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Country-pop icon Shania Twain plays Budweiser Gardens this weekend


The London Free Press
By James Reaney
June 18, 2015


Just as Canadian superstar Shania Twain returns to downtown London, a promoter who knew her when she was Eilleen Twain is marketing a rebooted DVD and CD of the singer’s early days.

Nick Panaseiko, of Ingersoll, and the project’s production team has repackaged a 37-minute DVD documentary, including Twain vocal footage, with revisited songs on the accompanying CD. The Discovery of Eilleen Twain is under the Panaseiko project Vegas North brand.

It helps document a legendary era of Vegas-style entertainment at Huntsville’s Deerhurst Inn when a little known singer — Eilleen (later Shania) Twain — was in the cast of a show called Viva Vegas.

The CD has been reworked to go “with the real beginnings” of Twain’s style, Panaseiko said Thursday. Previously it was known as the The Complete Limelight Sessions. Now, the music reflects the young Twain’s early work with singer, songwriter, producer and guitarist Paul Sabu.

“They sound different,” Panaseiko said of the difference from the Limelight material. The reworked CD has the songs “Paul co-wrote with her.”

Panaseiko, 69, has been part of the London music scene since the 1960s.

The Discovery of Eilleen Twain DVD includes video of cast performances from the Vegas show at Deerhurst as well as interviews with resort owner Bill Waterhouse, Panaseiko and others. There is also footage of the pre-Shania Twain performing Somewhere Out There and Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Panaseiko was working at the Deerhurst in publicity and entertainment sales in the 1980s.

Twain, from Timmins, joined the Deerhurst cast late in the 1980s.

He remembers Twain stopping the show in its tracks with her voice and stage presence, Panaseiko told Postmedia Network when promoting an earlier version of the package.

“You could see the future stardom,” said Panaseiko. “Our paths crossed and I received a cassette to listen to some of her music,” he told Postmedia Network. “The next time we met was on stage when the (Deerhurst Vegas) show closed (in 1989).”

As Shania Twain, she soon became a pop country star, selling more than 75 million records around the world and blazing a trail for the likes of Taylor Swift. When Twain was preparing for Las Vegas in 2011, she looked back to her Deerhurst days.

“It educated me. When it was time to put together my show in Vegas, all that dazzle wasn’t foreign to me. I was familiar with the whole feel of a big stage show because of my being there. It was like a mini Vegas — or like attending a Vegas performing arts school,” Twain said in media material quoted in the DVD/CD promotional package.

Deerhurst’s theatre and stage face demolition this summer.

Meanwhile, Shania Twain headlines at Budweiser Gardens on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

— with files from John Tapley Ingersoll Times

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THE DISCOVERY OF EILLEEN TWAIN

What: A DVD/CD package with material from the young Shania Twain’s days as a performer at the Deerhurst Inn. The DVD was produced by Nick Panaseiko. Interviews and writing, Mel Shaw. Narration, David Marsden.

Details: $13, Walmart; prices vary, online via amazon.com. Visit elektromediagroup.com for background.

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