THE MUSIC OF Sarnia-born folk artist Dave Russell is nothing but a big helping of classic Canadiana—only better. Abandoning the archetypal lyricism and overly simplistic strumming of a tired genre, Russell takes hints from folk-pop, roots, country, and rock ‘n roll to breathe new life into his obviously Ontario-inspired work. Russell’s lyrics are unparalleled and poetic, particularly on his song the “Phadra Phadra” and award-nominated track “Rocking Chair”. Though the full impact of Russell’s sound is best on his solo EP, Unnatural Disaster, his live recordings with band The Precious Stones would be a mistake to miss out on.
Sounds like: A mix between Jason Collett and Neil Young.
Check it out: Russell’s music can be heard at Youtube.com/daverussellmusic.
UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA master’s student Andrew Smith has taken an interesting approach to understanding our animal friends. Smith has developed a series of abstract paintings through which he seeks to convey “an open situation with a viewer … that brings the communicative potential of painting into a shared situation.” Smith’s art is extremely focused on both the experience of the animal (or insects in the case of his painting “Hive House”) and that of the audience. Inviting the interpretation of his viewers, Smith uses painting to communicate his own interpretation and invites the same from those who admire his works.
Looks like: A simplified version of Jackson Pollock.
Check it out: Smith’s work will be exhibited at the City Hall Art Gallery from Sept. 1 to Oct. 1.