Cover Story

The Sony Centre For The Performing Arts Opens Its Doors

Cover Oct 8, 2010

You’re In For A Big Night Out!
The Sony Centre For The Performing Arts Opens Its Doors

Story and Photographs: Natasha Slinko

Just when you thought something couldn’t get any better, it does. The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts unveiled its swank all new look in celebration of the 50th Anniversary Season on Friday, October 1st, 2010. The press was invited for a sneak peep earlier in the week.

The Centre has gone through many shows and many changes. Torontonians first fell in love with it as The O’Keefe Centre and brought their families to experience the arts from its opening on October 1st 1960. At one point it was briefly re-branded as The Hummingbird Centre, but in truth most Torontonians still called it the “O’Keefe”.

Dan Brambilla, CEO of The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, says that it has been “an incredible undertaking” but that they are “eager to welcome Torontonians into the venue to see the exciting new technologies integrated with the magnificent architectural beauty of this historic building”.

The Surround Sound WallThe Surround Sound WallA huge undertaking of renovations, design, new technologies and innovations, this wonderful theatre is now being re-launched in its 50th season of celebrating the Arts as The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.

ERIC SOLOMON: The Man Who Would Be Prince

Cover Oct 1, 2010

Story: Lenny Stoute

Vancouver-Except for the one genre, Canadian music of all stripes, from Celine Dion to Alexisonfire has proved successful on the world stage. Homegrown soul is the one style that’s yet to cough up a genuine international star.

Montreal-born, globally raised Eric Solomon wants to change all that and he’s not kidding. He’s just dropped his calling card, an EP Antarctica, made his acting debut for MTV and is putting the finishing touches on a full-length album. It’s Eric Solomon all the time, on all fronts and on the line from his Vancouver home, he sounds like the right man for the gig.

The first single from the album, ‘ALL.’ hit radio like a hurricane, with and adding it immediately on serious rotation. So how does hearing his tune on the radio make the twentysomething Solomon feel?

“It was like walking on a cloud, I wanted to walk in the streets blessing people. Yeah”.

Sounds like something the artist frequently known as Prince would say and Solomon’s not shy about naming the Minneapolis mojo man as his primary source of inspiration.

Johnny Reid-The Return of Wheatfield Soul

Cover Sept 24, 2010

Story: Lenny Stoute

There’s nobody quite like Johnny Reid on the Canadian music scene right now. Ain’t no one else rocking the nation with a soulful country groove, equal parts Jim Reeves and Otis Redding, and driving all manner of country fans wild. For Reid, this volatile, some would say, unlikely mix has been a passport to the top, In a landscape where established artists are struggling with album sales, this country gent moves units like bullets in Baghdad.

His breakout album went gold, the two albums that followed went double platinum and his current collection, A Place Called Love is just about to turn the double platinum trick. At the recent CCMA show in Edmonton, he added to the weight of his award-burdened mantelpiece with wins for both the Fans’ Choice Award and Single of the Year.

Not too shabby for a guy who up until 2005, was toiling away as one of the song writing elves at DreamWorks. Reid, who emigrated to Canada in 1988 as a 15 year old from Lanark, Scotland, decided upon graduation to give the singer/songwriter thing a full shot, dropped down to Nashville and hooked up with DreamWorks, a perfect place to hone his song writing skills. When the chance came to cut an album for Open Road in ’05, Reid was primed to make the most of his opportunity, and promptly parked his ball, Born To Roll, outside the park and into gold status.

TERRY SUMSION: Surviving For Another Encore – “You Gotta Believe”

Cover Sept 17, 2010

BY RB RENEGADE

(Editor’s Note- Every so often Cashbox Canada takes the time and space to salute an individual whose accomplishments in the music industry stand the test of time. One such is Terry Sumsion, a pioneering Canadian music figure. On this occasion Nashville radio personality and DJ RB Renegade salutes Terry Sumsion. Sandy Graham)

Terry Sumsion is a true Canadian music legend. Period. His music has stood the test of time as the size and response of his audiences proves time and again.

Terry Sumsion is also a survivor and an inspiration. He has faced and continues to win a battle with esophageal cancer, his music being his own inspiration – his desire to continue to connect with his fan base the foundation of his strength.

I have been a Terry Sumsion fan for many years. As a Canadian and a musician I followed Terry’s music and performed his songs on a regular basis. It was only in the past couple of years however that I had the privilege of connecting with Terry as he agreed to be a guest on my Internet radio show. Through that connection a friendship was born. It is a relationship that I cherish and it is with pride and humility that I am privileged to attempt to do justice to the life of Terry Sumsion in this article.

Paris Black Promises Rockier Days Ahead

Cover September 10, 2010

By Bill Delingat

Paris Black was well known in the 80’s as a teen heartthrob and poster boy. Black had instant success with his debut pop dance LP “Secret Seduction”, that went gold with singles like “Better get Ready”, “Lover” and “Buried Alive’. In 1989 Black released his self titled LP “Paris Black” on I.S.B.A. records and started national tours and graced the pages of teen mags across the country.

Along the way the affable Black met many friends on the road including the late Kenny MacLean who not only became a great friend but would also be influential in Black’s musical direction later in his career.

With stardom in sight and a blossoming modeling career, Black abruptly dropped out of the limelight and out of sight. Most fans felt he’d gone to the US for better things and so did we. Years later we find him still rocking the stages but as one of the world’s best tribute artists doing “Billy Idol” and in a more interesting profession of “Live Art Modeling” which is utilized in his live stage show.

Similar to Canadian rocker “Alanis Morissette” who metamorphosed from her debut Dance LP of 1991 simply called “Alanis” to a new alter ego of punk grunge Diva with the 1995 multi platinum release of “Jagged Little Pill”, Black is now on the hard rock edge, breaking out with his latest release, the single “Breathe “from new CD “I’m Not Jesus”. The album boasts an array of killer tunes sure to put Black back on the right track.

Can’t Hold Back The Hawk-Ronnie Hawkins rocks again

Cover Sept 3, 2010

I got a brand new chimney made on top,

Made out of human skulls.

Now come on darling let's take a little walk, tell me,

Who do you love, who do you love?
Bo Diddley

At the dawning of rock'n'roll in Toronto, seems the answer was always Ronnie Hawkins, a burly Arkansas roadhouse rocker who burst on the scene like a megaton cherry bomb and left a crater that occasionally still burns white hot. He’s been awarded, lauded, Hall Of Famed and credited with a game changing legacy which still resonates on the Canadian music scene.

With a career that’s been going for better than 50 years, it’s understandable we don’t get to see The Hawk soar that often.

Those of us in the GTA and anybody within driving range are in luck big time, as The Hawk takes wing Friday Sept.10 at Port Credit’s Blues & Jazz Festival.

Ronnie Hawkins has never been one to preach only to the converted so I know he’d understand when this story took a turn. It was meant to be a celebration of this most major dude, let folks know why they should make the trip to Port Credit to catch this rare Hawk sighting. But I kept bumping up against people born way on the wrong side of The Hawk’s glory days, facing off against blank stares. So what would The Hawk do? Why he’d take two steps back, then come forward with a major barrage of music and rock’n’roll moves that'd leave no doubt as to who they should love.

Celtic Music in Canada

Cover Aug 27, 2010

by Don Graham

Celtic music is alive and thriving in Canada and has been for many years!

Celtic music is most generally Irish and Scottish music and is linked largely in Canada to Scottish/Irish diaspora in Newfoundland and Cape Breton.

Fiddles, pipes, tin flutes and string instruments like guitars and mandolins are prevalent in the Celtic music world.

The late John Allan Cameron, of Inverness in Cape Breton, was considered by most musicologists to be the Godfather of Canadian Celtic music. With his big twelve string guitar and swirling kilt, John Allan brought Celtic music to the main stage, opening for pop megastar and fellow Canadian, Anne Murray. Cameron would bring his bagpipes on stage at some point in the show and wow the audience with genuine Scottish and Celtic songs. He would then switch to a John Prine song or another popular song of the day; therefore bridging the gap between the Celtic and Pop world.

Bert Gould and Joe Owens Swing For The Fences With New Concert Company

Cover Aug 20, 2010

by Sandy Graham

Cashbox Canada is read by many Canadian music industry icons who would remember the name Joe Owens for many things; Dunn & Owens, CPI, Quality Records, Triumph (the band actually thanked Owens for their success on a televised Juno Award Show) amongst many positions he held in the Canadian market as well as author of ‘Welcome to The Jungle’ – the music industry bible for many years.

Joe Owens is actually a U.S. citizen, who ended up in Canada in the 1960’s when his Mum moved the family to Ontario. Owens went to school here, attending York, and continued on in the business vein, joining the music industry in the 1970’s when Canada was at its peak for live entertainment and label activity.

‘I was lucky to enjoy the industry at a time when it was booming. I had an American attitude but understood the Canadian way of thinking’, Owens told Cashbox. Owens was well respected in the industry, and was considered a trailblazer in his trade. After more than a decade here, he returned to the U.S. (some still feel a great loss to the Canadian industry) where he was a major player in producing The Billboard Music Awards. He went on to excel in sponsorship and marketing liaisons with video games (Sega/PlayStation), which led him to a position of working with promotion agencies to gain his experience with corporate sponsorship – which resulted in record stats tallying up to $ 400 million in sponsorship and promotions.

The Boy Who Would Be King

Cover Aug 13, 2010

by Don Graham

On January 8th, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi, was born to Gladys and Vernon Presley, a baby boy. He would be named Elvis Aaron Presley, and one day would be known simply as…..The King !

From his humble beginnings in that tiny two room house in Tupelo, Elvis lived what seemed to be a normal life with his poor but hard working parents. An only child, his twin Jesse Garon died in childbirth, Elvis was given whatever his parents could afford to give, but most of all he was given an abundance of love by his doting mother. It is widely thought that because of the passing of his twin, Gladys was determined that young Elvis would be protected and well looked after.

When Elvis was thirteen, in 1948, the Presleys moved to Memphis, Tennessee where Elvis would begin to form his musical style. He was influenced by the country and pop music of the day as well the church music that he heard and the music at the all night Gospel services he would sometimes attend. Combine these influences with the black R & B that he heard on Beale Street and you get an idea of where this mixture of sounds and feels would take this young singer.

Dwight Yoakam-What’s Gold Is New Again

Cover Aug 6, 2010

By Lenny Stoute

Country music’s renaissance cowboy Dwight Yoakam is back on the tour circuit and kicking it hard. The man from Pikeville, Kentucky’s assembled a mighty touring unit and is setting fans afire from Austin to Salinas. The set’s about to become hotter come August 24 when Dwight’s newest compilation Top Ten (New West) drops.

The tracks are drawn from the golden age of Dwight Yoakam, circa 1986-1993 and there’s not a dog in the lot. They also offer a timely reminder on the almighty impact Yoakam’s sound had on the direction of country music. Sporting painted-on jeans, Manuel jackets, a low-slung white Stetson and a punchy, authentic hillbilly sound, Dwight Yoakam rocked into the mainstream with a girl catching swagger, then turned around and moved the traditionalists over to his side with his evocative song writing and electrifying performances.

From the guitar riff of his very first single “Honky Tonk Man” off his very first album Guitars, Cadillacs, etc., etc; the dude was serving notice we were in the presence of something special. Twenty fours years later Top Ten rightly kicks off with the title track and Honky Tonk Man, from that genre bustin’ debut.

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