HIGHLIGHTS: Tia Brazda Album Release / Beaches Jazz Streetfest /Story of TO in Seven Stops / Elvisfest / Grease Sing-A-Long / Tiki in the Moonlight / Vintage Spectacular Dance / Roncy & Bellwoods Flea / Chronologic / Toronto Vintage Bicycle Show / Pinups n Grease / THURSDAY, July 23rd: 12p – Beaches Jazz Fest www.beachesjazz.com 6pm - Jazz night with Chris Cawthray's DO! at Evergreen Brickworks 6.3p – Heritage Toronto Walk: Story of the City in Seven Stops (must register for location) 7pm - Tia Brazda Album release party at Lula Lounge 7pm – Beaches Jazz Fest: STREETFEST at Queen St E from Woodbine to Beech 7pm - Human Highway (1982) at The Royal Cinema - Toronto 8pm – Live Blues and Dancing: Don River Blues Band at Monarchs Pub 9pm – Grease Movie Sing-A-Long at Lower Ossington Theatre 9pm - Spoons (80s) at Horseshoe Tavern 10p - DJ Vivs (45s/vintage vinyl) at Sweaty Betty's FRIDAY, July 24th: 12p – Beaches Jazz Fest www.beachesjazz.com 3pm – Big Band Stage at Woodbine Park 6pm – Rockabilly with DJ Catwoman CIUT 89.5 FM 7pm – High Society Cabaret: A Tiki in the Moonlight at Parlour 7pm - The Hot Sardines at CIBC Pan Am Park (CNE grounds) 7pm – Beaches Jazz Fest: STREETFEST at Queen St E from Woodbine to Beech 7.3p - Vintage Spectacular Dance (40s swing) with GTA Swing Band at Gladstone Hotel 8pm - BitterSuite Jazz band at Poutiniville 9pm – Record Party with DJ I Hate You Rob (60s/70s) at Castro's Lounge 9pm - Roar (1981) at Royal Cinema 10p - Cool Jazz After Party at Gladstone Hotel
SATURDAY, July 25th: 10a – Roncy Flea at 240 Roncesvalles Ave 11a - Bellwoods Flea: Summer Series at 824 Dundas W 12p – Beaches Jazz Fest www.beachesjazz.com 12p – Big Band Stage at Woodbine Park 3pm - Vinyl from the Crypt (vintagevinyl) on CIUT 89.5 FM 4pm - Happy Pals (jazz) at Grossman's Tavern 6pm – The Cosmotones (rockabilly) at Castro’s Lounge 7pm – Beaches Jazz Fest: STREETFEST at Queen St E from Woodbine to Beech 7pm – Saturday Night Swing Toronto Lindy Hop Theme Night: Summer Picnic at Dovercourt House 10p - Shake, Rattle andRoll (50s/60s) at Clintons 10p - Shake-A-Tail (50s/60s) at Sneaky Dee's 10p - Chronologic at The Garrison
NOTABLE OUTER GTA: Thurs, July 23, 12p - Rockin The Waterfront Cruise Nights (classic cars +) at Pier 4 Park (Hamilton) Thurs-Sun, July 23-26 - Collingwood Elvis Festivalwww.collingwoodelvisfestival.com Fri-Sun, July 24-26, 12pm - WHEELS on the BAY (classic cars) at Centennial Park (Trenton) Sat, July 25, 11.3a - Vintage Streetcars and Trollies Rides at Halton County Radial Railway Sat, July 25, 10am - Classics in the Park (classic cars) at Heritage Park (Barrie) Sat, July 25, 7pm - Tiki Teasers at Burlesque Beach Venue Music Hall (Windsor) Sun, July 26, 7am – Midsummer Antiques and Vintage at ODAS Park (Bass Lake/Orillia) Every Thursday, 7pm – The Redline Rockabilly Show on 103.7 CFBU Every Friday, 7pm – Rock n Roll Riot on 97.7 The Beach (Wasaga) Every Friday, 8pm – TheRockabilly Room on 100.3 CKMS (Kitchener)
HIGHLIGHTS: TVS Does the Gladstone Flea! / Beaches Jazz Festival / Electro Swing ft Big Rude Jake / Mary Poppins / Shakin Summer Soiree / Swingin Blackjacks / Git Down - Bad News - Beam Me Up Dance Parties/ Vintage Ink Generations / Parkdale Flea / Etiquette of Downton Abbey / Buster Keaton Silent Film Fest
SATURDAY, July 11th: 3pm - Vinyl from the Crypt (vintage vinyl) on CIUT 89.5 FM 4pm – Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) at The Royal Cinema 4pm - Happy Pals (jazz) at Grossman's Tavern 6pm – The Cosmotones (rockabilly) at Castro’s Lounge 7pm – Saturday Night Swing: Up Jumped Swing at Dovercourt House 7pm – Linda Carone Sings (jazz/blues) at White Elephant 7.3p - Alias Dance Project: Animating Historic Spaces at Zion Schoolhouse 8pm – Murder at 120: 1920s Speakeasy at Club 120 9pm – Movies in the Park: Top Gun at Riverdale Park East 9.3p - Becoming Burlesque at Al Greene Theatre 10p - Shake, Rattle and Roll (50s/60s)at Clintons 10p - Shake-A-Tail (50s/60s)at Sneaky Dee's 10p – Beam Me Up: Disco Disco Disco at The Piston 10p – Bad News All Vinyl Psycho 60s Boogaloo atMonarch Tavern 10p – Git Down! (soul/funk) at Junction City Music Hall 10p - Shakin Summer Soirée: Tennessee Voodoo Coupe and Bang! Bang! at Handlebar
SUNDAY, July 12th: 10a – TVS does the Gladstone Flea at Gladstone Hotel 10a – Parkdale Flea at Goodfellas Gallery 11a – Heritage Toronto Walk: The Danforth at City Adult Learning Centre 11a – Rockabilly Brunch at Cadillac Lounge 12p – Fringe Festival: Inventor of All Things (1940s based play) at Tarragon Theatre Mainspace 12.3 and 3p – The Etiquette of Downton Abbey atSpadina Museum: Historic House & Gardens 1pm - Heritage Toronto Walk: Leslieville starts at Queen St E Presbyterian Church 1pm - Tea and Tour Sundays at Gibson House 4pm - New Orleans Connection All Stars (big band jazz) at Grossman's Tavern 4pm – Alistair Christl Trio at The Duke Live.com 4p - Becoming Burlesque at Al Greene Theatre 6.3p – For Your Eyes Only (1981) at The Royal Cinema 7pm – Vintage Ink presents: Generations at 99 Sudbury 7pm – Sunday Serenades: Ragweed Jazz Band at Mel Lastman Square 7pm – Buster Keaton Silent Film Series at Heliconian Hall 7.3p - Alias Dance Project: Animating Historic Space at Zion Schoolhouse 9pm - Watch This Sound (rare vintage vinyl) at Castro's Lounge 9pm - Sinful Sundays at Cherry Cola's
NOTABLE OUTER GTA: Every Thursday, 7pm – The Redline Rockabilly Show on 103.7 CFBU Every Friday, 7pm – Rock n Roll Riot on 97.7 The Beach (Wasaga) Every Friday, 8pm – The Rockabilly Room on 100.3 CKMS (Kitchener)
Heather Ballentine is gearing up for her “Rockin Retro Party” this coming Wednesday at Lula Lounge to celebrate the release of her new album "The Cat's Meow"!
We met Heather at OLD SCHOOL restaurant for a Southern style meal to discuss her history, her influencers, her new album, the upcoming show...and of course her signature pin-up style!
Give me a brief history of yourself and how your upbringing lead you to music.
I grew up in a town called Alma, Arkansas, a farm town in the Southern US. My dad is a musician and would always be playing Roy Orbison, Patsy Kline, Elvis, Buddy Holly, so I always listening to that kind of music growing up. My dad is a bass player, he also plays trumpet, the harmonica, so I just knew from a very young age that I wanted to do music. I eventually moved to LA where I met Lary Bartley and we started writing music together. My voice is very low, similar to Patsy Kline's, so that style and that type of music always appealed to me. When we write, that's what ends up coming out.
Tell me about the different styles that can be found in your music?
It's really diverse. It's a lot of classic country, rockabilly, swing, big band, classic Rock'n'Roll too.
What eras inspired you as a person and your music?
I really like the 50s and 60s. The way I dress, my hair, the red lips, my music are all influenced by the eras that my Dad liked. I enjoy the 20s, 30s, and 40s as well but it really doesn't influence my music as much. The big band in my music is only a hint of 40s, it really has it's own identity. Someone commented on Facebook after I posted "Kiss Me" that "this sounds suspiciously like country music". Country music today is watered down pop/rock. It is really not country anymore, so I found that comment really cool, because he is considering what I do to be similar to classic country, like Patsy and Johnny, which is nice. I'm considered a roots artist because they don't know how to label me yet. Which is a good thing, it's individual.
Would you consider yourself a revivalist? Do you ever feel a responsibility to “do right” by the eras that influence your music?
That is interesting! Even though my music has elements of classic style, I am trying to do it in a fresh new way. The younger generation may not listen to Buddy or Johnny but they may have heard of them. However, they won't know the Everly Brothers...it's sad that they don't or won't ever know who they are. So, yes I am trying to revive them but in a fresh new way. I also cover my favourite classic artists to do right by them. I do 60%/40% covers to originals. You want to keep them alive. Hopefully it makes the younger generation go and check them out.
What instruments do you play? If there is more than one, which would be your favourite? Do you have a favourite make/model?
I play guitar, mandolin and piano. I don't love piano, my mother made me play the piano, but as soon as I picked up a guitar, it made sense to me. Guitar and Mandolin just clicked. I like a nice jumbo Gibson J200, the bigger the better right!? I just love Gibson guitars...I have a custom pick guard and my HB brand. I love that guitar!
As your music is vintage-inspired. In the studio, do you use vintage recording methods or embrace new technology?
I am really a stickler for everything being live...real. Real strings, real drums, real horns...there is nothing worse than cheesy keyboard horns. That is why my band is so big, I have an 11 piece band! There are so many places you can see live music in Toronto, but how often do you see the kind of music I'm doing with a horn section and all these instruments you don't get to see live. We want to make it a real experience!
How is the audience different from a vintage crowd versus then lets say playing for a mainstream crowd?
In LA, bar crowds mostly just talk and ignore the music...but I was lucky, that never happened to me. We would start playing and the audience would turn around to look and listen. The music is a huge part of it, but there is also a visual aspect to it when you are doing anything pin up. People love it, it captures their attention. I haven't had any issues, because they captivated. My band wears silver jackets and we have choreographed background singers, so it's a real SHOW. Rarely do I have an issue, whether the audience is into vintage or not, they all seem to like it. Even my greeters and merchandise girls dress to my theme!
Tell me about the best show you ever played. Who is your favourite audience?
Pride in LA was pretty awesome, I opened for Debbie Harry! It was a sea of men! I have dual citizenship - American and Canadian, so when I was living in the US, I was hired to do a lot of USO shows which goes with the whole pin-up style. I went to over 10 countries. Each show was unique and I have so many stories from each country! Japan was pretty awesome, 3 girls fainted....I couldn't believe it! Also, my show last year at Lula Lounge, was my first show in Toronto with the big band...it was just awesome and a great vibe!
Do you dress to augment the music or visa versa?
Both. I used to buy more true vintage, but now I'm so busy don't have the time. I used to scour through thrift stores for hours when I was younger, but now I buy a lot online. My friend owns Pin Up Girl Clothing in LA, so I buy a lot from them, mainly because everything fits me. Lately I have been finding all the boutiques in Toronto like Rosie the Rebel and Damzels, so I am planning a big shopping day! Also, I am curvy so pin up works. You don't have to be stick thin, I am all about women being real women and the pin up style complements that.
Photo: Laura Byrn
With a new album "The Cat's Meow" releasing in July, what can fans hope to find both in the album and at your Toronto show?
The great thing about the show is what you hear on the album, is what you can expect at the show. The same sound quality. We have all those instruments live. So that is pretty exciting and rare for a live show. I was lucky to work with Pete Anderson, he worked on KD Lang and Dwight Yoakam, so I pretty much worshipped him my whole life. I never thought I would get the chance to work with him, so when he asked to do a record with me, I was just blown away! He is an amazing producer and so cool.
Heather's Top Fives!
Top five artist of any genre that you are into right now? Bruno Mars - I like his retro thing Megan Trainor - she has great retro style The Hives - they put on a great show Mumford and Sons - they are kind of roosty and country James Barker - their guitar player is incredible. Young, but incredible. Exciting
Top five albums of all time? Dwight Yoakam - Guitars and Cadillacs Pete Anderson - Birds above Guitarland - he is a genius! Johnny Cash - Live at Folsom Prison Everything Patsy Cline has ever done! Buddy Holly - Greatest Hits is always on my record player ...and I love Elvis! I walked down the aisle to "I Can't Help Falling in Love"
Photo: Dana Brushette
Favourite repro brands, shops and/or vintage shops? Pin Up Girl Clothing Deadly Dames Unique Vintage Remix Shoes - they are so comfy! Coquette Stockings I want to have my own brand down the line. I love the clothing, makeup, hair...I'd love to work with a boutique to create my own branding once the music is at a level that is can maintain itself. I definitely want to take pin up mainstream! A man on my Instagram said - "It's so nice to see a girl wearing a dress"
...and we couldn't AGREE more!
"Rockin Retro Party"!
Heather Ballentine brings her “Rockin Retro Party” to Lula Lounge Wednesday July 8. Join Heather with her 11 piece band celebrating the release of her new CD “The Cat’s Meow”.
Her show will be a unique mix of songs from the new album and retro classics from the past that seamlessly blend the sounds of Big Band, Swing, Rockabilly and Country! Doors open at 7pm. Please call Lula Lounge for table/dinner reservations-416-588-0307
Heather's full bio.... “Music’s Favourite Pin Up Girl”, Heather Ballentine, is a charming, talented, and down to earth Southern belle. She is an entrepreneur, singer/songwriter, pin-up model, and actress. Her life-long pursuit of excellence began in Arkansas, where she was born. She grew up with passion for performing, and always knew what she was meant to do. Her mother was named after Marilyn Monroe, which sparked Heather’s interest in pin up fashion, culture and lifestyle. Her father, a musician with a fondness for retro music, encouraged her to listen to artists such as Elvis, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, The Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Wanda Jackson, and Buddy Holly, which became Heather’s musical influences. In 2011 Heather moved to Canada and happily adopted it as her new home. Based in Toronto, she is actively building her pin up brand. She recently recorded with Grammy Winning Producer, Pete Anderson to create her album, “The Cat’s Meow”. Her new single, “Kiss Me”, was released in May of 2015 and has garnered national video play on CMT and on CBC and multi-format radio. “Kiss Me” has also been viewed over 12,000 times on Youtube in just over a month since its release! Heather and Pete have created her own signature sound that appeals to big band, swing, country, and rockabilly audiences alike. To see her unique live show is to fall in love with her personable retro charm! For more information: www.heatherballentine.com www.facebook.com/heatherballentine https://twitter.com/HNBallentine http://instagram.com/heather_ballentine
HIGHLIGHTS: Retro Radio Hour / Fringe Festival / With It-SoulSkank-Hold Tight-Motown Dance Nights / Chronologic Anniversary / Shut Up and Hang Ten / Andy Warhol Factory Party / Buster Keaton Silent Film Series / Sunday Serenades / Imperial Swing and Blues
FRIDAY, July 3rd: 3pm – Fringe Festival: Inventor of All Things (1940s based play) atTarragon Theatre 5:3p – Three Jacks and a Jill (RnR/Rockabilly) at Castro's Lounge 8pm - Bees' Knees Dance: Social Dance at Luanda House 6pm – Rockabilly with DJ Catwoman CIUT 89.5 FM 7pm – Becoming Burlesque at Al Green Theatre 8pm – Being John A (play) at Red Sand Castle Theatre 8pm – Haunted Toronto Scavenger Hunt at Bloor/UofT (book ahead) 8pm – Bygone Theatre: Retro Radio Hour-Sin and Sensation at Social Capitol Theatre 9pm – Record Party with DJ I Hate You Rob (60s/70s) at Castro's Lounge 10p – SoulSkank at Handlebar 10p – Hang Tight (soul/funk/rock) at Adelaide Hall 10p – Shut up and Hang Ten: Luau or Die at 3030
SATURDAY, July 4th: 12p - Becoming Burlesque at Al Greene Theatre 3pm - Vinyl from the Crypt (vintage vinyl) on CIUT 89.5 FM 4pm - Happy Pals (jazz) at Grossman's Tavern 6pm – The Cosmotones (rockabilly) at Castro’s Lounge 7pm – Saturday Night Swing: Patrick Tevlin Swing Band at Dovercourt House 8pm – Being John A (play) at Red Sand Castle Theatre 9pm - Glamour Puss Burlesque: Return of the Puss at Club 120 10p - Shake, Rattle and Roll (50s/60s)at Clintons 10p - Shake-A-Tail (50s/60s)at Sneaky Dee's 10p – Andy Warhol Factory Party at Super Wonder Gallery 10p – Return of Motown at 751 Lounge 10p – Chronologic Anniversary Party at The Garrison 10p – With It Dance Party (60s/Mod) at The Piston
NOTABLE OUTER GTA: 7pm - Rockin the Waterfront at Pier 4 Park (Hamilton) Every Thursday, 7pm – The Redline Rockabilly Show on 103.7 CFBU Every Friday, 7pm – Rock n Roll Riot on 97.7 The Beach (Wasaga) Every Friday, 8pm – The Rockabilly Room on 100.3 CKMS (Kitchener)