Category Archives: Reviews of music: live and recorded

Maryse Bernard and friends rock Vic French Fest

Photograph and video by Adam Lee

Reviewed by Nadia Grutter

Maryse Bernard, former vocalist of the Victoria-based band Woodsmen, recently returned to the Victoria music scene with a lively performance at the 17th annual Victoria French Festival in Centennial Square. The 22-year-old vocalist, who flew in from Quebec to perform, brightened the rainy day with her strong stage presence and killer vocals. By the end of her set, people were quite literally dancing in the rain.

Bernard performed a bilingual French/English set with a dynamic array of songs, genres and accompanying musicians. She was joined by bassist Steve Kalkman, who plays for Abbotsford-based funk band Doja; drummer Michael Luis of local Victoria bands Blackwood Kings and SweetLeaf; Solomon Krause-Milaca and Jake Gambling (both former members of Woodsmen) on lead and rhythm guitar respectively; and pianist/saxophonist Julia Kimberley, who studies music at The University of Victoria. Despite the rain and challenging outdoor acoustic set-up, the group performed an enjoyable, unified show with clean transitions and genuine energy.

One of Bernard’s first songs included a catchy re-imagination of Britney Spears’ 2003 pop hit “Toxic,” followed by several R ‘n’ B influenced original songs, which showed off her  impressive range. Halfway through the set, Bernard’s microphone gave out, which she gracefully handled by dancing her way to another microphone as if nothing had happened. And, once she sang “La Vie En Rose,” the audience seemed to forget about the tech hiccup altogether. Bernard’s vocals attracted a larger crowd of passersby, who happily swayed along.

“That was beautiful,” commented three onlookers at the end of the song. Indeed, it was, and can be watched here:

Bernard ended her set with a cover of “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars, at which point most people discarded their umbrellas to dance at the foot of the stage.

Bernard, a recent graduate from the UVic Writing Program, now works as a language teaching assistant in Quebec. She is channeling most of her creative energy into an electronic/R ‘n’ B influenced EP to be released this summer. She has previously collaborated with local Victoria artists Ciele and The Raven. She has performed at local venues all over Victoria and with Woodsmen at Rock of the Woods in 2013.

During the show Bernard graciously thanked her parents for bringing her up in a bilingual household. Indeed, she is an inspirational young figure for French and English Canadians alike. Merci, mademoiselle!

Nadia Gutter is the Managing Editor at the Coastal Spectator and a student at the University of Victoria.

Rick Estrin and the Nightcats bring the Blues to BC

By Michael Luis

After meeting in 1976 in Berkeley, California, guitarist Charlie Baty and vocalist/harmonica player Rick Estrin formed Little Charlie and the Nightcats. After taking their modern take on Chicago-style blues all over the world for over 30 years, Baty retired in 2008, but Estrin has continued to tour and record with his namesake. The award-winning group is visiting Vancouver’s FanClub on December 8th to play new tunes from their 2013 release “One Wrong Turn,” and to share some favourites from the back catalogue.

Coastal Spectator: Any notable experiences playing in Vancouver in the past?

Rick Estrin: Oh, man. I got lots of memories from playing all over Canada. For Vancouver specifically, we’ve been playing there since the 1980s. We were coming up there regularly in a time when blues had a little resurgence in popularity.

CS: For the past few years you’ve been the bandleader and namesake of the Nightcats. How has this experience compared to years past when it was Little Charlie and the Nightcats?

RE: Part of my job is still the same: writing the songs and fronting the band. But I just have more responsibilities now with taking care of all the parts of it that require feigning adult behavior (laughs). There was somewhat of a learning curve, but I’ve been around it so long. And with Little Charlie, if I ever needed to know anything, he would tell me. I don’t know if I’d call him a control freak, [but] he didn’t really feel comfortable relegating the responsibilities [like] I have.

CS: You guys recently released a record, One Wrong Turn. How did the creative process compare with past releases?

RE: Well, the creative process started the same way. It’s the same thing. I’ll write songs. J., our drummer, he’s always writing songs so that’s not a problem for him. I like to feature him on at least one song. The rest of the process is similar to the way we always did it. I write the song at home on the guitar, and I’m a primitive guitar player so in a way I have a better chance of coming up with something a little different because I don’t know what I’m doing (laughs). So I’ll come up with these things and show them to Kid (guitarist) or show them to the whole band and they would come up with ideas. On this record it seemed that every song they would come up with something that was on the same page— that was what I wanted but even better. They would add things to it that just worked and would make my vision for the song come into focus.

CS: Nice, so it was just naturally organic the way the songs all built up.

RE: Yeah, there was just a synergy in the studio this time. It’s not like I’ve never had that before, but the synergy dial was turned up to 10, man.

CS: You were recently nominated for the B.B. King Entertainer Award at The Blues Awards. Looking at its namesake, B.B. King, he’s still doing it and going strong at his old age, so is that inspiring to see as a fellow blues musician?

RE:(Laughs) Yeah, yeah. The guy that was my role model for that was a guy that actually said he taught B.B. King a lot of stuff on the guitar, Robert Lockwood, Jr. He was even older than B.B. and he was a great guitar player. He was a good friend of mine, and just a role model for me for how to be old. He would show up, and carry in his own amplifier at 90-years-old.

CS: To wrap things up, what keeps you playing the blues after all these years?

RE: It’s my life. It’s all I know. If I didn’t do that, I mean, it’s not like I have hobbies and stuff. That’s my life. I can’t imagine what I’d do without it and it’s been my life for close to 50 years.

CS: Great answer, man. Anything else you’d like to add for your fans in Vancouver or anywhere else who may be reading this?

RE: Anybody who can make the show, anyone within driving range of Vancouver, make it to the show. I guarantee you’ll be happy. I’ll personally give you your money back if you don’t leave there feeling great.

More about Rick Estrin and the Nightcats at

Michael Luis is a Victoria student, writer, filmmaker, and musician. Check him out at

Hank Angel Pays Homage to Rock and Roll

Hank Engel

Hank Angel (Extended Play 45)

Produced by David Jeffrey and Dave Lang

Reviewed by Chris Ho

Victoria musician Hank Engel’s self-titled EP is a nostalgic gem that brings you right back to the feel-good rockabilly vibe of the 50’s. Engel pays homage to the underground music scene in Edmonton in the 1980s, and more specifically to one of his favourite bands, The Draggnetts. Although this band had recorded much of their material and were admired for their musicianship, they ended up disappearing into obscurity. In an interview with Drive-in Magazine, Engel said, “We idolized those guys. Not only did they play great music, but they lived it, in an old house with rebel flags and velvet paintings and overflowing ashtrays. Empty bottles all over the place, a bust of Elvis on the mantle. Their girlfriends walked around looking like Betty Page and Marilyn Monroe. Their band was like a gang, like every band ought to be.”

The idea of living out the music that you write and express is essential to a lot of rock and roll — something that you don’t see as often these days. Many bands don’t have the luxury of being signed and consequently need to manage their own careers. Likely, it would only hinder productivity in that regard if they were to live out that kind of lifestyle – (talk about a buzz kill). But this isn’t the sort of genre that lends itself well to being focused on marketing, and making sure you tweet frequently enough. It’s a genre that’s about the music and the lifestyle. It reminds us that, when all is said and done, it’s the whole package that counts: sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.

Hank Engel’s EP reminds us of this. The production isn’t flashy, and the vocals aren’t tuned to perfection. Many of the tracks sound as though they were recorded live off the floor, which gives it that old-­‐school rockabilly feel. And regardless of how polished the EP may be, one has to admire this decision to record the songs in this way. Hank Angel could very well have recorded these old tunes in a more mainstream, or polished way, but instead he stays true to the rockabilly roots.

Producer David Jeffrey clearly has a good understanding of Hank Angel’s genre, and has recorded and mixed it in a way that harks back to that early vintage rock-­‐ and-­‐roll sound. As a result, the EP gives you just the right amount of crisp guitar tones, non-­‐intrusive drum rhythms and raw vocals. Hank brings a new life to the songs of Art Adams and The Draggnetts, although it’s a shame that he doesn’t include more of his original material. His song “A Guitar and A Broken Heart” is a great opener for the EP since it has many of the elements that make a great song, including the catchy vocal melodies, tasteful guitar riffs, and simplistic drum rhythms. But instead of developing this, along with his own sound, he decides to resurrect a couple of great rockabilly tunes, obscuring his own path as a musician.

Nonetheless, his motives are pure, and the songs have come together very well. And who knows, maybe we’ll get to hear more original rockabilly releases from Hank /Engel/Angel in the future.

Chris Ho is a UVic  graduate, musician and closet cookie dough eater.

Iconic Alt-Pop Vancouverite Captivates

Hannah Georgas
Hannah Georgas (Dine Alone Records, 2012)
Produced by Graham Walsh

Reviewed by Chris Ho

Yet again, Hannah Georgas gives us that middle ground between accessibility and originality in her songwriting. And although this is what initially earned her Vancouver’s love and respect, it only accounts for a mere fraction of the impeccable craftsmanship that her newest album embodies.

Hannah Georgas opens with a soft, pulsing synth. A distant electronic kick drum slowly creeps in and almost throws off the rhythm for a moment as she laments, “You’re off kilter with me.” The instrumental representation of the lyrics instantly establishes the long anticipated marriage between the electronic synth and the heartfelt singer. It reassures the listener that there is purpose to the supportive synthetic gems, and more importantly, to the words that Georgas sings. But while the assumption might be that an increasingly electronic influence will make an album more “upbeat,” this is not necessarily the case for Hannah Georgas.

The production of the album stays true to the dark lyrics that seem to reflect back on a past, all-consuming kind of love. It instrumentally mirrors that emotional place where we find ourselves distraught, frustrated, and yet determined to move forward with our lives. This is best represented in “Somebody,” where the punchy bass line and drum beat drive the song as Georgas sings, “I know you don’t know what you do / what you do to me / but it hurts like hell.” The album locks into that groove that makes it a suitable “car jam,” but it doesn’t fully dive into the alt-pop dance realm that might be comparable to MGMT.

While the temptation of over-producing and cluttering an electronic album of this nature might be challenging for some, Graham Walsh and Hannah Georgas make it seem like a walk in the park. The minimalist guitar work and synth support result in an incredibly tasteful album, which is at the same time simple and complex. And if this wasn’t already the main highlight for me, then it would have to be its song order and flow.

The first and last tracks give the album a cinematic feel because of how well they portray the carefully plotted introduction and ending, through the use of plush instrumentation paired with artistically adept songwriting. You can practically see the rolling credits as the final track, “Waiting Game,” begins to play, renewing that familiar feeling of Hollywood-movie hopefulness.

Hannah Georgas performs Saturday, August 31 at Whistler Olympic Plaza, Whistler BC.

Chris Ho is a UVic graduate and Victoria-based singer-songwriter.

Metric’s shimmery precision

Synthetica (Mom + Pop Music, 2012)
Produced by Gavin Brown, John O’Mahony, Liam O’Neil and James Shaw

Reviewed by Chris Ho

Metric’s slow rise to the top has been an inspiring sight for fans and musicians alike. Notably, their previous release, Fantasies, earned them Juno Alternative Album of the Year as well as Alternative Band of the Year. Now, having charted at number two on the Canadian albums for their latest single “Youth Without Youth,” they have once again been short-listed for the Polaris Music Prize, this time for Synthetica.

Formed in 1998, Metric has had a long and prosperous life thus far. Touring on the heels of their fifth studio album, which has just as much to offer as the last one, they are showing no signs of slowing down. While many older bands often face the conundrum of continuously producing music that lives up to their previous releases, Metric has tactfully avoided this tragedy with style and glamour.

Standing by their signature guitar and keyboard hooks that are tightly synced with the meticulously produced rhythmic grids, the album is musically compatible with their previous albums, and yet still offers a fresh artistic vision. It’s that same stylish and classy indie rock-and-roll that their adoring fans were hoping for.

The album opens with a much darker and more experimental track than one might expect from the band, although it’s probably meant to showcase their ability to transcend the rock-pop vibe that they often abide by. But it isn’t long before it rolls perfectly into track two, “Youth Without Youth,” where they snap right back on to the tight rhythmic grid that encapsulates the pure precision and straight-ahead indie rock that is Metric.

And admittedly there’s some comfort in hearing that transition, although it doesn’t mean that the rest of the album continues to unfold exactly how you might expect. “Breathing Underwater” almost seems like the modern revamp of U2’s “With Or Without You,” with its similar bass line and tastefully delayed guitar. This is followed by a couple more curveballs, where Emily Haines feminizes her voice ironically in “Lost Kitten,” and then does a duet with Lou Reed (of all people) in “The Wanderlust.”

But whether the track in question is leaning toward the gloomy or the shimmery, Synethica as a whole pulls through as a manufactured masterpiece that is fully deserving of its Polaris Music Prize nomination.

Chris Ho is a UVic graduate and Victoria-based singer-songwriter.

Aging punk makes great country songs

Eddie Spaghetti
The Value of Nothing (Bloodshot Records, 2013)
Produced by Jesse Dayton

Reviewed by Blake Morneau

Has modern radio ruined the very idea of country music for you? Are you put off by the stereotypical conservative undertones of modern country music? Do you like a fatalistic punk sensibility but prefer your musicians to deliver it with some laid-back, west coast affability? Do you like the music you listen to to be direct–straight, no chaser?

If you answered, “Yes,” to any or all of the above, then Eddie Spaghetti’s The Value of Nothing is for you!

On his fourth solo offering, Eddie Spaghetti, the front-man from Seattle rockers the Supersuckers, delivers up an unpretentious collection of songs that straddle the line between his punk and country roots. There’s a sort of restless resignation that runs through these songs as Spaghetti sings his world-weary tales of courage, hard-living laziness and, most poignantly, coming to terms with himself as he journeys through the aging process, getting close to the half-century mark.

Growing up in Tucson, Arizona, Spaghetti was surrounded by country music that he tried desperately to avoid, or at the least ignore. Rebelling heavily against the suffocating culture that country music provided, he got heavy into metal and punk music, eventually forming the seminal punk-metal hybrid, the Supersuckers. He couldn’t deny his roots and started stepping back into the waters of his past in 1993 with the Junkyard Dogs, a Supersuckers country side-project. Though they only released one full-length album, it reinvigorated another aspect of Spaghetti’s musical background and luckily for listeners, it’s a path he’s continued on since.

Spaghetti’s growly drawl bring a surprising humanity to slightly misanthropic tracks like “People Are Shit” and “Empty,” a song built around the defeated refrain, “I’m empty, got nothing inside/Totally blank and completely dry / I’m empty, take a look in my eyes / Don’t listen to me ‘cause it’s all lies.” To be able to tow a line of empathy without ever falling into pity with such self-indulgent wallowing is a wonderful trick that requires a certain lyrical honesty. It’s a quality that Spaghetti has in spades.

It’s not all doom and gloom on The Value of Nothing. Spaghetti gets downright happy singing about matrimonial love on “You Get To Be My Age,” going so far as to knowingly wink at the fact when he sings “It might sound kinda cheesy but I’m happy when you are happy too.” The winning slacker-anthem “Waste of Time” wittingly pokes at the lazy life of a disaffected stoner-sort over a raggedy country stomp to charming effect.

Eddie Spaghetti starts the last track of the album, the aching ballad to aging, “When I’m Gone,” with the declaration, “I’m in decline, on the backslide/decadent, degenerate, the worst you might ever find…” It’s a hard statement to believe after a record’s worth of strong, steady songwriting filled with piss and vinegar and it’s a statement I can say I hope isn’t true.

Blake Morneau is a lover of aural pleasure who has been writing about his passion for nearly two years. Follow him on Twitter @MusicRags

White Hot Jet’s (skillfully) bizarre debut

White Hot Jet
Rehab Nightclub, Victoria BC
June 7, 2013

 Reviewed by Blake Morneau

I was filled with an unhealthy dose of skepticism as I walked into Rehab nightclub for the unveiling of new all-girl rock band White Hot Jet–after all, the press release I received stated that the band was put together through auditions by local producer and songwriter James Kasper (who has also written the bulk of the band’s music to this point), where he “cast” Animal Amber (drums), Messica Wild (guitar), Jillian Drayz (bass/lead vocals), Jennie Boomboom (lead vocals) and Courtney LeStrange (guitar). It wasn’t only the idea of a male setting out to build an all-girl band which made me a little uncomfortable, but of a band built by a mastermind. This goes against nearly everything I’ve been taught to believe in regards to honest, pure music. But playing their first show months after the audition process began must be a wholly exciting time for White Hot Jet, so I assured myself over and over I would go in with an open heart and mind, ready to honestly embrace whatever I saw on the stage.

White Hot Jet kicked off after what can only be called “The Great Raffle Disaster of 2013,” which left the band standing awkwardly on the stage, filling with impatience as ticketholder after ticketholder abandoned their door prizes and chose to remain silent. It was an auspicious start to say the least.

The band’s strength is danceable power-pop that lies somewhere between The Donnas and Metric. The first track they played, their first single “Never Comin’ Down,” is a piece of pop-rock clearly written as an introduction to the group that features singer Jennie Boomboom declaring the band’s name as the hook drops. “I’m a white hot jet, I go the speed of the sound!” I didn’t like it when Bad Company did it, and I can’t say I really like it any more now.

All competent players, the women of White Hot Jet can kick out a jam, no doubt. This is tight, lean music, devoid of filler. I would have liked to see more guitar solos (with two guitars playing this kind of music, the solos seem sort of requisite) and maybe a longer appearance of the accordion, briefly played by Messica Wild. This would have prevented it from feeling like some bizarre, out of place gimmick. Really, these are minor things that any new band goes through. There’s always room for growth.

As this was the band’s debut, no one knew the songs they were playing but people seemed to be digging it. The crowd was ecstatic as the Jet broke out a pretty raucous cover of Adele’s all-too-covered hit “Rolling in the Deep,” a song that really needs to not be covered any more, by anyone. It seems a strange choice, if not just an all-too-easy choice, for a band trying to establish their identity to choose such an iconic pop song as their lone cover. The crowd was eager and appreciative to hear a song they knew and it would have been an ideal closing track. Playing such a heavy-hitting and, more importantly, familiar, song in the middle of their set seemed to suck some of the energy out of the remaining songs. After those final few songs the concert ended as abruptly as I have ever seen with simply the proclamation “Thanks. We’re done.” Hold for the audience’s awkward befuddlement. I still haven’t gotten over mine.

Blake Morneau is a lover of aural pleasure who has been writing about his passion for nearly two years. Follow him on Twitter @MusicRags

Get kicked in the ears by Blackberry Wood–in a good way

Blackberry Wood
Logan’s Pub, Victoria
June 6, 2013

Reviewed by Blake Morneau

I remember being 11 or 12 years old and seeing the video for Tom Waits’ “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” and having the image of Waits dressed in his ridiculous devil costume, riding a tricycle and holding a magnifying glass burn itself into my mind. For years that image has represented everything that is good and pure and fun, a treasured frame to remind me of the absurd silliness that enveloped all things. As Blackberry Wood front-man and mustache enthusiast Kris Wood took the stage dressed in an outfit wholly inspired the one worn by Waits in that video, that soul-freeing feeling that image has always brought up was front and center. Really, that’s the best way to see Vancouver alt-country-gypsy-circus outfit Blackberry Wood–with a childlike enthusiasm and boundless imagination.

Blackberry Wood’s energy is unflinchingly infectious, spreading through the room like an amoeba on speed. Drummer Amrit Basi’s rhythms could be considered a sort of aural warfare, forcing people to shake their bodies with reckless abandon. The recently added bass sound really gives the band the bottom-end groove that benefits the danceability aspect of their gypsy swing music. It acts as a sort of musical bouncy-castle for the rest of the group to jump off of. Hearing all these elements come together for an incredible reading of the haunting jazz standard “Saint James Infirmary” is a real wonder. Infecting such a legendarily song with their trademark joy and energy without taking away any of the song’s inherent eeriness is a feat of musical agility and precision.

There were people on the dance floor much quicker than I usually see at shows. At nearly every show I’ve been to, even those in smaller venues, the trickle to the area in front of the stage is slow, with nobody wanting to be first to initiate the festivities. I don’t know if it was the crowd this night or the magically contagious spirit of Blackberry Wood (I’d like to believe it was the latter), but by the end of the opening song more than half the people in the house were shaking their groove-things wildly. Admittedly, I was one of the first people out there, finding myself quickly surrounded by fellow body-shakers.

It was all of a bit of whirlwind–a mass of sweaty, smiling bodies jumping and flailing to the sounds of a band oozing psychotic energy. If you don’t like dancing and prefer your music subdued with space for quiet clapping and reflection, you may want to skip Blackberry Wood. But if you’re like me, and apparently the patrons of Logan’s, and you like to get kicked in the ears, get yourself to a Blackberry Wood show as soon as you can. Your musical soul will thank you.

Blake Morneau is a lover of aural pleasure who has been writing about his passion for nearly two years. Follow him on Twitter @MusicRags

Timberlake entices with glamour

 Justin Timberlake
The 20/20 Experience (RCA Records, 2013)
Produced by Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon

Reviewed by Chris Ho

Lights up on stage right. Trails of cigarette smoke. Stage curtains drawn, revealing the dapper string section of the orchestra. May I present to you: The 20/20 Experience.

The first track instantly introduces the glamorous 1950s New York throwback, which is then infused with the familiar R&B pop sound that is unmistakably Justin Timberlake. And with some exceptions, the mixture of these elements essentially encapsulates Timberlake’s latest album, The 20/20 Experience.

Having been on a musical hiatus for six years, his highly anticipated comeback couldn’t have been classier. If painting the town with your friends in a stylish suit and tie getup wasn’t already on your list of priorities, it soon will be. Timberlake brought sexy back with the previous record FutureSex/LoveSounds, and now, he’s bringing classy back with The 20/20 Experience. In particular, “Suit & Tie” grooves in a way that could only be suitable in a select number of clubs. The clean and soulful sounding vocal melodies are paired with relaxed, finger-snapping beats, and topped off with a classic interjecting trumpet line. It seems as though Justin Timberlake disappeared from the music scene, only to reappear with a newfound Sinatra-esque edge, and an old big band to back him up. And yet, somehow, his music seems even more original (and perhaps experimental) than ever.

Timberlake has always tended to instill his work with a generous amount of vocal layering and pleasing harmonies, but never before like this. Between the strategically placed string parts, interesting electronic sounds, and soft backup vocal lines, the production of the album puts the listener in a head-bobbing trance. The brilliance of this comes in the fact that it’s difficult to pick out the specific musical elements that create this effect, because it’s ultimately the overall exceptional production as a whole that does it. Although, at the same time, the interesting electronic sounds found in tracks like “Blue Ocean Floor” and “Dress On,” certainly seem to stand out in a very tangible way.

An album that incorporates very classic musical elements while staying true to the artist’s creative integrity and trademark style generally tends to be audibly enticing. Such is the case for Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience, which gives us the familiar, the old, the new, and then some. The particularly striking tracks include “Suit & Tie,” “That Girl,” “Pusher Love Girl,” and “Blue Ocean Floor.”

Chris Ho is a UVic graduate and Victoria-based singer-songwriter.

Vagabond’s melodies extraordinary

Jeffrey Michael Straker
Vagabond (2012)
Produced by Danny Michel

Reviewed by Blake Jacob

Vagabond is the precisely arranged fifth album of singer-songwriter-pianist Jeffery Michael Straker. Jeffery “swears he was born under the piano on the family farm” in Saskatchewan, and his experience shows. The album is a flawless work of art, skillfully produced by Canadian multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Danny Michel. Straker’s music is sometimes described as “piano-folk-pop-cabaret,” which proves how impossible it is to label him with any particular genre. The variety of moods in his music is refreshing. From the high energy and flamboyance on “Sans Souci,” to the gentle, wistful sound of “Burn The Boats,” this album is consistently delightful to the ear. It begged an immediate second, third, and fourth listen.

Vagabond is noteworthy because of its impeccable presentation of an array of extraordinary piano melodies. A particular jewel on Vagabond is “Myopia.” It is a surprising up-tempo track full of lilting, light piano work contrasted with power vocals. “Raven” has the swelling chorus for the entire audience of a sold-out concert hall to sing along to. So does the “deep down, deep down inside of my soul” of the chorus of “Rosetta Stone.” Straker is skilled at pulling heartstrings. “Birchbark Canoe” heals and breaks the heart at the same time with memorable climax and cadence and a woefully sung, “maybe we’re better off as friends.” Straker is an excellent vocalist, displaying variety in a seemingly effortless way. His skill is especially apparent on “Cathode Rays,” where his voice ranges from gravelly to silvery to wonderfully tremulous.

Interestingly, Straker is a descendant of Beethoven by six degrees of student-teacher lineage. Perhaps the magic of innovation connects them. Vagabond is easy to become obsessed with because it is so expert and unique. After you hear it one time, be prepared to listen to nothing else for several months . . . maybe indefinitely.

Blake Jacob is a Vancouver Island poet whose essential nutrients are optimism, wordsmithery, and captivating melody.