Album Review: Men With Brooms OST (featuring The Tragically Hip) 2002

This Canadian movie about curling features Paul Gross and Leslie Neilson. I honestly have not watched this in over 10 years and do not remember it. From what I recall it had some funny bits, some chick flick parts, some “sport” scenes (if curling is considered a sport).

The soundtrack had the distinction of featuring 3 songs with The Hip. Throwing Off Glass from the album In Violet Light, a song in which they are the backing band, and a song unique to this soundtrack.

Silver Road (Sarah Harmer with The Tragically Hip) – Sarah’s vocals are in top form here. Her voice has peaks and valleys, and I love it. The Hip do a mellowed out, but still amazing job here. I would have loved to hear more of Gord Downie. We get a tiny snippet of him in the background, but at least we hear his harmonica.

Hockey Skates (Kathleen Edwards) – Again her vocals are in top form here. The subdued drums and guitar are nice, and the strings add a nice touch.

Throwing Off Glass (The Tragically Hip) – I covered this one in my review of In Violet Light.

Life (Our Lady Peace) – As a Canadian I have heard this song a million times on radio. It’s a staple. If you can handle Raine Maida’s voice, then this song has a lot to offer.

Mass Romantic (The New Pornographers) – I always thought this band had a cool name. They are labeled as a “supergroup”. Ok Neko Case is super. I’ll give you that. This is a really cool song. Sarah Harmer, Kathleen Edwards and Neko Case all singing 5 songs in. That’s just not fair.

God (Sean Macdonald) – I’m not a fan of the “Take One” stuff at the start. Save that  for the demo sessions. The guitar and the harmonica stand out as great on this one.

Diggin’ A Hole (Big Sugar) – I covered this song on my review of the compilation album Hit And Run. It get’s a ton of airplay up here.

Planet Love (Tom Wilson) – I love this dude. His voice is awesome. I will be covering his former band Junkhouse, and his new bands Lee Harvey Osmond and Blackie And The Rodeo Kings. As for this song, just like Tom, it’s awesome.

Hello Time Bomb (Mathew Good Band) – Arguably their best song. It’s another staple on Canadian radio.

Can U Tell (Pepper Sands) – I had never heard of them. Kind of a Veruca Salt light. So go lightly on the Salt I guess. Apparently they were a hit on college radio before this album came out, so they got a shot on this soundtrack. This song is decent. I like her voice and the bass work on the song.

Leading Me Home (Chantal Kreviazuk) – They were really going for the jugular with the load of female Canadian talent here. I don’t have much of Chantal’s work, but know she has a nice voice. I actually like this song. Her voice is light and bouncy, then does the megaphone effect. The song has a heavy undertone I like.

Kiss Me ‘Til You Weep (Paul Gross) – I get suspicious when an actor in a movie sings on a soundtrack. He was best known for his portrayal of a Mountie in the tv show Due South. His voice is decent though. This song is a notch lower than the rest of the songs here though.

Watching Over You (Holly Mcnarland) – A decent effort. She has an Alanis Morrisette kind of voice. Not a bad song. It just pales a bit due to the influx of Canadian female stars.

Oh Honey (The Tragically Hip) – A new Hip song meant this was an instant purchase for me. I love the subtle guitar work. Oh, and Gord’s voice. I will miss that.

Men With Brooms Theme – A nice instrumental to end this one off.

There were a few lesser songs, but mostly a really good soundtrack. If you like The Hip and/or want to listen to female Canadian royalty, pick this one up.

9/10

 

 

 

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Movie Review: Long Time Running (The Tragically Hip documentary) – 2017

This movie was first released at TIFF (Toronto International Film Fest). It was then released to the Canadian public on a 1 day only showing at theatres across the country on September 14. I went to my local theatre on this date and sat down just after the movie started. (I hope I did not miss much, but I don’t think I did)

At the point I walked in, the medical team that was involved with his care was speaking of his predicament. I was in utter shock.  I mean, I knew Gord had incurable brain cancer that was going to kill him. I did not know that he had brain surgery to remove some of it. I did not know that Gord chose to go the route that would cause him to lose the most memory. I’m not sure how the other viewers felt, but I was instantly flooded with emotions as my body and mind took in this information.

After surgery Gord did not know the lyrics to any of his songs. He didn’t even know the name of one album. Not a good thing for a lead singer. He had to relearn all of the songs. The band was going on a cross-Canada goodbye tour to support their new album, Man Machine Poem. For years, while starting a new tour,  the band played some songs off of the new album, and a bunch of favourites thrown in. The thing is Gord knew this would be the last tour, so he wanted to re-learn songs to represent all of their albums. He wanted to do deeper cuts, so he re learned 90 songs. 90!! This was a problem for the band because they had to try and remember how to play the songs (it was the first tour the musicians had to rehearse for), but a real problem for a singer that has no recollection of any of the words. None. We see this as footage for the tour rehearsals started shortly after surgery. He is frail, weak and seems to be grasping. The film mentions Gord had to ask what the titles and words were a lot. Even right after reading them off the page. I really wonder how this lack of memory was affecting Gord. It must have gutted him. He was one of the best lyricists I ever knew. He constantly read, and had knowledge of history, politics, poetry etc. and was such an articulate man. I have seen the way Alzheimer’s can turn a strong and intelligent person into an infant in a fully grown body. Gord was, in a way, like them. He was trapped in a dying body, and may have been trying to get back to where he was before.

Gord mentions how his brother Pat played him Waterboys, but also his guilty pleasure, Bee Gees. Gord says “I know they’re not a band you’re supposed to like….but God I love them.” This brought a welcome laugh to the movie.

Downie is very self-deprecating in this movie. One of those times was when he was trying on one of his shimmering suits(the suits were specially made to be flashy but also act like a sort of suit of armour for Gord). It was feeling a little snug and he referred to the suit, and himself as “Elvis ’74”. Another laughable moment.

We, the viewers get an all access, backstage pass for this tour. We get to find out about Gord’s pre-show rituals. One of which involves sitting in his underwear while polishing his boots. We see Gord walking off stage after the shows. He reminds me of a feeble old man in the halls of a nursing home. Not sure where he is, and not able to get where he is going without help.

We hear a story of Gord’s hero, former hockey great Bobby Orr calling Gord after the diagnosis. Gord said “I love you Bobby” then there was an awkward pause on the other end of the phone call. Gord chooses to remember it as hearing Bobby say “I love you too Gord.”

There will be discomfort for some viewers. Be forewarned, if you do not like to watch grown men kiss each other on the lips, or if you don’t want to watch an older dude sitting in his tightly whiteys, then maybe sit this movie out, or look away. I know, especially for an older generation, some of these sorts of things are taboo. I know my dad did not like the kissing from the footage of the final concert. I say, get over it. Gord, and the rest of the band knew that the end was near. Gord wanted to always tell his bandmates that he loved them. It went from hugging, to kissing on the cheek, to kissing on the mouth. If it’s good enough for Gord, it’s cool with me.

There will be plenty of tears, some shock, but plenty of joy and laughter. The full gamut of emotions will pour out.

I can not urge you enough to search out this documentary. It may actually be the best music documentary movie I have ever seen. So many others are filled with over the top exploits, in-fighting, bravado and all that other bullshit that sells movies. This one is real. Real awesome!!!

For those interested CTV in Canada is showing this on Friday October 20 at 8pm ET. (Check your local times). They will also replay it on Sunday November 12 at 8pm. Crave TV will begin streaming it commercial free on November 13. Netflix will be airing this outside of Canada on November 26. The movie is also being shown at select theatres. Go to http://www.thehip.com for details.

(As a disclaimer, I will say that I did this review from memory after watching the movie a month ago, and foolishly not making any notes. Therefore any inaccuracies are due to my flawed memory.)

10/10

 

 

 

 

Album Review: Joel Plaskett – Just Because (For Gord Downie) 2016 – 10″ gold vinyl single

I bought this the day it came out last year and played it right away. I didn’t do a review of it at the time though. Life probably got busy and I forgot. The other thing is I don’t think I have ever done a review of a single. There may not be enough meat to write about one song. However today is different. Canada lost one of their own today. Even the Prime Minister was crying when he spoke to reporters. Gord Downie had a way of penetrating into our musical souls, and any song that is a tribute to him, is good enough for me to review.

Quiet and soothing spoken word begins this song off. The band kicks in and for the first minute or so the song has a soothing, calming effect. Then the fuzzy, hard-edged guitar kicks in. This song goes back and forth between ghostly whispers to stoner rock with a bit of Texas and a bit of alternative.

“…Bad news takes all shapes and forms…the bad news is this life is fleeting….I heard the news that you’d be going. I read it on my mobile phone…..Gord, you rock eternally…”Courage” you say, “we ain’t done yet” Let’s see how heavy things can get.” (Today shit got real heavy in my world)

I absolutely love this song. It means so much more to me today than it did in 2016. Then I knew the end was near. Today, I know the end is now.

I love you Gord and FYC.

10/10

 

 

 

Tom Petty Top 10

 

News reports out of Los Angeles are stating that Tom Petty suffered a heart attack and has died. He was found at home with no vital signs. He was put on life support at the hospital but since been taken off since there was no brain activity.

This is my way of saying thanks for being awesome Tom.

10 – Charlie T. Wilbury Jr. – Tom was an integral part of the Travelling Wilburys. They were a supergroup that actually lived up to the name.

9 – SNL- You may also recognize the fill-in drummer

8 – Another famous drummer filling in

7 – A Beck cover

6 Backing up Johnny Cash

5 Covering Fats Domino for a charity release

4 – Super Bowl 2008

3 Tom Petty on Letterman

2 Tom Petty doing my favourite Little Feat song justice

1 My favourite Tom Petty tune

Top 10 Don Williams tracks

Growing up, there was always country music in my parent’s home. They lived and breathed country. We went to places like Dollywood, Nashville and Grand Ol’ Opry on vacations. As far back as I can remember my dad listened to Don Williams. When I think of Don Williams, I think of my dad. That’s why today’s awful news that Don Williams passed away hit me like a two ton load of bricks. Right in the gut.

Don’s voice always seemed to be comforting. Simple, soothing and welcoming. Like a fireplace on a cold day, or the warm welcome of an old friend. I’ll miss you Don.

10 – Listen To The Radio

9  – Amanda

8 – You’re My Best Friend

7 – Till The Rivers All Run Dry

6 – Some Broken Hearts Never Mend

5 – If I Needed You (an amazing duet with Emmylou Harris)

4 – She Never Knew Me

3 – I Believe In You

2 – Good Old Boys Like Me

1 – Tulsa Time

RIP Don. Now you can live on Tulsa Time forever.

Ronnie James Dio Top 10

Today would have been Dio’s 75th birthday. To celebrate this date I will list my Top 10 songs featuring the late great Ronnie James Dio.

10) Hear N Aid – We’re Stars. Not the greatest song, but it was Dio’s baby. It was a collaboration of fellow metal artists, and raised millions for aid in Africa.

9) Elf-Driftin’. Dio does Queen before Queen. Enough said.

8) Dio- Straight Through The Heart. The first time I heard squealies, long before they became annoying. The drumming is awesome, the stops and starts are cool, and Dio’s growling screams are classic.

7) Dio-The Last In Line. I remember this video the first time I saw it like it was yesterday. Awesome. We are coming………HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOME.

6) Black Sabbath – Heaven And Hell. It goes on, and on, and on, Heaven and Hell.

5) Black Sabbath – I. Whether this was played by Sabbath or Heaven and Hell, I always thought this was one of the best of Ronnie’s later songs.

4) Black Sabbath – Neon Knights. I think I’ll listen to this again and again. Again and again. Agaaaain.

3) Dio – Holy Diver. You’ve been down too long in the midnight sea. (Since Dio’s death, I most certainly have been.) Oh what’s becoming of me.

2) Rainbow – Man On The Silver Mountain. My favourite Rainbow song. By a long shot. Ritchie Blackmore and Dio. That’s not even fair.

1) Black Sabbath – Sign Of The Southern Cross – This song for me perfectly demonstrates the whole Dio/Sabbath collaboration. Mellow acoustic strings mixed with whispering Dio begin the song off, then……BAMMM. It kicks you right in the crotch. Wicked guitars, pounding drums and DIO BABY, DIO. Amazing song.

There are roughly 100 songs that should also be on this list. Just know I had a tough time whittling it down. I could have put all the songs on either Dio/Sabbath or the first 2 Dio albums and called it a day. I wanted to mix it up though and include all eras of his music.

R.I.P. Ronnie. We miss you dude.

\m/                                             \m/

 

 

Concert Review: The Trans Canada Highwaymen(TCH)

Supergroup. Is this the most overused word in music? 100% of the time the group part is right. Unfortunately the word super is usually not right. Whether it be lack of talent to begin with, overrated members, overinflated egos, or the end result being less than stellar, the supergroup rarely seems to live up to its name. Sometimes, like The Travelling Wilburys, it is just a group of friends hanging around and having fun. I would say TCH is the Canadian version of The Travelling Wilburys in 2017. TCH are just a group of musical friends that got together and decided to go out on the road. All are(were) members of famous Canadian bands, and it seems there are no egos between them all.

The members are Steven Page (formerly of Barenaked Ladies), Chris Murphy (Sloan), Craig Northey (Odds) and Moe Berg (The Pursuit of Happiness). Chris Murphy and Sloan have not stopped since the early 90’s, but Steven Page and Craig Northey have been out of the limelight for a while so it was great to see them back. However, I was there especially to see Moe Berg. His amazing talent has been behind the scenes producing, writing, and doing all the technical musical stuff for years. It has been a long time since he has performed though. He even said so on stage. I can’t say an exact date, but it may have been the TPOH reunion show one-off in 2014. Before that it may have been since the 1990’s. I did a write up of his old band last year if you want to read about them.

Where Are They Now – TPOH (The Pursuit Of Happiness)

Now enough of the introductions. On to the music.

Rotating vocal duties and instruments during every song was the theme tonight. As well, there was either funny banter or pre-recorded video snippets played on screen between each song. It made for a real fun evening. The songs were awesome. All 4 guys can still play, and their voices are as great as they were in the 90’s. The only miscue was when Moe seemed to forget the lyrics to his biggest hit, I’m An Adult Now. I was ok with it though. Shit happens when you play live, and he maybe has only played that song a few times in the last 20 years. The guys joked about it afterwards. There was no trying to cover it up or pretend it never happened. This led to a discussion about Moe needing a teleprompter, and some Axl Rose discussion.

Here are some videos from the show. Suffice it to say that it was a great night. I Hope to see them all again whether with this supergroup, solo or with their prospective bands, especially Moe with TPOH.

For those interested, here is the setlist from that night

  1. Someone Who’s Cool(Odds cover)
  2. It’s All Been Done(Barenaked Ladies cover) 
  3. Hard to Laugh(The Pursuit of Happiness cover)
  4. The Other Man(Sloan cover)
  5. It Falls Apart(Odds cover)
  6. Brian Wilson(Barenaked Ladies cover)
  7. Two Girls In One(The Pursuit of Happiness cover) 
  8. Underwhelmed(Sloan cover)
  9. Satisfied(Odds cover)
  10. Jane(Barenaked Ladies cover)
  11. Coax Me(Sloan cover)
  12. She’s So Young
  13. Make You Mad(Odds cover)
  14. The Old Apartment(Barenaked Ladies cover)
  15. The Rest of My Life(Sloan cover)
  16. I’m an Adult Now(The Pursuit of Happiness cover)

    Encore:

  17. Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy(Michel Pagliaro cover)
  18. Ready for You(Sloan cover)
  19. Alcohol(Barenaked Ladies cover)

The topping on the cake for me that night was the fact that the guys all came out into the lobby afterwards to chat and sign stuff. Some people had a ticket stub, others had bought the new Steven Page cd (as did I). We all stood in line. I was near the back and I had a ticket stub, I had the new cd, AND I had a crammed backpack. The guys signed all my stuff. Cd’s, cassettes and vinyl. Go big or go home.

10/10