Music News Digest, Aug. 14, 2017

Retired Warner Music Canada VP Dave Tollington has a home in Windsor and volunteers his expertise and time with The Detroit Black Music Awards each year.  He'd taken a particular interest in and befriended D.J. Holiday, the woman known as 'Jazz', ever since first seeing her at Bert's in 2010. Two years later, Dave wrote a long story about DJ, culled from hours of interviews he'd done with her in White Castles, all-night Coneys and DJ's rat-infested porch. He sent the story around to magazines and documentary producers but found no takers.

In 2015, a French Film Company came to Detroit to film "Resilience", a documentary about the city's recovery from bankruptcy. Shooting some of the footage at Bert's, they caught DJ's performance and featured her in the film. Dave, in turn, sent the producers his "Jazz" story and, taken with DJ and her Story, returned the next summer in 2016 to film a forty-minute documentary about her called "Jazz".

Meanwhile, Bill Meyer - the pianist at Bert's Thursday open mic night ("the longest running open-mic jam in Detroit") - pulled together the Cream of Detroit's Jazz Community in late winter of 2016 to produce a CD for Jazz/DJ, called quite innocently "Before I Go". In fact, all the Top Cats lined up - world-renowned players like James Carter, Ralphe Armstrong, Charlie Gabriel, etc. - to be on the CD. And it sold out, requiring Bill to order several new pressings, with all the money going to DJ.

That's The Good News.

The Bad News is that, in late winter of 2017 - just before her film was to debut in Paris - Bill and Dave found DJ dead in her house.

Worse yet, the film company had sent word just a few days before that they were going to fly her and Bill to Paris for the premiere and a special concert —   Warren Cosford, Warren’s Network

—   Readers may have noticed that we are big fans of Brit-born, Australian-based Tim Minchin who we consider to be one of the most versatile, pertinent and successful composers around today (he scored Matilda and is working on a score for a musical adaptation of Groundhog Day). His latest blast at The Establishment aims at the home government’s intransigence on same-sex marriage, and to push the cause, he has adapted (the late) Peter Allen’s patriotic hit I Still Call Australia Home to take on some of the Great Bigots from Down Under.

The song, uploaded to Minchin’s Facebook page, is racy, pointed and damning.

 —  Folk Music Canada has put the call out for showcase applications for Folk Music Ontario, taking place Oct. 19-22 at the Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel, and the Northeastern Regional Folk Alliance at the Crowne Plaza Stamford Hotel in Stamford, CT.

—   Universal is quietly touting the new Sam Smith album in backroom studios and it's stamped a priority album, set for release in the run-up to Dec. 25. The working title is 'TPH-50HR' which means 'The Pink House - 50 Heydon Road' and is a homage to the childhood home he grew up in. The formerly pudgy 25-year-old Grammy-winning Brit soul singer is now a slim shadow of his former self and keen to get back in the limelight to sing for his supper.

According to the Daily Star, a source confides: ‘Sam has chosen the title as the ultimate tribute to his parents Fred and Kate and sisters who have always supported his dream. They never once tried to dissuade him following his dreams, so it’s a very personal record.’

The record is tipped to feature collaborations with Jimmy Napes, Naughty Boy, Clean Bandit,  ole superstar Timbaland and 2016 BRITs Critics’ Choice nominee Frances.

No date on the new album but it is believed to be a November release. It follows his massive-selling debut studio album In The Lonely Hour that came out in May 2014 and was a number one best-seller in Canada, selling over 200,00 copies.

Writing’s On The Wall’ by Sam Smith, the official theme song from Spectre

— New Zealand's biggest superstar headlines Vancouver's PNE's summer concert series this year. Lorde will perform Sunday, Sept. 3, as part of all ages iHeartRadio Beach Ball. She joins a cast that includes The Strumbellas, Alessia Cara, Scott Helman and Shawn Hook. Other PNE headliners include ZZ Top, The B-52s, Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, Chicago, and The Pointer Sisters.


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