Tag Archives: Heartwood Hall

Blue-Eyed Soul, Meaford Style

Review by Bill Monahan of “Diving In” by Jayden Grahlman

Jayden Grahlman has completed his new album of original tunes and is planning a release party in Owen Sound at Heartwood Concert Hall on June 28th.  The album should please anyone who invested through crowd funding to help make it a reality.  There is a real soul feel to the album, often bringing to mind Earth, Wind and Fire or K-OS.  Jayden’s experience playing with local funk band Higher Funktion has obviously influenced him.  Rich with danceable grooves and excellent playing, the album has a unique quality that seems to reflect its origins here in Meaford.  It can’t be called an urban sound, despite some impressive hip-hop passages, and maybe should be labelled (if a label is necessary) small-town funk, primarily because of the nature of the lyrical content.

The water theme is recurrent throughout the ten songs, reflecting the fact that it was conceived here beside the big lake.  And in place of the gritty, dark mood of much of urban music, there is a soaring sense of joy and love, a positive outlook that echoes the artist’s world view.  Angels appear in almost every song.

Jayden Grahlman is well respected as a guitarist who can play just about anything. He combines an impressive technical ability with a light touch and sensitivity as a player that makes any style he approaches his own.  This album is full of great instrumental passages, from the easy groove of the guitar that opens “You Got The Power”, reminiscent of J. J. Cale or Eric Clapton, to the fiery solo in “Magnet”.  There are also a few very impressive piano solos (sounding like the work of Tyler Yarema) that decorate the title track, “Diving In” and “Stars”.

Along with the individual standout instrumental solos, every song sits on a bed of beautifully arranged sounds.  The vocal harmonies throughout, some evocative percussive elements and, on “Give Thanks”, a seductive pedal steel, make for sweet listening.  Much of the credit for this is probably due to the production work of Craig Smith.  Two albums released in the past year, by Drew McIvor and Jon Zaslow, have that same quality, where layers of musical accompaniment are so subtly and sensitively arranged that they create moods that greatly elevate the original tunes, and they too featured Craig Smith at the console.

While instrumental virtuosity makes a great first impression, it takes more than that to make a timeless album.  The greatest albums always have a special way of reaching down into your inner being and becoming part of your own personal soundtrack.  They attach themselves to your favourite activities and they inspire you to feel deeply and believe in life.  This album has all of those qualities.

It’s easy to imagine the joy of listening to these songs while cruising through a hot summer night with the windows down, head bobbing and heart beating to the insinuating rhythms.  And it’s just as easy to imagine sitting back and sinking into the songs, opening your heart to the messages contained in the lyrics.  In a world that is increasingly harsh, cynical and disturbing, these songs provide a balm.

There are simple messages of love and an odd reflection on the life of a goldfish (it’s hard to tell if it is an extended metaphor or a rumination on what it must be like for a fish isolated in a fishbowl), but there are also songs that would nicely serve as daily confirmations for anyone looking to elevate their spirit.  In particular “You Got The Power” and “Give Thanks” remind you of the value of the life you hold in your hands.  And songs like “Angel” and “Magnet” remind you what love is really about.

Although Jayden delivers both his vocals and his rap segments with an impressive punch, his voice isn’t burdened with the mannerisms that are usually built in to songs with funky beats.  It’s a pure voice, echoing a sense of optimistic youth despite his mature mastery of the form.  That, too, adds to the album’s special quality.  And sprinkled throughout the songs there are other voices in the background, shouting out for joy or laughing.  It seems to reflect the community of supporters that helped make this project a reality.

This album works on so many levels it deserves to be a hit that resonates well beyond its small town origins. Meaford can be proud of this young talent.  He will go far.

The album release party for “Diving In”, featuring Jayden with a stellar band, happens June 28th at Heartwood Hall in Owen Sound.  Advance tickets are $25.

Community Helps Launch Talent of Jayden Grahlman

By Bill Monahan

Jayden Grahlman, a young local talent familiar to anyone who checks out the open stages, or catches live music in area venues, has a crowd-finding campaign in place to help him create a new album to be called “Diving In”.  He is well on his way, with most of the bed tracks completed, working with producer Craig Smith.

“He’s got amazing ears and he really knows what he’s doing,” Jayden enthuses, “He’s super easy to get along with and he has great ideas, and he really brings the best out of whatever we’re doing.”

Jayden will be benefitting from the help of several musical friends to make the album a reality.

“There’s going to be some great people playing on it,” he says, “We’re just getting the core tracks done on their own and then we’re going to have people come in on their own once everything’s totally ready.”  Not everyone has been lined up yet, but He mentioned that Tyler Yarema is “going to come and play piano on some tunes,” and he will be heading to Guelph at the end of March to add drums and bass with Adam Bowman and Tyler Wagler respectively.

“It’s something that’s been a long time coming for me and I’m having a lot of fun in the studio,” he says.

Jayden has guitar skills that put him in the top echelon of local players, something that developed from a passion he discovered at a young age.

“The first time I remember actually learning guitar and playing stuff was me and my brother.  I think I was twelve and he was thirteen and something like that and we had a contest to see who could play the most riffs.  It was like, ‘Smoke On The Water’ and ‘Seven Nation Army’, and whatever many little riffs you could learn.  So I just learned a whole whack of them and at that point I just got into it.  I was like, ‘Oh! I can learn songs!’  It was just fun so at that point I started playing more.”

H2O Quenches Headbanger Thirst

There’s a new music spot in downtown Owen Sound that will feature hard rock, metal and grunge, bringing in bands in those genres while they provide a platform for local bands of the same ilk.

The H2O Lounge is located on 2nd Avenue East, just down the block from Heartwood Hall and The Bleeding Carrot.  I’ve seen it sitting there for a while and wondered water they doing in there (pun intended).  I heard about some bands playing there and then what really got my attention was a Riot Grrrl night headlined by Pantychrist.  It struck me as an unusual offering in downtown Owen Sound, surely filling a niche.  I noticed it was an event created by Banding Together Promotions.

It turns out that Banding Together is mainly one guy, Raymond King. His band, Killing Clarence will be headlining a big anti-Valentine metal grunge show at H2O on the 14th.

“Originally my idea for Banding Together started in 2014 when I lived in North Bay,” says Ray, “My friend’s uncle was diagnosed with bladder cancer and he was given three months to live.  They didn’t have any money and they weren’t prepared for it so we set up a fund raiser and we just called it Banding Together.  From there the idea kind of stuck because it was a huge success.  We were able to help them out a lot.  We made $12,000 for them.”

Rockin’ For The Food Bank 2017

There is going to be a huge benefit for the Food Bank tonight Thursday, Dec. 28th at Heartwood Hall in Owen Sound.  Starting early, with the doors opening at 5 pm and the music starting at 5:30, it will present several hours of live music with an all-star lineup.

Trevor McKenzie has put together a special band for this show.  Maple Blues winner, leader of the hot jam band most Wednesdays at Ted’s Range Road Diner, guitarist on everybody’s record and sales and rental guy at Long & McQuade, you can bet Trevor can put together a crack band.

All of the money raised by this concert goes to the Owen Sound Salvation Army Food Bank which serves more than 500 clients every month.

Come early to catch vocalist and coach Kelda Mikalson with Ryan Gable.  Check out the Silent Auction with donations from thirty local businesses. Get a caricature drawn by Sam Gorrie and she’ll donate fifty percent to the Food Bank.

Rob Elder has been working on an album.  For this benefit he’s getting together with Mike Weir, Sylvie Annette Kindree, and Josi Elder to perform as The Shoeshoopers.  Sylvie Annette Kindree, and Josi Elder, with Lauren Jewell, form the vocal trio that is featured on the great Kreuger Motel CD.  Sylvie was swept out of town last year by My Son The Hurricane and she’s been deposited back home after a long trip down the yellow brick road.

Don Buchanan recently sold out the Marsh Street Centre in Clarksburg with his band backing jazz singer Mary-Catherine Pazzano.

 “Don Buchanan lives in Owen Sound,” says Tony Bauer, who organizes many of the Thornbury and Clarksburg jazz events, “He’s the most underrated musician in my opinion.  He’s a composer, arranger.  He plays clarinet, he plays tenor, piano; he’s a wonderful musician.” 

In the past five years or so, Don has been doing duets with Jamie Smith, a Scottish tenor originally from Oban, Scotland.  They’ve agreed to be part of the show for the Food Bank.