Cover Story

Beach Celtic Festival Turns 12 !


Submitted by Cashbox Canada

In the Beach Village of Toronto , it’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not the kids going back to school, but the Annual Beach Celtic Festival, Toronto’s only outdoor ceildh in beautiful Kew Gardens. So sing along "At the 12th Celtic Festival: Sandy Graham brought to us; one pipe band piping, Bold Step Dancers dancing, Old Man Flanagan’s Ghost entertaining, Don Graham a-strumming, Caledon County singing, Métis Fiddlers fiddlin’, vendors selling cool stuff, adults and children smiling, and all at a great Scottish price..IT’S FREE.”

There now, you are in the mood to celebrate all things Celtic on September 12th and 13th in the park. Founder, creative director, organizer, talent manager, weather watcher and all around overseer Sandy Graham is all smiles when talking about this year’s presentation.

“Every year I get to honour and celebrate my Mum with this lively gathering that would make her proud. For two days every September Mum is walking the park with us and enjoying the fun, food and music that would remind her of her home in “the old country.” This year we are honoured to dedicate the festival to the loving memory of ‘Big’ Harry MacGregor our loyal and steadfast supporter for many years.”

Jesse Colin Young Out of the Darkness

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Submitted by Don Graham

“Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try and love one other right now.” When you hear those words the first voice that comes to mind is Jesse Colin Young. Jesse didn’t write this one, Dino Valenti did, but he sure owns it as his is the definitive version. We caught up with Jesse at his home in Aiken, South Carolina.

“Our record ‘Get Together’ was released in 1967 but it wasn’t a hit until ’69. I guess America wasn’t ready for it ‘til then. So to us it was a two year old record when it broke. But it has been a huge part of my life and career. It was a game changer and a life changer.”

The Youngbloods were Jesse on vocals, bass, Jerry Corbitt, vocals,lead guitar, Lowell ‘Banana’ Levinger on electric piano, guitar and Joe Bauer on drums.The band moved to San Francisco in 1967 during the ‘Summer of Love’. Their debut album, produced by Felix Pappalardi (Cream and Mountain) yeilded another minor hit with ‘Grizzly Bear’ written by Jerry Corbitt. “Corbitt and I formed the band up in Cambridge. I was playing at Club 47 up there and somehow a message was passed to me to not go back to house I was staying at cause the guy I was staying with had sold some dope to an undercover Coast Guard agent. I ended up staying with Corbitt ; we picked and jammed and eventually said “Let’s buy an amp and start a band. When he passed in early 2014 it hit me hard. We always talked about doing something together again, we sounded so good vocally, a sweet blend, but it never happened."

Kristian Bush Lights It Up !

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Submitted by Don Graham

Kristian Bush is not exactly a household name, yet, but when you mention Sugarland the common response is “Oh yeah, I know who he is. Does he sing?”  Sitting across a table from Kristian you get a sense of a man who’s very comfortable in his own skin and confident in his craft and ability. “With Sugarland, the beautiful and talented Jennifer Nettles was the  lead singer and focal point. I was onstage doing what I do and off stage taking care of business. It was, and is, a great team. The cool thing now when an audience sees me for the first time they’re all wondering’ Can he sing? And yes, Kristian Bush has a voice to go along with his superb musicianship and songwriting skills, and he is ready for you to hear it.

Bush  released his debut solo album Southern Gravity in April and his voice is radio friendly and distinct.

The album is  an inspirational album, born out of an event clouded in tragedy when in 2011 the stage rigging collapsed during a storm just before  Sugarland's show at the Indiana State Fair. The horror of that collapse and the loss of life involved helped Bush reevaluate some things in his life, “Not long ago I got the pieces of my old Gibson mandolin shipped back to  in Atlanta. It was sad to see this irreplaceable instrument in that state but when I left the room and came back in my daughter had arranged the pieces in the shape of a peace sign. Ok, now it all makes sense. I lost an instrument, some folks lost their lives.”

It’s Time for Marshall Dane


Submitted by Don Graham

Marshall Dane has been planning his work and working his plan with due diligence for the past several years and all the hard work is about to pay off.  He has fine tuned his repertoire, reputation and representation. “I try not to get too affected by what’s going around me in the music business, not really concerned by who’s doing what and how they’re doing it. I try to just keep my head down and plow ahead.”

And everything is lining up the way it should. After some trial and error and enlightening experiences M.D. is putting all the pieces together. He has surrounded himself with some awesome people, literally awesome people, signing with the newly formed Awesome Music as part of the team he has behind him now. The team of a joint-venture partnership between Nettwerk One Music, an up and coming Canadian Publishing company, newly formed Awesome Music and Dale Speaking, the stellar promotion company. The three independent companies have formed a partnership to sign artists and avidly promote the music of the talent they represent.  Marshall Dane is the first release by the newly formed alliance with “I’ll Be Your Whiskey.” Says Marshall, “I’m real excited with the support I have from this team of professionals. They have all the expertise and really believe in my talent. I couldn’t be happier or more optimistic about the future.”

Dave Woods In The Country Picture This !


Submitted by Cashbox Magazine

Dave Woods is one of the best friends a Canadian country artist can ask for with his ‘In The Country’ online radio show providing a platform for up and coming artists, established artists and legacy artists who paved the road for the ones that followed. After six plus years of being a bona fide country music booster on radio, Dave has decided to up his game and take the concept to the next level.

MDM Recordings The Little Label That Could

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Submitted by Don Graham

Mike Denny’s “I think I can, I think I can“ went from  “ I know I can,I know I can ” to “I knew I could, I knew I could” in a span of 7 years. That’s how long MDM Recordings has been in existence and it is slowly but oh so surely becoming one of the most respected country record labels in the country. With an impressive roster that includes Chad Brownlee, Jess Moskaluke, Bobby Wills,Tim Chaission, David James, The Lovelocks, Charlie Major and Hayley, MDM is a now a big deal.

In Mike’s words ““My mission is to support, help nurture and grow the careers of the  artists that I work with on a day to day basis. I want to help them achieve their goals and dreams, while achieving mine with them.” And he  adds, ““I have always been very driven to succeed. Years ago it was material things, now, it’s a passion for what I do.”
What he looks for in new artists is simple, “I want to represent talent that can really play and perform from their core, their true soul,” he continues, “To me this is the true definition of “talent”.”

Sacha-Lee Forever Thing !

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Submitted by Don Graham

Sacha-Lee is from a very fertile part of Northern Ontario in Canada. Two hours northwest of Kirkland Lake, home of Alan Thicke, one hour north of Timmins, birthplace of Shania Twain and ½ an hour west of Cochrane, home of Tim Horton, the donut king. (note to our American readers - Canadians don’t measure distances by miles or kilometers but by hours. For example, Montreal is about five hours from Toronto. It’s how we roll.)

Sacha-Lee has a new single recently released to Canadian country radio, “Forever Thing” written by Sacha-Lee and Scott Sanford and and recorded in Nashville Tennessee.

It’s an excellent tune with a clean, robust production and well delivered vocals to a nicely written song.  All the ingredients for a hit.

We caught up with Sacha-Lee at her Smooth Rock Falls home to get the latest on life and career. “I’m really excited about this record and the way everything is lining up. Shelley Buffitt is taking care of  my career  and has arranged for me to represented by Entertainment Music Group out of Toronto who got me a global distribution deal with Believe Digital. I’m feeling really good about this positive direction we’re taking. I’ve always said ‘The music business is about connections and being true to yourself and your roots.”

My motto is “Music is created by faith and lives in family and friends.”

Rickie Lee Jones The Other Side Of Desire

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Submitted by Don Graham

Hearing the name Rickie Lee Jones just makes me smile and my internal jukebox immediately starts playing the infectious intro to “ Chuck E.’s In Love.” And when I mention the name Rickie Lee Jones to most people of a certain age, the reaction is usually  always  “Wow, she was great, what is she up to?”

"She should make another record.' Well good news, she is still very active and she HAS made another record.

Her first recording in 10 years, The Other Side of Desire was released at the end of June and her first single from the album “ Jimmy Choos” is currently at radio. The whole album is a work of art from an iconic artist who is not resting on her laurels, not resting at all actually, but is creating new music derived from where she is now. The tracks are pocket oriented grooves with lyrics that speak to Jones’ current situation. She is living in New Orleans on Desire, across the street from the spot that Tennessee Williams made famous in his play, A Streetcar Named Desire. Hence the title of the album.

The inspiration of New Orleans is predominant on the record with songs like "Valse de Mon Pere (Lover's Oath)," featuring  her friend Louis Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers and the seasonal homage "Christmas in New Orleans" and the soulful  throwdown "J'ai Connais Pas."

Susan Jacks It’s My Turn

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Submitted by Don Graham

The Susan Jacks story is more than just The Poppy Family and her solo singing career; it’s a story of courage, survival and determination.

Rewind to the beginning of the story and a young Susan Pesklevits, who had moved to British Columbia from Saskatchewan, begins her professional career at 15 when she was asked to be a regular performer on the national Canadian television show, MusicHop. Susan recorded her first singles as part of a trio with Howie Vickers and Tom Northcott, recording under the name of "The Eternal Triangle". Going solo in 1966 an 18 year old Susan was in need of a guitar player. “Somebody told me that the band Terry Jacks was in had broken up so he might be available. We got together and Terry and I started working. Terry wasn’t a lead guitarist so we hired Craig McCaw as our lead player.” Although she did a few more solo TV appearances, Susan decided to leave that behind and left the "Eternal Triangle", putting all her time into the newly formed trio, performing under the name "Powerline" before changing the name to "The Poppy Family".Susan and Terry got married in 1967. Craig McCaw introduced Satwant Singh,who played tablas,to the group and he soon became a member of the band.

NXNE Toronto, Canada June 17-21 2015


Seen as the most anticipated summer music event in Canada, North by Northeast Festivals and Conference (NXNE) are an essential gathering for artists, industry, and fans. We’re based in Toronto, but bring a global perspective to our programming. In all, NXNE draws over 350,000 attendees, and generates an annual economic impact of approximately $50 million on the city of Toronto. The 2015 festival will mark our 21st anniversary.

Many performers have played NXNE on their way to major worldwide breakthroughs. Hotly tipped buzz bands and soon-to-be-discovered gems join international touring acts, making NXNE eclectic and exciting.

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