Archive for August 3rd, 2011


THE MIDWAY STATE-atmospheric bliss/CANDELORA-passion rules/reviews by john emms

THE MIDWAY STATE PARIS OR INDIA                                                                                                                                        

I know, there are not a lot of musical surprises anymore. It’s boring. Okay maybe Death Cab for Cutie. Pay attention to this cd. 

The reason is simple. It’s organic, original and you want to play it again. But not because it’s catchy. It is, but hell this band speaks to you from their inside.

Along with the above mentioned Candelora (an indie release)  The Midway State (major label release) should tell you that Canada is again at the forefront of new music (Arcade Fire, City and Colour) 

Superb tracks include the atmospheric Lightning, the glorious Atlantic and one of the best tracks I have heard anywhere this year All Anew. Did I mention the killer title track. 

You can’t pinpoint a distinct influence. The band is all over the map on the cd, but somehow the album makes sense as a piece of music from start to finish.

Pick this up for all the right reasons

Candelora (TOP PHOTO) may not be smiling but they should be. This self titled cd has incredible passion mixed with equal amounts of a band searching for a definitve sound.

Having said that, tracks like Colour of the Sun, the driving Red Northern Lights, Outland Seranade and Mountain Atmosphere simply can’t miss.

Soundwise the band mixes early Coldplay (The Blue Room) with a wee bit of Arcade Fire and even Nova Scotia’s former alt rockers Sandbox.

An exciting release!  This band needs to get out and tour anywhere, anytime. 

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, blues/ roots musician and an online radio host



The secret ingredient to the sound of Bad Company has always been when Paul Rodgers, Mick Ralphs, Simon Kirke, and the late bassist Boz Burrell  grooved, played and wrote their way to an impressive million selling catalogue. At this show filmed in High Definition in April of 2010 at Wembley Arena Rodgers, Kirke and in particular Ralphs aided by the classy guitar work of Howard Leese and the down in the groove bass work of Lynn Sorenson roll out a show high on dynamics and fan appeal.

Paul Rodgers is simply on fire at this show. Rodgers has the soul of old bluesman. If you mix that with extensive chops and his powerhouse voice and also the fact that he loves what he does, watch out.

He remains today one of the classiest players on the planet bar none. Drummer Simon Kirke like legendary drummers such as Levon Helm know the secret that many stick men simply don’t grasp.

What you leave out is as important as to what you leave in. On songs like Gone Gone Gone, Honey Child and  Movin On he and Sorenson own the groove.

Mick Ralphs guitar work has been fueled by the fact that he is a songwriter. He can surprise you but his chops serve the song first. Can’t Get Enough, Ready For Love or on anything he plays, Ralphs is a team player. His guitar work was at the centre of  Bad Company’s huge mid 70′ run, and that is clearly evident at this show.

Howard Leese has had a monster guitar tone since he was a major force with Heart and that continues with his work with Rodgers solo band and is on prime display on this blu-ray. What many people don’t know is that Leese is also an expert arranger.  A lot of his guitar solos build in intensity, while his rhythm work is essential as the tone of a great Hammond b-3 player.  In fact like Tom Petty’s Mike Campbell Leese has become essential to what Rodgers is an artist.

This blu-ray is one of the best looking and sounding discs I own. The DTS 5.1 Master Audio is killer, and the songlist at this show has all the essential tracks plus some very hip album tracks

As a sidenote Rodgers should consider releasing a brand new cd. With the Queen and Bad Company shows since 2000 he has nothing left to prove. In fact, the Paul Rodgers Band on tour is still one of the best concert draws in North America and elsewhere.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, a blues rock songwriter with The Shaftmen and an online blues/roots radio host

August 2011