March 2017

Canada’s Country Gentleman Tommy Hunter Turns 80

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Submitted by Don Graham

Tommy Hunter celebrates a milestone birthday on Monday, March 20th, 2017. The much loved TV personality and country music singer will turn 80 on that day! Hunter retired from the concert stage 5 years ago to the day in 2012 and has been happily ensconced in retirement ever since.

The soon to be octogenarian is best known for Country Hoedown and The Tommy Hunter Show which broadcast into Canadian homes for a groundbreaking 36 years. Canada’s ‘Travelin’ man’s endearing stage presence and familiar voice brought back a simpler time and place when family gathered around the television on Friday night - a ritual what was well established and time honoured regardless of where in the country you lived. Tommy Hunter remains a true home grown legend and of course, always, Canada’s ‘country gentleman’. Hunter will celebrate the day with family and friends!

The following is a story we ran in Cashbox in 2012 on the eve of Tommy’s 75th bitrthday.

Dick Damron Happy Birthday South of Two Borders

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Submitted by Don Graham

Canadian country music legend and Hall of Famer times three Dick Damron is still pickin’ and kickin’ south of two borders in sunny Mazatlan, Mexico. He is a charter member of three Hall of Fames; The International Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

The pride of Bentley, Alberta, has been making Canada proud for seven decades and fondly remembers the early scuffling days in the 70’s. “I was touring Europe, Scotland, Germany and England, back in the day where musicians from my area thought a Far East Tour was going to Saskatchewan! We played a lot in Vegas is those days as well. Here I was a kid from Bentley playing in Vegas. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, what happens in Bentley….no really, what happens in Bentley??”

Dick recorded his first record in 1958 at radio station CKRD in Red Deer, Alberta. “Gonna Have a Party” and “Rockin’ Baby”, original songs written by Damron. He pressed a thousand copies and released it to radio. He released the record on his own label and hit the usual roadblocks. ‘We don’t play Canadian records.’ “This confused me,” Damron said, “I’m a Canadian, they are a Canadian radio station and we’re in Canada!” Some things don’t change much! After a couple more releases on his own he signed with Quality Records who manufactured and released records on a national level. The first recordings for Quality were also original songs “Julie” and “That’s What I Call Living.”

BTW The Julian Taylor Band, Five Alarm Funk, Sammy Duke, Party Of One,Odu, Linda Carone

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Self-described as “pilgrims of funk, soul ‘n’ roll,” the Julian Taylor Band makes music as eclectic and all-encompassing as its taste will allow. They move effortlessly between vintage soul, tasty funk, tender balladry, indie rock, and even the occasional foray into social comment, solo acoustic, reggae and psychedelia all done expertly. Leading the band, Taylor boasts a drop-dead killer voice, impressive guitar work and a knack for writing catchy, earworm choruses – all of which pegs him as an authentic, eclectic talent foranyone’s palate. Current opus is the stellar double album Desert Star, a self-described labour of love for Taylor and the band, clearly evident by the prolific flurry of songs that resulted from their hard work. Now they’ll be bringing the new music to fresh audiences on the upcoming 401 Tour.

Making Up With Emilia

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

After the critically acclaimed full length album E in 2014, Toronto-based pop vocalist Emilia had nowhere to go but up. So that's exactly where she's gone with new EP Up. The five song cookie finds Emilia rolling with three heavy hitter Juno winners in producer Ryan Stewart (Hedley, Carly Rae Jepson), songwriter Anjulie and engineer George Seara (Drake, Rhianna, Holly Cole) working out of Toronto's Noble Street Studios, which boasts a client list that includes Shawn Mendes, Drake, The Weeknd and Usher. From this quality team has come a high-sheen, high quality EP that arrived bringing dispatches from the front lines of progressive pop.

A pop project has to be led by singles, and much of the fate of the project hangs on their reception. Up's leadoff single is 'Electricity' adynamic, high energy rollick with one foot in progressive pop and the other on the dance floor, pushed there by a killer chorus, simmering synths onpoint drums and percussion and a vocal both confident and hesitant, a sonic metaphor for young love that's an instant earworm.

"My idea of a good song is one with an honesty of feeling or emotion, an honesty crafted by both the lyrics and the appropriate music. That and a really good hook," offered Emilia.

Danny at the Duke

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Nestled in the heart of Queen Street in the east end of Toronto sits a really cool club, The Duke. Man about town Danny Marks is also a really cool rock ‘n’ roll icon – so it just made sense for the club operator to put the two together.

On March 25, 2017 The Danny Marks Band will be bringing their music and memories to The Duke, and inviting all to come and rock ‘n’ roll the way they used to do it. A venue like the old days of Larry’s Hideway, Route 66, The Jarvis House, this great old building has old bar chairs, a big dance floor and food service that is both inexpensive and delicious. There is also a beautiful patio for those who might need some fresh air. And one more fact unheard of nowadays – NO COVER CHARGE for this show!