2015 CCMA Awards

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

The Canadian Country Music Association honoured their own September13th in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They actually partied all week in the port town with all of the shining stars in attendance, brightening up the Halifax Harbour and downtown core. There were showcases, round tables seminars, galas, impromptu musical events and general good fellowship aplenty.

The winners included:
Johnny Reid

Lifted  Dallas Smith

Jess Moskaluke

Gord Bamford

High Valley

Where A Farm Used To Be  Gord Bamford

Upside Down Dean Brody

Where A Farm Used To Be
(Written By: Gord Bamford, Buddy Owens, Phil O'Donnell, Performed By: Gord Bamford)

Lindi Ortega


Madeline Merlo

Raquel Cole

The industry awards included:

Ramble (Design Team: Brandon Heard (Mediavandals), Photography: Ashley Champagne, Artist: The Boom Chucka Boys)

Rheostatics at the AGO: Music Inspired by the Group of Seven

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Early in the evening, members of the Rheostatics were exuding appreciation for the efforts put forward by the staff of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).  It was the first time the AGO had hosted a rock show, according to member of the band, Dave Bidini.   But this was no ordinary rock show.

Twenty years ago, the Rheostatics were commissioned by another art gallery, the National Gallery of Canada, to write music to accompany a show to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the genesis of the Group of Seven.  It was back in 1995 that Kevin Hearn accompanied the Rheostatics to create an album of primarily instrumental music to reflect the works produced by the famous pioneers of Canadian art.  The name given to the album, and the title given to the AGO evening, was “Music Inspired by the Group of Seven”.

As any proud Canadian can tell you, the images produced by the Group of Seven reflect the landscapes of Canada throughout the seasons.  These landscapes and the weather that shaped them were key influences on the music.  We in the audience were gently directed through calm, spring days and snow-laden winter days.  We experienced gentle rain showers, and later we were swept away by the power of thunder and lightning.  The music created by the group was powerful.  Perfectly matched images accompanied the live performance, images and videos curated by the award-winning couple, Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier.

Michelle Wright Signs New Management Deal

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Submitted by Don Graham

Canadian icon and treasure Michelle Wright has signed with the Thompson Entertainment Group for management. A multi-award winning artist, songwriter and author, Wright has toured internationally, charted singles in both the US and in Canada and in 2011 was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and is currently enjoying success at radio with her single "Laugh A Little" from the album Strong.

We spoke to Michelle from her home in Nashville. Tennessee. “I was managed by the same great man for 28 years. When Brian Ferriman retired after the passing of his wife and partner Sue last August  I was on my own professionally. I recently got to know Chuck Thompson of Thompson Entertainment Group. He reached out to me and said how he had always liked what I was doing and suggested we meet. He had looked after the Judds and managed Wynona so I knew he had good credentials. But more importantly he was a real straight shooter, with honesty and integrity being as important to him as it is to me. The single “Laugh a Little” is doing well for us and I sent Chuck a work mix of  a new song I’m working on and he was as excited as I was with  its potential. It’s something I wrote and I’m proud of it and to have someone with Chuck’s background in music get it was huge. I am thrilled with what lies ahead.

Randy Lennox Appointed President, Entertainment Production and Broadcasting, Bell Media

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

On August 25 2015 Bell Media President Mary Ann Turcke announced today the appointment of Randy Lennox to the newly created position of President, Entertainment Production and Broadcasting, Bell Media, effective immediately.

A veteran entertainment executive with more than 25 years of industry experience, Lennox will oversee all of Bell Media’s English independent and in-house entertainment productions for conventional, specialty, pay television, and digital media, bringing the company’s production teams together under one leader. Lennox will also oversee all English and French radio and local television broadcasting and their associated digital assets. Reporting directly to Mary Ann Turcke, Lennox becomes a member of Bell Media’s Senior Leadership Team.

Randy Lennox is the leading executive in the Canadian music industry. While the business has endured a myriad of technological and marketplace challenges, he has consistently grown market share and revenue through talent acquisition and strategic alliances. As President and CEO of Universal Music, the country’s leading music company, he was responsible for more than 50% of domestic and international recording artists, who in total have won 178 JUNO Awards. Some of the Canadian talent he has signed or helped elevate to the international stage include Justin Bieber, Shania Twain, Drake, Hedley, Diana Krall, Nickelback, The Tenors, The Tragically Hip, as well as Canada’s newest breakout star, The Weeknd, among others.

Jeffrey Remedios Named President And Ceo Of Universal Music Canada

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

On August 25th 2015 Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s leading music company, announced today that Jeffrey Remedios has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Canada, effective September 21.

Remedios, co-founder of Arts & Crafts, Canada’s premiere independent music company, will succeed Randy Lennox, who has been appointed President of Entertainment Production and Broadcasting at Bell Media, Canada’s largest television, radio and digital media company.

“I want to thank Randy for transforming our Canadian company into the market leader both commercially and creatively,” Grainge said. “He will be missed at UMG, and I’m confident he will achieve great things in his new role. I congratulate Jeffrey on his appointment. We are fortunate to have found an executive with his creative instincts and proven entrepreneurial track record to lead Universal Music Canada.”

Lennox said, “It has been a pleasure working with Lucian and his executive team in building Universal Music Canada into the home for Canadian artists who have made an impact around the world. Jeffrey is a talented executive who represents continued great leadership at Universal Music Canada. This company has been my home for many years and I leave with the confidence that it’s in excellent hands, with a senior executive team who will lead the business into a bright future.”

James Barker Band Wins Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

The James Barker band took top prize at the Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase competition during this past weekend’s music festival. Eight finalists from across Ontario competed on the Front Porch Stage, Saturday, August 8, 2015.

The announcement took place on the main stage just prior to Florida Georgia Lines performance. The prize package includes opening for Thomas Rhett on the main stage, a release from Universal Music Canada, a week in Nashville, TN and a Gibson guitar.

“The guys had an amazing experience performing in front of such a massive audience. We are very grateful to our fans who voted for us online and to those who came out to watch us perform live at Boots and Hearts,” says James Barker.

In May the band was also selected to perform at the Country Music Association of Ontario New Faces Going Places Showcase with Michelle Wright held in Markham.

James Barker and his band are a very tight knit group of accomplished musicians from The City of Kawartha Lakes, who play consistently throughout Ontario at a host of bars, fairs, festivals and other reputable events.

His love of music started at age 4 with his first instrument – the fiddle. Playing at churches and fall fairs at such a young age made James comfortable on the stage and prompted his decision that this is where he is meant be. At age 12 James picked up the guitar and knew it held his future.

Memories of Panamania


Submitted by Lee Fraser
Photo: Quique Escamilla at Nathan Phillips Square Main Stage

The stages are torn down, the sound equipment returned and the banners rolled up.  Panamania inhabited our city for seven weeks and it was seven weeks we will never forget.  How often do you see Bay Street bankers and homeless people enjoying the same show?  Or complete strangers smiling and laughing together, helping each other with directions and recommendations.  That is what Panamania nurtured – a togetherness of all people, all walks of life, in a wonderful collective feeling of how great this city can be.  Word on the street is that Panamania was a huge success and made this a summer to remember for decades to come.  People will be reflecting on the summer of the PanAm Games in Toronto the way that people get nostalgic about Expo 67 in Montreal.

Canadian Indie Blue Sapphire Music Under New Ownership

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada
Photo: Othniel Jules

The full-service independent Canadian owned independent label, Blue Sapphire Music, founded in 2011 by Jeff Burns, has been sold to Montreal-based industry entrepreneurs, Othniel Jules, founder of up and coming social media entertainment website launching in 2016, and New York business executive Sase Persaud.

Othniel Jules is an American and Canadian entertainment executive entrepreneur, with an eclectic, out-of-this-world passion for music. As an accomplished musician, producer, songwriter, marketing specialist, TV producer and concert promoter of many years, Mr Jules has the experience, knowledge and understanding of what it takes – to develop an artist from the creative inception and early studio production, to the final headlining of a sold out world tour.

In the mid ‘90s, Mr Jules co-founded Nexworld Entertainment Group and the Future Stars Showcase – one of the biggest talent showcase in the Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) long before TV shows such as American Idol were introduced to the U.S market.

Bill Anderson and His Grammer Guitar - Together Again

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Submitted by Don Graham

In the mid ‘60’s Billy Grammer was a member of the Grand Ole Opry, was on radio and made television appearances, as well as working sessions in the studio. He dreamed of building the perfect flat top guitar, built to his specs and one that would have all the best features of his favorite acoustic guitars, and be made out of the finest woods he could find.

By early 1965, Grammer guitars were showing up in stores for public consumption and selling for $395 retail. That was a fairly high price, I bought a brand new Gibson J50 in 1965 for $275, with a case, to give you point of reference.

In the 1960’s Bill Anderson was the proud owner of a Billy Grammer guitar, a flat top six string. The Grammer really stood out and on  the country music shows on television back in the late 60's, you would see Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, and many of the Hee Haw gang playing a Grammer guitar. Even Mick Taylor of the Rolling Stones had one. Webb Pierce had a maple blue burst with his name inlayed on the fret board. Roy Acuff, Lester Flatt, Loretta Lynn, Ernest Tubb, the list reads on and on. A lot of Country Music stars were playing the Grammer guitar. And so was Whispering Bill Anderson who has experienced all the fame that has come with being a country music icon for the past 50 years, but for most of that time he's been without one of his prized guitars.” I haven’t seen that guitar since probably 1965. I didn’t even remember what happened to it. I may have lent it to a museum? I don’t remember.”

Lynn Anderson Heading To Her Rose Garden

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Submitted by Don Graham

Country legend, Lynn Anderson, has passed away in Nashville Tennessee less than two months shy of her 68th birthday.

The Grammy-winning performer, whose 1970 single, "Rose Garden," was a country and pop hit worldwide, died after suffering a heart attack. Anderson had recently been hospitalized with pneumonia after returning from a trip to Italy.

She was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota on September 26th, 1947, to songwriters Casey and Liz Anderson. Liz Anderson was a recording artist and a songwriter, whose best known for writing  Merle Haggard's "I Am a Lonesome Fugitive" and "(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers.

Anderson's first single was released in 1966, when she was just 19 years old.It was a duet with Jerry Lane titled “For Better or for Worse.” Although it failed to chart, her next single “Ride, Ride, Ride”, made it onto  the country charts, and the follow-up “If I Kiss You (Will You Go Away)”, written by her mother, made it into the Top 5.

Anderson was a regular on the popular Lawrence Welk Show in the late ‘60s, which gave her exposure to a national audience. It was said that Lynn Anderson helped  broaden  the boundaries of country music because there wasn't a lot of country music to be found on network television at that time.

Lynn married record producer and songwriter Glenn Sutton in 1968 and he produced a few of her hit songs as well as writing several including“You're My Man” and “Keep Me In Mind.” The couple would divorce in 1977.

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