Canada’s Country Gentleman Tommy Hunter Turns 80

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Submitted by Don Graham

Tommy Hunter celebrates a milestone birthday on Monday, March 20th, 2017. The much loved TV personality and country music singer will turn 80 on that day! Hunter retired from the concert stage 5 years ago to the day in 2012 and has been happily ensconced in retirement ever since.

The soon to be octogenarian is best known for Country Hoedown and The Tommy Hunter Show which broadcast into Canadian homes for a groundbreaking 36 years. Canada’s ‘Travelin’ man’s endearing stage presence and familiar voice brought back a simpler time and place when family gathered around the television on Friday night - a ritual what was well established and time honoured regardless of where in the country you lived. Tommy Hunter remains a true home grown legend and of course, always, Canada’s ‘country gentleman’. Hunter will celebrate the day with family and friends!

The following is a story we ran in Cashbox in 2012 on the eve of Tommy’s 75th bitrthday.

Win a Bobby Curtola Swarovski Crystal Pendant for Valentine’s Day!

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Cashbox Canada and Tropical Glen have teamed up with Canada’s original Canadian Teen Idol to give away a beautiful Swarovski Crystal Heart Pendant from the Curtola Destination Love Signature Collection.

Bobby Curtola is truly a Canadian icon starting his career in the early 1960’s and achieving success with his hit records such as Fortune Teller, Hand in Hand With You, Hitchhiker, Three Rows Over and others, achieving Gold Record status in Canada for his efforts.  In 1966, Curtola won the RPM Gold Leaf Award for becoming the first Canadian to have an album go gold.  These awards would later be named The Juno Awards. Amongst his many awards he is in the Coca Cola Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, The Order of Canada, and has had a street named after him in his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Irene Carroll Shares Success Stories of 2013

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

American Fashion Designers, the late Bill Blass and Cher’s wardrobe wizard, Bob Mackie, were the integral force for Toronto based, Irene Carroll to form her own company.  Encompassing 15 years of marketing and cross promotion expertise in the corporate, entertainment and lifestyle sectors, i see / Irene Carroll Et Associates Public and Media Relations emerged in 2001.

High profile campaigns were immediately executed including international media and “out-of-the-box” strategies for The Bay, Zellers, Canadian Olympic Athletes, and Authors. One Canadian Musician, paid close attention and in 2003 Irene launched Juno nominated, Amy Sky and her 4th CD, “WITH THIS KISS A Romance Collection”, with Estée Lauder, making Sky the only Canadian musician, to ever be financially supported by an international prestige cosmetics company for her Canadian tour.  While SARS took its toll on most live performances that year, mini concerts were held at Estée Lauder counters in Sears’ stores nationwide with some boasting sales increases of 1700%.  This bold campaign garnered over $22 million in editorial media coverage and provided new areas of CD distribution, increased sales for the artist and different sources of media.

David Bowie Is

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Submitted by Mark Smith
Copyright: The David Bowie Archive
Photos Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario

Recently I attended the Art Gallery of Ontario press preview for “The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910-1918 showcases the dynamism, creativity, and innovation of art produced in Europe in the years leading up to and during the First World War.”

As part of a press preview, I was given the chance to stand back and view the exhibit: bonus no crowd to surf, a great opportunity to see multiple works within the same vantage point. A truly great collection of paintings, hung chronologically, reflecting this important time in history.  As a fan of art and art history, I was captivated by the influences each artist had on the others; utilizing colors, twisting images to suit their interpretation of their time and place. Chagall, Duchamp, Kandinsky, Leger, Matisse, Modigliani, Mondrian and Picasso all feeding off each other and together changing the way we see art.  The exhibit closes with quote by Einstein projected on the floor and wall that reads:
“ The World Cannot be changed without changing our thinking”

The Mothers Behind The Cashbox Team

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PHOTO: Dad Sandy and Mum Graham
Mother’s Day Lenny Stoute

Unless your daddy’s Lionel Richie, most likely the first melodic voice we all hear is that of Mom. Whether she was a cooer or a straight talker, Mom always came in on the softer side of things. As we grew and tried her patience, the voice would on occasion turn as harsh as Courtney Love. But it was only out of love and because of the love, the storms never lasted long and clear skies were never far away.

My Mom was a piano playing lady balancing a large family so by the time I came along, the story was that Mom would only settle in at the keys when she was feeling really chill or alternately, when she was pissed at us beyond words. Funny thing, as I recall, the set list never varied according to mood. Her set list was a mix of the classics and 1930’s era ‘parlour’ music, executed with the same fluid delivery and with great attention to the originals.  So while I have great difficult recalling my first impressions of my mother’s voice, she will forever in my memory be entwined with the cascading minor key chords of “Claire de Lune”, the very first piece of music I can recalling hearing. And in the hearing, rooted to the spot in awe.

To paraphrase John Sebastian, I’m glad I got this chance to say a word about the music and the mothers that inspire us all. Top Three Mother songs-‘Mama Tried’, “Mama Told Me Not To Come’ and ‘Mother and Child Reunion’.

Mima, Music and Memories Sandy Graham

Happy Mother's Day Love Michael

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The hearth of our home was the warmth of my mother’s arms and  wherever the music was - the radio, the record player and my mother’s voice singing the hooks of her favorite songs.
My mother, Gloria, a strong, proud, self-educated woman, often went without for her four children and made magic happen every day. She is my role model and through the years she has been both a mother and a father to me.  In a word, she is music and music is love!

She had great sayings, expressions, to explain situations that required a longer explanation that would have been beyond my years and my understanding. I would ask “Mom where you going?” She would say “I am going to see a man about a dog”. My reply always was, “Yeah! We are getting a dog!”  My favorite line was “I am gonna get the butter from the duck”. That was a warning of an impending spanking. I got my last one at 16 when she threw a soft house slipper like a boomerang and it hit me in the head in another part of the house.

She made her best cakes in the middle of the night. In the morning there was always a piece missing so I would ask, “Mom who ate the cake?” She would say “it called to me last night, saying taste me, taste me”. Her cakes were special -the butter icing cake with coconut and the amazing chocolate cake. Her cakes soothed my tears and fueled my desire to be somebody.



My Dad’s mother always held court with her new husband Larry and together they had a small two bedroom apartment at Dawes & Danforth Roads in Toronto. They would decorate the place with blue and red dazzling aluminum wreaths and baubles and frilly bells and bows like some Dr. Seuss cartoon come to life. But, it wasn’t until the blinding chrome aluminum Christmas tree came out that we knew it was truly Christmas with The Vernons.

It was the Christmas of ’73 when the entire extended family was all able to return to their homestead for the first time since the early 1960s. It was a rare occasion that my Dad’s sister and her daughter were able to fly in from California to complete a Vernon reunion that included six brothers/sisters, their respective spouses and no less than nine cousins in attendance.  Did I mention it was a two bedroom apartment?

The women helped Gran cook the meal. The men stood on the balcony and smoked/drank, attempted to assemble toys from the instructions supplied  and/or take the kiddie brood out to the park for ice-skating and tobogganing.

Grandma Vernon's Xmas 1966Grandma Vernon's Xmas 1966Then the time would come for dinner to be served. The children sat at tables in the kitchen or in the living room using TV trays while the adults sat at a massive mahogany dining room table. It was adorned with candles and a crocheted table cloth handmade by Gran. The table required a centre leaf to expand it for accommodating the size of our clan.

The Christmas Spirit

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Story: Michael Williams

Government cheese is processed cheese that was provided to welfare and food stamp recipients in the United States from the 1960s through to the early 1990s. (The style of cheese predated the era, having been used in military kitchens since the Second World War and in schools since as early as the 1960s.)

How poor were we? We qualified for government cheese and I remember getting presents given to us by the National Guard, spam in a can and powdered eggs and milk in a box…Cleveland 1962.
Being a Jehovah’s Witness growing up was not the easiest thing at Christmas time or year round. You see we did not celebrate Christmas and survived so I don’t know what the fuss is about in the news now?

But it was a great time of year for us because of the vacation from school and the family gets together with Uncle Norris and Uncle Amos playing the blues on Sivertone amp and homemade guitars. Even though we did not celebrate the holiday, we lived in the spirit of it! By sharing with family and friends.

The Best Gifts Ever

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By Sandy Graham

As the Editor-In-Chief and COO of Cashbox Canada, it was my idea to share some personal moments with the Cashbox team and you, our readers. I asked all of our contributing journalists to share their one favourite memory of Christmas, and as we are a music magazine, to name their most favourite Christmas song. So the December 23 issue of Cashbox is all about music and memories. From our desk to yours.

It is hard for me to name my one favourite memory of Christmas, so I will share one from my childhood, and one from my life as a Mum.

Rekindling the Christmas Spirit – Gillian FitzGibbon

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Reflecting on Christmas past in my life has taken me on a journey filled with warm childhood memories, and missing those family moments. There are plenty of happy memories of Christmas in my life, but there is one in particular that I reach out to in order to rekindle the magic of Christmas, which takes me back to when my son Nicholas was 6 years old. We had moved in to  a rural setting  the Spring of that year and it was our first Christmas, which would be Christmas of 1991.

As a single parent, working and managing life at home had enough of life’s challenges. It was difficult finding the Christmas spirit in the midst of bills and the loneliness of a new life in a rural setting, where I can say we knew at least two people.

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