Music News Digest, Sept. 20, 2017

A major and family-endorsed tribute to Leonard Cohen will be held in his Montreal hometown on Nov. 6 at the Bell Centre. To be co-produced by Adam Cohen and famed producer Hal Willner, Tower of Song: A Memorial Tribute to Leonard Cohen, has a stellar list of artists already confirmed. They include Elvis Costello, Lana Del Rey, Feist, Philip Glass, k.d. lang, Sting, two members of The Lumineers, Damien Rice, Patrick Watson, and Adam Cohen. Additional artists, as well as actors paying homage through spoken word performances, will be announced shortly.

Jointly promoted by Evenko, Rubin Fogel Productions and Live Nation/Robomagic, the concert will be filmed for an upcoming special by award- winning director Jack Bender (Game of Thrones, Lost, The Sopranos). Tickets go on sale this Saturday.  Cohen died Nov. 7 last year, so the memorial show will take place on the eve of the first anniversary of his passing. Opening on Nov. 9 at the Musée d’art contemporain is a major exhibition, Leonard Cohen: Une brèche en toute chose / A Crack in Everything.

The Canadian Music Publishers Association (CMPA) has announced it will host two editions of its CMPA Create initiative in order to strengthen the profile of Canada’s music publishing industry globally. The first edition is taking place this week as the CMPA, along with eight Canadian songwriters and 10 music publishers, ventures to Berlin and Hamburg ahead of Reeperbahn for CMPA Create Germany (Sept. 18-22). The second edition returns to Los Angeles in November.

CMPA Create is a dual-purpose music publishing export initiative that connects Canadian talent with songwriters in international territories and links music publishers with key business contacts in global markets. CMPA Create Germany's participating Canadian songwriters include Raghav Mathur Corey LeRue, Milos Angelov ,Gillian Godin (aka Jillea),  Kayleigh O’Connor, Camille Poliquin, Rueben Bullock, and Douglas Romanow, while some German writers are also featured. Canadian publishers representing Nettwerk, CCS Rights Management, Dare to Care, Aporia, Arts & Crafts, Slaight Music, Pop Guru and Hyvetown are also participating.

— With their new EP, Wolf, Princess & Me, set for release on Friday (via Warner), Halifax band Neon Dreams showcased at The Rivoli in Toronto last night. The EP was featured in its entirety, and the spirited performance shows the group's extensive road work is paying off. The group also brought Quake Matthews on stage for their recent joint single, "Confessions." Neon Dreams were one of three winners in the 2016 Allan Slaight Juno MasterClass, and Juno mainman Alan Reid and Slaight Music's Derrick Ross were both in attendance. Others spied included Vel Omazick (Canada's Music Incubator), Keith Sharp (Music Express), and Warner Music Canada president Steve Kane, who was enthusiastic in his praise of an outfit with serious potential.

—The music business has been rallying in support of those recently affected by the destructive Hurricane Irma. Some prominent Toronto DJs and Caribbean musicians are stepping up with a benefit concert set for The Phoenix Concert Theatre on Sept. 27. Caribbean Relief and Rhythms will feature DJ sets from  D.J.s D’Bandit, Dr. Jay and D.J. Starting from Scratch, as well as appearances from a number of musical guests, including multi Juno-winner Exco Levi, and Soca For Life creators Kerwin Du Bois and Lyrikal. Funds raised will be disbursed through the Caribana Arts Group to assist those in the damaged areas.

—West Coast indie-pop trio Hey Ocean! released two new tracks, “Amsterdam” and “Can’t Let Go," yesterday, in advance of a previously announced  tour of intimate club shows across Canada starting in October. An Evening With Hey Ocean! kicks off at The Habitat in Kelowna on Oct. 12, closing out at The Seahorse in Halifax on Nov. 24. Full itinerary here  

— Last week's SOCAN’s annual Nashville Family & Friends Bash, held at City Winery, was reportedly a hit, drawing over 150 guests, including local and visiting members and  industry representatives from labels, music publishers, music technology firms and agencies. At the Bash, SOCAN No. 1 Song Awards were presented to eight songwriters:  Gordie Sampson, Steven Lee Olsen, Deric Ruttan, David Myles, Kelly Archer, Aaron Goodvin, Todd Clark and Travis Wood.

— The title of hardest-working man (or woman) in Canadian music is a hotly-contested one, but Juno-winning blues veteran Jack de Keyzer would earn plenty of votes. Amidst his relentless gigging in the clubs, he recently found time to compile The Best of Jack de Keyzer Volume 1. The collection covers 24 years of recording (1990-2014), featuring 12 album tracks from that era and four previously unreleased live and studio tracks. Prior to launching his prolific solo career, De Keyzer was active in The Bopcats and The Rock Angels.

The album comes out this week, and De Keyzer's show at Hugh's Room Live on Saturday (Sept. 23) will concentrate on its material. More info here



Johnny Sandlin, noted Southern rock producer, engineer and musician, died in Decatur, Alabama, on Sept. 19, of cancer. Age 72. He started his career as a session drummer in Muscle Shoals, then worked extensively as a producer and mixer at Capricorn Records. He co-produced two hit Allman Brothers albums, Brothers and Sisters and Win, Lose or Draw, and worked on albums by Wet Willie, Dickie Betts, Delbert McClinton, Widespread Panic and the Dixie Dregs. Sandlin was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 2016. Source: Variety

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