Music News Digest, June 23, 2017

National police raided the headquarters of Spain’s PRO, SGAE in Madrid earlier this week. According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, the action brought with it the detention eighteen people and relates to an alleged arrangement between specified SGAE members and Spanish TV execs designed to shuffle song royalties distributed by the society to those involved in the scam. The TV companies involved allegedly fronted bogus publishers of the music, the SGAE members as the composers, and some of the TV execs got writer credits too, so they could all personally profit from the scam.

—  A revamped production of Let It Be: A Celebration of the Music of the Beatles from Annerin Productions and Jeff Parry Promotions is taking the long and winding road across Canada late fall. The 17-city tour, 20 person cast opens in Peterborough Memorial Hall on Oct. 17 and curtains in Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Nov. 8. Tickets scaled between $49.50 and $69.50.

—   Petunia & The Vipers are heading out on the road for a series of Canadian performances throughout the prairies and the west coast this July and August. Dubbed “Canada's Hank Williams on acid," the five-piece is not to be missed and seems willing to go where few others dare.

—  iHeartRadio Canada’s successful series of live music events is headed to Vancouver with the first-ever two-day iHeartRadio Beach Ball, taking place Sunday, Sept. 3 and Monday, Sept. 4 at the PNE Amphitheatre during BC’s PNE fairground summer fest. Performer announced so far include  Alessia Cara, Scott Helman, Shawn Hook, Virginia to Vegas, and The Strumbellas on Sept. 3, and Blondie, Christian Hudson, Ruth B, Serena Ryder, and Train on the 4th.

—  As part of its ongoing work to promote Canadian folk music abroad, Folk Music Canada is encouraging export-ready artists to apply for an Americana showcase opportunity. The deadline to apply is July 5.

—   Chad VanGaalen will release Light Information, the creative polymath’s sixth album, in Canada via Flemish Eye and the rest of the world through Sub Pop on Sept. 8. He’s heading to Europe for shows and is back here on Nov. 9 for an appearance at The Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver, Lee’s Palace on the 30th and Montreal’s Fairmont on Dec. 8. Below, a track from the new collection.

— Bad blood is brewing on the Montreal music festival scene, it appears. The Montreal Gazette's Brendan Kelly reported this week on the arrival of a new summer event, the Mile Ex/End Musique Montréal Festival. Set to take place Sept 2-3, it boasts a formidable lineup that includes Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Patrick Watson, Charlotte Cardin, City and Colour, Cat Power, Basia Bulat, and Suzanne Vega. Kelly notes it is being produced by Mishmash, a collective formed in September 2016 by XPND Capital, a private-equity company controlled by high-profile entrepreneur Alexandre Taillefer.

Feathers are being ruffled by the fest's timing, as it comes just two weeks before veteran fest Pop Montreal holds court, Sept. 13-17, and Mile Ex features acts that would be quite at home at Pop Montreal. The situation is being portrayed as a case of big corporate money competing with small independent promoters. Stay tuned.

—  Ole Nashville songwriters Adam Hambrick and Gavin Slate have their first number one hits on both sides of the border. Dan + Shay's single "How Not To," co-written by Hambrick,  Kevin Bard and Paul DiGiovanni , topped both the US Billboard Country Airplay and US Mediabase Country charts this week. James Barker Band's single "Chills," co-written by Toronto native Gavin Slate, Travis Wood, James Barker and Donovan Woods, also hit number one on the Mediabase Canadian Country chart.

"To see two ole writers celebrate their first number 1's in the same week, in two different countries, is extraordinary," said John Ozier, VP Creative, ole. "This shows the cross-border capabilities of ole in the country market.  It also further accents the continued growth of our Nashville office."

—  The Roy Thomson Hall patio music series has begun in Toronto, and it features some notable Canadian artists. On July 14, Paper Bag Records presents a performance by Natalia and Murray from The Dears, backed by strings. Lou Canon opens the show at 5 pm. All patio shows are free, a serious bargain. Upcoming artists to be featured include Shakura S'Aida, Peter Katz, Barney Bentall, Donnell Leahy, Jessica Mitchell, Fast Romantics, Tanika Charles and Birds of Bellwoods. A full lineup here

— Steve’s Music Store has been a fixture on the Montreal landscape for more than 50 years, selling music instruments on St. Antoine St. As The Montreal Gazette reports, a new condo development has forced it to move, and so Steve's is re-locating to Ste-Catherine St. E. this summer.

Store manager Sheldon Sazant has worked there for 40 years, and recalls customers including Celine Dion, Michel Pagliaro, Simple Plan, Harmonium and ZZ Top, as well as such celebs as Johnny Depp, Nicolas Cage and Bruce Willis. Office president Michael Kirman (son of founder Steve) Kirman describes the forced move as " very emotional for all of us."

— Acclaimed singer/songwriter Sarah Slean released her ninth studio album, Metaphysics, back in April. She has just announced her performance schedule, which includes a July 1 date at Hamilton's Bayfront Park and an Aug. 20 spot at Winnipeg's Interstellar Rodeo fest. She then headlines a national tour from Oct. 6-18. Dates here. Orchestra performances in 2018 will follow. Here's her brand new video.


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