Canadian Music Royalty Honoured by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II


Story: Don Graham
Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto, Ontario, was the scene of a unique gathering on Monday June 18th, 2012.

Commemorative medals were presented to distinguished Ontario residents who have already been invested with the Order of Canada and Order of Ontario. All living Order of Canada and Order of Ontario recipients were invited.  It is unusual for these recipients to come together in one place said The Honourable Ontario Lt. Governor David Onley.

Lt. Governor Onley, Governor General David Johnson and other prominent Canadians presented the prestigious awards. CBC Anchor Peter Mansbridge hosted the gala and also received a medal.

Susan Aglukark, Molly Johnson, Ben Heppner and Gordon Lightfoot took the stage at Roy Thomson Hall Monday evening. The four musicians, all members of the Order of Canada, performed at a presentation of Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medals to more than 600 people. The special medal was created to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne.

Orillia’s Lightfoot was one of several who gave Lt. Governor Onley the idea for the gala. Lt. Governor Onley said he put the event together hastily, after presenting the first 25 Diamond Jubilee Medals on Feb. 6, at a gathering that brought together a remarkable group of people, including Gordon Lightfoot and actor Gorden Pinsent.

Lt. Governor Onley commented “So many people felt it in the room. It was a totally unique experience; these 25 people. It was almost an emotional experience and people were very touched by it. At the end of the day it was decided this had to be done on a larger scale.”

BTW-Starring Kogging, Kenny Butterill, Port Juvee, Crystal Castles, Stars, Hey Rosetta, Elizabeth Shepherd.


Submitted by Lenny Stoute

The Rex hosted one helluva Dutch treat when Amsterdam quartet Kogging dropped by to show off new album ‘Sketches of Ordinary Life’. Kogging is Norbert Kögging, (composer/lyricist) vocals; Folkert Oosterbeek, (composer) piano; Tobias Nojboer, bass and Felix Schlarmann, drums, and they play a style of Eurojazz referencing American old school jazz circa the early Sixties.

Norbert’s an alumnus of the Banff Centre’s ‘Creative Music Winter Residency’ and used its facilities in 2011 to record debut album, Daydreaming. Norbert then took the opportunity to get Kogging on the road and tour across the country.  This was the start of a special relationship with Canada and since then, the band has returned to tour each year, so The Rex show was a big deal and their fans responded in numbers.

Kogging’s vocals play with hip-hop and be-bop flows with nods to Bobby McFerrin in the flow and the occasional step onto Michael Buble turf, in terms of phrasing. Kogging spent much of the set working from his mid-range but when he swung for the fence it was with a voice that could easily get him work in musical theatre. He describes his style as singer-songwriter jazz, which likely accounts for its intimacy and inclusiveness, which make songs like ‘Right From The Start’ very much like a short story. One that’s carried on a river of music from the cats behind Norbert, all of whom got their chance to shine solo wise and man, did they. Nojboer put on a stand-up bass clinic during ‘Fly Out’, drummer Schlarmann playfully hinted at the variety of styles he’s good with and pianist and co-founder Oosterbeek’s beautiful and cleverly arranged melodies lead the way to wonderful resolutions, especially on album opener ‘Prelude” and the trippy ‘Wajang Scenes’.

Kogging takes  ‘Sketches of Ordinary Life’ out West this weekend. y’all.

Chad Brownlee Headlines 2015 Nationwide When The Lights Go Down Tour

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

BTW-Starring The Weeknd, Don Graham, Emilia, Buddy Black, Luke & The Apostles, The Heavyweights Brass Band, Royksopp

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Is The Weeknd losing the plot?  Playing his biggest T.Dot venue yet, the Molson Amphitheatre, Abel Tesfaye jumped on the heavy production facilities like a model in a lingerie store to indulge his theatrics to the max. Of which the new look avec huge flak jacket and coiled-up dreads came over more like a cartoon character than the conflicted S&M master he’s going for. Handful of new songs added to the set, of which the strongest was a remix of Beyonce’s ‘Drunk In Love’. Dude does have the falsetto to pull it off and he did. Still, never a good sign when a cover’s the best new thing y’all have. Sound twitched between noise rock and minimalist r’n’b, correctly arranged and executed. Since it’s all about Abel, there’s little interaction between him and the faceless backing three-piece.

The sound was bigger than big and squeaky clean, a nice counterpoint to the dirty soul on offer here. But there’s a sameness creeping in and it’s about the between songs raps, the images of naked women all wrapped up in their work and even the sound itself. Song after song about Abel’s hard life as a sexually adventurous pop star was getting a shade claustrophobic at the end. He closed out with the best of the new ones, Often, which drew the crowd into a sing along.

Maybe it was the setting or the lack of strong new material but somehow this Weeknd didn’t come across as edgy or dangerous as previous. Which leaves us with a show that was good enough but not the best.

Buddy Black’s Back on the Road to Waterloo

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Every day we all wake up to another flood of new music, churned out by insomniac elves while we slumber. Given this musical monsoon, it’s inevitable that some really good stuff will be swept away along with the froth, to exist thereafter only in the memory of the few who experienced them. Such was the fate of The Story on the Road to Waterloo, the vampire-centric punk country opera released by genre mastermind Buddy Black to a climate of, for the most part, chilly indifference. However, the scatterlings who picked up on it were enough in number and enthusiasm that over time, The Story on the Road to Waterloo has achieved a certain cult status.

Which is just not enough for Buddy Black. The cult thing is nice but dude believes his opus deserves a wider hearing. This is about to happen when Buddy Black & the Ghost Umbrellas roll out The Story on the Road to Waterloo Thurs. Oct. 2 at The Cameron House.

“Simply, I think it’s the best thing I’ve done yet. It’s the kind of thing that sticks with you. I know I’m not alone in this; people who’ve heard it say it’s their absolute favourite of everything I’ve ever done. It’s beautiful, tragic and harrowing and both the story and the music have a purity of feeling. The problem with the initial release was poor distribution due to a number of obstacles. I feel I’m now in a position to reach a wider audience, spring boarding from the cult following.”

The timing’s right as there’s also a wider, more appreciative audience for all things vampire, so the project should benefit from this. The EP’s theme derives from the 1988 horror cult classic ‘Chillers’, from the scary mind of Daniel Boyd, a movie very dear to Buddy’s heart.

U2 Free Download - Musical Generosity or Aggressive Arrogance?


Submitted by Don Graham

If you’re a U2 fan with an iPhone you woke up to a nice gift, a free download of the band’s new album automautically downloaded on your iTunes. Yippee!  If you’re NOT a U2 fan and don’t want to listen to their music you got their new album “Songs of Innocence”  downloaded on your account. The company deposited the band's album into the online accounts of half a billion iTunes users.  The unsolicited appearance of the album's 11 songs was viewed by many as an aggressive marketing assault.

The gripes on Twitter were along the lines of "I'd rather have food poisoning on Christmas" and "Why and how did a random U2 album download onto my phone?" Not everyone saw the songs automatically download to their devices. User settings determined whether the songs would download or simply remain in the "cloud" on a list of albums purchased through iTunes.

The band hasn't had a new album in five years, and lead singer Bono wants to get U2’s  music to as many people as possible. He is quoted as saying. "And for the people out there who have no interest in checking us out, look at it this way . . . the blood, sweat and tears of some Irish guys are in your junk mail," he added.

But it wasn't that simple for iTunes users. There is no easy way to remove what some people were calling the "U2 virus." You can delete the songs from your device, but in the cloud the most you can do is hide the album in your online library.

Songs of Innocence will still be displayed as an “iTunes in the Cloud” purchase. That means it will still be shown as part of your music library, even if you delete all the tracks. The only way to make the U2 album disappear is to go to your Mac or PC and hide all of your iTunes in the “Cloud” purchases, or use iTunes to manually hide each track from your purchased items list.

Elyse Saunders Warm Coats Warm Hearts

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Submitted by Don Graham

Rising country singing star Elyse Saunders is a busy young lady.  She has just returned from the Canadian Country Music Week awards celebrations where she completed a successful set at the Diamonds in the Rough Showcase and is working on completing her new 10 song CD.  In addition to performing live with regularity in and around the Toronto area she is planning and promoting her annual benefit event.

The event, Elyse Saunders "Warm Coats Warm Hearts" Coat Drive&Concert is taking place Saturday October 11th from 4-8pm at Lake Affect Comfort Foods & Music Lounge in Port Credit, Ontario.

Elyse will be hosting the event with the Justin Time Band backing her up . The band will play some material on their own throughout the night and there will be performances by  some of Port Credit's celebrities and other surprise guests. The price of admission will be a new or gently used coat of any gender or size or a cash donation, with all proceeds going to the coat drive.

The CCMA Awards From Edmonton, Alberta Giddy Up!

Country Music Week 2014.jpg

Submitted by Don Graham

Every year in September the world of Canadian Country music meets to network, perform and honour their own at the CCMA Awards Gala, a televised event that presents the winners their Awards. It also allows the public to have access to their heroes and heroines  by green carpet and live television.  The week leading up o big night is chock full of live music via concerts and showcases for the rising star talent that country music has to offer.

It’s the one time of the year where you can see legends, established stars, rising stars, singers, songwriters, radio personalities, record execs, promoters, radio trackers , publicists and everyone involved in country music in Canada in one place. For one week business is conducted, songs shared and friendships made, face to face , in person without the use of the internet or mp3s. Old school.

This year’s events were held in Edmonton, Alberta and the big televised show was held at Rexall Place, home of  the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers.  During the week there were big parties and gatherings scattered all over the town. The Royalty Records 40th Anniversary party was held at Cook County and featured Royalty artists from yesteryear and today.

There were showcases at West Edmonton Mall and Diamonds in the Rough at the Marriott Hotel. Lunch time shows in The Westin Lobby. A Silver Bullet Showcase at The Sherlock Holmes Pub, The Jiffy Lube Fanfest in the massive mall. There was music everywhere.

The Invictus/Open Road  party was held at the Ranch put on  by Jim Cressman and company that featured live bands playing to a full house and hosted by the Dragon Den’s Brett Wilson. It rocked.

John Mann Frontman of Spirit of the West Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

John Mann, frontman and songwriter of the energetic and popular Spirit of the West has come forward to announce he is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. At only 51 years of age, this is a devastating declaration for a talented and energetic entertainer.

Late this summer, John Mann performed at Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition, singing the famous line from Spirit of the West’s tune Home For a Rest “You’ll have to excuse me, I’m not at my best.” The song would have a double meaning as soon after Mann and his family would announce the fact he is now in the early onset of this terrible disease.

When Mann was in his forties, he went to his family doctor with concerns he might have the beginning of dementia. At the time they thought the symptoms were being caused by colorectal cancer and the stress of that disease. He went into remission, but after a year his brain was still not functioning properly and it was clear there was more to the problems than the cancer and something was very wrong.

“He started having trouble with the chords or the lyrics to songs we’ve been playing for a really long time, songs like Home for a Rest, songs that we played every single night,” bandmate Geoffrey Kelly said.. “At first you’d kind of be mad at him, like how can he keep screwing that up, none of us aware that he had what he has.” Words Mann had song thousands of time were lost to him on stage and they all knew there was something more going on.

“I just want people to know now, because we’ve been holding this in as a band, waiting for the right time, and I was getting a bit antsy,” Mr. Mann said during a lengthy interview at his Vancouver home, conducted with his wife Jill Daum, who fills in many of the blanks. “I’m John’s brain,” she says.

Joey Cee Music Industry Icon Honoured with Mississauga Walk of Fame

Joey Cee and Mayor Hazel McCallion

Submitted by Sandy Graham
Photo Credits John Robert Rowlands
Photo at right: Joey Cee Mississauga Walk of Fame with Mayor Hazel McCallion

It is not often that the ‘behind the scenes’ people get honoured but this time they got it right.

The path near the southern end of Port Credit Memorial Park is forming quite the collection of stars with this year's class of Mississauga Music Walk of Fame inductees.

Country music legend Tommy Hunter, punk rockers Billy Talent, Grammy-nominated composer Ron Harrison and one of our music industry own, songwriter, journalist, editor, promoter, publisher and disc jockey are among the few things Joey has taken on through the 50 years he has been in the business.

Joey Cee received a star for their musical contributions – and Mississauga connections – during Sunday's (September 7 2014 induction ceremony. And no matter how big a star you may be in country music or punk rock or in pulling the strings behind the music business, if you are added to the Walk of Fame in Port Credit Memorial Park, it turns the you don't think it's actually official until you get a handshake from the mayor — and someone takes a photo of the two of you together.

Joey Cee Mayor Hazel and Mom VictoriaJoey Cee Mayor Hazel and Mom VictoriaJoey Cee recalled the numerous times the mayor of Mississauga had good-naturedly posed for ridiculous set-up photos for his various publications. He thanked his 94-year-old mother Victoria, who was present. He also recalled how he accidentally took the mayor's parking spot one time and got the royal riot act read to him.

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