Shania Twain will be here in Timmins in a few days to be part of the Olympic torch relay, that will eventually take over 100 days and 45,000 kilometers to complete. As sure as that Olympic torch has been carried down many streets and in many cities and towns everywhere in Canada,  SHANIA in her own personal way has taken many a long road home to her hometown.

Think about it folks. A long way from the Mattagami reserve, a long way from singing at telethons and the Maple Leaf Hotel where Stompin Tom made his mark. A long way from the  Deerhurst musical revues. And even a long way from some early negative Nashville attitudes towards her own initial musical endeavours and first recordings in America.   For that fact alone I dare anyone to say Shania  did  not work her way to her cureent musical status.

 Not a lot of people would have hung in there. In fact 90 percent of us would have quit long before. Maybe that’s why I have always admired Shania Twain’s drive, talent and ambition. I’ve covered Shania from the first years of writing this column when I was running through a history of Timmins rock and pop.

Those music columns were not the first time, I was aware of her drive and ambition. For that we may have to go back maybe 7 or 8 years earlier to the early 80’s. If I was not playing a gig with a band I was singing with at the Airport Hotel, or across the street at the Rocking Tap, or maybe seeing some cool Toronto band like Coney Hatch at the The Empire Hotet, you would have seen me soaking in some “vibes’ at J.P’s Lounge at the Escapade Hotel.

At the time a lot of the musicians in our area were always aware of each other’s bands and musical efforts. We played the same bars, we watched each other’s sets. Even though it was competition it was fun. Becoming aware of Eileen’s talent had came through the local muscians grapevine but in a very different way.

 I was writing a lot of songs at the time, and had even joined SOCAN years earlier. There were only a few bands and musicians who were willing to try out their own songs.  Guy Martin (David Hartt)  was one of them, and that fact was something we shared then and do to this day. I knew if Dave and drummer Mike Chabot (Elmer Thudd) and later Shania’s boyfriend were involved it was going to be a pretty decent band.

It was a small musical community so it was no surprise when I heard Dave was working with a female lead singer. That was the extent of it.  Being a lead vocalist myself  I had to check out their gigs. Longshot was the name of the band, and despite the fact I wanted to hear some original songs I was impressed by the band and the lead vocalist’s ability to perform cover material like Journey, Pat Benatar and Toronto. That was the first time I saw Shania onstage, and it would not be the last.

Eileen had it then and Shania has it now.  I still believe that her 2002 album UP is one of the finest pop albums ever recorded. A lot of the that album’s big sound and eventual success was due to her ex-husband Mutt Lange. Lange was and probably still should be considered on a musical level the Phil Spector of his time. A visionary producer, engineer and musician with the midas touch. Still Twain’s career has been a team effort.  Make no mistake it was not a fluke.

It sometimes gets swept under the rug, but  Eileen was a musician early on. She knew chords on the guitar, she understood musical arrangements, she understood harmonies and different vocal keys and cues. If you combine that with hard work and crucial timing you have in a nutshell what Shania’s current status is today. GLOBAL

As fans know Shania’s musical output covers many genres including pop, new country and rock. It is anticipated that Twain will release an album of new material in 2010.  In that respect it means a return to the celebrity circuit. Having said that I don’t thnk anyone should expect any media attention to her private life with her son Eja who is now  8 years of age, the same age as my own grandson.

As a music journalist that private side of a musician’s life has never interested me, unless it relates directly to the artist’s work. However having the chance to catch a Shania recordiing session is of course of great interest to this journalist. With Twain and other international artsits it can take often a year or two to write and record new product. As 2010 unfolds for Shania Twain, you can look for more of my insight, observations and reviews of her current and past musical efforts.

JOHN EMMS has been a published music journalist for 20 years. He has coverd SHANIA in many different columns. JOHN also does product reviews for all major domestic labels in Canada and Internationally. 

JOHN is the songwriter/vocalist with THE SHAFTMEN www.theshaftmen.com . The band’s new disc PAYC HEQUE BLUES..is receiving national  daily airplay at CBC RADIO

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Monte Fitzjarrell
    May 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I Love her!!!

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