Archive for September 12th, 2010



I had never met Ron Hawkins previous to a club date here in our city at THE VIC.

But I did  know some of his songs from his former group Lowest of The Low, and had recently checked out his solo work.

When I walked in the club Charlie Angus  member of Parliament, Grievious Angel head honcho and former punk rocker from L’Etranger along with Andrew Cash and Peter Duffin was laying down the story lines of George Chuvalo, Heartbreak Town and a dandy new track called Diamonds in the Snow inspired by the youth in James Bay.

Hawkins arrived at the same time with Wayne Bozzer (former astute booker of all time cool and hip Canuck acts) to the stand up bar where Charlie and myself began talking about what else MUSIC (not politics)  Oh yeah and why most music that sells gazillions is pretty damn bland (I’m being nice) 

I introduce myself to Hawkins, buy his latest cd and Hawkins an intelligent and good guy joins in the conversation.  All three of us are not complaining.  Nope it boils down to the fact that these days even a great song (Hawkins and Angus have a few of those) really has a hard time getting translated to a mainstream audience without globs of production and the marketing genius of Ellen DeGeneres. 

It’s like there is an invisible bridge that if you happen to trip over it and walk across it your going to get a leg up. Then again getting 100 million youtube hits by playing your guitar and looking cute may also help.

Ok here is where it gets tough folks. Why did The Clash,  Bob Marley, Bruce Cockburn,  Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen,, Billy Bragg, Neil Young , Elvis Costello, and others have their views and songs explode to the mainstream. I would say it somehow falls into the structure and TIMING of when a pop song that actually says something catches up with people.

Don’t forget  POLIITCS. Left leaning,  right, or middle can still produce classic songwriting.  CCR’S Fortunate Sun, Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind, Neil Young’s Ohio, or anything by JOHN LENNON.  So maybe songwriters have to channel their  focus and talent.

 I think it comes down to that ol’ songwriter magic. You know when you have something really good.

It’s too bad corporate bullshit does not really know this. That’s why they are corporate bullshit leaders. They (for the most part) don’t know anything about music

I love having a RADIO SHOW that you can put out to the world and show people there is real music out there made by real honest players and true talents. BUT UNLIKE conglomerate radio I get caught up in ACTUALLY programming blues, hard rock,  acoustic folk, country, alternative and whatever else that MOVES ME..maybe u will listen and say…wow i have never heard that artist or if you did you never heard them play that track.

Oh yeah the capper is RON HAWKINS then lays out a show full of songs with lyrical sense and TONS OF moments where you actually find out what moves him as a person and songwriter. This is of course a rare treat. Our band has even got lucky with that on occasion. 

RON HAWKINS is making sense in the real world.

All you have to do is go and listen  

check him out at

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio show host, and musician



iT’S GOING TO BE A GREAT FALL FOR BLUES..i’m looking at getting you the hip quotient with some new releases from   which I should be sharing with you over the next few weeks. 

IT’S been a busy summer gigging with THE SHAFTMEN  recording a new solo cd CLOSE ANOTHER DOOR and doing new radio shows which are now up as podcasts on APPLE ITUNES  

HOWEVER BEFORE we get into that I wanted to go back to a cd I have been playing all summer and that is JOHN NEMETH’S latest titled NAME THE DAY

It would hard to call this a blues album, but it is one hell of a soul revue blast that could have come out of Hi Records/Muscle Shoals

The groove and horn charts to the title track, and Tuff Girl could be  right out of Solomon Burke’s mouth 30 years ago.

 THAT’S A GOOD THING..FOLKS..while Home In Your Heart could be Wilson Pickett without the screams. Either way IT MOVES YOU..and I’m hip to it

DO’NT FORGET..great new cd’s coming from JOE LOUIS WALKER, one of my face guitar guys RONNIE EARL and the ever popular DUKE ROBILLARD


JOHN EMMS blu-ray review-TOM PETTY/HEARTBREAKERS-DAMN THE TORPEDOS/”No one cares enough to make a classic these days”

When you watch this it becomes apparent through new interviews and archival studio footage from Petty, producer Jimmy Iovine, and the rest of The Heartbreakers that you have to sweat the details to make a classic album

Now no one gives a shit about making a great classic album these days.

That’s why we have so much crap out there. Everyone including record companies just going  for the fast buck.  It’s piss on the creators/artists.  Hell,  no one lets talent develop anymore. These days Petty would not have had a chance to make this now classic third album. What I like about this blu-ray/dvd is Tom Petty, Mike Campbell and engineer Shelly Yakus go into details of how tracks were recorded and engineered.

Budding musicians wake up. It’s a great learning tool. There is also songwrititng sequences with Petty and Campbell. Plus all kinds of inside information from the Heartbreakers notably keyboard man Benmont Tench. In the end Petty and Heartbreakers stuck by their now vintage sound, they still do on their new cd MOJO. Yes even the losers get lucky sometimes.

Fine docmentary from Eagle Rock

September 2010