Boxcar Boys impress with jazz effort

The Boxcar Boys - Cicada Ball

Everyone knows that Canada is world-renowned for its jazz scene. What? Well, after listening to The Boxcar Boys it should be.

The band consists of six accomplished musicians. Playing the clarinet, accordion, fiddle, trombone, and trumpet, just to name a few, some amazing old time jazz, folk, and klezmer music is created.

As with their first two lauded discs, “Don’t Be Blue” and “Rye Whiskey”, this new effort will no doubt equal or surpass the same critical acclaim.

“Cicada Ball” boasts a generous mix of vocal and instrumental tunes. It’s the latter that I preferred.

The instrumental fiddle tune “Wally On The Run” harkens back to time when smoking a corncob pipe was in fashion. The title track “Cicada Ball” transports you vividly to the streets of New Orleans, and is the album’s high point. The inventive mix of accordion, clarinet and trumpet will make you a jazz believer.

“Old Tracks” with its sultry vocals, is a delightful throwback to the simpler days of jazz.

“Old Fashioned Love” a real toe tapper, features the accordion and clarinet played to perfection.

“That’s A Party” is an up tempo jazz number that’s at home in either a New Orleans’ dive or a cantina in a popular George Lucas film.

Due to the various genres of music The Boxcar Boys perform, they are popular act at many types of festivals, from folk, to jazz, to Klezmer.

I really enjoyed this album and was very impressed by their incredible musicianship.

The Boxcar Boys are;

John David Williams - Clarinet, Harmonica

Laura C Bates - Fiddle

Karl Silveira - Trombone

Kelsey McNulty - Accordion

Justin Ruppel - Washboard

Nicolas Buligan - Tuba, Trumpet

I say try it and buy it!

—Doug Kerr

Oh Suzanna “Namedropper”

Oh Suzanna is the stage name of Canadian singer songwriter Suzy Ungerleider. Unlike her previous five albums, for this project Ungerleider left the songwriting to some very famous Canadians.

Ungerleider asked fourteen songwriters including, Jim Cuddy, Joel Plaskett, Luke Doucet, Melissa McClelland and Ron Sexsmith, just to name a few, to pen some songs specifically for this project. The result is pure magic.

Even with the diverse group of songwriters, Suzy somehow makes them work. The songs all sound like they belong together, just like a dysfunctional family at dinner simultaneously reaching for the potatoes.

The opening song “Oregon” written by her co-producer and touring buddy Jim Bryson brilliantly begins the 14-song journey.

The Ron Sexsmith number, “Wait Until The Sun Comes Up” supposedly written in a matter of minutes is a definite highlight.

The amusing little ditty “Mozart For The Cat” written by Melissa McClelland, received the most airplay of the bunch and radiantly shows off Ungerleider’s vocal versatility.

From the pop infused “Into My Arms” to the jazz influenced “This Guy” the main attraction on this album is by far Ungerleider’s voice. Her pellucid vocals are evident on the heartbreakingly beautiful “Dying Light” written by Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo fame. It’s a song that will grab onto your heart and won’t let go until your tears allow it to.

This is one of the year’s best albums and I highly recommend it. It is available now on ITunes or at

The indie music scene in Canada is thriving at the moment, and because of artists like Oh Susanna, it assuredly will for many years to come.

—Doug Kerr

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