OBill Steber

Bill Steber

At John Coffer’s 2009 Jamboree,  wet plate photographer and blues musician Bill Steber performed “Old Collodion Blues” around the campfire.

Click on the link for mp3:  Old Collodion Blues

I’ve been listening to some archived episodes of the terrific weekly music podcast Coverville with Brian Ibbott.  As the name suggests, Coverville focuses on new renditions of previously recorded songs; but there is also a recurrent segment called Uncovered Gem of the Week dedicated to original recordings.  On episode 171 (January 2006), Ibbott’s Uncovered Gem was Tunnel Into Summer by Kimberly Rew from the solo album of the same title released in 2000.  


Click Here for mp3 of Tunnel Into Summer by Kimberly Rew




Review of Tunnel Into Summer from  

You may not know who Kimberley Rew is but you certainly know his most well known song.   Yes, I’m talking about”Walking On Sunshine.”That song was a huge hit for Katrina And The Waves in 1983 and Kimberley was the primary songwriter and guitarist of the group. (The”Rolling Stone Album Guide”describes the first Waves’ LP as”a masterpiece of guitar pop.”)In 1997 Katrina And The Waves won the Eurovision Song Contest for the U.K. with Kimberley’s composition”Love Shine A Light,”a European Top 10 hit. But he first came to notice in the late 1970s as a member of Robyn Hitchcock’s cult heroes The Soft Boys (notable as an influence on R.E.M., The Replacements, and Uncle Tupelo).Well, finally after almost three decades as the quintessential sides-man, Kimberley releases his very first solo album with”Tunnel Into Summer”and it is a refreshing blast of effortlessly pleasing guitar pop-rock.Whilst there has never been a doubt about Kimberley’s songwriting prowess, it is indeed a welcome surprise to discover that he has a formidable singing voice. Highly reminiscent of erstwhile partner Robyn in inflection and tone, Kimberley’s vocals (and music) recalls the same influences — Syd Barrett, Bob Dylan, Roger McGuinn, and John Lennon.With notable assistance from Robyn, Dave (Fairport Convention) Mattacks, Glenn (Squeeze) Tillbrook, and co-producer Andy (Soft Boys, Egyptians) Metcalfe, Kimberley has assembled a collection of quality tunes primarily informed by a preference for”psychedelic folk-rock blues.”From the bright and sparkling”Simple Pleasures”to the introspective”If There’s An Answer,”the breezy title track to the jazzy and stomping”Little Ray Of Sunshine,”the wistful”Honey Is That Love”to the genuinely countrified”The Radio Played Good Vibrations,””Tunnel Into Summer”is indispensable listening for fans of organic, sincere pop.

Meredith Luce


The CBC Radio3 Podcast devoted a whole hour to country/folk/rock music last week.  Amanda Putz hosted the show, sitting in for Grant Lawrence, and recorded it in Ottawa, Canada.  One of the artists on that podcast I really liked was Meredith Luce, who performed “Ballad of Sally Rae.”  The song is about her American parents leaving for Canada in 1969.  Her father objected to the draft, as many of his contemporaries did, and thought it unwise to remain here.


Click Here for mp3: “Ballad of Sally Rae” 



Cover of Meredith Luce's October Album (2007)

Cover of October Album (2007)



Following is from Meredith’s page at CBC Radio3:


Meredith Luce beguiles her audiences with her vocals, her funny, fearless banter, and her award-winning songs. Her music ranges from contemporary folk and folk rock to alt country and pop. CBC’s Alan Neal said of Meredith’s performance at a taping for Canada Live, “That is a voice I can’t get enough of.” Jill Breit, host of UpNorth Music on North Country Public Radio, the northern New York affiliate of the US National Public Radio, selected Meredith for the UpNorth music project. They recorded her music, and more recently invited Meredith to play the project’s live on-air inaugural concert at St. Lawrence College in Canton, NY, on January 25th. They have also included her song, “Big City Girl”; on their compilation album. A dual US/Canadian citizen, Meredith draws on her family’s Appalachian roots and the Canadian songwriters whose music she heard growing up in Ottawa, Ontario. Her first full-length album October was released in July 2007 and it received strong critical notice including a four star rating in the Ottawa Citizen. The album was produced Dave Draves at Ottawa’s Little Bullhorn Studio.


Meredith’s Website:


Real Mckenzies

Real McKenzies

From CBC Radio 3: The modern-day Celtic bards known as the Real McKenzies hail from Vancouver, BC and are a punk band deeply rooted in their Scottish heritage with a sound best described as the Sex Pistols meet Scottish folk legend Robbie Burns. The Scottish term Ceilidh(pronounced kee-lee), is the main reason why the Real McKenzies formed and their chief inspiration. Ceilidh, according to the McKenzies, is a Gaelic word meaning “A wicked party which carries on for days”. Founded by frontman Paul McKenzie in 1994, he cites his family as another motivating factor, “As a lad, my parents and grandparents would dress me up in a kilt and make me sing and dance to traditional Scottish music. Starting a Scottish punk band is my way of getting revenge!”

Click Here for MP3: Real McKenzies – “Droppin’ Like Flies”

The Real McKenzies are represented by Fat Wreck Chords in San Francisco.  “Droppin’ Like Flies” is from their 2003 album Oot and Aboot.


John Guliak & Band

John Guliak & Band

John Guliak is represented by Mint Records.  The bio that follows was taken from his page on their website:  

John had been a part of the “Prairie Folk Scene” most of his musical career, and after a five-year stint living in Vancouver, home to Mint Records, he returned to the Prairies where he is continuing to created his richly compelling cracked-leather country.

John’s music comes from a unique place, both physical and psychological. Much like his debut album, The Black Monk7 Stories and 13 Songs reflects the poetic and political observations John has made while living in various locales across Canada. These experiences are portrayed through songs that lament the displacement of our rural populations to the inner cities of our major metropolitan areas while celebrating the cultures that persevere.


CLICK HERE FOR MP3: John Guliak – “Easy To Fail”


Other places to find John’s music are CBC Radio 3 and his page on My Space.


Greenfield Main

Greenfield Main


Since writing about Tennessee Twin last week, I’ve decided to make a music post a regular part of this blog each week. Another of my favorite bands – which I also discovered through CBC Radio 3 Podcast – is Greenfield Main based in Ottawa, Canada.  Their primary influences were originally gospel and rockabilly.  They are represented by Kelp Records who sum them up this way:  “…the band now makes two distinctive sounds, playing equal parts oldtime truckin’ redneck country, and autumnal porch Appalachia drenched in harmonies.”  


Click Here for MP3: Greenfield Main – “Red River Valley”



From The Kelp Records Website



Originally conceived as a country recording outlet for Rhume’s Jon Bartlett, Greenfield Main took on a life of its own shortly after the release of 2000’s Hunting Tips for Everyone. A band formed to play out the CD’s songs, and has evolved to include John Higney (Two Minute Miracles, Adam West), Rolf Klausener (The Acorn, Recoilers) and Jon Lomow (Recoilers). Hunting Tips for Everyone was chosen by Exclaim! magazine as the #9 record of 2001 in the category of Country/Folk/Blues, cementing the band’s reputation as a new northern country-rock force to be reckoned with.

October 2004 saw the release of Barnburners & Heartchurners, a somewhat darker and punchier entrée steeped in country, blues and rock tradition. It’s an oft-sordid affair that is able to switch gears from trucker filth (“Matilda”, “Wait on Me”) to porch folk (“Formaldehyde”, “Have Mercy”) with lots of stops in between, loaded with memories of Bartlett’s New Brunswick years, lost loved ones, and the Lord. It has also been received with accolades; Exclaim! picked it as the #7 Country/Folk/Blues record of 2004 and was the most played record on CKCU during the year.

Taking cues from Lee Hazlewood, Gram Parsons (particularly his work with the International Submarine Band), the Louvin Brothers and new traditionalists such as Gillian Welch, Greenfield Main have graduated from their comedic beginnings and have proven that their country roots are well-intended and not a novelty act. Live, the band now makes two distinctive sounds, playing equal parts oldtime truckin’ redneck country, and autumnal porch Appalachia drenched in harmonies.

Not long ago on the CBC Radio 3 podcast with Grant Lawrence, I heard Tennessee Twin performing a song called “Free To Do What?”   I’ll leave the biographical info. to Charles Spano below.  Let me just say for now that I was intrigued with Tennessee Twin’s determination to set themselves apart from punk rockers in Vancouver by incorporating unexpected older musical styles.  Those of us doing wet plate collodion photography – as opposed to digital or film – should be at home with that sort of reverse-rebellion.  We have been called the “antiquarian avant-garde.”


Tennessee Twin

Tennessee Twin


From All Music Guide

The Tennesse Twin play ballads, barnburners, and hillbilly social tunes in the old style of country & western music. Cindy Wolfe, founder of the Tennessee Twin, is the identical twin sister of acclaimed riot grrrl act Bratmobile’s Allison Wolfe. Born in Memphis, Cindy Wolfe, who sings, plays mandolin, and is the songwriter for the Tennessee Twin, found inspiration from her Southern roots, and desired to perform in ways that stood out from her punk rock contemporaries. Wolfe began this effort by writing, directing, and staging puppet shows in Olympia, WA. But fearful of being pigeonholed as a puppeteer, Wolfe began to plot out the course of the country band that would become the Tennessee Twin and moved to Canada. In 1998, when Bratmobile came to Vancouver, Allison Wolfe convinced her sister to get her band started, and the Tennessee Twin were born. The band has played festival shows, including YoYo a GoGo and Ladyfest with fellow alt-country crooner Neko Case. Mint Records released the Tennessee Twin’s first single, “These Thoughts Are Occupied,” in 2001. The next year they finally released their debut album, Free to Do What?, and Wolfe starred in the film Low Self Esteem Girl.

— Charles Spano