I do an open format radio show on Radio Regent online out of Regent Park in Toronto every Friday from 5 p.m. til 7,called CORBY's ORBIT playing everymusic, so far no Death Metal or light opera but who knows?http://www.radioregent.com/
Illustration by John Kricfalusi
Listening in All the High Places illustration by John Kricfalusi
Joni Mitchell ~ born Roberta Anderson, 7 November 1943 in Fort Macleod Alberta ~ has made songs, paintings and honest declarations of freedom (and bondage) all her life.
She has suffered abuse by the media and her peers and made her stand over all the shamers and blamers. She has titled her 19th and most recent album (2007) with her career's most accurately descriptive verb ~ Shine.
In the title song, she comes out laughing at the stubbornness of dualistic thought, which has interfered with her at life's every turn. Her paintings and philosophic contributions have yet to be seriously appreciated. Best to encounter her in the music itself, or in Malka Marom's book Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words.
The songs of John K. Samson bleed out through the deliberate and epic patience of his band The Weakerthans. The songs render the listener progressively more and more helpless as the lyrics congeal into private articulations that make more sense to the feelings than to the mind. They have never had breakout success, although in 2005, Left and Leaving was named one of the ten best Canadian albums of all time in Chart magazine's reader poll. The song Pamphleteer, from that epic second album, has an organic connection to Aside and My Favourite Chords and the title track, but stands above them, perhaps most for its noble Canadian stubbornness against “all that I could never overcome.”
Nowadays, the band is essentially broken up, although they claim to be merely “cryogenically frozen”.
“ One of my favourite Weakerthans songs is about politics, or maybe about the limitations of politics. It’s called “Pamphleteer” and it’s written from the point of view of a weary, discontented activist standing on a street corner at rush hour, handing out leaflets. The song borrows nicely from the literature of the left; it ends with the line “A spectre’s haunting Albert Street,” echoing the first line of the Communist Manifesto: “A spectre is haunting Europe.” And it quotes from the protest hymn “Solidarity Forever,” like this:
Sing “Oh what force on earth could be
Weaker than the feeble strength
Of one” like me remembering
The way it could have been.
The quote is from “Solidarity Forever”— there’s a footnote in the lyric sheet that says so—but what I love about it is the way that the lyrics subvert the anthem, so that it’s no longer about political struggle but about lost love.”City Still Breathing: Listening to the Weakerthans byPaul Tough
Aural taste buds and stereophonic sweet teeth will be treated to the most salivacious music just now emerging from the upper shores of the Lake Of Shining Waters. MINOTAURS have historic roots in the cavities of Ontario's geomystical rock candy arcana. Their new disk AUM is being released and performed live at Junction City Music Hall this very Friday. Some tracks and facts will be available at 5:15 when major Minotaur Nathan Lawr rings up the Orbit. Semi-Jamaican jammer Terry Gillespie, currently sojourning in the temperate zone has a new live disk, Home Boy, out and is touring the left side of Toronto with his recent confections. He'll be playing and conversing live at around 5:30.
Saturday May 20 (7-9 p.m.) Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave., Toronto (with full band). Brian Blain opens. $10.00
SundayMay 21 (8-10.30 p.m.) Junction City Music Hall, 2907 Dundas St. W (full band). Jenie Thai opens. $10.00
Dani-time will commence at 6:00 when all-day jawbreaker Dani Nash, whose carmelized singing and Skittles drumming will coalesce at the Horseshoe Tavern next Thursday evening, serves up some live tunes and chat about her wide-ranging career and talents.
And down around 6:30 we should be ready for Brother Neil and his new Kinder Surprising disk, with some more live performance and assorted jelly beans. Don't tell your dentist but it will be so-waaay so-weet.
Burnished by Robbie Robertson's robust imagery and his flair for nuanced incident,
The Band's Acadian Driftwood
from 1975's Northern Lights Southern Cross LP presents an episodic insight into the historic disgrace known as the Expulsion of the Acadians.
"They signed a treaty and our homes were taken..." From 1755 onwards, Maritime French settlers were uprooted and forced from their land by Charles Lawrence and the British government because of their language and allegiances, transformed into refugees by a harsh political environment. "Loved ones forsaken, they didn't give a damn." There was no claim to neutrality permitted: all were removed. Racial and religious motivations expedited British political and military goals. Roman Catholicism was unwelcome, and the Mi'kmaq alliance with the French needed to be dismantled as well. The pathos of this epic song is enhanced by Byron Berline's haunting fiddle and Garth Hudson's synthesized military fifes, by the lyrical coda of nostalgic patois and by the retrospective knowledge that this would be the last great song produced by this country's most musically significant rock ensemble ever.
This Friday, the Orbit welcomes Toronto's Christine Bougie, whoignites the stage with her lap steel mastery in a vast range of artistic contexts. Every once in awhile, she takes time to record her own solo compositions, and this spring, along comes
‘Whistle Up A World’, which releases next Wednesday, 17 May at Burdock. She will be whirling into the Orbit with some of this new music at 5:30.
This month's Whole Note cover girl Amely Zhou will be on board at 6:00 to talk about her role playing the erhu, a bowed two-string zither at World Fiddle Day, which is being celebrated at the AGA KHAN Museum all day Saturday.
...and calling in from a nearby nebula, we'll hook up with piano luminoso John Stetch, who is heading this way astride his new full-band release Vulneraville. He will be beaming on at 6:30 to prep us for his show at The Rex on Saturday, the 13th of May.