All 5 guests are Artistic Directors of their folk festivals.
Four are in a group discussion about surviving the Covid years, this year’s artist lineups and celebrating the renewal of live music. The fifth is a single interview with Terry Wickham, Artistic Director of the Edmonton Folk Fest.
Yes, they’re all competitors but they’re also participants and partners. So when Covid and lockdown took over our world they formed a group to help and support each other.
Welcome to the Victoria Day May Long Weekend Edition of the Mulligan Stew Podcast..
And because it’s a long weekend, we have a longer podcast – two of them actually.
Starting things off is the birthday boy Bruce Allen – One of Canada’s most successful talent managers EVER!!
Bruce and his world-class team are responsible for planning, leading and supporting the careers of Bryan Adams, Michael Buble, Bob Rock, Jann Arden and The Offspring. When you do get the attention of Bruce – Watch Out! You can fire questions off in every direction. The thing is you have to be prepared to have the answers smack you upside the HEAD.
I wanted Bruce’s thoughts on the loss of our mutual friend Red Robinson – The Last DJ. And the loss of Gordon Lightfoot as well.
Then we talked about the state of today’s music business. Like throwing a steak to a pit bull.
Bruce then launches into an update on the 2023 years of Offspring, Jann, Bryan, Michael and Bob Rock.
Rock has released an album with the late Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip. It’s amazing. Bruce has that story as well..
Happy Birthday Happy Bruce!!
Bob Rock interview to follow soon.
The second interview is with Doug Cox, the artistic director of the Vancouver Island Music Festival. July 14-16 in Courtney/Comox.
Every year I’m fascinated by Doug’s artist lineups.
This year the headliners are Sarah McLachlan, Rickie Lee Jones and The Bros. Landreth. He asked Roy Forbes to return to his BIM character and revisit the tracks from his Thistles Album.
Two legends. Dave Alvin and Jimmy Dale Gilmore with The Guilty Ones.
Here’s Doug Cox with backgrounds on all those artists and more.
NEXT WEEK – The Artistic Directors of Folk Festivals in Calgary, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Canmore. PLUS Terry Wickham reveals his lineup for Edmonton Folk Fest.
This week the return of the force known as Paul Janeway – leader of St Paul and the Broken Bones. Checking in from Birmingham Alabama.
We’re going to be talking about their latest album Angels in Science Fiction
Paul tells us it’s a turning point for the band after 10 years together.
Even though the core members are mostly unchanged, this is not the soul band that swept over all of the music in 2012 with the EP Greetings from St Paul and the Broken Bones.
Now 5 albums later they’re taking their fans in another more introspective direction., The funk and groove can still be found but now Paul is writing and singing about being a father and his conversation with his wife about
“do what kind of world are we bringing our daughter into?” They had a daughter.
Songs with lyrics like
“Dust to Dust”
“Try your best to make a difference. Starting with the people around you”
Songs about denial, fear, and acceptance.
There’s a renewed sense of spirituality throughout the album.
One question I wanted to include was
“How will these songs mesh live with the horn/soul band songs that you were playing over the past 10 years”.
Lots of stories and discussions.
Two things – they play the Saskatoon Jazz Festival on July 8
Colin Cripps is one of those musicians/artists who may never receive the full spotlight the lead singers get but if you ask that artist in the spotlight, they’ll tell you they wouldn’t be in the studio or out on stage if Colin wasn’t there with them step for step.
In other words, invaluable.
Currently, he’s a member of Blue Rodeo and The Jim Cuddy Band.
He’s played with and produced Crash Vegas and Junkhouse.
Produced and written with ex-wife Kathleen Edwards, Tom Wilson, Colin James, Headstones, Sarah McLachlan, Bryan Adams.
Many many more credits can be found online.
Speaking of online, Colin is a Guitar Geek and he lives in a World where other guitar geeks compare notes on guitars and gear.
They all speak another language ..about tone and bridges and strings and colors. They go crazy for colors.
Colin has some 40-50 guitars.
Each brings something different to music.
Colin takes us through the differences and who played what on which records.
Jeff Beck. Eric Clapton. Keith Richards. The Beatles. Elvis Costello. Metallica. Jimmy Page. Hank Marvin. Mark Knopfler. Cliff Gallop.
It’s time to Geek OUT !!
Colin talks about and shows/plays these guitars
1955 Fender Telecaster in Sunburst (Keith Richards. Jimmy Page)
1963 Fender Stratocaster in Fiesta Red (Hank Marvin. Jimi. Mark Knopfler)
1964 Gibson SG Standard in Cherry Red (Colin’s Fave)
1962 Epiphone Casino in Royal Tan (The Beatles made them famous)
1958 Fender Jazzmaster in Roman Red (Elvis Costello. Only 4 in this color)
1958 Gibson Explorer. The Holy Grail of originals. James Hatfield’s is worth 1M.
Christopher Waters has been writing about wine for two decades. He is the wine and spirits columnist at The Globe and Mail, education director of IWEG Drinks Academy and a WSET certified instructor at the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Brock University.
For 21 years, he was the editor/co-founder of Canada’s largest circulation wine publication, VINES, and author of the nationally syndicated column, Waters & Wine.
An internationally recognized wine judge. Chris has developed and conducted masterclasses and seminars and moderated panels for organizations, such as The Wine Marketing Association of Ontario, Wines of British Columbia, Wines of Chile, Wines of Germany and Wines of South Africa.
That’s what the bio says.
Here’s what it didn’t tell you.
Anyone with a passionate interest in all things wine has always sought out the wine column in The Globe and Mail.
It has a history of getting the facts and figures right. With not a whiff of hype anywhere, the column becomes a tutorial that can be trusted and held close.
Yes, there are times it completely geeks out and becomes a wine version of Wordle. That’s to be expected because it’s like a weekly master class on wine and wine culture.
Chris Waters was the perfect person to take over the master class from retiring Beppi Crosariol.
After tasting Q&A (Red Blend) and Q&A MRV (Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier) Chris requested a Zoom interview with myself, winemaker Michal Mosny (Winemakers
Cut) and our partner Jason Priestley.
tdm and jason Globe&mail
Michal and I get to tell the story of how he was convinced to move himself and his wife from Slovakia to Oliver, BC after watching our wine program Hollywood and Vines.
After listening to the Zoom audio recording, I realized I was really liking a very open and revealing Chris Waters. Have a listen as Chris talks about how he finds the magic in the wines he tastes, how the wine world is going through rapid changes and what makes a wine truly special and what can make it truly not!
Ps.. Chris gave Q&A 91 Points and MSV 92 points. “truly exciting”
AC Newman returns to The Stew with the 7th New Pornographers studio album Continue as a Guest.
The New P’s have been acclaimed since forming in Vancouver 1997.
They were dubbed a Super Group.
They weren’t so much super as stellar.
A great blend of melodies, hooks, word puzzles and fine harmonies.
Pitchfork has described the band’s sound as “peppy, gleeful, headstrong guitar pop“, while Stereogum called the band’s debut album Mass Romantic as “one of the greatest and most immediate power pop albums ever rendered”
I found Carl at home in Woodstock NY. Having followed the band’s early years in Vancouver, we had lots to talk about.
“The Vivian Line is unlikely to land on anyone’s hip/hot list. Rather Sexsmith, now pushing 60, is content to churn out radiant, sublime, transcendent music that unobtrusively exists in its own delicate bubble, inviting us in to join him on his unique musical path.” American Songwriter
“Ron Sexsmith’s albums have always had a generally laid-back vibe, but in recent years this has become ever more wistful and soothing, a listening experience rather like snuggling up in a favourite blanket and letting your troubles wash away. Sign me up.” Folk Radio UK
Those already deeply appreciative of Ron’s songwriting chops include a stellar list of vocalists to have recorded Sexsmith compositions. That group includes such international stars as Rod Stewart, Emmylou Harris, Nick Lowe, plus Canadian favourites Michael Bublé, Feist and kd lang. Ron’s work has also elicited effusive praise from the likes of Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle and Chris Martin, to name just a few. Over the course of a recording career now spanning 36 years, Ron has been nominated for 12 Juno awards, winning three times.
Now it’s time to visit The Vivian Line. Explore, linger, enjoy.”
I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Ron Sexsmith many times over the course of his 17 albums.
I like diving into deep conversations with him as much as I truly love his songs and melodies.
I also admire what he stands for. No co-writes, no writing by committee, no bending and shaping to suit the music fans who still don’t know who he is.
However, when he plays live, you know the room is filled with people who “get it” and it really does feel like a community.
So what is it he “does’?
Ron Sexsmith writes songs that you find yourself humming, and sings in an ever-developing soft voice that still resonates with character. His lyrics are thoughtful, kind and etched with very dry humour.
I loved this conversation with Ron. I hope you do as well.
His 17th album is now out – it’s called The Vivian Line.
Named after a rural road connection between his old home in Toronto to his new country home in Stratford.
FYI – There’s a reference to Richard Manual from The Band. He was born in the area and there’s a bench in his memory in the countryside that Ron will visit when he’s on his creative walks.
Discover Ron Sexsmith. Your heart will thank you many times over.
A native of Vancouver but currently residing in Nashville, where he works as a solo artist, sideman, and record producer, Steve has forged an impressive career full of highlights and awards, including:
7 Juno Awards as artist/producer, 18 times nominated
3 times named “Producer Of The Year” at the Western Canadian Music Awards
4 times named “Producer Of The Year” at the Canadian Folk Music Awards
Recipient of many other awards including Maple Blues Awards, Grand Prix De Jazz De Montreal, Blues Blast Awards, and many Western Canadian Music Awards and Canadian Folk Awards as an artist and producer
Steve’s multi-faceted career has brought him to countless international festivals, working on the stage and in the studio with an extensive cast of musicians, including John Hammond, Sonny Landreth, Van Dyke Parks, David Hidalgo, Colin James, Jim Byrnes, Jill Barber, Dave Alvin, Joe Henry, Tim O’Brien, Fats Kaplin, Colin James, The McCrary Sisters, Matt Chamberlain, Del Rey, Birds of Chicago, Allison Russell, Long John Baldry, Bruce Cockburn, Kelly Joe Phelps, Linda McRae, CR Avery, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Geoff Muldaur, Scott Amendola, Danny Barnes, The Deep Dark Woods, Colin Linden, Big Dave McLean, and many others.
Steve’s studio, The Henhouse, located in Nashville (and previously in Vancouver) has hosted countless artists and been the home to over 80 releases. With a beautifully warm and organic setting to stay and record, it promises to become a destination for many more to come.
His groundbreaking work with Jesse Zubot in Zubot and Dawson kicked things off in 1998, leading to 2 albums with Toronto jazz stalwarts Andrew Downing and Kevin Turcotte in the award-winning Great Uncles of the Revolution. Steve’s solo recording output started with 2001’s award-winning acoustic “Bug Parade”, he next explored blues and Hawaiian influences in depth with “We Belong To The Gold Coast” in 2005. 2008 saw the release of 2 albums – “Telescope” which was the culmination of studies with Greg Leisz and featured music written for the pedal steel guitar, and “Waiting For The Lights To Come Up”, a collection of new songs. He followed that with 2011’s acclaimed “Nightshade”, which Acoustic Guitar magazine named to it’s Top-10 guitar albums of the year. 2014’s “Rattlesnake Cage” – was an award-winning exploration of solo acoustic and slide guitar. Dawson’s 2018 release “Lucky Hand” is a mesmerizing collection of original fingerstyle and slide guitar instrumentals, 5 of which feature Dawson reuniting with his old cohort Jesse Zubot, who arranged incredible string quartet parts to flow with the music. Recorded live off the floor it brings together the American Primitive style Steve has often explored and cutting-edge strings to create music, unlike anything you’ve heard before. Birds of Chicago, Allison Russell, Matt Anderson, etc. Steve is also host and producer of the podcast Music Makers and Soul Shakers. 135 episodes in 6 years.
amcjmdudhjrtists from all over the world, and continues to work as a side-person and freelance musician both on stage and in the studio. Steve is also the creator of the well-loved Music Makers and Soul Shakers podcast, which has been going for over 6 years and 135 episodes.
He spent the last few years pre-pandemic on the road playing guitar, steel and dobro with Allison Russell’s band Birds of Chicago, and Canadian powerhouse Matt Andersen. He has produced, engineered and mixed over 100 albums for many artists from all over the world, and continues to work as a side-person and freelance musician both on stage and in the studio. Steve is also the creator of the well-loved Music Makers and Soul Shakers podcast
In 2022/2023, Steve released 3 albums throughout the year – “Gone, Long Gone” is the first. From gentle fingerstyle folk tunes to blazing, funky Americana grooves, to Hawaiian-style slide guitar instrumentals, this album covers a lot of sonic territory.
The second album, “Phantom Threshold” came out on August 12, 2022, and is an all-instrumental sonic trip featuring the Telescope Three – Jay Bellerose on drums, Jeremy Holmes on bass, and Chris Gestrin on keyboards. All driven by the melodies and improvisations of Steve’s pedal steel guitar.
Now comes the promised third album Eyes Closed, Dreaming. It’s filled with Albertan friend Matt Patershuk co-writes and well-chosen covers. Bobby Charles Small Town Talk, Ian Tyson’s Long time to get old, Cowboy Jack Clements Guess things happen that way and the classic Singing the Blues.
Lots to talk about with long-time friend Steve Dawson.
Steve’s current tour dates
April 20 Dream Cafe Penticton
April 21 Rogue Folk Club Vancouver
April 22 Bozzini’s Chilliwack
April 28 First Church of Christ Scientist Victoria