Lauded Wu-Tang MC rhymes about the ugliest ties that bind on his latest album, Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang. By Kyle Mullin for The Sacramento Press, Thursday April 28 2011
The teenage drug dealer slung a belt around his stocky waist and through the loops of his newly pressed khakis before tightening a necktie around his throat. In the streets below, a junkie who was all too similar to the young hustler’s crack clientele, wrapped his own belt around one of his track-marked arms. Both seemed to strangle themselves enough to make their veins pop. And neither saw any other way to escape.
“It was hard for me to get a (legit) job. I tried everything in my life. My moms made me put suits on and everything. I was just a loser,” said rapper and reformed hustler Raekwon, who will perform at Ace of Spades on May 1, of his humble beginnings in an exclusive telephone interview for The Sacramento Press. “Slingin’ crack was my way of survivin’, just to take care of myself in the best way.”
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Poet and siege survivor Goran Simic struggles with the emotional scars of his homelands’s gunfire. By Kyle Mullin By Kyle Mullin for Edmonton’s SEE Magazine, Thursday April 28 2011
Sarajevo was burning, and there seemed to be no way to stop it.
The bitter smoke left bookshop owner and budding wordsmith Goran Simic’s nostrils flaring as strongly as the sparks consuming what he considered to be the Bosnian capital’s chief landmark — The National Library.
“I think the library is a house of our memories, and it was somebody trying to kill our memories,” the now world renowned poet says of the Serbs that brought a siege upon his city in 1992 and shelled several buildings across town, including the library that sat a mere 300 metres from his house. The books inside smouldered until their embers snapped like when their spines had cracked upon first being opened and read. It was a burden that literally threatened to break every local writer’s back as they salvaged more than 500 pounds of those treasured volumes.
While Simic recruited friends to recoup the nation’s texts his own bookshop was looted. But that loss tore him toward inspiration — Simic soon realized he wanted to write his customers something far more compelling than a simple receipt.
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Ontario singer-songwriter brings his musical matrimony to New Brunswick. By Kyle Mullin for New Brunswick’s Telegraph Journal, Saturday April 23 2011
Royal Wood doesn’t sing to his audiences -he serenades them.
“It’s kind of like having a new relationship night after night,” he says, adding that the thrill of such wooing is rarely as romantic as it sounds.
“The only person I can depend on is myself in a show, because I don’t know where the audience will be when I get in front of them.”
His stabs at becoming an onstage Casanova for any music lover in earshot stopped short at the Cameron House in Toronto, where he committed himself to a year-long residency in 2006 and performed in front of the same mic Monday night after Monday night. His familiarity with those four walls and the patrons inside them became as intimate as the ballads he sang.
“That’s where I learned how not to take offence if someone is talking (while I’m playing)… and how to get a room engaged,” he says. “It’s where I learned how to bring the stage volume down to force people to listen, how to sort of carve out moments.”
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Heartland folkster harvests rurally rooted rhythms on current tour, upcoming album. By Kyle Mullin for Edmonton’s SEE Magazine, Thursday April 21 2011
After years of tilling fields ’til dusk, William Elliott Whitmore turned to his five strings over a decade ago to pluck new fruits from that labour, letting the land he worked on and worked with inspire him anew.
“I can’t farm commercially anymore because I’ve been on tour playin’ music,” he says in his simmering Iowa roasted drawl, about the family vocation he had to relinquish, adding that he still uses a good portion of that property to grow his own vegetables and hops for beer. “Bein’ a farmer and bein’ a musician, they each take all your time so I had to make a choice, but that definitely informs a lot about what I write about.”
The similarities don’t end there. As he turns his husky croon toward bitter southern fried lullabies about lost love, lone men’s shame, and whiskey justice, Whitmore will sometimes strum his banjo gently like a farmer sewing seeds, but more often than not he‘ll rip away at those frets as if he has to reap a harvest by the end of the next verse.
“I kind’ve approached my banjo playing not like a bluegrass player but in a Ramones style, kind of just hitting chords and letting that carry the tune and just singing my heart out,” he says of his blistering off kilter style. “I had a pretty isolated childhood, grew up on a farm out in the middle of nowhere and I didn’t have anyone else to play guitar with and sing with. So I tried to develop a sort of self contained style where it’s just me up there, tryin’ to sound like more people than I really am.”
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