Richard Underhill Mayor Shuffle Demon

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Submitted by Mark Smith

Civic election campaigns are dirty, evil and endlessly entertaining. It takes resilience, smarts and belief in oneself to be a success.  Not that those are the only qualifications, but they are a good base.

For 30 years, Richard Underhill, of Toronto’s Shuffle Demons, has been a successful working musician, not just a musician, but a jazz musician. Tossing his funky hat into the ring we have to ask why does Underhill think he can be Mayor of Toronto?

I caught up with Richard at newly opened west end neighborhood joint The Lucky Penny across from the new Artscape Youngplace facility on Shaw Street.  The location I felt was fitting as they both symbolize the potential and future for the city. Plus the coffee was good.

Taking off his jacket and grabbing a coffee Richard eases directly into the conversation “The campaign has been exciting, just like starting a band. I have not felt that type of energy in 30 years. Having an idea, finding people you can work with, developing plans and hitting the road, it feels so good. “

What is the idea that pushed you into throwing your hat in the ring?
“ We can do better, Toronto can be a city that works, a place where people can operate comfortably. “

As Mayor what would you use as a guiding model to manage the city?
“Lead in accordance with the Toronto’s Mission Statement.”

Pete Seeger To Everything There is a Season

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Submitted by Don Graham

"Every kid who ever sat around a campfire singing an old song is indebted in some way to Pete Seeger," Arlo Guthrie once said and truer words were never spoken

Pete Seeger, the banjo-picking troubadour who sang for migrant workers, college students and star-struck presidents in a career that introduced generations of Americans to their folk music heritage, died Monday at the age of 94. His grandson Kitama Cahill-Jackson​ said "He was chopping wood 10 days ago,"

Pete and Toshi Seeger were married July 20, 1943. The couple built their cabin in Beacon, New York after World War II and stayed on the high spot of land by the Hudson River for the rest of their lives together. The couple raised three children. Toshi Seeger died in July at age 91. Much like Johnny Cash after he lost his beloved June, Pete didn’t last long alone.

The lanky 6’2” Seeger  armed with his  banjo and full white beard was an iconic figure in folk music. He performed with the great  Woody Guthrie in his younger days and marched with Occupy Wall Street protesters in his 90s, leaning on two canes. He wrote or co-wrote If I Had a Hammer, Turn, Turn, Turn, Where Have All the Flowers Gone and Kisses Sweeter Than Wine. He lent his voice against Hitler and nuclear power.

BTW-starring Monkeyjunk, Random Order, Ruthless Ones, Archie Alleyne, Bobby Wills and PUP!

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

The superbly designed Koerner Hall proved a pitch perfect location for the 17th Annual Maple Blues Awards Show, delivering the blues in all its diversity, sonic rough edges and all. Big winner MonkeyJunk, a three-piece out of Ottawa, scooped five awards.

This brings to 20 the number of MBAs they’ve won in the band’s six years of existence and the group credits their signing to Stony Plain and consistent cross-Canada and international touring in support of (Recording of the Year) All Frequencies for the large haul this time out. The other awards were Electric Act of the Year, Entertainers of the Year, Songwriters of the Year and Harmonica Player of the Year.

Monkey JunkMonkey JunkThe sounds that kept the heads bobbing in their seats came from MonkeyJunk, who closed the show,The 24th Street Wailers from Toronto, Nova Scotia's Charlie A'Court, Little Miss Higgins from Saskatchewan, B.C.’s David Vest and Quebec singer Dawn Tyler Watson.

George Canyon Tosses His Hat in the Ring

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Submitted by Don Graham

The most instantly recognizable cowboy hat since Ian Tyson’s Stetson is getting tossed into the political ring. George Canyon, the iconic Canadian Country superstar, is offering himself up as the Conservative representative in Alberta's new federal Bow River riding.

“The people in this riding are resilient and hard working. I was blown away by how well we all pulled together as a team while under the terrible stress of the flood crisis last year, the recovery of which is still ongoing," Canyon wrote in a press release, “ I live in this community and these people are my friends and neighbours. It would be an honour to represent them as a Member of Parliament. The boys in my band always tease me on stage and say I’m kind of a combination, when you look at me, between Buzz Lightyear and Brian Mulroney, because of my chin.”

The singer is quick to point out that he is not abandoning his music career. “Music is ingrained in me, and I’m actually working on new music right now, I’ve got a new single coming out; a new album.”

Canyon says he's always been drawn to serve his country in one way or another.  He says he had planned on a future with the military before he developed Type 1 diabetes.

The Association of Country Music in Alberta Awards

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

The Association of Country Music in Alberta (ACMA) announced the winners of 2013 Association of Country Music in Alberta Awards at the Dinner & Awards event at Westerner Park in Red Deer, Alberta.

Bobby Wills who had 4 nominations this year, took home the 2013 ACMA Awards for Male Artist of the Year, the SOCAN Song of the Year  for “ Somebody Will” along with co-nominees Walt Aldridge and Mike Pyle and Album of the Year for “ If It Was That Easy”.

Wills’ reaction, “As artists we join this business to create music, however it remains to be an incredible honour to receive such accolades from my peers and I sincerely thank the ACMA and all of the voters for their support!  These awards are a shared success with my entire team, especially my producer and co-writer on the recording, Mike Pyle and Walt Aldridge.

What a magical transition to kick off the release of my new single, from one album to the next; 2014 is going to be epic!”

Brett Kissel also had 4 nominations and was awarded with the 2013 ACMA Awards for  Single of the Year for “Started with a Song” and the Calgary Stampede Rising Star.

The winner of the 2013 ACMA Female Artist of the Year went to Alee who was nominated in a total of 4 categories.

The 2013 ACMA Group/Duo of the Year was Calgary’s own  Pear, featuring Denis and Lynae Dufresne,and for the 2nd consecutive year, Grande Prairie’s Tenille took home the 2013 Fan’s Choice.

Steve Anthony is Surgically Hip

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Submitted by Don Graham
Photo: FB Tanya Humphrey-Anthony

Steve Anthony co-host on the hugely popular CP 24 Breakfast show in Toronto has grown into the role of a serious broadcaster, while maintaining his outgoing personality that won him such popularity in his early days on radio and television. Always the showman and bon vivant, Steve met his match while doing a ”live-eye” last week on the breakfast show. While covering a monster  truck event, Maple Leaf Monster Jam,  at Toronto’s Rogers Center, Steve decided to show a monster truck, named Northern Lights, that is  billed as a tough truck with 6 foot tires, that it wasn’t so tough. Taking a running drop kick at the huge tire Anthony thudded to the ground with a sickening sound while the truck and tire remained stationary and unflinching. To his credit Steve finished the show on a make shift crutch made from a mono pod camera stand. The result of the injury was a brand new hip and brand new femur for the popular host. From his hospital bed Anthony said, “The doctors decided that rather than try to repair the hip and femur it would be better just to replace them both.” The prognosis for recovery is a few days of in-patient rehab at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital and then home. There is no set date for his return to air.

Winterfolk Festival Line-up Announced for 2014

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

The Winterfolk XII Blues & Roots Festival has announced a wonderful lineup of quality programming to entice festival-goers. Local promoter Pete Otis brings his Songtown event “Honouring Our Own” again this year to celebrate veteran musician Tony Quarrington. The late, great Rick Fielding is remembered fondly in the special presentation “This One’s the Dreamer,” and Winterfolk darling Grainne will release the much-anticipated CD, the foundation of which was recorded live at last year’s festival. Under the umbrella of the theme “Remembering Our Roots,” (a foray into the Canadian music scene in the 1960s), there are three events: The Spirit of Yorkville, Before the Gold Rush and Where Have All the Folk Songs Gone. There will also be four ticketed events, including the Tony Quarrington celebration, a master songwriting workshop, the return of the electrifying Jack de Keyzer, along with roots artists Ron Hynes and Lynn Miles, and a very special Valentine’s Day event, “Love at Winterfolk,” with a Winterfolk martini dubbed the WF Kocktail Kiss!

Marshall Dane Back with New Release Alcohol Abuse

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Marshall Dane’s infectious blend of country and rock is set to blaze a trail in 2014. Country by definition, but fueled by rock and roll and infected with a watermelon-sized helping of hope, love and salvation, Marshall’s the kind of guy you want to have on your side when the going gets tough in this world and his new single, “Alcohol Abuse” is set to be your alibi.

From his album, One Of These Days, released in May 2013, in time for last year’s CMAO (Country Music Awards of Ontario) for which he was nominated in several categories including Male Artist and Album Of The Year "Alcohol Abuse" was written by Country Hall of Fame Songwriter Kim Williams (Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Rascal Flatts) and Grammy Award Nominee, Billy Yates (Gary Allan, George Strait, Kenny Chesney.) In addition to Marshall Dane's smooth-as-aged-whiskey vocal delivery, the track features Jeff Fountain (bass), Corey Thompson (drums), Mike Bonnell (keys), Dan Brodbeck (Guitar), Doug Johnson (steel) and Shane Guse (fiddle.)

Starting off with harmonies that would make a cowboy cry and ringing guitars this is Dane at his best. Clever rhyming patterns and a flurry of words that keep you listening trying not to miss a thing, with all the right elements of fiddle, this talented Canadian treasure delivers his usual honest vocals and flirtatious deliver to his fans. The cool thing about Marshall Dane is women love him – men want to be like him. This guy is the real deal.

Monkees Members Nesmith and Dolenz A Rare Reunion

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Submitted by Don Graham

The Monkees Convention in March 2014, a celebration of The Monkees already had one member of the group, Micky Dolenz on the bill. The recent announcement on January 10, 2014 was big news; Mike Nesmith would make a rare appearance and perform at the convention. The event will take place March 14-16 at the Hilton Meadowlands in Meadowlands, New Jersey.

Nesmith rarely attends any of The Monkees reunion shows or fan fairs but explained his change of heart by saying, “For years the people over at The Monkees convention kept asking me to come and I never saw the point until I started touring again. And then it started to make sense,” he said. “This year when they asked, I said 'yes.' I agreed to come and sign and talk -- and to play a solo show with my 'Movies of the Mind' band. As things developed, all my kids decided to come as well and I think Christian, Circe, Jonathan and Jessica are all going to be at the Convention. Christian and Circe will play a set, as will Jonathan. That will be a delight for me. Jason is coming to lend moral support and maybe sell some of his CD’s from a few years ago. All in all, it is shaping up to be a fun family outing with some good music. A Nezfair at The Monkees Convention.”

Guitar Awards Honour Domenic Troiano

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Submitted Courtesy of  Jane Harbury

The Domenic Troiano Guitar Scholarship was created in 2006 to honour the legacy of an extraordinary Canadian music legend. Donations from 136 individuals and music related companies have funded $43,500 in scholarships for Canadian guitarists Aimee Piche, Lucus Haneman, Shawn Pickup, Floria Nica, Paul Kosmac, Michael Kolk, Jordan Laidlaw, Alex Goodman and James Graham.

The Trustees have reimagined the scholarship and are excited to announce the new annual ‘Domenic Troiano Guitar Awards’. The Trustees are Kevin Breit, Rik Emmett, John Harris, Shawne Jackson-Troiano, Bernie LaBarge, Alex Lifeson,Jim Norris and Frank Troiano.

Says RUSH’s Alex Lifeson, “On June 30, 1967, I saw the Mandala at the North York Centennial Arena. At the side of the stage Donny gave me his autograph and his Mandala button. He told me how important it was to keep practicing and if I worked hard, I might get the chance to stand on stage and play for people some day. I was beaming. He was my first real inspiration and to this day I have a deep love and admiration for a man who truly knew the meaning of soul. I am proud to be a humble part of his enduring influence”.

Three $5,000 prizes will be awarded to Canadian guitarists in the categories of Jazz, Multi-Genre (Rock, Blues, R&B, Country, etc.) and Classical, with trophies designed by  Istvan Fujkin. The deadline for submissions of one 3 to 4 minute performance on video to Sonicbids is Friday, March 28, 2014. For application criteria visit

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