Corby's Orbit

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

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Folks Of Winterfolk

17th Annual Winterfolk Blues and Roots Festival, took place in Toronto's east end from February 22 to 24, 2019. Featuring the best of urban, blues, rock, jazz, country, folk and roots music, it’s an annual all-ages, mid-winter, weatherproof event that emulates a multi-stage rural summer festival around the corners of Danforth Ave. and Broadview. More than 100 artists performed at three venues and five stages, all booked by Beverly Kreller at SPEAK Music..
Here are some high spots.

photos by Paul & Kim Corby

The Barrel Boys had just the right remedy for the Saturday- night swarm of musos ducking the weather, raising up a hearty hootenany at the Black Swan.

Jon Brooks dug deep, channelling the drum's intensity from his acoustic guitar to frame songs of passion and protest.

Howard Gladstone and Lynn Harrison kept close to Dora Keogh's kitchen vibe at The Bridge session, featuring life stories rendered in song.

HOTCHA's Howard Druckman, was booking it all weekend, hopping and hauling from showcases to workshops.

Maggie & Mr. Rogers offered pristine instrumentation and vintage songcraft at the Mambo Lounge.

The always congenial Noah Zacharin brought his warmth and an exquisite fingerstyle guitar repertoire to subdue a widespread winter ennui.

Captivating Australian folk fugitive STAV frolicked through a set of her uniquely melodic song constructions, despite being beset with Ontario-induced coughs and sneezes.

Ornate compositions and masterful performances by Borealis Records' duo of John Williams and Emilyn Stam held the upstairs crowd in a melodic musical hug.

Glen Hornblast & his Queen Street Cowboys rode into the Black Swan saloon on Friday night with guitars and fiddles a-blazin'. 

Howard Gladstone and his wizardly sidekick, Tony Quarrington, took a few new tunes out for a spin at the Dora Keogh. 

David Storey broke his new album, Made In Canada, wide open over the weekend. 

 Madagascarana (thanks Sue Peters) played textured waves of rhythm across the Black Swan fans with the complex emanations of the Donne Roberts Band.

Guelph's Doris Folkens struck an intimate note with her simple conjuring of historical and personal life lessons.

Cassie and Maggie livened up the fest with their galeforce fiddling and lustrous guitar work, and charmed the hearts of everyone with their Gaelic ballads.

Chloe Watkinson lit up the room she hit the stage with her powerfully penetrating songs and exquisite vocal artistry.

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Maple Blues Awards 2019 - Art, Morphology and The Blues

                             Photos by David Hynes *(click to enlarge)

The blues takes its time. It will tell you things twice to make sure you feel it. Then it will send a soul tremor straight to your heart. Blue hours spent are, for better or worse, true hours, even though, as Muddy stressed in that precious archival CBC dokko, it grows strongest, “When you got no bread, and you lovesick.”

MC Raoul Baneja took the stage at Toronto’s Koerner Hall Monday night for the Twenty-Second Annual Maple Blues Awards to predict a night of Canadian blues history in the making. As three hours of testifying and trophy slinging unfolded, it became apparent that the blues is still a boldly evolving art form, especially here in the ice-blue north where roots have to grow deep to survive.  

       Above right, Jenie Thai and Gary Kendall; below left, piano champ David Vest

For the first time the ceremony took place during Black History Month, investing the proceedings with an historical resonance. When the Blues With A Feeling Award, given in recognition of a lifetime of achievement in the blues was won by perennial nominee, slide icon Ellen McIlwaine, her speech began, “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the African people who were brought here to America against their will.”

Cadillac Lounge impressario and award presenter Sam Grosso introduced the night’s house band as “the earth-shaking, viagra-taking Maple Blues Band.” They supported most of the heartfelt performances that followed, igniting the stage throughout the night, and occasionally shaking the ornate concert hall to its joists.

Standouts included Newfoundland’s feisty Earle & Coffin (above left), Saltspring Island`s Harry Manx alongside the evening’s Harp champ, Monkeyjunk`s  Steve Marriner (above right) and guitar trophyist Sue Foley, accompanied by her own band.

Keeping the blues current, winners Big Dave McLean and Lindsay Beaver skyped into the venue to express their thanks. And as a further initiative, Son Roberts announced the 2020 inception of the Sapphire Award, to be presented to next year’s best blues video. As the night rolled on, it became apparent that history was indeed taking a breakaway course as instrumental awards went almost exclusively to significant blueswomen. 

After Halifax’s Lindsay Beaver, who set a big precedent last year by signing with Alligator Records out of Chicago, took the Best Drummer honour, prizes followed for Sue Foley on guitar, Laura Greenberg on bass, Shirley Jackson on horn, Cobalt Song winner Ann Vriend (left) and, as New Artist, Peterborough’s Emily Burgess, (below) who had just finished wowing the room by trading fours with Teddy Leonard in an impromptu sub for an ailing Crystal Shawanda.

Central honoree for the evening, however, was 

Colin James, riding his Miles To Go album into a slew of awards. As the trophies began piling up, the humble Saskatchewan boy confessed to finding it all ``a little embarrassing.`` Upon winning the Electric Act Of The Year prize, he said, `` I`d like to thank electricity. It`s very cool.``

Harnessing that electricity to grand effect for the finale performance with Raoul & The Big Time, he cut some fierce solos against Baneja`s harp attack and special guest Alison Young`s courageous sax blowing.

After three hours of persistent blues onslaught, the lobby still filled up with fedoras and furs for an extended afterglow affair with award winners and fans mingling and enjoying a star-filled jam into the blue hours, featuring expert harmonicist Guy Belanger and his scorching band. The one thing you don`t have to worry about with the blues is that although it keeps growing, it never gets old.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Playlist for Corby's Orbit with Abigail Lapell and D'Arcy Wickham Feb 22 2019

Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

( Brought to you by Paradoxical Pterodactyls, Archetypal Archaeopteryxes and Torontonian Pteranodons )

5-7 p.m. Fridays online and at .  

Canadians in Asterisk’d RED. 

Guests: Abigail Lapell and D'Arcy Wickham

5:00 Mystery Distillations

Ijahman Levi ~ Moulding (Whip That Tarantula Mix) ~ Time Warp Dub Clash (Island 1993)

* Waahli ~ Caps Fit ~ Black Soap NEW DISK

Black Eyed Peas ~ Power To The People ~ Instant Karma

Paak.Anderson feat. Talib Kweli ~ The Dreamer ~ Malibu ~@ Rebel Tuesday 26 February

Gangstagrass ~ Justified 

Sierra Leone Allstars with Aerosmith ~ Give Peace A Chance ~ Instant Karma

* Twin Flames ~ Human ~ NEW RELEASE

                                                                        Illustrations by Alex Andreev

5:30 Emerging Energists

* Mama Mihirangi & The Mariekura ~ Waiora (Wellness) ~ Folk Alliance International Showcase Compilation 2019

*  Michael Davidson & Dan Fortin ~ Berlin vii Clock Radio NEW DISK

* JV`s Boogaloo Squad ~ Slacktivision ~ Going To Market NEW DISK ~ @ The Rex Hotel Sunday 7 p.m.

Nina Simone (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003) ~ Mood Indigo Let It All Out (Verve 1965)

* Simone Morris ~ Will To Fight ~ Setting Up NEW DISK ~@ WINTERFOLK XVII Friday @11, Saturday @8 & Sunday @9

Tommy Castro & The Painkillers ~  Anytime Soon ~  Killin` It Live (Alligator)  NEW DISK

6:00 Youth And Consequences

* Abigail Lapell ~ UFO Song / Interview / Runaway / Devil In The Deep ~ Getaway NEW DISK ~ CD launch @ Burdock Wednesday 9 p.m.

6:20 Guitar Axatars

* Tony Quarrington ~ Savannah / For South Africa ~ One Bright Morning (Ragged Pup 1999) @ WINTERFOLK XVII , For KIng & Country Saturday @1 & Q&A @11 and Sunday for Guitar Jam @ 2:15  & Q&A @9

* D`Arcy Wickham ~ Song For Al (Green) / Interview / Signal Hill (live) / Dogbite (live) ~ Signal Hill NEW DISK  @ WINTERFOLK XVII Saturday @2 Fingerpicking The Blues and Sunday for Guitar Jam @ 2:15 and @7 for Signal Hill CD Launch

6:45 Saddle Up & Settle Down

* Nathan Hiltz ~ Rita Hayworth ~ Songs Poetic @ The Old Mill Saturday with The Hoffman / Hiltz Quartet / and Toronto Music Listings 

* Cassie & Maggie ~ Sisters ~ Sterling Road @ WINTERFOLK XVII Saturday @10 and Sunday @9

* Harpin Norm Lucien ~ Above The Trees ~ The World`s Stronget Man @ WINTERFOLK XVII Saturday @3 and Sunday @2

Monday, February 11, 2019

Correct Grammys

An inspiring night.

Woman a run tings.
“From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side to the ‘Who Runs the World’ songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story . . . whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves. Our dignity, our sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another, to invite each other in. Music shows us that all of it matters, every story within every voice, every note within every song.” - Michelle Obama

I am always grateful for tears shed from music, and a big one came bulging out when Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus and Maren Morris sang Neil Youngs After The Gold Rush. Look at Mother Nature On The Run In The Twenty First Century. 

Drake was just being the humanitarian. Not anti-Grammy, just urging his fellow noms to maintain. Not negative at all. But it was criminal television to cut away from pretty much the most popular musical voice currently performing.

Drake; “I want to take this opportunity while I’m up here to just talk to all the kids that are watching this that are aspiring to do music, all my peers that make music from their heart, that do things pure and tell the truth. I want to let you know we play in an opinion-based sport, not a factual-based sport. So it’s not the NBA where at the end of the year you’re holding a trophy because you made the right decisions and won the games,” Drake said. “This is a business where sometimes it’s up to a bunch of people that might not understand, you know, what a mixed-race kid from Canada has to say or a fly Spanish girl from New York or a brother from Houston right there, my brother Travis.or anybody else."

“The point is, you’ve already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you’re a hero in your hometown. Look, look if there is people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain, in the snow, spending their hard-earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows,” he added. The New York Times commented, 

We don’t know what was coming next, though, because his mic was abruptly cut off as he was in mid-sentence . . . which, in a nice bit of irony, helped hammer home his point.

A representative for the Grammys clarified that producers did not intentionally cut off Drake but were under the impression that he had finished his speech.

“During Drake’s speech, there was a natural pause and at that moment the producers did assume that he was done and then cut to commercial,” said Sunshine Sachs’ Michael Samonte. “However the producers did speak with Drake following his speech and did offer him to come back on stage to finish whatever his thoughts were. But Drake said he was happy with what he said and didn’t have anything to add.”

 I was also impressed with that country duo, Dan + Shay, and with Ms.Diana Rosss voice and self-regard, and Miley and Shawn Mendes singing their hearts out on In My Blood. I might have dropped a tear on that one too. Shawn Mendes and Alessia Cara are the key songwriting voices of this generation (and not just in Canada) and every time they open their mouths it`s beautiful and full of thought. 

And finally some recognition for Donny Hathaway, my dear hero of song. 

Now bring on the Junos.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Playlist For Corby's Orbit Show of 8 February

Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

( Brought to you by Lily Black, White Friday and Black Current Jams )

5-7 p.m. Fridays online and at .  

Canadians in Asterisk’d RED. 

5:15 The Apple Of The All Seeing Eye

* Kobo Town ~ Before The Day  Star ~ Where The Galleon Sank

* Sweet Little Lies ~ Madeleine Roger ~ Cottonwood ~@ Burdock Sunday 6 p.m. 

* Carly Dow ~ Constellations ~ Comet ~ @ Burdock Sunday 6 p.m. 

* Tannis Slimmon ~ Underground Railroad ~ Lucky Blue ~ @ Tranzac tonight 7:30

* Whitehorse ~ I Just Want To Make Love To You ~ The Northern South vol. ll NEW DISK

* Lindi Ortega ~ Afraid Of The Dark ~ Liberty ~ @ Phoenix Saturday for The Longest Road Show

* Lee Harvey Osmond ~ Forty Light Years ~ Mohawk NEW DISK

* Beatrice Deer ~ Sapannga Sujunakua ~ My All To You

5:45 Essential Influential Potentials

Rory Block ~ Pure Religion ~ I Belong To The Band ~ @ Hugh's Room Live Tuesday 12 February

Lonnie Johnson (b. New Orleans February 8, 1889 – d. Toronto June 16, 1970) ~ She's Making Whoopee In Hell Tonight / Playing With the Strings / No More Women Blues ~ Steppin' On The Blues ~ (Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 1990)

* Elizabeth Shepherd ~ Our Lady ~ MONtreal ~ CD release @ Music Gallery tonight  NEW DISK

6:15 Afraid Of The Stark

SWV ~ Right Here (Human Nature Duet 12" Demolition Mix) ~ The Remix EP

Sigrid ~ High Five ~ Sucker Punch 

* Michael Garrick & One Nation Rebels ~ Sound Of Silence ~ Fussing & Fighting ~ @ Lee's Palace Saturday for  Bob Marley Birthday Celebration NEW DISK

Bunny Wailer ~ Conscious Lyrics ~ Dance Massive

6:30 Locus Focus

* J.V.'s Bugaloo Squad ~ Squadzilla ~ Going To Market ~ CD Release Thursday 21 February @ Burdock & Sundays @ The Rex NEW DISK

* Tanya Wills Quartet ~ Chicken Mamas ~ It's Time ~ @ Alliance Francaise Thursday 14 January 1 p.m. NEW DISK

* Jim Brennan 11 ~ Hiding Place ~ 50 / 50 / Toronto Music Listings

Mandolin Orange ~ Big Men In The Sky ~ Hard-Hearted Stranger ~ Phoenix Tuesday 12 February

* Kalle Mattson ~ Once ~ Youth ~ @ Drake Hotel Saturday 

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Playlist For Corby's Orbit Show of 1 February

Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

( Brought to you by The Bipolar Vortex, Tension Deficits and Spatial Dementias )

5-7 p.m. Fridays online and at .  

Canadians in Asterisk’d RED. 

Guests: Judy Brown & Emily, Cassie & Maggie (MacDonald) and Just Jillian

5:00 Summit Up & Say it

* Judy Brown ~ Say It / Interview / Free Range Man (live) / Nothing Left To Say (live) ~ Say It ~ @ the Blues Summit tonight at the downtown Marriott Hotel Courtyard

5:20 Blues Swings and Rock Slides

*MIP Power Trio ~ Limoilou Blues ~ Half Pint FullHeart ~ @ Burdock Tuesday 5 February with Noah Zacharin

Green Day ~ You Lied ~ Shenanigans ~ "Dookie" 25th Anniversary Celebration at Cavern tonight

* Earle & Coffin ~ Help Me ~ Wood Wire Blood & Bone ~ @ Maple Blues Awards / Koerner Hall Monday 4 February 

* Jerome Tucker Band ~ Too Deep ~ Still On Fire ~ @ The Linsmore Tavern Sunday 

Florence & The Machine with Ivan Neville~ Not Fade Away / Cee Lo Green ~ (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care ~ Rave On Buddy Holly (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959)

* Jenie Thai ~ I Can't Keep Waiting ~ Night On Fire ~ @ Maple Blues Awards / Koerner Hall Monday 4 February 

6:00 Ladies & The T'ump

* Cassie & Maggie ~ Buain A' Choirce / Interview / Cassie's Medley (live) ~ Sterling Pond (2014) ~ @ Winterfolk XVII Blues & Roots Festival February 22-24, Showcases at 10:00 Saturday and 9:00 Sunday

<<<< photo by Glamma

6:15 Many Reggae Returns

Bob Marley & The Wailers ~ Natural Mystic / Running Away ~ Bob Marley Birthday Party (6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981) with Sister Nancy @ Radio, Wednesday 

Dennis Brown  (1 February 1957 – 1 July 1999) & We The People Band ~ Words Of Wisdom / Ain't That Lovin' You ~ Live At Montreux 1979 ~ Dennis Brown Tribute @ Thymeless tonight

6:25 Just Jillian 

* Just Jillian ~ Three Seconds / Interview / What Day Is It? (live) ~ What Day Is It? NEW DISK~ CD launch @ The Linsmore Tavern Thursday 7 February

6:40 Wandrous 

* Alison Au ~ Looking Up ~ Wander Wonder NEW DISK (Juno Nominee/ Jazz Group)

* Angela Verbrugge ~ The Night We Couldn't Say Goodnight ~ The Night We Couldn't Say Goodnight NEW DISK

Bowery Electric ~ Floating World ~ Lush Life / Toronto Music Listings 

* Christine Bougie ~ Proximity ~ Whistle Up A World ~ New Band @ Burdock Monday 4 February 

* Jennifer Foster ~ The Key (Different Than I Used To Be) ~ Songs From The Alien Beacon ~ @ Tranzac tonight 7:30