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Plaskett’s new CD Three has something for everyone

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Dartmouth, Nova Scotia songwriter Joel Plaskett spreads his wings and flies through a variety of influences on this new triple CD ‘Three.’Click here to hear Joel Plaskett
The first track from the first Cd, ‘Every time You Leave’  lays down a mid  ’70s Canned Heat country rock type of groove which carries  on throughout and I absolutely love backup singers Rose Cousins and Ana Egge who add a really cool vocal dimension to the tracks.
 A line from the second  track on the first CD, ‘Through and Through and Through’— “Good things come in threes” summarizes the concept of the CD.
 Most of the song titles are  three words repeated and of course there are three CDs. The first three  tracks are pretty upbeat pop rockers, then  Plaskett launches into  ‘Pine, Pine, Pine’ which is a bona fide country song, but sounds like it is being sung by the Northern Pikes.
One of the other huge highlights from the first CD is ‘Wishful Thinking’ which is another upbeat rocker with an understated country shuffle and some more superb harmonized back up vocals from Ana and Rose.
A cool feature is all three discs have their own individual liner notes, telling you who is performing on the tracks.
 Big Sugar’s Gordie Johnson helped produce and mix this epic, but doesn’t actually play on it other than stomping cowboy boots on a track or two.
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David Newberry plays laid back Blue Rodeo meets Todd Snider folk

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Vancouver based folk/ country singer David Newberry has an appealing  voice and modern folk rock sound which is reminiscent of Blue Rodeo, on his new CD ’When We Learn The Things  We Need To Learn.’ One of the big highlights with a strong Blue Rodeo influence  is ‘Fourth Fret’  which he sings an upbeat melody with passion and earnestness. Sioux Newberry adds some excellent background vocals to ‘Fourth Fret’ as well as  the ‘Gambling Song’ which are both highlights.Click here to hear David Newberry
 I like the subtle slide guitar on  ‘Come On’ as well as the ear turning lyrics.
‘Gambling Song’ which uses some quirky organ and offbeat almost reggae influenced guitar as well as has some quirky lyrics.
“Rabbit’s Foot’ has a Todd Snider feel to it and incorporates some unusual instruments. ‘True Stories ’ is powered by some catchy piano and has some very cool stream of consciousness lyrics.
‘All My Friends Are Famous’ is another highlight with catchy semi-political lyrics.
 The CD is pretty laid back with the odd exception, but it is a great listen for a lazy, hazy, windy and possibly hungover day.
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

CD: When We Learn the Things We Need To Learn
Artist: David Newberry
Genre: folk/country
Record label: Northern Electric

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Patrick Keenan’s keyboards set down ’70s groove

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You’ve got to love the sound of a good old organ.
 This is one of the highlights throughout Winnipeg musician Patrick Keenan’s new hook filled CD ‘Washed Out Roads’Click here to hear Patrick Keenan
He adds a little bit of Clash in their more reggae inspired moments to  the first track ‘Pill Store.’ And the piano and organ adds a laid back, yet upbeat ’70s feel to all 11 songs.
I love the organ, which really enhances the CD’s title track which has some interesting ear opening stream of consciousness lyrics.
The title track also has some unusual lyrics, ending with ‘don’t let the world end up in a cage match, your God against mine.’ Because the lyrics are so unusual, I’d love to have a lyric sheet printed in the CD package
It’s  the quirky lyrics, keyboards and his appealing voice which is a cross between Soul Asylum and Rob Thomas that makes you want to listen to the CD again and again, to make sure you heard it right. It’s like what Soul Asylum would sound like if they used more keyboards and leaned more towards country music. Like on ‘Control’ which has some understated steel guitar.
‘Roof Rack Attack’ is a more ambient guitar pop styled song which is  my hands down favourite on the CD,  because of the guitar and the cool vocal melody not to mention the Neil Young references in the lyric  and a bit in the guitar solo.
His piano line in ‘Tobacco’ is a highlight which sounds a little bit like early Genesis. I love the keyboard bass line powering ’If You’re Curious’ which is another more alternative rock flavoured track.
It ends on a low key and piano powered note ‘Blade in An Acre.’
— by Richard  Amery L.A. Beat editor
CD:  Washed Out Roads
Artist: Patrick Keenan
Genre: folk/country
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Smokestack Jacks debut loud, raunchy and lots of fun

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Local blues rock duo Smoke Stack Jacks have just released their long awaited self titled full length CD on Lethbridge record label Ghostwood Records.Click here to hear Smokestack Jacks
Most of last year’s  EP has been reworked for the new CD including Smoke Stack Jacks, which has been  retitled ‘The Shakedown.’
The CD is crisply recorded, cleaning up drummer Geoff McDonald and guitarist Dave Bullied’s dirty, raunchy, blues/rock sound while not detracting from their garage roots.
The two are locked in together as if they were linked telepathically. And you can hear a definite Jon Spencer Blues Explosion influence. It isn’t blues in the traditional sense, but blues played from a different, more grungy place, perhaps another planet.
Thanks to improved production qualities, you can actually hear some of Bullied’s deadly slide guitar and megaphone vocals this time, which aren’t quite as distorted. I like Bullied’s slide guitar on the closing track, ‘Fat Ass,’ which is another one with a touch of rockabilly and is reminiscent of blues classic ‘Who Do You Love?’
‘Whiskey’ is a highlight and they even have a demented birthday song. So is the subtle slide work on ‘Devil Girl.’
‘Turn it Around’ is one of my favourite Smokestack Jacks’ tracks performed live and it translates well here in a crisper and cleaner recording.
 I also really like the demented rockabilly  feel of ‘Riverboat.’
Smokestack Jacks’ debut CD  is loud, raunchy and a lot of fun.
— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

CD: Smokestack Jacks
Band: Smokestack Jacks
Genre: Blues blues rock
Record company: Ghostwood Records

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Spoon River remembers folk rock of the ’70s

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If you like the Band,  Bob Dylan and ‘Ohio’ era Neil Young, you’ll like  Spoon River’s new CD ‘Kingdom of the Burned’. They are playing the Slice, April 16 with Rodney DeCroo.
 They have some groovy Hammond organ parts, some cool piano, tasteful harp and a little bit of ’70s style country influenced rock and roll, especially on ‘Fool.’
And they have some  excellent vocal harmonies.
 They (Tavis Eachan Triance, Jason Kent, Jeff Louch, Seamus Cowan, Jeff Cowan and Rachel Horst ) know their roots, and were even chosen to  play the Band in Todd Haynes’ Bob Dylan  biopic ‘I’m Not There.’ I remember  bassist and drummer Seamus and Jeff Cowan from a more heavier ’70s rock influenced power trio called Bull Moose, but they  mellow a bit here and help the band lay that ’70s groove down pat.
 There are understated riffs, cool vocal harmonies  (on ‘The Wind’s In The Trees’), great laid back melodies and subdued slide guitar, also on ‘The Wind’s In The Trees.’ Aand that certain something that gives them an early ’70s feel.
There are a lot of highlights on this CD. ‘The Wind’s In the Trees’ of course, “Emmanuel,’‘Fool’ and the  rocker ’The Colour of His Skin.’ which reminds me a little of Blues Traveller.
‘The Saddest of Hearts’ a little slice of psychedelia to end the CD.
 Overall, it’s impressive how such a young band can sound so old and seasoned. It’s like a slice of the ’70s except in the twenty-first century.
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor

CD: Kingdom of the Burned
Band: Spoon River
Genre: country-rock
Record label: Northern Electric

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