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