In The News

Artist of the Month- Steve Rivers
May 7, 2014
What Makes A Hit?- Part 2
May 7, 2014

In The News

This section of the newsletter is comprised of news stories, press releases and links to Internet articles that are sent in by our members who believe they will be of general interest to the membership. We include them as a courtesy to our members but do not verify or edit their content. Their inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by the CMAO nor do their contents reflect the views or opinions of the CMAO.


SATURDAY MAY 10th, 1-4 pm
SHERIDAN CENTRE 2225 Erin Mills Pkwy, Mississauga


Toronto, Canada. Peterborough grown and Toronto based country artist, Elyse Saunders is celebrating Mother’s Day with generosity of heart, a give-back attitude and a cleverly created fundraiser encompassing her new single to national radio, “JUST LIKE MAMA.”

In partnership with the Sheridan Centre in Mississauga, and Curves Erin Mills, Saunders will take centre mall stage on Saturday, May 10th, 1 pm to 4 pm, where audiences will be treated to her music with emcee introductions and magic by Baldini, and Zumba fitness demonstrations courtesy of Curves Circuit instructor Mary Haynes. This free to attend, fun for everyone in the family, afternoon will bring awareness and raise much needed funds for The Women’s and Children’s Health Centre Trillium Health Partners, Credit Valley and specifically the creation of a paediatric triage area with their Emergency Department.

“Mississauga has always been very supportive of my music career,” said Saunders. “I’ve had the distinct pleasure of performing in this city many times. Launching my new single “JUST LIKE MAMA “and creating a fundraiser by the same name with donations benefitting the local hospital was a natural fit for me. I am particularly honoured that all donations collected, on-line or in person, will be directed to the creation of a children’s triage area within the hospital’s emergency department.”

“Our Emergency Department is the first point of contact for many patients,” said Kristin Scarfone, Manager, Community Initiatives, Trillium Health Partners Foundation. “This separate triage area will be specific to the needs of our community’s youngest residents. By incorporating many of the child friendly features and designs currently in our regional paediatric inpatient unit, this area will help to relieve anxiety and alleviate fears of both paediatric patients and their parents. Elyse Saunders and the JUST LIKE MAMA fundraiser is an integral part in making this expansion a reality. We are very proud to be the beneficiary of the generosity of donations and dollars raised.”

Recently released to country radio nationwide, “JUST LIKE MAMA” is the kick off single from Saunders sophomore album, “I’m On My Way.” Co-written with Peter Linseman and multi-hit songwriter, Tim Taylor, the song celebrates mothers, daughters as well as sons and is delivered up in a southern country rock style, while showcasing Saunders’ gritty vocal range.

Awarded a Factor Juried Sound Recording Grant, Saunders also earned a 2012 Toronto Independent Music Award nomination for Best Country Act. Her songwriting talents have been aligned with hit writers Bernie Nelson (Kenny Chesney, Wyonna, Randy Travis), Joel Parkes (American Idol Songwriter) and Juno Award winner Daryl Burgess (Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Alanis Morrisette) to name a few. Her debut album was co-written and produced by legendary hit songwriter, producer Cyril Rawson (Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Reba McEntire, Keith Urban) while Canadian country star Lisa Brokop conducted background vocals on over half of Saunders album. She has opened for multi-award and ACM nominee Deric Ruttan and shared CD space with Anne Murray and Jason McCoy in the 2013 “Christmas From Home” project in support of Canadian Troops overseas.

Trillium Health Partners Foundation was created following the amalgamation of The Trillium Health Centre Foundation and The Credit Valley Hospital Foundation in July, 2013. Comprised of the Credit Valley Hospital, the Mississauga Hospital and the Queensway Health Centre, Trillium Health Partners serves the growing and diverse populations of Mississauga, West Toronto and surrounding communities.

For more information visit:

Which Music Service Makes Artists the Most Money?

Gary Moskowitz April 16, 2014

The answer is never easy — and it’s devised through fractions of a penny

The digital music realm is complicated: artists like De La Soul want to sell their music online but can’t due to legal restraints on their sample-heavy music; meanwhile, while artists like Led Zeppelin, one of the biggest, longstanding holdouts of offering their music for streaming, are now poised to do so.
Artists like Thom Yorke of Radiohead have pulled their music from Spotify, criticizing the service for doing little to help emerging artists but instead offering sizable advances to marquee bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica for exclusive-access deals. Meanwhile, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails is now the chief creative officer of new subscription service Beats Music.

So what’s the best way to support a band or artist so they can continue making the music you love?
First off, know that broadcast radio stations don’t pay performers or copyright owners. Buy their music and merchandise (directly from the band or artist if possible), go see them live in concert (although not all musicians are live performers, and touring comes with many expenses for the artist), contribute to their Kickstarter campaigns and consider supporting the brands and products they endorse (perfumes, headphones, video games).

The individual deals that streaming services broker for licensing music vary widely, as do agreements with digital distributors like CDbaby or Tunecore. An artist’s role in the creation of their music, genre, and career trajectory also factor in. And there is much speculation as to how services like YouTube, Deezer, SoundCloud and Amazon will continue to change the landscape further. “Its an ever-shifting landscape, with many stakeholders,” says Kristin Thomson, co-director of the Future of Music’s Artist Revenue Streams Project.

Still, here’s a sampling of royalty rates to help gauge your digital streaming or subscription choices:
Pandora or Sirius XM = $0.0023 per song play

A Copyright Royalty Board sets rates for these non-interactive webcasters and digital streaming services, based on many variables: commercial vs. non-commercial, subscription vs. non-subscription. They pay annual fees between $500 and $50,000 to operate.

Spotify = between $0.006 and $0.0084 per song play

On-demand subscription services like Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio, Beats Music, Deezer, and Google All Access Play negotiate rates privately, and rates vary due to listener status (paid vs. unpaid subscriber), ads vs. no ads, company revenue, and more. Spotify, who for many music fans has become a substitute for owning music, published their full formula a few months ago, in response to widespread criticism about how much they pay in royalties.

iTunes Radio = $0.0014 per song play

It acts like a webcasting service, but negotiates its own rates, works in tandem with the iTunes store and artists can pull in 19% of their net advertising revenues. Artist revenue generated from services like iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and eMusic varies widely depending on contracts (iTunes keeps about 30%), but even for independent artists like cellist Zoe Keating, an outspoken advocate for artist autonomy and musician’s rights, iTunes is the top revenue source.

BandCamp = varies

Everyone gets the same deal: artists selling on the site are paid directly by fans (roughly $3 million per month, total), and Bandcamp takes 15% on digital and 10% on sales of LPs, t-shirts, and tickets. But there ‘s no contract/agreement with Bandcamp: bands do as they please

YouTube = varies

For those who want to monetize their content, rights owners get a percentage of shared ad revenue; this can be hugely lucrative or relatively insubstantial, depending on the traffic.

From Billboard Country April 17, 2014 Edition

‘Quarterback’ Takes High-Risk
“You’re not supposed to say the word ‘cancer’ in a song.”
Brad Paisley’s “This Is Country Music” proudly strung together a litany of out-of-bounds topics that seem to find their way into American country playlists. Now the Canadian Country Music Association’s reigning female artist of the year is further testing the airwaves in the home of the brave.

HitShop recording artist Kira Isabella’s first U.S. single, “Quarterback,” finds a high school student wooed by the star of the football team, who gets her drunk at a bonfire, takes advantage of her, then posts photos on the Internet. The abuse-of-power plot is effectively written, beautifully arranged and powerfully sung from a third-person perspective, though the sexual subject matter immediately makes it controversial.
“Of course, there was a little bit of apprehension that some people would be hesitant to play it, but I just feel like it’s something that’s so important,” says Isabella, 20. “It’s a story that’s so incredibly relevant to my generation. I just felt like it was a story that really needs to be told, and country music is a perfect platform for that.”

As Paisley proudly reminded listeners, the genre has a history of tackling difficult topics. They include murder (Garth Brooks’ “Papa Loved Mama”), suicide (Willie Nelson & Ray Charles’ “Seven Spanish Angels”), prostitution (Reba McEntire’s “Fancy”) and even rape (Kenny Rogers’ “Coward of the County”). Hunter Hayes’ current single, “Invisible,” is a take on bullying, but there’s no sexual content involved. “That just goes to show that people are writing songs about it now,” Isabella observes. “It’s something that needs to be talked about.”

Football scandals were being widely discussed when songwriters Rivers Rutherford (“When I Get Where I’m Going,” “Ain’t Nothing ’Bout You”), Bobby Hamrick and Marti Dodson, formerly of the rock band Saving Jane, had a prolific day in September 2013. They’d already completed two songs, “Lunch Money” and “Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down,” and decided to launch into a third. Hamrick had wanted to write a song with the title “Quarterback,” and they initially took a light-hearted approach that suggested the protective qualities of a muscular linebacker were preferable to the glitzy swagger of the sport’s glamor position.

As they worked through it, the three songwriters began discussing rape scandals that had dogged football players at Florida State; a Steubenville, Ohio, high school; and Nashville’s Vanderbilt University, and the song veered in a darker direction. They knew it was a risky theme, but decided it needed to be addressed — and in a big way.

“Nobody’s gonna touch something like that unless they know that they can tear it up,” Dodson reasons. “So we went for broke with it.”

They wrote it as a first-person tale initially, trying to build it in a manner that respected the family listening habits of the country audience.

“When I was a kid listening to songs that were talking about very mature subject matter, I had no clue what they were talking about,” Rutherford recalls. “I just liked the song. And that’s kind of the way I tried to do it, so that my 7-year-old niece wouldn’t know what we were talking about, but would like the melody and know it’s about a quarterback and a girl that plays in the band. And yet, my college-freshman daughter and my wife, other people I played the song for, would get it.”

After living with the first draft, they regrouped to rewrite the rape scene and several other sections.
“The story wasn’t very clear,” says Hamrick. “It was sort of disjointed.”

When they turned it in to their publishers, a few executives responded at several companies with derision — “ ‘Just what we need, another date rape song,’ ” Rutherford remembers — but others were supportive, and the writers continued to go all out. They hired A-list session players and cut an aggressive demo at one of Nashville’s premiere studios, Sound Emporium, with Dodson singing lead. Then they started pitching.
The top choice was Carrie Underwood, who has tackled tough subjects in “Blown Away” and “Temporary Home.” But one of her associates declined to pass it along, correctly recognizing that Underwood’s history with Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo made “Quarterback” inappropriate for her.

Dodson had sung backing vocals on previous Isabella singles, and when Isabella’s management heard “Quarterback,” they thought it worked for her. So did producer Mark Liggett, who co-produced Shannon’s dance hit “Let the Music Play” and Blessid Union of Souls’ thematically challenging 1995 pop hit “I Believe.” Still, Liggett and Isabella also thought “Quarterback” could be misinterpreted and re-engaged the songwriters to switch it to a third-person narrative.

“If we made it in first person, would people think that that had actually happened to Kira?” Liggett asks rhetorically. “That’s what was top of mind.”

When the rewrite came back, Isabella was booked elsewhere, so Liggett used the click track and Dodson’s vocal from the demo to guide the musicians as they cut the instrumental tracks for the master at his Cincinnati studio. Liggett and co-producer Jerry Lane built a much more spacious and acoustic bed than the demo had suggested, and Blessid Union’s C.P. Roth used old Harry Chapin recordings, such as “Taxi” and “Cat’s in the Cradle,” as a guide when he created a sensitive string arrangement with ominous cello lines. Liggett hired three musicians to play the charts, but stacked the parts so that it sounds like a full orchestral string section.

“I got started doing dance records in the ’80s, and that’s how you did everything — it was all piecemeal,” says Liggett. “We can’t do Nashville like Nashville does it, but we can do something else and we can do it pretty damn good.”

Isabella’s song was released to radio via Play MPE on April 1, and HitShop issued a pre-release video statement acknowledging the anticipated resistance. But the writers know from personal experience that the song has an audience, including one that’s important to country radio.

“It seems to really resonate with younger girls and young women,” says Dodson. “I’ve seen people commenting on the lyric video. They feel like it’s an important story, and it needs to be told. It’s nice that people are paying attention.”

Isabella has already heard from women who experienced similar abuses and are feeling vindicated by “Quarterback.”

“This 19-year-old girl from a town very close to my hometown wanted me to know something like this had happened to her,” says Isabella. “She was so happy that an artist was shedding light on it.”

Unpleasant topics invariably face an uphill battle in the marketplace, but there are occasions, such as Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder & Lead” or Suzanne Vega’s 1980s pop hit “Luka,” when touchy material makes it through the system. Which is why a handful of people threw a Hail Mary with “Quarterback.”

“We all felt like this is important,” says Rutherford. “We were going to give it every shot we can to get heard, and maybe we can beat the odds.”

Kerosene Creek to release new single
Brant News
By Colleen Toms

Item 7D Photo D KeroseneCreek___Content


It’s been an interesting ride for local band Kerosene Creek this past year.

The six-member band was nominated for the Country Music Association of Ontario group of the year award and is awaiting the release of a brand new single, Hand Me Down Man.

The CMAO nomination, the second since the band formed in 2010, was quite a surprise for Brantford native John Hughes, who performs vocals and bass. In 2013 the group was also nominated for group of the year.
“We didn’t think we had any chance whatsoever,” Hughes said. “But it was satisfying to get.”

Mandi Lee, vocals and rhythm guitar, said the nomination gave credence to the hard work the band puts into performances while helping to get Kerosene Creek more recognition.

“The CMAO nomination is against basically all of Ontario country musicians and there’s a lot of good, larger bands that have moved to Nashville now,” she said. “So you wouldn’t think one of us smaller bands who don’t even have a CD put out, would be in those ranks.”

Kerosene Creek performs at festival, fairs and bars throughout Ontario and has opened for country music performers like Doc Walker, George Canyon and Terry Clarke.

The band’s new single is expected to be released this spring and delivers a more powerful punch than the debut single, Girls Get In Free that was released in March 2012.

“The new song is a bit more edgy I think, it’s a little bit harder sounding,” Hughes said.
Lee recently returned to the band after giving birth to a daughter. With the summer months already booked, full-time jobs to be worked and families to raise, band members don’t have a lot of spare time to delve more into the creative process of writing songs.

“When we have a little more time we will probably try to sit down and get a little more out there of our own,” she said.

Hughes, whose day job is assistant service manager at Brantford’s Northway Ford-Lincoln, doesn’t expect the band to become a country sensation.

But hearing their songs on the radio is pretty sweet.

“We like to do the bigger shows and have fun. At our age, we have no anticipation of getting anywhere,” he said. “But we like to hear our own songs on the radio. It’s cool, when we release a song and flip on the radio and say ‘hey that’s the song we sat in my basement and wrote together,’ that’s cool.”

Other band members include Libby McGrath of Cambridge on vocals, rhythm guitar and fiddle, Pete Allison of Brantford on vocals and lead guitar, Dale Rivard of Cambridge on steel guitar and Scott McQuaig of Cambridge on backup vocals and drums.

People can follow Kerosene Creek on Facebook or check out their touring schedule at

Country Showcases at Canadian Music Week

Toronto, Canada. Canadian Music Week is less than one month away and country artists will take their performance place in downtown Toronto at The Cadillac Lounge 1296 Queen Street West. Three of those acts performing for the first time are represented by CCMA and CMAO member, Irene Carroll, of i see. Associates.

On Thursday May 8th, 9 pm, Campbellville, Ontario’s Steve Rivers ( (Photo DSC 0515) who is the 2013 Michigan State Winner of The US Texaco Country Showdown will be burning up the stage. Rivers has opened for Charlie Worsham, Josh Thompson, Greg Allman and Michelle Wright. A 2013 CMAO Rising Star nominee, Rivers has 10 songwriting cuts including the chart hitting, Truck.Beer.Girl. Rivers performs regularly at festivals and venues in Canada and the US and will release a single from his new CD later this year.

Also on Thursday May 8th, 11 pm, Burlington, Ontario’s Billy J White ( (Photo DSC 0072) will be rockin’ it country style. A 2014 CMAO nominee for Single of the Year for his song, Saturday Night, White was also nominated in 2013 for CMAO Male Artist of the Year. He’s opened for The Stellas, Deric Ruttan, Tim Taylor and Diane Chase and his new album DAMN FOOL THING TO DO, launched in February with two singles – Saturday Night and Keep Them Kisses Comin’ – currently at country radio nationwide.

Saturday, May 10th, 8 pm, Victoria, BC’s Carli and Julie Kennedy ( who have 5 BCCMA nominations will take the stage. With Carli on guitar and Julie on fiddle, their high energy performance will have the audience entranced. Having recently returned to BC from extensive travels, songwriting sessions, showcases and house concerts in Calgary, Kansas City, Nashville, and Florida, Carli and Julie Kennedy will also be releasing a new single to radio from their new CD later this year.

“We are very excited to have been selected to perform at this year’s Canadian Music Week,” said Irene Carroll. “Showcasing during CMW is a great platform for all artists to be seen by music industry executives from around the world. It’s an incredible opportunity for these acts to increase their networks, fan bases and realize that all of their hard work has paid off.”

Tickets for all shows are $10 per evening, and available at The Cadillac Lounge, 1296 Queen Street West, Toronto.

Barn Dance Show is coming to Purple Hill Country Opry

Canada’s Largest Travelling Barn Dance!
“A Star-Studded Line-Up
with M.C. Jim Swan. Showtime at 2pm

Purple Hill welcomes:

  • Paul & Sue Weber from the Commercial Tavern in Maryhill
  • International recording artist Mary Rowan
  • Crowd favorite and colourful keyboard player Kylie Joe Masson
  • Kurk Bernard – lead singer with the South Mountain Band
  • Canadian Open Step Dancing Champion Kyle Waymouth

Music Director Doug Deitrick has pulled out all the stops for this special show!!!
Roast Beef Dinner Included Only $35 / person
Phone Anna Now! (519) 461-0538
Our mailing address is:
Purple Hill Country Hall
20903 Purple Hill Road
Thorndale, ON N0M 2P0

Review: Matt Williams shines on new duet single ‘Make Love Tonight’
APR 26, 2014 IN MUSIC

Item 7G Photo G Matt Williams img_0371Matt Williams is a singer and guitarist who hails from Ontario, Canada. He is known as one-third of the country group Western Avenue.

Throughout his career, he has won two Nashville Universe Awards and he was a Country Music Association of Ontario nominee. With Western Avenue, he charted the No. 1 New Music Weekly single “Wherever You Are.”

His new song “Make Love Tonight” is a solo effort and duet with songstress Alyssa Morrissey.

The tune was co-penned by Williams, Morrissey, Doug Folkins and Adam Newcomb. It commences with stunning instrumentation and Williams is joined by Morrissey on harmony vocals. Their vocals are reminiscent of hit country duo Thompson Square, and the song’s theme is similar to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s “Let’s Make Love.”

The track also features some pedal steel in it and overall, it contains strong hooks, neat guitar riffs, as well as sexy lyrics. Due to its production, it is electric and soothing at the same time, which is an impressive combination. The song garners 4.5 out of 5 stars.

“We can sit around and talk about us, but I don’t want to waste another moment,” they sing. “Let’s make out like we never said goodbye.”

For more information on country singer Matt Williams and his newest solo single, visit his official website.

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Columbia Nashville Signs Steven Lee Olson

Pictured (L-R): Taylor Lindsey (Sony Music Nashville Director, A&R), Ron Kitchener (RGK Entertainment Group Inc., President), Olsen, Gary Overton (Sony Music Nashville, Chairman & CEO), Jim Catino (Sony Music Nashville VP, A&R).

Pictured (L-R): Taylor Lindsey (Sony Music Nashville Director, A&R), Ron Kitchener (RGK Entertainment Group Inc., President), Olsen, Gary Overton (Sony Music Nashville, Chairman & CEO), Jim Catino (Sony Music Nashville VP, A&R).

Columbia Nashville has signed singer/songwriter Steven Lee Olsen to the label’s artist roster. The Canada native is currently working on his debut album for the label.

In 2013, Cornman Music and Warner/Chappell Music signed a worldwide co-publishing agreement with Olsen. He has had songs recorded by Craig Morgan, The Judds, Melissa Lawson and Swedish Idol winner Kevin Borg. In 2011, Olsen earned a SOCAN award for one of the most-performed songs on domestic Canadian radio, with “Make Hay While The Sun Shines.”