Cover Story

The Irish That Brought Us The Music

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Submitted by Don Graham

When you ask someone what they think of you mention Irish music, most will say things like Molly Malone or Black Velvet Band or some other traditional Irish folk song. But although England and Liverpool, in particular, are front and center on the British Invasion front, there was a lot going on in Ireland as well.

In Ireland in the 1960’s there were what were called Showbands, groups of performers who played at dancehalls and clubs putting on a show and playing repertoires that included all the American and British hits of the day. Pretty much if you wanted to be a professional musician in Ireland Show bands was the chosen route. Irishman like Van Morrison, Henry McCullough and Rory Gallagher worked in Irish Showbands who would later become rock stars. Van Morrison achieved international success in the 1960s with the group, Them and the hit “Gloria” before launching a huge solo career.

Rory Gallagher formed the blues-rock trio, Taste and went on to have a highly successful solo career which lasted until his death in 1995. He is considered by many music critics to be among the greatest rock guitarists of all time. A little-known band Eire Apparent from Belfast formed in 1967 and launched the careers of Henry McCullough and Ernie Graham and had Jimi Hendrix play on, and produce, their only album.

Liona Boyd No Remedy for Love

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Submitted by Don Graham

Cover Photo Credit Dean Marrantz

Liona Boyd has lived the kind of life that most folks only dream of. She has performed around the world for kings and queens and world leaders, been awarded the Order of Canada and inducted into the Guitar Gallery of Greats, sold millions of albums, won five Juno awards and was romantically involved with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. The long-awaited sequel to Liona’s memoir, "In My Own Key", "No Remedy For Love" is a must-have for Liona Boyd fans and music lovers.

We caught up with Liona at her winter home in Palm Beach where she was enjoying the warm weather. “Life is good. I couldn’t be happier. I’m enjoying my home and being creative, writing songs and playing music. I’ve been very fortunate my whole life to achieve what I’ve achieved and still have so much more to do. I love it here in Florida, I do my yoga and I’ve rediscovered bike riding. Keeps me fit. I can still wear the same size clothes I wore in University.”

In the book, she tells of how she lost her ability to perform, gives intimate details of her divorce, and the ups and downs that followed. Liona spent the better part of six years digging deep for answers and had to develop a different way of playing to compensate and after a lifetime as an instrumentalist had to learn to sing, the result was a new career which saw her create five new singer/songwriter albums.

Marshall Potts Out Here

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Submitted by Don Graham

The society we live in and especially the music community is built on the conception that it’s essential to keep moving, always pushing through adversity and obstacles. Although this is true for the most part occasionally that action causes an artist to push ahead without taking time to see what else is around him or her. That was the case with Kamloops singer/songwriter Marshall Potts. Not to the point of harm but just not taking time to stop and smell the roses. It took a life-changing event to let Marshall reset his compass. “ I donated a kidney and there were complications. I didn’t react well to the operation and it forced me to make changes in my diet, my stress level management and lifestyle changes in general.”

Marshall began writing songs at age 12 and his early influences included Bryan Adams, showing there is a definite shade of Adams in Marshall’s well-crafted songs. At 18 years old his musical journey began with the formation of a band with high school friends. The band, The Cause, was renamed Saints and Poets. The band released a CD with 2 songs from the CD placed on a movie soundtrack, along with radio play, CFOX seeds CD, the Best of BC CD placement and a steady stream of performances.

PARVATI: The Voice of Change

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Cover Photo Design by Jellyfunk

Photography by Jeff Gerald 

From the dream of a whale to songs at the North Pole, to a vision of peace and a call to stand up for a healthy planet, the Toronto-based singer, producer and activist Parvati is transforming the world.

It’s been seven years since we last spoke to Parvati. At that time, she was just back from the North Pole where she gave the northernmost musical performance ever, to raise awareness of the melting polar ice. Since that interview, the political and environmental climates have changed radically. We have seen a spike in extreme human rights violations as well as unprecedented hurricanes, forest fires, famines, floods and droughts. Yet, Parvati says that with the advancement of technology and the speed at which our environment is changing, this is a pivotal moment in human history when we have never had a greater opportunity to come together as one Earth family. Whether it is by working alongside the United Nations, convincing global leaders to shift to sustainability or touching the hearts of the world through the pop music mainstream, Parvati is the voice of change.

Parvati sings and produces lushly layered dance-pop music and electronic soundscapes, created in her Toronto-based studio. Her single “I Am Light”, released in 2016, boldly weaves sparkling lyrics about enlightenment with hooky pop melodies and dance beats - crystallizing her own musical genre of celestial pop.

Andrew Cole #No Joke

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Submitted by Don Graham

We caught up with Canadian born singer/songwriter at his home in California and he wants you to know he’s no joke, that nobody is a joke and bullying is not a joke. Every living person deserves respect and to be treated with dignity no matter what their station in life. Andrew was born in Toronto, Canada but he and his family left when he was only 6 months old for Liverpool, England. “I went to about 20 different schools and I was always a little different, an outsider. I’m not really sure why my parents moved around so much. Dad was a truck driver and Mum was a nurse so it wasn’t like their occupations required travel and relocating. But I remember always moving, I guess they were looking for the best place to be for me to grow. We had moved back to Canada and Mum decided I needed to get a British education so we moved back to the U.K. And so it went.”

Andrew is now living in sunny California as he pursues his project #No Joke. “As I said I was always moving as a kid so I always felt like an outsider and I was always the newbie. For whatever reason, I became the target of bullies and was constantly being harassed and made to feel like I was a joke. I used to say ‘Do think I’m a joke? Am I a joke to you?’ It triggered something in me and I had to find ways to combat it.”

I Just Called Him Dad Don Graham

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Cover Photo Credit: Fiona Lawson Studio 22 Photography

Singer/songwriter Don Graham has written hundreds of songs in his long career about dozens of subjects. He’s written songs about good love, bad love, lost love, unrequited love, songs about war, about his friends, about his travels and his mother and sisters. But one topic has eluded him all these years, until now. “I could never write a song about my Dad. I tried. But I didn’t want a ‘punch in the shoulder, good ole boy hey Pops song and I didn’t want a song about ‘my old man’. Dad hated that term. I wanted to write something from my heart like I’d done for Mum. So I made a deal with myself to try every Father’s Day to write a dad song. I had zero success until this year. “

On Father’s Day 2017, Don sat down with his guitar and being true to his promise to himself started to try and write a Dad song. “I figured I’d at least try. I started to play and the first two lines came and I liked them! Then within an hour, I had the whole song. All I could think at the time was – finally! ”

With the song completed, Don never had any inclination to record it but thought he’d play it at a couple of live events, “ The reaction was overwhelmingly positive,” and soon started thinking about maybe doing something with it.

Levi Hart Have a Heart

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Submitted by Don Graham

We all have a road we’re destined to travel on to take us where we’re supposed to be. Sometimes that road has obstacles and detours that we have to deal with and then we can carry on to our destination. That’s exactly what happened to Levi Hart. The up and coming artist from Ottawa came from a large musical family, his Uncle Bob Webb is a Canadian Bluegrass mainstay and was well on his way with his band and his music including a slot as an opening act for Kid Rock.

“That was a strange one. I had entered a contest to open for Kid Rock. I had more or less forgotten all about it when I got the call that I had won and to get myself to Colorado for the show.” But he ran into a bit of a detour, a bump in the road that I will explain in a minute.

But in the beginning, Levi grew up surrounded by music and the bug really bit him when he saw one particular artist. “When I saw Garth Brooks I was immediately in awe. Watching him perform with such passion and intensity and having so much fun doing it was a real life-changer for me. This is what I wanted to do.”

Catching A Break Al Brake

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Submitted by Don Graham

Fort McMurray resident, Newfoundland native Al Brake has traveled halfway across this great country to be where he is supposed to be. The 11th of 11 children that includes 8 boys and 3 girls is “foot off the brake, pedal to the metal ready” for his moment in the spotlight. He is making all the right moves and feels like now is time. | Music has always been a huge part of my life, especially growing up in Newfoundland. Everybody plays music and it bonds together families and friends.”

Al Brake started playing guitar when he was about 8 yrs, drawn to the music from watching his brothers, sisters and parents. His Dad was an accomplished and great fiddle player, his mother was a great singer, with his brothers and sisters picking on one instrument or another, there was rarely a time when there wasn't music in their home. This soon moved out of the home as the family began performing at local Festivals and Garden parties. Al had his own band by the time he was 18 years old. He began writing his own material around 2008 and in 2010 began working on his songs in Nashville. In 2012 he traveled to Nashville to begin recording a full-length album which he finished at Metalworks Studio in Toronto.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from All Of Us at Cashbox Canada

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

As the year 2017 comes to an end, I am still amazed by the fact that I get to work with such an incredible staff at Cashbox Canada.

To my tireless Editor, Lenny Stoute, thank you for always sticking by me and being such a creative force every week.  His column BTW celebrates so many diversified artists and gives the indies a chance to shine. Lenny has an incredible background in journalism and I am grateful to have him.

To Don Graham, who somehow in between his own musical career as a recording artist, songwriter and performer, takes the time to do the personal interviews with fellow country artists and beyond to get some of the most memorable stories we have on CB. I truly believe his own career and background is what makes even the most wary artists feel comfortable in their interviews.

To Chris Wardman, my wizard of the web, who takes it upon himself to make Cashbox Canada work and continues to keep our archives available for all to go back and revisit. When you Google Chris Wardman it is quite the eye-opener to see his career; as a musician, a record label guy, a producer and so much more. I have such respect for Chris and what he does for us.

Barry Stagg From the Carolinas to Canada Barry Stagg’s Christmas Grace!

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Going back to my Montreal roots, there are always artists that say in my memories, Gino Vanelli, Ken Tobias, Andy Kim, Pagliaro and of course Barry Stagg –one-half of the ever popular Green and Stagg.

Barry Stagg, singer/songwriter, musician, playwright and musical entrepreneur is a prime example of what tenacity and talent are all about when it comes to the love of music.

Born in Montreal, Quebec he graduated from Université de Montréal and started on his musical path with Tony Green to become Green and Stagg. The duo was signed to Gamma Records out of Montreal under the tutelage of manager Ben Kaye.(who also managed Celine Dion) Their debut single, "To Love Means To Be Free", became an instant hit when released in February 1970. The song won the Canadian Business Music Industry writing award.Green and Stagg rode the charts for the better part of the early '70s.

Signed to Gamma at the time, they were offered a deal with London Records which had a better reach for them on a distribution level so they made the decision to move to the ill-fated label, which went bankrupt not long after. Stagg would have success with a number of solo releases on RCA before starting his musical and magical journey from theatre to playwriting and scores.

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