RBC Bluesfest – JENNA Nation

Ottawa’s annual Bluesfest has really become a popular international music festival in the last several years.  The common joke locally centres around its lack of actual “Blues” in the headliners – but really, so much of today’s music has its roots in blues, it doesn’t really matter to me.

This year the biggest story was the killdeer nest preventing the main stage from going up for a little while.  Luckily that didn’t stop anything, and the festival kicked off last night with leMeow and Bryan Adams.  Tonight is Jethro Tull but I wanted to highlight a local artist performing Saturday: JENNA Nation.  Her bio:

Born in Ottawa, Canada, JENNA Nation was introduced to music at an early age through her musical family. She began her career with extensive training and success with classical music/opera, jazz and then with R&B/soul while studying and graduating Summa Cum Laude with her Vocal Performance Degree from the famed Berklee College of Music. An outstanding vocalist with a charismatic stage presence, JENNA Nation progressed to hit some significant milestones early in her career.
JENNA Nation boasts a soulful and even jazzy vibe to her music. Long-time influences include Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland and Stevie Wonder—a notable name with whom she aspires to collaborate. JENNA Nation has worked with a number of Grammy and JUNO-nominated producers and songwriters with whom she collaborated to create her third and fourth albums of all original music. JENNA Nation’s fourth album, ‘You Don’t Know’ (2017) has already received numerous accolades. The album was named Canada’s Best R&B Album of 2017, one of the Top 10 Best Records of the Year and #9 Best Album of 2017. 

Her music is all available on multiple platforms; I listened to 2017’s “You Don’t Know” on Spotify, and really enjoyed the R&B album.  Nation is probably one of the few artists on the Bluesfest slate actually playing a form of blues.  I especially liked “It’s You” – it’s got a great percussion beat and I enjoyed the lyrics. 

JENNA Nation plays at 5PM on the Main (City) Stage, ahead of Amos the Transparent (another local) and The Strumbellas.  Sounds like a great lineup to me.  You can get tickets at www.ottawabluesfest.ca.

Mainstream Monday: What are you streaming?

Rather than putting the spotlight on a specific artist, I figured I would write a little about where I listen to mainstream music.  Simply put, pretty much everywhere. 
I tend to listen to SiriusXM’s Alt Nation the most.  More often than not I find that Alt Nation has new music well ahead of most radio stations that play the same type of music.  I really like the personalities on Alt Nation too.  They don’t usually say very much – they’re very generic when they have talking breaks – but they have good voices and every now and then they have some entertaining stories.  Mostly though I come back for the music – though I find extended listening periods tend to mean a lot of repetition in music, which has turned me off several songs now. 
I used to listen to an Ottawa station, Live 88.5, with the Radio Player app.  However lately I’ve been enjoying Sonic out of Edmonton, Alberta.  Sonic seems to play more of the newer songs that Alt Nation plays, but also sprinkles in older alternative songs.  The personalities on Sonic are much better than on Alt Nation.  I wish I had this station on a local preset but at least now with RadioPlayer it’s convenient enough to tune in. 
After that, I play individual songs via Spotify.  Sometimes it’s music based on what I’ve heard on the above sources, but Spotify does a really good job of curating playlists (the Daily Mixes, New Release Radar, and Your Discover Weekly are pretty great).  Generally though, if I’m on Spotify, I’m probably playing music I’ve listened to before and re-discovering old favourites.  Sometimes I will throw Spotify’s algorithms a wild card and play something like Johnny Cash live from San Quentin. 

Ottawa Senators vs Sports Media

The Ottawa Senators are up 2-0 in their round 2 playoff series vs the New York Rangers; but when it comes to sports media in Canada at least, it feels to some fans like they’re in a hole 0-3.

For the Senators, it’s always been an uphill battle for respect in the league.  They’re roughly in the middle of two franchises with huge fan bases – the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Naturally, this tends to create media bias toward these two clubs, simply because creating content geared toward them will bring more eyes to the major networks.

I think what’s happening is a little bit of bias on the part of Senators fans.  I think a lot of what the mainstream media is saying about the team is largely objective.  There was a piece on TSN with a headline relating to something about “cause for concern” after game 2 – and I think it’s justified!  Game 2 was a mess for both teams, and there will be adjustments.

The real problem, I think, is on Twitter.  I hear about some of these “battles” after the fact, because I tend not to follow a lot of hockey reporters.  But there are a select few reporters who claim to be neutral but carefully choose their words in order to incite angry reactions from Senators fans – and laughter from non-fans.

It’s these irresponsible tweets that have most Senators fans up in arms.  I don’t blame them either, but the best way to deal with them is to just ignore them and not give them anything to deal with.  They want you to be angry at them and read their pieces and generate ad revenue.  They know what they’re doing.

Bottom line for Sens fans – the most important thing for the team is that they win.  Who cares what outside voices say about the team?  Does it matter if the team is respected by people who don’t follow the team?  I don’t think it does.  What matters to me is the team’s performance.