Music Matters for June 10th 2011: Moving Daze and NXNE

Music Matters

We’re in the middle of a monumental move from one place to another. It seems so easy on paper, but if you have ever moved you know it is anything but. True to the old axiom, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, and this move has been a nightmare from start to finish…which it hasn’t.

Because of this move I am just able to squeeze out a few thoughts today. Otherwise, I’ll forget to grab the last few items from the old place, fail to remember where things are in the new place, and, I’m already so stressed out, I can’t remember where I put the pickle jar with all the nuts and bolts that hold our bed frame together. Maybe I’ll ask the kitties…as soon as they’re through exploring the new chimney and fireplace, which has made our 2 adventurers black and gray kitties instead of black and white kitties. There are little sooty paw prints all over our new home. Damn cats….

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."

Music Matters for May 27th 2011 Classic Rock: Nostalgic Music or Genre?

Music Matters

Just how powerful is rock and roll? How did this music, over 60 years old, last so long and still acquire new fans every time someone hears it for the first time. From the late ‘40s and through the ‘50’s,‘60’s, and ‘70s to the present day, rock and roll refuses to roll over and die…even though radio and most record labels think (and say) it has.

There has always been too much music. Even a half a century ago, we could not have listened to all the music that was available and wouldn’t have even been aware of what we DID hear if it hadn’t been for radio.

Radio was the discoverer, the gatekeeper, and the church where we met almost every waking hour and listened attentively to hear our favourites and be turned on to songs and artists that we had never heard before. Radio stations were the Source, the mouth of the river that flowed through the air and out of our radios and into our ears, our hearts, our souls, and our loins. Radio was the church, the DJs were the preachers, and rock and roll was the testament, the sermon, and the faith by which we lived our lives.


'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.

Stewart Goodyear and The Beethoven Effect.

Stewart Goodyear,

Story:Lenny Stoute

Meet Stewart Goodyear, Canada’s hottest rising star you’ve never heard of. That’s because the 32 year old former child prodigy is a classical pianist and you know how many Junos they take home ever year.

But this year it’s going to be different because this year Goodyear is taking his much-acclaimed Beethoven Sonatas program to the international stage. While he boasts a repertoire ranging from Bach to Messiaen, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt and Gershwin, it is for his impassioned renderings of Beethoven’s sonatas which have brought him to the attention of the classical music fans.

Along with passion, Goodyear brings showmanship to the table. Much of the pre-show attention given to his Beethoven programs stemmed from the Guinness Book of Records type feat, in which he performed all 32 Beethoven sonatas, spread over nine concerts in five mind-blowing days, from July 27 to 31 during the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival in 2010.

"It was a journey, and I knew it was going to be joyful no matter where the journey took me. It's a very overwhelming feeling to be immersed in the evolution of Beethoven's creativity."

The feat, which may a world first, represents a major milestone in the gifted pianist's life as he said he'd always wanted to do this since he first had the idea at age 15. He recalls at 3 ½ playing back what he heard on the radio, what his parents were playing in the home. He started formal lessons at 7 and by 8 started composing pieces, the first for his school choir.

Music Matters for May 20th 2011

Music Matters

Everybody wants to find the Perfect Hang. You know…somewhere you can call a home away from home. A place to take old friends and meet new ones, enjoy a well poured drink, and hear great music, both live and recorded. 

These days, it isn’t easy to find a place, (much like radio) that features music that isn’t cookie-cutter top 40 dance music, overplayed classic rock, or young bands who would be wise to play another few years in the basement or garage and learn to write decent songs before venturing forth, deluded into thinking they are ready because their friends have convinced them that they’re great. On top of that, The Perfect Hang needs to have a cool décor, be one of a kind, and owned and staffed by people who love music and understand what makes a night out a great experience.

Over the years I have been lucky enough to have lived in some great cities and found Perfect Hangs in every one of them. Sometimes more than one, but there was always a place that outshone all the others primarily because of the people who worked at and frequented the establishment; the staff and the regulars. 

Cherry Cola’s Rock and Rolla Cabaret and Lounge has all of this and more.

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.

The Beach Celtic Festival Kicked Up Its Heels at the Dora Keogh

The Beach Celtic Festival Logo

By Sandy Graham

On a beautiful sunny evening (certainly not reminiscent of Scottish weather) friends, family and entertainers that are part of the Beach Celtic Clan gathered at the famous Dora Keogh on the Danforth in Toronto, Canada to support a worthy cause, a women’s shelter known as Julliette’s Place.

The date was the exact date that Julliette, whom the shelter is named after, was killed by her abusive husband, right in front of her two children. Sad but this is only one story of many of the same, and the support and awareness for this is urgently needed. That is why The Beach Celtic Festival has decided to make Juliette’s Place their charity of choice for this year on September 10 and September 11 in Kew Gardens in the Toronto Beach.

The amazing night of entertainers, auction items, and a feeling of a kitchen party prevailed and a beginning amount of dollars were raised to start the campaign that will continue on until the actual festival in September.

Hosted by Hugo Straney, who also MC’s for the Beach Celtic Festival, the evening rang in four hours of dancing, singing and fun for all – with a free admission but the request to purchase the $ 20 gift bags with all the proceeds donated for the cause.

Meghan Bold and her Bold Steps Dancers tore the house down (and the floor and I think the Dora was quite happy there were tenants underneath with the thundering sound of their heels pounding out the rhythms of both highland and step dancing.

Music Matters for May 13th 2011

Music Matters

They appear out of nowhere. They can strike so quickly, you will have one and not be aware of it until it is too late. They can be both pleasing and heinously irritating. They can drive you crazy because you can’t remember their names, and no one, no one, is immune. I am referring, of course, to the dreaded Ear Worm….

Judging from my own personal experience, Earworms are individually hand picked by your brain when it has nothing else to do. Theoretically then, they would occur more frequently in politicians, airline pilots, and drummers, or maybe left fielders, news anchors, or McDonald’s employees. Frequent or not, they do happen to everyone. You will find yourself humming along before you realize this little piece of music has attached itself to your spine and is on repeat in your head, an uninvited guest invading your personal space without so much as a “Hello, mind if I play over and over in your head until I make you drive into a tree?” or “Guess what song I’m from, you aren’t doing anything else.” Even if you luck out and it’s a fragment of a song you actually like, it can be as annoying as finding Ryan Seacrest in your bedroom rummaging through your sock drawer.

Is there anything more annoying than sitting in a funeral and having Who Let the Dogs Out pop into your head? How about Abba’s Fernando drilling a hole in your cranium  right after your head hits the pillow and you’re looking forward to a good night’s sleep. 

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. 

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