In Memoriam: Salome Bey, Canada’s First Lady of the Blues, 1933-2020

In Memoriam

Canadian Legend and First Lady of the Blues, Salome Bey passed away on August 8. She was 86 years old. Born in 1933, she performed with her siblings as Andy and the Bey Sisters, touring Europe and North America.

On her first visit to Toronto in 1961, Bey met her future husband Howard Matthews at his establishment, The First Floor Club, a jazz music after-hours spot on Asquith Avenue at the edge of Yorkville. Matthews later opened The Underground Railroad restaurant with partners including local drummer Archie Alleyne.

Following Bey’s retirement, the couple moved to the Lakeside Long Term Care home in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood. Matthews passed away in 2016.

Bey passed away on August 8, 2020 at Lakeside. She is survived by her son Marcus Matthews and her two daughters. Jacintha Tuku and SATE sometimes backed their mother on stage as The Relatives. Salome Bey’s family has asked well-wishers to consider donating to The Freedom School Toronto, whose trustee may be reached here; Karen@childrenspeacetheatre.org.

S.A.C. published a feature on Salome Bey for International Women’s Day in March 2019.

S.A.C. Celebrates International Women’s Day: Lorraine Segato

International Women's Day - Lorraine Segato
Photo by: Marko Shark

Lorraine Segato was born in Hamilton, on June 17, 1956, but made her home in Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood. Home to some of the city’s longest standing live music venues (including The Rex, Horseshoe, and Cameron House) and long lost legends (the 360 and the Bamboo, for instance), the neighbourhood was developing a vigorous live music scene by the 1980’s.

Segato played with the all women self-proclaimed feminist rock & roll band Mama Quilla II along with Lauri Conger who would soon join her in The Parachute Club. In 1982, drummer Billy Bryans (who also did a stint as only male in the all female 7 piece group Mama Quilla II later formed the dub funk reggae group ‘V’ along with Segato as they’d been developing their musical interest in Caribbean and Latin musical flavours.

Working with the Rastafarian Mojah, already a denizen on the local scene with Truth and Rights, they built their original repertoire along with Rough Trade’s bassist Terry Wilkens.  ‘V’ were offered a gig opening the inaugural Festival of Festivals (later known now as TIFF) in 1982, and things snowballed from there when ‘V’ could not do the gig then Bryans and Segato formed a group for the show which later became known as The Parachute Club
Opting to record with Daniel Lanois, who had engineered the Mama Quilla II EP that Bryans had produced, the new band, featured Segato, Conger and Bryans, along with Margo Davidson, Julie Masi, Steve Webster and David Gray.

The Parachute Club’s popularity exploded with their first album and it’s anthemic hit “Rise Up.” In 1984, the song won the band’s first Juno Award, and their first of three top 40 hits.

The follow-up LP and it’s title track, “At The Feet of the Moon” from 1984, made the Top 10, but changes were coming. Steve Webster left to join Billy Idol’s touring band, and his replacement, Russ Boswell, stayed until he was hired to play with Corey Hart. Nonetheless, The Parachute Club won another Juno, for Group of the Year, in 1985. The band also scooped several CASBY awards, and a collection of remixed songs came out.

“Small Victories” was the third and final Parachute Club album of new material. It had the hit “Love Is Fire,” a duet with John Oates who also produced the record. The track garnered the band another Juno, this time for Video of the Year.

Percussionist Julie Masi left the group and was replaced by Rebecca Jenkins. Aaron Davis stepped in for departing keyboardist Lauri Conger after that.

By 1988, Parachute Club had six Junos, two Platinum and one Gold Record award. They released one more single, “Big Big World” and decided to suspend the band.

On their separate roads, Lorraine Segato pursued a solo career, releasing three albums, starting with “Phoenix” in 1990. “Luminous City” was released a few years later 1998, and in 2015 Segato issued “Invincible Decency.”

From 2005 to 2018 the band, with four original members, played the occasional shows. They were inducted into the Canadian Indies Hall of Fame in 2006.

A couple of members have sadly left us. In 2008, Margo Davidson, who left music to become a social housing activist, passed away at age 50. Billy Bryans, 63, died in 2012.

Segato was later married to Ilana Landsberg-Lewis and produced several large fundraising concerts for the Stephen Lewis Foundation featuring activists Alicia Keys, Annie Lennox & Angelique Kidjo. She has worked on music related documentaries in recent years. “Lowdown Tracks,” profiling the lives of homeless street performers on TVO. Previously, she wrote and directed “Queen Street West: The Rebel Zone.” Most recently, Segato has written an autobiographical stage show called Get Off My Dress that will be mounted in 2021.

In November, 2019, Segato performed with a host of others at a Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame show at the Phoenix Theatre in Toronto. “Rise Up” was among the songs celebrated. After a quick speech about the coalescing of this progressive minded music scene on Queen West 40 years ago, Segato performed the song as well as a cover of “Magic Carpet Ride.”

She told interviewer Pamela Roz in late 2019 she would be touring her Wild Women (Don’t Get the Blues)

Show featuring established and emerging women artists showcasing songs written by Canadian Women Songwriters.

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight is, at present, a Freelance Writer, maintaining a web presence specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show arranged thematically and with commentary.

Don’t forget to check out these Lorraine Segato songs as part of our new Spotify playlist episode  – https://spoti.fi/2Ip8f5r

Copy of Spotify Ep. 6

1. Rise Up
Performed by: Parachute Club
Written by: Parachute Club
Produced by: BMG Music/Columbia House
Album: Wild Zone – The Essential Parachute Club (1992)
Source: Discogs

2. Love is Fire
Performed by: Parachute Club
Written by: Parachute Club
Produced by: BMG Music/Columbia House
Album: Wild Zone – The Essential Parachute Club (1994)
Source: Discogs

3. Hole in the Wall
Performed by: Lorraine Segato
Written by: Lorraine Segato
Produced by: Get Off My Dress Productions
Album: Invincible Decency (2013)
Source: Discogs

4. Only Human
Performed by: Lorraine Segato
Written by: Lorraine Segato
Produced by: Get Off My Dress Productions
Album: Invincible Decency (2013)
Source: Discogs

5. We Gave the Night Away
Performed by: Lorraine Segato
Written by: Lorraine Segato
Produced by: Get Off My Dress Productions
Album: Invincible Decency (2013)
Source: Discogs

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

S.A.C. Black History Songwriters Series: Bullen Family

Bullen family - BLACK HISTORY SERIES (IG) 2020
Photo: www.eddiebullen.com

Eddie Bullen’s birthplace of Grenada is better known for The Mighty Sparrow and calypso grooves than jazz music. Arriving in Canada in 1980, Bullen has since worked to add jazz to the canon of music people associate with this island in particular and the Caribbean in general.

A 1985 single he worked on garnered him a Juno Award when Liberty Silver won for her R&B single “Somewhere Inside Your Love.”

Since then, Bullen has led several musical lives; in the 1990’s he was half the production duo The Ed-Ian Cartel, with Ian Wiltshire. They released a string of 12” singles straddling Caribbean and Canadian dance styles like soca, house, electronic, R&B and reggae.

Beyond production duties, Bullen has also written and played on records from soca artists and the occasional reggae star like Ninjaman.

He’s backed Byron Lee, Melba Moore, Deborah Cox and many other performers on stage. When he isn’t working on other artists’ songs, Bullen creates television music in Canada and abroad.

Bullen’s first solo disc, “Nocturnal Affair” came out in 1996 and in 1999, he released “Caribbean Dream,” an atmospheric c.d. with Dan Gibson. The meditative soundscape environment on here is unlike Bullen’s other releases.

Taking inspiration from popular jazz instrumentals of the 1980’s, the Toronto musician enjoyed radio success with “416,” a track from his 2004 “Make It Real” c.d. He has since released two more discs, “Spice Island” and “Kaleidoscope.”

Bullen has played with Toronto 70’s funk band Crack of Dawn at their reunion shows including the Beaches Jazz Festival over the last couple of summers. He has also worked with Crack of Dawn singer Glen Ricketts, along with his son Quincy.

While running Thunderdome Sounds, his record label, and QDB Music, his publishing company, Bullen continues to seek out young talent, to work with, and to mentor; he started a high school co-op program, back in 1986.

With a laid back groove to the smooth, Bullen performs with several of his own groups; The Eddie Bullen Band, The Caribbean Jazz Collective, and Father and Son; Dueling Pianos.

The latter features his two sons Tre Michael on percussion and elder son Quincy facing his dad, each armed with a grand piano. These performances have featured a mix of classic jazz instrumentals, classical, and jazz takes of popular songs. So Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” fits right in with Rihanna’s “Unfaithful” hit.

“We can spar with each other” at these shows, according to Quincy, a popular keyboard player in his own right. He plays all over the musical map, from classical tones to EDM tracks. He also performs with the funk band Kush.

Quincy’s debut release was with a teen jazz band called the Quintessential Boys. He’s since released several solo c.d.’s, starting with “On Q” in 2010. The follow up, Quantumplations, veered into R&B and dance music. More recently, he’s released “Poise Debris.”

“Poise Debris” heads into harder rock with cuts like “Work With That” and classic funk, a la Prince, with tight jams like “Groove On Adelaide.” Quincy has explained the piano was ground into him as a kid, but he had his dad’s blessing to try other instruments later. Quincy plays a bunch of instruments, but the keyboards keep calling him home. He described his intense practicing schedule growing up in his father’s musical house; “one hour before (school), one hour after. That was my life for years.” This got him into the Royal Conservatory, which took over Quincy’s musical education. The senior Bullen jokes that’s why he has Quincy play some classical sounds at their concerts together.

Somewhere on the way to his Toronto Jazz Festival debut at 18, he found time to act on DeGrassi- The Next Generation t.v. show. Tre Michael has also acted. The family jokes that the younger son got off easy, with a less stringent musical education. The three occasionally perform together, but keep busy with their respective projects.

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight is, at present, a Freelance Writer, maintaining a web presence specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show arranged thematically and with commentary.

Don’t forget to check out these Bullen Family songs as part of our new Spotify playlist episode  – https://spoti.fi/31Qr3U2

Spotify Ep.5

1. Sunset Marquee
Performed by: Eddie Bullen
Written by: Eddie Bullen
Produced by: Thunder Dome Sounds
Album: Kaleidoscope (2020)
Source: eddiebullen.com

2. Kaleidoscope
Performed by: Eddie Bullen
Written by: Eddie Bullen
Produced by: Thunder Dome Sounds
Album: Kaleidoscope (2020)
Source: eddiebullen.com

3. Morpheus
Performed by: Eddie Bullen
Written by: Eddie Bullen
Produced by: Thunder Dome Sounds
Album: Kaleidoscope (2020)
Source: eddiebullen.com

4. All Day Blues
Performed by: Quincy Bullen
Written by: Quincy Bullen
Produced by: Thunder Dome Sounds
Album: Poise Debris (2018)
Source: quincybullen.com

5. Groove on Adelaide
Performed by: Quincy Bullen
Written by: Quincy Bullen
Produced by: Thunder Dome Sounds
Album: Poise Debris (2018)
Source: quincybullen.com

6. Tomorrow
Performed by: Quincy Bullen
Written by: Quincy Bullen
Produced by: Thunder Dome Sounds
Album: Poise Debris (2018)
Source: quincybullen.com

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

S.A.C. Black History Songwriters Series: Bucky Adams

Bucky Adams - BHM

Born April 25, 1937 to a large family in Depression era Halifax, Charles “Bucky” Richmond Adams was fortunate to find himself in a musical household. Bucky Adams started teaching himself how to play instruments at a young age. By age 11, he entertained the Queen during a Royal visit to Halifax.

Adams played trumpet early on, until he literally blew his instrument to pieces mid-show. He replaced it with a saxophone he borrowed from his dad, after rushing home during the break.

Adams formed a band with several of his professors at Saint Francis Xavier University before playing in a series of Maritime bands. These included The Rockin Rebels, an early-integrated band in the 1960’s.

He played with Toronto émigré Joe Sealy and they gravitated to performing more jazz. Playing jazz found him sharing stages with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and other stalwarts of the genre. Singer Linda Carvery toured the Maritimes with Adams and Sealy before working with The Nova Scotia Mass Choir, some years later.

From The Lobster Trap with Louis Armstrong in the 1960’s, to The Middle Deck with B.B. King in 1974, Adams established himself in the Maritime music scene. In 1974, CBC released a 7” (45 rpm) record credited to Bucky Adams and The Musical Friends. The e.p. featured four covers, including one by fellow Maritimer Gene MacLellan.

The following he year he formed Basin Street, with whom he recorded his first full length album in 1976. The title “Bucky Adams and Basin Street at Privateers’ Warehouse” suggests a live recording, but was in fact recorded in a studio. Copies were presumably sold during their residency at the Halifax venue.

This time, covers including a funky instrumental of the hit “Ain’t No Sunshine” were mixed with originals, all of which, including “Bucky’s Blues,” were credited to the band collectively.

In addition to numerous television appearances, Adams was featured on Canada Express, a weekly music television program which won him a Gabriel Award from the United Nations, for excellence in broadcasting.

Generations was a 1980’s band Adams worked with, but his recorded output picked up in the c.d. age. In 1996 he released “In A Lovin’ Way” featuring songs inspired by his childhood such as “Africville Shuffle” and “Maynard Street.” “Live at the Thirsty Duck” followed, recorded with Adams’ son Corey in Halifax.

Adams joined forces with the Hungarian-Canadian Botos Brothers for his third release, and “Freedom” is Adams’ final disc.

Later in his six-decade career, Bucky Adams volunteered at the seniors’ home where he would eventually live. For over twenty years, the Northwood Centre in Halifax enjoyed weekly performances by Adams. He called it his “Wednesday night music therapy.” Corey described watching one such performance; people entered the room using canes and holding each other’s shoulders. Later, when they heard a song they recognized, they’d find the strength to get up, dance, and move to the music. CBC did a profile on Adams’ for his 70th birthday.

Charles “Bucky” Richmond Adams passed away at age 75 on July 13, 2012. He is survived by his partner Glenda, his wife Clara, five children and many grand children and great grand children. Several years later, the East Coast Music Awards announced the African Canadian Recording of the Year Award would be replaced by the Bucky Adams Memorial Award. It debuted at the 2016 ECMAs.

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight is, at present, a Freelance Writer, maintaining a web presence specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show arranged thematically and with commentary.

Don’t forget to check out these videos about Bucky Adams:

1.Charles “Bucky” Adams: A Celebration of Life Tribute in Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TK89IoN0Id4

2.Bucky Adams – Basin Street – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMsNLu_bjlI

Performed by: Bucky Adams
Written by: Edwin H. Morris, Spencer Williams
Produced by: Russ Brannon
Album: Bucky Adams And Basin Street At Privateers’ Warehouse
Source: Discogs

3.Bucky Adams & Basin Street – Afro Minor (Canada 1976) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQk2YEPpa6E

Performed by: Bucky Adams
Written by: Basin Street
Produced by: Russ Brannon
Album: Bucky Adams And Basin Street At Privateers’ Warehouse
Source: Discogs

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

S.A.C. Black History Songwriters Series: Joe Sealy

Joe Sealy - BHM

Joe Sealy’s role as a fixture on the Canadian jazz scene started in his hometown of Montreal, but his status grew after heading east. Instead of heading for Toronto or the U.S., Sealy relocated to Halifax in January of 1967 and got busy on local stages, radio and T.V. shows.

Born August 16, 1939, Joseph Arthur Sealy grew up in Longueuil, Quebec. Sealy’s paternal grandfather James Arthur Sealy emigrated to Africville from Barbados where his father Joseph Maurice Sealy was born in 1910. When Sealy’s father was 9 years of age, his grandfather moved the family to Montreal where his father grew up, later married and bought land in Longueil where Joe Sealy was brought up from the age of 9.

By this time, young Joe Sealy had lessons from the popular local music teacher and sister of Oscar’s, Daisy Peterson. Once in Longueuil, Sealy practised on his own and later returned to Montreal to work with local band leaders and tour Quebec. Enlisting in the navy and attending Sir George Williams (now Concordia) University were shoehorned in with music. Sealy’s practical father warned his son he should have a practical skill to rely on, should the younger Sealy find himself unable to earn a living making music.

In January 1967, Peterson headed east to Halifax, where he had steady work lined up with CBC television. This expanded immediately. “As soon as I got to Halifax, in the first week, I was working seven nights a week and also recording every Sunday, plus a radio show every week, and video taping every other Saturday.”

There is footage of the 1967 season finale of Maritime music show Frank’s Bandstand, featuring Joe Sealy playing organ, which can be seen here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yx0I3ZfDVq4.

Somehow, Sealy found time to play in a series of local rock and soul bands. He played with Bucky Adams in The Unusuals. “We actually ended up opening our own after-hours club,” Joe explained. Named after the band, Club Unusual opened from midnight to four in the morning out of a Coca Cola warehouse. Macleans mentions the club and band in a 1970 profile of Halifax.

Sealy had planned to stay only for the T.V. season, but after finding a lot of work, he stayed for more T.V.; Roundabout, Student Showcase, and the better known Music Hop all featured Sealy’s musical touch.

Off-screen, Sealy got to perform with the likes of Milt Jackson and Sonny Stitt among other revered jazz figures before recording his first LP in 1976.

The album was a mix of covers and originals, with a few funky moments mixed in with moodier meditations like “Blue Jade.”

“Sailin Home” was released in 1976, somewhat ironically as Sealy was about to sail on, as it were, and relocate to a new city; Toronto. He arrived to a busy city with a still-thriving live jazz scene. Extended residencies were still the norm, and Sealy held several. One such establishment, Errol’s, yielded a live album.

There was also stage work which found Sealy directing and acting, in addition to performing music. In 1982, Sealy cut his third album, the Juno-nominated Clear Vision, in one day. When asked about whether the immediacy of a live date fueled the speed with which this album was recorded, Sealy observed “There’s nothing like a live experience. This is what we do.”

The early 1990’s saw a rapid decline in not just extended runs in clubs and lounges, but fewer bookings altogether for jazz musicians. Sealy then found long-time collaborator Paul Novotny. They were nominated for a Juno in 1995 and, in 1997 Sealy received a Juno win for Africville Suite. Inspired by the Nova Scotian community bulldozed into history through the late 1960’s, Africville Suite yielded several tours through Canada, Norway, Denmark and the U.S.

Most of Sealy’s records were released on the Sea-Jam label. Up until 2019, Sealy served as the president of Triplet Records, a local jazz label. In 2010, he received the high honour award of the Order of Canada.

In Toronto, Sealy hosts a weekly radio show on Monday nights, at Jazz 91 FM. He still performs, and is quoted in this article from a post-show interview at the 2019 Kensington Market Jazz Festival.

In February 2020, Sealy performed music and stories from Africville with Jackie Richardson. The Joe Sealy Quartet has a regular spot at the Jazz Bistro, where they next play on April 3, 2020.

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight is, at present, a Freelance Writer, maintaining a web presence specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show arranged thematically and with commentary.

Don’t forget to check out these Joe Sealy songs as part of our new Spotify playlist episode  – https://spoti.fi/31Qr3U2

Spotify Ep.5

1. Africville
Performed by: Joe Sealy
Written by: Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny
Produced by: Paul Novotny
Album: Africville Suite
Source: Discogs

2. Duke’s In Town
Performed by: Joe Sealy
Written by: Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny
Produced by: Paul Novotny
Album: Africville Suite
Source: Discogs

3. We Three Kings
Performed by: Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny
Written by: Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny
Produced by: Paul Novotny
Album: The Man In The Red Suit
Source: Discogs

4. The Dunes
Performed by: Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny
Written by: Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny
Produced by: Paul Novotny
Album: The Man In The Red Suit
Source: Discogs

5. The Snowman
Performed by: Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny
Written by: Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny
Produced by: Paul Novotny
Album: The Man In The Red Suit
Source: Discogs

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

Damhnait Doyle

D3(crop2)

“Liquor Store Flowers” is the first solo oeuvre from Newfoundlander Damhnait Doyle in 11 years; Doyle was working with The Heartbroken, doing film work, and participating on Boards of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Association of Canada, and SOCAN. At a music industry conference in Mexico City earlier this year, she spoke on gender equity in music.

Damhnait Doyle was born December 9, 1975, in Labrador City and grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland. 17 years later, she found herself recording in Toronto, fresh out of high school and on her way to  multiple awards from SOCAN, the ECMAs as well as a couple of JUNO nominations. Having grown up singing and playing guitar and clarinet, Doyle released her first album in 1996, called “Shadows Wake Me”. The debut included “A List Of Things” which was nominated for a JUNO.

Her 2000 follow up, “Hyperdramatic” garnered a couple of East Coast Music Awards. In 2003 she released “Davnet” (the phonetic spelling of Doyle’s first name) and began releasing albums as part of the band Shaye, starting with “The Bride” that same year.   

As a shy young performer, Doyle found drinking helped ease performing jitters, and joined the legions of musicians who like a drink or three. Playing alcohol-selling venues like bars and clubs made it seem more natural to drink on the job, as it were. Liquor-free for eight months now, Doyle says many of her fellow musicians have quit drinking, and she wants to support their initiative by linking them with like-minded performers who still work mostly in bars.

Over the course of a few drinks and decades, Doyle has released eight albums, including with the award-winning Shaye, and, starting in 2009, The Heartbroken. Their single “A List of Things,” cracked the Canadian Top 10.

While touring the country she has shared stages with Steve Earle, Willie Nelson, and Serena Ryder, recruited for a guest spot on Doyle’s new release. “Liquor Store Flowers” has a couple of accompanying videos online, for the title track and for “That’s What You Get.”  Doyle will be opening for Serena Ryder this summer as well as playing other dates.

Blog post by Erik Twight

Erik Twight is, at present, a Freelance Writer, maintaining a web presence specializing in current affairs, history, photography and music and producing a weekly podcast/radio show arranged thematically and with commentary for fun. Click here to read more.

Don’t forget to check out these Damhnait Doyle songs as part of our new Spotify playlist episode  – https://spoti.fi/2wzTB5b

Spotify Ep. 10 - S.A.C. Board, Past & Present.png

1. Liquor Store Flowers
Performed and written by: Damhnait Doyle
Produced by: John Dinsmore
Album: Liquor Store Flowers
Source: Sheri Jones Entertainment

2. A List Of Things
Performed by: Damhnait Doyle
Written by: Damhnait Doyle, Tim Welch
Produced by: Ken Myhr
Album: Shadows Wake Me
Source: EMI Music Canada

3. Never Too Late
Performed by: Damhnait Doyle
Written by: Creighton Doane, Damhnait Doyle
Produced by: Dave Hodge
Album: Hyperdramatic
Source: EMI Music Canada

4. That’s What You Get
Performed by: Damhnait Doyle
Written by: Damhnait Doyle, Emily Reid, Robyn Dell’Unto
Produced by: Damhnait Doyle, John Dinsmore
Album: Liquor Store Flowers
Source: Sheri Jones Entertainment

5. Tattooed
Performed by: Damhnait Doyle
Written by: Christopher Ward, Damhnait Doyle
Produced by: David Hodge
Album: Hyperdramatic
Source: EMI Music Canada

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

Shari Ulrich

Shari Ulrich 2019 w violin v2 Sm

Long before her induction to the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame, Californian-Canadian Shari Ulrich entered the world in San Rafael, California on October 17, 1951.

At the age of 19 she “ran away” to British Columbia up the coast. It was 1969, and the coffeehouse singer-songwriter scene was still going strong. She was just re-acquainting herself with her grade school violin skills when she joined forces with Rick Scott and Joe Mock. The group they formed was Pied Pumkin, in 1973.

In the early days of the Canadian music business, the arrival of major labels’ regional offices had many a performer optimistic about their music possibly getting heard beyond their immediate stomping grounds in our vast country.

Of course, the major labels didn’t regard Canada as a major country, as Americans sold more records to the Japanese and British than they moved north of their border. When there was a multitude of Canadian record labels, some artists could carve out decent careers, but it was a hard slog.  

Others, feeling left out of the party they’d supposedly been invited to when they first signed a record contract, realized they could release their music independently. Perth County Conspiracy, who released two albums on Columbia, ended up self-releasing their music. Of course, those albums are hard to find now, but they weren’t the only Canadian band that figured keeping the money from a few sales wouldn’t be worse than receiving a pittance and feeling controlled by a huge record label.

Out west, there was the afore-mentioned Pied Pumkin. Forming their own “pumkin” related label, Squash Records; the band managed to sell some 30 thousand copies of their first two records. Their first album, ”The Pied Pumkin String Ensemble” came out in 1974. The album was recorded at Simon Fraser University from a truck outside. Ulrich played dulcimer, saxophone, flute, mandolin, and violin.

Pied Pumkin records were financed by charging fans 5 bucks each- before the record was made. Crowd funding before the Internet, or even touch tone telephones. The band played out west, mostly in B.C. and Alberta with some treks to Ontario.

Ulrich left Pied Pumkin to back fellow west coast singer Valdy in The Hometown Band in 1976. Valdy toured more expansively and Ulrich found herself on stages across the country. In Toronto over the years, she has played stages from living rooms to Massey Hall to Maple Leaf Gardens. Ulrich signed with 2 major labels before reverting to controlling her music independently. She appears on “The Pear of Pied Pumkin,” recorded by the “Pear” – the remaining two members of Pied Pumkin, courtesy of A&M Records. This is almost certainly the first Canadian record with a song questioning the wisdom of Canada hosting the Olympics.

The Hometown Band won a Juno in 1978 for Most Promising Group of the Year. Nonetheless, they folded soon after their second album was released, when A&M cancelled their the Ontario leg of their US tour hours before their Juno award win for Most Promising New Group in another up and down moment with a big record label.

Ulrich recorded two solo l.p’s of original songs for A&M, “Long Nights” and “One Step Ahead.” Unfortunately, a deal involving MCA in the U.S. and a purge at therein found her newly recorded third solo album, “Talk Around Town,” lost in the shuffle on the eve of it’s US release. While lacking any American distribution, Ulrich won the Most Promising Female Vocalist Juno Award in 1981.

Ulrich moved to Bowen Island in 1993 with her then-husband David Graff to raise their 3 year old daughter Julia. Ulrich and Graff are no longer married, but, always a lover of nature, she remains on Bowen Island. Reflecting on divorce, she comments in-concert, while introducing “You Know I Would,” that a divorce is indicative of a successful marriage that ran it’s course, rather than as a failed effort.

Always fond of collaboration, Shari joined forces with Bill Henderson and Roy Forbes (UHF) in 1989; with Barney Bentall & Tom Taylor (BTU) in 2008, and in 2010, Ulrich joined the bluegrass band The High Bar Gang with Bentall and Colin Nairne.

In the intervening years, Ulrich has continued to release music independently, and make songwriting her focus and now has some 25 solo and group records to her credit and  2014 CFMA for English Songwriter of the Year. Pied Pumkin has played sporadic reunions since 1999, and in 2016 The Hometown Band reunited and toured with Valdy.

Away from microphones and instruments, Ulrich has taught at Humber, UBC, the VSO School of Music and continues to host the Songwriters Association of Canada SongBird North Series in Vancouver as she has for 23 years. Ulrich is now releasing her ninth solo album, her second back with a record label – Borealis. Her daughter, now a busy sound engineer, producer and music editor in film & television has engineered  and co-produced her last 3 albums and tours with Shari regularly as a multi-instrumentalist. She will be releasing “Back to Shore” on June 18 at the Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver, but will be coming to Ontario and the Maritmes later in the summer.

  • July 20-21 Perth
  • August 6 Toronto
  • August 7 Halifax

http://www.shariulrich.com

 

Blog post by Erik Twight

Erik Twight is, at present, a Freelance Writer, maintaining a web presence specializing in current affairs, history, photography and music and producing a weekly podcast/radio show arranged thematically and with commentary for fun. Click here to read more.

Don’t forget to check out these Shari Ulrich songs as part of our new Spotify playlist episode  – https://spoti.fi/2wzTB5b

Spotify Ep. 10 - S.A.C. Board, Past & Present.png

1. Everywhere I Go
Album: Everywhere I Go
Performed by: Shari Ulrich
Written by: Shari Ulrich
Source: Discogs

2. One Sky
Album: Everywhere I Go
Performed by: Shari Ulrich
Written by: Shari Ulrich
Source: Discogs

3. Find Our Way
Album: Find Our Way
Performed by: Shari Ulrich
Written by: Shari Ulrich
Source: Discogs

4. Life Goes On
Album: Find Our Way
Performed by: Shari Ulrich
Written by: Shari Ulrich
Source: Discogs

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

The Artz of Schwartz – Eddie Schwartz inducted into Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame

Eddie Schwartz induction

The keyboards were turned up. New synthesizers kept hitting the market. The guitars were getting pushed back, the horns started to sound more like keyboards, and keyboards began to emulate horns. The raw drums and precise click tracks on so many of the ubiquitous disco records at the end of the 1970s gave way to a different, slick but pounding drum sound. The sound of popular music was changing rapidly. The 1980s had begun.

Eddie Schwartz was doing well for himself as a singer and composer at the start of that decade, when he went from recognition in his native Canada to becoming a multimillion- selling songwriter. One of the demos he’d been shopping around was brought to the attention of budding superstar Pat Benatar in 1981. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” sold some 10 million copies on release, earning a 7x Platinum award in the States, and continues to be a well-loved and frequently played anthem.

His songs, and later his production style, made and maintained many of the world’s biggest voices of the 1980s, from Donna Summer to Joe Cocker.

Edward Sydney Schwartz was born in Toronto on December 22, 1949. After studying English and music at York University, he joined Kitchener singer Charity Brown’s touring band. He also landed a songwriting gig with ATV Music and a recording deal with Infinity Records. The ironically named label folded before Schwartz’s record came out, and his eponymous debut album was released on A&M in 1980. His followup, No Refuge, yielded an American charting hit, “All Our Tomorrows.” Schwartz enjoyed success in Canada with releases like “Strike,” “Over the Line,” “Heart on Fire,” “Special Girl”, and others. In 1984, Public Life was released, and then Private Life (Best Shots) in 1994, with the latter featuring Schwartz’s own versions of hits he penned for others, including “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” a more straight ahead rocker than one might have imagined from listening to his records. His final release, in 1995, was Tour de Schwartz, which yielded the single “Bourbon Street.”

From the late 1980s, Schwartz’s writing and production skills were in great demand, and he concentrated on the behind-the-scenes of music-making. He wrote fellow songwriter Paul Carrack’s biggest solo hit, “Don’t Shed A Tear,” along with a couple of hundred songs for an array or artists.

A few performers who recorded music by, or with, Schwartz include The Doobie Brothers, Carly Simon, Rita Coolidge, Robert Palmer, along with divas like Amii Stewart and Donna Summer, and Canadians Gowan, Helix, Honeymoon Suite and April Wine.

Over the years, Schwartz has won many awards, including the high honour of being invested into the Order of Canada in 2012. In 2017, he became the first North American president of the Paris-based International Council of Music Creators. He also serves as co-chair of Music Creators North America and is president emeritus of the Songwriters Association of Canada.

In 1997, he moved to Nashville where he graduated from a music leadership program in 2000. Eddie Schwartz has spent much of this millennium in various capacities advocating for songwriters’ rights and revenues in Canada and beyond.

Eddie Schwartz is being inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on May 9, 2019 during Canadian Music Week at Rebel Nightclub in Toronto, ON during the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards.

Many congratulations to Eddie on this highly deserved honour.

Blog post by Erik Twight

Erik Twight is, at present, a Freelance Writer, maintaining a web presence specializing in current affairs, history, photography and music and producing a weekly podcast/radio show arranged thematically and with commentary for fun. Click here to read more.

Spotify Ep. 9 - CMW

Check out our new Spotify playlist we created to celebrate this incredible achievement – https://spoti.fi/2ZWk8an

1. Special Girl
Album: Public Life
Performed by: Eddie Schwartz
Written by: Eddie Schwartz and David Tyson
Source: Warner Music Canada

2. Bourbon
Album: Blid Lyd!
Performed by: Direksjonsmusikken
Written by: Eddie Schwartz
Source: Direksjonsmusikken

3. Feed The Fire
Album: Public Life
Performed by: Eddie Schwartz
Written by: Eddie Schwartz and David Tyson
Source: Warner Music Canada

4. Don’t Come To Me
Album: Public Life
Performed by: Eddie Schwartz
Written by: Eddie Schwartz and David Tyson
Source: Warner Music Canada

5. Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Album: Crimes of Passion
Performed by: Pat Benatar
Written by: Eddie Schwartz
Produced by: Keith Olsen and Neil Giraldo
Source: Chrystalis/EMI Records (USA)

 

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

Spotify Ep. 8. West Coast

Spotify Ep. 8 (2)

Greetings, fellow Songwriters!

Here we have another cool playlist for this year – Ep. 8. West Coast. This playlists consists of submissions we had over the course of the last few months from our members from West Coast provinces. Be sure to give it a listen by clicking here and, as always, subscribe for updates!

The featured artists and songs are below:

 

Alexandria Maillot – Messed it Up

Release Year: 2018

Performed by: Alexandria Maillot

Written by: Alexandria Maillot

Produced by: Samuel Hewson Woywitka, Alexandria Maillot

Source: CDBaby

 

Edie Daponte – Sliver of Time

Album: Alegria

Release Year: 2019

Performed by: Edie Daponte

Written by: Edie Daponte

Source: CDBaby

 

Josh Bogert – Dad’s Car

Release Year: 2019

Performed by: Josh Bogert

Written by: Josh Bogert, Andy Delisi, John Mavrogiannis

Produced by: Sean Fischer

Source: CDBaby

 

Ria Jade – Wild Things

Release Year: 2019

Performed by: Ria Jade

Written by: Ria Jade

Source: CDBaby

 

Chamelion – I Love You for You

Release Year: 2019

Performed by: Chamelion

Written by: Chamelion

Produced by: Chamelion

Source: Chamelion

 

Kim Thompson – Game of Love

Release Year: 2019

Performed by: Kim Thompson

Written by: Kim Thompson

Produced by: MCC Studio

Source: Kim Thompson

 

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

S.A.C. International Women’s Day Focus: Salome Bey

Salome Bey_ International Women's Day March 8, 2019 (IG) (4)

She’s won awards for her stage work – singing, acting, and writing. She toured the U.S. with her brother and sister, billed as Andy and the Bey Sisters. The sibling act also toured Europe. Touring brought Salome Bey to her soon-to-be-adopted country, Canada, in 1961. She would settle here permanently some five years later.

Salome Bey was born in Newark, one of nine children, on October 10, 1933. Bey played music from an early age, but didn’t release her own records until 1970, when, perhaps making up for lost time, both CBC and Canadian Talent Library (with Quality Records) each put out eponymous Salome Bey albums. To add to that confusion, some, but not all the cuts appear on both records.

Starting with “Spring Thaw” in Toronto in 1969, Bey performed in stage musicals through much of the 1970’s, bouncing between New York City and Toronto. She recorded vocals on a couple of Horace Silver albums in the early 1970’s. Galt McDermot’s record label, released “Songs from Dude” in 1972. He wrote the songs which Bey sang in her lead role in the Broadway production.

Bey found success on and off Broadway, winning an OBIE (Off-Broadway theatre award) for “Love Me, Love My Children.” On Broadway, “Your Arms Are Too Short To Box With God” resulted in a Grammy nomination for the original cast recording.

In 1978-79, Bey wrote and starred in “Indigo,” a musical production about the history of Black music. She also played a string of European jazz festivals, and some of this material was released by Radio Canada (French CBC) as “Jazz Canada Europe” in 1979. Bey’s voice can also be heard on some live recordings by The Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir.

Continuing to celebrate the history of Black music, Bey, wrote and directed shows featuring Black female blues singers, including Madame Gertrude, about Ma Rainy which starred Jackie Richardson. “Sweetmama” was a staged biography Ethel Waters.

Salome Bey wrote and directed plays showcasing black female singers – “Madame Gertrude” (about Ma Rainy and starring Jackie Richardson) as well as a production called “Sweet Mama” which was about Ethel Waters.

Dubbed “Canada’s First Lady of the Blues,” Salome Bey became a member of the Order of Canada in 2005. Sadly, she had started showing signs of dementia by this time and had retired from music and theatre stages alike.

Following her retirement, Bey moved into the Lakeside Long Term Care home with her husband Howard Mathews, who passed away in 2016. Matthews started The Underground Railroad restaurant and met Bey there in 1961, on her first local visit. Before that, he ran The First Floor Club, a jazz music after-hours club.

Bey passed away on August 8, 2020 at Lakeside. She is survived by her son Marcus Matthews and her two daughters. Jacintha Tuku and SATE (formerly Saidah Baba Taliba) sometimes backed their mother on stage as The Relatives. Salome Bey’s family has asked well-wishers to consider donating to The Freedom School Toronto, whose trustee may be reached here; Karen@childrenspeacetheatre.org.

S.A.C. published an In Memoriam piece for Salome here.

Blog post by Erik Twight

Erik Twight is, at present, a Freelance Writer, maintaining a web presence specializing in current affairs, history, photography and music and producing a weekly podcast/radio show arranged thematically and with commentary for fun. Click here to read more.

Spotify Ep. 6

Playlist:

Song: Washed Away
Written and performed by: Salome Bey
Album: I Like Your Company
Source: Duke Street Records

Song: Untitled Love Song
Written and performed by: Salome Bey
Album: I Like Your Company
Source: Duke Street Records

Song: I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart
Written and performed by: Salome Bey
Album: I Like Your Company
Source: Duke Street Records

Song: Young At Heart
Written and performed by: Salome Bey
Album: I Like Your Company
Source: Duke Street Records

Song: Am I Blue
Written and performed by: Salome Bey
Album: I Like Your Company
Source: Duke Street Records

Song: A Kiss To Build A Dream On
Written and performed by: Salome Bey
Album: I Like Your Company
Source: Duke Street Records

Song: Warrior
Performed by: SATE
Written by: Saidah Matthews, Thomas McKay
Produced by: David Click Cox
Album: Red Black & Blue
Release Year: 2016
Source: Discogs

Song: Know My Name
Performed by: SATE
Written by: Saidah Matthews, Hill Kourkoutis
Produced by: David Click Cox
Album: Red Black & Blue
Release Year: 2016
Source: Discogs

Song: Mama Talk To Me
Performed by: SATE
Written by: Saidah Matthews, Thomas McKay
Produced by: David Click Cox
Album: Red Black & Blue
Release Year: 2016
Source: Discogs

Song: The Answer
Performed by: SATE
Written by: Saidah Matthews, W.Mccord
Produced by: David Click Cox
Album: Red Black & Blue
Release Year: 2016
Source: Discogs

Song: Dirty Little Lie
Performed by: SATE
Written by: SATE, Hill Kourkoutis, Merna Bishouty, Ricky Tillo
Produced by: David Click Cox
Album: Dirty Little Lie
Release Year: 2019
Source: YouTube, Discogs

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.