Tag Archives: The Rolling Stones

Sass Jordan Revisits Her Triumph Twenty-five Years Later

When Sass Jordan appears at Heartwood tonight it will be something more than just another concert.  She is touring as part of a celebration of an important milestone in her career, which she has found a way to re-create.

Twenty-five years ago her album “Racine” peaked at #2 on the Billboard charts with a style of swaggering rock that reflected the times and raw vocals that paved the way for artists like Allanah Myles and Amanda Marshall.  Now she has set the wayback machine to that moment again and brought it full circle by re-recording the entire album.  Touring to support the new/old album gives her a chance to reminisce with fans and rekindle some of that old magic. Billing it as “intimate and interactive”, she will engage the audience with stories between the songs and even take questions from the stage. The idea is to rekindle special memories for her fans.

Rather than create the re-creation with all of the technological tools that are available today, she respected the original enough to take an authentic approach.  She assembled a team of respected musicians and created a family atmosphere in a Calgary studio to “add additional depth and historical accuracy”.    It was a real band playing real music: Rudy Sarzo on bass, Brent Fitz on drums and percussion, Chris Caddell on guitars and Derek Sharp on guitars, keyboards and production.

“What you hear is what happened,” she says proudly, “no click tracks and no auto-tune. This record was made with great care and precision in order to be played LOUD and PROUD!!!!”

Time Travel at The Marsh Street Centre

Review by Bill Monahan of the concert at Marsh Street Centre, Sat., June 10, 2017

Photos by Robert Burcher

The Marsh Street Centre capped off its day-long 90th birthday celebration on Saturday with a special sold-out concert.  The band was called The Amazing Time Machine, a name that host Florian Lenders said “we just made up”.  He explained to the audience that “Chris Scerri and I got together and brainstormed how to celebrate this birthday and we came up with the idea of musical selections that spanned the years of the building’s history.”  Of course, Chris knew where to go to get the band capable of such a challenge.  He called on his good friend Tyler Yarema, as he has so often with such impressive results, to put something together.  Tyler, a seasoned veteran, pulled together a band from his many friends and created the special program for the occasion.  During the evening, audience members commented on the fact that what was essentially a pick-up band could put on such an impressive show. It was because this band was a collection of top players, even though they may not be household names, musicians who could fill several shelves between them with the awards they’ve won, who are used to taking on any musical challenge.  In essence it was a band of all-star sidemen.

Tyler Yarema loves playing to Georgian Bay audiences

Tyler Yarema has played often in the area this past year, at the behest, as he mentioned, of Chris Scerri, and he continues to build a solid local fan base.  He makes it clear that these are not just gigs for pay, but he comes here because he loves to play for these audiences.  “I always love coming here,” he told the audience, “there is such a great community here around Georgian Bay, where you all support each other.”

And the evening was a celebration of community.  The sense of community was palpable in the hall and when at one point Florian mentioned names of people who had helped make this night possible it was a very long list.

The concert was divided into three sets.  The first set started out with twenties jazz and took us through to the Swing Era.  The second set visited the birth of rock and roll and took us up to The Yardbirds and The Who.  And the final set covered the rest of the 20th Century with selections from The Beatles, The Stones, The Guess Who and The Band, along with three Bill Withers songs and a single selection from the 21st Century with Amy Winehouse’s classic “Valerie”.

Sax battle with Alison Young and Richard Underhill

Tyler, who is a master of boogie-woogie and stride piano, was in his element with this set, as were the two saxophonists in the band, Alison Young (who was outstanding!) and Richard UnderhillLouis Jordan’s “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby” was near the beginning of a set that culminated in “Sing, Sing, Sing” which for me was the highlight of the whole evening.  It began with Tyler’s perfect reproduction of Louis Prima’s vocals and allowed a long section in the middle for a “battle of the saxes” which was thrilling, alto and tenor trading licks.  While Prima wrote the song, it had been recorded several artists including The Andrews Sisters.  But the most famous version was by Benny Goodman and the highlight of it was Gene Krupa’s drum solo that shook the world back in the thirties.  Drummer Chris Lamont took advantage of that historical nugget to shine in his own Krupaesque solo after the sax battle.  When a band like this takes on a song like that it is not just nostalgia.  It is as exciting as it must have been for the dancers who filled the pavilions at Port Elgin and Sauble Beach back in the day.

It was, as billed, an amazing time machine experience, and a fitting tribute to Florian Lenders.

Special guest Tom Barlow rocked the house

But it wasn’t until the second set that this crowd began to dance.  Special guest Tom Barlow set the pace with the song that caused riots in England back in 1955 when Bill Haley and the Comets introduced “Rock Around The Clock” to the first generation to be called “teenagers”.  When he segued into “Johnny B. Goode” every available space on the floor was filled with dancers, and they didn’t sit down for the rest of the night.

Brit-Pop, Georgian Bay style, with John Brownlow

John Brownlow will be playing in Meaford tonight at The Red Door Pub and Grille as part of a Songwriters’ Showcase that includes Bill Monahan and Dave Hawkins.  Although he is well known in the area, particularly by musicians who have benefitted from his talents as a producer and video producer, and from the attendees at the Bi-Monthly Songwriters’ Circle who benefit from his perceptive feedback, he doesn’t get out much to play since disbanding his group The Sportswriters a few years ago.

The Sportswriters ran for four or five years, and it kind of felt like it had run its course,” he said.  Part of the problem was that he is a restless creative spirit, always wanting to try a new direction, and part of it was because with every song he writes he has “a very specific sound in my head”.  The best bet for him, then, seemed to be to do it all himself.  “I had a few things to get out of my system,” he says.  Since breaking up the band, he has spent hours in his home studio working on his original songs, playing all of the parts himself except for the drums.  It’s been a process of sorting out the scraps of ideas he’d been collecting.

“I record every idea I have.  So I started with about 300 song ideas, half had lyrics and half didn’t, pared them down to 70 and then whittled those down to 30.”  He recorded those thirty songs with a variety of instrumental arrangements, carefully “putting the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle”.  Now he’s finished, with songs fully mixed and mastered, and just has to figure out the best way to get them to the public.  But while he’s sorting that out, he’s written fifteen more since then, so he wants to record them.

“It’s all storytelling,” he says, “constructing a narrative”

It’s a prodigious output from a guy with a fertile imagination.  Although the songs range through different emotions, moods and sonic colourings, the one thing they all have in common is that they are unashamedly pop music.  He’s not into angst.  He wants to write and record songs that sound good coming out of the dashboard of a car.  The result is a collection of songs with more hooks than a salmon derby.