The Brock Blog

The Brock Blog

2011 in review Part 4: The Final 5 Faves

by Allison Brock on 12/23/11

So here they are, my last 5"picks" of 2011. I could go on, but I'll leave it here and hope that some of you have found this useful for adding some new tunes to YOUR music library. In no particular order:
ALISON KRAUSS & UNION STATION - Paper Airplane (Rounder)
ROMI MAYES (W / JAY NOWICKI - Lucky Tonight (Romi Mayes)
TRAVELLING MABELS - Song In A Dream (Travelling Mabels)
GRANT PEEPLES - Okra & Ecclesiastes (Gatorbone)
SCOTT NOLAN - Montgomery Eldorado (Transistor 66)

Merry Christmas Folks! remember... I'll have a full Christmas show on CKUA December 24 from 10am-noon Mtn + you'll hear a lot of my 2011 picks on December 31 - same place in the same time slot. Happy New Year too!

2011 in review Part 3: Another 5 Faves

by Allison Brock on 12/21/11

OK, as promised here are five more (in no particular order) of my picks for 2011. I am listing labels alongside each one to try & make it easier for folks to track these down in case you're interested in picking up some for yourself or as presents. For the harder to find ones I have provided web links.
Feel free to email me - abrock@ckua(dot)com - if you need more details.
LUCINDA WILLIAMS - Blessed (Lost Highway)
CAM PENNER - Gypsy Summer (Independent)
JIM CUDDY - Skyscraper Soul (Warner)
ROBBIE ROBERTSON - How To Become Clairvoyant (429 Records)
EILEN JEWELL - Queen Of The Minor Key (Signature Sounds)

I'll put up 5 more tomorrow (Thursday) & call it quits for now.
Tune in to Wide Cut Country on CKUA on January 31 to hear a full show of 2011's  favourites.

2011 in review Part 2: Another 5

by Allison Brock on 12/20/11

OK, as promised here are five more (in no particular order) of my picks for 2011 in case you might be interested in picking up some for yourself or as presents.
DAVE ALVIN - Eleven Eleven (Yep Roc)
GREG BROWN - Freak Flag (Yep Roc)
KASEY CHAMBERS - Little Bird (Sugar Hill)
FEARING & WHITE - Fearing & White (File Under Music)
VARIOUS - The Lost Notebooks Of Hank Williams (Egyptian / Sony)

There will another five posted tomorrow (December 21) if you want to head back here.

2011 in review - Not so many blogs, but some GREAT tunes!!

by Allison Brock on 12/17/11

OK, good intentions aside, I just haven't blogged as often as I had promised.
Do I have an excuse? you betcha - plenty, but my main one is that throughout the last half of the year I have been busy producing my weekday morning show for CKUA called "Rise & Shine". It's just an hour long show, but with prep time, submitting playlists, web postings, facebooking... like I said...
I have also been kept quite busy this year doing some other programming work, as well as writing magazine reviews etc. Excuses out of the way, on with the task at hand.

Each year we all tend to compile "Best Of" lists of whatever it is that we are into; Music, Books, Movies etc. & each year CKUA asks announcers for their top 10 Music picks for the year... until now, when they have asked us to narrow our selections down to a mere 5! Do you know how hard that is??
With a mind that has been known to change occasionally I decided that I would use my blog to expand on my overall picks for 2011. I have the power!

I will add to this list a few more times before Christmas, just in case you're so inclined as to take a look and consider hunting some down, preferably at your local music store (if that is still an option) for yourself or loved ones as presents.

In no particular order (but with my 5 CKUA picks first), here are some of my favourite releases of 2011 in the Roots / Country genre.

GURF MORLIX - Blaze Foley's 113th Wet Dream (Rootball)
Canadian Online Purchases HERE
MATRACA BERG - The Dreaming Fields (Dualtone)
EMMYLOU HARRIS - Hard Bargain (Nonesuch)
BLACKIE & THE RODEO KINGS - Kings & Queens (File Under Music)

... the next 5...
ROBYN LUDWICK - Out Of These Blues (Late Show)
Canadian Online Purchases HERE
GILLIAN WELCH - The Harrow And The Harvest (Acony)
ZOE MUTH & THE LOST HIGH ROLLERS - Starlight Hotel (Signature Sounds)
THE CIVIL WARS - Barton Hollow (Sensibility)
STEVE EARLE - I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive (New West)

Check in Monday (Dec 19) through Wednesday (Dec 21) as I will post 5 more picks each day after "Rise & Shine" - (6am-7am Mountain) on the CKUA Radio Network

"Talent" contests & my frustration with them

by Allison Brock on 07/16/11

This is one I'd LOVE to get your feedback on if you're so inclined... and hopefully I'll get some input from both sides of the fence.
Let me say up front that I am NOT a fan of the "Idol" & "...Got Talent" shows that have cropped up on TV screens over the past (all-too-many) years. I may be old school, but I still mourn the days of the A&R (Artist & Repertoire) folks from the record labels heading out to gigs & "discovering" acts. Lots of REAL talent came up through the ranks back then, before it became a popularity by committee scenario that got these TV-launched newbies a label deal. Have any of them ever done gigs before they were boosted to fame via these manufactured shows - that are really geared to making gazillions of dollars through having viewers vote on a 900 line. Smart maybe, but...!

Anyway, I could go on & on, but I've got lawnmowing to do. My latest peeve on the so-called "talent" front is our very own public TV broadcaster - CBC. Instead of running a true talent contest, they are seemingly asking participants to perform cover versions of Canadian songs - as the promo spot suggests "...a punk version of Gordon Lightfoot... a hip-hop version of Bryan Adams..." - which really is no different to the concept behind the "Idol" shows is it?

Here's something to keep in mind for those of you who are (or know) budding singer-songwriters / lyricists / poets. I'm involved locally with our Pincher Creek Gathering, specifically on a committee that runs the "Up n' Comer Rhyme n' Lyric Spotlight" talent contest. This is geared towards ORIGINAL Cowboy / Western songs & poetry, yes... COWBOY poetry! It's all about trying to keep the tradition of cowboy poetry and song alive. It's a tough thing to find new talent in these genres, and believe me there's been a lot of pressure to open it up and effectively make it a karaoke contest, which seems pretty redundant to me. That's not to say that you might find a great vocalist along the way, but most artists worth their weight these days need to be able to write their own songs as well as be able to translate and cover other writer's material.

The Pincher Creek Gathering turns 25 in 2012. We're hoping to run the Up n' Comer again, so start thinking about it NOW! Info can be found HERE. Lastly, speaking of TALENT... there is an opportunity in early August for budding songwriters to attend a songwriting workshop in Edmonton with a wonderful Nashville-based singer-songwriter.
For more information just email with SONGWRITING WORKSHOP in the subject line. This is VERY limited size-wise, & will NOT be advertised on the web at all - not even here.
C'MON, try you hand at writing and playing your own songs. You could turn out to be a TRUE Idol!

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