The Johnny McCuaig Band‘s new release Hold Fast is available for download on itunes.

Johnny McCuaig - Hold Fast LPThis bagpipe sensation has people groping for superlatives trying to define this McCuagian Sound. Try to imagine a band that can seamlessly blend and twist almost every style of popular music together. The Blues mixed with a 70’s groove. A chugging rock guitar interlaced with Scottish Bagpipes.

A Country train with a melodic voice that pulls you in without choice. Johnny brings bagpipes to a whole new level by playing them as a lead instrument; much like a guitar including all the effects, all while wearing a kilt!


Jason Plumb‘s latest release is the EP, E_p ONYMOUS, which is available now, on iTunes.

Jason Plumb - E_p ONYMOUSThe former Waltons frontman Jason Plumb has figured out the key to sustaining a career in the Canadian music industry – write engaging pop songs, accumulate a stellar list of musician friends, and remain dedicated to your craft.

Plumb has consistently created music that is accessible and unique, identifiable, and pop-friendly with edgy honesty. He engages his listener and rewards them for their faithfulness by keeping audiences spellbound with soulful performances. It’s not surprising that he has been embraced by Canadian audiences and acclaimed by the industry and his peers.

Jeff McLeod’s Double Entendre Available On iTunes

Jeff Mcleod - Double EntendreJeff McLeod, a Regina, Saskatchewan raised, Rochester, NY-based pianist and organist, tackles both instruments on his ambitious double recording Double Entendre.

Double Entendre is available now on itunes.

McLeod was joined in Rochester by guitarist Ben Bishop—who plays skillfully here contributing some fine compositions—as the two transplanted Canadians quickly established a musical bond working in an organ trio. The group also features drummer Andrew Millar, whom McLeod had met eight years earlier at Toronto’s Humber College.

Amassing a repertoire that includes numerous engaging McLeod originals, he;ped solidify the vibe present on this recording. That vibe continues onto disc two, where the trio of McLeod, bassist Joel Kerr and drummer Eric Thibodeau (occasionally fleshed out with saxophonist Mike Murley) tackle an equally beautiful, albeit decidedly more modern musical program.

“The differences between the two recordings are reflective of the sidemen,” suggests McLeod. “Joel has a modern musical approach that he and I have been exploring together since our undergraduate days.”

Although the highlights are many, this disc offers numerous satisfying opportunities to hear McLeod at his contrapuntal best in duo pairings with Kerr, Murley and Bishop, the latter of whom makes an occasional appearance.

Creosote Area Man

Creosote - Area Man LPIn the world where musicians cut their teeth in urban garages, Regina’s Gord Smith knows more than a thing or two about rock and roll. The drummer, guitarist, and bassist has played in a broad range of bands, but it is crunchy and loud rock music that spoke to his soul.

As the bassist for local hero Jason Plumb’s backing band The Willing, Smith’s melodic, noisy, and fiery harder rock yearnings are far from cookie-cutter.

Smith has learned to nurture his edgier sound and finally has a forum for it. “Jason is such an amazing songwriting talent. His songs are slightly less rock and roll and more songsmith-oriented. There’s just a stepping-over-the-edge rock grunt that I’m always looking for.”

Smith values what everyone brings to the Willing. “The five of us are such completely different songwriters musically, yet it works. We’re kind of a microcosm of Canadian music and culture. What’s nice about everybody releasing their own records is to show where we come from individually and ask fans if they can recognize those influences in our playing styles with the Willing. We each bring ourselves into it.”

In the late 90s Smith was in the band Sourmash with Peter Boyle. Smith thought he had found his songwriting partner for life. When Boyle died suddenly at 38, it left a huge wound in Smith’s musical soul. “He was my best friend and writing partner for years. His death was all very strange and unsettling. It spurned a whole bunch of even more angry rock songs.” As a testament to that friendship, Smith finally had an opportunity to record some of the songs they wrote together for this album.

Area Man is a personal journey for Smith. “It was really just what came out of me,” he said. “It’s cliché to say, but I just write the music that I want to write. I want to bring it to people and let them hear it. If people like, great. I never had a plan for world domination. I wanted the process of it. I wanted to maintain my artistic soul and nurture that. Then I’ll look towards the next one.”

Area Man is available now on itunes.

Dan Silljer’s Foolish Heart

Dan Siljer - Foolish HeartHanging out with local musicians was a sure-fire way for left-handed guitarist Dan Silljer to secure his place in Regina’s flourishing music scene. Not surprising that local hero Jason Plumb plucked Silljer to be for his own backing band, The Willing. A musician’s musician, Silljer’s versatile and ambling playing style has kept him busy as Regina’s best-kept secret, with his solo effort, Foolish Heart, being a fusion of old-style rhythm and blues with a touch of modern rock, jazz, and soul.

Growing up, the Silljer household was full of music. His parents were musicians and involved in the 60s blue scene, so blues has always been a baseline for him musically. “Everything is derived from blues. Blues is almost like a springboard into other styles, like soul or R&B. You make the obvious transitions from blues to rock, from blues to jazz, and to fusion.”

In a roundabout fashion he worked back to his roots. “I listened to Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin and went backwards into the blues,” Silljer explained. At 19 he picked up his first guitar and became a part of Regina’s growing music scene. Along the way, the Dan Silljer Band was born and toured as Serena Ryder’s backing band for two years. He’s played with Regina legend Jack Semple, the late Toronto bluesman Jeff Healey, and countless other great Canadian musicians. Only fitting that he finally step into the spotlight with his own music. “It’s about time!”

From the first few organ notes on the opening track, “All But Over You,” it’s clear that Foolish Heart isn’t exactly a traditional rhythm and blues album. It is steeped in good old southern soul, playful modern pop, and blues guitar bravado — all wrapped up with a touch of brassy goodness. His cover of the 1974 hit “How Long?” by one-hit wonder Ace is a jazzier jammed-out version of the sleepy single. He also breathes new life into “Strange Relationship” by Prince and “Them Changes” by Buddy Miles. “People seem excited to classify what I do,” he said. “But, it’s not really one thing.”

“I have a solid foundation in blues, but it’s not where I’ve ended up. I started branching out. What you hear is the result of my alternate tastes.” A firm believer in interpretation, Silljer has a knack for taking a song and enhancing it. He calls it adding his own unique sonic template. “You only have 12 notes that you can play. That’s it. The real difference is the colours with which you paint your painting. You want to thank the people who’ve come before you, but you don’t want to completely emulate them. I have expanded my voice so that I don’t just sound like a blues singer. But, I do want to acknowledge and tip my hat to the influences I’ve had.”

Dan Sillje‘s Foolish Heart is available on iTunes.