What if Dark Orchard (Jim Casson’s experimental music project) and “The Blues” got together in New Orleans and watched Twin Peaks with Daniel Lanois?

This is the question that inspired “Davis Hall & The Green Lanterns”.

1. Temperanceville

2. Marshville Station

3. The Right Road To Boyle

4. Finding Tintern

5. Gasline

6. Formerly Diffin's Corners

7. Crowland

8. White Pigeon

9. Sulphur Springs

10. The Dream Of Chantler

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The story –

During the COVID19 lockdown, musicians were trying to find ways to keep busy.  Drummer Jim Casson was asked to record some backing tracks in his home studio "The Cherry Pit" for his friend, guitarist Steve Grisbrook with bassist Russ Boswell.  After recording a few cover songs for Steve, Jim approached Russ to see if he wanted to try to write something original.  Russ was game so Jim improvised a drum take while thinking with song form in his head, but with no firm idea of a song, just a funky New Orleans vibe.  Jim sent this track to Russ who then added a bass line with chord changes to Jim’s track.  They decided that the right person to add a guitar part was their old band mate Bernie LaBarge. Brent Barkman was then asked to contribute an organ part and the song “Marshville Station” was born.

Excited at the success of this first experiment, Jim decided to try another one, but this time the same magic was not repeated and the project was shelved.

Meanwhile, tuba player Jay Burr was working on a singer songwriter album and had asked Jim to contribute drum parts.  Jim decided to ask Jay if he would try to add a tuba part to the shelved project.  Jay agreed and it was magic again.  They continued to collaborate on several more songs using the same formula of improvised drum takes and then adding form with the tuba. 

Jim decided that the complimentary instrumentation for this project would be guitar (Wayne DeAdder) and slide guitar (Mike Branton).  With their additions, the project had a solid foundation. 

Other contributors to become “Green Lanterns” were Steve Marriner (harmonica), Al Lerman (harmonica), and Stephen Miller (dobro).

Jim felt that this album should in some way pay tribute to his home, The Niagara Peninsula in Ontario, Canada.  “Davis Hall” was the name of the community centre in his hometown where he attended nursery school and “The Green Lantern” was the soda shop in town when he was a kid.  All of the song titles are names or former names of villages in the Niagara Peninsula. 

The “Dark Orchard” element is the addition of samples, loops and spoken word elements into the songs.  Everything came together when Jim discovered a recording from 1963 of local disc jockey Bob Bowland from CHOW radio in Welland, the station that was most played in his home while growing up. 

With this addition, the tribute was complete.


 

What people are saying about Davis Hall & The Green Lanterns

"Are you f*cking kidding me???? I LOVE THIS ALBUM!!!... Tears are streaming down my face...so beautiful, the playing on this album.  My favourite album of 2022!!  I can barely type, I’m moving so much listening to this album."
Alex Lifeson - Rush, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (yes... that guy)

“An album that will lift your spirits and put a smile on your face. Joyous playing!"
Holger Petersen - Broadcaster CBC Music, Saturday Night Blues and CKUA, Edmonton AB

"…a progressive blend of blues, jazz and funk - the freshest sound I have heard in years. Modern music with a dash of retro, and a whole lot of soul."
Brant Zwicker - At The Crossroads Blues Radio

"I’m loving it!  So funkified!  Great instrumentation, arrangements and of course, masterful playing, bravo!"
Cindy McLeod - Calgary International Blues Festival, Host of The Blues Witness CJSW, Calgary, AB

“Swampy, greazy and so refreshing... I needed to hear this album”
Ron Littlejohn, Host of The Gumbo Kitchen on JAZZ.FM91, Toronto, ON

"A modern and imaginative approach to a timeless musical style. Unique blues for the 21st century."
Terry Parsons, Host of Blind Lemon Blues, CHMR, St. John's, NFLD

"This is an extraordinary album that transcends the norm and delights the ears."
Ken Wallis, Host of Blues Source Canada, The Hawk FM, Hamilton, ON

“The album is killer… These songs will make any set list better.”
MisterG, Music Selector, Green Arrow Radio, WSUM, Madison, Wisconsin

“funky, cool, fun, loose, awesomeness!”
Charlie Cooley, Manteca

“This album is so good will be in my music listening rotation for many years to come….quite possibly all of the years to come.!”
Tom Nemes, music aficionado

“Dude... this is great”
Danno O’Shea, My Son The Hurricane

“That’s what I call FUNKY!  The Meters would approve”
Bucky Berger, Canadian drumming legend

“What a beautiful and funky record. Lovin' it all!”
Mark Kelso, internationally renowned drummer, Head of Humber College Percussion

“Cool!  I like it!!!”
Paul Delong, internationally renowned drummer

This is fabulous stuff. Go ahead; try not to boogie when you hear it.
David Vest, award-winning pianist/bluesman

“Killer album…Thanks for making original, original music Jim.  Great stuff!”
Jaymz Bee, Host of “Jazz In The City”, JAZZ.FM91 Toronto

“Who knew the fruit belt could be so darn funky”
David Olds, DISCoveries Editor - The Whole Note, February 2022

“Some kinda funky! ...really fresh and original”
Morgan Davis, Canadian Blues Legend

“Muy Bueno”
Vicente Zumel, "La Hora Del Blues", Barcelona, Spain

 

 


Recording credits

1. Temperanceville - Casson/Burr/DeAdder
Jim Casson – drums, samples
Jay Burr – tuba
Wayne DeAdder – guitar
Mike Branton – slide guitar

2. Marshville Station - Casson/Boswell/LaBarge/Barkman
Jim Casson – drums, samples
Russ Boswell – bass
Bernie LaBarge – guitar
Brent Barkman - organ

3. The Right Road To Boyle - Casson/Burr/Branton
Jim Casson – drums, samples
Jay Burr – tuba
Wayne DeAdder – guitar
Mike Branton – slide guitar

4. Finding Tintern - Casson
Jim Casson – drums, keyboards
Wayne DeAdder – guitar
Mike Branton – slide guitar
Russ Boswell – upright bass
Steve Marriner - harmonica

5. Gasline - Casson/Burr/DeAdder
Jim Casson – drums, keyboards, Hammond Rhythm 2, samples
Jay Burr – tuba
Wayne DeAdder – guitar
Mike Branton – slide guitar

6. Formerly Diffin’s Corners - Casson/Burr
Jim Casson – drums, samples
Jay Burr – tuba, trombone
Wayne DeAdder – guitar
Mike Branton – slide guitar
Stephen Miller - dobro

7. Crowland - Casson
Jim Casson – percussion, keyboards, autoharp, bass
Wayne DeAdder – guitar
Stephen Miller - dobro

8. White Pigeon - Casson
Jim Casson – drums, synth bass, loops, samples
Jay Burr – tuba
Wayne DeAdder – guitar
Mike Branton – slide guitar

9. Sulphur Springs - Casson/Burr/DeAdder
Jim Casson – drums, keyboards, theremin
Jay Burr – tuba
Wayne DeAdder – guitar

 

10. The Dream Of Chantler - Casson/Lerman/Branton
Jim Casson –keyboards, samples, field recordings
Al Lerman – harmonica
Mike Branton – slide guitar


Who has been playing Davis Hall & The Green Lanterns?

  • Jaymz Bee - Jazz In The City - JAZZFM 91.1FM - Toronto, ON
  • Ron Littlejohn - Gumbo Kitchen - JAZZFM 91.1FM - Toronto, ON
  • Bill King - Soul Nation - JAZZFM 91.1FM - Toronto, ON
  • Holger Peterson - Saturday Night Blues - CBC Radio 2- National broadcast
  • Danny Marks - BLUZFM - JAZZFM 91.1FM - Toronto, ON
  • John Tackaberry - Black And Blues - CKCU 93.1 - Ottawa, ON
  • Ron Simmonds - Blues In The Dark - CFRO 100.5- Vancouver, BC
  • Shrimp City Slim - Good Mornin' Blues - 105.5FM The Bridge - Charleston, S.C., USA
  • Brant Zwicker - At The Crossroads Blues Network - International Syndication
  • Ken Wallis - Blues Source Canada - The Hawk 101.5FM - Hamilton, ON
  • Terry Parsons - Blind Lemon Blues, Sunday Morning Hangover - CHMR 93.5FM - St. John's NFLD
  • Brent Morrison - The Rockin' Blues Show - International Syndication
  • Paul Corby - Corby's Orbit - Regent Radio - Toronto, ON
  • Tim Dennis - iHeart Radio / Newstalk 610- St, Catharines, ON
  • Kevin Hardy - Main St. Blues - KCOR - Kansas City, MO, USA
  • John Detcheverry - Cha Cha Cha in Blue - CKUT 90.3FM- Montreal, QC
  • Pete Feenstra - Rock & Blues Show - Get Ready To Rock Radio - U.K.
  • Mister G - Green Arrow Radio - WSUM 91.7FM - Madison, WI, USA
  • Matt Allen - Big Beat Bar-B-Cue Radio Show - Hunter's Bay Radio - 88.7FM - Huntsville, ON
  • Top Blues Radio - Internet station, Tuscon AZ,USA
  • Erhard Albrecht - Bluespower - Radio Wesser - Bremerhaven, Germany
  • Serge "Sonny Boy" Bellerose - CFID Radio Acton, Acton Vale, QC
  • Vicente Zumel - La Hora Del Blues, Barcelona, Spain
  • Ron Simmons - When Swing Was King - CFBX, Kamloops, BC
  • Steve Marlow - The Top 30 Show- CFBX, Kamloops, BC
  • Michel Faton - Cross Blues Station - Ram 05 Radio Libre - Embrun, Fance
  • Sister T - Groovin' With Sister T - Three D Radio 93.7FM - Adelaide, Australia
  • Deborah Cartmer - Eclectic Blues - CFBU - St. Catharines, ON
  • Open Air - Jefferson Public Radio, Ashland, OR, USA

REVIEWS

Toronto Blues Society - John's Blues Picks - February 1, 2022 - by Terry Parsons

This is one of those albums that pushes the boundary of Blues in ways most people could never imagine. I am sure some blues purists would say that it is not blues, but if you listen closely you can hear blues undertones throughout every cut on this CD. 

The product of “Dark Orchard” mastermind and Downchild drummer, Jim Casson, Davis Hall and the Green Lanterns is not so much a collection of blues songs, as an exploration of the unexpected places that blues can go. 

This album asks what happens if Dark Orchard took their uniquely ambient sound and applied it to tinge a blues idea. Add in Jim’s experimental percussion, sampling and loops to create something completely different, and yes enticingly familiar. 

One of the great pleasures of Music is Experimenting with new ideas, new sounds and sharing those with likeminded people. This project was pieced together through a series of other projects that bought guitar, bass and even tuba into play. Authored and created by a group of friends socially distanced but musically connected. 

A Monument to musical creation through exploration, every song on this album draws its name from a place somewhere in the Niagara region. Even the band name does that. “Davis Hall” was a Community Centre near where Jim went to nursery school while the “Green Lantern” was a soda shop. 

The album opens with “Temperanceville”, lively with a cool New Orleans groove, it features brilliant interplay between tuba (Jay Burr) and guitar (Wayne DeAdder) with some sweet slide (Mike Branton). The second cut is the fun and funky “Marshville Station”, this time with a new lineup including Russ Boswell (bass), Bernie LeBarge (guitar) and Brent Barkman (organ). The music brilliantly mimics the hustle and bustle of a downtown station as people scurry from home to work to home, heads down never noticing the people around them. Not necessarily constant motion, more the flow of humanity in closed circumstance. 

Up next, “The Right Road To Boyle”, another feisty New Orleans offering with tuba undertones and smooth guitar over the top. I am not sure what the geographical reference is here, but it has a frantic energy that is infectious. 

The fourth cut is the spooky “Finding Tintern”, which features the haunting harmonica of Steve Marriner. The echo-ish nature of the sound belies a large and expansive space, lending itself to the mystery of dark places. The fifth cut, “Gasline”, is a quirky jam, rich with funky guitar and smooth rhythm. A jittery little jump that would be well at home in a smoky New Orleans club at 2 in the morning. 

Up next is “Formerly Diffin’s Corners”, which brings the dobro of Stephen Miller into the fold, and adds a trombone to the tuba and the brilliant percussion one expects from an incredible player like Jim Casson. It has a dramatic feel straight out of a 70’s cop movie feel. The seventh cut on the album is the low, slow and atmospheric “Crowland,” a swampy little tune that would go perfectly with fire flies on a hot and humid southern night. 

Up next, “White Pigeon” launches you right back into the funky world of Jim’s rhythmic percussion, counter-pointed by Wayne and Mike’s guitar and slide, each playing off the other. The ninth cut is “Sulphur Springs”, probably the most atmospheric cut on the album. The only way I can describe the sampling is that it seems to cycle through sounding like wind through wires, howling wolves and singing whales. Kind of creepy, but very cool! 

The album closes with the tenth and final track, “The Dream Of Chantler” brings the brilliant harmonica of Al Lerman in for what is probably the bluesiest cut on the album, fueled by the rhythm of crickets. There’s something about that sound that just speaks to the soul, and Lerman’s harp works perfectly with it.

This album is an intriguing collection of original sounds and ideas that challenges the listener and defies the idea that blues is just one thing. It’s Not! In this case, it is all things.


The Whole Note - Editors Corner - February 2022 - David Olds

And now for something completely different, although I find joy here too. “What if Dark Orchard (Jim Casson’s experimental music project) and ‘The Blues’ got together in New Orleans and watched Twin Peaks with Daniel Lanois?” That’s the premise behind Davis Hall & The Green Lanterns. Originally conceived in the early days of COVID-19 as a remote collaboration with bass player Russ Boswell, Casson laid down drum tracks in his home studio that he shared with Boswell who added funky bass licks and a song outline. They invited Bernie LaBarge to add some guitar lines and Brent Barkman on organ; and Marshville Station, the second track on the current album, was born. Although the project was shelved for a while, the ongoing pandemic has provided the perfect opportunity to revisit the idea. 

I’ve been a sucker for blues tuba since I saw Taj Mahal at the Mariposa Festival 40-some years ago backed by a quartet of tubas headed by the late, great Howard Johnson (1941-2021). Well, that’s how this adventure begins, with the funky, N’awlins-flavoured Temperanceville co-written by Casson, tuba player N. Jay Burr and guitarist Wayne DeAdder, with Mike Branton sitting in on slide guitar. The personnel of the Green Lanterns changes from track to track, with Casson on drums, keyboards, autoharp and even theremin the only constant, but the result is always bluesy and frequently scorching. Burr, DeAdder, Boswell and Brandon make numerous contributions and guests include Steve Marriner and Al Lerman on harmonica, Stephen Miller on dobro, and an archival appearance by 60s DJ Bob Bowland from CHOW radio in Welland, Ontario. Casson explains the name of the group, and of the songs, as a tribute to the Niagara Peninsula, the stomping grounds of his formative years. “Davis Hall” was the name of the community centre in his hometown where he attended nursery school, “The Green Lantern” was the soda shop in town when he was a kid and the names of all the songs correspond to place names on the peninsula. Who knew that the fruit belt could be so darn funky? This one is guaranteed to lift your spirits (and your heels)! 


Bman's Blues Report 12-29-2021 - Scottsdale, Arizona

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent self titled release by Davis Hall & The Green Lanterns and I really like it! Opening with Temperanceville with it's cool New Orleans march rhythm anchored by N. Jay Burr on tuba and Jim Casson on drums, Mike Branton on slide guitar and Wayne Deadder on guitars exchange leads on this making this a terrific opener. Funky, Marshville Station, again has an incredible groove set by Casson and Russ Boswell on bass and with the addition of Brent Barkman on organ and Bernie LeBarge adding solid lead guitar lines over the top, this is a great track. Deadder Branton and Burr are back on The Right Road to Boyle has terrific, easy flowing slide over a solid New Orleans beat. White Pigeon gives Deadder a solid opening to lay down some real nice jazz style riffs and Branton's slide work, doubled with Burrs tuba sets a funk rocky Southern feel. Wrapping the release is The Dream of Chantler with eerie slide work by Branton balanced with the harmonica work of Al Lerman over the keys and sampling of Casson. This is an unusual release and one that you should really check out.  


Davis Hall on "Best Of" Lists

JazzFM 91.1 Toronto - Jazz In The City with Jaymz Bee - Top Albums of 2021

CHMR 93.5 St. John's NF - Terry Parsons - Producer's Picks Best of 2021

CKUT 90.3 Montreal - Cha Cha in Blue - John Detcheverry - Best Canadian Blues of 2021

610 CKTB - St. Catharines - Jacob Bergsma - Niagara Music Year In Review - 2021

 


Green Lanterns T-Shirts are now available!!!

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Contact Davis Hall & The Green Lanterns - jcasson@hotmail.com