CEC McECHERN AWARD
for an outstanding musical accompanist
George Koller, Toronto
A bass player much in demand
for recording sessions, George plays both electric and acoustic. His ability
to play anything from jazz to folk to blues, with tasty licks that never
get in the way of things, never steal the spotlight, with just the right
touch of energy that plays into the rhythm with texture and feeling. If
he doesn't rock, he'll play on the rocks, as you can see by the picture.
Daisy DeBolt, Toronto
This is the first recipient
of the Lenny Breau Award to be recognized for vocal abilities. But the
voice is a stringed instrument that requires just as much nurturing, practice
and ability as any other. Daisy - who's been on the Canadian music scene
since her jug band days of the 1960s - has been exhibiting her courageous
vocal powers in many dynamic ways. Her control, sense of rhythm, range
and stylings are totally unique. Nobody else sings the way she does and
she's been doing it better, and better, and better with every passing year.
Lenny would be proud! She plays his guitar.
Brian Pickell, Paris, ON
A photographer and fine mandolin
player, Brian gained notoriety with his stint as a member of the Humber
River Valley Boys in the 1970s. It was at a fiddle contest that he ran
into the world champion Schryer fiddle family from which he has forged
long lasting ties. He has composed dozens of fiddle tunes which have entered
the repertoires of some very prestigious fiddlers. His tunes always reflect
his sense of place, and that is mostly somewhere in Canada. Thus the titles
of many of his tunes are in compliance with the Canadian landscape. His
first solo project, Fresh Canadian Fiddle Tunes, features some of the best
fiddle players in the country, a testament not only to his skills and talents,
but the respect he receives for what he does.
John Einarson & Randy Bachman for "Randy Bachman: Takin' Care of Business",
2000, McArthur & Company, ISBN 1-55278-237-9
This is a great book which
reaches back into the 1940s giving us an honest portrait - the good, bad
and ugly - everything about Randy Bachman and his musical prowess. Basically
a history of the Canadian pop music business! Complete with interviews
and well researched bits of information, it leaves no stone unturned. What
ever happened to...? Well this book answers a lot of those questions, but
more importantly, it paints us a landscape of the present by filling in
a lot of the the past.
Jane Bunnett, Toronto
Saxophonist and flutist extraordinaire! After 20 years of mining Cuban jazz, Jane has become one of the most trusted Canadian musicians working with Cuban musicians today. Well before Ry Cooder did it, Jane was jamming and recording with some of the best Cuban artists with her husband, musician, Larry Cramer. On her latest CD - Cuban Odyssey - she hired 40 excellent musicians in Cuba but 80 showed for the recording sessions. She used them all. Such is the high regard in which she is respected by the musicians of that country. Together they have brought Canadian born jazz and Cuban soul together in a symbiotic relationship that keeps on maturing.
something or someone that's way out there and not stopping
The Woodchopper's Association, Toronto / Guelph, ON
You never know who's going to be called for any particular gig or recording session. But whomever band leader Dave Clark (Rheostatics) calls, you can be sure that the collection will mesmerize their audience, and themselves in the process. From loose ideas to the non-thematic, these are musical explorations based on controlled chaos with one major ingredient: fun. And sometimes chocolate bars. Blending horns, turntables, drums, guitars, bangers, keyboards, whatever is available. And it is definitely off beat, I can tell you that.
a song is a song is a song eh?
Bob Snider, Bear River, NS
While he is not a prolific songwriter, Bob Snider has written some pretty amazing songs. Once a song makes it into his repertoire, it usually stays there for a good long time. Audiences never seem to tire of hearing them either, which is another good sign of a well written song. His songs are short, wordy, jazzy, folky, bluesy, delicate and to the point. He sees things in toasters, dogs, parkettes, and You, that nobody else seems to find words to. It's not easy living the life of a songwriter, but Bob does it uncompromisingly, and it has taken him before a lot of audiences, the world over. Still, home for Bob is a retreat to Bear River, near the Bay of Fundy, in Nova Scotia to replenish himself, to heal his mind from the grind of touring, performing, and being constantly on the go. He's a true troubadour in every sense of the word.
PORCUPINE SONG OF THE YEAR
one that keeps coming back at you
Jennifer Noxon, Ottawa, ON
If only they'd play this song on the radio! A lot of 'if onlys' that stand in the way of success for so many aspiring Canadian artists. If only the public could have a chance to hear it, they'd like it just as much as they like whatever else they have drilled into their heads by the repeated daily pounding of commercial radio. Somehow Jennifer Noxon struck a chord or two, leaving residue which rises like bread dough in the mind, with this particular song. It's a song that is quirky, vulnerable, playful and articulate. It is a mathematical collection of everyday behavior that is well produced, a short adventure that is thoroughly enjoyable. This is one special song! Hope you get a chance to hear it someday. Everyday.
to those who make CDs sound so great
James Stephens, Ottawa, ON
Although no photograph exists of this man, he is a well known Ottawa Valley musician. James is usually behind the board of the most interesting Ottawa music sessions. Besides his warm personality, his charms seem to work on most of his subjects resulting in truly great songs and CDs. Just in this list alone, the 2002 Porcupines, he has co-produced two excellent CDs: Brian Pickell's 'Fresh Canadian Fiddle Tunes' and Jennifer Noxon's 'Sweet'. He has no problem dealing with rock bands, folksingers, fiddlers, whatever. And according to Patrick Simmonds, host of CIUT's Atlantic Ceilidh, his work is second to none. I tend to agree. Welcome to the land of the Porcupines, James.
STEVE'S FAVOURITE ALBUM FOR 2001
just a good excuse to recognize another great CD
Tannis Slimmon, Guelph, ON, for Oak Lake
This independent release by veteran performer Tannis Slimmon (Bird Sisters, Benji) was long overdue. However, if Tannis had done this before now, it would have probably suffered being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As it is, the world is ready for Oak Lake now. She has assembled an impressive cast of players who she loves, and they love her, and it all shows on this incredibly enjoyable album. The songs are good, solid pop songs, delivered with beautiful production. How can you tell when an album is really good? Because when it finishes you think, that can't be it! Is it over already. Better put it on again. And that probably says more for this project than anything else I can add. It's just really good stuff that you can't get enough of.
CLASSIC CANADIAN ALBUM
must be at least 25 years old
The Paupers, Toronto, for Magic
Verve Forecast Records
Produced by Rick Shorter, 1967
The Paupers were the second rock band in Canada to be awarded a prestigious recording contract in the US (after the Guess Who I guess). From their humble beginnings in Toronto's Yorkville scene, the band, consisting of Dennis Gerrard on bass, Skip Prokop on drums, Adam Mitchell of guitar, and Chuck Beal on lead guitar, went on to perform at the Monterey Pop Festival because of this record. Found by then mop up boy, Bernie Finkelstein, he arranged a deal with Albert Grossman in New York for these guys. As the liner notes state: "...music that doesn't belong to any school and that is performed with a freedom, innocence and freshness which, in this day and age, could only have blown down from Canada." The songs were superb, folk songs arranged in acidic batter, and sluiced through goldpans that none of us had ever imagined before. The title track was used in the film 'Roadkill'.
SPECIAL PORCUPINE APPRECIATION AWARD
Jim Masyk, Toronto
for the production of 'The Name Is Ned', the complete anthology of his brother, Handsom Ned.
Handsome Ned was a fixture on the Queen Street scene in Toronto in the early 1980's, a man way ahead of his time. Unfortunately, his time was short. Only one album of his work was all he left us. It took the love and dedication of his brother, Jim, to collect and remaster an excellent anthology, complete with a great booklet explaining Handsome Ned in a very direct and intimate way. The big man with the 16 gallon hat who hid out in punkdom was brought back to life through his music. A real act of love and devotion which must have been very painful to complete, but it is through this act that others can now listen and be charmed by the power of the cowpunk of Queen Street. As it should be.
GEM OF CANADA
A Great Canadian Album
Mose Scarlett, Toronto for Precious
Borealis Records, produced by Ken Whiteley
Mose was excited about the concept of this album even before it was recorded. While his other albums were always enjoyable, they were always a lot more than 'the essential Mose', the man with the guitar and the beard and the rock bottom whisky voice that boomed through the mics of the Free Times Cafe. What makes this CD so special is that this is the essential Mose entangled in duets with some other great guitarists. Two acoustic guitars singing the tin pan blues together. In duet with 8 artists: Jim Condie, Amos Garrett, Jeff Healey, Colin Linden, Tony Quarrington, Margaret Stowe, Ken Whiteley and David Wilcox. Each guitar player a snowflake imprinted on the strings. Sometimes it's great just to listen to the other guy, but it's all wrapped in a Scarlett cloak. Yes, the essential Mose has finally arrived.
THE PORCUPINE HALL OF FAME AWARDS
Ivan 'Buddy' Reynolds, 1927 - 1984, Vancouver, BC
It wasn't country and western in Western Canada, it was folk and cowboy ballads, ranch songs, mountain time. Buddy Reynolds was born to sing and 9 years after entering this world began a career that parallels the birth of recorded music in the rockies. His first single, Blue Okanagan, was recorded in 1948. In 1951 he recorded his most memorable song, Spruce Bug, which has just been recorded by The Bottomfeeders from B.C. Aragon Records collected his recorded material and issued a single LP in 1958. After a fifteen year fling he changed careers but his imprint remains forever.
Eric Edwards, a.k.a. Alberta Slim, 1910 - , Surrey, BC
Another pioneer of Canadian western music. This was an authentic cowboy, ranch hand, horse trainer and even elephant trainer. Patterned after the career of Wilf Carter, a.k.a. Montana Slim, Edwards started recording in the early '50s, moving from town to town, working as a dj in prairie radio stations. Best known for his song, 'When it's Apple Blossom Time in Annapolis Valley' which was recorded by both Hank Snow and Wilf Carter, among others, he teamed up with the Bar X Ranch Boys, named after his own spread, and performed for decades. In fact, now in his 90s, he still performs. I doubt that he's training any elephants anymore though.
The Paupers (See Above)
Robin Masyk, a.k.a. Handsome Ned (See Above)
Roy Forbes, a.k.a. Bim, Vancouver, BC
He started out as Bim in Dawson Creek and moved to Vancouver to seek his fame and fortune. The fame certainly came - the fortune, I'm not too sure about. But if fortune can be transformed into fortunate, then Roy has certainly been successful. With his unusually high nasal voice blended into crooning country blues, he is never very far from the tree from which he fell. In the late 80's he decided to become Roy Forbes again, started producing records and is the occasional host of CBC radio holiday specials called 'Snap, Crackle and Pop'. It is here, in the radio tube, that Roy really shines a light by featuring a variety of artists in various genres, with passion and knowledge that sparkles across the country.
Tim Harrison, Toronto, ON
Tim is a singer/songwriter whose ideas leapt beyond the page. Intrigued by the ideas of Estelle Klein's Mariposa Folk Festival, he conceived Summerfolk up in Owen Sound which is still vibrant today. In the mid-80's he was artistic director of the ill-fated Northwinds Festival on Toronto Islands: an artistic success but a financial disaster. In the 90's he directed the successful Eaglewood Festival for singer/songwriters up in Pefferlaw. Another aspect of Tim's indefatigable character saw him host a campus radio show called Acoustic Espionage. He also tried his hand at producing other peoples' records, including Enoch Kent's "I'm A Workin' Chap", released on Tim's 'Second Avenue Records' label. Tim was also instrumental at setting up Hugh's Room, Toronto's current success story. All this while trying to maintain a career as a musician! He has just released a new CD called 'Wheatfield With Crows'.
Enoch Kent (See Below)
Lifetime Achievement Award
Enoch Kent, Toronto, ON
A contemporary of Ewan MacColl,
Hamish Imlach, Peggy Seeger and Matt McGinn, Enoch Kent moved to Toronto
in the 1970s and was kind of lost in obscurity to the world he once knew.
Best known for his work in London, England with The Exiles, he actually
recorded much earlier on an album called (of all things!) Irish Rebel Songs
on Ace of Clubs records. On that album he sang one of his own original
songs, The Manchester Martyrs. In Canada he took up residence with The
Fiddler's Green Folk Club and later became a crowd favourite with the Flying
Cloud Folk Club. Although a regular performer at folk festivals, he rarely
ever recorded his music. But in the year of 2002 Enoch finally decided
that it was time to make an album. With Tim Harrison producing, it is a
marvelous CD with all the warm and tender tones of Enoch's Glasgow brogue,
rippling his R's like there's no tomorrow. Well actually there is: he's
planning to release another CD soon. A golden nugget hiding out in Toronto
for all these years!
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