Frank Gutch Jr…..crossing bridges and connecting the dots…….

The past 24-hours have been crazy….and crazy is going continue right into next week. However, something really cool and rather inspirational happened last night all because of a simple exchange of photographs.

As many of you know Darrell Vickers and I headed to Oregon to help Frank’s sister Colleen with all the “stuff” in Frank’s house. Vickers took care of the huge music collection and I waded my way through two filing cabinets and Frank’s office.

cd collection

Vickers has been furiously digitizing Frank’s CD collection of roughly 1,600 CD (and that’s the leftovers!!). Frank had managed to reduce his collection somewhat over the past few years so heaven knows how truly large it was. Then there’s the vinyl……. Anyway, when you carefully sort out the flotsam and jetsam of someone’s life you always find a special treasure or two. A trinket of some sort, a card that makes you laugh….something that brings back memories of someone no longer with us or of times past. For Vickers, he found two CDs of photos Frank had taken some time ago….tucked away with all that music…..probably a good storage spot. Frank was an avid photographer and I’ve heard numerous tales of him and his buddy Chito and their picture-taking escapades.

Steve Young-0025

Steve Young

The set of photos Vickers sent me last night appeared to be of a private concert/garden party and the only name to go on was Steve Young. Yep…..I’m like a dog with a bone. I love to dig into something like this. The properties of the photo told me it was taken July 1, 2012 at 10pm. So, I started digging. I confirmed it was in fact THE Steve Young so looked into tour/performance dates, etc. Nada. All I could find was a tour he did with one of the stops being in Portland, Oregon in 1991. The person touring with him was a singer/songwriter by the name of Tim Otto. Google wasn’t too helpful there either. Otto seemed to have disappeared. So I noodled around with a few other ideas and decided to Google one of Young’s  more famous songs Seven Bridges Road. Bingo!!!! A piece written by (of all people) Tim Otto for the online magazine No Depression. A small mention of a tour Young did with his son Jubal Lee Young in 2012 and yes!!!!….they performed in Portland Oregon. Now it was time to search out Jubal Lee. A pretty unique name…..there can’t be many. I was pretty sure the photos were of Young and his son. For the article click here

Father & Son....Steve Young and Jubal Lee Young-0023

Steve Young and Jubal Lee Young

Found Jubal Lee, a singer/songwriter in his own right, and messaged him. I was shocked he got back to me so quickly and so the conversation through FB and email began. I sent him a couple of the photos and he confirmed it was him with his dad. He remembers the tour but not precisely where this performance was. After some thought he figures it was somewhere just outside Seattle at somebody’s home as they did a few private concerts around the area.  As Frank was an avid fan (and friend) of both Steve Young and Jubal Lee it certainly made sense he would go out of his way to see them perform together, especially in his home state Jubal Lee confirmed he and Frank chatted on a regular basis over the past 10-12 years.

Seven Bridges Road – Steve Young (1969)

Now according to Jubal Lee, his parents were “interesting” people….”quite the characters“. I would have to agree. The definition of jubilee is a special anniversary of an event, especially one celebrating twenty-five or fifty years of a reign or activity”. Presenting your child with a name like Jubal Lee….well every day, every year, it’s a celebration of that child’s birth. A birth that must have given them much joy….albeit with a wink and nudge.

Seven Bridges Road – The Eagles (live)

Steve Young passed away in March of 2016. At this writing, Jubal Lee is in Oklahoma packing up his mom’s house. She passed away just a few weeks ago in June. That he took the time to message me back in the middle of his personal loss makes my search even more worthwhile. All-in-all, it took me just over an hour to find him…..and I’m so glad I did.

Hallelujah – Jubal Lee Young

I’ve emailed Jubal Lee the remaining photos, they belong with him. Frank was a pay-it-forward kind of person and he would have wanted Jubal Lee to have them. I don’t know if it’s the last time he performed with his dad, but photos by a good friend of father and son together…..I think they were found at just the right time.

Riding Down The Highway – Jubal Lee Young (written by Steve Young)

Thank you Vickers…..and thank you Frank. You’re still crossing bridges and connecting the dots……


All photos ©2018 Frank Gutch Jr. (except the stack of CDs)

A few more pics……

Steve Young-0021

The hands that make the music (Steve Young)

Jubal Lee Young-0010

Jubalee Young

Audience members-0027

Audience members 

By the way, if anyone recognized these faces (or you recognize yourself) I would appreciate hearing from you.

Steve Young-0017

Steve Young

Pat Blythe – Rights, Nights, and Music

Segarini: Don't Believe a Word I Say

Okay, we’ll kick this off with the weather…..freezing cold, snowing, raining, freezing rain, sunny, cloudy, pluses and minuses all over the map, exploding pipes, sinkholes, warming trends, arctic air masses, blankets on, blankets off…..we’re screwed! Somebody make up their mind!!!! This keeps up I’m whipping out the 3″ summer sandals…..winter be damned!

View original post 2,720 more words

Music….I’m oh so loving the music

Again, the best laid plans… previous ideas have now taken a 90 (may be a full 180) degree turn, all based on a single song I heard a couple of days ago.

Roxanne Tellier (Veronica to my Betty) posted this song, “Home to Me”, a couple of days ago. It is such a wonderful, heartfelt piece. I fell in love with it instantly. Meaningful and tragically real, these kids have taken their misfortunes and turned them around in such a positive way, creating something so  deeply beautiful. I dare you not to move.

Nwe Jinan 4

Wait for it………

Home to Me – N’we Jinan Artists – Grassy Narrows First Nation

There had to be more so I dug a little deeper and found out the N’we Jinan Artists have more than one album out there. Here’s two more cuts.

Echo My Soul – N’we Junan Artists – Lac Seul First Nation

Caught In The Storm – N’we Jinan Artists – English River First Nations

Found their website….“Soulful song goddesses, cutting-edge rappers, precocious kids, metal dudes, scribes of prose and poetry, rockers with a cause, unlikely hip-hop heroes and community activists are some of the labels for Eeyou Istchee’s newest superstars; the youth whose voices, songs and souls made it to N’we Jinan, a new Cree album made with the help of David Hodges.” The songs reach me in oh so many ways. You float, you sing, you dance, you glide, you clap….the lyrics touch a chord….poignant, stirring and heartbreaking…. and the music….ahhhh….the music…. it completes it all.  There is something in these songs that just won’t let me go as I listen to them over and over again. They simply envelope me and I just can’t stop moving.

Here’s a few shots from their website…..

Nwe Jinan

Nwe Jinan 3

Nwe Jinan 2

Kudos to David Hodges, a hip hop artist and youth worker from Montreal who began this project in collaboration with the Cree Nation Youth Council in 2014. The original goal was to invite members of each community to record portions of the same song, “N’we Jinan.” It took him to places he’d never been and introduced him to some amazing, well hidden talent along the way. At the end of the project not one, but 19 songs had been recorded. A journey of discovery, of music, of collaboration and a coming together of voices.

N’we Jinan – Cree Nation Artists

Check out the stories behind the music. Grab a coffee, sit back and listen to what these kids have to say. From the thirteen-year-old girl who has the voice of an angel to Jason “DJ Arrow” Swallow who was given the opportunity to produce one of the songs, “Smash Bros”, an “metal-infused hip hop” track.

or here to sample more of their music

At the end of the journey the song “N’we Jinan” was eventually recorded by Hodges himself, rapping in Cree under the guidance of Juno award-winning artist Matthew Iserhoff, part of the group CerAmony (the other half is Pakesso Mukash)  The album can be purchased on iTunes and all the proceeds go towards a fund to bring Hodges back…..“to see just what kind of gems emerge” the next time these youths step into the studio…..and to think it all began with a booking error.

 How the hell did we miss these kids?

…..and then there’s this…..

I interviewed members of the band Jack the Lads for a future piece. While perusing their FB page, I found this little prize by a band aptly named A Fellow Ship. Yet another tune to love. With a distinctive Celtic feel, the voices are perfect and the song just carries you along. A close-knit group of friends, this Indie folk-rock band’s goal is to keep your toes tapping. Influencers include Mumford and Sons, The Head and The Heart, and Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes. A Fellow Ship members include  Joe Dent (guitar/banjo/vocals), Jack Stone (guitar/ banjo/mandolin/vocals),  Teddy Liptay (piano/accordion), Tristan Schultz ( bass),  Emma Harrison (cello), Forest Van Winkle (vocals) and Ryan Johnston (percussion).

Wild Tonight – A Fellow Ship

This next one is by local talent Julian Taylor. An easygoing, fun, “a little bit country” piece, co-written by Robert Priest and recorded on Taylor’s front porch one lovely summer evening. “Catch and Release” was  released on an acoustic album in 2015. A talented young man, Taylor’s new album….it’s coming….very soon.

Catch and Release – Julian Taylor

So much music…..another group introduced to me by friend Michael Williams, The R&R Soul Orchestra. Feet got a mind of their own with these guys. I need a much bigger dance floor. Producer Julio Herrera has put together a group reminiscent  of the 70s and 80s R&B/soul groups that kept us all boogying into the wee hours. Great hooks, great vocals and harmonies….”Most of the Members of the R&R Soul Orchestra are NYC session players and singers…” Looking for more.

R&R Soul Orchestra

The Luckiest Man – The R&R Soul Orchestra

Call on Me – The R&R Soul Orchestra

Nothing Comes For Free – The R&R Soul Orchestra

Also shared with me, this marvelous dedication to the late, great Curtis


Curtis Mayfield

Mayfield by LMT Connection off their brand new album Funk is the Final Frontier.  Simply called “Curtis”, Mayfield’s influence on other musicians and performers is undeniable.  Known for his “racially conscious soul and funk, who had a number one album with his score for the film Superfly”. Mayfield hit his stride with songs such as “People Get Ready”, “Keep on Pushing” and “I’m So Proud”, establishing him “as both a pioneer of soul music and a singular voice of the Civil Rights Movement.” Mayfield passed away in 1999.

Curtis – LMT Connection

It’s not only in the bars and clubs you’ll find great music and artists. They are everywhere, surrounding us with their gifts. You don’t even have to search, it’s right in front of you, staring you in the face, every day…. I can’t get enough!

…and baby, if the music’s good, I can tear any floor apart.

My life is so full of extraordinary people creating extraordinary music. I feel so blessed and fortunate to be surrounded by such treasures. Thank you!

Thanks Veronica!




Well……….. I’m about to head to the wilds of Vancouver Island with NO computer! Nope, not bringing either of the two laptops. No siree Bob. (no pun intended) Just my “not so smart” phone. Well, maybe the tablet…maybe. I’ll be attending a couple of music festivals on opposite ends of the Island. First in Courtney and then in Duncan. When I return I will regale you with all the goings on and oodles of pics. Yes, I am most definitely taking the camera.

So it’s Sunday night, I’ve just filed my July 8 column and starting this one. It’s been an absolutely gorgeous weekend here in The Big Smoke, even if half the city is shut down for this, that and the other. Suggestion….don’t drive. So with a limited amount of time to research my next blues subject before I leave, and with clothing decisions to make, packing and, yes, my “real” work, I’ve decided to thrill all you lovely readers with some of my favourite tunes. Now I’ve “TAFTed” once, and since my opportunities for “TAFTing” are extremely limited at best, I’m going to do the next best thing. I’m going to PFT! (Pat’s Favourite Tunes) — notice the plural. By the way, TAFT stands for Today’s Almost Forgotten Tune (singular) and is a daily FB feature on my friend Greg Simpson’s timeline. TAFT is entirely his baby and I give him full credit. It’s well read, always raises some very interesting and sometimes hilarious comments, and always encourages great discussion. It is also a fabulous walk down memory lane for at least a few minutes every day.

So without further ado, here’s a taste of what I like to listen to, in no particular order….and they are all on regular rotation on my “not so smart” phone. …and no, you won’t find a pattern, nor rhyme nor reason….my tastes run all over the map.

Queen. My favourite band….period. End of sentence. I attended every concert I could possibly go to, including theQueen Radio GaGa Freddie Mercury Tribute at Wembley Stadium in 1992. That was absolutely glorious! I took my then 17-year-old son with me. His godfather, Lyle Murphy, my best friend and the man who introduced me to Queen, flew over from Vancouver and met us in London. Belonging to the Queen Fan Club at the time had its perks (yes I was hardcore) since we got a chance to purchase tickets in advance which ultimately guaranteed us a spot at this historic event. Ever seen 77,000 people follow this song, raising their arms in the air in perfect sync, at precisely the right times. It was a sight to behold. How about Liza Minelli, Liz Taylor, Extreme, Elton John, Annie Lennox, Robert Plant, Guns ‘n Roses, David Bowie…the list goes on….all in one concert at a single venue. The whole day was indeed magic. Gawd I loved Roger….

Radio Ga Ga – Queen



Mason Williams

This next tune gets me every time. I could listen to this one over and over and over…. you get the idea. There something about this piece that just lifts me right out of my chair, giving me a rush deep inside, especially the crescendo. Classical Gas was also done on the electric violin by Vanessa Mae. Her cover version gives me goose bumps. Absolutely brilliant!

Classical Gas – Mason Williams



Classical Gas – Vanessa Mae


Little Green Bag

Written by two Dutch musicians, Jan Visser and Hans Bouwens (George Baker), Little Green Bag was released May 21, 1970. The original title was “Little Greenback”, for the U.S. dollar, but the single was given an incorrect title and it stuck. The opening line is actually “lookin’ back on the track for a little green back.” I remember having a “guess who recorded this song” contest with co-workers many years ago — no Wikipedia and no Google. None of us could remember the name of the band so we all furiously searched the web, singing the song as we hunted for the name. One co-worker knew the answer but got a chuckle out of watching us search. I’ve never forgotten the name of the band since and find myself humming this tune frequently.

George Baker Selection – Little Green Bag



Wishing Well was done by two of my favourite artists, first by Free and then by Maggie Bell. I love them both for entirely different reasons. Maggie’s cover version is slower, bluesier and ballsier (probably no such words but there you are) with more raw emotion. The bass line is prominent in both, coming out through your toes and I do so love the bass. The original by Free is more upbeat with a slightly faster groove that gets your toes tapping and Paul Rodgers has the perfect rock/blues voice for this version. Introduced to me by Free, I fell in love with Maggie’s version.

Wishing Well – Free


Sucide Sal

Wishing Well – Maggie Bell


Uriah Heep, The Magician's Birthday

Uriah Heep. Another band introduced to me by Lyle, who also happens to be a wicked bass player himself ala Chris Squire (who was his favourite bassist). They both played “Rickies” — Rickenbacker bass guitars. This tune has a fantastic running bass line that I used to watch Lyle play when he was rehearsing. The entire album, Magicians Birthday, one of the Heep’s biggest albums and by far my fav. Uriah Heep is considered “one of the seminal hard rock bands of the 1970’s.” Easy Livin’ is also another one of my choices. These guys are still together and still touring, with hard core Heep fans all over Europe.

Blind Eye – Uriah Heep



Bodicea. Beginning her career with Clannad, an Irish Celtic band formed with some of her brothers and sisters, Enya wrote this piece (and a number of others) for a BBC series called The Celts. Bodicea was the song played at the end of each show. It was also sampled and used by the Fugees on their single Ready or Not without asking permission or given credit to Enya (which caused a bit of a kerfuffle). In 2004 Mario Winian’s song I Don’t Wanna Know (which featured a rap by P. Diddy) sampled the Fugees sample. However, credit is officially give to Winans, Diddy and Enya. The song became Enya’s highest charting US single in 2004. The mood is mysterious, dark and driven with only Enya’s humming to take you through. If I close my eyes, I can “see” Bodicea on her horse, leading her army. Who was Bodicea? Look her up. She whipped the Romans’ asses.

Bodicea – Enya



The Crying Game. A GREAT song and an even GREATER movie. It deeply affected many who watched it. Beautifully acted and heartbreaking. Directed by Neil Jordan and starring Stephen Rea, Forest Whitaker and Jaye Davidson, the film explores themes of race, gender, nationality, and sexuality but also love and honour all against the backdrop of the Irish troubles. The storyline seemingly leads you in one direction then reveals it’s really about something else entirely with a rather shocking twist.  The song befits the movie completely. The growling twang of the guitar also reminds me of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Glen Campbell. Originally a 1960’s hit for British singer Dave Berry, The Crying Game is probably the best song Boy George ever sang.


The Crying Game – Boy George (soundtrack)


…and now for something completely different. A little dance music please. First up, Taiyo Cruz. The video has lots of pretty ladies in it so if you don’t like the music guys, you can watch the pretty ladies. Excellent visual affects/effects. It’s also a perfect dance tune and you know what I like to do….(do get your mind out of the gutter).

Taiyo Cruz Dynamite

Dynamite – Taiyo Cruz



Dirty Loops. These guys just take me away. There’s not a dance floor out there big enough. Something in their music, I find it difficult to define, but it affects and touches something in me that just makes me want to lift off. All three band members are gifted musicians who merge with their instruments to become one entity. The jazz influence is strong in both the drumming and the bass playing combined with the classical influence of the keyboards. Their music is fun, smart, witty, unique… and did I mention fun. Jazzy Pop….hmmm….a new genre? I can hardly wait until they come back to Canada again. Move over, I’m hittin’ the dance floor.

Dirty Loops – Sexy Girls


Sugarloaf 6

Ahhhh….there is absolutely nothing like it in the world. The distinguishable, classic sound of the Hammond B-3 organ. You KNOW it when you hear it. This song plays to it beautifully. Reminds me of fun, carefree times and watching these guys at Wonderland Gardens in London, Ontario. Classic! Sugarloaf played on the same bill as Emerson, Lake and Palmer and that was the first time I’d seen anyone use a gong in their show.

Green Eyed Lady – Sugarloaf



Pentatonix. These guys are amazing. Entirely acappella, Kevin Olusola does all the beatboxing, the harmonies are glorious. Scott Hoying on baritone lead; Mitch Grassie on tenor, countertenor lead; Kirstie Maldonado on mezzo-soprano lead; Avi Kaplan on bass lead and baritone, and Kevin Olusola on tenor lead, vocal percussion and cello. They all sing backing vocals. Their music consists primarily of covers of existing songs, occasionally in the form of medleys. They also produce their own original material as well.  “Their music is defined by their own arrangement style with a strong presence of low bass vocals and a diverse range of vocal percussion.” Their music is influenced by several genres include pop, dubstep, classical, electro, hip hop and reggae. DANCE!!!

I Need Your Love – Pentatonix (cover)




This one just hits you in the gut. I’m not sure what it is about string instruments, especially the cello and violin but I find them captivating, enchanting, eloquent and sometimes even magical. Yet they are also powerful, intense and compelling, able to evoke raw emotions swinging the listener from pure delight to utter agony. Lindsey Stirling knows her way around a violin and experiments with a variety of music styles mixing classical, pop, hip-hop and EDM. In this video, she teams up with Pentatonix to perform Radioactive, a piece originally done by Imagine Dragons. Check out her music video Crystallize, it is the eighth-most watched video of 2012.

Radioactive – Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix (Imagine Dragons Cover)


Captain Beyond

I leave you with Captain Beyond, an American/British rock back that couldn’t hold it together for very long….a revolving door of membership. However, when they could stick it out long enough to hit the studio, they produced some excellent music. Considered ahead of their time with many of their pieces, Captain Beyond was considered a hard rock/prog rock/psychedelic rock band…a lot of ground to cover. The original cast were singer Rod Evan (ex-Deep Purple), drummer Bobby Caldwell (ex-Johnny Winter), guitarist Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt (ex-Iron Butterfly) bassist Lee Dorman (ex-Iron Butterfly) and keyboardist Lewie Gold who seemed to be ex-nothing (and left before the first album was even recorded). I would guess from this there were a lot of disillusioned musicians out there, even back then. This line-up lasted one album and promptly fell apart. But oh what an album it is! Somebody pass that spliff!

Dancing Madly Backwards – Captain Beyond


*Note: You may get the full album since the video of the single cuts off about three minutes in. It’s from Japan….’nuff said.

Like I said, my taste in music generally runs amok. No rhyme or reason, I just know what I like (and what I don’t).  Maybe it’s the drums and bass, or the sound of a particular guitar….or anything with a Hammond B-3. As an audience member what I listen to has to “speak” to me. There has to be a melody somewhere, something I can hum, something I can follow. I don’t like a mess of noises or long, wanking guitar solos. No, I was never a huge fan of Jimi Hendrix….a few songs maybe. Music is just simply my passion and I will continue to listen, and dance, until I can’t anymore.

This was fun. I’ll have to do this again sometime. See y’all in a couple of weeks. Enjoy!


Women & Songs – Part Two

I don’t listen to the radio much these days…okay….sometimes when I’m driving. What music I do hear is not much to speak of. The rotation of the same songs over and over and over…. I will admit I tune into Q107 but that’s more for the DJ banter and the stories than the music. The commercials send me over the edge!

There’s also Randy Bachman’s CBC radio show Vinyl Tap which offers up classic pop, rock and older jazz along with the backend stories to many of these songs. Good show, but sometimes too nostalgic.

Randy Bachman Vinyl Tap Tour: Every Song Tells A Story

I have over 700 songs on my sometimes “not so smart” phone and, connecting with my Bluetooth speaker, press shuffle and listen to all the tunes I love, a mix of new and old, commercial free.

What I’m getting at is this, we all used to live and die by the radio. Every last note was broadcast through those tiny speakers, new music pouring into our willing ears, bathing our minds in melodies, introducing us, almost daily, to new voices, new sounds and new compositions. Radio doesn’t appear to be “doing its job” these days and not many folks are listening in. Because we’ve tuned out, much of what we are offered is commercial pap. The grit is gone. Fresh went stale.

….and so I continue to rummage around on the internet, searching YouTube and other sources for some of the many voices that were offered up in this wonderful collection of songs. I haven’t heard these ladies on the radio, or anywhere else in….forever….. and I am discovering many of them continue to produce ‘music for the ears’.

Women & Songs — Highlights

Women & Songs — a compilation of tracks by female artists — is a succession of albums released over an eleven year period. The first album, simply titled Women & Songs, was issued in  December 9, 1997. The final album, Women & Songs 12, was released in 2008 with a total of 17 albums completing the collection.

Released in January 2009, Women & Songs 6 was the biggest album in terms of the number of tracks — 21 in total. Women & Songs 8 was released in November 2004, as a special two-disc set. The second disc was a special DVD that included six songs  with performances by k.d lang, Alannah Miles, Nina Gordon, Sinead O’Connor, Natalie Merchant and Sixpence Non The RicherWomen & Songs 10 was titled The 10th Anniversary Collection and country group The Wreckers made their Women & Songs debut.

Special releases included Women & Songs Beginnings, Beginnings 2, 60’s Girl Groups, The 80s and Women & Songs Christmas.


Chantal Kreviazuk – This is one lady is who is keeping very busy. Although she has not released a studio album since 2009, (a live album was released in 2012) Kreviazuk is a versatile writer, covering a wide range of genres penning hit songs for/with a number of performers including Drake, Avril Lavigne, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Josh Grogan, Pitbull and Gwen Stefani….the list goes on.

Recently Kreviazuk was surprised to be asked to appear on SNL with Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar. The song they  performed was “Pay For It”, a tune she had written and discarded. Lamar pulled it out of Kreviazuk’s “creative dumpster” and collaborated with her — together they reworked the song which was released in October 2014 as the first single (featuring Lamar) on Jay Rock’s second album.

Jay Rock – Pay For It (featuring Kendrick Lamar)

A classicallcy trained pianist, sometimes guitar player and award winning artist, Kreviazuk unveiled her latest single “I Will Be” immediately following her SNL appearance. According to Kreviazuk, it’s her favourite song since writing “Surrounded” almost 20 years ago.

Chantal Kreviazuk – I Will Be

Chantal Kreviazuk – Surrounded

Kreviazuk and her husband, Raine Maida, were appointed members of the Order of Canada in December 2014, in recognition for their charitable and humanitarian work.

Natalie Merchant – Best known as the lead singer and lyricist for 10,000 Maniacs from 1981 to 1993, her last recording with the band was a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Because the Night” for an MTV Unplugged performance. It became the band’s biggest success.

10,000 Maniacs – Because the Night (Bruce Springsteen cover)

Merchant went on to enjoy a solo career, producing a total of six albums over a 19-year period. Her first solo effort, “Tiger Lily”, was issued in 1995 and sold over five million copies generating her first top ten hit “Carnival”. This was quickly followed by two more hit singles “Wonder” and “Jealousy”. It is her most successful solo album to date.

Natalie Merchant – Carnival

Her latest album, simply called “Natalie Merchant”, was released in 2014. The lead single “Ladybird” is focussed on a woman who is wondering whether she can “fly away from her domestic life”. Merchant continues to write, sing and perform live. Her last tour was in 2014 to promote her self-titled album

Natalie Merchant – Ladybird

Sarah Slean – Over the last 15 years, Slean has been nominated for three Junos, two Geminis, starred in two short films and a musical, published two books of poetry — “Ravens” (2004) and “The Baroness” (2008) — and written two string quartets. Hang on while I catch my breath.

Sarah Slean – Sweet Ones (2002)

A Canadian singer/songwriter, musician, poet, visual artist and occasional actress who hails from Pickering, Ontario, Slean recorded and released her first EP, “Universe” in 1997 at the tender age of 19 followed by “Blue Parade” just a year later in 1998. A further five EPs and  five studio albums followed. Slean’s last two recordings — “Land and Sea” and the EP “String Quartet No. 2” were both released in 2011. “Land and Sea” was also Slean’s first recording released on vinyl.

She also contributed a song, “New Pair of Eyes”, to be included on a compilation album “Songs of Love for Japan”. Available for three days only, all the proceeds went towards the relief efforts in the aftermath of the tsunami and earthquake.

Sarah Slean – A New Pair of Eyes

Slean continues to tour and perform, most recently in New York at the Highline Ballroom. She has a number Canadian dates lined up over the next several months.

Molly Johnson – To quote Wikipedia “Margaret Leslie “Molly” Johnson, OC is a Canadian Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter of pop and jazz.” She’s also a mother of two and philanthropist.

Johnson has been performing since childhood and has earned the reputation as one of Canada’s greatest voices. Lead vocalist for two high-profile bands — Alta Moda in the 80s and Infidels in the 90s — she later performed backup vocals for another popular Toronto band Breeding Ground.

Alta Moda – Julian

Infidels – Celebrate

She later sang with a group of backing musicians who became famous in their own right as Big Sugar. Johnson also made history at the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, becoming the first Canadian female vocalist to sell out a show on the mainstage.

Big Sugar – Diggin’ A Hole

Although well-known for her jazz singing, Johnson did not release her first jazz album until 2000. She has released several albums since then, taking home a Juno — Jazz Album of the Year — in 2008 for  “Lucky”.  Her most recent release “Because of Billie” was in 2014.

Molly Johnson – Rain (filmed in Montreal)

Sources include Wikipedia, Entertainment Weekly,, various biographies, Rolling Stone Magazine. Melissa Myers (Chantal), CBC and the ubiquitous YouTube.

In “real” life Pat Blythe has spent the past 32 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry. After an extended absence Pat is now heading back to the GTA clubs, immersing herself in the local music scene, tasting what’s on offer, talking to people and writing once again — sharing her passions and her deep love of music. Together for 34 years, Pat also worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The Picture Taker©, who shot much  of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, Plateau, Buzzsaw, Hellfield….) as well as national and international acts,  Currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, Pat is currently compiling a photographic history of the local music scene from 1975 to 1985. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance….

Women & Songs — Part One

A entirely Canadian production, Women & Songs — a compilation of tracks by female artists — is a succession of albums released over several years. The first album, simply titled Women & Songs, was issued in December 9, 1997.

While ripping my entire CD collection on to my new laptop, I came across my own set of Women & Songs and instantly recalled my absolute delight at discovering these treasures while out trolling through the bins at the record store many years ago. (yes…. a record store…. I even worked in a couple in a previous life)

The third album, Women & Songs 3 was released simultaneously with a special, complimentary CD called Women & Songs Beginnings, the first two-disk CD in the franchise.

Beginnings is a collection of some of the most celebrated and renowned female voices in music — past and present. Judy Garland, Mary Wells, Billie Holiday, Dina Washington, Peggy Lee, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Janis Joplin, Bette Midler, Etta James…. Thirty-one songs present the listener with a historical snapshot of some of the most powerful and haunting voices in music, showcasing some of the songs that launched their careers.

(Janis is always worth a double-take)

There is nothing that compares to the power and gut-wrenching passion of a woman belting out a song at full throttle. It gives me such a visceral feeling.

Nine more CDs were added to the series, plus four special releases — each building on the success and popularity of the previous recordings. Countless talented voices, many now silenced, are part of the anthology. The final album, Women & Songs 12, was released in 2008 and includes Amy Winehouse, Nelly Furtado, Divine Brown and Katie Perry.

I began listening to the songs again and wondered why some of the voices had gone suddenly quiet. The answers are obvious for some, but for others, well, they seem to have silently faded into the background.

Following is Part One of a three part series, the beginning of my search for some of these women in music.  Although not an official part of the Women & Songs collection, Part Three will be dedicated to those women who rock.

Where Are They Now?

Amanda Marshall, Paula Cole, Suzanne Vega, Jewel, Natalie Imbruglia, Tracy Chapman, Alanis Morrisette, Maria Muldaur…. this is just a miniscule taste of the incredible voices that contribute to this wonderful collection of music.

Amanda Marshall — I first heard Amanda perform in the concert bowl at the top of Whistler Mountain in B.C. back in the mid 90’s. She was, in one word, FANTASTIC! You couldn’t have wished for a more perfect day for an outdoor concert — blue skies, a few puffy white clouds, hanging with one of my best friends, laying back on bales of hay (no smoking allowed). The music just floated out over the crowd.

Marshall’s voice just seeped into your soul. She had such passion and I fell in love.

After a hiatus of 10 years, during which Marshall was involved in a protracted legal battle with her former management, she has recently come out the other side and began recording her fourth studio album — her first since 2001 — in 2012. As of this writing the album has not yet been released. According to Marshall “I’m just taking it day by day, and when the record will be done, it’ll be done.”

Amanda Marshall – Birmingham (Live)

Paula Cole — A Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, Cole won the award in 1998 for Best New Artist. Her song “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone” reached the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 1997. Cole released her last album, Raven, in 2013. A gifted writer and keyboard player, she has been referred to as “a feisty poet with a soaring voice and a funky groove”. Cole is currently on the voice faculty of Berklee College of Music while continuing to perform and record.

Suzanne Vega — Originally from California, Vega grew up in Spanish Harlem and the Upper West Side in New York. A writer of poems, lyrics, essays and journalistic pieces, Avon Books published a book of her compilations called “The Passionate Eye: The Collected Works of Suzanne Vega” in 1995. Recently, in November 2014 Vega completed four sold-out shows at Joe’s Pub in New York City. The highlight — performing with her daughter Ruby. Present and accounted for, Vega is still performing and recording. She released her eighth studio album, “Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles” in 2014.

Jewel — Wikipedia calls Jewel a singer/songwriter, guitarist, producer, actress, and author/poet. Her debut album Pieces of You was one of the best-selling debut albums of all time. Using her extraordinary vocal range — a “lyric soprano” — she majored in operatic voice at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. Jewel’s music has ranged from folk to country to pop, eventually returning to her folk roots. According to my research,  Jewel began work on her latest album in February, 2014. As of this writing, it has not yet been released. Jewel has confirmed she will be producing it herself and it will have a sound similar to Pieces of You.

Natalie Imbruglia — Model, actress, singer and songwriter, appearing in television, film and theatre, Aussie Natalie Imbruglia’s biggest hit Torn, was released in 1997 after she relocated to London, England. The single was wildly and unexpectedly successful and spent 14 weeks a number one, selling over one million copies, breaking the record for the most airplay in U.K. history.  Umbruglia then retreated from the music scene for four years, battling writers block. In 2001 she recorded her first album in four years, White Lillies Island. Unfortunately, Imbruglia’s ensuing recordings have been unable to match Torn’s success. In 2009 she recorded her last album, Come to Life. Released in Australia and Europe the album was cancelled in England.

Tracy Chapman — An American singer/songwriter, Chapman started playing ukule at the age of three, graduated to the guitar and began writing songs at the age of eight. With a total of 13 Grammy wins under her belt, Chapman’s last album, Our Bright Future, was released in 2008 with limited success. Chapman is very socially and politically active but since her last album release has remained out of the spotlight. In 2014, she was appointed a member of the Sundance Film Festival U.S. Documentary jury

Alanis Morrisette — Truly Canadian, from Ottawa, Canada, she found international fame with her 1995 album Jagged Little Pill after moving from Ottawa to Toronto and then relocating to Los Angeles. The single, You Oughta Know, struck a chord with listeners, particularly teenagers, all over the world. The album remained in the Top 20 Billboard 200 for over a year and both the single and album went on to win several Grammy awards, including best rock song and best album of the year. Selling 33 million copies worldwide, it was the second biggest selling debut album by a female artist behind Shania Twain’s Come On Over.

A singer/songwriter/actor, Morrissette’s last album, Havoc and Bright Lights, was released in 2012. She continues to write and perform, and involves herself in a number of charities. Her last tour, Intimate and Accoustic, was in 2014.

Maria Muldaur — Best known for her 1974 hit, Midnight at the Oasis, Muldaur is a folk/blues singer and was a part of the American folk music revival in the 1960’s. Singing with John Sebastian, David Grisman and Stefan Grossman as a member of the Even Dozen Jug Band, Muldaur was involved in the Greenwich Village scene which, at the same time, also included Bob Dylan.  Some of her recollections of that period are part of Martin Scorcese’s documentary film No Direction Home.

Muldaur has been nominated for a Blues Music Award twice — the first time  in 2005 for her release of Sweet Lovin’ O’l Soul and again in 2013 in the Traditional Blues Female category.

In 2011, Muldaur released her 40th album, a tribute to the late Memphis Minnie (more on Minnie in a later posting), one of the first blues artists (male or female) to take up the electric guitar. The album includes many guest artists including Phoebe Snow and Bonnie Raitt.

Muldaur continues to perform with her bands — Maria Muldaur & Her Red Hot Bluesiana Band — playing New Orleans flavoured Blues R&B and Swamp Funk, and her jazz quartet.


Sources include Wikipedia, Entertainment Weekly,, various biographies and the ubiquitous YouTube.

In “real” life Pat Blythe has spent the past 32 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry. After an extended absence Pat is now heading back to the GTA clubs, immersing herself in the local music scene, tasting what’s on offer, talking to people and writing once again — sharing her passions and her deep love of music. Together for 34 years, Pat also worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The Picture Taker©, who shot much  of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, Plateau, Buzzsaw, Hellfield….) as well as national and international acts (The Cars, Santana, Burton Cummings, Long John Baldry….). Currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, Pat is currently compiling a photographic history of the local music scene from 1975 to 1985. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance….