Music News Digest, Nov. 6, 2017

Yesterday afternoon (Nov. 5), Gordon Lightfoot attended a ceremony at which a bronze bust of the legendary singer/songwriter was unveiled in in front of the Orillia Opera House. Lightfoot was joined by family members and other dignitaries to officially show-off the sculpture to the public for the first time in his Ontario hometown. The Barrie Examiner reports that "Lightfoot spoke for about 10 minutes at the ceremony, regaling the crowd with a whirlwind biography, touching upon his storied career."

The bust was created by Gino Cavicchioli, a world-famous sculptor, who sought out Lightfoot to create the sculpture, rather than being commissioned to do so. It was completed almost a decade ago, but the singer was unsure of what to do with it. "It looked wonderful (but) is it going to sit here for the next 15 or 20 years and just gather dust or what?,” Lightfoot recalled. “I started thinking about putting it in the opera house in Orillia, which I've been so closely associated with all these years, or put it at Massey Hall.” Orillia took the honours.

– Port Cities won five awards, including Entertainer, Digital Artist, Group Recording, Pop Recording, and Recording of the Year, at the Nova Scotia Music Awards in Truro this past weekend. Jules Bangsworth and Rose Cousins walked away with two awards each. Cousins won Americana Recording and Solo Recording, and Bangsworth won DJ and Electronic Artist trophies. Quake Matthews also received two awards which include SOCAN Songwriter and Hip-Hop Recording for his project The Search with Kayo. On the industry side, Sonic Entertainment group won two awards, Company and Promoter of the Year. CKDU also received two, for Radio Program and Radio Station of the Year. Watch the MusicNS website for a complete list of winners.

Goddo’s debut album, on Fat Cat Records album, released through Polydor in 1977, is to be reissued in sparkling clarity thanks to a remix by Eddie Kramer, the renowned South African-born engineer and producer credited on masterpiece albums by John Mayall, the Beatles, Zeppelin, Stones, and Hendrix. Kramer now resides in Toronto as part of the soon-to-be-launched El Mocambo entertainment brand. Greg Godovitz describes the sound of the new edition as “Led Zeppelin with me on top”.

Terry Brown is in London finishing off the next Blurred Vision recording, as the group itself is named to reopen the storied Earls Court Road club, Troubadour’s Season of Peace and Light events. The London nightspot, opened in the ‘50s, was a gathering place for the Ban the Bomb (CND) movement, home to Bob Dylan’s first UK gig and had the likes of Hendrix, Elvis Costello, and even Ed Sheeran make it a port of call at some point in their respective careers. Blurred Vision’s final night of a four-week residency at the historic venue has Brown and Chris Kimsey behind the board, suggesting the set is likely to be recast for broader distribution at a later point.

Separately, Brown and brother Phil (a noted UK engineer/producer whose credits appear on albums by Roxy Music, Talk Talk, Robert Plant et al, and author of Are We Still Rolling? Studios, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll - One Man's Journey Recording Classic Albums) are doing a masterclass on the 11th and the 18th at The Troubadour in London, coinciding with Blurred Vision’s shows. Terry writes this column: “We are going to focus on the recording and social aspects of Talk Talk's Spirit of Eden and Rush's A Farewell to Kings. We have both done this before, but not together and not in such an intimate setting as The Troubadour - this is a great opportunity to hear about our different approaches to getting sounds to tape and production techniques.”

– Former major label hype-star Ray Ramsay writes us from the wet-coast to tell us he is close to completion on his life and times, an “eOpus’, entitled Promo Monkey: My Life as a Bellhop in the Waldorf Hysteria.

– Alberta acoustic roots duo Over The Moon is attracting rapturous reviews for Suzanne Levesque and Craig Bignell debut album together, entitled Moondancer. Below, the couple covering the Boudleaux Bryant-penned song “Love Hurts” that has been recorded by many acts including Nazareth, the Everly Brothers and Jim Capaldi.

– Bloomberg reports that privately-held rights company ole is seeking new investment partners after its selling price of $US600M failed to attract bidders. According to the news service, ole declined to comment on any previous sale process but the company isn’t currently trying to sell itself, Chief Executive Officer Robert Ott said by email. It is looking for a new equity investor however as the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan seeks to cash out after investing more than C$150 million ($119 million) in the company, Ott said in an interview at Bloomberg’s Toronto office. 

After a four-year hiatus, Maestro Fresh Wes launches his new album on Nov. 17. It’s entitled Coach Fresh and includes collabs and cameos by NY wordsmith Skyzoo, west coast underground legend Ras Kass, Ultramagnetic MC Kool Keith, Ghetto Concept and Infinite, Danko Jones, songstress Ivana Santilli, Saukrates,  Rich Kidd and singers’ Faith Walker and Cyndi Cain.

Big Valley Jamboree headliners this year include Alabama, Florida Georgia Line (with Brett Eldredge), Thomas Rhett (with Billy Ray Cyrus), Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Jess Moskaluke. Most of the key Aug. 2-5 events take place at the Camrose Regional Exhibition grounds.  

– Congrats to the Chris Buck Band on taking home Album of the Year at the recent (41st annual) BC Country Music Awards. Unfortunately, the BCCMA website hasn’t updated its winner's list since 2016, so we are unable to provide a link to the full complement of trophy holders. The regional org’s Facebook page is vague too.

– Vancouver four-piece Band of Rascals is teasing the release of their latest Tempest long-player with the release of a music video for the included “Holler” track.

Miley Cyrus is supporting a campaign to protect grizzly bears in British Columbia from trophy hunters. SamaritanMag reports the “Wrecking Ball” singer has teamed up with conservation group Pacific Wild to release a video where she sings verses from the Teddy Bears Picnic theme song to hype the grizzly’s cause. The same edition includes quotes from Robert Plant trumpeting various causes raising funds and offering support to the refugee crisis created by insurrections, ethnic purges and for-profit war-mongering.

– Montreal pianist Jean-Michel Blais returns to Toronto with a performance at Harbourfront Centre on the 26th of this month. It’s one of 6 shows in North America this month pumping the release of his album, ll. If you’re not familiar with his magical touch, enjoy this performance video below.

– Patriotism in a song isn’t often visible in contemporary Canadian song but Gord Bamford’s “Ain’t It Grand,” a co-write with Buddy Owens and Philbilly is earning plenty of spins and media attention. Below is the song’s debut on the CCMAs in September with Jim Cuddy joining him on stage along with an RCAF squadron. The singer’s won at least a dozen CCMAs over the years, but surprisingly he has yet to win a Juno.

– Is Vancouver the new Gangnam? CBC reports a Korean pop music video shot entirely on location in Metro Vancouver is racking up millions of views on YouTube since its debut Monday — and could herald a new era of Vancouver-based videos for the popular music industry. The music video "Likey" is from Twice, a nine-member girl group that is one of the hottest K-pop properties in Korea today which perhaps explains the 38.4M YouTube views since Oct. 30.

– There is extreme excitement within the Vancouver music community over the news that '80s punk hellraiser Slow has reunited after 30 years. The Georgia Straight reports that new music has been recorded, and that "what was initially envisioned as a short reunion tour has evolved into a longer-term project that begins with a debut show at the Fox Cabaret on December 2 followed by studio time with Dave “Rave” Ogilvie."

Slow imploded in 1986, after just three years together, though key members went on to play together in Circle C and Copyright. Slow was credited with having influenced the Seattle grunge scene, and their song "Have Not Been The Same" is now viewed as a Canadian rock classic, as well as inspiration for the title of the music history tome Have Not Been The Same: The CanRock Renaissance, 1985-1995.

– Two weeks after the official release of their new album Warmth Of The Sun (on Latent), Skydiggers played a private industry show at one of their fave haunts, Toronto's Dakota Tavern, on Friday. The new material did indeed shine warmly and was mixed in with some old faves and tunes from last year's tribute to Gene Clark album, Here Without You. Now a sextet, Skydiggers have never sounded fuller or better. They begin tour dates on Nov. 15 at WECC in Winnipeg.

Those in attendance included the band's agent (Jack Ross), and management team (Susan De Cartier and Judith Coombe of Starfish), Kim Cooke, Jerry Leger, Oh Susanna and Cam Giroux, Tonni Maruyama, and pen-wielders Brad Wheeler and Nick Krewen.

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