Aaron Pritchett – Finally ‘In the Driver’s Seat’

Cover June 17, 2011

By Sandy Graham

Take a combination of humble and driven, then put those two characteristics together and you have Aaron Pritchett. Add in talented, handsome, great songwriter and a focused artist and you have the whole package for success. The combination of all of this, and the fact that Aaron Pritchett is completely in charge of his destiny at the moment makes the title of his new CD ‘In The Driver’s Seat’ make perfect sense. For the first time in Aaron’s career, he is calling the shots and making sure the fans get what they want.

I had the pleasure of chatting with this artist, and can honestly say it was such a wonderful conversation, it reminded me once again why I am in this business in the first place – it is all about the music.

“I didn’t start out as a country music fan. I was a rocker. My really early influences were the rock ‘n’ roll legends my parents used to play. Elvis, Sam Cooke, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Van Morrison, and one of my all time favourites, James Brown. I ‘graduated’ to rock in the 1980’s; the first record I bought was Loverboy, and I was heavily influenced by Canadian acts back then, especially Bryan Adams. (Pritchett’s new single ‘DRIVE’ was co-written by  Bryan Adams and British writer Phil Thornalley). I also loved Def Lepperd, AC/DC, bands like that;  they were all a big part of the rockier licks I use in my songs today. I grew to love country music because of the lyrics, the songs are all about true life experiences.”

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. 

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings-Send In The Queens

Cover June 10, 2011

Story:Lenny Stoute

A Time Zone mix-up has me calling the Man In The Black Fedora an hour early but Colin Linden is all graciousness in putting aside whatever he was into for a talk.

The Southern gentleman thing suits Linden like a well-worn pair of Levis. Not only has he been resident in Nashville going on 14 years but throughout the conversation, Linden heaps praise on all concerned in the making of the band's new album, Kings and Queens. It's not a false humility rather a genuine enthusiasm for making music.

"We still go at it strictly for the love of the song. It's never about what a song can do for us. It's always about how we can best serve the song, show it off at its best."

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings owes its genesis to this core idea. The band formed as a one-of vehicle to record an album, High Or Hurtin', The Songs of Willie P. Bennett, in celebration of the work of this unsung roots music hero. This was in 1996 and 15 years and six albums later, it's still about the songs.

Kings and Queens drops June 14 and threatens to propel the band into the serious spotlight. This lurks in the wings as the album features collaborations with some of the finest female singer/songwriters currently trodding the boards, among them Rosanne Cash, Lucinda Williams, Patti Scialfa, Holly Cole and Serena Ryder.

Music Matters for June 10th 2011: Moving Daze and NXNE

Music Matters

We’re in the middle of a monumental move from one place to another. It seems so easy on paper, but if you have ever moved you know it is anything but. True to the old axiom, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, and this move has been a nightmare from start to finish…which it hasn’t.

Because of this move I am just able to squeeze out a few thoughts today. Otherwise, I’ll forget to grab the last few items from the old place, fail to remember where things are in the new place, and, I’m already so stressed out, I can’t remember where I put the pickle jar with all the nuts and bolts that hold our bed frame together. Maybe I’ll ask the kitties…as soon as they’re through exploring the new chimney and fireplace, which has made our 2 adventurers black and gray kitties instead of black and white kitties. There are little sooty paw prints all over our new home. Damn cats….

Dawson Reigns- Asks that you fasten your seatbelts and Enjoy The Ride

Cover June 3, 2011

Story:Lenny Stoute

Dawson Reigns. Is not the name of a shy guy. And who gets ahead in the music biz on shy? Especially when you're coming outa Cambridge, not exactly the centre of the media music universe. So how's a boy who won't wear a meat dress get noticed? Getting a wicked-sounding countrified new name is a good start.

" I wanted something that would make me stand out," explains the amiable singer from his Cambridge home. "We got the Dawson part first and then we tossed around words, looking for some kind of sound and then settled on 'Reigns'. It just sounded right and that's been my name for the last six years". The name change was in conjunction with the birth of Dawson Reigns the artist, marking the transition from cover band star to weaver of his own particular dreams.

" Playing in a cover band, you have to be able to play a lot of different songs. I knew all along I wanted my own voice to be heard, that I wanted to sing my own songs. It was good for me; the two years of playing covers helped me focus on arriving at my own sound. I have it now; it's the sound you hear on (debut album) Enjoy the Ride."

Music Matters for May 27th 2011 Classic Rock: Nostalgic Music or Genre?

Music Matters

Just how powerful is rock and roll? How did this music, over 60 years old, last so long and still acquire new fans every time someone hears it for the first time. From the late ‘40s and through the ‘50’s,‘60’s, and ‘70s to the present day, rock and roll refuses to roll over and die…even though radio and most record labels think (and say) it has.

There has always been too much music. Even a half a century ago, we could not have listened to all the music that was available and wouldn’t have even been aware of what we DID hear if it hadn’t been for radio.

Radio was the discoverer, the gatekeeper, and the church where we met almost every waking hour and listened attentively to hear our favourites and be turned on to songs and artists that we had never heard before. Radio stations were the Source, the mouth of the river that flowed through the air and out of our radios and into our ears, our hearts, our souls, and our loins. Radio was the church, the DJs were the preachers, and rock and roll was the testament, the sermon, and the faith by which we lived our lives.


'Paper Promises'-The Larry Harvey Documentary. A Promise Kept

Cover May 27, 2011

Story: Sandy Graham

Speaking on the telephone with Larry Harvey, you can actually picture the 'twinkle' in his eye when he recounts his life of love, music and family. Although over 80, his voice is young, vibrant and most of all excited about the future.

'I was born in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland but my Mom and Dad moved to Carmanville (about 45 minutes away from Cornerbrook) and that is where I grew up. Nashville reminds me of Carmanville; with all the hills you have to run up and down to get places. The main street in Nashville, which is Broadway, looks like an East Coast town, going up and down the street and visiting Ernest Tubbs Record Store. It hasn't changed in decades and neither has Carmanville. I used to sing in church with my Granddaddy; the South is the same with those traditions.'

Harvey returned to Nashville, over fifty years later to achieve his personal dream of playing The Ryman Theatre, a legendary venue whose stage has been graced by a roster of greats which would read like a Country Music Award Ceremony. This is where the story of "Paper Promises" really begins, as Larry's son Shane decided to give Dad a very special Birthday present. Shane Harvey, Larry's youngest child, had this idea that at the age of 80, his Dad could sing and play again. Somewhere, somehow.

Father and son started rehearsing, and it sounded pretty good. They visited one of Larry's old haunts, just to say that Larry had hit the stage again and the sound kept getting better and better.

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.

Music Matters for May 20th 2011

Music Matters

Everybody wants to find the Perfect Hang. You know…somewhere you can call a home away from home. A place to take old friends and meet new ones, enjoy a well poured drink, and hear great music, both live and recorded. 

These days, it isn’t easy to find a place, (much like radio) that features music that isn’t cookie-cutter top 40 dance music, overplayed classic rock, or young bands who would be wise to play another few years in the basement or garage and learn to write decent songs before venturing forth, deluded into thinking they are ready because their friends have convinced them that they’re great. On top of that, The Perfect Hang needs to have a cool décor, be one of a kind, and owned and staffed by people who love music and understand what makes a night out a great experience.

Over the years I have been lucky enough to have lived in some great cities and found Perfect Hangs in every one of them. Sometimes more than one, but there was always a place that outshone all the others primarily because of the people who worked at and frequented the establishment; the staff and the regulars. 

Cherry Cola’s Rock and Rolla Cabaret and Lounge has all of this and more.

Stony Plain Marks its 35th Anniversary with CD/DVD Collection

Cover May 20, 2011

By Sandy Graham

Stony Plain Records is a major Canadian independent record label, which specializes in roots music genres such as country, folk and blues

In 1976, Holger Petersen along with partner Alvin Jahns, launched ‘the little label that could’, and despite all odds in this fickle business of music, they have made a success of it. Now 35 years later, it doesn’t look like Petersen plans to slow down at all. He also hosts the weekly series, ‘Saturday Night Blues’ on CBC Radio, a well-listened to and well-rated radio show, as well ‘Natch’l Blues in on the CKUA Radio Network in Alberta  and also os programming the ever popular GALAXIE Blues Time channel  on Satellite Television.

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