1 May 2007
Hope April was good to you all. I don't remember as many showers here in T.O. as you would expect from April, however, I'm certain that since I am commenting on this, we will probably get dumped on in May! Oh the irony.
So, I'm sure most of you are wondering if all I have to talk about these days is music. You may be wondering, "What else is new in your life KK?" Okay, I know some of you still call me Kat (or even by my full name...lol). Honestly, there's nothing terribly exciting going on other than music and my discovery of new singers/songwriters, new albums and some soul searching about what I would like to do with music or the music business. Since KaTsZoNe is all about filling all my friends in about what's currently going on in my life, these Music Episodes continue on. A note, especially to Helenie, there no new pics of me and famous musicians this month...lol. I don't meet and have pics taken with "famous" people all the time - maybe some "infamous" ones though.
Since my MySpace name is KK, therefore, most of my new singer/songwriter friends will call me KK. So, I'm just going to tell you about all the live shows I've been to in the past month and how the name, KK, seems to be circulating amongst present and future MySpace friends.
Saturday, April 7, 2007 - Jets To Ground
On Saturday, April 7th, my friend, Larry and I went to the Horseshoe Tavern to see some bands play, and in particular, Jets To Ground. We had planned to meet Larry's childhood friend who told us about Jets To Ground. So, for me, it was amazing to meet new friends, and also hang out with a couple of guys from Jets To Ground, Andrew and Mike. When Larry and I first arrived and I was meeting Andrew, lead singer of JTG, for the first time, he greets me, "Hi KK!" So, there you go, that's one example of someone who remembered me as KK.
By the way, it was lots of fun, and I sent an e-mail out to most of you (if not, all of you) about that whole adventure. I took several pics too and if I didn't send them to you or you didn't get a chance to see them, you can access the "Pics" section on my MySpace website (www.myspace.com/katszone) and look in the album marked "Jets To Ground". Hope it works! If you have access to Facebook and you're one of my FB friends, the pics are in my photo album "Love Their Music!" By the way, if you're on Facebook and you haven't added me as a friend, hey, hop to it my friend!
Friday, April 20, 2007 - NSAI Songwriters Night
On Friday, April 20th, I went to the monthly NSAI Songwriters Night at the NOW Lounge (near NE corner of Church and Shuter) . The first person I was greeted by was one of the NSAI coordinators, Laura Ranieri, who was hosting, and she greets me with, "Hi KK." I have met Laura several times and she's always called me KK. I now wonder whether she even remembers my real name....lol. That was also an incredible evening.
Laura is a great country/pop singer and I must say, she does have a way with love songs. I just see her as a romantic! She told me she came by from Nashville recently and had some great sessions with co-writers. She's very keen on co-writing. So, she was all excited and the songs she sang that night were terrific!
I was also impressed with Ian North and I wish I had a way to describe what I thought and was feeling. Is it his wonderful guitar arrangement and playing? Could it be the lyrics and just way he words them? Maybe, it's his soothing voice - the kind you'd love to hear over the radio or on a CD? Maybe it's all of the above. And then, for me, his unique folk/pop songs came to life with the help of the harmony provided by Jennifer Claveau. They were a great combination.
Jennifer Claveau was a member of the band, "Likewater", however, she says the band is now "on hiatus" - but, fortunately, Jennifer is not. I think she sounds like Sarah MacLachlan -- so, if you are familiar with Sarah, then, you probably have an idea how "wowed" I was by Jennifer's voice. I hope she will be performing more around town.
Another singer/songwriter who performed that night was John Marlatt (from Oakville) and he sang what I would call more "traditional" country songs. Laura commented that his lyrics are very honest. They were certainly the most unique lyrics I've ever heard amongst contemporary songwriters because John described his real life. I'd almost be afraid to be that realistic, but, not John!
I've made Ian North and Likewater (Jennifer Claveau's site) to be my MySpace friends now; John Marlatt doesn't seem to have a MySpace site. Laura's been a MySpace friend since before I first saw her perform at The Free Times Cafe back in October last year. I'm thrilled to add more Canadian singers/songwriters as my MySpace friends. My list just continues to grow! I keep my blog updated occasionally once I've added more Canadian musicians to my list.
Sunday, April 29, 2007 - Songwriters Expo
On Sunday, April 29th, I went to the monthly Songwriters Expo, usually held on the last Sunday of every month, but, sometimes, it's on the second last Sunday. The event is hosted by Monique Barry at the Cadillac Lounge (1296 Queen St. West, just west of Dufferin).
Some of you may know Monique. She and I have known each other for about six years. We met through work and when I learned that she was a singer/songwriter, I felt an amazing connection with her -- plus, she is just an amazingly warm, caring and encouraging person. So, we've kept in touch all this time.
The more I listen to Monique Barry's songs, I more I like them! I'm quite familiar with most of what she sings now, and there are new things I will notice. I forgot to ask her about what her guitarist, Marc Nadjiwan was playing in one of her songs. I wondered if he improvised more stuff and it sounded amazing. Marc is an awesome guitarist! I didn't speak with Marc last month, but, I happened to walk into the lounge and Monique saw me first, and Marc was sitting near the stage, so, I introduced myself and said that I was his recent MySpace friend. In case he had forgotten, I told him I was "KK". Yes, he remembered me. I told him how impressed my friend, Vera, and I were with Little Hawk's album. Little Hawk performed at the Songwriters Expo last month and he was so unbelievably amazing!!! Marc played in Little Hawk's band as they toured this past month and now, Little Hawk (aka Troy Westwood) is now in spring training (he plays football with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers). Looks like Little Hawk may not be touring again until probably November. So, note to Vera, Marc was very pleased to hear the amazing comments and he said he will tell Troy! By the way, Marc co-wrote the song, "Ipperwash", with Little Hawk -- Marc thinks, and I would agree with him, that it's one of the best songs on Little Hawk's album, "Home and Native Land". (Vera, what do you think?). And, I would like to mention that Monique is also accompanied by a great bass player, David Buland. I can't forget Dave because he is also one of my MySpace friends! Yah!
This month, there was an equally impressive line-up of singers/songwriters at the Songwriters Expo. Monique was saying it was amazing to hear the diversity. I really didn't know what to expect since I have only heard one Monique and Allister Bradley. It really was incredible to listen to these amazing singers/songwriters.
After Monique's performance, Maria Kasstan took her spot onstage. Maria has been performing since the 1960's and she released an album in the mid 1970's. She sang some beautiful and poignant songs. I heard one lady, as well as Monique, say that Maria's songs almost made them cry. I had the pleasure of speaking with Maria briefly about her music and the music profession. She commented that, there are those musicians who want to become rich and famous. A few do get lucky. But, there are many who simply write and play music for the love of doing it. I know several people who would love to make music their full-time profession, but, usually, they have a full-time job doing something else and music is their part-time gig. When I hear someone like Little Hawk, I say to myself, it's hard to believe that a professional football player such as him is an incredibly gifted singer/songwriter. He should make music his full-time profession! Maria sings at subway stations and she also organizes and performs at the Lakeview Lunch (1132 Dundas St. West, at Ossington) on Thursday nights at 8:30 p.m. "It's a dive," she laughs, as she tells me about how Lakeview's chairs are taped up. But, I know that Maria continues to sing for the love of it and she really enjoys meeting people as they sing, recite poetry and "speak their minds" on those Thursdays nights. Should be quite interesting to attend one Thursday.
The charming and funny Max Metrault followed Maria, and he impressed us with some folk/pop songs. I loved his sense of humour and energy onstage. I liked one song which is written in Spanish. Max actually drops some Spanish even into his English songs. I was tapping my feet and had lots of fun! Max performs every third Thursday night at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen St. West, just east of Dufferin) in the "Melody Bar" from 6 to 9 p.m. I checked out Gladstone Hotel's website and it said that Max performs with the "Novelty Pants". How cute is that? I didn't meet him this time, but, perhaps, our paths will cross again.
After Max, Brian Litvin "wowed" everyone with his incredibly inspiring guitar playing with a South African flavour, since Brian is originally from S. Africa. He told us stories behind the songs he wrote. One of the songs was inspired by musicians who used to perform on the streets in the mining towns in the old days. He said, these musicians were actually doing "rap" 50 years ago! It was a good thing that Monique met Brian a few months ago at the Liberty Cafe where every Tuesday night, there is an open stage (or open mic) for singers/songwriters to perform.
Finally, the "headliner" was Allister Bradley. I became familiar with the name Allister Bradley through MySpace - he's been my MySpace friend since early December, 2006. But, as I have come to realize with singers, you really don't know the artist until you hear them perform live. Allister has had several songs on the radio, but, I now know what Allister REALLY sounds like. He's a wonderful pianist who is classically trained and because I'm also a pianist, I am terribly drawn to them. I especially love jazz and I loved Allister's flair with the keyboard. One of my favourites is a song called, "Tip of My Tongue", which is a swing/jazz kind of song. It's one of his new songs. When I told Kim Jarrett (a singer/songwriter who performed at Songwriters Expo last month) that I was going to attend this month and that Allister was going to be performing, Kim said that I was going to love him! Well, in agree, I must agree with Kim! How did she know? She's so smart.
Monday, April 30, 2007 - Humber College Songwriters Showcase
I just can't seem to get enough of the songwriters events, so, I went to yet another one held at Hugh's Room (2261 Dundas St. West)! This is an event where six students from past workshops were chosen by a faculty member to perform their original works for about ten minutes each. However, two instructors, Blair Packham and Rik Emmett also performed for us. They are so talented and lots of fun.
One of Rik Emmett's finest pieces that he played was a blues song he wrote in Austin, Texas (on a moonlit night, overlooking ab "artificial" lake at a hotel...lol), with awesome guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, etc. in mind. Anyway, you just had to be there! I wish all of you could have heard him play. I think Rik was right up there in our starstruck eyes.
The first person to perform was Maggie Szabo. I can't believe that Maggie is still in high school. She's been writing a few years and has taken numerous songwriters courses. I met Maggie at a songwriters workshop last October and we've kept in touch ever since. She is an amazingly mature songwriter, and, I think she's got so much potential. She mentioned that this summer, she'll be off to B.C. and L.A. for music workshops, and she got a summer job in B.C., so, Maggie is doing very well for herself. In fact, it was on her MySpace friends list where I discovered another awesome singer/songwriter, Allister Bradley.
I finally met Allister Bradley. Since I missed him at the Songwriters Expo, I messaged him about the show at Hugh's Room, so, he wrote me back, saying we can meet there. We spoke briefly and he mentioned that he will be a faculty assistant this year at the Humber Songwriting Workshop. I met a couple people who told me about the one-week workshop which will be held this year between July 7th and 13th. Allister and another faculty member will be teaching a class on producing demos. Allister is in the middle of recording his second album, and, I discovered that he's also helping another former student at the workshop to record her recording. Her name is Bunmi Adeoye and she was also one of the performers on this night.
I spoke to Bunmi Adeoye for a bit, and we spoke about the workshop and the instrument(s) we played. She plays guitar and we've both often thought about using another instrument to write. I'm not sure if she is co-writing with anyone, so, I'll have to ask her. I'd love to collaborate with someone like Bunmi, so that we can write with guitar and piano, rather than just use one instrument. We've already spoken about becoming MySpace friends, so, at least I made one new MySpace friend for the night. I told Bunmi to remember me as "KK" - she laughed.
I try to speak to as many performers as I can when I go to a songwriting event. Unfortunately, I did not speak with Christian Caldeira, Leah Erbe and Peter Bloom.
Christian Caldeira was probably one of the best performers that night! He mentioned that he'll be starting an audio engineering program in a month's time, and, after hearing him perform, I think he's got a great future in music! Out of all of the student performers, I would go and see Christian perform again if he was playing anywhere around town. And, if he made an album, I would get it! Just giving you all the "heads up" in case you do see his name somewhere -- TELL ME!
I also thought Leah Erbe and Peter Bloom are great songwriters and strong performers.
So, I guess overall, I've enjoyed myself very much at all the shows I've attended in April.
Thanks for sticking with me for all these months. I can't believe I'm now writing Issue 29 of KaTsZoNe! When I first started writing this newsletter back on my birthday (out of all days) in Dec. 2004, I had no idea it would last this long! So, thanks for being not only great friends, but, readers of KaTsZoNe. I love getting feedbacks from you. I'm also very amused when you tell me that you loved seeing your name being mentioned! But, I am mindful of the fact that there may also be some of you who might not like want to have your name mentioned. So, if I'm not sure, then, I usually won't and it's not that I'm being nasty to you. I'm glad I have made some of my friends "infamous".
Upcoming Live Shows To Attend in May
I am planning to attend a show featuring singer/songwriter, Melanie Joy, along with Jamil and Sophie Young, at the NOW Lounge (189 Church Street - NE corner of Church/Shuter) on Friday, May 4th at 8:30 p.m. I've heard Melanie perform once before at a showcase in March at the Free Times Cafe. She will be touring this summer to promote her new album.
I am also planning to attend the Songwriters Expo again on Sunday, May 20th from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Cadillac Lounge. Next month's singer/songwriters who will be performing are Monique Barry, AVA, Amer Diab, The Foreign Films, and special guest, Jay Aymar.
There are weekly songwriters open mics which I may also pop in on, probably at the spur of the moment, depending if I hear from a friend or see the name of someone whom I might want to hear.
Listening to live music is very different from listening to a CD. I will leave a live show with a great big smile on my face just about every time I have seen these local performers. I'm not suggesting you pay major bucks to see a concert. Believe it or not, most of these shows are free, pay what you can, or $5 to $15.
So, if any of you would like to catch such events, let me know, and we can have some fun!
If you would like to see the events I may be attending, it's on my MySpace page in my calendar.
Have a happy May! And, to all mothers, an early HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
xo Katherine (KK)
* Websites of singers/songwriters mentioned (Is this enough for all of you to check out?)
http://www.myspace.com/likewatermusic (Jennifer Claveau)
http://www.myspace.com/nadjiwan (Marc Nadjiwan)
http://www.myspace.com/bedsidebusker (Bunmi Adeoye)