50 Years of Funk & Soul: Live at the Fox Theater- The Tower Of Power Story

Fri Mar 12, 2021

“You can take the boy out of Oakland but you can’t take Oakland out of the boy.”

That line from band leader and founder Emilio Castillo is crucial to understanding how, against all odds, an Oakland CA. band took the world by storm. Also crucial, 50 Years of Funk & Soul: Live at the Fox Theater – Oakland, CA June 2018, which drops March 26, 2020. As much cultural artifact as album, it plays out the Tower of Power history in story and song.

Who better to tell the story than Emilio Castillo himself?

Castillo was only 17 years old when he met Stephen "Doc" Kupka and started to assemble the band that would become Tower of Power. “I had no vision at all, I just loved playing soul music. My idols were a tight little local band called The Spyders and they had gigged in Sacramento. I thought, ‘Man, if I could just get to Sacramento that would be it.’ That's literally how small my vision was at the time.”

The Anatomy of a Great Song With Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad)

Fri Mar 05, 2021

The first song I (Michael Williams) ever learned on guitar was written by Mark Farner, “I’m your Captain Closer to Home “by Grand Funk, the second one was “Stairway to Heaven”!

Mark Farner:  “One night my mom packed up the whole extended family in Leachville, Arkansas and moved us all to Flint, Michigan for high paying auto factory jobs. People migrated from all over the South, and the music followed.”

“I sat by the radio eating mayonnaise-horseradish sandwiches, waiting for John R on “The Royal Crown Radio Hairdressing Show” on WLAC Nashville.  Michigan was a crossroads where north met South, late night AM radio was King, Rosalie Trombley was the Queen at CKLW Windsor, Ontario.

Grand Funk Railroad, made up of 3 Flint natives, ? and the Mysterians bassist and two former members of Terry Knight and the Pack, Grand Funk was born. Mythic status was guaranteed after their first live performance at “The Atlanta International Pop Festival”, in 1969 in front of 150, 000 fans. A year later Grand Funk released 3 multi platinum albums including the classic anthem “Closer to Home” released June 15th 1970.

Dan Hill - On The Other Side of Here

Fri Feb 26, 2021

Dan Hill has reached the peak of the proverbial songwriter mountain, induction into Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

“I have now been included with my heroes, my mentors my university professors Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot, Bruce Cockburn to name a few.. To be included in the same list as the these writers is the greatest honour and most humbling accomplishment in my career.”

Over his 40 plus year career Dan has had much success, not only as a songwriter but as a Grammy nominated Best Male Vocalist, Grammy winner as co-producer of “Seduces Me” on Celine Dion’s ‘Falling Into You’ album that topped 30 million in sales and the winner of five Juno Awards and recipient of the Harold Moon Award  SOCAN’S Canadian Lifetime Achievement Award as well releasing multiple gold and platinum selling albums.

So now might be a good time to kick back and bask in the spoils of a well-earned rest. But Dan is not resting instead he is releasing a brand new album. I’ve been digging to try and find another artist who gets inducted into a Hall of Fame and releases a brand new body of work all in the same week.  Haven’t found one yet except for Dan Hill.

Laurie Leblanc When It’s Right it’s Right for Another Night Like This

Fri Feb 19, 2021

The east coast of Canada, the Maritimes, has yielded some fine country music talent. Hank Snow, Carroll Baker, Bruce Guthro, Anne Murray and George Canyon to name a few.  And there’s a new name vying for inclusion on that list.

Laurie LeBlanc has a unique and fresh sounding blending country with his East Coast Acadian roots. His latest album, “When It’s Right It’s Right,” the much anticipated follow up to his debut English release is a collection of 10 original songs co-written with some of Nashville’s top writers and produced by multi-CCMA award winner, the legendary  Jason Barry and the session players include  members of Dean Brody’s touring band, Brodeo. The finished product is a gem and is a perfect vehicle to introduce Laurie Leblanc to a mainstream audience.

The first single Laurie LeBlanc longs for “Another Night Like This” in this, check it out on YouTube here:

Mary Wilson …….And Now You’re Gone

Fri Feb 12, 2021

Founding member of the hit Motown group, The Supremes, Mary Wilson died in her sleep on February 8, 2021 in  Las Vegas at the age of 76. The cause of death is unknown. Two days before her death, she had announced that she was planning to release new solo material with Universal Music Group with plans to release it out before March 6, her birthday.

She began her career in Detroit in 1959 as a singer in a group that was then called The Primettes, the female version of the male Motown group The Primes. They went on to become The Supremes, Motown's most successful group of the 1960s, with 12 number one singles including "Where Did Our Love Go," "Baby Love," “ Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone” a nd "Stop! In the Name of Love."

Wilson’s publicist, Jay Schwartz,  issued a statement, “Their influence not only carries on in contemporary R&B, soul and pop, they also helped pave the way for mainstream success by Black artists across all genres," He went on to say  Mary Wilson was a ”trendsetter who broke down social, racial, and gender barriers."  

Musician & Author Greg Godovitz Releases a New Book Up Close And Uncomfortable

Fri Feb 05, 2021

Having the distinct one word name Goddo conjures up a musical history firmly etched in Canadian icon status. The man behind that name, Greg Godovitz, has had a reputation not only in his performances but in his personality.

“I was really direct in my early days, and I think that paved the way for my reputation of being rude, arrogant and outspoken. Truth is I lost many an opportunity because I spoke my mind. I have mellowed a bit as years have gone by, but I am still a bit of the unfiltered guy from back then.”

But underneath all of that reputation is an eager soul, excited to tell more of his stories and share this new (2nd) book” Up Close and Umcomfortable.”

Winterfolk XIX is Set for February 19th & 20th With FREE Virtually Streamed Performances

Fri Jan 29, 2021

When a Canadian music festival has been running for 19 consecutive years — in the middle of winter, no less — rest assured, they’ve seen it all.

And this year, Toronto’s annual Winterfolk Blues and Roots Festival can add ‘pivoting to online due to a pandemic’ to that list.

Winterfolk logoUndeterred, Winterfolk XIX is set to stream Friday, February 19th and Saturday, February 20th online. Registration to watch is free, and optional donations will be collected in support of the Daily Bread Foodbank.

Toronto’s 19th Annual Winterfolk Blues and Roots Festival Back With FREE Virtually Streamed Performances on:
Friday, February 19th - 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Saturday, February 20th -7:00pm - 10:00pm

Robbie Burns - Scotland’s Original Rebel Rock Star!

Fri Jan 22, 2021

There’s little doubt that had Robbie Burns, the Ploughman Poet , been born a hundred years later he would have a certified triple A rock star. The ladies’ man, the poet, the eternal romantic. Burns was in fact regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic period, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that started in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, peaking from  about 1800 to 1850. Whether his subject was a man or a mouse or even a louse, Scotland’s National Bard had that rare talent of putting himself into others peoples place and circumstances and found a way to express  life's universal emotions

David Pomeranz – You’re the Inspiration

Fri Jan 15, 2021

David Pomeranz's recording and songwriting projects have earned him a total of 22 platinum and 18 gold records and his solo albums and concert performances have delighted and inspired audiences all over the world.

Pomeranz has had songs that have been recorded and/or performed by scores of artists including Barry Manilow (who scored two Number One hits with David’s "Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again" and "The Old Songs") Bette Midler, Kenny Rogers, Clay Aiken, Phoebe Snow, Freddie Mercury, Cliff Richard (who recorded three Pomeranz' songs including the Top Ten U.K. hit, David’s and Dean Pitchford’s stunning, "I Still Believe in You") The Muppets, Kenny Loggins, Richie Sambora (of Bon Jovi), Dennis DeYoung (of Styx), Missy Elliott (who sampled one of David’s recordings for her million-selling hit, “One Minute Man”), The Carpenters, The Hollies, Harry Belafonte, Hubert Laws, Lou Rawls, Andrea Marcovicci, John Denver, Mary Travers, Leo Sayer, Eddie Kendricks (of the Temptations), Donna Summer, Glen Campbell, Lillias White and Kathie Lee Gifford.

Gerry Marsden You’ll Never Walk Alone

Fri Jan 08, 2021

I have been struggling for days to write this story after hearing that Gerry Marsden had passed away on January 3, 2021 from complications of a heart infection.

For me personally, it was a hard one to accept, Gerry Marsden was gone and I had lost a friend.

So writing this I struggled because Cashbox needed to acknowledge this amazingly talented singer, songwriter and philanthropist and truly a brilliant stage performer, but having worked with him on tour, I didn’t want to make this too much about me, and how his death affected me for the last few days.

I had called his mobile a few weeks ago to try to set up an interview with our Station Manager at Cashbox Radio, Peter Astedt, get some station IDs and do a story in both Cashbox Canada and Record World Magazine. I did not get to connect but I just put that down to Christmas and the holidays. Little did I know that a few weeks later I would hear Gerry had passed away.

Happy New Year from Cashbox Canada

Fri Jan 01, 2021

My father used to say you can’t wait to be 18 then suddenly you are 40. Life speeds up and we all know how quickly that happens as we go from teenagers to adults. (although luckily in the music industry we never really accept being adults, or as the song says ‘Forever Young’.

But 2020 has been a slow and painful year on so many levels. I call it COVID-time; where you don’t know what day it, not that it really matters anyway. You look at the time and expect to see it be around 6 or 7pm then it shows that it is only 2 or 3 pm. The weird part of that it is Monday then suddenly it is Friday again. We have lost so much time and missed our business colleagues, friends and families on so many special occasions. Sadly, some of us have lost people we love as well to this terrible pandemic.

Happy Hogmanay

But the human race is a resilient one, and the feedback I get from my music friends is everyone is ready to come back stronger and better in 2021.

The Best of Times and The Worst of Times - 2020 Edition

Fri Dec 25, 2020

Of course we all know that famous line from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

I have been reflecting about many things this Christmas and on how the world changed for all of us this year.

A Tale of Two CitiesAs a member of the media and the music world my friends, artists and colleagues all got hit hard and it went down slowly and painfully. In my world, one by one major festivals I was supposed to be attending were canceled, postponed or switched to a virtual format. It was like slow motion watching it happen, surreal and hard to handle.

Charley Pride Time To Kiss An Angel Good Morning

Fri Dec 18, 2020

Charley Pride has left this earthly plane but his legacy and music will live on forever. A trailblazer, pioneer, role model, superstar and one of only three African American members of the Grand Old Opry the others being DeFord Baily and Darius Rucker. Pride passed away of complications of COVID-19 at the age of 86.

On November 11th, Pride was onstage performing at the 2020 Country Music Association Awards where he received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, an honour given  to “an iconic artist who has attained the highest degree of recognition in Country Music.” Charley performed his first #1 hit “Kiss An Angel Good Morning “ along with another young black artist Jimmie Allen.

Our library statistics in Record World Chart history show Charley Pride had 49 hit records of which 33 reached #1. In 1972 he had a duet hit with Henry Mancini, “All His Children” peaked at # 1.

Cashbox Magazine Charts show he had 67 Hit Songs of which 30 peaked at #1.

Charley Pride’s biggest hit was “Kiss An Angel Good Morning"

Glass Tiger Release “Songs For A Winter’s Night” With Guest Artists

Fri Dec 11, 2020

“We’ve waited 34 years to create an original release for Christmas and this Christmas, is one that most people will never forget.”

Created during the summer of 2020, with the world continuing its fight to recover from the massive impact of a global pandemic, “Songs For A Winter’s Night” is primarily a collection of original Christmas/Holiday songs written by Glass Tiger and joined by guest artists such as Roch Voisine, Natalie MacMaster, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Steve Sidwell Orchestra and of course the legendary Gordon  adds his voice to a very special poem written by Alan Frew, “Ode For A Winter’s Night”.

In doing so, the legendary Mr Lightfoot, is giving his personal thumbs up to the lads, for their covering of his classic hit, “A Song For A Winter’s Night.” With this eclectic mix of holiday music, Songs For A Winter’s Night, stirs the spirit and soul with the central theme focussing on gratitude for the things in life that matter most, like love and kindness; equality & friendship; and of course, family.

The single release is Happy Holiday (Joyeux Noel Mes Amis) Glass Tiger & Roch Voisine – check it out here:

Andy Kim Christmas Special Presented By The Air Miles® Reward Program

Fri Dec 04, 2020

The 16th Annual Andy Kim Christmas Special, presented by AIR MILES will make its national television debut on Citytv and Citytv.com as well as streamed globally at LiveNation.com. The two-hour music special will broadcast from Toronto’s one and only, El Mocambo on December 19 at 8 p.m

The Television Special in support of Crew Nation, CAMH Gifts of Light and Food Banks Canada airs Saturday, December 19 at 8 p.m. on Citytv and Citytv.com

Actor, Singer & Philanthropist TOM JACKSON Announces 33rd Season Of Huron Carole – The Light Inside

Fri Nov 20, 2020

For 32 Christmases Tom Jackson’s Huron Carole has been a staple in Canada, touring the country bringing cheer and hope to the nation. But with the current pandemic, what will happen to Year 33? The need to social distance and travel limitations made for a huge obstacle in continuing this tradition.

Festivals and live events were being cancelled and postponed across the board but this was Tom Jackson we are talking about here. Tom is no stranger to stones in the road and fallen trees in his path. We caught up with him at his home in Calgary and the calmness and sense of resolve in his voice is something that soothes the nerves and gives a sense that every problem has a solution.

Kim Mitchell 2UP2BEDOWN

Fri Nov 13, 2020

If you’re a Kim Mitchell fan then you’re in for a treat and if you’re not a Kim Mitchell fan yet then you will be after listening to this latest offering from this legendary Canadian icon.

This latest album, ‘The Big Fantasize’, is his eighth studio collection as a solo artist, having  previously had five albums as the front man of the highly successful band Max Webster. The last time his fans heard from Mitchell was his 2007 album ‘Ain’t Life Amazing’, an album of rock tunes in the tried and true Kim Mitchell style.

Don McLean - Still Playin’ Favorites

Fri Nov 06, 2020

Catching up with Don McLean at his home in the USA, his personality is as strong and as free spirited as he was decades ago when his career soared to the top of the charts in 1971 with the legendary hit song, ‘American Pie’. The charttopping hit was an 8.5-minute folk rock "cultural touchstone" about the loss of innocence of the early rock and roll generation.

“I have always been the type of man who needs his freedom and I have a strong need and urge to be creative, even as a kid I knew I wanted to be a performer. I was an only child and my parents and friends were my first audiences. I was brought up in a typical middle class family in New Rochelle, New York and listened to every recording I could get my hands on growing up. I didn’t fit with what my father (Donald McLean ll) wanted me to be, and it was a strict upbringing so not an easy way of life to accept when you are an artist wanting to follow your dreams. He thought a musician was the lowest thing you could be. But when I was just 15 years old, he died and I didn’t know what I was going to do without him. He was the king, the boss. He knew everything.”

JB and the Playboys Play It Again!

Fri Oct 30, 2020

Photo Credits John Rowland

In 1965, at the onset of the British Invasion, the kids were ready for a shift in the music they could  all their own. The 1950’s had changed the culture and the music with the advent of  rock ‘n’ roll with Elvis, Buddy and Jerry Lee Lewis. There was a rebellious attitude that seeped into the mindset of the youth of the day. After Elvis joined the Army and around 1960 the trend softened with the Bobbys, Frankies and Johnnies singing more love ballads. So in 1964 the timing was right for a new kind of music, a new style and attitude.