Critical Mass is Canadian rock band that has been in existence since 1997. We are two-time recipients of the Canadian Gospel Music Association Award for Best Rock Album (2000, 2005) and played for Pope John Paul II at World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto in front of a live and televised audience of a million people. With six albums to date, Critical Mass is one of Canada’s most successful independent bands.
The award winning Canadian rock band, Critical Mass, has just released a new single entitled “Serenity” on YouTube, Spotify as well as to download sites such as iTunes and Amazon music. The song, co-written by Canadian rock icon, Ray Lyell (Carry Me & Another Man’s Gun) and lead vocalist David Wang, is for anyone who is struggling during these difficult times. Based on the Serenity prayer, where each verse is based on one line of the prayer. “People seem to be really struggling during these turbulent times,” says Wang. “More and more people are struggling with their mental health. we hope that this song can speak to the hearts of the listener and bring them peace.”
The song can be downloaded by going to the band website at www.criticalmassmusic.org. The song is accompanied by a video, and can be found on YouTube as well as on their website. The song is produced and engineered by Andrew Horrocks of AME Recording Studio, a CGMA Producer of the Year as well as a Juno and Gemini award nominee. Critical Mass are winners of two previous CGMA Awards for Best Rock Album (2000 and 2005) and have released 6 albums. They also performed for a million attendees at World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto.
Francie Conway lives in Dublin, Ireland. CLUTCH were the first band in Kerry to play original songs, and these were written by Francie Conway. The band was formed by Casba O’Callaghan (Drums), Liam Hartnett (Steel Guitar, Concert Flute) and Francie. Clutch achieved national recognition with a line up consisting of Brendan Williams (Lead Guitar / Vocals), Casba O’Callaghan (Drums), Eamonn Campbell (Bass Guitar) and Francie ( Vocals / Guitar).
Yes it’s true…Alastair Campbell and Francie were once busking partners…Alastair also ended up being Tony Blair’s right hand man!! Other busking partners were Sam Seale, Brian Mc Ginley, Mossie Stack and ‘The King of the Buskers’ Don Partridge.
Francie signed a major recording contract with RCA Records, London after a chance encounter in Spain with Chris White from the bands The Zombies & Argent. As an A&R man, Chris was also instrumental in discovering the band Dire Straits. The band assembled by Chris and RCA Records included:
Russ Ballard (Argent) – Guitar, Piano, Vocals , Russ’s songs have been recorded by Kiss, Rainbow, America, Santana etc. , Tim Renwick (Pink Floyd/ Mike and The Mechanics) – Lead Guitar ,John Verity (Argent) – Guitar, Vocals, Jim Rodford (Argent) – Bass Guitar and Bob Henrit ( Argent, The Kinks) – Drums. Francie, years later recorded the Chris White classic song ‘Hold Your Head Up’.
1984 Francie had a hit with the song “To The Edge Of Time” produced by John Woolloff and Chris White. The band were one of the highlights of the Paleo Festival, Nyon, Switzerland. Also from the same album the song “One Night in Amsterdam” became a hit. This song was mixed by David Richards in Mountain Studio (Queen Studio), Montreux.
When the album “Wake Up” was released, many of its songs were recorded by various artists. “Striking It Rich” was a title track for Stevie Wright (The Easy Beats) Australia, who had a hit with “Friday On My Mind”, the Young brothers from this band went on to form AC/DC. Dolores Keane picked “Walking On Seashells” for her hit album “Lion In A Cage” which was produced by Bill Whelan, composer of Riverdance. When The Fureys recorded ”Somewhere In Heaven”, Francie went on to join the band for a world tour and continued to perform with Finbar Furey for many years.
Francie has also produced,”Women’s Aid”, “Spirit Of Ireland” and the highly acclaimed (Q Magazine UK) Draiocht album,”The Druid and The Dreamer”, as well as building a reputation for live gigs.
In 1996 Guinness commissioned Francie to make a compilation album to use for the promotion of Guinness in Scandinavia, Benelux and Asia. The ”Worth the Wait” compilation album also included songs from the early London recordings. As part of the Guinness promotion Francie toured extensively, solo and with The Works.
For personal reasons Francie went ‘under the radar’ for a few years, returning to the recording scene with “The Green Album”, the album included “A Drop of Irish Rain” featuring Ronnie Drew (The Dubliners) – Vocals, Finbar Furey (The Fureys) – Low Whistle, Siard De Jong (The Works) – Violin, Peter Lundgren ( The Works) – Drums. “Welcome To America” was the follow up album and was produced by Mathew White…yes, Chris White’s son. The legendary Jan Akkerman (Focus) – Guitar, was a guest on the album. The video for the song “Welcome to America” was filmed in New York City by film maker Chuck Fishbein (U2, Foo Fighters, Paul McCartney)
The 15th of February, 2007 Francie organized a big charity concert in the Helix theater, Dublin. This was to raise money towards the on going battle for the victims of the Stardust disaster 26 years previous, where a fire broke out at a disco and 48 people died and 214 were injured. The concert was a great success with a fantastic selection of Irish artists contributing and it raised a lot of money. Amongst the performers were Mary Black, Pete St John, Don Baker, Finbar Furey, The full cast of RTE’s Fair City, Mark Gilligan and Mick Hup came especially from Holland and many, many more.
Francie is the song writing coach and one of the founder members of The Rock School, Ballyfermot, Dublin who has encouraged quite a few of Ireland’s most respected musicians, including Damien Dempsey.
Christmas 2009 Francie produced the song “Outbreak Of Peace” which was included in a special Christmas Peace Card. This card was sent with a personal message from Francie to world leaders. The Peace Card was sent out again Christmas 2011.
“Troubadour Club” is a platform and network to connect songwriters, musicians, performers and audiences, founded by Francie in Dublin September 2011. Many Troubadour Club showcase gigs have taken place, the most notable being The National Concert Hall, Dublin, September 2012 and the first Troubadour Club album was released 2012, featuring Tralee artists with guests.
“River to Sea” was formed by Louis O’Carroll, Pat Dempsey and Francie in March 2010. The first album was launched 2011, featuring Louis O’Carroll singing a collection of Irish songs with a Kerry connection, arranged and produced by Francie. After the release of the album sell out concerts in The National Concert, Hall, Dublin, The Clasac Theatre, Dublin and St John’s Theatre, Listowel, Co Kerry followed.
River to Sea continued its productions in 2013 with the release of a Caroline Hosey CD, Caroline built a reputation via Troubadour Club and the CD includes a duet with Francie.
“Munster Forever” was released shortly after. This is a song that pays tribute to the glory of Munster Rugby. The song celebrates the achievements of these great teams and players. River to Sea Band include- Ivan Smyth( Banjo, Bodhran, Mandolin), Dermot Daly ( Violin / Vocals), Tom Shanahan (Whistles,Uilleann Pipes), Val Cooke (Vocals), Siard De Jong (Violin),Matt Kelleghan (Drums) and Francie.
All profits from River to Sea have gone to charity.
The song “Peace, Love and Rock & Roll” was Francie’s first co-write with record producer David Richards (Queen, David Bowie, Chris Rea) , David is based in the ledgendary Mountain Studio, Montreux, Switzerland. It was here the band Queen recorded some of there classic albums. As well as writing songs, David and Francie recorded the classic song “Smoke On The Water”. This particular song is very special to Montreux and the duo brought it back home, where it all began. This classic song is a tribute to Montreux, Mountain Studio, Claude Nobs (Funky Claude, mentioned in the lyric) and the Montreux Jazz Festival. Francie spent many years in Switzerland and this is his tribute and way to say thank you.
“Our River Keeps On Flowing” A Song for Ireland and The Gathering 2013.
This song was released on St Patricks Day, 17th of March 2013. Francie, Matt Kelleghan (drums, co-producer) and John Reddy (graphic designer) were invited to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny’s office (Irish Prime Minister), for the official launch. Jimmy Deenihan, Minister For Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht wrote the cover notes for the CD “This song is about pride – pride in our people and pride in our country“
“Rock On” was released the 2nd July 2013, to celebrate the Festival Season. It was recorded between Westland Studio, Ireland and Relief Studio, Switzerland. The track is co-produced by Greg French and Francie.
“Music changed the world and will again, Rock’n’Roll is here to save you”
“It’s in your blood, Rock On, It’s in you’re soul, Rock On”
A Different Kind – the 2020 EP from self-proclaimed ‘romantic rock-n-rollers’ Social Gravy – is a melting pot of influences injected with Brad and Vee’s larger-than-life, expressive take on the wild rides of love. Rock music has been pronounced past and gone at many points throughout modern music history, but its enduring legacy suggests otherwise. Social Gravy carry on the torch through genuine passion for the music yet manage to separate it from a specific era and add their own production sensibilities. A Different Kind expands the romantic themes of their previous work with a synergy of poetic couplets and big sounds which show this band wear their hearts on their sleeves. Recognizing realism doesn’t have to be low key, they focus on recording to bring out the feeling inherent in classic sounds.
The ups and down of guitar solos and the punchiness of bass and drums lend themselves well to the intensity the band applies to love. The second track, Love You Better, starts with a funky, muted guitar riff and drum pattern which lends determination to Vee and Brad’s expressive lyrics. The enduring romanticism of rock and roll is a timeless concept taken up to 11 here- A Different Kind takes the wild feeling previously expressed in riffs and solos and channels it into a more emotion-based structure. Social Gravy recognize that rock and roll is a state of mind, not a genre or a time period – and A Different Kind is the balance of both the gentler emotions in the final, titular ballad – and the bigger, brasher ones in Anywayz – with the lyrics ‘At times it’s overwhelming but I love you anyways’ and screaming, distorted guitar. A Different Kind is an emotional journey through rock and roll, and Vee and Brad’s love for meaningful musicianship carries it to those longing for something both honest, sensitive, and packed with melody.