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Amos Lee – Spirit Tour – Portland – Friday November 18

Amos Lee – Spirit Tour – Portland – truly one of the best experiences of my extraordinarily ordinary musical life.
I once heard him say in an interview that ‘I have the most unfamous – famous voice you will ever hear’ and that could not be closer to the truth. His set blends seamlessly from hit to hit with his newest songs already such a part of him.

Walked in expecting a ‘very acoustic show’ – (which I always love) but was blown away when this handsome dude walked on stage in his stylin’ ensemble and took the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall by storm.
He grabs you – grooves you – moves you – renews you and gently places you back down feeling dizzy after having been vaporized by his charm. Hey I say any guy who can snap his fingers – move his hips and sing like Amos – is a triple threat right there!

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He imprinted from the start, giving a shout out to his opening act the – ‘T Sisters’ whom he said are old friends and he appreciates their wholesome sincerity. That said so much about what was to come on this magical night, in a world so thirsty for these very things. The only shock value I found here was Amos’s cheeky demeanour, the kind that makes a girl blush because so much life runs through him.

I get so hooked on my favourite songs from the past that I am hesitant to embrace a new album – perhaps for fear that something new will change all that was – but his latest ‘Spirit’ is everything a heart could wish for.  Amos Lee songs draw you in to a place where you feel safe and warm and loved – ‘Spirit’ takes this place to a whole new level. Such a bonding moment when he raised his arms up and sang ‘let the spirit wash over me.’ It solidified everything his music makes you feel.

Adele has said ‘his voice blows her away’ and it’s so true – I’ve not come across another quite like him. What a bonus track to see him live – to experience his bright personality with the music you love so much. While breaking it down mid song – an enthusiastic ‘woot’ came from the crowd and he never missed a beat – just gave a quick nod with a mischevious ‘uh huh’ – which felt a true testament of engagement with his audience and affirmation – we are all in this together.

Ryan Anthony Massaro is a private person who has worked hard to honor the gift of music that has been bestowed upon him and Amos Lee has grown to be someone he can be very proud of.
He has proven that staying the course pays true and one can never underestimate the power of collecting hearts one beat at a time.

“Sometimes we forget who we’ve got – who they  are and who they are not.  There is so much more in love to black and white. Keep it loose child – but keep it tight .”

Amos Lee.

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Andrea Stefancikova – The Essence of a Woman Growing Strong

At 34 years old I have been told that I am too old – I need to be smaller – my hair should be better. It is only now in my thirties that I feel myself coming alive as a woman. I feel really sorry for the young girls starting out in these situations. Though things are improving with more people recognizing a healthier lifestyle we are still so far from being there.

ANDREA STEFANCIKOVA

A refreshing chat with Slovakian born actress/model Andrea Stefancikova

Currently living in Vancouver – well traveled with experiences of life – she has some exciting projects and a new book coming next year.
So nice to share a bond as women finding their way – and to hear Andrea’s honesty about the realities of the being a woman in this business, and how it feels to be pressured to be a ‘cookie cutter’ girl to remain relevant in an industry that would rather eat you alive than see you thrive.
Find out what she would like men to really know about her.
So much more to this girl behind the image and we look forward to sharing our journey of ‘Selfless’ with her.

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Bernie Taupin the Voice Behind Elton John

Today in 1973 music lovers fell in love with Elton John and ‘GoodBye Yellow Brick Road’ so it seemed fitting to learn more about the man behind the lyrics of some of music histories most notable songs.

“My favorite thing is coming up with titles. The majority of the songs I’ve ever written. I’ve always thought of the title before I’ve written the song.”

Elton John’s long-time song writing partner Bernie Taupin  was born in 1950 at Flatters Farmhouse in the southern part of Lincolnshire England. He was not a diligent student but showed an early flair for writing. His maternal grandfather a classics teacher and graduate of the University of Cambridge, his mother studied French Literature, his father a farmer.  They taught him an appreciation for nature and for literature and narrative poetry, both of which influenced his early lyrics.  At age 15, he left school and started work as a trainee in the print room of the local newspaper The Lincolnshire Standard with aspirations to be a journalist. He soon left and spent the rest of his teenage years hanging out with friends, hitchhiking the country roads to attend youth club dances in the surrounding villages, playing snooker in the Aston Arms Pub in Market Rasen and drinking. He had worked at several part-time, dead-end jobs when, at age 17, he answered the advertisement that eventually led to his collaboration with Elton John.

In 1967, Taupin answered an advertisement for talent placed in the New Musical Express by Liberty Records man Ray Williams who was searching for new talent. Elton John answered the same advert and although neither Bernie nor Elton passed the audition for Liberty Records, Ray Williams recognised their talents and put them in touch with each other. The pair have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date. The team took some time off from each other for a while between 1977 and 1979, while Taupin worked with other songwriters, and Rod Stewart, Cher, The Motels, John Waite, Starship and Alice Cooper all recorded Taupin’s songs.

Bernie’s unique blend of influences gave his early lyrics  a nostalgic romanticism that fit perfectly with the hippie sensibilities of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Taupin sometimes wrote about specific places in Lincolnshire. For example, ‘Grimsby’ or ‘Caribou’  was a tongue-in-cheek tribute to a nearby port town often visited by Taupin and his friends. More famously,’Saturday’s Alright For Fighting’ was inspired by Taupin’s experiences in the dance halls and pubs of his youth. More often he wrote in more general autobiographical terms, as in his reference to hitching rides home in “Country Comfort.” These autobiographical references to his rural upbringing continued after his departure for London and a life in show business, with songs such as ‘Honky Cat’, ‘Tell Me When The Whistle Blows’ and ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’, in which he thinks about “going back to my plough.”

Taupin’s most important influence was his interest in America’s Old West, Tumbleweed Connection found in recent songs such as ‘This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore’. When Taupin and Elton decided to write an autobiographical album in 1975, Taupin dubbed himself “The Brown Dirt Cowboy”, in contrast to Elton’s “Captain Fantastic.”

“Basically it takes me very little time to write a song. If I find myself taking more than an hour to do it I usually forget it, and try something else. I like to work quickly; I never like to waste any time. I never write half a song and come back to it later at all. It all has to be done at once. I lose interest if it doesn’t.”

The 1991 film documentary Two Rooms described the John/Taupin writing style, which involves Taupin writing the lyrics on his own and John then putting them to music, with no further interaction between the two. The process is still fundamentally the same, with John composing to Taupin’s words, but the two interact on songs far more today, with Taupin joining John in the studio as the songs are written and occasionally during recording sessions.

It has been 49 years of music collaboration for Bernie Taupin and Elton John and the world would not be the same with out the beautiful music they have made together.

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Cariboo Express – Making Music Count Across Western Canada

Who couldn’t find something to live for with Barney Bentall & the Legendary Hearts.

Music – such a powerful expression from above, and there is nothing more fulfilling than to watch it grow and infiltrate into the hearts and lives of those who need it most.

So nice to catch up with Barney this week to chat about Cariboo Express –  a talented ensemble that has been touring each November for more than a decade to make a difference with their gift of music.

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This is a one-of-a-kind variety show cast with renowned Canadian musicians, led by Canadian superstar Barney Bentall, along with Ridley Bent, Dustin Bentall, Kendel Carson, Matt Masters, Wendy Bird, various special guests and a backing band comprised of some of Canada’s finest musicians. Each of the core members have music careers of their own, but every November the group convenes to raise funds for various worthy charities in the spirit of song, community and giving back to society.

Cariboo Express has raised $850,000 to date, which is true testament to their vision of lending a hand where it may be needed most – and they are so very far from finished.

Fresh Independence is excited to take part in their Vancouver show Saturday November 26th at the Vogue Theatre on Granville Street.

Hope to see you there!

Cariboo Express Tour Dates

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