Streaming Cafe

Thursday, March 1, 2012

“Three-in-a-row from Halifax”

by Malcolm Petch
March is the month in which Spring starts. This year it’s also the month when Halifax invades Kelowna in the guise of three remarkable artists, one right after the other: Steve Gates on March 10, Paper Beat Scissors on March 17, and Kev Corbett on March 24.

How did the “three-in-a-row from Halifax” thing come about? Our booking guy, Michael, is convinced there’s something in the water, though he didn’t specify whether that’s the water here in Kelowna that’s attracting the Easterners, or the water in Halifax that all of a sudden prompted these artists to accept our invitations all at the same time. Our show manager, Michael, doesn’t put much stock in theories like that, though; he’s just glad we’ve got such stellar talent lining up in front of the wood wall.

If there’s ever a guy who should be a star in the Internet online music world, it’s Steve Gates. I mean, come on: you’ve got an artist whose name is a cross between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, and the guy is appearing on our live-streamed music show hosted by a crew using a blend of both Mac and PC machines. Can it get any more Internet or computer tech-mixed than that?

Gates started working on his current album immediately after attending a public talk by Daniel Langois. Langois, who as a producer has definitely charted a pathway outside the expected, urged his listeners to be reckless and to trust themselves in the studio. Gates needed no further prompting, diving into the work of his project with such gusto that even his press release packet says that in his record Gates “abuses song forms old and new…”; and he ended up with an album that is “ragged and beautiful”.

The samples he’s got on MySpace show the music of Steve Gates to be natural and open; talented but understated guitar playing supports warm melodies, and different voices join Gates with reassuring harmonies. One gets the distinct impression that a ‘live’ Gates performance would be very similar to a Gates recording, which means that the music you can find online will give you a really good foretaste of what March 10 at Streaming Café will sound like.

March 17 brings us Paper Beat Scissors, who’s been here before and whom we covered in more detail in a separate piece this month.

Kev Corbett hits town on March 24, paired with local singer songwriter Josh Smith. Don’t freak out that we’ve lost the East-Coast flow by bringing in Josh Smith – he’s actually born way out east, and it’s only been since coming to his senses his wandering days ended that Smith has called Kelowna home. You’ll recognize Josh from the times he’s been at the Café before.

Corbett looks like an interesting guy; one of his promo photos shows him sitting in a relaxed pose, mandolin in hand, grand piano on one side, at least five guitars on the other side, and what appears to be a cello leaning against the wall in the background. Does one person really play all those instruments? Does one person really own all those instruments? Such are the questions that run through one’s mind when one sees an image like that…

No matter the image, one thing that’s clear is that Kev Corbett makes a lasting impression on those who’ve heard him. “The man is an exceptional guitar player… it was really great to see him again,” says Jowi Taylor of Six String Nation (Taylor is a Peabody-winning writer and broadcaster; and if you’ve never heard of the Six String Nation guitar project you owe it to yourself to Google it and check it out!). “Corbett embodies everything that is wonderful about the song as an art form, while most folk singers today are mere shadows of great singer/songwriters,” says KV Style.

Penguin Eggs Magazine says that Corbett “is all Canadian, with hints of Cockburn, Cohen, and Lightfoot in his voice.” In a world where promo writers refer to artists both regionally renowned and nationally obscure, it’s hard to find a list of names where each one is recognizable; but virtually any Canadian would be familiar with the sounds of Bruce or Leonard or Gordon – so to compare Corbett to them is to use examples with a ton of heft. I’d say a comparison like that is worth a listen…

I don’t know who wrote Kev Corbett’s promo press-kit blurb (it might even have been him), but one description really stood out to me: “It’s hard not to pay attention; stories become songs break down into stories, and you realize he’s not singing about his own life. He’s singing ours.”

There’s not much to say that can add to the descriptions others have already made about Corbett’s music. It actually does sound like Cockburn/Cohen/Lightfoot, and the primarily acoustic guitar-based recordings have tasty little snippets from horns and mandolins and such coming in from all sides to add a bit of zest. Tasty.

Springtime should be well underway by March 24. No matter the weather, though, a Saturday evening at Streaming Café taking in the music of Kev Corbett with local singer/songwriter Joshua Smith will be time well spent. As always, the shows in March start at 7pm Pacific, either in person at 597 Leon Ave in Kelowna, or online at www.streamingcafe.net - but you knew that already...

Paper Beat Scissors uses the hands and ears of Arcade Fire drummer & Snailhouse

by Malcolm Petch

By the time he appears at Streaming Café on March 17, Paper Beat Scissors’ new debut self titled album will have been released to the world for about 11 days. It’s very likely the world will have taken notice and will be streaming to the Streaming Café to take in his performance, so if you plan on going, you’d better get there early!!

Paper Beat Scissors, the performance name of Tim Crabtree, first played the café in September of 2011. It’s understating his impact to say that everyone in the room sat up and took notice when he played. One guy with a guitar and a loop pedal shouldn’t, by rights, be as captivating as Tim was; yet the whole room was quiet and attentive as PBS shared his songs with us. ‘Attentive’ isn’t even the right word – ‘anticipatory’ is probably a better description. Even the folks sitting on the cushy and soft low lounge chairs could easily be seen sitting right on the edge of their seats as Tim meandered through his touching and lyrical tunes.

And on top of it all, he was a great guy, too. His conversational presence as he chatted with the crowd between songs made us all feel welcome; we were getting to know him as he played. There was a strong sense in the room that Canada had come out on top by convincing Tim to move from his native England to a new home here with us.

Others have noticed, too, what a great guy and performer Paper Beat Scissors is; the online music blog HeroHill opens their article on Crabtree by saying: “I’m not sure there’s ever been a band we’ve covered on herohill that I wanted to see succeed more than Paper Beat Scissors…“ See? It’s not just us who have caught something of the essence of PBS.

Even in September there was a lot of talk in the air about PBS’s upcoming new album. Produced by Snailhouse (Mike Feuerstack – who played an amazing show at SC in October 2011), and mixed by Jeremy Gara (most known as the drummer for Arcade Fire), the album was creating ripples before it was even thrown in the pond. And when an official release date of March 6 was finally announced, lineups immediately started at record shops across the country. Okay, perhaps that part about the lineups is an exaggeration, but the truth is that virtually everyone who’d ever heard PBS was happy to hear a release date for the album had finally been set. At long last people who loved his music would be able to have it with them to listen to whenever they wanted. (And if you still can’t wait, you can peruse and procure the live recordings we made with Paper Beat Scissors the last time Tim played Streaming Café. Or you could pick up his debut EP Flicker).

Tim’s music has been described as “solo finger-picked laments”, which is simply one characterization among many which could be applied. The best way to describe it, if you’re not already familiar with the music of Paper Beat Scissors, is to say it’s different than you’d expect – and the best way to understand it is to simply find some of it online somewhere and just enjoy it.

And when you’ve done that, it’ll probably be time to get in line at Streaming Café so you make it in to hear PBS on March 17th before the café’s full and you’re barred at the door, forced to stand outside, craning your neck to get a view through the window. Stand outside and hope for a flicker, or make it inside and rest your bones. Your choice. Or you can watch/listen online, of course…

The "DIRT" on Colleen Brown

by Malcolm Petch

Some non-stadium Canadian folk artists struggle to fill a 30-seat restaurant with a $5 cover charge. Then there are others like Colleen Brown, who put 300 butts into seats at St. Albert’s Arden Theatre at $25 a pop.

What makes the difference? What sets one so far apart from the other? Well, if I could tell you specifically, I’d be rich and famous as an indie-musician consultant. One thing I know for sure, though, is that Colleen Brown is very good: she’s a highly talented musician, she’s got an outstanding voice, and she writes fantastic songs. And her albums (three full-length ones to date) are very tastily produced. ‘Twould seem she’s got a lot going for her – and ‘twould seem that a lot of that lot has come as a result of a great deal of hard work on her part and a commitment to walk forward in the same direction no matter what happens.

Brown makes her home in Edmonton. She’s gonna love it here in Kelowna when she plays Streaming Café on March 31.

Brown’s climb upward seemed to pick up speed with the independent release in 2008 of her second album, Foot In Heart. Songs from the release found regular airplay slots on CBC, CKUA, and different college stations across the country. CBC liked her song ‘Love You Baby’ so much that it was featured on one of their Radio 2 TV commercials.

Others outside of the college circuit started taking notice, and Brown soon received an Alberta Emerging Artist Award, which of course brought her to even more people’s attention. Two full-length feature films (“Campus Radio” and “The Pharmacist”) had Colleen Brown songs placed in them.

It wasn’t long until Brown’s indie status was relegated to the archives; 2010 saw her Foot In Heart album re-released by Emm Gryner’s Dead Daisy Records and Outside Music, and Brown herself hit the road with a vengeance, playing festivals, concert halls, and clubs across the country. She played the 2010 Edmonton Folk Fest. She shared the stage with luminaries such as Don MacLean, Hannah Georgas, Brandi Carlisle, Hawksley Workman, Jim Cuddy, and Jakob Dylan.

And in October 2011 she toured across Canada with Crash Test Dummies.

How does one top a cross-country tour with CTD? One puts out a new album: October 2011 also marked the release of DIRT, Colleen’s third album of original material. Thirteen songs, including Fight! Fight! Fight!, winner of the New Music West 2011 Songwriting Award.

March 31 promises to be a special night at Streaming Café as we play host to Edmonton’s Colleen Brown. Links to her website, facebook, and twitter pages are on our ‘artists page’ page at www.streamingcafe.net, and less than 60 seconds of listening will be enough to convince you that Colleen Brown is an artist worth getting to know. You can do that in person here in Kelowna at 7pm Pacific on March 31, or you can join in online to listen and ask questions of the artist.

March Performers | Video Overview

by Michael Donley
What a month we've got ahead of us! March brings us some true up and coming Canadian talent to the Streaming Cafe stage. The cafe staff have been listening to Samantha Savage Smith on repeat and we are very happy to have her starting off the month. Halifax invasion hits us for three weeks in a row. March 10th, 17th & 24th. sees Haligonians Steve Gates, Paper Beat Scissors and Kev Corbett with local singer-songwriter Joshua Smith opening for Kev on the 24th. Edmonton's Colleen Brown performs on March 31st, newly releasing her 3rd full-length album, we're really looking forward to her show.
All five performing artists are definitely worth looking into. View videos from this months artists and as always if you can't make it out to the cafe for drinks and music, catch the shows streamed live @ http://www.streamingcafe.net/ - 7pm (pacific standard time)... it's free!

Calgary's Samantha Savage Smith performs at the cafe on Match 3rd. Her album Tough Cookie was named best album of 2011 by the Calgary Herald and that title is well deserved. Really looking forward to this show!

STEVE GATES - March 10
Halifax's Steve Gates is touring in support of his new album A Bee In Her Mouth that was just released this last week.  Really cool album that deserves a listen. We connected with Steve through Kris from Acres and Acres that performed at the cafe almost three years ago and he will be part of his backing band.

We're happy to have Paper Beat Scissors back performing... and with a new performance comes a new album.  Self titled Paper Beat Scissors  was co-produced by artist is his own right Mike Feuerstack (Snailhouse) and mixed by Arcade Fire drummer Jeremy Gara.
Tim Crabtree (aka PBS) relocated from the UK a few years ago and now calls Halifax home, he's really good performer and a show not to miss.

KEV CORBETT w/ Joshua Smith - March 24

Kev Corbett also from Halifax, was just awarded 2011 Musician of the Year award by Nova Scotia Music.
His bio perfectly describes him..."Cohen + humour, Dylan minus the angst. Mixes the scruffy informality of Greg Brown, the four-eyed bluesmanship of old Cockburn, and the yarn-spinning wink of a merry stranger in a pub with yellowed stucco walls. One of Canada’s best new writers, and a humdinger of a guy."

Starting the night off the night on March 24th is local singer-songwriter Joshua Smith. Joshua is originally from the East Coast and now calls Kelowna home.

There is a lot of buzz about Colleen Brown's new release DIRT.  I came across an article in the Globe and Mail featuring Colleen while sitting at the cafe for a morning coffee. Her melodic folk/pop/disc/rock tunes for me, heavily reflect some of  the music that made the 70's a great era.
Going to be a great show!