A brief history of David Bradstreet
as he releases Best Foot Forward
by Jan Vanderhorst July 18, 2020
ROOTS MUSIC CANADA
Jan Vanderhorst hosts Just Us Folk, on CKPC, Brantford.
You can catch him Saturdays from 3 to 5 p.m and Sundays from 9 to 11 a.m.
“When we were doing those early big releases (A&M Records SP9026 S9032), we were paying hundreds of dollars an hour (for studio time). Just taking a break to have a hamburger used to cost me three or four hundred bucks!”
For veteran singer-songwriter David Bradstreet, having your own recording studio has many benefits. And not just financial.
“I think it really benefits performance as well”, he said. “The caveat my old pal Danny Lanois (had) was, ‘Just go where the music feels good to play.’ The music you’re going to be recording is music that’s being played confidently and in a relaxed manner without the pressure of high bucks. I’ve always kinda liked that concept, and it certainly feels good to play in my Sunroom Studio.”
That good feeling has served David well in a career dating back to the early 70s. His self-titled album on A&M Records garnered him the 1977 Juno Award for Best New Male Vocalist, along with three SOCAN Awards for his songs, “Renaissance,” “One Way Or Another” and “Long Long Road.”
After a second album with A&M, more records followed on David’s own Street Record” label.
He made a name for himself as a producer for other artists, including Jane Siberry, and found success as producer/composer/engineer for a number of Solitudes albums, which added sounds of nature recorded by Dan Gibson to David’s original music.
What followed were many albums sold and multiple Juno nominations.
David further expanded his music catalogue with another label of his, TheraMusic, which released the music therapy albums, TheraSleep and TheraCalm.
In 2006, David’s album Lifelines was produced by Jason Fowler with David returning the favour by producing Jason’s 2009 album, Lumens Of Light.
Just released this summer is Best Foot Forward, what David Bradstreet calls his “isolation project.”
“Even at this stage (of my career), I really try to play a fair amount during the day, just to keep myself in fine fettle. But I had all these songs I hadn’t recorded yet, and I just felt the need to do it. I’ve got a full recording studio here, so I thought, ‘Why not?’” I started thinking, “Well, I’ll just demo a bunch of these songs, and (afterwards) I thought, ‘these aren’t bad!'”
“So I got in touch with my old pal Carl Keesee [an old bandmate from the group, Lazarus]. Carl’s been on every album except one that I’ve done, and he was keen to do it. He has a studio down in Austin, TX. So, I sent him the tracks. He played bass and sent them back to me. Then my buddy, John Herberman, put down piano on a couple of tracks as well. I did the acoustic guitars, all the vocals and that kind of stuff, and by the time I got to the end of it, I kind of thought, ‘You know, I’m just gonna release this!’ Because it’s been a long time since the last release, and I was very happy with the performance and the sound of everything.”
The album’s title song, “Best Foot Forward,” is an homage to David Bradstreet’s father and all those who fought in the Second World War.
“My father was a paratrooper, and he fought in the Battle of Monte Cassino (in Italy). They got there in November (1943). They broke through in May (1944). So for all that time, all these young guys were getting cut down by enemy fire. And here’s my dad trying to run up the hill! He didn’t talk much about his efforts in the Second World War, except that I knew he was a tough guy. The training to be part of the original SAS (Special Air Service commando force) was unbelievable, jumping out of planes! I thought at this stage, I really wanted to honour that memory.
“My friends and I have always sort of said, ‘We got away with it. We didn’t have to go and do anything like that!’ So, we owe a lot to those young men that went over and did that. There were thousands of casualties for that one hill, and it makes you really realize the futility of war. It was absolutely ridiculous that we saw the rise of fascism in Germany, Italy and Spain, and sadly, we’re seeing a little bit of that happening now. So that was the reason I wanted to do it. We’ve gone through this already. We shouldn’t have to go through this again.”
Given that the title song is so heavy content-wise, David looked to the other songs for some balance.
“For me, this is a record that’s got a lot of different attitudes on it.,” he said. “I wanted a little bit of light-hearted stuff in this (album). I’m very happy with the result I have to say.”
While the Covid-19 pandemic may have curtailed David’s live performances, it hasn’t slowed down his work.
from Doug McArthur / FaceBook
Fellow songwriter and longtime friend
"Great fun over the last couple of afternoons basking in the familiar warmth of David Bradstreet on his latest CD: "Best Foot Forward".
Clarity and strength shine through on these simple arrangements of excellent songs, accompanied by Carl Keesee on bass and John Herberman on piano.
I've been listening to Dave for a long time - we met back in days of yore and shared many adventures over the years."
David Bradstreet on CIUT
by Steve Fruitman, 33.45.78 - April 16, 2019
"Bradstreet is gifted with a big voice, like Jim Morrison: very distinct and resonant. Although born in the UK, he was raised in Oakville, Ontario where he began his music career in the 1960s. When up and rising singer Valdy covered his song “Renaissance” in 1974, Bradstreet watched as the song hit the top of the charts. He’s worked as a musician, producer, songwriter, recording jingles, film soundtracks. In short, he knows how to survive in the music biz. He released 3 vinyl albums between 1976 and 1980. Long time associate, Carl Keesee, has been playing bass for Bradstreet ever since. Torpedoes in the Mainstream (Black & White, Street Records 1980) sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday."
David Bradstreet with Steve Abrams
by BRIAN HAY, Sarnia - June 11, 2016
David Bradstreet's sense of humour was obvious from the outset. A little off-colour, slightly risque, laced with more than passing eye for the absurd and completely engaging are all descriptions that fit. He put that and his ability as a storyteller to good use in a way that had the audience captivated before even a note was played. The first strains of the guitar and his singing completed the picture of a musical illustrator and it was an image that continued validating itself even though not everything went as planned.
The vocal, instrumental and literary facets in Bradstreet's delivery combine to an extraordinary degree. His singing and guitar work modulate together beautifully. Both are commanding and expressive, very powerful, yet gentle and entirely free from any underlying sense of aggression. Narrative flow, whether using his own lyrics or words by other writers, comes through with the insider's perspective only an author can have. The ease with which he presented himself extended to the audience and invited them into the circle at the same time. The foundation bass guitarist Steve Abrams created seemed almost imperceptible on the surface. As the evening progressed though it was clear that his tones, though subdued, carried the melody, reinforced time signatures and and filled spaces left by David. They meshed perfectly.
An inspired performance of 'Renaissance' that had the audience singing along at the end of the first set was just one highlight in an evening filled with many. Others included haunting renditions of 'Apparition' and the stunningly beautiful 'Sea Fever'. The music for that song, which he set to a poem by John Masefield, illustrated the writer's sense Bradstreet brings to works other than his own magnificently. The gentle, yet compellingly powerful intensity conveyed by 'Farther to Fall' and the poignance of 'The Travelling Ones' made both songs ravishingly magnetic. An anecdote about David's "Penguin Husband" was hilarious to the point of being side splitting as was the irony in the commentary about the love song that featured George being bumped off. The pair ran into some problems though.
A bit of water that was accidentally spilled on David's guitar caused static through the PA that wouldn't clear up. They eliminated it by placing a mic near his guitar and, but for one episode (where another try with the amp caused noises that would have been great in Blazing Saddles), the pair never looked back. Those issues provided a great example of how a good artist can improvise and build on unfortunate situations though. Bradstreet's sense of humour drew the audience into his corner immediately and (quite likely) increased their degree of attentiveness for the entire show.
If anything the effect of how he dealt with the trouble strengthened the great vibe Bradstreet had established with the audience. That the problem forced changes in their set was a given but they wouldn't have been noticed had David himself not mentioned them. The sense of narrative flow shown by referencing previous comments and keeping jokes running maintained a the cohesive thread he crafted for the show brilliantly. Most importantly, what he projected to the crowd retained its warmth even though he was clearly (and justifiably) frustrated.
It was a show that anybody who was there will remember fondly for all the right reasons.
A side note: I picked up his CD 'Bradstreet and Keesee' at the show last night because it featured a number of pieces that I loved while hearing them being played live. This is great, and as close to having him playing in one's living room as is imaginable. It gets an unconditional recommendation.
David Bradstreet at Winterfolk
by ERIC THOM on APRIL 9, 2014
in PERFORMANCE, REVIEWS
ROOTS MUSIC CANADA
Black Swan (February 15th, 2014)
Each of us carries specific music markers – music that triggers certain memories or helps to recall events in our lives – personal revelations that stand out in our personal pantheons of music-listening mirth. For me, it’s Jeff Beck’s guitar part in “Over Under Sideways Down” or the authoritative muscle behind Lightfoot’s acoustic guitar as it blasts its way through his “Canadian Railway Trilogy”; the distinctive ring of Roger McGuinn’s Rickenbacker guitar on “Eight Miles High” or Stan Rogers’ hair-raising, a capella treatment of “Northwest Passage” – countless personal touchstones that cut through the din. Each has the restorative power of rekindling thoughts of where you were and what you were doing when each was committed to memory.
I have another distinctly Canadian example which shines brightly. I was accompanied through my formative university years by a pair of David Bradstreet albums – part of a permanent playlist while working in the record shops of yesteryear – his self-titled debut and Dreaming in Colour. As familiar as spring and fall, they became an ongoing soundtrack which has forever locked in those early life experiences which will remain fond recollections in perpetuity. And then, as a favoured artist, I lost him. His albums vanished from my ongoing repertoire as I ventured into other musical genres, back and forth. I never really forgot David Bradstreet – I just “changed the channel” over the years. Records gave way to CDs and radio formats turned their back on music in favour of big business while the entire culture of the record store – and that of a faithful, buying public – morphed into something else.
Minding my business one day, I heard it – “one way or the other, Maggie, we’ll pull through…” and it all came flooding back. Canadian bedrock. Mining his own singer-songwriting territory, Bradstreet was no more straight-ahead folk artist than Fleetwood Mac was rock. Armed with the perfect voice, blessed with an elastic range and always accompanying himself with an elaborate, distinctly neo-classical guitar sound, Bradstreet’s debut was less a solo venture than it was a collaboration of like-minded artists that, quite remarkably – some 37 years later – hasn’t met the same fate as most of the era’s music. In fact, it has aged rather well, aloft on the backs of strong songs, deft arrangements, Bradstreet’s inimitable voice and dazzling guitar work. Less a solitary statement than a full band concept, songs like the too-short yet unforgettable “Intro,” setting up the aforementioned “One Way Or Another” proved a skillful collision of talents, ripe with piano, mandolin, guitar, organ, strings and full harmonies (featuring no less than Jerry Marotta on drums and soon-to-be-more-famous, Bob Mann, on lead guitar). At its core, however, is Bradstreet’s vocal and guitar. From the still-stunning “Long Long Road” to the infectious “Beresford Street”, Bradstreet proved a force to be reckoned with – earning a Juno for Best New Male Vocalist in ‘77. Many believe Valdy’s “Renaissance” is his masterwork. In fact, it was only on loan from Bradstreet’s body of already impressive material. Cue the intricate guitar intro to “Waiting This Long” and you’d think Segovia, himself, was on loan for the sessions.
It explains why Bradstreet’s work has proven so ageless. Quality. Focus. Talent. At the core of it is a man, his voice and his guitar – which explains why his work has so much validity to this day. His is a voice which is, to me, Canuck bedrock and his mercurial guitar-playing has become even more central to his music. So, when he sings, he always sounds familiar. Familiar special. And when he picks up his Mississippi-birthed Composite Acoustics OX guitar, the magic happens as it always did – except better. A zillion live shows later, today’s David Bradstreet is a master of his skills – the voice, deeper and more richly seasoned in all the right places – and as range-friendly as ever; his fingerstyle guitar-playing abilities simply jaw-dropping in their complexity and overall tone – both parts together creating an hypnotic aural weave of intricate, satisfying parts.
At this year’s Winterfolk, I was fortunate to be front and centre to bear witness to “what the old man had left.” Imagine my surprise. As if by fate, he opened with “One Way Or Another” from his debut, followed by the truly haunting “Apparition.” Penned with Robert Priest, Bradstreet’s “Imagine Me Home” is on par with the best work he’s ever done, with a drop-dead hook, plenty of range to challenge his sturdy vocals and guitar work that – in a word – dances. A blend of simple to complex, it’s a Nashville-bound piece, found on his ‘06 Lifelines album, that will likely prove impossible to perform for anyone other than its originator. An obscure Moe Ewart song, “Blues Is Like Shoes” followed, proving a great vehicle for Bradstreet’s resonant voice, on the heels of an intimate song dedicated to his folks – “The Travelling Ones” – and one of the evening’s highlights. It’s his boyhood saga, telling of his parents emigrating from Britain, bringing their young son to Canada in ’56 (found on his release with bassist Carl Keesee, 08/20/10).
One of the secret ingredients in a live Bradstreet show is the unexpected storytelling that closes each song or sets up the next. A hilarious tale of a sidebar trip to Antartica and a chance meeting with a lonely penguin proved suitable introduction to “Storm Comes” (from Renaissance, ’98). Beginning with what seemed an Indian chant, the song builds in strength matched to its thunderous guitar chords, working with the rhythms of Bradstreet’s robust vocal – another head-turning performance. The title track from “Lifelines” followed – an uptempo, blues-hued track chronicling the difficulties of leaving home and coming of age in current times – an epic song building on sizeable thoughts. Closing a criminally short set (the first slot of a bill with Lynn Miles, Ron Hynes and Jack de Keyser), Bradstreet reached out to a John Martyn track – “May You Never,” inducing the full house into an animated singalong, making the most of the song’s positive message and its crowd-friendly chorus. This set would prove very hard to beat, serving as a personal reminder to never let a favourite artist get lost again. Ever.
Whatever he plans on doing next – whether it’s producing a new prodigy like the young Mira Meikle, an older prodigy like Robert Priest or scoring yet another Juno-award-winning instrumental album in the name of therapeutic care, I’ll be there.
Robert Reid, Kitchener-Waterloo Record staff
Tue Mar 05 2013 16:12:00
Folk veterans return to the Registry
Anyone with even passing knowledge of the Canadian singer/songwriter pantheon will recognize David Bradstreet and Brent Titcomb. Bradstreet and Titcomb emerged on the Canadian music scene in the early 1970s during an explosion of acoustic music in coffeehouses and music festivals that blossomed across the country with the fecundity of purple loosestrife.
The pair of songwriters debuted at Folk Night at the Registry two years ago when they shared the stage with fellow artists who played the southwestern Ontario folk circuit in the ’70s including David Woodhead, Paul Mills, Rick Taylor, Bob Burchill and Doug McArthur. All were regulars at London’s Smale’s Pace and Change of Pace.
Bradstreet and Titcomb return to the Registry on Saturday to perform with Toronto guitar ace Jason Fowler, who Bradstreet describes as “a little brother.” Interestingly Bradstreet and Titcomb both wrote songs early in their careers that have endured. Titcomb’s Sing High, Sing Low, a folk anthem recalling the period’s optimism, has been recorded by many artists including Anne Murray. Bradstreet’s Renaissance, a touching waltz about the endurance of love despite the vicissitudes of life, remains one of the best songs ever written by a Canadian. It was a hit for Valdy and it secured Bradstreet a deal with A&M, a major American record label at the time. Bradstreet has written a number of fine songs over the years, but none have resonated with the emotional depth and power of the song he wrote in about 10 minutes. Although written as a tribute to his mother and father, Bradstreet’s long marriage to Brenda, who he met in London in the ’70s, embodies the song’s message of lasting love through thick and thin. “I remember a songwriter at the Grammys once observing that a song that took 10 minutes to write was based on a lifetime of experience. That pretty much sums up Renaissance. “It was a gift at the time, from where I’m not sure,” he adds. “I’m grateful how it captures a moment in a songwriter’s life in which pure thought and emotion are crystallized.”
The recipient of a 1977 Juno for Best New Artist, Bradstreet is more than a singer/songwriter with six solo albums and three SOCAN song awards to his credit for Renaissance, One Way or Another and Long, Long Road. He garnered three Juno nominations as a composer, producer and arranger of instrumental albums in Dan Gibson’s Solitudes series and two Gemini nominations for film scores, among other accolades. He produced albums for the late Colleen Peterson, Jane Siberry, Nancy Simmonds and poet/musician Robert Priest, among others. He produced Fowler’s Lumens of Light. Bradstreet enjoys working with younger artists. “It’s nice to pass along things you picked up along the way. That’s what producing is all about. ”He is proud of the healing, instrumental albums he composed and produced on his own TheraMusic label — including TheraSleep and TheraCalm — utilizing brainwave research at the University of Toronto. “It’s exciting because it combines music with medicine. And it really does work. ”Bradstreet recorded half a dozen Solitudes albums between 1997 and 2000 including Whispering Woods and Mountain Sunrise. His work in the recording studio reflected his love of nature. He is an avid hiker who walks portions of the Bruce Trail and Toronto’s Leslie Spit every week. He also built a cabin by hand on Georgian Bay with the help of one other friend. Bradstreet spends most days in the studio — “I love the process,” he confirms. In the near future he will tour British Columbia and play a round of Toronto dates. Another Smale’s Pace reunion is planned for London. “I enjoy continuing doing what I’ve always done,” he affirms.
email@example.com. Bradstreet, Titcomb & FowlerFolk Night at the Registry8 p.m. Saturday (March 9)Tickets ($19 advance, $20 at the door) available at the Centre in the Square box office at 519-578-1570 or online at www.centre-square.com
“08.20.10 - Bradstreet & Keesee"
Review by Andrew Greenhalgh - December 31, 2010
Rating: **** 4 Stars (out of 5)
“Oh, the times they are a’changin’.” Thus sang folk legend Bob Dylan decades ago, and the truth of it holds, no matter which way you parse it. Yet, for some, the times aren’t so different from what they once were, as they hold to the old ways while gently moving forward into the future. Such is the case with singer/songwriter David Bradstreet and bassist Carl Keesee on their recent release, 08.20.10. Bradstreet and Keesee go back a ways, having been members of the Woodstock band Lazarus and Lazarus II, and having formed a lifelong musical friendship there. Their friendship has spanned years, with Keesee residing in Canada as part of Bradstreet’s band before eventually settling in Austin, Texas. Now, the two have reunited for a folk music delight, bringing nine songs, some old and some new, to life once again.
“Gifts” is the first track, and is a blast from the past as it was a lost track of Bradstreet’s from 1976. Rediscovered when a fan sent a recording of an old show that featured the track, it showcases some of the lesser lyrics on the album while still bringing Bradstreet’s warm vocals to bear against the acoustic background. Similarly, “No Place Like Home” hails from yesteryear and is a chill homage to the great old venues that once hosted these two. With a near country feel reminiscent of a really laid back Waylon Jennings, it’s an album highlight. “Same Love” blasts the two into the new millennium with a melancholy tale of love. The lyricism is warm and glowing (“It’s been the same love/For thirty years and counting/We’re supposed to be over the hill/But as I look out of the window/And see the hill still shining there/You know that I’d marry you still”) and is accented solidly by the arrangement.
“The Traveling Ones” picks the pace up with some finger picking guitar as does “Sea Fever,” a classic folk song with charging guitars and lyrics from poet John Masefield. These two tracks provide the only real sonic shift on the album and find themselves very welcome. Frankly, a few more like it wouldn’t have hurt, to help showcase both artist’s range and to break up an occasional feeling of sonic monotony. Yet that’s not to say that the remainder of the album is unworthy; quite the contrary. The country-flavored “Space of Two” is another album highlight, Bradstreet’s voice taking on a bit of rasp that really works here, inspired by a great lyric, “‘Cause there’s something we can measure / by the echoes of our hearts, / and the space between the two of us / can never drift apart”. Powerful and poignant.
“Nowhere Anywhere” provides another poetic collaboration, this time with Canadian poet Robert Priest, while “Rather Than Love” taps into some minor chord sensibilities with great guitar work from the two artists and Bradstreet’s unique lyric, “In good we trust.” And “Farther to Fall” is a glowing folk homage to the songwriter’s heroes, as he says in the liner notes, “the ones that reach up higher, and some who crash trying.” It’s a fairly conventional sentiment yet Bradstreet and Keesee sell it well here.
Bradstreet and Keesee’s 08.20.10 will not have much crossover or mainstream potential. These guys are folk singer/songwriters through and through. Yet, for those in the market for quality music in that genre will be well suited to consider the music of these two artists, despite the occasional hiccup here and there. A little older, a little wiser, and, one may very well say, just that much talented as well.
Ashern’s Home Routes delights intimate audience
Posted By Heather Robbins, Nov 5/09
Those lucky enough to get their Home Route season tickets for performances at Tim and Jean Cameron's Ashern home will be treated to six intimate musical evenings from now until April."I read about Home Routes in my CAA magazine last spring and thought it would be something we would like to explore," said Cameron. "We were approved by the group and included in the 2009-10 line-up. We'll host six concerts."The Camerons held their first show Sept. 24 with Juno award winning Toronto singer songwriter David Bradstreet."He's probably best known for his song made famous by Valdy, Renaissance ('Let's dance the old dance once more.')," said Cameron. "He was fantastic. Performing his own songs with his excellent guitar playing kept the audience wanting more. In the intimacy of our living room, there isn't a bad seat to be found, great sightlines — and the sound was perfect. We had 44 guests that night. David mingled with us at the intermission, sold his CDs and got to know us. He said afterward he had never been in rural Manitoba before and he had such a good time he would like to do it again. We were his last stop in rural Manitoba, with two city gigs to finish off. His tour included Winnipeg, Boissevain, Carman, Neepawa, Onanole, Baldur, Brandon and a few others."
GOLDEN QUILL AWARD 2006
"Songwriting is a dedicated skill, and having honed that skill over three decades David Bradstreet continues to produce wonderful vignettes that are extremely enjoyable to listen to. But that’s not quite enough to be considered for the Golden Quill award. One also has to have written memorable songs, songs that linger in the mind, songs we can all go back to. Like Renaissance, a Valdy hit that he penned in the 1970s. He has done a mountain of work writing music and songs for TV and Films as well as for commercials."- Steve Fruitman, The 17th Annual Porcupine Awards - 2006
David Bradstreet - Lifelines"More Great Stuff - Music to Hear.
This independent CD is a mix of acoustic ballads, folk songs and jazz/blues-layered numbers recorded live in Toronto.”
Canadian Living, September, 2006
"David Bradstreet just keeps on getting better like fine wine!! His voice seems to be at it's best ever and he left them wanting more! He was not just a performer, he was an "entertainer" with the strength and presence to invite the audience to sing along for the occasion. Also - his new songs were very strong indeed!"
- Jim Marino, Freewheeling Folk Show / CFMU Annual Benefit Concert, 2003
"David Bradstreet is an engaging reminder of the best of 1970s acoustic folk-rock. It ("David Bradstreet A&M sp9026-CD") sounds surprisingly fresh 25 years later, and via the Internet, it has become a classy collectible."
- Greg Quill, Toronto Star, 2002
"It's interesting to hear Bradstreet in the late '90s. Though his songs haven't changed in theme or texture, it's easy to detect the influence his music has had on later artists like Jane Siberry, who in turn influenced current diva Sarah McLachlan. Bradstreet still plays guitar with a dexterity reminiscent of another jazz-reared folkie, Bruce Cockburn..."
- Craig MacInnis, Hamilton Spectator
"On a few rare occasions one hears a song that touches a chord and becomes instantly memorable. For this reviewer that occasion took place when I heard David Bradstreet perform Beresford Street (Concertina Man) at the Mariposa Folk Festival some years ago. It was simple, poignant and joyous. Enough to make you shed your jaded outlook, if only for a moment, and be transported back to childhood innocence. Without a doubt, a classic folk song in any era."
- David Bray, DABzine, July 2002
AllMusic Review by Aaron Badgley
Following the disappointing second album, Dreaming in Colour, David Bradstreet decided to not only co-produce it himself (Don Oriolo produced Dreaming in Colour) but also formed his own record company, Street Records, to release the album. This independence allowed Bradstreet to do what he does best, write and perform some brilliant folk tinged pop/rock songs. The fact that he named the album Black & White tips the listener off that this album is not as over-produced and overly complex as his second album. "Back to Basics" kicks the album off in fine style, and sets the grounding for the rest of the work. Bradstreet has the ability to write about life and life situations that is not condescending or trite. He is able to match this with beautiful tunes. This album is a brilliant mix of pathos and humour, much like life. Long time friend and collaborator Carl Keesee co-produced the album and also supplies some very tasteful bass playing throughout. In fact, Bradstreet and Keesee gathered together very talented people who are able to play very well together throughout the album. Jane Siberry makes her recording debut on this album, providing background vocals. All in all, a brilliant album. This is the album Bradstreet was waiting to make since first signing with A&M records. He finally had the freedom to do it, and the result is this great work.
AllMusic Review by Aaron Badgley
David Bradstreet returns to the world of pop music with a new CD after an absence of several years. He has been producing music during that time, but not in this format. And he has been missed. This is a somewhat difficult CD that requires several listenings in order to appreciate the fine art of the music. In terms of genres, it is not an easy album to categorize. "Renaissance" (which can be found on his debut album in a different form) is a lovely folk/waltz song aided by wonderful accordion playing. "No Turning Back" is a rock song, reminiscent of John Cale in both the music and Bradstreet's vocal styling. "Holding My Breath" has a somewhat jazzy feel. As different as the styles are, it works. The CD has a great musical flow and keeps the listener guessing, as well as interested. Bradstreet knows how to write terrific, thought-provoking lyrics and match them to beautiful, well-played melodies. Also worth noting is the overall sound of the CD. It is beautifully recorded, while still maintaining a welcoming warmth. Longtime collaborator Carl Keesee provides expert bass, and equally talented Al Crosscomplements him on drums. Longtime friend Jane Siberry (he co-produced and played on her debut album for his label Street Records) adds nice, subtle harmonies to the moving "I Just Walk Away." The CD ends with a short instrumental, which perhaps should have been longer, called "Oaklands." It nevertheless rounds the CD off nicely. This is the type of CD that allows listeners to discover something new with each listening. Highly recommended.
"There's a sense of calm that spreads through these songs. (They) range from the traditional ballad structure of Beresford Street to the more complex Renaissance to the evocative From Here I See with its almost filmic contrasts of elemental images of earth, sea and fire."
- Peter Goddard, The Toronto Star
"All I know is I listen the music and it makes me smile. I find comfortable spaces in the music and that makes me smile. The best advice I can offer is this: listen to Bradstreet's music."
- Tim Laing, CHUM-FM, Toronto
"David grabbed our attention and held it.
Sample the music at the Riverboat or buy it blind.
His is an album to keep."
- Wilder Penfield III, Toronto Sun.
"Bradstreet possesses a smooth, immensely musical tenor voice that's been sensibly augmented by crisp semi-acoustic arrangements and tasteful production."
- David Freeston, The Montreal Star
"His newer material has a sophistication and drive - there's more propulsion, more energy. And it looks good on him."
- Greg McMillan, Hamilton Spectator
"Bradstreet has put together an exceptional work. In voice, musicianship, writing, indeed, in all the elements that together make an album, Bradstreet has achieved a level few performers ever reach."
- Tim Whelan, Regina Leader Post
"Bravo Bradstreet" "There are lots of musicians around who are deserving of wider recognition but certainly none are more deserving than Toronto's David Bradstreet"
- Chris Cobb, Ottawa Citizen
"... one of the most potent breakaway albums ever..." ("David Bradstreet A&M)
- David Farrell, The Record
"Bradstreet has combined composing, arranging and lyric-writing skills of the highest order. The result is masterful."
- Randi Spires, The Ontarion
"...songs soft and low - with power"
- Richard Christy, Kingston Whig Standard
"It's Saturday night in Barrie and there's a rap on my basement apartment door. I open it and find an attractive bearded stranger standing there with a guitar case, casually dressed in khaki shorts, sandals and a t-shirt. While I ponder my good fortune (it is date night after all!) I realize this wandering minstrel is none other than Juno award-winning musician David Bradstreet arriving to perform for the Barrie Folk Society at my humble place of residence. I invite David in and he proceeds to set-up for this evening's performance. As he tunes his guitar and I cut vegetables, we spend the next half-hour chatting like old friends (somehow I don't remember him being this attractive when I saw him perform at the Eaglewood Folk Festival in Pefferlaw). As guests begin to arrive, David effortlessly slips into the role of doorman and greets everyone. The next two hours pass by quickly as he spellbinds the audience of 30 people with his wonderful music and humourous stories spanning a career of over 30 years in the music trade. During the intermission and after the concert, he mingles with the crowd and autographs CDs. Such is a typical evening at a house concert..."
- Elaine Murray, The Barrie Folk Society
BRADSTREET CLOSES SEASON - Wallaceburg News
Saturday night marked the final edition of the Wallaceburg and District Council for the Arts’ Glass Onion Folk Club for this year as Canadian singer/songwriter David Bradstreet took to the stage and delighted a crowd that came from as far away as Leamington, Chatham and Toronto to see one of Bradstreet’s rare live appearances.The Toronto folksinger was a staple on the Canadian folk scene during the 1970’s, culminating a rapid rise in popularity with a JUNO Award in the latter part of the decade. Since that time however, he has busied himself writing film scores and doing a variety of other projects. Only now is he starting to feel the urge to perform regularly again.Bradstreet was introduced by Glass Onion organizer John Gardiner and joked with the audience that the gig had been entirely arranged over the internet, causing him to wonder at one point whether there would really be a Glass Onion Folk Club or a John Gardiner.
Once he started to unwind on the guitar though, working his way through tunes from his past as well as new material, it was obvious that he remains a wonderful live performer, creating a warm, comfortable dialogue with his audience. It was obvious too, that the years have added much life experience to Bradstreet’s music, and there were touching and poignant moments about family and friends throughout the night. Indeed, his wife of 23 years, Brenda, had accompanied him for the trip, and he often looked in her direction near the back of the hall.The Glass Onion audience was enthusiastic and appreciative of Bradstreet’s relaxed style and wonderful melodies and coaxed him back to the stage for an encore with a standing ovation at the end of the night. He was also kept busy selling copies of his latest CD and signing autographs both at intermission and after the show.Gardiner was pleased with the night. “It was a great way to end the season” he said. “David Bradstreet was the consummate professional and really gave us a taste of that old coffeehouse flavour. It was an intimate and personal performance and that’s what the Glass Onion is all about.”
Folk night reunion concert ‘a dream come true’
By Robert Reid, Record staff
Sun Mar 13, 2011
Folk night reunion concert ‘a dream come true’
Folk Night at the Registry turned back the blankets of time on Saturday and invited the capacity crowd to curl up with seven performers who helped put acoustic music on the Canadian cultural map.
Series artistic director Jack Cole described the reunion concert as “a dream come true.”
Even for a dream, the gathering of singer/songwriters who emerged during the early 1970s was joyous, poignant and memorable.
Joining the performers on stage were the hospitable spirits of others who were part of the scene, but who passed on too young, including Stan Rogers, Willie P. Bennett, Colleen Peterson, Billie Hughes, Michael Lewis and Bob Carpenter, among others.
Barely out of their teens at the time, the artists were based in southern Ontario — specifically around two coffee houses: Smale’s Pace and later, Change of Pace in London, and the Black Swan in Stratford.
Now in their 60s, the artists represented the history, heritage and legacy of a period of transition when folk musicians made way for singer/songwriters.
It also was a time when Canadian literature, theatre and popular music came of age.
As good as it was to hear some of the signature songs of the era, the concert was more than a trip down memory lane in the company of musicians best remembered for what they did in the past rather than what they’re capable of doing now.
The artists, who at one point referred to themselves as “seven men without pants” (you had to be there to get the joke), confirmed they can still sing and can still play.
The extended first set spanned 90 minutes.
Bassist David Woodhead, a former member of Perth County Conspiracy who honed his chops playing with Rogers, opened with an instrumental composed by the late Oliver Schroer, appropriately called A Thousand Thank Yous.
He then did a new original instrumental on ukulele.
Brent Titcomb joined Woodhead on percussion, before picking up a borrowed guitar (he forgot his own) and delivering an original song and a song about friendship written by Carpenter.
Paul Mills, the first performer to appear at Smale’s Pace, was next.
Known in the ’70s as Curly Boy Stubbs when he played lead guitar for Rogers, Mills delivered his first song, a tribute called Clank Remembers, on Rogers’ 12-string.
He was joined by David Bradstreet on a novelty tune about “martinis with a twist.”
Mills, a Juno-winning producer, provided inspired backup on guitar, mandolin and banjo throughout the evening.
Rick Taylor demonstrated his prowess on acoustic and resonator guitars with an instrumental Smokey Mountain Devil and the swamp blues Blind Fiddler.
Doug McArthur was next with a solo offering of his own Don’t You Believe, followed by a reading of David Wiffen’s Drivin’ Wheel.
Former Perth County conspirator Bob Burchill delivered a trio of songs including the “hobo spiritual” Will I Ever Get to Heaven.
The set ended with Bradstreet singing Sea Fever and Renaissance, about the endurance of love that remains one of the best songs ever written by a Canadian.
The second set began with Woodhead offering an instrumental dedicated to Wendell Ferguson, followed by Titcomb’s Remains to Be Seen.
Mills paid tribute to Rogers again with the late songwriter’s Forty Five Years, another heartfelt song about the endurance of love.
Taylor followed with a nod to Bennett with Lace and Pretty Flowers.
“It was around 1975 when I met a man named Willie P. Bennett and he changed my life,” Taylor recalled by way of introduction.
McArthur served up his Boots and Saddles, a tribute to life on the road, followed by Burchill’s rendition of Peterson’s Sad Songs and Waltzes.
Mills and Bradstreet teamed up on Moe Ewart’s tender Blues Is Like Shoes.
Titcomb brought the concert to a rousing close with Sing High, Sing Low, a song that recalls the optimism of the ’70s recorded by Anne Murray among others.
The artists returned for an encore of Bradstreet’s No Place Like Home, his tribute to Smale’s Pace and to all the venues that extended a welcome mat to acoustic music during the halcyon ’70s.
Hats off to Cole who transformed a personal dream into a collective dream that bridged nearly half a century, recalling some of the songs that defined a time when most of the Registry’s capacity crowd were green in the spring of youth.
photo: Eric Thom