Category Archives: Canada

The Maple List – Number 164 – Sylvia Tyson

Born in 1940, Sylvia Tyson (Fricker) is an important part of Canadian music history. Best known as part of the folk due Ian and Sylvia, she continues to perform with the folk group Quartette and has since 1993.

During the Canadian Content days of radio, she and her ex-husband Ian Tyson, were staples on Canadian radio. They likely would have been even without the content rules. The were a very good folk duo from 1959 to 1974, when they split up.

In addition to the duo, they also fronted another Canadian institution, the band Great Speckled Bird. Sylvia is a true Canadian icon. She was inducted into the Order Of Canada in 1994, has 7 Juno nominations (Canada’s Grammys) as a solo artist and was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003. Additionally, she was included in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame as part of the Ian and Sylvia duo in 1992.

I have included 2 videos, Four Strong Winds, (you may think of this as a Neil Young song, it’s not) recorded during a reunion concert in 1986. This has been noted as one of the most influential Canadian songs of all time. The second is a solo by Sylvia, “You Were On My Mind”.

A Chat With Adam Johnson

Photo by Jayden Krieger

Today I chatted with Adam Johnson. He is an indie artist out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, who just recently charted as number 1 on the Canadian Indie Country Countdown. Quite an accomplishment as you will read.Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada who just recently charted as number 1 on the Canadian Indie Country Countdown.  Quite an accomplishment as you will read.

The song is “Come On Let’s Go” and is available at all the regular streaming sites. Kat Country Radio will also be playing it, so tune in on Live365 or www.thedonpearsestudios.com

Adam’s music roots stemmed from an interesting combination of a CoVid break from playing, and using it to write some tunes. Although he primarily played in rock bands, once the pandemic hit, he turned to songwriting while awaiting the return of live music. After completing a few tunes, he realized that they sounded country, sending him into that direction. It definitely seems to be working for him based on his first ever single reaching number 1.

While having only released the one single, his intent is to generate more buzz through the release of a series of songs, culminating in an EP package at a future time. This is not new to our industry as streaming has effectively changed everything, especially for new artists or non-chart topping superstars.

I asked who is influences are and he broke them into 2 categories. His music is molded somewhat by Dierks Bentley and Kenny Chesney. These influences are apparent in the single. He also enjoys older country artists such Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. All in all, not a bad group of peers to follow.

He is mainly playing in the Saskatoon area at this time, and only recently started playing with a band again. During the lock-downs, he mainly played well spaced acoustic sets. My normal question on whether there was a gig coming up in the Kootenays was, unfortunately, a no.

Adam has some music in his pedigree. His grandmother sang and an uncle who sang and played guitar. His uncle also had an EP recorded. Adam is considering recording one of those tracks for himself.

As an independent artist, I asked him for some tips, based on his experiences, that he would pass on to others. He responded with, put in the work, polish your song writing, and practice on your instrument. Then save some money before you get in to deep. And he’s right. Recording, even a demo is not cheap.

He finished up with some comments on the CoVid impact on his career. He used the time to buy some recording software, which he used to record a demo. He worked hard at it and it paid off with some recording time with a local producer. This resulted in “Come On Let’s Go”. The period in time was weird as he says. No concerts, no gigs, but time to make contacts and to use alternative methods to build an audience. He used TikTok, Instagram etc. to generate interest and is generally happy with the results.

I see the difficulty in generating some interest without being actually live and in front of audiences. The alternatives work out to some degree, but nothing replaces live music. If you get a chance, check him out. In the meantime, grab his single on your favourite streaming service.

A Chat With Tim Steinruck

This week I had the pleasure of sitting down for a chat with The Mighty One’s front man, Tim Steinruck, and a great chat it was.

We started our conversation with a reference to a recent live interview on Kat Power Hits Radio, available at www.thedonpearsestudios.com . In that interview, I noted that I had been intrigued with his musical beginnings in Northern British Columbia. In adding to that I asked whether he had been self taught or did he have a music teacher.

He mentioned that he was totally self taught, except for some piano lessons. He elaborated, saying he basically cheated through his lessons as he was more comfortable learning by ear without wanting to learn the technical side of music. He’d bring his assignments home and have his father play it on the piano. He said he’d watch the keys he played and learned it that way. He always failed the technical exams but passed the performance side of the courses with flying colours.

Moving on, we started talking about how he moved into the world of music. His first band was formed in Fort St. John, B.C.. The band’s name was Black Gold, named after the oil & gas industry that is a major industry in the area. This happened when he was in grade 8. They played songs like The Cars tune “Just What I Needed”. The first song he learned to play on guitar was by Prism, “Take Me To The Captain”.

I then asked a question about something I’d noticed about the band’s name, TheMightyOne. Why no spaces? After a bit of a laugh, he answered with, the name was recently changed to The Mighty One because it was basically unsearchable on Google without the spaces. Good point Tim.

My next question is one I always ask. Who is your favourite musician? This is one I ask for myself (and the reader) as who better to ask that question of than another musician. It can lead you into something you’ve never been into before. He answered with his most influential being Van Halen, citing that he first heard them in school, in his classroom on one of those multiple headphone thingies that were in schools in the past. Eddie blew him away. His favourite musician, Dave Grohl, no argument there. He also mentioned Mammoth WVH, a band formed by Eddie Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang. I’ll be checking them out shortly. One thing I did not know was that it was named after his father’s first band.

We carried on and I found out that the best thing about what he does is that he is living a life of purpose. He went on to emphasize the importance of creating a legacy. Everybody has a skill and asked what the legacy is I wanted to leave behind. Very profound, I stopped for a minute as my brain digested what he was saying. I tried relating what he was saying to what we have accomplished, and it left me with some things to think on. I’m sure we need a follow-up just on this point alone.

We then got into what’s coming up for him and the band. It looks like he will be quite busy over the next while. He is participating in the Rise Up tour on Vancouver Island later this month. There will also be a spring tour in the USA and Mexico.

He is touring Norway with Viking Queen.This will be filmed by Norwegian TV and will become a documentary.Interesting story, he hooked up with them through a radio station in New Zealand. The power of the digital world and the opportunities for collaboration it presents are incredible. The Mighty One has also recorded a Christmas song in partnership with Viking Queen. The video of “Christmas In The North” is available to view below.

And to finish up, we talked about The Mighty One’s latest release, “Torch Of Rock And Roll”. A great album, one that has become an earbud mainstay for me. The title track is great and is an autobiographical tune of Tim’s life in music. The video for this is also available below.

A Chat with Dan Washburn

I sat down (kind of, we were both sitting, just in different provinces) with the very talented singer, songwriter and player Dan Washburn. Dan is releasing a new single on October 25th titled “I’d Rather”. You will love it. My compatriot Don Pearse will have Dan on his show on Kat Country Radio on October 21st at 2:00 Mountain, 4:00 Eastern time. To listen in, you find the station at www.thedonpearsestudios.com Just press the Listen Here button.

Put simply, Dan is a pro. He’s been doing this for a while. Dan started playing guitar at 7 years old, wrote his first song at 10 and became a regular on bass for his first band at 13. Since then he has credits on over 200 albums and has shared the stage with artists such as George Fox, Colleen Peterson, Emmy-Lou Harris (love her) Waylon Jennings, Toby Keith and many others. An outstanding career to date. The interview with Don will be a must listen.

Back to our conversation. We spoke at length on a multitude of subjects. One theme that threaded its way through most subjects was his love for independent artists and the struggles in getting heard. One comment stood out, I’ll paraphrase. As in everything, the independents artist pool contains poor, mediocre, good and top level talents. Program directors will playlist a mediocre tune from an established artist (read on a label) and won’t give the same consideration to a great song from a top level independent.

I have to agree, as I’ve seen this in covering many independent artists. A song is amazing from someone on Twitter or Instagram etc., I’ll download it from a streaming site, and the only time I’ll ever hear it is if comes up randomly or I purposely queue it up. I 100% agree with him on this one. This is completely unfair and stifles talent, not to mention it cheats you and me from hearing some outstanding records.

On that topic, we went into who he listens to and who would he recommend I listen to (I’m a recent Country Music listener). His list was, as expected, varied and full of talented performers. I have just begun to go through their catalogues and he is bang on. The first name that I checked in on is an outstanding talent. Her name is Suzi Kory, and you can find her on YouTube. You will hear more from me on her and all the others as well. Thanks Dan for that.

I asked if there were any tours upcoming. Unfortunately nothing close, unless you live close to Ireland. He is heading out on tour there shortly.

As a recent country listener, I asked what his favorite songs of his that I should listen to. Based on “I’d Rather” and “Simple Things”, I wanted to dig deeper into his repertoire, and who better to ask than the artist himself. I’ll pass them on, all are available to listen to on Dan’s YouTube channel. First “I’ll Have To Drink About That” is a tongue in cheek tune on relationships. Well written and added to my collection.

Next up is “We Were Almost Love”. A very different song than I’ll Have To Drink. It showcases a softer tone. Very strong in the lyrical sense and well sung. Another great tune.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend you grab his tunes off your streaming site and tune in to Dan with Don on October 21 at 2PM MDT, 4PM EDT for the On Air The Podcast on Kat Country Radio.

The Charts This Week – October 9, 2021

Number 1 on the CKUA album chart is Andy Shauf and the album is “Wilds”. This is his latest release and is a follow up to his successful record of 2020, “The Neon Skyline”.

The song I have chosen is titled “Jaywalker” and is available at all the regular streaming sites.

An interesting song, pay attention to the lyrics, no animals were injured. Andy is from Saskatchewan, which makes me happy as an ex-Saskatchewanian, also because he is Canadian and at number 1.

Please support community radio, CKUA is donation driven and is one of the best radio stations on the planet. They are well known for their support of Canadian music and trend towards the independent artists. Their fall fundraiser is on now until November 7. If you are so inclined, pledge some support their way. Their website is below.

http://ckua.com/

Canadian Artists Online – Lisette Xavier

Lisette Xavier is an artist I have written of in the past. She has been a fixture on the Calgary music scene for many years now, and I figured it was time to catch up. My last article was in 2014 and is available here, if you are interested.

Her latest work is the featured tune “Rise Up”, with was released in February 2021. Catchy tune, well written and a pretty cool video. I’ve always been impressed with her vocals and she keeps one interested throughout. Nice job!

If you choose to do so, the song, and her past catalogue are available at all the usual places, Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp, Tidal and Google Play.

You can go directly to her sites on her webpage.

Lisettexavier.com

Beer Review – People Skills

Next one to hit my palate was a very smooth and refreshing light ale. Once again, there was no note attached (retirement gift from work),so I have to thank the anonymous donor for a solid choice. People Skills is brewed in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. They brew several beers, all are good based on my experience with this one.

They call it a Patio Ale, and I agree it would be a good one to drink on a patio. I definitely enjoyed it on my deck.

Here is the link to their website page referring to this beer, and make sure to click on the video below as well. You may want to spend some time perusing their website, pretty well done.

Tool Shed Brewing Company

People Skills Video

Scenes From A Hike – September 4, 2021

Went for a nice hike on a forestry road that led us to the shore of Monroe Lake in the East Kootenays of British Columbia. The trek was 3.21 miles, or 5.2 KM. A screenshot of the route is below and it is an in and out via the same route.

The scene below is indicative of the scenery along the road.

Once we reached the lake, there is a foot bridge and an old dam, now in various stages of deterioration.

It is also the mouth of a creek, pretty much dried up as we are at the end of the season. Most creeks and rivers out here are snow and rain fed, meaning they tend to dry up, or they are spring fed, which this one is not. We have seen this creek higher up in the mountain in the past, but it was late October and there was runoff.

We did continue on to the right on the map and discovered some well worn elk trails that we will explore at a later date. We turned back and took the left spur which took us to some amazing scenery. We have done this path prior to this and knew what we were in for. We have also kayaked through the meadow, a post I will put up once I finish playing with video.

We also know about how to relax. A conveniently placed bench to look at the landscape.

And of course, it is not all about the scenery, lets not forget the foliage and critters. In this case an interesting mushroom and some pretty butterflies.

Canadian Artists Online – Amy Allred

A new feature as I will be showcasing Canadian artists that I run across on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter etc. My first article is focused on Lethbridge, Alberta country artist Amy Allred.

Amy was a vocal major at Hillsong College in Sydney, Australia. Upon returning to Canada, she continued her quest in music, but appears to have hit a roadblock with Covid. She writes and performs her own music and is a fixture on the Southern Alberta music scene.

I found the song below on YouTube, where she has her own channel. She has a clear concise vocal and wrote the song, “You Had To Go”.

Please visit the links below and check out her music

YouTube

Website

Instagram

Canada’s All Time Top Songs – #97

We have now got to 97 on the list, “Crying Over You” by Platinum Blonde. The band formed in the early 80’s and had a string of hits on Canadian airwaves. They had minimal success in the USA, so my readers from anywhere but Canada will find them to be a new band. The song featured here was their one and only number 1 in Canada. It was taken from their 1985 album “Alien Shores”. The album spawned (see what I did there) 4 singles and is likely the pinnacle of their success. It included their only charted single in the USA, “Somebody, Somewhere” which reached 82 on the Billboard Top 100 and 23 in Canada.

The band is still touring and had released an album of new material in 2012.

Without further adieu, the number 97 Canadian hit of all time, “Crying Over You”.