Segarini: The BobChart – Week 15

The Bobcast Bob May 6th 2013 Cropped

I find myself immersed in the fascinating and informative Ken Burns opus The Roosevelts, an intimate study of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt, that proves, among other things, that not much has changed in the last 100 years. The good fights we fight now, are the same ones we were fighting then. The names change, the sides switch, and the issues grow and evolve, but basically, we continue to learn nothing from the past, and are doomed to repeat our mistakes again and again. That said, we are also blessed with repeating a lot of good things too…we just forget that some things shouldn’t change. We abandon the good with the bad, the baby with the bathwater, and the positive lessons learned are as quickly and easily forgotten as the mistakes we make. Nowhere is that more evident than in music, and the entertainment business in general. The good news is, eventually, the pendulum swings back, and the ideas and mindset that have always held true are re-embraced.

=0=

It’s been going on for quite a while, really, the signs that music remains healthy, and focused, and made for the reasons great music has always been made. Music that is not purely driven by commerce, or the desire to be famous and/or wealthy, but music that speaks to us emotionally, and as both a reprieve from the woes of the day, and a confrontation of the same.

Celebrity

As the mainstream obsession with youth and beauty and wealth and consumerism reached further and further downward, the reaction to its continuing slide into self-parody and lascivious pandering, seems to have created a backlash of a new breed of artist. One that writes songs that address their own generations problems, one that seems committed to writing actual ‘songs’ that will continue to resonate past a day of attention, a week on a chart, or a place in the YouTube pantheon of  a Gazillion Views and Fleeting Fame.

=0=

With some exceptions, radio is not where you will find the majority of the great music being made currently nor for the last 10 years. Nor will you find it in the mainstream press and media we used to rely on to tell us who, or what, to pay attention to.

Billboard old

Billboard Magazine, a well-respected and highly regarded source of information and music industry news for the better part of a century, has become a celebrity gossip magazine and Billboardpress release marketing tool. Informed and music savvy DJs have been replaced by restricted and regulated men and women playing the same songs from coast to coast, again with some wondrous exceptions, but those exceptions are not yet capturing a large enough audience to topple the conformity which has been so prevalent in the 21st Century, but there are more than there were, and it is increasingly obvious that there are many more to come. Creem, Crawdaddy, Fusion, Trouser Press, and the other great music magazines of the past are all gone, while Rolling Stone struggles to hold on to any relevance they have left, and the exceptional print magazines that are worth reading are mostly out of Europe and England and expensive and hard to find outside of metropolitan centres. Even so, there is more great music being played and recorded than at any other time in history.

=0=

You have not heard all the great artists. You have not seen all the great bands. You do not have all the great records, CDs, or downloads. There are so many great songs, so many fine artists, so much great music we are all missing currently and have missed over the years, that the mind boggles. We, none of us, will ever be able to hear or see it all, but if you really love music, if you still get a rush when you are exposed to something new or that has gone unheard by you until now, then know that those moments when you were younger, when radio and DJs did their best to play as much for you as they could, when the press wrote about that which had been overlooked, or was brand new…those kinds of incredible, magic, moments are STILL possible.

All it takes to experience those moments still, is a love for music as profound as it always was.

And a desire to seek it out.

=0=

Before we dive into the BobChart, I thought you might like to see this.

Senior Citizens Have the Best Tour Bus Ever

Senior Tour Bus

=0=

The BobChart – Week 15

Thought we would kick this BobChart off with a cover. Not just any cover, mind you, but a BEATLE cover. I like well done covers very much. I think they are a great way for a new artist to introduce themselves to an audience that has never heard them or even heard of them. Especially live. A great band is wise to use a cover or two as a calling card, a “Mission Statement”, if you will. Not as a definition of the band, but as a “Hey, we kind of want you to know we can do this, and it is one of the influences that informs our original music”, and then go from there.

Beatle covers are tricky. Some people think it’s sacrilegious to even dare to do one, and even worse if you give it your own spin…of course those same worshippers will forgive you if you play the Beatle songs all night exactly like the records or as close as you can get. Go figure. Anyway, this rather odd duo do a fun take on one of the more obscure Beatle tunes, and pay homage to the original version while bringing something new to it both musically and visually. It makes me smile.

I like smiling..

Circe Link – Baby You’re a Rich Man

..and here’s Circe doing not a Beatles song. Circe, by the way is the woman in the previous video and this one. The gentleman who directed this video and is the mad scientist in the Beatle one also played music stuff and other stuff. He is also Michael Nesmith’s oldest son, Christian Nesmith…so, I guess ‘great’ runs in the family. Christian has been doing Monkee stuff with his dad. There’s a whole bunch more good stuff from Circe at the link to the song.

Hehehe…’stuff’…

=0=

Anyone who has known me for more than 20 minutes will tell you I am about as far from ‘prudish’ and ‘uptight’ as you can get, short of getting naked at a baby shower and wrestling with the mother-to-be for the Jolly Jumper. I just won’t do that kind of thing. Anymore.

The point I am trying to make is that although I am not prudish in the least, I find myself tired of having a garish and inept form of sex and large, uninvited body parts thrust at me by total strangers whenever I see a video of a ‘hit’ song by a ‘celebrity’ youngster who, in so desperately trying to show me how sexy and desirable she is, instead makes me wonder if her mother knows she broke into the Fredrick’s of Hollywood on Sepulveda and is taking classes at a Charm School run by a flock of Cher’s female impersonators.  Women who try to be sexy, aren’t.

Now don’t get me wrong. The opposite is also a little unnerving to me. Adele always looks like she has been stood up by her prom date, and Lorde, (who has at least distanced herself from Amish chic) seems she is becoming more ‘royal’ every time she sings that over-rated and over-heard teen ditty. She is having a longer career than most of her contemporaries just flying around the world singing that song at awards shows.

So imagine the fresh breeze I experienced seeing these kids and hearing this song. They look normal. They are normal. Not that Miley and Lord aren’t normal, but they try so hard not to look or act normal, seeing Echosmith was like finding a salad without kale in it, or a hot dog made out of meat. Not only that, the song is a song. A really good song. Catchy without being a nursery rhyme, and lyrically, it addresses something all kids go through at one stage in their lives, and tackles that concern with a positive message and an understanding of how it feels to experience that problem. See and hear for yourself…and oh, how I love this young woman’s voice and delivery.

Echosmith – Cool Kids

Wait…these kids are brothers and sister?

No pretention. Charming. Down to earth. And attractive without trying. When you hear their ages, you will be shocked….

…and I know it’s early, but this is high on my list for getting through Christmas this year without Little Drummer Boys and Pitbull and the rest mangling the holiday with Silent Night ft. JayZ, I Saw Mommy Twerking Santa Claus, and Rudolph the Red Nosed Hoe.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

=0=

Continuing with our discovery of good music made with your pants on, I dismissed this kid when I saw him on the Grammys because he played that emo-serious song every 16 year old writes when you first sit down at the piano. Hell, even I have written that song at least once. Why on earth the braintrust running that show picked that piece of meh when it turns out this kid has some firepower in his songbook is beyond me. Echosmith led me to this vid, a YouTube effort that collected a handful of new young artists and shot this version of Hunter Hayes’s song. Turns out it introduced me to a whole pile of pretty wholesome kids making good music. Love this song. No hoes were mentioned during the recording of this tune.

Hunter Hayes and Jason Mraz –  Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me

Featuring:
Echosmith – http://youtube.com/echosmith
Brandyn Burnette – https://www.youtube.com/BrandynBurnet…
Sam Tsui – http://www.youtube.com/TheSamTsui
Peter Hollens – http://www.youtube.com/peterhollens
Tyler Ward – https://www.youtube.com/TylerWardMusic
Kina Grannis – http://www.youtube.com/kinagrannis
TJ Smith – http://www.youtube.com/tjsmithmusic
Brian Landau – http://www.youtube.com/briansthing
Tessa Violet – http://www.youtube.com/Meekakitty

Check out behind the scenes footage from Echosmith:

http://youtu.be/fsht2u10tDw

=0=

Ballroom Babies – To Save Grace

The same old story. I go to Cherry Cola’s to hear a favourite band (Secret Broadcast) and wind up hearing a band I have never heard of before that deserves your attention.  This happens a lot at Cherry Cola’s and all over Toronto. We are in the middle of an outbreak of killer local artists that will break out sooner or later. If radio in this city played the locals like they all used to back in the day, we would be having critics and pundits trying to come up with a name for the ‘scene’. The Toronto Sound? Nah…the locals are from all over Ontario… The Ontario Invasion? Relax, I’ll stop. Won’t happen anyway…at least, not the way it used to. Most of the people who program music radio rarely live in the city where the stations are. And the ones  that do rarely go out to hear music unless they’re presenting the show. This band have somehow channeled the atmosphere associated with The Doors most iconic and ethereal songs, and added their own riff laden musicality to the mix. The album is terrific, and the songs are interesting and well written tunes which are influenced by past heroes, but not remotely resembling them. I could see these guys opening for Rival Sons.

=0=

Xprime – Nowhere Man and I Get Around

Speaking of wholesome, this group of insanely talented musicians are so well scrubbed, they have not only brought back the bow tie, they are making it possible for guys like me to wear khakis again. Having heard one of their new songs last weekend, I am stoked to hear more. This is the band that brings back the word ‘group’ to describe what they are, and ‘vocal group’  to describe what they do better than most. No new vid from the Falls Boys, so instead, here are two great spontaneous live performances of a couple of highly thought-of classics they managed on the road while they were touring this summer. …and yes, they are this good ALL the time, and so is their instrumental prowess.

=0=

Xprime also tipped this group from London Ontario. Melody, harmony, great song, killer voices, fine playing…they must be part of the Ontario Invasion….

The Walkervilles – Please Baby Stay

=0=

Cilla Black – Anyone Who Had a Heart

Sheridan SmithI was reminded of this wonderful singer and this incredible song by the appearance of a 3 part mini-series from England’s ITV network on my radar. The Mini-series, Cilla, recounts the rise of this artist in Liverpool along with her contemporaries The Beatles, and other Liverpudlian favourites like the Big Three, Kingsize Taylor, and Rory Storm, and icons like Brian Epstein and George Martin. It is a fantastic telling of her story and every scene, word, and performance drips with authenticity and respect and knowledge of the era. Sheridan Smith, a big musical theatre star in Merry Olde, not only nails Cilla Black’s mannerisms, body movement and personality, but sang all her parts live while the mini was being shot. This is Cilla’s original recording of one of the best songs from the British Invasion.

=0=

It’s a wonderful thing when you are invited to see an artist for the first time, and your expectations are not only met, but surpassed.

One of the great side effects of the new music industry is that the smart money has realized that hype is history. Lefsetz can say it’s back all he wants, but I don’t know anyone who still drinks the Kool Aid when it comes to being force fed an artist who turns out to be nothing more than inflated statistics and purple prose written by fawning publicists.

emilia

These days, you are either the real thing, or a flash in the pan that costs more money  to record and market than you can possibly make back. Multiple songwriters, multiple producers, and songs crafted not to be indicative of the artist, but calculated to fit a format, promote the brand, position the artist as a concerned and caring person, and exploit the artist until they either have the all-important ‘hit’ or shunted aside to make way for the next hopeful and their multiple writers, multiple producers, and enormous investment.

On the other hand you have record men like Gerry Young and labels like Current Records. Some of you may recall both the man and the label, and for good reason. Gerry and his label are old school. When he believes in something he lets the music do the talking. The other times Gerry has found an artist he wholly believed in, the talking was done by the music of Martha and the Muffins and the Parachute Club.

It is in that high regard that Emilia resides…and with good reason.

Hers is an unaffected voice. The song is personal and heartfelt, and the woman delivers the goods live. …and, in keeping with how you handle the real thing, I’ll just let the music do the talking.

Emilia – The City Misses You

=0=

I’ll be doing a column about these guys sometime before the end of the year. It is my fervent hope that I will hear their songs live again, and that those of you who missed them the first time around can hear them too.

There is an amazing story here, the story of Reuben Cherry, but it isn’t over yet, at least not in my book. It is too vital, too entertaining, too joyous, and too damn good to be over.

For almost a year, this group of deep thinking and talented musicians, writers and singers has been on my mind because the music they love and introduced to a waiting and immediately enthusiastic audience over a decade ago, has suddenly, over the past year, become a groundswell that seems to be saying “the next big thing”. Now, I don’t mean this tried and true form of music is going to sweep the world and completely change the direction of music as we know it, I mean something much more subtle that I see happening in other genres of music as well.

A return to honest, simple, sincere, and well-crafted songs and recordings.

This is the music that is filling the clubs coast to coast. This is the music that is inspiring other musicians. This is the music that celebrates that which has gone before, and takes to the next level the blues and classic music and songs that still resonate, still engage, and still hit us where we all live.

This whole BobChart is based on that belief.

The Beatle cover by a Monkee’s son and a talented singer that pays homage to the past while nudging the song into the present.

The kids, Echosmith and Hunter Hayes, who prove you can write and record and perform pop music that doesn’t depend on gimmicks, studio tricks, a dog and pony show or a stripper pole to get attention.

A hard rock trio who clearly love what has gone before and add a fresh twist to hard rock without trying too hard, and without sacrificing melody and musicality to do it. A band whose path has been made a little easier by the acceptance of Rival Sons and proliferating bands like Secret Broadcast , who have the solid foundations of what has gone before, and are all building something new and exciting on top of that foundation.

Xprime and the Walkervilles, who embrace melody and harmony above all else, who know that if YOU have fun, your AUDIENCE has fun. No artificial Hipster smugness here, to pretentious posturing, they dance like no one is watching.

A song from the ‘60s British Invasion era that sounds like a standard and still timeless after all these years that was a smash hit when almost everything else was yeah yeah yeah.

And a young woman with style and class singing a song as timeless as the preceeding one, whose music does the talking, while she sings from the heart.

I look around and I see Vintage Trouble, Alabama Shakes, and Saint Paul and the Broken Bones, just three of the new soul movement, the R&B and Blues that stems from Stax/Volt records and early James Brown and Ray Charles instead of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.

…and when I hear those artists, I can’t help but hear the band that was doing it a decade ago, and as far as I can tell, doing it better.

This is Reuben Cherry. And we need to get them back.

Reuben Cherry – with Jerome Godboo

Reuben Cherry – Angeline

Reuben Cherry – You’ll Never Cry

=0=

Doug Elliott’s 94.9 The Rock’s Pick of the Week

Three Days Grace I Am Machine

=0=

Your Comments are Welcome.

Segarini’s regular column appears here every Friday whenever he can finish one in time.

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” 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 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record.

One Response to “Segarini: The BobChart – Week 15”

  1. Doug Chappell Says:

    Another great read, I love it that you mention three of my favourite new bands, Vintage Trouble, Alabama Shakes, and Saint Paul and the Broken Bones. All three are proponents of respect for the real “Soul Music”. The Stax/Volt stuff is what the original “Toronto Sound” bands were sucking in, processing and spitting back out a sound that became Toronto music. It was not a style of music that radio played but rather it was exposed by the the countless number of bands playing countless number of dance clubs that were everywhere in the early ’60’s.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: