Corby's Orbit

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

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Playlist For Corby`s Orbit Show Of 29 October with Ronley Teper, Jocelyn Barth & Sundar Viswanathan

Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

5-7 p.m. Fridays online

Guests: Ronley Teper, Jocelyn Barth & Sundar Viswanathan of Avataar

5:00 Culture On The Rise

* Silla & Rise ~ Animiq ~ Silarjuaq (Balanced Records) OUT TODAY!

* The Fretless feat. Lady Phyl ~ Wondering Where The Lions Are ~ Open House NEW RELEASE

Maria Muldaur ~ I`m Vaccinated And I'm Ready For Love ~ (Stony Plain) NEW RELEASE

* Frazey Ford ~ U kin B The Sun ~ U kin B The Sun (Arts & Crafts) NEW RELEASE

* Astral Swans ~ March 28_20 ~ S.T. NEW RELEASE

* Dylan Menzie ~ WILD ~ Lost In Dreams NEW RELEASE

Mahlatini & The Mahotella Queens ~ Lilezela Milezeli ~ 50 Years 

* Matt Patershuk ~ Joanna ~ An Honest Effort  NEW RELEASE

Homeshake ~ Wake Up / Spend It ~ Under The Weather NEW RELEASE

The Heavyweight Brass Band ~ Amy Winehouse`s Rehab ~ Stir Crazy OUT TODAY!

5:40 Ronley Convicted

* Ronley Teper ~ 
Interview / Everyone Loves A Good Story / Pimple On The Nose / Love Again 
Everyone Loves A Good Story NEW RELEASE

6:10 Barth And Beyond

* Jocelyn Barth 
~ Interview / All Through The Night / Copenhagen 
Tell Him I Said Hello (Vesuvius) OUT TODAY!

6:40 Sundar Enlightening

* Avataar 
~ Interview with Sundar Viswanathan / Innocents 12/14/12 / Song Song ~ Worldview OUT TODAY!

* Reggaddiction ~ Jeff Healey`s Angel Eyes  NEW RELEASE

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Remember Live Event Posters? They're Back!


Ellen McIlwaine's Toronto Band Reminisces About Their Boss's Brilliance As Her 76th Birthday Passes


Ellen, Kit & Quammie on a rainy day outside Clinton's.
 Photo by Michelle Josef.

The potency of an artist’s gift can be assessed by the radiance that it transmits through time and space and by the character of the residue that endures on record. In the wake of her sudden departure, from cancer, this past June, Ellen McIlwaine’s music continues to pulse with a unique primacy. In performance, she was robust, playful and meditative. The insights carried by her lyrics would cascade into the heart of the audience on a current of wildly virtuosic guitar playing.

Her talent was of such a magnitude that the disconnect between her artistic status and her essential life circumstances seems remarkable. Her last twenty years were spent as a Canadian citizen in Calgary, driving a school bus. She adored the job, and the children, and it mitigated any existential stress by providing her with latitude, income and inspiration enough to maintain a semi-retired lifestyle, while allowing her to take on local gigs and recording opportunities.

Her antipathy towards flying left her professionally isolated, but she rallied the will to attend and perform at the Toronto Blues Society’s Women In Blues Revue at the end of 2019, after having been awarded their prestigious Blues With A Feeling Award earlier that year.

In 1993, while holding down a residency at Clinton’s Tavern in Toronto, Ellen made an album for Stony Plain, Looking For Trouble with drummer Michelle Josef (David Wilcox, Prairie Oyster), bassist Kit Johnson (Murray McLauchlan, The McGarrigle Sisters) and percussionist Rudi “Quammie” Williams (Truths & Rights, Martha & The Muffins). The record is full of great tunes, and explorations into reggae and electronics (Holger- Good time for a re-issue?-ed.). Their memories of time spent with Ellen emerged on social media soon after her abrupt passing and have since broadened beyond eulogy to encapsulate the spirit that she so readily shared with her Canadian collaborators.

Kit Johnson sent out this message on Facebook:

 “This post is about Ellen McIlwaine, and what I think you might like to know about her last days. I was reluctant to share this, but I may have been one of the last of our wide musical community (perhaps even the last) to speak with her.

The second last time I spoke with Ellen was in late May sometime and she was on top of the world. She had found romance and a documentary of her extraordinary life was well under way.

About 10 days ago my phone rang. There was no name on my display but I recognized the number as someone I knew so I answered. I did not recognize the weak voice on the other end of the line as being Ellen until she identified herself. She told me she was in hospital and then gave me the (unfortunately accurate) prognosis. She also told me that the diagnosis had been very recent, a couple of weeks was all the time she had had to live with the knowledge.

But then we talked about friends, music, shared experiences and as we talked she began to laugh, we both did, and her voice soon became the rich sound we all know. After about 20 minutes, we said goodbye happily, cheerily, and with the sense that we would soon be talking and laughing again.

And here's what I feel I had to share. Ellen was not afraid, she was not angry, she accepted things as they were and spoke lovingly and happily about her life, her friends, her career, her fellow musical collaborators, all that and more. She also talked about her delight in the morning birds outside her window, for which the staff had provided an identification chart.

Her happy, strong farewell that day is what stays with me and gives me some solace, perhaps it will do that for you too.”

Since then, he has also reflected,I never had any sense of her spiritual leanings. She referenced Christianity in songs sometimes but not in her own. In gospel songs such as “I Bid You Goodnight”, with which she closed pretty much every night she sang "I love you but Jesus loves you the best". But I didn't get the sense it was a 'message' just some lyrics that meant a lot to her personally. Of course AA has a spiritual element but again I didn't have the sense that it was the 'important thing' about it. Speaking of which I think she would be happy to have someone talk about AA and the pride she took in her temperance. Her car was certainly emblazoned with AA slogans back in the 80’s. As long as I knew her, she was the polite, mild person you spoke with right up until the moment she stepped onstage, and then all that happened.”

 Quammie Williams also felt the need to commemorate her on Facebook:

 “We were playing in Edmonton in the late 80’s and went to Shogun, a Japanese restaurant north of Jasper around 112 St, one of the only places to get sushi in Edmonton at that time. We sat at the sushi bar and an appropriately stern-looking sushi chef took my order and Michelle's. Then he got to Ellen and she spoke in her fluent Japanese, ordering what she wanted. He wrote it down then walked a couple of paces and did one of the most amazing double takes I've ever seen, her accent had been so good he didn't even notice that it came from such an unlikely source. They had a long chat and some laughs as she explained where and how she had grown up in Japan.” 

In retrospect, Quammie recalls, “She was a very spiritual person. We would talk about her journey backstage often. And it came from within, not so much from organized doctrine. She once introduced me to Bonnie Raitt and I listened to the two of them talk about all the personal power that they had had to acquire in order to get control of their careers and their music and they spoke on a very high and soulful level. It was wonderful and kind of dizzying to hear them communicating so articulately about matters of faith.”

In Toronto recently, Michelle Josef was able to recollect: “After my gender change, Ellen just kept hiring me, at a time when I was being treated like I was radioactive by the music business. She knew what it was like to be different, because she was. Growing up in Japan, she was a foot taller and thirty pounds heavier than any of her peers: big and pink with long red hair in a world of short girls with pageboy haircuts.

Some people experience trauma and it makes them bitter and hard. With Ellen it made her an understanding and compassionate person. Accommodating, and kind. And she wasn’t treated that way always.

She got man-splained to a lot. She had this Marshall amp that she’d snapped the LL’s off so it was a female amp, “Marsha”, and she had put some lace over the grille. So soundmen would make an assumption, having no idea of her command of what she did. And they’d tell her how to set up her amp.

It’s no secret that she was recovering from alcohol addiction, which doesn’t mean you are cured. It means that you no longer cope with the underlying traumas of your life with alcohol. She certainly struggled with song-writing after she got sober. Her muse was no longer lubricated. The songs would take a longer time to come to her. She spent a lot of time on the road working on tunes. And she had a hurting heart. Anyone who comes to the blues full-on, as she did, has to have a hurting heart. There definitely was an intense essence of spirituality to her, the feeling of a higher power in her playing and singing. She held a groove like a synchro-mesh on a fucking Ferrari. And it would take the audience’s breath away.

I just can’t compare her to anybody.

She expressed a confluence of very diverse life and musical experiences. She scat-sang in Japanese phonetics; she had a huge gospel background that completely informed her singing. When she sang it was church. Loved Son House. She told me she had quite a following in the gay and trans community; drag queens loved her and she loved them back. She just loved anyone who loved music.”

Ellen Mclwaine would have turned 76 on October first. Anyone who encountered her, aside from a few sound technicians, found themselves permanently charged with her grace and positive energy and, as she sang, There Ain’t No Two Ways To It Now.

(Originally Published @

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Playlist for Corby's Orbit Show of 15 October 2021 with Beny Esguerra


Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

( Brought to you by Booster Rhymes, Roch Vaccine & Alternate Anecdotal Antidotes

5:00 Orbiting Renewal

* Kaitlin Thatcher ~ Lonely Little Dream ~ NEW RELEASE

* Howard Gladstone ~ Occupy ~ Concord Sessions NEW RELEASE

* Marc Jordan ~ Survival ~ Live Now & Then

Labelle feat. Sarah Dash (August 18, 1945 – September 20, 2021) ~ Something In The Air / The Revolution Will Not Be Televised ~ Pressure Cookin' (RCA, 1973)

        Georgia O’Keeffe - Autumn Leaves (1924)

* Beth McKenna ~ Letting Go ~ Beyond Here 

Camille Bertault / Larry Goldings / Billy Martin / John Finbury ~ Boulevard NEW RELEASE

* Annabelle Chvostek Firefly / You Just Love ~ String Of Pearls NEW RELEASE CFMA NOM: Producer of the Year (David Travers-Smith)

5:40 Northside Upside 

* Beny Esguerra & New Tradition Music 
~ Introduction / Al Norte / She Was There / Stay Rooted / Thin Line (Remix) / To Da Ones / Take Care / Newsflash - Hidden Frequencies ~ Northside KUISi, A New Tradition vol.3 (Lulaworld Records)  

6:15 Perseverance Pay

* Morgan Davis 
~ Prop Me Up Against The Wall ~ Morgan Davis (Stony Plain)

Andrew Cyrille feat. Bill Frisell ~ Go Happy Lucky ~ The News NEW RELEASE

* Kat Danser ~ Frenchman Street Shake ~ One Eye Open NEW RELEASE

* Summersets ~ Every Tomorrow ~ Small Town Sunday NEW RELEASE

* Scott Cook ~ Leave A Light On ~ Tangle Of Souls NEW RELEASE
 CFMA NOM: English Songwriter of the Year

* Rick Fines ~ Never Let Go ~ Solar Powered Too CFMA NOM: Contemporary Artist / Solo Artist of the Year

 6:40 Release The Sounds
* Chameleon Project ~ Escape Route NEW RELEASE
The Supermarket FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2021 AT 8 PM – 11 PM

Halsey ~ Easier Than Lying ~ If I Can`t Have Love I Want Power NEW RELEASE

A.R. Rahman ~ Alipoola Venella NEW RELEASE

Julian Lennon ~ Cole`s Song ~ Mr. Holland`s Opus

* The Band ~ Time To Kill ~ Stage Fright Remastered for Bradley Sales on his birthday.

* The Fretless feat. Lady Phyl ~ Wondering Where The Lions Are ~ Open House NEW RELEASE

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Playlist for Corby's Orbit Show of 08 October 2021 with Jane Mathew


Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

( Brought to you by Unknown Collars, Rocket Dials and Rhyming Charges

5:00 Calm Oddities

* Julie Doiron ~ You Gave Me The Key ~ I Thought Of You NEW RELEASE

* Jane Mathew ~ No One ~ Such Perfect Lives NEW RELEASE

* The Franklin  Electric ~ Ten Steps Back ~ NEW RELEASE

* Semiah ~ Nothing Can Kill My Love For You ~ NEW RELEASE

* Levi Dover Sextet ~ How The Light Gets In ~ Imaginary Structures NEW RELEASE

* Tom Jackson ~ Lost Souls 

Luke Cyrus Goetze ~ Neil Young's Old Man

* Death Party Playground ~ Upside Down ~ The Good Years NEW RELEASE

5:35 Mathew Marked Perfect

* Jane Mathew ~ Interview / Happy Now / Treasure / Go ~ Such Perfect Lives NEW RELEASE

6:00 Upward Nobility

* SHAD ~ Black Averageness ~ TAO NEW RELEASE

* Amaal ~ Heaven ~ Milly EP PRE RELEASE

* Mustafa ~ Air Forces ~ When Smoke Rises PRE RELEASE

* Joe Nolan ~ Mountain ~ Scrapper (Fallen Tree) PRE RELEASE

Randy Lewis Brown ~ DeSoto Parish Nights NEW RELEASE

* Kiefer Sutherland ~ Bloor Street ~ Bloor Street 

* Dano Chase ~ Reanna ~ All The New Days NEW RELEASE

Tracy Chapman ~ New Beginning ~ New Beginning

6:20 Relevant Revels Revealed 

* MontrĂ©al Jazz Trio ~ Soho Dreams ~ MJT NEW RELEASE

* Q & A ~ Debt To Chet ~ Secret Garden NEW RELEASE

Carolyn Wonderland ~ Fortunate Few ~ Tempting Fate (Alligator) NEW RELEASE

Nadine Sutherland ~ I'm In Love ~ Strictly The Best 16

Patti Labelle & The Bluebelles ~ I Walked Right In (R.I.P. Sarah Dash (August 18, 1945 – September 20, 2021) ) ~Doo-Wop And Crooners

* Big Little Lions ~ Beat You Up ~ The Singles 

* Brenna Lowrie ~ After Dark ~ Loss Leader NEW RELEASE

* Allison Russell ~ All Of The Women ~ Outside Child NEW RELEASE

* Alicia Toner ~ Have It All ~ Joan NEW RELEASE

Friday, October 8, 2021

Jane Mathew Through The Telescope

In July Toronto singer-songwriter Jane Mathew released ‘What Fire’, the second single off her debut album ‘Such Perfect Lives’ (out now). ‘What Fire’ is available on all streaming platforms and was premiered via Great Dark Wonder.

‘What Fire’ is a beautifully constructed song featuring acoustic, bass and electric guitars, synth pad, drums, organ and piano, all surrounding Jane’s captivating vocals in an incredible way. The lyrics narrate a heart-wrenching story of a close friend that went through an extremely difficult time and lost a big part of themselves. Left with the guilt of wondering if or how she contributed to those struggles, and how she could’ve better been there for them, Jane wrote this song. While she often reminisces on the good times they had, Jane tries to come to terms with how that chapter in their lives is closed for good.

“She’s on her own to something great”

– Canadian Beats

Jane is thrilled to release her debut album ‘Such Perfect Lives’ in fall 2021. Filled with songs that are letters she wrote to different people; this album is written as a response to the increasing inauthenticity seen in everyday life amplified through social media. “I started writing these songs so I could vent out my frustrations but at some point, it turned therapeutic for me to be honest with myself about some difficult experiences,” explained Jane. ‘Such Perfect Lives’ was produced by Simon Ng at Signals and Noises Studio and mastered by Ethereal Mastering, made possible by the support of Canada Council for the Arts and Toronto Arts Council.

“Beautifully charismatic”

– York Calling

Born in Oman and having moved to Thornhill, Ontario, Canada when she was seven years old, Jane now resides in Toronto. Having been exposed to music her whole life, there was never a time where Jane wasn’t influenced by music, but it wasn’t until high school when she realized she had some musical talent of her own. After challenging herself to learn how to play her favourite song on the guitar, she was inspired to begin writing and performing her own music.

“Delicate, emotive vocals”

– Caesar Live N’ Loud

Jane was a busker in Toronto for a few years after winning a Subway Musician License for the Toronto Transit Commission. It was while busking that she met JUNO award-winning musician Bob Wiseman who later introduced Jane to grant funding opportunities within Canada. She’ll be forever grateful for his guidance as she went on to receive grants from both Toronto Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. This was the chance she needed to get her songs she’s carried with her for years out into the real world.

Stream ‘What Fire’: