Live Wire Music Series Presents The Claytones and The Slocan Ramblers on Fri. Jan. 24th

There is a tremendous co-bill coming up soon to kick off the Live Wire Music Series at the Octave Theatre. On Friday, Jan. 24, The Claytones, a great new alt country group from the heart of the OttawaValley, will share the evening with The Slocan Ramblers, a dynamic young Toronto foursome that plays bluegrass and old-time music flawlessly and with an uncommon flair. These two enormously talented groups will give a spectacular show at The Octave!  Remember – you can now buy your tickets online at
The Claytones

The Claytones were born a few years ago when Anders Drerup and Kelly Prescott were cast in the acclaimed theatrical production, Grievous Angel -The Legend of Gram Parsons. Anders played the title role and Kelly was Emmy Lou Harris. Their undeniable chemistry led to the formation of The Claytones — together with bass player Adam Puddington, they have been wowing audiences with superb vocal harmonies and impressive instrumental prowess ever since. The National Post named them one of ‘5 Canadian bands to watch for in 2012’. Take a look at this live video to get a taste of what they do:


The Slocan Ramblers

The Slocan Ramblers started turning heads in early 2009 while playing casual gigs in the Toronto ‘roots music’ scene. Their weekly local pub gigs became a staple of the city’s thriving acoustic music activity. The Ramblers quickly earned a reputation across Canada for energetic live performances, impressive musicianship and uncanny ability to convert anyone in their path into a fan. The Slocan Ramblers have moved far beyond their pub origins.  Career highlights include standing ovations at the legendary Mariposa Folk Festival, opening for Steve Martin on the main stage at Toronto Jazz Fest, and a popular West Coast tour last summer.  The intensity and drive forged in their early bar-room gigs continue to set them apart — they are outstanding!  Check out the Ramblers live in the two songs in this video:

Live Wire Music Series presents
The Claytones and The Slocan Ramblers
Friday, Jan. 24, 7:30 pm
Octave Theatre, 711 Dalton Ave, Kingston (Sir John A. Macdonald Blvd. & the 401)

$20 in advance and $25 at the door — available now at Brian’s Record Option, Tara Foods or online at

 The Claytones give what so many other groups only promise.  Exquisite, classic, country-soaked harmonies.  Originals that stand proudly beside the classic songs they cover with conviction.  A stage presence that marks them as serious professionals — The Claytones deliver!

James Keelaghan,  Artistic Director, Georgian Bay Folk Society

The Slocan Ramblers put on one of the most vibrant shows of acoustic music I’ve seen in some time. It’s rare for Canadians (especially young Canadians) to play this music with such authority, passion and yet ability for experimentation. Chops galore…and a handsome bunch of fellas.

Tom Power, Host of CBC’s Deep Roots, and Radio 2 Morning


Acoustic Duo Cherry Suede – Up Close And Personal!

Randy Scott & Randy Young of Cherry Suede
Last week, I was pretty active on Twitter and I came across an Ottawa music duo called Cherry Suede. I love the name and I really like their sound too! Twitter, being what it is, immediately connected me to Randy Young (one half of the Suede) who told me about their new live acoustic web series, Up Close and Personal. We both agreed that it should be of significant interest to local musicians who may be looking for a potential tour stop in the Nation’s Capital!

Our channel is about 3 weeks old – we are #8 most subscribed in Canada this month and continuing to grow steadily. We feature the feed on – and we will include interview footage – stories behind the songs. ~ Randy Young

What I really appreciate about Cherry Suede is the fact that they are two guys who are not only accomplished musicians and singer-songwriters (“If Keith Urban and Bon Jovi had a baby – it’d be Cherry Suede”), but who are also true blue music fans, and that I can relate to! When I asked Randy Young if they were going to invite acoustic artists to perform on their web series, he replied, “We are indeed inviting artists – the format will include casual interviews – stories behind the songs and we (Cherry Suede) will play on our guests’ songs and vice versa.” This is something that I won’t miss checking out!

So, what I want to know is how many people that I know in Kingston would be interested in attending a Cherry Suede show if I host one here? Email me at!

Here’s more from Cherry Suede in their own words on their new, exciting and innovative online music series!


The concept of audience – artist interaction is certainly not new. For years, Bruce Springsteen has been pulling hand written signs out of his audience to play song requests. Pete Townshend went so far as to film shows as an experiment in artist-audience feedback during The Who’s songwriting and recording process in his abandoned “Lifehouse” project. But at no other time in history, has it been possible for any independent band or artist to broadcast live and interact with their audience on both a local and global scale.

Cherry Suede: Up Close and Personal is a new live acoustic event and web series that aims to bridge the audience – artist gap, on both a local and global level. You can see the band and special guests rework their songs, and select cover songs into intimate acoustic performances – both in person and online at So far, in it’s first month, the YouTube channel for the series is one of the top ten most subscribed in Canada for musicians.

Typically, artists perform in front of a live audience, or more recently, post a song online and after an initial response (applause or a series of online comments) the interaction fades – and both the artist and audience move on. Cherry Suede: Up Close and Personal goes far beyond that point. The band and the guests tell stories about their music and music they love, songwriting experiences and memories. Requests are taken at the show and from various online social networks. Select performances are recorded, filmed and made available quickly after the event for free higher quality online viewing and sharing – and soon the shows will be streamed live. The goal is to perform multiple songs and multiple versions of songs that are adapted to reflect the personalities of the audience, guests and the mood of the night.

Randy Young says, “no matter what technology or fancy new tool comes our way, it’s always been and always will be about making great music and connecting with people. There’s a precious and undeniable relationship between an artist, a song and an audience – and nowadays this audience can be right in front of you – or halfway across the world.” Randy Scott continues, “Make no mistake. There’s no substitute for being there. But technology now allows us to involve our global audience in our local shows – that’s an amazing thing. Add this to the fact that we’ve made this an acoustic project, simply allows us the freedom to focus on the intimacy of any given moment or inspiration.”

Although the first Cherry Suede: Up Close and Personal live series has started in their hometown of Ottawa, – every Wednesday night at 9 pm EST – the band will be taking this show on the road in 2011.

Up Above My Head by Steven Jackson


3.0 stars

Music appreciation is a very subjective thing. One man’s Springsteen is another man’s Strummer and one woman’s Baez is another’s Mitchell. Kingston, Ontario’s Steven Jackson has been a musician for many years and has recorded 12 tracks of respectable indie folk, slow to mid-tempo, mainly acoustic ballads on Up Above My Head. This is unadulterated Canadian folk music by an über-nasally singer whose voice reverberates like those classic folk singers you remember from the 60s. Jackson’s voice is an acquired taste but I have found that the more I listen to Up Above My Head, the more I enjoy it.

Influenced by The Beatles, Peter Gabriel, Cat Stevens, John Hiatt, and Joni Mitchell among others, Steven Jackson’s mature, opinionated lyrics are written with conviction while the singer searches for context and meaning in life by asking for answers to questions that many of us ask. Why is the world in the state it’s in? (Please Tell Me Why) Why do some people choose to kill in the name of God? (My God) Why do the elderly have to fight to maintain relevance in today’s culture? (You Are Done) Why do so many people live in isolation in their homes? (We’re Alone) He asks the questions but he doesn’t give us any answers here, he simply makes us think about them ourselves.

From the title track:

Up above my head there is blue sky
Below my feet there is dark
Somewhere in the middle there is me
Lost in thought.
Trying to make sense of a crazy world
When nothing makes sense to me at all
We’re all just looking for the answers
Hoping for more.
Is this all there is?
What happens when we die?
Do the bad souls descend to Hell?
While the good souls rise to the sky…..ah Heaven.
Are we just Pawns on a giant chess board?
Being moved by some power above
Are we just actors on a stage looking for love?
Walking blindly nowhere to go
Watching ourselves as we age and grow
Staring in the mirror
Staring at the sky
Waiting to die.

Jackson reflects considerably on death:

“Death is a theme I find very interesting in life, I have been obsessed with death even as a child. Probably because so many loved-ones close to me have passed away. You cannot help but be affected by it. Death is a constant in my life. As you grow older the reality of death grows closer, I hate the idea of aging and dying but again it is something you have no control over. That isn’t to say I am not going to fight it, I will try, but the idea of death haunts me night and day, and it seems that for me there is no escaping it.”

Fear not though, this isn’t all morose retrospection. He writes and sings about the loves of his life, from his best friend (My Best Friend, which includes a beautiful guitar solo) to his wife (I Just Want To Tell You Something) and expresses gratitude for those who have made life worth living.

The piano in And The Wind Will Take You There is a welcome addition, reminiscent of Bruce Hornsby, and arrives after the half way point in the album. It’s one of my favourite tracks along with Upon The Sea but to be honest with you this isn’t a CD that will stay in my player for very long because I am not in love with his voice.

Jackson has a musical collaborator in David Barton who contributes lead guitar, bass, keyboards and drums and also served as producer. Up Above My Head is a stronger collection for his involvement and this album is a fine legacy for Jackson to leave to his children.