Saskatchewan·CHRIS PICKS MUSIC

Rediscover the art of the album

Does anyone actually just sit down to listen to a whole album anymore?

Close Talker, Kate Blechinger and Toque offer LPs worth luxuriating with

The new album from Saskatoon's Close Talker is one of Chris's Picks. (Killbeat Music)

Does anyone actually just sit down to listen to a whole album anymore?

Stop bingeing Netflix for a second and try this out. In this era of kitschy online challenges I'm throwing out this one: grab a good pair of headphones and a comfy place to rest so you can do the 'How Do We Stay Here Under a Dancing Sky Toque? Challenge.' 

For this challenge, I present you with three new albums: one from Saskatoon indie rock band Close Talker, one from jazz vocalist and bassist Kate Blechinger and one from Canadian classic rock cover band Toque.

Here's the deal. Pick one (or all) of them and listen to them front to back. You might even amaze yourself at how much you enjoy the experience.  

Saskatoon band Close Talker has released its brand new album How Do We Stay Here? 

With this project the group has created a vivid sounding sonic space that maintains an intimacy with the listener while still offering up broad auditory vistas for the mind's eye. In fact, over the past few months the band has performed concerts where the audience all wear headphones and are treated to a 3D-360 Silent Headphone Concert. 

Kate Blechinger grew up in Regina, graduating from Sheldon-Williams Collegiate in 2010. While there, she participated in musical theatre and the choral program as well as band activities, playing upright bass.

Earlier this year she released her debut album, Under a Dancing Sky. This is a beautiful collection of 12 songs. Six tracks pay tribute to the work of Joni Mitchell and another six are original compositions. The arrangements are sculpted perfection and Blechinger's voice like liquid peace. 

If you're a hard working professional musician, with a successful career performing on some of the biggest stages with some of the most recognizable artists in popular music, what do you do for fun? 

If you're from these parts, you form a cover band that specializes in playing only the classics. Canadian classic rock that is. Bands like Streetheart, Queen City Kids, Trooper, Platinum Blonde and Harlequin, to name a few.

The members of Toque came together in 2012 for a charity event raising money for cancer research. They decided to play only classic Canadian music.

Fast-forward seven years to the release of their second full album, Never Enough. They've decided to give us their first original tune and it sounds like it was moulded right out of the same sonic clay as the classic Canadian rock catalogue they've been having fun with all these years.

That original was written by band members Cory Churko and Todd Kerns. Churko has spent 30 years touring and performing with artists like Shania Twain and Kelly Clarkson, while Kern's other gig's included fronting Age of Electric and performing with legendary guitarist Slash.  

About the Author

Chris Haynes

Associate producer-technician

Chris Haynes was the long-time recording engineer for CBC Saskatchewan's performance department. He's travelled all over this province recording music, drama and documentaries. He loves picking music and does it every week for CBC Radio's Morning Edition as the show's associate producer-technician.

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