Showing off

Roche Uhntraal has a whole lot to talk about.

Haligonians have been flooded with concert-going opportunities over the past week, providing us with lots of music-related talk other than Coldplay

On the local hip-hop front is a new record from scene veteran DJ IV, the second volume in his Exit O series. He’ll release it February 3 at The Warehouse with appearances from Microphone Jones, JoFo, Cess, Big Fela and Phakt.

On February 16, acclaimed singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith returns to the city as part of Bluebird North’s fifth coast-to-coast tour. He will be part of a seven-artist lineup, including Jane Siberry and Ron Hynes, at Casino Nova Scotia. The following night, Dartmouth rocker Matt Mays will try his hand playing with Symphony Nova Scotia at the Rebecca Cohn.

Meanwhile, the Khyber Club will be throwing a farewell party with the In Dead of Winter festival from February 17 to 19. Also focused on singer-songwriters, the bill will showcase resident talent such as Al Tuck and Gabe Minnikin alongside visitors Royal Wood of Toronto and Meg Hutchinson of Boston.

Three weeks later, things get busy again. David Usher is back at Casino Nova Scotia on March 10 and 11. Friday will also feature the return of Hawksley Workman, who has made the transition to the Rebecca Cohn. The date will be in support of a new record, Treeful of Starling, to be released Valentine’s Day. Dalhousie campus will also play host to Halifax rock institution The Super Friendz and the even more reclusive Mike O’Neill, who will unveil his newest duo The Self Conscious with Mike Clattenberg on drums at The Grawood on March 11. Meanwhile, Sam Roberts will be performing at The Marquee Club. Finally, Rob Thomas will perform March 12 at the Metro Centre.

Shacking up

Just because you haven’t seen a poster for it, heard a single on the radio or recalled it as a selection at a listening post doesn’t mean a record isn’t great. Folk duo Tom Wilson and Bob Lanois’ strategy to reach true fans with The Shack Recordings was to let the songs speak to people on their own.

“There’s no big business plan behind this record, there’s no big marketing plan,” Wilson says, waiting for a flight to Calgary from Winnipeg. “Really the goal for making the music was just for the sake of making the music.”

Wilson’s approach to his more blues-rock, western- tinged release, to hit stores February 21, is similar.

“I think for Dog Years, the idea is I’m still interested in interacting with musicians,” he says of his new album, with appearances from Rosanne Cash, Garry Tallent of the E Street Band and Bob Babbit of the Funk Brothers. “It’s kind of interesting when the drummer sitting on the floor of the studio, when his opinion is way more important than an A&R man or a record business person.”

Tom Wilson and Bob Lanois will play Halifax on February 3 at the newly renovated Seahorse.

Rock and Joel — on DVD

Joel Plaskett is currently enjoying a well-deserved vacation, but there’s still news to report — in the form of long-awaited EP/DVD. The collection, Make a Little Noise, will be available March 14. The DVD consists of seven songs from the Emergency’s two-set stand at The Marquee in September 2004, three tunes from Plaskett’s solo tour with Peter Elkas in spring 2005 and three selections from Plaskett’s Family and Friends show at the Cohn last May. Rounding out the compilation will be Plaskett’s notoriously underplayed music videos, including those made with a Super 8 camera from his solo debut, In Need of Medical Attention. The package’s three-song EP will be all brand-new Emergency. You may have already caught Plaskett testing them live, and there will be one more show to catch them at The Pavilion on February 17.

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