Features

Dick Damron Happy Birthday South of Two Borders

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Submitted by Don Graham

Canadian country music legend and Hall of Famer times three Dick Damron is still pickin’ and kickin’ south of two borders in sunny Mazatlan, Mexico. He is a charter member of three Hall of Fames; The International Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

The pride of Bentley, Alberta, has been making Canada proud for seven decades and fondly remembers the early scuffling days in the 70’s. “I was touring Europe, Scotland, Germany and England, back in the day where musicians from my area thought a Far East Tour was going to Saskatchewan! We played a lot in Vegas is those days as well. Here I was a kid from Bentley playing in Vegas. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, what happens in Bentley….no really, what happens in Bentley??”

Dick recorded his first record in 1958 at radio station CKRD in Red Deer, Alberta. “Gonna Have a Party” and “Rockin’ Baby”, original songs written by Damron. He pressed a thousand copies and released it to radio. He released the record on his own label and hit the usual roadblocks. ‘We don’t play Canadian records.’ “This confused me,” Damron said, “I’m a Canadian, they are a Canadian radio station and we’re in Canada!” Some things don’t change much! After a couple more releases on his own he signed with Quality Records who manufactured and released records on a national level. The first recordings for Quality were also original songs “Julie” and “That’s What I Call Living.”

BTW The Julian Taylor Band, Five Alarm Funk, Sammy Duke, Party Of One,Odu, Linda Carone

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Self-described as “pilgrims of funk, soul ‘n’ roll,” the Julian Taylor Band makes music as eclectic and all-encompassing as its taste will allow. They move effortlessly between vintage soul, tasty funk, tender balladry, indie rock, and even the occasional foray into social comment, solo acoustic, reggae and psychedelia all done expertly. Leading the band, Taylor boasts a drop-dead killer voice, impressive guitar work and a knack for writing catchy, earworm choruses – all of which pegs him as an authentic, eclectic talent foranyone’s palate. Current opus is the stellar double album Desert Star, a self-described labour of love for Taylor and the band, clearly evident by the prolific flurry of songs that resulted from their hard work. Now they’ll be bringing the new music to fresh audiences on the upcoming 401 Tour.

Making Up With Emilia

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

After the critically acclaimed full length album E in 2014, Toronto-based pop vocalist Emilia had nowhere to go but up. So that's exactly where she's gone with new EP Up. The five song cookie finds Emilia rolling with three heavy hitter Juno winners in producer Ryan Stewart (Hedley, Carly Rae Jepson), songwriter Anjulie and engineer George Seara (Drake, Rhianna, Holly Cole) working out of Toronto's Noble Street Studios, which boasts a client list that includes Shawn Mendes, Drake, The Weeknd and Usher. From this quality team has come a high-sheen, high quality EP that arrived bringing dispatches from the front lines of progressive pop.

A pop project has to be led by singles, and much of the fate of the project hangs on their reception. Up's leadoff single is 'Electricity' adynamic, high energy rollick with one foot in progressive pop and the other on the dance floor, pushed there by a killer chorus, simmering synths onpoint drums and percussion and a vocal both confident and hesitant, a sonic metaphor for young love that's an instant earworm.

"My idea of a good song is one with an honesty of feeling or emotion, an honesty crafted by both the lyrics and the appropriate music. That and a really good hook," offered Emilia.

Avery Raquel Without A Little Rain CD Release Concert

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

On Tuesday, April 4, Avery Raquel and her band(s) will celebrate the release of Without a Little Rain at 3030 in the Junction. Avery has been working extremely hard over the past year – nothing new for this very focused young woman who started in the entertainment industry when she was just 7 years old – she has risen to every challenge handed to her - probably the biggest to date, has been to write original songs, and to that end there are six Avery Raquel originals on this her sophomore recording.

Her passion for singing has never wavered, and has led to an impressive list of career accomplishments on her musical resume. Avery Raquel has garnered numerous vocal awards over the years, and has excelled on the festival circuit too, delivering winning performances at The Oakville, Brantford, TD Niagara, and South Coast Jazz Festivals and sharing the stage with the likes of Matt Dusk, Lou Pomanti, June Garber, and other prominent Canadian artists.

Adrean Farrugia, Piano, Ross Macintyre, Bass, Joel Haynes & Jackson Haynes, Drums, Greg Kavanagh, Guitar, Brandon Tse, Sax, Kaelin Murphy, Trumpet/Flugelhorn, Amoy & Cecile Levy, Background Vocals, Rob Gusevs, Organ

AVERY RAQUEL
WITHOUT A LITTLE RAIN CD RELEASE CONCERT
IN CONCERT, TUESDAY, APRIL 4 • 6:30PM DOORS/7:30PM MUSIC • $15 ADMISSION or $20 Admission & CD
@ 3030, 3030 DUNDAS STREET WEST, TORONTO

Garage Rock Still Rockin’ It Out – The Sonics

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Submitted by Don Graham


Cover Photo Credit: Bobbi Barbarich

The Sonics formed in 1960 in Tacoma Washington, just 25 miles from Seattle where the grunge movement would start years later. Many of the grunge and punk rock bands would credit The Sonics with influencing their sound and style. Cashbox Canada caught up with Rob Lind, the sax/harp player and founding member to talk about the band and their upcoming tour and specifically their Toronto date ay the Danforth Music Hall.

“It’s interesting to know that we influenced people and that some people credit us with starting the grunge/punk movement. That was never our intention. We were influenced by Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, we just thought of ourselves as a rock ‘n’ roll band. Now granted we were in Tacoma, kinda like the working-class Liverpool to Seattle’s hip and slick London. My dad was a blue collar worker on the waterfront and our lifestyle and our music was more working class grind it out rock ‘n’ roll. Make no mistake, there were some fabulous musicians in Seattle but their style of music was a bit more jazz oriented and sophisticated than ours. Being a sax player I really noticed it. These guys were playing all this complicated jazz stuff and I was a straight rock n roll sax player. We were working class guys who just wanted to rock.”

BTW Empty Lungs, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Calcedon, Locomotive Ghost, Ian Kelly, Overcoats, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Slaves UK

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute 

Empty Lung has just released our new single “Don’t Get It” for streaming on Soundcloud .

"The song is basically a 'fuck you' to a culture that warps young people into thinking that self-image and selfishness are the core values of our modern society. Those kinds of attitudes create an atmosphere that alienates anyone that doesn’t fit the mould. The youth culture that we love revolves around tolerance, art, activism and social change. Unfortunately these aren’t the dreams being sold to many of us.

"It definitely hasn’t been an easy road so far, but grit and determination to create something positive and unique are instilled in us. We all grew up in Belfast, Ireland at the tail end of a divisive 35 year conflict. So after losing members, losing jobs, and a near death experience, our energy and loyalty to the band was only bolstered.

"When we recorded the songs on our ‘Don’t Get It’ EP, it seemed like a re-birth for the band. Our second guitarist of 3 years had just left but the three of us are like a family unit after everything we’ve been through together and I think that shines through in the songs.

The Strumbellas - Hope!

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

On March 3, 2017 The Strumbellas brought their infectious energy to TBS’ Conan, with a debut performance of their vibrant new single, Young & Wild. The band also dropped an impassioned live music video for the track, which showcases their breakout 2016 year; capturing scenes from sold out shows across the globe including the massive crowds from their debut sets at Lollapalooza and ACL, New York’s Bowery Ballroom, The Danforth Music Hall, and many more.

2016 saw The Strumbellas release their third album, Hope, and trail-blaze their way through the year with their chart-topping single, Spirits. The track reach #1 on the Alternative Radio Chart in Canada and America, and the U.S. Billboard Alternative Songs Chart, went double platinum in Italy, platinum in Canada, and gold in America and Germany, and is one of the top 10 most streamed Rock songs of 2016 worldwide, establishing The Strumbellas as one of the biggest breakout Alternative Rock acts of the year. This has undeniably carried into 2017 as the band has been nominated for three JUNO Awards – Group of the Year, Single of the Year (Spirits), and Fan Choice – and will be performing at the award show broadcast. They have also not only been nominated for iHeartRadio’s Alternative Rock Artist of the Year, but they’ve already won Best New Rock / Alternative Rock Artist, making them finalists for Best New Artist at this Sunday’s iHeartRadio Music Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

Merle Haggard Singin’ Him Back Home

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Submitted by Don Graham

April 6th. Merle Haggard’s date of birth in 1937, date of his death in 2016 and in 2017 the date of a Nashville tribute concert honoring the country music legend.

Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard is set to take place on April 6 at 7 pm at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena; April 6 also would have been Haggard’s 80th birthday. The star studded event is being put together by Haggard’s family, Blackbird Presents and Willie Nelson, and Don Was, Ben Haggard and Buddy Cannon are serving as its musical directors. The tribute show will be taped for multi-platform distribution and some of the proceeds will benefit the TJ Martell Foundation.

“I am so very thankful for this tribute to my late husband, Merle Haggard,” Theresa Haggard says in a recent press release. “Please come join me and my family at this fantastic show that Merle would be so proud of.”

The concert will feature Willie Nelson, Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesneyas well as performances from John Mellencamp, Dierks Bentley, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams Jr., the Avett Brothers, Alison Krauss, Ronnie Dunn, Warren Haynes, Jamey Johnson, Kacey Musgraves, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lucinda Williams, Ben Haggard, John Anderson, Connie Smith and Bobby Bare. Additional performers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Winterfolk Roundup Various Clubs Toronto

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Photo: Peter Verity

Winterfolk XV was busier, punchier and way warmer than usual, all good things for the folk that swarmed over the bridge to check the annual feast of blues and roots musics of all kinds. Folkie Peter Verity opened the launch party at The Black Swan with an engrossing set largely drawn from recent album Sometimes A Journey. Accompanied by fiddle virtuoso Thomas Hamilton, Verity rolled out the haunting narratives and minor key melodies of fan faves“Blue as I Can Get”, “The Healing Rain” and “North Ontario” among others.

Next up, the bayou brewed quirkiness of Soozi Schlanger, vocals & lead fiddle and washboard, with Conny Nowe adding guitar and vocals. The pair helm Toronto's most loved Cajun dance band Swamperella, so we got some of that but Soozi focused on recent joints from her solo project soozimusic, of which the artist has said: "The songs paints a personal portrait that exposes the private world of the artist behind the scenes, the internal world...the motels and hotels, the long drives, the one night stands...witty, gutsy, vulnerable and true. Faves here were "Don't Let Go" and " Road Trip Again".

Matt Andersen - Honest Man

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Submitted by Don Graham

Matt Andersen has paid his dues (probably some of yours and mine as well) and is now reaping the rewards of his labour with international recognition and a jammed packed tour schedule.

We caught up with Matt at his home in Nova Scotia on the eve of the beginning of his new live show schedule -The Honest Man Tour. “I feel really fortunate that I’m able to go out on these tours and enough people like my music and support me to make it all possible.” This tour is a solo tour and I asked Matt, who tours with his band as well, ,whether he preferred the band set up or the solo configuration he said “I like them both, neither one is better, just different. As a solo I can change things but I do that with the band anyway. It’s fun to not do the same thing every night. Plus the band is used to me hollering at them on stage.”

And Matt is set to embark on a tour that will see him in the northeast United States in February and March with Canadian gigs in March and April as well before heading to Europe in May and June and back to Canada in July. The boy is busy and enjoying every minute of it. “I feel very fortunate to be able to work as much as I do and be able to share the music with the people.”

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