Last weekend, The Fairest and Best came down from Toronto to play the International Pop Overthrow Festival in Hamilton. I have had them at the festival in previous years, and always enjoyed them, but this year they were on all cylinders, with tasty, stylish melodies courtesy of main main Robert Graham, and some of the tightest harmonies and playing I've heard in awhile...and believe me, I hear a lot of bands!  They've now established themselves as one of my favourite bands in Toronto.

“When I Feel like This” creates a track that feels as if Carlos Santana had taken his 1999 release of Supernatural one track further......("One Little Sign") combines elements of Billy Joel and Elton John while combining a very strong presence from the electric guitar.......("I Won't Cry For You") brings to mind the style of bands like Gin Blossoms and/or The Goo Goo Dolls.......easily the best bet for radio airplay.

Robert Graham and his band The Fairest and Best allow their musical influences to shine on their 2015 album entitled When I Feel like This. The short but entertaining three-song EP gives the listener plenty of variety in that short timespan. And the band’s newest track of “Celebrity” proves that they still have plenty to prove yet!"

It Could Be You – This a great song with a powerful lyric that fortunately for the song, but unfortunately for the world, will always be current. This writer captured the sad state of human suffering with a very well done lyric. A very Beatlesque writing style, especially in the chorus. The verses remind me of Billy Joel - the words flow here and are very memorable. It gives “truth” and believeability when lyrics and melody are in concert like this. Billy Joel is a master at this and this writer is not far behind. Great work!


"When I Feel Like This"

This song starts with the line, “When I Feel Like This”, immediately bringing the listener into the song.......very original with a unique structure. It’s the originality, structure and the mysterious nature of the lyric that make it shine.

"One Little Sign" – Good song with a great chorus. “One Little Sign that's I need to carry on” is a great phrase and just reading it by itself, it could go in so many directions.......the arrangement drives the chorus home in a well-structured manner, so the listener will remember this hook. There is a nice melody in the chorus set-up under “How long can I wait for you to let me down or let me in?” This is a great line with a decent melody. This is a very good song with a good writer behind it.

Many singers have sung about current events, politics, hard times. But only a few really get their message out beyond their followers. It takes a mixture of clever song writing, catchy hooks and good production in order to really get the song to travel as far as it can. "It Could Be You" by The Fairest And Best has all of this. From the first note you know you are in for a journey.

Music is universal and I hope this songs travels and touches the lives of many affected by this tragedy. The song puts the situation in a great perspective . "It could be you", meaning "would you care about the issue more if it was you? "Of course you would.

Robert is an infectious storyteller in the Bob Dylan tradition. He’s well-traveled and consumed many bold experiences and unique individuals. The result is a prophetic thinker able to convey a number of ideas. You don’t easily walk away from his music; even after the song is over. That’s a rare gift.

"These guys are a treat to watch live, with their hard-working, adept musicianship, and gorgeous vocals and harmonies – not to mention a great sense of fun and playful audience interaction........

When I Feel Like This is a tight record; short and sweet.......a great showcase for the band’s eclectic talents.....feel-good, rhythmic groove and tight harmonies......(a) passionate rock ballad dialogue......a bittersweet, whimsical love song.......a driving, guitar rawkin’ anthem."

"I have no idea what genre this is, it's just good......something I won't be able to get out of my head for days."

Robert Graham is one of those true Minstrels who can contain love, happiness, hope and better days in musical notes.......this is the kind of a feeling that makes someone turn up the knob when the song is on the radio, pause what they are doing when it comes on YouTube, and tell their friends. In other words, a feeling sorely missed in modern, assembly line style music. You owe it to your soul to listen to Robert Graham!

Now that he has a new band "The Fairest and Best", the sound has just matured that much more. What Robert nowdays offers is a great pop-edged sort of modern rock, delivered with a masterful sound, and lyrics that leave you wondering and wanting more.

Matt Avery
The Westfield Alliance Indie Show

Big eclectic, quirky fun with music that moves and grooves – The Fairest & Best @ Horseshoe Tavern

Was out on a school night at the Horseshoe Tavern last night to see The Fairest and Best. I’d met front man Robert Graham a couple of years ago at a Red Sandcastle Theatre fundraiser – and had a chance to sample some of his solo work Storm in a Teacup, but this was my first time hearing him with the band.

The band played a short, early set – an eclectic mix of pop, 80s-inspired rock and Latin stylings on a variety of themes, from sweet love songs (“Do You Believe in Love?”) to rockin’ anthems of social commentary/consciousness (“Refugee”). Quirky, fun and engaging, the band got the crowd movin’ and groovin’.

The Fairest and Best features some outstanding musicianship and tight vocals with excellent harmonies. Band members are: Robert Graham (lead vocals and keyboard), Tony Nesbitt-Larking (drums), Darryl Wood (bass guitar and vocals), Gerry Williams (guitar and vocals), Jimmy Reilly (guitar and vocals) and Caitlin Holland (vocals).

Keep an eye out for these guys; check out their upcoming show dates here. You can follow The Fairest and Best on Facebook and Twitter – and stay tuned for their upcoming EP release later this year.

Robert Graham: jazz, pop, rock and solidarity

By Oscar Vigil

Robert Graham with his band

Robert Graham with his band “The Fairest and Best”

The bar was completely packed and the air was filled with good energy. On the stage was Robert Graham with his band “The Fairest and Best”. They sang of love, diverse types of love, and even the love for social justice.

Robert Graham, a composer, singer and musician, sang about one of his ex girlfriends, an unrequited love. He sang about a male friend who fell in love with a woman who turned out to be a lesbian, and about a guy who fell in love with his best friend.

The odes to love were expressed in rhythms of rock, pop, country, blues, Latin and more. The audience, composed of his friends, friends of friends, or just music lovers, completely enjoyed the night.

But amidst his melodies of universal love were opportunities to speak about social justice and fair treatment of refugees in Canada.

Robert Graham music about social justice revealed that he is not simply an artist but a social justice activist, and an artist who thinks, sings, and acts with all his heart.

I met him a few weeks ago, when he invited me to talk in a fundraising event. He and his wife organized it in support of Jose Figueroa, a Salvadoran father who is in sanctuary in British Columbia, at the other end of the country. Figueroa, like me and hundreds of refugee claimants, is fighting an unfair deportation order because of political inadmissibility.

Jose was involved in revolutionary movements during his early years at the university in El Salvador. He never took arms or participated in violent activities, and his sole sin was to fight for social justice in a country where that fight was a crime.

Robert Graham didn’t know him personally but he jumped to read about him online and his heart told him he had to do something to help this guy.

Since then, he has been doing a lot: fundraising events, songs, speeches, calls, letter, pressure to the government, but, above all, he has been giving hope to somebody that for now only can see the light of the sun from inside of four walls.

Why? Because Robert’s heart is still pounding hard when he knows about injustices, as it pounded hard 30 years ago when he was a student in his native Australia and was involved with the solidarity movement for El Salvador.

Robert Graham loves El Salvador, but most important, he hates injustice. And he uses his owns weapons to fight injustices in Canada: his arts, his gift to delight people with his voice and his rhythms. With these weapons, he raises awareness about fairness, as he did last weekend.

On Friday night, at The Central, a bar located in the area of Bloor and Bathurst, he did his best. He spoke, joked and sang, and his words and music were all about love, including his love of justice for people seeking refugee status in Canada.

Undoubtedly Robert Graham is a good man, a good citizen, and fortunately for the justice in this country, he is also an excellent musician. The world, particularly Canada in this politically bizarre time, needs more people like him.

Thanks Robert, you are The Fairest and Best.

More information about Robert Graham, the musician, at

"Storm in a Teacup" is an eclectic romp through Robert's collection of influences. From jangling Billy Joel to quirky David Bowie, you can hear it all but done in Robert's fresh, new way. He is a force on the piano!"

"(the musicians on the album) are a real list of who's who... "Storm in a Teacup" has a really wide appeal....within the album anybody could find ten things that they will gravitate to and grab on's an excellent achievement."

I love the song and the production - it is very John Lennon/Beatles Sgt. Pepper era. Strings and even Ringo type fills. Brilliant music. I LOVE the two slowed down sections. I can see the "movie" in my head ....You are SO talented my friend.

(critique of "Jonathon Baker)

"Ingenious, sophisticated pop music with more twists and turns than the average Agatha Christie thriller..."

The music is hard to resist. The Fairest and the Best play original music that references pop, and soul. There’s usually a curious retro quality about all the songs that remind one of the high, silver sound of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young all the way to The Eagles. Listening to it live, in a bar, one recalls..... the kind of music you’d listen to driving down a long California highway, convertible roof down, pink light washing over fast wheels. But F& B also plays lovely ballads that leave you in solitary spaces, mindful of loneliness, looking forward and back. But The Fairest and Best peppers its own material with songs such as Hall & Oates, "Maneater”, which goads the audience into a dance frenzy.......

The Fairest and Best is a very new band that’s come a long way quickly.

For the record, drummer Tony Nesbitt-Larking (Mr Handsome), really is handsome and back up vocalist Caitlin Holland (the Young and Talented One) is young and has a truly sublime voice. And Robert Graham is the Empire State Building of men.


The imagery is vivid and imaginative. In terms of style, the song sounds like something written and recorded around the time of Sgt. Pepper (late 1966/early 1967). It actually reminds me very much of the stuff Jeff Lynne was writing during his time with the Idle Race. The structural arrangement flows smoothly from start to finish......the melody is totally engaging. Really enjoyed listening to this track.

"Robert Graham has played many different kinds of music over the years, from salsa with Australia's Los Chasquis to take-no-prisoners roots with Canada's own Tanglefoot. But he's also absorbed a lot of pop influences as a fan - everyone from Steely Dan to Van Halen. All of these sounds come into play on his highly impressive debut solo album "STORM IN A TEACUP"

"Should have great appeal across the board."

"diverse and inspiring"

Graham's work on the keys bring traces of vintage r'n'b into the pop rock mix so smoothly.......his pipes have the immense likeability of a fun loving pal......tight incisive pop rock with some on the sunny side, some on the bittersweet...

Robert Graham’s “Storm in a Teacup” is an eclectic album that not only reflects his vast musical tastes and experiences, but also the cries of his heart.

 Storm in a Teacup is a trippy, eclectic collection of pop, rock and blues – with hints of jazz and soul – accompanied by some stand-out musicians and vocalists....... there’s a big range of emotional and musical expression on this record.... “Jonathan Baker” combines the whimsical poignancy of Beatles storytelling with the dark social commentary of The Police’s “Synchronicity II” – a quiet life of desperation about to explode in the face of a cruel world. 

"This album rocks. It's a soulful outing from Robert Graham and we (Dragon) love his version of Sunshine."

“If Billy Joel, Joe Jackson, Ray Charles and Gary Numan formed a supergroup, they might well produce an album that sounds a lot like Storm in a Teacup.”

“Graham doesn’t press any buttons that other artists haven’t pressed before, but in Storm in a Teacup, he presses a lot of them all at once.”

“Artistic, but without hint of artistic pretension, Storm in a Teacup manages to be clever and innovative while still eminently listenable.”

“The songwriting is meticulous, the musicianship superb, and the production painstaking, but, somehow, Storm in a Teacup still sounds effortless.”

“An independent in label only, Storm in a Teacup would stand out for its quality among even the best releases from the biggest companies.”

“The only thing Robert Graham might come to regret about his debut album, Storm in a Teacup, is the impossibly high standard he’s set for its follow-up.”

"Albums are supposed to belong to specific genre...and if the artist refuses to conform, well, he's "all over the map"....Never mind. Throw away the bloody map. Good music should always strive to exceed its classification. And Robert Graham should take "unclassifiable" as a compliment. ..."Storm in a Teacup" is, at least on the vocal side, more than a few parts Donald Fagen, with a dash of Neil Young......Graham lined up some top notch musicians for this indie eclectic musical mix. To be sure, there is a map for listening to Graham's inaugural effort, albeit a big one. But you will enjoy the trip.

"Wow! That's my first response........Robert Graham's credentials and experience are stellar. He has paid his dues and now it's time for him to shine and he does that in spades.......Robert's vocal versatility shines throughout....all the best grooves and melodies that pop, rock funk and blues has to offer.....delivers that ozone freshness after a summer thunderstorm."

(Robert's)music is similar to many pop songwriters with a deep knowledge of music and words, like Billy Joel or bands like Toto or Eagles. When I hear the beautiful song “Don’t Go” and it’s piano playing I just expect the entire band Toto to show up anytime and sing the backing vocals! Some tunes like “Don’t go” “Living in a Coma”, “Sunshine” (a cover from Dragon) and “In Love with a Girl” really stand out. They immediately stick to your mind and make you want to listen to them again and sing along. The album is diverse, even if we can say it is a pop album it tends to be a crossover of different styles, from indie rock to pop tunes, from sophisticated rock melodies to relaxing moments. It is easy to like this album and Robert Graham voice is pleasant, there is an immediate feeling of ”I know this classic already and I love it” when you play this CD even for the first time. His a professional piano player, and he has a peculiar rock/soul piano playing well recognizable in all his songs A good job, a brilliant first album for Robert.

....full of international flavour....a stellar group of musicians (has been) assembled....

What a clever, fun, fresh song! Really enjoyed listening..... as a song, it works on many levels. I would love to hear more from you! This has a great, timeless quirky vibe to it. Reminds me a bit of the Beatles.....the whole piece is really inventive. Well done! The eclectic nature of this song works well.......

(submission critique for the track "Jonathon Baker")

"We found Robert's music hard to ignore, especially when your toes are tapping on the floor as if they had a mind of their own! His voice reminds you of past greats like Steely Dan and The Beatles. Every song sticks to you like glue."

"All of the original songs on "Storm in a Teacup" sound like A-sides.....(the songs) show off Graham's virtuoso musicianship, exemplary rock vocals, and smart lyrics...addictive melodies and clever lyrics that turn your head when you first hear them and stick in there long after the song is over....a remarkable pastiche of influences..... (his) scintillating work on the piano and versatile bring to fruition Graham's vision of an album featuring stong harmonies, catchy melodies, and hooks you just can't shake."

"Robert Graham would have made an excellent Jeff Lynne. Maybe even a Donald Fagen or an Ian Anderson....a brilliant debut album."

"some songs....defy(ing) musical boundaries...born of the blues, pop, rock, or the more experimental leanings of David Bowie and the Beatles. His qualities as a storyteller....and his music and lyrics create characters that are at the same time both quirky and very real".

"...the production quality alone blew me away - it us above and beyond most independent records..... ...the flavours, from jazz, blues, funk, folk, rock....add character and integrity to catchy pop riffs. ....the craftmanship is generous with rich detail and magical moment has been missed."

Robert Graham – Storm In A Teacup (2009)
Graham ist ein kanadischer Musiker, der sein Album im Eigenvertrieb veröffentlicht hat. Charmanter, unkomplizierter Pop mit zahlreichen hörbaren Einflüssen: Rock, Funk, Blues, Reggae. Produziert hat Chris Brown (der von Chris & Kate) und ich wäre nie auf diese schöne CD gestoßen, wenn nicht Eric Schenkman und Teddy Kumpel auf einem Track als Gäste dabeigewesen wären. Womit sich mal wieder zeigt: ein nerdiger Sammler zu sein, sorgt immer wieder für angenehme Überraschungen.


"Graham's a musician from Canada who's released his album independently. Charming, straight-forward music reminiscing lots of influences: rock, funk, blues, reggae. Produced by Chris Brown (of Chris & Kate fame). I wouldn't know this album at all if there weren't Eric Schenkman and Teddy Kumpel guesting on one track. Robert's album's one more proof that it's fantastic to be a record collecting nerd...."

Multi-talented artist/singer/songwriter Robert Graham is the real deal. He sings with a level of passion and soul that makes his music really stand out.

an accomplished performer...Graham gave a spirited performance.

 I must say something I rarely do, I am AMAZED.....if THIS music was on the radio, music would be back from its generation-long hiatus

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