Radio, Radio

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When the DJ said ‘more music is coming your way’, I always waited!  As a kid, listening to my crystal radio under the covers with a flashlight and Superman comics was a nightly ritual. It was the prime source of entertainment in my parents’ house. Searching for “great radio”…from production to programming became a lifelong obsession for me. The universe of current radio formats is worn out.

In my search for great radio I go to the west coast of Canada and check in with an old friend, Mr.Wah, aka Benoit Dufrense, the legendary Montreal music personality from Chom Fm. When he left radio, it was less for it. But, like James Brown, Benoit is back doing the most innovative and necessary radio programs and programming in the country.

MW: What made you come back to radio?
BD: A new station went on the air, CKPM 98.7, in the suburb next to where I live in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver, literally 15 minutes from my house. I found out about it just prior to a trip to California in early April. It’s a local, independent station whose signal reaches the Tri-Cities, Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam. It reaches a significant amount of people on the East side of the Lower Mainland. More importantly, it’s independent, so very open to ideas. It’s the first time since 1983 that I have worked at an independent station. The other 2 are, CHOM Fm in Montreal for 10 years, and 9 years at CFMI in Vancouver.

Strap in Homies, Here Comes Jakes On A Plane

Jake Bluez Photo Credit: Jared Rosenbaum

Story: Lenny Stoute
Photo: Jared Rosenbaum

Jake Bluez will not be denied. The rising young rapper has had to deal with serious issues in his life that would make a strong man tremble. Jake Bluez has never stepped back, never backed down. Right from the get go, it’s been struggle and overcome in order for his voice to be heard.

The young man who grew up enamoured of music always knew he was going to be something in that game and eventually found his way in through software, which introduced him to the wonderful world of producing. It was a natural fit for the tuned-in, inquisitive youngster and by Grade 8 Jake Bluez was producing tracks for his crew.

Dude was still in high school when he stated getting paying gigs and attracting the attention of local rap heavies like Rich Kidd and Mister Mista up and comers like Jonezy Jay who features on the Jake Bluez joint “Hit The Strip”.

Out of town, Jake Bluez was feeling the love from the scenes in Baltimore and Cleveland which were picking up on his darker beats.

But beat love alone would never be enough for the forward pushing Jake Bluez who took the big next step from producer chair to rapper over here about three or four years ago.

“After watching various people perform my music I had the urge to get out there and see what I could do. I started freestyling at parties and found out I had the skills So after I awhile I start taking some of the rhymes and building real songs with them, turning them into solid material.

When a Drummer Sings ! The James Clark Institute

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First he must step out from behind the drum kit. That’s when the all hell breaks loose! This is kind of like being naked in public!

James Clark stepped out from behind the drum kit with a hand full of songs , released a  series of singles and EP’s,  including  “Son of a Side Show” 2011,  “Sideshow Unattraction” 2008 and “Home is Where the Heart Attack Is” 2004. These releases won him fans in the UK, Europe, and Australia.  When I first heard his key song, “The Worse Photograph Ever Taken of Me”, I dug it. A second listen revealed a wealth of songwriting talent. So I had to talk to artist James Clark and his producer, Moe Berg.

MW: Let’s start with the song that got international attention, the song about your sister.
JC:  “The Worse Photograph Ever Taken of Me”. My sister got  hold of a hideous old school photograph then she carried it around in her purse and showed to some of her hot girlfriends. She’d say to them, “Don’t you sleep with him”.  That inspired the song.

MW: In terms of songwriting, how did you do this from behind the drum kit?
JC:  I started out as drummer and felt frustrated being just the drummer. I had an older brother who was a songwriter.  For me, songwriting was a labour of love at first. Then I recorded my songs and released “Home is Where the Heart Attack is”. I was really surprised by the reaction I got on that record.

Stax and the Canadian Connection


Submitted to Cashbox Canada
Photo: Canadian Mel Shaw, Vic High Band Mark Wender CEO of The Soulsville Foundation receiving the Cashbox Canada Cover

April 26, 2013, Cashbox Canada did a cover story on the legendary Stax label, the event in Memphis Tennessee.Canadian and now Nashvillian Mel Shaw, writer and producer of ‘Dream Singer The Musical’ made an agreement in 2012 to have The Vic High R&B Band become a core part of the ‘Dream Singer’  Victoria edition. In 2012 they traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to record the first tracks for the musical.  In 2013, Mel Shaw arranged to have the group come to Memphis to record and experience the world of Stax, courtesy of Mark Wender, CEO of The Soulsville Foundation.

Until We Meet Again!Until We Meet Again!The Stax Museum of American Soul Music took it to the streets with its STAX TO THE MAX, all-day, outdoor, free music and arts festival. This year’s event, billed as Arts Memphis Presents Stax to the Max, took place Saturday, April 27, 2013.

The I.M.F’s Rock The Tattoo


Submitted to Cashbox Canada

If you are a fan of R &B soul, funk and the Rolling Stones then the names Bernard Fowler and Stevie Salas will not be strange to you.

Bernard Fowler is not new to the big stage with 25 years on the road with the Rolling Stones and being featured on several Stones solo projects his voice has captivated audiences worldwide. It all started back when he was first hired in 1985 to do backup vocals on Mick Jagger's first solo album, “She’s the Boss”’ this proved to be the beginning of a lasting business and personal relationship, Jagger on speaking about Fowler back in 1998  said Fowler impressed him ,"He is also very strong and can sing for ages. He's got a lot of range and a lot of stamina vocally. You have to have that if you're going to do long nights and lots and lots of shows, all in the open air; he can easily keep up with me." Fowler is currently on tour with the Stones helping them celebrate 50 years of music.

H’Sao – (It’s a) Family Affair

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Submitted by Michael Williams

In August of 2001, the members of the afro-pop band H’Sao make Montreal their home. It is a long journey for the Rimtobaye brothers: Caleb, Mossbass, and Israel, from their native Chad. Since settling in Canada they have had incredible success. Drawing from gospel, traditional African music, as well as their Chadian roots, H’sao displays clear soul, pop, and R&B influences. It is their masterful a capella singing that sets them apart. I recently had the opportunity to interview Israel from the band.

MW: How long have you been in Canada?
Israel: Since 2001, 12 years now.

MW: Why Quebec?
Israel: We have a few friends here. Our first Canadian shows were here and our first language, coming from Chad, is French.

MW: You were all singing together back home in Chad?
Israel:  There are members from two families in the band. We grew up together.  We’ve been together almost 17 years now. I was 9 when I started to sing with them.

MW: Did you record before you came to Canada?
Israel: Only demos. Our first album was done here in Canada.

Headstones Release New Comeback CD - Love + Fury

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Headstones are a Canadian punk-influenced alternative rock band that began in 1987 in Kingston and were active until 2003, subsequently reforming in 2011. The band consists of vocalist Hugh Dillon, guitarist Trent Carr, bassist Tim White, and drummer Dale Harrison. They frequently sold out at small and mid-sized venues and were known for their high energy live shows, particularly the antics of Dillon, who interacted with his audience in a variety of ways including spitting on them and hurling lit cigarettes into moshpits. The songwriting tackled many serious and taboo topics, including suicide and even necrophilia. Headstones were one of the most commercially successful Canadian rock bands of the 1990s.

The band signed to MCA Records in 1993 and released Picture of Health, with the original drummer Mark Gibson, but he left the band after touring for Picture of Health was over. Dale Harrison was recruited for the follow-up Teeth and Tissue in 1995. The Headstones broke more ground in 1996 with Juno Award nominations for Best Group and Best Rock Album, while releasing Smile and Wave that same year. Three years passed before Nickels for Your Nightmares was released, in which time Carr and Harrison became fathers and Dillon recovered from a drug addiction.  The band would release one more album, on BMG, entitled The Oracle of Hi-Fi, before breaking up in 2003.

Ska/Reggae Legends Speak

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Submitted by Michael Williams
Photo at right: Desmond Dekker

Back in 1955, Chris Blackwell heard blind pianist Lance Hayward and his band at the Half Moon Hotel in Montego Bay, Jamaica. He decided to sell Jamaican music to the world. His first production, Millie Small “My Boy Lollipop” sold 7 million records in 1962. It was the biggest ska to achieve world-wide success until he released Desmond Dekker’s, “ Israelites “, with Island Records in 1968. The early days of the Jamaican music industry gave birth to Ska/Reggae and are brought to life in Perry Henzell’s 1972 classic film “The Harder They Come”. The hero of the film, played by Jimmy Cliff, is an uneducated country boy who sang like Sam Cooke.  In his hunger to become famous he is talked into signing away his song’s publishing and performance rights.( His music was included in the sound track of the film.)

This sounds like the story of most artists in the beginnings of their music careers. Recently, I got to talk to Dennis Alcapone, Leon Delroy Williams, Dawn Penn and Willi Williams about those early days.

Freedom For The Song Completes Upgrading & Colour Correction Phase Of All Video Material

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Mel Shaw, president of Canada's Recording Legacy, has announced that the very important initial  upgrading & colour correction phase of all materials for  FREEDOM FOR THE SONG have been completed.

"Freedom for the Song" is a special 25th Anniversary salute to the elimination of the compulsory license for recorded music. The law had been in effect since 1924. Shaw was the Campaign Director of the TWO CENTS TOO LONG copyright change campaign   in 1986 & 1987. He comments that "Freedom for the Song" will bring to light for a new generation, a digital multi media presentation for schools showing a time of great achievement for creative songwriters.

During the inaugural phase Shaw gathered all existing video, audio, print, newspaper clippings, and all other materials from such sources as the Government question period tapes, CTV morning shows, local and various newscasts along with statement and interview tapes produced by Shaw.

The process included the conversion of all stored video materials that were created in 1986/1987 from such divergent sources as EMTEC 3/187 AMPEX KCA -60 Sony BCT-3 Beta Cam Scotch T120 / SCOTCH 120 / KODAK.

TSO Season Finale & a 200th Birthday Party for Wagner and Verdi at Luminato!


Submitted to Cashbox Canada

For Rhapsody in Blue (June 1 & 2), one of the most popular American concert works, conductor Bramwell Tovey will take to the piano to play Gershwin’s beloved jazz-infused Piano Concerto. Before leading the orchestra in Elgar's Enigma Variations– a series of charming musical sketches about the composer’s closest friends –Tovey, an eloquent host, will share some of the unsolved mysteries of the work’s “secret” contents. The June 2nd performance is at the George Weston Recital Hall (Toronto Centre for the Arts) and also features Bernstein’s “Overture” to Candide.

Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell returns to the TSO (June 5, 6 & 8) to perform both classical and folk-inspired works. When Bell performed with the Orchestra in 2009, the Toronto Star raved that “the way [Joshua] can make his instrument and the music sing, in every sense of the word…makes him one of the world's finest musicians.” With TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian at the helm, Bell is joined by double-bass soloist and composer, Edgar Meyer, in the Canadian première of Meyer’s TSO Co-commissioned Concerto for Violin & Double-Bass. Joshua Bell will join Music Director Peter Oundjian onstage for a lively post-concert chat!

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