set up what would become the “Casual Island” sessions. Bassist/singer Devon Richardson says, "Derek is absolutely brilliant at taking what's initially unique and captivating about a musical idea and amplifying it a million times over". "So much of what made the final recordings came right from the original demos [not far removed from Tom Odell's own recording process]", says guitarist/singer Tom Ionescu. "This album feels very personal to us, like we're sharing that initial intimate experience when you're first coming up with the song and recording it in your bedroom", says keyboardist/singer Jeff Giles.

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Steve Poltz Mother's Day Brunch
May
12
11:00 AM11:00

Steve Poltz Mother's Day Brunch

DISCLAIMER 1:The “official”Wikipedia for Steve Poltz describes the material contained therein as “contentious,not to mention “unsourced or poorly sourced.”We can wholeheartedly assure you Steve remains sourced and rarely contends. Either way, allow us to present the real story from the horse’s(man’s)mouth… 

DISCLAIMER 2: (No animals were harmed in the making of this bio.)

Throughout over three decades in music, Steve Poltz did it all and more—often shared by way of his rockin’ countrified folk slices of sardonic Americana (hatched in Halifax). Of course, he co-wrote Jewel’s multiplatinum Hot 100-topping megahit “You Were Meant For Me,” but he also went on a whale watch with her and a few federales that turned into a drug bust. The two still share the story at every festival they play together. He made his bones as the frontman for underground legends The Rugburns, who burned rubber crisscrossing the continent on marathon tours and still pop up once in a while for the rare and quickly sold out reunion gig.

In 20 years since his full-length solo debut, One Left Shoe, he blessed the world’s ears with twelve solo records, spanning the acclaimed 2010 Dreamhouseand most recently Folk Singerin 2015. NPR summed it up best, “Critics and fans alike now regard Poltz as a talented and prolific songwriter.” By 2016, he survived a stroke, endured anything the music industry could throw at him, and still performed like “280 days a year.

However, he still never lived in Nashville, which represents a turning point in the story and the genesis of his 2018 Red HouseRecords debut, Shine On

“My girlfriend Sharon sold the condo we were living in, and I was ready to live in a van, which seemed like a good idea for one night—then I decided I wanted a kitchen and a closet,” he admits. “Sharon wanted to move to Nashville, because she thought it would be good for me. It caused a huge fight. I’d been in San Diego since 1980, and that’s where I cut my musical teeth. I thought I’d never leave.  In fact, at the  height of our fight, I said, ‘I’m not leaving San Diego. I am San Diego!’This makes me laugh now. As soon as I got to Nashville, I immediately knew I wanted to make a record in ‘Music City’.”

So, the man who once protested “I am San Diego”made Shine Onin his new home of Nashville with one of its elder statesman behind the board, Will Kimbrough [Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell]. Holing up in the studio at Kimbrough’s house, nothing would be off limits. Together, they unlocked the kind of creative chemistry you only hear about in band bios—but for real.

“I respect Will so much, and I’d always wanted to work with him,” says Steve. “Like two mad scientists, we just took our time and had fun. We didn’t overthink things. Everything felt organic. We ate soul food and drank lots of really good coffee. We tried out weird sounds, and the songs always started with voice and guitar—no click track, just how I’d play them. I road tested many of them, and they were ripe for the picking when recording time came around.”

Evoking themes of “hope, love, contemplation, celebration of Wednesday, pharmacists, and the fact that windows are not inanimate objects and they sometimes have conversations with each other,the record represents Steve at his most inspired and insightful. The opener and title track “Shine On” pairs a delicate vocal with lithely plucked acoustic strings as he urges, “Shine on, shine on.

“The song was a gift,” he recalls. “I woke up really early in Encinitas, California at Sharon’s sister’s house. The sun was just coming up. I was all alone in perfect solitude. My guitar was there. The sky was gorgeous. I wrote it as a poem. Everyone always told me, ‘Never start a record with a really slow song.’  So, seeing that I have O.D.D.(Oppositional Defiance Disorder), I started my record with one. I love the mood it sets. It’s almost like my mission statement, trying to find some semblance of positivity and light in a sometimes ruthless world.”

On “Pharmacist,” rustling guitar and harmonica propel a tale of “this dude having a crush on his pharmacist.” It also serves as an extension of his friendship with neighbor Scot Sax—with whom he shares the podcast “One Hit Neighbors” (since they’ve both had one hit song). Meanwhile, he joined forces with Molly Tuttle on “4thof July,” which, of course, came to life on the 3rdof July. “Ballin On Wednesday” drew its title and chorus from a diner checkout girl (with a super cool gold tooth)who Steve paid with a $100 bill and she replied, “Oooh, ballin’ on a Wednsday.” The finale “All Things Shine” skips along on sparse instrumentation as Steve sends a message.

‘All Things Shine’came about after one of the many mass shootings on this planet,” he sighs. “I was feeling overwhelmed. So, I wanted to put my feelings into words and melody. I was thinking that even if we’re feeling hopeless that there is still beauty. All things shine in their own way.”

Who could contend that?

In the end, for everything you can call him “searcher, smartass, movie freak, lover of technology, news junkie, baseball fan to nth degree, lapsed catholic who still believes in god even though all his friends are atheists and think he’s an idiot, and maker of fun,you might just call Steve that little light in the dark we all need in this day and age. 

Or Nashville’s Canadian Jiminy Cricket…

“I hope Shine Onmakes listeners smile and feel welcome, and they want to share it with their friends,” he leaves off. “Music means energy to me. All things. It connects us, makes us move, helps us relax, and inspires us to change things up.”

 

 

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