myke’s (recent) lykes

Recent postings have been filled with doom and gloom, whining and other discussions of an overtly serious nature.  It has indeed been a while since I’ve discussed things that have intrigued, inspired and, well, tickled me.  So here is a listing of things that have made me smile as of late!

The Raconteurs
Jack White’s band after the White Stripes broke up.  This quartet combines Jack’s incredibly chaotic and noisy guitar playing with the concise British Invasion-inspired pop hooks from singer Brendan Benson.

I was initially a bit leery of this band as it comes off as a “supergroup” made of up Third Man Records (Jack White’s label) “all stars”, however their incredible cover of Terry Reid’s “Rich Kid Blues” (one of my favourite songs) drew me.  The Raconteurs’ two releases tread the line between finely crafted pop songs and ragged rock and roll, threatening to derail at any moment and they provide the listener with a fun, noisy, musical experience along the lines of Crazy Horse, Badfinger and the Stones…

The Civil Wars
I smiled while watching the 2012 Grammy awards and we were treated to a 30 second touch of class that was The Civil Wars, as they introduced Taylor Swift.  This group combines two incredible singer-songwriters into a group that seems to be stronger than the individual talents involved.  Their release “Barton Hollow” is a masterful work of moody song writing and performance that definitely takes the listener on a journey.

They won the 2012 Grammy Awards for Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Best Folk Album.  Two things the Grammies got right this year.

If you want a taste, you can download their debut live recording “Live at Eddie’s Attic” here.

The Good Hunters
The Good Hunters are a Hamilton folk, bluegrass, blues and rock and roll band that have been playing live shows throughout Hamilton.  Their debut CD “Love You Baby” showcases their incredible talent as musicians as well as songwriters.  I’ve recently been enjoying the talents of brothers John and Joe Moran as they play acoustic sets at The Cannon Coffee Company and Love You Baby has been in regular rotation as a CD and on my iPod…even more inspiring when you realize the young age of these guys (18-22) and that the music on Love You Baby was recorded outside in nature’s studio.

Worth a listen for those who enjoy country-tinged song writing.

Cake and Loaf’s Vegan Quinoa and Chick Pea Pot Pie
Cake and Loaf is a local bakery that I have written about here in my coffee blog postings.  They also make incredible baked goods and soups.  Recently DH and I, in search of different foods to enjoy at dinner, tried their Curried Vegan Pot Pie, made with quinoa and chick peas.

It is a savoury and delicious blend of chickpeas, quinoa, zucchini and other veggies in a flaky pastry and curry-tinged sauce.  One large pie provides three warming, stick-to-your-ribs and nourishing meals for us and is a lovely treat to have when we tire of chicken and seafood.

Needlework Fabric and Creative Workspace
Recently two Hamilton entrepreneurs opened Needlework, as a boutique-style fabric shop and workspace.  In their own words:  “Our goal is to bring together the do-it-yourself and creative community of Hamilton and the surrounding area by providing the supplies and space required to make anything from a handmade dress to an elaborate quilt.

In addition to designer fabrics, sewing patterns and notions, they also have in-house sewing machines which you can rent by the hour and also offer workshops and classes for both new and experienced sewers.  Both Kate and Liz are extremely creative, vibrant and driven women and they have provided a new home for the creative community to gather in Hamilton.  I can’t wait to see what the future brings for this exciting venture!

I’ve already purchased a shirt pattern and material from them for some custom-made summer shirts and am awaiting my seamstress to pick them up.

Terry Fallis’ “The Best Laid Plans” and “The High Road
A Canadian communications consultant does the impossible, taking the ins and outs of Canadian Politics and makes them interesting, entertaining and funny all at once.  I loaned both books to Parental Unit 1 and she devoured both of them in days, loaning them to my brother who read both of them equally as fast.  These books are highly recommended to those who like to laugh, while rolling their eyes at Canadian politics.

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