Cover Story

Steve Oriet Diggin On You

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Submitted by Don Graham

Probably the most competitive genre in country music these days is the young male artist. It is not for the faint of heart, only the talented and driven need apply. Steve Oriet is up to the task and has his eyes fixed firmly on the prize. He has formulated a plan and is methodically plotting his course and making the right moves.

Steve was born and raised in River Canard/Lasalle, Ontario and currently living in Windsor, Ontario, across the bridge from Detroit, USA, growing up listening to all genres of music; everything from rock, Motown, Rap and of course Country music. This talented man credits his father for being his biggest inspiration, balancing a solid business life with being a guitar player and singer on the side. Steve would listen to him play at weddings, churches and family gatherings, clearly deepening his appreciation and love of music. He is a big fan of Florida Georgia Line and would love to duet with fellow Canadian Shana Twain.

Tribe Royal Colours of the Sun

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Submitted by Don Graham

‘Wasting Time’ is the title of the current single by Tribe Royal, not a description of the band. If anything it’s the exact opposite.  This Ottawa based band is anything but wasting time.

It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a new band that has a sound so unique that it’s hard to label them. The sound is retro but blended with a rawness and originality that stamps them with a current sounding musical offering. You know you want to listen to more of the tracks.

On their sophomore CD, “Colours of the Sun”,  there are shades of The Beatles, a little Lovin’ Spoonful and on the current single ‘Wasting Time’ some Green Day. Add some Everly Brothers-type harmonies spiced with some Red Hot Chili Peppers guitar sounds and you get the idea.

The band consists of Terry O’Brien, voice and guitar, Chris Kerwin, voice and guitar, bassist and vocalist Bram Al-Najjar and drummer Mike Giamberardino.  

In O’Brien’s words, “I love playing 60s-style pop songs that are done in under two minutes but I also love longer, jammier deep-feel stuff. With us, it really is a balance trying to get everything in there without compromise.”

The highlight for the band to date was a live performance was a billing on The Ottawa Bluesfest getting to share a stage with Canadian stalwart Sam Roberts. : That was definitely a fun gig for us!’, said Kerwin recently over lunch in Toronto. 

The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern A Complete History by David McPherson

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

The Horseshoe Tavern, The Horseshoe, The ‘Shoe – all the names patrons have called this legendary, iconic building over the years.

Also iconic are the artists that have played there; it was a country haven in a town like TO that favored R&B clubs.

The continuing rumor that Hank Williams graced the stage when it really was Sneezy Waters and The Show He Never Gave.

Like the Queen Street strip that has been its home for seven decades, the Horseshoe Tavern continues to evolve. It remains as relevant today as it did when Jack Starr founded the country music club on the site of a former blacksmith shop, probably the reason it was called The Horseshoe Tavern. From country and rockabilly to rock ‘n’ roll, punk, alt/country, and back to roots music, the venerable live music venue has evolved with the times and trends — always keeping pace with the music.

Lest We Forget

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Submitted By Sandy Graham

Every year we mark November 11th as Remembrance Day – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month marking the end of the Great War – WW1. As the years go by, the parade of soldiers get smaller and smaller and in our busy day to day lives, we need to be reminded of why we have the freedom we enjoy today.

I would really like to hear from you, the readers, about your family history and family memories of the war days that affected so many of our Canadian soldiers and families.

Here is a bit of our family history:
Recently, I received a box of treasures from my Aunt Sherry (Rondeau) who was married to my Uncle Murray Graham. (Our father’s brother) Uncle Murray served in the Army in WW2 and was a musician. Murray also went on to be the Musical Director for Max Bygraves in London, England, performing on Top of the Pops on the BBC. Years later, he would perform with Judy Garland. Comments from Murray in the treasure trove of notes stated, ‘Judy was so nice to all of us. She always wanted to make sure we were all well taken care of and happy’. A piece of history that I never knew about.

Also in the ‘box’ was some paperwork about my Dad’s Uncle – Herbert Graham. It gave us the information of the date he died along with his service number. My son, Graham Robertson, pursued it further and found this.

Jim Cressman and Invictus Entertainment Group The Gold Standard

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Submitted by Don Graham

The music business has changed significantly over the past twenty years, even over the last five to ten years. With the growth of the interweb and recording options and artists being able to reach their base on a daily basis, the roles of all parties have evolved and changed as well. The art of music management has taken on a need for different and more diversified skill sets. Enter Jim Cressman, the owner and president of multiple award-winning concert promoting firm, artist agency and music management firm – Invictus Entertainment Group. Cressman is also the president of Big Star Recordings a record label jointly ventured with Universal Music Group Canada.

Jim recognizes the shift and had this to say, “It's the best time to be in the business in history. Thanks to the Internet, artists have a direct line to build their own fanbase, following and consumers. Middlemen like myself have to work harder than ever to justify our existence, and that's a good thing. Anytime the industry is forced to raise their standards, and artists are more empowered, we end up with a stronger business.”

I have been watching Jim Cressman and his steady growth for a number of years and my respect for him and his business acumen grows daily. He is a man of great integrity and razor-sharp business sense.

Gord Downie 1964-2017

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Submitted by Don Graham

There are a handful of artists that by name alone are broadstroked with a red and white Canadian brush. Gordon Lightfoot, Anne Murray and Leonard Cohen to name a few are as Canadian as hockey and maple syrup.

Gord Downie, the lead singer and founder of the Tragically Hip, who passed away last week, also fits into that elite group. A statement released via the band's official Twitter account and posted on its website read as follows "Last night Gord quietly passed away with his beloved children and family close by. Gord knew this day was coming -- his response was to spend this precious time as he always had -- making music, making memories and expressing deep gratitude to his family and friends for a life well lived, often sealing it with a kiss ... on the lips." He was only 53 years old.


Gord was born in Kingston, Ontario with an impassioned love of hockey and with Harry Sinden as his godfather he became a lifelong Boston Bruins fan. But music and songwriting was his calling and first love. The Tragically Hip was formed in 1984 and became one of Canada's most beloved groups with hits such as "Wheat Kings," "Bobcaygeon" and "Ahead by a Century." Downie also released five solo albums from 2001 to 2016 and as much as Canada loved Downie, he loved his country back.

As The Years Go By Randy Ray and Mark Kearney

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

The first thing that strikes you when talking to co-author Randy Ray is his enthusiasm about Canadian artists and how important doing this book was to his mission. Amazing he could stay that enthusiastic about the hard world of publishing, considering this is Book # 10 in his archives.

Ray first encountered Mark Kearney in 1977 when they were rookie reporters at the London Free Press in London, Ont. It was to be a kinship that would last decades and lead to their latest book, As The Years Go By, Conversations with Canada’s folk, pop and rock pioneers.

It all started for Randy Ray in 1967-68, when he went to High School in Scarborough, Ontario and eventually met the love of his life, Janis, who would be his future wife. They danced at the High School dances amidst the basketball nets and his destiny would be with this girl who stole his heart while he fell in love with the live music playing in the gym.

“I was a basement drummer when I was young. That and being a ‘CHUM Bug’ – 1050 Chum influenced me back in the day. So many great memories for me and the Chum charts influenced what 45’s we bought at the local store. That was the beginning of my lifelong romance with music.”

Ken TobiasKen Tobias

Giving Thanks for the Music

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Submitted by the Cashbox Team

Sandy Graham
Editor in Chief Cashbox Canada Magazine

Betty's New Moon Comes Chrome Plated

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

In these troubled times, Betty Moon wants us to all to chrome out and appreciate the bright and shiny aspects of life. So it follows that her current cookie Chrome is the soundtrack to all that appreciation, an on point SoCal NuPop sound filtered through Moon's quirky and all-embracing sensibilities.

“The name Chrome comes from an expression I use. When you think of chrome, you think of shiny, sparkling, something that mesmerizes you, the cream of the crop. That was how we saw the album, so Chrome it was."

If you're familiar with Moon's output, 7 albums staggering the lines between Goth, garage rock and metal, this shiny happy new thing seems to be coming outa nowhere. Truth is, Betty's always been a genre dabbler. While the lines she's blurring may have changed, the blurring itself remains, flirting brazenly with disco, clubby bangers, pure pop harmonies and Europop and techno throughout. Being Betty, the girl pop on " Bullet To My Brain" and "Natural Disaster" comes over like something Haim and Nina Hagen cooked up in a Detroit basement.

“The album was crafted to be a collection of singles, each strong and attractive on its own. I would get the feeling of an idea, a flavour, and the songs would evolve from there in an organic way. We worked on them together as a band and by the end of recording we had about 25 songs. Picked 12 for the album, set the others aside for other projects, and put together Chrome.”

Canadian Country Music Association Awards 2017

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Submitted by Don Graham

Every year in September the pilgrimage to celebrate Canadian country music, its artists, songwriters, business folks, radio stations and fans kicks into full gear. This year the gathering was in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and for four days and nights the city rocked with Wranglers, Tony Lamas and pearl snap shirts. The days leading up to the Awards show are filled with old friends gathering together, road musicians reacquainting with compadres; they crisscross on the road with fans, radio folks and country music lovers. Late night hotel lobby jams are common place.

The 2017 Canadian Country Music Association Awards Show had Saskatoonians on their feet at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and Canadians from coast-to-coast cheering for all their favourite country stars on CBC when the awards were broadcast exclusively by the national public broadcaster at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT). In the action-packed two-hour event, eight of the most sought-after CCMA Awards were presented and fourteen exceptional performances blew fans away.

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