Canadian gets Grammy nom for historical album, a category not at the Junos

TORONTO -- Music journalist/historian Kevin Howes has been driving across Canada for the past 15 years or so in search of obscure vinyl records of the 1950s to 1980s.

See Full Article

Equipped with a flashlight, face mask and old compact car, the 41-year-old DJ from Richmond Hill, Ont., has scoured everything from flea markets to dusty barns in Hutterite communities and an abandoned hair salon -- all in the name of highlighting important fringe artists and learning about Canada's history.

His tireless work has resulted in his first Grammy Award nomination for best historical album for "Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966-1985." He's nominated as the compilation producer alongside Greg Mindorff, the mastering engineer.

Howes said he's thrilled the Grammys are giving the artists a moment to finally shine, noting such a category doesn't exist at the Juno Awards in Canada.

"The Canadian music business is a little bit behind the times, I feel, unfortunately, in that capacity," said Howes.

"I hope that things like this can help to raise awareness because there's more than enough Canadian music that's brought back every year through reissues by companies around the world."

The nominated album has 34 newly remastered recordings -- from Arctic garage rock of the Nunavik region of northern Quebec, to Yup'ik folk from Alaska and country blues from the Wagmatcook First Nation reserve in Nova Scotia.

The 23 different artists and groups represent a variety of First Nations, Metis and Inuit. They include Willie Dunn, Willie Thrasher, John Angaiak and Lloyd Cheechoo.

"These artists were fairly marginalized outside of their native communities where they were celebrated," said Howes.

"So I started reaching out to the artists, first and foremost to thank them for their music, which had affected me deeply, and then to ask for context: 'How were these records made? Tell me more about your life."'

The project, which also has deluxe sets with archival photos, is intended to bridge generations, cultures and "errors of technology from the analogue into the digital age."

"The vinyl records themselves were pressed in such small numbers, they're literally extinct today and could be lost forever," said Howes.

"People have thrown them in the garbage and disposed of them over the years, or they have a lot of scratches and what have you. So we wanted to digitize them and preserve them for future generations so they can know a little bit about what was going on in those days."

Howes also wanted to let listeners know that some of these artists are still alive and very active in music. And his efforts worked.

Since the album came out a year ago, some of the artists have received concert bookings and been on CBC Radio's "q" program.

The album has also been profiled in Rolling Stone magazine, Mojo magazine and the Guardian newspaper.

"But it's been more of a struggle in Canada and unfortunately the Juno Awards do not have a category that can recognize such talent," said Howes.

Howes said when he discusses the issue with people in the industry, they posit that there aren't enough projects to merit such an award here.

And yet at this year's Grammys, there's also another historical album with Canadians behind it.

"The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11," featuring music of Bob Dylan and Toronto's the Band, was co-produced by Jan Haust and co-engineered by Peter Moore, both of Toronto.

Howes said he'd like to collaborate with the Junos, the CBC and Library and Archives Canada to help preserve material that "people in future generations should know about."

"If the stories aren't documented, if the music isn't digitized, it could be lost forever and I think that would be a crime."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Cosby looks for new legal team ahead of sexual assault retrial

    Entertainment CTV News
    NORRISTOWN, Pa. - Bill Cosby wants a judge to sign off on a swap that would give him a fresh new legal team ahead of his sexual assault retrial in Pennsylvania in November. Cosby is expected in court Tuesday morning in Norristown as the lawyers who fought to a deadlock in his June trial ask to be let off the case. Source
  • Despacito set to make American music history

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee are now just one week away from tying Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men for the longest-running No. 1 song in America. Their hit Despacito, which features Justin Bieber, has become only the second song in history to spend 15 consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Source
  • Rapper Mystikal surrenders on rape charge

    Entertainment CTV News
    SHREVEPORT, La. -- The rapper Mystikal has surrendered to authorities in Louisiana, where he faces a sexual assault charge. KSLA-TV video-recorded the 46-year-old rapper, whose real name is Michael Lawrence Tyler, as he entered the Caddo Correctional Center in northwest Louisiana on Monday. Source
  • 'Dirty Dancing' celebrates 30th anniversary and sequel plans

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    The woman behind hit movie Dirty Dancing has given fans a 30th anniversary lift by revealing she’s at work on a sequel. The beloved 1987 film, which starred Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, turned 30 on Monday, and Eleanor Bergstein, who wrote the script, is keen to bring Johnny and Baby back. Source
  • Defence moves to dismiss Radiohead stage collapse case after latest setback

    Entertainment CBC News
    Charges against an entertainment company and an engineer accused in a deadly 2012 stage collapse at a Radiohead concert in Toronto should be thrown out after a legal setback sent the case back to square one, defence lawyers argued Monday. Source
  • 'You've got to grab life while you can': Coldplay's Chris Martin on success, mortality and the future

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Over the last 17 years, Coldplay has quietly solidified themselves as one of rock’s biggest touring acts. “I think we’re well-rehearsed,” Martin says down the line en route from Chicago to Cleveland as the band’s A Head Full of Dreams trek, which hits Toronto Monday and Tuesday, as well as Edmonton and Vancouver next month, winds its way across North America. Source
  • Norman Rockwell baseball painting sells for $1.6M

    Entertainment CBC News
    A rendering by Norman Rockwell of one of his best known baseball-themed paintings has sold at auction for $1.6 million US. This rendering of 'Tough Call' was done in preparation for a finished piece that shows obvious cloud cover. Source
  • Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale expecting second child [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale are expecting their second child together. The 38-year-old actress is already mother to 18-month-old Rocco with Boardwalk Empire star Bobby, who she has been dating since 2012. And on Monday, Rose confirmed in an interview with Australia’s Jones magazine that they will soon be adding to their family with another tot. Source
  • Is Taylor Swift about to drop a new single?

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Who can eclipse an eclipse? Why, Taylor Swift. Three days after going dark on social media, the pop star put out more clues leading to a possible single drop Monday, the day of the big solar eclipse. Source
  • Taylor swift teases fans on day of solar eclipse with a snake's tail

    Entertainment CTV News
    Who can eclipse an eclipse? Why, Taylor Swift. Three days after going dark on social media, the pop star put out more clues leading to a possible single drop Monday, the day of the big solar eclipse. Source