August 1, 1950 - November 25, 2007
For more than 30 years, Toronto-based
determinedly-indie songwriter Norm Hacking has been winning loyal fans
and critical acclaim for his beautifully crafted songs, with their moving
and often humorous insights into life, love, songwriting - and cats!
A Scarborough (Toronto) native, Norm Hacking first performed
paid gigs and recorded original songs as a student at Scarborough College
(a campus of the University of Toronto). He returned to record 1976
and 1977 concerts which became his first solo album Norm
Hacking Live (1977). Critically acclaimed albums Cut
Roses (1980) and Stubborn
Ghost (1988) followed and led to many festival and concert
appearances. A video of one song ("Sammy") aired on Nashville
Network. He cut back touring when he became the single caregiving parent
to his young son Ben.
In 1996 with his son now a teen, Norm released a "best
of" his vinyl on CD (with four new songs), Skysongs...
A Writer's Collection (remastered and reissued in 2001)
and returned to more active performing. In 1996-97 Norm was Caledon
Folk Festival Artistic Director. His more recent CDs are The
Ache (with Ontario Arts Council assistance; to be released
in 2008) and Orange Cats
Elliott; see below), which resonates with all ages. A
Day in the Studio (a 1993 solo tape recorded in one day)
and tracks on several benefit and compilation CDs were also available
A stellar group of U.S. and Canadian songwriters recorded
18 of his songs for a tribute album One
Voice: A Tribute to Norm Hacking, Vol. 1 (released late
2001). Wayne Marshall of Three
Flamingos Music initiated the concert / recording project. The songwriters
performing Norm's songs include Chicago's Michael
Smith, Nashville's Alan
Rhody, Whitehorse's Mikel
Miller, Kingston's Roger
James and from Toronto Nancy
and many others. Volume 2 (in progress) will include Tom
Paxton and a song Rick Fielding wrote about Norm.
Norm is known for hosting high quality open
stage series at a number of Toronto venues for more than a decade,
helping create a real sense of community among aspiring and experienced
folk artists. He has also nurtured many by conducting songwriting workshops.
Norm's artistic hats also include stage actor (musical,
dramatic and comic), poet, soundtrack writer and journalistic columnist.
A season with the Picton (Ontario) Area Players included a co-lead role
(Oscar) in "The Odd Couple" and direction of "The American
Dream" (Edward Albee). He also performed the prominent Balladeer
role (originated by Cedric Smith) in Barry Broadfoot's "Ten Lost
Years" with TWP in the On Stage 1981 international theatre festival
in Toronto. He has written "to spec" for TV (Great Canadian
Parks series) and the 2003 Back to School with Franklin
feature video. Since early 1992, Norm has written a popular monthly
column, "Race Track Hack" in Taxi
News; a selection of these sometimes autobiographical stories
and musings is on Norm's website. As audiences loved the poems and prose
Norm increasingly incorporated in his concerts, Iridescent
Music invited him to record his first spoken word CD I
Am the Night, released in late 2005.
His latest CD of songs (with multi-instrumentalist Kirk
Elliott) Orange Cats Make
the Very Best Friends is winning a wider spectrum of fans
with frequent CBC and other radio play, inclusion of "Cats Everywhere"
on Jurgen Gothe's (CBC
List of 2002" and a couple of years with a Festival
Distribution top titles profile. The album earned Norm and Kirk
a 2004 Canadian
Indie Music Award nomination in the Favourite Children's Artist
/ Group category. Norm enjoys the email fans send with cat stories.
For his account of his first song about cats, "Syd and The Flea"
written 20 years ago, see his Catman
column for Taxi News. Little did he anticipate then that
another song about cats - "When Cats Go Wrong" from the CD
- would become the text of a book, beautifully illustrated by Cynthia
Nugent, published by Raincoast
Books. Released in Canada in October 2004 and in the U.S. in April
2005, the When Cats Go Wrong
book (with CD single of the song) was a hit with kids, teachers,
the public and critics, prompting release of a paperback edition (same
size, with CD single) in Canada in February 2006. So Norm adds yet another
hat - as children's author and performer!
Info / Management: Shirley Gibson, Toronto, Ontario,
Send an email to contact Norm's manager or to subscribe
to his email newsletter - there will be more news.
Flamingos Music, Brantford, Ontario
CD distribution (music CDs): Festival
Distribution, Vancouver, B.C., Canada 1-800-633-8282 (web or phone
credit card orders) or through stores.
CD distribution (spoken word CD): Iridescent
Music, Toronto (web sales, order form)
Last updated March 2, 2008