October 2011

The Best of the Songs, Movies and Artists of Halloween

Cover, Oct 28, 2011

Story: Sandy Graham

The word Halloween is first attested in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Even ("evening"), that is, the night before All Hallows Day. Although the phrase All Hallows is found in Old English (ealra hālgena mæssedæg, mass-day of all saints), All-Hallows-Even is itself not attested until 1556.

However, according to the Oxford Dictionary of English folk lore: "Certainly Samhain was a time for festive gatherings, and medieval Irish texts and later Irish, Welsh, and Scottish folklore use it as a setting for supernatural encounters, but there is no evidence that it was connected with the dead in pre-Christian times, or that pagan religious ceremonies were held.”

The imagery of Halloween is derived from many sources, including national customs, works of Gothic and horror literature (such as the novels Frankenstein and Dracula), and classic horror movies we all have known through the decades, as well as the songs, videos and even artists that all bring out the ‘scary’ this time of year. Similar to Christmas, there are songs that get played on radio every Halloween. Here are Cashbox Canada’s Top Songs, Movies and Artists that come back year after year (just like Freddy Kruger!).

Thriller: Michael Jackson

Compact DISCovery


Nine At The Time

Anglophones are painfully unaware of the huge culture gap that exists in this country. We live in our little urbane bubbles and listen to the music that is piped into our insulated worlds via America and, occasionally, through the watered down Anglo-CanCon equivalent. Rarely do we get to hear what’s happening in the Francophone universe. Fortunately, new talents like Chris Giannini, Jonathan Roy and Daniel Casavant slip across the imaginary cultural border and remind us why we all need to work harder at musical détente.  

Casavant’s Nine At The Time is a cross-section of his finest songwriting skill-sets which he’s used to great success in The Billboard Magazine World Song Contest, The Mountain Stage Newsong Contest 2008, The UK Songwriting Contest 2009 and Mike Pinder’s 2009 Songwars.

The album is book-ended by variations on a very tasty instrumental acoustic guitar theme; the abbreviated In Between and the lengthier Petit Brompton respectively.  This is folk guitar virtuosity at its finest.  Sandwiched in between these passages is a beef stew of styles and flavours.

Drake Jensen's Little Toy Trains set to leave the station

Drake Jensen - Little Toy Trains.jpg

Story: Sandy Graham

Canadian Country Recording artist Drake Jensen is getting ready to release his first Christmas single Little Toy Trains to radio worldwide.  Born and raised in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia and now a resident of Ottawa, Ontario, Drake Jensen has a HUGE country heart!  He has aligned himself with Make-A-Wish Foundation in Canada with his first Christmas single. 

On Tuesday, November 4th, 2011 the Little Toy Trains campaign will commence with the release to radio and simultaneously, the single being available on iTunes. All proceeds are going to the Make-A-Wish Campaign in Canada.  Little Toy Trains was written by Roger Miller, and was hit for Glen Campbell.

Drake’s goal is to have 10,000 downloads on the single, as this is what it takes for a child with life threatening medical conditions to have a wish come true!  Along with downloads, Drake Jensen will take part in the Make-A-Wish event at The Shops at Don Mills in Toronto, Ontario on Thursday, November 17 (4:30 – 6:30pm). 

Ashley Macisaac ignites a Halloween hoedown at the Rose Theatre


Story: Lenny Stoute

It could get scary Friday night (Oct.28). That’s when da killah in da kilt Ashley Macisaac hits the stage at Brampton’s Rose Theatre.

If that weren’t scary enough, he’s at it next night (Oct.29) at Oakville’s Centre for the Performing Arts. So you’ve been warned, something Celtic your way comes.
The tour’s been on the road since summer, pushing latest album Crossover, the first genre-bender from Macisaac in a decade. The tunes on it finds the bowman from Cape Breton swinging ‘n’stinging like it’s still Hi How Are You Today?

Not surprising as it was intended as a follow-up to that 1995 multi-platinum seller.

Its 12 songs are a mix of original compositions and radical re-workings of traditional numbers, arranged for fiddle and full-on rock band.

Earlier this year Ashley talked about the album with Cashbox Canada

“ Hi How are you Today was about my musical experiences from 10 to 18, when I first started entertaining professionally. Crossover is my musical brainwaves from 18 to 36.

“ At 18 I was a star and lived like a star, with all the recklessness that implies. I lived in hotels. Now I have a house, a normal life, money and I still get to make the albums I want to make.

“ I’m still taking risks but they’re different risks. Whatever genre I crossover to, the result, the song, has to have the Celtic strain in there and it has to be dominant. That puts me closer to the great Scottish crossover acts like (Celtic rockers) Runrig.

BreakOut West announces the winners of the 2011 Western Canadian Music Awards


Winnipeggers dominate as Del Barber wins two awards and Romi Mayes is Songwriter Of The Year for the third time

[PHOTO:Del Barber took the Independent Album of the Year award.]

In a brilliant stroke of inclusiveness, The Western Canadian Music Awards were held this year in Whitehorse, YT   at the northern city’s high-tech Yukon Arts Centre during BreakOut West 2011.

Hosted by Grant Lawrence of CBC, The Gala saw strong performances from many of the award winners including Del Barber, Romi Mayes, Ridley Bent, Raphael Freynet, Sweatshop Union, Peter Hannan, Don Amero, & The Sojourners as well as this year’s 2011 Hall Of Fame recipients 54-40. 

While the winners included many of the usual suspects, this year’s roster overall speaks of an increasing musical diversity on the Western landscape. Step it up,y’all.
Here’s a partial list of winners: