Canadian Music Week

“Taking me higher than I’ve ever been before”

I do what Gary Slaight says.

In case you’re not aware of him, he’s a radio legend up north who sold his chain for a cool billion yet still retains his rock and roll identity, irreverent and fun. So that’s why I was there at the Radio Awards and I was utterly surprised when the show was opened by Kiesza.

She might be a one hit wonder, but the modern paradigm is you create a single, and if you do your job right, it becomes ubiquitous, part of the culture, we all know it and then…WE SEE YOU LIVE AND OUR EYES BUG OUT!

That’s the power of music, that’s what every other artistic medium cannot provide. That jolt of humanity and charisma that becomes part of our DNA such that when we see the being responsible for the record performing it our bodies tingle and there’s nowhere we’d rather be.

Not that there aren’t other ways to skin a cat. The night before Cowboy Junkies were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Irrelevant has-beens with one famous song, right?

I became a believer. Because there were minutes of guitar wailing, odd, intriguing sounds coming out of the amps, and then…THEY WENT INTO SWEET JANE!

Acts refuse to look backward for fear of being seen as has-beens. But Margo Timmins and the boys jetted us back to what once was and made today that much more comprehensible, convinced us it is all about sound and hits be damned. At least that’s how it used to be.

Furthermore, Cowboy Junkies performed “A Common Disaster,” their other killer. And that’s what everybody agreed they did, KILLED! Proving once again that with no smoke and mirrors, no special effects, a band can evidence humanity that seeps into our pores and makes our lives worth living.

Greetings from Toronto where it’s the same yet different. Where the government helps out with the arts but you’re looking through a big picture window at the United States and unless you cross the border you ain’t gonna get rich, it’s going to be solely about the music.

And there are a plethora of panels and activities, bands and conversations, hanging in the lobby is a full-time job. And you learn just by listening.

Whether it be about what’s selling tickets in Singapore or that a 21 year old woman’s favorite act is Motley Crue.

The truth is there’s too much to know today. You can stay online 24/7 and still be out of the loop. Everybody knows some statistic you don’t, we’re all in it together and up in Canada they don’t complain but put their heads down to work.

And eat.

I just got back from the wildest restaurant in creation. Called Lahore, it’s Pakistani food, kinda like Indian but different. And unlike in L.A. the countrymen were consuming, half the clientele was from Asia, dressed accordingly, and we ate in a tent and it was jumping near midnight and it made me feel fully alive with a desire to travel 200 days a year. Get your passport. Book a trip. The Canadians take after the British, they go. And only with boots on the ground can you understand what’s going on on this mortal coil.

I listened to Michael Gudinski tell me about competing with Live Nation Down Under and I was schooled at Bruce Allen’s feet, hearing a combination of gossip and insight that still has my head twirling.

And Jake met me with a Tim Hortons Nutella donut. And then we went to the Old Crow, a barbecue place in Toronto? But the food was delish!

And I learned about the nuts and bolts of this business while seeing performances by Magic! and other acts that have crossed-over and I’ve been so overwhelmed I haven’t known what to say.

But what I am saying is music is alive and well. Because there’s a group of young ‘uns who care just as much as their forebears, at least up here, where the tunes come first and being rich comes later, if at all.

And that’s the way it should be.

Which is why I love Canada so much.

Canadian Music Week

Lahore Tikka House

rose and sons big crow restaurant

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