Drake Jensen’s Outlaw Ways

Drake Jensen

Story: Lenny Stoute

Drake Jensen ‘s had quite the career year. Since dropping his debut album "On My Way To Finding You" and coming out as Canada’s only openly gay country act in 2011, dude’s become a talking point in both the gay and Country communities. On account of his pairing with Jensen’s become a figure in that community as well.

Musically, he scored a Coup de Chapeau, a Montreal award which recognises emerging artists, enjoyed a slew of positive reviews for the album, played a sold-out gig at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, recorded a single, “”Little Toy Trains” to benefit the Make A Wish Foundation, saw airplay on both sides of the border for “All You Need”, performed a well-received Country Stage showcase at this Year’s East Coast Music Week and made his Nashville debut at the Commodore Grill.

Jensen likes Nashville, working and recording there as often as he can with Music City luminaries such as Beau Fuller, Jan Buckingham and Kim Copeland. Along the way he’s done tons of interviews with media outlets from Indiana to Ireland, charted on the European Country Music Association with “Wash Me Away” now 14 weeks on the chart and counting, released a clutch of high quality, intriguing videos and is just about to drop his latest single “Pancho And Lefty”.

The Bold Steps Story

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Story: Lenny Stoute

Bold by name and bold by nature, Meghan Bold has never been shy about taking a big step (yes, there will be puns). Raised in the badlands east of Cornwall and therefore deprived of culture, Meghan was saved by her innate knack for the dance, which became her ticket to ride.

“I took lessons from the MacCulloch Dancers for 11 years. I started taking Step Dancing at the age of 7 and began taking Highland at the age of 11. I was privileged with this dance troupe to perform locally and internationally. Places like Disney World, Mexico, Spain, New York, and all over Ontario and Quebec.

“I was chosen two years in a row to go on tour with a group from Scotland touring around Ontario doing a Scottish Variety show where I was the dancing act”.

The lissom blonde’s interest in Dance went beyond the performance aspect into the instructional arena upon completion of the gruelling exams leading to certification as a teacher in Step Dancing. In the last year, Meghan completed her exam to be a certified Highland teacher. She’s currently studying to step up even higher with a certification as a Judge, which will give her the opportunity to travel world wide judging Highland competitions.
” I started the studio in 2007 after moving to Toronto from Montreal, where I studied dance at Concordia University. What made me start my own studio was the fact I wanted to get back into dancing, but no one wanted to take on an adult student.

Songwriting 101: A Conversation with Poet, Songwriter, Teacher, Artist Meet Robert Priest

Robert Priest

Submitted by Michael Williams

MW: How hard is it to be a poet/ songwriter in Canada?
RP: There are definitely downsides to it. The economics of poetry are almost nonexistent other than government grants or getting a teaching position. If you don't have a hit song it's the same thing if you're anything but a top-selling Canadian songwriter. So there's going to be ups and downs in your sense of stability and if you're at all a panicky person as a lot of artists can be you go through some pain. Plus there's the recognition factor especially in poetry—there such a small amount of people who care about poetry but at least 75% of them are poets and they're all after the same small audience/prizes/grants. But really, in terms of what artists have gone through in the ages and even now in less rich countries I feel inordinately blessed to have been able to work at my art all these years and never go hungry and never have to fear that if my children are sick I can't afford a doctor. So I take care to thank the citizens of Canada and the vision of the ancestors who got us things like minimum standards of living and socialized healthcare. I think compared to many other countries it's actually a lot easier here to be an artist. And I hope we can maintain that.

The Beach Celtic Festival Toronto’s Only Outdoor Ceilidh Great Line-Up for 2012


Submitted by Sandy Graham

The Beach Celtic Festival is about family, is all centred around music, and this year will be better than ever. With a wonderful array of Scottish, Irish,

Celtic and a little bit of country, there is something for everyone.

Hugo Straney is the perennial host of The Beach Celtic Festival in Kew Gardens. A radio host, a stand up comedian and singer, Hugo does all these things exceedingly well.

With a wealth of honours to his name, Hugo has his own radio show every Sunday on CHIN, 10 – 11 am, and has been awarded Irish Person of the Year, sang the national anthem to the Prime Minister of Ireland for the opening of Ireland Park in Toronto, been the topic and feature on a documentary and is invited to perform on cruise ships and junkets in Las Vegas.

Blessed with big, strong Irish lungs, Hugo can belt out the power ballads, but also turn in a fine sensitive reading when needed. Born in Ireland, he has made Canada his home, but has never forgotten his roots. The Beach Celtic Festival is proud and honoured that he is with the Beach Celtic Festival every year. Hugo Straney doing Ireland and the Celtic nation proud, year in and year out!

The Pipes, The Drums and The Dancers of the Beach Celtic Festival !

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

It wouldn’t be a Celtic Festival with bagpipers and we are so pleased to have a grand showing of Pipes and Drums.  We start off with the opening ceremonies on Sept. 8 with the Scarborough Pipes and Drums. Always a favourite with the Celtic Crowd. This seasoned and award winning band has been performing at the Celtic Festival for years and we hope they will be with us for years to come. 

This year we are pleased to feature the wonderful bagpiping skills of Rory Sinclair. Not to be missed, Rory combines traditional songs with a hip look and is definitely a wonderful listen for all bagpipe fans. Also joining him with be the lovely and talented Stephanie Miletic on fiddle.

Close to the heart of the Beach Celtic history, on both Saturday Sept, 8 and Sunday Sept. 9, The Toronto Black Watch Pipes and Drums will be appearing on stage, and once again playing the slow march written by the Graham’s grandfather, Pipe Major Donald Sutherland of the BWR, ‘The Red Hackle’.
The Dancers !

Cottage Country and Holiday Music Trivia Reading !

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While we’re away here are some July events in our fabulous music industry – Enjoy!

Juy 1953-2011
1953 - Bill Haley and the Comets release “Crazy Man, Crazy,” the first rock and roll record ever to make the US charts.
1954 - Elvis, Scotty Moore and Bill Black got together for the first time at Scotty’s apartment and the next day they recorded “That’s Alright Mama” at Sun Studios.
1955 - Bill Haley and the Comets, record "Rock Around the Clock" the song is released in May but is not a major chart hit until July 1955, after the song is used as the theme song for the movie Blackboard Jungle it goes to number one on the pop charts.
1956 - Dick Clark made his debut as host of "Bandstand" on a Philadelphia TV station. The name of the show was changed to "American Bandstand" when it went to ABC-TV.

1957 - John Lennon and Paul McCartney first meet at St Peter’s Church garden party in Liverpool, England.
1958 - Johnny Cash signed with Columbia Records. 

1959 -  # 1 single in July 1959, “Lonely Boy’ by  Paul Anka.
1960 - Elvis’ “It’s Now or Never” Pick of the week on Cashbox Charts.
1961 - First published "Easy Listening" chart, listing songs that were  determined were not rock and roll records. The first #1 song on this  Cashbox Chart “The Boll Weevil" by Brook Benton.
1962 - Rolling Stones appear for the first time (London Marquee Club).
1963 - The first issue of the Music City News is published. Its publisher is country music star Faron Young.


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Submitted by: Sandy Graham

The name Cashbox has a history – and that involves the Jukebox. Decades ago, when the jukeboxes were in every restaurant and bar wherever music was played. The money was collected on a weekly basis by a company who would then empty the  Cash Box located inside the Jukebox, and the number of plays were calculated inside the machine. These spins were then reported to record stores and radio stations who used this as guidance to what the public would like to hear and purchase. This is how Cashbox Magazine developed the Cashbox Charts. Did you know that Cashbox Magazine invented the bullet? (That was the highlight that signified the hottest songs)  We asked our industry friends, artists and readers to tell us what their favourite summer song and it was met with great enthusiasm and we thank you for that! From Beatles to Beach Boys, our virtual jukebox man, Lee Verbony, has assembled the Cashbox Canada Summer Songs for you to enjoy! Log on to and crank it up!

We wanted to share some of the submissions and comments we have received with these song choices. Happy Canada Day!

BOYS OF SUMMER..DON HENLEY Incredible guitar theme by Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Henley nails the lyrics. Feels like a hot summer night with windows down driving down the PCH.....watching the waves crash into the shore. 

Buddy Black and The Witchfinger Project

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Story: Lenny Stoute
Photo at right by Rachel Tentcher

This is a tale of love, demonic possession, horrific doings and more love.

It’s 91 degrees in the shade at the Pennsylvania pit stop from which Buddy Black is calling, miles and miles to go before he reaches home.

Where a ‘big reveal’ gig awaits, the full-on presentation of Witchfinger, the cult fave EP inspired by the 1987 classic horror flick Chillers, for the first time ever in Canada.

Black and crew are returning from playing gigs in West Virginia, home state of one Daniel Boyd, writer of the movie and currently creator of the graphic novel Chillers, which gets its release this week.

“ I’m a big horror fan from way back, Tales From The Crypt, all that kind of of stuff. I saw Chillers when I was 15 and it had a huge impact on me. Can’t even say why but I used to watch it over and over. It was MY movie, my friends thought it was a joke but I was totally into it.”

In creating Witchfinger, Black has revived not only his beloved cult film but given the franchise a new life, as Boyd went back to his drawing board to come up with a graphic novel version of Chillers.

For horse race fans, this is the perfect trifecta, with the movie, the album and now the novel. Witchfinger is an explosion of Goth/punk riffs, saturated with melodic guitar carrying Black’s horrific and darkly hued lyrics to a commanding position.

Kevin Montgomery: Some Comfort

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Submitted by Don Graham

American troubadour Kevin Montgomery has finally released his long awaited CD, ‘Some Comfort’ and it was well worth the wait. The 10 song collection of original songs is definitely a high water mark for the Tennessee native. Recorded at 16 Ton Studios in Nashville and featuring some of the top musicians available, including Ken Coomer, the former drummer for Wilco, Danny White on bass, Shawn Byrne on guitar as well as Mike McAdam on slide guitar. Also contributing his skills is the legendary John Hobbs on keys, who’s intro to George Strait’s ‘Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind’ ranks up there with the best.

Kevin was born in Nashville and with his lineage it would be hard to see him doing anything else as a life’s work. His dad is Bob Montgomery, The Bob in Buddy and Bob of Buddy Holly’s youth who wrote classic country hits like ‘Back in Baby’s Arms’ for Patsy Cline and ‘Misty Blue’ for Dorothy Moore and countless numbers of other artists. His mom Carol was a Nashville session singer and sang background on ‘Suspicious Minds’ for the Presley kid and Robert Knight’s ‘Everlasting Love’ as well as many other hits. His dad would come home at night and play his day’s work for the family, including hits by Bobby Goldsboro, and get their critique. So Kevin learned the art of listening to songs and production at an early age.

Lyric-Young, Gifted, Hot and at NXNE ON June 17, 2012

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

NXNE 2012 offers 7 days, 50 venues, 650 bands and only one Lyric. Only chance to catch the 13 year old hunky blonde wunderkid is Sunday June 17 @ 3 PM when the kid kicks it large at Harboufront Centre backed by a rockin’ band.

2012 is set to be a huge year for the young dude. No stranger to the big stage, apart from rockin’ the house across southern Ontario, from St. Catherines to Barrie, Kingston to Guelph, Lyric is at ease in larger venues, storming CMW with an impromptu appearance at the Cashbox Canada stand during the Royal York music conference. All this and also dropping his debut album, Broken Dreams.

The set will be drawn largely from the all-original material debut album and is sure to include climbing singles “Broken Dream” and the tongue in cheek “You Instead”, the texting’n’driving tune which is an OPP fave.

Don’t miss this chance to catch a genuine homegrown rock star on the rise.Admission is free at this NXNE  Event.

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