Let's Stop Pretending Ottawa has a Music Scene

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Does the fact that half our writers tabled this topic mean something?

We think it does. Admittedly, the music situation in Ottawa was much bigger than I originally thought when I started involving myself in it. But, it is hardly a scene. 

When my band played with groups from Montreal the out-of-town bands wanted to make sure the show was over by ten thirty. “Ottawa is a go to bed early town.” I couldn’t stick up for my city, he’s right. Hell, my band had our slot changed from eight to ten one gig and we had a conniption. All the bands were in a pissing match for who didn’t have to headline. We all needed to get home for bedtime. A band from Toronto said to me, as more of a statement then a question, “there’s no music scene down here, right?” This may come across as an unpopular opinion, but when I asked a local musician what he thought the problem was, “if it’s not synth it’s not cool”.

Now, it’s nothing against the instrument itself, but more a comment towards the cliques that have pocketing over the past couple of years. Ottawa is not short of bands for any genre. It is just the same bands doing the same things with the same people. There’s no room for expansion. All the bands are the same, and in on the wrong ways. Nobody is out checking out bands they don’t have a friend playing in anymore, if they ever did at all. There’s no bands making the citizens of Ottawa buzz and gaining any heat. Bands don’t want to play shows because they’re worried about (what I believe is the most ‘eye-roll emoji’ inducing word ever), “pull”. “Pull” is supposed to be a band’s ability to draw a crowd, but that isn’t what it means in Ottawa. We discussed how the Tragically Hip dealt with playing to completely empty venues on tour. There's no bands in Ottawa that love music enough to bond over that.

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Attending a rock show on a Saturday night isn’t enticing, it’s annoying. We all must get to our Government of Canada Department of… jobs in the morning. Playing a rock show on a Saturday night isn’t enticing, it’s annoying. Especially when it falls within a month of a different show. No band is gaining a following playing once a month.

Who loves playing simply for playing? Isn’t playing music live enough for anyone anymore?

We don’t have an Ottawa music scene, we have an Ottawa music burden.

Is Ottawa rock and roll dead as Sparks Street at ten on a Friday night?

We wonder what group is at fault for the burden. Is it the musicians or the fans? Or a different entity – we haven’t even got to promoters yet.

Let us know and get the hell out to a show, please?

 


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Mike is a University of Ottawa honours graduate with an English background. Currently a student in the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College, he also writes for Breaking the Trend and Spotlight Ottawa. Mike strives to increase the publicity of the Ottawa music scene – which he is a part of through his band, Lost Acres.

Connect through LinkedIn, Facebook, or Medium.


A Look Back at Alternative & Punk Releases of 2017

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Oh man. Let’s be real, 2017 was one hell of a year for the music industry. With Christmas and New Years finally over with, I finally had a hot minute to just sit down and listen to some music and thought, why don’t I make a list of some of the best stuff, in my opinion, to come out this year. Most of the albums that I chose as my favourites are kind of upbeat, are lyrically amazing, and show off the incredible skills and talents of each of the bands.

January;

Code Orange – Forever (January 13)
This album is the first album that I have ever listened to by the band. It’s filthy, its grungy, its fantastic. The album, and the songs, have great structure and heaviness. There is a good mix of fast tempo songs (Forever) and slower (Bleeding in the Blur) songs to really make the album a unique experience.

As It Is – Okay (January 20)
This album caught me by surprise. Not only did I not know that it was coming out, but I ended up enjoying it so much more than I thought it would. This album is a wonderful follow up to their 2015 album, Never Happy, Ever After. With a very clear upbeat sound to the tracks and rocking beats, this is another album and band that worked to show their diverse skills this year.

February;

Less Than Jake – Sound the Alarm (February 3)
While this is not actually an album, but an EP, its still a worthy mention. Although a good album, it is the standard Less Than Jake that most fans have come to expect over the years.

The Menzingers – After the Party (February 3)
Another band that I came across this year, I fell in love with this album the first time I listened to it. I’m a huge fan of Kerouac and have to say that mentions of him and his work make Lookers my favourite track on this album. The whole album is fantastic with a really smooth flow and I found it to be a nice change from “mom doesn’t understand me” to “oh crap, I’m an adult now.”

March;

Sorority Noise – You’re Not As ___ As You Think You Are (March 17)
Get ready to go through another emo phase. This album is soft, beautiful, and brutally honest. The work of Sorority Noise has a sound that is reminiscent of Modern Baseball or Brand New with incredible guitar work, a love affair with distortion and vocals that add meaning to the incredibly quotable lyrics.

April;

The Maine – Lovely Little Lonely (April 7)
Is it emo pop? Yup, but your going to love it. Lovely Little Lonely is basically the climax of what all their previous albums and EP’s were giving to us. The bands craftmanship when it comes to complex sounds and catchy lyrics is not lost, and creates has once again created an album that feels timeless and will no doubt draw a new audience.

The Flatliners – Inviting Light (April 14)
I think this band really overlooked when it comes to talking about punk-rock heavyweights. This band has delivered a fuller, broader, sound as compared with Cavalcade’s (2010) which featured heavier and choppier songs. Dirty vocals, beautiful drum work, and clean guitar riffs, this album is definitely one of the best to be released by The Flatliners in a long time.

New Found Glory – Makes Me Sick (April 28)
Say hello to heavy synth, because that’s what in store for you here. These guys constantly work to not make the same album twice, and they have succeeded here. Although not all the songs feel like they belong on the album, the album itself is great and definitely worked as a summer playlist.

May;

Grayscale – Adornment (May 5)
A lovely follow up to What We’re Missing. Grayscale continue to show incredible musical growth since their debut, both musically and lyrically.

June;

Broadside – Paradise (June 16)
Mid-summer soundtrack material is all I can really say. The lyrics and vocals are reminiscent of Hedley circa 2013, and the last track on the album sounds weirdly like a Twenty One Pilots cover. This album is a definite good step forward for the band, and will leave fans with an all over goof feeling after a good listen.

August;

Neck Deep – The Peace And The Panic (August 18)
What a treat this album was. It’s only been two years since their last album came out but these guys did a whole lot of growing in that time, and In Bloom really shows off not just the vocals and lyrical talents, but the musical skills that the band members have as well. Showing off a new, more upbeat sound, Neck Deep has obviously made another banger.

September;

Nothing More – The Stories We Tell Ourselves (September 15)
I stumbled upon these guys shortly before the release of this album and what a treat that was. They are a lyrical power house with the musical talent to match. I can only hope that this is the first in a long line of huge successes for them.

Seaway – Vacation (September 15)
This is road trip music, plain and simple. A beautiful blend between the old sounds of Seaway with their newer style. This album is full of energy, has a kind of emo sound to the lyrics, and to die for dual vocals. This album is fantastic and really showcases the evolution of their style over the years.

October;

Citizen – As You Please (October 6)
Still the same lyrical beauty that we have come to love, Citizen has graced the world with another album that is full of emotion and meaning. There is incredible dynamic range in this album, and with on point production comes the wonderfully fresh new sound of lyrics at the same volume as the drums and guitars.

Knuckle Puck – Shapeshifter (October 13)
Perfectly timed release of this album that is so clearly about changes. As the year begins to come to end, and on the most superstitious day of the year, Knuckle Puck released an album that is sure to push them into the forefront of punk related media. Delivering thought provoking lyrics with a similar sound as their previous album, they have managed to set a high bar for themselves that I can’t wait to see them over take in upcoming albums.

Movements – Feel Something (October 20)
This album was a treat to my ears. As a first time listener of the band I didn’t know what I was getting into. I was delivered hushed choruses mixed with emotional, belting of versus all neatly wrapped together with rhythmic drums and passive guitars. Is there an emo resurgence that I didn’t get the memo about?

I The Mighty – Where The Mind Wants To Go/ Where You Let It Go (October 20)
I had heard of this band in the past, but I hadn’t gone out of my way to listen to them, and boy was I missing out. Wow, this album is amazing. There is so much feeling in the lyrics and the melodies and instrumentals are just beautiful.

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Arielle is a 22 year old Professional Writing student who loves the arts. Her music taste is eclectic, but she spends most of her time frequenting local punk and metal shows. She often surfs through Youtube and Bandcamp hoping to stumble on a new addictive sound. Her favourite bands include; Breaking Benjamin, Dance Gavin Dance, In This Moment and Brand New, to name a few.

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Arielle Blaedow

Arielle is a 22 Professional Writing student who loves the arts. Her music taste is eclectic, but she spends most of her time frequenting local punk and metal shows. She often surfers through Youtube and Bandcamp hoping to stumble on a new addictive sound. Her favourite bands include; Breaking Benjamin, Dance Gavin Dance, In This Moment, and Brand New, to name a few.

Oldheads

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With 16 to 20-year-old rap superstars currently dominating the music industry, making hip hop the most listened to genre in the world (surpassing even rock & roll), it’s hard to deny that the younger generation is making waves.

This new wave of hip hop, full of auto tune, filthy 808’s and triplet flows is taking over. Older styles of hip hop, focused on lyrics and message, are dying out. While some still manage to be quite successful, J. Cole for example, this new generation’s style is here to stay. But, this has upset older fans of the genre, those who were around for the glory days of Tupac and Biggie. It’s easy to understand why!

With artists like Lil Yachty saying he, “Honestly couldn't name five songs” by the aforementioned, and highly revered, Tupac and Biggie. From the perspective of someone who maybe grew up during hip hops early evolutions, it is clear to see why they view such a statement negatively. That said, Lil Yachty himself claimed that he was in fact, not a rapper.

Labeling himself simply, an artist who makes music, an artist who doesn't wish to be confined within a genre, despite clearly wearing the genre’s influence on his sleeve.

Another “rapper” who was called out in the past and again somewhat recently is Post Malone. Post Malone is an artist whose entire career has been plagued by accusations of cultural appropriation and, again, disrespects hip hop.  He says he is just an artist and doesn't want to be put into the box of hip hop, despite making music in that genre.

My question is, what is so wrong with not wanting to be put into a box? People claim it’s just plain disrespect, but in my opinion its revolution. Genres change, influences change, that doesn't make it worse or better, it doesn't disrespect those that came before; it is simply a desire to create something new.  

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James Ross

James is a writer of all things from poetry and fiction, to informational and opinion pieces. He enjoys making music, skateboarding, cooking and obviously a bit of writing. And, most importantly his favourite quote isn’t from a writer, “I am flowers.” – Koko the gorilla. 

A MUSICAL MYSTERY TOUR

Discover the musical tradition of Advent

This is a special time of year for Christians who are observing Advent, anticipating Christmas.  And, Advent is all about the music!  Join me on a musical journey and let's explore the joy of the season’s music in Ottawa.

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While not well known in these parts, the Rorate Mass is an ancient Advent tradition within the Roman Catholic Church, especially among German speaking countries.  A candlelight Mass celebrated in the early morning while still dark, its name is from the Rorate Caeli, which is sung during the opening procession.  Take a listen to this sample of Gregorian chant.  Spoiler Alert – it is Latin! 

A treat for all musical lovers, head out to Ottawa’s German Parish, St. Albertus www.st-albertus on Saturday, December 16.  Don’t worry if you don’t understand Latin or German – it doesn’t matter.  The Rorate is a truly beautiful musical experience.  Hmm…one last thing, set your alarm clock because you will want to be there for 6:45 a.m.

On Sunday, December 17, with three choirs performing, St. George’s Parish on Piccadilly Avenue www.saintgeorges.ca presents its Advent concert.  Mark your calendars! The concert starts at 11:30. Offering a diverse line-up, there is something for all musical tastes. What might you hear?

Coram Deo offers traditional Sacred music, including chant and polyphony.  There is also a contemporary choir that takes a modern approach to musical settings and compositions - listen to Kari Jobe below for the sweet sound of contemporary.  And, last but not least, the children’s choir from St. George’s School will enchant with classic Christmas carols – angels in action for sure! sge.ocsb.ca

Also on December 17, Notre Dame Cathedral on Sussex Drive holds a Choral Celebration beginning at 2:30 in the afternoon.  This is big!  Capturing the majesty of the season, the choir usually plays to a full house so get there early.  Making this day extra special, the Cathedral will be designated a national historic site.

Within the Anglican tradition, Christ Church Cathedral on Sparks Street has a musical legacy for which it is known around the world.  There are two Choral celebrations on Christmas Eve that are sure to delight.

Well, that ends our musical journey of Advent.  But, wait! There's more to come.  You see, while Advent ends on December 24, the Christmas season begins on December 25 with new selections.  Indeed, the season is magical!

For more on Christmas, check out The Mic Drop where Caitlin offers a fresh perspective, and Lynette shows us how to DIY on Crafting the College Life.  Thanks ladies!

Wishing you a Merry Musical Christmas.

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Sheila's passion for music emerged at a young age.  From dancing around the house to Motown beats, she experimented with road trip rhythms, holding her own with Elton & Kiki.  These early influences surface on her latest release Shower Serenades.  Her repertoire stands the test of time.

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sheila hill

Sheila's passion for music emerged at a young age.  From dancing around the house to Motown beats, she experimented with road trip rhythms, holding her own with Elton & Kiki.  These early influences surface on her latest release Shower Serenades.  Her repertoire stands the test of time.

Canada Closed - Death in the Family

Could a tweet sum up October 17th 2017 any better?

Seriously?          

The nation, fans of The Tragically Hip or not, was taken aback on October 17th when the news was confirmed: Gord Downie had died. The nation seemed shocked, despite knowing for quite some time that the frontman was suffering from terminal brain cancer.

            I was writing a tribute to Leonard Cohen at the time, as it has been one year since he died. In that moment, when I found out Canada’s other true troubadour was also gone, the atmosphere changed. It was somber. I no longer wanted to write. I didn’t want to accept that a year after a monumental literary hero of mine had died, another was now gone.

            The Ongoing History of New Music Podcast, hosted by Allan Cross, released a two-episode feature on Gord. He couldn’t have nailed it any better than he did. This podcast was everything I wished I’d written, and when he said he saw a tweet that summed up Gord Downie’s death perfectly, he was right: “Canada closed, death in the family”.

The Tragically Hip and Gord Downie are never far from mind when “Canada” and “music” are mentioned in the same sentence. Cross discusses this in detail throughout his podcast feature, reminding us that Fully Completely is basically one giant history lesson of Canada.

The excerpts of interviews included in the feature were flawless. They speak to how much Gord loved what he did and how, at an early age, he possessed what most musicians rarely do: a never-ending, marital love for music.

Gord was always proud to be in a band, even when nobody knew him. He said the following about the feeling he would get during band practice, “I just worked on a secret and wait until you hear it”. This quote demonstrates a belief in the power of music that the majority of musicians simply don't possess. Luck is often dubbed as what separates one musician from the next, but I have a new theory that it's not only luck, but also a belief like Gord's. The belief that what you are doing as a musician, and as an artist, will move somebody else emotionally.

Allan tells a story of the band playing at an empty bar when the group was first starting out. After the set, the band had a couple of beers with the few people there. Gord’s response to what it’s like to be in these situations was no short of perfect:

The one thing about bands is that…they’re always funny…and that humour comes from these bottom-of-the-barrel moments that would crush people, even if they knew that they happened to you. So, you help each other through these things, and you forge them.

It takes belief in the music and art to trudge through moments like these. If Gord needed to be summed up in one word – it’s belief. Belief in art, poetry, music, playing live, and the greatness of Canada.

Cross further ends his two-part series with all that really needs to be said about Gord Downie and the art he left, “Yo, Gord. Hey, man, thanks.”

         



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Mike is a University of Ottawa honours graduate with an English background. Currently a student in the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College, he also writes for Breaking the Trend and Spotlight Ottawa. Mike strives to increase the publicity of the Ottawa music scene – which he is a part of through his band, Lost Acres.

Connect through LinkedIn, Facebook, or Medium.

Classic is Ageless

Photo Property of marvel studios

Photo Property of marvel studios

If you’ve been to a movie theatre in the last few years you’ve probably seen, or at least heard about, one of the Marvel movies. You may have noticed something else as well. The soundtracks. Much to the excitement of rock fans everywhere, the Marvel franchise has used mostly classic rock in the majority of their movies. We first see this in Iron Man, whose soundtrack boasted both AC/DC and Black Sabbath.  More recently, both of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies featured amazing soundtracks with artists like Fleetwood Mac; Redbone; Cheaptrick, and The Runaways to name a few.

The classic rock trend continues. At the beginning of November Thor: Ragnarok was released featuring a cover of The Immigrant Song. But it's not just Marvel that is in the habit of using classic rock. Just two weeks after Thor, DC Films released the first Justice League movie, which uses a covered version of Come together. The covers are great and the movies themselves are fantastic.  More importantly, however, if you're anything like me, you know that a movie soundtrack can make or break the atmosphere and your overall feeling about a movie.

What is it about classic rock that makes it impervious to the passage of time? Is it the lyrics? Is it the musical composition? Is it simply the atmosphere in which they were created... and, continue to create now? Who knows? This music, the songs and the artists who created them, have proved time and time again over the years that the music lives on. Their songs are constantly used in soundtracks, covered by other artists, and inspires others to create. They will live on, much like the pharaohs, they are timeless.

Videos;

The Immigrant Song – Karen O with Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – Thor Ragnarok (Led Zepplin)

Video Property of Marvel Studios


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Arielle is a 22 year old Professional Writing student who loves the arts. Her music taste is eclectic, but she spends most of her time frequenting local punk and metal shows. She often surfs through Youtube and Bandcamp hoping to stumble on a new addictive sound. Her favourite bands include; Breaking Benjamin, Dance Gavin Dance, In This Moment and Brand New, to name a few.

YOUR PASSPORT TO THE WORLD

Ever wonder about where a band's name comes from...or, where a band actually comes from! Like peanut butter and chocolate, we were curious about what we would get if we put these two questions together.  So, hold on tight and enjoy the trip! We invite you to review our list of some notable bands whose name is actually a place. 

NazarethWho knew?  All these years I thought this band took its name from the promised land. Wrong! Hailing from Scotland, this hard rock band, formed in 1970, took its name from Nazareth, Pennsylvania mentioned in their song The Weight.[i]   Best known for the 1975 hit Love Hurts, Nazareth is still touring.

BostonThis makes more sense.  Boston actually comes from Beantown.  Another 1970s band, best known for the hits More than a Feeling and Amanda, Boston started out opening for acts such as Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult.  A guitar shaped spaceship became the signature for their album covers. 

GRToday.com

GRToday.com

Kansas – Travelling now to the mid-west, this popular 1970s fusion rock band is named for its home state.  Its breakthrough album, Leftoverture, put the band on the charts with the hit single Carry on Wayward Son.  Perhaps the band’s most memorable recording is the acoustic Dust in the Wind; a spiritual reflection with biblical themes, it is a must listen.  Love the violin!

Chicago – Ah, the windy city! Eclectic and sophisticated, just like the band that borrowed its name.  One of the most successful and enduring bands in musical history.  Really, I am not worthy, despite that slump in the early 1980s.  There are no words - listen and you will understand. 

AlabamaDo I have to say it! This country and southern rock band from Payne, Alabama made it big in the 1980s. They were part of a wave of country artists who successfully crossed over into the mainstream earning superstar status. One the best-selling bands of all times, you could not watch an award show in the 1980s without these guys walking away with a prize. 

Chilliwack – Moving north of the 49th parallel to beautiful British Columbia, this band from Vancouver is best known for that catchy, or annoying, tune Whatcha Gonna Do, as well as My Girl.  Oh, she’s been gone so long. This band helped put Canada on the map in the 1970s, paving the way for future generations of Canadian artists.

BerlinHome of some of the hippest and most happening music and dance festivals in the world….wait, stop the presses! My bad, nothing to do with Germany.  From the O.C. in California, this group’s anthem is Take My Breath Away from the 1986 movie Top Gun. Enough said. 

SpainHome of the great mystics and the Camino de Santiago, it is fitting that this band is from the City of Angels, L.A.  Even more fitting, try out their single Spiritual from the album Blue Moods of Spain.  Spain’s music has been covered by Johnny Cash, and Pat Methany played with them.  Not bad!  Currently touring in Los Angeles, catch a show if you are in the area. www.spaintheband.com

We’d like to hear from you!  Where would you go?

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Sheila's passion for music emerged at a young age.  From dancing around the house to Motown beats, she experimented with road trip rhythms, holding her own with Elton & Kiki.  These early influences surface on her latest release Shower Serenades.  Her repertoire stands the test of time.

[i] Official Nazareth Web-site

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sheila hill

Sheila's passion for music emerged at a young age.  From dancing around the house to Motown beats, she experimented with road trip rhythms, holding her own with Elton & Kiki.  These early influences surface on her latest release Shower Serenades.  Her repertoire stands the test of time.

Buried In The Crowds

Photo Courtesy of pexels.com

Photo Courtesy of pexels.com

A swift kick to the back of the head. The girl crowd surfing just kicked me. At this point, I’m tired of the crowd surfers and decide to take matters into my own, anger-filled hands. I grab her by her collar and pull her down from her place atop the crowd and immediately go back to trying to enjoy the show.

Crowd surfers. I don’t know anyone who likes them, and I’m sure I’m not the only one with a story like this.

Being in the crowd at a concert is one hell of a ride, and I have found that it can vary depending on the genre of the band and the particular city that you are in.

The best crowd experience I’ve had at a show is when I went to see Motionless in White at Ritual, right here in home-town Ottawa. There is just something so exhilarating about such a small space packed full of people who love the same music, who are filled with excited energy, having a blast, and respecting the people around them. If you’ve ever been to a really great metal show, or a great show in general - you know that feeling! The one where the entire crowd jumps on the bands command. This one of the happiest moments you will experience in this life.

That being said, not every show that you go to is going to be a gem, no matter how much you like the band.

A couple years ago I went to see my favourite band, Breaking Benjamin, in Montreal. I had wanted to see them in concert since I was 11 and was finally getting the chance. Unfortunately, I would have to say it was one of the worst crowd experiences I’ve ever had.
There were people moshing to songs that you just don’t mosh to (The Diary of Jane), there were the people who always get too drunk or too high before the show and end up getting dragged out by security after they’ve puked somewhere, and there were the crowd surfers. I can say matter-of-factly that crowd surfers are the worst people at a show. But, all of these factors overall made me look back at the show as one that I really didn’t enjoy.

Most recently I went to see Nothing More in Toronto, which was a new experience altogether. First of all, I went with someone, whereas I usually go to shows alone (mostly because my friends don’t share my music taste), and I also stood at the back of the crowd this time, when I have usually stood as close to the front as I could. Being at a show with someone you want to be there with, listening to great music, and being away from the chaos that is the front of the stage proved to also make for a really good crowd experience.

So why go? Why take that chance that you might not have a good time, or might get hurt?

For the love of music. The one thing that everyone in the crowd is going to have in common. The crowd can be hot, sweaty, drunk, and violent, but at the end of it, you got to listen to great music, live, and experience the pure joy that comes with it.


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Arielle is a 22 year old Professional Writing student who loves the arts. Her music taste is eclectic, but she spends most of her time frequenting local punk and metal shows. She often surfs through Youtube and Bandcamp hoping to stumble on a new addictive sound. Her favourite bands include; Breaking Benjamin, Dance Gavin Dance, In This Moment and Brand New, to name a few.

Introducing O2O

Calling all music lovers! We're introducing Octave2Octave, which is your go-to site for comprehensive music information. Whether you're hoping to find information to benefit your own musicianship, find something new, or simply read up on interesting topics - we've got it all. We all love music, and music is broad, so we're here to facilitate your musical journey. Hidden gems, unpopular genre pieces, and reviews - whatever you need, we got you covered.

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Blurred Lines...Oh, Mercy Mercy Me!

 

I set out to write about the continued relevance of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 concept album What’s Going On in regard to its social commentary.  I intended to set it against the controversies around Robin Thicke’s song Blurred Lines, hence the title.  Of course, I would have highlighted the musical mastery of Gaye’s album, its innovations and, oh, those lyrics. Inspired!

As I reflected, I became focused on one aspect of the album – the voice.  Not, Marvin’s but, rather, the perspective from which he tells his story. Of a soldier coming home from Vietnam.  I remember the backlash these men faced as they tried to reintegrate into “normal” life.  As if the horrors they encountered in war were not enough, American veterans were seemingly abandoned by their Government and, in large part, by society.  They became punching bags to protest an unpopular war.  They were neglected and forgotten.

During the Vietnam war we wore POW-MIA bracelets. Engraved on these bracelets was the rank, name and loss date of a soldier captured or missing.  The proceeds of sales were used to promote awareness about imprisoned and missing soldiers.  This campaign was a campus initiative started by a couple of young women who recognized a grave injustice and chose to do something about it.  

Speaking of injustice, the last track on the original album, Inner City Blues sums it up.  What’s Going On reflects Gaye’s religious upbringing, and he embodies Soul.  From beginning to end, he reveals the Gospel.  This album is a prayer for humanity and it speaks of all that is good, true and beautiful. So, what is its relevance today?

On November 10, Algonquin College is hosting a Songwriters’ Circle featuring some great Canadian talent, including Sarah Harmer and Joel Plaskett.  Tickets cost $100 and proceeds go to Guitars for Vets, a program sponsored by Vets Canada.  This program offers guitars and lessons for those suffering PTSD, disability or injury.  It recognizes the healing power of music.  Now, this is social commentary!

Vets Canada is a non-profit charity providing emergency transition services to marginalized Canadian veterans, including current members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP. Boots on the Ground is their motto, and volunteers across the country hit the pavement daily to help the homeless and invisible.  Much like the ones who returned from the Vietnam War about which Marvin Gaye sang.

The power of music lies in its ability to tell meaningful stories, make people feel, engage them, and effect change. Gaye’s album did this. I am not convinced much has changed in the almost 50 years since his album was released.  Yet, the spirit of Gaye’s lyrics remains true – may we have faith and hope.  Perhaps, here at Algonquin, we can get some traction and make a difference.

I believe prayer is protest and, to paraphrase Saint Augustine, when we sing, we pray twice.  I think Marvin knew this.

 

 

 


Sheila's passion for music emerged at a young age.  From dancing around the house to Motown beats, she experimented with road trip rhythms, holding her own with Elton & Kiki.  These early influences surface on her latest release Shower Serenades.  Her repertoire stands the test of time.

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sheila hill

Sheila's passion for music emerged at a young age.  From dancing around the house to Motown beats, she experimented with road trip rhythms, holding her own with Elton & Kiki.  These early influences surface on her latest release Shower Serenades.  Her repertoire stands the test of time.