Rush revisits A Farewell To Kings 40 years on. Cover art: Hugh Syme
Rush revisits A Farewell To Kings 40 years on. Cover art: Hugh Syme

Music News Digest, Nov. 15, 2017

Amazon Prime Music has arrived in Canada. The company’s launch date for Prime voice control features is Dec. 5.  Now included with every new and existing Prime membership, Canucks can stream within the Amazon Music app for iOS, Android, Mac, PC, Fire TV Stick Basic Edition and on any Web browser linked to the platform’s Canadian Prime Music site. Free 30-day trials can be accessed here.

Amazon Prime is a paid subscription service offered by Amazon that gives users access to free two-day delivery (one-day in select areas), streaming video/music and other benefits for a monthly or yearly fee. It is estimated that Prime has 80M paid subscribers.

TicketSwap, a Euro-based fan exchange platform currently operating in 17 countries, has Canada in its cross-hairs for international expansion. The fair-exchange e-ticket forum caps the selling price of a ticket at no more than 20% above its face value. Further info:

–  The FBI has launched a probe into a judge who sent Meek Mill back to jail. The New York Post has the dirt on alarming allegations of bias shown in a Philly courtroom.

– Three ‘serious’ musicians share their thoughts on the necessity and pitfalls of performing politically minded music in an NYT’s feature.

Moosewhale is a Punjabi music star who couldn’t get arrested back home, and on the advice of his parents he moved to Canada where he has successfully launched himself back home and beyond. His first major break came when a song written by him was sung by a known Punjabi singer, Ninja; the song, “License”, has over 4M hits on YouTube.

– A new Canadian doc has the answer to who killed Tupac. At least, that’s the pitch filmmaker Jesse of Controversy Radio Show is making.

CNET has a feature about a Brit by the name of Jeremy Heiden who is releasing his music in just about every format imaginable, including DVD, Blu-ray, 8-track, cassette, and MiniDisc. Why? You ask. Why not? is his response.

– Attorney Allen Grubman will receive a Recording Academy President's Merit Award at the Academy’s 20th annual Entertainment Law Initiative Event & Scholarship Presentation and Michael Reinert will receive the 2018 Entertainment Law Initiative Service Award. The presentations are in NYC, on Jan. 28.

Now magazine publisher Alice Klein is making a pitch to readers asking what’s important to them about the alt-weekly. The substance of the responses will likely be shaped into a media pitch to agencies and ad clients, but it’s also a sure-bet way to find out what’s essential and what’s not for the tabloid’s readership that clocks in at about 500K weekly. Now is celebrating its 37th year publishing in Toronto.

On the flip side of the coin, Frank magazine suggests that Paul Godfrey’s money-haemorrhaging National Post broadsheet has been fluffing up CRS press releases and running them as positive-spin news stories, and allegedly pocketing several hundred thousand tax-payer dollars for the contracted fluff job. That’s Frank being frank, whether it be true or false.

And one more bit of media news is that Jessica Bennett is named the NYT’s first gender editor. She had been digging into the Harvey Weinstein story for months before the paper broke the story. Bennett is set to “amplify” the gender coverage across the globe in a newsletter in 2018.

– In a rare interview, Drake tells The Hollywood Reporter that he’s taking six months to a year off from his regular duties to invest the time in making movies and docs for Apple and Netflix, with long-time manager and business partner Adel "Future" Nur, 32.

– Nathalie Dorval, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB), has announced the appointment of Sylvie Courtemanche as the new chair of the Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC). She starts the new job on Jan. 2.

– Allie Graham gets behind the story of what exactly happened at that infamous Halifax concert that made Lido Pimienta’s name even more controversial than it already was. Writing for CanadaLand online, Graham contacts the heretofore unnamed photographer and connects with several who witnessed the show and the ensuing war of words.

BNL changes things up on their 15th studio album for Warner Music Canada. It’s out Friday, and it’s called Fake Nudes. The significant change is having Kevin Hearn as the featured writer on six of the cuts and co-credited with Ed Robertson on another three. Alan Doyle and Jim Cuddy are two of the featured guests credited on the pop collection, produced by Gavin Brown. Tour dates begin Friday at The Commodore in Vancouver.

– The 40th-anniversary edition of A Farewell To Kings, Rush’s fifth studio album, has its release on Dec. 1. The deluxe package includes a 12K word essay penned by Rob Bowman, a Hammersmith Odeon concert recording made as part of the trio’s album tour in 1978, and four newly-recorded cover versions of songs from the original album. The release comes in four versions. Terry Brown again gets producer credits on the remixed, remastered set. Details here.

– On Nov. 25th, the Country Music Association of Ontario is taking its RoadShow to Fleming College in Peterborough, hosting a daylong program of educational seminars. 

The events include a demo listening session and panels featuring notables such as Bruce Good, Brian Allen, Steve Wilkinson, Cathie Faint, and Patrick Duffy. E-mail for more details and registration.

–Toronto's Indie Week closed out its 2017 edition with a concert and awards ceremony at the Mod Club on Sunday. Winning as Best of the Fest was Brazilian band Etno.

Other awards included Best Independent Producer - Vic Branco; Independent Promoter - Dan Burke; Emerging Artist, Local - Danielle Bourjeaurd; Emerging Artist, International - Single by Sunday (Scotland); Rap/Urban Artist - Rochester; Local Toronto Development of Independent Artists - 94.9 The Rock; Lifetime Award - Ralph James ; Humanitarian Award - Slaight Music.

–  MusicOntario and Folk Music Ontario will host private showcases during the Folk Alliance International 2018 conference in St. Louis, MO, Feb. 15-17. If you are an Ontario resident, artist, a member of Folk Music Ontario, or represented by an Ontario company, you can apply for inclusion. The submission deadline is 5:00 pm EST on Dec. 1. MusicOntario does not charge artists to showcase or require you to be an eligible member. Acts selected to perform will receive a small amount of compensation.

–  In other Folk Alliance International news, the org has announced three Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards for 2018. In the Living category, the award goes to Peter, Paul and Mary, the late Richie Havens the Legacy Award, and the organizational gong goes to Elektra Records.

– Calgary-based country singer/songwriter Sykamore  (aka Jordan Ostrom) has signed a deal with Nashville's Home Team Publishing; a company co-founded by hit country artist Thomas Rhett.

In Canada, Sykamore will release her second full-length project,  a six-song EP entitled Self + Medicine, on Jan, 5, via Road Angel/Warner Music Canada. She is booked by Todd Jordan at Paquin Artists Agency and is managed by Jill Snell and Ted Ellis for Creator Brand Management.

– Highly-regarded Calgary vocalist and songwriter Ellen Doty has just signed to Toronto-based label Alma Records in an exclusive multi-release deal.  Her sophomore album Come Fall is set for worldwide release on March 2, 2018, with distribution in Canada by Universal Music Canada. "September Moon," the first single from the album, is out now.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Ellen Doty to the Alma Records family,” says label President Peter Cardinali. “Her heartfelt vocals have a way of cutting right to your soul, and we’re excited about introducing her to the world.” Doty's 2014 debut pop-jazz album Gold reached top 10 on numerous college radio charts in Canada, and was followed with a successful 42-date, entirely self-booked tour across the country.

–  Never shy to express an opinion, Sir Bob Geldof recently returned his Freedom of Dublin honour to that Irish city's Council offices. The gesture was in protest of another recipient, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is facing worldwide condemnation for her country's treatment of Rohingya Muslims.

"She has let us Dubliners down; she has let Ireland down because we thought she was one thing and we have been duped," Geldof said. Formerly a symbol of the struggle for human rights, Suu Kyi received the Dublin award in 2012.

–  A post on the Facebook page of legendary Canadian rock drummer Pentti 'Whitey" Glan notes that there will be no funeral for Glan, who passed away on Nov. 7. His friend Blaine Pritchett writes that "Pentti did not want one. There will be a celebration of Pentti's life sometime in the spring (that will) be posted so everyone will know when and where."

Hailing from Edmonton and now based in Toronto, vocal trio The Willows is winning fans with an eclectic debut album entitled Tea For Three (Flatcar Records/Fontana North). The Willows toured Western Canada last month, and have a hometown show at Lula Lounge on Thursday, sharing the bill with vocal powerhouse Tia Brazda.

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