A father and son duo from East Vancouver is gaining attention around the world with their YouTube channel.
Son, Connor and father, Kevin have now hit half a million subscribers on their channel called Turning the Tables.
Each week they talk music and appreciate the albums that Connor picks and shares with his dad.
“I love all kinds of art. I like music, I like movies. And one of my favorite things about just experiencing art is being able to share it with other people and see how they react to it and how they feel, see if they feel the same,” Connor told Global News.
“And I wanted to do that with my dad because we tend to share a lot of the same interests.”
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He said he wanted to find a way to share his dad’s reactions with everyone so they could also feel the music and react and that’s how they created the YouTube channel.
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“My dad is one of the most talented people I know in regards to a lot of aspects of life,” Connor continues.
“You know, for one, he’s the best father, and two, he’s a fantastic musician. He’s great with people, he’s great at entertaining, he’s great at, you know, just talking and being a good human, good person. And I feel like that is something I would like to, you know, more people see and recognize you, especially the musical aspect.”
But Kevin wasn’t on board right away.
He wasn’t in the best health and it was the middle of the COVID pandemic but Connor wouldn’t back down.
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But one day, Kevin was feeling OK and they sat out in the backyard together and listened to it A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead.
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“You gave me a new life, like you really did,” Kevin said.
“You and I are just sitting, talking about music and then having the headphones on together and having two hours together. We’ve never done that in such an open way.”
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And people around the world have been appreciating it, too.
Connor said they started getting messages from people requesting music for them to listen to and telling them they loved the dynamic between the father and son.
And now Kevin said he loves hearing from people the most.
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“I print them and the ones that really touch me, I print them and I bring them to Connor,” he said
“They gave him a read for a cry, and then we both looked at them together and then we responded. So that’s my favorite part of it is the human connection.”
As the rain died down on a Monday evening in Toronto’s downtown, a group gathered in an auditorium for a private concert with eight world-class musicians from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Beyond the occasional sounds of ambulance sirens bending by, and a speech-halting intercom message, there were several reminders that this was a hospital — the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
And when the first notes were played, the small crowd was transported.
LISTEN | A sample of the piece that eight weeks of group discussions helped create:
CBC News2:08Hear a sample of To Live, Ikiru
Inspired by current clients of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, this is a sample of a piece of original music written by Métis and French-Canadian composer Ian Cusson and played by eight members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as part of a joint pilot project focused on healing
“It sort of felt like a new day coming about,” said Bruce King of the performance. “And, sort of, being a part of that in nature.”
Alex Abramenko remarked that the piece was “very romantic, very colorful, very vibrant.” He said it was like listening to a love song.
But Abramenko and King weren’t just audience members. They, along with other CAMH clients also in the crowd that evening, were instrumental in the creation of this piece. It’s all part of a new program that seeks to combine the healing power of music with culturally relevant Indigenous knowledge.
Leap of faith
“We invited our patients to be able to come and kind of take a bit of a leap of faith,” said Renee Linklater, the senior director of Shkaabe Makwa, part of the CAMH that’s centered on Indigenous-focused wellness. This pilot also involved non-Indigenous clients.
The ask was simple: talk about music, to help a composer write an original piece.
“I know initially that might not have seemed so inviting to some people,” Linklater said, knowing that some people were shy and not open about coming forward with their thoughts. A clinical practice leader was also present at these sessions, helping to facilitate discussions.
“It’s funny because we weren’t really gathering to talk about our lives,” recalled Ian Cusson, a composer of Georgian Bay Métis and French-Canadian descent.
“But in talking about the music we loved, we couldn’t avoid sharing it.”
In his eight weeks with the group, Cusson said the music they listened to covered 800 years, sparking discussions of how it made them feel.
Finding their sound
For King, sharing itself is a journey of identity. He recalls listening to Pavarotti and Bach the week before it was his turn to share music with the group.
“I was trying to find this piece that was so moving to me — but I couldn’t find it,” he said.
Ultimately, those classical elements were found in an artist he listened to more often, the socially conscious rapper KRS One.
“And it just spoke to me. The song was Re Mind [Yourself]which was about talking about the fact that we can create anything we want,” he said.
King, who says he’s non-Indigenous status, described a “weird, surreal and subliminal relationship with the music” that people would share, and quickly found himself eager to attend every week. Abramenko had a similar journey.
“I actually grilled Ian on what this is all about because I didn’t quite understand,” Abramenko said of the initial experience, expecting something closer to therapy.
“And about a third of the way through the course, I realized that it wasn’t about that at all. It was actually about coming together — and a sort of psycho-magical experience, if you will.”
Abramenko, who is open about his depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder, says the elevated music project is a much more “non-negotiable” and “conscious” aspect to the process of working on his mental health.
For Sarah Bell, a music therapist and counselor in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, music opens up a pathway for non-verbal expression.
“Music is the background of people’s lives,” Bell said. “Someone who’s, let’s say, struggling with a certain emotion.… They might be able to say, ‘Yeah, this song is how I feel.’ Versus having the words to be able to say that.”
Bell, who was not involved in the project, uses non-invasive techniques such as songwriting or analyzing the lyrics of a song to help people of all ages, even those at the end of life.
She described how this might work for a patient under palliative care, whose “breathing is really heavy.”
“I might play a guitar to help accompany their breath and maybe that will help them feel connected to someone, even if they’re maybe not able to say it.”
A sacred space
The bell is quick to remind that Indigenous healing has involved music for centuries, all around the world and different cultures across. For Linklater, of Rainy River First Nations in Ontario, creating a “culturally safe space” for this pilot was important.
“We have cedar all around the walls,” Linklater said of the room where the sessions were held. It also had a medicine wheel painted on the floor.
“So that’s a sacred space. And so we brought them [there] in order to be together as sacred beings to go create.”
Linklater hopes Indigenous people who access mental health services can see programs like this as a part of their healing journey.
To live on
The piece will be expanded next year with fuller orchestration in the 2023/24 season. For Cusson, who was also inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s film Ikiru (the near-10-minute piece that he composed is called To Live, Ikiru), the project left him changed.
“I realized how starved the people I was,” Cusson explained after the performance that night, describing those feelings as a holdover of the pandemic.
“So these weekly meetings became actual touchpoints in my week, of connecting with people in a fairly relaxed way over something that we all could talk about on some level: music.”
That connection and retention, Linklater says, is part of the pilot’s success.
“We were able to have 10 people start the group. I would say that it is miraculous that in week eight, eight of those people were still part of the group.”
Green Day frontman, Billie Joe Armstronggave a London cover band, Borderline Toxic, and the bar is full of patrons the surprise of a lifetime yesterday when he showed up, crashing the band’s set.
Listen to Green Day Radio and more on the free Audacy App
It all went down atSlim Jim’s Liquor Store in London where Armstrong happened to walk in while on holiday in London.
“When you walk into a pub and the cover band starts playing your song,” Green Day posted to Instagram with a video of Armstrong rocking out on stage with the band.
Borderline Toxic also took to social media to share their shock and gratitude for Armstrong hopping on stage with them.
“The moment your band gets joined on stage by your childhood idol to sing their own song with you… in your favorite dive bar,” they wrote. “Billie Joe Armstrong… THANK YOU, YOU LEGEND! This was the first band to get me into rock when I was 11 years old and I’m honestly just so made up.”
Green Day is scheduled to play the When We Were Young music festival in October in addition to a slew of other performances over the summer. Get tickets here.
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Featured Image Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
I think it’s time for another Mayhem singles round-up, don’t you? Here coming the fourth for 2023, it includes a baker’s dozen of tunes that have been passed on to me or recommended during the previous few weeks and months, there are some rather spiffing tracks.
It features many artists and bands that have appeared on Mayhem’s pages before. There are also four great cover versions in this collection. There are new tracks from Avalanche Party, Apollo Junction, Vaquelin and Liz Davinci who I think all have new albums coming out sometime this year. Judging from their latest offerings, choosing Mayhem’s album of the year for 2023 will be very difficult! Let me know what you think of this great collection of tunes!
You will find a YouTube link to each song in the title (or a link to the audio of the track) and a link to the artist’s website or one of their social media pages when you click the artist’s name. You can also find the link to a Spotify playlist of all these songs by clicking here.
“Serious Dance Music” – Avalanche Party
Ain’t no party like an Avalanche Party and the AP boys are back with what is most definitely a tune for partying to. You probably wouldn’t play this at a work event! I sense an Amazing Snakeheads influence in this fast-paced, frenzied, frenetic, funky, feral, fest of a song. The band all seem to be in top form, especially Kane’s drumming. This is the first single from their upcoming sophomore album, ‘Der Traum Über Alles’. The video is very classy indeed.
“History” – Apollo Junction
The Apollo Junction boys are back with another offering that will feature on their third album, due out later this year. For the first minute, it is soft, acoustic, mellow and pensive. Then the sound continues to build with an almost drone-like guitar sound underpinning it. It finally builds to an immense orchestral-sounding, epic finish. The harmonies are superb and I can imagine this sound echoing across festival fields for years to come. Possibly my favorite Apollo Junction song so far.
“The Grayston Boogie” – Hazy Janes
This is a fine slab of fuzzy, dirty, electric blues. If you are not doing the Grayston Boogie by the end of the track then you should frankly seek medical help. The video has a few fleeting tips as to how to boogie in a Grayston way!
“Back To Black” – The Palava
A brave choice to cover this one. No one could ever hope to emulate the original Amy Winehouse, so the Palava chose to take the song in a different direction. An immaculate blues rock vocal and some gritty, scuzzy garage rock style guitars. I have seen the band play this live and they do it well, but this recording is so much better than that! I bloody love it!
“FKN H8 U 2” – Sad Like You
This bunch is from Adelaide, Australia and this track is reminiscent of the softer side of Blink 182. It is a close-to-perfect amalgam of great pop punk and emo. A heartfelt tale of heartbreak. I am looking forward to hearing more from Sad Like You.
“Pain Reliever” – Liz Davinci
Is Liz Davinci descended from Leonardo? I don’t know, but she is certainly an incredibly talented artist. Vocally there are elements of Kate Bush, Suzanne Vega, and Marcella Detroit here. This tune is beautiful and almost baroque in its construction. I love the way that Liz is not afraid to use the space between the notes. This augers well for her forthcoming album ‘Fata Morgana’.
“Five Years” – Easy All Stars/ Steel Pulse
This is the second cover in this singles selection (there will be more) and it does what I think makes a perfect cover in that it isn’t a simple facsimile of the original. This is the first track to be released from the Easy All Stars forthcoming album of a reggae reimagining of Bowie’s ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’ album. This one works perfectly and bodes well for the album. The Dame’s rarely touched reggae, and when he did it was never particularly good in my opinion. But Easy All Stars with Steel Pulse show with absolute certainty that Bowie can work in a reggae style.
“Feelin’ Good” – The Black Skies Ft. Hellbound Glory
We have another cover in the singles round up. This time it was a smoky, heavy, swampy, garage rock version on Nina Simone’s iconic classic “Feelin’ Good”. For me this version takes back ownership of the song from Muse after Matt Bellamy’s somewhat histrionic and over-the-top take on the tune from a few years ago.
“Tell Me With Your Eyes” – Witch Of The East
Witch Of The East returns with a fabulous new song. This is punk, post punk, electro, dance with a goth icing and a pinch of New Order. Based on this, if there is another Witch Of The East album in development it will be bloody wonderful.
“Back-Alley Barn Dance” – I Tell Lies
Get into this band now, then when they break big you can impress your friends by saying you were there at the start. This song is full on rock with large shots of Yard Act and Sleaford Mods and a shady undercurrent of mounting anger. Go see them live as soon as you can!
“Wicked Game” – JW Paris
Gemma, Danny and Aaron returned with a stonking cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”. It feels like the Velvet Underground made the song originally back in the 60s and then Isaak covered it in 1989. OK, I know that isn’t true, right? This must be top of the list to be on the Twin Peaks soundtrack if there is ever another remake, prequel or sequel. I love that in the blurb to the video on YouTube the band state “Dear lovers, snoggers and nighttime doggers. We’ve recorded a cover of one of our favorites in light of the smoochin’ season” that cracked me up, well the nighttime doggers bit anyway!
“The Bona Fide Money Laundering Society” – Vaquelin
Another banging tune from Vaquelin, it kicks off like Led Zeppelin on Quaaludes and the vocals are classic 70s rock style with a dash of Bowie’s Tin Machine Style. The screaming lead guitar, particularly in the last part of the track is something Mick Ronson would be proud of. The second album from Vaquelin looks like it will be better than the first based on this tune!
“Greed” – The Undercover Hippy
The Undercover Hippy is an expert at protest tunes, because it’s done in a very clever and subtle way. The reggae backing has shades of another great band, Captain Ska. This song questions the greed and or incompetence of our less than industrial leaders. We need more artists like this calling out the scummy liars in government.
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