Monday, July 13, 2015

L is for Lowell, Lovelies, Lang and Lightfoot

     A couple of weeks ago, just prior to Canada Day, I afforded myself the luxury of simply sitting back in a comfortable chair one evening and listening to music/watching videos for a couple of uninterrupted hours.  I hadn't intended to do this but, I had just purchased Bow and Arrow from a group called Reuben and the Dark.  Not knowing much about the group, I decided to check them out on Youtube.  As many of you know, whenever you choose a video to watch, Youtube (for better or worse) offers you, what it believes, may be other videos that you may be interested in watching next.  Fortunately, this led me to choosing a video by Hayden.  Watching Hayden, in turn, led me to today's featured artist, Lowell.  After watching three separate videos by Lowell and then, discovering that she and Hayden and Reuben and the Dark were all Canadian (How did I not know that!?  Ok!  I knew about Hayden but, the others........!), I was struck with the notion of creating this series of posts that you are now viewing.  I figured that if I loved this music but, was unaware of it then, perhaps, others were missing this great music, too, and that it was my responsibility to promote these artists. So, here, in my own small way, I will shine the spotlight on a young lady named Lowell.  I think that she has a chance to be a big star one day.

     Lowell was born, Elizabeth Lowell Bolland in Calgary, Alberta. She moved to Toronto at age 18 and has been writing songs every since.  She has written for the Backstreet Boys on their last album. This was her first moment where she claims she felt like she had the chops to make a go of it in the Music Industry.  While scrambling to earn enough money to finance her own musical vision, Lowell supported herself by stripping. She became known for adding in musical elements to her adult shows.  You can see the influence of this background in her videos.  But as I watched all three videos, I was struck by how arresting they were with regards to the storyline, the lyrical content and the cinematography.  Lowell's videos were very original, stylistically. That she had something intelligent to say just added to her appeal. So, without further ado, please allow me to introduce you to Lowell and her video for The Bells!  I really liked, I Love You Money, too.

     I reside in a town called Cobourg, which sits in a County called Northumberland, in a province called Ontario.  Northumberland County is not overly large, geographically or population-wise.  We are bordered on the south by Lake Ontario and on the north by, what is known as, the rolling hills of Northumberland. Northumberland County is aesthetically pleasing. Because of its tranquil air, the area has long attracted those with artistic inclinations.  As a result, Northumberland County has a thriving Arts scene.  Amid an atmosphere that encourages those who paint, dance, recite poetry or play music, a trio of ladies came together to sing.  They adopted the name The Good Lovelies and have seen their reputations grow beyond the borders of our fair County.
     The Good Lovelies are Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and Sue Passmore. They employ a heartbreakingly-beautiful ability to harmonize. They sing like angels on the slower tunes in their repertoire and blast forth with power and range on their more up-tempo pieces.  They have already won a Juno Award for Best Roots or Traditional Album of the Year in 2010.  As The Good Lovelies relentlessly tour, people all around the world are discovering, what those of us in Northumberland County have known for years, The Good Lovelies are an amazing musical act.  Our secret is out and the world is the better because of it.  Please enjoy The Good Lovelies!

     Kathryn Dawn Lang is easily one of the very best singers Canada has ever produced.  Born in Edmonton, Alberta, K.D. Lang began her musical career, heavily influenced by the stylings of Patsy Cline.  She won her first Juno Award in 1985 for Most Promising Artist, which she accepted wearing a wedding dress.  She performed at the opening of The Calgary Winter Olympic Games in 1988 and sang, Turn Me Round.  But, her image as a talented but, slightly eccentric, performer changed for good when she was asked to sing a duet with the great Roy Orbison.  Crying showcased the power of her voice and allowed the world to see her perform in a more restrained or, almost, mature manner.  Lang and Orbison won a Grammy Award for their duet.  K.D. Lang has won multiple Juno, Grammy and Canadian Country Music Awardson on her own.  She is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and has a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto.

     K.D. Lang is, also, a Lesbian.  She came out years ago, during a time when being homosexual wasn't as accepted as it is today, in this rainbow-hued, thumbnail world of ours.  In many respects, the way forward on equal rights would never have progressed to the point where it has, if not for high profile performers, such as her, coming forward.  K.D. Lang possesses a great deal of courage to have taken the stand that she did for equality.  Her passion and courage are only equalled by the power and beauty of her voice.  As a musician and as a person, K. D. Lang stands alone. She has made us all very proud to be Canadians.  Here she is, appropriately enough, with Love is Everything.


     Finally, I leave you with, yet, another singer who rates as one of the most respected, admired and adored performers of all time, Mr. Gordon Lightfoot.  Gordon Lightfoot has been writing and performing on stages across Canada and around the world for over fifty years.  He is, generally, regarded as Canada's greatest songwriter.  His compositions have crossed genres to include folk, country, blues and pop.  His hit records are some of the most noteworthy songs anyone in our country has produced; such as, Early Morning Rain, Sundown, If You Could Read My Mind, Rainy Day People, Carefree Highway, the Canadian Railway Trilogy and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  
     Gordon Lightfoot has won countless Juno and Canadian Country Music Awards.  He is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. He has a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto. He was awarded a Companion to the Order of Canada, too. 
     Gordon Lightfoot is still performing, as health permits.  His annual Massey Hall Concerts in Toronto are still regarded as one of the musical highlights of the year in that city.  He is, without a doubt, one of the finest singers and songwriter Canada has to offer. Here is Lightfoot performing The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald live.  Enjoy.  


     A huge tip of the hat to the following extraordinary performers, many of whom, were worthy of being featured in their own right:

     Celtic star, Mary Jane Lamond, Singer.Producer, Daniel Lanois, Pop star, Avril Lavigne, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush, Rising pop star, Lights, Mike Levine (bassist for the band, Triumph), the King of New Years Eve, Guy Lombardo, 80s singer, Luba, East coast folk singer, Old Man Luedecke, Country star, Corb Lund, Quebec singer-songwriter, Lhasa, Celtic band, Leahy, One-hit wonders, Len, Toronto's own, Leslie Spit Treeo, New Wave band, L'estranger (two of the three original band members are now members of Canada's parliament, Andrew Cash and Charlie Angus), 70s supergroup, Lighthouse, 90s girl group, Lillix, Alternative band from Vancouver, Limblifter, Dance faves, Love Inc., Alternative rockers, Lowest of the Low, Gypsy-Jazz(!) stars from Quebec, The Lost Fingers (they are huge in le belle province!), Psychedelic folkster, LeE HARVeY OSMOND (and yes, that is how he types his name!!!), my personal friends, Loco Zydeco,  and, 80s supergroup, Loverboy!!!


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