Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2015

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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 or 

Dawn Sears A Great Voice Silenced

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Submitted by Don Graham

One of the finest voices to grace Nashville and country music has passed away from lung cancer at age 53.

Dawn Sears was a member of Nashville's Grammy-nominated western swing group The Time Jumpers, as well as a background singer in Vince Gill's touring band. Mrs. Sears was battling lung cancer and on November 30, she put on  a benefit concert in Gallatin, Tennessee for cancer research at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. The event was headlined by Reba McEntire.

"Every time I turn around somebody I know has cancer of some kind, and I just got tired of hearing it," Mrs. Sears said last month, "This is my way of fighting back."

Dawn was a longtime member of The Time Jumpers and since 1999, has been seen onstage in Nashville with the group nearly every Monday night of the year, starting with a 13-year residency at The Station Inn, then moving to 3rd &Lindsley in 2012.)." Her  audiences often included  country music notables. Larry Gatlin said he was very impressed  the first time he heard Dawn sing "Sweet Memories," with a voice that was "a cross between Patsy Cline and Barbra Streisand and Sarah Vaughan."

She continued to perform until June of 2014, and was still mesmerizing  the room with renditions of Hank Cochran's "Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me" and Vern Gosdin's "If You're Gonna Do Me Wrong (Do It Right)."

Bob Montgomery A Legend Passes On

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Submitted by Don Graham

Publisher, record producer and singer/songwriter Bob Montgomery has passed away at the age 77. Born in Lampassas,Texas in 1937, Montgomery was the original songwriting partner of Buddy Holly and the second half of the duo Buddy and Bob. Montgomery met Holly while they attended Hutchinson Junior High School in Lubbock, Texas.

Montgomery was the lead singer while Holly sang the harmony parts. They  had a weekly Sunday radio show on station KDAV and in  1955, Bill Haley did a concert at the Fair Park Auditorium which also featured Montgomery and Holly.

Montgomery co-wrote some of Holly's songs, such as "Heartbeat", "Wishing", and "Love's Made a Fool of You".

He was instrumental as a publisher in the discovery of some of the great songs while working on Music Row back in the day, when Nashville was a vibrant bustle of creativity. Bob was a big believer in the song being the star; once he had a song he believed in he would walk up and down the Row pushing the song to the folks who made it happen. “Wind Beneath My Wings” was one of the tunes that managed to see the light of day becoming a hit because of Bob Montgomery.

Montgomery also wrote Patsy Cline’s “Back In Baby’s Arms” which his son Kevin recorded on his  “True” album. Bob also wrote the classic “Misty Blue”, the Dorothy Moore hit single that was covered by over 200 artists. He also produced all of Bobby Goldsboro’s hits, including the 1968 #1 “Honey”.

Ian McLagan of Small Faces Passes Away

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Submitted Courtesy of BBC

Ian McLagan, keyboard player for the Small Faces and the Faces, has died aged 69, due to complications from a stroke suffered earlier this week.

"It is with great sadness and eternal admiration that we report the passing of [a] rock and roll icon," read a statement on his official website. McLagan, known as Mac, played on such memorable Small Faces tracks as Lazy Sunday and Itchycoo Park in the 1960s. The band became the Faces when Rod Stewart and Ron Wood joined in 1969. McLagan went on to record and perform with the Rolling Stones and also worked with Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

The Hounslow-born musician was about to embark on a North American tour, supporting label mate Nick Lowe, at the time of his death in his adopted home town of Austin, Texas.

"I am completely devastated by this shocking news and I know this goes for Ronnie and Rod as well," said Small Faces and Faces member Kenney Jones.
Steward added: "I'm absolutely devastated. Ian McLagan embodied the true spirit of the Faces.

"Last night I was at a charity do, Mick Hucknall was singing I'd Rather Go Blind, and Ron Wood texted to say Ian had passed. It was as if his spirit was in the room. I'll miss you mate."

Hip Kitty Releases Christmas Song for World Vision

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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).

Bobby Keys Stones Sax Player Dead at 70

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Submitted by Don Graham

Bobby Keys, saxophone player for the iconic rock ‘n’ roll band The Rolling Stones has passed away after a long illness. The band issued a statement ; "The Rolling Stones are devastated by the loss of their very dear friend and legendary saxophone player, Bobby Keys. Bobby made a unique musical contribution to the band since the 1960’s. He will be greatly missed.”

“I have lost the largest pal in the world and I can't express the sense of sadness I feel, although Bobby would tell me to cheer up," Stones guitarist Keith Richards said in a statement. "My condolences to all that knew him and his love of music.”

Born in Slaton,Texas Buddy was discovered by King Curtis  of  whom Keys said,  "He approached his sax solos differently than your jazz cats – most of 'em were pretty snooty jazzberries who thought rock & roll was just a waste of time. But King Curtis, he played sax the way a guitar plays, like James Burton would play a lead on a song. It was how he played and how he attacked the notes and his phrasing that was different than the normal.” In Lubbock, Keys befriended Buddy Holly, playing with him briefly as a teenager. "I kind of weaseled my way into the perimeter of the garage. He was the first guy I heard play electric guitar and it impressed the hell out of me."

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.

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

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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.”

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