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.”

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2015

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.jpg

Submitted by Don Graham

The inductees for the 2015 class in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have been announced with the induction ceremony to held be held at Cleveland's Public Hall on April 18th, 2015. 

The annual ceremony often ends with many of the night's artists jamming together. "I'm not putting a band together," says Ringo, "but if Paul McCartney puts one together, I'll do 'With A Little Help From My Friends.'"

The class of 2015 includes:

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
The racially mixed Paul Butterfield Blues Band blasted off from the Windy City with a wall-of-sound fueled by Butterfield’s inspired harmonica and lead guitarist Mike Bloomfield’s explosive lead guitar. The Butterfield Band converted the country-blues purists and turned on the Fillmore generation to the pleasures of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Willie Dixon and Elmore James. With the release of their blues-drenched debut album in the fall of 1965, and its adventurous East-West follow-up in the summer of ‘66, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band kicked open a door that brought a defining new edge to rock and roll.

Ultravox Founder Midge Ure Set For Phoenix Concert Hall Performance March 4

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Toronto's Blue Peter To Open Show
Submitted to Cashbox Canada

One of the most influential pop musicians to emerge from Britain is making a rare solo appearance at Toronto's Phoenix Concert Theatre on March 4. Midge Ure, leader of the groundbreaking UK band Ultravox — and the man who co-founded Live 8 and Band Aid (and co-wrote "Don't They Know It's Christmas") — has been a successful solo artist since the mid-80s, but has continued his relationship with his former band.

After working on live albums, the latest Ultravox record, and the updated version of “Do They Know it’s Christmas”  in support of the 2014 Ebola outbreak relief efforts, he has also found time to present his newest studio album Fragile.

Who: Midge Ure, with special guests Blue Peter
What: A rare Toronto appearance of the influential British pop star, Live Aid and Band Aid co-founder, one-time member of Thin Lizzy, and front man of Ultravox; Midge Ure's successful solo career has been ongoing since 1985.
Why: Because this is classic new wave music, and too few artists play it any more
When: Wednesday, March 4th — Doors 7:30 p.m Show 8:00 p.m.
Where: The Phoenix Concert Theatre, 410 Sherbourne St, Toronto
Tickets: $22.00 (+SC). Available online at http://www.thephoenixconcerttheatre.com/ or www.ticketbreak.com 

Hip Kitty Releases Christmas Song for World Vision

Jen Goncalves Hip Kitty.jpg

Submitted by Sandy Graham
Photo: Jen Goncalves Hip Kitty

This hard rock band was formed in Nashville (‘Music City’) Tennessee but don’t expecting any southern offering of twang from these rock ‘n’ rollers. Their melting pot of influences range from Guns N' Roses to Goo Goo Dolls, Jefferson Airplane to Evanescence and combine to breed a sound all their own, birthing new life into the rock world. HIP KITTY is currently promoting their "Nothing Left to Burn" CD while completing production of their upcoming single "Smile Pretty" with Grammy award-winning producer Toby Wright (Alice in Chains, Korn, Metallica, and The Wallflowers).

BTW-Shananigans, Riverdale Share Concert, Royksopp, Blonde Redhead, Selena Evangeline, Alex Goodman


Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Photo at right: Shananigans

Off the top, here are a couple of opportunities to help out while enjoying fine homegrown music. It’s Riverdale Share Concert time again, come Dec.7. Now in its 22nd year, This year’s show at the Danforth Music Hall offers a stellar lineup including Devin Cuddy, Kim Stockwood, Wexford Gleeks, operatic tenor Robert Missen, the young players of Kitchen Music Studios, Murray McLauchlan, Kobo Town’s Drew Gonsalves, Blair Packham, the Frankland School Choir and many others including that guy Santa. Showtime is 3 pm, bring twenty bucks, a non-perishable food item and a smile. The good cheer comes with the ticket.

The Riverdale Share Concert is a diverse holiday celebration held every December in Toronto’s Riverdale neighbourhood. It’s made possible by the contributions of residents, businesses, students, volunteers, civic leaders, and some of Toronto’s most celebrated artists. This 100% volunteer-run organization plans to once again raise over $30,000 and truckloads of food for families in crisis in the community in one afternoon. riverdaleshare.com

You folks out Kitchener-Waterloo way check this out. Celtic party band Shananigans are staging a House Concert to benefit the YWCA Mary’s Place Shelter of Kitchener, ON. The Concert happens Sat. Dec.12, 7.30 pm and admission is by donation as stipulated below. Here’s the band’s personal plea for this most worthy cause on account of there are kids involved. For site info, check the link below.

Northern Stars Shine in the Country!

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Submitted by Shelley Buffitt / GEL Canada

The Northern Ontario Country Music Association honoured musicians and performers at its 25th Annual Awards weekend on November 7-8-9th in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The weekend’s events were held at the Comfort Suites Conference Centre with an incredible 400 people in attendance.

Country music lovers arrived on buses from Timmins, Nipissing, Sudbury, Manitoulin and Temiskaming Districts to enjoy the three day gala. Many others made the drive themselves, all taking in the beauty of Northern Ontario.

NOCMA President Dave Patterson was delighted and impressed with the outpouring of support the organization and the artists received from the audiences over the course of the weekend. Patterson praised the NOCMA Representatives and how they outdid themselves with their assistance to the organization in bringing everyone together.

Friday night’s show featured Jim Owens from Branson, Missouri. Owens, known best for his # 1 Hit penned song, “Mississippi Woman, Louisiana Man” (recorded by Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty) wowed the crowd with his jokes, enthusiasm, and fabulous country songs. Jim was also on hand to present Mike Case and Mike Dinelle with The Carole Patterson Memorial Award. Carole Patterson, Dave Patterson’s wife, passed away a year ago and was instrumental in the growth and success of the NOCMA.

Drake Jensen The Leader Of The Pack

Country Artist Drake Jensen.jpg

Submitted by Don Graham

It was a tumultuous week in country music. Ty Herndon came out as being gay. Really? Didn’t we kind of know that? Wasn’t he busted in 1995 in Fort Worth, Texas for indecent exposure and soliciting an undercover cop ? Why is this news? And Billy Gilman also came out. Again, no surprise and yet it was a big story and now invitations to play at LGBT events and congratulatory pats on the back were the order of the day.  Even this isn’t newsworthy unless you compare it to Canadian country singer Drake Jensen’s coming out party.

No back slaps, no “good for you man” no offers of gigs but rather disdain and judgmental reprimands from the industry. And Jensen did this before his career was established unlike Herndon and Gilman who kept their secrets until after they had their success. “That’s what I dislike like most about this,” Jensen said from his home in Ottawa, Ontario. “These people who live a lie, not because of any moral strength but rather to establish their careers in the straight world and not run the risk of rejection because of their preferences. I chose to be true to myself rather than deceive the public and myself.”   But being gay is not what Jensen does - it’s who he is. There’s a lot more to him than his sexual orientation. “I’m a country singer first and being gay is not the story here. The story is my music.”

Danny Marks and Bobby Curtola Keepin’ It Alive at The Rex

Danny Marks and Bobby Curtola Enjoying the Love!.JPG

Submitted by Don Graham
Photo Credit: Lee Fraser

Toronto guitarist, singer, songwriter, radio host, tv host, first class entertainer and bluesologist Danny Marks is the keeper of the keys when it comes to the  live music of old, back when bands and performers did all the cover tunes of the day to keep the audiences happy and rockin’.

Canadian icon Bobby Curtola was one of the first Canadian singers to achieve international success with his 45’s like Fortune Teller, Three Rows Over and Corrina, Corrina. These are the types of songs the barbands would cover so what are the chances the original artist would grace a bar stage to sing his hits. Well that’s exactly what happened last Saturday afternoon when Bobby Curtola showed up Danny Marks’ regular Saturday afternoon gig at The Rex in downtown Toronto.

BTW-Starring badbadnotgood, Joel Miller, Atari Teenage Riot, Gordon Lightfoot, Tasha The Amazon, Oshawa Music Hall (Theory of a Dead Man, I Mother Earth, MonsterTruck), Rant Maggie Rant


Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Photo at right: badbadnotgood

Enfants terrible badbadnotgood, known for their critically-acclaimed self-released projects and often O.T.T. live shows have been celebrating the release of their Polaris Music Prize-listed new album III released earlier this year. The Toronto trio saw III debut at # 1 on the iTunes Jazz Chart and peak at # 2 on the Billboard Jazz Chart while it hitting # 1 on Earshot’s National Jazz Chart for eleven straight weeks and sixteen weeks in the top 5.

Known for bridging the gap between jazz and hip-hop, badbadnotgood will release a collaborative album with Ghostface Killah titled Sour Soul. Produced by Frank Dukes, its set for release February 2015 and follows up a 10-inch single released earlier this year. After rocking several houses in the US, UK and Europe this past summer, dudes are currently on the road for a year-end tour. Stops include Canadian performances in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Hamilton and Waterloo as well as US stops in New York, Washington and Cambridge.

badbadnotgood is a formally trained trio out of Humber College’s acclaimed jazz program cuttin’ a groove all their own. Since meeting at school in 2011, Matthew Tavares (keys), Chester Hansen (bass) and Alex Sowinski (drums), have challenged the rulebook on improvised instrumental music and taken a fresh look at the jazz tradition by setting their sights on the future.

BTW-Starring Devin Cuddy, 2 Bears, Dawn Pemberton, PUP, Isabel & the Uncommons, Neil Young, The Weather Station

Devin Cuddy.jpg

Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Photo at right: Devin Cuddy

With the DNA of a rock’n’roll road dog in his genes, no surprise that Devin Cuddy’s all ready to take the band on its second cross-Canada tour this year, supporting current cookie Kitchen Knife. So it’s all stops in between Halifax to Vancouver on a tour that began on October 3. “It’s very important to us to bring this show to the doorsteps of Canadians everywhere”, says Devin Cuddy. “So come on out”.

Young Cuddy’s got something dif to offer in his rootsy country rock in that he passes on trends in favour of getting close to the sources of original rock’n’roll, honky tonk style country, barrelhouse piano, blues and jazz. So far it’s working out for the boy, having scored him a Juno nom for Roots / Traditional Album of the Year for his first record, Vol 1.Cuddy has said that Kitchen Knife was more of a ‘studio’ album that the debut, so checking how it translates live’ll be a bonus.


Tour Dates
November 13th - Minstrel Café, Kelowna BC
November 14th - Dream Café, Penticton BC
November 15th - The Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver BC
November 17th - The Blue Grotto, Kamloops BC
November 20th - The West End Cultural Centre, Winnipeg MB
November 21st - Sawmill Café, Boisevan MB
November 22nd - Kenmor Theatre, Morden MB
November 27th - Mansion House, Kingston ON
November 28th - Zaphods, Ottawa ON
November 29th - Quai Des Brumes, Montreal PQ
December 4th - Pearl Company Theatre, Hamilton ON
December 5th - Tweedsmiur Pub, Tweed ON
December 6th - The Rivoli, Toronto ON

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