Monday, December 23, 2019

Hamilton's Danny Medakovic Has Something for Everyone on New CD

Very few songwriters around can match Danny Medakovic's skill and diversity. His latest album, The Years offers a variety of tastes for the discerning Folk/Americana connoisseur. From country drinking songs, political commentary, historical tales, soulful emotional laments and beyond, Dan has something for everyone. He even throws in some touches of  reggae, blues and more to spice things up.

Dan's lyrical storytelling is second to none as the songs veer from poetic to whimsical to impassioned and more. Each tune tells a wonderfully-told tale and has its own unique spirit.

Aiding Dan is great group of musicians, including Alan Hinckley (bass), Michael Scott (drums), Chris Altmann (pedal steel), Denis Keldie (keyboard), Geoff Ball (cello), Mark Volkov of Cootes Paradise (sax), Les Smith (harmonica) and Mike Trebilcock (background vocals).

CDs,Vinyl and downloads are available at his live shows at through his Bandcamp page. As an amazing bonus, the recording also includes a songbook with lyrics, chords and comments.

You can stream the album below.

Blast from the Past: Danny's previous album

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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

News Roundup (Myriad, Hayley Verrall, Michelle Titian, Passings)


Hamilton Spectator

      Adventures of Trebleclef, the Music-Loving Monkey

      Trebleclef' attending the Gore Park Christmas Tree Lighting featuring music by the great Big Rude Jake Band.

      Click here for more pictures from the event


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      Monday, December 16, 2019

      New Album from Kitchener's Jesse Parent is Rootsy Folk at It's Finest

      Kitchener's Jesse Parent is back with another remarkable album, Somedays, Tomorrows, and Best Laid Plans. This is rootsy folk at it's finest with a warm, welcoming feel.

      Jesse's incredible lyricism is on full display here as he sings about every day life and the human condition. His resonant voice draws the listener into his musical stories and gives them a unique experience. H also does a great job of covering the Paul Simon classic, You Can Call Me Al.

      Joining Jesse on this outstanding recording is Emily Barkley (vocals), Matt Lima (bass), Mike Erb (drums) and Steve Wood (pedal steel guitar, dobro).

      You can pick this phenomenal recording at his live shows, his online store and cdbaby. It's also available at most streaming services.

      More Paul Simon Covers/Stories

      Blast from the Past: Jesse's Previous Album

      Links: Jesse ParentMore Jesse Parent StoriesMore Releases, Videos above courtesy of Jesse Parent

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      Friday, November 29, 2019

      Hamilton Blues Lovers Turns 11 Today!

      The Hamilton Blues Lovers is 11 years old today (November 29, 2019).

      A word from Lou, our blogger:
      With the hustle and bustle of last year's 10th anniversary celebration, it was nice to have a more laid back year of music and fun!. Looking forward to another year of great local music! I'd like to thank my wife Linda for all her hard work and support for the site. I LOVE YOU!

      Links: Rodrigo y Gabriela, Video above courtesy of Because Music

      Previous (Electric Guitar Videos ft Andrew Aldridge) - - - Next (Marz Garage Season 5 Videos)

      Monday, November 25, 2019

      GOOD LUCK! Local Canadian Folk Music Awards Nominees + Complete Nominations

      Soon, the Canadian Folk world will be showcasing their talent at the 2020 Canadian Folk Music Awards ceremony. A number of local artists recently received nomination and hopefully, they'll be bring home some hardware.

      NOTE: The Awards will be streamed online on April 4

      Hamilton-born singer/songwriter Ben Caplan is in the running in three categories: English Songwriter of the Year, World Solo Artist of the Year and Producer of the Year

      Links: Ben CaplanMore Ben Caplan StoriesVideo above courtesy of Ben Caplan


      Steeltown's own Luke Doucet (Whitehorse) is also up for Producer of the Year

      Links: WhitehorseMore Whitehorse StoriesVideo above courtesy of Whitehorse


      Vineland songstress Ariana Gillis is also up for Contemporary Album of the Year.

      Links: Ariana GillisMore Ariana Gillis StoriesVideo above courtesy of Concerts in the Woods


      Waterloo's Danny Michel was nominated for Solo Artists of the Year  as well.

      Links: Danny MichelMore Danny Michael StoriesVideo above courtesy of Danny Michel


      Here's a complete list of nominees.

      Contemporary Album
      • Ariana Gillis: The Maze
      • The Small Glories: Assiniboine and The Red
      • Leaf Rapids: Citizen Alien
      • Abigail Lapell: Getaway
      • Jenn Grant: Love, Inevitable
      • The Al Purdy Songbook
      • Lennie Gallant: Time Travel
      • Dave Gunning: Up Against The Sky
      English Songwriter(s)
      • Ben Caplan, Christian Barry: Old Stock (Ben Caplan)
      • Lennie Gallant: Time Travel
      • Dave Gunning: Up Against The Sky
      • Kaia Kater: Grenades
      • Abigail Lapell: Getaway
      • Cara Luft, Jd Edwards, Neil Osborne, Catherine Maclellan: Assiniboine and The Red (The Small Glories)
      • Madeleine Roger: Cottonwood
      • Justin Rutledge: Passages
      World Solo Artist
      • Ben Caplan: Old Stock
      • Cristian De La Luna: Sabes
      • Quique Escamilla: Encomienda
      • Roberto López: Kaleido Strópico
      • Wesli: Rapadou Kreyol
      • Luke Doucet: The Northern South Vol. 2 (Whitehorse)
      • Ben Caplan: Old Stock
      • Erin Costelo: Grenades (Kaia Kater)
      • Steve Dawson: Halfway Home By Morning (Matt Andersen)
      • Daniel Ledwell: Time Travel (Lennie Gallant)
      • Jory Nash, Chris Stringer: Wilderness Years (Jory Nash)
      • Oliver Schroer Pushing The Boundaries Award / Prix Innovation Musicale  Oliver Schroer
      • Elisapie: The Ballad Of The Runaway Girl
      • Samson Wrote: Pigeon
      • Tri-Continental: Dust Dance
      • Vishtèn: Horizons
      Solo Artist
      • Danny Michel: White and Gold
      • Michael Jerome Browne: That's Where It's At
      • Jenn Grant: Love, Inevitable
      • Dave Gunning: Up Against The Sky
      • Sarah Macdougall: All The Hours I Have Left To Tell You Anything
      • Irish Mythen: Little Bones
      Traditional Album
      • Old Man Luedecke: Easy Money
      • Vishtèn: Horizons
      • The Slocan Ramblers: Queen City Jubilee
      • Le Vent Du Nord: Territoires
      • Shannon Quinn: Watchmaker
      Children’s Album
      • Ginalina: It Takes A Village
      • The Kerplunks: Lullabies For Big Eyes
      • Amos J + Jérôme Fortin: Magical Lullabies
      • Will's Jams: Rocks And Roots
      • Splash'n Boots: You, Me And The Sea
      Traditional Singer
      • Rachel Davis: Ashlar (Còig)
      • Joshua Haulli: Aqqut
      • Sophie Lavoie: Portraits
      • Old Man Luedecke: Easy Money
      • Allison Lupton: Words Of Love
      Contemporary Singer
      • Matt Andersen: Halfway Home By Morning
      • Jenn Grant: Love, Inevitable
      • Dave Gunning: Up Against The Sky
      • Lydia Persaud: Let Me Show You
      • Andrea Ramolo: Homage
      Instrumental Solo Artist
      • Itamar Erez: Mi Alegria
      • Sabin Jacques: Grandes Rencontres (Sabin Jacques & Rachel Aucoin)
      • Graham Lindsey: Tradhead
      • Jon Pilatzke: Amongst Friends
      • Richard Wood: Unbroken
      Instrumental Group
      • Emilyn Stam and Filippo Gambetta: Shorelines
      • Mairi Rankin and Eric Wright: The Cabin Sessions
      • Pierre Schryer and Adam Dobres: Mandorla
      • The Fitzgeralds: The Fitzgeralds
      • Toronto Tabla Ensemble: Bhumika
      Vocal Group
      • Fortunate Ones: Hold Fast
      • Geneviève Et Alain: De La Rivière À La Mer
      • Musique À Bouches: L'habit De Plumes
      • The Small Glories: Assiniboine and The Red
      • The Sweet Lowdown: Low Clouds In The Morning
      • Haley Richardson and Quinn Bachand: When The Wind Blows High And Clear
      • Oliver The Crow: Oliver The Crow
      • The Slocan Ramblers: Queen City Jubilee
      • The Small Glories: Assiniboine & The Red
      • Vishtèn: Horizons
      French Songwriter(s)
      • Bernard Adamus: C'qui Nous Reste Du Texas
      • Jordane Labrie, Clement Desjardins: 12 Jours (Jordane)
      • Jean Leloup: L'étrange Pays
      • Safia Nolin: Dans Le Noir
      • Caroline Savoie: Pourchasser L'aube
      Indigenous Songwriter(s)
      • Sugar Plum Croxen, Shelley Hamilton, George Elliott Clarke: Constitution (The Afro-Métis Nation)
      • Jenelle Duval, Danielle Benoit, Stacey Howse: Qama'si (Eastern Owl)
      • Joshua Haulli: Aqqut
      • Diyet Van Lieshout: Diyet & The Love Soldiers
      • Mike Paul: Origine
      World Group
      • Al Qahwa: Cairo Moon
      • Ayrad: Zoubida
      • Emilyn Stam & Filippo Gambetta: Shorelines
      • Pierre Schryer & Adam Dobres: Mandorla
      • Toronto Tabla Ensemble: Bhumika
      New/Emerging Artist(s)
      • Birds Of Bellwoods: Victoria
      • Geneviève Racette: No Water, No Flowers
      • Gordie Mackeeman And His Rhythm Boys: Dreamland
      • Hook and Nail: Ghosts Of Taylorton
      • Lydia Persaud: Let Me Show You
      • T. Buckley: Miles We Put Behind
      • The Lumber Jills: The Lumber Jills
      • The Unfaithful Servants: The Unfaithful Servants
      Young Performer(s)
      • Conway: Conway
      • Nick Earle: Breaking New Ground
      • Joshua Haulli: Aqqut
      • Keltie: Expect Inhibition
      • Jacques Surette: Marche, Marche, Marche
      Blast from the Past: Last Year's Winners

      Previous (News Roundup) - - - Next (Electric Guitar Videos ft Andrew Aldridge)

      Friday, November 22, 2019

      News Roundup (CHCH Videos, Steve Strongman, Lucas Stagg, Treble's Adventures)

      Jerry King
      Bent Pinky

      More Musical Toons

      Adventures of Trebleclef, the Music-Loving Monkey

      Trebleclef's been a busy monkey

      He rocked out to The Matt Weidinger Band performing Van Morrison at the Brantford Polish Hall.


      The rockin' continued when he went to see Trickbag w Dave Rave at Frankie's in Brantford


      Our little monkey also checked out the recently renovated Locke Street in Hamilton.


      Lastly, Treble saw and amazing Lucas Stagg solo dhow at Clifford Brewing Co. in Hamilton.


        Previous (New Famous and Betty CD) - - - Next (Canadian Folk Music Awards Nominations)

        Wednesday, November 20, 2019

        Hamilton's Famous & Betty Create Gritty, Intense Music Together

        New Horizon is the 11th superb album by local Bluesman Famous Framus but it's also the first as a duo with his wife, Betty Bomb. Together they've made a dark, hypnotic and raw disc.

        The duo pack a lot of punch into their incredible sound. Famous' voice just bleeds emotion as the lyrics lead the listeners into the darker themes of heartache, abandonment and pain. His menacing, gritty guitar work accentuates the intensity. Betty's fearsome drumming punctures through the sound to make itself heard. There's also a bit of positivity and hope mixed in, especially in the couples only duet on the album, Blue Betty.

        This unforgettable album can be picked up at their stunning shows or at Dr Disc in Hamilton. It's also available through Apple Music.

        Blast from the Past: Famous' Previous CD

        Links: Famous FramusMore Famous Framus StoriesMore Releases, Videos above courtesy of Famous Framus

        Previous (Hamilton Musicans' Guild Honourees) - - - Next (News Roundup)

        Tuesday, November 19, 2019

        CONGRATS! Catching Up with the Hamilton Musicians Guild Honourees

        It's been a while since we've updated the list of artists that the Hamilton Musicians' Guild have been honouring at their general meetings.

        Here's a quick rundown:

        September 30, 2019

        June 3, 2019
        • Steve Beach (vocals, keys, Trickbag): Life Membership Certificate and Pin
        • Andrew Uranowski (conductor, Concordia Pops Orchestra): AFM Life Membership Certificate and Pin
        • Joey Dimarco (drummer, The Collective R&B):  AFM Life Membership Certificate and Pin

          Video above courtesy of Joey "Pocket" DiMarco

        • Peter MacDonald: Life Membership Certificate and Pin
        • Bob Richardson: Certificate of Live Membership
        • Jon Richardson: 25 Year AFM Membership Pin
        • Diane Kennedy: 25 Year AFM Membership Pin
        November 26, 2019

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          Monday, November 18, 2019

          CONGRATS! 2019 Hamilton Spectator Readers' Choice Awards

          The 2019 Hamilton Spectator Readers' Choice Awards were recently unveiled. The special supplemental section featured the best that Hammertown has to offer, including our wonderful music community. 

          Here's a list of all the music-related winners.

          D = Diamond (1st place)
          P = Platinum (2nd place)
          G = Gold
          Everything else is in the top ten.

          Local Musician or Band
          • D: Halo
          • P: Blue Tilt Studio / Grant Avenue Studio
          • G: QED Media / BOXO Studio / Catherine North Studios / Studio 410 Sound Productions / Downtown Sound Recording Studios
          A special congrats to one of our sponsors, Picks N Sticks, who won Diamond for Musical Instrument Store.


          Blast from the Past: Last Year's Winners

          Links: Readers' Choice AwardsMore Spec Readers' Choice Awards Stories

          Previous  (Waterloo Region Record Readers Choice Awards) - - - Next (Hamilton Musicans' Guild Honourees)

          Saturday, November 16, 2019

          CONGRATS! Waterloo Region Record Readers Choice Award Winners

          Recently, the Waterloo Region Record tallied up the votes for their 2019 Readers' Choice Awards.

          Here are the music related winners. Click here for the full list.

          Local Entertainment
          Local Musician or Band
          Piano Teacher
          Concert Venue
          Live Entertainment Facility
          Live Jazz Club
          Live Music Bar/Lounge

          Previous (Drumming Day videos ft Danny Lockwood)- - - Next (Hamilton Spectator Readers' Choice Awards)

          Wednesday, November 13, 2019

          Crybaby is Resurrected with Remarkable New Album

          It's taken twenty years but Crybaby has been resurrected like a Phoenix and is now blazing a musical trail with reborn energy. Paintings, the incredible debut album was released to much international fanfare in the mid 90s. Sadly, they broke up after only four years together but now they're back in action!

          Hamilton songstress Rae Billing recently revived her critically acclaimed alt-country band, A while back, the reformed group unleashed Still, a remarkable new album that'll help cement its well-deserved legacy as one of the most spectacular country bands on the scene.

          Rae's expressive voice is in full force here, backed by a beautiful, rich sonic landscape. There's a lot for the listener to explore and lose themselves in.

          Along with original members, Rae (guitar, vocals) Steve Koch (guitar) and Lucky Pete Lambert (drums) the gang is now joined by Andrew Aldridge (guitar), Greg Brisco (piano, rhodes, organ) and Scott Bell (bass). James Henry plays on bass on two songs.

          This dazzling album can be added to your collection though their live shows, the band's siteDr. DiscRevolution Records or cdbaby,

          Blast from the Past: Another Crybaby video and more

          Links: CrybabyMore Crybaby Stories, Videos above courtesy of Rae Billing and Crybaby

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          Tuesday, November 12, 2019

          Jackie Washington's 100th Birthday

          Today (Tuesday, November 12, 2019) Hamilton blues/jazz legend Jackie Washington would have been 100 years old. We here at HBL would like to celebrate this incredible musician.

          Biographical highlights (from Wikipedia)
          Below (and at the top of the page) are paintings created by family friend Casey Parsons.



          A word from Lou, our blogger.
          I had the honour of meeting Jackie Washington while I was volunteering for the Winter Festival of Friends. Back then, I was just getting into Jazz and we had a wonderful conversation about that. We bumped into each other on a few more occasions and he always had a laugh and a smile for me. I'll always treasure my time with him.
          Our blogger Lou (in his babyface days) on the left with Jackie. Pic courtesy of the Spectator's Free Press

          We asked for more comments and stories from the public. We will post more as we get them. Here are a few:

          I remember running the streets downtown with a pretty wild group of young teens in the late 70s - early 80’s. We would often get into minor dust ups with Jackson Square security and or chased around and roughed by a couple of Hamilton Police Officers know as “Starsky and Hutch". There was one man who could tame this pack of punks with a wave of his hand, his soft voice and a song. 
          Jackie Washington was more often than not, on a nice day,  sitting on a Gore park bench with his guitar in hand and he would settle us down with a story or a song or both. I knew him as only Uncle Jack back then as he may have been distantly related to some of the kids because the Washington family was one of the larger ones in town. We all called him Uncle Jack and we treated him with the respect he deserved. 
          Only years later when I became a musician myself and part of the music scene in Hamilton did I put two and two together and realize what a giant of a man Uncle Jack really was!
          Jason R. Stewart  
          He came to my school back in 1987 (when I was in Grade 8). He played the ENTIRE day to small groups of students (in rotation) where he played music and shared humorous, yet informative stories. This happened all those years ago, yet the memories of him playing had a profound effect on this little 14 year old! I was introduced to sounds I had not discovered until that day, and influenced me to create my own songs about life (and with a touch of humour!). It's amazing what moments from childhood stick out more than others. 

          Paul Hill
          I turned 60 in 2006. I was having a birthday party up in Elfrida and Jack de Keyzer and his band was the band I booked for the party. Jackie contacted and asked if he could attend. If course, I said yes! He told me he had never heard Jack play live! He came. Jackie thoroughly enjoyed himself and had a long chat with Jack. 
          Ted Willey
          I have many memories of this great man. Honoured to have worked with him over the years. A joyful spirit that brought happiness to everyone. He is truly missed!
          Eudene Luther
          Remembering him today for his beauty in all its manifestations and, most especially, for his passion for music and the guitar that he passed on to Brian (Griffith). Forever in our hearts. 

          Blast from the Past: Jackie Washington Passes

          Links: Jackie WashingtonMore Jackie Washington StoriesVideos above courtesy of  Bee-Sides RadioMore 100th Birthdays

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