Mudtown Interview: Terra Lightfoot

Terra Lightfoot plays the Heartwood Concert Hall next Saturday, December 12th to what will (likely) be a sold-out audience.  Last time she was in Owen Sound it was with the Dinner Belles, who played an inspired set of originals and classic country covers to a small sold-out show at Rocky Raccoon Café in support of their latest album “The River & the Willow.”  Fast forward a year – Terra has a hit solo album, a cross Canada tour under her belt, and has just played Massey Hall.  But, she couldn’t be more grounded.  

Mudtown: Why is Hamilton the worst? (For an inside on this joke, follow Terra on Instagram here.)

Terra: So many reasons. The waterfalls, the hiking trails, the beautiful views of the harbour, the restaurants, art galleries, venues, the cheap housing, SUPERCRAWL, two beer festivals, our new Collective Arts Brewery and ManoRun Organic Farm.

You’ve played a number of dates opening for fellow Hamiltonian Daniel Lanois, who has worked with U2 & Bob Dylan, among others, and is a noted songwriter in his own right – how do you think (if at all) Hamilton has influenced his songwriting, and / or your own?

Well I think there’s a sort of grit and dirt involved when people think of Hamilton. For me that never comes out.  I write about the nature, the streets and places I gravitate toward, the views of the city from different vantage points. Dan has told all kinds of stories about growing up in Hamilton. I think it informed parts of who he is as a person, just like any city does. He’s very honest and true to himself. I don’t know if he’s written any Hamilton centric songs. Maybe the new instrumental music he’s writing is all about Hamilton?

The scene in Hamilton seems pretty strong right now (sensing a theme?) with lots of venues for live music, the  successful Supercrawl festival, the Green Belt picnic, plus producing acts like Arkells, Whitehorse, and yourself – what do you think other scenes (think Owen Sound) can learn from Hamilton?

I think that Hamilton has pockets of different scenes all over the city, just like any place…so we have different venues, different genres, young people, old people.  It’s important for any scene to be inclusive. I am just as supported by the punk community in Hamilton as I am supported by the blues community, or the rock community. I focus on supporting them too. Even if you are not into each band in your city, you still support them and talk about their shows. The last part I would say is supporting the out-of-towners when they come through – Owen Sound seems to have that part locked down! It’s Hamilton’s weak point for sure.

Your voice – justifiably – has garnered a lot of accolades, but you’re also a skilled guitarist.  What guitarists do you like, or have influenced you?  Are any of them from Hamilton?

Well I love Luke Doucet’s playing.  He’s an honorary Hamiltonian. I am really into Chet Atkins right now. I’ve always loved his playing, but I’m starting to follow it more. No surprise he called himself “CGP” – Certified Guitar Player.

Owen Sound, or Hamilton?

DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE!

When you were in Owen Sound last year for the Mudtown Music & Arts Series you played in the well-respected Hamilton group the Dinner Belles at the former Rocky Raccoon cafe.  It was a tremendous show, which displayed great group cohesion and formidable musicianship.  How is playing with your solo band different?

I love playing with the Dinner Belles, because we just get up there and joke around. It’s fun music too.  And, it doesn’t matter if you hit a wrong note. It’s funny. My (own) band is understandably maybe more serious, about the songs, lyrics maybe. I’m much more vulnerable in presenting my work I guess. Brad Germain from Dinner Belles also has a solo project, Spruce Invaders, which is a space rock band. So cool.

Finally, do you have anything to say to the people of Owen Sound before the show next Saturday?

People of Owen Sound, your town is great.  I really loved playing there last time, and I can’t wait to see you all again!

Mudtown Interview: B.A. Johnston

B.A. Johnston performs for his first time in Owen Sound this Saturday, November 21st at the Coach Inn (click here for tickets). He granted Mudtown an interview in anticipation of his performance, which will include a donut eating contest, an all-Ween tribute band, and many, many snot-rockets.

Mudtown: Thanks for agreeing to the interview BA.  Your longlisting for the 2015 Polaris Prize sparked some controversy with people coming out vocally for and against your nomination, including an active campaign to get you on the shortlist, complete with its own hashtag #shorlistBA and a Downfall / Hitler Reacts video –   what would you have spent the $50K on if you had won?

BA:  Dunno. I guess I would have invested heavily into Dollarama and A&W stocks, and spent the rest on Savage Swords of Conan. I may have bought a van made in this century.

It’s not unusual for you to end up performing to an audience in a bathroom stall at the end of the night, cramming in as many crowd members as possible. Do you have a preferred kind of bathroom to perform in, or any particular venue’s bathroom that is ideal for the crapper concert?

I can’t really get away from the bathroom encore. The audience seems to want it and they give me trouble if i don’t do it. That being said I prefer a good sized girls bathroom. Sometimes there is poupourri in there.

You’re known as a son of Steel Town (Hamilton, Ont) and a devoted Ticats’ fan.  What do feel are the political-economic ramifications for Hamilton with respect to American Steel’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy application in the United States, and how will this – if at all – influence your songwriting?

Well it won’t really reflect much in my songwriting, but i think US steel are a bunch of crooks. And Hamilton will be left out to dry again, as we as a city tend to vote NDP, so no one gives a shit what happens there.

McDonald’s, or Harvey’s?

Harveys for burgs and shakes. McDonalds for everything else.

On a typical show you switch through playing guitar, playing a keyboard, and singing to backing tracks on a portable CD player – what determines your performance method, and have you considered doing all three at once?

Due to lack of skill and ability i am forced to do them all separate. May be for the best.

The minivan seems to be the preferred BA mode of transport and has been featured in your songs – what do you think of the demise of the minivan and rise of the crossover SUV? Would you ever consider driving a Tesla?

Man, the mini van ain’t going nowhere. You know how hard it is to find a used Dodge Grand Caravan? People can’t get enough of these things. People will always need a big slow dumb thing to drive their kids and crap around in. I would drive a Tesla if i can get a good used one for 2500 and it can haul all my crud.

You’ve been able to capture the Canadian spirit in song unlike any other singer-songwriter of our day, like a fusion of Stomping Tom and the Trailer Park Boys – to what do you credit your originality?  And, where does BA Johnston go from here?

Well,l you got to write about what you know. And, all I do is drive around canada and eat. I guess most people don’t write songs about eating or Regina. Nowhere to go but up from here.

Finally,do you have any words for the people of Owen Sound?

Come on down to the show. Good seats still available.

 

B.A. Johnston’s latest album “Shit Sucks” was longlisted for the 2015 Polaris Prize.  It is available via iTunes, and record stores across Canada.

 

Win Tickets To A Show You Suggest!

Stars, Elliott Brood, the Strumbellas, Zeus, the Sadies, Hannah Georgas, Doug Paisley, Jennifer Castle, the Weather Station, & the Burning Hell – just some of the artists who have played Mudtown events.

Now it’s your chance to have a say in who plays an upcoming Mudtown Records show AND win free VIP tickets to the event!  Just fill in our contact form with your name, email, the subject heading “Mudtown Guest Programmer,” and tell us who your choice you would like to see play a Mudtown event and why. Click here for contact form.

If we like your selection, we’ll contact you, and release the name of the artist through social media once we’ve confirmed their booking.

Good luck Mudtowners – we look forward to your suggestions!!!

NO HATE: A Concert for Community

Owen Sound and the surrounding area has a long history of tolerance and inclusion. From its role as terminus for fleeing slaves on the Underground Railroad to our proud heritage as home to one of Canada’s oldest small town Synagogues, we have shown a historical willingness to embrace diversity. Despite this, hatred and intolerance persist throughout our communities. Stories of racism, sexual assault, homophobia, & other forms of hatred stain local, national, & international news. We have decided to show – once again – that the people of our region stand in solidarity against hatred and discrimination in all forms.

Join us on Saturday, June 27th at the Roxy Theatre in Owen Sound, as visiting and local musicians raise their voices against hate. Featuring performances by Sonic Unyon Records recording artist Terra Lightfoot, eccentric entertainer and music educator Friendly Rich & the Lollipop People, Toronto art-country hipsters Beams, plus local performers The Sportswriters, Pete Devlin, & Deanne Hallman. Tickets are available online here, at the Roxy box-office, or by phoning (519) 371-2833.

All proceeds from this event will go to benefit the following not for profit groups: M’Wikwedong NCRC, The Women’s Centre Grey and Bruce Inc.,Grey Bruce Pride, United Way of Bruce Grey, & the Owen Sound Emancipation Festival.

Five Years, Foggy Hogtown, & Silent Film

We’re just putting the finishing touches on our latest podcast, which will include some music from popular Toronto bluegrass quintet the Foggy Hogtown Boys. They play the Mudtown Music & Arts Series on March 28th at the Roxy Theatre with fiddling phenom Linsey Beckett opening. Click here to purchase tickets.  Apple users can download, or subscribe to the podcast via iTunes. Android and other users can subscribe by RSS feed. Or, you can simply stream, or download it on your computer via Soundcloud.

A big thank-you to everyone who attended the Silent Film Ensemble’s performance to the Great White Silence. We were overwhelmed at the response and look forward to our next silent film event to-be-announced for the latter part of 2015. You can watch OSC Media House‘s video of the Silent Film Ensemble’s “Tom Sessions.”  The video is part of a continuing series of collaborative, live performance videos created by OSC Media House and Mudtown Records.  You can watch a playlist of the videos via Youtube.

And, last but not least – March 27th marks Mudtown’s 5th Anniversary!!!! Thanks to everyone who has made this possible – you are too numerous to mention, but we want to know how much we appreciate and love you.  We will be celebrating throughout the year with special fifth anniversary events, so stay tuned!!!

Newsletter, Podcasts, Concerts, & more!

Along with being able to sign-up for our newsletter via Facebook, we’ve got all sorts of new stuff to talk about.

Our newsletter will feature event announcements, special offers, free downloads, links to podcasts, and other tasty tidbits.  So take 20 seconds to subscribe, ’cause you won’t regret it.

We’re prepped with haggis for our ‘Muddy Burns Day‘ celebration at the Coach Inn next Saturday with Scatter the Cats & Beggars Road.  You can hear a track from the Cats on the most recent edition of the Mudtown Radio Podcast, which you can subscribe to and download for free via iTunes, SoundCloud, or RSS feed.   Alongside them are tracks from Daniel Lanois, Mudtown festival alumnus Jennifer Castle, plus new tracks from Del Bel, Beams, and more!  It’s free, so you can’t really go wrong.

On February 21st the Silent Film Ensemble will return to the Roxy Theatre to perform their 12th original soundtrack. They will play to a 1924 documentary filmed by of the British Antarctic Expedition entitled “The Great White Silence.”  Theatre goers are asked to dress in ‘black and white, or formal attire’ to give the event the look of the era.  The Silent Film Ensemble has put on some of our most popular and enduring events.

Mudtown’s Year in Review

What an incredible year!

Despite having to kill off the Mudtown Music & Arts Festival, we rallied to have our best year yet.  We played host to two Juno Award winning bands, saw the release of more music from Mudtown, discovered some incredible new bands, made new friends, held cool afterparties, and learned more about what Mudtown Records is about: you.  You attend our shows.  You buy artists’ records and merch.  You tell your friends about us.  You give us ideas and feedback.  Thank YOU so very much for making 2014 a year to remember for Mudtown. And happily, 2015 already has more fantastic things in store.  It will be our 5th Anniversary and we’re looking forward to celebrating it with you!

Decemberrific!

Wow. What an incredible month.

First off, we had an fantastic time with the extremely down-to-earth and wildly entertaining Strumbellas at the Roxy Theatre (and incredible VIP after-party at the Kathmandu Café). The band had the audience on their feet applauding before their encore and left with what is surely more fans and friends. Not to mention their fantastic openers and tour partners Sam Cash & the Romantic Dogs who rocked our sleepy town into an appreciation for their musicianship and song craft.

Along with that, we announced our next Mudtown Music & Arts Series show, which will be a Robbie Burns celebration at the historic Coach Inn with masters of the celtic jig & reel Scatter the Cats with equally talented scotch songsters Beggars Road. We’ll have haggis, pipers, and verse from the Bard for what guarantees to be a memorable event.

To finish off our year we’ll be celebrating with a free show – a Holiday Happening! – on Saturday, December 27th at the Kathmandu Café with a Mudtown Allstar Band, vintage vinyl, giveaways, and more than a couple of surprises.

The Week That Was

It’s been almost a week since the Dinner Belles & Beams brought their artful roots sounds to the Kathmandu Café in Owen Sound, yet we’re still basking in the afterglow of a show that will serve as measure for those to come. You can read a review of the show over at the blog Rrampt (click here).  We’re biased, but have to say that it was an amazing show.  Beams’ performance blew everyone away with their entirely unique brand of art-folk, and the Dinner Belles showed that they are pros – true masters of their genre.

We also released Woodworker’s live performance video filmed by Nelson Phillips for OSC Media House’s “Old Courthouse Sessions.”  The Old Courthouse Arts Building in Owen Sound is slated to be sold and we would like the video to – at least – showcase this amazing piece of architectural heritage, if not give weight to the desire to keep this as a place for artists and performance.  Click here to watch the video.

And now, we look forward to our last show of 2014: the Strumbellas w/ Sam Cash and the Romantic Dogs on December 6th at the Roxy Theatre in Owen Sound.  The Strumbellas won the 2014 Juno Award for Best Roots & Traditional album for their LP “We Still Move On Dance Floors.”  VIP tickets include a pre-concert meet ‘n’ greet with the bands, front row seating, and a catered after party at the Kathmandu Café (formerly known as the Rocky Raccoon Café).  This promises to be a highlight of the year.

 

 

 

 

 

Late At Night With Alann Gurr And Lowlands

 Alanna Gurr & the Greatest State captivated a hushed audience at the Kathmandu Cafe (aka Rocky Raccoon’s) in Owen Sound on Saturday, October 18th, with a rapturous performance that included songs from the Guelph based singer-songwriter’s most recent album “Late At Night” released on Missed Connection Records, plus some new material yet to be released. The usually raucous crowd at Rocky Raccoon’s was reduced to graceful silence as Gurr and fellow Guelph based openers Lowlands, confidently held the audience’s attention with a stirring series of songs and stories.

This – Gurr’s first visit to Owen Sound – served as bookend to a tour of mainly South Western Ontario in support of her sophomore record, which enjoyed several weeks atop Canada’s Earshot Folk / Roots / Blues chart.   Supported by the members of Lowlands in her own band the Greatest State, Gurr proved that her sound transfers well from the studio to live performance.  And, Lowlands showed that they can hold their own with an opening set that brought the packed venue to a comfortable stillness.

Both groups display that they are deserving of their growing reputation within the Canadian independent music community with moving performances which showcased their skilled and thoughtful songwriting.