Cover Story

David Bowie Look Up Here, I’m In Heaven

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Submitted by Don Graham

The world was shocked to wake up to news of the passing of an icon, musical superstar David Bowie. Although not many even knew he was sick; Bowie had been battling cancer in private for 18 months. But Bowie knew his days were numbered when he made one final public appearance in December 2015 at the New York City premiere of his off-Broadway musical –‘Lazarus’. The press wrote that he looked so well, so healthy but it was reported later that when he left, he collapsed.

Bowie’s passing came after a difficult few years during which he suffered half a dozen heart attacks related to his cancer. But that didn’t stop the icon from creating as he just released his new album “Blackstar” on his 69th birthday, two days before his death. His sense of timing is eerie, he released “Space Oddity” only days before the moon landing in 1969.

Fred Ramsperger For the Record

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Submitted by Don Graham

Last year the decision was made at Cashbox Magazine Canada to start to dedicate legacy awards to individuals who have made major contributions to the Canadian Music Scene.

To date the recipients have been:
Bobby Curtola Canada’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Legend and Member of the Order of Canada 
Danny Marks Guitarist/Entertainer, Blues Historian and Radio Host of Blues FM and founding member of Edward Bear
Robbie Lane of Robbie Lane and the Disciples fame Singer/Performer, TV Host and currently a Radio Host on AM 740

The newest recipient of the award was one Sandy Graham, CEO and Editor in Chief of Cashbox Canada was one that she felt extremely honoured to be able to award to Fred Ramsperger, a man who was a partner in one of the largest record stores in Montreal in the 60's and 70’s. As Sandy explained,“I started in the music business working at International Music Store in downtown Montreal, and everything I have accomplished in this industry started at International.”

Lori Yates Sweetheart of the Valley

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Submitted by Don Graham

This is it! It’s here! Finally, the album I’ve been waiting for! I didn’t know who was going to record it, but I knew that one day it would happen. One day there would be an album that would remind me of those days of opening up a new vinyl 12” LP and putting the needle down gently on the grooves and being transported to a beautiful place. A place of warm rich tones and richly textured vocals singing heartfelt lyrics. Lori Yates captured lightning in a bottle with her new record Sweetheart of the Valley and this should be the ticket to get her back where belongs on the alt-country music scene.  This is Lori’s first album since 2007 when she released The Book Of Minerva, and it was well worth the wait. Backed up masterfully by Hey Stella, whose members include Blue Rodeo's Bazil Donovan, David Baxter and Michelle Josef and steel player Steve Wood.

Bobby Curtola Classic Christmas Concerts

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Submitted by Don Graham

The Christmas season is upon us and like every year the traditions we all hold so dear are making their appearance in our lives once again. Decorations that may have been in the family for years, recipes for shortbread, fruitcake, pies and turkey stuffing handed down through generations are brought out and prepared. Christmas music will once again permeate the airwaves and helping to fulfill that end is Canada’s rock and roll legend, the Canuck version of the Energizer bunny himself, Bobby Curtola.

Andy Kim Celebrates Christmas at his 11th Annual Christmas Show

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Cover Photo Credit Kane Holding

There are all the tell-tale signs of the holiday season in Toronto - stores are stocking the shelves, The Bay Christmas Window is up, Nathan Phillips Square is preparing for the ice skaters, and of course, now a tradition as well - The 11th Annual Andy Kim Christmas Show In Support of CAMH Foundation Gifts of Light.

Andy Kim today announced the list of performers for this year’s Andy Kim’s Christmas Show. The concert will once again benefit CAMH, with a goal to raise $100,000 for the Gifts of Light Program.

This year’s lineup is going to be stellar. Andy Kim, Tom Cochrane, Barenaked Ladies, Michael and Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies), The Trews, Ron Sexsmith, Kevin Drew and Brendon Canning (Broken Social Scene), Beaches, Honeymoon Suite, Kardinal Offishall, Tom Wilson, Tomi Swick and other special guests yet to be announced.

Gordon Lightfoot Hitting The Road At 77

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Submitted by Don Graham

It’s hard to remember a time in Canada when singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot wasn’t an integral part of the fabric of Canadian music. He has said that one of his early influences was American songsmith and storyteller Stephen Foster and Lightfoot may well be remembered by future generations of Canadians as our Stephen Foster. Most Canadian songwriters will tell you of some sort of influence and imprint left on them by the Orillia native.

Don Graham and Marshall Dane – Together Again for the First Time !

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

The country music scene has changed so much there are times you can’t tell if a song playing on the country station is truly country, but the fact remains a good song is a good song.

On November 26 that is exactly what Don Graham and Marshall Dane are going to do – play some good songs.

“ There’s a lot a great talent out there right now in the country market and I always thought it would be cool to do a show with one or two of my favourite young artists. I’ve been a Marshall Dane fan for a long time now and thought he would be a great choice to do this first one with. The night will be an up close and comfortable setting at Musideum in Toronto, one of my favourite listening venues. Marshall and I will each do a set of originals and I think it’s going to an awesome and memorable night. Can’t wait.”

Don Graham is a veteran country singer/songwriter having spent over four decades perfecting his craft. He has performed globally, picking up friends and fans around the world. Don was signed in the early days to Irving Almo Music to a writers deal by the legendary Brian Chater, resulting in him relocating from his hometown of Montreal to Toronto. Don now spends his time performing at select venues, while also travelling to showcase at places like the Nashville Palace in Tennessee, a private partyduring MIDEM in Cannes, France and appearing on the pilot for a video show produced by Dave Woods.

Lest We Forget – Remembrance Day 2015

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

As the years pass the participants in the Remembrance Day ceremonies grow smaller and smaller.  For years now I have stood at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month for the silence that we try to respectfully give to those who sacrificed so much for us. And for years now, I have noticed as we bow our heads at the local memorial, the streetcars still go by and the cars still honk, as if they have forgotten this small gesture we do every year.

My father fought in WW 2, my grandfather in both World Wars; he lied for the first because he was too young, and lied for the second because he was too old. Commerative Pin Canada’s Aboriginal VeteransCommerative Pin Canada’s Aboriginal VeteransMy son is in the reserves, and we take great pride in being Canadian. I grew up in an era where the whole school went to the auditorium for the service on November 11th.  What of the words to the poem written by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)?  ‘At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.’

Jason Blaine In The Spotlight

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Submitted by Don Graham

The pride of Pembroke, Ontario, Canada, Jason Blaine, is about to break new ground with a new album (his 6th) and it is arguably his best to date. The album, Country Side, was released last week in conjunction with a new single, Spotlight. We caught up with Jason, who has been living in Nashville, Tennessee for nine years now. “I feel so blessed to be able to do what I love, in a town that I love surrounded by people I love, my wife and three kids.”

The road to success has been a long one for Jason but he has stayed the course, remaining true to himself and his music and he couldn’t have done it alone and lovingly acknowledges the support of his wife. “I remember when we first moved to Nashville 9 years ago , my wife held down the fort in our little apartment with our baby girl while I pounded the streets of town trying to get a deal. It took about a year but it finally came together. I couldn’t have done it without her.”

Barry Stagg Still Following His Dreams

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Barry Stagg, singer/songwriter, musician, playwright and musical entrepreneur is a solid example of what tenacity and talent can provide in this ever changing music business.

Born in Montreal, Quebec he graduated from Université de Montréal, and started on his musical path with Tony Green to become Green and Stagg. The duo were signed to Gamma Records out of Montreal under the tutelage of manager Ben Kaye. Their debut single, "To Love Means To Be Free", became an instant hit when released in February 1970. The song won theCanadian Business Music Industrywriting award.Green and Stagg rode the charts for the better part of the early '70s.

Signed to Gamma at the time , they were offered a deal with London Records which had a better reach for them on a distribution level so they made the decision to move to the ill-fated label, which went bankrupt not long after. Stagg would have success with a number of solo releases on RCA before moving to North Carolina where he currently resides with his family.

From 1989 to the present, Barry Stagg is considered a playwright-in-residence for theNosco Academy of Theatre Arts, where he writes scores, operas and stage shows. During that time over 60 musicals were written and composed, covering a wide range of themes.

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