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Press ShotsJohn Allaire

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John Allaire

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John Allaire

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Photo Credits: Sean Sisk


Now here's a line-up...
Ottawa Sun On-line. October 2005
"...Allaire's music can play alongside almost ANY style in almost ANY venue..." -
RootsAmericana Mag.

Allaire's hockey past catches up
with him on CBC Radio 1...

Feb. 23/06
John part of an"Expert Panel" on CBC Radio 1 this morning
Was it an expert panel on Canadian independent music? Was it on the transition from band to solo folk musician? Nah, it was a CBC Radio 1 Expert Panel on why Team Canada men's hockey were eliminated from the Olympics by the Russians yesterday. Hear it here (mp3)


May 11/06
Once again, John part of an "Expert Panel" on CBC Radio 1 this morning
It seems like every time there's a crisis -- in the world of professional hockey, that is -- John is called upon by CBC Radio 1 to sort things out. This time it was an Expert Panel on why the National Hockey League's Ottawa Senators, arguably the best team (on paper anyway!!!) in the NHL are on the verge of elimination by the Buffalo Sabres. Hear it here (mp3)


June 1/07
John is again part of an "Expert Panel" on CBC Radio 1 this morning
CBC Radio 1
brought John in to talk about the Ottawa Senators and their drive to the Stanley Cup! Hear it here


June 2/07
John is on CBC TV during the pre-game show
brought John in to talk about the Ottawa Senators and their drive to the Stanley Cup! See it here


June 4/07
"Expert Panel" reconvenes on CBC Radio 1 this morning, featuring John
CBC Radio 1
brought John in again to talk about the Ottawa Senators, down 3-1, and their chances to win the Stanley Cup! Hear it here



What's being said...

"...He has the lyrical sense of Dylan, the chops of Neil Young and his backing group reminds me of The Band..."
        - Mile High Examiner, Denver

"...The 12-song collection [Ghosts of the Royal Motel] is perfect barroom cool. He’s got one of those rough ‘n’ tumble voices that lures you in right with the opener, “Angels,” a lyric about everyday angels that features a verse by prominent guest vocalist Amanda Rheaume. A great storyteller, Allaire has some standout lines in “Bourbon.” ..."
        - Canadian Musician Magazine

"If he goes on like this for a few more years, no shit, he's on his way to being the next Canadian music legend"
"You can punch any track at random on this disc and end up with a gem."
         - Barry Hammond - Penguin Eggs

"... reminds me of the classic Neil Young albums and Buffalo Tom. Varying from pure country to rockers, from pleasant good feeling folk to the adventures of Wilco ... We knew that John Allaire is a great talent, but to prove that in such a convincing and mindblowing way, no…….. we never saw this coming."
          - Rootstime Radio, Belgium

July 14/17 - Ottawa Life Magazine calls John "Ottawa's Best - top 10 musicians! - Ottawa ON, John was featured in Ottawa Life Magazine in a feature they call "Ottawa's Best: Musicians". Here's a link to the article!

June 2017
Bounder Magazine feature! -
Ottawa ON, John was featured in "Bounder" magazine, a men's magazine from the National Capital region. Download it here!

June 2014

John Allaire

Dec. 3, 2011 - "Heart of Steel" review from Belgium.


..." Comparisons in the press with the sound and songs of Neil Young and Bob Dylan can’t even be called exaggerated. We hear both masters echo in a couple of songs on the CD that was co-produced by the 46 year John Allaire and Dean Watson.

He is still poetic in his lyrics and varies musically between accoustic folksongs like in “Picking And Choosing”, the strongly Neil Young-like  “Gravestones And Dial Tones” and the beautiful  “Wish” and the otherwise electric gitar driven solid rocking songs in “Kitchen Chair”, “Spin The Wheel” and “Stone Cold”...

See the full review.

Aug. 3, 2009 - "Up Hill" review from Denver.

John Allaire

July 18, 2009 - Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest press.
- Lynn Saxberg (Ottawa Citizen) interviews John on video immediately after his set. Here
- Ottawa Bands at Bluesfest , (Ottawa Citizen) John reveals all! Here
- John comments on the KISS concert Here
- Amanda Rheaume says John's music is most likely to appear on her iPod Here

May 19, 2009 - First "Up Hill" review is in .. from David Yazbeck at NxEW. See it here!

May 16, 2009 - John Allaire is Peter Simpson's "Critic's Pick of the week" in the Ottawa Citizen.


Mar. 24, 2009 - Article in new Canadian music blog "North by East West" - David Yazbeck of CKCU FM Thursday Morning Special Blend fame has taken to print journalism and wrote a nice piece on John's upcoming new album "Up Hill ... Both Ways". See it here.

Sept. 25, 2008 - Ottawa Citizen - by Fateema Sayani

Ottawa Citizen

July 8/08 - John promoting Ottawa Bluesfest on CTV News - John talked to Max Keeping about playing Bluesfest. See the video here.

John Allaire Bluesfest

John Allaire

June 23/08 - John in Ottawa Citizen - A little opinion piece on bands and artists using Web 2.0 to market their wares. By Julie Beun-Chown. See the article -- go to Julie Beun-Chown - National Wirter Online

Mar. 13/08 - More "Bourbon" press - Rogers TV
had John on for an 8-minute segment, including a live version of "Avenue D". [see the Rogers TV clip]

The Ottawa Citizen (Fateema Sayani) also wrote a nice article on the video. [see the Citizen article]

John Allaire

CBC Radio 1 talked to John about the release. [hear the CBC Radio 1 interview]

Mar. 7/08 - "Bourbon" promo segment on CTV news -
Eric Longley intervews John Allaire on March 6, 2008 about the making of "Bourbon", Allaire's new video single from the album "Ghosts of the Royal Motel". [see the video clip]

John Allaire on CTV

Feb 16/08 - "Penguin Eggs" review John the next Canadian music legend... - Penguin Eggs is "Canada's Folk, Roots and World Music Magazine" (out of Edmonton). Writer Barry Hammond says: "He can write terrific songs, play guitar and harmonica like a new Neil Young, and sing with soulfulness and authority and even humour... If he goes on like this for a few more years, no shit, he's on his way to being the next Canadian music legend". See the whole article.

Dec. 1/07 - John featured in Canadian Musician Magazine "Spotlight" - "...The 12-song collection [Ghosts of the Royal Motel] is perfect barroom cool. He’s got one of those rough ‘n’ tumble voices that lures you in right with the opener, “Angels,” a lyric about everyday angels that features a verse by prominent guest vocalist Amanda Rheaume. A great storyteller, Allaire has some standout lines in “Bourbon.” ..."   - Canadian Musician Magazine [see the entire article]

Nov. 24/07 - Stories on the shooting of "Bourbon" video - here are some pieces done on John and his band, cast, and crew heading up to St. Eugene, Ontario and Upper Canada Village to shoot the video for the single "Bourbon" from Ghosts of the Royal Motel. [see the articles].

Oct. 10/07 - Americana UK ("The UK home for Alt-Country, Americana and Alterntive") review - "...'Keep The Rhythm’ is very much like the borderline novelty style of Wilco’s ‘Passenger Side’, it’s a safe bet that ‘AM’ is John’s favourite Wilco record. Very much like the ‘you’ll make me spill my beer if you don’t learn how to steer’ part of the Wilco song, John sings ‘I’ll take the wheel, you take the map, ‘cause I don’t know where the hell we’re at’, it still ends up being quite endearing though, whatever its connections.... Cornerstone is a reasonable stab at writing a ‘Wonderwall’ – ‘Winding Wheel’ sort of song, this and the touching ‘Midnight Blue and Gray’ are the sort of thing he does best, ‘Chest of Drawers’ a road song and its repeated line ‘objects are closer than they appear’ is another that’s quite affecting and bounces around your head for some time after listening... [see full review]

Sep. 13/07 - Ottawa Citizen (Fateema Sayani) -

john allaire ottawa citizen

Country Music News - Sep. 2007
John Allaire CMN

Sep. 12/07 - Ottawa Sun (Allan Wigney) - "Chances are you've also seen John Allaire, the gruff-voicedsinger-songwriter who has been a familiar face on the local scene since his days as a member of the late-'80s indie faves The Town Cryers... [see the whole article]

Also in today's City Journal by Jim Donnelly - When longtime Ottawa rocker John Allaire put out his first record two decades ago, the idea of a CD release party – instead of, say, a vinyl or magnetic tape-based celebration – was still something of a novelty.... [read the whole article] Sep. 8/07 - Review in MazzMuzikaS Free-zine 77bis - Belgium - John Allaire / Ghosts Of The Royal Hotel / Flat & Black FBR-009- " John’s previous CD, released in 2006, was reviewed here with respect and admiration for his work and we are not about to change that today! I repeat for those who may not have been paying attention in the past that the sound-colour slightly resembles that of Freedy Johnston, with musical accompaniment that shows signs of Dylan and Young and everything in between.  Allaire’s song structure represents the best of what I nowadays would describe as comtemporary accoustic folk/pop. I wish I could have added some new things in to go beyond my 2006 review, but I am not able to, because my review of his previous work says it all... Is it absolutely necessary to change from recording to recording? No, personally speaking, I don’t think things have to change. At the end of the day, I don’t want to get a headache thinking about the deeper meaning of music, nor about the reason of our existence, it’s the gut feeling that is important when listening to an artist. What we have here are energetic vibes that touch your heart. This music allows me to listen and let my heart feel the power of the songs and stories. So where does that leave John’s music? Well, he gives me a good feeling... nothing more and nothing less. So for the next while let’s just sit satisfied, eyes closed, and cherish these heart-felt songs by this skilled folk/rock singer-songwriter. (LL)"Sep. 3/07 - Ctrl.Alt.Country Review from Belgium for "Ghosts" - 4 Stars! - (Translation from Dutch) "Over the last few days, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed listening to “Ghosts of the Royal Motel”, the new album by Canadian singer songwriter John Allaire.  A real grower, its strength becomes more apparent with repeated plays, despite (or maybe because of!) the fact that the style is reminiscent of the best of Allaire’s previous work.  He has a voice dripping with life experience and maturity, underscored by an undeniable punk edge and with more than a nod to Americana. The folk (rock) and alt-country style provides a satisfying contrast to the raw, gravelly vocals.  Listen closely and you’ll discern influences as diverse as Strummer, Weller and Westerberg. Just like in 2005 (who could forget the wonderful ‘Thank You Waitress’ with the Campistas?) he’s really come up with the goods – it’s a triumph. If you’re not already an Allaire fan, gems like ‘Bourbon’, ‘Porchlight’ and ‘Keep the Rhythm’ (that combination of piano and banjo!), or the softer ‘Midnight Blue and Gray’ could convert you pretty quickly. Highly recommended!" [see the Dutch interview here].

Jul. 11/07 Ottawa Sun (Denis Armstrong) Ottawa Bluesfest Review
- Earlier in the night, Ottawa's John Allaire played host to a bunch of guest vocalists with a set of laid-back rock and blues on the Black Sheep stage.
Accompanied by his band The Campistas with Jeff Tanguay, the former Town Cryer proved to be a workhorse, cranking out a highly entertaining and personal hour of music with a little help from his friends, including a duet of "Angels" with Amanda Rheaume, another with his 13-year-old daughter Hilary on "Blue Skies " and a rocking encore cover of Elvis Costello's "What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?" If you missed John Allaire last night, he's doing a set at the Rainbow Bistro tonight. Link.

John and Amanda

John Allaire and Amanda Rheaume sing on the Blacksheep Stage during the 2007 Bluesfest at LeBreton Flats in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 10. (Ottawa Sun Photo By Sean Kilpatrick)

MARQUEE REVIEWS for Thank You Waitress!

MARQUEE REVIEW - July 21/06 - Penguin Eggs and The Scene review and comment on Thank You Waitress - Article reviewing the latest album, including a glowing review by Barry Hammond at Penguin Eggs (Canada's national Folk and Roots music magazine) and a 3-page spread in "The Scene", a US-based college music fanzine. Go to the Penguin Eggs Article | Go to "The Scene" spread (pdf)

MARQUEE REVIEW - Jan. 28, 2006 - Review on Ctrl. Alt. Country - Belgium - This Ottawa-based singer-songwriter seems to be the missing link between perhaps the Clash and the Replacements, or at least between their respective front-men, Joe Strummer and Paul Westerberg. And just like these guys, Allaire is a master at breathing life into the visual images he creates in his songs, they are narrative, realistic and easy to relate to (read: catchy and interesting) both lyrically and musically. However, different from Strummer and Westerberg, this Canadian finds ways of enhancing his songs with very rootsy and fluid instrumentation. A certain warmth and a sparseness is created vocally and musically particularly with the use of instruments like the banjo, slide guitar, flute, cello and sax. We give this our “Heartfelt Recommendation”. Listen and shiver! See the whole review | Go to Web Site

Jan. 07/07 - From LucidForge Entertainment Websource and by Jillian Toman - The production is creative. The sound is fresh. The recording is stunning... Inclusive of small town themes, and playful tunes, it would be a shame to shelve Allaire by genre. The all around quality and humour of Allaire is a guaranteed smile. A fresher guarantee if you're among company that stomps to folky vibes. See the whole review.

Dec. 14/06 -
Hear John on CKCU promoting The Town Cryers' reunion show -
John speaks with Joe Reilly about the 80s-90s, music biz, etc... and features Town Cryers songs from their albums. Listen to the MP3 here.

October 18/06 - Zeke's Blog (Zeke is a writer for Backbeat Magazine in the US) -
Review of John et al's show in Pittsburgh, PA

Haven't gotten a chance to post since the Starlight gig. All I can say was those who missed it really missed it. The bill was Tom Breiding, Jason Quicksal, and John Allaire.

The show was sensational. Jason has the most unique style and voice. Kind of Ryan Adams meets Roy Orbison. I plan to check him out the next time I'm in Columbus.

John Allaire is kind of like the Joe Grushecky of Ottawa. He's opened for the tragically hip, Blue Rodeo, and Bare Naked Ladies. He has a style that I'm sure everyone reading this will like. Gritty country/roots/barroom rock. Check out his website and my space page. He's a helluva a performer, great guy and unique songwriter.

Hearing these three great artist in a songwriter circle was a joy I'll not soon forget. I hope to see both of them back here with a bigger crowd.

Everyone in the audience was blown away and bought all of their merch.

September 27/06 - Cincinnati City Beat -
The preamble: John Allaire (Ontario, Canada) - Americana

Allaire is a 20-plus year veteran of a couple of extremely popular Canadian bands (Town Cryers, Mercy Miners), but his solo material is a far cry from the Rock and Pop/Punk sounds of his past. Opting for a more Dylan-esque Folk direction on his own, Allaire released Crime and Punishment in 2003, followed by his most recent album, Thank You Waitress, both of which have been glowingly received. Dig It: Paul Westerberg ghostwriting songs for Neil Young and Elvis Costello. (BB)

... and the post-show review ... "A real pleasant surprise [at the MidPoint Music Festival in Cincinnati] was touring Canadian artist John Allaire, tucked away at Neon's Upstairs on Friday night. Allaire took the stage guitar in hand and immediately commanded attention with his bold stage presence and in-your-face folk rock. His lyrics were thoughtful, humorous and quirky. His harmonica attack and raspy vocals made me feel like grabbing another Bud and putting my feet up on the back porch to take in the musical shimmer. Thank You Waitress, his latest release, will stay in my car's CD player for quite some time! "September 27/06 - Williamsport Sun-Gazette - The preamble to the Friday Showcase:
Canadian Singer-songwriter

"... I was really taken by surprise when clubs in major markets like New York, Detroit, Cleveland and Cincinnati didn't hesitate for a second to book me in. In fact, a couple of clubs actually came to me, which never happens out of town..." see the whole article May 19/06 - Sault Star "John Allaire takes a long glance in the looking glass for second offering" - Article promoting the May 27th show in Sault Ste. Marie, ON, by Brian Kelly. See the article.Apr. 20/06 - John mentioned as having success "in Canada and abroad" - Article from "The News, Ottawa South Edition" story on Fat Dog Productions and Thank You Waitress! producer Chad Nesrallah. See the pdf

Jan. 27, 2006 - Review in MazzMuzikaS Free-zine 23 - Belgium -
A fine singer-songwriter album comes blown by the cold eastern winter winds from Ottawa to the Kempen... Let us try to define “beautiful” a little more specific: a kind of voice that is a bit like Freddy Johnston, an instrumental design that shows signs of everything in-between Dylan and Young, a song structure that resembles deep roots of what I’d like to describe as ‘contemporary acoustic listening folk pop’. See the whole review | Download Word Doc. of Dutch Fanzine

Jan. 20, 2006 - Music Spectrum - Wisconsin - Canadians John Allaire and the Campistas land on the Southern Rock Shelf due to the amped-up braweler “Shut Your Mouth,” which has that throw down feel of Cracker’s “The Good Life.” Yet, on Allaire’s Thank You Waitress! (Flat and Black Records/Spin Communications), the lead track is the gem. “Punkrocktown” ambles in, pulls up a stool, swings a country folk acoustic guitar into action, and tells a break up story of clearing your mind from the memories of a girl by going to find all of the Punk Rock sites in New York City. See the whole review | Go to the Music Spectrum Web Site

Dec. 2, 2005 - Melodienmusik Magazine, Germany - [translated] - A Canadian singer who's new to me is John Allaire. I saw a review of his album Thank You Waitress which inspired me to listen to samples and order a copy (the best deal for German delivery is his site using PayPal, inexpensive shipping!). The CD is very unique and his story-telling really is easily identified with, and his humourous approach is apparently carried forward in his live solo shows (according to a live review I read). On the CD I hear the simple, homegrown and eclectic styles of Neil Young or maybe Whiskeytown, crossed with vocals that remind me of Bob Mould or Counting Crows. It is powerful folk rock that is complimented superbly by his backing band The Campistas. I give this one full marks. - Petra Lutz

December 2005
Ottawa X-press

Thank You Waitress
Flat and Black Records Local boy John Allaire- he of The Town Cryers and Mercy Miners renown- strikes a ragged chord of restless uncertainty with his second solid solo effort "Thank You Waitress": alternately bitter and nostalgic musings from a host of frustrated souls "with an axe to grind". Allaire, whose sonic allegiance travels that wide open country between Mike Ness and Calexico, Strummer to Springsteen, switches gears with restless ease throughout, digging into everything from mariachi melancholy ("Mexico"), and dusty laments ("Punkrocktown") to uni-vibe twang ("Halton Country Inn"), and sweetly sinister whispers in the dark ("Stepping Back From The Canvas"). Backed by the rough and tumble Campistas, Allaire, at his best when he throws caution to the wind and lets loose, delivers the knockout blow early with "Shut Your Mouth"- a thrashy, throaty lung shredder that Lux Interior would be proud to call his own. (Steve Baylin)

Oct. 12, 2005 - Arts Today, U. of Minn -
"Upon first listen [of Thank You Waitress], I was intrigued but not blown out of the water. However, I threw the CD on again and with every listen after that I found something new that I perhaps glazed over previously. His vocals are REAL and his stories are very everyman; witty, down-to-earth and easily identified with. Pick this one up.”
Sep. 30, 2005 - Thank You Waitress continues to be a hit in Europe (Rootstime, Belgium) - Alt-country roots rock with folky blues influences - The second album of the Ottawan folk-rocker John Allaire, reminds me of the classic Neil Young albums and Buffalo Tom. Varying from pure country to rockers, from pleasant good feeling folk to the adventures of Wilco. And everything accompanied by just one guitar, horn section or strong distorted guitars. "Thank You Waitress!" has it all. Eclectic is an understatement, indeed... See the whole reviewSep. 23, 2005 - "Punkrocktown" chosen's "Americana" song of the day - (note sent from - Congratulations! As a result of some very enthusiastic reviews from members, "Punkrocktown" will be Track of the Day at For 24 hours on Friday, the 30th of September, 2005 (PST) "Punkrocktown" will be featured on's Americana front page. Sep. 23, 2005 - Marquee Review of "Punkroktown" - lead-off track from "Thank You Waitress": Ready for Prime Time - To my ear, so much is right about this track I don't know where to begin. I'm a huge fan of Ry Cooder's work with John Hyatt, and this song could take a place beside their work... See the whole review

Sep. 16, 2005 - Review of "Thank You Waitress"- Alt-Country Netherlands
- The title track is just as beautiful and concerns the dreams of a waitress for a career in New York. Many doubts about the future in Cut ’n Dried because "maybe you told the truth but I think you lied. See the whole review

Sep. 3, 2005 - Live Review Lop Lops, Sault Ste. Marie, ON -
John Allaire brought his array of guitars and harmonicas to Lop Lops last night, playing an inspiring and often hilarious solo show to a near capacity crowd of 225. See the whole review

Aug 17, 2005
- 3.5 stars ... "The former Town Cryer's gift for a sharply turned lyric is also in evidence in songs about punk rock tourists, hapless touring musicians and dead-end jobs. It's a stalwart addition to Ottawa's strong roots music scene." - Andrew Carver - Ottawa Sun - Aug. 17, 2005 - See the whole review
Aug 16, 2005 - ... "John Allaire... performed at the benefit concert for diabetes" - Caroline in the City - Ottawa Sun - Aug. 16, 2005 - See the whole article (pdf file) July 2005 - "... add one part Strummer, one part Westerberg, sprinkle with rootsy guitars and a Canadian accent, eh ... infectious North Americana" - CBC Radio - See the quote used in the magazine ad in Paste, No Depression, Dirty Linen and HARP magazines.July 2004 - "...his musicianship is dead on. This bouncy track ["Angelina's Face" from Crime and Punishment] makes me sway back and forth in my chair. This track has almost a Foo Fighters' "Big Me" feel, but as if it were sung by Ed Roland from Collective Soul and had lyrics written by E.A. Poe himself..." U. of Minnesota "Arts Today"

May 2004 - "...starts as a kind of Brian Wilson dedication, complete with glockenspiel in true Pet Sounds style, which, together with a strumming electric guitar, provides the backdrop for a very tasty-sounding vocal provided by Allaire..." Rockreview

Mar 2004 - "...Allaire sounds like Husker Du, vocally at least. and more like the Replacements or Smiths in instrumentation... the guitars are awesome. The tones are really great..." FaceParade, Yonkers, New York - reviewer

Feb 19, 2004 - "... a country-punk collection of murder vignettes..." Ottawa Citizen - See the clipping
Sep 21, 2003 - "...there's a noir feel to the lyrics of Belle of the Ball - and amusing vignette of a hard-to-please murderess - while other songs cover the time-worn country music subjects: Drinkin', cheatin', killin', and leavin'... - Andrew Carver - Ottawa Sun - Aug. 17, 2005 - See the whole review

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