Last year was an exciting year. We had a house show with Zackary Lucky and just finished having another house show this year with The Grey Kingdom. I posted last year about two musicians you should listed to and well, we had both of them in our house. So that was awesome. Last year we also ran Festival of Good Things with a lot of our favourite musicians, ran a show at theStory with Little Kidd and ran two Five Iron Frenzy shows in Hamilton and Toronto with In the End We Dance opening. All in all the last year was remarkable for music.
Three bands stood out to me this year that need to make it onto your playlists if not to their shows whenever they are near by. This year I found myself getting really drawn into the lyrics getting overwhelmed by the seeming onslaught of indie music with lyrics that had no more thought that the pop music I was listening to when I was 12. This article nailed it on the head for me when it came to lyrics and what is happening to the music industry. I also am beginning to fall in love with those that are close by. There is something about being able to look someone in the eye, shake their hand, recognize their metaphors and know that they have grown up close to you. So two of these three musicians come from Lambton County where I’ve grown up.
Larry Towell has really showed up for me over the last year or so. Not only is he a world renowned photographer with a large list of prestigious awards, he is a folk singer with lyrics that cut to the heart and he lives right here in Lambton County. Singing about all the different experiences he’s had with his photographic expeditions, international politics, characters and stories of justice and oppression he pairs his songs with his photos for a powerful combination that speaks to the heart of the human and also directly to the powers that be. His latest album called Blood In The Soil is a strong album full of conviction at the present contrast between our way of life and how we depend on the poor to keep it going. His book on the Mennonites is absolutely beautiful. If you ever get a chance to see him live when he’s displaying his photos and singing along to them, do it.
In October I ran a small private event at theStory in Sarnia and invited a bunch of friends from around the province. We had Tripp York come and speak and have a bunch of conversations with us and then we had Little Kidd perform at night. I knew very little about him outside of a few friends that had heard them. I went online and was instantly drawn to his lyrics as they seemed to be about a church kid who was just burnt out with the politics and religion of it all and was ready to abandon ship. I thought it would be a perfect fit for the group that was coming, many of them in a similar situation. So they came, and blew us away. Sharp lyrics, grungy indie rock mixed with a unique blend of vocals and folk. Best part is. They are from Petrolia and the lead singer grew up in the sister Pentecostal Church that I grew up in. You can get all their music on Bandcamp.
I’m a bit more hesitant to post about this one, as I don’t consider myself a music reviewer of any substance. That to say, Austin Crane, also known as Valley Maker, has made it onto this list because I can’t stop listening to everything he produces. His one album came from his thesis in Old Testament stories and really makes the stories come to life. With us spending so much time in the Hebrew Bible as a church, I tend to read these stories very differently and the characters come to life much more than they used to. His songs do the same thing for me. They bring to life the characters, the struggles and God in an entirely new light. Something I never really allowed music to do for me. The Blue Indian reviews his work much better than I could so I’ll just direct you there and here.