More music this week

Jonnie Vaude and the Villians. Supplied
Katie Murphy. Supplied
Pip Skid. Supplied


When he’s not making sticky treats at Jonnies Stickybuns, Jon McPhail is busy fronting Jonnie Vaude and the Villains, a vaudevillian-inspired country pop band rounded out by Neil Goebel, Justin Fuhr, Nathan Krahn and Ryan Sedor.

McPhail says he’s been playing in bands since high school, but it took him awhile before he was comfortable calling himself a musician.

“Music was on such a pedestal, and the greats were just so great, that there was no way I could be in the same ballpark,” the 29-year-old says. “Whereas now, I’ve kind of eased up ... Maybe I’m no Bob Dylan, but at the same time, (I) don’t want to be another Bob Dylan – (I) want to be Jon McPhail.”

The band is hoping to have its full-length debut album ready for the spring. They recorded it at a friend’s house, as well as at McPhail’s family’s cabin with a group of their friends providing background vocals.

“We just drank and had fun and had a great time, and every once in a while we’d gather the troops together, go around a couple microphones, listen to a couple of the tracks and add this amazing community of Villains just banging on the ceiling and howling and background singing and everything,” McPhail says.

When they got back to the city, the band realized the recordings might not work with what they laid down in the studio. More recently, however, McPhail has added the cabin recordings back into the mix with surprising results.

“It tied things together so well that the madness of the cabin just all of a sudden made sense and worked.”

Jonnie Vaude and the Villains perform Sunday, Jan. 29 at the Lo Pub as part of the Big Fun Festival’s hungover breakfast show. Admission is $5, and Zoppa and Bog River will also perform. The show starts at noon.


- Aaron Epp


Few artists have toured across the country with their family in a small car in an attempt to save their marriage. Kate Murphy is one such artist.

After marrying young, having kids and releasing the pleasing-to-the-charts-and-the-ears EP Nest in a Box in 2005, local gal Murphy had a bit of a crisis.

To work it out, she recorded the feel good disc of last year.

Exes and Uh Ohs is another EP with empowering tunes, including the catchy as hell (yet un-categorical) Oooo! (She’s Got a Lot Going On!) and the cautionary Don’t Go After Girls Who Warn You.

“It’s a lot sassier than my last CD,” Murphy states in a press release. “Exes & Uh Ohs mostly explores how to mature in a relationship and all the mistakes we can make while in one. It’s essentially a series of break-up stories.”

Those break-up stories have been licensed for such MTV programs as Road Rules and The Real World, but Murphy is also donating her time to a good cause.

For the next eight weeks, eight Manitoba recording artists are performing in a series of concerts together to raise funds for local charities. This new series has been dubbed “Choose Your Charity” and is a weekly series of concerts organized by musician James Struthers.

Taking place Thursday nights at 7 p.m. at the Winnipeg Free Press News Café, such artists as Struthers, Don Amero, Kerri Latimer, Flo, Thrift Store Love and JD Edwards will all be giving their time and talent for various causes.

Murphy’s show is Thursday, Feb. 2 and will be in support of Beyond Borders ECPAT Canada.

- Nicholas Friesen


“You know, whatever,” gravelly voiced rapper Pat Skene, a.k.a. Pip Skid, says by phone when asked how he’s doing. What else would you expect from someone whose new album is called People Are the Worst?

The reason for the call is the rapper’s upcoming show at the Lo Pub, where he’ll be backed by the Greg MacPherson Band and DJ Co-op.

The gig serves as a kick-off for an eight-day, eight-show tour Skene and the band will embark on to support People Are the Worst, which Skene released late last year as a pay-what-you-want download on

“I had a few songs leftover from Skid Row (Skene’s 2010 album) and I was going to dump ‘em out, but it ended up turning into a record,” the 37-year-old says of People.

The album features 10 tracks and a variety of guest artists including Skratch Bastid, Cadence Weapon, Birdapres and Oldfolks Home.

“My next few solo records, I plan on them being very concept-heavy, and so I just wanted to work with people that I hadn’t yet.”

Skene already has a new record done that he recorded with Rob Crooks and Speed Dial 7. He’s also working on a record with DJ Kinetic, as well as a different record with Stomp from Rezofficial.

“(Hopefully) I can get all that done before the concentration camps or whatever come,” Skene deadpans. “Whatever’s happening (in the world).”

Pip Skid’s tour kick-off show happens Thursday, Feb. 2 at the Lo Pub with special guests The Happy Unfortunate and Nestor Wynrush. Advance tickets are $10 at Music Trader and the Urban Bakery.


- Aaron Epp

Published in Volume 66, Number 17 of The Uniter (January 25, 2012)

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