Wednesday, July 26, 2023


More confident, high-quality rockin' from these Nova Scotia favourites. They have just the right amount of retro mixed with edgy 2020's vibes. Best of all is that they are never, ever, mopey. No apologies here, they rock for fun, and tell it like it is.

You gotta love a group that can take all the shit life throws and pack it all, highs and lows, into a body of songs. There's the teenage angst of Definition of a Dweeb, "My high school hair-do, all I wanted was a buzz," those outlier feelings that can keep building long after. Obstacles, with some fine fiddling from guest Morgan Toney, sees the character as the supportive partner, helping somebody get past the drudgery of daily depression, "Getting out of bed every single day, the obstacles in your way." And there's the so-good-it-miust-be-true story of Sin City, where our rock band heroes have to face life at home like everybody else when Covid knocked them off the road, "Our new normal is a bit strange, it's tough to keep a tiger tame." 

But heavy thoughts and big rock just go hand-in-hand for Pettipas and the Giants, and the album, as he says, shows how they "walk a thin line between a showboat and a shipwreck." When I think about great rock bands, that sums up a lot of them, so I figure Pettipas has that boat on the right course.  You can see them live this week at:

Thursday, July 27 - Fredericton - The Cap
Friday, July 28 - Moncton - The Tide and Boar

Monday, July 10, 2023


I've binge-watched many shows before, but I'd never binge-read a book, cover to cover, before today. Tara MacLean, the P.E.I. solo performer and member of the group Shaye, has led an incredible life that is impossible to summarize, and that's not even counting her many successes in the music world. From the depths of poverty to the lifestyles of the rich and famous, from terrible abuse to deepest love, the emotional highs and lows would have toppled the best of us. I'll just say that her survival is only because she has the fiercest of hearts. 

Her memoir, Song Of The Sparrow, leaped onto the best-seller charts the week it was released, and it became a national best-seller. There are lots of great music stories in it, from gracing the original Lilith Fair stage, to singing for Willie Nelson on his bus while they toured together, to hanging with Daniel Lanois. But really it's a book about overcoming the awful things people can do, and the heartache the world can throw at any of us, and finding grace and forgiveness inside us. And love. 

A few years ago Tara felt the call of home and moved back to P.E.I. because ... well, it's P.E.I. She's carved out a new stage in her career and life, doing theatre shows and recording again. To accompany the book, she also released the gorgeous album Sparrow, featuring some new songs and new versions of her solo and Shaye hits, produced by Daniel Ledwell. 

MacLean's been touring the country and over in Europe recently promoting the album and book, but New Brunswick folks get a treat this week, thanks to our proximity to her home. She'll be doing readings and performing songs at three public libraries, Tuesday at 6 PM in Moncton, Wednesday at 6:30 PM in Fredericton, and Thursday at 6:30 PM in Saint John. These are free events for the public.

Sunday, July 9, 2023


Here's one of the exciting newcomers on the East Coast scene. Horsebath has a sound that is made up of a bunch of elements but totally their own. The songs feature the close harmonies of singer-guitarists Keast Mutter and Daniel Connolly, filmmakers and road warriors who have traveled and sung across Canada, the U.S., and down to Mexico. All those miles have made them tight and seasoned and helped craft this addictive batch of tunes. 

Folk, roots, country, rockabilly, Cajun/Acadian, jazz, this is one tasty gumbo. There's a delicious organic sound to the six-track EP, recorded live off the floor in the titular studio. Think Blue Rodeo, if Jim and Greg sang together all the time. "Baby" has a great Tex-Mex groove, full of organ and bluesy guitar licks. "They Don't Know" is a lovely country charmer from an innocent age, when the Everly Brothers roamed the Earth. 

Even the most obviously indebted song, "Annabelle, Annabelle," features a musical twist. It starts out straight Cajun, with a scratchy fiddle in waltz time, but then adds some blue chords in the chorus. And when you think you've got it figured out, the whole thing goes sideways into a Gypsy jazz breakdown. This is fresh stuff that should appeal to lots of different ears.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023


I saw some awesome footage of whales mere feet from the shore along Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula the other day, feeding the great schools of capelin as they roll onto the beaches. It was such an amazing sight, I started thinking about visiting next year for this spectacle. That got me thinking about all the great music I've seen other times in Newfoundland, and that reminded me that Chris Picco of the favourite band Long Distance Runners has a new album out.