Cameron Carpenter: Past And Present Tens – Wrapping Up


Cam and Wendi at Cherry Cola’s

I am in the middle of a seven-day ten-event Christmas event marathon. Don’t know exactly what it is this year but it seems like every day this week there are a couple of shindigs. Thanks to the fine folks at The Talent House for their great event Monday at The Madison. It was fantastic to see and spend time with my old pal Robin Black who is now one of the world’s foremost  MMA analysts and a hero amongst Irish fight fans. Robin’s wife Erica is a client of the Talent House and currently performing in “Kinky Boots”.

Brian-Hetherman-2014Nice to see Brian Hetherman at the helm of Music Ontario as they, and CIMA, hosted their annual event on Tuesday afternoon. Usually you don’t expect more than chips and peanuts at this type of event but Mark Smith served up an incredible spread of food. After that it was over to Desert Fish Studios for their party. It was my first time visiting the Richmond Street West studio run by Jeff Wolpert and Sydney Galbriath and it is a very cool spot. They have been working with a young talent by the name of Tringa Rexhepi, a name you will be hearing about very soon as she readies her first EP. Born is Kosovo, raised in Dartmouth and now living in Toronto, Tringa has one of the best young voices I have heard in a long time.  Last Friday saw a visit to the Instinct Entertainment offices for a special acoustic performance by Terra Lightfoot and then over to the new offices of Larry and CamIndie Week to celebrate a great 2015 conference under the Jack Daniels Christmas tree. Last Saturday night was  one of my favourite annual events at the Sparks Productions holiday party where I will spent time with my old friends Larry Macrae and Andy Crosbie. We all go back to the Ready Records days in the early eighties.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were announced Thursday and, as predicted in an earlier column Deep Purple, Chicago, Steve Miller and N.W.A. were welcomed to the hall along with personal faves Cheap Trick A small but very worthy group.  With Deep Purple finally in perhaps Yes will get their due next year.

  1. “Save a Prayer” – The Eagles of Death Metal 

A great version of the Duran Duran classic and a song that became much more relevant after the events in Paris last month. They make the song their own without any major restructuring and I love the additions of the “do do do do dos” lifted from “Planet Earth”. This is from their great new album “Zipper Down” and if you had never listened to the band prior to November 13th now is the time. Hell they even wrote a song about our beloved Cherry Cola.

  1. “Go Go Boots Are Back” – Steve Earle & The Dukes 

How the hell can this be Steve Earle’s 16th album? It seems like only yesterday I was in a marketing meeting at MCA Records heralding “Guitar Town” is nearer to “Born To Run” than the latest Nashville release from the likes of George Strait. For those of us who remember the sixties go go boots were all the rage, your Mom wore them and your older sister wanted a pair. This cut is from “Terraplane” which was released last February and saw Steve & The Dukes rockin’ out with their dirtiest Texas-swamp sound.

  1. “Blackstar” – David Bowie 

Bowie still amazes me. How can he write a song this great at the age of 68? There is a new track being released tomorrow and the album will be available early in 2016. This sounds like nothing he has done before with a stripped-down mutant jazz sound and the seamless coupling of two distinct songs into one body of work. The video is pretty trippy as well. I hope there is one more tour left in him.

  1. “Orleans” – The StandStills 

After years of paying their dues in bars across Canada it is nice to see the duo of Jonny Fox and Renee Couture finally getting the recognition they deserve. They finally got a record deal from Nathan Quinn at eOne and rock radio played this song from coast-to-coast. Full marks to HTZ-97 for being one of the first stations to believe. I love it when I band I have watched and admired for years finally get their break.

  1. “Hotline Bling” – First Ghost 

It is hard to ignore one of the biggest hits of the year and just when you get sick of hearing the Drake version along comes a local rock band with a very unique take on the song. A good song is a good song and you can tell that when two versions in two very different genres work equally as well.

  1. “Trouble” – Keith Richards

It seems like his latest solo album “Crosseyed Heart” came and left rather quickly but this is just a great old rock’n’roll song. I caught myself listening to the song on my iPod (yes, I still have and LOVE my iPod) waiting for the bus when I unconsciously did a little Keith leg-dip air guitar chord. After looking around to see if anyone witnessed the what must have looked strange body contortion, I thought to myself only Keith could make me do this.

  1. “The Drinking Song” – Rod Stewart 

(Editor’s Note: There is no video available at this time. It has been removed from the Internet, but there is this….)

I don’t give a damn how uncool everyone thinks Rod Stewart is I will always give each of his new albums a good going over. This is the track from “Another Country” that caught my fancy and any good drinker will have a smirky smile over the all too recognizable drunken lyrics.

  1. “My Dead Drunk Friends” – Hollywood Vampires 

Speaking of cocktails I am quite sure that Rod the Mod probably spilled a few with the original Hollywood Vampires (Alice Cooper, Keith Moon, Mickey Dolenz, Harry Nilsson). This year Alice joined forces with Johnny Depp and Joe Perry to put together the album “Hollywood Vampires”. Although he has been very sober for many a year this song reminds us of the days of Creem Magazine in the early seventies when Alice’s drinking was a way of life.

  1. “Rockin’ in the Funeral Home #1” – The Del Fi’s 

This is a fun little project that alt-country artist Jerry Leger put together earlier this year. Live off the floor and recorded in one day the way rock’n’roll used to be.

  1. “Losing Touch” – Albert Hammond Jr.

You may know his name from The Strokes but on his third solo record “Momentary Masters” Albert is writing songs as strong as the Strokes ever did. Listen to this one more than four times and it will be stuck in your head for weeks.

Cam youngApparently this is a wrap for 2015 and I will be back on January 6th, after DBAWIS returns from its Annual Holiday Hiatus, which runs from December 24th through January 5th, 2016. Thanks and love as always to my ever-expanding family (Wendi, Kari and Mario, Kyle and Lydia, Mom, Dad & Jackie, Kelly, Barry, Sean, Becca, Heather) and my new family at Indie Week (Darryl, Katia, Christopher and Tara). Looking forward to 2016.


Follow Cam on Twitter @CC59

Cam’s column appears every Thursday

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DBAWIS_ButtonCameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener,  The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY, New Canadian Music, NXNE Magazine and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.

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