Submitted by Don Graham Photo at right: Stevie Jewel
Cheryl Wilson, a native of Ontario now living, working and thriving in Nashville, Tennessee, is bringing it all back home. Canadian Music Week, known as CMW, is an international event celebrating its 33rd year and Crown 26 will be right in the center of the action.
“Crown 26 is a company I started to represent artists and manage their musical and business interests. I was always giving advice and sharing my musical knowledge for free and I thought I could serve everyone, the artist and myself, better if I structure it as a business. So I started Crown 26 and it’s all working out.”
Cheryl is coming back to Canada for a showcase event at The Cadillac Lounge on May 9th featuring an act she manages, Stevie Jewel and two other unsigned country artists, Larry Berrio and Steve Rivers. “Stevie Jewel is changing musical lanes after being a Grammy nominated artist in a different genre. She had a dance hit with ‘One Last Kiss’ but her roots are country and so it’s a natural transition for her,” Wilson said from her office in Nashville.
Bill King: Your relationship with the Pan Am games – what is your role? Amanda Martinez: I was invited to be the co-chair for the Ignite program – which is the community outreach program for Pan Am 2015. I’ve been getting people excited about being involved. The Pan Am games are all about the ‘people’s’ games – it will be the biggest games Toronto has ever seen. There will be more than 10,000 athletes here from all over the world. There have been a lot of initiatives people have started already. It’s not just about the games themselves but about leaving a legacy and promotes what we have as a city – especially on the arts and culture side. In my role, I’ll be highlighting these events not only to visitors to our city but Torontonians themselves. Sometimes we stick to our own neighborhoods and don’t realize the gems we have in others. I’ll be working with CBC to promote that.
There will be a lot of places in Toronto where you will see stages popping up. I also want to let people know about the visual arts. There is going to be a huge Pan Am pathway going through the city – there will be murals designed by artists – a number of commissioned projects – some dance and theatre.
To structure is by definition “ to construct or arrange according to a plan; give a pattern or organization to.” And that is exactly what growing concern Stephanie Rachel has done with the group Palaye Royale. We caught up with Stephanie at her office in Los Angeles, California.
“These guys are extremely talented, accomplished musicians and entertainers. They have both Canadian and American citizenship and are continually travelling between Las Vegas and their home base in LA. And they fit into the team structure of a successful band perfectly.” The trio of virtuoso musicians and talented artists are made up of front man Remington Leith, guitarist and organist Sebastian Danzig, and drummer Emerson Barrett. The group is managed by The Parliament Management headed up by Stephanie Rachel.
“Their fans are called Soldiers of The Royal Council and the band is managed by Parliament, it’s all very structured and organized which I believe you need to be to achieve success. This young group has attracted over 20 million YouTube views and have over 180,000 Twitter followers.”
Stephanie is originally from Canada and spent her early years as a rock photographer. “The music scene in the ‘80’s in Toronto was booming and I would get to photograph all the big names like The Clash and so many others. I’m no stranger to the rock and roll world. I took over Palaye Royale in 2011 and it’s been like riding a rocket ever since.”
Clint A Bradley is an acoustic guitarist, singer-songwriter from the UK with his boots firmly rooted in the plains and hills of American country music. He could as easily be in Tennessee as the South of England.
Riding After Midnight is an eleven-track album of mostly self-penned country music with howling honky tonk and heartache waiting round every corner. Excellent Dobro work by Nick Evans, fits the mood here to perfection. This is a genuinely solid, quality bit of that rare thing these days, good ole Country & Western music. Each track tugs and tears, heartfelt songs that capture the very essence of a near-lost era, when Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Buck Owens, Lefty Frizzel and Marty Robbins still rode the Nashville range.
Recorded in London, a music city seldom, if ever, associated with Country & Western, the production values are positively top dollar, right down to the high-gloss CD cover booklet where Bradley explains the scorn he fell victim to in his youth as he tried to track down as much of this music as he could while most of his buddies and the rest of the world moved steadily towards modern Rock'n'Roll and syrupy pop. That he has survived is a blessing, retaining his fervent love for a music form and narrative that now seems almost archaic at times, even in Nashville itself.
Bassman Cowan hits three score years and celebrates with this fine release from Compass Records. Jam packed with Nashville slick and Cowan's crystal, soaring vocals, the guy who virtually singlehandedly reinvented and reinvigorated Bluegrass with New Grass Revival in the early 1970s, is joined by most of his revered Nashville buddies here: Rodney Crowell; Alison Kraus; Sam Bush; Chris Hillman; Kenny Malone; Alison Brown; Viktor Krauss; Huey Lewis, and many more. The result is a winner.
The twelve tracks include a searing take on the old Marty Robbins classic, 'Devil Woman', where Cowan's voice hits the highest of notes and holds them till you're gasping for air, and Charlie Rich's 'Feel Like Going Home'. There's even an old Beatles track covered to great effect. Lennon & McCartney's early title, 'Run For Your Life', from 1965, is a surprising addition but one that sits comfortably in the mix and romps along nicely with driving pace and ensures pretty much that there's something for almost everybody included on this release.
There's a cracking version of 'Miss The Mississippi (And You)', here dedicated to one of Cowan's personal music mentors and heroes, the late Doc Watson and his family.
Sixty is one of those albums that can be played repeatedly without ennui ever taking hold. There's always something here to enjoy, to please the senses and tickle the musical taste-buds, as Cowan takes us on a whistle-stop tour through his life and musical influences.