Music News Digest, Nov. 24, 2017

As the East Coast Music Awards Show prepares for a return to Halifax with host Jonathan Torrens (Mr. D, Trailer Park Boys, Taggart & Torrens). The first round of performers announced includes Joel Plaskett. You can watch Torrens interview the east-coast rocker in an amusing video clip. Other announced performers include Les Hay Babies, The Once, and the Barra MacNeils. The 2018 ECMA show takes place on May 3 at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.

­ — One night only!  Come break bread, celebrate and enjoy a magical musical performance by Tom Jackson on Dec. 5 at Bb33 Bistro in Toronto’s Chelsea Hotel.

— Among the reissues hitting the market today, vinyl, deluxe anniversary and streaming editions of the Ramones’ Rocket To Russia; Topographic Drama: Yes Live Across America; a boxed set of Phil Collins’ studio recordings —Take A Look At Me Now…the complete…; the EaglesHotel California; and Fun Comes Fast, a 40-year Teenage Head retrospective that includes coloured vinyl and a 2-disc pink vinyl album cut at 45 RPM for maximum fidelity!

Celebrating the release, Teenage Head headlines Lee’s Palace in Toronto Saturday night. They then shake it up at their fave hometown venue, This Ain't Hollywood in Hamilton, on Dec. 1 and 2.

— A planned Roy Orbison hologram tour has hit a snag with the estate arguing with the company that was supposed to create the digital reincarnation of the deceased singer.

The Eagles have announced an initial set of dates for their 2018 tour. The current lineup consists of Don Henley, Joe Walsh & Timothy B. Schmit, with Vince Gill and Deacon Frey. The lone Canadian date so far is Toronto’s ACC on July 15. Various marquee names including Chris Stapelton and James Taylor appear with them on specific dates.

Karl Wolf has released “Illusion” as his latest single; it’s co-produced with Jazzfeezy (producer on Drake's "More Life" Album).

—Yesterday (Nov. 23), singers Eleanor McCain and Matt Dusk joined MusiCounts for a holiday celebration at St. Aidan Catholic School in Scarborough, ON. Through McCain's contribution of her True North: The Canadian Songbook Commemorative Band Aid Grants, the school and four others were awarded $20K in new instruments through the MusiCounts Band Aid Program. 

Broker Genius, a New York-based developer of dynamic pricing technologies for ticket resellers, has raised US$15M to expand the reach of its platform, which “automates a reseller’s pricing strategy, leading to increased profitability and rapid growth.” The company to date has priced more than $2B worth of secondary ticket inventory.

— The Strombo Show welcomed Steve Earle to celebrate his new album, So You Wannabe An Outlaw. He played some of his biggest songs, paid tribute to his late friend Gregg Allman by covering the Allman Brothers' "Midnight Rider" for the first time. The living room performance included Gordon Lightfoot watching from the staircase. 

— CMA, ACM, and AMA awards are great and all, but Keith Urban has finally earned an award to write home about—a Waffle House Award. Urban's award-winning song, "Blue Ain't Your Color," has picked up top honors by being the most-played song on the TouchTunes jukebox network across the American restaurant’s chain of 2K+ locations during the past 12 months.

Universal Music has launched Urban Legends, a new imprint and cross-platform initiative that will serve editorial content site and video updates on hip-hop and R&B artists affiliated with the label’s brands.

Sunday’s Grey Cup festivities in Ottawa include performances by Jess Moskaluke, Sloan, Rueben & the Dark, and Dwayne Gretzky.

Drake has joined the chorus of people protesting the imprisonment of the Philly battle rapper Meek Mill. Jay-Z is among the most prominent critics of the sentencing, penning an op-ed about it for the New York Times.

— Bramwell Tovey, the outgoing music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, has been appointed the next principal conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra. The announcement comes after Tovey took up a position as Associate Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Activities at Boston U earlier this fall.

Tovey officially begins his new appointment in Jan. Dutch conductor Otto Tausk was named Tovey’s replacement at the VSO earlier this year, and he will step into the role in 2018.

—Two notable Canadian indie artists will celebrate the release of their new albums with a joint show at The Rivoli in Toronto tonight (Nov. 24). Formerly in The Lowest Of The Low, Stephen Stanley is putting out his album, Jimmy & The Moon, while Hugh Christopher Brown, once of The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir and Fenner & Brown, is releasing Pacem.

Brown played on and produced Stanley's record at Wolfe Island at the old Post Office studio on Wolfe Island, near Kingston, ON, while such ace players as Gregor Beresford, Jane Scarpentoni, and Burke Caroll are featured on both albums.



— An essential live music venue in Edmonton, the Needle Vinyl Tavern, has closed indefinitely after an employee accused an employer of sexual harassment. According to, Needle owner Rob Campbell, the decision to close the doors for an indefinite time came following threats against management and staff  "The safety and well being of our staff and patrons take priority over anything else." Apparently "the individual who was involved in the recently reported sexual harassment incident is no longer involved in any activities with the Needle and the ownership group is arranging for the person in question to exit his ownership position."

— On Dec. 4, the Toronto Arts Council will host a music funding panel, entitled Meet the Funders, at The Hideout. Panelists repping Canadian Heritage, City of Toronto Music Office, FACTOR, The Canada Council for the Arts, OMDC, Toronto Arts Council, and more will be on hand. More info here

— Space Cowboy Steve Miller's home on the range is up for sale. The US rocker is selling the Idaho estate he has called home for 30 years, and it can be yours for $16M (US). Bordering the Big Wood River, the 13.1-acre rural retreat includes a multi-million-dollar, 4,632-square-foot recording studio. Source: Toronto Star 



Dmitri Aleksandrovich Hvorostovsky, internationally-lauded Russian baritone, died in London on Nov. 22, of brain cancer at age 55. Born in Siberia, he came to international attention in 1989 when he beat Bryn Terfel to win the Cardiff Singer of the World title.  Hvorostovsky was diagnosed with a brain tumour in June 2015 and retired from the stage at the end of 2016. Source: The Guardian

Warren “Pete” Moore, vocalist and songwriter with Smokey Robinson-fronted Motown outfit the Miracles, has died at age 78. The band had 26 Top 40 hits in the US, including "You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me" and "Shop Around." In 1970, they had a No 1 hit in the UK and US with "The Tears of a Clown."

Moore co-wrote many of the group's hits, including  "The Tracks of My Tears" and "Love Machine." He and Robinson also penned songs for the Temptations and Marvin Gaye. In 2012, Moore and the other members of the Miracles were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Source: The Guardian

Wayne Cochran, the American soul singer known for his outlandish outfits and platinum pompadour, died Nov. 21 at age 78. As a teenager in Macon, Georgia, Cochran struck up a friendship with soul singer Otis Redding, playing bass on Redding's single, “Shout Bamalama.” He then developed his blue-eyed soul sound and performing style with his band the C.C. Riders.

Elvis Presley often had the group open his shows, and one of their songs, "Goin’ Back to Miami,” was later covered by the Blues Brothers. Virtuoso jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius played in C.C. Riders in the early '70s. Cochran left touring with his band and started a church in Miami, with music an integral part of his services. Source: Miami Herald

Jon Hendricks, one of the originators of jazz vocalese, died on Nov. 22 in New York City at age 96. A vocalist and lyricist, Hendricks was perhaps best known for his collaboration with Dave Lambert and Annie Ross in the vocal group Lambert Hendricks and Ross. Early in his career, he partnered with then-unknown pianist Art Tatum. Hendricks moved to New York in 1952, where he formed a trio with Lambert and Ross.

They released seven pioneering albums in the late 1950s and early '60s. Their debut album, Sing a Song of Basie, was given a Grammy Hall of Fame award in 1998, to add to their best vocal group performance award in 1962 for the album High Flying. Other vocal jazz stars influenced by Hendricks included Bobby McFerrin and Kurt Elling. He continued working well into his 90s. Sources: The Guardian, JazzTimes.

George Avakian, jazz producer and pioneering record-label executive, died on Nov. 22. Age 98. As head of Columbia's pop division, he oversaw the landmark 1948 release of 100 long-playing records for pop and jazz, which played at what became the standard speed, 33 1/3 rpm. He also helped popularize such consumer standards as liner notes and the live album.

Avakian was founder of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, presenters of the Grammys. As a record producer, he worked on albums by such artists as Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck and Miles Davis. Source: AP

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