Cashbox Canada Top 50 Picks for 2021

Fri Jan 07 2022
Cashbox Canada Top 50 Picks for 2021

It was not an easy task to list the Top 50 songs that came into the Cashbox office in 2021, and I am sure we missed some of the ones that deserve to be on this list.

Our list is compiled by content; songs that were relevant and moving about our current times with the pandemic, racism, the sad discovery of unmarked graves of Residential School Indigenous children, love and hope and great songs both lyrically and musically.

It was also based on statistic numbers of requests on Cashbox Radio and social media posts about these songs and artists.

The Top 50 Pick Hits is not a chart and the positions are based on alphabetical listings.

Please visit online at to request your favourite songs.

Tune in Friday January 7 @ 9PM EST to hear all these artists on a special feature show.

Cashbox Canada Top 50 Picks for 2021

(in alphabetical order)

The End Of The Year!

Fri Dec 24 2021
Peter Åstedt

This is my last column for 2021. Another year that was mostly spent on COVID, but also there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We got back a bit to live shows in the Autumn and it’s getting better. We still have to cope with COVID and that will keep on going, so we just have to deal with the uncertainty.

This year doesn’t really have that much happening. It blurs together with 2020 like just another year. Now though at the end of the year, it seems like things are starting to get ready. People start to get ready for the new world. The changes we have talked about are now occuring and I just feel strongly that in January everything will kick into gear.

We’ll Be Right Back After This Short Break!

Fri Dec 24, 2021

2021 (and 2020 for that matter) reads like the famous quote:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” - Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

As I post this, another year has come to a close here at Cashbox Canada, Cashbox Radio and our newest venture – Record World International.

It has been a year of change, disappointments, reconfiguring, live shows booked then cancelled, festivals postponed.

But on a positive note, I saw so many professionals and artists moving ahead with resilience and perpetual optimism. I witnessed creative people recreating themselves, finding ways to continue to hone their craft, release music, connecting with others.

We received more music submissions than ever before and some of it was like a breath of fresh air in production and content. We had more time to listen.

JUNO-Nominated Toronto Tabla Ensemble Revs Up for 2022 with New Song, “Encore 21”

Fri Dec 17 2021
Toronto Tabla Ensemble

Can the burst of fresh energy and the promise of possibility a new year brings be embodied in a song? Canada’s JUNO-nominated Toronto Tabla Ensemble have their fingers on the right rhythm to get you up on your feet and dancing into 2022 with their new single and video, “Encore 21” – watch and listen here:

Featuring high velocity tabla and other percussion, along with rapid fire recitation of tabla bols (language) by TTE founder and composer Ritesh Das, “Encore 21” has the power to propel anyone into a joyous state of reverie. However, playing this composition requires a sobering amount of skill and practice.

“I originally wrote this piece for the Youth Ensemble,” explains Das. “A fast-paced and high energy composition to keep their chops up as we slowly emerge from the pandemic and prepare for in person shows again.”

Light Organ Records Whisks Canadian Audiences on a Nostalgic-Yet-Modern Trip Back in Time

Fri Dec 17 2021
Push Button Radio

Music’s finest moments are often in those unassuming blips of life where you’re in unassuming places, taking care of the mundane, and a song sends your heart soaring to the depths of nostalgia, forcing you to rewind to a memory…  Light Organ Records has captured that very sentiment in a 14-song strong compilation album that seeks to recreate what you used to know and bring it back to the forefront of your consciousness.

The release is the reimagining of CanCon radio hits of the 70s — each delicately restructured and performed by new-age Light Organ recording artists, and their varieties of styles and ecclesticisms. The first five tracks of Light Organ Records Presents Push Button Radio: CanCon AM Radio Hits From the 70's as Covered by Light Organ Artists, featuring Hotel Mira, The Shilohs, Mounties, Tara Holloway, and The Fugitives are available now.

Check out the Spotify link here:

Cellist Margaret Maria Releases Where Words Fail - Music Through Healing

Fri Dec 17 2021
Margaret Maria

Ebbing and flowing like an ocean’s waves, healing is a notoriously nonlinear process that is as unpredictable as an insect’s flight from one blossom to the next. Within such, Canadian composer Margaret Maria is guiding audiences on a journey through aspects of the arc with the release of her new album and single, Where Words Fail - Music Through Healing and “Blessing of Awakening”.

Experience “Blessing of Awakening” here:

As the release’s opening song, “Blessing of Awakening” gives sound to a languid awakening, followed by the mounting busyness of getting to whatever it is that calls for attention; slow and meandering at the start, like rolling over with the first light shining through the window, the pace picks up, driving and percussive — rounding up the kids, spilling your coffee, looking for your keys.

Skip The X-Mas Song

Fri Dec 17 2021
Peter Åstedt

Let’s go down to if it’s really worth it to make a Xmas song. If you make a mega-hit like Mariah Carey's “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and then the world plays the shit out of the song every December each year, yes you probably will laugh when you go to the bank. The problem I see is how many songs that never get any recognition.

I was driving in my car today. Last year one of my favorite stations decided to just play X-mas music the whole of December. It was awful so I turned that station off and forgot about the station until March when I released that they had stopped the X-mas music. Maybe they understood the problem with their decision because this year, they are just playing X-Mas songs here and there. There are people that just love X-mas and want to have X-mas music, and the glitter and the decorations and just love it so much that they can have it all year round, but I am guessing they are pretty few and far between. It’s probably the same people that eat hard bread with ketchup, there are people doing that, but luckily, they are few and far between as well.

Electronic Artist & Producer Ensures It’ll Be A Very Vibin’ Christmas with Release of New Album

Fri Dec 17 2021
Jay Slay

If there’s one thing award-winning Canadian electronic artist, producer and events/label Vibe Raiders co-founder Jay Slay is certain of this holiday season (and beyond), it’s that it’s going to be A Very Vibin’ Christmas all-around.

Landing as the first in an inventive annual series reimagining holiday classics by way of electro, dance, and EDM flavours, so goes the title of the multi-talented DJ and classically trained pianist’s newly minted seasonal offering.

The six-track A Very Vibin’ Christmas includes modern takes on the likes of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “The First Noel,” “Silent Night,” and more, and welcomes guests such as Los Angeles-based Nevve, one of the world’s top electronic vocal crews with over 1+ Billion streams, and NYC-based American Idol finalist Robbie Rosen to the featured roster alongside Victoria, BC-based Scarlett Darling and Edmonton, AB-based Kelly Alaina.

Check out this cool Christmas offering on Spotify here:

The Band’s Classic Fourth Album, Cahoots 50th Anniversary Edition Release

Fri Dec 17, 2021

When The Band pulled into the unfinished Bearsville Sounds Studios in Bearsville, New York in early 1971 to record Cahoots, their fourth studio album in as many years, they were still basking in the success of and acclaim for their first three history-making records. The Band’s landmark debut album, July 1968’s Music From Big Pink, drew inspiration from the American roots music melting pot of country, blues, R&B, gospel, soul, rockabilly, the honking tenor sax tradition, hymns, funeral dirges, brass band music, folk and good ol’ rock ’n’ roll to foment a timeless new style that forever changed the course of popular music. When they released their seminal eponymous second album, The Band, the following year in September 1969 – or “The Brown Album,” as it would lovingly be called – not much more was known about the reclusive group.

Cashbox Radio Christmas & Holiday Pick Hits Pt. 2

Fri Dec 10 2021
Cashbox Radio Christmas Pick Hits

With the holidays in full swing, radio is on high rotation of the usual Christmas hits and the nostalgic classics, but in keeping with our beliefs in giving Indies and Legendary artists to be played on the same shows we are doing a special Pick Hit list for the Holidays.

At Cashbox Canada and Cashbox Radio, we have been receiving some great new Christmas tunes and I would like to share the second round of Top Cashbox Radio Christmas Pick Hits that are now being played on Cashbox Radio.

We would really love if you give these songs a boost by listening to Cashbox Radio, and heading to our Request link here:

Who knows? Maybe that future classic is right here on the Top Pick Hits – more to come next week!

Because at Cashbox Radio we believe someone has to play that future hit for the first time – and we want it to be us!

Country Artist Lisa Richard Gives Ode to the Spirit of Christmas with “Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick”

Fri Dec 10 2021
Lisa Richard

There are lots of songs about Santa, but very few pay adequate tribute to just what a diligent, hardworkin’ guy he is. Multi-award nominated Canadian country crooner Lisa Richard is on a merry mission to do just that with the release of her fun, energetic new single, “Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick” — available now.

“I wanted to create a song that felt like a down-home country Christmas singalong, and have people feel like a kid again,” Richard says. “Something to put a smile on your face, tap your toes, and share with family and friends.”

The song starts out with the scratchy rotation of an old record, followed by Christmas bells, and then the guitar and the banjo chime in. That’s when we immediately figure out that Lisa Richard and her band are about to give us a proper country Christmas song. The pace picks up, and that’s when you realize it’s the kind that makes you want to grab your family and friends for a little line dance across the living room. You might even want to shout the lyrics along with the chorus.

Great Big Sea Co-Founder Séan McCann Releases New Single “10,000 Miles Away”

Fri Dec 10 2021
Séan McCann

Our global pandemic storm isn’t over quite yet but, the end of 2021 certainly feels more like we’re all coming together again rather than drifting further apart, doesn’t it? Right on time, Canadian Celtic folk rocker Séan McCann brings us a rollicking new song that celebrates the power of love’s connection even from “10,000 Miles Away”.

The second single landing from the Newfoundland born-and-bred troubadour’s critically acclaimed and isolation inspired folk opus, SHANTYMAN, “10,000 Miles Away” could very well be the happiest song ever written and recorded about long distance love. It’s irresistible to tap or clap along with the hand jive rhythm and join McCann on the rousing “Sing blow ye winds high-o” chorus.

Check out “10,000 Miles Away” here:

Nothing Will Be Perfect!

Fri Dec 10 2021
Peter Åstedt

Nothing will be perfect! This is just the reality and if the reality doesn’t really is for you, don’t even enter the show business. It’s much easier to take a 9-5 job at a normal office and just work there. You going to get the same things every day and you will be safe.

Recently, I have been meeting too many people in the position to try to make everything perfect in a situation where you really can’t provide those situations. I was traveling and next to me was a couple with a child. Somehow, they had ordered a meal on the flight but were complaining that the meal wasn’t delivered fast enough. The whole flight was delayed because of another delayed flight and some trouble with the passport systems but that didn’t matter to the couple. The staff was working really hard to just get this flight going. And to be honest I was just happy to avoid being stuck for several hours in a boring airport. I would gladly just skip the meal just to get back.  Instead, they were harassing the flight crew with stupid questions when the meal would arrive like that would make it faster.

Jesse Cook Combines Spanish Guitar with Modern Trap & 808 Beats in 11th New Studio Album, Libre

Fri Dec 10 2021
Jesse Cook

Jesse Cook — the multi-Platinum/Gold award-winning and internationally acclaimed producer, composer, and guitarist — has released his 11th studio album, Libre. Out today via Jesse’s own Coach House label imprint, distributed by Outside Music/Redeye, the 10-track album combines Cook’s iconic Spanish guitar flair with Algerian multi-instrumentalist Fethi Nadjem, modern trap rhythms and 808 beats.

Libre arrives alongside the album's stand-out track, “Number 5,” and its accompanying music video.  Check it out on YouTube here:  Number 5 | ft. Fethi Nadjem:

“I wrote and recorded Libre during the pandemic when, like most people, I was longing for freedom,” Cook shares of the new project. “My music was my escape from the four walls that surrounded me, and the storm that was swirling outside.”

Tommy James Welcomes You To His Rock Party!

Fri Dec 10, 2021

Throughout his career, Tommy James has never stopped creating music and never stopped loving his fans. He loves to perform and his music has stood the test of time, garnering new fans all the time and keeping his old fans tuned into what he is doing today. 

With more than just the 23 gold albums, 9 platinum albums, 100 million records sold worldwide, 32 Billboard 'Hot 100' hits and, most impressive of all, the long string of hits heard on the radio over 21 million times, Tommy James has more than earned all his accolades and praises for music that is inextricably woven into people's memories and pop-culture DNA.

Some cool facts about Tommy James:

Jonny Dovercourt Releases Season 2 of Any Night of the Week: A Walking History of Toronto Music

Fri Dec 10 2021
Jonny Dovercourt

Melophiles with a love for urban lore are in for a treat with this month’s Season 2 podcast launch of Any Night of the Week: A Walking History of Toronto Music!

Check out Jonny Dovercourt reads from Any Night of the Week: A D.I.Y. History of Toronto Music, 1957-2001 trailer here:

With Episode 3 “Dundas West” newly available, Wavelength Music co-founder and Artistic / Executive Director Jonny Dovercourt is back hosting the ‘virtual walking tour,’ relaying stories about iconic venues and interviews with the influential artists and promoters that rocked them.

Waves That Stray Exposes the Vulnerability of Self-Reflection with Single “Inside My Head”

Fri Dec 03 2021
Waves That Stray

Canadian indie rocker Waves That Stray (Sean MacLean) shares the vulnerability of being locked in the creative process’ cage that is procrastination and self-doubt in a new single and video, “Inside My Head”. Check it out here:

Fusing the best parts of electronica and rock ‘n’ roll, “Inside My Head” gives nod to the distinct sound of early-aughts Brooklyn groups like TV On The Radio, LCD Soundsystem, and The Dirty Projectors. The loops are ethereal, the beats hypnotic, and yet the guitar still rocks, while the lyrics haunt.

I can't hear it
The music doesn't play anymore
I can see it
Washed up along the shore
It’s just a letter in a bottle
From the wreck it breaks your neck
And leaves you hanging
on the hard line

The Honeyrunners Release New Music Video For“Ghosts” That Will Make You Scream

Fri Dec 03 2021
The Honeyrunners

Canadian pop-rockers, The Honeyrunners, release the worldwide debut of their new music video for the single “Ghosts”. The track is a mash-up of New Orleans second line and Neo-Pop. The music is rooted in a bouncy rhythm, stitched together by Southern slide guitar, stride piano, and horn blasts teasing listeners’ sanity in a quilt of production that only grows more chaotic as the track rolls on.

Check out the video Ghosts here:

“We gathered friends from some of the hardest hit industries of the pandemic - nurses, musicians, small business owners, filmmakers - and asked them to scream point blank into a camera. It was the perfect allegory for Ghosts, a song built around anxiety. It was a catharsis for them, and I hope it will be for the viewer as well.”

Peter Astedt Explains It Has To Be Good!

Fri Dec 03 2021
Peter Åstedt

I have just played fifteen songs that have come in one way or another in my different roles as editor, playlist maker, radio DJ, and festival curator. The problem I have is that none of the songs had that quality to make it any further. To be honest they all were in the demo stage in the songwriting process. They were recorded ok, not professionally but ok recorded.

In the end, it’s just not good enough. These songs can never find it’s way to a bigger audience. The craftsmanship is not there. It’s not enough that your mother and a couple of your friends find the songs well.

And here is the biggest mistake that artists are doing right now. They read about all the tips and tricks that industry professionals (just like me) are giving away for free on all different channels all the time. The problem is that we are all talking about when a song is good. When it’s a hidden gem that could with the right marketing reach a bigger audience. The biggest problem is that 97 % of all songs that are given out don’t have that quality. And for these songs, it would be like putting make-up on a pig to follow the instructions that these professionals are giving.

Reggae Legend Jay Douglas Goes Big-Band with Soulful New Holiday Single, “Merry Christmas”

Fri Dec 03 2021
Reggae Legend Jay Douglas

Jay Douglas revisits the classic Christmas tradition of big-band, soulful, crooner-esque Christmas songs that have swept the globe since radio started broadcasting holiday music with his new single, “Merry Christmas”.

Characteristic of Jay Douglas, “Merry Christmas” does a great job of painting a clear picture for the listener — all while feeling warm and inviting. The award-winning reggae legend’s unparalleled energy and charm culminates into the production that is “Merry Christmas” to create that perfect “back home for the holidays” feeling, with a dash of cinematic production traits. Watch it here on YouTube: