What a year we have had in the music world – we have lost so many of our legacy artists; new ones have arrived on the horizon to carry the torch. Cashbox Canada has kept the doors open and the stories flowing – all with the great devotion of our Cashbox staff and our wonderful supporters and artists who have made it all possible. We are looking forward to 2013 and to providing the best coverage of Canadian talent as well as industry stories that make up the music industry. Happy Hogmanay to you all and “Lang May Your Lum Reek !” - Sandy Graham
As we close off 2012 in true Canadian fashion with a blizzard.…I want to thank everyone who read my articles in Cashbox Canada. A special thanks to those I interviewed for their time and contributions to the industry, to Jill Ash for last minute editing, and to Sandy Graham for always being there with kind words and a real good heart. In 2013, as I continue to write about the music, I will interview more musicians, producers, songwriters and historic music industry figures. It’s all about the music – the people who play it, the people who make it, the people behind it. – Michael Williams
It’s that time of year again when we take stock of all the folks in the music industry who left us in the past 12 months. We make note of their passing at the time it happens, say our condolences, write our obits and remember them fondly. But it seems it’s only when we look at the year’s end list that we realize the volume of names that appear there. This year was no different. We lost some great folks in 2012 and the heavens are rockin’ with the sound of music.
This year, the world’s oldest teenager, Dick Clark entered Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven and what a lineup he has to work with from this years entrants.
The incredible Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse and Etta James joined the choir along with Robin Gibb, Monkee Davy Jones, Andy Williams, Major Harris of the Delfonics , Orleans lead singer Larry Hoppen, Donna Summer and Kathi Macdonald. Dave Brubeck will jam with British guitarist Big Jim Sullivan and Ravi Shankar and the Band’s Levon Helm, along with Duck Dunn or Funk Brother Bob Babbitt will be laying down the bass line. If they take a break John Stockfish ,Lightfoot’s bassman or Bob Birch , bassist of Elton John fame can fill in with Crowded House drummer Peter Jones and Herb Reed of the Platters adding his velvet voice as will Earl “Speedo” Carroll. Just recently Mexican superstar Jenni Rivera was called home. She was there to greet 'Rescue Me' Fontella Bass as she crossed over at the last minute.
Here’s a band with a stirring sound in the grand tradition of T. Dot World Music. This ain’t just whistling ‘Soul Makoussa’ either, as over the last pair of decades, Toronto has carved out an international rep as the incubator of a style of World Music all its own.
Jaffa Road is the now generation of that legacy and with this second album, continues to do it proud. The sophomore release finds the quintet spreading out the boundaries of the multi-culti sound laid out in the Juno nominated debut, Sunplace.
There’s a road trippy vibe around the album; the roads it goes down being exotic and at times seem to appear as needed, against a sonic landscape at once electro-contemporary and oud-ancient, dub wise and classically klezmer.
Mapped out by bandleader Aaron Lightstone’s intricate arrangements, fronted by the evocative vocals of Aviva Chernick and given spectacular colorations by saxist Sundar Viswanathan, bassist Chris Gartner and percussionist Jeff Wilson, this album amplifies and digs deeper into the grooves laid down on the debut. The result is the uptempo tracks, notably "Sim Shalom" and "Hamidbar Medaber" dance themselves into uncharted territory and find it to their liking.
The atmospheric, jazzed-out showcases for Chernick’s chops are still here for those fans but the mood is primarily celebratory. Plenty to like about that.
Somewhere between foot-stompin’ Tom Connors and a banjo pluckin’ Gordon Lightfoot lies the world of Old Man Luedecke. It’s a warm and cozy place in the Country where seldom is heard a discouraging word. Lotsa kickass banjo plucking though, on both the Appalachian and Countrified sides of the fence, igniting tunes that can start mellow and go melodically nuts.
So OML is not into re-inventing the wheel but he has some new subject matter to burn rubber on. For one big thing, the ramblin’, gamblin’ troubadour’s now a dad and new Juno winner, the kind of things that’ll bring a body in from the cold. That’s the meat on the bone here; the reflective observations of an outsider now pretty much all the way in.
In keeping with the new Countrified focus, the album was cut in Nashville with a slick production aesthetic, which augments the songs and pushes OML’s bluegrass chops to the fore. The killer track here is ‘Song for Ian Tyson’, which melds Canadian prairie country with Nashville grooves.
If that’s not change enough, the thing’s got a heavy Biblical component, which at times drowns Luedecke’s native wit and humour in its earnestness. We’re talking about ‘Long Suffering Jesus’ and ‘Jonah and the Whale’ in particular.
As the holiday season approaches, we at Cashbox Canada want to thank all the wonderful artists, press and publicity reps and industry folks who have supported us this year. As we all know, it is not an easy task to provide a weekly update of music and news, and we want to take the time to thank our wonderful gang here, Don, Gillian, Lenny, Ian, Michael and Chris, who make it happen every week despite all odds of deadlines looming.
While we are all stressed at the onset of presents to buy and people to see, it would be remiss to not acknowledge the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Those families will have no Merry Christmas, but only heartache with no answers to why this happened in the first place.
The amazing and beautiful thing I saw during this was how music always does play a part in life. Saturday Night Live opened with ‘Silent Night’ instead of a comedic ‘Live From New York’ intro. John McDermott asked an audience to sing for those children and a full house of strangers bonded together to make the rafters ring with their voices. People sang ‘Sleep in Heavenly Peace’ with a whole new meaning at this time. Artists always find a way to make music the healing answer.
So we ask, whether you are a believer or not, to take a moment to be grateful for what we have, and to pray for those who need our prayers during what can be a sad time for many people at Christmas time.