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Morlix’s music is addictive laid back country

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Buffalo born, Austin based multi-instrumentalist and producer Gurf Morlix is known for playing with Lucinda Williams and producing outlaw country artists like Ray Wylie Hubbard and Robert Earl Keen not to mention Romi Mayes, Ray Bonneville and Mary Gauthier, but he also shines as a solo musician on his most recent CD “Last Exit to Happyland.”Click here to hear Gurf Morlix Much of his cd’s appeal is his lyrics, which are consistently real, earnest, down to earth and honest, not to mention melodic.

The first track ‘One More Second’ features some of his trademark sedate and tasteful slide guitar and a really catchy Hammond organ hook which carries through to the next track ‘Walkin’ to New Orleans.  

Another artist Morlix works with, Patti Griffin, guests on a couple laid back duets including ‘She’s A River,‘ and  ‘I Got Nothin.’’

‘She’s a River ’ also has a pretty wave of organ playing in the background, which is an addictive presence throughout the CD.

Morlix’s guitar playing and voice are reminiscent of Toronto session ace and super-producer Colin Linden. His vocals are a combination of Todd Snider, Jay Farrar and Dave McCann (for all of you local readers) Ruthie Foster provides some haunting vocals on the spooky song “Drums From New Orleans.’

‘Music You Mighta Made’ features some pretty finger picking, that tasteful slide in the background and a lilting melody as well as  Barbara Kooyman (from Timbuk 3) singing along.

This is a laid back CD that really grows on you.

So take a listen, it will make you happy.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor

CD: Last Exit to Happyland
Artist: Gurf Morlix
Genre: Country/ rock/ blues

Record label :indie

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Sadler shows maturity beyond her years

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There is no reason why the next Taylor Swift can’t be from Lethbridge.Leah Sadler
Up and coming country singer Leah Sadler, who is all of 16, shows a maturity beyond her years while maintaining the innocence of her youth on her self titled debut CD which was released last year.

It starts with my favourite track “Red Bikini”, an up tempo country foot stomper co-written with her manager Jilla Roberts and Nashville veteran Charlie Craig who has written songs for the likes of Allan Jackson and Dolly Parton. It wouldn’t be out of place on a Shania Twain CD.

‘Shut Up and Kiss’ is a typical mellow ballad, which wouldn’t be out of place on modern country radio. “Living My Story,’ is another excellent, empowering number which would fit right in on modern country radio.

There are a lot of tender ballads which Sadler sings really well. She has an immediately appealing voice which reflects the influences of a lot of contemporary female country singers  Shania Twain and of course Taylor Swift. Sadler brings out her inner Gretchen Wilson on “Probably Not,” another fiddle powered up tempo country foot stomper which is another one of my favourites.

The bonus track,“ Long Ago and Far Away” has a tender mandolin line and a beautifully sung vocal melody.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
Artist: Leah Sadler
CD: Leah Sadler
genre: country
Record Company: indie
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Phantom Creeps debut CD full of raunch and roll

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If  Nashville Pussy  or Alice Cooper were to play rockabilly instead of sleazy rock and roll, you’d have Lethbridge punk/psychobilly/ hellbilly trio the Phantom Creeps.Listen now! Click here.

The Phantom Creeps have just released their self titled debut CD  and it is  lewd, crude and fantastic.

There is plenty of slick, raunchy Gretsch powered mayhem from former guitarist Evan Herbst throughout the CD and  snarling lyrics plus intense stand up bass playing from singer Tyler Brownfield, whose voice is  the perfect blend of demonic and demented, not to mention a  dead ringer for Nashville Pussy singer Blaine Cartwright especially on ‘the Bottle is God.’

The lyrics are dark  and disturbed, and while there  is a little talk of evil,  zombies and murder and monsters and eating brains, it is more punk than psychobilly.

It is also darkly catchy especially  the first few, up tempo tracks ‘Cold Hearted Man,’ Route 666 and ‘Pretty Little Head.’

It  slows down a bit on ‘The Bright Side,’ but not much. Ditto for ‘Dust and Blood’, whose dark lyrics are enhanced by the slower tempo and melodic solo.

Drummer Dean Wilson keeps the beat going steady throughout 40 minutes of dirty, twisted rock.
‘Hell To Pay’ has the most hellacious opening riff of the CD and a real Reverend Horton Heat  feel.
Overall the Phantom Creeps will get you moving  and/or moshing with their psychotic muse.

 — By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
CD: The Phantom Creeps
Band: The Phantom Creeps
Genre; rock/punk/ psychobilly
Record label: indie
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Dean Selena’s name has changed but the sound remains the same — almost

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You might remember Dean Selena as the Richard Doerksen band. Well, they’re back with a sweet new CD “What is Unchanged.”

Musically the new CDClick to listen now! branches out from Doerksen’s debut CD, which was a lot more ambient and layered and on which he played all of the instruments. On the new CD,   the band, Daniel Enns and drummer Daniel Puurveen plays behind Doerksen’s music

There is still  quite a bit of piano powered ambiance on ‘Feel You’ and ‘Trick To My Head,’ however he branches out into a little bit of blues rock on ‘Where’d You Run To Now?’

Dean Selena’s tribute the Lethbridge , ‘There’s No Stopping the Wind,” is an up beat, poppy highlight.
‘City on Fire’ is a darker, slower, more rock influenced number which is another highlight.

‘Then  It  was Over’ is a dirty slower tempo rocker that wouldn’t be out of place on a  Radiohead CD.
 So for an easy and enjoyable listen, check out this Lethbridge duo.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
 
CD: What is Unchanged
Artist: Dean Selena
Genre: pop/rock
Record company: indie
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John Wort Hannam is king of Queen’s Hotel

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To paraphrase the opening track of John Wort Hannam’s new CD, ‘Queen’s Hotel,’ “... measure twice before you cut, you’ll always  bend a nail if you drive it  through a knot" and never let  Fort Macleod songwriter John Wort Hannam tell you he can’t play guitar.

Hannam’s pretty fingerpicked guitar playing is matched only by his catchy vocal melodies.Click to listen now!

His fourth full length CD includes lots of southern Alberta inspiration like “Church of the Long Grass’ and ‘Requiem Of A Small Town,’  some history on “Pier 21” and some great fatherly advice on ‘With The Grain.’

Plus there are a lot of slower ballads including “Worth a Damn,” which is a pretty duet with Jenny Whiteley.
 I like several tracks including  Hannam’s Celtic tinged ode to unions  on “Tonight We Strike.”

Another highlight,  ‘Lucky Strikes,’ has a really good chorus about people with bad attitudes. ‘Some people make the best of what they’ve got and know a little varnish keeps it all shining others make the worst of what they’ve not and even find tarnish on a silver lining.”

That’s just one example of how poetic  Hannam’s lyrics are while retaining down home sensibility about small towns and small town characters.

It’s an upbeat,  crisply recorded, entertaining listen featuring some excellent background musicians in Tyler Bird on accordion and  mandolinist John Reischman playing some tasteful leads.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
CD: Queen’s Hotel
Artist: John Wort Hannam
Genre: folk/roots
Record label: Black Hen
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