The CCMA Awards From Edmonton, Alberta Giddy Up!

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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.

One Bad Son Set to Release Black Buffalo

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

2014 marks the 10th consecutive year that Canadian rockers One Bad Son (604 Records) will capture audiences with their intense live-energy performances and powerful vocals. Their fourth full-length album, Black Buffalo, available September 2, explores new territories in lyrics and tone and will be brought to life through their upcoming Canadian tour this fall. Produced by Eric Ratz (Monster Truck and Billy Talent), Black Buffalo features their current single "Satellite Hotel" which has cracked the Top 10 on the Mediabase Active Rock chart and was the #1 Most Added for two consecutive weeks following its debut.

One Bad Son saw great radio support from their 2012 self-titled debut, with their single "Retribution Blues" reaching #6 on the Mediabase Active Rock chart and their hit single "Scarecrows" taking a Top 5 spot on the Canadian Rock radio charts. Since 2004, One Bad Son has made a name for themselves playing alongside bands like Three Days Grace, Monster Truck, Theory of A Deadman, Default, Buckcherry and Crash Karma. Last November, they were crowned the victors of SiriusXM's Rock The Grey Cup, where they represented the Saskatchewan Roughriders and played during the festivities at the 101st Grey Cup.

The new CD set for release on September 2, will be supported by an extensive tour that will take the band through Ontario to Quebec and then landing in Nova Scotia.

Monday Oct 6, 2014 | The Casbah | Hamilton, ON
Wednesday Oct 8, 2014 | Dallas Night Club | Kitchener, ON
Thursday Oct 9, 2014 | Danforth Music Hall | Toronto, ON
Friday Oct 10, 2014 | Norma Jeans | London, ON
Saturday Oct 11, 2014 | Mavericks | Ottawa, ON
Wednesday Oct 15, 2014 | The Alehouse | Kingston, ON
Thursday Oct 16, 2014 | Corona | Montreal, QC
Friday Oct 17, 2014 | Cabaret du Capitole | Quebec City, QC
Tuesday Oct 21, 2014 | The Marquee | Halifax, NS

Canada’s Own Carli and Julie Kennedy to Perform in Europe

Carli and Julie Kennedy.jpg

Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Touted as “nothing short of awesome” (Cashbox Magazine Canada) and “one of ten to watch out for” (Edmonton Journal), Victoria, BC’s twin phenomenon, CARLI and JULIE KENNEDY will begin their 2014 Fall tour in Iceland and then to Sweden where they will perform at the Opening Gala for LIVE AT HEART in Örebro, Northern Europe’s largest showcase festival.

With songwriting, recording sessions and performances in Calgary, seven showcases at Folk Alliance International in Kansas City, one of six featured acts and the only Canadians awarded a performance slot in St. Petersburg, Florida for the Third Annual Listening Room Festival, Carli and Julie Kennedy were also awarded a sanctioned showcase at Canadian Music Week in Toronto where their high energy session captivated a full house of international audience delegates and captured the attention of Peter Åstedt, Artistic Director of International Acts, for Sweden’s Live At Heart Music Festival who personally invited The Kennedy’s to perform in September.

“Carli and Julie Kennedy are exactly the type of artists we look for to perform at our festival,” said Åstedt. “They’re wonderful entertainers with great voices; they love their audience and the audience loves them; Sweden is in for a real treat.”

Since their debut as a duo in 2011, Carli and Julie Kennedy have earned 5 BCCMA nominations and fascinated audiences in Canada and the US with hundreds of performance dates. Whether taking stages at house concerts, festivals, fairs, showcases or conventions, The Kennedys have been touted as “the next big thing in country music” (Nashville Examiner).

Monday, September 1st 9:00pm Tickets $1500 KR
Café Rosenberg

Klapparstígur 25-27
101 Reykjavík
+354 551 2442

Country Artist Veronica Ballestrini and Davy Crockett’s Cookies & Cream Whiskey

Artist Veronica Ballestrini at the distillery with Matt Lane, a rep for Davy Crockett’s distillery..jpg

Submitted to Cashbox Canada

In conjunction with the release of her current single, “Cookies and Cream,” country recording artist Veronica Ballestrini has been named brand ambassador for Davy Crockett’s Cookies & Cream Whiskey. Based in Gatlinburg, Tenn., the distillery chose to partner with her as she continues her travels across the country visiting radio in support of her single.

“I’m so thrilled to be entering into this partnership with Davy Crockett’s distillery,” said Ballestrini.  “I not only have a single that I’m proud to be delivering to my friends at radio, but I also have some great whiskey that I’m packin’. My friends at radio better watch out – they haven’t tasted any whiskey like this!”

Chuck Edwards of Davy Crockett’s Whiskey added, “Davy Crockett’s Cookies and Cream Whiskey is proud to be partnering with Veronica. Her strong social media presence and her ability to connect with her fans, along with the release of her single 'Cookies and Cream,' made a partnership with her just seem natural."

Ballestrini released her sophomore album, Flip Side on June 17th and it is available through iTunes and other major digital retailers. Ballestrini co-wrote all eleven tracks on the album and is the writer of her current single “Cookies and Cream.” Destiny Nashville’s Brandon Metcalf produced the album.

The catchy, upbeat track, “Cookies and Cream” showcases her growth as a more mature singer and seasoned songwriter. This high-spirited anthem is reminiscent of the “can’t eat, can’t sleep” feeling of falling in love and being in a “love spell” where life seems to only be filled with love, laughter and magic.

To listen to the song and view the lyric video for “Cookies and Cream,” visit Ballestrini’s YouTube page at

BTW- Starring Keram, Julian Taylor, Buddy Black, Royksopp and Robyn, Rusty Ford, the return of Current Records, Emilia and the Mississauga Music Walk of Fame 2014

Karem howls at The Supermarket.jpg

Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Photo at right:
Keram howls at The Supermarket

Keram came back to the T.Dot with a bang and a hot new album. Unfortunately, he dropped in from El Lay just long enough to light up The Supermarket with a killer performance of tracks off current cookie Come to Life. The movie actor/singer/songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist and conceptual artist brought all of that and more to the gig. The album’s lush and sprawling conceptual art-rock was brought to sparkling life in all its multi-layered glory with the able assistance of some of the 30 players on the album.

The acting thing is a big plus here, as the songs are written from a wide variety of viewpoints and Keram inhabits the different personae with conviction. From the haunted lover of “Killing Days, Living Nights” through the defiant swagger of “The Devil Knows Me Well,” which includes the classic Keram humoresque lyric: “I’m coming back like William Shatner” and including a guest spot from “Mary Magdalene,” he brought them all to vivid life.

At about the midpoint, Alex ‘Rush’ Lifeson, who’s credited as executive producer on the album, got up to rip some of the wicked guitar lines he plays on the album, especially on “The Devil Knows Me Well,” and “Moving Dark Circles.” And the crowd went even wilder. Afterwards, looking around at the sweat soaked and emotionally drained looking survivors, it comes to mind Keram just doesn’t play our town often enough.

Diana Krall Goes the Standard Route

Diana Krall Wallflower.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Diana Krall’s new studio album Wallflower is slated for release this October 21, 2014 on the legendary Verve label. Wallflower is a collection of songs from the late 60’s to present day that inspired Krall in her early years.  Produced by 16-time Grammy Award-winning producer David Foster, the album finds Krall breaking new ground with her interpretations of some of the greatest pop songs of all time.

On Wallflower, Diana Krall showcases her considerable gifts as a vocalist in a bold and beautiful way. Krall sings a set of songs that include familiar popular classics like The Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreaming” and the Eagles’ “Desperado,” favorite vintage songs by Krall’s musical heroes Bob Dylan (he inspired the album’s title track “Wallflower”) and Elton John (“Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word”). The album also features more recent gems like Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over”.

A special highlight will be a new composition from none other than Sir Paul McCartney, entitled “If I Take You Home Tonight”.  McCartney connected with Krall two years ago when she and her band assisted in the recording if “Kisses From the Bottom’, a recording of jazz classics.

The producer is none other than Canadian icon David Foster. A much anticipated release, Krall has not had a new offering since 2012 with the Glad Rag Doll CD, produced by American T Bone Burnett.

Ault Sisters Return to Jazz Bistro

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Last month the Ault Sisters performed for eager and very receptive audiences at Blue Mountain Village during Jazz On The Mountain At Blue, The Beaches International Jazz Festival Mainstage and the T&T Waterfront Night Market on Cherry Street. The youthful trio brought their sweet harmonies, which went straight into the ears and hearts of all present.

It may seem strange to call The Ault Sisters veterans, given that Amanda, Alicia and Alanna Ault are, respectively, just 22, 20 and 18. They have left novice status long behind, though, given that they released an acclaimed debut album, Christmas Feelings, back in 2006.They have studied music and performed extensively since then, diligently honing their craft and employing their prodigious vocal skills in a wide range of musical styles, with great distinction.The Ault Sisters are now turning to jazz, a genre in which their signature and sublimely seamless vocal harmonies can really shine.

The girls have learned so much over the last little while and you’ll hear vocal jazz at its best.  The Ault Sisters is a talented trio of siblings who put their trademark sweet sound and stunning tight vocal harmonies to good effect on a dazzling selection of jazz standards and other classic tunes. For this date the sisters are joined by four of Toronto’s finest jazz musicians – Robi Botos on piano, Justin Gray on bass, Ben Riley on drums and Nathan Hiltz on guitar.

Tommy Hunter Gets His Postage Due

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Submitted by Don Graham

Canada Post has issued five new stamps featuring  Canadian country music artists, including National treasure Tommy Hunter. Canada Post has had some rough press lately and they don’t always get it right. But this time they did. No one is more deserving of a stamp than Canadian country music’s ambassador, the Country Gentleman himself, London, Ontario’s Tommy Hunter. Tommy Hunter is to country music what Jean Beliveau is to hockey, pure class.  And the list of new stamp honourees includes two artists with ties to Hunter. Hank Snow was a singer/songwriter that a young Tommy admired and Shania Twain admired Tommy and appeared on his hit TV show long before her career got started.  The list is rounded out with k.d. Lang and Renee Martell. “All but one of the folks on the list, Renee Martell, appeared on my TV show. Shania wanted to be here for the unveiling but has commitments.”

The stamp with a picture of Tommy Hunter and his  black Martin guitar was unveiled at a ceremony in London Ontario  on July 31st. Tommy commented, “that Martin guitar was made for me, one of two, a black one and a kind of maroon one in Nazareth  by C.f. Martin,”

Canada Post says on its website “Our Canadian Country Artists series salutes five of this nation’s legendary country music stars,” adding “The Tommy Hunter Show ran for 27 years, making it the longest-running network country music show in the world.” The Hunter stamp was designed by Roy White of Subplot Design.

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