Graham Rockingham

Taylor Swift: 'Most times, love ends in goodbye'

Taylor Swift is the first to admit she’s grown up a lot in the past few years. When she was still a high school student, Swift was more reckless in her relationships. You can hear it in songs like Fifteen where she’s eager to find love, jumping in head first without looking back. You can also see...

Monday, October 25, 2010, 10:24 PM

Luke Doucet pens a tribute to Ontario's steel city

Most people see Hamilton as nothing but smokestacks, slag heaps and steel mills. But Luke Doucet has discovered a different side of the southern Ontario industrial town. Since moving there two and a half years ago with his wife, singer-songwriter Melissa McClelland, Doucet has spent a lot of time...

Friday, September 3, 2010, 1:30 PM

Jill Hennessy returns to her roots in Toronto club

Jill Hennessy’s performance at the Rivoli today will bring back a lot of memories. Twenty years ago, the popular Canadian actress, best known for her work in Law and Order and Crossing Jordan, used to earn her keep by standing outside the Toronto club, strumming a guitar and singing for spare...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010, 2:30 PM

The inspiration behind Stars' spooky sound

Those twin little girls who hang out in the halls of Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic The Shining, have a lot in common with Stars’ new CD The Five Ghosts. On the outside, they’re all cute ribbons and curls. But on the inside, they’re lost souls, crying out in agony from the depths of the...

Saturday, June 26, 2010, 3:30 AM

Sarah Harmer holds her fire on first album in five years

Five years is a long time between albums in the pop music world. Many artists would have released at least two studio CDs during that time, maybe a DVD and a live album as well. We can excuse Sarah Harmer’s long break between albums, though. She’s been preoccupied.For the past five years, Harmer...

Friday, June 25, 2010, 11:30 AM

Crash Karma revive CanRock's 90's glory days

The ’90s weren’t exactly the golden age of Canadian rock. A few bands, however, did make an impact. Among them were I Mother Earth, The Tea Party, and Our Lady Peace. So when former members of those three bands get together to create a new one, it’s probably worth having a listen. That’s exactly...

Friday, March 19, 2010, 10:30 AM

Timing makes Steven Page side project a solo launch

A Singer Must Die. The title of Steven Page’s new CD may make Barenaked Ladies’ fans cringe. Is Page talking about himself? Or is it that other guy, Ed Robertson, the one who’s still with the Ladies, the one Page used to duet with on If I Had A Million Dollars. Neither, actually. It’s simply the...

Friday, February 12, 2010, 10:30 AM

Rosanne Cash enlists famous friend to tackle Johnny's list

It’s one of those priceless documents that probably belongs in the Smithsonian Institute — a hand-written list on a single sheet of legal-size paper, front and back, with the heading “100 Essential Country Songs.” It was written by Johnny Cash while on tour, back in 1973. He spent an afternoon,...

Monday, January 25, 2010, 10:30 AM

Graham Rockingham's Top Five homegrown albums of 2009

This list should probably include albums like The Fame Monster by Lady Gaga (even if her tracks sound like ABBA retreads, it’s about time somebody injected shock back into pop) and Blueprint 3 by Jay-Z (Empire State of mind is classy stuff, Yankees fan or not). But it won’t. There’s always enough...

Thursday, December 24, 2009, 2:38 PM

Counting down the albums of the decade

It was a decade that started with boy bands and Britney, and ended with Bob Dylan singing Here Comes Santa Claus. In between, an endless stream of over-produced and under-talented American Idol winners managed to keep the big record labels from drowning in a pool of self-inflicted ennui. Yet,...

Monday, December 21, 2009, 6:11 AM

The spirit of Jacksoul

Last May, after months of rehabilitation from a life-threatening head injury suffered in a traffic collision, Haydain Neale decided he was well enough to return to the recording studio. It was time to make another Jacksoul record.Neale still had difficulty singing, but he had recorded some demo...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009, 7:02 AM

Guitar rehabilitation

Just a few weeks ago, Billy Bragg got together with Mick Jones and Topper Headon of the Clash to record an old song. It was an historic occasion, the first time Headon and Jones had been in a studio together in 27 years.Things hadn’t been going well for Headon the last time in 1982. He was addicted...

Monday, November 16, 2009, 1:08 AM

Dolly hard as nails

The first things you notice about Dolly Parton — besides her more obvious attributes — are the length of her scarlett finger nails. They’re scary, almost Wolverine-like weapons.They’re so long, as a matter of fact, that she can strum them together and use them as percussion instruments. On her new...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009, 7:02 AM

Ticket to commercial success

Hannah Georgas isn’t your typical Walmart shopper. She admits to shopping there maybe once or twice in her life. Which is strange, since she’s the current voice of the Walmart back-to-school TV ad campaign.“I don’t even own a TV,” laughs Georgas in an interview from her East Vancouver home.The spot...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009, 7:17 AM

Love is the Answer by Barbra Streisand

Barbra StreisandAlbum: Love is the AnswerLabel: Columbia/SonyRating: ***Streisand possesses one of the most iconic voices in pop music history. She’s also one of the few artists who could get away with putting a picture of her dog on the back cover of an album called Love is the Answer. There’s a...

Thursday, October 1, 2009, 9:09 AM

The common touch

Reba McEntire is one of the biggest stars in country music. Records, tours, movies, Broadway shows and a popular TV series have made her wealthy beyond most people’s imagination.But she’s never lost the common touch that made her so popular.“As my sister says, ‘Reba’s just like everybody else,’”...

Friday, September 11, 2009, 6:39 AM

Reviving The Beatles

Pop music comes and goes. What’s hot now will surely not be in a couple of years. Unless, of course, it’s by The Beatles.Forty years after the Fab Four folded, their popularity continues to cross all age groups. Recent polls show they appeal to a greater cross section of generations than any other...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009, 7:15 AM

Queen of New Orleans

Irma Thomas remembers turning on the TV in her Austin, Tex., hotel room to discover that she, along with Fats Domino, were among the missing — and feared dead — in the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina.Ironically, it was that premature announcement of her demise that rekindled the singing career of...

Friday, September 4, 2009, 6:53 AM

From alt-rock to all country

Strange things happen when you sit in a tour bus sharing a bottle of whiskey. Some people even start writing country music. Which is exactly what happened to James Black and Rick Jackett, the two guitarists of Finger 11.Strange indeed since Finger 11 is the rock band from Burlington, Ont., with the...

Monday, August 24, 2009, 6:05 AM

Trucks carving out own legacy

As part of the Allman Brothers Band, Derek Trucks spends a great deal of his time trying to live up to the legacy of guitar god Duane Allman.It’s a task that could drive a lesser guitarist mad.Since dying in a motorcycle accident 38 years ago at the age of 24, Allman has achieved legendary status....

Friday, June 5, 2009, 7:09 AM