Entries by David


Jack Black as an inspiration to a young songwriter? An unusual mentor for sure. Then again, Francesco Yates isn’t your typical Canadian crafter of songs. He wrote his first one when he was only 11 years old, after watching the heartwarming 2003 Jack Black comedy School of Rock; he signed to Atlantic Records at 16; […]

Colin Linden’s Rich in Love

Blues is in Colin Linden’s blood. His introduction to blues culture, and the turning point in his life, was when a friend of his brother’s turned him on to Howlin’ Wolf (a.k.a. Chester Burnett). Shortly thereafter, in November 1971, an 11-year-old Linden met the blues legend before his Saturday matinée gig at Toronto’s Colonial Tavern. […]

The Strumbellas: “Spirits” Rising

“I’ll be a dreamer till the day I die,” warbles Simon Ward, lead singer and principal Strumbellas’ songwriter on their current singalong hit, “Spirits.” The catchy first single off their fourth, forthcoming release Hope has been played more than three million times on Spotify, and is in regular rotation on Canadian radio. There are days […]

Steve Earle: Chasing the Blues From Texas to Tennessee to NYC

From rabble-rouser to Shakespeare scholar, hard rocker to bluegrass brother, Steve Earle’s resume also includes self-taught songwriter, award-winning musician, actor (on such critically acclaimed shows as The Wire and Treme), author, broadcaster, and voracious reader. Not bad for an eighth-grade dropout. Of course, Earle today is a far cry from that Lone Star State kid […]

In Conversation with Old Crow Medicine Show’s Ketch Secor

Ketch Secor is cool and collected when we are introduced. This is surprising since our interview takes place shortly after he led his band Old Crow Medicine Show in a scorching 30-minute set at Farm Aid 30. He wielded the fiddle with the skill of a champion fencer. The Grammy-winning musician and I meet backstage. […]