Photo - Norm Hacking

Norm Hacking - Promo Summary




past gig links

When Cats Go Wrong













Norm Hacking is a critically acclaimed thirty-plus-year veteran of the Canadian folk music scene, who is well respected by both peers and audiences. Toronto-born and -based, he is also known for the warm and caring encouragement he so freely gives to aspiring and professional folk performers of all ages. His open stage series have provided many opportunities to preview and polish new material, mingle with peers and create new performer combinations - forming a real community.

SONGS: Norm's songs range from whimsical ("Cats Everywhere") to humorous looks at modern life ("Once Was Enough", "Video Love") and being owned by a cat ("When Cats Go Wrong") to the emotional ups and downs of relationships to soul searching and social commentary ("Last Dance with the Bully God"). Others are tributes (eg "Richer for the Time" for Steve Goodman) or stories that have the character development of an biography ("Cara"). Recent (unrecorded) songs include his anthem tribute to songwriters, "The Songwriters Song." (A number of song lyrics and sound excerpts have been added to this website.)

ALBUMS: An independent recording artist, Norm has released six albums: Norm Hacking Live (1977), Cut Roses (1980), Stubborn Ghost (1988), A Day in the Studio (1993 solo cassette) and Skysongs... A Writer's Collection (1996). The latter, a "best of," was remastered and reissued with lyrics on the Three Flamingos Music label (2001). The newest CD of songs (6th album, launched December 2002), Orange Cats Make the Very Best Friends by Norm Hacking and Kirk Elliott, continues to be very popular: a track on CBC DiscDrive Jurgen Gothe's "Hit List of 2002", many months on Festival Distribution's top titles list and fans emailing favourite feline tales to Norm. A portion of sales proceeds support the fine nonprofit Annex Cat Rescue. Norm's first spoken word CD I Am the Night was released in late 2005. Watch for release of an earlier album, The Ache, completed with Ontario Arts Council assistance. Norm also appears on numerous benefit and compilation albums, including Darn Folksingers, Vol. 2 (2004), Concert for the Angels (2003), Mariposa 2000, Mariposa 98, Fast Folk Underground (1990), a songwriter's CD series out of New York City, and the lead track, "The Great Depression of 92", on Canada Bittersweet - Songs of the New Depression (1992). See more on Norm's recordings and others who have recorded his songs.

BOOK:  Now a song is a book that includes a CD single: "When Cats Go Wrong" from the Orange Cats CD was released in hard cover in October Oct. 2004 and in paperback on February 1, 2006. The book is beautifully illustrated by Cynthia Nugent and published by Raincoast Books.

TRIBUTES: A tribute concert was recorded in June 1999 at the Tranzac in Toronto. Ticket proceeds were used to issue the first of a two volume CD, One Voice: A Tribute to Norm Hacking with noted Canadian and U.S. folk artists performing Norm's songs. The concert included Nancy White, Tim Harrison, Chris Whiteley, Jim Layeux, Ron Nigrini, Jory Nash, Roger James and many others. Rick Fielding, who chose Norm's "This One's the Dreamer" as the title track of his new CD, wrote a tribute song "The Poet in the Corner" for the occasion. Wayne Marshall, Three Flamingos Music, Brantford, is the producer. Volume 1, with performances of 18 of Norm's songs, also includes studio tracks from Michael Smith, Alan Rhody and others. See more details, including track list and links to artists websites, at Tribute Album. The gala launch concert on November 14, 2001, at Hugh's Room in Toronto ( Past Events ), featured most of the artists on the CD. Volume 2 is in progress.

PERFORMANCES / FESTIVALS: Norm has been performing original songs for more than 30 years and he loves performing for any audience. His wide-ranging topics fit many workshop themes, and he includes a kid / family stage appearance with stories and songs about his cats. His concerts usually include his poetry and prose - from moving to humorous. He has also conducted songwriting workshops for adults and students. Norm connects with audiences in solo, duo or band format. He has appeared at many music festivals, including Summerfolk, Mariposa (Toronto, Barrie, Cobourg), Eaglewood, Home County, Northern Lights, All Folks', Blue Skies, Winterfolk (Toronto), Toronto City Roots Song Celebration, Frostbite (Whitehorse), Pickering and Caledon (Artistic Director). Other appearances include Hugh's Room (Toronto), Black Sheep Inn (Wakefield, PQ), Orillia Folk Society, Word on the Street, a songwriting workshop in Lakefield and many benefits.

OPEN STAGE / NORM'S LIVING ROOM: Norm established his first open stage more than ten years ago, and in October 1999 through June 2001 established a popular high-quality open stage with a feature guest each Tuesday at the Tranzac (292 Brunswick Ave.) in Toronto. "Norm's Living Room" Saturday series January 2000 through June 2001 gave audiences the opportunity to hear more of his songs, with special guests and a shared closing set. "Norm's Living Room" as an open stage moved to The Silver Dollar Room, 486 Spadina Avenue (just north of College Street) in Toronto, beginning July 24, 2001, runnning through March 2002. See Norm's Living Room at Silver Dollar and Norm at Tranzac for those series details and feature performers.

REVIEWS: Gene Wilburn called Norm's Skysongs CD "an outstanding example of songwriting craftsmanship" with an "engaging singing voice and his lyrics flow effortlessly" (Northern Journey 2). Greg Quill (Toronto Star) called "Stubborn Ghost" "as fine a piece of songwriting as has ever been committed to vinyl" and Dave Gillmor (Yukon News) commented, "Every tune on this album is a winner and the pacing is superb." For more reviews of all Norm's albums, the One Voice tribute CD and the When Cats Go Wrong book, check Reviews.

AWARDS:  Steve Fruitman awarded Norm a 1994 Porcupine Award in the Golden Quill category (for songwriting) and inducted him into the Porcupine Awards Hall of Fame in 2001. The Orange Cats CD earned Norm and Kirk a nomination for 2004 Favourite Children's Artist / Group category of the Canadian Independent Music Awards. The book is short-listed for a 2005-2006 Chocolate Lily Book Award (to be chosen by kindergarten through grade 3 British Columbia students) and was an Alcuin Society Book Design Award Winner (4th in Children's category in Canada for 2004; Elisa Gutierrez designed the book).

Shirley Gibson, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Send an email to contact Norm via Shirley or to subscribe to Norm's email newsletter.

For information on the tribute CD and the label:
Wayne Marshall
Three Flamingos Music
NEW postal address:
5 Cashel Crescent
Brantford, Ontario, Canada N3T 5K9

Festival Distribution 1-800-633-8282 or secure web sales at or through stores (music CDs)
Iridescent Music secure web sale or mail order form at (spoken word CD)
Raincoast Books selling to book retailers at (When Cats Go Wrong book)
More detailed buying/ordering information is also on the buy CDs / contact page or buy at Norm's gigs

See also the press kit page and site map
Please refer to this website as

Last updated January 18, 2006