All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Transitions, New Places and Garden Songs


I haven’t seen you around here in a while.  In truth, there hasn’t been much going on of late.  Have a seat.  The table’s a bit dusty, but we’re cleaning up.

I started this blog seven years ago almost on a lark.  I was deeply involved in music from a young age, as a singer and performer; and as a fan.  This blog at first was a means to expand my exposure to music while giving back to the musicians who made it.  It became something of a mission and a joy; and then a burden.  At one time I was publishing up to three reviews in a day, and spending literally all of my free time doing so.  I built Wildy’s World up to the point where 500 visitors were passing through each day.  I was proud of that, but there was a price.  After a while it became something I had to do rather than something I wanted to do.  Then it became something I resented but still loved to do.

The culmination of all of this came in the last year.  In October I lost my mom after a brief illness.  It was a difficult process that involved making the sort of decisions that no one ever wants to have to make.  It threw me for a loop, and the desire to write about, or even listen to new music, came to a shattering halt.  That wasn’t the only effect, of course, but it’s the one that’s most relevant to this space.

So for a time, music became a burden.  I continued to communicate with musicians and accept submissions, all with the best of intentions.  But when it came time to write, I just couldn’t do it.  It wasn’t fun; the words just wouldn’t come.

Today I turn the page, and as I do the view changes.  I will continue to write my thoughts about music, but the formulaic reviews are mostly a thing of the past.  This space will truly be Wildy’s World from now.  In it I will talk about the world; whatever’s on my mind, really.  That will include music, including great new music from Indie artists.  I will continue to take submissions and spread the word about things that interest me.  I don’t promise to be here every single day, but if you’re interested, this is a place you can come regularly and find something new. 

Today is the first day of my 45th year.  I suspect it will be an adventure.  Please feel free to join me.
In celebrating transition and change, I’d like to tell you a bit about Ron Hawkins.  As regular readers here will know I think Hawkins is the proverbial bee’s knees.  He’s somewhere between the Canadian version of Bob Dylan and Tom Waits.  His lyrical talent is prodigiously sublime; sometimes deep and occasionally profane but always entertaining.  Hawkins began his career as the co-lead of rockers Lowest of the Low.  It was a good start, as the band was inducted into the Canadian Indie Rock hall of fame.  The band has broken up or gone on hiatus several times, and Hawkins has always managed to remake himself, whether as a solo artist or with bands such as The Leisure Demons and The Rusty Nails, Hawkins has left an indelible mark on the Canadian Indie Music scene.

The most recent iteration of Hawkins’ muse comes in the form of The Do Good Assassins, a quintet consisting of Hawkins (vocals/guitar); Jesse Capon (drums); Alex McMaster (cello/keys/trumpet); Derrick Brady (bass); and Steve Singh (guitar).  Their latest effort is entitled Garden Songs, a collection of ten of Hawkins more thoughtful songs written over the years.  The album was recorded over the course of one week, and highlights Hawkins’ brilliance as a songwriter and lyricist.  It also shows off The Do Good Assassins’ ability to bring those songs to life.  Longtime fans of Hawkins will be familiar with tracks such as “Peace And Quiet”, “Small Victories”, “D.F.W.” , “Propellers” and “Rome”.  There are also some hidden gems here.  “Kingdom Of The Sun” is memorable, and “Saskia Begins”, an ode to a newborn child, is among Hawkins’ best songwriting. The recasting of “D.F.W.” and “Small Victories” particular stand out here, and listeners newly introduced to Hawkins will be stunned by what they hear.  Garden Songs is a must have album.  I’ll give it 5 stars, without reservation.

Learn more about Ron Hawkins at  You can pick up the album from Ron’s online store at  Please be patient, because the initial demand for the album caused the first run to sell out.  They’ll have more soon! To hold you over, and pique your interest, check out this live performance of "Peace and Quiet", the lead single from Garden Songs.

Our discussion of The Do Good Assassins fit in with the reintroduction of the blog today. They also kick off a week (or so) of discussion of bands related to my adopted hometown of Buffalo, NY.  While The Do Good Assassins call Toronto home, the band (as well Hawkins over the years) have spent a lot of time haunting the clubs and stages of Buffalo over the years.  As a result they get honorary status.  In the coming days we'll also be talking about Buffalo native Jeneen Terrana, and current Buffalo bands Dirty Smile, Grace Stumberg and Bryan Johnson And Family.  After that we'll move on to new or recent releases by Rachael Sage, Seth Glier, Laura Joy and others.

Until next time.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Live Hart - Honesty

Live Hart – Honesty
2014, Goin’ Native Records

New Jersey-born singer/songwriter Live Hart cut her musical teeth as a member of pop group Urbanesque, but her primary focus has always been that of a singer/songwriter.  This aesthetic is wholly evident on Live Hart’s debut solo album, Honesty.  Hart weaves intricate tales and soundscapes throughout the ten songs on the album, with a dulcet voice and an intensely melodic musicality.  A soulful R&B influence in inherent in Hart’s sound, but her muse comes first, and listeners are the one to benefit. 

Honesty opens with a touch of Latin soul and pop in the form of “I’m Gone”.  The groove here is tremendous, and Hart’s voice is delicious ear candy.  It’s a brilliant open with significant chart possibilities.  Hart changes gears for “New Day”, utilizing cascading vocal layers to beautiful effect.  In spite of the difference in sound, the net effect is the same, a brilliant pop turn you won’t be able to get out of your head.  Hart digs into a stripped down sound on “Take Me” that grows into a vibrant folk/rock gem.  The chorus here is perfect pop radio, full of honest life and intensity and a tasty pop hook. 

“Please Don’t Say It’s Over” is a quietly pleading pop number that’s infectious in its rhythm and sound.  The most integral component here is Live Hart’s honey-tinged voice, dulcet and warm in tone and timbre.  She manages to navigate the corridors of pop music with a grace and class that allows her rise above the pack.  On “We Can Change the World” Live Hart takes a more generic path to a politically correct, socially activist message.   This is a popular and thoroughly overdone message in pop culture.  As a result, efforts in this direction need to be wildly original or extremely well done to stand out.  Neither is the case here.

Hart turns the corner on “Lala”, a quietly brilliant love song written from the perspective of gratefulness and grace.  The melody here is a thing of beauty, as live shares a moment of true intimacy with listeners.  “This Is Me” seems to grow out of “Lala”, but musically and generationally.  The same pop sensibility is there, but there is a slow growth in intensity and energy between the two.  Hart returns to a stripped down, guitar-driven arrangement for “What Is Love”, a musical-slow boat that grows into a low-key R&B gem.  Once again, it’s Hart’s voice that is the key driver here, but the entire piece is full of an esoteric beauty that is impossible to ignore.  “Summer Love” steps into a keener pop/rock sound and borrows its opening line (lyrically and musically) from John Waite.  Hart’s mix of pop sensibility and singer/songwriter aesthetic serves her well once again.  Honesty closes with “Release”, playing on the edges of popular hip-hop styles and essentially surrendering the unique high ground Live Hart spent the first nine songs of the album carving out.  This is a solid piece of writing, but it is by far the weakest track on the album.

Live Hart flashes brilliance on Honesty, with the sort of voice you just close your eyes and let wash over you.  Her songwriting has depth, and she blends that with a brilliant folk/pop sensibility that gets inside your head.  Honesty isn’t just a title but a mantra, and Hart lives it to the fullest.  This album should establish Live Hart as a songwriting and performing force to be reckoned with. 

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more at

You can purchase Honesty via iTunes or Amazon.