Corby's Orbit

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

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Review of The LYNNeS’ Heartbreak Song For The Radio


" I took your words, 
Stumbled strummed and hummed along, 
Hammered till they spelled out
The world’s saddest broken hearted song "

A few years back, Newfoundland rootster Amelia Curran established a bridge to national welcome with a Song On The Radio; if you’ll recall, it was full of loaded guns and gusting with ghosts and a wolf in a long red coat. It became an omnipresent anthem of redemption in Harper’s 2015, thanks, largely, to - the radio.

Radio, once the grand arbiter of musical fate has declined into a more peripheral medium this century.

Now, out of Ottawa, here come The LYNNeS,  Lynn Miles and Lynne Hanson, bearing a fresh Heartbreak Song For The Radio, an album with an aggressive new sound which  may propel the already successful award-winning songwriters into a new category of international regard. As an artist, Lynn Miles has a point of view that is passionate, and sometimes weary, but always wise. (Okay and sometimes hilarious). Lynne Hanson has a sensitive and serious delivery that is at once more confrontational and more wary than Lynn’s. Sundance to Miles’ Butch Cassidy.  The beauty and power that might result from the cohesion of these potentially divergent emotional currents to a common goal has been well worth waiting for.

But what sort of rough caravan are they riding over the ridge on with this record? And who’s that hombre slouched in the shotgun seat with an electric guitar perched on his knee?

Although they are no strangers to being in the studio together (Lynne Hanson’s recent albums have been produced under Lynn Miles’ thoughtful direction) the ten songs here are all co-writes, cultivated hybrids with a fresh and arch character in the lyricism, reflected and intensified between the two parallel mirrors of the writers. And the equal sharing of responsibilities during production transformed the familiar working dynamic into a more volatile relationship. “I’m used to giving orders so I had to make compromises: it’s pretty tough on me,” says Miles. Hanson laughs, “It was just awesome when I finally got to say something and be heard.” Lynn Miles adds,`` We were really happy when we started writing and practicing the songs, because we realized the blend was pretty good.``

What’s more, the character of the record is deeply electrified and barbed with an alt rock tang, thanks to the presence of Kevin Breit. “He came to town and stayed for a couple of days,” says Lynn Miles. ”He was just awesome, and very entertaining as well. He has so many instruments and pedals and amps. He’s a wizard for sure.” Hanson says, “He’s got such personality in terms of his playing and he sits in front of the lyrics and follows along, and just comes up with these magnificent parts. He doesn’t stop until we’re satisfied and he’s satisfied.”

Soaked in the cavernous spring-lever reverb of Dave Draves’ Little Bullhorn Studio in Ottawa, the sounds are ominous, and the lyrics tough and stark. “You’re really hearing the room on this record,” says Lynn Miles. A studio ecosystem of bullfighter and flamenco dancer portraits, red plush walls, kombucha have combined with the music to bring forth a record full of dark cowboys, rodeos, and the lonesome shadows of forsaken romance. A sense of doom prevails: “Trying to find forever never gets too far.” Thunderous and mesmerizing bass and drums carry the songs through atmospheric striations that hold echoes of Fleetwood Mac, Heart and Lucinda. The tunes individually have the long-game sound designed to actually reach the radio as their penetrating charm unfolds.

Especially seductive are the trance-y Blue Tattoo. “I’d rather feel the hurt than feel nothin’ at all,” Lynn sings, with a deep ache that informs the tone of a melancholic solo by Kevin Breit. The ladies also hitch their thumbs in their belt loops for twanged-out rockers Halfway To Happy and Recipe For Disaster, which would be at home at any stampede you’d care to mention. They take turns chanting truth to a lover on Blame It On The Devil, a cautionary folk song, with the chorus harmonies floating in a whispering cloud of sparkling guitar. On the title track, the surrender of the reins to a losing love affair provides a center of gravity that resonates throughout the album: the high cost of emotional honesty. “Wouldn’t have gone and paid my dues if I’d knew it’s gonna cost so much.” 

Deep listening and widespread touring are over the next ridge, and CDs will be available down east in May this summer at Ottawa Blues Fest Winnipeg Fest, Stewart Park Fest and on a tour into the US in September.

 Gazing into the rear view mirror is over for now, although new collaborations from the duo are already taking shape. The road ahead looks clear, the songs are evolving live, the LYNNeS are on cruise control, and the radio is definitely ON.

Originally published at

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Playlist For Show Of 27 April

Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

(Brought to you by Outer Grace, Planetary Charity and Soul - Ear Systems)

Guests: Graydon James and Laura Spink of The Young Novelists

5-7 p.m. Fridays online and at .  
Canadians in Asterisk’d RED. 
Click on photos to enlarge.

5:00 Blue Ups

* Samantha Martin ~ You Are The Love ~ Run To Me ~ @ The Horseshoe Saturday

* Terry Gillespie ~ Monkey Hunger ~ Home Boy ~ @ The Blue Goose Sunday 4:30

5:15 That Same Small Town In Each Of Us

* The Young Novelists ~ I Moved On / Interview with Graydon James and Laura Spink / Back To The Hard Times (live) / Two Of A Kind (live) ~ In City & Country NEW DISK ~ CD Launch @ The Tranzac Thursday 24 May

* The Olympic Symphonium ~ Comedy ~ Beauty In The Tension NEW DISK

5:40 Nothing Like Him Has Ever Been Seen Before

Bob Dorough (December 12, 1923 – April 23, 2018) feat. Dave Frishberg ~ Lookin' Good / Who's On First / I'm Hip ~ Who's On First? (Blue Note 2000)

5:50 Luscious Echelons

* The Henrys ~ Joyous Porous ~ Joyous Porous 

Kygo feat. Justin Jesso ~ Stargazing ~ @ ACC Wednesday 2 May

Bettye Lavette ~ Bob Dylan's Don't Fall Apart On Me Tonight ~ Things Have Changed NEW DISK

Hall & Oates ~ The Stylistics' You Are Everything ~ Our Kind Of Soul 

* Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar ~ All Night Long ~ Run To Me ~ @ The Horseshoe Saturday

6:15 Perspective Customers

* Kiran Ahluwalia ~ Sant ~ 7 Billion NEW DISK 

* Fresh Wes ~ Skyscrapers Remix ~ Coach Fresh

Prince Far - I ~ Psalm 95 Psalms For I

6:30 Mystery & Western

* Bobby Dove ~ Welcome To The Real World Again ~ Thunderchild ~ @ The Local 12 May and on Corby's Orbit Friday 4 May

* Lindi Ortega ~ Darkness Be Gone ~ Liberty ~ @ Mod Club Wednesday 9 May 

* Rae Spoon ~ Monsters ~ Armour 

6:45 Data True

* Skinny Puppy ~ Testure ~ 12 Inch Anthology  / Toronto Music Listings

(smog) Keep Some Steady Friends Around ~ Rain On Lens

Kurt Elling ~ A Child Asked Me What Is The Grass? ~ Leaves Of Grass

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Young Novelists In Orbit Today

With a full-band hometown album release show 
upcoming for 
In City And In Country
(dropping May 4)
at theTranzac Club Main Hall 

on Thursday May 24, at 8:30, 

The Young Novelists' editors-in-chief 
Laura Spink & Graydon James
will touch down at Corby's Orbit for a catch-up, and to share some new tunes,

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Orbiting In Conference With The Toronto Global Music Panorama

 So Long Seven in the yurt

The first Global Toronto Conference took a four-day weekend recently to revivify artistic and commercial attitudes toward exposing the sounds of Toronto’s complexly interrelated cultural communities to international and national world music audiences alike.

The focus of the event was twofold. Presenting rich and stylistically diverse samples of our music in memorable venues was, of course, of primary value in proving the intense effects that vividly fresh musical experiences can have on an audience of tune seekers. The second aspect of the conference focussed on the future horizons of a synthesized and forward-thinking combined communal ethnicity. A trade forum was put in place to solve some of the traditional impasses that Canada presents to itself. With the absence of a unified presenter constituency and the long standing class-based infrastructures that give favour to established art forms, there was much to talk about and begin to creatively resolve. A presentation about the electronic enhancement and transformation of traditional sounds also drew out a strong community of learners and post-global artists.

The presentation of talent began on Wednesday evening at the sonically superb Lula Lounge. Recent World Music Juno and Canadian Folk Music Award winners Kobo Town, fronted by émigré Trinidadian songwriter Drew Gonsalves, headlined the show delivering ferocious soca and calypso jams. Strong opener OKAN, a women-led contemporary Afro-Cuban band, featuring the driving forces of Cuban-born  Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne of Maqueque, showed off spectacular instrumental and vocal skills.

On the stormy Friday afternoon of the conference, an expedition of musical tourists congregated at the Aga Khan Museum, which is a grandly designed repository of Muslim culture at the northern end of the city. The venue extended its hospitality in the form of a superb auditorium and, in its central courtyard, a round tent typically used as a dwelling by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia: a yurt. 

Five acts were presented in twenty-minute showcases. In front of the plush curtains of the wood-panelled concert hall, the propulsive electo-aboriginal swoops and swirling scarves and hoops of cellist Cris Derksen’s Trio, featuring a trap kit drummer and a spirit dancer creating spontaneous waves and wingspans, achieved a grandeur that left the audience spellbound. Still glowing, we were then transferred into the radial coziness of the yurt. There, we enjoyed a quick set by So Long Seven, featuring the muscular featherings of tabla master Ravi Naimpally and an almost unamplified string trio.
Such were the warm acoustics of the yurt that the audience, seated on cushions and small divans, could absorb the music intimately and feel the polyrhythms created by the collective interplay of the banjo and drums underpinning the keening violin and guitar blend, and the group’s occasionally vocalized syllabulary.

The santur playing of Iranian-born composer Sina Bathaie which followed felt very at-home and organic in the sanctuary of the yurt. An ancestor of the piano, played with delicate wands, the santur responds to Sina’s controlled bounce with rapid trills that dance like ripples in the current of the melody. It is as tangy as cinnamon over the honey flow of acoustic guitar and syrupy electric bass. Cajón accents mingle with the bass to provoke unpredictable eruptions of rhythm.

Back inside, new band Justin Gray and Synthesis were indulging in some collaborative improvisation with a heady flavouring of western groove music and a vocabulary that sounded as much like flamenco as it did raga. Toronto jazz alpha fiddle dog Drew Jurecka put things over the top frequently, soloing with and without the bow, while Justin’s brother Derek summoned mesmerizing spaces with his lyrical cymbal work and on the singing bowls for one tune. Staunch tabla connections were kept lively and secure by Autorickshaw mainstay Ed Hanley.

 As Blisk began warming up for a Balkan and Slavic song fest in the yurt, I had to exit for the Orbit, but Elizabeth Szekeres at `Roots Music Canada reports: “Blisk is a synthesis of polyphonic Balkan and Slavic song, dance and movement, backed by hypnotic percussion. The band  consists of four ladies wearing colourful embroidery, hand-woven scarves, and floral skirts, embellished with funky traditional jewellery.

Koerner Hall had a full house 
Saturday night for the first CD release party of KUNÉ, our own global orchestra, fusing eleven musical traditions (and twenty-five instruments) into an ear-spinning confection of leaping melodies and luscious timbres.

The sometimes bewildering time signatures did not keep the band from moving deep into grooves of sensual urgency, especially when under the guidance of Peruvian / Canadian Aline Morales and Montreal’s Burkina Faso expat, Lasso. Dorjee Tsering’s joyous promenade from Tibet, tar player Padideh Ahrarnejad’s blue wail from Iran, an epic stampede theme from native Canadian Alyssa Delbaere Sawchuk and various  whispers of angels and goddesses, frothing with solos - all rose into the matrices of a truly boundless expression of what seems like the planet itself willing this group on to further projections.

Originally published at Roots Music Canada

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Great New Canadian Music Springing Up Forever

Clockwise Spiraling Inward From Top:

  • Okavango African Orchestra 
  • Samantha Martin ~ Run To Me
  • Port / Cities
  • Raine Hamilton ~ Night Sky
  • The LYNNeS ~ Heartbreak Song For The Radio
  • Near East
  • Maz 
  • Jason Buie ~ Driftin' Heart
  • Corey Gulkin ~ All The Things I'll Forget
  • Willard Bond ~ Jiggery Pokery
  • Dan MacDonald ~ Rural / Urban
  • Lindi Ortega ~ Liberty
  • Jeremy Dutcher ~ Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa
  • Suzie Vinnick ~ Shake The Love Around
  • Les Poules À Colin ~ Morose
  • Alex St. Kitts ~ The Projektor
  • The Olympic Symphonium ~ Beauty In The Tension

Playlist For Show Of 20 April

Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

(Brought to you by Pollutant Lieutenants, Corrosive Colonels and Sh*t-Heads Of State )

Guests: Samantha Martin , Howard Gladstone & Tony Quarrington

5-7 p.m. Fridays online and at .  
Canadians in Asterisk’d RED. 
Click on photos to enlarge.

5:00 Earthday Party

* Port / Cities ~ Back To The Bottom ~ Port / Cities NEW DISK

Earthlan ~ Intro ~ The Beautiful Collision Of Nations

* Young Galaxy ~ Blown Minded ~ Young Galaxy

* Raine Hamilton ~ La Plaine ~ Night Sky NEW DISK ~ @ Burdock Sunday

*Julie Doiron ~ Don`t Wanna Be / Liked By You Wake Myself Up

5:20 Soul Her System

 * Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar ~ Good Trouble / Interview / Chasing Dreams ~ Run To Me NEW DISK~ @ Horseshoe Saturday, 28 April 

* The Band ~ You See Me ~ Jubilation ~ Tribute to Levon @ Hugh`s Room Live Sunday

Albert Collins, Robert Cray & Johnny Copeland ~ The Dream ~  Showdown! 

5:40 Weathered Forecasts

* The LYNNeS ~ Cold Front  ~ Heartbreak Song For The Radio NEW DISK @ Burdock Right Now!

 Abdullah Ibrahim ~  The Perfumed Garden Wet With Rain ~  A Celebration ~ @ Koerner Hall with Jazz Epistles Saturday

Blue Planet ~ Blue Planet ~ Uhuru : Rhythms Of The World 

6:00 Gladness And The Tone Quarry

* Howard Gladstone ~ Rider`s Song (Cordoba) / Interview with Howard Gladstone & Tony Quarrington / My Heart Won`t Let Me Keep Still (live) ~ @ Free Times Cafe Friday 27 April 

* Tony Quarrington ~ Interview / Enlistment Day ~ For King And Country NEW DISK @ St. Andrews Church Saturday 5 May  

6:20 Planet For Granted

Bill Laswell ~  So Much Trouble In The World ~  Dreams Of Freedom

* Iman &amp The Wasted Lala's ~ The Start ~ Home Is Where My Feet Are

* Rattlesnake Choir ~ Halls Of Folsom ~ Walkin' The Wire

Ella Fitzgerald  (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996) ~ Cry Me A River ~ Love Letters From Ella ~  Ella Fitzgerald Birthday Bash @ Jazz Bistro &  Denielle Bassels Sings Ella @ 120 Diner Wednesday 25 April

6:40 Adrenalizations

* Autorickshaw ~ Thom Petti ~ Meter @ Small World Music Center Saturday

* Near East ~ Rise Up ~ Near East NEW DISK ~ @ Small World Music Center Saturday 19 May 

* Joe Bowden ~  African Dream ~ Voices In My Head ~ @ Poetry Jazz Cafe Thursday 26 April

Toronto Music Listings 

* Jordana Talsky ~Alanis Morisette`s You Oughta Know ~ Neither Of Either NEW DISK