Cover Story

Diamonds in the Rough with Angie Morris at the CCMAS

Cover Aug 24, 2012

Submitted by Don Graham

The Canadian Country Music Association’s annual awards extravaganza is here again, this year in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. From September 6th through the 9th, 2012 the cream of the crop in Canadian country music will gather for four days of networking, catching up and seeing some of the finest talent in this country in one place. One of the highlights is the CCMA talent showcase, available to the undiscovered talent, giving them a chance to strut their stuff in front of an audience comprised of industry professionals who can help them reach their goals.

But there are only so many spots available and a lot of very talented people would, ordinarily, have sit on the sidelines, in a room full in influential career making folks.

This dilemma didn’t go unnoticed by one Angie Morris of Sirroma. A company she owns and operates. Morris decided to take matters into her  own capable hands, and went about creating an avenue to solve this problem. Morris described her venture to Cashbox, “ We were looking for a way to help emerging artists make the most of the gathering of industry folks at the CCMA’s. Together, with Sherman by Designs (Tracy Lee Sherman), who will be displaying various paintings of Canadian artists in the lobby. We created a much needed opportunity for these artists. This is not a sanctioned event, however we have the blessing to host this event during this week.We hope everyone will take some time out of this hectic week and stop by to support our Canadian artists.”

The Beach Celtic Festival Toronto’s Only Outdoor Ceilidh

Cover Aug 17, 2012

Submitted by Graham Sutherland


The Beach Celtic Festival is Toronto’s only outdoor, live ceilidh, pronounced kay-lee.


In modern usage, a ceilidh is a traditional Gaelic social gathering, which usually involves playing Gaelic folk music and dancing. It originated in Ireland and Scotland, but is now common throughout the Irish and Scottish diasporas.


For over eight years, long time Beach resident and entertainment entrepreneur Sandy Graham has organized and promoted The Beach Celtic Festival. “Before our mum passed away she said ‘when I pass on don’t mourn me, celebrate my life.” And I thought what better way than a Scottish gathering with music and dancing.”  And so in 2004 Graham decided to have a little ceilidh in the park in her area and 1500 people showed up!


Kew Gardens is a beautiful setting in the laid back Beach area in the east end of Toronto, backing on to the lake and the famous boardwalk. Every summer the world famous Beaches International Jazz Festival turns the pastoral park into an outdoor haven of live music and vendors of food and cool things. One month later, The Beach Celtic Festival picks up where the Jazz Fest leaves off.

The Awe of Linda Dawe

Cover Aug 10, 2012

Submitted by Sandy Graham

The first thing that strikes you when speaking with Linda Dawe is her enthusiasm about music and life. The next thing is how humble this music icon is about all the accomplishments in both her personal and professional life. She is truly in awe of her career and the experiences she has garnered to date.

Dawe is what we consider one of ‘the old school’, an music business maven who has survived over three decades and still enjoys making a living in this very unpredictable industry. At a time when females were mostly secretaries or receptionists, this trailblazer set out to change that in the music business.

Linda Dawe's career began in 1970 as a journalist for Canada's first music magazine, Beetle Publications. “I was always interesting in writing; in school I did very well and English was one of my stronger subjects. It was certainly an eye opener for a kid from Northern Ontario to suddenly be thrown into the world sex, drugs & rock ‘n’ roll; all the things that went along with the reputations of  the ‘bad boys’ of the British Invasion which was at its height of popularity at the time. ”

Backbeat The Birth of the Beatles

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Submitted by Don Graham

Sometimes you know a show is going to rock from it’s opening seconds and that’s what happens with 'Backbeat - The Birth of the Beatles' at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto this week. Superbly directed by David Leveaux, the pounding of the bass drum and tom toms of the opening set the tone for the sounds of the show. This ain’t gonna be your grandma’s tea party!

This is the story of how a bunch of lads from Liverpool, then a five piece group, would become the Beatles, the most influential musical group in history. The Quarrymen / Silver Beatles of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe are at the heart of this tale of the hardscrabble days in Hamburg. This is where the lads turned their rough and ready skiffle sound into the highly polished rock ‘n’ roll band that rocked the world.

The play starts with John giving Stuart a bass guitar that he’d picked up for 50 quid, so Stuart could join The Quarrymen. Stuart explains that he can’t play it but John convinces him "he can learn.”

"It only has four strings, not six like a guitar!” Sutcliffe agrees and the journey begins as the quintet head out for Hamburg, Germany.

Beaches International Jazz Festival Taking It To The Streets

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Submitted Don Graham

“Down on the corner, out in the street, (insert band name here) are playin’ bring a nickel, tap your feet.” (Down On the Corner CCR 1969)

Every summer The Beaches International Jazz Festival Street Fest brings life to this famous John C. Fogarty stanza with live bands on nearly every corner of Queen Street East, from Woodbine to Beech Avenue. And you don’t even have to bring a nickel! It’s free!

For three nights Queen Street resembles New Orleans’ Bourbon Street and a little bit of lower Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee. “Early in the evening, just about suppertime” from 7 P.M. to 11 P.M. on Thursday through Saturday bands of all musical genres co-exist on the crowded street. This part of the “Jazz” festival grown to be more than jazz and now includes the sounds of Samba, Big Bands, Dixieland, Rock, Soul, Rhythm and Blues and Funk. Incredible acts like God Made Me Funky, Dr. Draw, The All Star Big Band, Neil Chapman, Jeanine Mackie, Puente del  Diablo, Shrimp Daddy, David Rotundo, Terry Gillespie, Sultans of String, Mae Cromwell and many more. Over 50 bands are actually there to entertain you.

THE BEACH BOYS 50th ENDLESS SUMMER

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By Don Graham

For a kid from the Great White North in the sixties, California was just a name on the map, a place where the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Lords of Flatbush had deserted New York for. And “Surf ‘was the name of a popular laundry detergent.

Then along came the Wilson brothers, Brian, Carl and Dennis with their cousin Mike Love and good friend Al Jardine, all from Hawthorne, California, singing songs about waves, surfing and California sun. Suddenly my bedroom with my stereophonic, hi-fidelity  record player blasting out these hot new sounds, was sunny, hot and filled with beach sounds, even in the middle of February at 15 below zero (F), and snow up to the second story window.

The Beach Boys quickly became known as “America’s Band” and Brian Wilson’s songwriting style and love of harmony soon became the signature of the California sound of surfing,cars and high school romance. Brian was a big fan of the Four Freshman and at 16 was teaching his brothers the intricate harmonies that would help define The Beach Boys sound. What the Everly Brothers did for two part harmony, the brothers and Al and Mike did for five part harmonies. They are the watermark for harmony parts for all vocal groups today. As the Everlys influenced the Beatles so did the Beach Boys influence a generation of it’s own.

Cashbox Canada and the Team That Makes It Happen

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As COO and Editor in Chief of Cashbox Canada, I want to say how grateful we are for the support that has been shown to us for these last few years.

As Canadian as it is, Cashbox Canada was formed in June while shopping at Canadian Tire. Bill Delingat and I bumped into each other, and spoke with Bruce Elrod on a cell phone, who made us an offer to become shareholders in the U.S. company of Cashbox Magazine, and own the Canadian version outright – Cashbox Canada. The deal was done right there in the patio section of Canadian Tire – you can’t get anymore Canadian than that can you?

It has not been an easy task to survive in this notoriously difficult music business. We have had some writers come and go, watched many great artists pass away, tried to stay out of the political arenas and did our best to attend all invitations to see live music across this incredibly talented country.

We have participated in Canadian Music Week, been to MIDEM in France, promoted ourselves in Nashville, and supported the CMAO, CCMA’s, CIRPA, FACTOR, and many other industry channels that make our Canadian music world work. In the last few years we renewed old friendships in the industry, and developed new ones that are appreciated and cherished along with the old school contacts we found again.

Meet the Jukebox Folks of Playa Cofi and Tropical Glen !

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Playa Cofi is a beautiful beach and a tropical glen on the small Caribbean Island of Vieques.  It is sometimes referred to as one of the Spanish Virgin Islands because it is located between the US Virgin Islands and the "Big Island" of Puerto Rico.

Our music collection was started as a hobby to fill some of the quiet retirement hours.  The selections were pulled together from a variety of sources over a number of years. Then they were arranged to provide the most listening pleasure for a few of us in a given age group.  Along the way we learned how to compress the music files and how to place them in playlists on an open website to share our musical heritage more widely. We have been scrambling to keep up with demand ever since.

Justin Bieber, Katy Perry Big Winners at Much Music Video Awards

Cover June 22,2012

Story: Sandy Graham

Thousands of fans lined the red carpet surrounding Queen Street West and John Street hours before the show hoping to catch a glimpse of some of music's biggest stars.

The outrageous electro-pop duo LMFAO took the stage surrounded by a team of Cirque De Soleil-style acrobatic dancers opening the show with a medley that included ''Party Rock Anthem,'' ''Sorry for Party Rocking'' and then they eventually stripped down to their trademark thongs to perform "Sexy And I Know It.”

Canadian Superstar Justin Bieber and American popster Katy Perry were big winners at the star studded MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto on Sunday, June 17, 2012. Perry took the International Video of the Year award for "Last Friday Night.”

Justin Bieber was awarded International Video of the Year by a Canadian for "Boyfriend." Bieber also walked away with the award for Favourite Artist. MMVA co-hosts LMFAO won International Video of the Year by a group for "Sexy And I Know It."

Winners of Much Music Video Awards 2012

NXNE Hits the Streets of Toronto

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North by Northeast (or NXNE) is an annual five-day live music and film festival and music conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, held each June.
It began in 1994 and was patterned on the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. Each year, over 50 music venues host hundreds of bands from Canada, the United States and all over the world. Most music venues hosts five bands a night (9 p.m. onward), and the majority of the venues are grouped along downtown Toronto's Queen Street West, College Street, and the Bloor St. Annex.

The music conference at NXNE runs for three days at the Hyatt Regency on King (formerly the Holiday Inn) Hotel which serves as festival headquarters. NXNE delegates, panelists and bands playing the festival are able to participate in discussions, songwriter round tables, keynotes, demo listening and peer critiquing, legal clinics and the very helpful peer mentor sessions. The NXNE conference panels are held Friday and Saturday, and aim to foster a professional environment where musicians, artists and music industry reps can network and share ideas within their field.

A film festival was added in 2001 to run concurrently with the weekend music festival and industry conference, in conjunction with the National Film Board of Canada. Films are primarily music related documentaries and videos. NXNE also has a film showcase at the popular Hot Docs Film Festival. The conference also hosted the world premiere of Bruce McDonald's Broken Social Scene concert film, This Movie Is Broken, in 2010.

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