SOUND SEEKERS: Sound of Lions, O-Town Hoedown, and where else to be this weekend
Scene & Heard

SOUND SEEKERS: Sound of Lions, O-Town Hoedown, and where else to be this weekend

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine.

Sound of Lions. Clockwise from back: Will Assad, Marco Campagna, Christian Awad, Joel Soucy, Whitney Delion. Photo by Rémi Thériault.

Get excited for 11:44 — it’s the debut album from Sound of Lions, an Ottawa trip-hop band led by Whitney Delion. Her honey tones and melancholic musings form the basis of the songs that are time-stamped with a surging urgency that’s pretty irresistible.

The band’s Centretown-soul tunes are hip-shaking good with a late-night mood, thanks to beatman Christian Awad’s cinematic samples. Capsule, It Was Good, and The Hunter are standout tunes amongst the ten tracks. Be at the CD release show and get lost in the sounds — a guaranteed good time.

Saturday, Sept. 24. 8 p.m. $10.  Zaphod’s, 27 York St.

The O-Town Hoedown fest opens this Friday, Sept. 23 at dive bars throughout the city. The fest, in its fifth year, celebrates indie bands and the multiple subgenres of country music they create.

This isn’t about that unpalatable country-pop genre that’s defined more by its tropes than its twang (horses, hats, lusty looks in dusty places, get my drift, pardner?).  It’s about the stuff with all the descriptors and neologisms: drifter-kid folk rock (The Rough Sea, Oct. 2, Elmdale Tavern), road-song rock (Brock Zeman, Sept. 23, Irene’s), or folkabilly (The Woody Allens, Sept. 28, Elmdale Tavern).

It’s the music created at the grassroots level — and that’s where festival organizer Greg Harris wants to focus his efforts. There was a time when Harris (aka guitar slinger Lefty McRighty) wanted to expand his fest into something of Bluesfest proportions. But then there was that little hubbub between the O-town Hoedown (small, upstart) and the Capital Hoedown (see above re: hats and lusty looks) last year about the use of the word “hoedown.” It gave Harris pause.

“There was a time where I dreamed of expanding the O-town Hoedown to include more famous bands, but I decided to steer myself in a different direction and focus solely on the unsigned bands. I don’t want people to think I’m playing catch-up with [Capital Hoedown].”

It’s a happy place of discovery and excitement. You can check out the lineup of all the bands you’ve never heard of in this promotional video created by Harris. It’s about a minute long and ends with him naked (spoiler, sorry). Enjoy and share with the tag #NSFW.

O-town Hoedown. Sept. 23 to Oct. 2

Miss Maureen Hogan always gives her crowd a warm welcome — her sultry tones + the snarly punk of her GOOD2GO bandmates = a good ol’ time. The band plays Irene’s Saturday, Sept. 24 with The Jeers.

Lately, JW-Jones has been investing much more time in crafting stronger lyrics to complement his guitar chops. He called in a pro: Uncle Tim Wynne-Jones (Zoom, Rex Zero) helped the junior Jones with his writing. Hear JW-Jones at the Rainbow Bistro Friday, Sept. 23.

The Souljazz Orchestra (the name describes what they do best) promise a “good-old fashioned hot and sweaty” show. They’re at Babylon Friday, September 23 with DJ Zattar for a let-your-hairdown-dance bash.