December 2014

Gratitude and Stuff

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Gratitude-I made my rep in this town as a champion of the unknown and obscure, the guy with the notepad in the shadows of some after-hours dive checking a motley collection of musicians that would eventually become The Sadies or Moist or Broken Social Scene. Sweet times and it's most gratifying that I can still do that. Even though all God's chillun got websites, their very plentitude makes it inevitable that some very deserving music will go unheard or under-exposed. So there's still lots of unknown and obscure talents to shine a light on and I'm happy to be in the light-shining business.

None of that would have reached the public eye were I not lucky enough to work with some of the most tolerant publishers/editors an outsider stylist could hope for. From Keith Sharp and Conny Kunz at Music Express through the many editors at the Toronto Star who found a way to fly my at time subversive material beneath the corporate radar. I’m looking at ya’ll Kathleen Kenna, Pat McCormick, Geoff Chapman and the late great Sid Aidlman, the most memorable of the Star People who helped put me and T.Dot indie music into the mainstream spotlight.

This run of tolerant luck continued throughout my freelance years and into the present, where at Cashbox Canada I get to work with publisher Sandy Graham who goes to great pains to accommodate my ideas and what come of them journalistically, even as she’s looking at me funny.

Angel In Parkdale

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Submitted by Mark Smith
Photo Credit Alisdair Jones

Often referred to as the ‘Brooklyn’ of Canada, Parkdale remains relatively hipster free and that is likely because of its genetics. There are two distinct types of people who live in Parkdale, those passing through and lifers. Or better said, those looking for their story, and those that have one.

The people passing through are often new Canadians, using Parkdale to find their foothold, establishing themselves and then moving on to more suburban dreams. Currently it is home to a large community of Tibetans, before that Indians, Polish (Eastern Europeans), Maritimers and First Nations. During the Mike Harris era of cutbacks it became the dumping ground for psychiatric  survivors.  And then there are people who by chance or circumstance found a place they can call home, or found a second family here, all unique characters with very personal stories.

Approximately 130 years ago the Scots and Irish settled in the Village of Parkdale, amongst them, the family of Anne Ross. Her uncle, the first to arrive, built the brick buildings that mirror each other at the corners of Queen and Dunn.  You can still see the original green paint around the windows of one of them. There Anne’s father opened a plumbing fixtures store to cater to Toronto’s up and coming middle class who were building the large summer homes in the area. Anne was born in the small apartment above the shop. That very same plumbing store until recently was the home to VICE Magazine.

Charming Christmas Concert Courtesy of David Myles

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Submitted by Lee Fraser

David Myles always wears a suit. With three older brothers who all turned out to be doctors, Myles promised his Dad that even though he chose a career in the arts, he would wear a suit every day. 

For his Christmas show, Myles one-upped himself and came out in a tuxedo and bow tie. The real deal:  he’s even got a YouTube video explaining how to tie the finicky adornment.  Myles’s counterparts, Alan Jeffries on guitar and Kyle Cunjak on stand-up bass, were also decked out in suits and Christmas-coloured ties.  Their entrance alone spoke of celebration, a special night.

Fans of David Myles are accustomed to his tales of writing love songs and meeting Al Green.  Although the stories are familiar, they are a delight to hear every time.  Myles’s show is part concert and part stand-up.  The vignettes are enriched by Myles’s gleeful method of telling.  On this night, stories about his wife and growing family were added to the mix, making everyone feel like a part of the family.

The Gift of Receiving

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Submitted by Bill King
Photo at right: Kris Sandals King Bill King with Samson and Suzie

We are gradually becoming more isolated and less connected to humanity courtesy of the Internet. The outside world is always nearby, but we now live in parallel universes. I get it and in many ways embrace. I can hole up in my office space – photo play, scribble a few lines - post a few music tracks and feel content. Yet there’s always something missing – that big social thing. I don’t know if we are purposely bypassing one another - growing weary of the daily overflow of information or just too over whelmed by the numerous possibilities. We seem to tread the same ground day after day absent spontaneity.

There was a time you could drop me into a remote region of the planet and I’d feel comfortably nervous. Remote for me is a thousand miles any direction from where I live. I can pick up a camera and start walking and talking. No iPad, no cell phone, or Internet - curious and engaged.

Memories of Christmas – 2014

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Submitted by Don Graham

As 2014 comes to an end, my gratitude list is long. I have had a chance to write about some great artists and industry folks, Carol Kaye, Steve Boone, Diane Warren, Bob Montgomery and got to talk to some old friends and new friends in the Canadian music sphere, Jason McCoy, Patricia Conroy, Michelle Wright and Doc Walker’s Chris and Dave to name a few.  I have made new friends who will last a lifetime and rekindled old friendships while writing for Cashbox. I have continued to write my songs and keep recording and performing live shows.

Last year I wrote about my memories of Christmas and as traditions still hold a place in my heart, this story still rings true today as we head into the holiday season.

My memories of Christmas are filled with family, love and music. Growing up in Montreal, a white Christmas was pretty much a lock. Montreal winters were snowy, cold and long. As kids we didn’t notice because we all enjoyed outdoor activities, tobogganing, playing hockey and pleasure skating. Pleasure skating was actually a great and affordable Friday night date for young people. You could pick up your favourite girl, take her to the local rink or pond and skate away the evening, ending it with a hot chocolate and a kiss, if you were lucky.