Cover Story

The CMAO Awards 2015

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

The Country Music Association of Ontario aka The CMAO, is presenting  its 3rd Annual CMAO Awards Show. This year’s star-studded event will once again be hosted by Jason McCoy of the Road Hammers, and will be held Monday, May 25, 2015, at the Flato Markham Theatre.

Peterborough country star Tebey leads the pack of 2015 CMAO Awards nominees with a grand total of six nominations, including Single and Album of the Year. St. Catharines,Ontario native Tim Hicks follows close behind with five nominations and Jason Blaine, Runaway Angel and Small Town Pistols each come in with four nominations apiece. See the full listing of 2015 CMAO nominees below.

Host for the evening, country music stalwart Jason McCoy,  had this say about hosting the CMAO Awards show “I am super pumped about getting to celebrate the great country music in Ontario. Everyone says all the good country is coming from out west? I think we’re here to prove that to be untrue. I am proud of all these nominees and the CMAO that supports them. Gonna be an awesome show.”

The 2015 CMAO Awards, presented by Slaight Music, will feature performances by: Jason Blaine, Leah Daniels, Tim Hicks, Russell deCarle and Deric Ruttan with additional performers to be announced. The Western Swing Authority will return to the awards as the event’s house band. The CMAO Awards weekend will include the second-annual CMAO Conference on Sunday, May 24th and Monday, May 25th at the Markham Delta.

The Hawk Still Soaring At 80!

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Submitted by Don Graham

Ronnie Hawkins, Rompin’ Ronnie, The Hawk, turned 80 years old in January of 2015. They wanted to have a big celebration in Toronto but The Hawk was in Florida and didn’t want to back to the ice and snow so it was scheduled for a warmer time of year. The month of May sounded good so it was scheduled for May 8th. The idea was hatched by Zoomer Radio, AM 740 spearheaded by Norm Edwards and Robbie Lane. Robbie of course has a long history with Ronnie having been in his original band.

The event was held at the ZoomerPlex and was broadcast live and hosted by the afore mentioned Norm Edwards and Robbie Lane. The seated audience consisted of winners of an AM 740 contest and the rest of the mingling floor level crowd was made up of industry folks and friends and associates of the Hawk’s. Bernie Feidler, the founder of the Riverboat, Jane Harbury, Larry Leblanc,Pat Silver, Roger Ashby, John Donabie and a host of others.

Harry MacGregor The Man, The Music and The Memories

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Submitted by Don Graham

He never had a hit record, wrote a hit song, played before thousands of people or won any major awards.  He was never even really a full time musician, although he could have been, but chose a different path early in his life to support his family and take care of business.

Harry would laugh to think he was on the cover of Cashbox, a music industry magazine but his love and support of music has earned him that place. Harry MacGregor,  Big Harry to many, Harry Hollywood to others, Dad to two great kids Stephanie and Stuart,  sweetheart to wife Bonnie MacGregor and Grandpa to Harrison and Fiona. He was a larger than life figure, although in life he was already a six foot three presence. He bore an uncanny resemblance to Joe Cocker and many times was mistaken for Joe. “ One time a man came up to while I was dressed in my white suit and said ‘ Great show Mr. Cocker’. I said I’m not Joe Cocker and he said “Okay, your secret is safe with me!”

M.T.L. (Made Them Lions) Forgotten How To Dream

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Submitted by Sandy Graham


M.T.L. (Made Them Lions) is a name you should remember – because they are hot and ready to break internationally and they are not only Canadian but from the intoxicating and beautiful city of Montreal, Quebec.


Founded by Mike Valletta and Matt Gillis, the band is known for their pop rock with hints of “feel good” reggae. Having shared the stage with some of today’s best known artists, including Simple Plan, Down With Webster, Sean Paul, B.O.B, The Wanted, Flo Rida and many more.


Speaking to Mike at his home in Laval (a suburb of Montreal) it is obvious why there is such energy on stage with these five young artists. “Matt and I have known each other since we were kids and as the expression goes we are brothers from another mother. Our families know each other, there is history there and I believe it resonates within the band. We grew up in Laval, went to High School together and with the grace of our families, got to use home to learn to play and hone our skills. Quebec is hard to compare to anywhere else as far as the music scene goes but we are all bilingual so we fit on both sides comfortably.” (Two tracks on their album has been written and recorded in both English and also French as a way to pay homage to their bilingual roots and culture.)

Mike Goudreau Still Boppin’ the Blues

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Reading the bio on Mike Goudreau’s website it says he was born in Newport, Vermont and that he was raised in Stanstead, Quebec, population 2500. So how did that happen? ‘Years ago, the closest hospital for people to go to was in Newport, so babies were born there and brought home to Quebec. I had a Francophone Dad and an Anglo Mom and ended up with dual citizenship. Pretty cool actually !’

Music was always part of the mosaic in the Goudreau home. ’My parents were huge music fans. They loved country music; Conway Twitty, Hank Williams were two of their favourites. They even went to Nashville for holidays.  Rock ‘n’ Roll was also on the turntable at home – Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, Bill Haley and the Comets. I grew up on it all and I am a better musician for it.’

Blues and Roots Radio The Way It Used to Be

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

With my Scottish roots and my radio history, how could I not feel an instant kinship with Stevie Connor?  The soft spoken burr of the lad from Scotland, now residing here in Canada is enchanting and his dream to make a difference in music is even more noble.

Six years ago, his wife to be Anne travelled to Scotland, to work for a short time in the land of her ancestors. The classic story; they met, fell in love and Stevie followed the lovely Anne back to Canada.

“Anne was instrumental in getting me to continue to do music when I got to Canada. She basically picked up the reins and managed me. I was a professional Piper playing at the highest level and spent 12 years in Edinburgh with the Edinburgh Police Pipe Band. I discovered Canadians have a place in their hearts for bagpipes. I could busk playing guitar, whistle and Pipes and making $400 in an afternoon. Anne would find the right pipe tunes or songs for me to play that would draw a crowd.” 

Then fate opened a door. “In 2012 we were asked to do an internet radio show. Two hours was how we started. The short version of this story is we eventually were offered to lease the license and take over the radio station. We decided to do this and we never looked back, buying the station in 2013."

Beverley Mahood Atmosphere

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Submitted by Don Graham

Beverley Mahood was “A Girl Out Of The Ordinary “ in 1998 and has risen to extraordinary heights in the interim. The Canadian singer/songwriter/actress is moving steadily ahead, always with her eyes on the prize. With the new single, “Atmosphere” currently at radio and  there is an album with the same title due out shortly.

“I guess you could say that I am living in my perfect "atmosphere" right now,” Beverley said by phone as she was packing to head back to Nashville. “This new song of mine “Atmosphere” pretty well sums up how I feel right now and I’m so happy with how it turned out. Bob Funk did a great job on the production and kept it honest and true to who I am.” When reached in Nashville Bob Funk said, " It's pleasure working with a talent like Beverley. She's always open to new ideas and wants to create her own sound and make unique records,"

Ray Wylie Hubbard The Ruffian’s Misfortune

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Submitted by Don Graham

Ray Wylie Hubbard may not be a household name but he is in my house. I’ve been a fan since back in the Cosmic Cowboy days of Jerry Jeff Walker and that Austin outlaw bunch.We caught up with Ray in Austin, Texas during SXSW. We talked about his new album The Ruffian’s Misfortune and his five decades in the music business.

Ray became one of the key musicians who took folk music to honky-tonks.He would play anywhere that had beer and somewhere to plug in. With his anthem “Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother”he brought the hippies and rednecks together, at one time on stage referring to them as “hipnecks”. Bob Livingstone was at the party the night Ray conceived ‘Redneck Mother’ after an ill-fated trip across the street to buy beer. Later on while Livingstone was playing in Jerry Jeff’s band, J.J. broke a string and said to Bob, “Play something while I change this string.” Bob only knew a verse and chorus of ‘Redneck Mother’ but sang it anyway. Then in 1973, knowing only one verse and the chorus, Jerry Jeff Walker called Ray from a recording session asking for the rest of the lyrics. Ray says, “Jerry’s version had an intro on it that said, ‘This song is by Ray Wylie Hubbard.’ Now the trouble with irony is that not everybody gets it. So, I’d go and play clubs and people would keep requesting “Redneck Mother.” I was a folk singer and I’d have these other songs I’d want to do. So I finish the song and people would shout,“Sing it again! Irony!”

Patricia Conroy Right Place Write Time

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Submitted by Don Graham

Patricia Conroy has had 8 number one singles and 5 number one videos on CMT and was 
CCMA Independent Female Vocalist of the Year in 1999, 2000 and 2006. Pretty impressive laurels to be able to comfortably rest on. But the Montreal born, Nashville based singer/songwriter is far from living off that legacy but rather is one of the most productive and active Canadian songwriters in Music City.

“I’m really happy with where I am right now musically and personally here in Nashville. I’m writing with and for some great Canadian artists and feel as productive as I ever been. And some of the productivity includes cuts of her songs by Emerson Drive "She Always Gets What She Wants", Smalltown Pistols. "I Only Smoke When I Drink" Beverley Mahood " Hope and Gasoline","Sunday I’m an Angel",Tebey "Now I Do”, Michelle Wright "Crazy Stupid Love", Morgan Evans " Like a Tornado" (which was the  #1 song and video in Australia) and  Bobby Wills "Undressed". I saw Bobby Wills perform this song in Edmonton at last year’s CCMA Awards Week show and was impressed with how thrilled he was to be able to write with Patricia. There are also 9 co-writes with Jimmy Rankin on his current album,  including the  title track  "Backroad Paradise" and the hit  "Cool Car."

And the Winners Are Juno Winners 2015

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Once again the Junos have come and gone and we think this year they got it right. The fans still love Michael Buble, the Arkells are still making great music, Kiesza is breaking through, Magic truly are magic, and Sam Smith is popular here. We are extremely please that Leonard Cohen received Album of the Year, which goes to show age truly doesn’t matter but talent tells it all!

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