January 2014

Proudly Canadian: The Spoons

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Spoons are a Canadian New Wave synthpop band, formed in 1979 in Burlington. They recorded several Canadian chart hits between 1982 and 1989, and in 1983, they won Group of the Year at the U-Know awards. Their most popular songs include "Romantic Traffic", "Nova Heart", "Old Emotions" and "Tell No Lies".

Spoons was formed in Burlington, Ontario in 1979. The band initially consisted of Gordon Deppe (lead vocals and guitar), Sandy Horne (vocals and bass), Brett Wickens (keyboards, synths) and Peter Shepherd (drums). Deppe, Horne and Wickens attended Aldershot High School, Deppe and Horne (the only constant members of the band) dated in high school.

In late 1979, Shepherd left the band and was replaced by Derrick Ross on drums. Spoons then released an independent single, "After the Institution", in 1980 on Mannequin Records.

Shortly thereafter, Wickens left the band to release an electronica album under the pseudonym Ceramic Hello, also on Mannequin Records, and later became a graphic designer designing album covers for such artists as Peter Gabriel. He was replaced by keyboardist Rob Preuss, who was only fifteen when he joined Spoons.

The band's first album, Stick Figure Neighbourhood, was released in 1981, and is notable for being one of the earliest New Wave albums engineered by Daniel Lanois.

Thomas Wade We All Fall Down

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Submitted by Don Graham

In the early nineties, Thomas Wade was on a path that was sure to lead him to superstar status. He was the poster boy for CMT Canada’s videos with songs like “Zero To Sixty” and “Lying Here With You.” He was the total package, A-Number one, top of the heap, cream of the crop. He had the songs, the look, the charisma and screen presence to go all the way. He was the whole package. And he got there! Well, almost got there. He was well on his way when a cruel plot twist changed the story.

The kid from a musical family in Burford, Ontario spent a good part of the 80’s touring across Canada in various bands and in 1985 he signed  a management contract with Pride Music in Nashville, Tennessee, where he learned from some of the best in the business. There was hit songwriter Bill Shore, George Strait’s “In The Steal of the Night” and Grammy award winning producer, Byron Gallimore who gained fame with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. In the early 1990s he formed his band, Thomas Wade and Wayward, and auditioned for the Cindy Tanas acting studio. For the next few years he led a double life as a budding actor and a recording artist. This was the beginning years of CMT Canada and Thomas Wade was the perfect video artist. Again, the whole package. Little did he know that he would go from “zero to sixty” to “sixty to zero” in a short time.

The Association of Country Music in Alberta Awards

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

The Association of Country Music in Alberta (ACMA) announced the winners of 2013 Association of Country Music in Alberta Awards at the Dinner & Awards event at Westerner Park in Red Deer, Alberta.

Bobby Wills who had 4 nominations this year, took home the 2013 ACMA Awards for Male Artist of the Year, the SOCAN Song of the Year  for “ Somebody Will” along with co-nominees Walt Aldridge and Mike Pyle and Album of the Year for “ If It Was That Easy”.

Wills’ reaction, “As artists we join this business to create music, however it remains to be an incredible honour to receive such accolades from my peers and I sincerely thank the ACMA and all of the voters for their support!  These awards are a shared success with my entire team, especially my producer and co-writer on the recording, Mike Pyle and Walt Aldridge.

What a magical transition to kick off the release of my new single, from one album to the next; 2014 is going to be epic!”

Brett Kissel also had 4 nominations and was awarded with the 2013 ACMA Awards for  Single of the Year for “Started with a Song” and the Calgary Stampede Rising Star.

The winner of the 2013 ACMA Female Artist of the Year went to Alee who was nominated in a total of 4 categories.

The 2013 ACMA Group/Duo of the Year was Calgary’s own  Pear, featuring Denis and Lynae Dufresne,and for the 2nd consecutive year, Grande Prairie’s Tenille took home the 2013 Fan’s Choice.

Dum Dum Girls: Too True

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Sub Pop
Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Dum Dum Girls leader Dee Dee Penny is on record as saying this is the one with which she blows up bigger than her indie rock star status. The jury’s still out on that but what’s undeniable is that Double D’s a changed woman, and it’s for the better.

This album distances itself from the previous Phil Spectoresque girl-group sound, diving headfirst into 80s Goth/Glam with all the glossy gloom that implies. Not that she’s entirely dropped her knack for crafting sweet’n’hooky pop, with “Too True To Be Good” sounding as fine as anything she’s done in the genre.

But it’s the tunes from the heart of darkness which make the most impact, likely because they cause Penny to push the vocal envelope. She drops down into a sultry low key for the aching ballads "Are You Okay", "Too True" and "Trouble Is My Name", sounding a little more grown-up in the process.

George Canyon Tosses His Hat in the Ring

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Submitted by Don Graham

The most instantly recognizable cowboy hat since Ian Tyson’s Stetson is getting tossed into the political ring. George Canyon, the iconic Canadian Country superstar, is offering himself up as the Conservative representative in Alberta's new federal Bow River riding.

“The people in this riding are resilient and hard working. I was blown away by how well we all pulled together as a team while under the terrible stress of the flood crisis last year, the recovery of which is still ongoing," Canyon wrote in a press release, “ I live in this community and these people are my friends and neighbours. It would be an honour to represent them as a Member of Parliament. The boys in my band always tease me on stage and say I’m kind of a combination, when you look at me, between Buzz Lightyear and Brian Mulroney, because of my chin.”

The singer is quick to point out that he is not abandoning his music career. “Music is ingrained in me, and I’m actually working on new music right now, I’ve got a new single coming out; a new album.”

Canyon says he's always been drawn to serve his country in one way or another.  He says he had planned on a future with the military before he developed Type 1 diabetes.