Jake Vanhaverbeke. Photo by Sarah Felgs.
Jake Vanhaverbeke has really been making a name for himself lately. Following the independent release of his three-song CD of original songs, Weeks of Sleep, in December, Vanhaverbeke was named New Artist of the Year in January by the Songwriters Music Festival.
The young musician – who just turned 16-years old this month – was also recognized with a letter of congratulations from Mayor Adrian Foster last week, as a result of his award. The letter was presented during an assembly at St. Stephen’s Secondary School in Bowmanville, where he is a grade 10 student.
Robert Kerby signing his books at Chapters. (photo supplied)
Read any gripping novels by Newcastle authors lately? If you didn’t know that any existed, the recent efforts of two local writers are meant to change all that. While neither man’s books came by way of a big name publishing company, these authors can both attest that sometimes a story is too good to keep to yourself.
Just ask Robert Kerby. A graphic designer by trade (who is now “slipping into semi-retirement”), Kerby says that when he started, he “never intended to write a book.” He was instead doing genealogical research, looking for a few factual details about a mysterious ancestor. Continue reading
Chad Driscoll (photo supplied)
Local musician Chad Driscoll discovered his singing voice at the age of 10. But it took another couple of decades, and a string of talent contests, to uncover it.
As the frontman of SexBomb, a cover band that made its name playing the Peterborough bar circuit, Driscoll has paid his dues, singing the hits of popular rock bands from The Beatles to The Killers to Our Lady Peace.
SexBomb (named after the Tom Jones song) played “almost every bar in Peterborough,” says Driscoll, including a one-year stint as the house band at the Red Dog tavern in 2007, and performances at the Kawartha Lakes Wakeboard Open for two years in a row.
Now, after taking three years to write and record, Driscoll has released Unreliable Instincts, an album of eight songs, original compositions which prove he is more than just a pretty voice. Initially recorded at home with just an acoustic guitar, Driscoll emailed the songs to his bandmates in SexBomb and, after they learned them, the tracks were laid down one at a time, he says. Continue reading
Fred Eaglesmith (photo supplied)
The Fred Eaglesmith Travelling Show certainly lives up to its name. When reached by phone two weeks ago, Eaglesmith and his crew – which includes the Fabulous Ginn Sisters from Texas, and Bill Poss and the Useful Tools – had just performed in, and driven through four provinces in as many days.
The production, which stops in Orono on Friday, October 21st, is not easy to pin down, musically as well as geographically. Driving one of the show’s two tour vehicles, somewhere between Hampton, New Brunswick and Truro, Nova Scotia, Fred Eaglesmith tries to describe his music. Continue reading
Bradleyboy MacArthur. Photo by Les Penner.
Orono’s one-man blues band Bradley “Bradleyboy” Mac Arthur grabbed first place at the annual talent search competition hosted by the Toronto Blues Society (TBS) at Nathan Phillips Square on August 18th. Bradleyboy was one of six finalists chosen to perform a 15-minute set on stage in front of an audience, as part of the City of Toronto’s “Tasty Thursdays” series showcasing promising blues acts. Continue reading
Herbie Barnes and Cheri Maracle as Berlin Blues' Trailer and Donalda. Photo by Wayne Eardley
Berlin Blues is so funny, it’s easy to forget it’s a cautionary tale. The play, which opened at the 4th Line Theatre in Millbrook last week, explores a First Nations community’s struggle with identity and integrity when faced with a proposal by German developers to exploit their Native culture. And the effects are hilarious. Continue reading
Bradleyboy MacArthur. Photo by Les Penner.
Orono’s Brad “Bradleyboy” MacArthur makes music with grit. His new album Salt Gun – described as “country blues with a heavy foot on the gas” – is a collection of 11 songs that attests to his “raw and gritty” aesthetic. And it is aptly named, for whether he’s playing live as a one-man band, or recording in his home studio, his resolve to keep it real is almost as tangible as the sting from salt-gun shot. Continue reading
A work of art usually starts out as an idea, gradually taking shape as the artist forms something concrete out of something less tangible. In the case of Newcastle’s not-for-profit gallery A Gift of Art, the idea of founder Ann Harley actually called for concrete.
Using lumber, drywall, paint and concrete as their material – and 187 King Avenue East as their canvas – the artists of A Gift of Art have been hard at work, taking Harley’s idea of a bigger Newcastle home for the arts from the world of thought to the material world. Continue reading
Kate Boothman from the cover of Sunbear's album Moonbath. Photo by Leslie Williams.
This is the time of year when many Canadians fly to sunnier climates, hoping to return rested and with little more than a good tan. But for singer-songwriter Kate Boothman, who headed off to Mexico last week, it will be more of a working vacation, as she plans to return with three or four new songs.
“I’m feeling I need a change of scene,” she says by phone from Toronto on the afternoon before her departure. With her country-rock band named Sunbear, and its first album called Sun Streaming In, it is perhaps inevitable that the sun is part of Boothman’s plans when it comes to making music. Since the release of her band’s second album, Moonbath, last September, she has been busy touring and writing songs for a third album. And that album is almost finished, she says, she just needs three more songs.
From left: Dallas Good, Travis Good, Mike Belitsky, and Sean Dean. Photo by Amanda Schenk.
The Sadies will be back in town to work their musical magic at the Orono Arena on Oct. 30th. The timing couldn’t be more appropriate for a Hallowe’en crowd, as the band promotes its latest album, Darker Circles, full of beautifully haunting songs of foreboding, and death.
But don’t let the subject matter spook you. The album (released last May on the Outside Music label) is an earnest collection of songs with a greater emotional depth to its lyrics than previous efforts. Exploring more mature themes like failure, addiction, and lost love, the Sadies’ writing talents seems to have finally caught up to their stellar instrumental abilities. Continue reading