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Band Rock Americana


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The best kept secret in music


"Belgium Music Site CD Review"

When the American and the English music press together do not find anymore the appropriate words to value a CD, this one should really be exceptional. We knew it already when Americana UK awarded a 9 out of 10 to this CD. We therefore tried our best to obtain a copy and discovered that Clifford’s "Signal the Sun" (a band with origins in Toronto) is a very special CD. A CD with a lot in common with The Band and Van Morrison but also with a touch of the work of a young Bob Dylan or the 80's post-punk music of The Replacements or Elvis Costello.

Clifford is a duo comprised of the the brothers Bryce (vocals, guitars, piano, harmonica) and Bradford (drums, percussion and vocals). On their debut album they are accompanied by such musicians as Canadian Kim Deschamps (Kim is the pedal steel player and multi-instrumentalist for Canadian bands: Cowboy Junkies and Blue Rodeo). Also Jon Blondell (Willie Nelson band), plays trombone on a few tracks and Tony Scalzo ( of Fastball) can be heard on "All the Girls" with a fantastic bluesy guitar solo. Thomas Van der Brook also gives the songs a very soulful feeling thanks to his tenor saxophone and violin.

"Signal The Sun" is full of real individualistic music. Songs full of humor and surprise in a blend of Americana rock with a pinch of country and the blues. Songs that are at the same time raw and delicate. There is a fast learning curve here, because after listening to the CD three times, we could not do without it. There is no easy way to describe this CD. Each attempt to really describe "Signal The Sun" comes down to cliché. You need to hear Clifford's music!! You’ll be surprised by the unexpected directions it will take you and the musical pictures it paints, often filled with dark texts. From the lead off track, Clifford’s music evolves somewhere between the guitar rock of the Replacements to the restrained Americana à la Marah. With jewels like "Last Call in the Northeast" and “Woodstock, Ont." they demonstrate many talents. These brothers certainly do show great potential in "Signal The Sun". So watch out.

"CD Review by Darcie Stevens"

"Bryce and Bradford Clifford came from an art-punk band in Toronto, moved to Austin, and now have produced a country-tinged roots-rock album. Blessed by the pedal steel of Cowboy Junkie Kim Deschamps, Signal the Sun is fitting in. We love Canadian art punk!!" - The Austin Chronicle

"Brothers Clifford return to county for gig tonight"

Bruce Urquhart - STAFF WRITER
Friday December 23, 2005

Clifford Bros. Band to perform at Ody's tonight.

Tonight’s show will serve as a sort of homecoming for The Clifford Brothers Band. It’s been a while since Bryce and Brad Clifford have played in Oxford County, though their musical apprenticeship did involve more than a few local high schools. With Bryce living in Austin, Tex., and Brad working in Toronto, it’s a rare occasion for these Ingersoll natives to even be in the county.
"And with two days before Christmas, we thought (the show) would be a change to see some old friends," said Bryce, the band’s vocalist and guitarist.
The show will also serve to reunite the Clifford brothers with Greg Fullerton, their former bassist, who will, at least temporarily, be back in the fold. Toronto’s Scott B. Sympathy, a well-known songwriter, will also join the band, following his own set at Ody’s Sports Bar and Restaurant.
The bulk of tonight’s free performance will be drawn from Signal the Sun, the band’s well-received debut album. A dusty pastiche of back-road Americana and rough-hewn punk, Signal the Sun has received glowing notices from a dozens of newspaper and magazines, including the Toronto Star, the Austin Chronicle and Belgium’s Rootstime.
"The European press has been amazing," Bryce said. "Americana U.K., a British magazine, gave our album a nine out of 10.
"Once we had that, there was some Amsterdam press that was really good, and people in weird places, like Italy, started buying the album."
With the growing praise for Signal the Sun, the Clifford brothers are considering hiring a publicist to help with some of the more mundane chores of being in a rock ’n’ roll band. While Bryce and Brad would prefer focusing solely on the music, they both realize the band’s success will be determined partially by commerce.
"We need to get the business side going," Bryce said. "It’s kind of a chore to put that together, but it’s definitely 50 per cent."
Still, the music side of things has been "progressing nicely" in the months since the July release of the album. Multi-instrumentalist Kullen Fukes, who switches between the trumpet and the xylophone during the band’s raucous performances, is the newest addition to the band, though he couldn’t make the trip to Canada for tonight’s performance. The Clifford Brothers Band, sans drummer Brad, has also played a number of recent shows in Austin, bringing Kim Deschamps, the former pedal steel player for the Cowboy Junkies, and Jon Blondell, Willie Nelson’s bassist, on stage for a few songs.
"I’m loving Austin more and more all the time, and the connections are really tight," Bryce said.
The performance begins at 9:30 p.m. tonight at Ody’s Sports Bar and Restaurant at the Quality Hotel & Suites. There is no charge. - The Woodstock Sentinel Review

"Friendly City Serves to Inspire"

Clifford Song Titled "Woodstock
Ont." About A Voyage

By Bruce Urquhart
Staff Writer

AUSTIN, TEX. - The song Woodstock, Ont. Is more about a trip than a place, though the Friendly City serves as the destination.
Bryce Clifford had been inspired by a particular voyage, a need to get from Toronto to Woodstock that was complicated by empty pockets. Without a train ticket, Clifford had snuck past the conductor, trying vainly to conceal himself in the utilitarian gray of the encomy-class car.
“(The conductor) was going to kick me off,” Clifford said. “ I asked some people around me (to borrow money), and they gave me dirty looks.”
But the kindness of a stranger, and a $20 loan, allowed the Ingersoll native to continue his trip, and this bittersweet jumble of embarrassment and charity became a song.
With its expansive harmonica and weathered guitar, Woodstock, Ont is easily one of the highlights of Signal the Sun, the debut album by Clifford, the eponymous band Bryce formed with his brother Bradford. The culmination of years of work, Signal the Sun can be described as a distillation, both of the duo’s disparate influences and their own experiences as musicians.
“That was the goal,” Clifford said. “We wanted it to be like a classic Stones record where every second is great.”
The band’s grand ambition was served by its new setting of Austin, Tex., the self-proclaimed ‘Live Music Capital of the World.’

A LONG JOURNEY: The Clifford brothers, Bryce and Bradford, spent nine months recording their album, Signal the Sun. The band’s first release party for the album is later this week in Texas.
The two brothers - both dual citizens thanks to their mother’s Texas heritage - had wanted a fresh environment, and Austin’s liberal barbecue and brew atmosphere seemed a perfect fit. The other attraction, the sheer number of musicians within the city’s boundaries, eventually helped shape the sound of Signal the Sun.
“Austin is a good training ground,” said Clifford, the band’s vocalist and guitarist.
“It’s like going to school. Music is University to me, and Austin has raised the bar. I was pretty afraid to play shows down here at first because I didn’t think my guitar playing was up to snuff.”
The two brothers managed to attract a colourful mix of guest musicians for their album, recruiting talents like fellow Canadian Kim Deschamps, the former pedal steel player for Blue Rodeo and the Cowboy Junkies. A chance meeting in an Austin bar brought Jon Blondell into the studio to play trombone, giving the album even more cachet. “(Blondell) has a sick discography,” Clifford said. “He plays bass with Willie Nelson. He played horns on the sublime records. He hangs out at my local bar. I just bought him a couple of drinks and asked him if he wanted to record.”
The band began the album last summer, taking a painstaking nine months to finish recording ten songs. Being in Austin, Clifford’s country influences became more prominent during the sessions, shading the “Westerbergian” punk of College Street and One More Shot with a dusty back-road patina.
Just being down here, there’s a little bit of country in the album,” Clifford said. “We’ve been getting comments about sounding northeastern, that you can hear the cold weather in our music. We do sound different than the bands down here.”
With brothers providing the direction, engineer Thomas van der Brook did the bulk of the recording, helping capture the band’s live intensity on the reels of magnetic tape. While Bryce and Bradford had a few disagreements during the lengthy sessions, observing a tradition made famous by Ray and Dave Davies, they agreed on van der Brook’s contributions to Signal the Sun.
“It was extremely comfortable just being in this guy’s home studio,” Clifford said. “He’s just starting out but he’s incredibly talented.”
Clifford is having his first release party later this week at Ego’s, one of the more notorious live venues in Austin. While Bradford, the band’s drummer, is currently in Toronto for the time being.
Ego’s is kind of a dive,” he said. “It’s in behind an underground parking garage, and you never know what kind of music you’re going to get in there. I’m pretty much there every night.”
But Bradford will be rejoining his brother during the band’s planned Canadian dates, which should bring them to Woodstock, London and Toronto in August. After years crisscrossing the province with Pedestrian Status, their former art-punk band, these upcoming Ontario shows should provide a sort of homecoming for the two brothers.
“We had a great time playing (in the area), the Clifford said. “I think we played every Woodstock high school back in the ‘90s.”
While not yet available in Woodstock, the band’s self-released album should be at the Record Works in the next week or two, giving Oxford music fans an opportunity to enjoy Signal the Sun’s 42 filler-f - Sentinel Review, July 13, 2005

"Dutch Review on"

3-1/2 (out of 5)

"Here come the Canadians". A citation from the daily journal of a freed Dutch citizen around 1945. No, it's not the new American bands who are carefully but surely penetrating the Dutch market. Also, the Canadian bands are being heard such as top CD's by Matt Mays and El Torpedo and Blood Meridian.Clifford is also a Canadian band from Toronto to be exact. Clifford is actually a duo of the brothers Bryce (vocals, piano, harmonica) and Bradford (drums,vocals). Signal The Sun (Pedstat music) is the debut in this combination of the 2 and for the recording the brothers took off to Austin Texas with only a toothbrush, a guitar and a couple of cymbals.With the help of some session musicians the arsenal of instruments was expanded to include bass, pedal steel, trumpets and violins. Signal The Sun is a presence because of the diversity in the music, it is a combination of country via pub-rock to guitar-pop. So The Band, Van Morrison, Brinsley Schwartz and Marah also came along with Bob Dylan in the form of a delicious uptempo cover of "Shelter from the Storm". Bryce Clifford has a terrific voice that in the beautiful ballads such as "Last Call in The Northeast" and the epic "One More Shot" touches the heart and leaves a lot of fans with their mouths wide open.The brothers also know how to write some good pop rock songs and they don't take a second seat to any artist with the Replacement-esque "Woodstock, ON". The Sun is not a chart topper yet but it is definately a worthwhile investment. - Wiebren Rijkeboer

"John Sakamoto Anti Hit-List"

Aug 27/ 05

"Beautiful is never alone/ It stands on corners with telephones/ Never waits for a drink or goes far to find a friend...." Along with those sublimely rueful lyrics, this exquisite ballad by Toronto brothers Bryce and Brad Clifford is graced with scarred barroom vocals from the Steve Forbert/Marah school of croak-singing and an aching sax solo that seems well-acquainted enough with the Stones' "Waiting on a Friend" to qualify as something of a homage. (From Signal The Sun, - The Toronto Star

"Americana-UK review"

9 out of 10 !!!

The Clifford Brothers consist of brothers, Brad & Bryce Clifford and this independently produced release was recorded in Austin over the last 12 months. The brothers are joined by Kim Deschamps (formerly Cowboy Junkies pedal steel player), Tony Scalzo (from the much under-rated Fastball) and Jon Blondell (Austin session player and Willie Nelson sideman). The boys influences range from such stellar performers as Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, The Band and the great Paul Westerberg. Of the eleven tracks all but two are written by the Brad & Bryce, with two covers 'Shelter from the Storm' and Mike Scott's 'Always Dancing, Never Getting Tired'. Brad plays drums, while Bryce handles lead vocals, guitars, piano & harmonica. Guest musicians also include Thomas van der Brook on tenor saxophone, violin, plus Rachel Lynn on backing vocals plus Brett Humphrey on harmonica. First track up is 'Home' and we are straight into top draw Americana, held together by some stunning pedal steel, drumming, piano and one of those guitar breaks that you wish you could play. Telling a tale of lost love, 'And if my heart fails to bring you home, I'll blame myself, my words are desperate, they fail to move you' - it's a very strong start to the record. Next up is the buoyant 'College St' with a riff that The Fountains of Wayne would have been proud to have written. The upbeat tempo continues with 'All The Girls (Never Care Less)', and there is some fine trombone and guitar work, working together on this song, that sounds reminiscent of Chicago (before they went MOR) in their prime. Up next is the beautiful 'Beautiful Is Never Alone' - acoustic guitar, piano, tenor saxophone combine together with stunning, evocative lyrics 'I am the great traitor, that great hypocrite, for just one kiss could kill this loneliness, you're beautiful but it's just a sketch, you're as empty as me I bet' - clocking in at over 5 minutes this is one of the many stand out songs on this record. The quality of the songs and playing never falters over the 40 plus minutes on the penultimate track 'Last Call In The North East' with it's haunting harmonica, guitar and lyrics clearly show that these brothers have the talent to make their mark, overall a very impressive record. - Andy Riggs


2005 CLIFFORD - "Signal the Sun" CD, full length

As "Pedestrian Status": 2003, Home Brew EP and 2001 Drifter, full-length CD + various comps and an early 7" single.


Feeling a bit camera shy



The quality of the songs and playing never falters over the 40 plus minutes. On the penultimate track 'Last Call In The Northeast', with it's haunting harmonica, guitar and lyrics, clearly shows that these brothers have the talent to make their mark, overall a very impressive record. - Andy Riggs, Americana UK (9 out of 10)

Bryce Clifford has a terrific voice that in the beautiful ballads such as "Last Call in The Northeast" and the epic "One More Shot" touches the heart and leaves fans with their mouths wide open - Wiebren Rijkeboer, Netherlands,

"Beautiful is never alone/ It stands on corners with telephones/ Never waits for a drink or goes far to find a friend...." Along with those sublimely rueful lyrics, this exquisite ballad by Toronto brothers Bryce and Brad Clifford is graced with scarred barroom vocals from the Steve Forbert /Marah school of croak-singing and an aching sax solo that seems well-acquainted enough with the Stones' "Waiting on a Friend" to qualify as something of a homage – John Sakamoto, The Toronto Star Anti-Hit List


CLIFFORD is the latest international musical endeavor by brothers Bryce and Brad Clifford. Their new CD, SIGNAL THE SUN, has just been released in the U.S. and Canada.

Bryce and Brad flew from Toronto to Austin, TX in 2004 with no more than a suitcase, a guitar, and a few cymbals. With Clifford family roots in Texas and the band evolving toward country-blues and rock, this bold undertaking would pay off in the creation of a new band, a new direction, and a highly acclaimed new CD.

Recorded and released by ToneHaus Studios with up and coming Austin studio engineer, Thomas van der Brook (Fastball, Friends of Dean Martinez), SIGNAL THE SUN is a cohesive collection of quality songs that takes the acute listener on an emotional voyage. Throughout the disc, you can hear the lyrical influences of Bob Dylan, The Band, and Van Morrison along with the 80's post-punk energy of The Replacements and Elvis Costello. Americana rock mixed with post-punk, country, blues and reckless, 'heart on your sleeve' songsmithing, CLIFFORD blends all these influences into a distinctive sound uniquely their own.

Bryce is the principal songwriter and front man vocalist, playing guitar, piano and harmonica on and off the stage. Brad is a co-songwriter and drummer. Their explosive live performances and 'under the radar' recording sessions soon attracted top Austin players like Kim Deschamps (pedal steel guitar/ Cowboy Junkies, Blue Rodeo, Barenaked Ladies), Jon Blondel (trombone/ Willie Nelson, Sublime), Tony Scalzo (guitar/ Fastball) along with Thomas van der Brook (tenor sax, violin), local singer/songwriter Rachel Lynn (backing vocals) and Brett Humphrey (harmonica).

SIGNAL THE SUN is garnering high praise from music web site reviewers in Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Internet airplay and podcasts are being logged daily. The CD is available on-line at a number of CD sales sites and the official CLIFFORD web site. A vinyl pressing of the album is also being planned for 2006.

CLIFFORD regularly plays Austin clubs like Ego's, Flipnotics, Hole in the Wall, Trophy's and Carousel Lounge among others. Kim Deschamps can often be found backing the band on pedal steel when his schedule permits. They are also frequently mentioned in the exclusive Austin scenester blog:

In Toronto, they play The El Mocambo, C'est What, The Horseshoe and Lee's Palace. Guest musicians include Greg Smith (bass/ The Weakerthans) and Kullen Fukes (trumpet/ Ian Moore). The band is interested in exploring European tour opportunities in the near future.

Bryce is also busy composing a musical score for "Hitting Their Mark" a BRAVO-TV documentary scheduled to air in the spring of 2006.

Previous to 2004, the Clifford brothers performed under the band name PEDESTRIAN STATUS. Best known for their infectious melodies and honest to the heart approach to songwriting, these two brothers have been recording, and performing original music since the mid-90's.

Born out of summer teenage jam sessions in a RV trailer park near Ingersoll, Ontario, PEDESTRIAN STATUS explored a wide range of musical styles and influences to burst forth on Toronto's Queen Street scene with a unique and emotionally charged sound. Their punk-art roots-rock songs and exciting, often unpredictable live act boasting sophisticated hooks, subtle intricacies and layers of driving guitar melodies, pulled street listeners in. Alternatively, elements of folk and alt-country could also be heard permeating their softer more introspective songs. A side more commonly seen now in the music of CLIFFORD.

PEDESTRIAN STATUS ("Pedstat" to their college fans) was soon a staple on the Toronto music club scene playing everywhere in the city and releasing two indepe