Friday, April 21, 2017

Dancing Shoes

*Re-soled and ready to shimmy!@#$%!!! PEACE

The Zombies Odessey & Oracle 50th Anniversary Finale Tour

Looking back, my first exposure to The Zombies was digging through my parents' record collection as a kid in the 1970s. Immediately infectious songs like "She's Not There" and "Tell Her No" sounded sugary sweet coming through the family stereo speakers alongside The Moody Blues and The Beatles and stayed close to me as I grew older. In my late teens/early 20s, I dug even deeper into the group's music and discovered their 1968 swan song, Odessey & Oracle. The album became a staple while working at the Coquitlam Centre HMV during the mid-to-late 1990s and we were always stoked to sell an import copy right out of the store's CD player. "Another point for the good side!" Oracle's "This Will Be Our Year" became a special song, mantra, and tear jerker for a (still) sensitive young man while "Time Of The Season" shut down many a dance floor jam. "Hung Up On A Dream" was the tune that could lift my mind to another dimension and yet there was even more to explore... What we call an "end-to-end burner," it's amazing to think that Odessey & Oracle is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Needless to say, there is no place that I'd rather be tonight than at the world-famous Commodore Ballroom for The Zombies: Odessey & Oracle 50th Anniversary Finale Tour.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Native North America Prime Minister reply and recognition

Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966-1985 was released by Seattle/Los Angeles-based Light In The Attic Records in late 2014 to much love around the world. Critically acclaimed, the compilation also garnered a 2016 Grammy nomination in the "Best Historical Recording" category. Most importantly, NNA V1 helped to share some of the most life-changing music and stories that you'll ever experience.

As I've stated many times before, it's been a massive honour to make connections with so many of my musical heroes during this journey and I hope that there are more ahead. Despite the project's success, there has also been struggle. Aiming high and pushing forward without a booking agent, official manager or slick PR campaign has posed its challenges in terms of inclusion or sustainability in the face of ever-increasing costs of living for artists, creators, producers, and technicians. We are clearly not alone in those regards. Life continues.

It should be known that NNA V1 has been a true labour of love for everyone involved. The multi-media events that have happened in its strong wake from coast-to-coast have been made possible and memorable by some very supportive and encouraging people and I'd like to thank you all very much. To Elder Dr. Duke Redbird, Willie Thrasher (and Linda Saddleback), Gordon Dick Sr., Shingoose, Eric Landry, John Angaiak, Willy Mitchell and the rest of the featured artists, I bow my head to you, your families, and communities. I will never forget the warm, open-minded, and diverse audiences that we've encountered. Here's to more gatherings ahead (think August)!

Outside of political ideology or perspective, it was very important for me to ensure that Canada's current Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, was fully aware about this trailblazing Indigenous history, still rocking and rolling in 2017. I sincerely appreciate his reply and personal recognition of this time sensitive project as well as my longtime work in sound heritage. Thank you!

During our current era of reconciliation, music is an extra special connector, teacher, and healer. My job as a Canadian music historian, producer, DJ, and writer is to help recognize, share, and celebrate the breadth of talent that exists here in this country and beyond, regardless of its commercial success, never a gauge for quality, substance or soul, corporate algorithms be damned!

As we know, music, feeling, culture, and true love transcends any border or sales chart. To reflect this understanding and passion, I am currently working hard at preparing the first set of archival music releases on the Voluntary In Nature label and look forward to sharing them with you in the not too distant future...

Ok, that's my speech for today. Am I starting to sound like a politician?

Kevin Howes (aka Sipreano)