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MAGAZINE

FALL 2008, Volume 11 Number 3

Simple Plan
Flexing their creative muscle

The Trews

Refine the message

Ali Slaight
Into the spotlight
William Hawkins
Canadas great
lost songwriter

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE


POST-ELECTION BLUES: WILL THE TORIES
KEEP CUTTING INVESTMENT IN THE ARTS?
20 THINGS CHRISTOPHER WARD WANTS
YOU TO KNOW ABOUT WRITING SONGS
S.A.C. AT THE ATLANTIC FILM FESTIVAL,
BLUEBIRD NORTH,SONGWRITERS IN THE NEWS
AND LOTS MORE!
PUBLISHED BY

Songwriters
Association of Canada
Association des
auteurs-compositeurs
Canadiens
SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008 1

Executive Directors Message

2 SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008

Executive Director
EDITOR Greg Quill
MANAGING EDITOR Don Quarles
DESIGN Ambrose Pottie
CONTRIBUTORS Don Quarles,Nick Krewen,
Christopher Ward,Dale Leung, Greg Quill
All photos courtesy of S.A.C., unless otherwise stated.
Canadian Publications Mail Agreement No. 40014605
Canada Post Account No. 02600951
ISSN 1481-3661 2002
Songwriters Association of Canada
Subscriptions: Canada $16/year plus
GST; USA/Foreign $22

MAGAZINE

CONTENTS

Don with Cape Breton singer/


songwriter Bruce Guthro
at the Atlantic Film Festival.

there is still plenty to talk about. We look


forward to being at those tables!
In July, it was with regret that I accepted
the resignation of Beverly Hardy,
our Manager of Operations. Beverly had
been with the S.A.C. for the last 10 years
and has helped to develop many of the programs that are still running today. A special
lunch was held for her that was attended by
staff and she was presented with a plaque
and some gifts of thanks for her dedication
to years of service with the association. We
will miss her and wish her well in her future
endeavours. Good luck Bev!
As always, feel free to drop into the Soho
St. office in Toronto or give us a call and let
us know what you are up to. We welcome
your comments and questions on upcoming
events and activities in your area.
Keep on writing,
Don Quarles

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be


reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted
in any form or by any means without the prior written
permission of the Songwriters Association of Canada.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President Eddie Schwartz
Vice-President Bill Henderson
Vice-President Greg Stephens
Treasurer Jim Vallance
Secretary Greg Johnston
Past President Stan Meissner
Directors Joan Besen, Amelia Curran,
Emm Gryner, Marc Jordan,
Blair Packham, Christopher Ward
ADVISORY BOARD Jann Arden, Randy Bachman,
Tommy Banks, Liona Boyd, John Capek, Tom Cochrane,
Lisa Dalbello, Richard Dodson,Rik Emmett, Micky Erbe,
Roy Forbes, David Foster, Alan Frew, Dan Hill, Paul
Hoffert,Paul Janz, Ron Hynes, Ron Irving, Arnold Lanni,
Geddy Lee, Mike Levine, Colin Linden, Rita MacNeil,
Sarah McLachlan, Murray McLauchlan, Dean McTaggart,
Frank Mills, Ben Mink, Adam Mitchell, Gary OConnor,
Declan ODoherty, Blair Packham, Dave Pickell, Raffi,
Cyril Rawson, Sam Reid, Tyler J. Smith, Ian Thomas,
David Tyson, Sylvia Tyson, Shari Ulrich, Valdy,
Jim Vallance, Nancy White
The S.A.C. gratefully acknowledges the support of
The SOCAN Foundation and the Government of Canada,
through the Creators Assistance Component
of the Canada Music Fund

ALI SLAIGHT
Making her own moves
By Greg Quill

26 Soho Street
Suite 340
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5T 1Z7
Phone: (416) 961-1588
or: 1-866-456-7664
Fax: (416) 961-2040
E-mail: sac@songwriters.ca
Web: www.songwriters.ca

Fall 2008 Volume 11 Number 3


FEATURES:

Songwriters Magazine is a publication of the


Songwriters Association of Canada (S.A.C.)and is
published three times a year. Members of S.A.C. receive
Songwriters Magazine as part of their membership.
Songwriters Magazine welcomes editorial comment.
Opinions expressed in Songwriters Magazine do not
necessarily represent the opinions of the S.A.C. Address
submissions, inquiries and changes of address to:

6 20 QUESTIONS

Christopher Ward reveals as much as he dares in a

candid conversation about professional song craft


THE BIG QUESTION:

Did the Tories learn anything from the pro-arts

protests during the election, or will they keep

slashing music-related arts programs?

By Greg Quill

Illustration: SWINGHAMMER

It was good to see many of you at our


Annual General Meeting in June, where a
featured performance by new S.A.C. Board
member Emm Gryner was the hit of the
night.
Other recent events included: The
Humber Summer Songwriting Workshop,
which was held in July and was once again
a resounding success. We also hosted a file
sharing panel discussion during Our Future
in Music, a conference that took place in St.
Johns in August.
We were present at the MIAC trade
show in Toronto in August and hosted an
open mic and demo panel at the CCMAs in
Winnipeg in September; a songwriter showcase called Soundtracks and Stories at the
Atlantic Film Festival; a special songwriters
panel at Pop Montreal in October; and a file
sharing panel and demo evaluation panel at
the WCMAs in Edmonton.
We also hosted our songwriter showcase,
An Evening in the S.A.C., at the Ontario
Council of Folks Festivals in October.
Hopefully some of you managed to get
to the Radio Star New Songwriter Workshop
series that was sponsored by CMW,
Sennheiser, and 12 Astral Media radio
stations, in partnership with the S.A.C.
They featured S.A.C. Board members, Emm
Gryner, Blair Packham and Jim Vallance.
Humber Summer Songwriting Workshop alumnus Ron McNeil (06) was the
recipient of a single song contract with
OLE Music Publishing during their Hitsville event at the CCMAs in Winnipeg in
September. After this event, Ron told me he
attributes the success of his songwriting
development to his experience at the
Humber summer songwriting workshop.
Rons song Places I Aint Never Been was
co-written with Larry Wayne Clark and
made it around all the bases to be signed to
a single song deal. Way to go Ron!
I look forward to seeing many of you at
upcoming events as well. Maybe well see
you at: the Hey Big Ears demo evaluation
panel; the Reality Cheque panel; our Songshop and file sharing panel at Nova Scotia
Music Week; a Master Class with John Capek in Gander, Newfoundland; Songposium

workshops in November in Toronto and


Saskatoon and in Edmonton and Victoria in
the New Year; S.A.C. In The Schools events
through the fall and winter right across the
country and more events bringing songwriters and industry professionals together.
Now that the federal elections are done,
well be trying to figure out who the new
players are in the Departments of Heritage,
Industry and Finance in hopes of connecting (or re-connecting) with them to ensure
that programs like the Canada Music Fund
continue and that even more funding is
put into the development of Canadian
music, both domestically and abroad. With
copyright reform, the continued support of
the Canada Music fund as well as ongoing
discussion on monetizing music file sharing,

Photo: S.A.C.

he summer and fall have been busy


with many S.A.C. supported events.
Back in May, we teamed up with
the folks at NSAI (Nashville Songwriters
Association International) and hosted a
file sharing discussion panel for Music
Row North, a Toronto conference,
showcase and celebration of songwriters.

10

12

THE TREWS
East Coast rockers find their voice with
No Time For Later
By Nick Krewen

10



12


SIMPLE PLAN
Sell 7 million records, take a break in Florida,
stretch musical muscle what could be simpler?
By Nick Krewen

15


WILLIAM HAWKINS
The best Canadian songwriter youve never heard
till now
By Greg Quill

17


S.A.C. AT THE ATLANTIC FILM FESTIVAL


Canadian songwriters showcase their work for
international film makers
By Don Quarles

SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008 3

SONGWRITERS IN THE NEWS


U.S. DIGITAL ROYALTY RATES
SET IN LANDMARK DECISION
The U.S. Copyright Royalty Board has
decided not to raise the royalty rates
paid to songwriters and music publishers for physical product and permanent
downloads.
After a closely-watched proceeding, the
three-judge CRB panel in September set
the rate for songwriters and publishers of
9.1 cents per song for digital downloads,
but decided that the rate for physical
products should remain at 9.1 cents,
effectively equating the value of physical
discs with downloads from Internet retailers such as Apple, through its iTunes
store, and Amazon.com.
This was less than the 12.5 cents per
song the National Music Publishers
Association and other songwriter lobbyists had wanted, but better than the rate
of six cents suggested by the RIAA on
behalf of record labels.
The CRB also set a rate of mastertone
ringtones at 24 cents. Music publishers
will have the right to seek a 1.5% late
fee, calculated monthly.
These latest decisions follow the
announcement of a rate of 10.5% of revenue for limited downloads and interactive streaming services, less any amounts
owed for performance royalties.

January 31, Edmonton: S.A.C. Songposium


workshop with Jim Vallance, Ariel Hyatt,
Ryan Zimmerman.
February 7, Victoria: S.A.C. Songposium
workshop with John Capek, Ariel Hyatt,
Mark Adams, Don McLeod.
February, Date TBA. Toronto:
S.A.C. Power Songshop.
February, Date TBA, Vancouver:
S.A.C. Power Songshop.
February 26- March 1, Cornerbrook:
East Coast Music Week.
February 18-22, Memphis, TN:
International Folk Alliance Conference.
March 11-14, Toronto:
Canadian Music Week.
March 13-22, Austin, TX: SXSW 2009
Festival and Conference.
March 29, Vancouver: Juno Awards.
THE WEAKERTHANS
SCORE AT WCMAs
Winnipeg alt.country-rockers The
Weakerthans were the big winners at this

UPCOMING EVENTS
October 23-26, Ottawa: OCFF, S.A.C. Demo
Panel/File Sharing Panel and Songwriter
Showcase.
November 6-7, Gander: S.A.C. Songwriters
Masterclass Workshop with John Capek.
November 6-9, Pictou County: Nova Scotia
Music Week, S.A.C. Songshop and File
sharing Panel.
November 15, Toronto: S.A.C. Songposium
workshop with Jim Vallance, Janis Nixon,
Martin Tremblay.
November 22, Toronto: ANDPVA, S.A.C.
Songwriter Showcase.
November 23, St. Johns: Canadian Folk
Music Awards.
November 29, Saskatoon:
S.A.C. Songposium workshop with John
Capek, Ariel Hyatt, Steve Chisholm.
December 2, Vancouver: S.A.C. Music
Supervisor session featuring Rebecca
Rienks.
December 3-6, Vancouver: Transmission
conference.
January 18-21, Cannes, France: MIDEM
2009.
4 SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008

PHOTO: Brooks Reynolds

Haydain update
their self-titled debut album: Altered Laws
(Outstanding Jazz Recording) for Metaphora;
Saskatchewans Little Miss Higgins (Outstanding Blues Recording) for the Junction
City; State of Shock (Outstanding Rock Recording) for Life for Love and Lies; Twilight
Hotel (Outstanding Roots Recording Group)
for Highway Prayer; and reggae revivalists
Souljah Fyah (Outstanding Urban Recording)
for Truth Will Reveal.
The WCMAs also paid special tribute to
Edmonton music legend Senator
Tommy Banks, Vancouver Celtic-rockers
Spirit of the West, who were both inducted
in the WCMA Hall of Fame.
Feist, k.d. lang and Nickelback were all
acknowledged in the International
Achievement category.
The Weakerthans Stephen
Carroll, John Samson, Greg Smith
and Jason Tait also won SOCANs
ECHO Songwriting Prize, for the song
Night Windows, in October.
The ECHO is adjudicated by an
independent panel of 10 music
community tastemakers who select the
five songs they feel best show the variety
and creativity of new Canadian songwriters, then decided by a public vote in the
month preceding the presentation.
DOC WALKER
SWEEPS CCMAs
Hometown boys Doc Walker were the big
winners at the Canadian Country Music
Awards staged at the MTS Centre in
Winnipeg in September.
Of the eight awards handed out at the
awards ceremony, five were presented to

Winnipegs The Weakerthans took three major


awards at the WCMAs and SOCANs ECHO
Songwriting Prize.

years Western Canadian Music Awards


ceremony, walking off with Outstanding
Independent Album, Songwriters of the Year
and Video of the Year for their Reunion
Tour album.
The sixth annual WCMAs, staged
Oct. 19 at the Myer Horowitz Theatre
in Edmonton and hosted by by CBCs Jian
Gomeshi, celebrated the best recording
artists from Manitoba, Sakatchewan,
Alberta, British Columbia and the Yukon.
In all, 19 awards were handed out.
Among other winners were Edmontons
Corb Lund (Outstanding Roots Recording Solo), for his album Horse Soldier! Horse
Soldier!; Paul Brandt (Outstanding Country
Recording) for Risk; Winnipeg rockers The
Liptonians (Outstanding Pop Recording) for

PHOTO: MAPLE MUSIC

Doc Walker big winners at the CCMAs


in Winnipeg.

Doc Walker, including Group or Duo of the


Year, Album of the Year and the coveted
Fans Choice Award, which was handed to
the band by Ultimate Fan contest winner
Kendle Leitz, from Calgary, AB.
Breakout Canadian country music artist
Jessie Farrell took awards for Female Artist
of the Year and CBCs Rising Star.
Last years Independent Male Artist of
the Year Johnny Reid won for Male Artist
of the Year.
CONT. ON PG. 10

Haydain Neale, front man of the band


jacksoul, is continuing to recover from
his accident back in August last year.
Neale sustained serious injuries, but
is continuing to improve and steadily
progressing with his rehabilitation.
Both Michaela and Haydain recently
celebrated a birthday, and Haydain has
been doing great with his physiotherapy
work and has had several rehearsals with
his band, practicing popular jacksoul
tunes.
He has been walking in a special
therapy pool and doing other physical and voice therapies, keeping him
busy almost every day of the week. On
a recent visit by the S.A.C.s Executive
Director, Don Quarles, Don told Haydain how much he has been missed by
the association and Board. Haydain said,

There is still much to be done.


We all know that Haydains focus
will be on his family upon his return
but we still look forward to having him
bring more of his music to the world and
continue to join us in the mission to help
all Canadian songwriters. Hang in there
Haydain!
To send well wishes to Haydain and
his family, you can do so at
getwellhaydain@gmail.com, or by mail
c/o the S.A.C. head office 26 Soho Street,
Suite #340, Toronto, M5T 1Z7.
Costs for his rehabilitation continue
and if you wish to contribute to help offset
these expenses, a special fund has been
set up for this purpose. Donations can be
sent to the S.A.C. office, payable to: The
Haydain Neale Family Trust, or through
PayPal via the jacksoul.com website.
PHOTO: Stephen Uhraney

Great Expectations:
Ali Slaight Steps Up
Taking advantage of the summer break
in her studies at the prestigious Berklee
School of Music in Boston, 20-year-old
Ali Slaight spent her down time recording at home in Toronto.
The grand daughter of legendary
Canadian radio programmer/broadcasting mogul Allan Slaight, and daughter of
longtime Standard Radio poo-bah Gary
Slaight recently retired, after the family
business and the nations biggest radio
property was sold to Montreals Astral
Media released her first six-song EP,
Trace The Stars, late October via a distribution deal with Universal Music Canada.
A collaboration with Canadian
producer Justin Gray (Joss Stone, Bret
Ryan, Kim Stockwood) and writer Simon
Wilcox (Three Days Grace, Jorane), the
daughter of famed Canadian guitarist
and songwriter David Wilcox, Trace The
Stars features four songs co-written by
Ali.
The lead-off single, Great Expectations, which has already been playlisted
on 1050 CHUM in Toronto, is a Simon
Wilcox composition.
If Slaights voice sounds familiar its
because she has been quietly honing her
chops under the guidance of star vocal

coach Elaine Overholt on recordings


since her mid-teens. She has been featured
on a handful of high-profile compilations
Women and Songs 11, The Cool Jazz
Collection 2 and The Real Divas Torch
Light, Vol. 2, and with the Berklee student
trio, Take Three, on the seasonal offering
Home For Christmas, which has received
substantial national airplay.
The same trio Slaight, Bess James
and Stacey Kaniuk, calling themselves The
Roomies recorded Dylans It Aint Me,
Babe on Toronto jazz pianist/composer
Bill Kings side project, The Saturday Nite

BY GREG QUILL
Fish Frys Dirt Road Blues CD last year.
Slaights first release, 2007s The Story
of Your Life, was a Top 10 Canadian
radio hit. It was also prominently featured
on CBC-TVs recap of Beijing Olympics
highlights.
Great Expectations picks up where
Story Of Your Life left off, says
Slaight, who began her fifth semester at
Berklee, studying songwriting, performance and music business, in September.
It basically says that theres nothing
stopping you from achieving what you
want, if you set your mind to it.

PHOTO: COURTESY UNIVERSAL MUSIC CANADA

SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008 5

20 QUESTIONS WITH CHRISTOPHER WARD


read a lot, so no doubt stuff seeps into my
subconscious from there along with overheard
conversations and signs on passing buses.
5. Have you ever written to a pre existing
lyric?
No.
6. Have you ever written to a pre existing
track?
Many times.
7. What are your favourite themes to write
about?
Anything that has emotional resonance.
8. Is there a concept that you have yet to
write about that youd like to write a song
about?

1. What got you started writing songs?


Growing up, all that mattered was road
hockey and music and only one of them was
going to help me meet girls.
2. What comes first-- the music or the lyrics?
Theres no set approach.
3. At what point do you think about the arrangement of the song?
Rarely. The song is for the most part separate
from the arrangement for me.

13. Any remedies for writers block?


Keep going.
14. Do you work with a producer on demos or
do you self produce?
I usually work with a track genius.
15. What was the track you least expected to
place?
Beautiful Goodbye.

17. Whats your favourite studio experience?

9. Are there any rules to songwriting that you


consistently adhere to?

18. Whats the lamest comment youve ever


heard in response to one of

If it doesnt feel right, fix it.

your demos?

10. Is there a songwriting rule that you continually ignore?

I like the chorus, but that last line, if you


please, is a complete copout.

Standard meter.

19. Whats the longest period youve gone


without writing?
Up till about age 14.

4. Where do the lyrics come from?

12. Ever suffered from writers block?

20. Whats the strangest co-write experience


youve had?

My notebook. Ok - I really dont know. I

No, I just write some bad songs.

Trying to channel Diana Ross inner life.

The Songwriters Association of Canada Presents

songposium

A One-Day Intensive Seminar for Songwriters featuring


Music Industry Vets Jim Vallance, Janis Nixon and Martin Tremblay
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2008 LE MERIDIEN KING EDWARD, TORONTO
Acclaimed songwriter Jim Vallance (Bryan Adams, Aerosmith), as well as music industry veterans Janis Nixon of Universal Music and Martin Trembley, Virgin Radios Program Director, will be on-hand to impart invaluable wisdom and
advice about the business of songwriting.
Songposium will begin at 9:00 a.m. on November 15th with Jim Vallance presenting Anatomy of a Hit, a fascinating look at the songwriting process from conception, to rough demos to successfully delivering a hit to radio. Universal
Musics Janis Nixon will then be on-hand to deliver essential information about Cyber PR, a practical discussion and
overview of Web 2.0 and how to utilize and apply the internet to the business of songwriting. The Radio Programmer
segment will be lead by Virgin Radios Program Director Martin Tremblay, who will reveal how the station selects new
songs and what it takes to balance the tastes of radio listeners with the needs of advertisers. Songposium will conclude
with Demo Evaluations an opportunity for participants to submit a song for evaluation by the panel of experts
visit songwriters.ca for submission guidelines.
SONGPOSIUM - SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2008 - 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Le Meridien King Edward, Sovereign Ballroom, 37 King St. East, Toronto
ADVANCE TICKETS: $29 for S.A.C. members & students, $39 for non-members
FOR TICKETS & INFO CALL 1-866-456-SONG OR VISIT WWW.SONGWRITERS.CA - SPACE IS LIMITED
6 SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008

BY GrEG QUILL

None of them is obscure. They are all my


little children coming home to daddy.

Sometimes current events move me, but I


find Im rarely capable of responding artistically.

Engage the listeners senses with the lyric.

Will the Tories Keep Slashing


Investment in Canadas Culture?

16. Whats the most obscure royalty cheque


youve ever received?

Having Rose Stone from Sly & The Family


Stone sing on Alannah Myles second album.
She explained that odd thing she sings in
Hot Fun In The Summertime. Ill tell you
about it sometime.

11. Is there a genre specific rule that has


enhanced your last couple of cuts?

The Big Question:

Pro-arts protests across the country made


CULTURE A HOT-BUTTON election issue... but the
message may have fallen on deaf ears

he Canadian music community is


again holding its collective breath after
numerous high-profile, nation-wide
protests over the Harper governments
$45-million cuts to major arts programs
brought cultural policies into the forefront
during the run-up to Octobers federal election, but failed to prevent the Conservatives
from returning to power with a slightly
increased minority.
The big question is whether re-elected
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has taken
heed of the message conveyed in hundreds
of formal and informal protests that took
place across the country in the weeks before
the election some, like famed Quebec
singer/songwriter Michel Rivards brilliant
video satire Culture In Peril, which scored
more than 500,000 hits on the Internets
YouTube, made headlines, while others are
credited with galvanizing a strong pro-arts
voter turnout or continue cutting funds as
part of the Tories secretive, non-inclusive,

in-house strategic review of arts and


culture programs.
During the summer, before the election

Fewer Canadian acts


will be able to take part
in showcases in major
foreign talent conferences.
Hundreds of small
businesses in the
Canadian arts sector
representing millions
of dollars in cultural
revenue will be affected.
was called, Harper cut some $23 million
from major programs regularly accessed
by the music industry They include the key
$4.7 million ProMart program, an artists
travel support fund operated by the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the $9-million

Trade Routes program that supports film


and music exports, administered by Heritage Canada.
Harper countered mounting criticism with claims that his government had
increased arts funding by some $80 million
in the last four years.
But a subsequent investigation by the
Globe and Mail concluded: A close look
at federal budget documents suggests that
nearly $45-million in recent federal funding cuts are symptomatic of a larger trend
under the Conservatives that has seen
dollars gradually shifted away from arts and
culture, and funneled instead into other
branches of the Department of Canadian
Heritage that focus on the departments
social mandate.
Although there is some truth to the
governments claims, they derive their force
from a vague definition of culture which
can comprise everything from piano
CONT. ON PG.8
SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008 7

THE BIG QUESTION CONT. FROM PG. 7

recitals to (English as a Second Language)


classes, The Globe reported.
The Tories also cut $300,000 formerly
set aside for the Audio-Visual Preservation
Trust of Canada, which archives, restores,
and makes available for digital distribution, Canadian film, television and musical
recordings; $1.5 million from the Canadian
Independent Film and Video Fund, which
helps top up the budgets of independent Canadian films and triggers private investment
in Canadian films of up to $120 million;
and $2.5 million from the National Training
Program in the Film and Video Sector.
The programs, cancelled as of April 2009,
have proven their worth with a demonstrable increase in export opportunities for
Canadian musicians over the last five years.
The cancellation of ProMart and Trade
Routes will severely affect our ability to create and train artists and industry professionals to work on a global scale, said WCMA,
the umbrella organization for the five
western music industry associations Music
BC, Music Yukon, Alberta Music, SaskMusic
and the Manitoba Audio Recording Industry
Association in a statement protesting the
cuts.
The effects of the federal funding, a small
fraction of the $85 billion in cultural business and taxable revenue it generates, cannot
be overestimated, said Duncan McKie, president of the Canadian Independent Record
Production Association.
Canadian musicians, deprived of future
promotional funding in major markets in
Europe and Asia as a result of the ProMart
and Trade Routes cuts, will also suffer from
the withdrawal of funding to the AudioVisual Preservation Trust, said its director
David Novek.
This fund assists the archiving and
public exhibition of the work of English- and
French-language Canadian composers. We
deplore the decision.
The Canadian Music Centre, which used
a $25,000 Audio-Visual Preservation Trust
grant last year to retrieve 9,000 archival
musical recordings dating back to 1945,
transferring them to digital audio formats,
and their scores to digital document files
prior to making them available online, will
have to cease its work unless replacement
private sector funding is found, said executive director Elizabeth Bihl.
This is music that would have otherwise
been lost, a valuable cultural asset. Because
of the cuts we wont be able to complete our
8 SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008

Legendary Quebec songwriter


Michel Rivard was depicted
in the hilarious anti-Harper
viral video Culture In Peril
as a humble, well meaning
folk artist confronting a neoMcCarthyite panel of suspicious
Anglo bureaucrats with no
understanding of the countrys
cultural assets or his simple
funding needs. THE HARPER
CUTS PROMpTED PROTESTS LIKE
THE ALL-STAR RALLY THIS IS NOT A
CONSERVATIVE PARTY IN TORONTO
(POSTER BELOW)

PHOTO: COURTESY DEPARTMENT OF CULTURE

Canadian Content Online program.


The 2008 cuts followed others made
to the Foreign Affairs budget in 2006 that
virtually eliminate the cultural advocacy
and representational functions of Canadas
embassies, formerly of invaluable service to
Canadian artists performing and attending
arts conventions abroad.
The prospects beyond 2010 are
disastrous, East Coast Music Association
executive director Steve Horne said. Music
industry conferences in Canada will yield
less because showcases will be unattended by
foreign music buyers, agents, label representatives and radio programmers whose travel
and accommodation expenses were partly
paid by these federal funds.
And fewer Canadian acts will be able
to take part in showcases in major foreign
talent conferences. Hundreds of small businesses in the Canadian arts sector representing millions of dollars in cultural revenue

will be affected.
Some Canadian music industry insiders
even fear the Tories may start dismantling
FACTOR, the Fund to Assist Canadian Talent On Recordings, for decades the essential
infrastructure of the nations recording and
music marketing systems.
They are not alone. In a statement issued
before the election, the Canadian Film and
Television Production Association said it
fears this latest round of cuts may be the
thin edge of the wedge for more significant
cuts to (the arts) sector later this year.
Harper gave artists no hope during the
election, characterizing them as people
at a rich gala, all subsidized by the taxpayers,
claiming their subsidies arent high enough
and as somehow different from ordinary
working people
Despite the Tories infuriating silence
on cultural policies during the campaign
even in the face of strong pro-culture planks
presented by the NDP, the Liberal Party, the
Green Party and the Bloc Quebecois, which
all promised to restore funding slashed by
Harper and substantial additional federal
investment in the arts, as well as copyright
legislation impacting the use of and remuneration for music and other intellectual
property on the Internet theres at least one
sign Harper might have taken notice of the
protests, particularly those mounted in Quebec, where culture is a fundamental issue
and the federal Conservatives are definitely
not welcome.
In the belated announcement of the
Tory platform just days before the election,
Harpers controversial Bill C-10, which
was universally denounced as censorship
because it would have allowed governmentappointed bureaucrats to withhold or
withdraw funding from Canadian movies
and TV programs deemed by the panel as
pornographic or violent, was killed.
Although these proposals were approved
unanimously by the House of Commons, we
will take into account the serious concerns
that have been expressed by film creators
and investors, the platform stated.
Whether the Tories will take into account the serious concerns that have been
expressed by other sectors of the nations arts
industry which employs 1.1 million Canadians, contributes 7.5 per cent of the Gross
Domestic Product, and returns between
$11 and $17 for every dollar invested or
follow through with even more reductions
in federal investment in culture, remains the
big question.

S.A.C. In The Schools


Program Expands
The S.A.C. In the Schools program is
designed to reach out to a younger
audience with the objective of giving
them an opportunity to learn more
about songwriting through the eyes and
ears of those who are making a living
at creating music. It gives elementary

Christopher Ward and Hayley Gene


display and discuss the art of
songwriting in a Winnipeg school as
part of S.A.C In The Schools program.

and secondary students an opportunity


to see and hear professional songwriters talk about their songs, their writing
processes and what its like to be a

TWO YEAR PROGRAMS

songwriter/performer. Through this


initiative, it is hoped that these young
people will gain a greater respect for
the songwriter and ultimately listen to
music differently.
The S.A.C. plans to expand its
S.A.C. In The Schools program and
create opportunities for educators,
schools and students across the country to learn more about the craft of
songwriting. In 2009, the S.A.C. will
be partnering with the Vancouver host
Juno committee to bring songwriting
into Greater Vancouver area schools
with the help of the SASS program
(www.sasscanada.net).
If know of a school that might be
interested in a S.A.C. In The Schools
program, visit the songwriters.ca
website or contact the head office at
1-866-456-SONG.
S.A.C. HOSTS TWO
CCMA EVENTS
The S.A.C. sponsored two events at
this years CCMAs in Winnipeg in
September. The first was a demo
evaluation panel featuring Joan Besen
(S.A.C. Board member and songwriter/
performer with Prairie Oyster), produc-

The Keats sisters, Sharlene (Loveless)


and Jolene (R) perform their original song
Bring On The Next Town at the S.A.C.s
Open Mic at the CCMAs in Winnipeg.
Photo, courtesy S.A.C.

er/songwriter Chris Burke-Gaffney, and


Barb Sedun, manager of the Manitoba
Film and Sound Music Fund.
The event attracted a large crowd of
songwriters who received feedback on
their tunes and advice on the music
business. The host was S.A.C. Executive Director Don Quarles.
The second event was an open mic
opportunity for delegates to perform
original songs for an enthusiastic audience. Over 25 songs were performed
at this event, hosted by country artist/
songwriter, Jamie Warren.

ONE YEAR PROGRAMS

Metalworks Institute is registered as a private career college under the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005.

SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008 9

CONT. FROM PG. 4

The live telecast, hosted by Terri Clark,


included performances by Dierks Bentley
with Sarah Buxton, Paul Brandt, George
Canyon, Emerson Drive, Kellie Pickler,
and Crystal Shawanda.
CARIBOU TAKES
POLARIS PRIZE
Post-psychedelic electronica pop artist
Dan Snaith, from Dundas, Ont., was
awarded the $20,000 Polaris Prize, honouring the best of Canadas annual crop
of new independent pop artists, at
a concert gala featuring live or video
performances by all ten contenders at
Torontos Phoenix theatre Sept. 29.
Snaith, who records as Caribou, won
for his album Andorra.
Other finalists for the third annual
Polaris Prize were Two Hours Traffic, Holy
Fuck, Basia Bulat, Kathleen Edwards, Plants
and Animals, Shad, Black Mountain, the
Weakerthans and Stars.
Modeled on Britains prestigious Mercury
Prize, the Polaris is decided on the
night of the presentation by a jury of 11
music critics, producers and performers,
and awarded to the best album of the
year, regardless of record sales
and profile.

OLIVER SCHROER TO BE
HONOURED AT CFMA
Influential composer and violinist Oliver
Schroer, who died in July of leukemia,
leads the field of nominees at the fourth
annual Canadian Folk Music Awards gala
taking place Sunday, November 23 at the
Arts & Culture Centre in St. Johns, Nfld.
Schroer, nominated in the Contemporary
Album Of The Year, Solo Instrumentalist
Of The Year, Producer Of The Year and
Pushing The Boundaries categories, will
be honoured in a special tribute at the
awards ceremony.
Vancouver roots singer-songwriter
Wyckham Porteous and Nova Scotia
fiddler Troy MacGillivray are close behind
with three nominations each.
Scheduled to perform at the CFMA gala
are Figgy Duff, Murray McLauchlan, Rita
Chiarelli, Enoch Kent, Asani, Anne Lindsay,
and The Newfoundland Step Fiddlers.
For ticket information and a full
list of nominees, go to
canadianfolkmusicawards.ca.
APPOINTMENTS
Tamara Kater has been named new Executive Director of the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
She was most recently Executive Direc-

tor of the Ottawa Folk Festival.


Peter MacDonald is the new Executive
Director of the Ontario Council of Folk
Festivals (OCFF), starting November.
He replaces Erin Benjamin who left
the OCFF earlier this year.
PASSING: TEENAGE HEADS
FRANKIE VENOM
Canadian punk icon,
Teenage Head lead
singer Frank Kerr aka
Frankie Venom died
October 15.
Kerr had recently
battled throat cancer
and spent Thanksgiving
weekend with his family before slipping
into a coma. He was 51.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Kerr was the
lead singer of the Hamilton-based band
which formed at Westdale High School
in 1975.
Teenage Head released its first independent single in 1978 and its legendary
self-titled debut the following year. The
group, best known for the song Lets
Shake from the album Frantic City, last
performed in Hamilton in August, and was
scheduled to play at this years Grey Cup
festivities in Montreal.
Teenage Head will be presented with a
special lifetime achievement award at the
2008 Hamilton Music Awards Nov. 13-16.

Attention SONGWRITERS, MUSICIANS and PRODUCERS!

Looking for music


industry advice? Want
your songs evaluated by
industry professionals?

TORONTO
Nov. 15, 08

The Songwriters Association of


Canada presents SONGPOSIUM, an
intense one-day seminar for aspiring
songwriters and those interested in
learning more about the art, craft and
business of songwriting. Learn from
some of the foremost international
talent in the music industry as they
share their experience and knowledge
to help you get your songs heard.

SASKATOON
Nov. 29, 08

EDMONTON
Jan. 31, 09

VICTORIA
Feb. 7, 09

To order tickets
VISIT www.songwriters.ca or CALL 1-866-456-SONG

The S.A.C. gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Music
Funds Creators Assistance Program, administered by The SOCAN Foundation.

10 SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008

The Trews: Music and Meaning


East Coast rockers refine their message delivery system
BY NICK KREWEN

o Time For Later, the third rock


opus from Toronto-based East
Coast exiles The Trews, is as much a
mandate as it is a title.
Make that a lyrical mandate. For their
third complete studio album lead singer
and writer Colin MacDonald and his
merry band guitarist/bro John-Angus
MacDonald, bassist Jack Syperek and
drummer Sean Dalton decided it was
high time to kick it up a notch in terms of
message delivery.
I wanted to say more, Colin recently
admitted, On our first album (2003s
House Of Ill Fame) we were finding our
feet as pop songwriters. The lyrics were
ambiguous and flowed with the songs.
Our second record (2005s den of
thieves) was written really quickly and
tended to be about this bad relationship I
was in.
When homegrown rock icon Neil
Young issued Living In War in 2006, MacDonald felt the gauntlet had been thrown.
Neil was on CNN and was asked,
Why did you write this album? MacDonald recalls. He replied, I just dont
understand why no young bands are
saying anything in their lyrics. Why does
it take a 60-year-old rock musician to say
anything?
It struck a chord with us. We thought
that we should start thinking about using
our music as a platform for saying what
we feel and believe.
As a result, No Time For Later takes
a stand. For instance, the pointed Gun
Control, inspired by the tragic 2007 Virginia Tech massacre that claimed 32 lives,
is fairly blunt.
We were in Toronto writing the songs
for this album, and we turned on the TV
coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting,
MacDonald recalls. And we thought,
Not again. That kid shouldnt have been
able to get a gun.
Were very firm believers in stricter
gun control laws.

PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE TREWS

SONGWRITERS IN THE NEWS

The Trews (L to R): Colin MacDonald, John-Angus MacDonald,


Sean Dalton, Jack Syperek

We should start
thinking about
using our music
as a platform for
saying what we
feel and believe.
-Colin MacDonald
Not everyone shared The Trews
soapbox.
We were playing New York City, and
one individual did not like the fact we had
a song like Gun Control, MacDonald
recollects.
He said, I dont want my rock and
politics mixed, and I dont know if a

Canadian has any right commenting on


American politics at all.
Its totally understandable, but we
were prepared for that when we wrote the
song. We figured if this album gets any
attention at all, its going to get reaction
from the lyrical content.
No Time For Later also boasts dark
humour, although MacDonald isnt sure if
his audience is in on the joke.
I was trying to be ironic in the song
I Cant Stop Laughing, MacDonald reveals. Its about going out and having the
time of your life while youre completely
miserable and masking your heartbreak.
Then, with No Time For Later, I wanted
to be kind of funny as well.
But some guy came up to me in a
Halifax bar and said, I broke up with my
girlfriend because she was bringing me
down and it was making me depressed
and there was no time for later.
MacDonald winces.
CONT. ON PG. 14
SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008 11

LIVING WITH DANJA

With seven million albums sold, Simple Plan mixes it up


with four producers on new CD

PHOTO: COURTESY OF SIMPLE PLAN

BY NICK KREWEN

SIMPLE PLAN: Pierre Bouvier, Sebastien Lefebvre, David Desrosiers, Jeff Stinco, Chuck Comeau

lans for Canadian rock bands looking


for international attention dont get
any simpler than this: Write lots of
catchy melodies, tour til your face falls
off, sell millions of CDs around the planet
and continue on to world domination.
Montreal rockers Simple Plan have
executed this formula to a T. Their first
two albums No PadsNo HelmetsJust
Balls and Still Not Getting Any decorated
the bedrooms of Simple Planners Pierre
Bouvier, Chuck Comeau, Jeff Stinco,
David Desrosiers and Sebastien Lefebvre with platinum and gold discs galore,
thanks to the punchy punk-propelled rush
of adolescent anthems like Addicted, Id
Do Anything and Welcome To My Life,
and the power ballad Perfect.
But seven million sales later, Simple
Plan has decided to flex their creative
muscles. Theyre a little more grown up, a
little more complex, a little more strident
in their quest to demonstrate capabilities
12 SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008

In Miami we were the


white guys in the crappy,
beat-up rental car.
We didnt really fiit in.
Chuck Comeau
different from the Warped Tour mentality.
Sure, a love for NOFX, Green Day
and Bad Religion may still linger in their
sound, but the willingness of the quintet
to widen their horizons is fully evident
with the songs on its recent self-titled
album.
The band trumpets its new sonics right
from the get-go with When Im Gone,
one of three tracks either produced or co-

produced by Tim Timbaland Mosleys


right-hand man, Nate Danja Hills.
When Im Gone kicks things off
with a looped hip-hop rhythm, then veers
into something youd more likely find on
a Def Leppard album than on anything
Simple Plan has previously recorded.
When Im Gone, one of three tracks
on Simple Plan captured on Hills home
turf of Miami, Fla. The End and Generation are the other two testifies to the
bands collective willingness to jump into
unfamiliar territory.
We were in an environment where all
the rappers were coming in at midnight
and they were rolling with their Escalades, recalls drummer and chief lyricist
Chuck Comeau of the Danja sessions at
Hit Factory Criteria Studios.
We were the white guys in the crappy,
beat-up rental car. We didnt really fit in,
and it was all a different pace for us. It was
all late-night recording.

But singer and prime melody maker


Bouvier says the procurement of Danja
as one of four producers Dave Fortman
(Slipknot, Mudvayne), Max Martin (Britney Spears, Pink) and Arnold Lanni (Our
Lady Peace) are the others was worth it.
If I could pinpoint one thingabout
this album, itd be experimentation, says
Bouvier. We wanted to try different
things.
Obviously Danja, a great hip-hop producer, is very different for us. We wanted
to branch out and try some different
things that would keep it interesting.
Danja offered Simple Plan new creative
challenges.
With him, wed write from a loop or a
beat, Comeau admits. It was something
wed never done before.
On When Im Gone, singer Bouvier says
Danja provided both the beat and the
loop, but wasnt satisfied with the results.
He didnt really know what to do with
it and he didnt think it was all that great.
We felt it had a cool summer feel-good
vibe.
So we took that loop, went home and
worked on that one without him. I used it
on my laptop I use Pro Tools and we
played around with different things. Thats
how the song came about.
Atmosphere also played an inspirational part. The End, Bouvier says, was
inspired by a night of Miami clubbing
with one-time Montreal resident Testo
on the turntables.
We partied until 4 a.m. in some big
club in Miami where Testo was spinning,
he recalls.
We were all hung over, and I was experimenting with some keyboards Danja
had in the studio. I came up with that little
riff that starts the song, and Danjas going
Keep playing that! and he laid a beat on
top of that riff.
The next thing you know, we had
the whole melody lined up. From there,
Chuck and I went outside, worked on
some lyrics and then tracked the whole
first verse and chorus.
It was one of the fastest songs weve
written and we werent even trying.
Bouvier concedes that Simple Plan
prefer to tinker with songs in the studio.
It takes a while, he admits. Were not
the kind of guys who write a song in five
or ten minutes and bang, its done.
We look at it as a craft. Well go back
and rework the lyrics a bunch of times,

and try 10 different versions of the chorus.


Well argue about how we should end it.
On some songs we spend three days, put
it away and spend another week on it.
As a general rule, it takes longer than we
expect.
Its usually Bouvier and Comeau who
kick off Simple Plans songwriting process.
Once we find the basic idea, we demo
it, then bring it to the band and everyone
gets involved with making it better.
For Simple Plan, there were a lot of
ideas 65 of them. Once you have a verse,
a pre-chorus and a chorus, youll know
whether its a home run or not. Sometimes as in the song I Can Wait Forever,
which I wrote at my parents house Ill
come up with the whole thing on my
own.

I had written the entire


chorus sitting alone in
my room, thinking about
my brother and
the cancer he
went through
Pierre Bouvier
For seven of the albums 11 songs, Arnold Lanni who produced and co-wrote
No Pads, No HelmetsJust Balls, initially
setting Simple Plan on its platinum path
returned to add his polish.
We had a lot of songs ready, but a
lot of them were incomplete, Bouvier
explains. We got Arnold to have a listen
and see what he thought. With the song
Save You, I had written the entire chorus
sitting alone in my room, thinking about
the situation with my brother and the
cancer he went through. But I didnt know
how to address the intro, the verse, and
although I had a few ideas, I couldnt stick
with just one.
Arnold came in, looked at the chorus,
and suggested a couple of ideas for some
verses. Having him there gave us the
confidence to push the idea and finish
the song.

Simple Plan song


Save You
to benefit
International
cancer charities
Net proceeds from each download
sale of Simple Plans iTunes Store
single, Save You,will be distributed to cancer charities around the
world, through the Montreal-based
bands own Simple Plan Foundation.
Save You was penned in tribute to
lead singer Pierre Bouviers brother
Jay, who was diagnosed with
non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer at
the age of 28.
Simple Plan has also donated portions of their merchandise sales to
charity, as well as 50 cents from
each ticket sold on their recent
and forthcoming tours.
For full details on the charity
organization, please visit
www.simpleplanfoundation.org.
In addition to the Save You
single, a special companion video
has been produced, featuring
appearances by cancer survivors
from all walks of life, including
such famous faces as Sharon
Osbourne, Marissa Winokur (of
the original Broadway production
of Hairspray), Barenaked Ladies
Kevin Hearn, and Saku Koivu
(captain of the NHLs Montreal
Canadians).
After what happened to someone
so close to us, we feel that, as a
band, we had to do something to
help, Simple Plans members
said in a joint statement.

SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008 13

ThE Trews: People really want you to feel what theyre going through.

much as I can.
One of those novel approaches occurred during MacDonalds collaboration on the title track and Man Of Two
Minds with Simon Wilcox.
We sat down with no instruments
and we just wrote the lyrics on a piece
of paper, MacDonald remembers. We
thought, Whats the story here? Whats
this guy going through? We wrote those
two songs on a sheet of paper and just
put chords behind them.
Its difficult to do and it doesnt al-

ways work, but theres a little bit of magic


to it when it does. We put a lot of thought
into the lyrics, and when we added the
chords and music, it just sounded right.
Although The Trews are awaiting the
early 2009 release of No Time For Later
in the U.S., MacDonald is already in
writing mode for the next album.
People really want answers, he
states. They really want to relate to songs
and they really want you to feel what
theyre going through. Im taking it
more seriously.

Welcome New Members!

The S.A.C. welcomes the following new members who have joined since June, 2008
AB Alecia Aichelle

BC Aaron Korop

NS Ruth Minnikin

ON Carla Dancey

ON Leanne Miele

ON Ivy Steel

AB Don Chesniak

BC Patricia Manly

NS Dana Ryan

ON Francis De Mello

ON Stephen Mosley

ON Mike Stephenson

AB Ryan Eavis

BC Sherard James Moffatt

NT Sylvia Adams

ON Moira Demorest

ON Charles Brian Murray

ON Rocco Stragapete

AB Kent Klatchuk

BC Gregory Morgan

ON Vicki Abbott

ON Chander Dickson

ON Sean Newell-Barrette

ON Lynn Thacker

AB Lori Kole

BC Jennifer Morgan

ON Aruna Adhya

ON Carlo DiZio

ON John OBrien

ON Diana Tiessen

AB Chris Livingston

BC Mike Moy

ON Dallas Arney

ON Gary Evans

ON Gloria OBrien

ON Christopher Todman

AB Vitaliy Malkin

BC Corbin Murdoch

ON Rohan Bader

ON Christine Fraser-Hector

ON Kimberly OConnor

ON Natalie Tom-Yew

AB Wayne Monnery

BC Randall Murray

ON Blake Michael Barrett

ON Michael Henderson

ON Sue Peters

ON Kevin White

AB Jacqueline Pratte

BC Eddie Plotnikoff

ON Shaun Bishop

ON Samantha Hooey

ON Michel Pixel

ON Hong Wei Zheng

AB Ashley Rae

BC Cheryl Stavely

ON Soren Boyd

ON Andrew Jablonski

ON Diana Planche

QC Keith Ambrose

AB Mike Savage

BC Jorge Torres

ON Nicholas Brann

ON Rob James

ON Graham Plug

QC Karen Belfo

AB Kimberly Spears

BC George Tozer

ON Don Breithaupt

ON Pierre Jobin

ON Eric Price

QC Daphne Coriolan

AB Karen Vande Vyvere

BC David Watts

ON James Budd

ON Laszlo Josephson

ON Lucas Rezza

QC Robert Ethier

AB Sharon White

MB Lynda Dobbin-Turner

ON Frank Casula

ON Jesse Kahilibeaulac

ON Daniel Richter

QC Jessica Hart

AB Greg K. Wood

MB Jerry Holowaty

ON Werner Tien Wei Chan

ON Kevin Kennedy

ON Carmel Michael Rizzo

QC Derek Jones

BC Damian Burns

MB JanicStarodub

ON James Chaney

ON Noreen Kirwin Donnell

ON Jillian Romanow

QC Rosamaria La Posta

BC Claire Carreras

NB Ghislain Martin

ON Lily Cheng

ON Clara Klein

ON Michele Rosano

QC Catherine Maynard

BC Cody DeBoer

NB Chris Mercer

ON James Christie

ON Zoran Konjevic

ON Wanda Ryan-Kirs

QC Paul Murphy

BC Alexis Desaulniers-Lea

NF Bev Allen

ON Derrick Claridge

ON Elena Krajcik

ON Melanie Samson

QC Sean Saucier

BC Jessica Desauniers Lea

NF Bob Dicks

ON Anthony Cook

ON Joanne Larocque

ON Jay Schnekenburger

QC Michelle Amy

BC Yvette Dudley-Neuman

NS Cherie Borden

ON Patricia Corsini

ON Luke LeDoux

ON Zach Schottler

QC Sher Spier

BC Jacqueline Forster

NS Tony Butyn

ON Anthony C. Curran

ON Tyler MacCormick

ON Christine Shaw

QC Eunice Tan

BC Arnulfo Garcia

NS Dave Fogarty

ON Kosta Cvijovic

ON Mary Frances McDonell

ON Phill Smith

SK Robert Glen Whitefish

BC Angela Harris

NS Carmel Mikol

ON Murray Daigle

ON David McKee

ON Step St. Michael

SK Shane Yellowbird

14 SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008

Ottawa songwriter
turned his back on
music at the peak of
his career, only to be
rediscovered by
peers and longtime
admirers 40 years
later

William Hawkins,
Lost and Found

by Greg Quill
For those who believe in the redemptive and restorative powers of song, the
strange tale of the recovery of the lost
works of William Hawkins is convincing
evidence.
I was never lost, claims the Ottawa
poet and composer, whose best songs
were written almost 40 years ago and
forsaken when Hawkins turned his back
on a burgeoning career in music for a
life marked by bouts of inebriation, drug
smuggling, rehabilitation and eventual obscurity as the owner/driver of a taxi-cab.
They have been lovingly revitalized in
a remarkable two-CD set, Dancing Alone
(True North Records) by producer Ian
Tamblyn and a crew of Canadian roots
music notables, including Hawkins former musical colleagues Bruce Cockburn,
Sneezy Waters, Sandy Crawley and Bill
Stevenson, as well as Murray McLauchlan,
Lynn Miles, Suzie Vinnick, Brent Titcomb,
Terry Gillespie and Kelly Lee Evans,
among others.
I just dropped out sometime in the
1971, when I woke up in the Donwood
Clinic, a rehab centre in Toronto, with no
idea how I got there, weighing 128 lbs and
looking like a ghost in my six-foot frame.
This was some time after Hawkins,
who was already a nationally recognized
poet, with five collections published
between 1964 and 1971 and selections of
his work in two major poetry anthologies,
had turned his lyrical talent to songwriting, and, as manager/curator/host of
Ottawas famed folk haunt Le Hibou, had
gathered around him an ensemble of fortuitously gifted musicians, among
them Cockburn, Waters, Crawley and
Neville Wells, whos also featured on
Dancing Alone.

PHOTO: CHRIS TOPP

PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE TREWS

THE TREWS CONT. FROM PG.11

Then he said, I couldnt stop laughing. I


wasnt happy. And Im, like, Ohdamn
I never think anybodys going to take
what we do that seriously.
But I really learned something tour
ing this album: just how much music
means to people. When they love it, they
really want to define their lives with it,
and define themselves with the lyrics that
youre singing. They look to music for
complete understanding of the world.
MacDonald clams his relationship
with lyrics is one of love and hate.
This buddy of mine gave me a
book about lyric writing, and it was just
talking about how you should always
exercise it coming up with metaphors
and sitting down every day and writing
and trying to bring two worlds together
in this interesting lyrical way.
But I got really bored and stopped
doing it. I went back to just singing
melodies over the guitar and listening
back to see if I could find the words.
I dont have any set way of doing
things I try to change it up as

We called ourselves The Children,


says Hawkins, 68. Bruce transcribed my
melodies and taught me the rudiments
of guitar.
We never recorded anything that
was my fault.
In those years Hawkins, who was a
good five years older than his musical
peers, was something of a local legend,
both as a writer of supremely melodic
songs filled with stark despair and raw
self-loathing mixed with dark humour
most of them were written inside a
bottle, he says and as a performer and
ubiquitous bohemian bad boy.
He had written the Top 10 hit Its A
Crying Shame for Ottawa pop band The
Esquires. He had hosted poetry marathons featuring contemporaries Irving
Layton, Leonard Cohen, Louis Dudek,
Raymond Souster, Gwendolyn MacEwen, Jacques Godbout and John Robert
Colombo, as well as musical performances
by Gordon Lightfoot, Judy Collins and
Joni Mitchell. He had partied with Jimi
Hendrix and. Richie Havens.
And one night in 1968, opening
for The Lovin Spoonful at Maple Leaf
Gardens in Toronto, the house lights went
up and I saw all these 14- and 15-year-old

I turned to Bruce
(Cockburn) as we
walked off and said,
Im finished. All my
troubles started when
I left the stage.
kids screaming, and suddenly I felt out
of place. I was twice their age. I turned to
Bruce as we walked off stage and said,
Im finished.
I had a good thing going with my
poetry, and a Canada Council grant, and
I didnt see any future for myself or my
songs in pop music.
I got a part-time job for a while
with the federal government, and as the
producer of a TV music show in Ottawa
hosted by (songwriters) David Wiffen and
Ann Mortifee. Both jobs drove me back
to drink.
All my troubles started when I left
the stage.
In the preface to Hawkins 2005 poetry
collection, also titled Dancing Alone,
Cockburn compares his old band mate
CONT. ON PG. 16
SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008 15

to the French poet Rimbaud, a flattering


allusion that Hawkins sees as a singularly
ironic summary of his post-Children
misadventures.
Rimbaud got lost in Africa and became a gun-runner, he says. I got lost in
Mexico and became a drug-runner.
His marijuana escapades ended with
a close call, when Mounties surrounded
him at a remote airport after hed stepped
from a plane they suspected was loaded
with dope.
I came out with my hands up. Luckily
I was clean. They had nothing on me,
though they threatened to deport me to
Mexico.
When I woke up in Donwood, I saw
the light. I wanted no more excitement. I
wanted to be clean and sober. I wanted to
write poetry. I wanted to drive a cab, to
be anonymous, and thats what Ive been
since 1971.
And Hawkins may have remained an
obscure footnote to Canadian musical
history if not for longtime friend, mentor,
promoter and arts philanthropist Harvey
Glatt, who had employed Hawkins decades ago in one of his Treble Clef record
stores, before starting up the phenomenally successful Ottawa radio station
CHEZ-FM.

PHOTO: COURTESY WILLIAM HAWKINS

WILLIAM HAWKINS CONT. FROM PG. 15

HAWKINS CIRCA 1970

Harvey gave me my first guitar, says


Hawkins, who has three grown children
from a marriage long gone wrong, and
five grand children. Hes the guy who first
suggested I should turn my poems into
songs. He has always been my friend, suggesting quietly over the years that I should
get the songs on record.
Finally Glatt offered to bankroll the
sessions that yielded Dancing Alone,
which was launched late September.
Hawkins lost songs immediately stunned
the roots music community with their
brilliance and sophistication, and with the
high quality of Tamblyns arrangements
and the spirited commitment of the performances by longtime admirers.

Harvey let me choose the producer


and the performers, Hawkins says. Then
Ian forbade me to come to the studio till
he was finished recording and mixing. Im
a well known manipulator and megalomaniac.
Some of the songs Hawkins overhauled completely, others were reconstructed from fragments. Most, he says,
were still in good shape, and easily
adapted to the theatrical, folk, R&B, jug
band, rock, country and jazz styles represented on the album.
I have no formal musical training. I
grew up loving the songs of Cole Porter,
Irving Berlin and Hoagy Carmichael. I
know what a good hook is and where to
put it.
When Hawkins heard the completed
recording, I just loved it, he says. I
asked for some re-mixes I dont like
clarinets in ballads, so I had Ian take them
out. Otherwise, I couldnt fault it.
The experience has rekindled Hawkins
passion for performance.
Id love to play again. Some friends
have put together a small acoustic group
that I can sit in with. I doubt Ill be able to
go on the road I suffer from emphysema
but Id love to play some folk festivals.
After 34 years driving a cab, Im ready
to quit.

Atlantic Film Festival/S.A.C. Initiative Soundtracks and


Stories Showcases Canadian Songs for Filmmakers
BY DON QUARLES
An enthusiastic group of music lovers, film buffs and music
industry folks turned up for the first annual S.A.C.- sponsored
Soundtracks and Stories songwriter showcase which was
held at the new Carlton in Halifax during the Atlantic Film
Festival in September.
The event featured Alex Madsen of The Divorcees, singer/
songwriters Catherine MacLellan and (S.A.C. Board member)
Amelia Curran, and Tim Baker of Hey Rosetta, as well as a
feature performance by surprise special guest host, Bruce
Guthro.
The event was designed to bring songwriters and artists
from all the Atlantic provinces to showcase their songs and
music for film and television placement opportunities with
film industry professionals attending the film festival. Music
supervisors and publishers from Los Angeles and Toronto were
presented with a great selection.
The Carlton is a new listening venue in Halifax and has
become as well known for its great ambiance as well as the
great food. The Carlton crowd received the usual pre-concert
speech from host/co-owner Mike Campbell, reminding everyone to shhhhhhh while the songwriters are performing.
Reports from several attendees, including some of the music supervisors, were that this was one of the best songwriter
showcases they had ever heard! This event was the result of
a partnership between the S.A.C. and the good folks at the
Atlantic Film Festival, and plans for next years event are
already in the works.

L to R; Alex Madsen, Amelia Curran, Tim Baker, Catherine


McLellan, Bruce Guthro. Bruce Guthro breaks up the
panel during the S.A.C.s Soundtracks and Stories
songwriter showcase at Atlantic Film Festival. Photo,
courtesy S.A.C.
Singer/songwriter
Amelia Curran
(right) listens
to The Divorcees
Alex Madsen,
as he performs
one of his songs
during the S.A.C.s
Soundtracks and
Stories songwriter
showcase during
the Atlantic Film
Festival in Halifax in
September. Photo,
courtesy S.A.C.

Songwriters magazine special offer!!


Promote your CD
Publicize your tour or that special gig
with a quarter-page Display ad in
Songwriters magazine for just $195
(Includes GST) $175 For S.A.C. Members
Thats a $100 break on our regular
ad rate!

Deadline Jan.7 2009


Call 1-866-456-7664, 416-961-1588
For bookings and finished artwork requirements

CLASSIFIED ADS
PLACE YOURS HERE
FOR JUST $25 (5 LINES)
To book your classified ad, contact us at: magazine@songwriters.ca, or call
416-961-1588 / 866-456-7664
Halifax based singer-songwriter Christina Martin releases her new album
Two Hearts, produced by Dale Murray (Cuff The Duke), and tours parts of Canada
and the US in 2008-2009. Visit www.christinamartin.net for more information.
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16 SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008

SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008 17

blue spotlight:
bird
north

The Roundhouse, Vancouver


Photos: Dale Leung

Shari Ulrich

Will

Joe Mock

BBN No. 60,


September 9,
2008, hosted by
Shari Ulrich

Julia Graff

Carolyn Arends

Joel Kroeker

with her daughter,


special guest
Julia Graff

The next Blue Bird North takes place November 27 at the Roundhouse Community Centre, Vancouver, featuring
Sarah Noni Metzner, Andrea Menard with Robert Walsh, Barney Bentall and Tom Taylor, hosted by Shari Ulrich.
Produced by Shari Ulrich for the Songwriters Association of Canada

18 SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008

SONGWRITERS MAGAZINE FALL 2008 19

W H O W I L L B E T H E 2 0 0 9 N AT I O N A L S O N G W R I T E R O F T H E Y E A R ?
16th Annual

Presented by:

Award-winning Songwriter

Tomi Swick

Participating Radio Stations:

WHO CAN ENTER

Aspiring or proficient songwriters self-published or unpublished who are looking for


a chance to get their material recorded and/or published.

HOW TO ENTER

Send a CD with a minimum of 1 song up to a maximum of 3 songs, along with a typed lyric sheet, your
name, address and telephone number to the closest participating radio station in your area.
(Please write your name and telephone number on CD).
The song must be original and not published or distributed prior to competition.
All entries must be received no later than December 12, 2008.

Participating Sponsors:

Go to www.radiostar.ca for complete contest details and prizing