Big Med Playlist for The Big One | The Coins of Catalina – Cool as Can Be

This is an outrageous add to the Big Med Playlist for The Big One – pounding rock surf twang sound from The Coins of Catalina’s ‘Cool as Can Be.’ “Now that I’m grown, I prefer a splash of something strong, delivered by wings, with the sweet taste of key-lime pie.”

The Coins of Catalina are led by head honcho and chief snake charmer, Victor Neil.

As a singer/songwriter, Vic launched his musical career at an early age with the band Tall Tales and the release of controversial song, “Animal Man.” Cutting through the airways helped blaze the path for performances in night clubs and at festivals throughout the US and Canada.

These roads eventually led to joining forces with both Jack Fandray (bass) and Jon Mason (drums) who spent their years polishing their musical chops throughout the states by touring with various one-hit wonders.

Their first CD titled “A Salute to the American Songwriter.” features songs written by Steve Earle, Dave Alvin, John Hiatt, Joe Ely. Delbert McClinton and a list of others.

Now with the release of “A Box of Bones” songs like “Cool as Can Be” tell it best… How about pulling something out of the Psychedelic Toolbox. “It smells like hippie incense and sleeps in my garage and looks good in the trunk of my Dodge.”

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Big Med Playlist for The Big One | Pigeon Hole (Marmalade & Dusty Melo) of Sweatshop Union – Light Show (ft D-Sisive)

Pretty heavy-duty Canadian hip-hop coming to you from Pigeon Hole (Marmalade & Dusty Melo) of Sweatshop Union in the form of ‘Light Show’ (featuring D-Sisive). Solid beat, great hooks, well-produced video – it’s the real hip-hop deal straight outta Vancouver BC.

These guys have been making music since 2002. They’ve toured with the Black Eyed Peas, Swollen Members and the Living Legends as well as opening shows for Snoop Dogg, De La Soul, and The Roots.

The group’s most ambitious record to date and award winning Bill Murray EP, (2011 Western Canadian Music’s Hip Hop Recording of the Year) brought a whole new level to their steadily growing underground following. Building on this they will release another two new albums in 2012.

The first, a follow up to the Bill Murray EP, will have Sweatshop Union focused on furthering the progressive sound they’re known for. The second, released under the group’s Leisure Gang moniker, promises to bring a loose party feel to both their live show and music, already acclaimed for it’s polished & energetic production.

Recently, URB Magazine featured them in their next top 100. And now, they’ve finally arrived – added to the Big Med Playlist for The Big One.

Dusty Melo – Rap Vocals, Production/DJ, MPC
Marmalade – Rap Vocals, Music Production
Metty the Dertmerchant – Rap Vocals, Music Production
Mos Eisley – Rap Vocals, Music Production, MPC
Se7en (formerly Conscience) – Rap Vocals, Music Production

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Big Med Playlist for The Big One | We Stole The Kids – All In My Head/ I’m Alive

Photo credit: Charles Clay

Here’s a double slice of indie rock, hip-hop, electronic pop music to get you moving on a Saturday night. NYC-based We Stole The Kids’ ‘All In My Head’ and ‘I’m Alive’ are the latest adds to the Big Med Playlist for The Big One. These kids have their groove on and it’s infectious.

WTSK came together in 2011 trying to achieve something totally unique – mashing catchy rock and hip hop with pop and electronic trances. At its most eclectic, WSTK conjures indie, dance-pop, and dubstep influences into songs like “Find Me There,” which was released in late 2011 to a very positive critical response.

The video for the first EP’s lead single “All In My Head” was released in February of 2012. The video for ‘I’m Alive’ was released in March 2012.

All In My Head

I’m Alive

Jess Ingui – Vocals
Daniel Lonner – Vocals
Eric Sherman – Guitar
Brett Schnider – Drums
Ziya Smallens – Bass
Scott Jacobson – Synth & Programming

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Big Med Playlist for The Big One | Field Tripp – Conversation Flammable

Field Tripp’s ‘Conversation Flammable’ is one trippy alternative pop add to the Big Med Playlist for The Big One. I’m old so I want to say this tune conjures up memories of The Talking Heads and REM on a power dating circuit with Modest Mouse and Weezer.. but hey, that’s just me. 

Based in Phoenix AZ, Field Tripp has been mutating regularly since beginning to make music in 2007. Guitarist/vocalist Dan Allmond has remained steady at the core of this band that has gone from trio to biggish band to its current quintet of Allmond, Eliz Christy (vocals/keyboards), Brian Mabry (multi-instrumentalist) Paul Balazs (bass) and Amir Azzabi (drums).

Field Tripp released their first album ‘Super-Ego Friendly’ in January 2011.

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Big Med Playlist for The Big One | The Tosspints – Underclass Zero

If you like the Dropkick Murphys you’re going to love The Tosspints and their Celtic punk ode to the trauma of real life on-the-clock (no sh*t) ‘Underclass Zero’. With a lead singer who served as a combat medic in Iraq in 2004, this band is an outrageous bundle of contagious energy on-stage that’s seriously worthy of the investment of your listening time.

This is one crew I’d love to see live. Holy crap. Talk about laying it all out there. I’ve cranked my way through about a dozen of their live videos and each one smacks of sweaty gritty drinkable danceable Celtic rock.

The Tosspints’ style of music has been influenced by three lifetimes of living through the school of hard knocks, brought to bear from war, loss, degradation, and hard drinking. A band created entirely by a family who has had to make it through life the hard way and use their experience to create songs about the more distressed side of being human… Their fast paced no-nonsense stage show drives songs straight into the audience one after the other, pushing their own style of up tempo minor chord melodies out with the highest possible energy level.

Their powerful stage presence and unending barrage of music from the beginning of their set to the end of the dark, yet high energy show has earned them spots on stage with iconic underground rock heroes such as The Tossers and Murder by death, and earned festival showcases from The Michigan Irish Music Festival, the Crispy Music Festival, and the George Killians Irish Red Ruckus as direct support for The Dropkick Murphys. Their songwriting skills have been recognized in the 2011 John Lennon Songwriting Contest where they earned a finalist position.

John Johnson – Percussion
Zak Zuzula – Bass., Vocals
Don Zuzula – Banjo, Vocals, Acoustic Guitars, Electric Guitars, Tin Whistle

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Big Med Playlist for The Big One | Pigeon Park (ft Creed Williams) – Rise Above

A brilliant reggae funk groove out of Vancouver BC is the latest add to the Big Med Playlist for The Big One. ‘Rise Above’ comes to you courtesy of Pigeon Park ft Creed Williams. Sweetest of guitar licks added to the mix on this great tune. This band has got their collective sh*t together and it sounds like it here.

Pigeon Park has been living life large on the road for much of the past three years. They’ve somehow managed to cram two cross-Canada tours into that timeframe and have been rewarded with a fan base that reaches clear across the continent.

Nick Weber – Vocals
Logan Pacholok – Guitars. Vocals
Kevin Okabe – Guitars.
Artur Leppert – Bass
Hunter Elliott – Drums

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Big Med Playlist for The Big One | Brocade – Riot Riot

We’re going to head into the weekend with a blast of original made-in-Canada hard-as-rock music by Calgary band Brocade. The tune is ‘Riot Riot’ and it smacks of a bluesy ballsy Northern version of AC/DC. Definitely suitable for transitioning from the day-to-day weekday crapola into the chaotic insanity that comes with life in an EMS rig once the sun sets on Friday night.

The backdrop for the video features more black velvet-styled paintings and posters than should be legally allowed to occupy the same visual space but hey – what the heck – it’s only rockin’ roll. This power trio performs this tune for all that they’re worth.

“Someone once told me that a true musician never quits… they die,” asserts Todd Stewart (vocals/guitar), one-third of Calgary, Alberta-based rock brigade Brocade. Together with mates Weeze Brown (bass) and Nate Giebelhaus (drums), Stewart says it’s all about maxxing the group’s energy in-studio and on-stage.

“The Gospel of this band is wanting this to be bigger than anything we could do on our own,” he continues excitedly. “Everything about us—even our name which refers to an intricately woven fabric—is based on our energy. You really feel that in our live show. We’re a power trio that sounds like five people onstage.”

Brocade recorded their 2011 album ‘Like You Were Here’ in their own home-built studio and were far into the process before they brought acclaimed producer Shawn Cole (Pride Tiger, You Say Party, Yukon Blonde, Bend Sinister) to add the finishing touches.

“We didn’t learn to play to impress. This is about how everyone has a journey in life and Like You Were Here is ours.”

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Newman | Stepping up

I’ll just go ahead and tell the story.

“Step up, tell the truth and take responsibility for your actions and all will be big medicine.”

When I said those words I was the newly-minted director of a small Emergency Medical Services department in suburban Montreal attempting to establish an organizational culture wherein the medics had only a few rules to follow:

Respect yourself

Respect your colleagues

Respect your clients

Respect your community

At the time, I had already come to the realization that a loose-leaf binder full of rules wasn’t what The EMS House really needed. We were struggling with lots of little things that were not being done properly – response bags not being refilled, trucks not being plugged-in on cold winter nights, living quarters that weren’t being tidied on a regular basis, etc.

So, I told our crews that no matter what happened, if they stepped up, told the truth and accepted responsibility for their actions we could get on with the art of caring for ourselves and our community in a meaningful way.

Tests come quickly.

Sitting at my desk in the back corner of The EMS House, I looked up distractedly as one of our crews rolled slowly back into station after an emergency run. Instead of the usual sound of boots on steel stairs followed by an exchange of after-action commentary, there was an odd silence.

I took note and stopped what I was doing. Quiet footsteps and the two medics – usually boisterous and outgoing – standing quietly and looking distressed at my door.

“Uh, we had a problem on that last call.”

What kind of problem I asked.

“We attempted to drive right up to the door of the building.”

Okay I said, and..

“We forgot about the low overhang at the entrance.”

Oh, I said, and realized I probably needed to go outside and look at the truck.

Yes, it was a visual. The impact had been pretty intense with the top of the box. Several lights were smashed and there were a couple of serious metalwork reminders of the close encounter with an immoveable object.

“We screwed up. We were so focused on getting to the patient, we forgot we were driving a high-top truck. We’re both prepared to face the consequences.”

Stepped up. Check.

Told the truth. Check.

Accepted responsibility for one’s actions. Check.

Consequences. I assigned each of them to become driver-trainers. No one ever made the same mistake again.

It was a turning point for our little organization and marked the beginning of an incredible gathering of wondrously talented individuals who came together as a cohesive, dedicated and passionate team of care providers.

Be well. Practice big medicine.






Big Med Playlist for The Big One | John McKenna Band – Beautiful Dangerous

OhMyGoodness this is a gorgeous song. Adding ‘Beautiful Dangerous’ by John McKenna to the Big Med Playlist for The Big One. This is a haunting tune. Beautiful dangerous, indeed. Awesome.

John McKenna is constantly writing songs- he can’t help himself. This has always been the case going as far back as his days writing and playing guitar with Huckleberry and later Red Guitar. McKenna’s mind tends to accompany passing reflections with gloriously blue melodies. His lyrics are honest- a huge reason why fans of his music connect with what he’s trying to say. John’s version of truth taps into what most folks want to hear- a message that suggests everything will work out in the end. Somehow it will be okay.

The John McKenna band was born out of a conversation between McKenna and Jeff Larison (Blackbird Revue, Oriole Post, Sara Swenson, Red Guitar). Ryan Green (Satellite Soul) was quickly brought into the discussion and the three eventually started working on old and new McKenna tunes. Todd Way (Beggar’s Table, Satellite Soul) was brought into play bass, but it wasn’t long before he began to play a lot more than that- namely piano and some guitar from time to time. Eventually, the sound was rounded out by an old friend of everyone in the band, Allison Cloud. Brought in to sing, she has also been known to play some percussion- her red tambourine, once considered too flashy, is now accepted by everyone involved. Much to the drummer’s delight…

Beautiful Dangerous is a small collection of songs- approximately 20 minutes from beginning to end. The music, although mellow in nature, carries with it an undeniable intensity brought forth by every member of the band. Musically, this EP is driven by Larison and Way- both possess an uncanny ability to play anything with strings. Electrics, acoustics, piano, lap and pedal steel- all make their way onto this recording and were most likely played by either Jeff or Todd. Allison’s voice comes across as John’s sweet, but also haunting conscious, never letting him forget what should be said and what should be held for another day. Green’s ability to hold everything together from the drum kit gives the songs the backbone they need to stand on their own.


John McKenna – lead vocals/ guitar
Todd Way – bass / keys
Jeff Larison – Pedal Steel/ Electric Guitar/ Lap Steel
Ryan Green – Drums
Allison Cloud – Vocals

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