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Crack of Dawn
Crack of Dawn is a Toronto band originally formed in 1975. They were a staple at the Toronto clubs of the time, like the Le Coq A'Dor, The Generator, The Backstage and The Colonial. The members were all young men, some just out of high school who primarily worked as backup musicians for a group called the Cougars led by legendary Toronto singer Jay Douglas. Back then the small West Indian community in Toronto, mostly recent immigrants to Canada, went to these clubs as a place for social gatherings and entertainment.
While rehearsing above Mason Music Store on Eglinton Ave near Oakwood, they were discovered by Otis Redding's producer Bob Gallo. Impressed with their musicality, they were immediately signed to a recording contract with CBS Canada becoming the first black group signed to a major record label in Canada. Influences such as Sly and the Family Stone, Earth Wind & Fire and Jimi Hendrix, along with their experience of backing American R&B artists, helped mold their unique sound. They went on to have Canadian hits such as "It's Alright" and "Keep The Faith." They also received airplay in the US and were recognized in Billboard magazine as a band to look out for.
Eventually the band disbanded. Guitarist Rupert Harvey went on to form the highly popular Juno Award -winning reggae group Messenjah, that reached international recognition. His brother Carl has also went on to have an illustrious career as a multiple Juno Award-winning producer and lead guitarist for the past 25 years with Toots and the Maytals. Horn players Alvin Jones (tenor sax) and Trevor Daley (trombone) went on to form an successful independent management and recording company and have since recorded and performed with the international recording act, Third World. Crack of Dawn’s original lead singer Glen Ricketts is now based in Jamaica and has gone on to become a household name in the world of Rreggae with many international hits. Drummer Carl Otway has gone on to produce and write for many Canadian acts.
In 2012 Crack of Dawn reformed after being invited to performing at Harbourfront in a Canada Day celebration and have since appeared at festivals and concert events. They will be releasing a new album featuring their hits and new material in 2014.
Shelley Hamilton is a well-known singer, actor, host, manager, and writer. She eleased her first album, Feeling Good, in 2004 at CBC’s Glenn Gould Theatre. Shelley has also co-wrote with singer/actor Janet MacEwen (who also directed)Feeling Good, a one-woman cabaret show she performed that debuted to rave reviews at the 2004 Atlantic Fringe Festival and in Toronto. Her music video “Cali Alone” was filmed in Costa Rica. Television credits include various singing, voice work, and acting credits over the years in television and film, including CBC, CBC Radio, & The Comedy Network. Shelley also works as the notorious "Wardrobe Shark" helping people eliminate their worst clothing - one closet at a time.