BTW-Lou Reed, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Paula Cole, Sass Jordan, Throwback Fest, Demons, Climax Blues Band

Fri Aug 23
Lou Reed 1977

Having forsaken the leafy lanes of Riverdale for the gritty and noisy ambience of downtown, my days start early. It’s barely noon and I’ve already seen on the busy sidewalk out front, a pair of drug deals go down, one involving a period of testy give and take and a panhandling skirmish, all casually ignored by the folks rushing by and around them. A taste of Lou Reed’s paean to the black angel seemed apropos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xcwt9mSbYE

The hardest working band in Australia, King Gizzard &The Lizard Wizard have released their fifteenth studio album -- the thrash metal-worshipping Infest The Rats' Nest via ATO Records. Earlier this week, the septet released a video game revealing their latest single Mars ForThe Rich

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UELbVHComM4

Bara Jonson and Free Release New Single Far’n Away

Fri Aug 23
Far'n Away Bara Jonson and Free

How does an act from Sweden take a chance and go to a Live at Heart Festival on a Peninsula named Burin in Canada’s Newfoundland, write a song and end up on the Swedish Independent Music Chart 10 weeks in a row in a # 1 position, thanks to the fans (who are now friends) that they met there?

This is what Bara Jonson and Free did. “We rented a car, drove through torrential rain, landed in the middle of nowhere at the Marystown Hotel and suddenly you feel like you came ‘home’? There is no explaining it, but that is what happened to us.”

So they went back to Sweden and immediately wrote “Hello Newfoundland” and their newly found friends embraced it. The release of the video included all of the amazing people who forged the road to these lifetime memories and also featured Tale The Rapper.

From there lifelong friendships were forged with the lovely people of Newfoundland and in addition the global delegates who attended became friends and fans, leading to being part of a sanctioned Showcase in Cannes, France at MIDEM 2019, attending Canadian Music Week in 2019,a return to Live at Heart Newfoundland 2019 and Cashbox Canada Showcase at CMW 2020.

How Festivals Have Changed

Fri Aug 23
How Festivals Have Changed

There was a kind of interesting article in a newspaper in Sweden how Swedish festivals have changed over the past 10 years. Before many of the festivals were held in some small town in a muddy field. Camping festivals they have named them. Many of them have now been replaced by a large city festival inside parks in a big city.

I don't know if this is just a Swedish phenomenon or if it is a change all over the world? I guess it’s a worldwide phenomenon.

I was recently at Summerfest the world’s largest festival with a million visitors in Milwaukee in USA. It's not a camping festival but held in a park area in the city with permanent structures. What struck me was the vendors. A part of being on the festival back in the days was that you could buy things around your favourite artists or records like they had on Medimex in Italy where I was at the beginning of the month. Also, a festival in the middle of the city.

Glen Foster Has the Rockabilly Fever

Fri Aug 23
Glen Foster Has the Rockabilly Fever

Glen Foster takes his fun seriously. Especially these days.

"Right now I'm into creating a positive message," explains the veteran singer-songwriter and accomplished guitar slinger. "I want to be encouraging and not just concentrate on all the negative things in the world. As a musician, an entertainer, I want to be uplifting, put a smile on somebody's face and maybe make them laugh a little bit. I don't want to be on a platform or be a preacher. I just want to make great music that people like."

The new EP contains four songs, the title track ‘Party Out There Tonight’, ‘Feel Alright’, ‘Somewhere Over the River’ and the really great offering ‘Rockabilly Fever’.

Watch the cool video here:
Rockabilly Fever
https://youtu.be/aP-Aol6mbog

Danny Blueberry Releases New CD ‘Isolation’

Fri Aug 23
Danny Blueberry

“The songs were not meant to be funny…” says Danny Blueberry (aka Danny Fonfeder) of his most recent release, Isolation — available now.

“I was writing about deep, personal pain,” he continues, “and yet the audience broke out in laughter.”

For some artists, a dramatic 180-degree pivot from their creative intention — especially one that involves such intimate, vulnerable feelings — would be devastating. But for Danny, it was another lesson in life. “This is what happens when you grow up in total isolation,” he reflects. “You write with the tools that you have without a frame of reference as to how the real world will react.”

The name of the release is quite literal; Fonfeder very much did grow up in total isolation as part of a strict, religious family. “I had little access to the secular world, but plenty of access to music in the forms of praise choirs and prayer psalms.”

Jimmy Capps The Man in Back

Fri Aug 23, 2019

Say the name Jimmy Capps anywhere in the Nashville music circle and you’ll get a wide smile and an approving nod of the head. Jimmy has been an integral part of the Music City scene since Moby Dick was a guppy and in fact, just celebrated the 60th Anniversary on the Grand Ole Opry stage.

He’s such a fixture at the Opry, where he still is a member of the Opry band every weekend, that they named the band rehearsal room backstage at the Jimmy Capps Room. “But they put my nameplate up in Velcro so things could change,” Jimmy jokes. As a musician, Jimmy has done it all from live stage performance, the session musician to T.V. work. He is in fact a regular on Larry’s Country Diner in Nashville. “ They told me when they offered me the job I could be the Sherriff or the Mayor. I figure I make a better Sherriff than a Mayor. The cool thing is after 60 years of being the man in back on the Opry where hardly anyone recognized me I now get stopped on the street with ‘ Hey you’re the Sherriff on Larry’s Country Diner!”

Fifteen-Year-Old Priyana Launches Fundraising EP to Support Youth Mental Health

Fri Aug 16
Priyana

Fifteen-year-old, Priyana, launches her first original EP, Out of Place, to share her vision for children and teens to feel heard, validated, and understood through her music. Her mission is to make sure kids have a safe place to seek the support they need through Kids Help Phone by providing a digital download of her EP when anyone donates to her fundraiser.

Just after turning 13, Priyana started regularly hearing stories about kids hurting themselves and committing suicide. Saddened and very concerned, she needed to express her feelings and figure out how she could help. Within a few days she wrote her first song and continues to regularly write songs focusing on mental health. To date she has written over 20 songs.

Priyana wants to write music that helps kids feel understood and know they’re not alone. She also wants to make sure they have access to the help they need. So, she decided to create a fundraising EP to support youth mental health through Kids Help Phone, which provides free professional counselling online or by phone for young people.

From Cuba to Toronto Izael Nzas releases new video “Silence”

Fri Aug 16
Izael Nzas Beyond Stars

How do you describe this new offering from Izael Nzas? From harpsichord-like tone to the simplest music notes to vibe in a delightfully unique experience. Some interesting percussion and piano choices. Ambling rhythms, plucky string and keyboard taps meld into one big conglomerate of sound.

Izael is such an eclectic artist rangng from Afro, Latin, Classic and Jazz all fused together to great his sound. A World of Music – Un mundo de musica!

“In this project, I overpassed my expectation I started without even knowing that a few months later I was going to discover I am a composer. I started with the instrumental “Inner Peace” and when I finished I said, you should spend some quality time trying to understand this music composition thing.”

Mind the Gap

Fri Aug 16
Peter Åstedt

I recently saw a post in a web forum from a manager that was asking for connections to a couple of big publications. His artist had been added to two bigger “editorial” playlists on Spotify and was doing some 100,000 streams.

He was certain that these playlists would get him interest from bigger publications but none of them replied to his emails. And several comments were just that being on playlists you need over 20 million streams on Spotify before things happen.

I did a panel this Spring with the top four bloggers and big publications on a Showcase Festival. One of the quotes was “If you start your mail to us by describing how many Spotify streams you have, that is a good reason right way for us to throw it in the trash.”

All You Need is 3Notes and a Grace

Fri Aug 16, 2019

I recently had the pleasure of being at MIDEM in Cannes, France where Cashbox Canada co-produced an official Showcase at Morrison’s Pub. One of the added pleasures was to meet an incredible woman named Grace Puluczek. Grace is one of those people who is personable and a powerhouse all at the same time. We formed an immediate friendship based on mutual respect and interest in each other’s careers and basic life goals.

We caught up with Grace at her home in Madrid, Spain, and she shared her story with us:

Myer Clarity album “Not All Heroes Wear Capes” Part Two Breaking Out on Spotify

Fri Aug 16
Myer Clarity

Myer Clarity, 27, is a Toronto based multi-genre producer, songwriter and hip hop artist with 3 self-produced albums under his belt. His unique blend of hip hop, punk and jazz combined with his honest story-telling has gained him a dedicated fan base both at home and overseas. 

Born and raised in Montreal to a French-Canadian mother and a Jewish father, Myer expressed an interest in music early, at age 11. His neighbour Sagi, a member of local rap group NL5, brought Myer to his first recording studio at age 12, where he learned about audio production first hand. 

At 13, he studied piano and music theory under jazz legend Ernie Nelson. Sadly, Ernie passed away shortly after from natural causes, prompting Myer to compose a heartfelt piece to his teacher which he performed in honour of him at Concordia’s Music Hall. He went on to study jazz theory and piano for 4 more years with one of Ernie’s students.

Todd Taylor Made His Grand Ole Opry Debut with The Legendary Oak Ridge Boys

Fri Aug 09
The Legendary Oak Ridge Boys And Todd Taylor

Todd Taylor is an American five string banjo player. He held the Guinness Book of World Records title for "world's fastest banjo".

He has played and toured with other notable bluegrass players including Bill MonroeCarl StoryJim & Jesse. Taylor became the first banjo player to take the Banjo to the Rock-n-Roll worldwide Top-40 countdown, with his remake of the classic rock tune "Free Bird". Taylor is a four-time Grammy Award nominee.

It’s a dream come true for the six-time Grammy Award nominee, who first became interested in playing the banjo when he was 6 years old. He travels to Nashville on Monday to get ready for his performance at the iconic venue where many country legends have played.

REAY Butterfly Tongue Revisited

Fri Aug 09
REAY

Some species of butterfly spend their entire existences in migration, journeying to the ends of the Earth on nothing more than sheer determination and undeniable instinct. 

Sean Murray can identify. The veteran Ontario musician has also devoted a vast portion of his life to the all-consuming pursuit of a distant, seemingly unreachable goal: The completion of his magnum opus Butterfly Tongue Revisited, a long-gestating labour of love whose arrival also heralds the birth of his new alternative indie-rock project Reay (pronounced Ray, after his grandmother's maiden name). 

Why Isn't There A Grammy For Best PR Team?

Fri Aug 09
Peter Åstedt

You always get that the artist is the genius around the whole song.  Still, in most cases, they would have been nothing if it wasn't for that perfect PR team. It’s like saying that the success in Formula 1 is the driver. Actually, in Formula 1 they enter as a team.

I hear it all the time; artists coming up to me saying they have done the best song ever and it's produced by some dude you have never heard of in your life. Okay, it could be a really good song. But I know so many good songs, even brilliant songs that never reach a big audience. Many of the best albums I know never get anywhere. To build that perfect storm that a good song needs to become a classical song, that is up to your PR team and a bit of luck. What I can definitely say is that a perfect song cannot be a hit just by being perfect. As little as the driver in Formula 1 being the whole team - it’s impossible.

Bruce Cockburn New Instrumental Album Crowing Ignites

Fri Aug 09
Bruce Cockburn Crowing Ignites

True North Records announces a September 20 world-wide release date for Crowing Ignites, the new all-instrumental CD from legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn. Cockburn also announced his North American tour (dates below) with more shows to be confirmed.

Crowing Ignites was produced, recorded and mixed by Colin Linden, and recorded at the Firehouse in San Francisco. It showcases 11 all-original compositions by Cockburn, who plays acoustic guitar throughout, backed by a stellar cast of sympathetic musicians. Cockburn will support the new disc’s release with a summer/fall tour schedule throughout the United States and Canada.  

In 2005, Bruce Cockburn released Speechless, a collection of instrumental tracks that shone the spotlight on the singer-songwriter’s exceptional acoustic guitar playing. The album earned Cockburn a Canadian Folk Music Award for Best Instrumentalist and underscored his stature as one of the world’s premier pickers. 

BTW Amadou & Mariam and Blind Boys Of Alabama, Matthew Chaim, The Dollyrots, Jacques Gaines, Long Beach Dub Allstars, Habari Africa Festival, Grace Bakker, Melina Melle, Nefe, Jong SL, Shari Ulrich, Fergus Hambleton, Shake The Bellows

Fri Aug 02
Amadou & Mariam

Malian musical duo and Grammy Award nominees Amadou & Mariam are teaming up with five-time Grammy Award-winning gospel group Blind Boys of Alabama for the new singles, “Bamako To Birmingham” and “Two Cultures, One Beat,” out today via Because Music. Listen to/share both tracks at https://tinyurl.com/yxs3aho7.

The cross-genre collaboration came about after conversations between the groups on opposite sides of the Atlantic. The Blind Boys kicked off the recording process by laying down two tracks in the U.S. featuring their distinctive vocals, with Amadou & Mariam adding their contributions from the studio in Mali.

The two groups are currently on a joint tour together in Europe, with upcoming performances set for Cork, Ireland; Cambridge, England; Edinburgh, Scotland; and Västra Götalands län, Sweden. See below for a list of tour dates.

Katherine Penfold Sweetest Thing

Fri Aug 02
Katherine Penfold Photo Credit Lindyn Williams Photography

West Coast Soul/R&B artist Katherine Penfold is set to release her Justin Time/Nettwerk Records album debut with the Neo-Soul tinged "Sweetest Thing" featuring her take on Roberta Flack's timeless "Feel Like Makin' Love", a blissed-out collaboration with Moonchild's Amber Navran ("Far & Away"), and "Better" co-written and mixed by Grammy award-winning producer Chin Injeti (Drake, Eminem).

Soul resides just beneath the exterior. Upon meeting Katherine Penfold, you might initially notice the prominent tattoos along her shoulder and arms before the conversation veers to her lifelong affinity for motorcycles, skateboarding, or woodworking - let alone music. Listening to her sound elicits a different impression altogether - as a  sultry, smooth, and sweet delivery belies the rustic badassery she exudes with ease. This gorgeous contrast illuminates the artist’s 2019 full-length debut, Sweetest Thing, available October 4th (via Justin Time/Nettwerk).

Dropped Because of Laziness

Fri Aug 02
Peter Åstedt

Recently I attended a festival where I met a friend who is doing management in the same style as me. I have helped him in some cases with a specific artist so of course, I asked how it was going around that?

“I dropped that artist he explained. I was busting my ass off to get them opportunities and get things going. Still, it felt like they very just in for the ride, and when we got eight on the chart and they didn't even post something around it on social media I just dropped them.”

This is very common. In most cases when I start talking to managers I have known for a while I ask if they are still working with that specific artist.  In many cases, they just grew tired of all the work they did for them and then they are treated like shit.

Kate Gillespie - From Toronto to Nashville to New York

Fri Aug 02, 2019

A thirteen-year-old Kate Gillespie would have had no idea that when a mutual love of country music led her Dad to take her on a trip to Nashville, Tennessee, that she was glimpsing at her future.

As a young girl, Kate attended an arts school in her native town of Toronto, Ontario and began collaborating with other young singers and songwriters. Her journalist father and lawyer mother were very supportive of Kate and encouraged her to follow her dreams. So it was with their blessing that when young Kate decided she wanted to attend the well respected Belmont University in Nashville to study songwriting and learn about the music business her family was behind her 100%.

Several Nails In The Coffin For Spotify

Fri Jul 26
Peter Åstedt

A few weeks ago, Spotify announced that they are deleting the program where artists could upload themselves straight to Spotify. No explanation was given or how they would deal with their partnership with Distrokid.

This was just the most stupid thing from the beginning, so no surprise that it was closed before it even survived a year. I guess they wanted to be able to pick out some good artist straight from a new artist that would upload. The reality is that most artists who have something going is already going through a label, most labels wouldn't use a distribution that is open for everyone since they always have the worst percentage and the worst service.