Cover Story

MDM Recordings The Little Label That Could

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Submitted by Don Graham

Mike Denny’s “I think I can, I think I can“ went from  “ I know I can,I know I can ” to “I knew I could, I knew I could” in a span of 7 years. That’s how long MDM Recordings has been in existence and it is slowly but oh so surely becoming one of the most respected country record labels in the country. With an impressive roster that includes Chad Brownlee, Jess Moskaluke, Bobby Wills,Tim Chaission, David James, The Lovelocks, Charlie Major and Hayley, MDM is a now a big deal.

In Mike’s words ““My mission is to support, help nurture and grow the careers of the  artists that I work with on a day to day basis. I want to help them achieve their goals and dreams, while achieving mine with them.” And he  adds, ““I have always been very driven to succeed. Years ago it was material things, now, it’s a passion for what I do.”
What he looks for in new artists is simple, “I want to represent talent that can really play and perform from their core, their true soul,” he continues, “To me this is the true definition of “talent”.”

Sacha-Lee Forever Thing !

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Submitted by Don Graham

Sacha-Lee is from a very fertile part of Northern Ontario in Canada. Two hours northwest of Kirkland Lake, home of Alan Thicke, one hour north of Timmins, birthplace of Shania Twain and ½ an hour west of Cochrane, home of Tim Horton, the donut king. (note to our American readers - Canadians don’t measure distances by miles or kilometers but by hours. For example, Montreal is about five hours from Toronto. It’s how we roll.)

Sacha-Lee has a new single recently released to Canadian country radio, “Forever Thing” written by Sacha-Lee and Scott Sanford and and recorded in Nashville Tennessee.

It’s an excellent tune with a clean, robust production and well delivered vocals to a nicely written song.  All the ingredients for a hit.

We caught up with Sacha-Lee at her Smooth Rock Falls home to get the latest on life and career. “I’m really excited about this record and the way everything is lining up. Shelley Buffitt is taking care of  my career  and has arranged for me to represented by Entertainment Music Group out of Toronto who got me a global distribution deal with Believe Digital. I’m feeling really good about this positive direction we’re taking. I’ve always said ‘The music business is about connections and being true to yourself and your roots.”

My motto is “Music is created by faith and lives in family and friends.”

Rickie Lee Jones The Other Side Of Desire

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Submitted by Don Graham

Hearing the name Rickie Lee Jones just makes me smile and my internal jukebox immediately starts playing the infectious intro to “ Chuck E.’s In Love.” And when I mention the name Rickie Lee Jones to most people of a certain age, the reaction is usually  always  “Wow, she was great, what is she up to?”

"She should make another record.' Well good news, she is still very active and she HAS made another record.

Her first recording in 10 years, The Other Side of Desire was released at the end of June and her first single from the album “ Jimmy Choos” is currently at radio. The whole album is a work of art from an iconic artist who is not resting on her laurels, not resting at all actually, but is creating new music derived from where she is now. The tracks are pocket oriented grooves with lyrics that speak to Jones’ current situation. She is living in New Orleans on Desire, across the street from the spot that Tennessee Williams made famous in his play, A Streetcar Named Desire. Hence the title of the album.

The inspiration of New Orleans is predominant on the record with songs like "Valse de Mon Pere (Lover's Oath)," featuring  her friend Louis Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers and the seasonal homage "Christmas in New Orleans" and the soulful  throwdown "J'ai Connais Pas."

Susan Jacks It’s My Turn

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Submitted by Don Graham

The Susan Jacks story is more than just The Poppy Family and her solo singing career; it’s a story of courage, survival and determination.

Rewind to the beginning of the story and a young Susan Pesklevits, who had moved to British Columbia from Saskatchewan, begins her professional career at 15 when she was asked to be a regular performer on the national Canadian television show, MusicHop. Susan recorded her first singles as part of a trio with Howie Vickers and Tom Northcott, recording under the name of "The Eternal Triangle". Going solo in 1966 an 18 year old Susan was in need of a guitar player. “Somebody told me that the band Terry Jacks was in had broken up so he might be available. We got together and Terry and I started working. Terry wasn’t a lead guitarist so we hired Craig McCaw as our lead player.” Although she did a few more solo TV appearances, Susan decided to leave that behind and left the "Eternal Triangle", putting all her time into the newly formed trio, performing under the name "Powerline" before changing the name to "The Poppy Family".Susan and Terry got married in 1967. Craig McCaw introduced Satwant Singh,who played tablas,to the group and he soon became a member of the band.

NXNE Toronto, Canada June 17-21 2015


Seen as the most anticipated summer music event in Canada, North by Northeast Festivals and Conference (NXNE) are an essential gathering for artists, industry, and fans. We’re based in Toronto, but bring a global perspective to our programming. In all, NXNE draws over 350,000 attendees, and generates an annual economic impact of approximately $50 million on the city of Toronto. The 2015 festival will mark our 21st anniversary.

Many performers have played NXNE on their way to major worldwide breakthroughs. Hotly tipped buzz bands and soon-to-be-discovered gems join international touring acts, making NXNE eclectic and exciting.

MIDEM 2015: The Music World Meets on the Sunny Riviera


Submitted by Don Graham

Midem is the acronym for Marché International du Disque et de l'Edition Musicale. For the first time since its inception in 1967 MIDEM was held in the steamy month of June on the French Riviera, Situated on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, where the temperatures were in the low to high thirties as opposed to the more temperate month of January as in the past.

The international music community, covering all aspects of the industry gathered in Cannes from June 5-8 to do business, do some networking and listen to an impressive list of music industry leaders give presentations, discover new talent from across the globe, United States, Asia and Europe and to celebrate Armenia – the Midem 2015 Country of Honour.

During the four-day event, attention was focused on the future of the digital streaming market, with Apple announcing details of its entry into the digital sector on June 8. Reflecting growing industry support for subscription streaming services, both Sony Music Entertainment CEO Doug Morris and Deezer’s new CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht, told Midem delegates that Apple’s move into streaming should be positive for the music sector.

Canadian Blast Showcase at Morrisons MIDEM 2015


Submitted by Sandy Graham

Once again its that time of year when the music industry folks gather in Cannes, France and congregate to make deals at the Palais des Festivals June 5-8.

Cashbox Canada will be in Cannes, France so we will return to our regular Friday publishing June 12. We will be posting on Facebook and Twitter while we are there so check out all the great stories live from MIDEM.

What has become a coveted gig is the Canadian Blast at Morrisons, 10 Rue Teissiere in the heart of Cannes. CIMA Music and Canada Music Export team up to present the best of the best of our Canadian talent and this year is sure to be one not to be forgotten.

So meet the crème de la crème at Canadian Blast 2015 !

Friday June 5
Rimi Salvi (U.P. Records) Seattle, Washington.

David Morin (Bombay Records)Whether you catch him beatboxing on a Vancouver street corner or singing and playing guitar onstage at a Vancouver club, you're bound to be charmed by the many talents of musician David Morin. After years spent honing his craft to critical acclaim in the Vancouver scene and beyond, the 30 year-old neo-soul singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is set to release his debut album, Morin's unique fusion of soul, hip-hop and jazz.

The CMAO Awards 2015

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

The Country Music Association of Ontario aka The CMAO, is presenting  its 3rd Annual CMAO Awards Show. This year’s star-studded event will once again be hosted by Jason McCoy of the Road Hammers, and will be held Monday, May 25, 2015, at the Flato Markham Theatre.

Peterborough country star Tebey leads the pack of 2015 CMAO Awards nominees with a grand total of six nominations, including Single and Album of the Year. St. Catharines,Ontario native Tim Hicks follows close behind with five nominations and Jason Blaine, Runaway Angel and Small Town Pistols each come in with four nominations apiece. See the full listing of 2015 CMAO nominees below.

Host for the evening, country music stalwart Jason McCoy,  had this say about hosting the CMAO Awards show “I am super pumped about getting to celebrate the great country music in Ontario. Everyone says all the good country is coming from out west? I think we’re here to prove that to be untrue. I am proud of all these nominees and the CMAO that supports them. Gonna be an awesome show.”

The 2015 CMAO Awards, presented by Slaight Music, will feature performances by: Jason Blaine, Leah Daniels, Tim Hicks, Russell deCarle and Deric Ruttan with additional performers to be announced. The Western Swing Authority will return to the awards as the event’s house band. The CMAO Awards weekend will include the second-annual CMAO Conference on Sunday, May 24th and Monday, May 25th at the Markham Delta.

The Hawk Still Soaring At 80!

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Submitted by Don Graham

Ronnie Hawkins, Rompin’ Ronnie, The Hawk, turned 80 years old in January of 2015. They wanted to have a big celebration in Toronto but The Hawk was in Florida and didn’t want to back to the ice and snow so it was scheduled for a warmer time of year. The month of May sounded good so it was scheduled for May 8th. The idea was hatched by Zoomer Radio, AM 740 spearheaded by Norm Edwards and Robbie Lane. Robbie of course has a long history with Ronnie having been in his original band.

The event was held at the ZoomerPlex and was broadcast live and hosted by the afore mentioned Norm Edwards and Robbie Lane. The seated audience consisted of winners of an AM 740 contest and the rest of the mingling floor level crowd was made up of industry folks and friends and associates of the Hawk’s. Bernie Feidler, the founder of the Riverboat, Jane Harbury, Larry Leblanc,Pat Silver, Roger Ashby, John Donabie and a host of others.

Harry MacGregor The Man, The Music and The Memories

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Submitted by Don Graham

He never had a hit record, wrote a hit song, played before thousands of people or won any major awards.  He was never even really a full time musician, although he could have been, but chose a different path early in his life to support his family and take care of business.

Harry would laugh to think he was on the cover of Cashbox, a music industry magazine but his love and support of music has earned him that place. Harry MacGregor,  Big Harry to many, Harry Hollywood to others, Dad to two great kids Stephanie and Stuart,  sweetheart to wife Bonnie MacGregor and Grandpa to Harrison and Fiona. He was a larger than life figure, although in life he was already a six foot three presence. He bore an uncanny resemblance to Joe Cocker and many times was mistaken for Joe. “ One time a man came up to while I was dressed in my white suit and said ‘ Great show Mr. Cocker’. I said I’m not Joe Cocker and he said “Okay, your secret is safe with me!”

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