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
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
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
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
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).
CONTACT / MANAGEMENT / WEBMASTER:
Shirley Gibson, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Send an email to contact Norm via Shirley or to subscribe to Norm's
For information on the tribute CD and the label:
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 www.festival.bc.ca
or through stores (music CDs)
Iridescent Music secure web sale or mail order form at www.iridescentmusic.ca
(spoken word CD)
Raincoast Books selling to book retailers at www.raincoast.com
(When Cats Go Wrong book)
More detailed buying/ordering information is also
on the buy CDs / contact page or buy at Norm's
See also the press kit page
and site map
Please refer to this website as www.normhacking.com
Last updated January 18, 2006