Roxanne Tellier – The Week That Was CMW 2015


Thanks to the good people at AudioBlood, Bob Segarini, Pat Blythe and myself have spent the last ten days mixing and mingling with musicians, artists, and the people who love them. It’s been simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating. I won’t lie  … my feet hurt, I’ve got a desk covered in CDs, business cards, and promotional bumpf of all stripes … and I’m relieved that I don’t have to do anything more strenuous than type this recap of the festivities. Although there are a few more events tonight …

cmw 2015 colour logo

On Monday we were invited to The Hideout for an industry event sponsored by CIMA/Music Ontario that featured our old friends and Bobcast house band, Xprime. There was much hugging and kissing as we greeted Neil, Phil, Steph and Gab, and chums Nadia Elkharadly and EmyStantcheva for the first, but by no means last, encounter of the week.


Rick Fenton, Music Ontario executive director, told the crowd that this event was part of a “Music Monday” series that we can look forward to enjoying over the coming months, before Bob took the stage to introduce the boys.

Xprime are working on the final mixes of their new CD, and what I’ve heard is terrific. There’s been a burst of musical growth and maturity that shows in songs like “Dance Dance,” and especially in “I Can’t Take No More,” which works a grindy Latin hot groove into a ‘can’t sit still’  rocker.  To help them get this album done, and for updates and surprise clips, check out their fundraising page.

Pat and I were really looking forward to Jully Black’s showcase gig at the Phoenix on Tuesday, and she was indeed the polished professional and consummate performer we’d expected. Our enthusiasm, however, was tempered by an unexpectedly late start. Billed in the schedule as an 8 pm start, she took to the stage at 8:50, throwing our planned evening into disarray. However, she, along with six background singer/dancers, put on a stage revue that evoked the excitement of the Ike and Tina Turner days.

Unfortunately, Pat and I missed another anticipated show, as Walk Off The Earth’s concert on the Wednesday was not part of the calendared events our Media passes or wristbands covered. On the plus side, our BobCast main man Bobby Singh got this great pic at the gig.

walk off the earth Bobby Singh

By Thursday, we were stoked to check out the conferences and trade show at the Sheraton. As we wandered the booths, we came upon Xprime’s Phil Taylor and Neil Carson, who invited us to join them at a party sponsored by Cordova Bay Entertainment Group at the Cloak and Dagger.  There, we chatted with Isobel Trigger’s  Felicia and Ariel, prior to their gig later that night at Cherry Cola’s, and were entertained by  Sam Weber, whose sweet sounds evoked the spirit of the West Coast based musicians on the label.

On the way back to the Sheraton, I noticed Kevin Quain’s name on the Rex marquee. That was a ‘hooray!’ moment, since I had wanted to catch his live act after falling for his writing and playing recently. Apparently he’s a Thursday night, 6:30 pm fixture at the Rex. So, after schmoozing a little more at the CMW trade show booths, I headed for the Rex.

I was not disappointed. Seated at a grand piano, Quain looks a little like a younger Tom Waits, and played a hot set of American Songbook standards with classic and honky tonk stylings, peppered with a witty repartee. This is not a great clip, but captures a little of his late night, bar fly persona.

Next it was off to Boots & Bourbon, where Jason McCoy’s Road Hammers were headlining. While waiting for his set, I chatted with a couple from Oakville, Christine and Ben Brands, who told me excitedly about their love for all things country. Christine is especially knowledgeable, as a long-time fan, and Ben has enthusiastically embraced her passion. They are frequent visitors to Nashville, and have seen most of the big name acts in the biz. Those are your fans, right there, musicians, the truly invested and dedicated followers of your fashion.

road hammers

Road Hammers

McCoy’s been a fixture on the Canadian country forever, and his Road Hammers are a trucker music/southern rock juggernaut.

Friday was another blur, with short breaks of sanity. We’d met Jamie of Australia’s Selahphonic whilst cruising the trade show booths, so a short visit to the Horseshoe/Rivoli’s  Aussie BBQ was in order. With a style reminiscent of Midnight Oil, Jamie and the boys kicked it out with a driving four on the floor beat. The band is off to the U.S. now for the next leg of their tour, but hope to come back soon to enjoy more of our Canadian hospitality.

Then it was back to the Sheraton. I’d emailed Bob Lefsetz the night before in hopes of having a chat with him. But I barely got to shake his hand after his scheduled conference, as he was experiencing computer/server problems that he had to rush off to attend to.

lefsetz letter

So Pat and I had a beer and a nosh before once more trolling the booths for info and goodies (thank you Brian Jenkins of GigSalad for the comfy tee I’ve now adopted as night-time apparel!!) We were soon laden with yet more business cards, magazines and band paraphernalia, with just time for a quick chat and coffee break with Greg Simpson (CMW coordinator and facilitator and all around great guy) before jetting over to a session given by Steve Jones, who explained how to “Brand Like A Rock Star.” (Get the book – it’s a blueprint for success for any industry.)

brand like a rock star

Jones’ engaging delivery and hard-won knowledge on the subject of branding make him a speaker capable of holding any audience’s attention.

greg simpsonThen it was off to Greg Simpson‘s annual dinner at Rancho Relaxo, where we met up again with Bob, the boys from Xprime, and industry stalwarts Tom Williams, Al Mair, Michael Watson, Jeff Bialkowski, Walter Buchanan, Earle Taylor, Julian Tuck, David MacMillan, Don Blais, and musicians Fergus Hambleton,  SebAgnello and Peter Verity. A rollicking good time ensued. Thanks again, Greg!

Pat went on to the Horseshoe to catch Sean Lennon’s Ghost of A Saber Tooth Tiger at 1 a.m., followed by Xprime at  2 a.m. I did not. A girl’s gotta sleep sometime!

Saturday morning came too early, regardless. Pat and I had been anticipating a session with wunderkind Billy Mann, provocatively titled “No Dicks, No Divas, No Drama.” We were not disappointed, as interviewer Larry LeBlanc peppered Billy with questions on his vision as the founder and CEO of Green& Bloom/Topline US publishing company. Mann mingled tales of his life as a struggling musician and songwriter with hard advice from a life well lived as a Grammy-nominated accomplished hit songwriter, producer, artist, executive and entrepreneur. His great attitude was an inspiration, and I came away wishing there’d been someone as grounded and sane back when I was looking for a record deal.

billy mann

Billy Mann

You can have hit songs and no life. Are you in it for the long haul or the quick fix?  Having a career in music is wonderful, and can be filled with nobility and beauty, but it doesn’t necessarily have to include stardom. Consider all the other ways you can follow your own path. The irony is that the biz is now filled with free-range artists vying to be put into a cage. “

After a last look around the booths, Pat and I headed for Eric Alper’s eOne Music party at the Gibson Artist Showroom, where we caught Gloryhound and The Wild! Ran into  the always huggable J.C. Sandoval, of Savannah, who was there with Care Failure of Die Mannequin. Care and I made a J.C. sandwich for Pat’s camera before leaving for the Horseshoe, where Sounds Australia were presenting a Sound Gallery of their artists, including the lovely young Caitlin Harnett.

jay sparrow cropLong-time DBAWIS correspondent and facilitator of the best East Coast party of the week, Cam Carpenter, was chatting at the bar, along with Bonnie Fedrau, Executive Director of Music Newfoundland, and singer-songwriter/dead ringer for Adam Levine, Jay Sparrow, prior to the bash at the Rivoli’s Tiki Lounge.

Jay Sparrow

The offerings at the Tiki Lounge were sublime.  As we entered, the smell of the sea and fresh caught salmon, oysters, and scallops thrilled our senses. And with good reason, as the seafood had arrived just that morning, along with the chefs and musicians.  Like a magician, celebrity chef Richard Julien of “Chef Live” kept the hot and fresh cooked scallops coming, to our delight.

Richard Julien Chef Live

And the seafood chowder was, in retrospect, really too good, as by the time we’d wolved down our goodies, the hot soup began to lull me into a sleepy coma. They frown on media curling up for a quick nap during the festivities, I’ve heard.

There was a full plate of music to be had as well, beginning with Ian Janes, and continuing through to midnight, when the evening would be capped by The Brood. I was intrigued with Alana Yorke, who vocally reminded me of 10,000 Maniacs’ Natalie Merchant.

Frowns or not, I was heading for a disgraceful food coma and unscheduled nap if I didn’t get my act in gear and out to the nearest subway station. There was just time for a quick ‘thanks’ and ‘bye’ to Cam, before Pat and I opted to end the day’s festivities and travel eastbound.

As we compared notes and traded yawns, Pat and I concluded that a good time was definitely had by all at CMW 2015. We’ve also decided that this was just the first of many more musical experiences we’ll share with friends and readers of DBAWIS. Look out, NXNE – you’re next!!

May 10 2015 Meadowvale

So as the sun set west of Meadowvale, I boarded the last bus of the longest week for the last leg of my trek home, where I  shed my boots, watch, earrings and clothes, slipped into my comfy GigSalad tee, and gave thanks for good music, good friends, and a good … no … great! time at CMW 2015. Big thanks to Bob Segarini, Greg Simpson, Audio Blood, CIMA,  Eric Alper, and Cam for making this a week the DBAWIS’ own Salt n Pepa/Betty and Veronica will not soon forget!


Roxanne’s column appears here every Sunday 

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DBAWIS ButtonRoxanne Tellier has been singing since she was 10 months old … no, really. Not like she’s telling anyone else how to live their lives, because she’s not judgmental, and most 10 month olds need a little more time to figure out how to hold a microphone. She has also been a vocalist with many acts, including Tangents, Lady, Performer, Mambo Jimi, and Delta Tango. In 2013 she co-hosted Bob Segarini’s podcast, The Bobcast, and, along with Bobert, will continue to seek out and destroy the people who cancelled ‘Bunheads’.

One Response to “Roxanne Tellier – The Week That Was CMW 2015”

  1. ….and the beat goes on….loads of run….good recap….until next time!

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