Segarini: Fraser/Daley, Plus the new Tuesday Showcase for Indie Music

We all know guys like this. They are rarely the main attraction in a crowded room. No, these are not the guys that walk into a room and immediately command attention. Rather, they are more akin to the charismatic head-turner’s wingmen; the more stealth-like companions to the stars, whose easy going charm and unassuming demeanor disarm those around them with quiet wit, dry conversation, and unheralded skills. These two individuals do not announce their presence with obvious flourish, nor do they seek either celebrity or adulation. They are like us; fans of music, looking to have a good time, and comfortable in their own skin. That is why, when they mount the stage and pick up their instruments and start performing, our jaws drop open and we see them fully for the first time. Our first thought? These guys are fucking amazing!

They aren’t brothers but they might as well be. These two diverse, yet strangely symbiotic individuals, share a love of music that is so organic, that you have difficulty grasping their ability to move from genre to genre, decade to decade, mixing both far-flung covers with original compositions and yet somehow manage to produce a unique sound all their own. With an ease matched only by an almost long forgotten duo who had a similar gift, The Smothers Brothers, and another brother act whose harmonizing voices continue to inspire singers to this day, The Everly Brothers, Fraser/Daley take you on a musical rollercoaster ride complete with instrumental skills and goose-bump raising vocals, that make many 5 and 6 piece bands trying to navigate the same waters sound like unarmed contestants in a small town karaoke Battle of the Blands. Fraser/Daley have an understanding of the music they play that rivals that of the originators, and their own compositions can look the classics in the eye knowing they are as good as what has gone before.

In a perfect world, major labels would be crawling over each other to sign these guys, radio would be playing their singles out of the box, and agents would be sending them out for months at a time to play sold out shows around the globe. They would be following in the footsteps of all the great artists before them whose musicality was their calling card, their joy of performance infectious to a fault, and whose instantly accessible and ear-worm worthy songs would join all the other timeless compositions we’ve fallen in love with upon hearing them for the first time.

To these seasoned veterans (who bristle with the enthusiasm of a couple of newly-minted teenage music fans) this IS a perfect world. They play what they want, where they want, when they want. They don’t need a record label, they have one of their own. They get radio airplay on the more eclectic stations out there whose criteria is to play great music instead of the product manufactured to fit their formats, and they have such a busy schedule as it is, that they would be hard pressed to find the time to tour as much as they already could. It is me and all the other fans of Fraser/Daley that want to see them be wildly successful, but the two-man band themselves seem to be happy doing exactly what they’re doing. They love their jobs, have lovely, supportive, families, play constantly to enthusiastic audiences big and small, and always…always with a smile on their faces and a joy of performance that seems almost maniacal at times. I envy them.

Their Music Speaks for Itself

Every time I see them, they trot out another half dozen songs I’ve never heard them play before. I honestly think they know more songs than any 5 other artists combined. Here’s just a tiny sampling….

The Oldies Demo

The Old Blues/Spiritual Demo

…and as far as original material goes….

Beat It on Down the Line

The Devil Herself

That Hellhole I Call Home

…and their latest composition, a song that is always different every time they perform it….

All Marijuana (Is Medicinal Marijuana)

Seriously, you have to see these guys live. I’ve been going to see them every Wednesday night at a great little restaurant/bar on Roncesvalles Avenue in Toronto for the last 2 years. Check them out at The Intersteer, 361 Roncesvalles Ave, between 8:00 and 11:00 any Wednesday night. I promise that you will want to come back every week.

About Mike Daley and Alec Fraser

Guitarist/vocalist Mike Daley fell in love with the blues as a teenager in suburban Burlington, Ontario. He voraciously learned from records and eventually made a serious study of music, studying jazz guitar and earning a Ph.D in musicology from York University. Meanwhile, Mike was keeping a busy playing schedule, working with Rita Chiarelli, Suzie Vinnick and Jeff Healey while also releasing solo work. He relocated from Hamilton to Toronto in 2003, and began working with Alec Fraser in 2007.

Mike Daley is a professional musician, writer and lecturer based in Toronto, Canada. He has a Ph.D in musicology and ethnomusicology and has published scholarly articles on Bob Dylan, Patti Smith and Paul Butterfield. As a guitarist, Mike has worked with Jeff Healey, the Travellers, Classic Albums Live, and many others over a twenty-five year professional career.

Glasgow born producer/musician Alec Fraser came to music through his father Alec Sr, a boxing musician. With many uncles in the Merchant Navy bringing back records from America, artists like Hank Williams, Jimmy Rodgers, Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash and Louis Jordan became influential in getting a six year old Alec to learn the guitar. Since immigrating to Canada as a teenager he has played bass with international artists such as Bo Diddley, The Drifters, Kim Wilson, Ian Gillian, Willie” Big Eyes” Smith, Ray Benson, Walter Trout, Mel Brown, Sam Myers, Finis Tasby and Cream’s Jack Bruce as well as touring and recording with The Jeff Healey Band and the acoustic band Brokenjoe.

Canadian artists like David Wilcox, Jack de Keyser, Morgan Davis, Danny Marks, Jerome Godboo, Rick Fines and Gospel singer Danny Brooks have all had Alec as their bass player and have helped him receive the 2004 Mapleblues bassist of the year award. Recently he has played with Randy Bachman, Colin James, Matt Minglewood, Steve Strongman, Eric Sardinas and Tony “Wild T” Springer.

As a producer and/or engineer, Alec Fraser has recorded some of the blues worlds finest. Jeff Healey, Snooky Pryor, Pinetop Perkins, Billyboy Arnold, Paul Oscher, Willie Smith, Mel Brown, Curley Bridges, Lil Dave Thompson, Harmonica Shah, Fruteland Jackson, Sam Myers, Finis Tasby, Kenny “bluesboss” Wayne, Julian Fauth and Jimmy Bowskill. Alec has done all of Jeff Healey`s Jazz Wizard recordings and most of the Electro-fi records roster.

Alec Fraser has produced many records over the years that have recieved recognition and awards. Here are some worthy of attention.

Jeff Healey- “Mess Of Blues” 3 weeks at number one on the Billboard blues charts and stayed on for months after. www.jeffhealey.com

Jack de Keyzer- 6 String Lover/ Blues Album of the Year 2003 Juno award
www.jackdekeyzer.com

Morgan Davis- Painkiller/ Blues Album of the Year 2004 Juno award.
and also won the 2004 Maple Blues award for recording of the year.
Morgan Davis- Blues Medicine 1999 Maple Blues award for “Producer of the year”
www.morgandavis.com

Pappy Johns Band- “Blame it on Monday” (2002 Canadian Aboriginal Music Producer Award)
Pappy Johns Band- ’Full Circle’ Best Blues Album at the 2004 CAMA’s

Some Cds that Alec produced for Electro-fi Records can be found at
www.electrofi.com
Billy Boy Arnold- Billy Boy Sings Sonny Boy
Julian Fauth- Ramblin’ Son
Harrison Kennedy- Ramblin’ Son
Fruteland Jackson- Tell Me What You say
Harmonica Shah- Listen At Me Good
Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith and the Juke Joint Rockers- ”Bluesin’ It” ( Juno and MBA nominations)

Visit http://fraserdaley.com/ for more information and live schedule.

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Just a quick heads-up. Starting Tuesday, May 8th, I’ll be hosting the new Tuesday Showcase in the Monarchs Pub at the Delta Chelsea Hotel at 33 Gerrard Sreet, in Toronto for producer Jack Tasse and the Delta’s Mike Smith. We will be bringing the best of the new Indie artists into this room for your dining and dancing pleasure from 8:00 until 11:00 every Tuesday night. There may even be an open stage developing after 11:00 in the weeks to come.

Join us this week for the first Showcase with our guests, singer/songwriter Pat Martini, and country/pop indies, The Hollowbodies. No cover, but The Jug will be passed.

Great food, Great drink, Great music, at the Monarchs.

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Segarini’s column appears every Monday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, The Segarini Band, and Cats and Dogs, andnominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late GreatMovies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now sadly gone), and now provides content for radiothatdoesntsuck.com with RadioZombie, The Iceage, and PsychShack. Along with the love of his life, Jade (Pie) Dunlop, (who hosts and writes “I’ve Heard That Song Before” on RTDS), continues to write, make music, and record.

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4 Responses to “Segarini: Fraser/Daley, Plus the new Tuesday Showcase for Indie Music”

  1. Shit. Now I want to move to Toronto. On Tuesdays, at least. Are you going to be recording any of the music? Also, why haven’t you told me about Fraser & Daly before? Damn Canucks, anyway.

  2. That’s a splendid article Bob. Good to hear about people who are “the real deal”. I’ve had the priv. of hearing Mr. Fraser play with Al Cross a time or three. Incredible rhythm section. Kudos to all.

  3. I’ve been a friend and fan of Alec for many years. He recently produced my solo disc “Crowe River Blues” as well as FATHEAD’s “First Class Riff-Raff ” disc which was nominated in 2004 for a Juno. It is a treat any time I get to work with Alec. Hearing Fraser/Daley is always a hoot… I love those guys. Glad to see them get some recognition via your kind article.

  4. Daved Kohls Says:

    Bob, am new to Daley/Fraser. Tho I have worked many times with all the surviving Grateful Dead members over the last 15 years, I was never a real fan of the Dead and their extendo-boring jams….. Other than their very first album from 1968, which I consider to be a mega classic from beginning to end. I am still derive mass quantities of enjoyment from listening of it to this day. One of my favorite tunes from that album has always been “Beat It On Down The Line”, a song I’ve consistently caught myself singing repeatedly and tirelessly throughout the years; one of those songs that gets stuck in my head and will not go away for days… but I never mind. I was impressed by Daley/Frasier covering that tune and enjoyed listening to their version. Thanx for the heads-up.

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