September 2012

Mel Shaw and his Freedom For The Song

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It is hard to believe that it has been twenty five years since the "Two Cents Too Long" songwriters and publishers copyright campaign successfully played a part in the passage of Bill-C60 on June 8th 1988. Next year will be the 25th anniversary of the passing of the law.

Mel Shaw, who headed up and directed the campaign, will be publishing a book entitled, Freedom For the Song. The self-penned book will chronicle the entire happening from the inside,  beginning with the first meeting with CMRRA General Manager Paul Berry, and CMPA President, Greg Hambleton, to the Celebration of Songwriters debut evening. It will be a thorough and factual book with perspectives by industry participants, the artists,and the songwriters who stepped up to be counted. The forward will be written by Oscar Brand, the writer of "Something to Sing About".

Freedom For The Song is scheduled for publication through Voice Magazine Books in 2013 in time for the 25th anniversary celebration. The company was started in 1961 when Mel Shaw began to be active publishing and editing the Canadian Voice Magazine in Calgary ( it was published every two weeks until 1964.) The newly activated company will concentrate on Canada's Music Business Books and has other titles scheduled for 2013. They will come out in soft cover and will also be available in eBooks.

International Guitar Night In Toronto

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International Guitar Night Canadian Tour!
Featuring: Martin Taylor, Solorazaf, Guinga and Brian Gore

THE INTERNATIONAL GUITAR NIGHT (IGN) is the world's premier touring guitar festival, each show bringing together the most interesting and innovative acoustic guitarists to exchange musical ideas in a public concert setting. For each tour, IGN founder Brian Gore invites a new cast of guitar luminaries to join him for special evenings of solos, duets, and quartets that highlight the dexterity and diversity within the world of acoustic guitar. Brian founded IGN in 1995 as a forum for the world’s finest guitarists/composers to play their latest original songs and share musical ideas and talent with their peers. This year IGN’s 12th North American tour features Martin Taylor, Solorazaf, Guinga and Brian Gore.

San Francisco guitar poet Brian Gore has a reputation as one of the most interesting and influential performers of “the next generation” in acoustic guitar. His style offers strikingly beautiful tone and dynamics, and he draws much of his inspiration from myth and modern literature.  His recent project, Santa Cruz in Song and Image is a remarkable multimedia collaboration with illustrator Bill Russell built around 10 songs inspired by Santa Cruz, CA. There’s an iBook with text and images designed to enhance the listening experience, and the album includes illustrated postcards, also evoking Santa Cruz.

Andy Williams His Talent Was Wider Than a Mile – Now Crossing in Style


Submitted by Sandy Graham

On Friday, November 4, 2011, it was reported in the press that American crooner Andy Williams had been diagnosed with bladder cancer. The singer confirmed the news during an appearance that weekend at his Moon River Theater in Branson. He traveled to Houston, Texas for chemotherapy treatments and then moved with his wife, Debbie, to Malibu, California, to be closer to cancer specialists in the Los Angeles area.

On July 19, 2012, Williams’ theater announced that Andy Williams had returned to Branson following cancer treatment and was "in good spirits and getting stronger every day" and had hoped to take the stage as scheduled in September. However, on September 25, 2012, Williams died at the age of 84, having suffered from bladder cancer for a year.
I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Andy Williams in the late 1970’s and one of his greatest characteristics, besides the amazing voice, was his wicked sense of humour. At one show at Hamilton Place in Ontario, he came out to a rousing round of applause, then stopped in his tracks, turned his back on the audience, pretended to do up his fly, then did an about face and said ‘okay that’s a bit better!’. The same slapstick humour prevailed when he would come out after intermission with the then popular Kodak Instamatic camera and say, ‘you are such a great audience I want to take a picture of you all!’ Then he would hesitate for a second and say ‘ I can’t seem to get you all in the photo. Can you sit just a little bit closer together?’. Perfect delivery.

Sam the Record Man is Taking the Stairway to Heaven

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Submitted by Don Graham

The Canadian music world lost a good friend and a valuable family member this week. Sam “The Record Man” Sniderman passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 92.  A major promoter of Canadian music, Sniderman was a Member of the Order of Canada, an inductee of the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. He also received a Governor General Award and Honorary doctorates from Ryerson University and the University of Prince Edward Island.

Sam had a couple of close friends growing up, Johnny Lombardi and ‘Honest’ Ed Mirvish.  Lombardi went into radio, starting CHIN radio, and Ed of course got into the theatre game with Mirvish Productions as well as the store Honest Ed’s. Sniderman and his brother, Sid opened a small store on College Street in Toronto in 1937 and stayed in business until 2007, seventy years of serving the record buying public. The Yonge Street flagship store, was opened it’s doors in  1959 and became the focal point of musicians and music lovers alike. SAM’s changed with the times, filling his racks with vinyl and later CDs,  but eventually came MP3s which couldn’t be racked. The downtown Toronto landmark closed down in 2007, Sam Sniderman heart closed down five years later. One store, in Belleville Ontario remains open.

Jenn Grant: The Beautiful Wild


Six Shooter Records

Third time out and Jenn Grant gets it right wth the most fully realized of her albums so far. Debut album, Orchestra for the Moon gave it all away in the title, all gossamer romance and like that. ‘Twas to be expected from a singer.songwriter rooted in the Halifax folk scene.

For this one, It’s like Jenn is looking outward more, taking an interest in other people. Or at least in narratives with a wider resonance. To say the stance has been honestly earned is beside the point. That it’s all come to a forceful and none the less seductive fruition, needs to be said here.

The approach is more laid back, introspective and with moments of understated humour. Grant fleshes out the sound here and there with a dash of harp and a full-on boy's choir on “I Want You Back” and “Michael.” But are you ready for a sweet sitar opening to the roughed-up “Gone Baby Gone”?  And how ‘bout some East Coast jazzy noodlings on “White Dove?”

Like the bird in that song, Grant’s stretching her wings and she’s already hitting the kind of heights that’ll bring her a fresh audience. Especially if they’re of a certain age and come in on  “Green Grows the Lilac,” at the point where she does an amazing reworking via piano and voice of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.”  Yep, a total WTF moment whose significance to the album as a whole is buried deep, but one which gives Grant a way better shot at airplay.