Tin Pan North is a celebration of songs and the people who write them.
“It was an idea sparked by the legendary Tin Pan South festival held each spring in Nashville, Tennessee: Intimate acoustic rounds at diverse clubs featuring those unheralded heroes, the songwriters.”
After sojourning to Tin Pan South Nashville for many years, NSAI Toronto coordinator Dan McVeigh and then co-coordinator Bruce Madole had the vision to bring something like it to Toronto. The shows would feature successful artists/songwriters who have made their mark on the world with their songs.
Last year Tin Pan North celebrated with Gil Grand, Keith Glass (Prairie Oyster), Joan Besen (Prairie Oyster), Beverley Mahood, Kira Isabella, Leah Daniels.
This year we’ll be featuring Benita Hill, Suzie Vinnick, Blair Packham, Chris Tait (Chalk Circle), Thomas Wade and other well-known artist/songwriters from both sides of the border for an evening of Nashville style songwriter rounds.
Danny Marks (guitarist, vocalist, bandleader, radio host). Recipient of the Toronto Blues Society “Blues with a Feeling Award” for lifetime achievement in music and broadcast, Danny is known for solid guitar work, sharp sense of humour as well as being a founding member of the popular rock group “Edward Bear”. He has released two albums of original compositions “Guitarcheology “ and “True” and the R and B flavoured tribute “Big Town Boy” in 2005. In addition to his popular stint on the Hum Line on CBC radio in the 80’s, Danny is in his fifth season of hosting “Bluz FM”, a Saturday night blues program on Jazz. FM91.
Since she was a child Benita Hill has been fascinated with the energy and excitement of music. Her mother, a big-band jazz singer in the ’50s, inspired her to reach for her dreams and never let go. “I feel blessed to have been able to make my way in the music business, and work with some of the finest musicians, writers and producers imaginable. I have also been humbled by the affection and encouragement heaped on me by appreciative audiences over the years.”
Her early years on stage were spent as a back-up singer, touring with seminal acts such as the Allman Brothers, J.J. Cale and Conway Twitty. Fun and formative years that lit the fire for a solo career that still burns brightly today.
Suzie Vinnick, 10X Maple Blues Award winner, 3X Juno Nominee was aFinalist in the 2013 International Blues Challenge Solo/Duo Category inMemphis, TN. She was the winner of the 2012 CBC Saturday Night Blues Great Canadian Blues Award and the 2012 SIRIUS/XM Blues Artist of the Year has released a new album entitled Live At Bluesville, a collection of roots, blues and gospel tunes featuring Suzie and her parlour guitar, Mabel.
A little history…in 2011 Suzie sent a copy of her first solo acoustic blues album Me ‘n’ Mabel to Bill Wax and the album ended up charting for seven weeks on B. B. King’s Bluesville “Picks to Click” reaching number three. This gave Suzie exposure to wider markets and very positive feedback on Me ‘n’ Mabel from fans. In November 2011, as part of a two week tour in the US, Suzie and Mabel spent a few hours recording at the Sirius/XM Radio studio with Bill and his team. Suzie felt so good about the recording session that she wanted to share it with her fans.
Suzie’s album Me ‘n’ Mabel received a 2012 Juno Nomination and opened many doors for her including numerous US and international performances – opening for John Hammond at the Madison Square Park Conservancy inNew York City and performing in Germany at the Women in (e) Motion Festival in Bremen.
Live At Bluesville features Suzie and her parlour guitar, Mabel, and will appeal to fans of her album Me ‘n’ Mabel and her earlier, roots-music based album, Happy Here. Suzie’s music is available on her website and on iTunes.
Blair Packham, songwriter, is back. And with a vengeance.
“Not literally—I’m not seeking revenge on anyone or anything, honest! But it’s true that I’ve been on a bit of a tear in the songwriting department lately,” the critically acclaimed artist admits.
Having first burst onto Canadian radio and music video TV as the lead singer of 80s power pop stalwarts The Jitters, Blair later released two strongly-reviewed solo albums before shifting his focus to composing music for TV and films, teaching songwriting at the post-secondary level and in numerous special event workshops, and co-hosting a long-running major market weekly radio show about music (“In the Studio” on the Bell Media talk radio network).
Now, 13 years after his last release (2004’s “Could’ve Been King”), Blair Packham has returned to the role of recording artist with a collection of clever, catchy, at times poignant and always satisfying songs, titled “Unpopular Pop.”
Unpopular pop? Long-time admirers of his songwriting, singing and musical prowess will surely disagree. Hear it for yourself: Blair Packham is back!
Chris Tait (Chalk Circle)
Tait grew up in Newcastle, Ontario and his first band was called “The Casualties”. After a few years in various bands he formed the group Chalk Circle (named after Bertolt Brecht’s play The Caucasian Chalk Circle) with Brad Hopkins on bass and Derrick Murphy on drums. The new band recorded a demo single “The World” and played around Toronto, eventually winning a CASBY Award for “Most Promising Non-Recording Group” in 1985.
Chalk Circle signed a recording deal with Duke Street Records and released three albums with Tait on lead vocals and guitar: The Great Lake (1986), Mending Wall (1987) and As the Crow Flies (1989). The band had a Top 10 hit in Canada with their first single “April Fool” and another Canadian hit with their cover of T.Rex’s “20th Century Boy”.
In 2006, Tait and Chalk Circle briefly reunited for the release of their greatest hits collection.
Thomas Wade, is a Canadian country music artist. He was the lead singer of the group Thomas Wade & Wayward, who released their eponymous debut album in 1996. The album produced seven singles on the Canadian Country Music chart, including the Top 10’s “Zero to Sixty” and “She’s Getting Serious.” Between 1997 and 1998 Thomas Wade and Wayward received seven CCMA awards. The group was also nominated for three Juno Awards for Best Country Group or Duo in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
Wade launched a solo career in 2000 when he signed to Shoreline Records and released his debut album, Lucky 13. Five singles were released from the album, including the Top 10 “Running Away with You.” Following the release of a career retrospective in 2001, So Far, Wade was diagnosed with oromandibular dystonia. While he was forced to end his recording career, he has continued his career as a songwriter. Celine Dion included one of Wade’s songs, “Come to Me,” on her 2004 album Miracle. Due to cutting edge work in neuroplasticity, Thomas began to heal early in 2010 and is just about to launch his first studio effort in 16 years on CD and Vinyl, Blue Country Soul.