So long summer – hello fall, hello autumn, or as it seems to be these days, hello Everything Pumpkin Spiced season. As we start to wrap up those long summer nights and return the patio furniture to the garage, shed or storage unit, at least we have some cool late summer tunes to welcome the arrival of the cooler temperatures set to follow.
Jerry Leger feat. Don Stevenson, “Halfway ‘Til Gone”
Released last month within days of the cut-off date for our August edition of this feature, we’ve been saving this one until now from Torontonian Jerry Leger, who returns with an outstanding duet featuring Don Stevenson from the influential 1960s San Francisco band, Moby Grape. Blending Leger’s primary influences (Bob Dylan, The Byrds) with Stevenson’s contemporary/psychedelic folk-rock roots and savvy collective vocal skills, “Halfway ‘Til Gone” provides a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Both artists may be from different generations, and different time zones (although both currently reside in Toronto), but Leger and Stevenson combine to create something very special; transporting the listener to the golden age of popular music, and drawing comparisons to The Beach Boys, The Everly Brothers, and Roy Orbison. “I admire that Don’s still playing music with the same passion and love he had for it at my age,” recalls Jerry. “I had this heartbreak song floating around and thought [we] could sing it really nicely together. Thankfully he dug the tune and was into the idea.”
Kele Fleming, “Coda”
Vancouver, BC singer-songwriter Kele Fleming shares her latest single, “Coda,” the third release from her upcoming new album that drops on October 2nd. This is a song that looks to find light in the darkness, making it a perfect track for our continual dealings with Covid-19. “Coda is a hopeful song despite the lyrics giving you a punch in the gut,” offers Kele. “I wrote the song to be really big music sonically while being an intimate song lyrically.” Sold immediately on this single when encountering the opening light banjo licks, “Coda” develops quickly into a stunning indie-pop number, showcasing Kele’s amazing vocals that are wrapped in piano keys, drums, and firm bass riffs. “The banjitar and rhythmic yearning embedded in the melody give the song an upbeat feel,” she adds. “[While] the lyrics shine a spotlight on some of the darker elements of being alive in this time.” No stranger to the west coast music scene, Kele Fleming’s career began in the early 90s when she formed Vancouver indie pop group Hazel Motes, who, along with Lava Hay and The Grapes Of Wrath, helped define the city’s musical identity for that era.
velours, “Summer Haze”
Saskatoon, SK singer-songwriter velours recently discovered our blog (props to our good friend Shawn Karpinka for the referral) and introduced both herself and her music to us for our consideration. Spinning this recently released single, “Summer Haze,” taken from her brand new debut EP, “Identity,” we stopped dead in our tracks, partly in disbelief that this was the work of an artist who has only been singing professionally for just over a year, and quickly circled this tune as one just itching to be shared. “My music is influenced by all kinds of bands and artists,” velours shares. “From Radiohead, to the Cranberries and Lady Gaga, becoming a melting pot of musical electricity and lyrical depth.” I’m detecting similarities to “Forgive My Heart” from The Cedar Sisters as “Summer Haze” commences, at least until the arrival of the ambient beat that propels the tune into a much more up-tempo direction. velours is an artist full of emotion, carried by a velvet voice, whose alt-pop music connects with the listener on an empathetic level. Her desire to understand and explore feeling through music, while not taking things too seriously, is what resonates with her audience. An artist to watch!
Matt Mays, “Dan n’ Shaniqua”
Canine companions! Everybody loves dogs and puppies, right? We sure do, and are wrapping up this installment of Snappy Singles with a song about our furry, four legged friends. When the world went into lockdown earlier this year, Dartmouth, NS singer-songwriter Matt Mays took the opportunity to really challenge himself as a songwriter, musician and producer. His latest album, “Dog City,” (digital only, with vinyl available later this month via his Bandcamp page) was written from the perspective of a rescue dog, and recorded in a makeshift studio in his garage. Matt recently released “Dan n’ Shaniqua” as the first single, a breezy, Beach Boys influenced tale of an adopted pooch on a journey to meet its new paw-rents, and is narrated from the canine’s perspective describing the escape and ensuing adventures. “I can’t wait to meet ya, Dan n’ Shaniqua / If you take me home and let me start again / I’ll be your best friend,” recites the canine Mays. “I’m gonna leave tonight when the moon is low / Into a new life via Mexico / I’m ready to run now, I’m ready to go / Into a new life via Mexico.” Oh, all of you dog lovers out there will be wanting to hear about these canine capers.
The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.