Music News Digest, June 19, 2017

One of Canada's most acclaimed indie rock bands of the past two decades, Stars has announced they have signed a new global deal with Last Gang Records /eOne. A new album is expected later this year. “We are thrilled to have Stars as part of the Last Gang family,” says eOne Music Global President, Chris Taylor in a press release. “The world needs more poetry set to music and it’s exciting that we’ll get to help share it with the masses.”

A collective band statement notes, “We're back! We have a new album,  recorded in Montreal and Connecticut with the great producer, Peter Katis. We love him and thank him for being there for us. It's our first with our friends at Last Gang. We made this record for ourselves, for our kids, and for you." 

The group has been on many different record labels over their career. Their 2001 debut Nightsongs was on Le Grand Magistery, and a second album, Heart, was released on Paper Bag in Canada and Arts & Crafts internationally. After releasing several albums on A&C, the group started its own imprint, Soft Revolution, entering into distribution deals with Vagrant, then ATO.

Two new Stars tracks, "Privilege" and "We Called It Love," are now available via the usual streaming sources.

—Canadian country star Dallas Smith celebrated Father's Day by premiering a new video, for the track “Sky Stays This Blue”.  The video explores the platinum-selling entertainer’s real life relationship with 3 year old daughter Vayda. Smith once again teamed up with award winning director and Vayda’s godfather Stephano Barberis to film the video at home.

“This video means everything to me,” shares Smith in a press release. “Vayda is going to have this memory for the rest of her life as a reminder of how much she's loved and I will cherish the moments we captured forever.” Smith is currently in the planning stage for his own 2017 cross-Canada tour with details to be announced shortly.

 Rifflandia Music Festival is partnering with Music BC for the  Music BC Showcase Series at the fest, held Sept. 14-17 in Victoria, BC.  Applications for BC artists (bands, solo artists, DJ’s) to perform at Rifflandia are now open. 12 acts will be featured over the three days. More info here 

—Survival as a national Canadian music magazine for 25 years is a milestone reached by few publications. Monthly freebie Exclaim! turns the corner this year and celebrated the fact with a party in Toronto on Friday. Held inside and out at Henderson Brewery, the event included a fascinating exhibit from the archives, DJ sets from Ian Blurton and Sloan's Jay Ferguson, and the usual schmoozing, eating and drinking. Many Exclaim! contributors past and present showed, while notables spied included Moe Berg, Tonni Maruyama, Terra Lightfoot, Andy Stochansky, Radio Starmaker's Jerry Leibowitz, Six Shooter's Emily Smart, and Jeff Rogers. Congrats to publisher Ian Danzig and his team.

—The Waterdown ArtsFest has announced a new round of performers for the event, to be held in Waterdown, ON (near Hamilton) on Aug. 19-20. They include Latin guitarist Robert Michaels, noted folk songstress Catherina MacLellan, folk hero Valdy, and Ron Hawkins (Lowest Of The Low). Previously announced acts include Lunch At Allen's, The Once, The Good Brothers, and Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy. Here's the full lineup for the event produced by Geoff Kulawick. 

Fleetwood Mac fans will be pleased to hear the news that the group will reunite for a farewell tour in 2018.  Christine McVie confirmed the plan on a BBC TV show recently, saying “We’re going to start rehearsing in March, next year. The tour is around June. It will be global.”

The band is also playing at this summer’s “The Classic,” a new music festival that hits both coasts of the US for four shows in July. The lineup also includes The Eagles, Steely Dan, Journey, Earth, Wind and Fire and The Doobie Brothers. Stevie Nicks tours on her own across the US this summer, while McVie and fellow Fleetwood Mac musician Lindsey Buckingham recently released a self-titled duet album. 

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