Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Chris Squire | In Memoriam

by Xris Bland

With the recent passing of YES Bassist Chris Squire, it's easy to say that rock has lost one of the greatest bassists of all time. As co-founder of the progressive rock band that created musical landscapes of such complexity and wonder as to make YES the Conjurer of realms, Squire elevated the bass to a lead instrument, walking the frets far away from simple root-note pulse to intricate melodies both subtle and thunderous. He inspired many and shaped much, but such reflections may amount to too many words. To YES fans, Squire's uniqueness was evident from the band's inaugural self-titled 1969 album, and to those who aren't familiar with Squire and the musical worlds of YES, the music speaks for itself in Squire's solo from 'The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)," filmed in July 2003 during the band's headlining performance at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. 


Rest in Peace Sir, you will be missed!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Shred Kelly: 'Singing (and Skiing!) to the Night'

by Xristopher Bland

Where hula hoops, skiing and choreographed dance routines normally appear so disparate that to inhabit the same space would seem to guarantee one of them a trip to the hospital, British Columbian folk-fusion band Shred Kelly blends them amazingly and befittingly in their video for “Sing to the Night,” the title release from their third album by the same name and arguably the most epic ski-themed music video ever produced. As a Canadian band melding traditional and modern sounds, Shred Kelly is redefining what folk music means in Canada. They’ve answered such questions as “Can a banjo and synthesizer get together for incredible dance-party effect?” (to which the answer is a clear yes) and such is their energy that they’ve put their hometown of Fernie, BC, on the map as inventors of a new musical genre, dubbed “stoke-folk” (folk music that gets you stoked).

As the perfect reflection of what the band is about, the video begins almost nonchalantly against the snow of the Fernie Alpine Resort as band members Tim Newton, Ian Page Shiner, Jordan Vlasschaert, Ty West and Sage McBride ease in front of the camera. Dressed in what can only be described as funk-tacularly colorful ski outfits from the 1970s and ‘80s, they begin a casual shred downward. (In total, the band did seven complete takes of the video.) In each movement, a bristling kind of energy builds—a quirky combination of style, movement and big-sky joy that speaks to why they regularly perform to packed houses. They pay it out with a practiced timing that doesn’t seem practiced, and as the pace quickens, a purely spectacular ride unfolds.

If the word magical also comes to mind, it’s due in no small part to videographer and professional skier Dylan Siggers, who incredibly filmed the whole video while skiing backwards. Yet the real magic comes from his unbroken shot. As a technique, it’s related to television and magicians, who didn’t want viewers to believe their illusions were the result of camera cutaway trickery. As assurance to viewers, TV producers developed the single unbroken shot, which is one thing to do with a tripod-mounted camera but another thing entirely when the camera is handheld and the cinematographer is sliding down a mountain. Yet Siggers frames and captures it all with such finesse and fluidity that the first minute easily passes before noticing he isn’t just employing a filmic technique connected to magicians. He’s a magician himself, orchestrating the whole thing down to that concluding moment when one is compelled to say, “Well holy crap. That was awesome”—a phrase applicable to the album.

Produced by John Critchley (Elliott Brood, Dan Mangan, Amelia Curran), Sing to the Night may be too high on the energy scale for easy-listening moments. Yet as the craftwork of a band more about accessibility and electrification than introspection, the album shows striking creative growth and new depths to the band’s signature sound—a fused definition of folk reaching such new places, one can’t help but wonder, “I wonder what it would be like to strap on some skis, grab a hula hoop and go for a ride there.”

Important Note: 'While you may be inspired to air-ski along with Shred Kelly in your living room, please note that protective head gear is still recommended, even if you have guests over. And if you have a retina-stinging ski suit from the ‘80s, all the better.' - Xris


Shred Kelly Social Media

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/sing-to-the-night/id961649368

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shred.kelly

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shredkelly

Website: www.shredkelly.com


Editors Note: Had to have a play on words when titling this article after reading Xris's last line. These guys were too good not to! What a great Band with an even greater video!

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Quiet Industry | The Henrys - SMC Review by Xristopher Bland

by Xristopher Bland

As an exquisitely layered tapestry of musical nuance and emotional richness, the Henrys’ newly released album Quiet Industry is a lot like that conversation that happens after the conversation. 

You know the one. It happens around bonfires when the flames flicker low and a small group of people remains around the embers. It happens at house parties, when people begin to head home while others settle in the kitchen. At such times and places, rare connection unfolds. Beyond the exhaustions of surface exchange, conversations become the subtle brushwork of those ready for more. Like a well-drawn breath, it moves with often-staggering depth, where introspection and projection entwine with such lastingness that one awakens the next day certain of having experienced something meaningful, and something worth experiencing again. From such a place comes Quiet Industry, the first album by the Henrys in six years, and if band leader Don Rooke has a non-perspective about the project, it comes from having been immersed in all angles of the conversation the longest. 

“I basically don’t have any perspective on the recording,” says Rooke, who spent a year working on the album and describes the experience as “kinda like my experience eating breakfast. It went as well as could be expected, and the eggs were a highlight”—a metaphor of both accessibility and mystery that easily applies to album vocalist Gregory Hoskins (formerly of The Stickpeople). From the softly beckoning bars of “A Weaker One” to the closing, dream-tinged pulses of “The Almighty Inbox,” Hoskins sings with a range of emotion connected to the quiet industry of everyday living, yet echoes as an urgent whisper pointing toward the indefinable. It’s a meeting of worlds also captured in Rooke’s overall description of the album: “old instruments—new sounds,” including kona guitar, lap steel, pump organ, violin and a wide assortment of hard-to-define sounds. 

Along with Rooke and Hoskins, Quiet Industry features most of the Henrys cast, including Hugh Marsh (Bruce Cockburn, Jon Hassell, Don Byron), Andrew Downing (Kelly Joe Phelps, David Tronzo), John Sheard (Stuart McLean, Rita Coolidge), David DiRenzo (Holly Cole, Jacksoul) and Jonathan Goldsmith (Jane Siberry, Sarah Slean, Nick Buzz), along with harmony vocalist Tara Dunphy (The Rizdales). 

Quiet Industry is available on CD and digital formats through the Henrys’ own imprint, hR2015. For more information, visit www.thehenrys.ca. For more about Gregory Hoskins, visit http://gregoryhoskins.com.


Xristopher Bland is a freelance writer and graphic artist currently living in Rockwood, Ont., with the woman he fell in love with at age 14 and a cat named Majyn (short for “Imagine”), who likes to sprawl across the keyboard when he’s working.  Contact abmcreativeservices@gmail.com or visit abmpublishingandcreativeservices.wordpress.com  Twitter: twitter.com/ABM_Creative

Thursday, 18 June 2015


Starlight Music Chronicles WELCOMES
*New Contributor*
Xristopher Bland
Graphic Artist | Writer

Xristopher Bland is a graphic designer and writer who began his career both wanting to emulate the work of classic album designers like Roger Dean and Paul Whitehead and play music. Performing and recording as drummer-vocalist for a variety of rock bands, Xris soon became music columnist for TV Guide Canada, expanding into features, promotions and freelance writing in tandem with publishing independent music and honing something of a signature graphic-arts style. Gathering his crafts beneath the title ABM Creative Services in 2012, Xris works from a place of convergence, designing artwork, scripting and shooting video, writing and loving every moment of it.

Xris’s most recent band graphics include cover art for CD demos, track art for SoundCloud, banner graphics and logos. His first music-video project was an album-release promo for the Henrys, and he’s been endorsed by the Aphasia Institute for his awareness video “Shine.” In both graphics and video, Xris is known for layering, textural effects and camera angles that lend surreal tones both subtle and stark.

As a writer, Xris’s work has appeared in a wide variety of magazines, newspapers and online media. As an independent publisher, he’s arguably best known for the critically successful Xrisville (2010 – 2013), as much an experiment in satire and social commentary as it was an unconventional distribution model. Fashioned after a working rock band and chiefly distributed through supportive fans, the magazine reached as far as Paris, Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles, Jamaica and Australia at its height. The magazine even toured the Netherlands, Sweden and Estonia with Toronto noise artist Roman Pilates. (To date, Xrisville may be the only magazine to ever go on a European rock tour.)

Xristopher Bland is a freelance writer and graphic artist currently living in Rockwood, Ont., with the woman he fell in love with at age 14 and a cat named Majyn (short for “Imagine”), who likes to sprawl across the keyboard when he’s working.

or visit 

Twitter: twitter.com/ABM_Creative


Xristopher Bland

In his words:

"The trouble with new beginnings is that you often can’t see them. Sometimes, they’re a view of Lake Ontario so familiar as to be Lake Invisible. At least that was my view in 2013 from the offices of TV Guide, where I’d worked over 17 years as a writer and EPG Specialist, and where I’d written volumes as a regular contributor to Mosaic under my mother, Vi Bland, and ABM Publishing. In occupation and self-definition, I felt secure in my future. Then it all changed.

In 2012, my mother passed, leaving me the ABM name and no idea what to do with it. The following year, TV Guide started closing its doors and laid me off. Moving to Rockwood, Ont., to be closer to family, I soon realized how the media-writing landscape was no longer just about the craftwork of words. It was equally about Adobe Creative Suite. So in February, 2014, I began the lengthy application process for Second Career funding. A month later, I qualified for April enrolment in Conestoga College’s Digital Media program. At age fifty-something, I was going back to school, and I was thrilled. My future felt back on track—and then the brakes hit. With few qualified applicants, Conestoga cancelled its April program and moved my acceptance to the fall program. Despondent, there was nothing to do but linger, and within that thread-bare place, I started drawing. 

I really don’t know why I did. I’d certainly drawn here and there over the years since childhood, but had never felt the same passion as I inexplicably did that summer of 2014. The work just seemed to call itself forth, and as it beautifully entwined with six months at Conestoga, I finally knew in the spring of 2015 how I wanted to honor the ABM name. In alignment with the new service model of the media, I’d go forward as both a writer and graphic artist newly awoken, and I couldn’t pretend to know where it’s headed. That’s the trouble with new beginnings, and that may be the best part."


From The Editor:

I am very pleased to OFFICIALLY welcome Xris to Starlight Music Chronicles and have already had the pleasure of reviewing his first written piece and am very excited to launch it this coming weekend!

I also welcome Xris not only as a Contributor but as an Affiliate as well and look forward to future projects with him! 

Welcome to the team Xris!

CA Marshall
Editor | Starlight Music Chronicles

Thursday, 11 June 2015



Starlight Music Chronicles Partners up with BE THE GAME

Announcement Coming June 14th, 2015!


Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Heating things up for SMC with Recording Artist Randy Wayne Belt

Starlight Music Chronicles Contributor & Talented Musician 
Randy Wayne Belt Barley Station

JUNE 10, 2015

Starlight Music Chronicles Officially Welcomes 
Randy Wayne Belt of Barley Station to the Team!

Randy Wayne Belt is the front man for the band Barley Station, and is it's engine and founder, and I am very pleased that he has reached out to SMC to become a contributor with music reviews from all over the Globe! He will give an insightful Musicians perspective on reviews for Recording Artists Globally and I look forward to his contributions going forward.
Randy has taken up the pen not only for writing songs but has written music reviews and related articles that have been published in American Pride Magazine, Indie Habit (affiliated with Indie Music Bus) and A.V.A. Live Radio.  On stage you'll usually find him playing his lefty bass and singing lead and harmony.  Barley Station's music is an eclectic blend of genres from Alternative Country and Americana to Pop to Folk, and shades of rock.   Their music has had extensive global airplay from inception and continues to make new inroads.
Their debut album After All  stayed in the top 40 in the Country/Alt. genre for four consecutive months (including two months in the top 10) on the APD Global Radio Indicator Charts, appeared on the Roots Music Charts, and on the CMJ reporting stations that added songs into rotation, those songs broke through the top 30 by the second week.

The group received two Best Song awards by The Akademia Music Awards in 2015, and has had nominations in different categories such as “Best Country Artist” as well as “Best Folk Artist” for the 2013 Artists In Music Awards, and “Best Country Artist” and “Best Composer/Songwriter” for the 2014 AIMA Awards.  Also, a contestant in the Texaco Country Showdown in 2013, Barley Station has done numerous interviews with radio and magazines globally, and has been featured and performed live on FOX 2 News, and on The DGS Show on 97.1 FM Talk in their home base area of St. Louis, MO.

While currently working on a third album, Barley Station's last album Damaged Goods is doing as reviewer Leicester Bangs (UK) says: "Where After All got their foot in the door,  Damaged Goods should see them push on through.”  With singles like "10 Nights" from the album receiving heavy rotation on stations around the globe that door is getting pushed wider and wider. 
They have recently launched (June 3rd, 2015) their video 'Younger Summer Memories' (see below) off the album Damaged Goods and is already receiving rave reviews as 'The Song of the Summer'.

Randy Wayne Belt can be contacted at the following:

Band Related:
http://www.barleystation.net/home - management@barleystation.net
Facebook: www.facebook.com/barleystation
Twitter: @BarleyStation

Personal Contact info:

Barley Station - Promo Photo

Thursday, 4 June 2015

PAUL WOIDA: Making Radio Waves | A Photo Journey

What can you say when you spend four hours shooting with a Singer/Songwriter who just won $10,000 from a radio station? I am pretty certain that this visual image entry of my evening with Edmonton Recording Artist PAUL WOIDA demonstrates the Artists apparent joy. 

I first heard of Paul back in February when I saw a facebook friend share his video 'What Goes Around', a cover by Justin Timberlake. I was immediately impressed and just like others (in my roster of greats), I wanted to learn more. I spent the next several hours researching his You Tube Channel and found more nice discoveries: Katy Perry's 'Dark Horse', Taylor Swift's "Out of the Woods', and most recently (and well known in the Edmonton area and beyond) is his cover of Maroon 5's 'Sugar' (see below). 

Then I looked into some other original music on his channel and found another gem: 'I Will Never Love You'. It was at that point that I sent my friend request. I needed to interview him. Better yet! I wanted a photo shoot and an interview! He accepted immediately.

Three months later and after much organization among us, we finally connected. Can't be that hard right? We live in the same city! Not so. Woida has been pulled in many different directions since February. He has been competing in local radio station's #HotFactor2015 competition along with performing for fans all over the province. 'It was actually my friend who submitted my music to Hot107', said Woida. I was not surprised t hear of this win (June 1st - the same day of the shoot was the official announcement). Woida is a very talented and incredibly humble individual who has invested the last three years of his life to his art: Singing.

Woida began playing drums at the age of six years old among a family of talented musicians. "I think that at the time, I was forced to play drums because no one else would do it," he laughs, "but it did teach me a lot about rhythm!" It wasn't until he attended the music program at Grant MacEwan University that he found his true calling: "I began to play guitar and that made all the difference for me. I realized that All I wanted at that point was to continue on my path and work hard at it every day." 

Woida is a determined individual and family, friends and fans have been witness to this: he performs with a smile on his face and is truly engaging with his audience. In addition to performing for fans, Woida has also supported many charities and foundations - particularly for the local homeless shelter. "I think that is the best and artist can do is give back to humanity," he said smiling. 

The young Singer will be recording his first single with the money he has earned from his win and will be launching it in the near future. In the meantime, this joyful soul is happy to bring the gift of his beautiful voice to the world and continue on his path with live performances, videos, and personal interaction with his fans. 

What a joy it is to have Paul Woida in this world. I am quite certain there will never be another quite like him in this lifetime and I look forward to following his journey. 

Congratulations Paul! 

CA Marshall
Starlight Music Chronicles

All Photos Taken on Whyte Ave, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Photography By: Candice Anne Graphics & Photography
Model/Recording Artist: Paul Woida
*It was a pleasure to be a part of Paul's day - for this shoot, we just 'let the sun shine on on him'


Social Media - Paul Woida Music
Twitter: @paulwoidamusic
You Tube: www.youtube.com/user/woida

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

A Lens on the Live Music Scene from Across the Pond

Johnny Marr performing at the Fillmore, San Francisco- Yellow Mustang Photography

JUNE 2, 2015

Starlight Music Chronicles Officially Welcomes 

Please note: All photos are ©Marc McGarraghy/Yellow Mustang Photography 2015
No cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent

In an exciting collaboration that sees a mutual passion for music span the Atlantic Id like to welcome Marc McGarraghy of Yellow Mustang Photography to the Starlight Music Chronicles (SMC) team. I believe it's easy to identify that this is a Live Concert Photographer who has a brilliant eye and his photos speak volumes about the quality he produces (referencing all photos posted in this article and on the front page of SMC)

Michael Monroe, formerly of Hanoi Rocks - Yellow Mustang Photography

Based in York in the North of England photographer Marc McGarraghy has converted his lifetime passion for live music into a new found talent for capturing the essence of being there. Hes developed a growing reputation not just for the quality of his work, but for his tireless support of the local music scene and beyond. Using his work to champion local talent, causes and events as well as promoting major artists at large UK venues, Marc only picked up a camera in earnest four years ago, but has quickly become recognized and published for his stunningly evocative images.

July Talk - Yellow Mustang Photography

Marcs work photographing Johnny Marr at large and small venues across the UK (and in the U.S.) initially caught the eye of the SMC Editor, CA Marshall. Vibrant and passionately capturing a legend at work his shots of Johnny have regularly featured in the official fanzine Dynamic and been widely acclaimed beyond. But his portfolio stretches far beyond this featuring a lot of unsigned English bands and musicians hes keen to support, regular images of major names playing small local venues and a selection of global names at UK festivals and arenas, all taken with equal love for the music and subject. He held his first full exhibition of his work earlier this year (a small selection is featured here and can be seen on his website and some of his most recent work appears on his Facebook page)

Johnny Marr - Yellow Mustang Photography

*Editors Note*

Im delighted to announce that Marc has agreed to share more of his images with SMC over the months ahead along with a short narrative to shine a light on an artist, a venue or a festival and provide readers with a lens on the live music scene from across the pond

Caitlin Gilligan - Yellow Mustang Photography

The Levellers - Yellow Mustang Photography
Marck Whiley of York band The Rodeo Falls - Yellow Mustang Photography
Yellow Mustang Photography specializes in music, people and event photography across York, Yorkshire, the north of England and beyond. More information can be found at www.yellowmustang.co.uk.

Marc McGarraghy - Yellow Mustang Photography