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L.A. Beat

CD Reviews

Luke Blu Guthrie goes back to the roots on Routes & Blu

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Courtenay based musician Luke Blu Guthrie blends blues and country music on his new CD “Routes and Blu.”Click here to hear Luke Blu Guthrie
 His excellent new CD begins with the catchy dobro powered “Southern Time,” a laid back southern rocker.
 A mournful harmonica leads the listener into another catchy number, “Blood From a Stone.”
 While the third track “Helping Hand” begins which what sounds like a jet taking off. it is one of the stranger, more swampy tracks with distorted vocals, a sinister slide guitar.

 The dobro is back o another, catchy roots number on “Clearly Canadian.”
“Slow Burn is an uplifting,  very ’60s pop influenced song blended with folk which has some addictive vocal harmonies.

“ Outta Tha Blu” also has a melody and rocking groove right out of the ’60s  early ’70.
 He ends the Cd on an optimistic, bluesy note “Hold On To Heaven,” which has a slinky slide guitar riff giving it a Hawaiian feel.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
CD: Routes and Blu
Artist: Luke BluGuthrie
Genre: blues/ folk


The Void Back to rock it ’90s style on RobotSpaceLove

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Lethbridge modern rock band the Void are back  with a brand new CD  “RobotSpaceLove.”
While playing live they have a very strong Smashing Pumpkins’ mid-’90s alt rock sound, it is not as prevalent as I thought it would be on their new CD.

 Instead it is a solid collection of mostly mid-tempo, melodic alt-rockers.

 There is plenty of catchy rhythm guitar and the odd solo plus yelping vocals from Jon Vornbrock, who  definitely sClick here to hear the Voidhows a Smashing Pumpkins’  Billy Corgan influence.

 The  track “Everyone” begins with a tender arpeggiated riff then breaks into a wall of distortion like many of a grunge and post grunge band did back in the way.
“Robot Song From Robot Son” is in a similar vein, though slower.

 They pick up the tempo a lot on “Knife to the Heart,” one of the heavier tracks on the CD.
“Lucy” s the most angst ridden of the collection while “Love and Distortion is among the slowest.
 they end on another angst ridden note with “Love Trips,” on which Vornbrock shows he has a powerful scream.
 It is a great sounding recording. So if you like modern, ’90s  style, grunge influenced rock, then you will thoroughly enjoy the Void’s  new CD ”Robotspacelove.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
 CD: RobotSpaceLove
Band: The Void
 Genre: modern rock


Coal Creek Boys back with lots more mining stories on Rosetown

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You’ve got to give Lethbridge based Coal Creek Boys credit for ambition. Their latest  CD, Rose Town is a two CD set entitled Whiskey and Wine for the more rocking country music and their more tender, emotional singer songwriting material respectively.
The Coal Creek Boys’ calling card is to tell the stories of coal mining in  the Crowsnest Pass and Elk Valley arClick here to hear the Coal Creek Boysea of southeastern B.C., where they grew up. And they do it very well.

 Both CDs include captivating stories some impressive country guitar picking and frontman John Paul Smith’s booming voice which sounds like Bruce Springsteen singing about coal miners.
 The first CD is eight upbeat country rockers with lots of superb guitar and fascinating stories which not only show where the band  comes from musically, but also gives the audience a taste of their live show. The songs range from shorter songs like the Waylon Jenningsish “Bad Man” and “Carrie Nation,” two of the CD's highlights and longer jams like the seven minute opus “Rosetown,” which begins the CD and another outstanding  epic, “Bootlegger,” which ends the CD.

His stories would be better served if  Smith’s voice not only had less reverb on it, but was a little louder as he is often lost behind his guitar.
 But as always on Coal Creek Boys, secondary instruments usually played by Dino Scavo, make the CD for me. In this case the sizzling mandolin solo on “Bad Man.”

 I love the Ozark Mountain Daredevils flavour of “Carrie Nation” which has a vocal melody reminiscent of the Devils’ “Homemade Wine” and a  chunking mandolin rhythm. Another highlight  is “Summer Dress” of which the vocal hook is eerily reminiscent of Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.”  Probably my favourite song on the first CD is the touching “G.I. Highway, which is reminiscent of Steve Earle.


Tod Robinson and the Gleu serve up an infectious slice of many faceted pop

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Lethbridge’s singing pilot Tod Robinson with his band the Gleu are back with an outstanding second CD “The Other One.”Click here to Hear Tod Robinson and the Gleu
 It is an infectious slice of pop and rock music with elements of funk and even a touch of reggae, which  sounds mostly like a blend of Rob Thomas and Ben Folds as  Robinson plays a lot more keyboards, organ and piano on this CD.
 He has an impressive cast of local musicians  playing in this CD with Brad Brouwer and Brady Valgardson playing drums, Paul Holden, Jason Schultchen and Tyler Bird alternating on bass. Bird also plays guitar on the CD. Tyson Wiebe adds background vocals. Dino Scavo adds saxophone to a couple of tracks as well.
 Robinson  also has some very catchy and optimistic lyrics “You’ve got more beauty  than you know,” he croons on the third track  “b.soul.” “Inside” sounds like the White Stripes on piano.
“ I’ve got a first class  view of the world that keeps getting further away.” he declares on  “Mad Song,” one of several , reggae tinged highlights on the CD.
“Fireheaded Woman” is a catchy spaghetti western style tune, which will get those toes a tapping.
“ Falling” is quirky and catchy, with a cool organ driven riff reminiscent of Men Without Hats.”   complete with weird lyrics.
“The Waltz is just that, but done in a more alt country  style.
 One of my favourites is “Mindless Kiss,” which as one of the songs more reminiscent  of Ben Folds, has compelling lyrics and  a catchy piano/ keyboard riff.
 He ends the Cd on a sombre, Tom Waitsish note with “Sad Song.”
— By Richard Amery, L.A Beat Editor
 CD: The Other One
Band: Tod Robinson and the Gleu
Genre: pop
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