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Solar Powered Too

"The Canadian roots vet makes a record for the ages.  Killer stuff throughout.” Midwest Record -USA

"the songs have Fines' relaxed warmth, highlighted by his storyteller vocals and guitar ease... I like the mix of solo and accompanied tracks, and as always with Fines, the overall top quality of singing, writing and playing." Bob Mersereau, Top 100 -Canada

“Solar Powered Too epitomizes what roots music is all about, raw, down to earth and coming straight from the heart…masterfully played with a freshness and vitality that is totally engaging.” Blues and Roots Music Blog -USA


"A disc with verve as deep as it is jubilant." -France

"A well-balanced, unhurried album of folk and blues sounds. Strongly recommended." Fervor Coulee -USA

With "Solar Powered Too", Rick Fines has recorded a beautifully varied roots album, which highlights his talents as a musician and songwriter like never before.Bluestownmusic -Netherlands

Driving Home
"...this collection of a dozen originals (including two co-writes with fellow Peterbor-ite, Grainne Ryan) bears out a newfound energy which reflects his refreshed state-of-mind... “When The Rain Ends” could easily be John Prine doing Dylan...its tracks like the feel-good “Make The Change” that merges Fines substantial blues chops with a strong band sound injecting this disc with its definitive joie de vivre and the joy of a man who clearly has something good to ‘drive home’ to." - Eric Thom

Driving Home review by Bob Mersereaux:
...Fines and the crack group are pretty adaptable throughout.  This One Day has a New Orleans feel, while Ridin' The Rails gets funky and Little Feat-friendly with lots of his slide guitar lines.  Why Do We Treat Love Like That? moves into the roots category, a strong duet with Grainne Ryan, complete with some Spaghetti Western guitar.  With that one a success, Fines stays on the singer-songwriter side for the emotional When The Rain Ends, another thinking and driving song, searching for that love, and another class job with the lyrics and the slide.  He's just enough in the John Hiatt school to please Hiatt fans but not enough to say he's copying anything.  These are fresh and personal lyrics...

“multiple MBA winner Rick Fines (has been) writing some very good new tunes. He’s also decided to go electric, with a full horn section on several songs. The result is strongly recommended... Rick just smokes on guitar throughout.” 

John Valenteyn, MapleBlues mag


When I meet Rick Fines at Black Honey, he’s happy. On the surface, he’s got a cool, laid-back vibe – but underneath is a man bursting with excitement, as he tells me about his new album, Driving Home, and where it’s taking him. “I love music, and I love travelling,” he says. “I never tire of seeing this country and others. It’s time to ramp up the game, turn up the steam!"
He’s doing just that. Between my interview with him on February 10 and his album release show at Market Hall on February 28, Fines is travelling to Kansas City (for the Folk Alliance International conference) and Saskatoon (for Blues Fest and the Blues in the Schools program). Then he lands in Peterborough the night before his album release show, then heads out two days later for more gigs in Ottawa....
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Canadian Music Mag review  –Penguin Eggs, Issue 19 - Autumn 2003

Riley Wants His Life Back - There’s a noticeable trend today for roots musicians to take their inspiration from the sounds of the very recorded beginnings of their form, back to the 1920s and even before. Artists like the Asylum Street Spankers, Gillian Welch, Keb’ Mo’, Michael Jerome Brown and Toni Price seem to feel the art is getting more watered down all the time and, at the beginning of this century, we need to go back to the best sources we have. Like the artists listed above, The Rick Fines Trio is mining this tradition to great effect. The album is lush with the influences of the early Jazz and Jump Blues from Django Reinhardt to Meade Lux Lewis, Cab Calloway, Louis Jordan and Charles Brown.
The trio consisting of Rick Fines on guitar, Rob Phillips on piano and Richard Simpkins on stand-up bass has thoroughly absorbed these styles and it seems as natural to them as breathing. Fines sings in an intimate, relaxed voice that’s as steeped in jazz/blues as Dr. John or Mose Alison and just as effective. There’s even a little Zydeco thrown in. The trio also has great instrumental back-up from track to track, especially drummer Al Webster and the fine trumpet and cornet work of Chris Whiteley. Fines (with some help from the others) is also a fabulous songwriter and nearly every track is memorable. A must-have gem of a recording for those who dig their sound retro.
- By Barry Hammond (Gary Tate, reviewing Riley Wants His Life Back)
'Riley Wants His Life Back' by the Rick Fines Trio has acquired a permanent parking place in my CD player. It's an authentic retrospective of the upscale blues stylings prevalent during the 30's to early 50's. Being a retro kind of guy myself, anything that turns the clock back to a time when life seemed simpler (and music more accessible) is bound to twig my interest. But 'RWHLB' has far more going for it than the usual memory lane routine.

Rick Fines has long been one of Canada's leading acoustic blues practitioners, but he decided to temporarily put aside his delta muse and focus attention on another inspirational source, namely the polished blues trios that flourished pre-1950 in fancy night spots (three of the most prominent being The Big Three Trio featuring Willie Dixon, Nat King Cole, and Charles Brown). ...

Scotland review  –The Herald, Glasgow Scotland
“... the classic blues guitar picking and authentic-sounding vocals of Rick Fines were the sweetener. Harking back to the Blues ancients and using their music to inform his own, Fines was the classic unknown who whets the appetite - and an early opportunity to hear more would be welcome.”
Rob Adams

Solar powered review  –Toronto Star - 2006
“… just Fines' parlour-sized flat-top guitar, its strings exquisitely picked and eloquently bent in the style of the great American country blues artists (Mississippi John Hurt, Doc Watson, Elizabeth Cotton, et al) from whom Fines learned this craft, and his gentle, throaty voice…
In the peace and isolation in which it was created, Solar Powered is enhanced by several wonderful performances, the most worthy of which are an eerily world-weary reading of Gordon Lightfoot's "Ribbon of Darkness" and "Mrs. Turner is a Sight," unwittingly co-authored by the late Canadian novelist Carol Shields, from whose comic story "Mrs. Turner Cutting the Grass" Fines borrowed liberally.”
Greg Quill, Toronto Star

Solar Powered  –Ottawa Citizen
“Just try not to smile when Rick Fines is on the stereo. A gorgeous picker with a down-home voice and attitude, even Fines’ blues can lift your spirits. Recorded at his “little cabin in the woods” on, as the title suggests, solar powered systems, the material sounds sun-infused. Co-producer Alec Fraser and Fines explore all of the singer-songwriter’s influences, from the Mississippi John Hurt flavour of Home to Roost, to the jaunty picking of Half Full Cup, to the dandy hill-country picking of Country Christmas Blues. But the most interesting song in the collection is a “co-write” with the late Carol Shields, Mrs. Turner is a Sight, an adaptation of Shields’ short story Mrs. Turner Cutting the Grass, a simple but evocative moment in time.”
Norm Provencher, The Ottawa Citizen Saturday Aug 19 2006

Nothing Halfway  –2006 quotes
“Marked by spirit and effective songwriting, there is nothing halfway about Nothing Halfway.” Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

“…a stunning collection of duets … a must-have disc!” John Valenteyn, MapleBlues Newsletter

Alabama review  –Greenville Advocate

...A musician from the "Great White North" won the hearts of the festival audience, taking home a check for $1,000 as winner of the competition.Rick Fines of Peterborough, Ontario, won the top prize with his unique guitar styling, sly tongue-in-cheek humor and a distinctive voice, described by audience members as "a mix of Leon Redbone and Randy Newman."

Festival goers joined in on the fun during the afternoon as Fines performed his award-winning song, the amusing "Riley Wants His Life Back," just one of several original compositions the musician/songwriter shared with the audience.

The versatile musician transformed a song by fellow Canadian Gordon Lightfoot ("The greatest blues musician of Canada") into a blues number. He also performed blues standards from the 20s and 30s, "Lay Me Down a Pallet on the Floor" ("Here's one from way back in the 20s when I was just a young woman getting started myself")...  By Angie Long (reviewing Out Of The Living Room)

On his second solo CD, Fines continues to do what he does so well, the blues. Fines wears his influences on his sleeve (i.e., Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, the Rolling Stones), but mixes these sounds to create his own distinct style. His gravel vocals combined with his excellent guitar playing are within the traditional structure of the blues (some of these songs sound like they could have been recorded in the '40s rather than the '90s). However, he is able to bring in a contemporary production and arrangements that bring his sound into the '90s. He is also smart enough to arrange the songs in such a way that instrumentation is never overused, thus making the album much more versatile. He is backed by tight musicians, including his brother, Mathew Fines, who contributes some stunning dobro, and William P. Bennett, who handles the mandolin beautifully. The songs are more upbeat, both musically and lyrically, on this release. "My Baby Knows" is a wonderful love song that is a brilliant CD opener, and he cleverly ends the album with the moving "No Expectations." In between are songs about life, love, and more life. It is a really good, solid, strong album.
 - by Aaron Badgley