GWNtertainment #21 by Jaimie Vernon

It’s been a tough several weeks in Canada. The country is currently re-evaluating its origins and its role in the near extinction of its indigenous population and their identity. I created Great White Noise magazine in 1989 to celebrate all Canadian music. It’s the bond that holds us together from sea-to-sea and it knows no genre. We are nothing if not chameleons of musical creation from chanteuses to troubadours and from yodelers to native throat singers. In every community there is music culture and it has grown from the very soil we stand on. The trees and the mountains and the creatures of our land have supplied us with the soul we inject into our songs. Our indigenous peoples were first adopters. They have always spoken to the earth and it has always spoken back. We have broken that sacred bond on so many levels. To seek forgiveness, to heal, and to transcend, can only be achieved by listening. Listen to their voices. Listen to their music.

JUNO Award-winning Inuk native Susan Aglukark (Order of Canada, PhD) gave us an anthem that we all should adopt. A new prayer, if you will. “O Siem” was co-written with Chad Irschick in 1994. The lyrics were initially written in Inuktitut, but the English chorus should resonate with us all: ‘We all are family; we’re all the same’. In 2014 Aglukark, in conjunction with the international music organization Playing For Change and her charity Arctic Rose, brought the song back to the indigenous community to boost the message’s signal. We must listen to these voices. Canada’s future depends on it.

* If you’ve never heard of Canadian music critic Jeffrey Morgan you may still know him from his quiptastic missives between the covers of Creem Magazine (as its Canadian editor) in the 1970s or his official biographies of Alice Cooper and Iggy & The Stooges. Mr. Morgan has finally decided to put his mouthful of rock and roll run-ins into a 60,000-word tell-all book along with over 200 phenomenal photographs of rock and roll hedonism from a bygone called Rock Critic Confidential. The hard-cover table-top book is being released by New Haven Publishing (UK).

* Rush drummer Neil Peart (who passed away in January 2020) had a very exclusive classic car collection. The vehicles, which include a 1970 Lamborghini Miura P400 S, a  1963 Chevrolet Corvette, a 1965 Maserati Mistral Spider, a 1964 Shelby Cobra 289, and a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 (as seen in James Bond movies) are all up for grabs. There are 7 vehicles in all (6 of which are in silver). The auction will be held by Gooding & Company and is expected to fetch $15 to $20 million.

* Glad to hear that 1970s songstress DeDe Higgins is back making music. She has a new CD called For A Song and you can only buy it the old-fashioned way. DeDe posted this week: ‘I have my new CD! If you would like a copy “hot off the pressing”… Kindly send me a check (I know this is old-fashioned) for $30.00 Canadian or $25.55 US. Hey it might get you walking to a mailbox! The address is #179, 412 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M6R 2N2 and I will send it “toute suite y rapidamente.”‘

* Since GWN’s last blog, Canada has lost an absolute wealth of talent. It has become overwhelming and a setback in our return from the loss of music’s embrace during the Pandemic. We would like to pay our respects to those who have lost their lives recently.

Tim Thorney was a celebrated and award-winning songwriter, producer, and musician. He formed a songwriting duo with Eric Ehm (ex-MuchMusic) for a decade and their songs propelled the career of people like Cassandra Vassik. Tim had also been in the band The Front with Joel Feeney who had several releases on Duke Street. In recent years he’d relocated his recording studio to Collingwood. He passed from kidney disease. The newly renovated Massey Hall will have a seat named in his honour. RIP, Mr. Thorney.

Ellen McIlwaine was born in Nashville but had spent the last 35 years calling Canada home. Settled in Alberta, McIlwaine was revered as an exceptional slide guitar player and name-checked by some of the hottest blues players in the biz. She recorded 11 solo albums including 2006’s Mystic Bridge. Alas, money was hard to come by and at the time of her passing at age 75 from cancer, she’d been driving a school bus. RIP, Ms. McIlwaine.

– Canadian singer/guitarist Michael Crawford of the Australian-Canadian band Wireless passed away June 13 of undisclosed causes. RIP, Mr. Crawford.

Jim Zeppa was a promo-man’s promo man. He was a Canadian old-school mover and shaker whose talent in spotting talent was only outdone by his ability in putting his ideas into action to elevate that same talent. We worked together several times on projects when I was running my label, Bullseye Records.  Jim’s laugh was infectious and his good nature a pleasure to be around. RIP, Mr. Zeppa.

– Keyboardist-turned-guitarist Bob Murphy was from Canada’s east coast and a member of mid-1960s band The Stitch In Tyme. In the early 1970s he was with Soma along with several members of Stitch. And in the late 1970s he led a new country inspired group called Bob Murphy & Big Buffalo. RIP, Mr. Murphy.

Doug Inglis, the friendly giant of rock who occupied the drum seat (and had the biggest bass drum) in the band Goddo from 1977 to 2020 has left the building. Doug had also been the driving beat behind The McBrides, The Anger Brothers, and many Classic Albums Live line-ups. Doug passed away from undisclosed causes on June 25. RIP, Mr. Inglis.

* “Run” is the second teaser track from New Brunswick based Alternative Rock band Not Now‘s upcoming full-length album Black Holes & Rituals.

* Calgary’s Angela Wrigley & Her Trio have a new 11 song album out entitled You Don’t Know What Love Is. The first single is “Crazy Fool.”

* St. Paul, Alberta’s Vance Quinn has a new single called “Be A Cowboy So Bad.”

* Edmonton-native Samantha Schultz has relocated to Los Angeles and has released a new single entitled “Tingle.”

* Brampton, Ontario’s Rejects Gentlemen have a new 5-song EP out entitled Mayhem And the Monster.

* Big Wreck have a new single entitled “Middle Of Nowhere” featuring Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger.

* Canada’s premiere “kick-ass bagpipe party rock” band, Arcana Kings (formerly The Johnny McCuaig Band), have a new track out called “Here We Go” that’s been adopted by the CFL and the NHL as a motivational song for athletes and fans everywhere. Turn this one up loud, kids.

* The official video is out for Famous Underground‘s new single “The Dark One Of Two”

* Boxcar Ben from Hamilton, Ontario has a new single/video entitled “Out of Luck.” The track comes from his album Vantage Point.

* Scotland-born, Canada-based powerhouse vocalist Apricity has returned with her next single “This Fear” – following “All My Lies” from earlier this year. Check out the conceptual post-Apocalyptic video.

* Toronto singer Jennifer Martin has a new track out called “Love Story.”

* Toronto’s Giulia (currently living in Brooklyn, New York) has a new single out called “Baby D*ke” released in time for Pride Month.

* Former Age of Electric frontman/bassist Todd Kerns has been working with his band Toque doing classic Canadian cover tunes, but he’s also in a band called Minefield. The debut album is entitled Danger Mines. The lead-off single is “Lady Danger.”

* Cosmic Krewe [aka Michael Ray and Laranah Phipps-Ray from The Sun Ra Arkestra] and Kevin Hearn (from Barenaked Ladies) offer up a new song called “Hello Hello (One Planet)” in honour of World Unity Week — including greetings in extra-terrestrial tongue.

* Oshawa, Ontario’s Cory Williams is the brains behind White Collar Grunge and brings us his debut single “Capitulation” from his self-titled debut album ‘White Collar Grunge.’

* Southern Ontario 1990s rockers Sven Gali returns with a new track from their EP 3 entitled “Hurt.”

* Chart-topping, award-winning alt-rocker Joey Nowyuk has released his newest single and video “Pray” – a song about loss of a loved one. Hailing from Pangnirtung, Nunavut, Nowyuk first picked up the guitar when a travelling music workshop visited. He recalls. “I was inspired to keep playing, but that wasn’t an easy feat when guitar strings could not even be purchased in my community, being so remote!” Nevertheless, Joey Nowyuk’s beat-heavy, guitar-driven songs have beamed beyond Northern borders like the rays of optimism and hope they espouse — including translations across Inuktitut, English, French, and Japanese.  The song “Pray” – featuring Shauna Seeteenak – comes from his forthcoming  album Tumitit.

* BC band Servo has a new album out called Baby Blue. The lead-off track is “Vaudeville Riot”

* Perfectly timed is the new Deanna Drudge single “June” from her new album ‘Killing Time.’ The Squamish, British Columbia native offers up 11 new tracks on the new album.  “Sometime during 2018, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue with music,” Drudge confides, but says it was the lockdown of 2020 that changed her perspective on writing. “I knew I needed to create something…create something mostly for myself with no expectations of how it would turn out and what I would do with it after.”

* Edmonton, Alberta’s The Civil Union has a new track entitled “Lost In A Dream.”

* same as me is the reigning queen of pop-infused Hip Hop. From the production, to the vocals, to the rap, to the visuals, the artist takes creative command from every lyric she pens, every note in her insanely wide range, to every treatment of her videos. Her latest is the positivity-charged song “Stand Up.”

*54.40 are back with a new single/video called “Golden Sun’ from an unspecified album project. The band has also been back filling their YouTube channel with re-mastered versions of their older video hits. All in 4k HD.

* Winnipeg’s Smoky Tiger has a new album entitled ‘Dark Winter’ from Transistor 66 Records. The lead-off track is “Sword of Omens.”

* Jordon Zadorozny has revived his well-loved Blinker The Star persona, and unveiled a new 10-track album entitled Arista.

Elina Filice has released an ode to Queer Youth for Pride Month with the new single, “Let’s Get Lost.” The dance-pop anthem celebrates the coming out experience, and getting lost to find one’s self. She hopes the song can help those struggling to come to terms with who they are, as well as all of those on the lifelong journey away from shame, and into love and pride.

* Girlfriends And Boyfriends from Vancouver give a nod to The Cure and Modern English with their new track “Forever By My Side.”

* Phelpston, Ontario singer-songwriter Suzanne Carlson‘s new track is “Flight of the Swallowtail.” She has 24 new tracks, and is releasing one each Friday on Spotify.

* Norwegian metal producer/musician Leo Moraccioli, he has  just made a video cover of Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet’ that puts some rock grit into the original song.

* Campfire Studio & The Campfire Poets Band brings us Kansas’ “Carry On Wayward Son.” Musicians featured are: Adam Koopmans, Ken Fobert (Borealis), Joe Kennedy (Soul Collective), Martin Sarkar ( Soul Collective), Barry Davis (We Ain’t Petty) Tom Forth (Two of Us), Jim Casson (Dark Orchard, Downchild), Ryan McNevin (Delta Stone & the War Dogs), Matt Haché (The McCartney Years), VIVANT, Cindy Pell (Pellenbruck), Dennis Hahn (The Campfire Poets), Ryan Hancock (The Campfire Poets), Luke Ryan (Under the Covers), Dean Woods (Bottoms Up), and Neil Virgoe (The Woodshed Howlers)

* Allister Thompson (of Twilight Fields) has paid tribute to Big Country’s Stuart Adamson with an album of Adamson songs entitled The People We Should Be.

* When is a cover song not a cover song? When an Irish band named Hermitage Green does a version of The Trews “Ishmael And Maggie” and then records it with them.

This issue was brought to you by the new makers of No F*cking Time – The NFT anti-fungible spray cleaner. Send us your news, views, and all manner of CANADIAN musical releases to promote and wave a flag for. Join the GWN Facebook page and drop us a message:

Keep up the fight!
Jaimie Vernon, 2021


Jaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 41 years, and recently discovered he’s been happily married for 24 years. He is also the author of The Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia and editor of “Sunny Days: The Skip Prokop Story.” Available through Amazon.

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