A Pear of Aces


Story: Don Graham

They're a little bit country, a little bit city, a little bit sweet and a little bit gritty.

Refreshing, original, clean, crisp, talented; all words that come to mind when listening to the new PEAR CD, Sweet 'n' Gritty.  The duo of wife and husband, Lynae and Denis Dufresne, are definitely a self contained package;  singers, songwriters and excellent musicians.  Lynae is a world class fiddle player and Denis was 2011 CCMA's Fiddle Player of the Year as well as Mandolin Player of the Year. In fact, the two met when they both auditioned for the highly touted fiddle show Barrage in 1997. They both got the gig and after a short period of time began to notice each other as more than just fellow musicians. As Lynae said with a laugh, " After a little while I looked at Denis and thought " He's a good musician AND he's also kinda cute!!"

The show "Barrage: The  World On Stage" toured extensively for 5 years and was aired by every PBS station in the United States and the title CD climbed as high as #5 on the world charts. The Disney Corporation billed it as "the hottest fiddle show in the world" and Lynae and Denis are proud of their contribution to the production. Being part of that cast enabled them to tour Canada, the United States, Scotland, England, Scandinavia and even China.

In 2003 Lynae and Denis left the Barrage show and began lending their musical talents to some of the top acts in Canada, recording and playing live at festivals, honing their skills and perfecting their craft.

Michelle Wright Back on Radio with Another Good Day


Story : Don Graham

Look out Canada! There’s a new “infectious, can’t get it out your head, positive, uplifting summer song” coming your way! “Another Good Day” is the latest offering from Canada’s queen of country music Michelle Wright and if everything happens as it should this record will put Michelle Wright back on the top of charts where she belongs. There was a time when she could have had her mail delivered to TOP OF THE CHARTS with hits like “Take It Like A Man,” “He Would Be Sixteen,” “New Kind of Love,” “Guitar Talk,” “Nobody’s Girl” and on and on. I’m probably leaving out your favourite song but there are so many to choose from it would be hard to name them all. Although Michelle never stopped performing and writing and playing her music, it’s been a while since she has seen significant chart action. That is all about to change with the release of “Another Good Day”.


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Story: Don Graham

Photo Credit:Morgan Sperry Sperry Photography

CURTIS GRAMBO is one of those country artists that is comfortable in his own skin, making choices and making music that he can sing not just from his lungs, but from his heart.

Grambo will be the first to tell you he learned to sing country music from the "Legends of County". Growing up in Crystal Springs, Saskatchewan, the Grambo home was no different than most prairie homes, in that music was a big part of their life. Curtis grew up listening to the likes of Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Charlie Pride and many styles of gospel music. 

At the age of five, Curtis began signing in church, and by the age of twelve, he had developed a substantial array of vocal talents. Curtis vividly remembers August 16th, 1977 as a day that changed his life forever. He arrived home to find his mother crying and he knew something was really wrong. When he asked her the reason she was crying, she stated, "Elvis Presley died." Curtis couldn't let this go. He thought that if his mom was such a huge fan, this guy had to be something special, and was amazed at how one man's music could have such an influence on so many people. Curtis was hooked!

Happy Birthday Stan !


By Sandy Graham

In the fledgling days of the Canadian Music Industry, there were two men who saw the future, and inevitably helped shape it. Walt Grealis and Stan Klees. The names go together like peanut butter and jam, milk and cookies, RPM and CANCON. It is hard to mention one without the other.

This week marked the 80th birthday of Stan Klees. Finally a senior  teenager. Klees lost his long-time friend and business partner, Walt Grealis in 2004, after a short three year battle with cancer.  Close to eight years later, Stan Klees is still seen about town; frequenting Mirvish Productions and lunching with old friends.

For those of you who don’t know the story of RPM, ‘the little paper that grew’ here is a short history lesson. RPM started in 1964, and was ‘The Conscience of Canada's Music Industry’. Now, a huge industry here in Canada, it is now hard to believe, with the success of Shania Twain, Sarah McLachlan, Gordon Lightfoot, Bryan Adams, Blue Rodeo, Rush, Avril Lavigne and countless other artists, that there was a time when English-Canadian popular music was rarely heard on the radio or promoted by Canadian record companies. In the 1960’s Canadian artists were regarded with indifference, and many were forced to turn to the U.S. to make a success of their talent. One person who decided to change that was Walt Grealis.

Dean Brody Loves ‘Canadian Girls’

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Dean Brody’s single ‘Canadian Girls’ is the first Canadian song to become a # 1 hit at country radio since February 2008. From his new album ‘Dirt’, with the patriotic line ‘true north and national treasure she’d give her life for the red & white’ with the description of  ‘irresistible , loveable, and  trouble". it is a great anthem for our country.

Dean Brody is focused and fearless. “Without risk there’s no reward,” says Dean Brody. “It’s important to be fearless. You need to be persistent. You can’t give up.”

Brody would know. If there’s one thing the Jaffray, BC born singer/songwriter has proven in his career, it’s that he’s not afraid to pull up stakes and risk everything to chase down his dreams.  “My life’s been kind of a trail – it hasn’t been one spot for thirty years – it’s been a bunch of different places, different memories and different friends. It’s about time passing and reminiscing,” Brody says of the album. “Songs about driving, good old times, good old days and growing up.”

A ‘one step forward, two steps back’ story of perseverance, dedication and hope that, even if it’s not the focus of his latest batch of songs, lends depth to his music and lyrics. “We’ve moved so much and done so many crazy things,” Brody says, “but each leap of faith has been about the music, and they’ve all been big ones.”

Bernie Finkelstein – True North – A Life in the Music Business

Cover, April 13, 2012

Story: Sandy Graham

The name Bernie Finkelstein is synonymous with success in the music business. What most of us know is that Finkelstein is a Torontonian and a leading figure in the Canadian music business. We know he managed The Paupers from 1966–1967, Kensington Market from 1967-1969 and founded True North Records in 1969. Through 1972-1981, in partnership with Bernie Fiedler (1972-1981) he managed the careers of Ronnie Abramson, Bruce Cockburn, Murray McLauchlan and Dan Hill.

We know until 2011, Bernie was the Chairman of MUCHFACT for 26 years, an organization he co-founded with Moses Znaimer in 1984 when it was known as VideoFACT. Bernie was inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2006, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (CARAS) awarded Bernie the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award, which is only given to "individuals who have contributed to the growth of the Canadian music industry". Bernie Finkelstein has also been the recipient of the prestigious Order of Canada in 2007.

Anne Janelle Tours to Support “Beauty Remains”


East coaster Anne Janelle takes an exciting new step with debut solo album, Beauty Remains. Cellist/singer Anne Janelle moves so gracefully between classical and contemporary styles, making it look easy. Throughout her years of training as a classical cellist Anne maintained a love of popular, jazz and folk styles. Her concert history includes performances with various Canadian orchestras, as well as pop artists such as Kanye West, Bruce Cockburn and Holly Cole. Anne has also flourished in contemporary music, experimenting deeply with free improvisation in both music and dance.

Lately, she has been spending much of her time in folk music circles. Since 2006 she has performed widely with ukulelist/songwriter James Hill; their acclaimed collaboration True Love Don't Weep won Traditional Album of the Year at the 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards.

The Folk Diary calls Anne "absolutely brilliant on the cello," but it's her songwriting that takes centre stage on Beauty Remains. "I've fallen in love with melody, harmony, and poetry along the way," says Anne, "and with songwriting I get to work with them all. It's a wonderfully compelling jigsaw puzzle."

Trebas– The Grammy Factory

Cover, April 6, 2012

Story: Michael Williams

Montreal has given birth to some unique talent in the music industry. This brief story is of one such individual who went through the school of hard knocks and not only survived, but thrived, in the early days of the music business in Canada and the U.S.

Dave Leonard started Trebas Institute to offer budding musicians, songwriters, record producers and managers the necessary skills, knowledge and professionalism to develop successful careers in the music industry.  For the last 33 years Trebas Institute has supplied the music business with trained professionals who have changed the face of the industry.  His graduates have won over a dozen Grammys, his instructors are industry professionals, and his schools were, at one time, the only career colleges for the music business in North America.

How did Dave Leonard get there? My first question as always is…..

MW: When did the music first hit you? Was it in the home or outside of the home?
DL:  It was in the home. My first recollection, at age five, was listening to a classical piece on radio and asking my mother how did they get all those people in that little box. My parents sent me for piano lessons. I used to go to the Montreal Symphony, under Joseph Louis Wilfrid Pelletier, at Montreal High School on Saturday mornings for the children’s program.  I was always involved with music.

Canadian Slacker Music Fest Boogie Throwdown. Or Whatever 2012


Story: Lenny Stoute/James Lizzard

Photo at right: Last Year’s Men

So when’s the last time you saw a dude smash the splinters out of his axe to end the set? If you were at The Silver Dollar as Saturday night slid into Sunday that was exactly what went down courtesy of young Geoff Schilling. The boy plays lead axe with South Carolina foursome Last Year’s Men who deal in a sound mashup of thrash and speedcore rock wedded to Southern Gothic. That no one else is doing this is for sure, the jaw-dropped crowd mesmerized as hollow-eyed singer Ben Carr intoned his dire tales of dirty deeds over an ominous drumbeat echoing from the piney woods. When the guitars erupt it’s like somebody took the lid off a boxful of vengeful spirits. Along with Carr and Schilling, Last Year’s Men are bassist Montgomery Morris and drummer Ian Rose and y’all should catch them when you can.

Know what else you don’t see much of anymore? The classic knee drop, that potentially career-ending move what separates the men from the kids. But if you stayed around after the LYM set at the Dollar, you witnessed not one but three full-on knee drops from The Mercy Now bassist/frontman Russ Fernandez. The homie hammerheads were showing off tracks from current EP, Love Battles a collection of their trademark crunchy rock riffs married to heavy and danceable rhythms just this side of a mosh. The by now mostly fans in the house got into it in a big way, a testament to this crew’s way with three chords and as many hooks per tune, with “ Need Some Money” close to a template.

Cashbox Canada Celebrated March Music Madness at CMW

Cover, March 30, 2012

Story: Sandy Graham

Photography: Michelle Foran

Cashbox Canada kicked of March Music Madness on Wednesday, March 21st with a great night of live performances at Toronto’s Orbit Room. The event was produced by Irene Carroll of ISEE and Kit Watson of RockitGirl Media, and a fine job these two whirlwinds of promotion did to make the live music showcase a huge success. The room was filled with industry icons including Moses Znaimer, Richard Flohil, Jane Harbury, Dale Peters, Thomas Wade,Peter Linseman, Lauren Tutty, Anya Wilson, Tom Jackson, Ralph Murphy and Much Music veteran VeeJay Michael Williams as host for the evening. The acts reflected the diversity of Canadian music with Country crooner, Punk girl, and Folk/Rock cuties, and somehow it all made sense.

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