Music

Hike Up Your Socks Liz Kennedy

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Submitted by Alonzo Evans

It does a disservice to Liz Kennedy’s music to label it Americana and leave it at that. The term scarcely encompasses what she does. Her latest release Hike Up Your Socks shows plenty of rootsy influences, but it never stops there. There are more artful singer//songwriter styled turns and a few outright efforts in the pop tradition that never compromise their artistic value. Blues, jazz, folk, and pop all exist side by side on Kennedy’s latest studio album and her long-standing producer Joel Jaffe results in another close-quartered and deeply atmospheric recording. Kennedy sounds like she’s playing mere inches in front of you and there’s a strongly immediate quality about her vocals that compels your attention. Her remarkably elastic voice is well highlighted on Hike Up Your Socks and it is a pleasure to listen as she handles twelve first-class songs with confidence born from personal security and artistic command.

BTW- Piper Hayes, Terra Lightfoot, Carlos del Junco, Winona Wilde, Taylor Knox, Dawson Rutledge

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Canadian folk singer, songwriter and social activist Piper Hayes celebrates the launch of her new full-length recording titled ‘Piper & Carson’ with two album release concerts in Ontario. The first show is inHamilton at This Ain’t Hollywood on December 7, and the second is in Toronto at The Dakota Tavern on December 8.

Nowadays, Hayes performs and writes closely with her partner Carson Ritcey-Thorpe and, after a 2017 western Canada tour, many prime showcases at Folk Music Ontario, Folk Alliance International and South East Regional Folk Alliance (SERFA), they have become beloved darlings of Canada’s folk music scene. First single “For All We Know” is about the celebration of life and death. Hayes states, “It is important to seize the moment. To live fully we must embrace life’s unknowns, because for all we know…we only get one chance.”

August Burns Red Ring In the Holidays With Last Christmas

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Two-time Grammy nominees, August Burns Red, are excited to kick off the holiday season with their reimagined version of the classic Christmas song by Wham!, Last Christmas. August Burns Red have made a highly-anticipated annual tradition of releasing Christmas covers, with last year's being, What Child Is This? (Greensleeves), and the beloved Home Alone theme song the year prior.

Bassist Dustin Davidson from the band explains, “ This year I sat down with the intention of writing something upbeat, melodic, and shredtastic. When we decided to cover Last Christmas I kept in mind that most people only know the chorus of the song. We didn't want to recreate something word for word, or note by note, so I took the main hook and built a bunch of original ideas around it. The lyrics to Wham's Last Christmas are very sad, so if you're feeling lonely this holiday season, I hope this cover finds you well .”

This week, August Burns Red were announced as nominees for the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards in the Best Metal Performance category for their song, Invisible Enemy, taken from the band's latest full-length album, Phantom Anthem. This marks the second Grammy nod for Lancaster, PA's August Burns Red, as they were nominated in the same category in the 58th GRAMMY Awards for their song, Identity, from 2015's, Found In Far Away Places.

BTW - Kayla Diamond, Phantom Phunk, The Achromatics, Chad VanGaalen, Sarah Hiltz, Julian Taylor Band, Yukon Blonde, Sin City Boys, Riverdale Share

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Toronto pop artist, Kayla Diamond has shared new single "What You're Made Of." This second single comes from her anticipated debut EP Beautiful Chaos, out November 24 via Cadence Music.

Listen to "What You're Made Of"

Reflecting on the inspiration behind the track, Kayla says, "Growing up, it wasn't particularly easy being part of a community that didn't encourage young women to follow their dreams- especially the dream of being a pop artist. Thankfully, my family saw past that and my father always told me that nothing is unattainable. While dedicated to my father, this song is for all the young women that could have been something more had they been given the right push, and for anyone who doesn't believe they deserve to achieve their dream."

Her debut single "Carnival Hearts" has over a million streams and was a smash hit of the summer, spending the season on the CHR Top 40 chart, peaking at #26.

Top Music Star Inspired Slot Machines with Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Madonna

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

In order to attract new audiences, casino operators are always keeping an eyes-out for recent trends and CHANGING THE WAY GAMES ARE BEING PLAYED or changing the games itself. This is especially true for slot machine games which are designed around new themes such as music to appeal to a new genre of fans.

‘The King of Pop – Michael Jackson’
It’s no surprise that the King of Pop has been immortalized in a slot machine game. The first of two slot machine games, it offers two bonus games based on Michael Jackson’s music videos for “Beat It” and “Smooth Criminal”. Clips from the video are incorporated into the game’s design including Michael making his famous moonwalk across the screen leaving wilds behind. With the background music also including Michael’s hits, this slot machine will appeal to his fans as well as pop music enthusiasts.

A Christmas Caravan from Sultans Of String

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By Lenny Stoute

Santa came to Toronto last week so this week it's Sultans Of String’s turn to come to town bearing musical gifts. The internationally known quarter has come with the awards and nominations befitting their place at the forefront of Canada’s world music groups. Their musical gumbo of Celtic reels, flamenco, Manouche Gypsy-jazz, Arabic, Cuban, and South Asian rhythms show a penchant for celebrating musical fusion and human creativity with warmth and virtuosity, and has thrilled audiences around the globe.

Sultans Of String is Chris McKhool (Club Django, Jesse Cook, Pavlo) - six-stringed violin. Kevin Laliberté (Jesse Cook, the Chieftains) - flamenco guitar. Eddie Paton (Robert Michaels) - flamenco guitar. Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk) - bass. Chendy Leon (Alex Cuba, The Parachute Club) - percussion.

On the eve of the Ontario Christmas Caravan tour, we caught up with McKhool at his home base in Toronto, alternately packing and chillaxing The tour is named after the group's current album, Christmas Caravan, and McKhool is quick to assure it’s not your usual Christmas cookie.

BTW Cold Specks, Edward Sayers, Teea Goans, The Projektor, Jean-Michel Blais, Bjork, The Marcus King Band, The Sun Machine

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Cold Specks Photo Credit Neva Wireko

Toronto-based singer/songwriter Ladan Hussein, known on stage as Cold Specks, is touring her most personal and revelatory work yet, Fool's Paradise. The artist recognized for her twistedly, enthralling lyrics and distinctive soulful voice, has dug deep and returned to her roots. In this masterful body of work, Cold Specks intimately explores her identity as a Somali-Canadian woman. She’s unveiled and allowed herself to stretch her palette thematically.

Known on stage as Cold Specks, CBC Music claims that “Fool's Paradise is a family-influenced affair, but above all it's Ladan Hussein at her rawest, most individual form yet — and the result is stunning.” NOW Magazine says Fool’s Paradise is “the sound of an already-awe-inspiring singer fully coming out of her shell.”

Patrick Miranda Daylily

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Alternative-rock quartet, MOVEMENTS, have released a new video for their song, Daylily, a fan favorite off their new album, Feel Something. The video backs up the inspiring lyrics that singer Patrick Miranda wrote for his girlfriend as she was struggling with depression and mental illness.

The video centers around a real-life fan of MOVEMENTS named Hannah who is seen in a sprawling forest enjoying a “pink cloud summer." Beautiful and eye-catching, the video captures the power of the good days that occasionally occur in the midst of depression, with the goal being that they outnumber the bad days.

Miranda gives a statement about the inspiration for the song. “My current girlfriend is the inspiration for this song. [During her ongoing treatment for mental illness] there would be a lot of bad days, but there would also be good days. She called the good ones her ‘pink cloud days.’ When she was going through another tough time last year I wrote this song for her.

Robert Plant Carry Fire

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Submitted by Iain Patience/Cashbox International Journalist

There are stars, superstars and even megastars. Then there is Robert Plant, a guy who is, or has been, all three of them together, and who remains at the very top of the universal musical tree. Refreshingly, speaking with a relaxed Plant, on the near-eve of the release of his latest album, ‘Carry Fire’ on Warner, the man himself is a genuine delight, a man with no axe to grind, no self-obsessed front to maintain, no precious barriers that all too often seem to come with the fame. Much to my relief, Mr. Plant is an instantly likable, friendly, chatty sort-of guy next door. Exactly the kind of guy you feel you’ve known most of your life. Which, if you’ve been listening to music for much of it, is pretty much the case.

Catching up with the man himself, he is enjoying the beauty of the misty Welsh Mountain hill country, an area he is constantly drawn towards and where he clearly feels completely both at home and at ease. We joke about local highlights, having both lived in the area off and on for many years, about his love for a local tipple (a brand of organic Herefordshire cider) and then move on to the music and his love of life, travel, discovery and musical experiment and excitement.

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