May 31, 2012

Book Review: True North

True North : A Life Inside the Music Business is by Bernie Finkelstein, a name in the Canadian Music Industry.  As I don’t keep up too much on the Canadian music industry, I can’t say that I had every heard of him, but that didn’t make his story any less interesting!

In the beginning of the book, Bernie talks a bit about how this story is about him moreso than the musicians and if he didn’t mention an artist that you were looking to be mentioned, it probably just meant he never worked with them.  Although the list of bands and artists that he did work with is pretty long.

I always enjoy getting the “behind the scenes” look at what goes on in the music industry. Bernie helped in a way establish what now is the Canadian industry so he obviously has a lot of great stories to tell.  The book starts off each chapter with a lyric or quote and then goes in to the chapter.  Since it is an autobiography, you know you are getting all the details firsthand.

The book is really well written, it is a quick read and very interesting.  I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in the music industry!

I received a free e-copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in order to write this review.

About the Book

One of the all-time greats in Canadian music recounts his life and times in the business from the 1960s to the present. Whether acting as a producer, record label owner, or manager of great singer/songwriters and bands, Bernie Finkelstein, recipient of the 2006 Juno Special Achievement Award, has played a pivotal role in bringing great Canadian music to the rest of the world.
Bernie Finkelstein has been a prominent figure in the Canadian music industry for nearly five decades. Now, a couple years after selling his beloved True North label and only recently stepping down from his role at MuchFACT, which has given out more than $63 million in grants to Grammy-winning acts like Sarah McLachlan, Nelly Furtado and Arcade Fire, Bernie is finally ready to talk. In this wildly entertaining and outspoken memoir, the producer, label owner, and artist manager opens up about his childhood, breaking into the Greenwich Village scene with The Paupers at age 19, discovering Bruce Cockburn, producing the “loudest band in the world,” Kensington Market, managing and producing Murray McLauchlan, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, and Rough Trade, winning 40 Junos, and much more.


BERNIE FINKELSTEIN has been a prominent figure in the Canadian music industry for over 40 years. In 1969, Bernie founded True North Records (now Canada’s oldest and longest running indie record label) and The Finkelstein Management Company. Since its inception, the label has sold more than 40 gold and platinum records and received more than 40 Junos. Throughout his career, Bernie has been known for nurturing and managing career artists including Murray McLauchlan, Barney Bentall, Dan Hill, and Blackie & the Rodeo Kings. Bernie is also still active as the manager of legendary Canadian artist Bruce Cockburn. In 1984, Bernie co-founded MuchFACT, a fund backed by MuchMusic and MuchMore that provides grants to Canadian artists like Arcade Fire, Sarah McLachlan, Nelly Furtado and k-os. He is a member of the Order of Canada, and an inductee of the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame.

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