How One Independent Record Label Defied the Odds in Difficult Times

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Submitted by Evelyn Robinson

Seeing Stars

On October 2nd, nearly a decade since their last release, the eight-piece Canadian instrumental rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor (Godspeed for short) announced a new album, Allelujah! Don't bend! Ascend! The announcement came without any pre-publicity and without any hype, but fans were certain about the album’s quality before they’d heard a single note, and the band’s record label was forced to suspend pre-orders a mere 24 hours after the announcement due to the sheer volume of requests.

Memories of Michael Love!

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Submitted by Michael E. Williams

My chance meeting with Mike Love of the Beach Boy at WNCR, in the Penthouse of the old Stouffers Hotel in downtown Cleveland's Playhouse Square, went down Saturday, November 20th 1971.

I was an intern at the station answering phones and learning radio from David Spero who was a pioneering Dj and manager. (He is currently with The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.).

I would go to hang out with the Dj’s (David, Billy Bass, Doyle, Shauna, Denny Saunders and Jeff Gelb, Martin Perlich). The place was pure magic high above city where the view was great. The smell of sandalwood and patchouli permeated the air, when you got off the elevator.

One night The Beach Boys were in town at The Music Hall in support of their classic new release, "Surfs Up”. After the show Mike Love was stopping by the station to say hi and go on the air. The salesmen, record company staff and announcers would often invite artists back to the station after concerts to go live on air and to hang out. Not like today where interviews are never heard on air, just on line. But in 1971 it was all the fun, going live was the way we did it!

The action and studio buzz elevated as Mike Love came in. We ordered food and got comfortable as he talked about his devotion to Transcendental Meditation and the new record.

Kevin Kelly’s Ultimate Heavy Metal Photo Show

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Toronto experimentalist art photographer Kevin Kelly's never been one to rest on his considerable laurels.  He's more about creating works which fuse form, content and cultural relevance into a narrative sustained and developed by each of the show's works. The current exhibition, Rock and Religion, at Akasha Art Projects (511 Church St.) till Saturday Oct. 13, offers images of pop music icons and Biblical billboards on a canvas of brushed steel. With pieces averaging 40 llbs, Kelly's art is weighty in form and content, the later being a meditation on the similarities and differences between Rock and Religion.

"On a drive down to Kentucky I saw the two signs:"If you died today, where would you spend eternity?" and 'HELL IS REAL'  We were late for a dinner engagement so we couldn't stop. The billboards made me angry and on the way back, we retraced the route. After I photographed one sign I discovered they were double sided signs. So the four pieces were all shot in minutes.

"The signs made me angry because they were all about manipulation through fear. The presumption of some to believe they have some kind of de facto authority over others.

"I'm hoping the show will generate discussion along those lines."

The consummate experimentalist, Kelly spent months belt-sanding specially prepared pieces of steel in various shapes and sizes, working like an old time sculptor visualizing the image within the marble. Onto these are printed images of a variety of rock icons, having only in common that he's a fan of their music.

Radio Radio!

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By Michael E. Williams

First there was “Soul in the City”, a radio show in Montreal, that ran every Saturday from 6-midnight on CKGM from about 1981-1984. I designed it to showcase all types of musical talent. There was no music or guest off limits. Our guest list included: Stray Cats, Tina Turner, Fat Boys, Run DMC, Gladys Knight, and all the other artist of the day, local and international. I booked them, called them, engineered, hosted and edited the interviews. It became a hit live radio show with ratings that were historic considering that people pretty much stopped listening to AM Radio once the great Ralph Lockwood era ended (1972-1981). Geoff Sterling had actually declared at a staff meeting that he could broadcast to more people by standing on top of the station, using a bullhorn. He was right, until “Soul in the City” (originally called “Club 980”).

Recently I thought of reviving the show ‘til I talked to a local (Toronto) Program Director that referred to the music as geriatric…?   Today, however, most radio stations (greatest hits formats) are in the hands of people half the age of the music they are being told to play on air.  Part of the deal for me is that you have to trust me to select the music I play!

Mel Shaw and his Freedom For The Song

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It is hard to believe that it has been twenty five years since the "Two Cents Too Long" songwriters and publishers copyright campaign successfully played a part in the passage of Bill-C60 on June 8th 1988. Next year will be the 25th anniversary of the passing of the law.

Mel Shaw, who headed up and directed the campaign, will be publishing a book entitled, Freedom For the Song. The self-penned book will chronicle the entire happening from the inside,  beginning with the first meeting with CMRRA General Manager Paul Berry, and CMPA President, Greg Hambleton, to the Celebration of Songwriters debut evening. It will be a thorough and factual book with perspectives by industry participants, the artists,and the songwriters who stepped up to be counted. The forward will be written by Oscar Brand, the writer of "Something to Sing About".

Freedom For The Song is scheduled for publication through Voice Magazine Books in 2013 in time for the 25th anniversary celebration. The company was started in 1961 when Mel Shaw began to be active publishing and editing the Canadian Voice Magazine in Calgary ( it was published every two weeks until 1964.) The newly activated company will concentrate on Canada's Music Business Books and has other titles scheduled for 2013. They will come out in soft cover and will also be available in eBooks.

Hang Out With Radio Legend Dave Charles In His Room

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Dave Charles is a global broadcast and creative media strategist with over four decades of radio, talent development, and new format creation in over 45 countries. After the success of launching Toronto’s now-iconic classic rock station Q107 with business partner John Parikhal in 1977, he formed one of Canada’s top consulting and research companies, Joint Communications Corp, consulting both mainstream radio groups and multinational music companies in Canada, U.S., U.K., Europe and Australia.

Dave will be doing a weekly stint at the Mediazoic studio, on behalf of his current company, Media Results International, and helping program and roll out an exciting new stable of stations and partners over the next few months. Even better, he'll be taking that classic radio voice of his, the one that voiced the spots since Day One of the Mediazoic Era, and bringing it into the studio booth to helm his own Mediazoic radio show, entitled "In My Room".

Canadian Country Stars Shine in Saskatoon at the CCMA’s

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

The 2012 Canadian Country Music Association Awards shook Saskatoon on September 9, during one of the most star-studded events in Canadian country music. Dean Brody set the stage for an outstanding night of performances with his opening number, Canadian Girls; and it was clear from the start that it would be a night to remember for the 2012 nominee.  With his most recent album, DIRT, recognized with awards earlier this weekend, Dean Brody received two 2012 Canadian Country Music Association Awards for Album of the Year and Male Artist of the Year.

Johnny Reid took home the coveted Fan's Choice Award, following his 2012 win for Top Selling Canadian Album of the Year.  Carolyn Dawn Johnson went home with Female Artist of the Year and trio Hey Romeo took Group or Duo of the Year. Welcomed to the fold with her first CCMA Award was Rising Star Award winner, Kira Isabella.

On the Rise with Diamonds In the Rough


Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Dictionary Definition of Diamonds in the Rough: Someone  that has hidden exceptional characteristics and/or future potential, and has characteristics that would make them truly stand out from the crowd. The phrase is metaphorical and relates to the fact that naturally occurring diamonds are quite ordinary at first glance, and that their true beauty as jewels is only realized through the cutting and polishing process.

With the CCMA Awards on the horizon in Saskatoon, it is quite an exciting time for both established artists and the new country stars, ready to hit the main stage in the near future.  Our Canadian Country industry is a hard one to break into, and there are many wonderfully talented artists who deserve to be heard as well as played on radio. This year a unique concept is to showcase artists that are not on the various CCMA endorsed roster, but nevertheless have caught the attention from promoters to create a jam-packed two days of strutting their stuff for the music decision makers.




Drake Jensen’s Outlaw Ways

Drake Jensen

Story: Lenny Stoute

Drake Jensen ‘s had quite the career year. Since dropping his debut album "On My Way To Finding You" and coming out as Canada’s only openly gay country act in 2011, dude’s become a talking point in both the gay and Country communities. On account of his pairing with Jensen’s become a figure in that community as well.

Musically, he scored a Coup de Chapeau, a Montreal award which recognises emerging artists, enjoyed a slew of positive reviews for the album, played a sold-out gig at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, recorded a single, “”Little Toy Trains” to benefit the Make A Wish Foundation, saw airplay on both sides of the border for “All You Need”, performed a well-received Country Stage showcase at this Year’s East Coast Music Week and made his Nashville debut at the Commodore Grill.

Jensen likes Nashville, working and recording there as often as he can with Music City luminaries such as Beau Fuller, Jan Buckingham and Kim Copeland. Along the way he’s done tons of interviews with media outlets from Indiana to Ireland, charted on the European Country Music Association with “Wash Me Away” now 14 weeks on the chart and counting, released a clutch of high quality, intriguing videos and is just about to drop his latest single “Pancho And Lefty”.

The Bold Steps Story

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Story: Lenny Stoute

Bold by name and bold by nature, Meghan Bold has never been shy about taking a big step (yes, there will be puns). Raised in the badlands east of Cornwall and therefore deprived of culture, Meghan was saved by her innate knack for the dance, which became her ticket to ride.

“I took lessons from the MacCulloch Dancers for 11 years. I started taking Step Dancing at the age of 7 and began taking Highland at the age of 11. I was privileged with this dance troupe to perform locally and internationally. Places like Disney World, Mexico, Spain, New York, and all over Ontario and Quebec.

“I was chosen two years in a row to go on tour with a group from Scotland touring around Ontario doing a Scottish Variety show where I was the dancing act”.

The lissom blonde’s interest in Dance went beyond the performance aspect into the instructional arena upon completion of the gruelling exams leading to certification as a teacher in Step Dancing. In the last year, Meghan completed her exam to be a certified Highland teacher. She’s currently studying to step up even higher with a certification as a Judge, which will give her the opportunity to travel world wide judging Highland competitions.
” I started the studio in 2007 after moving to Toronto from Montreal, where I studied dance at Concordia University. What made me start my own studio was the fact I wanted to get back into dancing, but no one wanted to take on an adult student.

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