Music

Drake Jensen: Well on his way to finding you

Drake Jensen

Story: Lenny Stoute

Faced with a landscape of rocky crags and vast expanses of ocean, with nary a cowpoke in sight, for generations the people of Cape Breton have turned to country music. Why this is so likely has a lot to do with the type of music they first heard on the radio or that was available in local record stores. Country singer Drake Jensen grew up in Glace Bay, Cape Breton, a location defined by coal mining, fishing and music all around.

“ Growing up I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t music in the house. I was used to singing along with my parents’ record player and of course, most of what they would play would be country. The Celtic music was all around too but country music was the real popular music of the time”.

Growing up in The Glace, Jensen got into classic guitar at 12 and by 15, like any self-respecting teenager, was playing in a rock band, more keyboards than guitar. But as happened with the classical phase, Drake found he didn’t like it much and drifted back to his country roots.

The next phase was all about gigging around wherever they’d let him plug in, honing song writing skills and bettering his vocal chops in the service of bringing original interpretations to existing material. He’d hit on the notion of being an interpretive singer as a way of getting attention and it proved to indeed be the way forward.

In 2001 Jensen released his take on an Anne Murray hit.” A Little Bit Of Good News” and scored his first taste of lower-case stardom as the tune scored airplay throughout the Maritimes

"Made in China" Has new meaning with a twist of Canadian in the mix

Made In China

Story:Bill Delingat

In the early 50’s “Made in China” was known as a stamp on the bottom of cheap goods brought in as competition to the more expensive North American original items. In the ever changing World market, “Made in China” is commonly known as one of the phrases associated  with world economics.

The China growth also includes the entertainment industry which is booming as well. Right in the main stream is a band called M.I.C. who are burning up the stages on television and “live houses”. Where did this new artist originate from? Hong Kong, No, Beijing, wrong again, Canada, right on!

Yvon Serré, the leader ,writer ,guitarist and front man of M.ade I.n C.hina was born in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario. He first picked up a guitar at the age of 8 and within three years was playing lead in his first band ‘Love Boat’ and at the ripe old age of 14, was writing his own songs and playing in bands such as  ‘The Junior Beatles’ ,’Rock Wizard’ and ‘Thalassa.’ Serré quickly progressed to performing at major rock clubs with his off the wall stage antics.

It was at one of these gigs in Montreal at The Club Soda that the band was spotted by producer Denis Pantis who signed them to his label “Les Disque Millionare /Rockbec” where the band released a single and went on the road to support it. Serré soon formed the “Yvon Serré Groupe” , but this time wrote all original material.

Jaimie Vernon and The Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia

Jamie Vernon

Story:Lenny Stoute

Photos: Courtesy Jaimie Vernon

(Jaimie Vernon has been an inspiring presence on the Canadian music scene for 25 years or more. This month Jaimie joined Cashbox Canada as a contributing journalist and we couldn’t be more delighted to have him.)

If you look in the new Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia under ‘Canuck' indie music icon’ you’ll see a picture of Jaimie Vernon. Ok, actually you won’t but that’s only because Jaimie himself has written the Encyclopedia and his innate modesty forbids such self-stroking in public.

After a quarter-century or so as performer, record label owner, encourager and supporter of Canadian indie talent, Jaimie Vernon is now making his greatest contribution to Canadian culture with the publication of The Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia.
“ It started with (indie label) Bullseye Records, when I began accumulating photos, press materials and early recordings from large numbers of bands. I became aware there was nowhere to go for reliable documentation of all these bands that would go on to be large parts of the landscape By 1988 it seemed kind of natural that we would put out a music magazine, Great White Noise”, says Jaimie of the project’s genesis.

A huge quantum leap in the saga came via a chance conversation with major music journo John Sakamoto who mentioned that The Toronto Sun had licensed a music Encyclopedia but weren’t happy with it.

BLANK CITY a Must See film of a Cultural Art and Musical Revolution

Television

If you knew better then to think of bringing sandwiches to the first Police Picnic then you would remember when disco died and hairspray bands soon got the Doc Marten Boot from a new and raging scene emerging from, England, New York, and down under, “Punk Rock” was born. The Toronto punk scene was blossoming in the 70’s with venues like Klub Dominoes at 1 Isabella Street. The 3rd floor nightclub that had once been an after hours disco Mrs. Nights, bounced to the tunes of Deejays like Chris Shepherd, Dave Allen, Ivan Palmer and then the video files and charts by Arthur and Brian who’s collection of rarities inspired a new scene of in club visual arts far before digital imaging made it way to the airwaves.

Groups like “Japan, Anti No Where League, The Deserters, UK Subs and Black Flagg” cranked it up to what now became Canada’s number 1 underground scene breaker.

The trend was set and the scene kept growing, Nuts n Bolts, Crash and Burn and the after hour’s scene of Voodoo lounge with Dave Allen & Siabhon spinning tunes at the top of a growing surge for an anti normal society. Reunions are abound with the Klub Dominoes’ Alumni, Bat Cave, with Ivan Palmer and talk of the long over due reunion for the Voodoo club and lounge that are bombarding the cyber blogs and social networks on line.

WAYNE BUTTERY’S GOT THE SUMMERTIME BLUES. IN A GOOD WAY

Wayne Buttery 1

Story: Lenny Stoute

Once you go Bananas you never go back. Just ask blues man Wayne Buttery who’s made a career on its appeal. Buttery broke into the Toronto music scene in the Sixties as part of the Canadian Blue-Eyed Soul Invasion, which included acts Tony Flaim, George Oliver and Johnny Wright. All those cats were singers though and Wayne was content to wail on guitar for the moment. In the early Seventies he stepped up the act by co-founding a 50s nostalgia act called Bananas and helped move them in a short space of time to being the best known band of their kind in all of Canada. At first, Wayne wasn’t singing and didn’t really care all that much until the night the singer didn’t show for a gig.

“ We did a quick check and as I was the only one who knew all the lyrics, I was it. It was three songs before my knees stopped knocking and then after that I started getting cocky”.

With Wayne now the lead singer, the Bananas appeal soared and toured all across Canada and into the US for the rest of the decade, along the way playing with stellar blues acts of the period including Wilson Pickett, Muddy Waters, Dutch Mason, James Cotton, Gary ‘U.S.’ Bonds and like that.

Of course, all good things come to an end. Or not.

Country Music Association of Ontario Announces New Board of Directors

Story by Natasha Slinko

Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAO) hosted their Annual General Meeting at the Victoria and Albert Pub in Scarborough Ontario this past Sunday.  After a short meet and greet, the CMAO moved forward with the agenda to elect the new blood for the board.

The CMAO is a very dedicated group of music industry professionals that founded and now serve on this board and it is through their hard work and dedication that the CMAO is what it is today.  In a short time they have built up a membership of over 400 and still counting and are fostering relations with all aspects the Canadian Country music world.

The goal of the Country Music Association of Ontario is to foster and support the growth and development of Country Music in Ontario, for managers, artists, singers, songwriters, musicians, bands  promoting the incredible talent we have here not only in Ontario, but across Canada. CMAO promotes the various genres of country music that encompasses country, folk, alternative, bluegrass, roots and Canadiana.
The CMAO is happy to have now expanded the new Board of Directors to include music industry veterans who will bring their expertise and knowledge to the table to further the growth of this organization. The CMAO is dedicated to expanding it's membership to further enhance the networking and participation of the Canadian country music scene.  education and encouraging creativity and the unique contributions of the entire country music industry. 

Stewart Goodyear and The Beethoven Effect.

Stewart Goodyear,

Story:Lenny Stoute

Meet Stewart Goodyear, Canada’s hottest rising star you’ve never heard of. That’s because the 32 year old former child prodigy is a classical pianist and you know how many Junos they take home ever year.

But this year it’s going to be different because this year Goodyear is taking his much-acclaimed Beethoven Sonatas program to the international stage. While he boasts a repertoire ranging from Bach to Messiaen, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt and Gershwin, it is for his impassioned renderings of Beethoven’s sonatas which have brought him to the attention of the classical music fans.

Along with passion, Goodyear brings showmanship to the table. Much of the pre-show attention given to his Beethoven programs stemmed from the Guinness Book of Records type feat, in which he performed all 32 Beethoven sonatas, spread over nine concerts in five mind-blowing days, from July 27 to 31 during the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival in 2010.

"It was a journey, and I knew it was going to be joyful no matter where the journey took me. It's a very overwhelming feeling to be immersed in the evolution of Beethoven's creativity."

The feat, which may a world first, represents a major milestone in the gifted pianist's life as he said he'd always wanted to do this since he first had the idea at age 15. He recalls at 3 ½ playing back what he heard on the radio, what his parents were playing in the home. He started formal lessons at 7 and by 8 started composing pieces, the first for his school choir.

The Beach Celtic Festival Kicked Up Its Heels at the Dora Keogh

The Beach Celtic Festival Logo

By Sandy Graham

On a beautiful sunny evening (certainly not reminiscent of Scottish weather) friends, family and entertainers that are part of the Beach Celtic Clan gathered at the famous Dora Keogh on the Danforth in Toronto, Canada to support a worthy cause, a women’s shelter known as Julliette’s Place.

The date was the exact date that Julliette, whom the shelter is named after, was killed by her abusive husband, right in front of her two children. Sad but this is only one story of many of the same, and the support and awareness for this is urgently needed. That is why The Beach Celtic Festival has decided to make Juliette’s Place their charity of choice for this year on September 10 and September 11 in Kew Gardens in the Toronto Beach.

The amazing night of entertainers, auction items, and a feeling of a kitchen party prevailed and a beginning amount of dollars were raised to start the campaign that will continue on until the actual festival in September.

Hosted by Hugo Straney, who also MC’s for the Beach Celtic Festival, the evening rang in four hours of dancing, singing and fun for all – with a free admission but the request to purchase the $ 20 gift bags with all the proceeds donated for the cause.

Meghan Bold and her Bold Steps Dancers tore the house down (and the floor and I think the Dora was quite happy there were tenants underneath with the thundering sound of their heels pounding out the rhythms of both highland and step dancing.

'BURY THE HATCHET' BRINGS NEW ORLEANS COLOUR AND MUSIC TO HOT DOCS

Aaron Walker & Big Chief Alfred Doucette.  Photo by Scott McWhinney.

Story:Lenny Stoute

On a rain swept New Orleans night Big Chief Alfred Doucette is rolling through the back streets in search of the club where the Mohawk Hunters are singing. It takes some finding, which makes this opening sequence apt metaphor for Aaron Walker’s 'Bury The Hatchet' 

The Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans have been a part of that city’s culture for hundreds of years, yet few visitors have ever seen one. That’s because the Chiefs don’t do Bourbon Street and its commercialized Mardi Gras. Their centuries old traditions are played out in the back streets and laneways where the community they serve live. For these are no maskers for a day and they throw no beads away and in ‘Bury the Hatchet’ Big Easy resident and award winning director Aaron Walker brings their story to vivid, pulsing, life.

The Mardi Gras Indians traditions are based on honouring the memories of the Choctaw Indians who sheltered runaway slaves in the bayous of Louisiana. For the descendants of those slaves it’s become a manifestation of grassroots New Orleans African-American culture.

Syndicate content