Month: June 2018

Merci Beaucoup and Thank You

At the end of May, at the annual Congress for the Humanities and Social Sciences in Regina, SK, my book, Griffintown: Identity & Memory in an Irish Diaspora Neighbourhood, won a CLIO Award from the Canadian Historical Association.  I wrote the best book in Québec history last year.  I was stunned and surprised when I found out about this award in early April and I remain just as gobsmacked today. It is very humbling to be recognized by your peers for your work, I have to say.  It has also been humbling to see the response to the book as...

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Wooden Shjips — V.

Wooden Shjips V. Thrill Jockey   The mighty Wooden Shjips have returned to port, with their fifth full-length, appropriately entitled V.  Wooden Shjips are a stoner-rock band from San Francisco and have consistently turned out brilliantly droning albums since 2007.  If you don’t like the stoner-rock label (which I don’t), I can dig into my Music Critic Bag of Tricks™ and provide the other, alternative labels: psychadaelic rock; drone rock; experimental rock; minimalist rock.  In other words, labels are kinda bullshit.  But we already  know this. V. is more of the same from Wooden Shjips (in case you’re wondering, that’s...

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Letter to America

Come From Away is one of the hottest tickets on Broadway. It was nominated for seven Tony awards last year and won the prize for Best Direction of a Musical. A film adaptation is in the works. The musical tells the story of what happened when 38 airliners en-route to and from the United States were forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland when American air traffic was grounded following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The people of Gander welcomed the passengers and crews – mostly Americans – with open arms. It is a story of a shared humanity, of the...

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Doug Ford: Ontario’s Populist

Canada is beside itself with the election of Doug Ford as the Premier of Ontario.  Ford, the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, is not really all that qualified to be premier, I must say.  The lynchpin of his campaign was a promise of $1 beer, and the rest was based on a basic message that the government of Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne was stupid.  Well, he didn’t exactly say that, but it was pretty much his message.  The centre and left in Ontario and around Canada has been wringing its hands as Donald Trump Lite has...

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Ray Lamontagne — Part of the Light

Ray Lamontagne Part of the Light RCA Records Ray Lamontagne is a kind of surprising rock star.  He comes from a folkie background, but sometime around his brilliant 2014 album, Supernova, he abandoned his folk singer ways (to be fair, this was coming on his 2010 album, God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise) and delved into psychadaelia, rock’n’roll, and, well, to borrow from the NME in England, God-Like Genius.  Lamontagne not only writes a wicked hook, he’s got this world-weary dusty voice, and his music sounds like it comes from this dream-world, where, I have to say, life is better.  Lamontagne is...

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