The Unison COVID-19 Relief Program

Fri Mar 27, 2020


The world is facing one of its greatest challenges. People from all walks of life are facing health risks and financial uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Musicians are unable to tour, leaving numerous entertainment professionals suddenly out of work, venue owners have closed their doors, and laid off staff and the trickle-down effect is extraordinary.

Since the outbreak, Unison has received an overwhelming number of requests for assistance from the music community. Registrations have increased by 1,900% or nearly $200,000 per week.

Now more than ever, Unison’s emergency relief assistance is a critical safety-net for members of our Canadian music industry deeply affected by the COVID-19 virus itself and the precautions and protocols surrounding it.  As a response, we are proud to launch the Unison COVID-19 Relief Program. "We would like to thank the Slaight Family Foundation for their partnership and generous donation of $250,000, which will be matched by the Unison office", says Executive Director Amanda Power. "Funding will be allocated towards housing costs, medical expenses, and groceries."

Kenny Rogers, The Gambler Has Left the Table

Fri Mar 27, 2020

The dealin’ is done, the gambler has left the table. Kenny Rogers, best known for his multi-genre, multi-media, the song was a radio hit and it was made into a movie, The Gambler, has passed away at age 81.

Rogers’ career spanned many decades, starting in 1966 with popular New Christie Minstrels who had a big hit with a song called “Green, Green”. In 1967 Rogers and three members of Minstrels, Mike Settle, Terry Williams and Thelma Camacho left the group to form The First Edition. The band had a string of hits, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” a Mickey Newbury song that was rescued by this version. Jerry Lee Lewis had also cut a really bad version of it, but it suited the band and especially Rogers’s voice perfectly. The band knew how to pick songs including the Mike Settle composed “But You Know I Love You” Mel Tillis’ “Ruby (Don’t Take Your Love To Town)”, and Mac Davis’ “ Something’s Burning.”

Legendary Producer Chris Birkett Is Now A Canadian Citizen

Fri Mar 13, 2020

Chris Birkett, the award-winning producer, arranger, and composer is officially a Canadian citizen.

His music collaborations with A-list artists like Sinead O’Connor, Alison Moyet, Talking Heads, The Pogues, Bob Geldof, Quincy Jones, Thomas Dolby, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Steve Earle have sold over 100 million records and earned a Grammy, four Junos, the Polaris Music Prize and three international AMPEX Golden Reel Awards for excellence in the music business.

He proudly says, “Now that I’m officially Canadian, I can fulfil my mission to make Canadian music heard and appreciated throughout the world as a Canadian artist and record producer. Living in Toronto, the most important city for music in Canada, I can tour the musical world without leaving. It’s all here, and I am grateful and humbled by this country welcoming me.”

MINI POP KIDS Launches Exclusive Clothing & Accessories Line Partnership with Walmart Canada

Fri Mar 06, 2020

Thanks to Canada’s best-selling, chart-topping children’s music group MINI POP KIDS, fans nationwide can now dress just like the pop stars themselves with an exclusive clothing line launching with Walmart Canada this Spring! Set is shipping now online at — and in 117 select stores across the country as of today — the MINI POP KIDS Spring 2020 apparel and accessories collection will feature sizing for boys and girls sizes 4 XS - 16 XL.

First up is the ‘Rock Star’ collection, featuring a light, bright pastel palette paired with iridescent sequins and light blue denim for girls, and vibrant pops of colourful graphics with black denim for boys. Just in time for summer, the ‘Pop Star’ collection will follow soon after, using a base of blue and black denim shorts to highlight an electric neon palette of pinks and lemon and for girls and lime and turquoise for boys. A ‘Back to School’ collection is set for Fall 2020.

Cashbox Canada and Cashbox Radio Brings Back The Cashbox Top 20 Pick Hits

Fri Feb 28, 2020

As many of you know, I started my career in music, radio and retail, I was truly blessed to be one of the very first female Music Directors in Canadian history and I still thank the people in the business who had the foresight to see past the fact I was a woman, and was a person who was passionate about music.

That passion for music has never left me and heading into our 14th year of Cashbox Canada, a magazine inspired by the legendary Cashbox Magazine, we have been working hard to bring back radio to where it used to be.

A little history of where the name Cashbox came from - the name of Cashbox Magazine (originally two words – Cash Box) was named after the actual ‘cash box’ inside the jukeboxes of America. When customers put their money in and played for A1, the money dropped down into a specific spot in the cash box and this is how the original Cash Box Charts were derived from collecting that information. 

Legend Liona Boyd Awarded Lifetime Achievement By National Guitar Museum

Fri Feb 14, 2020

The National Guitar Museum, based in Orlando, Florida and founded to promote and preserve the legacy of the guitar has awarded Liona Boyd their Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Every year The National Guitar Museum recognizes a guitarist who has made a significant contribution to the legacy of the guitar. For the tenth anniversary of our Lifetime Achievement Award, we are presenting it to Liona Boyd. Long known as “The First Lady Of The Guitar,” Liona was one of the first women to popularize the guitar internationally, and was certainly the very first in the world of classical guitar. Her career has been an inspiration to guitarists around the world, and her recording history is among the most extensive of any classical guitarist. Her ability to branch out into the other realms of music, and work with other notable guitarists, makes her unique among her peers. We are honoured to have Liona as the recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Previous lifetime honorees include B.B. King, B.B. King, Glen Campbell and Bonnie Raitt,” said Harvey Newquist, director and founder of the National Guitar Museum.

East Coast Music Awards Nominees for 2020 Announced

Fri Feb 14, 2020

It’s that time of year again when the spotlight shines of the incredible talent of Canada’s East Coast. The East Coast Music Awards have announced the 2020 nominees with the winners to be announced in St John’s Newfoundland  between May 29t and  May 3rd, 2020.

Leading the nominee list for 2020  are Tim Baker and Wintersleep, who are both up for seven awards each and  the East Pointers, who are nominated for six awards.

Other East Coast artists up for multiple awards are Ria MaeNeon DreamsRich AucoinJenn Grant and Villages.

Downchild Blues Band Wins Entertainer of the Year at 2020 Maple Blues Awards

Fri Feb 07, 2020

In a night celebrating the blues from coast to coast, Canadian trailblazers , The Legendary Downchild Blues Band won the big award as “Entertainer of The Year” at the 2020 Maple Blues Awards in Toronto.

Fittingly, the band are in the midst of celebrating their 50th Anniversary with a yearlong tour that kicked off with a bang at the Toronto Jazz Festival last June to over 10,000 people, when they shut down Bloor Street for a show for the ages for fans, featuring special guests Dan Aykroyd, Paul Shaffer, David Wilcox, Kenny Neal, Gene Taylor and Erja Lyytinen (Finland).

Downchild is founded by bandleader Donnie “Mr. Downchild” Walsh and his late brother Richard “Hock” Walsh and are of course the inspiration for Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi’s world famous Hollywood film The Blues Brothers.

Tanya Tucker Grammy Winner At Last

Fri Jan 31, 2020

After 48 years of making records Tanya Tucker, The Texas Tornado, has been awarded a Grammy Award, not just one but two of the trophies, one for album of the year While I’m Livin’ and as a songwriter for “ Send My Flowers Now”.

Tanya Tucker had her first hit, "Delta Dawn", in 1972 at the age of 13 and her first Grammy win at 61 years old. Tucker became one of the few child performers to stay relevant into her adult years, without losing her fan base, Brenda Lee being another that comes to mind. During her long career, she has amassed a string of Top 10 and Top 40 hits as well as many successful albums, Country Music Association award nominations, and hit songs such as 1973's "What's Your Mama's Name?" and "Blood Red and Goin' Down", 1975's "Lizzie and the Rainman", 1988's "Strong Enough to Bend", and 1992's "Two Sparrows in a Hurricane".

“While I'm Livin'” is the twenty-fifth studio album by  Tucker. It was released on Fantasy Records and was produced by Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings. It was her first album in a decade, since 2009’s ‘My Turn’, and her first album of original material since her 2002 album, ‘Tanya’.

Jon Box A Celebration Of Life

Fri Jan 24, 2020

You never think you’re going to be writing about or talking about the passing of a friend much younger than yourself, but here I am writing about my friend, Jon Box.

I met Jon through a mutual friend, Kelly Gruber and got to spend some time with him and his amazing family, his beautiful wife Heather and two daughters Amelie and Tallulah who he adored.  Jon was one of a kind and a tireless, astute music man. He will be sorely missed not only by family and friends but by the music community.

Jon was Universal Music Canada's Vice President of Label Partnership and a very busy and productive young man whose attention to detail and scope of knowledge was incomparable.

Heartbreakingly on September 20, 2019, Jon Box left this world suddenly and sadly, leaving behind a shaken group of family, friends and co-workers.

Dan Bern Returns To Hugh’s Room Live

Fri Jan 24, 2020

Dan Bern is a prolific songwriter and an electrifying live performer. While Dan Bern may be best-known for his masterpieces “Jerusalem,” “Marilyn,” and “Tiger Woods,” he has released 25 albums and EPs and played thousands of shows across North America and Europe. His latest album, Regent Street, is a collection of 11 songs that reach new artistic heights. After losing two fingertips from an accident with a snowblower in March 2018, Bern found himself unable to play guitar for nearly a year. Turning to the piano, Bern found a fresh perspective which led to Regent Street. The release date is September 13th, 2019.

The Stand Up To Cancer Canada Kate McGarrigle Fund announces the “Music As Healing” Grant Program

Fri Jan 17, 2020

The Stand Up To Cancer Canada Kate McGarrigle Fund announced today the “Music As Healing” Grant Program, an initiative that will encourage both cancer patients and cancer survivors, to share their cancer journey through original music compositions. Cancer patients and survivors are invited to submit original compositions (music and lyrics) to compete for ten grants.

The SU2C Canada Kate McGarrigle Fund is a new collaborative program that aims to provide music resources to cancer patients with a passion for music, as well as much-needed funds for sarcoma research. This program honors the memory of Kate McGarrigle, a Canadian folk music singer-songwriter who wrote and performed as a duo with her sister Anna McGarrigle. She is the mother of singers Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright from her marriage to American singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III. Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, composer, Rufus Wainwright serves as Ambassador for the Stand Up To Cancer Canada Kate McGarrigle Fund. Canadian folk-rock singer, songwriter Martha Wainwright serves as Music Director for the Music As Healing program.

Pegi Cecconi to Receive 2020 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award

Fri Jan 10, 2020

A master in her field, Cecconi is a savvy and determined business woman who has nearly 50 years of experience in the music industry with diverse roles ranging from booking, legal and all aspects of artist management including publishing, recording, record production and merchandising. Having served as Vice President of SRO Management Inc. and independent record label Anthem Entertainment Group for much of her career, Cecconi has played a pivotal role in the development and success of numerous artists, including Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees Rush and Steven Page (Barenaked Ladies), songwriter Ian Thomas, Gowan, Matthew Good, Molly Johnson and The Tea Party. Currently, Cecconi serves as a consultant for Anthem Entertainment.

Pennan Brae Takes to Space in NEW Music Video for "Strut-1980s

Fri Dec 20, 2019

Canadian singer/songwriter and screenwriter Pennan Brae lives by the saying, “shoot for the moon and, if you miss, you will still be among the stars.”

So goes the foreshadowing topic realm for his latest single “Strut-1980s”, fresh from his film release and accompanying soundtrack, Gravity: The Astronot — a remix of sorts of Brae’s previously released The Astronot — available now. 

The story of The Astronot takes place during the space race of the 1960s, which is a historical undertaking Brae has always found fascinating. “As a kid, I was intrigued by pictures of the planets, Solar System and galaxies,” says the Vancouver-based artist. “The space picture books of the 1970s really captured this — it was the tail end of the NASA moon landing missions, and there were so many books for kids to read. 

“I don’t know what was in their ink, but the illustrations seemed so majestic and captivating.”

Spotify Needs To Make A Decision About Its Future

Fri Dec 13, 2019

Out of all the buzz that Spotify continues to amass as a leading music-streaming service, one problem that virtually no one in the music business has discussed yet is the gaping hole between Spotify’s oft-trumpeted mission statement and its actual business model.

Over the past year and a half, Spotify has made its two-pronged mission loud and clear in investor presentations and on its website“[To] unlock the potential of human creativity — by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it.”

The streaming company has attempted to “[give] a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art” — or at least jumpstart that part of their objective — by acquiring startups that offer creative tools for musicians and podcasters.

Mother Sun Releases New Video “Lemonade”

Fri Dec 06, 2019

Mother Sun creates warmth with their music. Combining deliberate psych-pop and rock arrangements with a measured amount of absurdity and experimentation, the four-piece from Kamloops, British Columbia produces thought-provoking songs that weave strong melody through colourful tones and jazz-inspired grooves. Mother Sun is Jared Doherty (guitar, vocals), Emilio Pagnotta (guitar, vocals), Alex Ward (organ, bass, keys), and Jared Wilman (drums, percussion, vocals).

Mother Sun formed in late 2017, the four members being active members in Kamloops’ growing indie scene, each playing in multiple other projects. The band worked with Felix Fung of Little Red Sounds in Vancouver, BC to record 10 songs throughout 2018, releasing four singles in advance of their debut full-length release. These included ‘Flower: One Eye’ (May 18th, 2018), ‘Sunny Tuesday (June 21st, 2019), ‘Daylight’ (July 26th, 2019), and ‘Straw Man’ (August 9th, 2019).

Canadian Hip Hop / Hard Rocker Brenin Edmunds Shutters The Year with New Release

Fri Dec 06, 2019

What do you get when you cross a hard rock lead singer with an early 90’s hip-hop head? You get Brenin Edmunds. Since the age of 13, Brenin aka RUBiX has been working diligently to mix his eclectic taste of music into cohesive art. From hip-hop to rock, hard rock to jazz, industrial to techno and everything in between, Brenin has made a name for himself by producing music that sits comfortably outside of each core genre.

Canadian hip hop hard rocker Brenin Edmunds shuts the year down with a fitting throwback in the form of his sophomore LP, TWENTY18 — and “Da Bom 1 Day” — watch the video here:

“I began writing TWENTY18 in 2018 during my ongoing separation/divorce, and custody battle for my daughter,” Edmunds says of the process behind the release as a whole. “I was dealing directly with the heartbreak, anger, trauma, and then the subsequent situation regarding the breakup.

“Also, I endured a wrongful dismissal from my previous employment, and I had to deal with restarting the project three times due to producers bailing on the project. 

The 18th Annual Winterfolk Blues and Roots Festival

Fri Nov 29, 2019

Toronto-based Winterfolk Blues and Roots Festival has announced its 18th annual celebration, with music and food on full display February 21- 23, 2020, including a stellar lineup of JUNO, Maple Blues, and Canadian Folk Music-winners including Lynn Miles, Jack de Keyzer, Swamperella and Wendell Ferguson.

Toronto’s Winterfolk Blues and Roots Music Festival is on Brunswick Ave (near Spadina Avenue and Bloor Street), the all-ages, mid-winter, weatherproof event, is where you’ll find the best of urban, blues, rock, jazz, country, folk and roots music, emulating a multi-stage rural summer festival.

More than 150 artists will be performing on 5 stages. The festival will also include special tribute events, an awards ceremony, community stages and various themed musical workshops with something for everyone to enjoy in venues including The Tranzac Club and The Annex Hotel. 

February 21-23, 2020  

February 21, 7:00 pm – 1:00 am

February 22, 1:00 pm – 1:00 am

February 23, 1:00 pm – 10:00 pm

John Mann Has “Gone Home For A Rest”

Fri Nov 22, 2019

John Mann, the driving force behind Spirit of the West, has lost his long-time battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. He succumbed on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, to the early-onset of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 57.

Mann rose to fame in the 1980s as one of the main singers and songwriters for Spirit of the West, a popular Celtic-inspired group. He was also an accomplished actor, with several film and theatre credits to his name. He was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2014, and the band played its last show two years later. Though the disease was degenerative and his battle several years long, news of his death shook Spirit of the West drummer Vince Ditrich.

Cashbox Canada News Archive