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More Soul

Talking Bands
by Luke Arbuckle

More Soul is (l–r), Jonathan MacInnis, saxophone, Allan White, drums, Dave Gordon, keys, Dan Cantin, vocals, Norman Love, guitar, and Devin Hornby, bassNo doubt if you’ve made it this far in your journey through this month’s edition of The Buzz, you’ve come across the name More Soul. Coincidently, if you’re leafing through these pages, you’re likely into music and looking for something cool to do.

Around this time last year, Charlottetown band More Soul made their first appearance to the scene. The funk had arrived on PEI.

Drawing their inspiration from artists like James Brown, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder and Little Milton, More Soul adds exactly that to the Charlottetown music scene. “We’re all about the old school soul and funk,” said guitarist Norman Love.

The band came to being after Norman met saxophone player Jonathan MacInnis at a local shindig. They struck a chord and within a short time had recruited three more members. “It just came together,” said drummer Allan White.

“We all wanted to play the same thing and brought unique ideas to the table, we just needed a singer who was up to the challenge.”

Allan and bassist Devin Hornsby are both instructors for the Holland College School of Performing Arts, where they met vocal student Dan Cantin.

The funk had found its voice.

A year later, the band has fully embraced the funk spirit and is working on regular appearances over the summer.

The music is still fun and challenging, but the funk puns are too easy now, said Jonathan. “Musically, it’s been an awesome year and we’re excited for some funky nights this summer.”

With a wide repertoire of classic and original funk tunes in their arsenal, the band promises to keep crowds grooving.

“We all wanted to be part of a band like this,” said keyboard player Dave Gordon. “It makes us smile and keeps people from standing still.”

“Which is the whole point,” said Devin. “We want to do what we love and make people dance doing it.”

Each member has roots in the Island music scene and wanted to contribute to it. As a bonus, their love for playing funk and soul has filled what might have felt like a void for Island funk lovers.

“Basically, we wanted to get out and enjoy some thick, groovy funk every once in a while, but it wasn’t here, so we took it upon ourselves to put it here,” said Norman.

“And there you have it,” added Jonathan.

“Now there’s More Soul.”

So, the next time you find yourself perusing for something fun(ky) to do between the pages of The Buzz, keep an eye out for More Soul, the Island’s source of sweet funky grooves.

Cooking in My Blood

Tyson Leclair’s career in the kitchens of Canada

The Chef’s Table
by Luke Arbuckle

Tyson Leclair, 32, serves up a lamb specialty from behind the bar of the Globe restaurant on Victoria Row in Charlottetown. Few things in life are more important than passion. Many search for it their whole lives. Some find it down the road, some struggle or lose interest, others might simply forget. Some however, know and follow it from the very start.

By 17, Tyson Leclair began his cooking career as many chefs do, elbow deep in dishwater. Between cleaning the grease traps and mopping the floors, Tyson paid close attention to the inner workings and intricacies of the kitchen.

Within six months, Tyson was promoted to prep cook. “Cooking is in my blood,”

says Tyson.

He spent the next four years as an assistant to his uncle, renowned local chef Guy Leclair at the Pilot House, before setting out on a series of culinary adventures across Canada.

Tyson travelled throughout Canada for four more years cooking under many different chefs. His focus was self-education and expanding horizons. “I wanted to see what was out there and Canada has so much to offer,” said Tyson. “I chose to learn about where I live through food. Canada’s ethnic diversity makes recipes as important to our culture as language.”

Tyson returned to the east coast and became head chef at Mosaic in Halifax, but longed for the Island and soon returned the Pilot House.

Though no stranger to the greener side of food, Tyson describes himself as a modern-day carnivore. “Salad is what food eats,” he says.

Last fall, Tyson made a tough decision. He could stay on the Island and keep working, but it would mean fewer hours, or head to a full-time chef position in Fort MacMurray. Weighing his options and with personal growth in mind, he packed up and was gone for the winter.

He returned in April and is continuing to master his craft as a chef under head chef Jeff Budd at Globe World Flavours restaurant on Victoria Row.

“I’m glad my passion keeps bringing me home,” says Tyson. “It’s not just a job or paycheck, it’s a way of life, a fast paced and stressful way of life. You have to live for it.” You deal with the stress by taking a gross slab of meat and turning it into something beautiful and delicious, he said.

Ready for a busy summer at the Globe, Tyson encourages you to stop in and meet him. “Come on in, relax out on the patio, and try the tenderloin,” he says. “I love compliments from smiling people with fingers in their mouths and sauce on their faces.”

Luke Arbuckle joined The Buzz team this year as our latest Talking Bands columnist. We have given him another job—a monthly conversation with the folks who prepare the food you are enjoying in Island restaurants. Bon appétit.

The Count and the Cuban Cocktail

Talking Bands
by Luke Arbuckle

The Count and the Cuban Cocktail (l–r), Richard Russell (trombone), Jonathan Holmes (drums), Mark Carr-Rollitt (percussion), Eduardo Mendoza (director, lead vocals, guitar), Jenna MacDonald (back-up vocals), Tamara Gough (back-up vocals), Jessica Willis, (saxophone), Jon White, (trumpet) and Jack Wedge, (bass). (photo: Luke Arbuckle)The Count and the Cuban Cocktail is a nine piece, Cuban influenced band led by the count, Latin rhythms composer, Eduardo Mendoza. A professional musician originally from Cuba, Eduardo moved to Charlottetown almost a decade ago. With him he brought a passion for music and a deep understanding of Latin rhythms. “In the beginning, we started as a trio, but soon added to the group,” said Eduardo. “After a while, we decided to try something bigger, something stronger, like in Cuba, so we brought more people in. Now we’re a nine-piece band.”

Their most recent addition is Richard Russell, a seasoned trombone player. “It’s a privilege to be playing with a group of such talented and dedicated musicians,” said Russell.

The band meets every Monday evening where they meticulously iron out each member’s part. Backup vocalist Tamara Gough says, “We meet at least one a week and with a band like this there is a sense of community.”

The closeness of the group can be heard in their music, a mix of jazz, Latin and African rhythms, conjunto and rumba to name a few. Eduardo and the band define it as salsa fusion. “I am from Cuba,” said Eduardo. “But we are not a Cuban band. We are a multicultural Canadian band, and I am privileged to play with such talented musicians.”

The band’s been perfecting their arrangements and deciding which of the huge number of songs in their repertoire to focus on over the summer. “We’ve been working on a lot of originals, it seems every new tune is better than the last,” said trumpet player Jonathan White.

“Each new song is our new favourite one to play.” added bassist Jack Wedge.

“We want to bring something different to the Island, something that can be enjoyed by all ages and anyone can dance to,” said Eduardo. “Making music is very important because making people happy, making them move, dance and feel is very important.”

The band plans to make regular appearances at Baba’s Lounge, a second home since the Alibi closed last year, and other venues around the Island. They look forward to this year’s DiverseCity Festival in June and hope to play the P.E.I. Jazz and Blues Festival in August.

So the next time you get the gnawing sensation of another earworm in the back of your mind, flush it out with the catchy rhythms and lingering vibes of The Count and the Cuban Cocktail.

www.facebook.com/thecountcc

Banner Year

Talking Bands
by Luke Arbuckle

Banner Year pose for a photo before their set at The Guild. From left, Christian Wedlake (bass), Ryan MacQuarrie (guitar), Josh Pitre (drums), Josh Gardiner (guitar) and Mitch Gallant (vocals) (photo: Luke Arbuckle)Pop-punk is defined as a fusion of genres, (to varying degrees). A yin of clean pop rock to a yang of grungy punk. Local band Banner Year has embarked to embody these qualities and make people dance while doing it.

Despite an already devout local following and like many good ideas, Banner Year was born from humble beginnings. “I got chicken pox and wrote four songs while I was sick, so decided I needed a band,” said Mitch rather bluntly. “These are the guys it works with.”

Banner Year have been together for little over a year and despite some light growing pains, are well on their way to finding their groove in the local music scene.

Pop-Punk... And they own it.

“We’re a pop-punk band, it’s what we do and we don’t want to say we sound like these guys or these guys, we think our music should speak for itself,” said Christian.

But they say none of the members really listen to the same music, they all have different tastes. “It’s refreshing because we all draw from different influences,” said Josh P.

Each member is well known within the Charlottetown all-ages scene. “We try to be involved with the all-ages community here a lot,” said Ryan.

“We were all part of the scene here when we were 13 and 14, it’s what got us into music, shows at the boys and girls club and events like that,” added Mitch.

Ten years later, the guys still actively participate with the all-ages shows.

Mitch said the all ages shows played a big part in his life when he was younger, and now that he’s a little more mature, he likes being able to give back. “I help organize a lot of the all-ages shows now, they’re still a big part of my life,” said Mitch. “We want the next generation to have the same experiences we did, for them to have a place to go.”

Of course, that’s not to say their music is exclusively catered to youth. The boys have been playing bars around town for a while and expect to see more late nights out as spring nears. “We hope to be touring full time by the summer, play a bunch of Island shows and then take our sound over to the Mainland,” said Mitch.

The band admits, when they’re not working on new tunes or jamming them out on stage, they can be found huddled around a game of Super smash Bros., Magic or D&D. “When you finally grow up, at a certain point you don’t have to be embarrassed to like those things anymore,” said Josh G.

The boys hope to do a bit of marketing over the next while and are working hard on recording and releasing their first EP sometime this summer.

In the meantime, expect to see Banner Year posters plastered throughout town and keep an ear out for their B-track and single to be released in the coming weeks. Check out their Facebook page for show details at www.facebook.com/banneryear92.

Paul Stevenson and the band of thieves

Talking Bands
by Luke Arbuckle

Paul Stevenson and the band of thieves take a break from an extended jam to enjoy an afternoon spin in their kiddie-pool toboggan. They are, from left, Nathan Waite (bass, keys, vocals), Stew Rogers (drums) and Dan Clarke (guitar, vocals). (photo: Luke Arbuckle)Tucked away in mid-town Charlottetown, surrounded by senior’s complexes, sits a small blue house. You wouldn’t think twice about this ordinary looking blue house if you walked past it, but take even just a few steps toward the front door and it becomes apparent. This is no ordinary home.

By the time you reach the front step, you're captivated. Not by the peeling blue paint or multicolored hula hoops, but by the melodic jams. Pink Floyd and Neil Young medleys leak through the cracks of vibrating windows panes.

Paul Stevenson and the band of thieves is Nathan Waite, Dan Clarke and Stew Rogers. Originally from Summerside, they’ve been playing together for years, each working towards mastering their craft. “We play a lot of classic rock,” said Nathan. Bass in hand, he swept his blanket cape to one side. “But we usually jam them out forever.”

Nathan defines their sound as light-heavy folk music, with a lot of extended, soulful jams. “Swampy, folky, psychedelic rock,” he said.

He began to list a few of the band’s influences. “The Beatles, Rush, Phish, Simon and Garfunkle, the list is never ending, really.” “Maybe we should just write them down and email them to you,” said Stew with a chuckle.

Cables, amps, effects and cabs fill the largest room in the house. What might have been a living room has become a studio geek’s wet dream. “Jam space is priority,” said Nathan.

On the floor at Dan’s feet like the dashboard of a spaceship, sit a multitude of effects pedals. “Spaceship is right,” said Dan. “I get lost in here on a regular basis, but some of the sounds you can find are like nothing I’ve ever heard.”

Back in he went, dials and buttons were turned and pressed, the console lit up, primed for takeoff.

The band agrees, living together had it advantages and disadvantages. “It’s awesome because everything we ever need is right here, we can play anytime the mood strikes,” said Stew. He yawned and leaned forward across this drums, chin in hand, his brown tie came to rest on the snare. “Yea, but sometimes it makes us lazy,” Nathan pointed out.

It’s almost hard to take these genuine characters seriously until you’ve heard them play. All business, very smooth, very eclectic.

The band has begun the first stage of recording and hope to revitalize some of the local jam-band spirit by spring. Expect to see these boys hitting stages across the Island over the next couple of months.

And just so we’re clear, there is no Paul Stevenson. If you do happen to meet one, don’t be fooled, it’s likely Stew in costume.

Trading Post

Talking Bands
by Luke Arbuckle

Jordon Ward, drums, Freddy Affleck, guitar/vocals, Brandon Doyle, bass and Phil Gallant, guitar. (photo: Luke Arbuckle)There was a time when going to see a show meant returning home soaked in sweat and stale booze. It meant an early morning stumble through the door cradling one arm while trying to keep a bag of frozen vegetables on your still-swelling eye.

Radio “hit lists” would have us believe the days of attending a show spilling beer and raw emotion across the dance floor are over, that there’s no more room for flailing elbows.

Enter Trading Post, a freshly emerging Charlottetown band which hopes to challenge that notion.

After six months of hard jamming, Charlottetown musicians Jordan Ward, Freddy Affleck, Phil Gallant and Brandon Doyle have decided it’s time to reveal their sound and make a head-first plunge into the Island’s music scene.

They’ve been focused on revamping the 90s alternative rock influence and blending them with their current metal influences. “We kind of sound like a 90s alternative band,” said Jordan. “There’s some influence from then for sure.”

There aren’t a lot of bands around here right now that sound like Trading Post, said Jordan. Drawing on influences that range from early Green Day to modern bands like Brand New, Trading Post promises guitar heavy leads weaved through a myriad of bass riffs and drum beats.

“We want people to feel what we’re playing,” said Brandon. “It’s all about emotion.”

“We want our songs to be both powerful and emotional,” added Jordan.

“Like a delicate punch to the face,” said Phil excitedly.

The rest of the band enthusiastically agreed, it was a good description.

Trading Post have been devout in their weekly practices, braving winter storms commuting from Charlottetown to their jam spot in Mount Stewart. “We’ve ridden on fumes and literally left the road a couple of times,” said Freddy.

“Yea, good thing we were only going like 20 km an hour,” Phil added.

“Pfft,” laughed Brandon. “Not too bad for a soccer mom van with summer tires.”

“Hey,” said Freddy. “At least it’s got a trailer hitch.”

The band recently recorded their first demo. Keeping in the nature of 90s rock tradition, the demo was mixed and produced by the band in Freddy's living room. “It was an awesome learning experience," said Brandon. “We just set it all up, played with the EQ and made it happen.”

The band plans to hit the ground running and gain momentum locally until summer, which they hope to spend on tour. Trading Post played their breakout show at Baba’s Lounge in January with fellow Maritime bands Uncle, Muckraker and Plaster Lungs.

The Buzz welcomes Luke Arbuckle as our latest Talking Bands columnist, continuing a habit of pressing ambitious Holland College journalism students into service.

Boxer the Horse

Talking Bands
by Luke Arbuckle

Boxer the HorseIf you were to ask a Charlottetown local which band to see this summer, they would likely have Boxer the Horse near the top of the list. If you were to ask a visitor to the Island which band they best remember, their answer would likely be the same.

Charlottetown band Boxer the Horse consists of Jeremy Gaudet on guitar/vocals, Richard MacLeod on bass, Isaac Neily on the keys and guitar and Andrew Woods on the drums. Originally starting out as a two-piece folk band, the duo, Gaudet and MacLeod soon found the missing pieces in Neily and Woods. This combination of personalities has brought a consistent variety of structured dance-rock tunes and exciting live shows to Maritime venues.

Boxer the Horse has come a long way in their time playing together. They performed at the Halifax Pop Explosion Tour, Pop Montreal, East Coast Music Awards, and Atlantic Film Festival Closing Gala. In 2009, Boxer the Horse racked up four nominations at the Music PEI Awards, an impressive feat for anyone let alone four full time students. ”We are all still in university, its our last year,” Gaudet says. “Up to this point the band has almost been something of an extracurricular activity, after we graduate we hope to focus even more on it.”

Having previously released a self-titled demo and EP, The Late Show, on July 13, 2010, Boxer the Horse with Collagen Rock Records released their debut full-length album entitled Would You Please.

“There are so many great bands here on Prince Edward Island, it really raised the bar and made us work a lot harder on the album,” says Gaudet. Would You Please has been receiving rave reviews both locally and throughout national venues. “The new record has been doing really well,” says Gaudet, “it’s been getting great reviews and currently sits at #11 on the National Campus Radio Charts. Our first single, Mary Meets the Pilot, is currently at #17 on the CBC Radio3 R-30.”

Alec O’Hanley of Two Hours Traffic produced the album with eleven exciting tracks, including Bad Apples, Sketch Me A Glove, and Mind Eraser. “Alec is one of our good friends, he really knows his way around the studio and he is a great songwriter, when he offered to produce the album, we gladly took him on board.”

The album was influenced by many different genres of music. “Different bands from the passed forty years,” says Gaudet, “We were inspired by 70s acts like Television, The Modern Lovers, as well as more recent bands like Pavement.”

The band has had a busy summer season, one that for now, shows no sign of slowing down. “We are really excited to be doing a Maritime tour with Milks and Rectangles,” says Gaudet, “We have a lot of shows coming up that we are looking forward to and they should be a whole lot of fun.”

Boxer the Horse will be playing next in Charlottetown at the Nigwek Street Festival, September 5 on Victoria Row.

Finding the Humour

Island Stand Up Showcase

by Luke Arbuckle

The Island Standup Showcase kicked off at The Mack with an impressive lineup of acts from some of Prince Edward Island’s leading comedians. A young but seasoned veteran of the Island comedy circuit, Fraser McCallum opened the evening with a few brilliant anecdotes and a hilarious “true Islander” perspective into current events.

Guitar in hand, McCallum hosted the evening with comedic melodies and creative audience interactions. Each comic who was introduced to the stage was as unique and entertaining as the last, owning the stage and making sure the audience knew it.

Local comedian Taylor Carver made the evening’s guest appearance, keeping the audience in stitches with his down to earth, honest humor and nervous wit. His charismatic style and genuine personality won over the audience immediately leaving then with sore cheeks and tears in their eyes (good things at a comedy show).

Matt Stewart and Patrick Ledwell continued the show with a barrage of well-timed, well-executed punch lines ranging from topics like world politics to Prince Edward Island construction projects.

Stewart, an Off Center Comedy Festival comic, made it apparent that he is no stranger to the stage. His colorful and articulately delivered material struck the funny bones of the audience. It was refreshing for me to hear someone else complaining about Island roads and their repairs. Stewart found a way to take those frustrations and make them hilarious.

As Ledwell was introduced and took hold of the mic, without so much as a muttering, I began to chuckle. His very demeanor was entertaining. Ledwell, a member of The New Potato Time Review brought his “A” game to opening night. Ledwell really got down to the point of things, showing his audience a rich Prince Edward Island sense of humor and highlighted our ability to laugh at ourselves

Headlining the evening was Canadian renowned Yuk Yuk’s Comedian Francois Weber. Weber is an award-winning comic who’s energetic and clever style has made him a comic sensation throughout the Maritimes and Ontario. Weber’s act was both classy and fun. His interaction with the audience and his quick wit were a winning combination as the laughter was louder then the clapping.

In my opinion, the Island Standup Showcase has found it’s new home on the stage of The Mack theatre in Charlottetown with its pub-style atmosphere, ample seating and great acoustics.

The Showcase is a refreshing compilation of thoughts and ideas from talented individuals who have come together to entertain and even perhaps enlighten a little. It was a fantastic evening of looking at life and our silly situations, being introduced to new perspectives and then finding the humour in them.

Events Calendar

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