Stevens is stoked

Chris McCluskey gears up for a musical winter.

Determined to ensure a happy new year, Jonny Stevens has mapped out a pragmatic strategy to increase his already dedicated fanbase. The singer-songwriter recently overhauled his website, has reached the manufacturing stage of a new record and hopes to convert a music video treatment into a professional audio-visual representation of his material.

“Hopefully we get it,” says Stevens, of his pending VideoFACT grant application. “Regardless, one way or the other, we will be doing the video on film or on DVD. Digital video means no budget and film means big budget.”

If the big budget avenue pans out, director Sean Wainsteim, who conceived the concept, has committed to seeing the project through. (Haligonians know his work from Wintersleep’s “Danse Macabre” and “Sore” videos, or from spots for the television series The Sopranos.) Wainsteim’s ideas for the song “Starting Over” are consistent with Stevens’ vision for a cohesive dynamic between the song and video.

“The treatment is I am a superhero by day, and by evening my old lady is running around on me. While I am out saving the world, she’s screwing around,” he says. The song itself “is about relationships that are forged.”

The record, a 12-song, self-titled effort, is aimed for release in the first half of 2007. An impressive collective of guest stars make appearances.

“There are some guest vocals from Sean MacGillivray (Great Plains) and Jon Epworth, of course,” says Stevens, naming his former drummers, a slot now occupied by Chris Gillis. “Matt Mays sings a tune with me on the record, Joyce Saunders…it’s a pretty long list. There are a lot of people involved in it.”

Stevens will hear more concerning his grant application in mid-February, the same time he’ll be playing shows around the ECMA festival.

See some shows

If you’re mourning the closure of Stage Nine, don’t worry: there’s still plenty going on around town. The Attic is a good place to visit this weekend, with Dr. Dfunkt performing on January 12, while David Myles throws down at Ginger’s. Caledonia re-reopens the doors in Hell’s Kitchen on January 13 with support from The Grass. Ryan Cook releases an album the same evening at The Seahorse with Rebekah Higgs and Folds of Policy, while Andrea Somers makes her long-awaited return with a batch of new material she’ll perform at Ginger’s.

Looking forward, the annual songwriters’ circle Bluebird North will return in February. The line-up was announced this week, and features Barney Bentall, Melanie Doane, Jeremy Fisher and Selina Martin. Hosted by CBC star and Moxy Fruvous leader Jian Ghomeshi, Bluebird hits the Schooner Room in the Casino on February 2. Tickets are $25 and available by calling 425-7777 or at

Vince Neil plays a solo show at the Forum on April 14. Tickets go on sale January 18 and are $35 plus fees, available at or by calling(866) 908-9090.

And finally, Nova Scotia lost a legend on December 23 with the passing of blues master Dutch Mason. A just-announced tribute show will take place on January 21, headlined by Mason’s son Garrett, from 8-11pm at Olympic Community Centre (the Dirty O), one of Dutch’s favourite venues. Admission is free with a donation.

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