Cover Story

CMAO Awards 2014 Nominees Announced

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Submitted by Don Graham

The Country Music Association of Ontario,(CMAO) is getting set to present its 2nd Annual Awards Show with the nominees having just been announced. This year’s star-studded Awards Show is once again being held at the Flato Markham Theatre on Monday, May 26 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

Also announced Jason McCoy will be hosting this year’s show; "What a strong list of Ontario artists, I strongly urge all eligible CMAO members to exercise their right to vote and have a say in who wins an award.”  He goes on to say, “It's an honour to be hosting the CMAO Awards in my native Ontario. Our artists have helped redefine music both here at home and around the world.  I look forward to seeing many of you on May 26.”

Scheduled to perform at that event are Jason McCoy, Jason Blaine Autumn Hill, Marshall Dane, The Good Family, Beverly Mahood, Deric Ruttan, Tebey and The Western Swing Authority.

Johnny Cash Out Among The Stars

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Submitted by Don Graham

John Carter Cash, who acts as the spokesperson for his late father Johnny Cash’s estate asks "If you were going through your attic and found a Van Gogh, what would you do? You wouldn't put it in your bathroom; you'd want to share it with the world because you know people will love it. I mean, we could stop putting out new material and the classic material would still sell, but why not release something new if it's beautiful?"

And there you have part of the story behind the release of Johnny Cash’s “new” CD ‘Out Among The Stars.’

Out Among the Stars contains 12 previously unreleased Cash recordings from sessions in 1981 and 1984, including duets with June Carter Cash and Waylon Jennings. After Columbia, Cash’s label at the time, scrapped the recordings and they sat  in a vault until 2012 when John Carter Cash uncovered them. "We were like, my goodness, this is a beautiful record that nobody has ever heard," John Carter Cash said.  "Johnny Cash is in the very prime of his voice for his lifetime. He's pitch-perfect. According to Sony “ It's being treated as a new Johnny Cash album and being given the full frontline marketing treatment. They are expecting big things from this release."

Kelita Still The Strong One

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Submitted by Don Graham

Kelita Haverland, the pride of  Claresholm, Alberta, is a timeless talent. Singer, songwriter, comedienne and public speaker, she does all of the above well; very well.

The road she has traveled to get to where she is has been a winding one, sometimes filled with sharp turns and obstacles that required maneuvering. But it is also what has made Kelita the woman she is today. The strong one.

Growing up on a ranch in Alberta, Kelita would often use the hayloft in the barn as her Carnegie Hall, her “big stage”, using the light that shone in from the yard as her spotlight. The joy she found in “performing” was the perfect escape from the traumas she was enduring up until her teen years with an abusive brother and an alcoholic father. Her brother eventually died of a heroin overdose and her father took his own life after years of threats. “As a young girl I would stand with my ear pressed hard against the door listening to my mother plead with my father not to take his own life. Then one day she didn’t have to plead with him anymore.”

Kelita’s musical road was paved early in her life. While in church in Calgary, singing in the choir, she was encouraged to keep singing by a lady named Dorothy. Dorothy’s last name was McGuire and she was a member of the world famous McGuire Sisters recording group famous for their songs ‘Sugartime’ and ‘Sincerely’.

Betty Moon: Shining Bright from Toronto to L.A.


Submitted by Lenny Stoute

It’s tough to top Betty Moon at the top of her game. Which is where the Toronto native’s at when she calls to find me dealing with weather-related plumbing probs. I mention the temp is zip 16 and she’s so lucky to be basking in L.A. While agreeing that’s so, she ices my cake by casually mentioning being shaken awake by a 4.4 magnitude earthquake that morning. It’s as hard to top that, as it’s easy to get why Betty Moon is blowing up bigger in L.A. than if she’d stayed in the T.Dot.

After four albums of a female empowered hard rock sound incorporating elements of garage, punk and the heaviest of metal, Moon dropped 2012’s Rollin Revolution as a kind of Viking burial to all that. Coming at a time when the singer was beleaguered by heavy personal matters like death, it was intended as a cathartic blowout. Instead, powered by the hooky single ‘My Stupid Dreams’ ears were drawn to the album by its sense of dark celebration, in the process raising Betty’s profile like the Moon over the Hollywood Hills.

“I guess it was kind of a summing up album, of my screamer style. At the same time, the things I was writing about were so heavy, I had to find a way of making them relatable, without softening them too much. The songs had to work on every level to me before I put them out.”

The 43rd Annual Juno Awards Set For March 30th 2014 in Winnipeg Manitoba

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

In 2014, the best in Canadian talent will take centre stage in Winnipeg, Manitoba for the 43rd annual JUNO Awards. “Winnipeg is an energetic city of music and culture, home to numerous Juno Award winners and nominees,” said Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz. “We’re known for our great food and great hospitality and we can’t wait to welcome the JUNOS to the Heart of the Continent!”

Recently named one of the Culture Capitals of Canada, Winnipeg is home to such acts as The Wailin’ Jennys, Del Barber, Doc Walker, The Weakerthans, Imaginary Cities and many others. The city has a wide diversity of music genres, including award-winning Aboriginal and Francophone artists.

“Manitoba has a rich and diverse musical history – it’s an integral part of our identity and how we’re known around the world,” said Carole Vivier, CEO/Film Commissioner of Manitoba Film & Music and co-chair of the JUNO Host Committee. “As we welcome the JUNOS back to Winnipeg, we could not be more excited about inviting Manitobans to take part in this celebration of our local and national talent.”

Winnipeg previously hosted The JUNO Awards in 2005 at the MTS Centre, one of Canada’s leading entertainment facilities.

In addition to the awards ceremony, JUNO Week 2014 will bring a variety of events including the JUNO Songwriters’ Circle and JUNOfest, which showcases over 100 national and local artists at venues around the city.

Bill King ‘In Concert’ Essays, Images and Interviews


Submitted by Don Graham
Cover Photo Credit: Kris Sandals King

I’m not sure if Bill King has a business card or not. I have never asked  him for one and he never offered me one. He probably doesn’t need one and if he doesn’t have one it is because he could never fit all his occupations on one card.  Piano player, producer, arranger, songwriter, promoter, photographer, composer, radio musical director, radio host, teacher and more.  And now he can add published author to his list of occupations.

His new book, “In Concert; Essays, Images and Interviews” is finally available to the public.

If you ever wished you could sit down with someone who has worked with folks like Janis Joplin, Linda Ronstadt , Martha Reeves and played shows with Little Richard, Doctor John to name a few and then see it through their eyes, then this book is a must have.

Willie Nelson, Levon Helm, Clapton. Hendrix, Joplin, Chuck Berry, Miles, Oscar, James Brown, Brubeck, Diana Krall, Tony Bennett, and Jeff Healy, and no, this isn’t roll call at the Hall of Fame it’s some of the artists included in this collection of essays, images and interviews.  Photographs taken of artists doing what they do best, and captured at just the right moment.

Tegan and Sara – Double Heartthrob

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Great music comes out of the West Coast of Canada, and these new shining stars fit that bill. The twin sisters, Tegan and Sara Quin, were born in Calgary, Alberta and began playing guitar and writing songs at the tender age of fifteen. They formed a band without a drummer or bass player (Plunk) and used their schools recording studio to record two demo albums: Who's in Your Band? and Play Day. In 1998, they won Calgary's Garage Warz competition, using the studio time they won to record their first professional demo, Yellow tape, which was followed by Orange tape and Red tape.

Sam Roberts Riding High with Lo-Fantasy


Submitted by Don Graham

Canadian rocker Sam Roberts is having a big month of February, The Sam Roberts Band debuted their song Broken Teeth is a featured song for the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 and a new album Lo-Fantasy was released on February 11th, 2014.

The Olympics have a thread of music running through them, from National anthems sung and played on victory podiums to Olympic themed songs to songs the athletes  use to motivate them.

Canada has always contributed great music to these events and for the Sochi Olympics musicians from the Great White North like Fefe Dobson, Down With Webster and Montreal's Sam Roberts Band have joined forces with CBC to release new tracks, which are being played during the network’s coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Sam Roberts Band’s song “Broken Teeth” will make its debut on Feb. 15. This is something frontman Sam Roberts has been looking forward to and gains a spot for this song on the band’s new release.

‘Broken Teeth’ found itself without a home and, luckily, it found a pretty amazing one that I could never have imagined,” Roberts said. “It’s a song about picking up the pieces at your lowest moments and finding that you’re still alive and breathing and have something to live for.”

And this year Roberts is paying close attention to the Olympics.

Liona Boyd The Return of Canada’s Sweetheart


Submitted by Don Graham
Photo Credits: Don Dixon

Ask anyone what name comes to mind when you say these words; Canadian, female, classical guitar,  and 10 out of 10 people will answer the same; Liona Boyd. So ingrained and branded is Liona Boyd that she has become synonymous with the classic guitar. And rightfully so.

Boyd was born in London, England moved to Canada with her parents when she was eight years old and became a naturalized Canadian citizen in 1975. In 1963, Boyd saw a performance of the English guitarist Julian Bream in the auditorium on the 7th floor of the Eaton's building at the intersection of Yonge and College in Toronto. Boyd vowed to master the guitar after watching Bream's performance. Bream "changed my life when I was 14", Boyd wrote in her autobiography In 1988, Stoddard Publishing of Toronto, Canada published Boyd's autobiography In My Own Key: My Life in Love and Music.

As a teenager Boyd took private lessons with Andrés Segovia, as well as with Eli Kassner, Narciso Yepes, Alirio Díaz and Julian Bream so her foundation in the classical guitar world was formidable.

Billy J White Damn Fool Thing To Do

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Submitted by Don Graham

Southern Ontario native Billy J White is living the dream. The 22 year old country singer, songwriter  and performer is set to release a  7 song CD titled ‘Damn Fool Thing To Do’ at The Boston Manor in his hometown of Burlington, Ontario.  This will be the second multi song release for the up and coming troubadour  and he is thrilled.  “ I’m really excited about this” the young singer said from his home, “We’ve released a couple of singles from this package and got pretty good reaction. “  He went on to say “We put out ‘Saturday Night’ and a real fun tune called ‘Keep Them Kisses Comin’.’There’s been a lot of learning and growing in the last few years, the process of creating this CD and then traveling across Canada solo on my Western Canadian Radio tour and some thought that  was indeed a “damn fool thing to do!”  I have had a great time writing, performing, meeting new fans and making new friends. Truth be told, I can’t wait to see everyone on my next tour.”

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