Country Music Store R.I.P.
Another sign of the troubled times the country music industry is experiencing is the announcement that Toronto's venerable Country Music Store (2889 Danforth) will be closing its doors at the end of August. After 27 years as the city's down-home source for roots country and old-time music, the store's amiable owner, Ozzie Branscombe - who confesses that he enjoyed "conversing with the customers more than the selling part" - has decided to retire from the business. All the store stock has been marked down to cost, with closing hoedowns planned for Saturday (July 26) and a final shindig set for August 16.
"When we did the initial market research back in 76, they told me a country store at this location wouldn't last a year," says Branscombe. "They were right- it lasted 27!
"A lot of music trends have come and gone, and we've survived them all by sticking with good country music, bluegrass, old-time string band, folk and Maritime music - none of that new country stuff.
"But now with all the Internet downloading and CD burning, it's tough to run a store like this. I've had a great time and met a lot of wonderful people over the years, but it's time to move on."
CCMA's cheezy choice
In a delightful stroke of co-promotion genius, the people at Kraft have joined forces with the Canadian Country Music Association and come up with - drum roll, please - the Cheez Whiz Fans' Choice Award! How very fitting to honour commercial country music with an award named for a gooey, mass-produced food substitute that says Cheez. On Tuesday, July 22, the 2003 CCMA Award nominees were announced with the "cheezy choice" field narrowed to Paul Brandt , Terri Clark , Shania Twain , Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Aaron Lines . Based on Twain's fabulously stupid I'm Gonna Getcha Good clip - a contender for the CMT Video of the Year award - it looks like our Swiss Ms. will be a shoo-in when the awards are handed out in Calgary September 8.