Emily Haines resumes her role in The Soft Skeleton
Emily Haines resumes her role in The Soft Skeleton

Music News Digest, Dec. 1, 2017

CTV and Facebook, in partnership with Shakey Pictures, are behind tonight’s 90-minute Neil Young concert that will be live streamed live from some place in Ontario or Manitoba and tipped to be from Coronation Hall in Omemee where the singer grew up as a small lad.

The acoustic concert is to be live-streamed on CTV.ca, an audio feed pushed through the iHeartRadio “Secret Sessions” podcasting utility, and available outside Canada on the Facebook platform, starting at 8 pm EST.

The Dec. 1 show date ties in with the release of his album, The Visitor, featuring Promise Of The Real, and an extensive collection of audio files spanning his career that include numerous out-takes, live sessions, and ephemera on the Neil Young Archives. The audio streams use a new coding system called XStream. Initially, access to the contents and the streams will be free of charge.

The concert is being filmed and is expected to be aired on the CTV network at some later date.

— Add Nova Scotian Andy Hines to the list of Canadians up for a Grammy award. The Black Dog Films director is nominated in the best video category for 1-800-273-8255 by Logic, which features Khalid and Canadian singer Alessia Cara. The song is also nominated for song of the year. The seven-minute video follows the story of a black teenager struggling with his sexuality and contemplating suicide. The song title references the U.S.'s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

"I wanted people to know that there's an option, that there's always an option in life, you can choose to try to open a new door," Hines tells the CBC.

Patricia Conroy has a cut on Reba McEntire’s Sing It Now album which is nominated for a Grammy in the Roots Gospel category.

— Metric singer Emily Haines has returned to Toronto to revive her Soft Skeleton project after more than a decade, and she has some advice to the next generation of female musicians. Here’s a track called “Planets”, from the Choir of the Mind album, released in Sept. on Last Gang Records.

– Broken Social Scene band leader Kevin Drew’s debut as an actor and playwright is a hilarious, insightful and moving look inside the music industry and the anxious psyche of a mid-career rocker who begins to doubt his hit-making skills. In the story, Drew and Billy Talent lead singer Ben Kowalewicz play a duo of songwriter angels who magically appear in the final moments of suicide attempts with one chance to perform an original song that convinces the person to live (No pressure, right?).

The problem is that the duo seems to have lost their touch, and with suicides piling up, they fall under scrutiny from their heavenly overseer, a gregarious A&R (artists and repertoire) executive (Maurice Dean Wint), who, along with his underling (Gordon S. Miller), attempt an intervention – continue reading here

— ABC's annual telecast of CMA Country Christmas surged over its year-ago telecast by 19% in Total Viewers (8.2 million vs. 6.9 million) and by 20% in Adults 18-49 (1.2/4 vs. 1.0/3) to earn three-year highs on both measures, marking its best since Dec. 1, 2014, while simultaneously increasing 53% year-over-year in Facebook and Twitter interactions. The show re-airs on the network, Saturday, Dec. 23. You can view the all-star cast here.

— New figures from the HMV chain in the UK confirm that the vinyl revival in that market remains strong. The music retailer is in the groove to sell 1.5M vinyl discs in 2017, a figure comparable to the format's heyday in the '80s.

HMV’s top five selling albums on vinyl this year are set to be:

1. Ed Sheeran – Divide
2. Liam Gallagher – As You Were
3. Noel Gallagher – Who Built The Moon?
4. Amy Winehouse – Back To Black
5. Rag & Bone Man – Human

HMV holds an estimated third of the UK vinyl market and is reporting 12-inch disc sales are up 31% year on year. Source: Noise11.com

The East Pointers, Ashley Condon and the duo of Dennis Ellsworth & Kinley Dowling lead with six nominations apiece in the 2018 edition of the Music PEI Awards. The gong show is to be staged Jan. 28 at the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel Ballroom. Credit Union Music PEI Week runs Jan. 25-28.  A full list of nominees here 

— Sarah Ferries has been appointed as Program & Marketing Coordinator for CIMA and MusicOntario, moving from her role as Administrative Coordinator. In her new post, she will oversee the social media and marketing strategies, professional development programming, and the org's annual awards gala.

—  Canadian hardcore/prog band Protest The Hero has announced an extensive North American tour to celebrate the 10 Year Anniversary of its gold-certified album Fortress. The tour kicks off in Detroit on March 22 with 11 dates across Canada that close at Danforth Music Hall on May 4. Tickets are on sale this morning (Dec. 1). Tour dates here

— SOCAN composers are invited to apply for Soundstreams’ 2018's Emerging Composer Workshop (ECW). The sixth edition takes place May 30- June 8 in Toronto. The submission deadline is Jan. 8

— Acclaimed songstress and multiple Juno nominee Sarah Slean performs at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre on Dec. 12. It's her first local headlining show in five years. Expect tunes from her recent album Metaphysics alongside old faves and a few holiday selections. Slean will donate food and cash from the proceeds to Toronto community centre St. Felix Centre. Those bringing bring any non-perishable food item to the show will receive $5 off any merch purchase.

— Toronto-based roots trio Dirty Dishes release a holiday-themed single entitled "Paris For Christmas" today. It's a light-hearted ditty dedicated to hard-working mothers, as performed by three young women. From the gals' Facebook page: "Move over Bublé. Stock up on eggnog and get your sassy pants on - we're coming for ya!"

— P.E.I.’s Cavendish Beach Music Festival has its 10th anniversary in 2018, and country superstar Luke Bryan is headlining. The hootenany runs July 6-8  and tickets go on sale today (Dec. 1).

– German public broadcasting station Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) is revoking their sponsorship from a Roger Waters concert due to Waters’ frequent criticism of Israel. The station was set to broadcast Waters’ concert in Cologne in June until they received an email from Malca Goldstein-Wolf, who had garnered 1,500 signatures on a petition for WDR to pull their sponsorship.

– Over the years, weekly residencies at the Cameron House in Toronto have boosted the careers of notable artists such as Justin Rutledge, Whitney Rose, Royal Wood, and Corin Raymond. A newcomer in the midst of his stint at the bohemian venue is singer/songwriter Taylor Johnson who performs under the moniker of The Hope State. His remaining shows are on Dec. 13 and 20 and come recommended.

Roger McGuinn and Marty Stuart perform a killer version of Dylan's lyrically ambiguous  “My Back Pages” that includes a bridge to heaven delivered by Clarence White.

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