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Todd Butler
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Doug Cox and Todd Butler Dobro and Guitar

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's only a matter of time before two gifted performers who share a love of guitars, who live in the same town and who strive to create something musically unique turn their friendship into a creative partnership. That's how easily it started for Comox Valley residents Doug Cox and Todd Butler (or Todd Butler and Doug Cox, depending on which one you ask.) They began jamming together. Loose-knit jamming turned into a few shows, and a few shows turned into a few more. They both sang. Todd told some jokes along the way and Doug played his Dobro. Then Todd shot off some riffs on his guitar and Doug went at his Weissenborn.

Before they knew it, they had an album ("Live Blues", 2002) to promote and a growing fan base of supporters who wanted to hear more original songs. One problem. This impromptu duo didn't have more originals. So they wrote some. With considerable experience behind them - Todd and Doug each have multiple solo recordings to their credit - they entered a studio in March and emerged in June with their proper debut, "Dobro and Guitar". It's just like the early days: Doug plays his Dobro and Todd plays his guitar. Except this time neither of them sing.

They share a lifetime of stage experience between them, which shows at every turn on "Dobro and Guitar". The record's 12 songs are punctuated with passionate, expert musicianship, most notably Doug's note-perfect and soulful Dobro skills and Todd's lightning quick mastery on the guitar. Their two styles work symbiotically like a match made in heaven. They even manage to slide a bit of comic levity in on the song, More Musta. "Can I get a copy of this tape?" Todd yells jokingly after an apparent bad take. It's the same question which has been asked for years by this duo's fans. Now there's an official answer. "Dobro and Guitar".

They've played everything from a small blues festival on Hornby Island to Alberta's legendary North Country Fair. And each time they won new fans and delighted old ones with a mix of humour, compassion and grace. That's how it started. That's how it will always be.

Doug Cox and Todd Butler Live Blues

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doug Cox and Todd Butler are veterans of the Canadian music and entertainment scene.
Now, desperate to break into the "Big Time", they have joined forces! Having both ended up in Vancouver Island's Comox Valley, it was only a matter of time before these two old friends started playing together and what they discovered was a shared interest and love of the Blues,Swing, Satire, Folk and Roots/Traditional music.

They have been dazzling audiences--and confusing themselves--ever since with an irresistible musical feast of blues classics, crafty instrumentals, funny social satire and touching, tender ballads, served up with humour and humility!

Doug's mastery of the dobro and slide guitar along with Todd's witty songwriting and unique flat-picking style create a powerfully entertaining combination. Their show is a twisting, turning journey through a wide variety of musical landscapes yet remains firmly grounded in the warm, friendly sounds of acoustic instruments played by guys who love them. Except, of course, when they crank up the amps...!

Todd Butler A Canadian Loonie

Todd Butler CBC Songs #1

Todd Butler Idle Canadian

Many of you may know me as a comedian/satirist from my work on CBC Radio over the past ten years. While I admit a fondness for parody and satire—and an addiction to humor—my first love has always been guitar and ‘socially conscious’ songs.

Songwriters like Bruce Cockburn and Joni Mitchell and more recently Michael Franti. My all-time favorite musicians are Steely Dan thanks to their genre-bending grooves, clever lyrics and great guitar solos and I am simply in awe of Frank Zappa.

Not surprisingly, my distaste for most popular music has risen steadily since my teens when, as the singer in the band, I had to write out and learn the lyrics to the latest top 40 songs and discovered that they were mostly about 2 things; “I’m so great/in love” or “I’m so miserable”. I spent years writing about how great I was and/or how miserable I could be! What a laugh!! Who cares! That’s why I got into comedy.

While most people would agree that the world is in some fairly serious trouble as a result of human activity, there seems to be a lack of discussion on the matter in popular music. That is not to say there aren’t a whole slew of artists out there working for social change, it’s just that they are marginalized by the mainstream media where the ‘I’m so great/miserable’ song still rules. Try and find a song about environmentalism or over-consumption on the radio and you’ll see what I mean. Without getting too conspiracy theory geek on you, I would suggest that this may have something to do with the fact that the media is OWNED BY THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE THE MOST TO LOSE FROM SOCIAL CHANGE. This is precisely the reason the CBC is under attack. It is one of the only remaining voices for the people. It still speaks for the downsized, the disenfranchised, the farmer, the single mom in Saskatoon who feels connected to Canada through her radio, and the protest songwriter in Courtenay. To lose it is to lose the common perspective. All you have left then is the corporate point of view. None of us want corporations to decide what is in our best interest. Not if you have half a brain.

By their very nature they are incapable of it.

I believe Corporate Music is just as incapable of choosing the ‘best music’ for you to enjoy. They have a very large vested interest in the status quo. (This is why you hear endless repeats and rehashings by Elton and Rod and the like. They want you to linger in some nostalgic stupor of yesteryear, too discouraged to DO ANYTHING ABOUT THE FUTURE.) They have the most to lose…mostly your money in their pockets!

There is a lot of really great unknown music out there and thanks to the Internet, the Big Companies no longer have a monopoly on music distribution and are finding it increasingly difficult to control what we can choose to listen to.

This is very good news for us! Especially me as this new CD doesn’t have a hope in hell of getting commercial airplay.

Don’t get me wrong; I recorded these songs for purely selfish reasons but, I suspect, they will prove a bit too political for the corporate programmers. While there is a decidedly country roots feel to some of the songs, I am almost positive the CD will be completely ignored by country radio. In addition, there are several cuts with screaming electric guitar solos which, something tells me, will be passed over by the Rock stations as my hair is a bit fuddy-duddy and I am 43 with a gut. I also anticipate little or no airplay on Hip-Hop radio. No real surprise there.

The point is that I am counting on you, Dear Reader, to spread the word should you enjoy these songs because no one is likely to hear them for the first time on the radio. (Unless they listen to CKUA or CBC, that is!) Hey, even if you didn’t enjoy the CD…maybe you have some friends that would? Thank you in advance for this consideration.

I am nothing without you. “…that sounds like a Rod Stewart song…”

Here is a little bit about each song on Idle Canadian: Todd Butler (from his website)

misha

Todd Butler Sole Doubt At The Rose

Todd Butler Todd Butler Goes Madly Off-Live

2 CD set
I am happy to announce the release of my new 2 CD set, "Todd Butler Goes Madly Off-Live"! This collection of over 100 minutes of songs and standup from my recent stint as host of CBC's Madly Off in All Directions, features: The Car Song, Hockey Talk Woman, The Jean Chretien Legacy Collection, Farm to Fork, The Movie Rant, and the 'road song', "Home" as recorded with Pied Pumpkin, to name a few!! The concerts were taped in Cranbrook, Grande Prairie, Courtenay, Saskatoon, and Sault Ste Marie in 2003, and aired on Madly Off in the fall of 2003 and winter 2004. Thank you for supporting Canadian Comedy!
Todd Butler