Features

Hike Up Your Socks Liz Kennedy

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Submitted by Alonzo Evans

It does a disservice to Liz Kennedy’s music to label it Americana and leave it at that. The term scarcely encompasses what she does. Her latest release Hike Up Your Socks shows plenty of rootsy influences, but it never stops there. There are more artful singer//songwriter styled turns and a few outright efforts in the pop tradition that never compromise their artistic value. Blues, jazz, folk, and pop all exist side by side on Kennedy’s latest studio album and her long-standing producer Joel Jaffe results in another close-quartered and deeply atmospheric recording. Kennedy sounds like she’s playing mere inches in front of you and there’s a strongly immediate quality about her vocals that compels your attention. Her remarkably elastic voice is well highlighted on Hike Up Your Socks and it is a pleasure to listen as she handles twelve first-class songs with confidence born from personal security and artistic command.

Matt Dusk Offers Old School Yule!

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Every year we hear all the standard Christmas songs hit radio again; Brenda Lee, Bobby Helms, Bing Crosby with David Bowie, Elvis and Frank Sinatra.

Then we start receiving new product here at Cashbox Canada and we always enjoy the fresh offerings of new artists or at least their new Christmas albums.

But on this rare occasion when this new CD came in, it was a perfect combination of the old tunes offered by a young artist, Canadian icon Matt Dusk.

A Christmas album that embraces the festive swagger of the 1960’s, Old School Yule! is an up-tempo, cocktail party album that will have you feeling a little “Ring-a-Ding-Ding” while you croon along to “Fa-La-La-La-La”.

“It’s supposed to feel like a classic variety show,” says Dusk while on tour in America. “I wanted to record an album that you would have sitting on the turntable right next to your Bing Crosby Christmas records.”

If retro is what you’re looking for, Dusk’s new album has everything you need. The sixteen tracks contain many of the most popular holiday classics, from White Christmas to Jingle Bells. Along for the (sleigh) ride are some new songs and a few twists on some old favourites. The album also features an original holiday hit, Snowed In With You, penned by Dusk himself.

BTW- Piper Hayes, Terra Lightfoot, Carlos del Junco, Winona Wilde, Taylor Knox, Dawson Rutledge

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Canadian folk singer, songwriter and social activist Piper Hayes celebrates the launch of her new full-length recording titled ‘Piper & Carson’ with two album release concerts in Ontario. The first show is inHamilton at This Ain’t Hollywood on December 7, and the second is in Toronto at The Dakota Tavern on December 8.

Nowadays, Hayes performs and writes closely with her partner Carson Ritcey-Thorpe and, after a 2017 western Canada tour, many prime showcases at Folk Music Ontario, Folk Alliance International and South East Regional Folk Alliance (SERFA), they have become beloved darlings of Canada’s folk music scene. First single “For All We Know” is about the celebration of life and death. Hayes states, “It is important to seize the moment. To live fully we must embrace life’s unknowns, because for all we know…we only get one chance.”

August Burns Red Ring In the Holidays With Last Christmas

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Two-time Grammy nominees, August Burns Red, are excited to kick off the holiday season with their reimagined version of the classic Christmas song by Wham!, Last Christmas. August Burns Red have made a highly-anticipated annual tradition of releasing Christmas covers, with last year's being, What Child Is This? (Greensleeves), and the beloved Home Alone theme song the year prior.

Bassist Dustin Davidson from the band explains, “ This year I sat down with the intention of writing something upbeat, melodic, and shredtastic. When we decided to cover Last Christmas I kept in mind that most people only know the chorus of the song. We didn't want to recreate something word for word, or note by note, so I took the main hook and built a bunch of original ideas around it. The lyrics to Wham's Last Christmas are very sad, so if you're feeling lonely this holiday season, I hope this cover finds you well .”

This week, August Burns Red were announced as nominees for the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards in the Best Metal Performance category for their song, Invisible Enemy, taken from the band's latest full-length album, Phantom Anthem. This marks the second Grammy nod for Lancaster, PA's August Burns Red, as they were nominated in the same category in the 58th GRAMMY Awards for their song, Identity, from 2015's, Found In Far Away Places.

Freddie Hart From the Heart

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Submitted by Don Graham

Freddie Hart was born in the tiny town of Loachapoka, Alabama and moved to a sharecropping farm in Phenix City, Alabama when still an infant spending his childhood in nearby Phenix City, Alabama.

Freddie Hart has come full circle. In 2001, Hart was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. And a few years later, Phenix City declared a major east-west street Freddie Hart Parkway in his honor

Freddie has seen it all in country music and after 7 decades on the scene not only has he seen it all, he’s met them all. “I remember meeting Hank Williams at the James Robertson Hotel in Nashville, just up from the Ryman, in 1949. What a nice generous and talented man,” Freddie said from his home in California. “What really changed everything for me was when I met Lefty Frizzel in 1951 in Pheonix Arizona. He took me under his wing and took me on the road with him. He’d get me up on the stage to sing a couple. I had to sing covers cause I didn’t have any of my own, and I would introduce him on stage and then I went back to California with him.”

BTW - Kayla Diamond, Phantom Phunk, The Achromatics, Chad VanGaalen, Sarah Hiltz, Julian Taylor Band, Yukon Blonde, Sin City Boys, Riverdale Share

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Toronto pop artist, Kayla Diamond has shared new single "What You're Made Of." This second single comes from her anticipated debut EP Beautiful Chaos, out November 24 via Cadence Music.

Listen to "What You're Made Of"

Reflecting on the inspiration behind the track, Kayla says, "Growing up, it wasn't particularly easy being part of a community that didn't encourage young women to follow their dreams- especially the dream of being a pop artist. Thankfully, my family saw past that and my father always told me that nothing is unattainable. While dedicated to my father, this song is for all the young women that could have been something more had they been given the right push, and for anyone who doesn't believe they deserve to achieve their dream."

Her debut single "Carnival Hearts" has over a million streams and was a smash hit of the summer, spending the season on the CHR Top 40 chart, peaking at #26.

Top Music Star Inspired Slot Machines with Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Madonna

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

In order to attract new audiences, casino operators are always keeping an eyes-out for recent trends and CHANGING THE WAY GAMES ARE BEING PLAYED or changing the games itself. This is especially true for slot machine games which are designed around new themes such as music to appeal to a new genre of fans.

‘The King of Pop – Michael Jackson’
It’s no surprise that the King of Pop has been immortalized in a slot machine game. The first of two slot machine games, it offers two bonus games based on Michael Jackson’s music videos for “Beat It” and “Smooth Criminal”. Clips from the video are incorporated into the game’s design including Michael making his famous moonwalk across the screen leaving wilds behind. With the background music also including Michael’s hits, this slot machine will appeal to his fans as well as pop music enthusiasts.

A Christmas Caravan from Sultans Of String

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By Lenny Stoute

Santa came to Toronto last week so this week it's Sultans Of String’s turn to come to town bearing musical gifts. The internationally known quarter has come with the awards and nominations befitting their place at the forefront of Canada’s world music groups. Their musical gumbo of Celtic reels, flamenco, Manouche Gypsy-jazz, Arabic, Cuban, and South Asian rhythms show a penchant for celebrating musical fusion and human creativity with warmth and virtuosity, and has thrilled audiences around the globe.

Sultans Of String is Chris McKhool (Club Django, Jesse Cook, Pavlo) - six-stringed violin. Kevin Laliberté (Jesse Cook, the Chieftains) - flamenco guitar. Eddie Paton (Robert Michaels) - flamenco guitar. Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk) - bass. Chendy Leon (Alex Cuba, The Parachute Club) - percussion.

On the eve of the Ontario Christmas Caravan tour, we caught up with McKhool at his home base in Toronto, alternately packing and chillaxing The tour is named after the group's current album, Christmas Caravan, and McKhool is quick to assure it’s not your usual Christmas cookie.

Steve Oriet Diggin On You

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Submitted by Don Graham

Probably the most competitive genre in country music these days is the young male artist. It is not for the faint of heart, only the talented and driven need apply. Steve Oriet is up to the task and has his eyes fixed firmly on the prize. He has formulated a plan and is methodically plotting his course and making the right moves.

Steve was born and raised in River Canard/Lasalle, Ontario and currently living in Windsor, Ontario, across the bridge from Detroit, USA, growing up listening to all genres of music; everything from rock, Motown, Rap and of course Country music. This talented man credits his father for being his biggest inspiration, balancing a solid business life with being a guitar player and singer on the side. Steve would listen to him play at weddings, churches and family gatherings, clearly deepening his appreciation and love of music. He is a big fan of Florida Georgia Line and would love to duet with fellow Canadian Shana Twain.

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