Vet­eran and new­comer release CDs that would be great ad­di­tions to mu­sic col­lec­tion

Cape Breton Post - - ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT -

I’ ll fin­ish my ECMA com­men­tary next time, but to­day I’d like to talk about a pair of new CDs I just got my hands on.

Thom Swift is a de­light­ful song­writer, an ex­quis­ite gui­tarist and a pas­sion­ate singer. An East Coast mu­sic vet­eran, he is a long­time mem­ber of the pop­u­lar New Brunswick-based roots/blues trio, Hot Toddy.

He has just re­leased a brand new solo al­bum called Blue Sky Day, fea­tur­ing a dozen cuts, in­clud­ing three in­stru­men­tals. Swift wrote all but one of th­ese, the ex­cep­tion be­ing an A.P. Carter clas­sic called No De­pres­sion In Heaven. This is blues but not a dark and heavy ver­sion. There is spirit here with life and love, and the ti­tle cut is an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple.

He brings an all-star cast to the ta­ble for this one, get­ting backup from the likes of Matt Andersen, J.P. Cormier and Bill Steven­son. Recorded at Echo Cham­ber Stu­dio in Hal­i­fax, the pro­duc­tion is top-notch, al­low­ing Thom’s fine voice and in­tri­cate gui­tar work to shine through.

This is not the first time I’ve sung the praises of Carmel Mikol. This North River na­tive (and cur- rent Hal­i­fax res­i­dent) is a very tal­ented lady, with in­sight­ful song­writ­ing skills that go far be­yond her rel­a­tive youth. Cou­ple those writ­ing tal­ents with her su­pe­rior vo­cal abil­i­ties and you have a winning com­bi­na­tion.

She has just re­leased her first full length CD, recorded by the award­win­ning team at Lakewind, along with Scott Fer­gu­son at his Hal­i­fax stu­dio. In My Bones con­tains 10 cuts, all com­posed by Carmel and all dis­play­ing her gifts to their ut­most. Some are com­pletely new while some, (Home­town and Ge­or­gia), have been in her stage shows for a while. There isn’t a bad cut on the CD but both of th­ese are among my favourites.

This is a well-planned and care­ful crafted project, from the su­pe­rior pro­duc­tion to the beau­ti­ful packaging. This should be the record­ing that helps to make Carmel’s mark in the East Coast mu­sic scene, and maybe even be­yond.

Both of th­ese artists, the vet­eran and the new­comer, will be per­form­ing at var­i­ous spots dur- ing the ECMA week­end. Look for them, and look for th­ese CDs, both a rec­om­mended ad­di­tion to any col­lec­tion.

*** Fri­day af­ter­noon the Cen­tre for Cape Bre­ton Stud­ies and Cape Bre­ton Uni­ver­sity com­bine to cel­e­brate the release the new­est book from Dr. Richard MacK­in­non, Dis­cov­er­ing Cape Bre­ton Folk­lore. Ev­ery­thing starts at the Lyceum at 4 p.m., and in­cludes en­ter­tain­ment from Don­nie Camp­bell, Erin Martell, Anita MacDon­ald, Rachel Davis and Breagh MacK­in­non.

Satur­day the dance at Syd­ney’s Cedars Club fea­tures mu­sic by Dawn & Margie Beaton and Rachel Davis.

There are some great things com­ing up at the Yacht Club in Syd­ney. Fri­day, March 5 there will be a song­writer’s cir­cle fea­tur­ing Len­nie Gal­lant, Dave Gun­ning, Thom Swift and Cape Bre­ton’s own Kim Dunn. This goes from 4-6 p.m. Start­ing at 7 p.m. that same evening Cape Bre­ton Uni­ver­sity hosts a CD release party with per­for­mances by Carl­ton Stone, Breagh MacK­in­non, Rachel Davis, Erin Martell, and many more. Tick­ets for th­ese events are avail­able at Cape Bre­ton Cu­rios­ity Shop.

*** There are about 50 dif­fer­ent mu­sic events tak­ing place in Syd­ney dur­ing ECMA week­end. Some are re­stricted to of­fi­cial del­e­gates, but most are open to the pub­lic and tick­ets are still avail­able. Things ac­tu­ally start on Wed­nes­day, March 3 with a film pre­sen­ta­tion at the Delta Ho­tel and the fi­nals in the Sound­waves com­pe­ti­tion tak­ing place at the Mem­ber­tou Trade & Con­ven­tion Cen­tre. The roof of­fi­cially starts to come off the place at 10 a.m. the next day with the start of the Dis­cov­ery Stage at the Capri Cabaret. By the time we fin­ish the Awards Gala Show ( broad­cast live on the In­ter­net), and the post gala party some 90 hours later, there will be noth­ing left of us but teeth and ears.

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