The Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival in St. Catharines and Niagara On The Lake, ON, gets underway on Friday (Feb. 16) with an opening night concert at First Ontario PAC, International All-Star Jazz at the Philharmonic. That title is justified, given the potent lineup of Cécile McLorin Salvant, Jon Faddis, Jimmy Greene, Michael Dease, Benny Green, Christian McBride, and Kenny Washington, many of whom are Grammy winners. Renee Rosnes and Bill Charlap are featured in a Saturday concert.
The 2018 Festival will be dedicated to record producer/impresario and civil rights activist Norman Granz. For a full lineup, go here
– Now in its 10th year, the Cavendish Beach Music Festival has announced Bell as the festival's new title partner. The fest has also added a fourth night, Monday, July 9, headlined by Shawn Mendes. Atlantic Canada's largest annual outdoor fest, Cavendish Beach will feature Chris Young, Brett Eldredge, Dallas Smith, Luke Bryan, Terri Clark, The Road Hammers, James Barker Band, Meghan Patrick, Lindsay Ell and Petric, and more. The full lineup here
– Grammys champion Bruno Mars has announced details of the final leg of his 24K Magic tour. The North American portion runs Sept. 7 to Oct. 27 and includes two shows at Toronto's ACC, Sept. 22-23. Cardi B supports. The past year of Mars' international touring has grossed over $200M (US).
– Drake's current hit “God’s Plan” remains at No. 1 for a second week on Australia's ARIA chart, holding off Ed Sheeran's "Perfect" and Post Malone's "I Fall Apart." "God's Plan" does drop from 10 to 19 on that country's digital sales chart.
– Montreal indie rock band Ought releases its third album, Room Inside The World, on Friday, via Royal Mountain. A listening party for the record was held in a warehouse in Toronto's Junction 'hood last night, with the bonus being that Ought played a four-song set there. The group's post-punk sound has an English accent and is both melodic and adventurous. They return to Toronto for a Lee's Palace show on March 7th, part of an extensive North American tour. Dates here
– Scott Helman will join Vance Joy on the Australian star's Nation of Two world tour starting on June 21st in Montreal, with subsequent shows in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Burnaby. Dates here
– PR company Force Field has come up with its annual anti-Valentines Day mixtape, now available on Spotify. It is an eclectic and well-curated playlist that will appeal to those feeling lovelorn or heartbroken on Feb. 14. Artists include The Cure, Gram Parsons, Prefab Sprout, Annie Lennox, Prince, Talking Heads and Funkadelic.
– Calgary-raised, Nashville-based, country artist Lindsay Ell has been making waves on both sides of the border. Produced by Sugarland’s Kristian Bush, Ell's 2017 album The Project (her third full-length) topped the Nielsen Soundscan Current Country Albums Chart (US) and was named the #1 critics choice country album of 2017 by Billboard. She is now touring with Brad Paisley, with Sugarland dates to follow. She has also just been named the support act on the Canadian leg of Keith Urban's Graffiti U fall tour, running Sept. 14-28. Check her dates here
Ell is signed to US record label Stoney Creek Records, an imprint of Broken Bow Records. Her debut album, 2006's Consider This, was co-written and produced by Randy Bachman, and released on his record label Ranbach Music.
– The famed Nashville-based music instrument maker Gibson is in serious financial trouble, The Nashville Post reports. CFO Bill Lawrence recently left the company after less than a year on the job and just six months before $375 million of senior secured notes will mature. On top of that, another $145 million in bank loans will come due immediately if those notes, issued in 2013, are not refinanced by July 23.
"The prospects for an orderly refinancing look slim," states The Post. It quotes Kevin Cassidy, a senior credit officer at Moody’s Investors Service, as predicting “Some type of restructuring will be necessary. The core business is a very stable business, and a sustainable one. But you have a balance sheet problem and an operational problem.”
– This week, a coalition of 213 musical artists, supported by eight leading music organizations, called upon the U.S. Congress to pass the Classics Act. This bipartisan legislation is pending in both the House and Senate to address one of copyright law's most glaring loopholes. Digital radio makes billions of dollars a year from airplay of music made before Feb. 15, 1972. An ambiguity in state and federal copyright laws means artists and copyright owners who created that music receive nothing for the use of their work, a situation the Classics Act would fix.
– The latest inductees into the Songwriters Hall of Fame have been announced. The list comprises Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown & James “JT” Taylor from Kool & The Gang, Bill Anderson, Steve Dorff, Jermaine Dupri, Alan Jackson, John Mellencamp and Allee Willis. They'll be honoured at the HoF's 49th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner in NYC on June 14.
– Block Heater is a Calgary Folk Music Festival event that helps local music fans chase away the February blues. From Feb. 15-17, stages at The Ironwood and Festival Hall and Studio Bell host such artists as Steve Poltz, Wilderness of Manitoba, Foonyap, and Iris DiMent. More info here
– The Music Express site has announced the winners of its annual Awards, as chosen by fan balloting. Winners include Shania Twain, The Weeknd, Hedley, Dallas Smith, Johnny Reid, The Ascot Royals, and Colin James. Check the winners list here
– Dynamic Toronto-based indie label Dine Alone Records has signed its first Australian band, Food Court. The Oz rockers will release a debut album, Good Luck, on March 9.
Pat Torpey, drummer and backing vocalist for the group Mr. Big, died on Feb. 7 from complications of Parkinson’s Disease, at the age of 64.
Torpey was a founding member of the rock band, formed in 1988. The group's hits included “Alive and Kicking,” “Just Take My Heart” and 1991's international chart-topping ballad, “To Be With You” (BillboardHot 100 #1 single in 15 countries). Mr. Big released nine albums.
The Cleveland-born Torpey started his career as a session drummer in Los Angeles, playing on American Bandstand and Solid Gold and with John Parr, Belinda Carlisle, The Knack, and Robert Plant. Source: VVN Music
Daryle Singletary, an American country singer, passed away on Feb. 11, at age 46. No cause of death has been announced. The Georgia-born singer was known for his traditional sound. Randy Travis was an early supporter, co-producing his first single, “I’m Living Up To Her Low Expectations,” and self-titled debut album in 1995. His second single, “I Let Her Lie,” would hit No. 2 on the charts, his biggest hit.
Singletary had 14 country chart entries between 1995 and 2002. Last year he released American Grandstand, an album of duets with bluegrass star Rhonda Vincent.
Vic Damone (born Vito Rocca Farinola), a popular crooner for many decades, died on Feb. 11 from complications of a respiratory illness. He was 89.
Best known for lush, romantic ballads, Damone's career was launched in 1947 when he won first place in Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts show. His first hit was 1949's "Again," which was followed by other popular tunes including "You're Breaking My Heart," "Vagabond Shoes," and the top five hit "My Heart Cries for You." He starred in films in the '50s and hosted The Vic Damone Show from 1956-1957.
One of his signature songs was his cover of "On the Street Where You Live," from My Fair Lady. In all, Damone recorded more than 2,000 songs over his five-decade career, which landed him an induction into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 1997. Source: Billboard