Cover Story

Cosimo Matassa Out of the Shadows


Submitted by Cashbox Canada and Sandy Graham

Cosimo Matassa, had a used-record business in New Orleans led him to sell new records, which led him to open a tiny studio that helped jump-start rock ’n’ roll.
As an engineer and proprietor of J&M Studios and Cosimo Recording Studio in New Orleans, Cosimo Matassa was crucial to the development of the New Orleans R&B, rock, and soul sound of the '50s and '60s. Little Richard and Fats Domino recorded some of their greatest hits at these studios, and major instrumentalists and producers like Dr. John and Allen Toussaint got key early experience there.

Matassa is not nearly as well-known as other pioneers of early rock production, like Sam Phillips of Sun Records, but in his way, he was almost as important. Matassa was originally in the jukebox and record retail business, starting his studio at the back of his shop in 1945. It was in the ten-by-twelve-foot J&M Studios that Fats Domino's "The Fat Man," one of the first New Orleans R&B classics and one of the first records of any sort to be retroactively classified as rock & roll, was recorded. In 1955, he moved to the larger Cosimo Recording Studio, and over the next decade, the flow of New Orleans R&B continued, with records by giants like Allen Toussaint and Lee Dorsey. He moved the studio again in 1966, although this failed by the end of the '60s. Matassa was also involved in Allen Toussaint's Sea-Saint Studios, which recorded acts like Paul McCartney, Dr. John, the Neville Brothers, and LaBelle in the '70s, and was still in operation in the '90s.

Emilia’s Excellent Extravaganza

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

It’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood here in Toronto, with a brisk touch of excitement in the air. Bees are buzzing, acorns are falling and squirrels are squirreling. Across town at singer/songwriter Emilia’s house, the excitement is downright electrifying. Her voice comes over the phone as bright, pumped up and studded with the laughter of a 22 year old in love with her life. Emilia has every reason to be excited, given her recent career trajectory.

F’r instance, a recent flashpoint was the placing of "Young And In Love", a song from debut album "E" as part of the soundtrack for the upcoming feature film "After The Ball" starring Chris Noth (The Good Wife, Sex In The City, Law And Order), Portia Doubleday (Carrie), and Lauren Holly (Dumb and Dumber, Motive, NCIS).

“It was amazing to hear that, a total surprise as there was no forewarning. Up until I got the email, I had no idea anything like that was up. Then when I saw the movie, it was just awesome, totally exciting and so interesting to see how they used the song.”

She’s still humbly overjoyed at the critical reception given her debut album ‘E’, even before its official release, which comes Sept. 16. Tipsters across the spectrum are wowed by the range and fluidity of Emilia’s vocals as well as the song writing chops. Stylistically, the material genre hops subtly within vaguely defined pop, nu-dance and jazz boundaries. That she pulls it all off is another high-bar mark. Currently just a few credits off a Fine Arts degree with a major in music from York U., Emilia credits the formal training with her highly honed songwriting.

The Silver Bullet Showcase


Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Canadian Country Music Week in Edmonton, Alberta is one of the most important weeks in Canadian country music. From September 4th to the 7th the entire industry will be in one place at the same time. It’s a golden opportunity to network, catch up and showcase talent.  Hence the Silver Bullet Showcase, a chance for some deserving talent to be seen and heard. Presented by iSee & Associates and Anya Wilson Promotions  and sponsored by Cashbox Magazine Canada the showcase will take place on Thursday, September 4th from 7 p.m. to close at Sherlock Holmes Pub.  Anya Wilson said “This will be a great opportunity for some of amazing talent we have in Canada that are looking for way to promote themselves and be seen by some of industry movers and shakers in a professional setting.

The evening will be hosted by veteran singer/songwriter Don Graham, who will perform a few of his tunes and introduce all the great Canadian artists.

Kendra Kay, an 18 year old singer/songwriter from Elkhorn, Manitoba is beautiful young girl with a strong voice and fascinating charm as an entertainer. Her career is on a fast track to stardom as she continues to delight more and more audiences.  Kendra recently released her first single to radio “It Was”, co-written by Jason McCoy and Carolyn Dawn Johnson and produced by Jeff Jones.

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Mike Trudell from Sudbury, Ontario is currently getting airplay with his Gil Grand produced single “Do Ya Wanna?”, a radio friendly song that is sure to give him his shot in markets both sides of the border making him a ‘Northern Star with a Southern Shine’. Mike is currently promoting his self titled debut CD on Star North Records on the festival circuit.

The Mahones Hit the Beach in September


Submitted by Bill King

The setting couldn’t be more awe inspiring (Kew Gardens). The band more eclectic and electric. With nearly two and a half decades of road work – thousands of festivals and millions of fans, The Mahones are surly the band to see at the 11th Annual Beach Celtic Festival 2014.

Winners of the 2012 Independent Music Awards for Best Punk Album (The Black Irish) and a new studio album – The Hunger & The Fight, scheduled for release this month and December the band is on a roll since the inclusion of their hit song “Paint the Town” in the final scene of the Academy Award winning film, The Fighter.

I recently caught up with band leader and founder Finny McConnell and had this conversation.

Bill King: Where did the concept of building a Canadian Irish-punk band come from?

Finny:  For me, it started back in the 1980s when I was playing in punk bands in London, England. I saw The Pogues over there and loved what they were doing. When I returned to Canada after living in London for 5 years, I started The Mahones. It was 1990, and our first show was on St Patrick's Day. It was the fusion of punk and Irish music that inspired me. There were no other bands around at the time, so it was The Pogues, The Who, The Waterboys and The Clash that were the original inspiration for The Mahones in 1990. Later, bands like Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly came around and a scene was born. All it really is, is punk rock and Irish folk smashed together: Irish punk!

B.K: Born on St. Patrick’s Day in 1990 in Kingston, Ontario – how big of an underground scene was there for this sound?

The Beach Celtic Festival Celts Among Us

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Submitted by Don Graham

Every year at the beginning of September as summer is packing up its sunshine and long days The Beach Celtic Festival rolls into the green, lush Kew Gardens in east end Toronto. For the past ten years Celts from all over the area converge on this tiny community to flash their tartan and kilts and get in touch with the heritage they hold near and dear to their hearts.  All things Celtic, Scottish, Irish and Welsh, dominate the park on that weekend and this year will mark year number 11 for the event’s organizer Sandy Graham.

“I am amazed and humbled that we are here to celebrate our 11th Anniversary of The Beach Celtic Festival 2014. What started out as a one day celebration in honour of the passing of my Mum, Jemima Blackie Sutherland, has now turned into a tradition in the place I call home, The Beach.  An event like this would not be possible without thanking all the people who make it happen every year, and what should be known is this is all done from the heart and spirit of a team of volunteers who feel it is important to keep heritage and history alive. The Board of All Things Celtic donates countless hours to bring this event to life every September. Year after year, I count on family, friends and talent who tirelessly donate their time, efforts and devotion to this great event that has taken on a life of its own. Even my brother, Don, a country recording artist in his own right, gets talked into singing ‘Scottish’ every year!) Our regular vendors return year after year; I am proud to call them supporters and count on them to constantly appear in their regular spots, weaving their magic to make up the mosaic of the Celtic feeling.

Peter Foldy Nine Lives


Submitted by Sandy Graham

Peter Foldy truly has Nine Lives, if not more with many incarnations from pop singer, songwriter, producer, film maker, director, photographer amongst his many skills. Peter Foldy was born in Budapest, Hungary but soon fled from the then Communist regime with his parents and sister. The family immigrated to Sydney, Australia where Foldy attended high school and worked as an actor in television commercials. During this time he also forged a friendship with three young brothers who would later find worldwide success as The Bee Gees.

After a family move to Toronto, Foldy enrolled in film school at York University, formed a band and performed for many years across Canada and beyond, while experiencing success with various songs charting and Juno nominations throughout the 1970’s. Now residing in California, Foldy still maintains his loyalty to his Canadian roots and has never forgotten where he came from all those years ago.

Nine Lives, aptly titled, is all about that – his appreciation of all the many successes and ‘lives’ he has managed to live while creating music. “I am grateful to still be doing what I love. Music and songwriting have always been a major part of my soul, and this new album has been a wonderful experience to once again feel my songs come to life on a recording. I am thrilled and looking forward to this worldwide release and I am anxious for my fans, old and new, to have a chance to listen to it.’

Steve Boone: Hotter Than a Match Head

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Submitted by Don Graham

Do you believe in magic? Steve Boone does! The bass player for one the 60’s top bands, The Lovin’ Spoonful, has had enough magic in his life to make a believer out of him. Steve lived the dream of playing with a hugely successful rock band, their first 7 singles were top ten hits and  continues to perform with a revamped version of the Spoonful to this day. He also has lived life as a sailor, a studio manager and an author.

Carol Kaye From The Top

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Submitted by Don Graham

Carol Kaye, bass player, guitar player, teacher and recording session legend is not known to everyone. Fellow musicians know and admire her work, the general music loving public don’t know her but admire her work. The number of recordings she has played on is astonishing but numbers don’t tell the whole story. It’s the number of monster hits she’s played on that is mind blowing.

From playing guitar on Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” to The Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”, “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys.TV themes like “Mash (Suicide is Painless)", “Mission Impossible” to the infectious Bill Cosby Show theme “Kiss Me”, Carol Kaye has played on the soundtrack to a lot of our lives. Mine for sure. There’s too many to mention here so for a full list of the recordings and TV and movie themes she was part of go the and you can see how many played in the background as you lived YOUR life.

Set the Record as Sudbury Celebrates Music At The Big Nickel


Submitted by Cashbox Canada

The Big Nickel, one of Northern Ontario's most famous landmarks, is turning 50 this July. With the help of Dynamic Earth and Science North it is just one of the great outdoor events that is free to enjoy.  A big community party will be held at Dynamic Earth in celebration of the world’s largest coin turning fifty!  Participants will also have the chance to take part in a Guinness World Records attempt and help with the creation of a large-scale coin mosaic.  Work on the mosaic will take place over 4 days, beginning on Saturday, July 19th and ending on the Big Nickel Birthday July 22, 2014 when a Guinness World Records Adjudicator from New York will verify the record attempt. Join in on the party and help break a world record! There are wonderful summer festivals all throughout Ontario and this one in the Great North is sure to be one of the best.

Official Birthday Kick Off is from 1 – 3 pm and then the music goes all day.

Beaches International Jazz Festival Celebrates 26 Years of Community Goodwill

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Submitted by Bill King
Author of Bill King’s “In Concert!” Essays, Images and Interviews
Photo Credits: Bill King

Every season I’m asked, “So what’s new this year with Beaches Jazz?” My response, “Come and visit!”

The most compelling reason I love planning a good portion of the music side of Beaches Jazz is the opportunity to address our local community of artists. We are so unlike most music festivals that have ticketed acts. We understand serving our community means an open door to all. There are hundreds of thousands who can’t afford a Lady GaGa, a Tony Bennett, a Michael Buble but they can savor for free the fresh faces and talent that engage this community year round and a few acts beyond our borders that give big bang for the buck. So if you’re expecting Willie Nelson or Wynton Marsalis, you won’t find them here. In fact, just one of those acts would account for our entire budget.

The Beaches International Jazz Festival is that unique moment in the summer when we pause for two weeks and experience that much needed vacation within the perimeter of the East End Beach area. A TTC ride with family gets you to one of Toronto’s most exquisite regions. The nights on the street are a time of social gathering – food, music and a long stroll through humanity. They come to dance, they laugh they participate in the big spirit of a city just on the cusp of being the most desirable place to live on planet earth.

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