Category: 49 Above

49 Above:  Virginia to Vegas’ Debut EP and Tour

49 Above: Virginia to Vegas’ Debut EP and Tour

If you’re like my wife and listen to top-40 radio, you’ve likely heard of Derik Baker – a.k.a. Virginia to Vegas. The 24-year old, emerging pop star from Toronto has a story similar to Justin Beiber. Like the more famous southern Ontario native, Baker was discovered on YouTube by Wax Records in 2013 and a star was born. Not surprisingly, […]

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49 Above: Dinner Belles, “The River and The Willow”

49 Above: Dinner Belles, “The River and The Willow”

In another feature, Vancouver was spoken about as a great Canadian city for music, arguably moreso than Toronto and Montreal with its diversity. But what about a smaller city, one not considered a sprawling metropolis? Look no further than Hamilton, Ontario. Home to about 500,000 people and located about an hour west of Toronto, Hamilton is known as Canada’s equivalent […]

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Review: Kinnie Starr’s “Far from Away”

Review: Kinnie Starr’s “Far from Away”

I fell in love with Kinnie Starr at a gig in Montreal when she was touring for then-new album Sun Again (2003 or so). It’s rare that I get so into a show that I start moving like a maniac (and I cannot dance, folks, I really can’t) and lose myself in it. I bought the record and played the […]

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49 Above: Sarnia’s Legendary Harmonica Man, Mike Stevens

49 Above: Sarnia’s Legendary Harmonica Man, Mike Stevens

Back to my hometown of Sarnia, Ontario, to check out the internationally known harmonica player, Mike Stevens. This guy is a bonafide musical legend in country and blues circles, and has won countless awards and accolades for his pioneering harmonica styles. A few examples listed from his site, just from the past couple of years: 2013 Folk Music Ontario Estelle […]

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49 Above: Sarnia’s Killer Duo Erika and Sara

49 Above: Sarnia’s Killer Duo Erika and Sara

Oh, Sarnia. I grew up there and have been waiting to feature this fine city on #49Above. It’s a beautiful place with loads of sandy beaches, outdoor activities and good folks. It can be a challenge to be “stuck” there when you’re a teenager, as other cities aren’t exactly quick to get to. Toronto is 3 hours away, Detroit is […]

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49 Above: Atikokan’s Secret Bluesman, Reno Jack

49 Above: Atikokan’s Secret Bluesman, Reno Jack

Yesterday, we featured Sunday Wilde from Atikokan. Well, one of the main reasons she’s been as successful as she is, is her relationship with this man: Reno Jack. It sounds like it has been an on-again, off-again affair that has inspired many of Sunday’s great love songs. Jack has been a fixture of the Toronto Queen Street scene for ages, […]

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49 Above: Atikokan’s Blues Queen, Sunday Wilde

49 Above: Atikokan’s Blues Queen, Sunday Wilde

The pride of Atikokan, Ontario (north-east of Thunder Bay, with a population of a few thousand folks) must be Sunday Wilde. I’ve been a fan of hers for 7 years since stumbling across her songs when I was doing The Ruckus, and have been following her career ever since. She has “the voice” and her band has “the style” and […]

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49 Above: More folk from Trois Rivières with Sivell

49 Above: More folk from Trois Rivières with Sivell

There are a lot of great acts in the smallish town of Trois Rivières, Quebec. As I was hunting for some acts to feature, I stumbled upon Sivell, who have a brand new EP out this week. Based in the folk tradition, this EP has a soft side and a pretty great blues side. Check out the amazing licks on […]

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49 Above: Trois-Rivières is overrun with Bears of Legend

49 Above: Trois-Rivières is overrun with Bears of Legend

My first exposure to Trois-Rivières happened when I was a kid, and my brother’s hockey team hosted another team from Trois-Rivières. We lived in Sarnia, and I was about 10, and spoke roughly five words of French. The kid who stayed with us (all the families billeted these kids for a few nights) spoke less English than I spoke French, so […]

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49 Above: Hamilton’s Terra Lightfoot, where have you been all our lives?

49 Above: Hamilton’s Terra Lightfoot, where have you been all our lives?

This is our second stop in Hamilton (check out yesterday’s article here). Terra Lightfoot is a roots/folk singer songwriter who stands above the seemingly infinite number of folks working in the genre. She can do that whispery folky thing beautifully, but in a second her voice can dive into deep loud bombastic blues. It’s rare to see an artist work their voice […]

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49 Above: Hamilton’s The Emsee – Powerful Hip Hop

49 Above: Hamilton’s The Emsee – Powerful Hip Hop

Hamilton suffers from kid-sibling syndrome in many ways. While most cities across Canada don’t get the attention of Toronto or Montreal, the fact is that there’s some pretty amazing stuff out there that doesn’t always get a lot of attention. Hamilton (with half a million residents, and some pretty amazing sites and sounds) isn’t the first place an international publication […]

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49 Above: More Moose Jaw Experimental Music with Frank Willis

49 Above: More Moose Jaw Experimental Music with Frank Willis

Our second stop in the lovely small town of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan (our first stop was yesterday). Frank Willis is an enigmatic artist and he produces some very out-there experimental material. When I found him online, I first heard his 2012 album Thee Last Supper which was a collection of Jim Jones speeches overlaid with his own ambient-metal madness. A […]

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49 Above: Moose Jaw is home to some crazy stuff. Case in point: The Faps

49 Above: Moose Jaw is home to some crazy stuff. Case in point: The Faps

The city of Moose Jaw Saskatchewan has an intriguing motto: Suprisingly Unexpected. For a city of 35,000 souls, there seems to be a remarkably high volume of odd and interesting projects, people, and events. Being a smallish town (though not as small as most of the towns in Saskatchewan), folks have to double-up on things to be viable. Take, for […]

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49 Above: Guelph’s Ondine Chorus – Improvisational Choral Pop (!)

49 Above: Guelph’s Ondine Chorus – Improvisational Choral Pop (!)

And we continue our visit in Guelph, Ontario (first act featured was Elequant). Ondine Chorus have a unique thing going on. Most pop music fans don’t think of choral music as something to explore. Here’s hoping Ondine inspires you to dig a little deeper into the genre. I recently discovered this group through a feature on CBC Radio, and was super intrigued. […]

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49 Above: Guelph’s Elaquent – Producer Extraordinaire

49 Above: Guelph’s Elaquent – Producer Extraordinaire

Onwards to beautiful Guelph, Ontario! Guelph is a mid-sized university town in Southern Ontario, close enough to Toronto for an easy day trip, but far enough away from the bustle to be its own thing. Like Kitchener, London, and other Southern Ontario towns, Guelph has a massive arts and cultural scene that is often overshadowed by the big TO looming nearby. […]

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49 Above: Saskatoon Dream-Pop Kings, the Moas

49 Above: Saskatoon Dream-Pop Kings, the Moas

This week, I’m checking out a couple of bands from Saskatoon (check out the first here). For our second pitstop in one of Central Canada’s most beautiful cities, check out The Moas. This is top-notch dream-pop or shoegaze (or whatever the kids are calling it these days) rock and roll. They have released a pretty killer grungy cassette (which is sold out!), but […]

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49 Above: Saskatoon’s Phalec Baldwin Head into the Garage

49 Above: Saskatoon’s Phalec Baldwin Head into the Garage

Welcome to the first post in our new 49 Above blog, where we spend some time checking out cool acts from across Canada (above the 49th parallel, get it?). Our first stop is one of my favourite cities on Planet Earth: Saskatoon. I first wandered through there while backpacking a million years ago, and fell in love with the scenery […]

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Heading Across Canada: 49 Above

Heading Across Canada: 49 Above

(image courtesy: Google Maps) Launching our new cross-Canada blog: 49 Above. Like Mundo Musique and Capital Revue, this blog is geo-specific…but covers a pretty big freaking land mass: Canada. The goal is to do a thoroughly random sampling of Canadian sounds, but to also feature links to local record shops and whatever else we want to tell you about. Anything […]

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Review: The Creeps’ Eulogies

Review: The Creeps’ Eulogies

Never a band to create love songs or to get too happy, The Creeps have delivered a new LP with a strong title: Eulogies. (Now available for pre-order, ironically, through It’s Alive Records.) The songs range from Buzzcocks-styled power pop to Ramones-styled rawk. This is classic-sounding 70s punk rock, with three chords and a lot of heft. Lyrically, though, The […]

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Review: Orit Shimoni’s Bitter is the New Sweet

Review: Orit Shimoni’s Bitter is the New Sweet

I first came to know of Orit Shimoni a few years back when she was in a Montreal-based duo called Little Birdie. The first song of the then-new album (Cinematic Way) was called Every Day I Fasten My Shackles. I was hooked. It was blues-inspired folk (perhaps folk-inspired blues), with soul to spare. Orit’s voice in particular connected so beautifully with […]

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