January 2012

Photographer Andrew MacNaughtan dies on Rush Shoot

Andrew MacNaughton.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Toronto photographer Andrew MacNaughtan, longtime documenter of Rush’s exploits and the man behind dozens of iconic portraits of Canadian celebrities, passed away suddenly in Los Angeles on Wednesday.  MacNaughtan, in his mid-40s, reportedly suffered a heart attack while in California shooting his old friends, Rush.

A member of the band’s local management said they are  “heartbroken over here,” while Rush members Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart issued a joint statement in MacNaughtan’s honour via their Facebook page: “We’re deeply shocked and heartbroken to learn of the sudden passing of our close friend and longtime photographer, Andrew MacNaughtan. He was a sweet person and a very talented artist. Words cannot describe how much he will be missed.

Compact DISCovery


Jaimie Vernon

EMMA-LEE: Backseat Heroine
eONE Music

Backseat Heroine is the sophomore release by Toronto’s Emma-Lee and by all accounts is a major departure from her 2008 debut Never Just A Dream that was a decidedly jazz-pop record that hinted at alt-country and blues. 
Backseat Heroine is a different beast altogether. The jazz elements have been abandoned (with the exception of the crooner “Bring Back Your Love”) and the alt-country gets a little more face time. “Not Coming By” recalls The Cowboy Junkies’ Margo Timmins in its quiet passages but those don’t last long as the song turns into a rollicking competitor for Blue Rodeo’s less somnambulistic ‘rockers’.

Drake Jensen-Across The Gay Divide


Story:Lenny Stoute

You know that thing about greatness being thrust on you? And the one about great things coming out of terrible situations? What happens when the two come together in a perfect sick storm of fear and persecution?  Some will go under; some will struggle to the top. At the forefront of the strongest swimmers you’ll find Drake Jensen, survivor, country singer and homosexual.

The son of a Cape Breton hard rock coal town, the kind of which Merle Travis said was “dark as a dungeon way down in the mine”. The kind where the mind shafts are too narrow to allow for light to get in and shadows are looked upon with suspicion.

Imagine how strong and bright a light must be to beam out of a hole like that, especially when you’re thrown down the hole at age 5.

Drake Jensen is a rising star on the Canuck country scene, a good looking husky guy, passionate and genuine, committed to his art and this week making his Coming Out to the world at large.

Whoa. Cojones of steel, you say. Indeed, y’all, dude has all of that and more and he’ll likely have need of all of it sooner rather than later. Ok, how about right now?

“Why now? I had no other choice but to come out now. For my own self-respect number one and for my husband, Sean, the person who nursed me back to health, self-esteem and confidence. I couldn’t deny that any longer."

Nashville is Calling The Kennedys


Back by popular demand, The Kennedys are heading back to Nashville for a series of command performances.

Seems Nashville can’t get enough of the Victoria, BC based talented twins, Carli and Julie Kennedy.

Known for their unique fusion of folk, country, jazz, and Celtic music and having performed on various stages in the Fall of 2011, The Kennedys’ return to Nashville, with Carli on vocals and guitar and Julie on vocals and violin, will have them involved in songwriters’ nights as well as the famed Billy Block Show, second only to The Grand Ole Opry and Midnight Jamboree as Nashville's longest running LIVE radio show and concert series. Performing as the SOCAN Artist of the Month, The Kennedys will be accompanied by exceptional musicians from Terri Clark's band, Clay Krasner on bass and Jason Cheek on drums.

It’s like seeing double. Carli and Julie Kennedy are a Canadian powerhouse duo with a musical bond that only identical twins can share. With Carli on vocals and guitar and Julie on vocals and violin, they have developed a sound that is all their own: a fusion of their background in country, folk, jazz, and Celtic music. Originally from the small town of Powell River, these sisters are known for their exceptional harmonies, fine musicality, and sincere songwriting style. An undeniably energetic duo, the Kennedys’ performances bring a mix of toe-tapping tunes and intimate, heartfelt songs to the stage.

Shannon Smith’s hot new single – Can’t Have My Heart

Shannon Smith.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Rarely does a performer come along with such unbridled energy, dedication and natural talent as Shannon Smith. Shannon has been singing and performing since the age of six, creating her own style while also influenced by the poise and traditionalism of Lorrie Morgan, the showmanship and flair of Shania Twain and the musical strength of Sheryl Crow. Her charming and sassy stage presence demands attention and connects with her audience. No genre is off limits, whether it be driving country or classic rock, as is evident by her medley of 80's hits.

Since 2007, Shannon has graced the stage of several top-notch venues and events throughout Alberta, including the Big Valley Jamboree and the Alberta Pro Rodeo circuit. She has opened for country recording artists Johnny Reid, Duane Steele, Julian Austin, Aaron Pritchett, and most recently, for American country super group Lonestar during The  2011 Calgary Stampede. 
Shannon was thrilled to be the 2009 winner of the Country 105/Lammle's Rising Star Contest held at Ranchman's in Calgary.  This honour has helped accelerate her career and she’s recently released her much-anticipated debut album "Tell Me Something", working alongside acclaimed producer Johnny Gasparic, who has worked with Jo Hikk and the Poverty Plainsmen, among others. While maintaining her girl-next-door charm and honest sincerity, this Calgary country singer’s star continues to quickly rise.