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Cashbox Canada and the Lucky 13

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Cashbox Canada and the Lucky 13

Submitted by Sandy Graham

Thirteen years ago I was out shopping at Canadian Tire on a Saturday – a tradition in our country. I bumped into an old colleague of mine from the nightclub days who was on his cell phone when he saw me and said to the person he was talking to that I was the one he needed to ask ‘the question’.

He handed me his phone and this very Southern drawl came across the line from Bruce Elrod in North Carolina, who had resurrected Cashbox Magazine in the USA and was looking for someone to run the same thing in Canada. I told Bruce I would only do it if I could own it, never thinking he would say yes.

Bruce Elrod said yes. It changed my life.

And so it began, Cashbox Canada was born.

The first few months were a struggle as I had been an editor at one time in my career, thanks to Joey Cee at Record World, but I had never been a publisher. So after a few months of trying to re-create the magic of being on a Cashbox Cover (which if you watch the Ray Charles movie he actually says at one point ‘I’ve finally made it! I’m on the cover of Cashbox!) rounding up people as passionate as myself about the music and artists - we did it! We started publishing and became an established name on its own in Canada as well as sharing the history of the legendary Cashbox Magazine.

We survived somehow throughout various contributors changing, and we are still here with our original mandate in place, honour the legacy artists who paved the way for us all and give the new indie artist a chance to be interviewed.

I need to thank the ones who stuck by me for all these years; my sounding board and fellow Editor, Lenny Stoute. Lenny has a long and lengthy career in the biz and I have had so many PR people tell me he was their inspiration when they first got in the business. This is what my Dad would call a solid citizen who has always supported the indie artists. Thank you Lenny and I still have a hard time accepting when you call me Chief lol.

The behind the scenes graphic guru Jain MacMillan who creates those legendary covers every week that become part of our history and a keepsake for many an artist to hold in their hearts. Jain treats the legends and the indies the same,the great thing is being a music lover herself (she is one of the people behind the hit show ONES) she actually takes the time to listen to the artist’s music and research them before she creates the weekly cover. She is also the one who does our other artwork, logos and is going to be designing the cover of my upcoming book. Shhhh….she doesn’t know that yet.

Chris Wardman is the guy who keeps me sane when our site goes down or we have a glitch. Chris has a long and varied history in the music industry – you should google him – it is pretty impressive – even I get impressed when I do that. Chris is a no nonsense guy who keeps us looking current and up to date. He has moved to an island somewhere so we have respect his privacy but sometimes I think it was just to get away from me. Thanks Chris for ALWAYS responding to my SOS!

One of his claims to fame is being my big brother but there is a lot more to Don Graham than that. He is a prolific singer/songwriter who has been writing and performing for decades and to this day is the best stage show I have seen when it comes to taking an audience on a roller coaster of emotions with his jokes, sad and heartwarming original songs. He has been given so many accolades from legendary performers, producers and musicians that is a story on its own. As a writer with Cashbox, we give him the artists to interview who we know will feel comfortable with him. They all come back to me and say they felt like they were talking to an old friend. Thanks Don for always listening to my Cashbox crisis and my crazy ideas.

A contributing weekly column in Cashbox by Peter Astedt can usually ruffle feathers and cause some high blood pressure but that is the best part of his weekly blog. With decades in the business and years of being on the road as a featured panelist and moderator, Peter has seen it all, and as your parents would say his advice is ‘for your own good’. Thank you Peter for all you do to get us out there and fitting your weekly writing into an already insane schedule.

Michael Williams is another behind the scenes writer for us. He is the first to send out a new track of a local artist he feels needs attention and when he can he writes feature articles for us.

Michael will always be famous as one of the first MuchMusic V-Jays and also does voice overwork (you can google him too if you want to use that velvety voice on an ad or commercial. I have girlfriends who just want him to call and say hello so they can keep his voice saved. Not sure what they do with it or why and I’m not gonna ask.

The one person I will always be grateful to is Bobby Curtola. When I asked his advice on doing Cashbox Canada he was over the top happy for me. He really was the one who encouraged and backed me to get it started and I will always be grateful for that start. When we did road shows together he would always announce me as his longtime pr girl and the owner of the legendary Cashbox Canada Magazine. Truth is I never met a nicer guy and he was the one who was the legend.

So now we celebrate our 13th year of trying our best to give the artists a platform to promote their musical careers. Thank you to all of you, the readers, pr people and artists who have made it possible to last in this business. Here’s to many more years of promoting great music!

Editor’s Note: The success of Cashbox Canada has made it possible to launch Cashbox Radio. Check us out online at www.cashboxradio.ca or on our free app on your mobile phone -  Cashbox Radio.