And the Band Played On….

Cover Sept 2, 2011

By Sandy Graham

Those of you who read Cashbox will be wondering on my story this week – what does the Titanic have to do with the current music industry ? For those of you who know me personally you know I produce an event that is near and dear to my heart – The Beach Celtic Festival – in honour of my Scottish ancestry.

This year, we are welcoming a new display, the RMS Titanic, which was built in Belfast, Ireland and left from Glasgow, Scotland and therefore qualifies to be with us with its connection ‘from across the pond.’ As I had a few wee chats with George Watters,(who will  be bringing memorabilia to the Celtic Festival)  I remembered the fact that the huge controversy was what song the Titanic band was playing when the ship that ‘God alone could sink’ disappeared in the ocean on that fateful night nearly one hundred years ago.  Now, one hundred years later, one of the most talked about questions on the Titanic sinking, besides the iceberg warnings, lack of adequate lifeboats and sketchy behaviour of some of the passengers is …”What song was the band playing as the ship was swallowed up by the cold Atlantic waters?” Some reports emphatically state it was Autumn while others swear it was Nearer My God To Thee.


Corb Lund

On a scale of  1 to  10……. it was a 13!

By Don Graham

Three days in August in Burl’s Creek Park in Oro /Medonte, minutes north of Barrie, Ontario, will be memorable for more than just the incredible music. This was the 1st Annual CMT Music Festival put on by Kit Andrew with 13Entertainment in conjunction with CMT and any and all expectations were met and surpassed, in spades.

As advertised, the musical portion was stellar; complete with two stages, a smaller second stage and a huge stage, known as the “festival stage”, worthy of the superstar talent that graced it.

More on the performances later but first a little bit about the format of the event. As Kit Andrew explained pre-event, his aim was to create an experience that would satisfy the needs of a family; something for everyone was the mission! Mission accomplished! For the adults was of course the beer garden, open until 2AM no less, the great entertainment and lots of great food vendors. For the kids, a separate kids stage area with talent contests featuring  emerging young superstar in the making Naomi Bristow leading the way. Make note of her name, someday soon you will be hearing it everywhere!! Also for the kids was a Ferris wheel, bouncing castles and Jenny the Donkey, available to pet and feed.The food was typical country music fare including world famous Hank Daddy Ribs!

Running Stop Signs with Marshall Dane

Cover, Aug 26, 2011

By Sandy Graham

When you first speak to Marshall Dane you can actually feel the effervescent and mischievous personality coming through the phone, making you feel like you have known him all your life. Dane is that comfortable with himself, and he makes you feel that way too.

“I am one of seven children, the poor forgotten middle child’, he deadpans, then starts to laugh. The truth is Marshall Dane was born into a large musical family in St. Catharines, Ontario with a mother who played and taught piano (in between feeding her large brood) and every Sunday they all traipsed over to Grandma’s house for the weekly ‘jamboree’. ‘Everyone played an instrument; Dad on guitar, Grandpa on violin, my various sisters on piano, and I stood outside with my soccer ball, looking in the window. When I asked my Dad if I could join in, he said I could learn to play guitar. He was the one that showed me there are over 500 songs you can learn to play with only three chords.”

“My Grandma’s favourite singers were Bing Crosby, John Denver, and most of all Kenny Rogers. That is when I got hooked on songwriters and the stories they could tell. I would believe Kenny Rogers when he sang about being ‘The Gambler’, or Johnny Denver when he sang about ‘Rocky Mountain High’. I started writing songs when I was 15 years old and I haven’t stopped since.”

Drake Jensen: Well on his way to finding you

Drake Jensen

Story: Lenny Stoute

Faced with a landscape of rocky crags and vast expanses of ocean, with nary a cowpoke in sight, for generations the people of Cape Breton have turned to country music. Why this is so likely has a lot to do with the type of music they first heard on the radio or that was available in local record stores. Country singer Drake Jensen grew up in Glace Bay, Cape Breton, a location defined by coal mining, fishing and music all around.

“ Growing up I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t music in the house. I was used to singing along with my parents’ record player and of course, most of what they would play would be country. The Celtic music was all around too but country music was the real popular music of the time”.

Growing up in The Glace, Jensen got into classic guitar at 12 and by 15, like any self-respecting teenager, was playing in a rock band, more keyboards than guitar. But as happened with the classical phase, Drake found he didn’t like it much and drifted back to his country roots.

The next phase was all about gigging around wherever they’d let him plug in, honing song writing skills and bettering his vocal chops in the service of bringing original interpretations to existing material. He’d hit on the notion of being an interpretive singer as a way of getting attention and it proved to indeed be the way forward.

In 2001 Jensen released his take on an Anne Murray hit.” A Little Bit Of Good News” and scored his first taste of lower-case stardom as the tune scored airplay throughout the Maritimes

"Made in China" Has new meaning with a twist of Canadian in the mix

Made In China

Story:Bill Delingat

In the early 50’s “Made in China” was known as a stamp on the bottom of cheap goods brought in as competition to the more expensive North American original items. In the ever changing World market, “Made in China” is commonly known as one of the phrases associated  with world economics.

The China growth also includes the entertainment industry which is booming as well. Right in the main stream is a band called M.I.C. who are burning up the stages on television and “live houses”. Where did this new artist originate from? Hong Kong, No, Beijing, wrong again, Canada, right on!

Yvon Serré, the leader ,writer ,guitarist and front man of M.ade I.n C.hina was born in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario. He first picked up a guitar at the age of 8 and within three years was playing lead in his first band ‘Love Boat’ and at the ripe old age of 14, was writing his own songs and playing in bands such as  ‘The Junior Beatles’ ,’Rock Wizard’ and ‘Thalassa.’ Serré quickly progressed to performing at major rock clubs with his off the wall stage antics.

It was at one of these gigs in Montreal at The Club Soda that the band was spotted by producer Denis Pantis who signed them to his label “Les Disque Millionare /Rockbec” where the band released a single and went on the road to support it. Serré soon formed the “Yvon Serré Groupe” , but this time wrote all original material.

CMAO Delivers the Goods

Cover, Aug 19, 2011

By Don Graham

The brothers Good, Bruce, Brian and Larry are Canadian music legends and are still going five decades into their musical journey. Twins Brian and Bruce started out with James Ackroyd to form James and The Good Brothers in the late sixties. The Columbia Records recording act toured North America, including a concert in Toronto Canada opening for Grand Funk Railroad. The twins Brian and Bruce returned to Canada and brought younger brother Larry and his banjo in the fold and started developing the sound that still defines them to this day. The lineup of guitar, autoharp and banjo is at the core the sound that everyone in the Canadian music scene indentifies as “The Good Brothers Sound”.

With a history like that who better to headline the newly formed Country Music Association of Ontario’s first annual emerging artist showcase at the 2011 Canadian Country Music Association. Bruce Good, an active board member of the CMAO has recruited his brothers Brian and Larry and an extension of the Good Family in the form of country alternative band The Sadies The family tradition continues with Bruce Good’s sons Travis and Dallas Good spearheading the band.

Jaimie Vernon and The Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia

Jamie Vernon

Story:Lenny Stoute

Photos: Courtesy Jaimie Vernon

(Jaimie Vernon has been an inspiring presence on the Canadian music scene for 25 years or more. This month Jaimie joined Cashbox Canada as a contributing journalist and we couldn’t be more delighted to have him.)

If you look in the new Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia under ‘Canuck' indie music icon’ you’ll see a picture of Jaimie Vernon. Ok, actually you won’t but that’s only because Jaimie himself has written the Encyclopedia and his innate modesty forbids such self-stroking in public.

After a quarter-century or so as performer, record label owner, encourager and supporter of Canadian indie talent, Jaimie Vernon is now making his greatest contribution to Canadian culture with the publication of The Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia.
“ It started with (indie label) Bullseye Records, when I began accumulating photos, press materials and early recordings from large numbers of bands. I became aware there was nowhere to go for reliable documentation of all these bands that would go on to be large parts of the landscape By 1988 it seemed kind of natural that we would put out a music magazine, Great White Noise”, says Jaimie of the project’s genesis.

A huge quantum leap in the saga came via a chance conversation with major music journo John Sakamoto who mentioned that The Toronto Sun had licensed a music Encyclopedia but weren’t happy with it.

Colm Wilkinson –The Singing, Acting face of Fiction

Cover, Aug 12, 2011

Story: Lenny Stoute

Some men achieve greatness, some have it thrust upon them and some slip into it for two shows every night, matinee on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Some might argue Colm Wilkinson has had the cake and eaten it all three ways. For one thing, he entered show business through the world of music. Growing up as Dublin lad in the rockin’ Seventies, Colm played in a number of bands, most notably The Action. While the groups as such did not amount to much, the macho, sex-appealing front man began attracting attention outside the confines of Dublin pub rock.

In 1972 Wilkinson went to an audition on a dare and landed the plum role of Judas Iscariot in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Jesus Chris Superstar. The part put a fictional spin on a real historical person, becoming the template for the kind of role that would catapult Colm Wilkinson to international fame.

Thrust into the role, Wilkinson came up with an interpretation so strong he wuld henceforth ‘own’ the character. He reprised the part in the London production and took it on the road for the British national tour. The next ficto-historical part for Colm was that of Cuban proto-revolutionary Che Guevara in the 1976 musical production of Evita. This time around, he was on-board to sing Che’s part in the concept album which came out of the show.

Music Matters for August 5th 2011: Summer in the City

Music Matters

“Satan called, he wants his weather back.” I must have seen that status on Facebook a dozen times in the last two weeks. No surprise there, Satan DID call and he DOES want his weather back, but give me a minute, I’ve got to go out to the driveway and flip my eggs….

It is hot enough in Toronto to actually fry eggs on the pavement. I know this because I broke one open on the driveway last week and it fried right up. One piece of advice for anyone wanting to try this though: Sweep the loose gravel off of your cooking surface…and don’t cook in the oil spot, it’s gross and totally ruins the flavour. Whenever it gets this hot, the Loving Spoonful’s “Summer in the City” squirms its way into my head and sits tight until the weather breaks or a song of equal insistence pushes it out of my craw and back out into the ether, where it will remain until the next time the thermometer reaches the mid nineties or so. This summer it still sits, a constant reminder that for those of us who dislike temperatures above 75 or so, summer isn’t everybody’s favourite season.

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