Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Michael Fraser, Fiddle
Don Fraser, Guitar

Swingamajig is a father-son jazzy musical duo based in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

The Fiddler:
Sixteen-year-old Michael Fraser has been fiddling up a storm since he was four. In 1998 he won the Southwestern Ontario Fiddle Championship in the 9-and-under category. Lately Michael has been immersing himself in Gypsy jazz and Swing jazz standards. His favorite jazz fiddler is Stuff Smith and one can sense Stuff’s hard-swinging influence in Michael’s improvisations. In 2001 Michael was the recipient of a B.C. Hall of Fame Scholarship in recognition of his "demonstrated talent, dedication and future potential in the field of music." When Michael isn’t fiddling, he spends his time skateboarding, turntabling and playing with his dog Django.

The Guitarist:
Don Fraser has played various styles of music including Bluegrass, Swing and Musette. In 1996 he won the Western Canadian Bluegrass Guitar Championship. Equally at home playing lead as he is playing rhythm guitar, Don doesn’t mind taking the backseat and letting his son Michael bask in the spotlight.

Michael Fraser,
jazz violin
Don Fraser, guitar
Miles Black, piano
Tom Keenlyside, tenor saxophone & clarinet
René Worst, bass

Swollen Members

This includes a bonus DVD disc. Swollen Members: Prevail, Mad Child, Moka Only, Rob The Viking. Additional personnel: Abstract Rude. Producers include: Rob The Viking, Nucleus, Evidence, Moka Only, The Edgecrusher. Principally recorded at Battle Axe, Vancouver, Canada and The Sound Castle, Los Angeles, California.

Talisman Various Artists

Interchill Records
Official release information:
Review by Lloyd Barde, Backroads Music, home of the Heartbeats catalog Dub reggae has always been a strong musical influence for Canada's Interchill label. It permeates even their most floaty, space tracks, and serves as the undercurrent for the more upbeat cruisers. This sound has been part of most of their excellent compilations, from "Earth Octave Lounge" to "Infinessence" and "Magnetic Blue". If you used to like roots Reggae; if you like killer backbeats; if you think Jah Live and Jah Rule... this is the CD for you. It is All Killer, No Filler. These down and dirty positive vibrations are courtesy of Interchill acts like Neil Sparkes & the Last Tribe, and Dubsoniq (w/Adham Shaikh), as well as Suns of Arqa, Stress Assassin, Eat Static, Manasseh, Ott, Kumba Mela Experiment, and Jah Wobble & Bill Laswell, among others. Here is your Interchill dub album, likely the very best of its kind so far, tracing the modern dub-olution from psy-dub to roots
reggae -- may it encourage positive vibes & good times for all that hear it. In stock
now; order & soon come.

Interchill releases are always worth checking out. This Canadian chill out label has gotten pretty good reputation by the years. They usually have a theme in their compilations. We have for example been through floating ambient in Floatation (Interchill 2001) and more earthy lounge chill in their last compilation called Earth Octave Lounge (Interchill 2002). Now they are out with their fifteenth release called Talisman. In the cover art you can read about what a Talisman is, and the musical theme this time is dub. Andrew Ross Collins has compiled it. I think this compilation was supposed to be released at the end of 2002, but it is finally out now.

First out is a group from UK I haven`t heard about. They give us a very reggae influenced track. Slow dubby reggae rhythms and reggae vocals with a lot of echo effects. Relaxing and not too much annoying vocals. Track 2 sounds a bit like Ott, with a bit of mouth organ alike melodies. A very happy summer chilled dub track. A lot of you have probably heard about Neil Sparkes already. He has made the track together with a guy called Rick Mulhall. Track 3 is my favourite track on this compilation. It is actually made by Merv Pepler (Eat Static). Again he proves that he can handle a ton of different music styles. After many, many years of releasing electronic music, he is this year releasing psytrance on major trance labels as TIP.World and Solstice Music, and now he suddenly gives us a beautiful dub track on this compilation. I find this track sort of trippy, with a psychedelic vibe. It reminds me a bit of the beautiful Hallucinogen In Dub album because of the melodies etc. Way to go Merv!

After some trippy dub from Eat Static, we get a slower more instrumental track from a group from France called Jumbo Layer. Relaxing lounge dub with some female vocals, flute and guitar. Jah Wobble is producing a lot of oriental dub these days. Here we get a track he has made with a singer. Very ethnic chill with a lot of vocals. I have lost count of how many albums Suns Of Arqa have released, but I think they are up around twenty albums soon!! Here we get a new track from them. Easy listening dub with beautiful flute and sitar. Ethnic as always from these people. They have also added some weird sounds. Gargoyles is sort of the new super group on the chill out market these days. A very interesting collaboration between mainly Ott and Simon Posford, but they have also been working with Andrew (Interchill). They also released a track on the Backroom Beats 2 compilation earlier this year. This track sounds mostly like an Ott track, with very reggae dub style without the vocals, but you can here Mr Posford has added his beautiful weird sounds etc. I have actually heard Posford play this track in his dj set at the chill out stage at Samothraki Dance Festival last year!

Ott released his debut solo album on Twisted Records this spring. A talented mystical man releasing mostly very dub oriented chill. The track we get here is not on the album. A beautiful track, with some trippy melodies and the usual reggae influenced dubby Ott style. Bill Laswell and Jah Wobble make a lot of music together. They have also released music on Dragonflys side label Liquid Sound Design (LSD). Here we get a deep jazzy dub track, with trumpet, a lot of bass and organic instruments. Then we get a track from Henrik Jonsson from Sweden. This track was first released on his album Within The Office Of Eye And Ear (Spiral Trax Records spring 2002). I have to admit that I`m not a fan of his music. Very slow, sort of minimal dub. Track 11 is in my opinion one of the best tracks on this album. A track from the latest album of Adham Shaikh, Essence, released on his own label Sonicturtle Music at the end of 2002. A great album that was released as a limited edition release. Beautiful organic chill with relaxing flute. The last track on this compilation is a taste of the beautiful album East Of the River Ganges made by Youth and friends (The Kumba Mela Experiment). A nice happy finish for a high quality dub compilation.

Dubby chill out music is for sure getting a good reputation these days. If you like artists like Ott, releases on Liquid Sound Design and Backroom Beats, be sure to check this out!

Review by PK

Tania Elizabeth
This Side Up

Released: 1999
Produced by: Tania Elizabeth & Paul Brosseau
Recorded at Nomad Music, Salt Spring Island, Canada

How many 18-year-olds can boast that they have produced two solo albums, released those albums on their own independent record label, and have toured internationally to promote them? Only Tania Elizabeth. Tania was born December 22nd, 1983 in Melbourne, Australia, and before she was three and a half, she was playing songs on a tiny violin. By age nine, she knew that she wanted to pursue a career as a fiddle player - and pursue she did.

By age 10, Tania was playing in the prestigious Calgary Fiddlers and had recorded on their most recent album - "Imprint". In the following year, Tania recorded with Calvin Vollrath and became familiar with the styles of the Metis. In mid 1998, she released her first solo album - "Something, the CD before the next one". 1998 was a year that was marked with more than amazing record sales and exciting new creative ventures for the young, rising star. It also marked her biggest accomplishment thus far - the birth of her record company and label, SwanSisters Records.

In December 1999, Tania Elizabeth released a second CD, "This Side Up" which featured her high-energy Celtic-based sound. Known and respected for her ability to improvise, Tania Elizabeth shines on this album, which she co-produced with Gemini-Award winner Paul Brosseau of Nomad Studios. During the days preceding the CD release concert and the concert itself, YTV filmed what would later be one-half of an episode called "YTV To the M@x"

Everyone had something to say about this young woman, but the highest compliment came from one of her all-time heroes, Mark O'Connor - "Tania - your CD is very good and a great production too. Nice arrangements and Forrest (his son) liked it a lot too."
Another new development that year was the beginning of what will be a long relationship with Save The Children Canada. Tania has committed her name and $1.00 from the sale of This Side Up to Save the Children Canada's "Out from the Shadows and Into the Light" Program. The Program is aimed at alleviating what Tania calls, "One of the world's worst crimes; the sexual exploitation of children." Tania also acts as an advocate on behalf of the cause.

A grueling month and a half tour across Canada in the summer of 2000 brought her from her home in Victoria, BC, all the way to PEI and back. If you didn't see her in concert, you may have caught her on CBC Radio and Television, Canada AM, CityTV, and many local television and radio stations, as well as local newspaper and magazines.

Tania spent February 2001 through April in Australia, opening for the Furey Brothers and headlining at major festivals, as well as playing several blissful gigs with Ember Swift and Lyndell Montgomery. May, June, and July saw Tania playing at Disney World (with the band Fiddlestix), the Butchart Gardens, and teaching at the Mark O'Connor Fiddle Camp in Nashville, TN (as the Celtic instructor). August was spent in rehearsals with the Martin Mayer Band, and September to November, touring with them across China.

In late November, Leonard Podolak, the leader of Winnipeg-based band Scrüj MacDuhk, contacted Tania and asked her to join what James O'Connor of the Winnipeg Sun called "An innovative new Celtic band that's blowing the town apart."

Founded in 1995, Scrüj MacDuhk (nominated in 2000 for a Juno Award in the Roots-Music category) has played everywhere from the smallest pubs to the largest music festivals around the world. Manfued Jaeger of the Winnipeg Free Press calls Scrüj ".Among the best in the business. The players rip you out of your seat and get you toe tapping with Jigs and Shanties, delivered with volume, conviction, and split second timing" Tania is currently touring and preparing to record with Scrüj on their upcoming album.

Her new album, This Side Up, was recorded in September 1999 at Nomad Studios on Salt Spring Island. It is an innovative recording that reflects the new path she is exploring. She worked with co-producer Paul Brosseau and co-arranged the album with her fellow band members. The results are outstanding and the reviews are magnificent.

Tegan and Sara If it was you

Released: August.20.2002
Superclose Music - 7697422282 (Canada)
Vapor Records/Sanctuary - 06076-89400-2 (USA)
Compact Disc, Vinyl
Produced by: John Collins and David Carswell
All songs written by Tegan Quin and Sara Quin
TEGAN AND SARA charm everyone they reach. They're funny. They're full of attitude. They're twins. They're confident. BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE. The real reason their popularity continues to grow is because they write great songs. Their second U.S. album, If It Was You, was produced by John Collins and Dave Carswell of The New Pornographers and The Smugglers. It showcases the girls' penchant for writing diverse music and incredibly melodic tunes, with lyrics that range from open heart surgery-style intimacy to coy cleverness. T&S have hit their stride as songwriters, and they will not be ignored.

Ten Tall Trees
On Tippy Toes

Art Turenne
Thinking Out Loud

Tobin Stokes
Eagle's Song

Sounds and Music from Coastal BC
On Eagle's Songs, Tobin Stokes plays synthesizers, piano, conga and vibraphone as well as small percussion instruments, marimba and clay flute. Woven together with strands of melody and rhythm are the cries of eagles, ravens, oystercatchers and gulls, the power of the ocean, and the enchanting sounds of Canada's west coast forests. This soundscape also features two special guests: Allison Girvan on vocal and Daniel Lapp on trumpet and fiddle.

Tony Latimer
Salt over my shoulder


On May 18 at the Coast Harbourside Hotel, one of Victoria's posh oceanside palaces, Tony Latimer launched his debut disc, which I predict will make a very big splash! (Pardon the pun.) Salt Over My Shoulder (Ringtail Records) is a work that has been long in the making for Tony, who has been writing and playing his music since 1967.

Born in Australia, Tony sang in church choirs and school operettas as a boy, then discovered the ocean, sailing and the music that accompanies such a life -- sea shanties and "forebitters." He is a professional sailor and boat builder, as well as a top-notch musician and composer. As a result, Tony's songwriting has been influenced by the places he has visited, including the island music he heard while delivering ships between Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Some of these island flavours and rhythms are really distinctive in his songs.

The throng awaiting him at the Coast Harbourside that night -- between 100 and 150 people packed into a conference room -- was already kindly disposed and happy for Tony's new success. Tony has made Vancouver Island his home base since 1977, and I hope that he will continue to do so for a number of reasons. He has been instrumental in reviving a number of folk music clubs around the Pacific Northwest, including one on the island here.

Joining him for this performance were Dave Klassen (bass), Rick Van Krugel (mandolin), Pat Thompson (concertina, backing vocals), Sue Klassen (shaker, backing vocals) and Alan Law (dobro). The ladies were referred to as "The Reality Chicks," and their performance was great! They even had a few dance steps figured out for Tony, which added to the whole effect. Sue's vocals had their usual effect on me -- I got goosebumps all over. This woman has a voice that is heaven personified!

Tony performed the tracks from his disc, in a very different order and with a wee bit of a tale about each one, to the delight of the amassed friends, family, and of course, media. His anthem song, "We are Kings of the Western Ocean," was one of the last he performed; it is a well-written piece and had the audience singing and clapping along. It's a delightful shanty, filled with power which explodes out with Tony's resonant vocals. This piece borrows a traditional Australian melody but uses original lyrics: "We are Kings of the Western Ocean / It's plain to see we are / We've left our mark on many a bark / We stink of pitch and tar / All hands cries the mate / And up aloft we fly / The devil take the laggard, Jack / It's do your best or die...." This song encompasses so much of who and what Tony is, it is only fitting it be his anthem number.

"Wish and Watch the Steamers Sail By" is a study in oddness. Although featuring a very Hawaiian melody and lyrics, it was written by a Canadian and an Australian. However, you'd never know that it wasn't a traditional song unless someone told you! Rick had a lot of fun with his mandolin on this piece, taking off for a spotlight solo. This was followed by Alan, the song's co-writer, embellishing on his dobro. And the Reality Chicks were giving a good show and providing absolutely divine backup vocals as Tony sang about "the scent of frangipanis in the air." It was a warm trade wind blowing through the room after that number, with all thoughts turned to the exotic and not so distant Hawaiian islands.

It was a great performance, very warm and inviting. Tony's stage presence is that of someone who is comfortable with himself and his music, and he obviously enjoys sharing it with those around him. It makes for a pleasant evening! There were a few familiar faces in the crowd as well, including Colleen from the Ecclestons and Ian from Rig-a-Jig, as well as a number of members of the Folk Society. Of course, many of Tony's songs are well-known to those of us in the area, so the audience participation was quite strong and added to the feelings of tranquility and inevitability. This disc had to come along sooner or later -- it is music that demands to be heard and shared.

My companion for the evening found Tony to be a bit of a cross between Jimmy Buffet and Roy Rogers, while his black garb reminded me more of Johnny Cash. I certainly agree with artistic director Mitch Podolak, who said that despite Tony's Australian roots, his music embodies the Canadian experience. Tony Latimer is one of the best things to come out of Canada in a great long time, and I hope there will be a great many more discs to capture his wonderful songwriting talents.

As I made my departure into the cold night air of the Victoria waterfront, the strains of the music were still haunting my senses. And Tony's new CD, with all of its original gems, will make the experience last even longer.

by Naomi de Bruyn

yes i don't

 recorded over the August long weekend in a SEA OF SHIT by the one and only Scott Henderson.