Features

Abby Zotz - Singer, Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist Shows the Human Side of Music

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Sharing her personal journey with an enchanting voice, soul-touching lyrics and a range of musical styles, Abby Zotz weaves tendrils of hope together with strands of humour, resilience and, ultimately, joy.

A gifted musician and vocal artist, Abby’s message is an uplifting and often poignant expression of the human experience. She explores tiny fragments of life, both the lighter side and the struggle of finding hope in a troubled world. Her songs are at once intimate and relatable.

From classical and world music to country and traditional folk, Abby’s exposure to a medley of styles in her childhood set the tone for a life-long thirst to explore new musical avenues and expand her range. Her multi-faceted career has taken her from the Royal Conservatory of Music Concert Hall to tavern stages to trios and (almost) everywhere in between.

Live at Heart Newfoundland

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Following in the musical footsteps of the recent success of Live at Heart Sweden, Canada is about the embrace another version of this successful festival, with the inaugural event, Live at Heart Newfoundland.

Live at Heart Sweden began in 2010 when founders Anders Damberg and Johannes Nilsson wanted to create a space for local, unsigned bands to play for larger audiences. In its first year, Live at Heart featured 102 different acts and hosted gigs on 10 different venues around Örebro, Sweden. Over the years, Live at Heart has evolved into a creative industry conference and showcase festival – attended by hundreds of artists, filmmakers and creative professionals from all over the world. The event has grown into one of the biggest of its kind in all of Scandinavia and is considered one of the best festivals in the world. The 2018 version showcased more than 200 music acts and independent film screenings in the heart of Örebro.

BTW - Begonia, Hard Rubber, Micah Barnes, Plain White T's, Donovan Woods, Skydiggers, RYAN Playground, Blue Goose

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

So, Winnipeg based Begonia (aka Alexa Dirks) reveals the charmingly haunting video for “The Light”. Directed by Emma Higgins, Dirks says “she felt the emotion and saw my vision for the song right away.” The visual of Begonia singing in a store window surrounded by little dolls wearing white frilly dresses is one that Dirks says “encompassed the pure, ultra-feminine ideals that women are told to take on from a very young age, juxtaposed with me, a woman that does not fit into those stereotypes, sticking out and singing amongst them.” Dirks and Higgins then took that idea a step further, making, sez Begonia “the ‘creepy mother of the dolls’ going out for a night on the town with my pure, frilly, little, babies in tow.”

WATCH AND SHARE “THE LIGHT” HERE

Canadian Indie Pop Folk Duo In The City Remember the “Best Time” in New Single

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Sometimes, bad times help us remember better times. It's a circuitous path to happiness, to be sure. But it's the one taken by Toronto pop-folk duo In the City on their new single and video “Best Time” — available now.

Although it was inspired by the untimely and unexpected death of singer Ashley Jane's mother last year, the song — a preview of the pair's forthcoming concept EP MaryAnn — chooses to celebrate life rather than mourn a loss. "It's really a song that she's singing to my dad," explains Jane, who splits musical duties with multi-instrumentalist and studio whiz Timon Wientzek. "I was really grappling with the idea of grieving for someone you've lost and how you can get really swept up in the tragedy of it. It's really easy for that to become how you remember someone.

“But the storyteller in me was saying, 'No if your mom was still here, I think she'd tell all her friends and loved ones that she had the best time while she was here.’

“Our amazingly talented director came up with the concept,” she continues, speaking of “Best Time”s video and its director, Anna Maguire. The band plays throughout in front of projected home videos. “We wanted to create a video that celebrates life, both its everyday moments and big momentous occasions. The footage is from lots of different families. We received submissions from all over the world, and feel honoured to include these precious memories in our music video.”

Sheldon Kagan Not In a Shy Way

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

If you are a Montrealer, or even just worked in the entertainment business in that glorious city, then the name Sheldon Kagan is one you will instantly recognize.

For 50 years plus, Kagan was known as one of Montreal’s leading event producers and entrepreneurs. From starting out as a 16-year-old kid doing high school DJ gigs to creating a niche for jazz shows to come through the city, to booking the likes of local bands to legendary greats, producing thousands of productions and taking the chances it takes to book live entertainment.

The company has produced over 75 major concerts bringing in artists such as Dionne Warwick, The Commodores, Loggins & Messina, Delaney & Bonnie, Billy Preston, Donovan, Artie Shaw, Miles Davis, George Benson, Ravi Shankar, Dizzy Gillespie, Gene Krupa, Woody Herman, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Dave Brubeck, Buddy Rich and many more. At this stage in his life, Sheldon Kagan had decided that the time has come for him to retire. But he also decided to write a book about his five-decade career, which is both charming and nostalgic, with great personal stories and insights into the artists he worked with in his bookings and shows.

BTW Altameda, Tia Brazda,Lindi Ortega, Notifi, Oakland Stroke, nêhiyawak, Bobby Dean Blackburn & Brooke Blackburn

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Here's a rising crew of rockers hailing from Edmonton you might want to hear. Altameda returns today with a brand new track "Rolling Back To You" - Listen and watch the video here.

This is the first track off their upcoming sophomore full-length Time Hasn't Changed You due early 2019 via Pheromone Recordings.

Paying homage to what came before while remaining very much of the moment, Altameda's "Rolling Back To You" is a blend of classic rock and folk traditions. Reflecting on the writing process, Altameda says, "It was one of the last additions to the batch of songs we had going into the recording sessions. It seemed to form out of an attempt to juxtapose a hopeful beacon of light against some of the more heavy-hearted songs on the album. Though, it may be light-hearted in 'feel', I think the lyrical content reflects the love-laden themes carried throughout the rest of the album."

Gowan Still a Criminal Mind

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

At his Caesar’s Palace Coliseum concert on Friday, Sept 7, Larry Gowan was presented with a Certified Canadian Platinum Single award for a combined 80,000 physical, digital and stream equivalent units of his song “A Criminal Mind.”

Gowan was surprised by his label Linus Entertainment with the award, just as his band left the stage leaving him to perform the song solo. While the band and stage managers were in on the plot, Larry was genuinely surprised and delighted at the presentation. “It’s amazing to me because I didn’t think anyone bought records anymore!” he said upon returning for an encore. Linus Entertainment represents several Gowan albums including Strange Animal, Great Dirty World (which includes the song Moonlight Desires), and The Good Catches Up.

From the Strange Animal himself:
The Life and Times of Lawrence Gowan - in a nutshell
My large head introduced itself to planet Earth in 1956. It happened in Glasgow Scotland and has been happening daily ever since. Without my consent, as a child, I was brought to the tropic of Canada and settled among the unparalleled beauty of Scarborough. My marks in high-school were of a caliber that left me no option but to pursue the occupation of Rockstar.

BTW Chris Velan, Catalina Shortwave, Anne Bourne, Small Leaks Sink Ships, Great Lake Swimmers, Dilly Dally, Christina Martin

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Chris Velan Photo Credit Dan Haber

Amateur Hour is the new album from genre-hopping songwriter Chris Velan and it started out as songs about a relationship and all the emotional baggage that comes with it; desire, love, resentment, pain. But soon he realized that the relationship he was exploring was the one with himself.

Due out September 14, Amateur Hour unfolds like a series of monologues in a one-act play where the characters are locked in a room and forced to respond and react to unexpected news, discovering that what they thought to be true of themselves was in fact not.

First single, “All Time Record”, is a bit of mystery for Velan. “It came in the form of an urgent stream of babble that I had to quickly record into my phone and then later transcribe and translate,” he says. “It wasn’t as much about the meaning of the words as it was their sound. I think that’s why it retains this elusive, joyful quality. It doesn’t want to be pinned down.”

LISTEN AND SHARE “ALL TIME RECORD” HERE

Winnipeg Singer/Songwriter Madeline Roger Releases New Album on October 26

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Winnipeg singer-songwriter Madeleine Roger is pleased to announce the independent release of her debut solo album Cottonwood on October 26th and today marks the official release of the first single 'Take My Time' which premiered yesterday at Aesthetic Magazine. 'Take My Time' is available today on Spotify, Apple Music/iTunes and all other digital retailers/streaming services. Madeleine will embark on an extensive Canadian tour in support of Cottonwood this fall, starting with an early album release show in Winnipeg on September 21st at The West End Cultural Centre. See below for full tour details.

Country/Roots Singer Juliet Simmons Dinallo, Dream Girl, on November 16

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Country/Roots singer Juliet Simmons Dinallo will release her new CD, Dream Girl, on November 16, with distribution via BFD/Orchard. A digital release of the new CD will be available digitally everywhere online on October 5, 2018. Originally from Boston and now based in East Nashville, Juliet recorded her new disc at Ice Station Zebra in Medford, Mass., with production by Michael Dinallo and Ducky Carlisle. Call it Boston roots and cowgirl boots, if you will. 

Juliet will support Dream Girl with a number of album release shows in the Nashville area, as well as throughout the southeast, with Midwest gigs on tap in the future.

Dream Girl is an amalgam of Nashville and Memphis: Dusty in MemphisI Am Shelby Lynn, Stax/Volt, classic Nashville sides, Elvis in Memphis, along with soulful group singing. Juliet enlisted two other tremendous vocalists from Boston, Amber Casares and Anita Suhanin, to sing with her. The blend is reminiscent of the Staple Singers at times (“Until I Go”) or the Trio album (“Moonshine and Sweet Tea”) with Dolly, Emmylou, and Linda. Tim Carter (who is a direct link to The Carter Family) recorded the mandolin, fiddle, and banjo at his studio in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.

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