Joshua’s Highlights and Top Memories of 2017!

2017 was a year packed with great experiences, moments, and memories. I had the chance to see a lot of live music, review great albums, and interview some very talented people.

I am a lucky dude to get to do what I love and share it here and through our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and I look forward to doing more of it in 2018 and beyond!

Here are five of my favourite musical memories of this year, I’d love to hear some of yours in the comment section!

Country Set of the Year

Eric Church at Air Canada Centre, Toronto (March 2, 2017)

Toronto can be cold in March, especially in hockey arenas, but when Eric Church came to the Air Canada Centre, and 16,000+ came to see him, things heated up in a hurry.

For more than three hours Eric Church played hits and fan favourites. There was no opening act. There was no bullshit. There was just Church, his band, and his fans living and loving on country music in Canada’s biggest city.

Having seen Church live once before at Boots & Hearts, I thought I knew what I was getting into. But from my seat in the ACC, I experienced something different. Something more intimate… because while 16,000 is a lot of fans, it’s smaller than nearly 40,000 fans. And whenever you put a roof and walls around music and let it stay in the room instead of floating off into the night, things are instantly more real and the ability to feel the music in your bones is increased.

I don’t know when, where, or if I’ll see Eric Church live again. But I can tell you now that even if I never do again, I’ve got my melody to remind me of a memory.

Holdin’ My Own: Eric Church Takes Toronto

Rock and Roll Set of the Year

Arkells at Budweiser Stage, Toronto (June 24, 2017)

My 2016 and 2017 playlists have included a lot of Arkells… and on a summer night in Toronto I added some live rock and roll to the year.

I stood on the grass, and I cheered and sang and danced and loved every minute of the show. And even now, looking back, I remember how great it was to watch Max direct the crowd while he and the band rolled through a set of radio hits and fan favourites.

Note: If you’re looking to get lost down a YouTube rabbit hole, I suggest a long list of Arkells live performance videos.

There were more than 17,000 people at Budweiser Stage that night to see July Talk and Arkells, and it was a moment and memory that I’m glad I was able to experience and add to my year. It was fun, like live rock and roll is when things go right. The energy was right. And just like they did at WayHome 2016, Arkells owned the stage and held the crowd in their hands as they put on their show.

Let’s do it again in 2018!

Celebrating Summer: Arkells, July Talk & Friends Rock Toronto!

Breakout Band in a Little Bar

Midland at The Dakota Tavern, Toronto (April 25, 2017)

In late April, before the excitement of summertime or a number one hit on the radio in Canada first, and the United States – Midland came to Toronto for the first time, and made a stop at The Dakota Tavern to play an acoustic showcase for media, industry, and some lucky fans.

Mark, Jess, and Cameron were funny, smooth, and showed off the talent that country music fans have come to know and fall in love with as 2017 has progressed. And while it’s awesome to listen to the album and sing along (On The Rocks is a quality listen), and to remember seeing Midland on stage at Boots & Hearts in August with Drinkin’ Problem at the top of the charts… it’s amazing to think back to that night in April, in a basement bar in Toronto, and remember those boys picking and strumming and singing.

That night they played songs we know all the words to know from the album, songs they had release on YouTube before that, and heard for ourselves just how legit their harmonies and songwriting chops are.

I’m not sure many people are going to get that kind of chance again. I’m glad we didn’t miss ours.

Drinkin’ Problem: Midland Comes North to Toronto

Favourite Interview of the Year

Jessica Mitchell, The Feature

In June of this year we published a Jessica Mitchell feature that looked at the moments in her life that have helped push her to where she is now. I wrote about the music, the memories, and the woman herself.

Over the last couple of years we’ve had a few chances to catch up with Jessica Mitchell in interviews, but in preparation for the feature, we had my most memorable interview of 2017.

Trish and I met Jessica on a rooftop patio in Toronto and sat for more than an hour. We talked about childhood memories, we took turns telling stories, and we learned more about Jessica Mitchell than we knew before.

But more than the information we took away from that day, and the story that I was able to write and share, we left knowing more than ever that Jessica Mitchell is one of the most genuine, thoughtful people we know.

It took months of planning before we made it happen, but I don’t begrudge that, because that interview was a highlight of my year.

Moments: Jessica Mitchell, the Feature

Live Song That Broke Me

Tim Hicks – Throw A Ball

When you are as fortunate as we are to see a lot of live music every year, there’s a higher statistical chance that there will be moments that transcend the enjoyment of the music and turn into emotional moments and memories. This fall, at one of my favourite venues in Toronto, I got to experience one of those moments.

Tim Hicks, Canadian country music star, was one of five featured performers on stage at The Dakota Tavern for Four Chords And The Truth, a singer/songwriter event that celebrates music. At that event we got to hear Tim Hicks play a new song, an unreleased track that nearly broke me.

The song, Throw A Ball, is dedicated to Hicks’ young son and tells the story of a boy growing up playing catch with his dad, and then becoming a father and playing catch with his son. It’s a story song, the kind that country music is best at, and it resonated with me as a kid who grew up loving baseball and playing with my dad.

It also hit me hard because just over a year ago I lost my dad, AND next summer I’m going to become a father for the first time. And as I listened to Tim Hicks sing his song, and tell his story, I thought about my story and the memories that I hold onto, and the memories that I hope to be lucky enough to make in the future.

I hope that some day Hicks records Throw A Ball so you can all hear it. But until then, I will hold onto the memory of that night in Toronto, listening with my eyes closed, wondering if I was going to cry.

Four Chords and the Truth: Marc Jordan, Tim Hicks, Damhnait Doyle, Andrea Ramolo, Bill Bell & Friends

I hope your 2017 was as memorable as mine was. And I hope that we all make twice as many good memories in 2018.

In Memoriam: Gord Downie Legacy, Influence, and Top 10

Gord Downie was an artist, activist, and great Canadian. His legacy and legend will be remembered for the music he made, the political and social change he sought, and the way he touched music fans from coast-to-coast, across generations, and with a reach that can not be understated.

After a brave, public, and well-documented fight against cancer (glioblastoma), Downie died on October 17, 2017, leaving his family (including four children), his bandmates, friends, and countless fans to remember the man they knew and loved.

If you ever had the chance to see Gord Downie on stage, doing what he loved, you got a look at something special. Whether he was touring with The Tragically Hip, playing his own solo music, collaborating with The Sadies, or any number of other appearances he made during his long and fruitful career, he was the one to watch. To see him dance and move and feel the lyrics and music was almost hypnotic. There were always moments of magic hidden in plain sight when Downie was doing his thing.

photo: Mike Homer

Note: I will admit to sometimes being frustrated when trying to sing along to my favourite songs from The Tragically Hip when Gord was singing them live. The way he transformed them into something more than the record version was hard for me to understand and explain – but having seen more live music now, I get it. And he owned it.

To explain the influence that Gord Downie has had on musicians in Canada is probably a fool’s errand. There are too many. There’s too much. There is just no way to list everyone that took something from the lyric writing, performing, passion, and perseverance that the man, his bandmates, and his career. We see glimpses of Downie when we watch Max Kerman fronting the Arkells, and we can hear Hip-like cadence and feel in singer/songwriter tracks and new rock hits from all across Canada. We’re confident in saying that isn’t going to change any time soon.

And to the general public, the influence is real as well. The work that Downie did to help put Indigenous rights into the light will not be forgotten. And the songs. My God, the songs he sang will continue to be sung.

Walk into any karaoke bar and wait a little while, you’re likely to hear a song from The Hip. And if you want even higher odds, go find a campfire anywhere in Canada – if there’s an acoustic guitar we can almost guarantee that someone is going to strum Wheat Kings or Bobcaygeon.

Campfire Guitar

On August 20, 2016, when The Tragically Hip played the K-Rock Centre in Kingston, ON to wrap their tour, a nation stopped to watch. The CBC reported that nearly 12 million viewers took in the feed. In Toronto, the CNE bandshell stage schedule was adjusted so they could show the concert on a big screen. Across the country there were viewing parties filled with family, friends, and fans. And together we watched as a real life musical hero to so many stood tall, sang, dripped with sweat, cried, and pour every ounce of what he had into the show that we won’t be able to forget.

At home, I cried. I watched and I sang and I sat in silence and I cried as the band played through a monster set and Downie sang with everything he had in him. It was beautiful.

Canadian movie lovers will remember Downie as well from his appearances in films like One Week (2008) and even his quick cameo with the rest of The Hip in Men With Brooms (2002). This clip from One Week is sobering, and will be one of the non-concert performance moments that I remember most of his career…

With the Order of Canada, a star on the Walk of Fame, Canadian Music Hall of Fame status, awards for his music, and recognition for his work outside of it, Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip achieved more than most – and just as much as he deserved.

We all knew this day was coming. This shouldn’t have surprised us. But still, it feels like I’ve been blindsided by the news. Maybe I thought there was still time. Maybe Downie’s relentless fight and work in the face of what was coming tricked me. Either way, this hurts.

Canada lost a legend when Gord Downie died. But his stories, his legacy, his inspiration and influence will live on and be remembered.

Rest easy Mr. Downie. Thank you for everything.

Gord Downie Cheers

Joshua’s Top 10 Tracks, The Tragically Hip

★ Wheat Kings
★ Bobcaygeon
★ Ahead By A Century
★ Courage
★ Grace, Too
★ Cordelia
★ Little Bones
★ Fiddler’s Green
★ Blow At High Dough
★ Gift Shop

Late Show: The Beaches Album Review

Toronto rock and roll quartet, The Beaches, have released their much anticipated full-length debut album, Late Show, and fans of the band have reason to rejoice.

Named for their neighbourhood in the east end of the city, the band has been putting in work on stage for the last four years, building their GRL BND brand, and earning new fans from their hometown and beyond. The WayHome and Canadian Music Week alumni have wowed us at The Phoenix and The Horseshoe, and haven’t slowed down or let up since they started this ball rolling.

With Late Show, Jordan, Kylie, Eliza, and Leandra have shown that they are ready for the late night spotlight, mixing their enthusiasm for what they do with experience-honed writing and musicianship that leads them from track to track.

While I was listening to the album I found myself thinking about Haim and The Darcys, and when the last song finished, Spotify immediately rolled into the Arkells, and that worked too. This is a collection of songs that fans will be able to slide into playlists seamlessly, and with ease.

Songs like Money, Gold, Turn Me On, the title track all lend themselves to a party if you want it – and will translate from the album to the stage as these rocking women plug in and turn up the volume. Which leads me to this recommendation, when you press play on The Beaches record, turn it up.

The youth, attitude, energy and ability that The Beaches combine on this album should be celebrated. There is no jaded rock star shit here. There’s no “been there done that” drag. This is a rock and roll album that puts forth everything that we want from rock and roll. We can feel the drums and guitar. The bass holds the rhythm we need. And on vocals, the 12 songs on the album all pull their weight and earn their plays.

Note: For what it’s worth, my early favourite track (based on repeated listens) is Walk Like That. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is I keep coming back for… but trust me, I keep coming back for more.

These four rockers come together to form a tight band, with an authentic sound. They play for themselves, they are themselves, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Find tickets to a show when The Beaches are near you… and be ready for a good time.

The Beaches, Late Show Tracklist

1. Back Of My Heart
2. Money
3. Moment
4. Let Me Touch
5. T-Shirt
6. Turn Me On
7. Gold
8. Highway 6
9. Late Show
10. Keeper
11. Walk Like That
12. Sweet Life

Celebrating Summer: Arkells, July Talk & Friends Rock Toronto!

Summer days and nights are better with live music. And Saturday night in Toronto, there was live music flowing and 17,000 happy listeners soaking it in as The Arkells and July Talk headlined one of the first outdoor big rock and roll shows of summer 2017.

With the sun still shining down, thousands of music fans took their seats and staked out spots on the lawn as Vancouver’s Said The Whale kicked things off with their live sounds flowing through the speakers.

The vibe on the lawn was familiar and almost festival-esque. With blankets laid out, drinks poured and enjoyed, some dancing, some singing, some laying down and tanning – but all present and connected and enjoying the day. And the biggest pop, the one that came when people danced and sang along to I Love You, was a great introduction to what we’d all experience as the night grew darker and later.

Next on the bill, the only American act of the evening, Mondo Cozmo, hit the stage to keep the party going and get people into the groove for July Talk and The Arkells. And while the band played and the people swayed, the sun continued to beat down on us on the lawn, and we loved it. Then, in a moment that took many of back to simpler days, the band whipped out a cover of The Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony that had thousands of people singing along and feeling fine.

After Mondo Cozmo wrapped their set, and the stage was changed over, July Talk came out to a huge pop from the Toronto crowd that was ready, willing, and able to kick their Saturday night into full gear.

Fronted effectively and affectingly by Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis, the hometown band took easy control of the crowd, bringing them along for the ride through tracks like Picturing Love, Summer Dress, Strange Habit, Guns + Ammunition, Paper Girl, and Jesus Said So.

Note: It’s worth mentioning that before the set started, Leah took a moment to recognize the Indigenous Peoples that once lived in the area that Torontonians now call home. And during the set, she wished everyone assembled a happy Pride, as Toronto and the world celebrated love in all its many forms.

One of the July Talk set highlights came when they celebrated the birthday of their friend, and show sound engineer Karen. And to make it even more special, they called our Matt Mays to jam with them on Karen’s favourite song, Motörhead’s Ace Of Spades.

The set continued with singing and dancing to songs including Beck+ Call, Push + Pull, and The Garden… and then a huge round of applause for the band, their front persons, and the love they showed 17,000 people in Toronto.

This is a band that you need to see live if you love live music. The energy drips off of the stage and blasts through the speakers. And if you missed this show, don’t fret – July Talk will be taking over Massey Hall for 2 nights, December 21 and 22, 2017. Click here to learn more. 

Next, last, finally, The Arkells hit the stage hard, coming strong out of the gate, and putting on the show that everyone, in the pits, the seats, and on the lawn, had been waiting for.

From Private School to start the set, to a raucous rendition of Springsteen’s Dancing In The Dark to close the encore – Max, Mike, Tim, Nick, Anthony, The Northern Soul Horns, and The Arkettes were on fire, and bringing the heat.

The pride of Hamilton, ON played a 19 song set, and every single one was a sing along. This was a party, a campfire, a choir rehearsal, and a concert all rolled into one. And we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

From goosebump inducing acoustic sing alongs during And Then Some, to Max’s stage diving and singing combo during A Little Rain, this was a show full of moments that fans can hold onto. Memories being made, instantly.

From first hand experience I can tell you that the lawn was rocking. There was swaying, singing, dancing, drinking, and more singing. At the top of 17,000 lungs, Toronto was heard at the Budweiser Stage on Saturday night.

Hot Take: I believe that Max Kerman is the best front man of any mainstream touring Canadian rock and roll band. His energy, commitment, engagement and talent all come together to guide live Arkells shows from start to finish. Don’t agree? Leave a comment to tell me who you think is #1.

I’m fortunate to be able to say this is the second Arkells set I’ve seen in the last 10 months (yay for WayHome 2016), and if I’m lucky, I’ll be telling you about another show in the not too distant future.

Do yourself a favour and get to a show soon. Anywhere, at any venue, in any city, with any crowd. The band will kill it, the vibe will be top notch, and you’ll leave satisfied and wanting more at the same time.

Trust me.

Arkells Setlist, June 24, 2017 – Toronto

Private School
Michigan Left
Never Thought This Would Happen
Come To Light
Oh, The Boss Is Coming!
Pullin Punches
Hit The Road Jack/ Great Balls Of Fire/ Sir Duke (medley)
Drake’s Dad
And Then Some
Book Club
Leather Jacket
Dirty Blonde
Whistle Blower
A Little Rain (A Song for Pete)
Cynical Bastards
Knocking At The Door
My Heart’s Always Yours
Dancin In The Dark – w/ July Talk, Mondo Cozmo, Said The Whale


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Get Ready for the Remix: Arkells’ My Heart’s Always Yours

If you’re old enough to remember buying CD singles, you remember the awesomeness that was single remixes. And if you’re not old enough to remember buying CD singles… we’ve got good news for you!

To all of our good fortune, there are four new remixes of My Heart’s Always Yours, the third single from Arkell’s Morning Report.

The song itself has performed well as a single, reaching #3 Canadian Alternative chart and #4 on the Canadian Rock chart… and if you love the original, there’s a very strong chance that you’re going to dig at least one of the remixes that have been released to go with it.

My Heart’s Always Yours (Remixes) Tracklist

1. My Heart’s Always Yours – Lights Remix
2. My Heart’s Always Yours – RubēHill Remix
3. My Heart’s Always Yours – Darcys Remix
4. My Heart’s Always Yours – Arion Remix

To pick tell which remix is the best is impossible – because they’re all unique enough to allow for everyone to pick their own favourite.

In the end we just really think it’s cool that we’ve come back to the idea of multiple remixes on tracks and having the chance to hear them as more than just dance tracks at a club.

Let’s hope that Arkells and their remixing friends are starting a trend and that we get more of this in the very near future from more of our favourite artists and songs.

If you have a favourite, leave a comment and tell us which it is. We want to know!

WayHome - ArkellsWayHome - ArkellsWayHome - Arkells

Coming Soon: JUNOFEST 2017 – Ottawa, ON

The JUNOS are coming! The JUNOS are coming! But, before we get to the JUNOS, we’ve got JUNO Week and JUNO Fest.

JUNO Week starts March 30th with the JUNO Cup Jam.2017 JUNO Cup Jam poster Featuring performances at The Bourbon Room with Adrian Sutherland (Midnight Shine), Amanda Rheaume, Barney Bentall (High Bar Gang), Cosmo Ferraro (Ferraro), Darryl James (The Strumbellas), Devin Cuddy Band, Doug Oliver (Cold Creek County), Gord Bamford, Jay Bodner (Eagle & Hawk), Jim Bowskill (Blue Rodeo/Sheepdogs), Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo), JJ Shiplett, Jon Gallant (Billy Talent), Jonathan Roy, Matt Sobb (MonkeyJunk), Matthew Barber, Menno Versteeg (Hollerado), Peter Kesper (NQ Arbuckle), Steve Marriner (MonkeyJunk), Beard Guy (Walk Off the Earth), Tim D’eon (Wintersleep) and Vince Fontaine (Eagle & Hawk/Indian City). I’m overwhelmed at the talent in that list and you’ll be overwhelmed by their performances. Tickets are just $25 and they’re on sale now.

One of my favourite highlights of the week happens next. On March 31st, the JUNO Cup pits NHL Legends against Canadian musical greats. This game is always a hoot and the lineup this year is stacked! Watch as Brad Dalgarno (New York Islanders), Brendan Bell (Ottawa Senators), Chris Phillips (Ottawa Senators), Daniel Alfredsson (Ottawa Senators), Gary Roberts (Toronto Maple Leafs), Jim Kyte (Winnipeg Jets, Ottawa Senators), Luke Richardson (Ottawa Senators), Mark Napier (Montréal Canadiens,Juno Cup Edmonton Oilers), Paul Coffey (Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins) and Troy Crowder (New Jersey Devils) coached by Grey Cup Champion Henry Burris from the Ottawa Redblacks vs. Aaron Pritchett, Adrian Sutherland (Midnight Shine), Amanda Rheaume, Barney Bentall, Beard Guy (Walk Off The Earth), Chad Brownlee, Cosmo Ferraro (Ferraro), Dallas Smith, Darryl James (The Strumbellas), Devin Cuddy , Doug Oliver (Cold Creek County), Gord Bamford, Jay Bodner (Eagle & Hawk), Jim Bowskill (Blue Rodeo/The Sheepdogs), Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo), Jon Gallant (Billy Talent), Jonathan Roy, Kathleen Edwards, Matthew Barber, Matt Sobb (MonkeyJunk), Sam Roberts, Steve Marriner (MonkeyJunk) and Vince Fontaine (Eagle & Hawk) with Legendary Ottawa 67’s bench boss, Brian “Killer” Kilrea coaching The Rockers.

Watch for more names to be added to these lists! And yes, tickets are $20 and on sale now, you can get one here!

Friday, March 31
and Saturday, April 1 we get JUNOfest, over two nights, the music2017 JUNOfestfestival features more than 100 artists playing on stages in more than 15 venues across Ottawa and it’s an integral part of the 2017 JUNO Week. You can see Kelly Prescott, Caveboy, Repartee, The Dirty Nil, Dilly Dally, Bleecker, The Julian Taylor Band, Sykamore, The Abrams, Cold Creek County, Common Deer, The Strumbellas, Stuck on Planet Earth, The Honest Heart Collective, Colin Linden, The Balconies and so many more acts!

Wristbands are only $30, they’ll get you into all of the venues and you can get them here. You can check out the schedule and plan your weekend by following this link. 

On April 2nd we get to the big show, the JUNOS. This year’s lineup features more than 35 JUNO nominees, including Shawn Mendes, Arkells, The Strumbellas, The Weeknd, Monster Truck, Alessia Cara, The Tragically Hip, Chad Brownlee, Coleman Hell, Marians Trench, The Dirty Nil, Whitehorse, Tasha The Amazon, Holy Fuck, Cold Creek County, and more! For the full list of nominees check out the official JUNOS page.

There are so many of our favourites are in the lists above and we can hardly wait!

To Bring You My Heart: The Katherines Album Review & Feature

The Katherines are always looking for a silver lining… and right now they’ve found one. With the release of their debut album, To Bring You My Heart (604 Records), these three young women from Vancouver are introducing themselves to the musical world with gusto.

To Bring You My Heart (TBYMH) travels through its 13 song tracklist. Offering driving music and vocals, dance party style anthems, and more layers than you’ll catch on your first listen. In fact, when I asked the girls what they would tell everyone to think about before they hit lay on the album, they keyed in on the layers and details of the record. Just beneath the surface, there and waiting for your ears, are strings and backing vocals and the kind of artistic minutia that rounds out all of the dimensions on the album.

When I sat down with The Katherines before their Toronto album release show at the Drake Underground we also talked about musical influences, current favourites, and a host of other topics that included, but were not limited to…

🍒 Navigating social media as artists, and as women.
🍒 The current political/social landscape giving artists an important opportunity to speak.
🍒 #2107Goals

Starting with the social media, The Katherines made it clear that they love the outreach and interaction with listeners and fans that social channels provide. But they also feel pressure to keep their feed from being more than just pretty selfies on a Tuesday or updates on how many cups of tea they’ve had today (4 btw, is the number of cups of tea Kaitlyn owned up to pre-show).

On the sociopolitical landscape we talked about artists and people of all kinds being the ones that will bring about change. We didn’t dive deep into policy, but we all agreed that the newly elected head of state south of the border (and the reality TV star/business man running for a leadership position in Canada) is only a symptom of what’s happening right now… and that’s why voices need to be heard!


A photo posted by The Katherines (@katherinesband) on

I asked the ladies to imagine themselves in December 2017 and to tell me what they’d like to look back on the year and see. Their #2017Goals include a cross Canada tour opening for an act that they both enjoy and admire. It would be their first coast-to-coast tour, and would also give them a chance to see the country for the first time. There’s also new music to be written, with a new perspective compared to the one that appears on TBYMH. Canadian Music Week (Toronto, April 18-23, 2017) is also on The Katherines’ to-do list, and we’re excited to hear more about that in the coming weeks.

I asked Kate, Kaitlyn, and Lauren about the music they love and has influenced them, and names like Neil Young, The Eagles, KD Lang, Leonard Cohen – and more contemporary acts like Mother, Mother, The Killers, Banks, Arkells and Coldplay were all mentioned with admiration and respect for the music they make and the live shows they put on.

With their first album, The Katherines have shown that they aren’t a one trick pony. They combine choral backgrounds, operatic influence, strings, rock and roll, and be careful you don’t spill your drink dancing vibes into one really fun package. The 13 tracks truly offer an opportunity for you to listen to a common narrative with tweaks to presentation – and gives 13 opportunities to connect to the music.

Having listened to the album and seen them live to play it, we can see the silver lining The Katherines have found. And we encourage them to hang onto it!

The Katherines’ To Bring You My Heart Tracklist

1. Cherry Lips
2. Ultra Violet
3. Better Off Now
4. Primitive
5. Heart On The Table
6. Minefield
7. T.B.Y.M.H
8. Blank Page
9. KiDS
10. You
11. Wrong Side Of The Bed
12. Tomorrow
13. Replay

The @katherinesband merch game is on point! #bandmerch #bandtshirt #thekatherines #girlpower

A photo posted by (@thereviewsarein) on

Denise Donlon – Fearless As Possible [Interview]

Fearless as Possible CoverOver the holidays I got my hands on a copy of Fearless As Possible (Under the Circumstances): A Memoir, written by one of my favourite people, Denise Donlon.

To be clear, I don’t know Denise personally, but I feel like we grew up together. From the early days at MuchMusic through her Sony Music and CBC days, including her humanitarian work, Denise went where no other woman had gone before and succeeded. I’ve watched her and admired her courage, ingenuity and determination.

Last week I had the pleasure of talking to Denise. I have to admit, going into the interview I was intimidated, but from the second I picked up the phone everything was fine. It was like talking to an old friend. Before getting to my questions we chatted briefly about life, the holidays, Donald Trump (and what that might mean for the world), and Michelle Obama and how much we were going to miss her.

Diving in I wanted to know what Denise thought when the idea of the book was first proposed. Her first thought was “Of Course!”. She initially thought it would be a celebrity story book. With such a huge number of stories to choose from the question quickly became, how to narrow it down. Her criteria? The story either had to be funny, or it had to have taught her something, or it had to illustrate a point. But, the book took its own path and it wanted to be more. At the end of the day, even though the book was written chronologically, it’s also thematic and ends up being about leadership, feminism, humanitarianism, the times when she felt happiest and most fulfilled, and when she was able to use her power and position for good.

I think this is the best thing about the book. Don’t get me wrong, I love the celebrity stories and the history, but Denise gives us a true peek into her life. I think my favourite part of the book is her description of her husband Murray McLauchlan‘s heart surgery. It’s scary and touching. It reminds us that we’re all vulnerable and that music and friends have great healing properties.CCMA Awards 2016 Murray McLauchlan and Denise Donlon Green CarpetThe main thing that struck home for me was the honesty and her ability to express in words the things we all feel. The Imposter Syndrome is something many of us deal with and Denise touches on in this in the book. I asked her if today she felt like a successful author, after a quick pause and a laugh she answered, “No”. Her book is out, the reviews are good, but there’s still that little voice in her head, she calls it “the troll”, who’s just waiting for a bad review. I can 100% relate.

It was a lot of work, the book took two years to write and she was careful with the project. She’s glad people are reading it, and she’s very glad that young women are reading it. She’s hoping it inspires young women to dust themselves off when they fall down and get back up. We talked a little more about it and how you can use that voice in your head to stay humble and appreciate the good things when they come.

When I asked Denise about downtime, she’s said she’s hoping to spend more time outdoors. She’s a big fan of kayaking, walking, bird watching, spending time at the cottage and yoga. She loves taking time in nature or just being aware of oneself on a yoga mat. These are the places where fresh ideas come up.
FEARLESS-AS-POSSIBLE-UNDER-THE-CIRCUMSTANCES-Written-by-Denise-DonlonSo what’s next for Denise Donlon? Right now she’s thinking about another War Child trip and she joked she may just have to grow up and find a job. I responded that it looked to me like things seemed to find her and I would be surprised if that didn’t continue. We talked a bit about the fact that, at the age of 60, corporations may not be ready to take the time to start something new because it takes time for any employee to show value. Add to that the fact that she’s gotten to a place where she hopes to find something where she’s able to make a positive contribution. She’s got a ton of experience and a great network. I’m sure we’ll being seeing more of her very soon.

We love to ask people about music, it’s what we do. I asked Denise how she listens to her music and who the last five artists/bands were that she listened to. She’s an old school listener and she likes her music on CDs and they’ve just unloaded their Christmas music from the 5 CD player at home. She still finds new music via streaming services but if she likes it, she’ll buy the CD. She loves whole albums and if she likes an artist she wants to hear an album from beginning to end. I’d love to get a look at her collection!

Who was on her list? Theloneous Monk – Live in San Francisco, John Mayer – Born and Raised, Annie Lennox – Diva, Arkells – Morning Report and The Strumbellas – Hope. I love that she rounded out this list with a couple of Canadian artists and one of my all-time favourites, Arkells.

It was truly a pleasure chatting with Denise and I’m highly recommending everyone read this book. It’s a fun, touching, inspiring read.

1 year ago

Joshua’s Highlights and Top Memories of 2016!

2016 was a long, hard year for many of us. Personally, and in the music industry, we experienced loss and heartbreak – BUT, in the midst of all of that, we also had some great moments and we have to remember that!

So, to celebrate what was good about the year, here are 5 of my best memories and highlights of 2016…

Arkells at WayHome

In July we hit WayHome for year 2 and enjoyed the hell out of the weekend, but the lasting memory of the weekend for me will probably be the Arkells on Saturday.

In the afternoon we sat down in the woods with Max and Mike for a pre-show interview that had a super laid back vibe, was a fun little connection, and gave some insight to the direction that the band has taken on stage and on record in the Morning Report era.

And then (after a quick and awesome braid appointment in the VIP salon) we watched the band hit the WayBold stage – where they proceeded to kick ass and take names. From start to end the energy was hot, the horn section and backup singers were on point and a great addition to the show, and the crowd was on fire. Check the videos from the performance and see Arkells at your very next opportunity. I would live that day again right now if you’d let me.

WayHome - ArkellsWayHome - Arkells

Music Video Debut – Tebey: Old School

We knew that Tebey and his team were shooting for a new video when they were at Boots & Hearts… but I never expected to see myself in the official Old School music video!

At 0:11 and 1:32 you can see my Toronto Raptors hat turned around backwards in the summer heat as I sit with Tebey for our pre-show interview. It was a fun vibe while we were hanging out, and an even cooler surprise when the video premiered and I saw myself on the screen.

Let’s not be confused, this isn’t a starring role, but a cool little moment to remember from the year.

It’s also cool seeing Trish in the pit at 2:02 mark snapping the pics that ended up in our post from the show.

Introducing My Mom To Jess Moskaluke And High Valley

For Christmas 2015 my mom wanted High Valley music. So, I picked up a CD, and in her card I told her that we would try to catch Brad and Curtis the next time they played in the Toronto area.

Just our luck, High Valley and Jess Moskaluke came to the CNE in Toronto just days before my mom’s birthday at the end of August, and we were in the crowd to see the show together. BUT, even cooler for us was the chance to bring my mom backstage during our interviews with both Jess and High Valley.

I owe so many thanks to everyone for being so kind and gracious with their time before the show, and for being so sweet to my mom. I was a really cool night, and a memory that I’m happy to have.

High Valley CNE 2016 Bandshell

Garth Brooks In Hamilton, ON

Near the end of March we drove to Hamilton, ON to see the man, the legend, and the reason there’s a website I’m posting on right now… Garth Brooks.

We didn’t have press passes, Trish wasn’t in the photo pit, I had three browser tabs open while I tried to buy tickets to the show – and it was all worth it. We sat in the crowd, packed in with Garth fans that were eagerly awaiting the show. And not a single one of us was disappointed.

Garth Freaking Brooks was freaking awesome!

Hit after hit blasted from the stage, and Mr. Brooks showed us all that he’s still got it. He is still the man at the top of the mountain, and everyone else is tasked with building their career to get as close as possible to what this man has done in the last 25+ years.

Canadian Country Music Week & The CCMA Awards

For the first time we hit Canadian Country Music Week and the Canadian Country Music Awards in London, ON… and it was awesome!

The days were a blur of amazing people, parties, performances, interviews and a little bit of sleep. We got to talk to a heap of artists. We got to reconnect with friendly faces. We had the chance to make new friends. And all of it was against the backdrop of the biggest weekend of the year.

On awards night we had an amazing opportunity to take in all of the action. Trish and I both got to hang out at the green carpet to see everyone make their entrance. And during the show Trish was inside with her camera and I was in the media tent with the chance to see the CCMA winners just moments after their big moments on stage.

It was awesome, and we both hope we get to experience that again.

CCMA Awards 2016 Strut Social House JJ ShiplettDean Brody CCMA 2016 Win

1 year ago

Trish’s 10 Most Listened to Albums of 2016

When Joshua posted his 10 most listened to albums of 2016 post, I wondered out loud if it was too soon to be writing such a post. Joshua and I chatted briefly about it and his conclusion was that there wasn’t an album that could be released now that could top his list of 10 based on how much he’d already listened to said albums.

I thought, hmm let me start putting together my list and see if this is true for me. Turns out, yep it is. While I’m always open to new music and I’m hoping amazing albums come out between now and the end of the year, my list is pretty much set too.

So here, in the order that they came into my head, is my list of the 10 Most Listened to albums of 2016

aussie-flag Mabel: Rachel (2015)

Most played track: My Way

We first caught up with the boys from Mabel during Canadian Music Week. They were so much fun to chat with and their set was energetic and fresh. I love their sound which reminds me of late 50’s rock with catchy lyrics and when Mikey roars, oh, be still my heart.


aussie-flag Paul Cowderoy: Wet Hessian Bag (2015)

Most played track: Gimme That

If fate had a different plan I would have met Paul Cowderoy this summer. There was  a plan for the Australian country singer to do a club tour here in Canada and Toronto was on his list. There were other things in the cards for Paul. A car accident put this guy on pause for a time. But he’s back putting out new music and I’m hoping he’ll be coming to Canada soon. This album was in my car for the first six months of the year and I made everyone who got into the car listen to it.

american-flag-emoji Chris Lane : Girl Problems (2016)

Most played track: Maybe

I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Chris Lane this summer and one of the things we do going into interviews is our research. I was happy to listen to Chris Lane’s Girl Problems over and over. There are hints of R&B, dance beats, with hints of pop, amazing rock guitar, energetic banjo, and Chris’ mean falsetto, it all comes together perfectly, if you haven’t listened yet, you should.

canadian-flag-emojiArkells: Morning Report (2016)

Most played track: A Little Rain (A Song For Pete)

This is the only album that appears on both of our lists. I love this album. It makes me want to sing and dance, it makes me feel happy. That’s a winner in my book, every day. I had the pleasure of seeing Arkells perform at both WayHome and at an awesome The Edge Sugar Beach Session.  These guys really know how to entertain a crowd.arkells-morning-report-album-cover
canadian-flag-emoji Shawn Mendes – Illuminate (2016)
Most played track: Mercy

This might surprise you but I love Shawn Mendes. True story. I first saw Shawn Mendes when he opened for Taylor Swift on the 1989 Tour. This young Canadian singer/songwriter has blown up and I’m not surprised. I’m pretty sure I’ve played this album every day since it came out. 
canadian-flag-emojiJuly Talk – Touch (2016)

Most played track: Picturing Love

I come to the July Talk party a little late. I didn’t know! I caught the band at one of The Edge’s Sugar Beach Sessions and was blown away. This is an album that I put on and play front to back, no skips. It’s moody, it’s fun, it’s playful and it feels kinda dangerous. I love this album.
american-flag-emoji Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered (2016)

Most played song: untitled 08 | 09.06.2014

I wasn’t expecting this and was thrilled when it came out. After seeing Kendrick Lamar at WayHome in 2015 I started listening to everything Kendrick. The music, the lyrics, it sucks me in and it’s perfect.kendrick-lamar-untitled-unmastered-cover-art

canadian-flag-emoji Jessica Mitchell: Hold Onto The Light

Most played song: Grown Up Things

I’ve been to quite a few of Jessica Mitchell‘s shows and she never disappoints. This is another album that I listen to every day. The timbre of Jessica’s voice is exquisite, I feel everything she sings, I believe her and I feel like we’re kindred spirits. 

aussie-flag The Lazys: The Lazys (2015)

Most played song: Shake It Like You Mean It

The Lazys, in three words energetic, enthusiastic, and enchanting. This amazing band from Australia has put together the perfect storm of rock and roll and luckily for us they love Canada. The boys tour and record here regularly and I’d be lying if we said we weren’t hoping for a move to Canada.

aussie-flag The Dead Love: So Whatever (2016)

Most played song: Wastelands

I first met The Dead Love during Canadian Music Week‘s  Aussie BBQ. They have a great energy, it’s rock and roll, it’s alternative and punky, it’s grungy, and they can slow things down and keep your attention. They bring together technically great musicianship and compelling vocals. They sing about love but not the sweet kind, summer and living in a wasteland. Check it out!

With the amount of music I listen to, ten is a tough number. I’m going to cheat a little, I’ve added an additional five here as honourable mentions. Four out of five are Canadian.

canadian-flag-emojiThe Dead South: Good Company
The Dead South Good Company







Birds of Bellwoods: The Fifth
Birds of Bellwoods The Fifth






canadian-flag-emojiCrown Lands: Mantra
Crown Lands Mantra






england-flagPink Floyd: Wish You Were Here
Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here






canadian-flag-emojiThe Tragically Hip: Fully Completely

The Tragically Hip Fully Completely

1 year ago

Joshua’s 10 Most Listened to Albums of 2016!

With 2016 quickly drawing to a close (really, it’s coming faster than I thought) it’s time to start looking back at the year that was.

So, here we are today with the 10 albums that I’ve found myself listening to the most in 2016. Some were released this year and caught my ear instantly. Some were released in 2015 and carried over into this year.

And one was released almost 40 years ago, but still holds up as well as you could ever imagine.

I don’t have these albums ranked by anything other than them being on the list. I don’t have spin or stream numbers, no stats at all, but I can tell what tracks have been played the most, and a little more.

canadian-flag-emojiArkells: Morning Report (2016)

Most played track: A Little Rain (A Song For Pete)

We were lucky to hear much of Morning Report live at WayHome before the album came out. And that early (and awesome exposure) had me hooked. Being able to pop these songs on to play in sequence or on shuffle is a treat, with great hooks, fun beats, and memories attached to one of the most fun live sets of the year.


canadian-flag-emojiMeghan Patrick: Grace & Grit (2016)

Most played track: I Won’t Drink

We’d been waiting for Meghan to release this album for more than 2 years… and I was not disappointed. From top to bottom Grace & Grit delivers. If you want upbeat party and dance country, it’s there with Bow Chicka Wow Wow and Grace & Grit. And if you want slowed down, hit you in the heart tracks you’ll find Still Loving You and Thanks To You. If you still haven’t listened to this album yet, it’s time.

Meghan Patrick Grace and Grit Album Art

canadian-flag-emojiThe Bros. Landreth: Let It Lie (Deluxe) (2015)

Most played track: I Am The Fool

You might not know this album – but maybe you do since it’s the 2015 Juno winner for Roots Traditional Album of the Year. The instrumental and lyrical work on the album have drawn me in on many occasions since I first started listening. Put it on when you’re in a mellow mood and let it ride. Trust me.


american-flag-emojiCharles Kelley: The Driver (2016)

Most played track: Leaving Nashville

I was looking forward to this album… and to say that I wasn’t disappointed would be one of the biggest understatements of the year. The only complaint is that there are only 9 tracks on the album. The Driver was a smash hit, but Leaving Nashville is the one that I have played the most. Take a listen and let the story hit you. Then listen to the rest of the record.

Charles Kelley The Driver Album Cover

american-flag-emojiCam: Untamed (2015)

Most played track: Village

Untamed dropped in December 2015 to all kinds of critical and fan praise… and it has stayed hot for an entire year. And while it’s nearly impossible to pick one song to connect to more than any other, Village stands out for me. It’s the one that made me cry at Boots & Hearts 2016, and it’s the one that I could listen to and think on over and over again. If you still only know Cam’s radio hits, you owe it to yourself to listen to Untamed.

Cam Untamed Album Cover

american-flag-emojiFleetwood Mac: Rumours (1977)

Most played track: The Chain

I told you one of these albums was nearly 40 years old! Fleetwood Mac made magic when they made this album. And in 2016 I listened to it on vinyl, on CD, and have it downloaded to my phone via Spotify. Track to track it holds up and is an example of music standing the test of time. Listen to the musicianship, the lyrics, the harmonies, all of it… and enjoy!


canadian-flag-emojiAutumn Hill: Anchor (2015)

Most played track: Mixtape

I love this duo. In fact, if there’s a list of artists I’d like to see live far more often, Autumn Hill is on it. And if they wanted to play this album from front to back, in order or on shuffle, I’d be totally okay with that. I’d also be able to sing along to every track. But the upbeat, nostalgic nature of Mixtape sits at the top of my rotation.


american-flag-emojiRyan Adams: 1989 (2015)

Most played track: Stay

Yes, I love T.Swift’s 1989, I’ve listened and loved it since it came out. But the longer these songs exist in the universe, the more I find myself listening to Adams play and sing them. They are as much reinterpretations as they are covers, and Stay has become a different song in the hands of the indie hero.

Ryan Adams 1989 Cover Art

canadian-flag-emojiBrett Kissel: Pick Me Up (2015)

Most played track: Pick Me Up

Dear Brett, keep this sh*t up. Kissel has been on fire, and the release of this record has been a big part of that. The Albertan hit the nail on the head with tracks like Airwaves and Cool With That… and his duet with Carolyn Dawn Johnson on I Didn’t Fall In Love With Your Hair will live on as one of the most impactful songs in a long time. But Pick Me Up has been played more than any other in my ears. That’s just they way it goes.


american-flag-emojiMaren Morris: Hero (2016)

Most played track: My Church

If you’ve listened to this album you know why I’ve listened to it so much. Maren Morris is at the beginning of what could be a very long, loud career. And to listen to her sing songs like Sugar and I Could Use A Love Song right beside 80s Mercedes and Rich is a privilege as a country music fan. But, for me, since the day it was released, My Church has been a jam and I’ve listened to it more than any of the other 10 tracks.


1 year ago

102.1 the Edge Presents The 2016 CASBY Awards

With Performances from Modern Space, Darcys, Banners, Finger Eleven and Sam Roberts Band

Where to even start… what an amazing night at The Phoenix! From the first note of the first band, I was all in. Yeah, there were awards, and they were cool, very cool but the performances, they were incredible!

First on the stage was Modern Space, they were up for the New Artist award and I’m not sure anyone in the audience would have thought this band could lose. They were great! Amazing energy, fun musical hooks, technically tight and super fun to watch.
The Edge 102.1 Casbys 2016 Modern Space

And then it was time for the first award, New Artist! Vying for the win were Attica Riots, Banners, The Dirty Nil and Modern Space. And the winner was… Banners!
The Edge 102.1 Casbys 2016 Award Win Bannerscasbys-2016-banners-hotdogmel-4469

Gracious and humble, Banners’ Michael Nelson accepted the award with a big smile on his face and if that isn’t the best way to start off an evening, and get an artist hyped for their performance, I don’t know what is. And yes, that is a #HotDogMel making an appearance beside Michael. Turns out Mel had a baby last week and this was her first time missing the award show, so her coworkers wanted to make sure that Mel was representing. Nice job guys!

I loved the way the show moved, great organization, quick changes between, great banter from the on-air personalities and Molson Canadian girls throwing t-shirts at the crowd whenever they got a chance.

Next, we were treated to a performance by Darcys. It was a fun, solid set which left us pumped for the next band but also looking forward to their next Toronto show, WayHome For The Holidays, featuring Darcys & Guests on November 23rd.
102.1 The Edge 2016 Casbys Jason Couse - Darcys

And then it was on to the next award, Favourite New Song! And what a tough category, nominated for the award were Wintersleep – Amerika, Arkells – Private School, July Talk – Push + Pull, Banners – Shine A Light and The Strumbellas – Spirits. And the winner was… July Talk for Push + Pull, sadly for us they were not on hand to accept their award  but they’ll be in town October 28th and 29th at The Danforth Music Hall. July Talk - The Edge Sugar Beach Session

The third act of the night was Banners. Dressed all in white with a win under his belt he put on a great set and charmed us all.
102.1 The Edge 2016 Casby Awards - Banners

The next award was for Favourite Sugar Beach Session, now if you’ve never seen a Sugar Beach Session, you should! They’re amazing, small, intimate and like nothing else. Nominees in this category were Arkells, Darcys, July Talk, The Strumbellas, USS, and Wintersleep. And the award went to… Arkells!!! I was thrilled, this was definitely one of my favourites. The boys were not there but they did send a video to say funny stuff and thank you.
102.1 The Edge Casby Awards Arkells Win

Fourth on the bill, Finger Eleven and my only question was, how had I never seen this band live before? Scott Anderson looked like he was having the time of his life and the rest of the band were 100% invested. Watching James Black and Rick Jackett kill it on guitar was amazing.  We caught up with these guys during the CCMA Music Week when we talked with them about their side project, Blackie Jackett Jr. My favourite moment was the mashup of Paralyzer with Another Brick In The Wall, Part Two, complete with full audience sing along. It was spectacular.


The final award was for Favourite New Record and the nominees were… Billy Talent – Afraid of Heights, Wintersleep – The Great Detachment, City and Colour – If I Should Go Before You Go, The Tragically Hip – Man Machine Poem, and The Zolas – Swooner. Now with no disrespect to any of the other nominees, I really didn’t think anyone could beat The Tragically Hip but the winner of this award was Billy Talent – The Great Detachment, nicely done boys! Billy Talent are out on an International tour and were not there to receive their award.

Next, in a surprise move,  Josie Dye took a few moments to talk about The Tragically Hip and Gord Downie. She’s a fan and a friend and her words were eloquent and well-received. Earlier in the year, 102.1 the Edge had asked fans to come in and share their thoughts with Gord and the rest of the band.  They had put together an amazing print which they presented to Sam Roberts, who will be passing it on to the band. I’m sure they’ll be touched.

102.1 The Edge 2016 Casby Awards - Gord Downie - Sam Roberts, Josie Dye

And then it was on to our headliner, Sam Roberts Band! With a mixture of a little old and a little new, the Montreal band brought positive energy and ridiculous musical talent to the stage. It was a privilege to see them in such a small venue.

A quick thank you to the Edge for inviting us, it was an amazing evening and an apology to all of the drummers at the show, who never made it into a single shot (except for the one above). I’m sorry!
102.1 The Edge 2016 Casby Award Winners

MODERN SPACEcasbys-2016-sean-graham-modern-space-wm-4339casbys-2016-modern-space-sam-arion-wm-4359 casbys-2016-cody-steele-modern-space-wm-4366 casbys-2016-alex-laurie-modern-space-wm-4371 casbys-2016-sam-arion-and-cody-steele-modern-space-wm-4345casbys-2016-modern-space-wm-4431The Edge 102.1 Casbys 2016 Modern SpaceDARCYScasbys-2016-jason-couse-darcys-wm-4632 casbys-2016-jason-couse-darcys-wm-4527 casbys-2016-jason-couse-darcys-wm-4608 102.1 The Edge 2016 Casbys Jason Couse - DarcysBANNERScasbys-2016-banners-wm-4678 casbys-2016-banners-wm-4684 casbys-2016-banners-wm-4701 casbys-2016-banners-wm-4707 102.1 The Edge 2016 Casby Awards - BannersFINGER ELEVEN
casbys-2016-finger-eleven-wm-4790casbys-2016-finger-eleven-wm-4827casbys-2016-finger-eleven-wm-4851102.1 The Edge Casby Awards 2016 - Finger Eleven - James Black102.1 The Edge Casby Awards 2016 - Finger Eleven - Sean Andersoncasbys-2016-finger-eleven-wm-4892SAM ROBERTS

1 year ago

Morning Report: Arkells at WayHome 2016!

Oh baby, look how far we’ve come!

Four years ago we saw the Arkells on stage at Toronto’s CNE, and they did a hell of a job entertaining the crowd. Saturday night we saw the pride of Hamilton on the WayBright stage at WayHome 2016 and holy shit did they ever one up themselves.

Going into the set we knew things were going to be bigger than anything the boys had done in the past. We knew it because they told us themselves when we sat down with Max and Mike in the woods. Max told us that he wanted to dance more than he used to… and he did. And he told us that the band would be introducing a horn section and back-up singers… and they did that too. But when we asked them what the difference between the stage shows then and the stage shows now is, one of the biggest things they mentioned was the crowd knowing the songs and singing along.

Here’s the thing, we sat and talked to the guys, and then at 8:15 we were at the WayBright stage to catch the show. And while it’s usually pretty easy to weave a post together to share with you guys, this one feels different. The Arkells were so good, so explosive, so energetic, so ready for the moment that we have to talk about that and then get to the other stuff.

1) Max was on fire!

Truly, the only way he could have been hotter would have been to actually be alight. In some slick white pants he danced and strutted and moved around the stage like he owned it… and for an hour on Saturday night, he did.

AND he crowd surfed as he sang. The dude climbed down off the stage during A Little Rain and perched himself on the barrier, and then as he held the mic and sang he leaned back and let the crowd pull him in a few rows, balancing on hands and trying to hold notes. It was the kind of moment that you hope every band gets – and Max got it.

WayHome - Arkells

2) The whole band was in top shape!

Anthony killed his solo on the keys – and the crowd responded with the loudest cheer I’ve ever heard for a keyboard anything. Mike did his share of the guitar work and more as Max wandered and danced… and though they joked about it before the show, he didn’t look like it bothered him one single bit.

But don’t think that Nick and Tim weren’t also in a groove! The boys holding down the rhythm and bass ran a tight ship that kept the whole machine in motion. And that machine sounded as tight as anyone on stage this weekend.

3) Northern Soul Horns & The Arkettes!

That horn section Mike and Max told us about, they were freaking fantastic. They busted out some Jackie Wilson and The Jackson Five, just to give us all a taste of what they had to offer. And when it was time to just play along with the band and fill in the sound, they were all over that too. It worked. It really worked.

Then we get to The Arkettes… these two ladies busted out My Girl in such perfect form that the security guard closest to me broke out in her biggest smile of the damn day. Their voices complimented the Arkells’ tracks every chance they got – and they looked like they were having just as much fun as the rest of the band up on that stage.

WayHome - Arkells-0401

4) They covered The Hip!

In this year of The Tragically Hip’s unfortunate farewell tour we are learning more and more about how much Gord Downie and the band mean to everyone around us, and to ourselves. So when the boys played Music At Work and the crowd cheered and danced and Max strutted and waved his arms and damn near channeled Gord himself as the song went on. The note in my book from that moment says one simple thing: People are so happy.

Leading into the festival we told Matt and Kim that they’d be winners with the crowd if they played The Hip, nobody had to tell the Arkells. They know how much the music means to them, and how much it means to everyone that was in the crowd on WayHome day 2.

5) All of the singing along!

I know we’re only two days into a three day festival, and all kinds of great things are going to happen on Sunday… but so far we haven’t seen any set get more singing along than the Arkells got. People sang choruses and verses and call and answers and they were loud. Well mostly they were loud, Max did have to ask for a little more volume once, but it didn’t happen twice.

Back in the woods they said the biggest difference was that people knew the words now… those people proved it.

WayHome - Arkells - Interview-9706In less than two weeks the Arkells will drop a new album on the world. Morning Report comes to us on Friday, August 5 – and if the reaction to tracks like Private School and Drake’s Dad are any indication, it’s going to be a hit. Max told us that it was cool to be in studio working on Morning Report, trying to come up with something that wasn’t High Noon.

The last thing I brought up during our chat in the woods was the Jonah Keri podcast from May 2016. Max and Nick were caught by Jonah on their tour bus on a stop in Denver. It was a cool little baseball meets rock and roll listen that made me happy and kind of brought interests together. If you love either the Arkells (they tell some good stories and give cool insight) or Jonah and how he conducts interviews – give it a listen!

Note: I also asked how that club tour went, and it seems to have been great. The boys said that the new cities they hit were a lot of fun, and the shows they put on in cities like Boston and DC were the best they’d had in the States yet.

The Arkells were all over the stage on Saturday night – but one of my favourite moments came near the end when the music stopped just long enough for the band to come together and take a photo of the crowd with peace signs up in the air. It was fleeting and sweet, and it worked.

When they’re around next (click here and check) get a ticket and see the new show. It might not be WayHome big – but it’s going to be WayHome good!

Arkells WayHome 2016 Setlist

Come To Light
Michigan Left
Never Thought That This Would Happen
Drake’s Dad
Oh, The Boss Is Coming!
Pulling Punches
Private School
Music At Work
Leather Jacket

WayHome - ArkellsWayHome - Arkells-0280WayHome - Arkells - interview-9708WayHome - Arkells-0295WayHome - Arkells-0411WayHome - Arkells-0288WayHome - Arkells-0454WayHome - Arkells-0368WayHome - Arkells-0349WayHome - Arkells - interview-9725WayHome - Arkells - interview-9728WayHome - Arkells-0482

2 years ago

WayHome 2016 Preview: Matt and Kim Q&A

WayHome 2016 is just a heartbeat away, and we’re getting more excited with every day that ticks by.

This 3 day festival is packed with talent and entertainment on 4 stages – and will go late into the night on both Friday and Saturday. And one of the acts that will be part of the late night party on Friday night is Brooklyn’s Matt and Kim when they hit the WayBold stage.

The indie pop act have Coachella experience, so they aren’t going to be out of place at WayHome, and their music is as upbeat and danceable as you could possibly hope for in a 1am to 2am time slot under the tented WayBold stage – and beyond.

To get ready for the set and the festival we caught up with Matt Johnson by phone to talk about surprises, samples, the studio, 1am, and more…

Matt and Kim Press Photo

Q. LCD Soundsystem headlines Friday night on the main stage – and then you guys get to play the end of the night party slot, do you have any surprises or plans to keep that momentum going from everyone’s high earlier in the night?

A. Matt’s short answer was “that’s our set in a nutshell”, bringing energy and keeping a party going is what the band has been doing since they started playing warehouse parties in Brooklyn.

When it comes to surprises there was a pause. Matt told me that they have some, but he didn’t want to show his hand. BUT, he did tell me that none of us should be surprised if a bunch of naked blow up dolls start flying off the stage and into the crowd.

You’ve been warned!

Q. We read that you like to do some sampling in your live set – is there any chance that you add some Canadian flavour to those samples when you come up here for WayHome?

A. The immediate answer: Maybe.

Matt continued by saying that he does have some Drake and Justin Bieber songs in his personal knowledge set – and asked me if there were any other bands that he should be looking up.

And I’ll be honest, I could have gone a lot of ways with that. Arkells and Metric will both be at WayHome this year… and Arcade Fire are headliners, and Neil Young is a legend. But the 1st band that came to my mind was The Tragically Hip for so many obvious reasons. So keep an ear open, maybe we’ll hear some of that!

Matt and Kim We Were The Weirdos EP CoverQ. We Were The Weirdos was recorded in 1 week between Coachella Weekend 1 and 2… what was it like in the studio that week? Hectic? Stressful? Exciting? Adrenaline Rush?

A. Matt gave me a different word and let it sit for a second… Inspiring.

He said that the songs they took into the studio and the idea of getting them done and live online in less than a week had elements of stress – but the inspiration of just getting to work and making music instead of overthinking things (which Matt admits that he does on a regular basis, and not just in the studio) was a great experience.

Also, I’ve listened to the 4 song EP more than a couple times now and the inspiration thing seems to have worked pretty well for Matt and Kim on We Were The Weirdos.

Q. The Get It (from We Were The Weirdos) lyrics are all over the 1am theme which just happens to be the slot that will be playing at WayHome – it feels like a pretty perfect fit to us. Do you feel good about that coincidence?

A. Coincidence: Yes

When I mentioned that it would fit perfectly as the 1st song of Matt and Kim’s 1am to 2am slot Matt didn’t disagree – and told me that maybe they’d have to take advantage of that coincidence.

During our call Matt also told me that the band takes pride in making sure everyone has a good time when they play live. Whether they know all the songs, a couple songs, or no songs at all. So whether Matt and Kim opens with Get It or not, I’m sure it will be a party.

Matt also told me that as artists and New Yorkers they tend to live their lives late in the day/night. It’s not uncommon for him to eat dinner at 11pm, and stay up late. It’s what they know, so it’s no surprise to Matt that it’s what they wrote in the song.

Matt and Kim Press Photo VerticalQ. Your videos have become a calling card of what you do – is there any chance we see some video recording going on at the WayBold stage?

A. This one brought another maybe… mostly because of logistics. BUT as we talked about it Matt came up with a great idea.

There needs to be a piece of software that scrubs through social media feeds to finds clips of songs from a performance and stitches them together for a full live performance video. That’s a free idea for you right there people!

But until then Matt says he’ll continue to open up Twitter and Instagram after shows to see new angles and the videos that people are capturing throughout the set. So if you’re getting video of Matt and Kim’s WayHome set, make sure you’re tagging them!

Q. Last one before we go… I’m a little bit of a betting man, so I want to know what you think the odds are that you guys are the best dancers up on stage for the whole weekend?

A. First he laughed and then Matt was humble about his dance moves, recognizing that he tries his very best with what he’s got.

But, in his words, “Kim is a machine!”

When she was growing up her brother was a rave dj so she was always dancing and Matt thinks that rhythm brought her to the drums in the first place.

He also said (and is 100% correct) that you have to give major props to anyone that can stand on a drum kit or on the hands of the audience and shake their booty like she does – and he thinks she will probably be near the top of the list in dance moves from WayHome performers.

Thanks again to Matt for hanging on the phone all the way from LA to Toronto. We can’t wait to see them at WayHome 2016!

ps. Check out these moves on Kim and give a listen to We Were The Weirdos!

2 years ago

2016 WayHome Day-to-Day Schedule and Set Times

You’ve been waiting, we’ve been waiting… but today we wait no more!

The 2016 WayHome set times and stage assignments have been set – and now the personal planning begins. Have a look at the lists per day and per stage and start figuring out where you need to be and who you need to see.

AND don’t forget to check the late night set times and assignments for Friday and Saturday nights!

Friday, July 22

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats WayHome 2016


Tennyson: 1pm – 1:45pm
River Tiber: 2:15pm – 3pm
Braids: 2:45pm – 3:30pm
White Lung: 5:30pm – 6:15pm
FIDLAR: 7:30pm – 8:30pm
Marian Hill: 11pm – 12am
Unknown Mortal Ochestra: 12:30am – 1:30am


Tourist: 1:30pm – 2:15pm
AlunaGeorge: 2:45pm – 3:45pm
Shad: 4:45pm – 5:45pm
Tory Lanez: 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Foals: 8:15pm – 9:30pm
Mac DeMarco: 11:15pm – 12:30am
Matt and Kim: 1am – 2am


LANY: 1:15pm – 2pm
Femi Kuti & The Positive Force: 2:45pm – 3:45pm
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats: 4:30pm – 5:30pm
Wolf Parade: 6:15pm – 7:15pm
Chvrches: 8:15pm – 9:30pm
Rae Scremmurd: 11pm – 12am
Keys N Krates: 12:30am – 1:45am


Bombino: 1:45pm – 2:45pm
The Struts: 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Gary Clark Jr.: 5:15pm – 6:15pm
Metric: 7:15pm – 8:30pm
LCD Soundsystem: 9:30pm – 11:20pm

LCD Soundsystem WayHome 2016

Saturday, July 23

Arkells WayHome 2016


Boom Forest: 1pm – 1:45pm
Mothers: 2:15pm – 3pm
Noah Gundersen: 3:30pm – 4:15pm
Banners: 5:15pm – 6pm
Badbadnotgood: 7pm – 8:15pm
Patrick Watson: 11pm – 12:15am
Savages: 1am – 2am


Little Scream: 1:00pm – 1:45pm
GoldLink: 2:15pm – 3:15pm
Half Moon Run: 4pm – 5pm
A Tribe Called Red: 5:45pm – 6:45pm
The Last Shadow Puppets: 7:45pm – 9pm
Vince Staples: 11:15pm – 12:15am
FKA Twigs: 1am – 2am


Young Empires: 1:15pm – 2pm
Phosphorescent: 2:30pm – 3:30pm
Bahamas: 4:15pm – 5:15pm
Kurt Vile & The Violators: 6pm – 7pm
Arkells: 8pm – 9pm
Chet Faker: 11pm – 12am
Major Lazer: 12:30am – 1:45am


Lindsey Stirling: 1:15pm – 2:15pm
X Ambassadors: 3pm – 4pm
Third Eye Blind: 4:45 – 6pm
M83: 7pm – 8pm
Arcade Fire: 9pm – 11pm

Arcade Fire WayHome 2016

Sunday, July 24

Haim WayHome 2016


Allie X: 1pm – 1:45pm
The Paper Kites: 2:15pm – 3pm
All The Witches: 3:45pm – 4:30pm
Black Mountain: 5:30pm – 6:30pm
White Denim: 7:15pm – 8:15pm


Bishop Briggs: 1:15pm – 2pm
BØRNS: 2:30pm – 3:30pm
Robert DeLong: 4:30pm – 5:30pm
MØ: 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Glass Animals: 8:30pm – 9:30pm


Dilly Dally: 1pm – 1:45pm
Coleman Hell: 2:45pm – 3:45pm
Lucius: 4:30pm – 5:30pm
The Arcs: 6:15pm – 7:15pm
Ray Lamontagne: 8pm – 9:30pm


Oh Wonder: 1:30pm – 2:30pm
Stars: 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Beirut: 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Haim: 7:30pm – 8:30pm
The Killers: 9:30pm – 11pm

The Killers WayHome 2016

2 years ago
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