RIP Randy Sharrard, record label executive, in Toronto, passed away Oct. 15 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 64. A popular veteran of the Canadian music industry, Sharrard was a Toronto-based local promo rep at MCA and WEA, then became Director of Special Marketing at Sony Music Canada, He was later hired on contract to work catalogue marketing at BMG. Upon news of his passing, heartfelt tributes quickly appeared on Facebook. Kevin Shea posted that “Randy and I were Ontario promo partners at WEA (Warner Music Canada) in the late 1980s, and remained dear friends to today. My most heartfelt condolences to his most wonderful wife Gabriella Sharrard, and to all the music industry who knew this gentle soul who was so passionate about music.” Faye Perkins termed Sharrard “a wonderful, dedicated, passionate soul. He loved music and sharing that love with others. I loved to talk to him about music, because it brought smiles and more smiles as we shared our experiences.” Upon retiring, Sharrard indulged his ongoing love of music by regularly going on music-themed cruises with his wife, checking out such favourites as Lyle Lovett. A celebration of his life is expected to be held, and details will be forwarded when received. Sources: Facebook, Kevin Shea.
RIP: Gloria (Mancina) Summers, matriarch to the Summers family, widow of Joe "Bubba" Summers and mother to Michelle (George Krickovic) of Tennessee, (the late) Lori King of Hampton, (Karen Keating) of Brampton, Christine (John Lee) of London, Jeremy Summers (Sarah Scott) of Beverly Hills and the late Veronica (Wayne Wickens) of Belleville. A friend to many in Canada's music industry, and in particular those who were with her husband during the A&M Canada years, she died of cancer on Oct. 13 at age 74. Details about the funeral service to follow.
RIP: Stan Cayer, Vancouver musician, songwriter, entrepreneur and label chief of SGM Records that had a hit with '60s group The In-Crowd, died Sunday in Victoria. Cayer had success himself in the early Sixties with "3 Wild Women" that became a Top 10 hit--in large part driven by support from DJ Red Robinson who was then spinning at CFUN in the city. Cayer also had a highly successful agency in Vancouver, Rols Royce Bookings, that Bruce Allen reportedly sought a partnership in before starting his own empire. No age given.
-- Colin James was officially inducted into the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame in Regina this past weekend. Winners in the WCM Alliance Awards -- acknowledging acts from BC east through Manitoba -- include Brett Kissel--Country Artist of the year, Delhi 2 Dublin--Electronic/Dance, Striker--Metal, Lexie Strate--Pop, SonReal--Rap/Hip Hop, Yukon Blonde--Recording, The Wet Secrets--Rock, Colin Stewart--Producer, Pharis Romero--Songwriter, and former SaskMusic ED Derek Bachman posthumously received the Kevin Walters Industry Builder Award.
-- With still no confirmation on a new album release, Shania Twain's back catalogue of four studio albums was quietly released on vinyl last Friday (Oct. 14).
-- The Sydney music community will be hosting a number of concerts to raise money over the next few weeks, called 'Floodsgiving 2016', culminating with a concert at Centre 200 on Nov. 27. Parts of the Nova Scotia city received more than 200-millimeters of rain two weekends back. The storm caused flooding in several neighbourhoods, and left more than a dozen homes uninhabitable.
-- Five new members are to be inducted in to the Casino Nova Scotia Music Hall of Fame at a ceremony being held at Sydney's Centre 200 on Nov. 16. The second annual recognizes the inductees for their contributions in "promoting Canada’s East Coast culture and music beyond Atlantic Canada". Named are Natalie MacMaster (NS), Gene MacLellan (PEI), Harry Hibbs (NL), Ken Tobias (NB) and Joella Foulds (Industry). Foulds, OC, a former journalist, born in BC, has deep roots in Nova Scotia, receiving the Industry Builder Award from the East Coast Music Association in 2000, and is credited as co-founder of the Celtic Colours International Festival.
-- Sam Roberts Band, Finger Eleven, The Darcys are among the headliners performing at this year's edition of 102.1 the Edge’s Casby Awards. The annual, established by Dave Marsden, are held this Thursday, Oct. 20, at The Phoenix.
-- MuchFACT has announced the 22 fund recipients from its Oct. 12 music committee meeting. All told, 157 applications were considered, and a total of 22 approved to receive a total of $484,799 in the categories of content packaging, video, online video, and digital tools.
-- Last month this column took a an unkindly shot at Quebec star Bobby Bazini for hiding at home and waiting two years to follow up his self-titled national best-selling album. Well, it looks as if the wait and his return are part of a well-thought out strategy. His comeback single "C'est la vie" (That's Life) has earned almost universally positive reaction (no pun intended) from Canadian radio (including hitting #1 on Radio 2), and is starting to draw notice from US broadcasters, including SiriusXM. His new album, Summer Is Gone, has its release on Nov. 11.
-- Heather Gibson has replaced (retired) Simone Deneau as the producer of the National Arts Centre's Presents series. Marquee names in the new season include Blue Rodeo, Fred Eaglesmith, Bobby Bazini, Joel Plaskett, Basia Bulat, Amelia Curran, Ron Sexsmith, and Steve Hill.
-- The City of Oshawa has awarded 10 year naming rights for General Motors Centre to Ontario real estate developer Tribute Communities. The name change is effective Nov. 1. The 7,300 capacity arena opened in 2006 and currently serves as a home to OHL team the Oshawa Generals.
-- Congrats to Toronto music/arts hub The Cameron House. The club celebrated its 35th anniversary on Saturday night with a show featuring some of its veteran regular acts, including David Baxter and Colonel Tom Parker.
-- Peterborough rock band Elvyn pleased Kerry Doole's ears with last year’s album Valley of the Kilowatt Hour (the third long-player), so he checked them out at Bayfield ON bar The Ashwood this past Saturday night. After a rather slow start, the Peterborough, ON ensemble kicked into gear nicely with melodic, well-written originals and well-chosen covers by the Replacements and Neil Young (“Powderfinger”). Fans of Big Star and Sloan should check them out. Bandcamp link here. Of note, opening act Ryan Malcolm served up a crowd-pleasing set.
-- The sweet smell of success is surrounding Drake once more. This time it’s news that his new liquor brand, Virginia Black Decadent American Whiskey, is busting booze sales records. The Ontario's liquor commission has called his Sept. 30 product launch “the best launch day for a single spirits product the LCBO has had in recent memory.” What this adds up to is 775 cases of the whiskey selling in the first two weeks of release, netting a cool $186K for the province's cash-strapped coffers.
-- An audience award for the most popular Canadian documentary.at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival went to Spirit Unforgettable, a documentary film about John Mann, lead singer of the Vancouver band Spirit of the West and his struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Mann attended the film’s premiere screening at VIFF.