Features

A Christmas Caravan from Sultans Of String

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By Lenny Stoute

Santa came to Toronto last week so this week it's Sultans Of String’s turn to come to town bearing musical gifts. The internationally known quarter has come with the awards and nominations befitting their place at the forefront of Canada’s world music groups. Their musical gumbo of Celtic reels, flamenco, Manouche Gypsy-jazz, Arabic, Cuban, and South Asian rhythms show a penchant for celebrating musical fusion and human creativity with warmth and virtuosity, and has thrilled audiences around the globe.

Sultans Of String is Chris McKhool (Club Django, Jesse Cook, Pavlo) - six-stringed violin. Kevin Laliberté (Jesse Cook, the Chieftains) - flamenco guitar. Eddie Paton (Robert Michaels) - flamenco guitar. Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk) - bass. Chendy Leon (Alex Cuba, The Parachute Club) - percussion.

On the eve of the Ontario Christmas Caravan tour, we caught up with McKhool at his home base in Toronto, alternately packing and chillaxing The tour is named after the group's current album, Christmas Caravan, and McKhool is quick to assure it’s not your usual Christmas cookie.

Steve Oriet Diggin On You

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Submitted by Don Graham

Probably the most competitive genre in country music these days is the young male artist. It is not for the faint of heart, only the talented and driven need apply. Steve Oriet is up to the task and has his eyes fixed firmly on the prize. He has formulated a plan and is methodically plotting his course and making the right moves.

Steve was born and raised in River Canard/Lasalle, Ontario and currently living in Windsor, Ontario, across the bridge from Detroit, USA, growing up listening to all genres of music; everything from rock, Motown, Rap and of course Country music. This talented man credits his father for being his biggest inspiration, balancing a solid business life with being a guitar player and singer on the side. Steve would listen to him play at weddings, churches and family gatherings, clearly deepening his appreciation and love of music. He is a big fan of Florida Georgia Line and would love to duet with fellow Canadian Shana Twain.

BTW Cold Specks, Edward Sayers, Teea Goans, The Projektor, Jean-Michel Blais, Bjork, The Marcus King Band, The Sun Machine

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Cold Specks Photo Credit Neva Wireko

Toronto-based singer/songwriter Ladan Hussein, known on stage as Cold Specks, is touring her most personal and revelatory work yet, Fool's Paradise. The artist recognized for her twistedly, enthralling lyrics and distinctive soulful voice, has dug deep and returned to her roots. In this masterful body of work, Cold Specks intimately explores her identity as a Somali-Canadian woman. She’s unveiled and allowed herself to stretch her palette thematically.

Known on stage as Cold Specks, CBC Music claims that “Fool's Paradise is a family-influenced affair, but above all it's Ladan Hussein at her rawest, most individual form yet — and the result is stunning.” NOW Magazine says Fool’s Paradise is “the sound of an already-awe-inspiring singer fully coming out of her shell.”

Patrick Miranda Daylily

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Alternative-rock quartet, MOVEMENTS, have released a new video for their song, Daylily, a fan favorite off their new album, Feel Something. The video backs up the inspiring lyrics that singer Patrick Miranda wrote for his girlfriend as she was struggling with depression and mental illness.

The video centers around a real-life fan of MOVEMENTS named Hannah who is seen in a sprawling forest enjoying a “pink cloud summer." Beautiful and eye-catching, the video captures the power of the good days that occasionally occur in the midst of depression, with the goal being that they outnumber the bad days.

Miranda gives a statement about the inspiration for the song. “My current girlfriend is the inspiration for this song. [During her ongoing treatment for mental illness] there would be a lot of bad days, but there would also be good days. She called the good ones her ‘pink cloud days.’ When she was going through another tough time last year I wrote this song for her.

Robert Plant Carry Fire

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Submitted by Iain Patience/Cashbox International Journalist

There are stars, superstars and even megastars. Then there is Robert Plant, a guy who is, or has been, all three of them together, and who remains at the very top of the universal musical tree. Refreshingly, speaking with a relaxed Plant, on the near-eve of the release of his latest album, ‘Carry Fire’ on Warner, the man himself is a genuine delight, a man with no axe to grind, no self-obsessed front to maintain, no precious barriers that all too often seem to come with the fame. Much to my relief, Mr. Plant is an instantly likable, friendly, chatty sort-of guy next door. Exactly the kind of guy you feel you’ve known most of your life. Which, if you’ve been listening to music for much of it, is pretty much the case.

Catching up with the man himself, he is enjoying the beauty of the misty Welsh Mountain hill country, an area he is constantly drawn towards and where he clearly feels completely both at home and at ease. We joke about local highlights, having both lived in the area off and on for many years, about his love for a local tipple (a brand of organic Herefordshire cider) and then move on to the music and his love of life, travel, discovery and musical experiment and excitement.

Tribe Royal Colours of the Sun

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Submitted by Don Graham

‘Wasting Time’ is the title of the current single by Tribe Royal, not a description of the band. If anything it’s the exact opposite.  This Ottawa based band is anything but wasting time.

It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a new band that has a sound so unique that it’s hard to label them. The sound is retro but blended with a rawness and originality that stamps them with a current sounding musical offering. You know you want to listen to more of the tracks.

On their sophomore CD, “Colours of the Sun”,  there are shades of The Beatles, a little Lovin’ Spoonful and on the current single ‘Wasting Time’ some Green Day. Add some Everly Brothers-type harmonies spiced with some Red Hot Chili Peppers guitar sounds and you get the idea.

The band consists of Terry O’Brien, voice and guitar, Chris Kerwin, voice and guitar, bassist and vocalist Bram Al-Najjar and drummer Mike Giamberardino.  

In O’Brien’s words, “I love playing 60s-style pop songs that are done in under two minutes but I also love longer, jammier deep-feel stuff. With us, it really is a balance trying to get everything in there without compromise.”

The highlight for the band to date was a live performance was a billing on The Ottawa Bluesfest getting to share a stage with Canadian stalwart Sam Roberts. : That was definitely a fun gig for us!’, said Kerwin recently over lunch in Toronto. 

Help Us in Supporting John Derringer’s 13 Days of Christmas with Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag!

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Cashbox Canada is offering a place in Santa’s Christmas bag – with a winner every day for the twelve days of Christmas starting December 1st through December 12. On December 13 we will be donating to Q107 John Derringers campaign for Derringer’s Thirteen Days of Christmas to raise funds for AbuseHurts.ca.

How it works:

Each day we ask readers on the Cashbox Canada Facebook page to answer a Holiday Question to win the prize of the day.

Artists/Products will be donated to the campaign. The winner’s information will be sent to you and you can personalize/autograph the prize and develop a new fan.

Artwork for Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag will be created and provided by graphic designer Jain MacMillan (CASHBOX CANADA, ONES) and your ‘gift’ will be in Santa’s Bag for the 12 Day Campaign

A cover story with all 12 artists background and a personal quote will be posted on December 18, 2017, and will remain in our archives.

A donation cheque will be given to Abuse Hurts on December 14, 2017, with the names of all the musical participants listed with the donation.

Fee for participation:
The fee for helping us to raise donations for Abuse Hurts will be $150.00 which will put you in Santa’s Bag from December 1-12, 2017. Net proceeds will be donated to Abuse Hurts on behalf of  Derringer’s 13 Days of Christmas.

BTW-Loreena McKennitt, Overcoats, Pro Teens, The Reed Effect, Dogs At Large, Dan Talevski, Benjamin Booker, Blues at The Goose

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

A song about love, dedication, and family sacrifice has been released for Remembrance Day by award-winning Canadian recording artist Loreena McKennitt.

The single, entitled “Breaking of the Sword”, was inspired during McKennitt’s participation in April at The Canadian National Vimy Memorial for the 100th anniversary of the historic Battle of Vimy Ridge where she experienced a palpable sense of profound loss. During the ceremony, she performed “Dante’s Prayer” from her 1997 album The Book of Secrets.

“I feel the sentiment of this song is both timeless and universal,” says McKennitt, who, in this new, original piece evokes both her role as an artist, and as an Honorary Colonel of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern A Complete History by David McPherson

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

The Horseshoe Tavern, The Horseshoe, The ‘Shoe – all the names patrons have called this legendary, iconic building over the years.

Also iconic are the artists that have played there; it was a country haven in a town like TO that favored R&B clubs.

The continuing rumor that Hank Williams graced the stage when it really was Sneezy Waters and The Show He Never Gave.

Like the Queen Street strip that has been its home for seven decades, the Horseshoe Tavern continues to evolve. It remains as relevant today as it did when Jack Starr founded the country music club on the site of a former blacksmith shop, probably the reason it was called The Horseshoe Tavern. From country and rockabilly to rock ‘n’ roll, punk, alt/country, and back to roots music, the venerable live music venue has evolved with the times and trends — always keeping pace with the music.

LGBTQ Empowering New Video by Maggie Szabo Don’t Give Up

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Maggie Szabo is a Canadian singer-songwriter who has been winning over audiences worldwide with her stunningly soulful vocals and empowering pop anthems. Hailing from small-town Ontario, Szabo is now an accomplished musician living in Los Angeles and is using her music to conquer social injustice.

After quickly becoming one of the most sought-after songwriter/vocalists for DJs and notable film and TV placements, Szabo’s latest work has focused primarily on her solo project and was written in some of the most beautiful and exotic places on earth, including Greece, Amsterdam, London and Thailand.

‘Don’t Give Up’ is the first single off of Szabo’s upcoming EP, entitled Worthy. It’s a beautifully authentic and heartfelt song dedicated to transgender youth around the world who live in fear and suffer from rejection and exclusion. ‘Don’t Give Up' showcases an emotional rawness rarely found in music today, whilst addressing a subject which is imperative within today’s society. With soaring layered vocals, Szabo sings an uplifting and encouraging message of hope and acceptance. The single features a driving rhythm section and gospel-inspired backing vocals, creating the perfect empowering anthem for those in need. 'Don’t Give Up’ was written and recorded in Los Angeles along with Stefan Lit (One Direction) and Chaz Mason.

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