Sulfur City
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Sulfur City

Sudbury, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | INDIE

Sudbury, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Sulfur City - "Whispers""

Canadian rock band Sulfur City‘s new album features frontwoman Lori Paradis enjoying a bit of musical ecstasy, an image that evokes a Janis Joplin LP cover. It’s a clever strategy in making that connection as it highlight the band’s greatest asset, their superlative lead vocalist. Thing is, Sulfur City really are a rawk band, not blues/soul band, so Grace Slick is really a better comparison point as Paradis shares Slick’s graceful enunciation and more restrained sense of energy and drama. Did I mention this is a serious rock ‘n’ roll record, something that’s vanishing faster than bees these days? Sulfur City is a really honest to goodness working class rock band, the kind you can unwind to with beers and pool games at the local pub. Paradis even possesses the requisite career history as she’s been a construction worker, house painter and trucker. Those are careers that make you tough and give you the right rock ‘n’ roll mindset.

Sulfur City’s new album, Talking Loud, releases May 27th via Alive Naturalsound Records and today we’re sharing the band’s new single, “Whispers”, with you. Paradis says, “I was at a funeral and witnessed that even in death we lie. This fascinated me. In writing ‘Whispers’, I wanted to poke, shake, disturb and scream at the illusions of caring and love by friends and family after someone passes.” - POPMATTERS

"Album Review"


Sulfur City are one of those ensembles that like thick sounds and dynamic storytelling in their songs. The Canadian quintet are led by the soulful singer Lori Paradis who also plays woogie board, adding to the heavy percussive lilt of the album. With the virtuoso musicians of Keith Breitt on Keyboards, and Jess Lagace on guitars and lap steel, with a rock solid rhythmic bed of Steve Smith on vocals and bass, alongside drummer Sam King, this is a band that means serious business, as the contents of this seven song EP attest. From the opening Southern Boogie of You Don’t Know Me, all slide guitar, and tricky keyboard, and a rollicking toe-tapping rhythm, through to the slow blues of Trouble, jazz like Ride With Me, or the funk back-beat of Pockets this is a band which convincingly covers many musical genres, but to my ears the best track is the one that ends the release. Bones is a haunting, mid paced song that has Middle Eastern tones in the lap steel guitar and lead vocals, across a solid, almost trance like rhythm, featuring a busy bass part. If you wanted to imagine Janis Joplin singing with Led Zeppelin with modern production, this song gets pretty close to that sound. This is a fine release, and I will look forward to a full length album in due course. - Blues Matters! Issue 84

"Adobe and Teardrops Album Review"

If you've been waiting for a rock'n'roll album that's going to save your soul (released in 2014, anyway), then here it is. Holy smokes. Sulfur City is a powerhouse of grunge, punk, and soul. There are plenty of people out there who are trying to do something similar, but nobody's nailing it like these guys. Lori Paradis steals the show with her Patti Smith yowl and tortured blueswoman depth. Pick a great female vocalist of the late 20th century -- I think Paradis could go head-to-head with her with some confidence, even if she wouldn't win. But Sulfur City's real secret weapon is its songwriting. I find that a lot of "psych blues" bands tend to be more excited by the novelty of mixing the two genres than the music itself. Sulfur City, on the other hand, actually has something to say. I'm most struck by "On My Knees." Lyrically, it's as simple as it can get, but even without the band's ferocious delivery it's striking:

Help I said to the Lord
Help I said to my Lord
Help I said to my Lord
Won't you hear me now
I'm on my knees praying hard
I'm on my knees praying oh so hard
I'm on my knees praying hard
Won't you hear me now
I'm screaming out for my soul
I'm screaming out for my soul
I'm screaming out for my soul
Won't you hear me now
I'm blind to all things that are well
I'm blind to all things that are well
I'm blind to all things that are well
Cause Lord I'm not well
The devil's got me in his song
The devil's got me in his sweet sweet song
The devil's got me in his song
Won't you hear me now
Help I say to the Lord
Help I say to my sweet sweet Lord
Oh help I say to the Lord
Won't you hear me now...

This is the rock album we've all been waiting for. It may even be the one we deserve. - Rachel Cholst

"Quotes about the band"

"Thanks for the CD, great feel, love track 2 - luv it!!! You should add Chicago to your touring dates" Ric Jaz, Rhythm Guitarist, The Buddy Guy Band
"raw soulful sound. Their vibe is infectious" Artisitc Diorector Summerfest
"Harshly beautiful music. " CBC Radio One
"One of the most unique, powerful stage performances we have ever seen! You will never forget this band with vocalist Lori Paradis and her electric washboard!" Q92 Rock Station
"a distinctive, modern blues " Doc MacLean
"A soulful and dynamic group" Artistic Director, Jazz Fest Sudbury
" Big sound from a small town - the 'dale' was rocked to it's core by Sulfur City, a suburb show!" Dan Duguay, blogger Ottawa, Elmdale Tavern Ottawa. - Various media

"Rockin’ the blues with Sulfur City"

Dec 19, 2014
Rockin’ the blues with Sulfur City
Coming to town
Lori Paradis plays the Woogie Board with Sudbury blues rockers Sulfer City. The group is at Jimmy Jazz, Guelph.
Waterloo Region Record
By Neil McDonald
Sudbury blues rockers Sulfur City formed in 2007, but it was only this summer that they were finally able to release their debut album.

Founded by singer Lori Paradis and guitar player Jesse Lagace, the band endured several lineup changes and a scrapped attempt at recording their debut before settling on the current configuration of Paradis and Lagace plus bassist Steve Smith, drummer Sam King and keyboard player Keith Breit.

As Paradis explained in a phone interview this week, however, the long wait to produce their first album was ultimately worth it.

"We had been wanting to record for a long time and it just never panned out," she said. "I think it was serendipitous because the members of the band that are with us now are the people we were supposed to have recorded this album with. We had most of the songs for a long time, but when all five of us came together it just felt really right."

Released in August, the seven-song album was recorded largely live-off-the-floor at a space where Lagace gives music lessons, with Paradis' powerhouse vocals recorded in the piano room of a home where she was house-sitting.

Paradis said it felt "a little surreal" to finally hold the CD in her hands, though the release of an LP version earlier this month made it a bit more tangible.

"It wasn't real until the vinyl came out," she said. "It feels very good and it just feels like now I just want to kind of share that as much as possible with people."

The band's blues-rock sound is given a unique twist when Paradis plays an electric washboard named the Woogie Board. After first encountering the washboard while playing drums in a Delta blues band, Paradis soon began looking for a way to electrify it. She chatted about it with fellow washboard player Cody Dickinson of celebrated roots band North Mississippi All-Stars after a show she attended. Turns out, he was looking for an electric version as well and he eventually secured a deal with the Saint Blues guitar company to design and make what became the Woogie Board.

Paradis was an enthusiastic early adopter.

"It's all handmade. I have the 17th one made, it's hand-carved and … now I plug it into an amp and I have a wah pedal hooked up to it. I have other effects, too," she said. "It's kind of psychedelic, and it's a very cool instrument."

Paradis doesn't play the Woogie Board on every song ("It's bloody heavy," ) but said it helps set the band apart from the pack. The instrument is best played with finger picks and Paradis has a novel solution for being prepared at each gig.

"I took ladies full-length gloves and I duct-taped guitar finger picks to them," she said. "It looks like cat's claws but it's a way to get my finger picks on quick. I used to play without that and they'd slide all off my hand and then I'd be playing with my bare fingers, and that hurts. So I duct-tape finger picks to these long gloves — they're red right now, but I think I like black gloves better."

The band hopes to tour "as much as possible" next year, though the realities of day jobs and the group's location in Sudbury means getting away for stretches at a time can be difficult.

"It's always the drive," said Paradis. "It's not like an hour-and-a-half here, an hour-and-a-half there and you can play a lot of different places. It's like 'OK, there's a six-hour drive."

That said, after a seven-year wait to release their first record, Paradis and the band are committed to their cause — no matter the driving conditions.

"A year-and-a-half, two years ago, I drove to Toronto in a snowstorm. It took eight hours to get there, we set up, we played for one hour, we tore down, we put everything in the back of the van and I drove another eight hours back to Sudbury in a snowstorm. It was the worst snowstorm of the season. I'm like, 'Oh my God, this is crazy.' And we made absolutely no money," she said with a laugh. "That's a band's life, eh? But I wouldn't change that."

: "Most of the time we don't make a lot of money but that's OK. It's growing pains, it's what you're supposed to do to get out there."

Sulfur City w/The Plain Steel

Jimmy Jazz, Guelph

Saturday, Dec. 20 // 9 p.m.

Doors 8 p.m. Music after 10 p.m.

Free show 19+ - The Record

"Orange Country Reverb: Sulfur City Interview"

Anyone who has every listened to the raw recordings or Robert Johnson and heard about the tale of his deal with the Devil at a dusty crossroads, has been hooked on Blues ever since. Legends of the Blues have kept generations of music lovers grasping for genuine Blues beats and sticky summer festivals that make the streets echo with sultry vibes. Long live the Blues in Hamilton’s underbelly. Orange Country Reverb presents Sulfur City.

Lead singer and electric washboardist, Lori Paradis from Sulfur City, took some time to answer some questions about the up-and-coming band and all things Blues!

OCR: The Blues is an incredibly indescribable genre that portrays various emotions and experiences. It is just as good acoustic and raw as it is electric and edgy. Unfortunately, it seems like the genre is overshadowed by manufactured radio pop. What do you see in Blues’ future? To motivate a younger generation to listen to the Blues, what bands or singers would you recommend they listen to?

LP: I noticed a recent shift in popularity from manufactured pop, to real organic music. Bands like Alabama Shakes, Black Keys, and The White Stripes have re-introduced blues to a younger audience. There is an edge and truth to their music that a new younger audience can relate to and wants to hear. They have taken the lessons of players such as Robert Johnson, Junior Kimbrough, and Mississippi Fred MacDowell and fused in own their experiences.

I see the rise of blues music in alternative bars and festivals…it’s bubbling underground on online radio, university and college stations, and I’m hearing it more and more in offbeat public places. We’re talking about it in coffee shops when we’re discussing music…”did you hear the new song by…”

The Blues needs to evolve in order to reach a new audience and it’s starting to. Bands I suggest would be Gov’t Mule, Alabama Shakes, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Clutch, Sea Sick Steve, Ash Grunwald, Jamie N Commons, Moreland & Arbuckle, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, The Crank Bros., Ruthie Foster, Gary Clark Jr., Tom Waits, John Mayer, John Mayall, Hendrix, Cream, Jeff Beck, R.L.Burnside…there is a big list out there. Check it out.

OCR: You guys do an amazing cover of St. James Infirmary Blues. It was originally a folk song that was adapted by the Blues community in various renditions. Besides your own interpretation of the song, whose version do you dig?

LP: Our rendition of Saint James Infirmary was mostly inspired by the deep and hollow sounds of Louis Armstrong’s horn. Other versions I’m drawn to would be Joe Cocker (early live version) and Van Morrison (live).

OCR: I am always amazed by the ingenuity of Blues musicians. With a true passion for music, they can make an instrument out of anything. Lori, you have bridged that ingenuity into the modern electric world with the electric washboard. When did you first pick up the good ol’ washboard? What is your favourite aspect of the instrument? What are some of the most inventive and yet simple makeshift instruments you have used or come across?

LP: About 5 years ago I was the drummer in a blues band and they wanted to include washboard. So, they went and bought me this old one from an antique store (still got it). I knew nothing of how to play one. It was a percussion instrument so I went on those ideas. Slapped on some finger picks and got to work. After awhile I thought it would be great to amplify the sound. Tried a few ways (bottle cap and wind instrument pickups) but they never really did the job.

I got a chance to meet Cody Dickinson from North Mississippi Allstars, he was playing a board and had put a pick up on it. We talked about some ideas on amplification and pedals. Soon after that, a company in Memphis, St. Blues, designed an electric washboard after Cody Dickenson’s ideas and called it a Woogie Board. I’ve got the 17th one made.

I’ve been playing it for about 2 years now. What I love about this instrument is the unique sounds and interesting rhythms I can get. I can play it straight (no pedals) for a more traditional sound or add pedals and lots of gain from my Laney tube amp for a unique modern sound that can sometimes border on psychedelic. We’ll play a sort of metal blues to a jazz blues, my washboard always fits…I love that. We do a cover of Voodoo Chile by Hendrix and I play my board with a Wha-Wha pedal, it works great and always freaks people out a bit. As for makeshift instruments, anything I can hit with sticks, brushes or my hands that can give an unusual sound works for me.

OCR: With such a grungy Mississippi Delta sound it is hard to believe you guys are from Sudbury! What is the music scene like in Sudbury? Have you travelled to Southern parts of America to discover the origins first hand?

LP: It’s a small community and the music scene in Sudbury is divided between new explorative music and top 40 classic rock. The new alternative stuff is mostly underground. For me this is where the interesting stuff is happening. I see the blending of genres. I have always had a thing for very rough edged music; sloppy and raw…guess I’ve been influenced by my surroundings, and it’s great to be able to explore these ideas. There are only a couple of venues that cater to alternative and new music (The Townehouse and Little Montreal). Outside of these venues, you’ll find these bands booking shows at halls, garages, house shows, and cracks between buildings. Most other venues stick to mainstream top 40’s or classic rock, closely tied into the few main radio stations we have.

None of us have yet travelled south. It would be a great trip…and better if we could play along the way.

OCR: How would you define Blues?

LP: The blues is in your kitchen on a hot sticky Sunday afternoon…in your car when the way home takes you on a highway commute bumper to bumper, on the street….a lone musician and a guitar, glass slide and tales of an interesting life, troubled times, heartache, death, and love. It can hit you hard with dirty grungy electric vibes and growling vocals pushed by pulsating rhythms. To me it’s a truth…it’s your truth, it’s my truth, our stories….it can be unkind and bitter or sweet and full of hope. Be it with words or musical emotional value, blues is one true genre that you can convey your heart’s message with every note, and with every silence in between…mainstream has gone cookie cutter and safe.

BB King says “The blues is rage and anger. The blues is an expression of anger against shame and humiliation.”

OCR: Lori, your booming voice draws from an overt Blues sound but also has very Gospel pangs. To me you are the Canadian Janis Joplin! What musical experiences shaped your voice? Who are some of your favourite singers?

LP: Thank you for the generous comparison. It humbles me. I admire Nina Simone…what a voice and performer…she brought veracity to her songs, honest pure feelings, and emotion. Marianne Faithful, Patty Smith, Mary Margaret O’Hara, and Jesse May Hemphill also captivate me. Love these women. When I sing I strive to bring the same vocal truth of emotions that these women did. I want the audience to feel the music in their bones, their nerve endings, and on their skin. As for vocal experiences…every time I step on stage and everything I am I must put out.

OCR: What’s next for Sulfur City?

LP: We’re heading out across Ontario over the summer and fall. Playing some shows with new friends, The Wicked Mercy and Liam Lloyd. In the spring, we are planning a tour across Canada. Over the winter, we’ll be working on our first album and as a few people have said to me, “it’s about time!” - Connie Adams

"Various Reviews"


“Fronted by electric washboard-toting powerhouse Lori Paradis, Ontario band Sulfur City have unleashed a speaker-shredding blues-rock tornado with Talking Loud, which sits beautifully with labelmates the Black Keys but also harbours an intoxicating, multi-hued diversity. In the words of an old jazz correspondent, this band “slices so much ass the room is waist-deep in ass”. We say a new star has come among us.” - CLASSIC ROCK MAGAZINE
“This is a serious rock and roll record, something that’s vanishing faster than bees these days.” - POPMATTERS
“On Sulfur City’s forthcoming studio album Talking Loud, the band can be found firing on all cylinders with their bluesy psychedelic rock that seems to have been transported straight from the 60′s and 70′s. Between the loose, funky organ, mind-bending guitars and drumming, and of course the ferocious vocal power of Lori Paradis, Sulfur City are cranking out music to dance and get weird to.” - GLIDE MAGAZINE
“… captures a high-octane blues band and ballsy belter with the power of Janis Joplin.” – BLUES MAGAZINE
[8.5/10 stars] “Strap yourselves in, brother, cos this is quite a trip…. a superb record” - MAXIMUM VOLUME MUSIC
“Gritty rock ‘n’ blues… this second album see the Canadian five-piece further explore their soul-punk bar band ethic.” – VIVE LE ROCK MAGAZINE
[5/5 stars!] “Not too many bands can incorporate all the different sounds that Sulfur City does on this album. This band pretty much stands in a class by itself.” – L.A. EXAMINER
“… the ideal antidote for anyone clamoring for pure, hi-test rock and roll.” – FYI MUSIC NEWS
“…a sweaty, no-frills amalgam of Canadian soul, stormy, psych-blasted blues rock, and Bayou-blasted boogie rock.” – ALL MUSIC
“The tough frontwoman is not a new rock 'n' roll idea, but Ontario-based Sulfur City's Lori Paradis makes it work on a hardscrabble sophomore long-player that would pay its way at the roughest bars in town.” - MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL
“A simmering, humid swamp of keyboards, rough-and-tumble guitars and rumbling bass and drums backs the powerhouse, blue-collar voice of Paradis, who scratches the electric washboard until her fingers bleed and belts out stirring anthems for the downtrodden on the lusty, smoking-hot Talking Loud. Invoking the spirit of Janis Joplin, Paradis actually sounds more like a young Grace Slick, tough and uncompromising. The lyrics are just as earthy, but full of evocative imagery.” - ELMORE MAGAZINE
“Some bold moves in this one, marrying styles from many different decades.” - DC ROCK LIVE
“I’m not going to waste any of your time by throwing superlatives around for the next ten lines , so here it goes, stellar all round band, blues based jams that will remind you of nothing but Legends, a voice you will always remember hearing for the first time, lyrics that scream truth and all in all one of my favorite new bands of 2016, so dig in.” - 50 THIRD AND 3RD
“There’s something special about a gutsy and compelling female vocalist fronting a hard rock band when it’s done right. Canadian band Sulfur City tick all those boxes. While they’re hardly new hands at this thing (the band started in 2007) they have a raw vitality in their sound that puts a shitload of bands of this ilk in the shade. Strap yourself in, this is an interesting ride.” - I-94 BAR
“… a record that promises good times and demands you cracnk it up.” - MEDIUM.COM - Pavement PR


Debut Album 'Talking Loud' released on Alive NaturalSounds Records May 27 now available on iTunes

EP: Self Titled Release Aug 04 2014



Sulfur City is the first female-fronted band in the 21year history of Alive Natural Sound Records and their balls-to-the wall, high-energy gritty blues style fits right in with label mates like the Black Keys and Left Lane Cruiser. Fronted by singer/electric washboard player Lori Paradis, Sulfur City comes roaring at you with echoes of Grace Slick, Patti Smith and Janis Joplin. This is no wimpy chick rock!   
This band is about music revival. They will make you dance, cry and question your very existence… as the devil temps you to join his side at the crossroads… all in the span of a single song.  
Driving their sound are Jesse Lagace (guitar), Steve Smith (bass), Sam King (drums), and Keith Breit (keys). Their first album with the label, “Talking Loud” is due out in early summer 2016 and was recorded at the infamous Gas Station Recording studio by Dale Morningstar (Cowboy Junkies, Neko Case).

Band Members