angie nussey, january 20
Caught Guelph singer/songwriter Angie Nussey's late-night set at the Horseshoe Monday night and was pleasantly surprised. Cute and slightly dorky, she sticks mostly to the expected girly guitar/piano folk-rock ballads that would be right at home on a Women & Songs compilation. Think of a more wholesome Guelph take on Kathleen Edwards, minus the whisky and half the twang. It was really Nussey's band (moonlighting members of Pagan Mary) that made the show, particularly bassist Brian Kobayakawa, who blew minds with cool finger acrobatics on a behemoth electric six-stringer. I was captivated watching him add low-end interest to Nussey's inoffensive tunes. For her part, Nussey came up with a few nifty tricks; sporadic blues and sexy jazz numbers here and there let her stretch her voice more than the typical Lilith-ready crusader. Nussey's got gigs coming up at Murphy's Law Saturday (January 25) and February 15 and also at Clinton's February 14.
upcoming, blues summit
We've just had the IAJE jazz conference, and Canadian Music Week (February 26-March 1) and North By Northeast (June 5-7) are on the horizon, but surely there's room to squeeze in a blues conference someplace.
Sure enough, this weekend the Toronto Blues Society launches its first annual Blues Summit (January 25-27) gathering together blues artists, managers, label reps, promoters, journalists, radio programmers and club owners from across Canada and beyond to discuss the crucial issues facing the blues world.
Already on tap for the three-day conference set at the Delta Chelsea Hotel (33 Gerrard West) are Alligator Records boss Bruce Iglauer, historian (and former Son House manager) Dick Waterman and guitar-slinger Sue Foley, among others. The $69 registration fee includes a ticket to the Maple Blues Awards show at the Phoenix Monday (January 27), hosted by Colin James and featuring performances by Foley, Michael Jerome Browne and Kenny Blues Boss Wayne along with the annual all-star jam. For more information, consult the TBS Web site at www.torontobluessociety.com or call 416-538-3885.
raving mojos, january 24
Unlikely though it might seem, the mighty Raving Mojos -- one of Toronto's raunchiest early-80s rock 'n' roll combos -- are reuniting. Even more shocking is that their show at Lee's Palace Friday (January 24) is a record release party for their decades-overdue debut disc, The Last Rock 'N' Roll Show Ever, which is included with the $10 cover.
While the new CD -- based on bed tracks recorded for a shelved album in 93 -- doesn't contain the explosive live material from the group's legendary 82 recording (with bassist Ken Fox, who later joined the Fleshtones) that's been circulating for years on cassette, it's not at all a disappointment. Along with roaring covers of Open Up Your Door, by Richard and the Young Lions, and the Velvet Underground's We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together, it reveals a growing interest in country music. You could say it's the Mojos' Let It Bleed album rather than their Kick Out The Jams.
"It was our search for the master tapes of that 82 recording," explains Raving Mojos founding frontman Blair Martin, whom many will know as the leader of Klave y Congo, "that led us back to the recordings we did 10 years later that we're releasing now.
"They were just bed tracks, but when we played them back they sounded really good -- better than I remembered. We just had to go back and put on the vocals and get Lou Reed's permission for the Velvets cover."
And what about that 82 tape?
"We eventually found it, and considering it was lying around collecting dust for 20 years, it was in remarkably good condition. Eventually, we'll put that out, but we have to pay for our new disc first."