Tommy Green Jr. returns from the high seas with debut album

There's always something you remember about a band, whether it's the sound, the energy, the lyrics, or look. When I think about Telfer, I remember the smile. Lead singer Tommy Green Jr. was always beaming on stage, one of those people who charms you with their personality, and obviously he simply enjoyed everything about being on stage. I thought that this guy would win over people with that smile alone.

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Back in 2008, Telfer entered and won the Rising Star competition at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, in a year with very tough competition from the likes of Andy Brown and Jens Jeppesen. By then, the band had moved to Halifax full-time, but their roots were in the Florenceville, NB, area. With their funky, easy-going jam music, crossing over into a nice pop sound, it seemed like a winning combination. And who could deny the smile?

Telfer lasted until 2011, when Green Jr. decided a solo career was in order. But it was a different kind. He often took to the high seas, developing a show for cruise lines. He'd travel to exotic locals such as Australia, and be a featured artist for the happily-captive audience. Here's the write-up: "He's a personality. His intimate "Songs and Stories" show has touched the hearts and funny-bones of thousands of cruisers young and old."

So, what do you do if you don't have thousands of dollars for a cruise vacation? Luckily, Green Jr. has been itching to get the music recording for us landlubbers as well. His first solo CD, self-titled, has just been launched on land. It features that laid-back style he's always had, singer-songwriter tunes with acoustic guitar over a full band backing. It's funky with a groove but relaxed, even a little jazzy at times, and well-produced, with lots of fine Halifax players on board.

There's my favourite song title of the year, I Blame Toronto, where he knocks the city for being the reason behind a break-up. The first single, It's My Turn Now, is a feel-good winner, and you should check out the video. It was shot back in the homeland of Carleton County, at the Centreville Community School. Local actors and volunteers play all the roles, including some great kids who do a science fair for the cameras. Best of all, it's all intelligent pop with enough funk to put him square in the festival crowd, and lots of hooks and smooth jazz moments for folks who like excellent playing. Green Jr. deserves to smile over this album.

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About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

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