Saturday, April 19th7.3°C
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Under the Lights

He's the Dawg!

As promised, I was able to catch up with Kelowna’s hardest working Bluesman, Poppa Dawg.  Last week, in “Under The Lights” we were introduced to this humble musician who expresses himself through the tried and true musical excursion of the pure Blues.  His, is a journey into the Memphis Blues, textured with genuine soul searching vocals.  As soon as he touches that guitar, the emotions just seem to pour out, and then comes that aged whiskeyed voice—deep and measured. And measured he is, a man that possesses a Vision, but has no illusions—and in this day and age, being a self-employed musician is much harder than it was say, twenty years ago:  Here are some thoughts from Rick, himself:

On being a self-employed musician and independent Recording Artist-the pitfalls and benefits:

Poppa Dawg: “Depends on how you look at it. There is no security at all but there is something more important to me, freedom. This business is not for the timid and you can’t take everything personally, it is just business but at time that can be difficult as we are human beings and therefore we come with our own issues such as insecurity. Playing for a living is getting easier and more difficult at the same time. We have easier access to information and ways of dispersing it via social media but now so does every other artist out there so now you have everyone looking for the same gigs. It may not be for everyone but I wouldn’t change it even if I could, it is my life.”

 Yes, it certainly is his life…just look at what he has recorded since the turn of the century:

Poppa Dawg:Currently, I have 4. Here they are!
Dogskin Suit - ’Diggin’ Up The Yard’ - All original music - 1999
Dogskin Suit - ‘Growlin’ At The Gator’ - Covers of fans favs - 2002
Poppa Dawg - ‘Same Dog, New Suit’ - All original music - 2005
Poppa Dawg - ‘What You Got’ - All original music save for 1 – 2013”
                                                         
…and true to his calling, Rick is currently involved in…”- I have been co-writing some music with a friend in Vancouver and writing bits of ideas all over the place. I have quite literally thousands of pieces of paper, notes, books, cassette tapes(remember those?) and a hard drive of ideas and also a ton of ideas on my iPod, iPhone and iPad. No new CD until next year though but plans are in the works!”

Yes, Rick…I certainly remember cassette tapes!...do you have a certain method of recording? 

Poppa Dawg:  “Always live off the floor. It gets the music across better if we are all providing energy to it at the same time.”

Energy?, he has it in gallons—and he constantly draws on his influences—the Blues Masters: 

Poppa Dawg: “ Musically and guitar wise it is - Ronnie Earl, Duke Robillard, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dr John, Ray Charles, Thelonious Monk, Elvis, Howlin’ Wolf, Brian Setzer, Freddie King etc!”…and, of course, I had to ask Rick how on earth did he get his moniker!?....” A very good friend of mine, Ross Nielsen, was playing bass for me some 20 years ago when I had the band Dogskin Suit. He would come in to the gig and say “Hey Poppa Dawg.” I asked him why he called me that and he told me that the band was Dogskin Suit and I was the poppa. After hearing it, folks started calling me that. In grocery stores, gas stations, everywhere and I would look at them wondering who the hell they were talking to. It was me! I thought, well, I guess if they’re gonna call me that I may as well use it. Thanks Ross! Ross is truly one of the hardest working musicians I know and he tours across Canada 2 times a year from New Brunswick to Van Isle. Love that guy!”

Rick is a true troubadour, a musician that is no stranger to the road—reaching out across the country with his memorable blues-tinged music that will resonate long after you have seen him perform.  He continues to push forward, exploring the fertile plains of the North American blues and rock—in asking him about future road work, he mentioned how playing in a particular place recently had…” Last year we went down to Memphis to represent BC at the IBCs, the International Blues Challenge, and made it to the semi-finals. Great to see that our music went over so well down there and we had one of the best musical experiences of my life. Memphis changed me.”  Obviously, this year we will be able to hear some of those changes—this year, any roadwork planned? “Not much road work this year. We are going to Vancouver Island, Calgary and Edmonton.”

In Kelowna and the Okanagan, we are certainly blessed with great musical Talent, I asked Rick his thoughts on the local scene…”- There is a ton of talent here!! We have talent up the wazoo but what we need are more venues for them to play at!”…now, there’s that humbleness again, and generosity—recognising the immense talent that is in the area, and wishing for everyone that there were more places for them to play in!....Thanks Rick, it was an honour to have this conversation!

Check out Rick’s web site: www.poppadawg.com  


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator: (Wednesday Night Blues with Poppa Dawg-every Wednesday)    Young ‘Uns:  April 17th   The Goods:   Apr. 18th   Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Apr. 19th   Zamboni Brothers:  Apr. 24th /Apr. 25th  & 26th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:  Rude City Riot:  April 18th   Wild Son:  Apr. 19th                                                    The Rockies & Deluge:  Apr. 25th

O’Flannigan’s Pub: Papa Wheely: Apr. 25th

Notable Concerts:  

Kelowna Community Theatre:    Johnny Clegg Band:  April 27th   

Konquer Motorcycles:  Loverboy:  May 31st 2014

South Okanagan Events Centre (Penticton):     Kenny Rogers:   June 12th

Funtastic: (Vernon)  Nazareth:   June 27th 

Prospera Place:  Heart:  June 28th

Kenny Shields & Streetheart:   July 18th at Summer Stomp  (Sicamous)

  …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!





Spring's Abloomin' pt. 2

He……expresses himself through the tried and true musical excursion of the pure Blues.  His, is a journey into the Memphis Blues, textured with genuine soul searching vocals.  As soon as he touches that guitar, the emotions just seem to pour out, and then comes that aged whiskeyed voice—deep and measured. 

Who is this humble, yet serious musician who walks amongst us, here in the valley?  None other than Rick Halisheff!  Better known around the area as “Poppa Dawg”.  Having released three albums, Rick has a vast catalogue of material-and not only his originals—but magical music from his strongest influences.  He is a critic’s dream, as Poppa Dawg is a true bluesman…genuine to the core—that guitar mentioned before, is a natural extension of his body.  When he plays, his heart and soul flow through.  He is both mesmerising and gentle—creating a soulful fluid expression that will keep you attentive, even in the loudest bar/club.

Rick can sing loudly as well as whisper a heart broken love song, encasing this delivery with such rich textures that one thinks he is playing just for them.  His presence on stage is that of a gentle giant, showing both toughness and tenderness in both his music and singing.  Yes, he can be a one-man show, but when he has his band with him—everything is amplified.  Rick is a generous man as well, giving the spotlight over to his band mates…so when you see one of the “Poppa Dawg Blues Band’s shows, you are in for a memorable evening.  An evening of rooted Blues that can only come from a Master!

Next week, we will be talking with the man himself—and of course this Spring and Summer we can look forward to an energised “Poppa Dawg Blues Band”!

On to the International scene:  Look for a brand new album from Night Ranger!—this is the first time that the group has produced themselves.  “High Road”  will be supported by the group on a North American tour beginning this Summer!

Here is the first video from this greatly anticipated Power Trio….


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator: (Wednesday Night Blues with Poppa Dawg-every Wednesday)   Zamboni Brothers:  Apr. 10th    The Journeymen:    April 11th & 12th    Young ‘Uns:  April 17th   The Goods:   Apr. 18th   Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Apr. 19th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:  The Creepshow:  Apr. 12th  Rude City Riot:  April 18th                       Wild Son:  Apr. 19th

O’Flannigan’s Pub:  Rockaholicks:   Apr. 11th

Notable Concerts:  

Kelowna Community Theatre:    Johnny Clegg Band:  April 27th   

South Okanagan Events Centre (Penticton):     Kenny Rogers:   June 12th

Interior Savings Centre (Kamloops):   George Thorogood & The Destroyers:   May 1st 2014   

Funtastic: (Vernon)  Nazareth:   June 27th 

Kenny Shields & Streetheart:   July 18th at Summer Stomp  (Sicamous)

Notes & News:  He is at it again!!...Rann Berry has created yet another Revue!—immersing himself and his bandmates in to some of the most compelling Rhythm & Soul.  Saturday April 12th will see Rann and his R&B All Star Band take to the Gateway 21 stage…so get ready to have you socks rocked off!  Oh! yeah—bring your dancing shoes!

    

…if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

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Silent Voices getting louder

So before we embark on this week’s little story—“Spring’s A Bloomin’ pt.2” will appear next week with a feature on a local bluesman that is tearing up the stages with renewed vigor!  

There is trend of late that some long established musical Artists are re-emerging after protracted silences.  “Ring Of Fire”, has re-emerged after a nine year silence with their strongest offering yet.  Working on the latest Melodic Rock magazine I had the chance to interview and review one of Australia’s premier rock groups—“Vanishing Point”—whom after seven years have released their fifth album, and again looking stronger than ever.  And then there is “Silent Voices”…a Progressive Rock outfit that have just broken their silence!-Here is a little of their story:

Bruce Atkinson:   So, it is most appropriate to begin with Welcome Back!! A seven year hiatus and now a fantastic release in “Reveal The Change”, care to tell us what happened?

Timo Kauppinen:   Thank you very much! Ok, fast forwarding to back in spring 2006 when we released our previous album Building Up The Apathy... We had quite a successful tour in Finland and there were also plans from our labels to have opening shows for French Adagio in Europe and in Japan but somehow it never happened. I think Michael wasn’t very happy with the band at the time and when these shows in Europe didn’t happen he decided to leave the band. Instead of desperately searching for a new vocalist the rest four of us just decided to take a break for a while to concentrate on our other projects. Then sometimes in 2008 we found ourselves again jamming together and we started writing new material for new album. Actually we recorded all the basic tracks, drums, bass and rhythm guitars for this album already then back in 2008. We didn’t have a deadline with this album so that’s why this was quite a slow process. We just worked whenever we had the time from our other bands and projects.

BA: Staying with your current creation; “Reveal The Change”, you have assembled a fine group of guest vocalists, was this difficult in getting the essence of each song portrayed or just the opposite-in where each vocalist added that something special?

TK:   I think it was the opposite as during writing and recording this album we didn’t have a clue who will be singing them. We recorded all the tracks just instrumentally and much later we were figuring out all the melodies and lyrics. Then someone threw in an idea to ask some of our all time favourite vocalists if they are interested to sing some songs for our upcoming album. So we didn’t write songs to any particular guests in mind, we just wrote a new album and then later we asked all the different vocalists to sing a song which we thought would fit perfectly with their voices. Teemu Koskela sang all the demo tracks and then we just sent songs to the vocalists who recorded them and then sent back to us. All the guests on the album are absolutely amazing, they really did a great job and they absolutely added something special to each track.

BA: “Reveal The Change” is such a brilliant Work. Each of your Talents come shinning through, a solid expression… The recording sessions must have been supercharged!

TK:   Well, thanks a lot. Regarding the sessions itself, we worked at an easy pace when everyone had the time so it was rather like a peacefully journey this time without any rush. Of course we always try to push ourselves in the studio and try to keep the high level according to songs but I’d say the whole atmosphere during the sessions was very comfortable.

Silent Voices  “Reveal The Change”
Inner Wound Recordings
Review by: Bruce E.J. Atkinson 

“Reveal The Change” marks the un-silencing of this top drawer Progressive Rock group1  A seven year silence is now no more!—playing loudly and strengthening their collective musical prowess.  The original four have regrouped: Henrik Klingenberg on Keyboards, Paul Kauppinen on Bass, Jukka-Pekka Koivisto on Drums/Percussion, and Timo Kauppinen on guitar. These four plus, are reclaiming their rightful place in the higher echelons of the  Progressive music galaxy.  Joined by Vocalist Teemu Koskela, this Finnish five piece have grown leaps & bounds through their self-imposed exile.

"Reveal The Change” displays brilliant song crafting, musicianship and an original take on all that is considered Progressive Metal.  This album also plays host to a plethora of guest vocalists!  Adding a new sense of adventure to an already adventuresome disc!

Finely textured and even more finely structured, “Reveal The Change” could be considered a ‘comeback’ album.  Each musical composition is performed with deep confidence, and although certainly progressive—contains an organic sound that reveals the richness and depth of each members individual Talents.  Extraordinarily done so without comprising or overshadowing any individual player.

Silent Voices should not stay silent again.  We are more than ready to hear their changes!


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator: (Wednesday Night Blues with Poppa Dawg-every Wednesday)   Young’Uns:   April 3rd & 4th    Zamboni Brothers:  Apr. 10th   The Journeymen:    April 11th & 12th    Young ‘Uns:  April 17th   The Goods:   Apr. 18th   Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Apr. 19th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:  The Skinny:  April 5th   The Creepshow:  Apr. 12th  Rude City Riot:  April 18th   Wild Son:  Apr. 19th

The Green: (Vernon)   Sunday Night Jams-featuring  GTR   

O’Flannigan’s Pub:  Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:   April 4th & 5th    Rockaholicks:   Apr. 11th

Minstrel Café:   Lance Carr:  Apr. 4th   Poppa Dawg Blues Band:  Apr. 5th   Chloe Albert:  Apr. 8th             John Wort Hannam:  April 9th

Notable Concerts:  

Prospera Place:    Collective Soul:   April 4th

Kelowna Community Theatre:    Johnny Clegg Band:  April 27th   

South Okanagan Events Centre (Penticton):     Florida Georgia Line:   April 10th   Kenny Rogers:   June 12th

Interior Savings Centre (Kamloops):   George Thorogood & The Destroyers:   May 1st 2014   

Funtastic: (Vernon)  Nazareth:   June 27th 

Kenny Shields & Streetheart:   July 18th at Summer Stomp  (Sicamous)

Notes & News:  He is at it again!!...Rann Berry has created yet another Revue!—immersing himself and his bandmates in to some of the most compelling Rhythm & Soul.  Saturday April 12th will see Rann and his R&B All Star Band take to the Gateway 21 stage…so get ready to have you socks rocked off!  Oh! yeah—bring your dancing shoes!

 …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....



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Spring A'bloomin' pt. 1

A combination of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, ……plus all the Hard Blues you can imagine!!—that is California Breed!  A three-piece consisting of none other than Jason Bonham-drummer extraordinaire, Glenn Hughes with his funk infused bass playing and singing, and sizzling guitarist Andrew Watt whom also belts out a deep vocal line.  California Breed is just one of a variety of new seeds that will bloom brilliantly this Spring!!  Their self-titled album will hit the streets on May 20th in North America.  Mark my words, this is going to be a juggernaut of an album…everything is covered: Blues/Rock/Funk and the always righteous Rock!

Steeped in the power trio tradition, a new group made up of veteran players  is about to be unleashed.  Hailing from the island of Angels, the UK’s Three Lions will release their debut in April.  A power house melodic rock trio-the band is made up of Vinny Burns (Dare, Ten, Asia) on guitar…drummer Greg Morgan (Dare, Ten) and young Nigel Bailey pumping out the bass and adding his textured voice.  Three Lions are gearing up for extensive road work across Europe and into North America.  Another seed of Spring that will bloom throughout the musical landscape.

Almost like a new lease on life, this controversial Canadian singer continues to climb upwards, and amaze his critics as he ascends!  Sebastian Bach will release his latest solo offering, “Give ‘Em Hell” in April.  Those amazing vocals are couched by some big name players, creating a highly energised and surprisingly varied slice of Hard Rock!  Check out Sebastian’s version of April Wine’s “Rock N’ Roll Is A Vicious Game”.

Celebrating thirty years of constant touring and recording, Pretty Maids begin the Spring season with “Louder Than Ever”, a beautifully packaged CD/DVD with brand new seedlings and re-worked gems that have a new “bloom” to them!  This Danish Hard-Rock outfit have offered up a huge THANK-YOU to their fans, with historical footage of their past thirty years, brand new interviews and previews of what is to come.  “Louder Than Ever” will be in stores at the end of March and remember there are five new flowers to enjoy—plus many tried and true musical journeys!

Another brand new seed that has been planted: L.R.S. featuring Canadian drummer Michael Shotton (Von Groove) and Tommy La Verdi of 21 Guns on vocals, with guitarist Josh Ramos—mean to spread their music worldwide!  A powerfully packed debut, “Down To The Core” exposes this threesome’s rock roots!  L.R.S. is a triumph of Melodic Hard Rock, with more than a hint of pure Canadian Rock n’ Roll!!  Next week, new Talent from the Okanagan…Spring is certainly a’bloomin’!!


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator: (Wednesday Night Blues with Poppa Dawg-every Wednesday)   Zamboni  Brothers:   March 27th & 28th  & 29th  Young’Uns:   April 3rd & 4th    The Journeymen:   April 11th & 12th 

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:   Cowpuncher:  March 29th   The Skinny:  April 5th  Rude City Riot:  April 18th

The Green: (Vernon)   Sunday Night Jams-featuring  GTR   

O’Flannigan’s Pub:  Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:   April 4th & 5th   Rockaholicks:   Apr. 11th

Notable Concerts:  

Prospera Place:    Collective Soul:   April 4th

Kelowna Community Theatre:    Jann Arden:   March 29th   Johnny Clegg Band:  April 27th   

South Okanagan Events Centre (Penticton):     Florida Georgia Line:   April 10th   Kenny Rogers:   June 12th

Interior Savings Centre (Kamloops):   George Thorogood & The Destroyers:   May 1st 2014   

…if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....



Read more Under the Lights articles

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About the Author

We call him the Professor of Rock: With a career in music, television and media arts spanning 30 years, Atkinson knows music. He's traveled as a professional musician and he loves Rock 'N Roll. He is a music journalist who writes internationally for Frontier Records' Melodic Rock magazine and he owns FBA International a multifaceted management, consulting, promotional entity.






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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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