Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A personal note to start with

First of all, some sad news. We’re distressed to report the death of Kristi Johnston, who recorded a wonderful record, That Would Be Fine, for Stony Plain Records back in 2000. Alas, when the CD came out Kristi disappeared from public view; she cut back on her live appearances in the Winnipeg area and then stopped performing altogether. When she died earlier this month, following a fall, she was telling friends that she wanted to get back into music. Kristi was 35, and her death diminishes the Stony Plain family.

We also note the passing of Blind Pig artist Bill Perry; Stony Plain distributes Blind Pig in Canada, and we send our condolences to Bill’s family, and our friends at Blind Pig.

Finally, we note the retirement of Bill Johnston, who handled Stony Plain’s affairs at Warner Music Canada for many years. He writes:
"It has been a terrific 30-year ride at Warner for me and it has really been a pleasure working with you over the past few years. You and your wonderful label will continue to be in very capable hands."
Bill has been a great friend to our label, and we will miss him. We welcome Ken Boyer as our point man with our Canadian distributor.


New Releases from Stony Plain Records

Featuring BLUE RODEO, CORB LUND, JENNIFER WARNES, CHRIS HILLMAN, GORDON LIGHTFOOT and many more. Now available in Canada and released worldwide October 9.




Rory Block joins the Stony Plain family

Stony Plain records is pleased to announce that the label has signed Rory Block to a worldwide record deal. One of the most powerful guitarists who have modeled their work on Delta blues, she has made more than 25 albums over a career that began in the ’60s.

Rory’s first CD for Stony Plain is expected by next spring; she is currently working on material in between a continual round of live appearances. A frequent winner of W.C. Handy Awards (she’s won five in all), she recorded more than a dozen albums for Rounder Records and another four for Telarc, including one titled Sisters and Brothers with two other artists who have been associated with Stony Plain, Eric Bibb and Maria Muldaur.

Born Aurora Block in New Jersey in 1949, her family moved to Greenwich Village as the folk music scene exploded. Her father owned a sandal shop and made a number of albums as an old-tyme fiddler, but she left home at 15, having already sought out the masters of Delta blues — Son House, the Rev. Gary Davis and Mississippi John Hurt among them.

She made her first record in 1965 (as Sunshine Kate) for Elektra, titled How to Play Blues Guitar, went on to record for RCA Victor, Chrysalis, and other labels before making her breakthrough record, High Heeled Blues, with old friend John Sebastian as producer. That 1982 Rounder debut earned solid sales and a huge wave of critical support.
Hailed as "a living landmark," "a national treasure" and named one of the "greatest living acoustic blues artists" by Blues Revue, she calls herself both a traditionalist and an innovator. The New York Times described her playing as "perfect" and went on to say: "Her singing is otherworldly as she wrestles with ghosts, shadows and legends."

Today, Rory Block recalls her earliest influences:
"I now realize how lucky I was to be there, in the right place at the right time. I thought everyone knew these incredible men, these blues geniuses who wrote the book. I later realized how fleeting it was, and how even more precious."

Stony Plain will release future Rory Block CDs with the assistance of various distributors in various territories around the world, including Koch in the U.S. and Rounder in Europe.

David Wilcox: another Stony Plain release is on the way

David Wilcox,
Canada’s veteran rock blues guitarist — will have a third release on Stony Plain this fall. Boy in the Boat is the followup to Rhythm of Love (SPCD-1271) and Rockin’ the Boogie (SPCD-1283). The latter is a stellar collection of some of the best blues-based party music ever recorded. It included some of his earlier hits — "Hypnotizin’ Boogie", "Hot Hot Papa", "Cheap Beer Joint" and "Rattlesnakin’ Daddy" among them.

Wilcox remains one of the busiest Canadian "classic rock" artists on the road today, criss-crossing Canada with a small, incredibly tough band. This has been one of his busiest summers in recent years.

More on Boy in the Boat in the next issue of this newsletter. It’s Wilcox at his best, and the blues is deep in the groove of every tune. The CD is dedicated to the late great keyboard player Richard Bell, who passed away earlier this year. Richard is heard on many of the cuts and was a frequent player with Wilcox at his incendiary live gigs. Boy in the Boat will be released in Canada on October 8.

Ian Tyson: The Gift earns #1 radio spot in Alberta, raves from across Canada

The all-star tribute to Ian Tyson, The Gift (SPCD- 1322) is earning a strong response. Entering Alberta’s CKUA charts at #1, the CD earned the following five-star review excerpt from Michael Regenstrief in the Montreal Gazette:

"This tribute to Ian Tyson … picks up quickly with Corb Lund nailing ‘MC Horses,’ an example of why Tyson is so highly regarded for his modern-day cowboy music, and Jennifer Warnes's beautiful rendition of ‘Blue Mountains of Mexico.’ Gordon Lightfoot goes back to the early days for a nice version of ‘Red Velvet’ and Amos Garrett's take on ‘Some Kind of Fool’ is some kind of fun. Others with topnotch contributions from the rich Tyson catalogue include David Rea, Chris Hillman and Ramblin' Jack Elliott. ****

Steven Stone, writing in Vintage Guitar next month, also had praise: "Unlike some anthologies which feature overblown performances by 'big names' that have little if any affinity for the music they're covering, ‘The Gift’ delivers unfailingly genuine and heartfelt renditions of some of Ian Tyson's best work."

Both Cassandra Szlarski of Canadian Press and Tom Murray wrote major stories — the former appearing in newspapers across the country, while Murray’s piece ran in the Edmonton Journal.

In both interviews, Tyson was frank about his songwriting — he is a slow writer, but did tell Murray that he’s "plugging away" at new tunes but suggested a whole album of new material would be quite a ways off. "I've got two or three songs I'm trying to finish and they're being stubborn", he said. "But I think one of them is pretty good and it's almost done. So I'll just try to keep working on it 'til it gives up." He was enthusiastic about the tribute album: "I think it's just about perfect", Tyson told Murray. "The vast majority of the songs on the album are ones I'd have chosen," he added.

The album is the brainchild of Peter North, the Edmonton journalist and radio programmer. Tyson, wanting to be surprised, had no input into the recording, and did not even hear it — or know who had contributed — until it was released.

What they're saying about Stony Plain's new releases

Harry Manx and Kevin Breit ~ In Good We Trust (SPCD-1320)

"Even if Harry Manx and Kevin Breit weren’t two of the best guitar players on the planet, a recorded collaboration between the pair of them would be news. "In Good We Trust" is a collection of 11 songs that ooze sensuality, dark blues, playful humour, and astonishing instrumental virtuosity. Add vocals that connect instantly with listeners, and you have a joyful CD that will delight roots music and world music enthusiasts everywhere." — http://www.alternatemusicpress.com/

"Noted session and touring guitarists Manx and Breit join forces to create a beautiful, richly textured set of roots-oriented work. Tastefully produced, this blends various slide, acoustic, lap steel, and national steel guitars, as well as mandolin, bazouki and other instruments on a set of covers, traditional material, and originals. This one stayed in my CD player for days – it’s so good, I couldn’t get enough of it. Highly recommended." ‑ CD Hotlist: New Releases for Libraries.

Maria Muldaur — Naughty, Bawdy & Blue (SPCD-1319)

"Even in the early years of her career, Maria Muldaur came across as seductive. Well over 40 years later, she presents herself as downright naughty and the sultry persona still suits her well. Since the early ’90s she has been at her most prolific and at her most consistent, having released an album a year with nary a dud in the bunch. Victoria Spivey wrote some very kind things about Muldaur in 1964 and one can’t help but conclude that she’d still be impressed if she were still around." — Paul-Emile Comeau, Penguin Eggs

"Maria Muldaur has finished her trilogy of tributes to the Blues of pre-WWII with Naughty, Bawdy and Blue and we hope she decides to put out a fourth album … Muldaur has the sensuality to get the butter churnin' on any of these songs, just like Sippie Wallace or Alberta Hunter. You get so many people recording the songs of pre-WWII by the acoustic guitar wizards of those days, but not many try to emulate the classic Blues singers that started the recording boom of the Twenties." — Kyle M. Palarino, contributing editor, BluesWax.

"One of the grittiest, gutsiest, most lowdown blueswomen of her era. Yet, as bold and blisteringly good as Muldaur's blues output has been throughout the last few decades, it all seems a mere prelude to the swampy majesty of this aptly titled collection ... Muldaur is the equal of all the legends she salutes." — Christopher Loudon, Jazz Times

Duke Robillard — Duke Robillard’s World Full of Blues (SPCD-1323)

"Duke Robillard’s World Full Of Blues is a majestic accomplishment, so don’t let that bonus CD deceive you into believing otherwise. There’s not the slightest trace of filler. Both CD’s come with this built-in warranty: All Killer, No Filler. — http://www.jazzreview.com/

"For this outing, blues guitarist Robillard presents a smorgasbord of blues styles - ranging from jump blues to Chicago style to R&B influenced tunes. It’s two CDs of great fun, featuring Robillard’s originals and covers of tunes by such notables as T-Bone Walker, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed, and Memphis Slim." — CD Hotlist: New Releases for Libraries.

New book on Long John Baldry to be launched at Vancouver's Yale Blues Club September 25th

Journalist, author and raconteur Paul Myers will help launch his new book, It Ain't Easy: Long John Baldry and the Birth of the British Blues, at a special event at Vancouver’s long-running blues club, The Yale, on Sept. 25. The book is being published by Douglas McIntyre and features exclusive interviews with Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Mick Fleetwood, John Mayall and Elton John among others. The evening at the Yale is free, but pre-registration is required, with an RSVP.

The evening will also see the screening of the recently released documentary, "Long John Baldry: In the Shadow of the Blues." Directed by Nick Orchard of Soapbox Productions, the film "explores the untold story of a gentle giant, his triumphs and his heartbreaks, through the first-hand recollections and the testimony of those who knew and loved him."

Duke Robillard: On The Road

Here’s the list of Duke Robillard dates confirmed so far for September and October:

9/1/2007 Dunsmuir City Park Dunsmuir CA
9/2/2007 Torch Club Sacramento CA
9/4/2007 Yoshi's Oakland CA
9/5/2007 Santa Fe Station Casino Las Vegas NV
9/6/2007 Boulder Station Casino Las Vegas NV
9/7/2007 Cafe Boogaloo Hermosa Beach CA
9/8/2007 Arcadia Blues Club Arcadia CA
9/9/2007 KSDS Ocean Beach Jazz Festival Ocean Beach CA
9/10/2007 The Rhythm Room Phoenix AZ
9/13/2007 The Soiled Dove Underground Denver CO
9/21/2007 The German Club Pawtucket RI
9/22/2007 Gilrein’s Worcester MA
9/29/2007 Bow Theatre Bow Island AB CANADA
10/6/2007 Private Function Stonington CT
10/19/2007 James Joyce Club Fredericton NB CANADA
10/20/2007 George’s Roadhouse Sackville NB
10/21/2007 Le Club social de Clare Little Brook NS CANADA
10/26/2007 Dante’s at Firefly’s Marlborough MA
10/27/2007 Mexicali Blues Teaneck NJ
10/28/2007 Havana New Hope PA

Recent Blind Pig releases distributed in Canada by Stony Plain Records

JOHN NEMETHMagic Touch — Blind Pig/Stony Plain BPCD-5109.
Tough harp player enrolls Junior Watson on guitar; Anson Funderburgh produces, and the Texas Horns rock.

THE ROUNDERS — Wish I Had You — Blind Pig/Stony Plain BPCD-5110.
Out of Oklahoma City, this young band keeps on truckin’, taking off from where the Delta blues used to be. They make old music sound new, and new music sound old.

HARPERDay By Day — Blind Pig/Stony Plain BPCD 5112.
Plays harmonica — and didgeridoo. Yup, he’s an Aussie, although he tours North American constantly. Blues with grooves and a new sound.

HAMILTON LOOMISJust Ain’t Temporary — Blind Pig/Stony Plain BPCD-5113.
Loomis is a multi-instrumentalist who dedicates his second CD for the label to James Brown, and it features a guest spot from another legend, Bo Diddley.

DAVE HOLERough Diamond — Blind Pig/Stony Plain BPCD-5114.
Australia’s rockin’ blues guitarist rips through 11 tracks that won’t quit.

PETER KARPShadows and Cracks — Blind Pig/Stony Plain BCPD-5115.
A songwriter who owes his groove to the blues, with Dylan (himself no mean blues cat) as an influence.

POPA CHUBBYElectric Chubbyland (Volumes 1 & 2) — Blind Pig/Stony Plain BPCD-5116-5117.
Two astonishing albums that take classic Jimi Hendrix material and Chubby-izes it. The big hits are here ("Voodoo Chile", "The Wind Cries Mary", "Red House", "Purple Haze" and "Little Wing" among them. But you never heard ‘em like this before!

ELVIN BISHOPBooty Bumpin’ — Blind Pig/Stony Plain BPCD-5118).
Great up-tempo party music, recorded live.

NOTE: Stony Plain markets and distributes — with the help of the good folk at Warner Music Canada — Blind Pig in Canada only. US and foreign queries about these records should go to our friends in San Francisco.

Reach out to Stony Plain

• Check the new Stony Plain website to buy music, check the back catalogue, get bio information on our artists, and read news from past newsletters:
• Snail-mail goes to P.O. Box 861, Edmonton, Alberta, T5J 2L8, Canada
• Phone: (780) 468-6423
• FAX: (780) 465-8941.
• Write to Stony Plain’s head man, Holger Petersen, via e-mail at holger@stonyplainrecords.com.
• The man in our too-busy stock room is Peter Chapman. Mail orders, web enquiries, occasional coffee making — this guy does it all!
• If you need media information, review or airplay copies, etc., please get in touch with newsletter editor Richard Flohil:
rflohil@sympatico.ca or (416) 351-1323

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