Posted on August 18, 2016
Lately I have been listening to John Cage's strangely delightful and thoughtful sonatas as performed by Boris Berman. They are very short, running between two to four minutes. There are sixteen sonatas and four interludes, so even after some twenty-five listens I still don’t feel like I can encompass the scope of the music.
Posted on August 3, 2016
This past month I’ve been obsessing over video recordings of Van Morrison concerts, especially early performances from the 70s and 80s. This is partly because I’ve been thinking a lot about poetic pacing and what I guess I’ll call ‘rawness’ in poetry — moments of risk-taking and truth-telling, registers of feeling that create something almost textural in a poem.
Posted on July 11, 2016
For years I’ve listened to the likes of Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Mary Gauthier, and Chris Whitley while writing, as well as a smattering of classical works, but over the past year — perhaps reflecting a spiritual or emotional change — the focus has shifted almost entirely to classical music, both traditional and contemporary. Works by people like Olafur Arnalds, Ludovico Einaudi, Anouar Brahem, Hildur Gudnadottir, Hildegard of Bingen, and Dijan Gasparyan.
Posted on June 27, 2016
Mostly jazz — an idiom in a hard way these days (once Sonny Rollins dies, that’s it for the giants who shaped it from the late 40s onwards; the Toronto jazz festival this year has the nerve to bill KC and the Sunshine Band as its headline act!). Still have a lot of vinyl and have been playing a fair amount of — you guessed it! – Prince, Merle Haggard and, for some unfathomable reason, R.E.M. from the mid-80s.
James Adams is a reporter at The Globe & Mail covering a variety of arts topics.
Posted on June 21, 2016
Aside from waiting for the new Strokes EP to drop so I can buy it just to burn it? I’m listening to Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool. Obvious choice, I know. May as well get it out of the way. This is candid Radiohead. Seems to be Johnny Greenwood driven, symphonic and organic. It’s not In Rainbows, but what is?
Then there’s Marlon Williams. Self-titled debut album of a New Zealand singer-songwriter providing his take on American country-western. Voice like something you have to take methadone to kick. Eclectic and fucking eerie.
Posted on June 9, 2016
By Ross Leckie
An 18-year-old kid gets a record deal with Warner Bros. and he demands complete control over his music. I doubt that Warner Bros. knew what that meant. They cheerfully announced that the album would be produced by Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire. Prince Rogers Nelson replied, “No one produces Prince music but Prince.” He had, after all, spent an entire year in a friend’s studio when it was free at night recording and producing his demo.
Posted on May 2, 2016
By Ian LeTourneau
By now everyone has likely heard “Spirits,” the first track of The Strombellas' new album Hope that’s seemingly taken over the airwaves.
Posted on April 15, 2016
I’ve been playing a lot of Kurt Vile, especially Smoke Ring for my Halo and b’lieve i’m going down; the latter took longer to grow on me but now I like it a lot. Also dug out some old vinyl, including Gilded Palace of Sin by Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Bros and can now declare that Sneaky Pete on steel guitar is an unheralded genius of the 1970s. Also want to plug an odd tune, "Saddle in the Rain," by John Prine: produced by Steve Cropper of Memphis, has horns, and about as funky as you will hear Prine the folkie get.
Posted on February 4, 2016
By Ryan Gaio
Mo Kenney is a singer-songwriter from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Her latest album, In My Dreams, produced by fellow Halifax native Joel Plaskett, was just nominated for Adult Alternative Album of the Year at the 2016 Junos. The Fiddlehead's editorial assistant Ryan Gaio spoke with the singer-songwriter in January, just before her two appearances at Fredericton's Shivering Songs festival. In this interview she talks to Ryan about her writing process, collaboration, dealing with negative feedback and more.