Johnny Reid adds 2nd show at Burton Cummings' Theatre
Johnny Reid adds 2nd show at Burton Cummings' Theatre

Music News Digest, Nov. 22, 2017

The Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAO) has announced the return to London, Ontario as the host city for the 2018 Awards show, taking place Sunday, June 3, at Centennial Hall. Road Hammer Jason McCoy is the returning host. “After the tremendous response from the London community, we are proud to bring the CMA Ontario Awards Show back to London for 2018 in partnership with Tourism London”, said Cathie Faint, CMAOntario president.

Tickets will be available to the public for purchase Friday (Nov. 24) here or by calling 1.888.999.8980. Nominees and performers TBA.

—  Johnny Reid's massive Feb. through April cross-country Revival tour is selling tickets at a ferocious rate. With multiple dates in a half dozen markets including Toronto, promoter Ron Sakamoto has squeezed in a second show at Burton Cummings' Theatre in Winnipeg, bringing the number of concerts to 45. Reid is promoting his top 5 album Revival with a big band that includes a horn section and a stand of backup singers. Glass Tiger special guests on all dates.

— The time for year-end Best Of lists is here, and this week unveiled its 2017 picks. Coming in at No. 1 is Drake's "Passionfruit," while "Wait" from Common Deer was No. 100. To see the full list, go here. NB:

—  A Canadian documentary series about the history of hip-hop was among the winners at the 2017 International Emmy Awards gala, held Nov. 20 in New York City. Hip-Hop Evolution, which is hosted by rapper Shad and was broadcast on HBO, won in the arts programming category. It was produced by Banger Films, the Toronto-based company behind such other acclaimed music-themed docos as Long Time Running, Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage, and Iron Maiden: Flight 666.

—  Canadian honkytonk singer/songwriter Whitney Rose is now based in Austin, and making inroads in the US. Her latest album, Rule 62 (Six Shooter), has earned thumbs-ups from the critics and has already appeared on AllMusic’s Best of 2017 list. She has just announced a western tour, beginning in Denver on Feb. 13. Show stops include Calgary's Webber Academy (Feb. 17), Edmonton's The Needle (Feb. 18), and Vancouver's Railway Club (Feb. 21), and closes out in Roswell, NM, March 6.

—  Toronto singer/songwriters Patrick Ballantyne and Ambre McLean team up to present two album release parties in one this Thursday (Nov. 23), at Toronto venue C'est What. Ballantyne has written songs for the likes of Big Sugar and The Trews, and is launching his third album Calendar (Northwood Records). Here's a recent FYI profile of the songsmith.

McLean's new release is entitled Me and is also on the Northwood label.


— Folk-rocker ensemble The Wooden Sky has announced a 15 date Canadian tour in February. The snow trek supports their latest album, Swimming in Strange Waters (on Nevado). It is preceded by their eighth Annual Holiday Show, an event that has raised $21,000 for local charities. This year’s show is at 918 Bathurst, Toronto, and will benefit Romero House, a refugee support organisation. More info here

The Four Chords and The Truth singer/songwriter series returns to Toronto's Dakota Tavern on Nov. 23. The high-octane lineup features Marc Jordan, Bill Bell, Tim Hicks, and Andrea Ramolo, with host and series creator Andrea England.

— Canadian singer/songwriter John Cody continues to face significant medical and financial challenges. The team at Canadian Musician magazine has launched a crowd-funding campaign via GoFundMe to help him out. It can be found here


David Bruce Cassidy, singer, actor and pop culture idol of the 1970s, died Nov. 21 in a Florida hospital, from organ failure. Age 67.

Raised in New Jersey, Cassidy moved to LA in 1969 after starring in a Broadway musical. In 1970, Cassidy took on the role of older brother Keith Partridge in ABC sitcom The Partridge Family.

Depicting a family rock band, the show ran from 1970 to 1974, bringing Cassidy stardom. Sung by Cassidy, the tune "I Think I Love You" became a No. 1 hit in late 1970. 

He began working on solo albums as well, and his live performances elicited teen hysteria internationally. At a 1974 London concert, nearly 800 people were injured in a stampede at a Cassidy concert, and one teenage girl died a few days later. He stopped touring and acting soon after, concentrating on recording. The tune "I Write The Songs" was a hit for him before Barry Manilow.

Cassidy went on to a successful career in musical theatre while making guest appearances in TV series and continuing to tour. He filed for bankruptcy in 2015 and faced significant health challenges in recent years. Source: Variety

Della Reese (born Delloreese Patricia Early), a pop, jazz and R&B vocal star turned actress, died Nov. 19. Age 86. Reese was reared in gospel, and, at a young age, toured for five years with Mahalia Jackson. In 1959, she had  No. 1 R&B and No. 2 pop hit with "Don’t You Know," her first single on RCA Records. Subsequent releases through the early '70s featured jazz and contemporary pop. Over the course of her career she received four Grammy Award nominations.

In 1969, she launched her TV show Della, the first talk show hosted by an African-American woman – and began a move into an acting career that would take her to even greater national prominence. Her long-running role on '90s hit TV series Touched by an Angel brought her major award nominations, and she also took starring roles in the features Harlem Nights and A Thin Line Between Love and Hate. Later in life she returned to her religious roots as the founding pastor of her own Los Angeles-based church, Understanding Principles for Better Living (or “Up”). Sources: Variety, LA Times.

John Preston, former BMG Entertainment chairman, has died following a brief illness. Age 67. Preston began his career in the 1970s, working for the chain of Bruce's Record Shops in Scotland, before joining EMI in 1977. In 1984 he was appointed managing director of Polydor Records U.K. and moved to the British arm of RCA a year later, where he spent four years as managing director.

From 1989 to 1998, Preston held the post of chairman of BMG Entertainment. The well-respected executive was also a long-standing member of BPI Council, including two years as BPI Chairman. He also served as a director of Universal Publishing and was a trustee of music industry charity The BRIT Trust during its formative years in the mid to late 1990s. Artists he worked with during his career include Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, M People and Take That.

He quit the music industry in 1998 to build a boat. He also consulted and held board positions in property, PR, new media and established media businesses, as well as angel investing and charity work. Source: Billboard

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