Dirty feet, unwashed hair and bad nutrition – has the MuchMore team fallen down a dangerous slope of poor life choices? No! It’s the summer festival season and we headed out to the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest to soak up the sun and sounds of this massive, 14-day festival in our nation’s capital.
We first caught up with singing sisters Tegan and Sara. Our biggest priority was confronting Tegan about her notorious reputation for yawning during interviews, which Matt Wells had experienced first hand during a previous chat with the twins. Tegan explained that her propensity for yawning comes not from boredom or exhaustion, but from a natural biological reaction that happens when your body heats up. We’re still not sure if we buy it.
When Soundgarden announced they were reuniting for a summer concert series, it felt like Christmas. Except replace the religious undertones and awkward family dinners with Chris Cornell’s piercing vocals and a bunch of crowd surfing.
One of the most surreal moments we had at Ottawa Bluesfest was with funk legend Bootsy Collins. Just kicking back and relaxing on his tour bus, Bootsy sent us to school as he went into detail about the differences between playing alongside James Brown and George Clinton. He spoke of the discipline and structure he picked up while under the wing of James Brown and the more free-flowing, abstract approach to music that he had to adapt to with George Clinton. The most important tidbit we got from Bootsy was a simple, yet powerful one: “All you need is love and music.” Preach on, Bootsy.
The award for “Dudes Who Most Look like a Festival Band” goes to Saskatoon’s own, The Sheepdogs. This is a given considering their answer when we asked them if they had festival DOs and/or DONTs for us; “Grow a beard and don’t shower.” The Sheepdogs have been getting a lot of exposure lately thanks to their spot as finalists in the Rolling Stone cover contest, but all it takes is one lick of that guitar to understand how deserved this attention really is for the band.
Stephen Marley brought some good reggae vibes to Ottawa Bluesfest, including many tributes to classic tracks from his father, which were obviously a huge crowd favourite. We asked him about the connection he has to his father’s music and he explained that these songs are not just music, they are an indisputable part of who he is as a person, the tree he comes from and the roots he is tied to. “This music frees you.”
We also got to chat with Bedouin Soundclash, Patrick from The Black Keys, The Roots, Ben Harper, Rob Baker from The Tragically Hip, Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips, Tim from Rise Against and the queen of neo soul herself, Erykah Badu, who explained why she refers to herself as an “analog girl in a digital world.”
With a total of eight stages, including two off-site venues, Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest is one of Canada’s fastest growing music festivals. In between interviews (and hamburgers) we managed to catch some amazing performances. A few personal highlights included Ray Bailey, Callers, Skrillex, Girl Talk, Alberta Cross, hey rosetta! and Cage the Elephant. To see our coverage from Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest and more, watch for our full summer festival special coming soon!
By Sarah Dawley
Posted: July 22nd, 2011 | Category: Uncategorized, Under The Cover With | Comments: No Comments
Tags: Ben Harper, Bluesfest, Erykah Badu, Ottawa Bluesfest, Soundgarden, Stephen Marley, Tegan and Sara, The Sheepdogs
If you want to get into a conversation about the greatest MC’s of all time, a list that has been compiled many times by many different people, who better to listen to than one of the greatest MC’s of all time: Kool Moe Dee. Not only was he there in the beginning with the Treacherous Three, not only did he help pioneer battle rapping, but in 2003 he released a book called “ There’s a God on the Mic: The True 50 greatest MC’s where he rates MC’s in 17 different categories…..he ranks himself at number 5. Why? Because he’s Kool Moe Dee and he goes to work like a doctor.
Ben Harper is one of those artists who makes me feel good about music….he jumps genres, he combines styles and he is just as impressive performing by himself with an acoustic guitar as he is performing a night of gospel and soul music with the Blind Boys of Alabama in the Apollo Theatre or an hour or rock and roll with his band the Relentless7 in front of 20 000 people. He has a brand new album JUST released called “Give ‘Till it’s Gone” and his past 3 have all cracked the top ten in the US but around the rest of the world he has had that kind of success since his early days. His albums “Welcome to the Cruel World” (1994) and “Fight for your Mind” (1995) had made him an underground hit in the US but scored him Gold and Platinum status in Australia, France and here in Canada but it wasn’t until 1997’s “The Will to Live” that he finally started to break in the US.
This is not a new phenomenon but I never get tired of finding some sarcastic way to talk about it; sometimes, SOME record companies think that because they understand marketing, then they are also somehow songwriters; obviously anyone who understands marketing must automatically understand the art of making music that can organically connect with someone, right? (that was the sarcastic part). Sure, it’s easy enough to make a carbon copy of something and get yourself a one song or one album hit wonder, but if the marketing department and whoever else has never written a song would just keep their snouts out of the creative process and leave that to the artists-it’s possible that radio would sound less like it does these days and more like a Cage the Elephant song. After having a choice of labels to pick from for their debut album, this young band from Kentucky chose the one giving them complete creative control. The UK label Relentless Records put the debut self titled Cage the Elephant album out and the radio success appeared without the suggestion of a better hook from Frank in the legal department. The rest as they say… is history in the making.
Sam Roberts and his band have become Canadian rock and roll radio and music festival staples since the breakthrough hit “Brother Down” way back in the year 2002 from the album “The Inhuman Condition”. However, as Canadian as Sam is, and as much as his music is thought of as purely Canadian rock and roll much in the same way that The Hip and Blue Rodeo are thought of…..my favorite Sam Roberts song is about a city in the US. It’s also potentially the only song I can think of that name drops Motown AND Jimmy Hoffa.
One night in the early 80’s a young university student named Edie Brickell found the courage to get up at a coffee shop and sing with a local Dallas band called The New Bohemians. Of course what followed was a writing partnership that turned into the monster 1988 hit “What I Am” and a million selling debut album (Shooting Rubber Bands at the Stars). The follow up album however didn’t do so hot and the band slowly fell apart but not before Edie’s life took a new turn when Paul Simon spotted her performing on Saturday Night Live and they fell in loooove. Not only have they been married for 19 years, not only have they made beautiful children together but they’ve also made beautiful music together; Paul co-produced Edie’s debut solo album called “Picture Perfect Morning”.
thanks for listening,