November 2016

Leonard Cohen It’s Closing Time

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Submitted by Don Graham

“I’m ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable”. Leonard Cohen said these words not long ago. The iconic singer/songwriter whose work spanned nearly 50 years, died last week at the age of 82. Leonard Cohen's record label, Sony Music Canada, confirmed his death on the singer's Facebook page with the following statement.

"It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away. We have lost one of music's most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will be held at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief."

From some perspectives it could argued that  death has  been a part of  Cohen’s writing since he began creating  poetry but perhaps more present lately as he aged.  It was probably brought more to the forefront when Cohen’s living musical contemporaries, the ones who planted the seeds for modern rock and folk music, started passing on in numbers.  Elvis Presley, who was born a year after Cohen, died young in 1977 and  earlier this year, so too did Presley’s longtime guitarist Scotty Moore. David Bowie, who released his debut the same year Cohen did, also died this year.

In July, Marianne Ihlen, who was Cohen’s lover and muse when they lived in Greece in the  60s died  at the age of 81.  She of course was the Marianne in “So Long, Marianne,”

Before she passed away, Cohen sent her a letter that  was read to her on her deathbed.

Curly Putnam Heading For The Green Green Grass of Home

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Submitted by Don Graham

Claude “Curly” Putman, has died at the age of 85. Putnam was a prolific songwriter writing or co-writing such hits as Tammy Wynette’s classic DIVORCE with Bobby Braddock and the George Jones comeback hit He Stopped Loving Her Today. But he is probably best known for the all time favourite Green, Green Grass of Home, which propelled Tom Jones to stardom

Curly was born and raised in Princeton, Alabama, on a mountain named after his family where his father worked in the sawmill where he would also work after school. He went to Southern University Junior College before spending four years in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Valley Forge.

After leaving the Navy, he played steel guitar with a band in Huntsville, Alabama, where he met his future wife, Bernice They would marry in 1956. They moved around for several years eventually settling in Huntsville where he worked in a shoe store. As a songwriter he had his first cuts from Marion Worth and Grand Ole Opry star Charlie Walker. He was transferred to a Nashville store before moving to Memphis then back to Huntsville where he played in a band at night. In 1960, he recorded "The Prison Song," a top 30 single. On a 1963 visit to Nashville, he ran into Buddy Killen, who was working for music-publishing company Tree International.who hired Putnam as a song plugger.

Jen and John Tour Ontario & Quebec

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Submitted by Lee Fraser

Jen Lane and John Antoniuk are coming back to Eastern Canada for a fall tour and it looks like a lot of audiences are going to get to enjoy this heart-warming, down-to-earth couple right in their own hometown.

In celebration of Jen Lane’s latest record being released on vinyl, the Saskatoon couple has almost back-to-back-to-back dates all over Ontario and Quebec starting from November 1 and continuing right through to November 29.  There are shows booked in Guelph, Orillia, Gravenhurst, Oakville, Wakefield, Montreal and the town of Durham in Grey-Bruce.

They are also continuing their twice-yearly residency at the Cameron House, the warm and cozy venue in downtown Toronto that just celebrated its 35th Anniversary.  You’ll find John opening things up at 8 pm every Tuesday in November, followed by a long and lovely set by Jen Lane and her band.

Jen’s latest video is for the title track of her latest album, “This Life of Mine”. It’s a glimpse into the recording process and the studio where it was recorded, complete with very adorable alpacas. Here is the link to that video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTMzaS4MbdA

For details on the full eastern Canada tour, as well as more videos and streaming songs, visit Jen’s web page at jenlane.com

Uncovered 10-Bowie & Queen

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Koerner Hall- Various Artists
Submitted by Lenny Stoute

For their tenth anniversary production of the UnCovered series, the folks at Up Stage Theatre went uptown to Koerner Hall to stage the potentially tangy UnCovered: Queen & Bowie. That potential was not often realised as the storyline offered many occasions on which, rather than a clash of creative views, we had consensual arrival at a soft middle ground.

But you don't go to Uncovered for strong storylines, you're there for the music and on that front, the cast and band delivered the goods. The strong line-up offered Brent Carver (Tony Award-winner), Divine Brown (Juno Award-winner), Melissa O’Neil (Canadian Idol-winner, Broadway’s Les Miserables), Sara Farb (Stratford Festival), Maev Beaty (Stratford Festival), Gabe Grey (Beeba Boys, Bomb Girls), Andrew Penner (Sunparlour Players, Soulpepper), Kelly Holiff (Charlottetown Festival), Robert Markus (Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival), Arinea Hermans (2016 Banks Prize Winner) and Jahlen Barnes (2016 Banks Prize Winner).

As befitting the theatricality of the material, they were backed by an orchestra of piano, violin, cello, guitar, bass and percussion, which made for intricate layering of sounds absent from the originals. Full marks for creating unique arrangements tailored to the story within each song's lyrics.

With the two towering catalogues of Bowie and Queen to work from, there was no shortage of killer story songs in the set, though 'Killer Queen' wasn't one of them.

Won’t You Stand By Me ? And They Did

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Photo Credits: Pat Blythe A Girl With A Camera "The Picture Taker"

October 20, 2016 was a night to remember. John Long, of Downtown Towing and Promotions holds a yearly event to remember his two brothers, Clifford and Gary who passed within days of each from cancer. Sadly, this year he added his lifelong friend to the list. A man he considered to be his other brother, Bobby Curtola. Teen heartthrob Curtola succumbed to a heart attack on June 4, 2016. The event this year was held at the Rock Pile and the turnout was in honour to the ones we have lost.

Every now and then a magical musical moment is forever etched in history and this night was one of those moments. The event was hosted by the talented Danny Marks who also brought along his bandmates, Leon Stevenson (drums and vocals) and Rodney St. Armant. (bass and vocals). A poignant choice as Curtola was the one who gave Danny Marks the Cashbox Canada Legacy Award last year.

The Danny Marks BandThe Danny Marks Band