Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Hi, it's travel day, that means I'm heading to Hamilton and arrive in the Hammer this evening, ready get the actual Hamilton Music Awards going.  Day one, Thursday, is the annual conference, which is where the industry comes to town to pass on knowledge and expertise to interested young people.  It's unique I believe.  It's a day-long event for high school and college students, where they can learn from industry pros and musicians what they could possibly do in the music business.  I'm MC'ing the whole day, so I gotta get prepped! 

What with the travel and the prep time, I'd better not spend too much time reviewing and writing, so I thought I'd do the class thing, a rerun.  But it's a Hamilton artist, so that's fair, and it's somebody nominated for awards on Sunday, plus it's somebody you really should know better.  Sharon Musgrave is up for three awards:  Female Artist, Female Vocalist, and Soul/R'n'B Recording of the Year.  Here is my original review of her disc as it first appeared at launch time back in February.


The former William Orbit colleague fronted the Bass-O-Matic project in the '90's, singing and co-writing on the international hit Fascinating Rhythm and other tracks on two albums.  Now she works out of the Hamilton area, and has had a string of projects on her own label the past ten years.  Her smooth soul voice fits almost anything, from old school to hiphop to club to jazz, and it's all here, as well as a taste of reggae and Soca, and even some of her poetry spoken over a track.

While there's that little bit of everything for lots of styles, most intriguing is Musgrave's positive vibe that links track-to-track.  More than feel-good music, it's actually life-affirming and almost spiritual, at least for those whose spirituality comes from believing and loving one's self.  And not in some New Age-y or Dr. Phil message; rather it's just simply strength through self-motivation.

With a handful of remixes added on, Outflow will appeal mostly to dance fans with soul leanings.  Musgrave and co-producer Peter Grimmer give everything a clean and solid groove, aided by Hamilton guitar monster Brian Griffith, and she adds several compelling stories that will keep you listening at home too.  Although you'll be forgiven if you get up and dance by yourself.

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