Broomsticks & Hammers
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Broomsticks & Hammers

London, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2013

London, Ontario, Canada
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Folk Rock

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Music

Press


"Blended band hammers it out"

A London roots band has the memory of a Canadian icon in its soul for this week’s Reaney’s Pick video.

“It’s a homage without it being a memorial to Stompin’ Tom (Connors),” Broomsticks & Hammers’ singer, guitarist and Montcalm secondary school grad Bill Needham said this week of Lord Tunderin’ Jesus. When Connors died, Needham wrote the song for the band’s bassist, Dave Jury, a huge fan of Stompin’ Tom.

Like many fans, Sarnia Northern grad Jury was saddened by the Canadian patriot’s death. Needham wanted the song to be one Jury could be proud of performing.

All six members of Broomsticks & Hammers sounded proud of Lord Tunderin’ Jesus during Tuesday’s video session. It’s likely to be heard on Saturday when the band returns to the St. Regis Tavern as part of the Musical Chairs series.

“This is actually my first real band,” Needham said of the lineup which brings together London musicians, some with overlapping projects going back to the 1990s.

Fiddler and vocalist Paul Meadows is a former Saunders and Beal art student who played with such Celtic bands as Caution Donkeys and Uisce Beatha (pronounced “ish-ka bah-hah”).

Breck Campbell, the drummer and Ingersoll DCI grad, was in Acid Mud Flower during the same era.

“We’re a three-piece that thinks like an orchestra,” Campbell told The Free Press in 1997. “To get across to people what you hear in your own head, you have to dress it up a bit. It’s hard to relay through the album the energy you feel as a musician when you’re playing live.”

He knew Meadows and others through such 1990s’ London rockers as Jud Ruhl and Shawn Creamer, who are now in Toronto’s The Beauties.

Recently, Meadows was on stage and Campbell was adding visual elements as Ruhl, Creamer and allies teamed with Orchestra London to celebrate the Rolling Stones at Centennial Hall.

Mandolin player Jeff Gardiner, a Montcalm grad, was in a Led Zeppelin cover band with Jury called The Jelly Rolls.

Guitarist James Lefave, a South grad, has been in informal weekend outfits alongside Gardiner and Jury.

Then, Broomsticks & Hammers came along.

So in this blended band, sweeping up musicians from all over the scene, who’s a Hammer?

“Breck’s our ‘Hammer,’ ” Needham said.

The drummer accepts the tag.

“The irony is I play with brushes,” Campbell said. - The London Free Press


"Top London Bands Launch Albums"

Two acclaimed outfits — Broomsticks & Hammers and buttonfly — launch albums that made The Free Press Top 10 for 2015.

Broomsticks & Hammers headline at Call the Office. Meanwhile, buttonfly lands just a stroll away at one of its favourite venues, the Richmond.

Postcard by Broomsticks & Hammers was No. 7 on the list. It was recorded, in the main, at the roots-folk-rock-and-more band’s beloved St. Regis Tavern.

Those songs and B&H vibe should transfer sweetly to the iconic York St. club. It does not hurt that Friday’s CTO bill has a number of allies from the Reeg sharing the stage.

The band’s songwriters show how far the CHRW-chart-topping Hammers can sweep.

Bill Needham mentions Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and John Lennon as among his songwriting influences. Paul Meadows looks to Steve Earle and Shane MacGowan.

Guitarist James Lefave, bass player David Jury, mandolin player Jeff Gee and the most recent arrival, drummer Breck Campbell, shape the originals and occasional covers with verve.

“These are only a select few from our personal catalogue of original music,” Needham said. “We wanted to have songs that felt like a good flow and re-created our live sound -- yet be eclectic enough to reflect the broad range of musical styles that influence us. This isn’t our whole story, it’s not even a chapter or a full letter. We simply wanted to drop you a postcard from this point in the Broomsticks & Hammers journey.” - London Free Press


"Several musicians who grew up in Ingersoll return to perform at the Canterbury folk festival to appreciative fans"

Breck Campbell, who also grew up in Ingersoll and attended Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute, performed at the festival with his band Broomsticks and Hammers.

“I’ve been coming for four years, but it is the first time I played here,” he said.

Campbell, who grew up and jammed with musicians Bob Breen and Brian Ward, said many well-known musicians have come out of Ingersoll.

“It’s something in the water,” Campbell said with a smile. “It’s a small town, and we had to find a way to entertain ourselves.”

Formed three years ago, the band, which won best folk roots award at the Jack Richardson London Music Awards this year, is starting to build a base and is looking forward to a rosy future.

“It’s starting to feel we got our legs,” explained the band's chief songwriter, Bill Needham. - Woodstock Sentinel Review


"From ukulele charm to guitar thunder, our columnist reveals his Top 10 list of local sonic gems"

7. Broomsticks & Hammers - Postcard

Like a pitcher of draft at the prestigious St. Regis, the Broomsticks & Hammers debut Postcard is a source of mellow and satisfying joy in excellent company.

The five songs written by Broomster singer and guitarist William Maurice Orval (Bill) Needham were recorded live at the Reeg. Needham’s insights into life’s little and large downs and ups would demand a huge postcard. The roots band’s fans can be heard responding with stamps of approval, as if a jolly letter carrier had just delivered said Postcard to their Reeg table.

Just as impressive are two dark and mysterious songs from singer and multi-instrumentalist Paul Meadows, whose fiddle provides the B&H signature sound. Unless that sound is his Rockford Files-theme harmonica, Or his mandolin. Or the magical way those sounds combine with everything else.

Words: I like the name of your band. Why don’t your write a song about me? — Gina

Noteworthy: Among the bands where present Brooms once Hammered are Lucid World, The Privateers, Acid Mud Flower and Uisce Beath,

Selected credits: Postcard was recorded, engineered and mixed by Chris Teixeira. Produced by B&H and Chris Teixeira. Mastered by Siegfried Meier at Beach Roach Studios. - London Free Press


"Expanding folk genre embraces The Sadies and Northern Pikes"

It’s time for home.

That’s the Home County Music & Art Festival, of course, celebrating its 43rd anniversary with its all-Canadian lineup of homegrown talent, led off by the The Sadies returning to headline after performing afternoon sets a few years ago.

“I think what’s exciting about every Home County festival is that it manages to preserve what the festival has always been about — a great musical experience, a fun experience where people can relax,” said festival chairperson Bob Klanac.

[...]

There are three new local acts debuting at the festival this year, Taylor Holden, the first act up on the main stage Friday at 6 p.m. after the opening ceremonies, where London vocalist Megan Schroder will sing the national anthem; Broomsticks & Hammers, Saturday at 6 p.m.; and, Mountain of Wolves and their indie-rock/folk stylings on the North Concert Stage Sunday at 5 p.m. - London Free Press


"2016 Jack Richardson London Music Awards Nominees"

Folk / Roots

Broomsticks & Hammers - winner

Allison Brown

Olivia & The Creepy Crawlies

Cat Clyde

Westminister Park

Scallywag - jrlma.ca


"Rizdales Roots Round Up aids family of ailing girl"

Good country sounds for great causes lead the way in the weekend music mix in and around London.

In keeping with its tradition, the ninth annual Rizdales Roots Round Up Saturday is a fundraiser for a family directly affected by cancer.

“This year, our beneficiary is a beautiful, five-year-old girl named Lorelai Orchard,” the Rizdales say. “She was diagnosed with leukemia (this summer) and has been undergoing treatment at the London Health Sciences Centre.”

Joining the award-winning London country act at the fundraiser are Broomsticks & Hammers and The Heartaches Stringband.

“The emotional burden that comes with a diagnosis like this is tremendous, and the financial burden can also be overwhelming so our goal is to raise funds to ease some of that concern for the Orchard family,” the Rizdales say.

The next day, the extended country music family of musicians and fans who gather at the Thorndale-area Purple Hill Country Opry help one of their own.

Singer and musician Eric Shain is recovering from a stroke and is to undergo eye surgery.

“It has been rough — I can’t drive any more,” Shain says in media material.

A decade ago, Saskatchewan-raised, Ingersoll-based Shain encouraged Purple Hill’s George Taylor to form a house band to play Taylor’s auction house, which was also becoming a prime country music venue.

The current edition of the Boys of Purple Hill house band and an all-star lineup from around the London-region play Sunday to help Shain.

Meanwhile, the Prime Time Big Band steps out Sunday afternoon.

“We’re doing mainly a swing band show (with) some of the great music of the Second World War,” music director and sax player George Laidlaw said Friday.

Three singers — Brian Ball, Gina Farrugia and Bruce Hoadley — are on hand and hits from Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble will be heard.

Also on the program is a new work by Prime Time trumpet player Josh Hung, a Saunders secondary school and Humber College grad.

Elsewhere Sunday, Ajax hip-hopper Peter Jackson is at the Grinning Gator. Jackson helped celebrate the Toronto Raptors’ NBA playoff run in the spring of 2016 with the hit Rap City. - London Free Press


Discography

Postcard (2016)

Photos

Bio

Great songs come from great stories. But great stories come from the lives, experiences and relationships of everyday people, like you and me. Everyone has a story, and Bill Needham (singer, and chief songwriter for Broomsticks & Hammers) has a love of interpreting those stories. “I really enjoy the challenge of the minimalist approach to songwriting. Simplicity carries magic with it” says Bill, who claims Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and John Lennon as some of his biggest song-writing influences. “After a simple elegance is established, you can dress it up however you choose.”

The relationships that dress up these stories include David Jury (bass, formerly of The Privateers), James Lefave (rhythm guitar) and Jeff Gee (mandolin) – all long-time friends and collaborators of Needham’s – Breck Campbell (drums & vocals, formerly of Acid Mud Flower), Paul Aitken (lead guitar, also of Kevin Greene & The Awesome Sauce, Kevin’s Bacon Train, Marty Kolls, and Jim MacDonald), and Michael Bonnell (keyboards & accordion, also of Buffalo Brothers & has played on records by Great Lake Swimmers, Garnet Rogers, and shares a co-writing credit with David Merritt for a Rheostatics album)

“Bill takes a few simple details of someone’s life and turns them into romantic, voyeuristic musical paintings, delivered in a simple, melodic way. David Jury invited me out to witness this three years ago, and that’s what got me hooked. I think that’s what makes everyone stay & listen. I love working on, and playing these songs with these people.” says Campbell.

Broomsticks & Hammers regularly performs throughout Southwestern Ontario, supports a number of non-profit agencies at community events, and has opened for artists such as Elliott BroodSarah Smith and Doghouse Rose, as well as headlining venues in London. In 2016 the band was honoured twice at the Jack Richardson London Music Awards: they were nominated for ‘Fan Favourite’ and won the ‘Best Folk/Roots Group’. Summer 2016 saw the band perform at the venerable Canterbury Folk Festival in Ingersoll and on the main stage at the prestigious Home County Music and Art Festival in London. The band also played the inaugural season of the Grand Bend Summer Sunset Concert Series.

Broomsticks & Hammers’ 2016 album Postcard has been charting steadily at Western University’s CHRW since its release and has been picked up at college stations across Canada, recently charting at #2 on the roots charts at CFBX in Kamloops BC. The band is currently recording their second album.

Bill Needham (singer, guitar, and chief songwriter for Broomsticks & Hammers)

Breck Campbell (drums & vocals)

David Jury (bass guitar)

James Lefave (rhythm guitar)

Jeff Gee (mandolin)

Michael Bonnell (keyboards & accordion)

Paul Aitken (lead guitar)

Band Members