With war on the doorstep, The Singing Cowboy came calling

His tour of the U.K. and Ireland just before the Second World War was a huge success. But prudence meant his entourage came home early to avoid any danger

With war on the doorstep, The Singing Cowboy came callingThe summer of 1939 was nerve-wracking for Europe. As July slid into August, it became increasingly clear that – barring a miracle – war was on its way. And there were no miracles to be had. There was, however, a distraction that delighted tens of thousands. Gene Autry, The Singing Cowboy, came calling across the…

Alabama museum pays tribute to the father of the blues

Visit the Alabama birthplace of W.C. Handy

Alabama museum pays tribute to the father of the bluesIt may be in St. Louis, Memphis and New York that W.C. Handy popularized the blues. But it’s in Florence, Alabama, that his musical journey began. Dubbed “The Father of the Blues,” Handy was born in 1873 in this city whose population is closing in on 40,000. The family’s two-room cabin, built of white poplar…

If we’re laughing together, perhaps we can bridge the gap

I have to do all I can for peace and truth, even posting my Middle-Aged Middle Eastern Guy rap on YouTube

If we’re laughing together, perhaps we can bridge the gapSometimes you need to risk appearing foolish to speak a very deep truth. As a person of Middle Eastern ethnicity, I’ve long felt a tie to all peoples of that area of the world. As I watch the news, I see a horrible conflict between the Christians, Muslims and Jews of this region. Perhaps it’s…

Where the music industry congregates online

Shawn Wilson talks about how Muzooka works for more than 1.5 million artists and the industry built around them

Where the music industry congregates onlineShawn Wilson is CEO of Muzooka. What is Muzooka? Wilson: Muzooka is where musical artists and their teams manage their media assets across multiple platforms from one central hub. Update your photos, bio, social media and video links on Muzooka, and we distribute those to our many industry partners, who always need access to the…

We have an obligation to use our gifts for good

We’re all born with a unique and inherent capacity to do good. The trick is to put it to use

We have an obligation to use our gifts for goodAs we go through life, we’re given many pieces of advice. Those that are most truthful tend to survive the test of time, and the best advice brings enduring happiness and a sense of peace. At an orientation social before I began my first assignment as a young teacher, I sang a song for an…

Cannabis represents once-in-a-generation opportunity

Bruce Leslie talks about why the industry has such explosive potential and why Westleaf is uniquely poised to take advantage

Cannabis represents once-in-a-generation opportunityBruce Leslie is vice-president of corporate communications for Westleaf Inc. Tell me about your background and why you joined Westleaf? Leslie: I’m a bit of a hybrid as I spent a portion of my career as a journalist and then transitioned over to corporate communications and corporate affairs, and then into business development. So over…

The day the music died?

Buddy Holly died 60 years ago, but his music has not faded away – even if the nature of rock tours has changed dramatically

The day the music died?To quote Don McLean’s song American Pie, Feb. 3 marks the 60th anniversary of the day the music died. The reference, of course, is to the 1959 plane crash that killed rock ’n’ roller Buddy Holly, two other performers and the pilot of the four-seater plane in which they were travelling. I remember the event…

Music can touch our hearts and give us hope

Playing in harmony is perhaps the most perfect example of human co-operation

Music can touch our hearts and give us hopeLebanese-American writer Kahlil Gibran said, “Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life, bringing peace, abolishing strife.” If any group has experienced strife over the last several hundred years, it’s the people of Africa. First they had a significant portion of their population dragged into slavery. Then they had their…

Baby, it’s too cold outside to simply ban Christmas songs you don’t like

Social and cultural change is most effective when it employs persuasion as opposed to heavy-handed tools such as censorship

Baby, it’s too cold outside to simply ban Christmas songs you don’t likeThe removal from air play of the newly controversial 1940s hit Baby, It’s Cold Outside represents a noteworthy shift in the way media companies defend artistic freedom in the eight years since the Dire Straits song Money for Nothing was banned in Canada. The Dire Straits tune, a monster 1985 hit, was forbidden from broadcast…

Make your own music and memories in Big Pink

The famous house in southeastern New York state was once used by The Band. Now it's available to the public for overnight stays

Make your own music and memories in Big PinkIf you’re a fan of The Band, I have great news for you. You may be aware that this summer marks the 50th anniversary of the release of Music From Big Pink, the group’s first album. But you may not know that the remote house the musicians and their mentor Bob Dylan gathered in to record…