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Music: May 2014 Archives

Errol's Pick

Just as Detroit is associated with Motown, Seattle is known as the city that gave the world grunge. But it also boasted an incredibly vibrant soul, funk scene in the 60s and 70s that not many people know about. The first time I heard about this little-known scene was 10 years back when I found a record titled "Wheedle's Groove: Seattle's Finest In Funk and Soul 1965-75". It was a revelation because I wasn't aware such a scene had existed in the Emerald City. But there was, and it turned out some very tasty disco, soul and funk platters that hardcore music collectors have been paying top dollar for. Light In The Attic, the Seattle-based label that released that compilation, will be releasing a second volume next week titled "Wheedle's Groove: Seattle Funk, Modern Soul and Boogie Volume 2". It picks up nicely where its predecessor that traced the soul scene to 1975 left off. This one features tracks recorded between 1972 and 1987, when disco superseded soul, and many of the jams here reflect those changing tastes. As John Studamire of the band Priceless said in an interview (quote) "A lot of the groups around town would have to incorporate that disco sound or you'd sound totally dated".

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Errol's Pick

Ben Harper, the acclaimed singer and guitarist, and his mother Ellen Harper had talked about making a record together for the last 15 years. They finally did it and it arrived in stores last week. "Childhood Home" is an all-acoustic affair featuring mother and son harmonizing beautifully on songs about the intricacies of family life and the world around them. And the tunes feature memorable lines like "A house is a home even when there's ghosts, even when you've got to run from the ones who love you most. A house is a home where the chores are never done, where you spend your whole life running to and from". "Childhood Home" gestated for a good 15 years, according to Ben Harper. In an interview, Ellen said that Ben had noticed her writing songs and making demos so he asked her (quote): "Well, what are you going to do with those songs?" And I said, "Well, record them with you eventually!". "Childhood Home", which features six songs written by Ben and four by his mother, were recorded in 12 days in Ben's studio in LA. The two are touring Europe and no Canadian dates have been announced yet.

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Errol's Pick

Justin Rutledge is a Juno Award-winning singer and guitarist from Toronto who just released an album titled "Daredevil". Our music columnist Errol Nazareth says; "It just might qualify as the most Canadian record to be released this year. And that's because it's by one of this country's most thoughtful songsmiths and it's an homage to that very Canadian band - the Tragically Hip. I can't claim to be their biggest fan, but listening to "Daredevil" has made me appreciate the songwriting skills of The Hip's Gord Downie. Justin told me he feels that Canadians connect with the Hip's songs and that they bind us together the way Gordon Lightfoot does. "Daredevil" is a sweet, lovely record that takes the stadium out of The Tragically Hip songs and lays it all bare. Justin said it's an album that's more about reflection than celebration, more of a hand shake than a high five. He said he'd like the listener to spend some quality time with Downie's words and hear them again for the first time. In his words, Gord Downie is one of the great poets of our time. And how did the Hip's main man react when Justin told him about the project? Downie emailed him back saying, "Sounds like career suicide to me". He said Downie was totally kidding and added that he has a wonderfully dark sense of humour which is reflected in his lyrics".

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