Music News Digest, Dec. 6, 2017

The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto officially turned 70 yesterday (Dec. 5), and the much-loved live music venue threw itself an invite-only birthday party. The event drew many local music industry notables, while members of the family of original owner Jack Starr were present, alongside the current ownership team, headed by Jeff Cohen. City councillors Josh Colle and Mary-Margaret McMahon also took the stage to congratulate the 'Shoe.

Hey Stella!, headed by Lori Yates and featuring Blue Rodeo's Bazil Donovan, David Baxter and Michelle Josef filled the club for the celebratory event. As well as delivering a songbook of memorable tunes, they accompanied a stellar list of guest singers.

Among those FYI caught included Oh Susanna, Danny Greaves of The Watchmen, Matt Mays, Damhnait Doyle, and Stephen Stanley (Lowest Of The Low), with others tipped to join the fun later including Pete Elkas, Pete Dreimanis of July Talk, Dallas Good of The Sadies, and Justin Rutledge. Hockey broadcaster and longtime club regular Dave Hodge served as MC. The ongoing series of big-name residences at The 'Shoe includes Rheostatics (Dec. 7-9), The Constantines (Dec. 15-16), Skydiggers (Dec. 22-23), and The Lowest Of The Low (Dec. 27-28). Our congrats to one and all.

— Did you miss the livestream of rocker Neil Young's hometown solo acoustic concert from Coronation Hall in Omemee on Friday night? Well, there will be a chance to view the broadcast on the CTV network this Sunday. Showtime is 9 to 11 pm.

Rufus Wainwright is known as an outspoken performer, and this trait caused controversy during a performance on Dec. 2 in Minneapolis with the Minnesota Orchestra. Mid-show, Wainwright referenced the current GOP tax plan, telling the audience, “It’s a call to arms. We have to fight for this country.” The comment angered principal trumpeter Manny Laureano, who stormed off stage in protest. The rest of the concert continued without incident. In an interview later, Laureano termed Wainwright "an angry dude that seems to have life all figured out, not the kind of guy we need to look to for philosophy.”

The Minnesota Orchestra issued a statement supporting the singer. In part, it reads: “It doesn’t happen very often, but we honour the fact that guest artists will sometimes offer politically-minded comments as part of their performance — especially in the case of an issues-oriented songwriter like Rufus Wainwright.” Source: Star-Tribune

— SOCAN has presented separate No. 1 Song Awards to WondaGurl (Ebony Oshurinde) and Eastbound (Brian Van Mierlo) for co-writing Travi$ Scott’s chart-topping hit “Antidote.” The two Canadians composed the beat. The song is a co-write between Thomas Brenneck, Leon Michels, Homer Steinweiss, David Guy, Nick Movshon, and Travi$ Scott (Jacques Webster). The track is certified platinum in the US, with the video receiving over 223M views.

— On Monday, Juno Award Award winner Ruth B. joined MusiCounts to celebrate Bell Media's support of the MusiCounts Band Aid Program.  Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre in Calgary, hosted the festivities where Ruth B. surprised St. Rita School students with a music workshop, performance and Q&A. This year, the school received $10K worth of new instruments for their music program through the Band Aid initiative.

— Go West! is part of the popular Myseum Presents: Music From People City series in Toronto, and it takes place tonight (Dec. 6). Go West! features award-winning music journalist and DJ Denise Benson discussing "Five quintessential clubs that reflect Toronto's dance migration." The free event is at Henderson Brewing Company, 128a Sterling Road, from 7-9 pm.

— The Urban Renewal Project show on Vancouver Co-op Radio 100.5FM celebrates a ’s Fifth Year Anniversary Party tonight (Dec. 6) at Fortune Sound Club (147 East Pender). Hosted by R&B artist B. Diamond, it features DJ Denise & Denzin 8 Productions, Red Shirt Mike & Bangz aka Michael Mubanga, plus some of Vancity’s top DJs & MCees. The annual fundraiser strengthens the Vancouver urban music scene. More info here

— Physical music database Discogs has just reported that The Beatles' first demonstration single for Parlophone, 1962's 'Love Me Do' recently sold through Discogs for $14,757 US, breaking a Discogs sales record for a 7" single. This sale fell just short of the site's most expensive record sold to date, a 1987 promo copy of Prince’s The Black Album that fetched $15K (US).

— Veteran Saint John music promoter/artist manager Peter Rowan (co-founder of Halifax Pop Explosion and PopMontreal) has avoided charges in connection with a noise complaint stemming from an Oct. 25 concert at the Taco Pica restaurant that he promoted. When Rowan and a group of supporters arrived for their Dec. 5 court date, they found that charges had been filed, but none laid due to a "conflict" in how the offence was perceived. The incident reportedly shines a light on an ongoing dispute between Saint John residents and live music events. Source:

— Rootsy Hamilton-based singer/songwriter Piper Hayes is about to release a new album, Piper and Carson, featuring Carson Ritcey-Thorpe. She launches with shows at This Ain't Hollywood in Hamilton, on Dec. 7, and the Dakota Tavern in Toronto, Dec. 8. The album was recorded live off the floor in Millgrove, ON, with Chris Bartos producing.


James Mundell Lowe, a guitar master whose many musical partners included Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Charlie Parker, Benny Goodman and the Everly Brothers, died Dec. 2 at his San Diego home. He was 95. Back in April, he performed for nearly an hour at his birthday concert in a local jazz club. 

Lowe's recording credits ranged from jazz greats Charles Mingus, Buddy Rich and Carmen McRae, with whom he made seven albums, to R&B singer Ruth Brown, Barry Manilow and Johnny Ray, whose 1951 hit, “Cry,” featured Lowe. His film and TV music credits include Hawaii Five-O, Starsky and Hutch, and Billy Jack.

From 1948 to 1965, Lowe was the guitarist and arranger for NBC-TV’s The Today Show. He became a key mentor to young jazz pianist Bill Evans. He served as the musical director of the Monterey Jazz Festival from 1981-87. His most recent album, Poor Butterfly, was released self-released in 2015. Source: San Diego Union-Tribune

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