The passing of Jerry Wexler was not, alas, unexpected, but the sense of personal loss is no less acute. This man's accomplishments — and the amazing music that he helped great artists create — are beacons that will shine for generations to come.
His friendship, and his appreciation of our small label, based so many miles away in a northern city, will always be remembered. It's not an exaggeration to say that his example and his influence can be found in everything we attempt to do at Stony Plain. Part of his kind liner notes for the 25th Stony Plain anniversary release are still proudly on the home page of our website.
Jerry Wexler will be missed by everyone who loves roots music, and the greater musical community will not see his like again. Rest in peace; our sadness is balanced only by the joy he brought to the world.
RODNEY CROWELL SIGNS WITH STONY PLAIN FOR CANADA
One of country music's best songwriters, Nashville's Rodney Crowell, has signed a licensing agreement with Stony Plain for Canada.
Sex & Gasoline (SPCD-1338) will be released on Stony Plain, through Warner Music Canada, on September 30.
Rodney Crowell first came to music fans' attention as a member of Emmylou Harris's Hot Band, with which he played for three years. As a solo artist, he'd had no less than 25 charted country hits, including five number ones from his 1987 multi-platinum Diamonds & Dirt release.
Sex & Gasoline is the first Rodney Crowell album to be produced by Joe Henry, who is responsible for critically applauded albums by Solomon Burke, Bettye LaVette, Aimee Mann, Loudon Wainwright and Mary Gauthier, among others. Sidemen on the album include guitarist Doyle Bramhall III, Jay Bellerose on drums, and Toronto’s David Piltch on bass.
Crowell himself says the new CD includes "some of the best performances I've given to date".
Listen to clips and pre-order the album, Sex And Gasoline, at stonyplainrecords.com
FOUR NEW STONY PLAIN RELEASES IN SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER
In addition to the Canadian release of the new Rodney Crowell CD, Sex & Gasoline (see previous story) on September 30, Stony Plain is getting set for the international release of two other important CDs the same day.
Joe Louis Walker will release Witness to the Blues (SPCD-1337), his Stony Plain debut, produced by Duke Robillard. A widely varied album, with Walker’s distinctive guitar work front and center on a collection of powerful songs, it features a duet with singer Shemekia Copeland, "Lover’s Holiday." International release will be September 30; Canadian release September 16. European release will be on the Dixie Frog label.
September 30 is also the international release date for the long-awaited new Rory Block CD, Blues Walkin’ Like a Man: A Tribute to Son House (SPCD-1329). The CD will be released in Canada on September 16.
Full of powerful performances, with John Sebastian playing harmonica on three tracks, Ms. Block reinterprets the songs with energy and passion.
Stony Plain is especially proud to announce the international release — on October 14 — of a DVD recording by Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters (SPDVD-1326). The Hope Radio Sessions DVD includes studio footage of many of the tracks on The Hope Radio CD, as well as two rare acoustic performances and an interview with the guitarist.
Discover more about our fall releases at stonyplainrecords.com
BIG DAVE McLEAN: LAUNCHING HIS NEW CD IN HIS HOME TOWN
Big Dave McLean will launch his third Stony Plain album, Acoustic Blues — Got ‘em From The Bottom (SPCD-1334) — at two special dates at his "home club" in Winnipeg.
Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club is Winnipeg’s best known roots music venue, and McLean plays there every week. On Friday and Saturday, August 29 and 30, however, he’s hosting a special celebration, complete with good friends, Gord Kidder on harmonica, Chris Carmichael on guitars, Ken McMahon on drums, and bassist Bernie Thiessen on bass.
John Scoles, who runs the venue, says: "Dave’s a pillar on the local scene. Sometimes, the media around here take him for granted — because he’s stayed home, honed his craft, and because he plays in Winnipeg all the time. He’s a national treasure. Right under their noses!"
McLean was the winner of this year’s Maple Blues Award for his lifetime contribution to the blues, and his two previous CDs for Stony Plain both won Western Canadian Music Awards.
The US release for Acoustic Blues — Got ‘em From The Bottom is set for September 2.
It’s time for Canada’s neighbours to the south to discover McLean. As journalist, Peter North says in his sleeve notes: "He’s the real deal, a blues singer with a voice that could give a mile’s worth of boxcars rumbling through the Winnipeg rail yards a run for their money."
Listen to clips and buy the album "Acoustic Blues: Got 'Em From The Bottom" at stonyplainrecords.com
NEWS FROM STONY PLAIN’S INFORMATION DESK
Ian Tyson is no stranger to performing with symphony orchestras, and a recent appearance with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa was a particular success.
Wrote Mike Carroccetto of the Ottawa Citizen:
"He began with ‘MC Horses’, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar and supported for the song by only an electric bass and lead guitarist. Tyson has called the tune — about the demise of a once-mighty ranch and, by implication, the vanishing cowboy way of life — one of his favorites. For anyone who hadn't heard Tyson recently, his vocals on the opener were a bit of a shock. His once-fine tenor has lost its smooth shine and the high notes that were his trademark are now hard to reach. But hey, how will you sound at 75? And if you think about it, many of Tyson's songs are about transience. "Irving Berlin" is one such tune. Written on the 100th birthday of the famous composer, it includes the line: ‘Happy birthday, Irving, God bless you/Are you happy just to be alive?’ A celebration of life rimmed round with the shadow of death, the song was given a new poignancy last night by Tyson's aging voice. As Tyson said, ‘Old age is a strange thing. And it ain't for wimps, I'll tell you that.’"
Corb Lund continues to grab the attention of both roots music and country music fans across Canada.
He’s been nominated as Roots Artist of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Awards, due to be presented on CBC Television on September 8 in Winnipeg. His guitarist, Grant Siemens, was nominated as a member of the Awards’ "All Star Band" in three categories (guitar, steel guitar and "special instruments," in this case, banjo).
Jeff Sylvester, who designed the graphics for Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier! has also been nominated for an award for Album Design of the Year. The CD — Corb’s third for Stony Plain — is also in a non-voting category as Top Selling Canadian Album.
Meanwhile, Lund has four nominations at the Western Canadian Music Association Awards, to be presented in Edmonton on October 19. He’s up for Outstanding Roots Records, Outstanding Independent Album and Songwriter of the Year, all for his album, Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier! "I Wanna Be in the Cavalry", one of the songs from the album, is nominated as Video of the Year.
We reported last month that Duke Robillard had upcoming dates — in the U.S., Finland, and Canada. Now it’s been announced that he’ll be playing in South America in early October:
October 4 - Teatro IFT, Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
October 7 - Backstage, Santiago, CHILE
October 9 - Teatro, Tucaman, ARGENTINA
October 10 - Teatro Buen Ayre, Cordoba, ARGENTINA
October 11 - Mr Jones, Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
Then it’s back to Boston, a few days at home in Rhode Island, and then off to the Wangaratta Jazz & Blues Festival in Victoria, Australia, for three days. His Air Miles totals are looking pretty impressive!
Ian Tyson has been in the studio in Nashville with producer Harry Stinson. Further sessions in Calgary will complete another CD for Stony Plain. No release date has been set.
Amos Garrett’s new Stony Plain record, Get Way Back: A Tribute to Percy Mayfield (SPCD-1330) is being released in Japan, and he’s been invited for another tour there in 2009.
Meanwhile, Garrett is joining with three colleagues for a tour that’s been christened "Fathers & Sons". The "in the round" concerts are set for dates in Alberta and British Columbia (with one concert in Whitehorse in the Yukon) in November.
Along with Juno Award-winning singer Jim Byrnes, Garrett (the two "fathers" in the group), will be joined by "sons" guitarist/record producer Steve Dawson and guitarist/festival artistic director Doug Cox. The four are hoping to bring their tour to Ontario in the New Year.
The tour schedule is as follows:
Wed. Nov. 19, Festival Place Theatre, Sherwood Park, AB
Thurs. Nov. 20, Elks Lodge, Red Deer, AB
Fri. Nov. 21, Margaret Greenham Theatre, Banff, AB
Sat. Nov. 22, Deer Lake United, Calgary, AB
Sun. Nov. 23, Miner’s Hall, Rossland, BC
Mon. Nov. 24, Langham Cultural Centre, Kaslo, BC
Tues. Nov. 25, The Royal on Baker, Nelson, BC
Thurs. Nov. 27, Dream Café, Penticton, BC
Fri. Nov. 28, Festival of the Arts Society, Harrison Hot Springs, BC
Sat. Nov. 29, Yukon Arts Centre, Whitehorse, YT
Sun. Nov. 30, Capilano College Theatre, North Vancouver, BC
Stony Plain has licensed four songs to a two-CD set by the Vancouver-based band Spirit of the West. Spirituality: The Consummate Compendium marks the band's 25th anniversary and total sales of more than half a million units in Canada, and is available on the Rhino label, distributed by Warner Music.
Stony Plain released three Spirit of the West albums early in the band’s long, ongoing and distinguished career, and they are all still in the catalogue — Old Material 1984-1986 (SPCD-1141), Tripping Up the Stairs (SPCD-1098) and Labour Day (SPCD-1123).
Needless to say, Stony Plain is delighted (and quite a bit proud) to have played a part in the band’s career, and we congratulate John Mann, Geoffrey Kelly, J. Knutsen, Hugh McMillan, Vince Ditrich and Linda McRae for all the wonderful music Spirit of the West have made for a quarter of a century.
As this edition of Stony Plain’s Newsletter was being prepared, the late Jeff Healey’s Mess of Blues was still on the Billboard Blues Chart, where it’s been since the CD was released in April.
Tim Hus, riding high with the release of Bush Pilot Buckaroo (SPCD-1336) finds himself on the cover of Country Music News, Canada’s long-running magazine.
Long accustomed to working the West Coast and Canada’s Prairie provinces, Hus is undertaking what he calls "my first tour east of Winnipeg" in early October. Here’s the schedule:
Thurs. Oct. 2, Condor CD and Books, Winnipeg, MB
Fri. Oct. 3, Scuttlebutts, Thunder Bay, ON
Sat. Oct. 4, Loplops, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Mon. Oct. 6, Moonshine Café, Oakville, ON
Tues. Oct. 7, Red Rooster, Burlington, ON
Thurs. Oct. 9, Dakota Tavern, Toronto, ON
Discover more about all of these artists at stonyplainrecords.com
CURRENT RELEASES FROM STONY PLAIN: A CHECKLIST
NEW GUITAR SUMMIT: Shivers (SPCD-1328)
Three astonishing guitarists (Jay Geils, Duke Robillard and Gerry Beaudoin) tackle originals and imaginative covers, from early rock tunes to jazz standards — and are joined by Randy Bachman for two great Mose Allison songs.
JEFF HEALEY: Mess of Blues (SPCD-1333)
Jeff’s final blues rock album, completed only months before his untimely death; the sheer joy of the performances on this CD have made it a best-seller, topping Billboard’s blues charts.
AMOS GARRETT: Get Way Back: A Tribute to Percy Mayfield (SPCD-1330)
A collection of 11 brilliant songs by one of the great songwriters of the r&b era, and a major influence on Garrett’s storied career. The emphasis is on Amos’ deep baritone voice, and there’s lots of understated guitar work here as well.
DUKE ROBILLARD: A Swingin’ Session with Duke Robillard (SPCD-1331)
With classics like "Deed I Do", "They Raided the Joint", and "When Your Lover Has Gone", Duke returns with an infectiously happy album, with an all-star band that includes Scott Hamilton and Doug James. Available world-wide on Stony Plain, and in Europe on Dixie Frog.
CORB LUND: Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier! (SPCD-1327)
Alternative, brave, thoughtful and fun: If only all country music was like this! And nominated for numerous Canadian Folk Music Awards and Canadian Country Music Association Awards.
RONNIE EARL: Hope Radio (SPCD-1324)
A stunning album of blues instrumentals with superb playing, plenty of jazz influences, and both heart and spirituality. His best received CD yet.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: The Gift: A Tribute to Ian Tyson (SPCD-1322). Featuring Blue Rodeo, Corb Lund, Jennifer Warnes, Gordon Lightfoot, Chris Hillman and many more.
Complete your collection at stonyplainrecords.com
SAY HELLO TO STONY PLAIN
Check the new Stony Plain website to buy music, discover the back catalogue, get bio information on our artists, and read news from past newsletters:
Send snail-mail to P.O. Box 861, Edmonton, AB T5J 2L8, Canada.
Our phone is (780) 468-6423. And we still have a FAX machine: (780) 465-8941. E-mail the boss, Holger Petersen.
Zoe Hawnt now handles mail orders and web enquiries. She’s at email@example.com.
If you want on this email list, need media information, review or airplay copies, etc., please get in touch with newsletter editor Richard Flohil: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him at (416) 351-1323.