Can’t Hold Back The Hawk-Ronnie Hawkins rocks again

Cover Sept 3, 2010

I got a brand new chimney made on top,

Made out of human skulls.

Now come on darling let's take a little walk, tell me,

Who do you love, who do you love?
Bo Diddley

At the dawning of rock'n'roll in Toronto, seems the answer was always Ronnie Hawkins, a burly Arkansas roadhouse rocker who burst on the scene like a megaton cherry bomb and left a crater that occasionally still burns white hot. He’s been awarded, lauded, Hall Of Famed and credited with a game changing legacy which still resonates on the Canadian music scene.

With a career that’s been going for better than 50 years, it’s understandable we don’t get to see The Hawk soar that often.

Those of us in the GTA and anybody within driving range are in luck big time, as The Hawk takes wing Friday Sept.10 at Port Credit’s Blues & Jazz Festival.

Ronnie Hawkins has never been one to preach only to the converted so I know he’d understand when this story took a turn. It was meant to be a celebration of this most major dude, let folks know why they should make the trip to Port Credit to catch this rare Hawk sighting. But I kept bumping up against people born way on the wrong side of The Hawk’s glory days, facing off against blank stares. So what would The Hawk do? Why he’d take two steps back, then come forward with a major barrage of music and rock’n’roll moves that'd leave no doubt as to who they should love.

Michael Pickett’s Taking The Blues To The Country-The story of Amazing Coffee, the hip little coffee house that says, Yes I can.

john and_michelle   The Laws...

Madoc, ON. There was a time in this fair land/So the old musicians say/Where every fifty miles or so/There was a really cool place to play. (With apologies to Gordon Lightfoot) Nestled on Highway 62, on the edge of the picturesque village of Madoc, Ontario lies the Amazing Coffee shop. Inside, owner Tony Long and his hip and dedicated staff offer 23 varieties of coffee from the most exotic highlands of the planet, places like Madagascar and Fiji in vivid flavours and strengths. As the only certified Specialty Coffee outlet for miles around, business is good. The light lunch card is long on healthful and tasty wraps, sandwiches and salads, all locally sourced and prepared to the highest of standards. A casual look around however reveals this is a kickass coffee shop and then some, First tip-off is the stack of roots and folk music CDs from Canadian artists offered for sale. On the wall to the right of the counter is a calendar of live events, hosted within the brightly painted walls of the Amazing Coffee. Who knew? And when the last name on the list is multi-Maple Blues Award winner Michael Pickett, well, now we have to find out just how amazing this place is and how it got that way. Pickett, who played his first gig at Amazing Coffee last Spring, says it’s all about the vision of one man, venue owner Tony Long. “It’s truly a little gem and when I look at it, you realise it only came about because one man. Tony wanted to have a live music venue so he started one. So refreshing these days when all you hear are the negatives about opening a live venue.

Shake it off


Elvis Presley failed his Grand Ole Opry audition miserably. He literally shook it off and went on to be the world's best known entertainer. If he had taken it personally, he would not have had the will to move forward and turn the page. Carl Perkins was told he would never make it in the business because he wasn't pretty enough. There are countless more examples but our space here is limited. Don't take criticism, hateful comments, or betrayal from your associates, personally. It is the kiss of death to do that. The entertainment business is perhaps the toughest occupation to survive in. Only those individuals with skin as tough and thick as a rhinoceros will survive. Remember that when you start to succeed there are going to be all your competitors that will try to put you down. It is a form of human behavior that is very difficult to deal with. Their idea is to push you down in order to lift them self up. It is often nick named the sea saw effect. Shake it off and move on. Don't take any comments or circumstances affect you personally. It will be a big detriment to your business. It is already tough enough. You don't need to sabotage it with negative energy.

The Music Business, YA GOTTA LUV IT.

The Compact Disk is no longer compact enough


Radio stations loved them because they took up far less space than 12” long playing albums. The consumer was thrilled that there was no longer the horrible fast forward or rewind steps needed to hear your favorite song by way of cassette. There was no need to buy a very expensive stylus (turn table needle) because when the laser reader no longer worked it was cheaper to go get a new CD player than try to repair it.

Meghan Morrison-Takes A Walk On The Dark Side

Meghan Morrison 1

By Lenny Stoute

She may look like the poster girl for sensitive indie chicks but Meghan Morrison is all that and a savvy business head. Which means her chances of survival are that much better that if she was a pure artiste and the lady is well aware of how it is.

As she says on her website:” Branded. I am now a commercial commodity; a product. Hard things to come to terms with as an artist whose music, regardless of its form, is meant to be the product, not the person. Today, however, the artists themselves are so salient in this industry (facebook, twitter, youtube, etc.) that the person creating the art also needs to be relate-able outside of their music in order for people to really pay attention”.

And pay attention they should to the work of this refugee from picture postcard St. Margaret’s’ Bay, a hoot’n’holler from Peggy’s Cove, now transplanted to the T.Dot, East Coast sensibilities intact.

Morrison made the traditional trek from the East Coast to Toronto in full dream chaser mode, but with a Masters in Health Sciences, a useful discipline in coping with the rigours of touring and keeping the voice in shape.

Sandy Graham and The Beach Celtic Festival

The Beach Celtic Festival

Sandy Graham grew up in Montreal Quebec in a family of Scottish descent. Her grandparents on her mother’s side, Donald and Florence Sutherland and grandfather on her dad’s side Peter Graham had emigrated to Canada from the Old Country, albeit under different circumstances, to begin a new life in the New Country. Her grandfather on her maternal side, Donald Clarence Sutherland was Pipe Major of The Black Watch of Canada, so Sandy was familiar with the sound of bagpipes for the very beginning of her life.

Her maternal grandmother, Florence Seaby Sutherland, kept the traditional Scottish cooking and way of life alive and passed it on to her daughter, Jemima Blackie Sutherland Graham. It doesn’t get more Scottish than that ensemble of names. Jemima was a competitive highland dancer in Scotland and later in Canada and, although a Canadian, was determined to keep her three children, Donna, Donald and Sandy well aware of their Scottish heritage. Through music, food and traditions, Sandy grew up well versed in all things Scottish, and keeps these traditions in her own family, raising two boys, Ian Sutherland Robertson and Graham Maclean Robertson in all things Celtic.

Celtic Music in Canada

Cover Aug 27, 2010

by Don Graham

Celtic music is alive and thriving in Canada and has been for many years!

Celtic music is most generally Irish and Scottish music and is linked largely in Canada to Scottish/Irish diaspora in Newfoundland and Cape Breton.

Fiddles, pipes, tin flutes and string instruments like guitars and mandolins are prevalent in the Celtic music world.

The late John Allan Cameron, of Inverness in Cape Breton, was considered by most musicologists to be the Godfather of Canadian Celtic music. With his big twelve string guitar and swirling kilt, John Allan brought Celtic music to the main stage, opening for pop megastar and fellow Canadian, Anne Murray. Cameron would bring his bagpipes on stage at some point in the show and wow the audience with genuine Scottish and Celtic songs. He would then switch to a John Prine song or another popular song of the day; therefore bridging the gap between the Celtic and Pop world.

The Jargon


Keith Bradford is Executive Director of Cashbox Magazine, Nashville Tennessee. Mr. Bradford is also the director of NBRN.FM, owner of KMA Records, and also runs Keith Bradford Promotions.
Bradford is in the pre-production of the release of his new DVD Series, The Music Business – Ya Gotta Luv It!
Cashbox Canada is pleased to present weekly excerpts from this series to be released in 2011.

The Jargon:
Let’s start with what the dictionary says jargon means: A characteristic language of an occupational group. Or Specialized technical terminology characteristic of a particular subject.

Do you think you could graduate from Medical school without knowing the names of the muscles in the human body? What makes you think you will be on an even plain with the music industry moguls if you haven’t a clue what they are talking about?

One of my favorite sayings is “WHO’S HANDLING HER?” This refers to wanting to know who a certain female artist’s manager or booking agent is. The word handling as we know it may or may not apply depending on whether the artist relationship with who’s handling her is platonic or otherwise.
A close second I find is the reference to, “I cut Susie Jones last night.” This refers to recording a singer. But a CUT also means a songwriter just got one of his songs recorded and hopefully released on an album . But then again you could be CUT from the artist roster by your label which means you got the ax.

The Boston Pops with Keith Lockhart …The Legacy Lives On.

The Boston Pops-Photo Credit Stu Rosner

The Boston Pops, these three words are instantly recognizable words of vintage Americana. And rightfully so! They are celebrating their 125th anniversary this year, 2010.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra was formed in 1881 and founder Henry Lee Higginson wrote at the time of his desire to present to the city of Boston, concerts of a lighter type of music. From 1885 to 1900 a series of concerts, known as “The Promenade Concerts” were performed, combining “lighter’ classical music with the popular theatre tunes of the day. Except for the obvious updating to current songs, not much has changed with the structure of The Boston Pops.

It wasn’t until 1930 that The Boston Pops appointed its first official conductor, Arthur Fiedler. And so would begin incredible 50 year tenure as the ‘Pops’ conductor! With Fiedler at the helm The Boston Pops popularity spread far beyond the city of Boston with the aid of radio, television and recordings. Fiedler was determined to show people that classical music wasn’t just for the well heeled and made good on his efforts to get the music to the everyday man and woman. Under Fiedler’s direction The Boston Pops has sold more recordings than any other orchestra in the world, with sales exceeding $50 million. The first recording was in 1935 for RCA Victor Records and included the first complete recording of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. In 1947, they recorded their first hi-fidelity recording, featuring the music of Jacques Offenbach.

Bert Gould and Joe Owens Swing For The Fences With New Concert Company

Cover Aug 20, 2010

by Sandy Graham

Cashbox Canada is read by many Canadian music industry icons who would remember the name Joe Owens for many things; Dunn & Owens, CPI, Quality Records, Triumph (the band actually thanked Owens for their success on a televised Juno Award Show) amongst many positions he held in the Canadian market as well as author of ‘Welcome to The Jungle’ – the music industry bible for many years.

Joe Owens is actually a U.S. citizen, who ended up in Canada in the 1960’s when his Mum moved the family to Ontario. Owens went to school here, attending York, and continued on in the business vein, joining the music industry in the 1970’s when Canada was at its peak for live entertainment and label activity.

‘I was lucky to enjoy the industry at a time when it was booming. I had an American attitude but understood the Canadian way of thinking’, Owens told Cashbox. Owens was well respected in the industry, and was considered a trailblazer in his trade. After more than a decade here, he returned to the U.S. (some still feel a great loss to the Canadian industry) where he was a major player in producing The Billboard Music Awards. He went on to excel in sponsorship and marketing liaisons with video games (Sega/PlayStation), which led him to a position of working with promotion agencies to gain his experience with corporate sponsorship – which resulted in record stats tallying up to $ 400 million in sponsorship and promotions.

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