Blue Rodeo gets grungier and more country on new disc Lost Together

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 23, 1992 By Steve Newton HEDLEY, B.C.—Backstage at the Hedley Blast, Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor slumps in his chair and casually scribbles out a song list, pausing now and again to ask roaming band-mates which tunes they want added or dropped from their upcoming set. New drummer Glenn … Continue reading Blue Rodeo gets grungier and more country on new disc Lost Together

Album review: Blue Rodeo, Casino (1990)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 29, 1990 By Steve Newton Ever since its eponymous first record was unleashed to rave reviews three years ago, Blue Rodeo has been the little Canadian band that could. Mixing whimsical, feel-good roots rockers (“Heart Like Mine”) with savoury ballads (“Try”)—and always putting the music before things like … Continue reading Album review: Blue Rodeo, Casino (1990)

Blue Rodeo doesn’t recommend taking acid at the Commodore in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 8, 1992 By Steve Newton There’s nothing like timing it just right, so that when you walk into a concert venue the band’s just going on stage. But sometimes that I-don’t-feel-like-waitin’ approach backfires, and you end up missing a few tunes by the group you’re all geared up … Continue reading Blue Rodeo doesn’t recommend taking acid at the Commodore in Vancouver

Blue Rodeo wanted to make “a real pop record” with Casino

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 7, 1991 By Steve Newton For the past two years, the presenter of the Juno award for Canadian Band of the Year has ripped open a sealed envelope and seen the same two words: Blue Rodeo. The powers that be at the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and … Continue reading Blue Rodeo wanted to make “a real pop record” with Casino

Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy broadens his solo scope

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 9, 2006 By Steve Newton When you think of Blue Rodeo frontmen Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor, it’s easy to picture Cuddy as the Paul McCartney to Keelor’s John Lennon. Cuddy is best known as the sentimental crooner of the pretty hit ballad “Try”, whereas Keelor is most recognized as … Continue reading Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy broadens his solo scope

Blackie & the Rodeo Kings ebullient about a Band classic

  ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 22, 2006 By Steve Newton Like Brian Wilson used to do in his Beach Boys days, Colin Linden gets around. When the Straight catches him on his cellphone he’s just leaving a Calgary hotel with his fellow members of Blackie & the Rodeo Kings—Tom Wilson and Stephen Fearing—for a sound check … Continue reading Blackie & the Rodeo Kings ebullient about a Band classic

Something I wrote after the death of the Beat Farmers’ Country Dick Montana, who might be my dad

photo by kevin statham ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 16, 1995 By Steve Newton On Halloween day in 1987, I did my first interview with Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers. At the time, the big, bearded mountain of a man was looking forward to an All Hallows’ Eve gig in “some … Continue reading Something I wrote after the death of the Beat Farmers’ Country Dick Montana, who might be my dad

Sandbox guitarist Mike Scott says the band’s perceived connection to Anne Murray is kind of a drag

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 28, 1995 By Steve Newton Nova Scotia guitar-rockers Sandbox were nominated for a Juno Award in the best-new-group category this year, and considering the critical and commercial (near-gold) success of its Bionic debut, the band had a decent shot at the prize. Then there’s the fact that Sandbox … Continue reading Sandbox guitarist Mike Scott says the band’s perceived connection to Anne Murray is kind of a drag

Bob Rock resurrects the Payola$ with Paul Hyde and sets up a helluva three-night benefit for B.C.’s Children’s Hospital

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 8, 1994 By Steve Newton When the time comes to interview Bob Rock about the recent resurrection of the Payola$, the prospect is particularly appealing. Rumour has it that the big-time Vancouver producer (the Cult, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe) is to work with Metallica again soon, and I’m … Continue reading Bob Rock resurrects the Payola$ with Paul Hyde and sets up a helluva three-night benefit for B.C.’s Children’s Hospital

Guitar wizard David Gogo on his new debut LP and the undeniable influence of Stevie Ray Vaughan

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 14, 1994 By Steve Newton If there’s a rock ’n’ roll heaven, you know they’ve got a helluva band…and I like to think that there are at least three guitarists in the lineup: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, and Randy Rhoads. And when I picture Vaughan, I see … Continue reading Guitar wizard David Gogo on his new debut LP and the undeniable influence of Stevie Ray Vaughan

Ian Blurton says a major label wouldn’t have let Change of Heart make the sprawling Smile

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 12, 1992 By Steve Newton You’ve got to give Change of Heart a lot of credit for hanging in despite adversity. While piles of former college-radio faves from Seattle are lining up to sign lucrative major-label deals, the independent Toronto quartet is satisfied doing things its own way—and … Continue reading Ian Blurton says a major label wouldn’t have let Change of Heart make the sprawling Smile

Album review: Jr. Gone Wild, Simple Little Wish (1995)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 23, 1995 By Steve Newton Jr. Gone Wild lead vocalist and main songwriter Mike McDonald continues to prove himself an underrated genius of the simple lyric and the snappy melody on the Alberta band’s latest release. The disc’s 15 tracks run the gamut from traditional-sounding country and western … Continue reading Album review: Jr. Gone Wild, Simple Little Wish (1995)

Album review: Glen Stace, Road to Damascus (1992)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 15, 1992 By Steve Newton Glen Stace’s debut album, Buddha Hotel, was one of my favourite Canadian albums of ’91. A guitar-driven collection of rough-edged tunes with an infectious pop sensibility, it showed the Saskatoon-bred singer/multi-instrumentalist to be an artist to watch for. His classy follow-up, Road … Continue reading Album review: Glen Stace, Road to Damascus (1992)

album reviews

Sora: Desire and Truth (2009) Rob Zombie: Hellbilly Deluxe 2 (2009) Rod Stewart, Soulbook (2009) Joe Perry: Have Guitar, Will Travel (2009) Damon Fowler, Sugar Shack (2009) Lynyrd Skynyrd: God & Guns (2009) John Fogerty: The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again (2009) The Bottle Rockets: Lean Forward (2009) Various Artists: True Blood, Music from the … Continue reading album reviews

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 1998

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 17, 1998 By Steve Newton Yee-hah! I managed to make it through yet another year without having to listen to anyone named DJ anything. The Tragically Hip Phantom Power  Ontario’s guitar-rock kings continue their winning ways with a potent batch of raggedy ruminations on everything Canadian, from Bobby … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 1998

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 1992

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 1992 By Steve Newton I was really hoping that I’d be able to praise 1992 as the year that rap “music” finally dried up and blew away, but the music industry’s lucrative plot to make recording “artists” out of low-talent bozos grows stronger by the day. Fortunately, there … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 1992

Ronnie James Dio: the Lost Interview of 1985, an Ear of Newt exclusive

By Steve Newton On December 20, 1985, Ronnie James Dio called me up at home and we chatted for 20 minutes or so. How cool was that? The legendary heavy-metal artist was doing press promoting his Sacred Heart tour, which was scheduled to play Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum on December 28, with guest Yngwie Malmsteen. We talked … Continue reading Ronnie James Dio: the Lost Interview of 1985, an Ear of Newt exclusive

Fred Eaglesmith makes a living in music without selling his soul

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 29, 1999 By Steve Newton From the sound of his new 50-Odd Dollars CD—which includes gritty, rough-edged tracks like “Blue Tick Hound”, “Ten Ton Chain”, and “Georgia Overdrive”—you wouldn’t expect that Ontario tunesmith Fred Eaglesmith is best-known in folk circles. He sounds more like a cross between Neil … Continue reading Fred Eaglesmith makes a living in music without selling his soul