Cover Story

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings-Send In The Queens

Cover June 10, 2011

Story:Lenny Stoute

A Time Zone mix-up has me calling the Man In The Black Fedora an hour early but Colin Linden is all graciousness in putting aside whatever he was into for a talk.

The Southern gentleman thing suits Linden like a well-worn pair of Levis. Not only has he been resident in Nashville going on 14 years but throughout the conversation, Linden heaps praise on all concerned in the making of the band's new album, Kings and Queens. It's not a false humility rather a genuine enthusiasm for making music.

"We still go at it strictly for the love of the song. It's never about what a song can do for us. It's always about how we can best serve the song, show it off at its best."

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings owes its genesis to this core idea. The band formed as a one-of vehicle to record an album, High Or Hurtin', The Songs of Willie P. Bennett, in celebration of the work of this unsung roots music hero. This was in 1996 and 15 years and six albums later, it's still about the songs.

Kings and Queens drops June 14 and threatens to propel the band into the serious spotlight. This lurks in the wings as the album features collaborations with some of the finest female singer/songwriters currently trodding the boards, among them Rosanne Cash, Lucinda Williams, Patti Scialfa, Holly Cole and Serena Ryder.

Dawson Reigns- Asks that you fasten your seatbelts and Enjoy The Ride

Cover June 3, 2011

Story:Lenny Stoute

Dawson Reigns. Is not the name of a shy guy. And who gets ahead in the music biz on shy? Especially when you're coming outa Cambridge, not exactly the centre of the media music universe. So how's a boy who won't wear a meat dress get noticed? Getting a wicked-sounding countrified new name is a good start.

" I wanted something that would make me stand out," explains the amiable singer from his Cambridge home. "We got the Dawson part first and then we tossed around words, looking for some kind of sound and then settled on 'Reigns'. It just sounded right and that's been my name for the last six years". The name change was in conjunction with the birth of Dawson Reigns the artist, marking the transition from cover band star to weaver of his own particular dreams.

" Playing in a cover band, you have to be able to play a lot of different songs. I knew all along I wanted my own voice to be heard, that I wanted to sing my own songs. It was good for me; the two years of playing covers helped me focus on arriving at my own sound. I have it now; it's the sound you hear on (debut album) Enjoy the Ride."

'Paper Promises'-The Larry Harvey Documentary. A Promise Kept

Cover May 27, 2011

Story: Sandy Graham

Speaking on the telephone with Larry Harvey, you can actually picture the 'twinkle' in his eye when he recounts his life of love, music and family. Although over 80, his voice is young, vibrant and most of all excited about the future.

'I was born in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland but my Mom and Dad moved to Carmanville (about 45 minutes away from Cornerbrook) and that is where I grew up. Nashville reminds me of Carmanville; with all the hills you have to run up and down to get places. The main street in Nashville, which is Broadway, looks like an East Coast town, going up and down the street and visiting Ernest Tubbs Record Store. It hasn't changed in decades and neither has Carmanville. I used to sing in church with my Granddaddy; the South is the same with those traditions.'

Harvey returned to Nashville, over fifty years later to achieve his personal dream of playing The Ryman Theatre, a legendary venue whose stage has been graced by a roster of greats which would read like a Country Music Award Ceremony. This is where the story of "Paper Promises" really begins, as Larry's son Shane decided to give Dad a very special Birthday present. Shane Harvey, Larry's youngest child, had this idea that at the age of 80, his Dad could sing and play again. Somewhere, somehow.

Father and son started rehearsing, and it sounded pretty good. They visited one of Larry's old haunts, just to say that Larry had hit the stage again and the sound kept getting better and better.

Stony Plain Marks its 35th Anniversary with CD/DVD Collection

Cover May 20, 2011

By Sandy Graham

Stony Plain Records is a major Canadian independent record label, which specializes in roots music genres such as country, folk and blues

In 1976, Holger Petersen along with partner Alvin Jahns, launched ‘the little label that could’, and despite all odds in this fickle business of music, they have made a success of it. Now 35 years later, it doesn’t look like Petersen plans to slow down at all. He also hosts the weekly series, ‘Saturday Night Blues’ on CBC Radio, a well-listened to and well-rated radio show, as well ‘Natch’l Blues in on the CKUA Radio Network in Alberta  and also os programming the ever popular GALAXIE Blues Time channel  on Satellite Television.

Victoria Banks-The Write Gal For Country

Cover May 13, 2011

Story: Lenny Stoute

Easing through Monday morning Nashville traffic on the way to work, Victoria Banks is breaking all manner of laws talking on her car phone. The fast-rising Ontario native is currently working nine to five like a Dolly Parton song in a large corporate office. Song writing office, that is, hoedown tunes and hurtin’ croons. Written down in the service of a major publishing house in the country music capital. It’s the kind of gig many a hustling songwriter would give someone else’s right arm for.

"Writing songs every day with the best in the business, with the best in recording and production studios right there, yes, it’s pretty incredible.

"I’d never imagined myself a big performer, it was always about the writing, the stories. I was already at that stage where songs were coming through at the most inconvenient times. I was driven, couldn’t rest until I wrote them down. Couldn’t stop until it was finished.

"Each song presents itself differently, Some just arrive and are the ones you get down quickest, others you sometimes fiddle with for years and still have that nagging feeling it isn’t finished and keep going back to it. Down here they have a saying about songs; it works or it’s work.

"A song’s finished when all of the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. That can happen all at once or it can happen over time. Even when you’re not particularly tailoring a song for a specific artist, songs will come through that you know aren’t for you. 

Burton Cummings-Still Not Phoning It In.

Cover May 6, 2011

Story:Lenny Stoute

It’s not often an Order of Canada medal winner phones up to apologise for something that had nothing to do with him. Ok, never before. Especially when you consider this particular OC winner has sold millions of albums around the world and is responsible for penning such classic singles as ‘These Eyes’ and ‘American Woman’ and really doesn’t need the pixels.

Still and all, this little incident says loads about the class of the artist, the Order of Canada and the gracious Canadian-ness of it all. 

What followed was a 17-minute, information packed, down-home and open talk with Burton Cummings. Loosely structured around the upcoming tour, Cummings is such an enthusiastic wealth of information the digressions are often as much fun as the structured bits. Kinda like jazz. Which, like r’n’b was an influence on the very young Cummings.

“  When I was a kid, it didn’t get any whiter than growing up in Winnipeg. So I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to like black people. When I heard all this great music on the radio, black or white wasn’t an issue. I was into the sounds, the voices; when I heard Sam Cooke sing I can’t recall even thinking about what colour he was”.

For a taste of jazz influence on the later Cummings, check the flute solo on ‘Undun’. The Sam Cooke vibe surfaces on what many Aficionados rate as Cumming’s sweetest soul vocal, a relatively obscure track called ‘Broken”. 

Country Music of Ontario Host 1st Open Mic in Toronto

Cover April 29, 2011

By Sandy Graham

CMOA PHOTO Gallery here: cmao-open-mic-pics

In 1976, during an RPM Magazine function, The Academy of Country Music Entertainment was founded which would include the founding of Country Music Week. The very first awards for Canada were called the RPM Big Country Awards, and by 1982 the Association inaugurated its very own Canadian Country Music Awards. By 1986-1987, the Association’s name was officially changed to the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA).

With a successful business model to follow, it was a natural progression that there would be an Association that would now develop and nurture the growing number of country music artists that are situated in Ontario.  The Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAO) is an undertaking by a number of energetic individuals in the country music industry in Ontario. The goal of the Country Music Association of Ontario is to foster and support the growth and development of Country Music in Ontario, as well as its artists - singers - songwriters - musicians - bands – to promote the same to Canada and the World. When we speak of country music, we speak of its subs as well, such as folk, alternative, bluegrass, roots and Canadiana. 

EAST COAST MUSIC AWARDS 2011

Cover, April 22, 2011

The Trews, Chris Colepaugh & The Crew, David Myles and Rose Cousins joined Matt Andersen, Dave Gunning and Chelsea Nisbett as multiple award winners at East Coast Music Week 2011 in Charlottetown,PEI.

At the Bell Aliant 2011 East Coast Music Awards Gala presented by RBC on Sunday, The Trews took home their second music award receiving the Bell Aliant Fan’s Choice Video of the Year award for ‘Highway of Heroes’ (Director: Tim Martin). The band was presented with the DVD of the Year award for ‘The Trews Acoustic – Friends & Total Strangers’ on Saturday at the FACTOR Industry Brunch.  Chris Colepaugh & The Crew were awarded the Bell Aliant Fan’s Choice Entertainer of the Year award at the awards gala after receiving the Rock Recording of the Year award for ‘Missed a Page’ on Saturday.  David Myles picked up the Vibe Creative Group Single of the Year for ‘Need A Break’ (Producer: Joel Plaskett) at the awards gala after receiving the Folk Recording of the Year on Thursday.  Rose Cousins collected her second award, SOCAN Songwriter of the Year for ‘I Were the Bird.’  Cousins was also awarded Female Solo Recording of the Year presented by Budget Rent-a-Car for ‘The Send Off’ on Friday.

Andrea Ramolo-Not your Janis Joplin clone

Cover, April 15, 2011

Story:Lenny Stoute

Barrelling along the 401, having blown away Montreal the night before and on the way to do it again in Ottawa, is the perfect way to meet Andrea Ramolo. The fast-rising singer plays better than 200 shows a year all across our fair land, earning her the tag  “tireless road warrior”

The current 26-city jaunt is in support of second album 'The Shadows and the Cracks', which marks something of a departure for Ramolo. The Toronto native broke on the scene with 2008’s ‘Thank You For The Ride’ a sunny-sided collection of folk confections laden with lyrical narrative and introducing us to Ramolo’s rich and supple pipes.

It scored her widespread attention, opened the door to a better level of opening slots, won Best Folk album awards and guest speaker spot at the 2009 Ontario Council of Folk Festivals Conference in Ottawa on how to book your own tour as an indie artist.

“ The first album was totally my baby. It was an outpouring of songs, very organic. A lot of it was live off the floor, recorded in spontaneous bursts and produced by my then-boyfriend. It all worked out and it got me started off.”

Backed by one-man band Jason Skiendziel (upright/electric basses, mandolin, percussion), Ramolo took her show on roads as far away as the Southern U.S, playing the gigs, penning the tunes.

OH WHAT A FEELING!!!

Cover April 8, 2011

By Don Graham

The 7th Annual Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala is an ambitious event and a great celebration of the creators of some of our finest moments in Canadian music history. As they say, it all starts with a song, and without the song even the finest voice on the planet would never be heard. The main inductees this year were Robbie Robertson (of the Band)  who wrote classics like The Weight, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and Up On Cripple Creek and Luc Plamondon, the French Canadian lyricist, famous for writing hits for Celine Dion, the most famous of which was L’Amour Existe Encore. Jack Scott, from Windsor ,Ontario who wrote My True Love , The Way I Walk and What In The World’s Come Over You?

Robbie RobertsonRobbie RobertsonSongs inducted were Gilles Valiquette’s Je Suis Cool, When I Die, Steve Kennedy and William Smith,(charted by Motherlode) Wildflower, Dave Richardson and Doug Edwards and(charted by Skylark) Kelly Jay Fordham and Roly Greenway of Crowbar for Oh What a Feeling.

Syndicate content