The Stool

Music City Logo

by Keith Bradford


You should always open your show with an up-tempo song with a lot of movement on stage.


Always do at least 3 songs back to back at the beginning of the concert before you start talking.
By now you are ready to talk and catch your breath and the audience wants to hear what you have to say also. Your song selection depends on the age group of your audience as well as other factors. Case in point while playing for an all male prison show you wouldn’t want to sing love songs.
One thing is certain that a good patriotic song always goes over well these days.
Somewhere in your show bring a stool out on stage and bring it close to the front of the stage. This is where you sing the most heart wrenching song in your list. Before you sing the song you should go into a short monologue about the song. Because you are closer to the audience than you have been the whole show and because you are sitting just like they are there is a natural bond happening between you and them. You are suddenly at their level and not standing over them.
At end of song get rid of the stool and resume high energy level.
If you are lucky enough to have a hit or some hits keep them toward the end of the show.
Never open your show with the most popular song you have because where do you go now.
You just gave them what they came to hear and you got no where to go.
The music business YA GOTTA LUV IT

2011 Juno Nominees Announced As the Big Show Returns to Toronto After A Decade On The Road.

Feb 4, 2011 Cover

Story: Sandy Graham

With the requisite pomp and circumstance, it was announced that Broken Social Scene, Hedley, Down With Webster and Johnny Reid will all be performing on the Drake-hosted 40th Juno Award show in the city on March 27. 


Shania Twain is confirmed to be on hand for induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and Neil Young has confirmed that he will be here to accept his Humanitarian Award. CARAS president/CEO Melanie Berry described this year’s event as “pretty exciting and pretty star-studded” following the announcement of nominees at a well-attended media scrum at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel yesterday.

Separately, FACTOR issued a statement announcing that 60 FACTOR supported artists received a stunning 69 nominations, including Caribou, Chilly Gonzales, Crystal Castles and Holy Fuck. The funding organization has had a long history supporting artists nominated for Juno and Country music awards but rarely gets acknowledged when artists take the stage to offer thanks to mums, cats, hairdressers et al.

Who Makes The Money?

Music City Logo

Story: Keith Bradford


Recently I was quite impressed with the appearance of the tellers in a very popular bank I visited.  Each bank employee was in a very nice outfit and all of the women appeared to have a recent manicure.  It seemed to be the perfect job for anyone that don't mind working inside.  Later that week I found out that the janitorial service employees of that bank make more money per hour than the tellers. 


Don't get me wrong; ``those guys and gals looked mighty spiffy in their 3 piece suits and dresses but it disturbed me to find out they don't make as much money as the janitor.  That prompted me to do some further investigation on the money split in the Music Business.  It was interesting to find out the road manager for an artist as an example, makes more than the artist in some cases. 


By the time the artist pays all the expenses involved with a tour there is very little left.  This is not the case with huge major stars.  I am talking about acts with only one or two hits under their belt. 

The star or the one out front getting all of the attention is not always the moneymaker.   Sometimes it is quite difficult to determine who makes the money. 


The Music Business, Ya Gotta Luv It.

Catl-Prodding the Blues

Cover January 28, 2011

Story: Lenny Stoute
Photos: Alyssa Katherine Faoro

The term’ original' gets hurled around a lot and in most cases, it's totally undeserved. Then there's Catl, who went so far back into the roots of the blues they've come out the other side with something quite different.

How many bands can you name who mine the roots traditions of the Twenties, that point in American history when Afro-centric Delta blues was meeting up with Euro-centric Appalachian folk music to create this mutant wild child named country blues that would one day go all rock'n'roll on us? And who else is so elastic in their approach that one member showed up for some random guest shots and was asked to stay the night, every night.

Jamie 'catl' Fleming is the band's guiding light and beneath the laid-back stage persona is a man with a righteous plan. That it was sparked in a used records store sounds perfect for a band steeped in tradition.

"I was always in Rotate This, and I asked Pierre (Hallett) for a good springboard to country-blues-type stuff. He suggested Mississippi Fred McDowell, who just blew my mind. I just got right into that sound, Fred and guys like Furry Lewis, the kind of sound their recordings had, the way they played.

"In some songs it sound like Fred (McDowell) is playing three different guitars and I thought, damn I want to learn how to do that"

Fleming came out of the Toronto punk scene so when he decided to put his act together, it was natural he turned to another TPunk alumnus, drummer Johnny LaRue.

Toronto jazz-pop innovators The Jessica Stuart Few launch debut video ‘Kid Dream!

Jessica Stuart

Fit to groove through the bounds of all parameters, Jessica Stuart embodies the essence of pop and jazz, creating a dynamic sound, merging outstanding creativity with traditional roots.  With two national tours behind her and a lifetime of musical inspiration, Jessica’s unique cultural experiences and the coast-to-coast positive response she generates marks her influence as a Canadian artist with a sound of her own.


Raised in Vancouver by musical parents, Jessica spent time exploring a number of the world’s continents, most significantly living in Nagano, Japan. It was there that she took interest in and learned to play the ‘koto’ (A traditional Japanese harp-like instrument with thirteen strings), which is featured in a number of the compositions on her newly released album.

With innovative and catchy songs, The Jessica Stuart Few consists of Jessica (vocals, guitar, koto), Dan Fortin (bass) and Nico Dann (drums), bringing their signature blend to life with a creative, alluring and soulful sound. Together since 2007, they channel the modern sounds of Stereolab with allusions to the energy of Joni Mitchell, creating an array of enchanting melodies that become their own.


Music City Logo

Story: Keith Bradford


 Mention ABC and the first thing you think about is the American Broadcasting Company.  I suppose some may think of the first 3 letters of the alphabet.  When I attended the CMA Music Fest last year in Nashville, TN I heard several comments from the fans while leaving the main show.  


The one I heard the most was, "That was ANYTHING BUT COUNTRY."  It is hard to believe that millions of Country Music fans have this same sentiment about today's Country Music.  The general consensus is that the sound of Country Music as they knew it is gone.  It has been replaced with a slicker production and in most cases a much more progressive beat than what they grew to know as Country Music.  


The industry calls it progress.  The record sales continue to plummet.  The fans are listening to their CD and or cassette collection and not listening to the radio.  Could it have something to do with the fact that today's Country Music is ALL BUT COUNTRY?  


The Music Business, Ya Gotta Luv It.


Cashbox Canada Goes To MIDEM 2011

Cover Jan 21, 2011

Story:Sandy Graham

Thursday January 20 2011:

Sitting  in the London Heathrow Airport it is 6:30 am here and we are waiting for the plane that takes us to Nice, France  at 10 am, then a short drive to Cannes where MIDEM will begin in the next few days.  It is almost surreal being here, surrounding by British accents and realizing it is you that actually has the accent. 

I will be reporting as often as I can from MIDEM, where the music industry comes to play every year in the South of France. Natasha Slinko joins me as well on behalf of EMG and will have her always present camera with her to send breathtaking shots of both the scenery and the music business at play. MIDEM – Where deals are made, friendships are started and reacquainting old friends meet again.

We will be at the Canada Stand with many other Canadian contingents,  and thanks to all the hard work of Kathy Hahn and the folks at CIRPA,  I am sure our booth once again will be one of the busiest at the Festival. 

Chestnut Tree Productions - The Little Tree That Grew

Chesnut Tree

Story:Don Graham


About twenty five years ago on his property in the Laurentian Mountains, just north of Montreal, veteran big band musician Frank Hill planted a tiny chestnut tree, telling his son, Canadian guitar legend Bill Hill, that it probably wouldn’t last very long. All these years later, Frank Hill has gone to his great reward and the little chestnut tree is still flourishing. When Bill Hill and partner/son Andrew Hill were looking for a name for their music production company CHESTNUT TREE PRODUCTIONS was a natural choice, incorporating three generations of musical Hills into the fabric of the venture. 


A bit of history here will bring this unique story into focus. Frank Hill was a saxophone player and bandleader in Montreal, son Bill was a young guitarist, trying hard to learn his instrument. Dad offered son a job playing guitar in his band and so began young Bill’s baptism by fire. Bill then, while still in high school got a gig playing with Dave Nicholls and The Coins in a local nightclub. The only stipulation his parents gave the high school student was that it couldn’t interfere with his education. If he missed ONE day of school because of the band he was finished playing with them. Consequently there were many mornings when a red eyed sleepy young man struggled out of bed and made his way to school, never missing a day. Unfortunately the gig ended anyway when the group had to travel and Bill had to stay at home to study.

Joey Cee

Cover January 14, 2011

Joey Cee

The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ !

by Sandy Graham


When you first talk to Joey Cee, you are expecting the typical music business veteran voice; the one that tells you he has been in this for decades and isn’t quite sure or happy with the direction it is all going with music these days. Almost a bit of the grand ennui. What you are not expecting is the high energy, excited dialogue and music memories that this guy talks about; laughing while telling you great stories of Canada’s music legends, producers and radio gurus that Cee worked with while building his JCO empire. I can’t imagine what he was like as a young lad, selling The ‘Telly’ (Toronto Telegram) or The Star on downtown street corners. The delightful part of talking to this walking music encyclopedia was how great his stories are and how happy he is to tell them.


‘When I was a kid, around Grade 6 or 7, I developed the competitive edge, I loved the sales part but I loved the fact you got rewards with sales,’ Cee reflects. ‘I always won the top sales for chocolate bars, school incentives, things like that. I realized even back then that everyone is a salesman of some sort. We are always selling ourselves. I just happen to have made a great career out of it.’


The TV Audition

Music City Logo

Story:Keith Bradford


Never go to an audition with songs you don’t know that well. Always do songs you can do in your sleep. The camera doesn’t lie. It shows that you are nervous, or confident, and it has no mercy.

You may feel you have sung those songs a million times and you want to try something new but remember the audition staff more than likely has never heard you sing these songs.


Don’t get me wrong you have to stay on top of your game if you are gonna keep up. You have to learn all the new songs but unless you are 100% sure of yourself on a certain song than stay away from it on your audition.

Try to stay away from apologizing for having a sore throat or a cold. If you didn’t tell them they probably wouldn’t even have known. Now that you let the cat out of the bag they will be listening that much harder for imperfections.


If you are allowed 2 songs always do a fast one and a slow one. If you are having problems that day and one of your songs has a lot of range in it consider changing it to something less strenuous. It is better to hit the notes right on than go for a high note and crack.


Dress as if you were performing on stage . People listen with their eyes. TV especially is a visual form of entertainment.


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