Country music needs some savin’. The road has been bumpy with resistance to some of the changes in song content and presentation. Some of the discontent is justified as a lot more emphasis seems to be placed on how much revenue a song can generate as opposed to how the song can reach and touch people. But country music is strong and has a rich history and background to draw on. So with the 50th anniversary of the Country Music Association Awards coming in November some of the biggest acts in country music have joined together and filmed a remarkable and memorable video – ‘Forever Country’.
Shane McAnally, a CMA winner as well as a board member, produced the video and confessed that the mashing together of several country music’s classics was ‘a very scary process’.“The first conversation I remember having about the CMA project was at a CMA board meeting when everyone was just sort of brainstorming about an interesting, unique way that might bring light to the 50th Anniversary,” he explained.“I didn’t think it would work in our genre. I said, ‘Maybe in pop music you can just take a piece of a song, but we tell stories. And we can’t just cut into them and take a piece.”
But judging by the final result that fear was unfounded. The video is a remarkable piece of work.
Hugh’s Room in Toronto is an iconic listening room supplying established artists and legacy artists. A venue to showcase their talents in an acoustically good room with good sightlines and warm ambience. It’s a venue young aspiring acts dream of appearing at but can’t get booked without some history behind them to draw a crowd.
Enter Jane Harbury a fixture on the Toronto folk scene since her days working at the legendary Riverboat of Yorkville fame. In Jane’s words “I created Discoveries after repeatedly requesting opening act spots for some of the up and coming artists with whom I was working. Holmes Hooke, then booker of talent at Hugh's Room finally said to me, "we're gonna give you your own night to do whatever you want." I was fumbling in the dark as to what I'd do as well as what I'd call it and so Discoveries was born.I do not go looking for artists - there is always a waiting list - February 2017 is booked and now I'll start making decisions soon for next May.”
So it has now been 13 years and growing. Previous artists such as Nicole Rayy, emerging young country singer and Justin Hines as well as Julian Troiano, nephew of legend Dom Troiano have used this concept as a stepping stone.
And now on October 11th a new quartet of future stars will take the Hugh’s Room stage.
As drummer for Vanilla Fudge, Carmine Appice set the grooves for the groundbreaking band’s 1967 psychedelic debut, inadvertently inventing Stoner Rock in the process. The Fudge had no precedent. The band was totally unique. No rock group, up until that point, had ever so lugubriously s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out well-known pop tunes like the Beatles “Eleanor Rigby” and “Ticket To Ride,” Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready,” Sonny & Cher’s “Bang Bang” Rod Argent’s “She’s Not There” and, most famously, The Supremes’ Motown classic “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” to such hippie heights. With Mark Stein’s mysterioso wash of Grand Guignol keyboard theatrics, Tim Bogert’s amazing and trippy bass runs, and guitarist Vince Martell’s era-happy soloing, Appice boomed like no other drummer in rock history. Their debut album still stands today as a Hard Rock classic. Vanilla Fudge went on to tour with Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and even had Led Zeppelin as an opening act.
Post-Fudge, Bogert and Appice formed Cactus (seen as an influence on King’s X and Van Halen). Post-Cactus, the rhythm section found Grammy-winning Guitar Hero Jeff Beck to form the first supergroup: Beck, Bogert & Appice (BBA).
Canadian Music Week – Club 120 –Friday May 6 (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) Canadian Blast at Morrisons MIDEM –Saturday, June 4 (Cannes, France)
The trio features Mastermind on vocals and guitar; Tsayffo on vocals, percussion, guitar and bass, and Mercury Brown on vocals and drums. Tsayffo and Mastermind have grown up playing music together since childhood. Onstage, they move with one mind. Playing to the audience – capacity and size won’t matter – within the first few bars of their first song THE LOVE, the band takes full control of the stage and everyone in the room. You can hear a pin drop. There is a sense of something authentic happening here. I remind myself there are only three people on stage, though the sound completely surrounds and engulfs the senses. Mastermind is on vocals, a deep sultry bass voice. His guitar work takes me by surprise, not just because I have never heard anyone use a guitar like this before - more because it defies the norm and underlines a musical genius in his ability to link musical hooks together in a completely unexpected fashion. Tsayffo is on percussion – no, he actually is percussion. Every beat resonates in every movement he makes.
Cover Photo Credit: Mike Ford Submitted by Pat Blythe
Give me a minute....a paragraph to gush. Desert Star is, by a country mile, one of my favourite albums of all time. This is music I will be listening to for years to come. Why? Because it speaks to me both musically and lyrically. It's insightful (House Is A Garden), honest (Glass House), romantic (Take Me (Stay), Say Goodnight), playful (Hot Heels, Coke Bottle Candy) loving (One Time), a touch nostalgic (Chemical Low) and of course, has my favourite summer dance song, Just A Little Bit, as part of this marvelous collection of songs. It touches all my senses. Many of the songs are simple, every day observances or comparisons (back to House Is a Garden)....beautiful songwriting that connects. I absolutely love every beat, every note, every nuance....Julian Taylor's voice just soars, penetrates and washes over you. Jeremy Elliott's drumming is superb....solid, tight, kicking ass one minute, subtle the next. You can sometimes feel him almost caressing them. The keyboards and horns fill you up in all the right places. Full on where required and filling tiny pockets that, without them, the song would feel somewhat empty. The guitar "solos" easily segue in and out of each piece without being over the top. Every song is unique but together on the album they intermingle, weaving in and around each other to complete the whole. I'm in love. Gushing done.
We have not published for a few months now and the story needs to be told.
For those of you close to Cashbox Canada as well as me personally, you know we have lost our mentor, our friend our Canadian Legend, Bobby Curtola. I am not one to write anything personal but this story needs to be told.
My history with Bobby started in 1990, when I was a dancer/choreographer in the Route 66 Dancers. We were booked to open for Chubby Checker at a fundraiser for the March of Dimes called ‘Back to the Five & Dime’. My youngest boy, Graham, was a few months old and my babysitter cancelled at the last minute and I had to take him to the show. I was standing backstage, in a white skirt, holding Graham a foot away from me, hoping I could stay ‘intact’ long enough to perform my segment of the show. There was a man rolling wires and helping organize the performers so I asked him to hold my son for 15 minutes while I went on stage. He did – and when I came back he handed Graham back to me and said with that big dimpled smile ‘You are welcome. I'm Bobby Curtola and I'm on next.’
This was the beginning of close to a thirty year friendship.
Stony Plain Records, one of Canada’s longest standing independent record labels, is celebrating 40 years in business with a classic 3 disc collection of amazing music, 40 Years of Stony Plain. This three volume set celebrates with some of the label's favourite tracks, including one full CD of rarities and previously unreleased music by artists like Eric Bibb, Maria Muldaur, Duke Robillard and Sam Chatmon. Stony Plain was named "2014 Record Label of the Year" by the Blues Foundation in Memphis. Add to that 6 Grammy nominations, 11 Juno Awards and dozens of Blues Awards and Maple Blues Awards.
Stony Plain Records has been recognized worldwide for its consistent, high quality roots and blues releases.
We caught up with founder Holger Petersen at his office in Alberta as he readies for his annual trip to France for MIDEM. “I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished in the 40 years we’ve been in business and have seen a lot of changes in the business during that time. But one thing that has stayed consistent is our commitment to quality with artists on our roster and the music we put out to the world and our reputation for integrity.” Holger and team have seen it all in the last 40 years, have stayed the course and kept it all about good music. “We’ve been very selective about are product and kept the quality high. Ian Tyson is a big part of our success. Ian made it possible for us to go from working at our kitchen table to having an office and becoming a legitimate record label.”
Seven years ago Sandy Graham, a Canadian music scene veteran with a background in music retail at International Record Store, radio, CJFM, CFCF in Montreal and Records, RCA in Montreal and print, Joey Cee’s Record Week in Toronto, received an offer she couldn’t refuse.
“The famous Cashbox Magazine in the U.S., that was our “bible” in the old days, had started up again in North Carolina and they wanted to expand to Canada. I was approached with an offer to own it outright and immediately said yes, having no real idea of how it would work.” So Sandy set about putting a team together, a team of writers, including herself, veteran Lenny Stoute whose grasp of the indie scene is unequalled, musician, photographer and radio host Bill King, country music songwriter and performer Don Graham, local scene whiz kid Lee Fraser, Music Industry Veteran Mark Smith, MuchMusic VeeJay Michael Williams and ‘Girl With a Camera’ Pat Blythe. Add in foreign correspondent Iain Patience, Registered Graphic Designer Gillian FitzGibbon (who is responsible for the amazing cover designs every week) and Chris Wardman who keeps the train moving on the website.
Submitted by Don Graham CD Photo Credit: Meghan Herrington Photo: Pat Blythe A Girl With a Camera
Real music, real passion, real songs, the real deal. Alex Fisher can say yes to all of the above. “I know I’m just starting my career and still have a long way to go and still have to prove myself but I’m trying real hard to build on a solid foundation. And I’m building from the ground up making sure there is honesty to my music, both in my songwriting and my delivery of the songs. I think one of the hardest things for a young artist to do is find his or her own identity, to not try and sound like anybody else and just be themselves.”