Corby's Orbit

Corby's Orbit
Listening in All the High Places illustration by John Kricfalusi

Friday, November 24, 2017

Playlist For Show Of 24 November

Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

(Brought to you by Albino Binoculars, Alien Chameleons and Abstract Stratocasters) 

Guests: Braden Gates, Kevin Breit & Chelsea McBride of the Achromatics

5-7 p.m. Fridays online and at .  
Canadians in Asterisk’d RED. 

5:00 A Jazzillion Colours

Jon Hendricks (September 16, 1921 – November 22, 2017) ~ Sing, Sing, Sing ~ Freddie Freeloader (Denon 1990)

* Monica Chapman ~ Orange Coloured Sky ~ Small World ~ @ The Old Mill Saturday 7:30

D'Gary ~ Atahora Fabiby ~ Africa: Colours Of The World

* Lisa Muswagon ~ Northern Lights Are Dancing ~ Buffalo And Rabbits ~ CFMA Nominee for Aboriginal Songwriter Of The Year

* Kobo Town ~ Karachi Burning Down ~ Where The Galleon Sank ~ CFMA World Group Of The Year

5:20 Indulgent Effulgence

* Beyries ~ Wondering ~ Landing ~ CFMA Nominee Solo Artist Of The Year

* Braden Gates ~ Prelude / Shape I'm In / Perfect Shade Of Blue / Interview / Much Rather Be Sleeping ~ Much Rather Be Sleeping NEW DISK ~ CFMA Nominee New Emerging Artist Of The Year

George Harrison  (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) ~ Isn't It A Pity ~ Live In Japan (Ganga 1993)

* Bruce T. Carroll feat. Nicole Alifante ~ Hurt You Instead ~ Ruckus And Romance NEW DISK

6:00 Revelry and Reverie

* Colin Stetson feat. Sarah Neufeld ~ Spindrift ~ All This I Do For Glory NEW DISK

* Kevin Breit ~ Chevy Casanova / I Got 'Em Too / Interview with Johnny Goldtooth / One Mo Bo / Dr. Lee Van Cleef ~ Johnny Goldtooth And The Chevy Casanovas NEW DISK ~ CD Release @ Lula Lounge Sunday

6:30 Nocturnal Convivialists

* The Commotions ~ Good Enough ~ Volume ll NEW DISK ~ CD Release @ Babylon Nightclub Ottawa Friday 1 December

* The Achromatics ~ Alien From A Strange Nation / Interview with Chelsea McBride / Give Me That Beat ~ Give Me That Beat NEW DISK~ CD Release at Hugh's Room Live Wednesday 29 November

Dean Parks ~ Respect ~ Tribute To Otis Redding (JVC 1989) / Toronto Music Listings

* Nancy White ~
Norm Hacking's Last Dance With The Bully God ~ One Voice: A Tribute To Norm Hacking ~ Endless Sky: A ten year memorial to the passing of Norm @ The Tranzac Tiki Room this Thursday, 30 November 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Valerie June ~ If And ~ The Order Of Time ~ @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre Sunday, February 11, 2018


Flamboyant Folk, Giant Guitar and Flexy Ferocity Flaming Through Today's Orbit

Edmonton's Braden Gates got large and loose at the Canadian Folk Awards last weekend. Mid-set, he dragged his chair out of the cage of microphones to the proscenium frontier, teetered towards the audience with singalong challenges and spacey patter, and sat the room right in his lap to play them some songs. He's in town now and will be expanding exponentially in the Orbit today at 5:30, with fiddle and guitar and tracks from his album Much Rather Be Sleeping.

 With a new album of hot and earthy carnival-rock guitar that calls up a mid-summer midnight midway, shape shifting guitar avatar Kevin Breit is back in his new persona as Johnny Goldtooth and The Chevy Casanovas.
Kevin will be in Orbit at 6:00 and presenting Johnny Goldtooth at Lula Lounge
 this Sunday 
the 26th
 at 8 p.m. 

Admission: $15 Dinner reservations guarantee seating. Please call 416.588.0307 

And at the fulcrum of Toronto R&B flex, a new and tightly packed band of devotees to the groove arises ~ The Achromatics. 

They have an unequivocal imperative to deliver: Give Me The Beat, and it will be served next Wednesday at west end dance palace Hugh's Room Live with big horns and greasy B3 trimmings. Burning up the Orbit at 6:30 live.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Norm Hacking ~ Stars In An Endless Sky

Sweet soul and a writer and singer of humble and wise songs, 
Norm Hacking (August 1, 1950 – November 25, 2007)
 was a friend to, and an influence upon many artists in Toronto and across the province. His legacy is not forgotten and we will raise a toast to him next Thursday at the Tranzac, the site of his long running open mic event Norm's Living Room. Bring a memory or an instrument, or feel free to be curious. We're ALL stars baby.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

CFMA's 2017 ~ Detailed List Of Recipients

All photography by Leonard Poole

 OTTAWA, Saturday, November 18, 2017 – Canadian Folk Music Awards (#CFMA2017) were awarded during the first evening of celebrations at the Bronson Centre in Ottawa. The 13th anniversary event was hosted by musicians pictured above, Jean Hewson and Benoit Bourque (La Bottine Souriante) in a bilingual evening filled with music including performances by 2017 nominees MAZTwin FlamesBeyond The PaleBEYRIESKobo Town and Danny Michel. Ten awards were handed out throughout evening. 

 Danny Michel was honoured twice during the evening for his latest album Khlebnikov 
which received the Oliver Schroer Pushing The Boundaries Award. He was also awarded the 
Producer of the Year Award along with his collaborator Rob Carli. Khlebnikov takes its album name from the Kapitan Khlebnikov, the Russian icebreaker vessel that inspired the music and where he recorded the album’s songs during an arctic expedition. The album also features arrangements by composer Rob Carli as well as performances from Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield

The Slaight Music Unsung Hero Award was also given out this evening to Newfoundland’s much-loved Gerry Strong for his incredible contributions to the folk music scene.
Sunday, November 19, 2017 – Canadian Folk Music Awards were awarded during the second evening of celebrations at the Bronson Centre in Ottawa. The 13th anniversary event was hosted by musicians Jean Hewson and Benoit Bourque (La Bottine Souriante) in a bilingual evening filled with music including performances by 2017 nominees Cassie and MaggieBraden GatesCoco MélièsScott MacMillan & Colin GrantOh Susanna and Stephen Fearing. Ten awards were handed out throughout evening. 

London, Ontario songwriter and Berklee graduate Ken Yates was awarded his second Canadian Folk Music Awards of the weekend for New/Emerging Artist of the Year for his captivating and moving heart-on-his-sleeve album Huntsville. (His previous accolade was handed out on Saturday evening for English Songwriter of the Year.)
The dynamic performers Moscow Apartment, right, were awarded Young Performers of the Year for their album DemoAndré Brunet took home Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year for his fiddling album La grosse maison rouge. The East Coast’s Scott MacMillan & Colin Grant teamed up for success with their guitar and fiddle collaboration Good2Go, receiving Instrumental Group of the Year.

Drawing freely from folk-roots, indie music traditions and punk rock, Toronto’s Abigail Lapell’s Hide Nor Hair achieved Contemporary Album of the YearLouis Simão (left) brought listeners on a journey through the sounds of his Portuguese-speaking world, receiving the award for his album A Luz (A Light) for World Solo Album of the Year. Sisters Cassie and Maggie received Traditional Album of the Year for their Celtic roots album The Willow Collection.

Montreal’s Coco Méliès‘ (pronounced Coco May-lee-ess) luminous and refined folk album The Riddle received Vocal Album of the YearHannah Shira Naiman, on the rightis the Traditional Singer of the Year for her old time album Know The Mountain.
Powerful duo Mama’s Broke from Halifax, who pull from old-time, Québécois, blues, Celtic, Balkan and (even) doom metal, were honoured with Ensemble of the Year for their album Count The Wicked.

Established by Canada’s burgeoning and internationally recognized folk music community, the Canadian Folk Music Awards is currently its 13th year. The two nights of celebrations of the Canadian Folk Music Awards wrapped up with a open-hearted singalong with the full audience.  For more information, visit

List of Winners: Danny Michel x2, Fred Penner, Stephen Fearing, Leeroy Stagger, Luc de Larochellière, Ken Yates x2, Twin Flames, Kobo Town, Moscow Apartment, André Brunet, Scott MacMillan & Colin Grant, Abigail Lapell, Louis Simão, Cassie and Maggie, Coco Méliès, Hannah Shira Naiman, Mama’s Broke, 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

CFMA's 2017 ~ Songs Hovering In A Rembrandt Room

 Individual photography by Leonard Poole ~ Click on photos to enlarge.

At high noon in Saturday's Ottawa, a semi-circle of stools was being set out so that a selection of Canadian Folk Music Award nominees could share some of their songs with a fortunate few. The dark burnished panelling, large paintings, amber lamps and shadowy draperies of the cozy third floor Elgin Street banquet room felt more like a sequestered study. The congenial hostess, CKCU programmer Trish Bolechowsky offered a comfortable welcome and detailed artist backgrounds to introduce the performances, which proceeded acoustically unhemmed, without benefit of microphone, amp or fader. A table full of CD's and a discreet waitress also presented opportunities to spend a few dollars. 

Abigail Lapell, herself a long-time curator of songsters with her monthly Early Birds sessions at the Tranzac in Toronto, began the first round with Indigo Blue from her Hide Nor Hair album, which would win her the Contemporary Album Of The Year prize on Sunday night. 

Left, she is congratulated by Sarah Jane Scouten. 

Jim Bryson, a workhorse producer and sideman for many of the nominated artists sang a meditative song about divorce that seemed to hold a plaintive echo of Gord Downie's voice at its core. Bryson was once an itinerant touring musician with the Hip. Ken Yates, (winner~English Songwriter and New Emerging Artist Of The Year), who benefitted from Bryson's production skills on his album Huntsville, sang a new song and then passed the deal to Catherine Durand. Nominated as French Songwriter Of The Year, Catherine lured the room into smoky seductions with ballads from her elegant La Pluie Entre Nous CD.

Hidden Roots Collective, who harmonized radiantly in a sometimes sunlit corner of the room, eventually got around to a re-imagining of Leonard Cohen's Suzanne that flooded the room with affection and a sweetly melancholy pride. 

The whole ensemble was given a lift by the late arrival of Lisa Muswagon, a Cree singer from Cross Lake Manitoba, who related some fondly allusive animal episodes from the legendary journey of a rabbit to retrieve a lost dance. Each one led into a drummed chant expressing the feelings of the titular rabbit, Waupoos, from her album Rabbits and Buffalo. She was nominated as Aboriginal Songwriter Of The Year. She stayed with us to continue her stories as a second wave of performers arrived. 

Sarah Jane Scouten, wearing a faux fur crown, set some country inklings loose in the room and tenderized us to the core with the heartfelt voice that won her a nomination for Traditional Singer Of The Year. Her friend Winona Wilde demonstrated her insight into some lyrically dark situations and then Newfoundland's Dave Penny raised laugh lines and eyebrows with his densely rhymed tirades on gambling, bicycle culture, and the pros and cons of the accordion, all delivered without a translator. His enthusiasm for the diversity of the slate and the ambience it created warmed the room appreciably. He was up for Traditional Singer Of The Year with his All Turned Around CD, in what proved to be a very competitive category this year. Sarah Jane voiced the opinion that adding a Traditional Country classification to the awards might help ease the congestion in some of the other categories.

 The window seat had been taken over by a symbiotic duo of perfectly attuned Whitby teens working as Moscow Apartment, who charmed and conquered the room with their honey timbres and rich arrangements. On Sunday night they would take the trophy for Young Performers Of The Year, the conferring of which is a central aspect of the C.F.M.A.'s mandate to cultivate new roots and branches.

And finally, straight from the frosty complications of the 401, and also a nominee for Aboriginal Songwriter Of The Year, Julian Taylor made it just in time to sing a few pensive songs about beauty and heritage and to deepen the bond between the audience and the high winds of song that prevailed, with banners and drums, throughout the whole wondrous afternoon.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

CFMA's 2017 ~ Folk Summit on the Rideau

A fake statistician could theoretically make the case that Canadians are more familiar with the live performance of folk music than with any other style. We winter in dens where guitars, accordions and fiddles feather those gatherings drawn to fireplaces and craft beers and the supreme summer souvenir is often a shot of a dear one, singing into a bonfire with a song by a Gord or a Joni or a Joel incandescent in their eyes, and their friend with a harmonica huddling in for a photo bomb.  

Celebrating this most social of empathetic arts is the delightful duty of the Canadian Folk Music Awards, which pops up in major cities on the brink of winter every year for the past dozen years. I shall be journeying up to the nation's upper case as the event returns to Ottawa this weekend, regretfully abandoning my show for another week. Many friends of the Orbit are contestants and performers. My friend, award-winning photographer Leonard Poole will be capturing the action for the blog.

 I will be back on the 24th with a studio visit from Kevin Breit and a sheaf of new Canadian music from the far folk frontiers.

The awards ceremony is broadcast here CFMA's 2017


Traditional Album of the Year

  • Cassie and Maggie - The Willow Collection

  • Jenny Whiteley - The Original Jenny Whiteley

  • André Brunet - La grosse maison rouge

  • Còig - Rove

  • Jayme Stone - Jayme Stone's Folklife

Contemporary Album of the Year

  • Abigail Lapell - Hide Nor Hair

  • The Fretless - Bird's Nest

  • Tomato Tomato - I Go Where You Go

  • Leif Vollebekk - Twin Solitude

  • Braden Gates - Much Rather Be Sleeping

Children’s Album of the Year

  • Ginalina - Home Is Family

  • Jessie Farrell - Chirp Chirp Happy

  • Stella Swanson and the Rosie Joyfuls - Pants on Backwards

  • Madame Diva et Micah le jeune voyageur - Zing-E-Zing!

  • Fred Penner - Hear The Music

Traditional Singer of the Year

  • Hannah Shira Naiman - Know The Mountain

  • Cassie and Maggie - The Willow Collection

  • Mélisande Gelinas-Fauteux (of Mélisande [Électrotrad]) - Les millésimes

  • Sarah Jane Scouten - When the Bloom Falls From the Rose

  • Dave Penny - All Turned Around

Contemporary Singer of the Year

  • Lisa LeBlanc - Why You Wanna Leave, Runaway Queen?

  • Coco Love Alcorn - Wonderland

  • Abigail Lapell - Hide Nor Hair

  • Stephen Fearing - Every Soul's A Sailor

  • Oh Susanna - A Girl In Teen City

Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year

  • Roberto López - Criollo Electrik

  • Maneli Jamal - The Mardom Movement

  • Glenn Chatten - Dragonfly

  • André Brunet - La grosse maison rouge

  • Don Ross - A Million Brazilian Civilians

Instrumental Group of the Year

  • MacIsaac and MacKenzie - The Bay Street Sessions

  • The Fretless - Bird's Nest

  • Beyond The Pale - Ruckus

  • Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy - A Celtic Family Christmas

  • Scott Macmillan & Colin Grant - Good2Go

English Songwriter of the Year

  • Ken Yates - Huntsville

  • Scott Cook - Further Down the Line

  • Amelia Curran - Watershed

  • Stephen Fearing - Every Soul's A Sailor

  • Oh Susanna - A Girl In Teen City

French Songwriter of the Year

  • Luc De Larochellière - Autre monde

  • Philippe B - La grande nuit vidéo

  • Vivianne Roy, Katrine Nöel & Julie Aubé (of Les Hay Babies) - La 4ième dimension (version longue)

  • Patrice Michaud - Almanach

  • Catherine Durand - La pluie entre nous

Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year

  • Julian Taylor, Kinnie Starr, John Parente & Bill Bell (of Julian Taylor Band) - Desert Star

  • Cindy Paul - The Flight

  • Chelsey June & Jaaji (of Twin Flames) - Signal Fire

  • Desiree Dorion - Tough Street

  • Lisa Muswagon - Buffalo and Rabbits

Vocal Group of the Year

  • The Big East - Hungry Ghosts

  • Coco Méliès - The Riddle

  • Cassie and Maggie - The Willow Collection

  • Twin Flames - Signal Fire

  • The Bombadils - New Shoes

Ensemble of the Year

  • Cassie and Maggie - The Willow Collection

  • Silent Winters - Fireworks & a Small Brigade

  • 100 mile house - Hiraeth

  • The Jerry Cans - Inuusiq

  • Mama's Broke - Count the Wicked

Solo Artist of the Year

  • Zachary Lucky - Everywhere A Man Can Be

  • BEYRIES - Landing

  • Amelia Curran - Watershed

  • Leeroy Stagger - Love Versus

  • Stephen Fearing - Every Soul's A Sailor

World Solo Artist of the Year

  • Briga - Femme

  • Maneli Jamal - The Mardom Movement

  • Louis Simão - A Luz (The Light)

  • Farnaz Ohadi & The Mashregh Ensemble - Bird Dance

  • Kelly Bado - Entre deux

World Group of the Year

  • MAZ - ID

  • Kobo Town - Where The Galleon Sank

  • Turkwaz - Nazar

  • Twin Flames - Signal Fire

  • Beyond The Pale - Ruckus

New/Emerging Artist of the Year

  • Ken Yates - Huntsville

  • Hidden Roots Collective - Come Up, Honey

  • Braden Gates - Much Rather Be Sleeping

  • Silent Winters - Fireworks & a Small Brigade

  • The Bombadils - New Shoes

Producer of the Year

  • Danny Michel and Rob Carli - Khlebnikov (Danny Michel)

  • Joel Plaskett - Solidarity (Bill & Joel Plaskett)

  • Amelia Curran and Chris Stringer - Watershed (Amelia Curran)

  • Stephen Fearing and David Travers-Smith - Every Soul's A Sailor (Stephen Fearing)

  • Jim Bryson - A Girl In Teen City (Oh Susanna)

Pushing the Boundaries

  • Danny Michel - Khlebnikov

  • Turkwaz - Nazar

  • Tanya Tagaq - Retribution

  • Mélisande [Électrotrad] - Les millésimes

  • Shreem - Celtic Remixing

Young Performer of the Year

  • The Wolfe - The Wolfe

  • Keltie Monaghan - Someone Tell Her

  • John Muirhead - Yesterday's Smile

  • Quin Etheridge-Pedden - Embark

  • Moscow Apartment - Demo