Cover Story

The Rascals Once Upon a Dream


Submitted by Don Graham

That moment at a live theatre show when the lights go down and the announcer admonishes you about electronic devices and what you should do with them once the show starts is familiar to most of us. But how many times have you heard “If you have a cell phone or camera please leave them on. You can record, or take pictures or do whatever the F**k you want!!” Well that’s exactly how The Rascals show, Once Upon a Dream begins. It kind of set the mood and tempo for the evening. This is a rock ‘n’ roll show cleverly disguised as a play.

The Rascals new stage show, Once Upon a Dream, opened in Toronto on August 14, 2013 at The Royal Alexandra Theatre hosted by Mirvish Productions.

Cashbox and the Celtic Connection


Submitted by Cashbox Magazine

The Beach Celtic Festival, Toronto’s only outdoor ceilidh, is marking it’s 10th Anniversary on September 7th and 8th at Kew Gardens in The Beach.

Cashbox Magazine COO and co-founder Sandy Graham created The Beach Celtic Festival in 2004 to honour her late mother, Jemima Sutherland Graham, who was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and immigrated to Canada when she was 12 years old. “ As kids growing up Mum was always reminding us of our Scottish heritage and teaching us the importance of Scottish traditions. She was a proud Canadian but never forgot her roots. It was important to her that we didn’t forget ours either”, Graham said in a recent sit down. “And I have instilled the same values in my two boys, Graham and Ian. Graham plays the pipes and Ian is a musician as well, like his great grandpa, Pipe Major Donald Sutherland, Mum’s Dad and his Great Uncle Murray Graham, a renowned piano player during the 1940’S and beyond.’

So what defines Celtic and what is a ceilidh ? (pronounced kalee). Celtic folks are Scottish, Irish and  Welsh  and a ceilidh is traditional Gaelic gathering , always involving music and dancing. “ Unlike some of the other “gatherings” or highland games, The Beach Celtic Festival is not a competition, there are no contests, just music, dancing and fun” Graham said. “ I think that sets us apart from the other events. There is also no cover charge as it is in a beautiful park and is free for all to enjoy.”

JJ Cale Call Me the Breeze

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Submitted by Don Graham

JJ Cale, singer-songwriter and producer, called by many the architect of the Tulsa Sound, has passed away. He succumbed to a heart attack  on  Friday July 26th, 2013 at Scripps Hospital in La Jolla, California.  He was 74.

Cale isn’t, and never was , a household name, although I guess that depends on the household. But some his songs remain in heavy rotation on the radio nearly 40 years later. Most folks have no idea that  Cale is their author. That was a role he had no problem with.

"No, it doesn't bother me," Cale said  in an interview posted on his website. "What's really nice is when you get a cheque in the mail."And for decades the cheques rolled in. The  artists who covered his music or credit  him as a direct influence reads like a who's who of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — Clapton, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, Mark Knopfler, The Allman Brothers, Carlos Santana, Captain Beefheart and Bryan Ferry among many others.

It was Eric Clapton who perhaps forged the closest relationship with Cale. They were like brothers, musically and personally. Clapton also recorded Cale songs ‘Travelin' Light’ and ‘I'll Make Love To You Anytime’ and included the Cale composition ‘Angel’ on his most recent album, Old Sock. Other songs like ‘Layla’ didn't involve Cale directly, but clearly owe him a debt. The two also collaborated together on The Road to Escondido, which won the Grammy Award for best contemporary blues album in 2008.

Bobby Curtola – Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing !

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Submitted by Don Graham

Bobby Curtola continues to captivate concert fans and this summer is gearing up for full shows in Parry Sound and several other unconfirmed Ontario towns as well as Western Canada. Touring with his band, The Sensational Hot Rods, Curtola has a show that appeals to his loyal fan base and a legion of new ones.

“We try and keep the show fresh” Curtola said from his home in Las Vegas. “We know the folks come to hear the hits and we’re more than happy to sing them, love it actually, but we also want them leaving the venue saying what a great show it was.  Besides my hits, I do songs by my friends and peers of the era.I got to know Elvis first when we would pass each other in RCA’s Studio B in Nashville. I would be leaving and Elvis would be coming in to record at midnight.  Later in Vegas, where I was signed by the Hughes Corporation to a multi-million dollar performing contract, Elvis would sneak in to watch my show now and then.  That was huge for this Canadian kid.”

“Conway Twitty and I worked together and in fact while he was alive, he only gave the license to record ‘It’s Only Make Believe’ to myself and Elvis. Now of course with his passing the publishers allow everyone to record it.  I love to share some of the stories of the great acts I got to know and work with and take pride in knowing I was there.  I also am a firm believer in giving people what they paid to come and see and I  think our energy onstage is passed on to the audience.”

Country in the Woods: Putting “Country” in Cottage Country

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Submitted by Don Graham

Beautiful Parry Sound, Ontario is perhaps best known to Canadians as the birthplace of hockey legend and Canadian ambassador, Bobby Orr. But after this year,it will be on the map for another great reason. On July 26th, 27th and 28th, at the Foley Fairgrounds, a country music festival like no other will be cementing it’s place in local history. The first annual Country in the Woods Festival will take place over those three days featuring a 100% Canadian lineup. And lo and behold, Canada there IS enough amazing talent in this country to fill an entertainment bill without having any cross border acts. The three headliners for the three days are Jason McCoy, Doc Walker and Gil Grand, all seasoned acts with strings of hits in their catalogues.  The rest of the talent is emerging, up and coming talent that will fill the summer air with rockin’ country sounds for three days.

Foley Fairgrounds is located about 8 miles south of the town of Parry Sound in Seguin Township and is about 100 miles north of the city of Toronto, just a quick, easy drive up the 400 highway.  There is camping available on site and additional camping about 5 minutes away, and hotels are not far away if camping isn’t your style.  Foley Fairgrounds is a beautiful site and with its cleared and wooded areas will give the visitors a true taste of the picturesque Ontario countryside.

Beaches Jazz Festival Celebrates 25 Years


Submitted by Don Graham

Summer’s Here and the Time is Right For Dancing in the Street ! We who live in this little piece of heaven known as The Beach in Toronto know it’s summer not just by the calendar, the warm sun and the crowded beach but by the annual arrival of The Beaches International Jazz Festival.

For 25 years the Beach has been opening its heart and closing down Queen Street East to make way for the Street fest portion of our version of Mardi Gras, as well the main stage events in both Woodbine Park and the original home of the BJF in Kew Gardens.

25 years is a long time and a lot has changed since 1989:

  • The average house price in Toronto in ’89 was about $275,000 - now in 2013 close to $500,000
  • Paula Abdul had a chart topper with ‘Straight Up’
  • The New Kids on the Block were ‘Hangin’ Tough’
  • Don Henley was singing about  ‘The End of the Innocence’

Tens of thousands of Chinese students take over Beijing’s Tianamen Square, a rally for democracy and in Canada in hockey, Calgary beat Montreal to win its first Stanley Cup and Toronto’s baseball Blue Jays won the American League East Division title for the first time in their 13 year history.

O Canada Celebrate The Sounds Of Summer!


Submitted by Sandy Graham

All over the world Canadians are known for many things; we are renowned for our manners (known for apologizing even when it is not our fault) our endurance of cold winters (known as hardy little Canadians) our attitude about freedom (we support gay marriage and non discrimination for all), we love our coffee (Timmy’s has become a name on it’s on) our hockey teams and our artists who have made it here and beyond.

We have shown the world we have a list of Canadian music stars; Alexis On Fire, April Wine, Arcade Fire, Gordon Lightfoot, Celine Dion, Anne Murray, Michael Buble, Justin Bieber, Hedley, Bryan Adams, Andy Kim, Carly Rae Jepsen, Michelle Wright, Great Big Sea, Men Without Hats, Rush, Tom Petty, Bobby Curtola, Drake, Neil Young, and so many more. Do a Google search - you might be surprised to learn who is Canadian. 

We think Canada actually has five seasons; Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, and FESTIVAL SEASON ! Canada is known for Festivals – All over Canada it has already started. We have Jazz Festivals, Blues Festivals, Country Festivals, Italian Festivals, Celtic Festivals, you name it you can find it in Canada from now until around October.

Rancid Still a Time Bomb

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Submitted by Ian Robertson

Review of The Transplants and Rancid

Echo Beach,Toronto (Avenues & Alleyways Fest)

Wednesday June 12th 2013
I missed the first 3 bands which was a mistake. I hooked up with my friends in a park beside Echo Beach when I heard The Transplants vibrations in the air. My friends didn't want to go in yet because they wanted to finish "eating a sandwich" (HIMYM). I zipped up my bag; ditched them. Running, trying to not step on my loose shoe laces, I darted through the crowd of people (young, old, punx, rude boys and everything in between). Luckily, I got to the mosh right as DJ DJ was playing (one of my favourites). I’ve been a Transplants fan for years on years, but never got a chance to see them live. I kinda thought they would be a weird band to see live since they have a lot of samples and different instruments in their tunes, but I was proven wrong by their amazing performance. Tim Armstrong made his presence clear in his cool subtle way, which I’m pretty sure everyone in the crowd wanted to embrace. The first time I saw Rancid was in 2008 and I remember my Joe Strummer shirt got torn from being pressed against the fence in front of the stage but when Tim came out it was worth it to see a musician that I admired from his days in Operation Ivy and on. He also shaved his beard which in my opinion is a better look for him. They played some new songs (that seems promising) off their new album that is set to be released on June 25th 2013.

The Rolling Stones and other Happenings - Fifty and Counting

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Submitted by Don Graham

The unsinkable, unstoppable, indefatigable Rolling Stones have named their latest tour 50  and Counting to commemorate a half century of making music together. The Stones and the Beatles didn’t really hit North America until the following year, 1964, or late December of 1963.,so what was the North American landscape like in 1963?

The Bobby’s were still ruling the charts, Darin, Rydell, Vinton, Curtola et al. Our first taste of what was to come from over the pond was a record made by Del Shannon in 1963 of a song called From ‘Me To You’ that he had picked up while touring England. The song was written by a then unknown songwriting team, John Lennon and Paul McCartney and would be included on the Beatles debut album. To be honest, when I heard the Beatles version I thought they were covering a Del Shannon song.

Life, Liberty and Music Meet Jeff Liberty

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Jeff Liberty has spent over 25 years in the music industry, wearing various hats as an artist, publicist, agent, writer, broadcaster, promoter and manager. He also is a proud father of five and a loving husband to his wife, Cynthia. None of these are easy accomplishments in a business known for its lack of loyalty and trust.

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