Guitar

She’s been poor, homeless and a ‘doormat.’ Now she’s a four-time Grammy nominee bound for Toronto

Nick Krewen Special to the Star January 8, 2020 Fear is either a paralyzer or a galvanizer, and no one knows that situation better than four-time Grammy nominee Yola, the current purveyor of big-voiced country soul. After wrestling with self-doubt for decades – and finally winning the battle with the release of her critically acclaimed debut solo offering Walk Through Fire, the Bristol, U.K.-based singer and songwriter refers to it…

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His father’s death taught him to stop trying so hard. Now Royal Wood is reaping the rewards.

By Nick Krewen Special to the Star November 30, 2019 On December 3, local singer and songwriter Royal Wood will be fulfilling a lifelong dream by headlining a show at Roy Thomson Hall. Actually, it’s a two-part aspiration, but he completed the first half a few years ago when he sold out Massey Hall. “It’s funny, I got shown a video a while back where I said I wanted to…


How Toronto’s master guitar maker brings a new instrument to life — and why she worries

By Nick Krewen Special to the Star October 02,  2019 “Whoo-oo! Would you look at that?” Pleased as punch, musician Stephen Fearing is leaning moon-eyed over an open case, cooing over his latest custom-built, flat-top, six-stringed guitar, its European Spruce surface kissed by the slightest toasted-sunburst finish and adorned with a mother-of-pearl replica of Fearing’s signature on its fingerboard. Linda Manzer, the world-renown luthier who spent more than a year crafting…


Ariana Gillis: Hamilton singer-songwriter spent years overcoming a concussion and her new album is a triumphant comeback

On the Buddy Miller-produced The Maze, her first album in six years, Ariana Gillis has finally found her sound. This may not seem like such a big deal, but for a time, there was a question whether the 28-year-old singer-songwriter from Hamilton, Ontario, would ever play any of her riveting, self-described “Canadiana Americana; edgy pop with steel guitars” again due to a debilitating accident she suffered four years ago. “We…


‘Unknown band’ is opening for Cher in Toronto — but their leader is not worried

Nick Krewen Special to the Star April 18, 2019 Nile Rodgers is discovering during the Cher opening slot that Chic’s relative anonymity is working to his advantage. “We’re an unknown band opening for a big star,” he says over the line from New York. “We walk out onstage — most people don’t know who we are — but by the end of the show they go, ‘Jesus Christ, I know…