Category Archives: Canadian folk

Jon and Roy Interview – Brighton UK Hope And Ruin 11th August 2017

Just before they take to the stage for the final UK date of their European Tour, I spoke to Canadian folk band Jon and Roy about their latest record The Road Ahead Is Golden, life on the road and new music coming out of Canada.

Hi Jon and Roy (and Lou). First off, can you tell us what are the main differences between your audiences in Canada, mainland Europe and UK?
We love playing in new places and seeing how people react. Mainland Europe tends to be a singing crowd and we get more dancing in the U.K./ North America. We get people of all ages from the 50th wedding anniversary celebrated at our show in Hamburg to the dancing 2-year-olds in the beach in the Netherlands.
Are you going to anywhere on this tour that you’ve never been before?
We are very excited for our first trip to Hungary playing Sziget Festival and Budapest!
Your latest album is called The Road Ahead Is Golden. Who is the most optimistic in the band?
Our drummer Roy is always keeping us laughing on the road. Also our European tour manager JP brings the love wherever we are.
What is the new record about? Is it concept-driven or more of a collection of songs?
More of a collection of songs that fit together for an album.
What food do you miss the most from back home when you’re on tour?
Home cooked meals are rare on the road. We miss cooking up our own feasts.
You’ve just come from Boardmasters Festival in Cornwall. How was it? Did you get to see any other acts performing there?
We had the most inspiring couple of days of music in Cornwall warming up the stage for 2 amazing concerts. Toots and the Maytals are such an influential part of our musical upbringings and Slightly Stoopid put on an unbelievable show.
Your latest single is called ‘Runner’. Do any of you like running and if so what music do you listen to whilst you run?
Jon likes to listen to Fela Kuti while running, Roy likes more electronic beats like LCD Soundsystem and Lou listens to audiobooks while running. We all try to stay active on the road but can be tough.
What is the strangest thing that you’ve ever had to do for a music video?
For a video a long time ago we had to pretend to be playing the song but twice as fast. Felt weird but looked cool when slowed down. For the runner video we had to stand still while playing on the back of a moving truck and try not fall off.

Who are your favourite bands in Canada that might not be known in the UK?
Our Victoria pals Current Swell and our trombone player’s band Dope Soda!
Where do you hope your music will take you in the next 5 years?
We just want to keep traveling and spreading our music to new people. Hoping to get to Italy, South Africa and Brazil in the next couple of years!
Finally, if you wanted to show somebody your music but could only play them one song, which one would it be and why?
‘The Road Ahead Is Golden’ is one of our favorites to play right now and it showcases our style well. We’ve incorporated some trombone into it when we play live too.
You can find out more about Jon and Roy on
Related Read
 Find out more about the music scene in Canada with my interview with Madison Violet

Who To See in Brighton in March 2015

I don’t know about you, but I’ve no idea where February disappeared to! Saying that, looking back over my blog I’ve written a lot of stuff over the last month including 10 Reasons To Go To Brighton Komedia, Love Supreme and Brighton Music Conference realeases and my Fresh February Jams. I also attended some great gigs all across Brighton, as well as playing a couple of shows myself.

I’d like to give notable mentions to The Maydays: Tonight’s Top Story and Amelia Curran.

The Mayday’s show was comprised of improvised comedy sketches, made up from newspaper clippings which were cut out by the audience before the show started. The troupe were very quick to think on their feet, with a natural comic flair which kept the whole audience entertained throughout their performance.

Amelia Curran’s gig at The Verdict was a wonderful show in an intimate venue. Having never been to The Verdict before, I was really impressed with the sound of the small basement venue, as well as the beautiful staging and decor throughout. It felt like a Soho jazz club, but not in the seedy way. Amelia’s performance to a crowd that was somewhat lacking in numbers was engaging, entertaining and enlightening. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for her, as well as for other gigs at The Verdict.

On to March, we have some great music lined up with some fantastic internationally touring artists such as Jon Gomm and Courtney Pine, as well as some more unknown names who are definitely worth checking out, so get out this month and keep the local music scene alive! If you need any help, here is my guide for Who To See in Brighton in March 2015.

Tuesday 3rd March

Dry The River
Concorde II – 7:30pm – £12 – BUY TICKETS

Who To See in Brighton in March 2015 - Dry The River

A new discovery for me, but obviously not for others with over 80k fans on Facebook, Dry The River sound from their name to be some kind of post-hardcore punk outfit – or maybe that is just me? Imagine my surprise when I had a listen to discover that they were an alt-rock group with a great talent for melody and catchy tunes. After a string of EPs they released their first album, Shallow Bed, in 2012 before following it up with Alarms in The Heart last August. Their music has a diverse sound, varying from upbeat rock to down-tempo harmony-laden folk/indie. Genre labels aside – who likes them anyway – the singer has a great voice and the band play together really well. I have a feeling this will be an exciting gig so brighten up your Tuesday night and don’t let your live music intake dry up!

Wednesday 4th March

Who To See in Brighton in March 2015 - Chris Wood

Melting Vinyl Present Chris Wood
Komedia – 8pm – £14 –  BUY TICKETS

Following on from Ivor Novello Award-winning Scott Matthews last week at St. George’s Church, Melting Vinyl are following on with another award-winning performer – Chris Wood, winner of the BBC Folk award, amongst others! Returning after a previous SOLD OUT Brighton show, which was described as both engaging and funny, I am looking forward to the show, which could include anything from traditional English dance music to French folk – so I guess we will see what mood he is in on the night!

Support comes from the Internationally acclaimed Tim Keegan and a local favourite of mine EZ Stone, whom I first saw supporting Slow Club last year – and honestly I preferred his set. Come along early and show your support to some great local talent.

Thursday 12th March

This Is The Kit
Green Door Store – 7:30pm – £8 – BUY TICKETS

Who To See in Brighton in March 2015 - This Is The Kit

After listing a track from This Is The Kit in my Fresh Jams February 2015 article, I was really pleased to discover that they were coming to Brighton to play at Green Door Store just a few weeks later! Lead singer Kate Stables has a delicate voice which coupled with her intricate guitar playing is quite a sound to hear! This Is The Kit has a slightly quirky folky sound to it and with the Brighton show finishing off a two week UK tour, I am sure that they will be wanting to go out with a bang and leave you holding on for more, as they are above!

Check out their brand new video for Bashed Out, which was just released on Friday 27th Feb. Fresh! 

Saturday 14th March

Melting Vinyl Presents Courtney Pine + Zoe Rahman
St. George’s Church– 7:30pm – £18/20 – BUY TICKETS

Who To See in Brighton in March 2015 - Courtney Pine

Having seen Courtney playing live at Love Supreme Festival – in fact he was one of my Six New Jazz Discoveries from Love Supreme 2014 – I know that the man is very comfortable performing even on the largest of stages. Combine that stage presence with one of the most virtuosic jazz woodwind players in the world and the beautiful setting of St George’s Church and you have a magical evening ahead of you. With support from “one of the brightest stars of the contemporary jazz scene”, Zoe Rahman. Great for a Mother’s Day treat!

Wednesday 18th March

Good Lies Presents Lotte Mullan + Jazz Morley
Komedia – 7:30pm – £9/11 – BUY TICKETS

Who To See in Brighton in March 2015 - Lotte Mullan

With a sultry voice that recalls Eva Cassidy, Katie Melua and Norah Jones, Lotte Mullan is somebody that I only came across last month when fishing through the Brighton gig listings for March – and boy am I glad that I found her there! Her songs have a cutting honesty and DIY attitude to her music, turning down a major record deal to set up her own label, is something I as a musician have a lot of respect for – and I’m sure that a lot of other unsigned acts will agree with me. Don’t miss this chance to see her live in one of Brighton’s top venues!

Support comes from the soulful south-coast gal Jazz Morley, who after extensive touring is settling down to write her debut album, which we can expect to see out later this year!

Sunday 22nd March

Brighton Philharmonic
Brighton Dome – 2:45pm – £11-£35 (50% concessions)

Who To See in Brighton in March 2015 - Brighton Philharmonic

Finalising their 90th Concert Season with a concert that I have been looking forward to since seeing the programme back in September, Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing amongst works by Walton and Lord Berners, Gustav Holst’s The Planets – one of my favourite pieces of classical music. The show will certainly be making sure that the BPO are going out with a bang as the last full concert of the year – before their summer season kicks in from 21st June and their next concert programme begins on Sunday 11th October 2015. Whether you’re new to classical music or a regular concert-goer, this is a not a show that you would want to miss so let your hair down on a Sunday afternoon and see what the local Philharmonic have up their sleeves! Student and concession tickets from just £5.50!

Tuesday 24th March

Jon Gomm
Komedia – 7:30pm – £12.50 – BUY TICKETS

Who To See in Brighton in March 2015 - Jon Gomm

Having been lucky enough to see Jon Gomm last time he came to Brighton in June 2014, I was also fortunate enough to be able to interview him too –  check out my interview here.  If you’ve not heard of Jon Gomm, his music is best described as insane finger-style and technical. His signature track is Passionflower, which has received over 8 million hits on YouTube and is a serious tune! Despite being amongst the forefront of his field, Jon is still an independent musician, working without any formal management, proving that it can be done without falling into the mainstream. Check out the video below, be amazed and come along to join a wonderful night of live music.

Tuesday 24th March

Sofar Sounds

Who To See in Brighton in March 2015 - Sofar

If you’ve not heard of Sofar Sounds before, then don’t worry you’re not alone. In fact, that is kinda the point of the organisation. Are you fed up of going to acoustic gigs where the audience aren’t really listening and you have a better view of the audience’s mobile phones than you do of the artist performing? Sofar Sounds is an international organisation creating secret gigs with some of the best local and national talent performing in intimate home-made venues . Who wouldn’t want to see that?

The way that it works is that you register for a ticket (or a ticket and a plus one) and Sofar Sounds get back to you just before the show to let you know if your application has been successful. The location of the gig is kept a secret until the last minute – you will be told the venue and exact start times usually the night before the show. As most of the venues are somewhat makeshift – a living room, a church, a shop – there is always limited space available, but there is always a good time to be had by all with the intimate acoustic gigs. If you’re a fan of Live Lounge style music, this is one to get on board with, so don’t delay – REGISTER FOR FREE TICKETS.

If you think there is a gig that I’ve missed out and that you’d like me to preview, or have a gig coming up that you’d recommend, drop me a line on or via twitter on @tomsayeruk.

Madison Violet Interview in Brighton on their UK Tour – Prince Albert – 19th May 2014

I caught up with Canadian singer-songwriters Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac, a.k.a Madison Violet, before their Americana Music Series gig at the PrinceAlbert, the Brighton of their recent UK tour, to talk to them about their upcoming record, beautiful venues and floral preferences.

Firstly, I wanted to ask you about the Canada folk scene. There seems to be a lot of Canadian songwriters crossing over to the UK at the moment (notably Lindi Ortega and Basia Bulat in the last few months). Is this a new thing?
I think there’s always been a pretty much non-stop export of local artists from Canada coming over to the UK. In places like Toronto there are a lot of international touring artists coming to play, so the music scene there really thrives. Plus there are people like Bob Harris (BBC Radio 2) whose show really gives the folk/Americana/roots music a platform to be heard from. If there’s a market for it then people will come over and play the international shows.

What is the main difference between the audiences in Canada and America?
Well we don’t really play in America much, so the audiences in Canada are a lot bigger! (They both laugh!) We had some trouble a few years back trying to get into the US, which seems really silly because you can drive it in a day. The Border Patrol between Canada and the US is really strict and it can be hard to get work permits to cross, even to play a tour. It’s much easier to come to Europe so we’ve just avoided the hassle. Of course, with the new record when it comes out, there’s no reason that we’d avoid America. It would be kind of hard to miss out because it’s such a big place!

What have you been up to since your last studio album ‘The Good in Goodbye’ back in 2011?
We recorded a live CD/DVD called ‘Come as You Are’ which we released in 2013. It was a filmed during a show from our European Tour back in 2011, featuring 20 tracks played live in concert. We recorded it in a beautiful church called Kulturkirche in Cologne. After that we spent about 6 months on the new record, which we’ve taken 4 tracks from for this exclusive ‘Madison Violet EP’ for the UK tour.

Speaking of the new album, do you have any details for us about it yet? Title? Release date?
The title is tbc but it should be out in the fall in Canada and the US and sometime just after in the UK and Europe. The record has 10 tracks and has a lot more of an electronic influence. It’s got a kind of vintage-modern sound, with a lot of layered vocals, even more tenor guitar and more keyboards. Where we recorded there were piles of keyboards, like old JUNO’s that we used on the record. The previous albums we only had a short time in the studio, but this one we spent about 11 weeks getting it right, with a new producer Tino Zolfo, who used to be in the band soulDecision which were pretty big in America. We kind of felt like we were at our crossroads with our music and we were looking for something new to do and Tino really helped us to change what we were doing and the energy behind the record.

It seems that in the UK at the moment, there are a lot more solo and acoustic acts getting noticed. Have you picked up on a change in musical climate?
To be honest, we’ve never been any good at following trends and if that’s the way things are going then we’re going in the other direction. The new record is a lot more of a band record rather than a stripped back folk sounding one like the previous albums. In North America people seem to love bands like The Shins and Mumford & Sons. There are still people like Jake Bugg who are coming through, but the general scene is a lot more band-dominated, particularly in North America. It’s all the swinging of a pendulum though. I’m sure it will change again soon.
What is the most beautiful venue that you’ve played at?
Probably Massey Hallin Toronto, or some of the old theatres in Quebec. Well they’re not old like things are over here, more like built in the 1960’s! Those and the Kulturkirche in Cologne where we recorded the live album.

And finally, as you are named Madison Violet, what are your favourite types of flowers?
Tulips really brighten up the room and we love sunflowers and daisies.   
For a review of Madison Violet’s 4-track self-titled EP, and my What’s On guide for the next week, check out my blog on thebestofBrighton here. Don’t forget, for all updates to subscribe to my blog, or follow me on twitter @tomsayeruk.