Cover Story

Holger Petersen and Forty Years of Stony Plain

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Submitted by Don Graham

Stony Plain Records, one of Canada’s longest standing independent record labels, is celebrating 40 years in business with a classic 3 disc collection of amazing music, 40 Years of Stony Plain. This three volume set celebrates with some of the label's favourite tracks, including one full CD of rarities and previously unreleased music by artists like Eric Bibb, Maria Muldaur, Duke Robillard and Sam Chatmon. Stony Plain was named "2014 Record Label of the Year" by the Blues Foundation in Memphis. Add to that 6 Grammy nominations, 11 Juno Awards and dozens of Blues Awards and Maple Blues Awards.

Stony Plain Records has been recognized worldwide for its consistent, high quality roots and blues releases.

We caught up with founder Holger Petersen at his office in Alberta as he readies for his annual trip to France for MIDEM. “I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished in the 40 years we’ve been in business and have seen a lot of changes in the business during that time. But one thing that has stayed consistent is our commitment to quality with artists on our roster and the music we put out to the world and our reputation for integrity.” Holger and team have seen it all in the last 40 years, have stayed the course and kept it all about good music. “We’ve been very selective about are product and kept the quality high. Ian Tyson is a big part of our success. Ian made it possible for us to go from working at our kitchen table to having an office and becoming a legitimate record label.”

Echo Montgomery Garrett A Resounding Echo: From House of Gold to Orange Duffel Bag

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Submitted by Don Graham

Cover Photo Credit: Kevin Garrett

Cashbox Canada Seven Years and Counting

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Seven years ago Sandy Graham, a Canadian music scene veteran with a background in music retail at International Record Store, radio, CJFM, CFCF in Montreal and Records, RCA in Montreal and print, Joey Cee’s Record Week in Toronto, received an offer she couldn’t refuse.

“The famous Cashbox Magazine in the U.S., that was our “bible” in the old days, had started up again in North Carolina and they wanted to expand to Canada. I was approached with an offer to own it outright and immediately said yes, having no real idea of how it would work.” So Sandy set about putting a team together, a team of writers, including herself, veteran Lenny Stoute whose grasp of the indie scene is unequalled, musician, photographer and radio host Bill King, country music songwriter and performer Don Graham, local scene whiz kid  Lee Fraser, Music Industry Veteran Mark Smith, MuchMusic VeeJay Michael Williams and ‘Girl With a Camera’ Pat Blythe. Add in foreign correspondent Iain Patience, Registered Graphic Designer Gillian FitzGibbon (who is responsible for the amazing cover designs every week) and Chris Wardman who keeps the train moving on the website.

Alex Fisher Keepin’ It Real

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Submitted by Don Graham
CD Photo Credit: Meghan Herrington
Photo: Pat Blythe A Girl With a Camera

Real music, real passion, real songs, the real deal. Alex Fisher can say yes to all of the above. “I know I’m just starting my career and still have a long way to go and still have to prove myself but I’m trying real hard to build on a solid foundation. And I’m building from the ground up making sure there is honesty to my music, both in my songwriting and my delivery of the songs. I think one of the hardest things for a young artist to do is find his or her own identity, to not try and sound like anybody else and just be themselves.”

Ed Ringwald: Man Of Steel

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Submitted by Don Graham

You may not know his name but unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve heard the work of Ed Ringwald, aka Pee Wee Charles. Ed was Gordon Lightfoot’s steel guitarist for 16 years and if you are a country music fan you have no doubt heard his masterful steel guitar work on records by such artists as George Canyon, Beverley Mahood, Shane Yellowbird, Jim Witter, Jamie Warren, Gord Bamford, Jason Blaine, Jason McCoy and so many more.

Tom Rush Living the Dream, No Regrets

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Submitted by Don Graham

When I reached Tom Rush by phone the other day to talk about his upcoming show at Toronto’s Hugh’s Room, I started the conversation with “How are you Tom?’ His response, “I’m living the dream.” And what a long incredible dream it’s been since recording his debut album in 1962 and having just released a new one in 2009. He continues to tour to this day. In fact his tour schedule is so filled it’s staggering to look at. But Tom couldn’t be happier.

Tom Rush was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and began performing in 1961 while attending Harvard University where he majored in English literature.He performed regulary at the Club 47 coffee house in Cambridge.

His 1968 composition "No Regrets" has become a virtual standard, with a whole lot of cover versions having been recorded to date. Tom himself did two very different versions. Some other rendititons includeThe Walker Brothers, which gave Tom Rush Top Ten credit as a songwriter on the UK singles chart, Emmylou Harris, who included the song on her 1988 album Bluebird, and Midge Ure whose cover also made the UK Top Ten.

Brodie Lodge: Last Kiln Standing

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Cover Head Shot Credit: Jen Kelly

For some of the older music fans, Radio Caroline was an era that will stay etched in music history forever. Tom Lodge was there. And now his son Brodie picks up the torch to carry on the road of life, music and memories.

When the CD, ‘Last Kiln Standing’ arrived on my desk, and because of my deep respect for his father, I have to be honest, I gave it my immediate attention. When listening to the tracks, I first noticed how refreshing the music was, and the vocals were pure in their delivery, with no auto tune or treachery to the production.

We only have 52 covers a year, to be the cover story is something we chose carefully and giving it to Brodie Lodge was the right thing to do. Ironically, we chose April 1st, which as it turns out is the day in 2012 that the Lodge clan decided to celebrate the life of Tom (Umi) Lodge who passed away March 25, 2012. So fitting his son is on the cover on this date.

Sam Taylor Taylor Made Music

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Submitted by Don Graham

Photo Credits: Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera "The Picture Taker"

Sam Taylor is an old soul, Sam Taylor is 24 going on 42, a natural born entertainer, born to sing and play, he is the future of the blues in the 21st century. There you go! That’s all the clichés rolled into one. The problem is if there is one thing Sam Taylor isn’t, its cliché. He is a “oner, sets his own pace, plays by his own rules and makes his own kind of music.”

The road that led to where he is now is surprisingly long considering his young age, 24, but he did start out at the tender age of seven years old. He toured Canada singing the songs of none other than Old Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra before graduating at nine years old to performing with Orchestra London. In 2003 and 2004 the Saint Thomas, Ontario native entered the Western Fair Rise 2 Fame in London, Ontario, placing second in the first year and first overall the second. Both years he beat out a kid from Stratford, Ontario, a kid named Justin Beiber.

Ray Griff A Legend Passes On

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Submitted by Don Graham

Canadian country music legend Ray Griff has passed away at age of 75. Ray was born in Vancouver, British Columbia and raised in Winfield, Alberta. In Calgary he formed a band called the Blue Echoe. Ray aspired to be a songwriter and one of his early tunes, 'Mr Moonlight,' was recorded in 1959 by the late great Johnny Horton. Later on Ray would get to tour with Horton. Ray’s 'Where Do I Go from Here?' was recorded by Hall of Famer Jim Reeves.

In 1964, Ray moved to Nashville and began a successful run as a songwriter. It is estimated that by the mid-1980s, Ray had written over 2000 songs and had them recorded by such big name artists such as Wilma Burgess 'Baby' and 'Lost in the Shuffle’ by Stonewall Jackson were followed by 'Something Special' for Mel Tillis, 'Canadian Pacific' for George Hamilton IV, 'Step Aside' for Faron Young, 'Better Move It On Home' for Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, 'Who's Gonna Play This Old Piano?' for Jerry Lee Lewis, 'Where Love Begins' for Gene Watson, ‘It Couldn't Have Been Any Better' for Johnny Duncan, and others were recorded by country artists such as Bill Anderson, Eddy Arnold, Chet Atkins Carrol Baker, Crystal Gayle, Tommy Hunter, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, the Mercey Brothers, Marty Robbins, and Hank Snow and pop artists such as Pat Boone, Wayne Newton, and Roger Whittaker.

Giving Up the Ghost with OMFG

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

East Coast Canadians Great Big Sea paved the way for many bands to take traditional tunes and bring them up to speed to be popular with a younger generation of fans. With this influence, then adding their twist to the tunes, Old Man’s Flanagan’s Ghost (OMFG) brings a refreshing new sound to the public arena.

Launched in Jan 2014, Old Man Flanagan's Ghost have already hit the Celtic Festival circuit and have appeared at The Beach Celtic Festival, 2015 Coburg Highland Games as well as legendary venues in Toronto like The Hard Rock Café, The Sound Academy, and The Horseshoe Tavern.

Speaking with band leader Stephen Lamb we asked him what his inspiration was to have started a Celtic Band.”When I met Brooke we didn’t know we had music in common, we were both working in childhood education. We started playing music together and it was whole awakening for me. I contacted my brother Brian, and the ‘jams’ began.”

When asked how things have changed for him from 2014 until now, “I found it enlightening but I also found a whole new respect for the music industry. It isn’t just about having the talent, you need to go through the trials and tribulations, time and money. I found new respect for the people who make the industry work.”

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