Harmonica virtuoso Toots Thielemans
Harmonica virtuoso Toots Thielemans

Liner Notes: Bullet News For August 23

RIP: Lou Pearlman, manager of the Backstreet Boys and ‘NSYNC. Died on Aug. 19 at 62. A notorious figure in the music industry and one-time owner of the Chippendale brand, he was serving a 25-year prison term after being convicted of running a half-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme in 2008. Reacting to the news, Justin Timberlake tweeted "I hope he found some peace. God bless and RIP, Lou Pearlman." Lance Bass of ‘NSYNC tweeted “He might not have been a stand up businessman, but I wouldn't be doing what I love today without his influence."

RIP: Jean-Baptiste "Toots" Thielemans 94, the Brussels-born harmonica prodigy known for performing the melody of the classic John Barry main title from the film Midnight Cowboy, the theme to Sesame Street and as the original composer of he jazz standard "Bluesette." (Norman Gimbel later added lyrics.) The self-taught Thielemans first played the accordion at the age of 3 before mastering the chromatic harmonica as a teen. Friends nicknamed him "Toots," inspired by Benny Goodman saxophonist Toots Mondello. Later, Thielemans also became prolific on guitar. He later accompanied Edith Piaf and Stephane Grappelli, toured with Goodman and was a member of the Charlie Parker All-Stars, which included a young trumpeter named Miles Davis. Thielemans, who often was the go-to guy for harmonica on TV commercials like Old Spice, also recorded with Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Pat Metheny and many others. (NK)

-- Ottawa is ready to blow up the rules governing Canada’s $48B broadcasting, media and cultural industries, arguing that decades of technological changes and government inaction have left a broken system in need of a revolution. The consultations are starting Saturday with an Internet poll, to be followed by public hearings after Labour Day. – Globe & Mail

-- A Kanye West-themed pop-up store in Toronto over the weekend drew hordes of Yeezus-worshippers during its three-day existence. Once word of the store opening (in the trendy Queen-Ossington area) spread, fans lined up all night to shell out big bucks for KW merch. This was the only such Canadian outlet.

--PEI-raised honky-tonk songstress Whitney Rose built her career in Toronto before recently relocating to Austin. Her sold-out show at Toronto’s Burdock on Friday had the feel of a hometown gig and she was in top form. New original songs sounded strong and a version of Little Feat classic “Willin’” was killer. Spied loving the set were Shauna de Cartier of Six Shooter (Rose’s new label), longtime fan Jack Ross, and John Borra, thrilled to hear Rose cover one of his songs, "In The Afternoon." Starring alongside Texan players in the band was ace local guitarist Nicol Robertson. The gal's a star. (KD)

--In an interview with the Toronto Star, veteran singer, songwriter and recording artist Ian Thomas reveals that he would have discarded his hit "Hold On" because it was too "poppy" if it weren't for his wife Catherine's opinion. "She said keep it, it's the only one that makes me feel good," Thomas told scribe Trish Crawford. Good call, Catherine: not only did Thomas enjoy at Top 40 hit domestically with "Hold On," but Santana scored a Top 20  on the Billboard Hot 100 during the summer of '82. Thomas also recalled writing being inspired by Terry Fox and writing "The Runner," and how it was a Top 30 hit for Manfred Mann in 1984.

How did it do financially? "Manfred Mann paved my driveway," Thomas recalls. Currently working on a new Lunch At Allen's album with fellow members Murray McLauchlan, Cindy Church and Marc Jordan, Thomas also mentioned that initially he was planning to go to university when the music biz intervened. “I wanted to go to university for music but signed my first recording contract with RCA two months after graduating grade 13. Thought I'd try the record business for a couple of years before going to school. Best made plans huh?” Ian Thomas' latest album , a life in song, is a symphonic reworking of his greatest hits, available on ALMA Records.(NK)

-- After suffering a life-threatening brain aneurysm in March 2015, Joni Mitchell, 72, has obviously traveled a strong road to recovery, making her first public appearance last night to attend a Chick Corea concert at L.A.'s Catalina Bar and Grill on Saturday night. A smiling Mitchell posed with some friends and later posted the photo to her website, JoniMitchell.com. Welcome news for all. (NK)

--Remember Sunrise Records? North York Auction - 4069 Gordon Baker Road - is hosting what it calls "a massive warehouse closeout" of Jean Machine and Sunrise Records this weekend. In this no reserve auction, all sorts of CDs and autographed memorabilia will be on the block, with skid lots of CDs, vintage and collectible items available to the highest bidder. There are two viewings: Friday, August 26 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. and Saturday, August 27 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.  Bidding begins at 10 a.m. sharp on Saturday! (NK)

-- Finding out any details about the upcoming Broken Social Scene album has been rather a needle in the haystack exercise. Via Instagram on Sunday, however, frequent BSS collaborator Feist let slip that she was heading into the studio to help work on the record. The extent of that involvement is unknown, while the actual recording lineup of the ever-changing collective has yet to be confirmed. Stay tuned.

-- The city of Berlin honoured David Bowie last week by placing a plaque at the rock icon’s former residence there. Bowie lived in Berlin from 1976-78, writing and recording three seminal albums known as the Berlin trilogy: Low, Heroes and Lodger. At the unveiling, the Mayor of Berlin noted that upon Bowie’s death in January, “people came here spontaneously to lay flowers and candles. He enriched our lives for many years.”


--Given the current trendiness of Prince Edward County, ON, it makes sense for The Regent Theatre in County hub Picton to beef up its music programming. Announced yesterday, the fall 2016 lineup is impressive, featuring Joel Plaskett, Molly Johnson, Bahamas, Matthew and Jill Barber (frequent PEC visitors). Jason Collett, and Leahy. Details here.

--Tickets go on sale today for the 2016 edition of the Red Bull Music Academy in Montreal. The programming takes up a full month (Sept. 24 to Oct. 28) and features some big names: Björk, Iggy Pop, Suzanne Ciani, Fucked Up & Tanya Tagaq, Tim Hecker, Pauline Oliveros, Theo Parrish, Chilly Gonzales, Tiga, The Black Madonna, Jacques Greene and many more. A press release terms RBMA “a deep and distinguished exploration of Canadian and international music culture, featuring events, club nights, performances, public lectures and a special VR exhibition.” More info here






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