Michael Bernard Fitzgerald (MBF) releases tour dates

By: Amanda Hather

Calgary born singer/songwriter Michael Bernard Fitzgerald (MBF) is currently on a headlining tour across Canada. On this tour he will also be doing the four last dates as #WAYTOOBIG #WAYTOOLOUD shows, which incorporate spectacles of sights and sounds, and combines MBF with more than 500 performers on stage. Check out the tour dates below and be sure to get to a show if it’s in your area.

October 27th – Lethbridge, AB, The Slice
October 28th – Regina, SK, The Exchange
October 29th – Saskatoon, SK, Vangelis Tavern
October 31st – Thunder Bay, ON, The Hunger (Fundraiser)
November 1st – Sault St Marie, ON, LopLops
November 5th – Sarnia, ON, Paddy Flaherty’s Irish Pub
November 7th – Toronto, ON, The Garrison
November 8th – Ridgeway, ON, The Sanctuary Centre
November 12th – Ottawa, ON, Zaphod Beeblebrox
November 13th – Montreal, QC, Quai des Brumes
November 14th – Fredericton, NB, Capital Complex
November 15th – Halifax, NS, The Carlton Music Bar & Grill
November 21st – Victoria, BC, Upstairs Cabaret
November 26th – Vancouver, BC, Vogue Theatre
November 28th – Calgary, AB, Southern Jubilee Auditorium
December 4th – Edmonton, AB, Myer Horowitz
December 9th – Winnipeg, MB, West End Cultural Centre

Yes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/yes/id676442704

MBF on social media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ilovembf
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ilovembf
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ilovembf
Website: http://www.ilovembf.com/

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Interview – Mary Caroline

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By: Amanda Hather

Mary Caroline has recorded her debut studio album in Hamilton, that is expected to be released in January 2015, and her first single, “Such A Liar”, has already been released. The album was produced by Dan Hosh at Catherine North Studio. Want to learn more about Mary Caroline? Be sure to check out her social media sites below.

How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard you before? What song would you suggest they listen to first?

Mary Caroline:  My music is rooted in acoustic folk music that is then worked through with a full band to give it more of a pop/folk vibe.  I love writing thoughtful, vocal driven pieces, but I also try to balance it out with fun, more up-beat songs.  I would love people to check out the lead single from my upcoming album, Such a Liar.

What is your writing process like? (E.g. lyrics first, melody first, etc.)

MC:  I very often write poetry first.  I then put it to music and work out the chorus and the bridge once I have a general idea of the melody, key and what vibe I want the song to have.  Occasionally I have co-written songs by improving lyrics and melody over guitar riffs and seeing where it goes from there.

What are some of your inspirations for song writing?

MC:  I spend a lot of time at a remote cabin in the Northwest Territories.  It is a small trapper’s cabin that is completely off-grid.  My neighbour is a 75 year old widow who has a wealth of knowledge about living sustainably.  I also have frequent exposure to First Nations people who live in balance with the land.  It is peaceful and the landscape is breath-taking, and I take an incredible amount of inspiration from my time at my cabin.

What made you decide to go all the way to Hamilton, ON to record your album? What can you tell us about the new album?

MC: Last winter a friend hosted me for a house concert and I he pointed out how vibrant the music scene was in Hamilton and that it was more affordable to live there then in Toronto.  I recorded a demo track at Pine Street Studio in Hamilton at the same time, and with that track was able to get FACTOR funding.  I met Dan and Scott at Catherine North this spring, and I loved the vibe of the studio and some of the past work that had been done at Catherine North, so it seemed like a great fit for my first studio album.   The album will be out in January 2015.  It is called “Life on Earth” and has 8 tracks.

What made you decide to pursue music as a career? What do you think you would be doing if it wasn’t in music?

MC: I’ve always loved writing and singing.  While living in Yellowknife over the past 9 years I have put out 2 independent recording projects.  In 2012 I showcased at Breakout West.  Prior to that I had very little exposure to the music scene outside of the north, and it was a big eye opener for me on how to approach being an independent artist.  Based on this experience I decided to leave my full time job in 2013 and started touring in Southern Canada.  At this point in my life I feel like if I wasn’t doing music I would work hard to homestead at my cabin and have northern organic farm.  Unfortunately I travel so much with music that this isn’t really possible, but I do help out my neighbour on her homestead as often as I can.

Who are some of your greatest influences in music?

MC: I love edgy female front-people like Florence Welch or MIA, and I also love Canadian acoustic folk music, and I think my music comes out somewhere in the middle.

What’s coming up next for you?

MC: For the rest of 2014 I will be working with a film crew in Yellowknife to make some extra money so that I can tour my new album in 2015 with a full band. I will be booking tour dates soon.

Here at Canadian Beats we like to throw in a few fun questions so your fans can get to know you better:

Top three places you’d like to travel?

MC: I’ve never been to Newfoundland, so I would like to check that out.  I would love to do a bicyle trip the wineries of France. I would also like to check out the dessert in Arizona some time.

You’re in charge of a weekend long music festival. Who’s on the lineup?

MC: I saw Five Alarm Funk play at Breakout West in 2012 and they are such a fun band!  I would get them to headline.  I would also get some bad-ass ladies on the bill, like Inuit Throat-singer, Tanya Tagaq, Megan Nash from Saskatchewan and Jasmine Natsina, who used to live in Yellowknife, but is in BC now.  I got to open for Fish and Bird a couple weeks ago in Saskatchewan.  They’re great.  I would put them on the bill as well.

If you could make an album with any band/artist in the world, who would it be?

MC: Jack White.  I love the Loretta Lynn album, Van I got to see a show at his recording studio in Nashville this summer and I was so inspired.  I think it was one of the more pivotal moment for me over the past year.

What’s something your fans may not know about you?

MC: I played Triple A hockey when I was a teenager.  I also drove a combine this summer in Saskatchewan.

What do you think the most played song on your iPod is?

MC:  I’ve been hitting the new Arkell’s High Noon album pretty hard since it came out.

And finally, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?

MC: This past year, traveling around Canada, playing shows and recording, has been an amazing experience.  I just want to thank all the people who have been coming out and supporting me.  It means the world to me and I’m having a ton of fun, so thank you!

Such A Liar: https://marycaroline.bandcamp.com/

Mary Caroline on social media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/marycarolinenwt
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marycarolinemusic
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/marycaroline62
Website: http://www.marycaroline.ca/

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Feature Friday – Cat Thomson

By: Amanda Hather

This artist we decided for Feature Friday this week is none other than Cat Thomson. Cat is an adult contemporary artist signed to 604 Records in Vancouver. She has just released her debut EP, ‘Puzzle’, but we have kept our eye on her for a while now. We have interviewed her both online and in person, as well as with Jessica Lee as their duo, Cassica. Be sure to pick up her EP on iTunes or a physical copy when they become available shortly.

Puzzle: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/puzzle-ep/id930244807

Canadian Beats review of Puzzle: http://canadianbeats.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/review-cat-thomson/

Interview: http://canadianbeats.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/interview-cat-thomson/
Video interview: http://canadianbeats.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/interview-with-cat-thomson/

Cassica Interview: http://canadianbeats.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/interview-cassica/

Sticks & Stones video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zXSvaUnrKs

Cat Thomson on social media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CatThomsonMusic
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/catthomsonmusic
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/CatThomson85
Website: http://www.catthomsonmusic.com/

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Interview – A*STAR

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By: Tara Thompson

A*STAR is the Anglo alter ego of Juno Award winning singer-songwriter, Antoine Gratton and A*STAR is my name is his debut English concept album. The album dropped digitally on September 23rd and hit store shelves on September 30th. Here’s what he had to say about the album.

Starting off, how would you describe your band/music to someone who had never heard you before?

I think it’s music for music lovers. Good ol’ pop songs with a smile. Not devoid of meaning. The songs have important things to say for the most part and I think there’s a lot of humour and pure love of music-making involved.

The writing and recording process is different for every artist. What was your process with A*STAR Is My Name?

It started out as an exercise. Trying to write what I’d like to hear on the radio. I cowrote the songs with a great songwriter named Lone LeBone and the idea was to play the best musical ping pong possible. Just bouncing ideas back and forth continuously. As for the recording, we rented a house and recorded it old school, the way groups like The Band would do it. I made my own pop-filter out of a coat hanger and pantyhose!

The first single, Dodging Teardrops, has gotten radio airplay in places such as Germany, England, Australia and more. Did you have any idea it would do as well as it did?

No! I’m a very bad judge of what works and what doesn’t. Hence giving myself an exercise in pop songwriting.

Were there any other songs that you thought you could release as a first single? Do you think they would of gotten a similar reaction?

I think Brother to me could have done as well. Maybe it will.

The album also includes a bonus disc of acoustic tracks. What made you decide to include a second disc like this?

I do a lot of orchestration work for other artists. It’s a side of my music that speaks clearly from my heart. I love writing for strings and I thought to have acoustic/string versions of these songs would be a great way to bring out their pure nature.

You have also produced albums for other artists like Brigitte Boisjoli, Amylie and Chloé Lacasse. What differences are there in making your own albums and producing others? Does your recording process for your own albums affect the albums you produce for others?

For me, producing other artists and working on my own music are complementary activities. I couldn’t do one without the other. They give each other perspective. It’s the same thing with live playing. I could never lead a band if I didn’t know what it was like to be led and vice versa.

Do you have any plans for touring?

Soon. Can’t wait.

Who are your main influences?

Oh man. That’s a tough one. I work with a lot of artists in many different musical styles so my tastes in music are limitless.

Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with in the future?

Sly Stone.

Since we’re all about Canadian music, who are your favorite Canadian bands/artists?

The Band, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Beast, Beat Market

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Review – Dan Potter Sings

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By: Jenna Melanson

Album – Barbarian
Release Date – April 22, 2014
Download Link – http://danpottersings.bandcamp.com/album/barbarian
Genre – Alt Rock

Dan Potter Sings is a one-piece alternative rock band from Vancouver, BC. He has released his follow up album, Barbarian on April 22, 2014. The album features ten songs, some with punk sound, others with more of a rock sound. I find there is a good mix on this album.

I must say I really enjoyed the second song on the album, “Like A Weapon”, as it’s a very unique sound that I found myself pulled into. Speaking of unique sounds, the fourth song, “Ordinary Life” is another that stuck in my head. You can see the video for this single here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYBezT8g7HQ

If you’re looking for a more rocking track, I would recommend “Masking Tape” and “Can Give Too Much Away”, which immediately gave me a more high energy vibe, and I can picture how great these two would be live.
The song that I find is completely different from the rest is the last song, “The End Of It All”, it strikes me more of a pop punk sound, and I quite enjoyed it.

All in all, if you would like to hear something a bit different from the alt rock genre, this is it. Dan Potter Sings does a great job at putting together an album with a variety of different sounds, that will surely appeal to fans of many genres.

Rating: 3.5/5

Connect with Dan Potter Sings:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/danpottersings

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Review – Stars

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By: Remington Fioraso

Album: No One Is Lost
Download Link: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/no-one-is-lost/id904503472
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Genre: Indie pop

Stars is an indie pop band formed in Toronto in 1998. The band consists of Members: Torquil Campbell Evan Cranley Patrick McGee Amy Millan Chris Seligman. Fast forward to 2014, the group now based in Montreal, has released 7 full-length studio albums, 6 extended plays, a remix album, and 19 singles.

Their seventh and latest studio record No One Is Lost was released on October 14, 2014. The release contains eleven tracks including the singles “From The Night” and “No One Is Lost.” Prior to listening to the album, I was hesitant. I had enjoyed previous releases beforehand. Will it live up to my expectations? The short answer: Yes, yes it did. The group maintained their sound from previous releases. However, it feels slightly more uplifting.

The songs that stood out the most for me on No One Is Lost include: “This is the Last Time,” “You Keep Coming Up,” and “Trap Door.” As a Stars fan, I enjoyed the album.

You can check out the first single, “From The Night” at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dr5VE3ogdl8

Rating: 3/5

Like the album? Check out Stars’ upcoming Canadian tour dates:

February 3 ¬ Kingston, ON ¬ Grand Theatre
February 5 ¬ Montreal, PQ ¬ Metropolis
February 6 ¬ Quebec City, PQ ¬ Imperial
February 7 ¬ Ottawa, ON ¬ NAC
February 8 Guelph, ON Hillside Inside – RRC
February 11 ¬ London, ON ¬ London Music Hall
February 12 ¬ Toronto, ON ¬ Danforth
February 13 ¬ Toronto, ON ¬ Danforth
February 21 ¬ Winnipeg, MB ¬ Burton Cummings
February 23 ¬ Saskatoon, SK ¬ O’Brian/Odean Event Centre
February 24 ¬ Calgary, AB ¬ MacEwan Hall
February 25 ¬ Edmonton, AB ¬ Winspear
February 27 ¬ Vancouver, BC ¬ Vogue
February 28 ¬ Vancouver, BC ¬ Vogue
March 1 ¬ Victoria, BC ¬ Royal Theatre

Connect with Stars at:

https://www.facebook.com/starsstars

https://twitter.com/youarestars

http://www.youarestars.com/home/

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Interview – Doc Walker

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By: Remington Fioraso

Hailing from Manitoba, Doc Walker is a country music band composed of Chris Thorsteinson and Dave Wasyliw. The bands eighth studio album entitled The 8th was released on October 21, 2014 and features the hit singles “Put It Into Drive,” “Shake It Like It’s Saturday Night”, as well as the most recent single “That’s How I Like It”. In addition, the group will be going on a cross-Canada tour, Bands on the Run, this fall with label mates The Road Hammers and Blackjack Billy. I had the chance to do an email interview with Dave Wasyliw to find out more!

Who are your influences?

We have many influences. Some of the major ones include Bob Seger, Eagles, AC/DC, Waylon Jennings, and The Beatles

You released your eighth studio album, appropriately titled The 8th, on October 21. What were the most memorable recording experiences for it?

Working with Gavin Brown has been a dream of mine for some time. He is one of greatest record producers Canada has ever known! When you think of all the great producers this country has turned out (Mike Fraser, Bob Rock, Bob Ezrin, Kevin Churko, Daniel Lanois, Jack Richardson, and Bruce Fairbairn to name a few) that is no small endorsement!

What were some of the inspirations lyrically for the album?

We always try to sing about personal experiences. It makes it more heartfelt and honest. There are songs about our wives and kids, the town we grew up in and growing up in general, dealing with rising waters, and overcoming adversity. There is always something to sing about :)

What have been the most memorable shows you have played so far?

Opening for Bon Jovi was a highlight! Hometown shows are always nerve-racking, but they have been some of the most magical!

What do you have in store for the Bands on the Run Tour?

This is an ambitious tour! Three full bands, tour buses and semi trucks. Giving each and every person who buys a ticket more than their money’s worth is very important to us.

Are there any songs you are most particularly excited to play?

There is something to said about trying new songs for the first time live. But there is also something to be said about playing the crowd pleasing hits!

In traditional Canadian Beats fashion, here are some fun questions to help fans get to know you a bit more.

What was the last album you purchased?

Kacey Musgraves (Same Trailer Different Park)

Who are some of your favourite Canadian artists?

The Guess Who, Bryan Adams, Ron Sexsmith, The Tragically Hip, Loverboy, Neil Young, Tom Cochrane, Hans Staymer, Metric, The Bros. Landreth, Crash Test Dummies, and Trooper.

What TV shows are your guilty pleasures?

Sponge Bob, Ancient Aliens, Chopped

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?

A knife, a knife sharpener, and Les Stroud (Survivorman ;)

Finally, is there anything else you would like to say to your fans?

There is only one reason we get to do what we do. The support of the fans lets us live our dreams. It keeps our guitars on our laps, our pens on the paper, and the bus tires rolling. We owe them everything.

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