Music News Digest, May 2, 2018

On Monday, the Governments of Canada and Ontario announced $60 million in funding for the Massey Hall Revitalization project. The fed is contributing up to $30M through the Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component–National and Regional Projects and is being matched by the Queen's Park writing a cheque for $30M. The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall—a charitable, not-for-profit organization—is responsible for the balance of the funding through its newly launched Massey Hall Forever fundraising campaign. More info on the seven-year multi-phase plan here.

– As we have noted here, a Justin Bieber exhibition at the Stratford Perth Museum in his hometown of Stratford, ON, has been a bona fide hit, attracting Beliebers from around the globe. The Canadian Press has reported the star himself made a surprise visit last week. He dropped by with his grandparents, checking out the exhibit for 45 minutes and impressing museum general manager John Kastner. “He couldn’t have been nicer,” he told CP. “He couldn’t have been more humble; he couldn’t have been more appreciative."

– The financial woes of famed guitar maker Gibson have now led the company to file for bankruptcy protection because of its debt problem. Nashville, Tenn.-based Gibson Brands requested court protection from its creditors, saying it had support from many of them for a deal that would allow the company to survive. Founded in 1894, the company said it planned to continue designing, building and selling musical instruments and equipment, including other brands such as Wurlitzer, Dobro, Epiphone, KRK and Cerwin Vega. The company said it would kill its Gibson Innovations unit, which makes Philips-branded headphones, speakers and other electronic accessories. Gibson sells more than 170,000 guitars annually in more than 80 countries, according to a court filing. Source: USA Today

–  Much-loved Toronto bar and live music venue The Cadillac Lounge had been expected to close on the weekend after a month of farewell shows but will continue under that name for a couple more weeks. It will then reopen under new ownership almost immediately, but under a new name (we have heard The Noble as a possibility). Live music will continue to be booked there, with NOW reporting that Caddy owner Sam Grosso "will help out with booking, which will maintain the flavour of the Cadillac, at least at first." Check out Paul Reddick there this Friday, with Sin City Boys on Saturday. 

– SOCAN will be active at CMW 2018. In addition to being the presenting sponsor of the Global Creators Summit, SOCAN Vice President, Licensing, Leslie Craig will present the Licensed to Play Award during the Live Music Awards on May 11. Michael McCarty, SOCAN Chief Membership and Business Development Officer, will participate in two panels: the “Start-Up Launch Pad” on Wednesday, May 9, and “Getting Paid When You Play Live” the next day. On May 12, SOCAN A&R Representative Aidan D’Aoust will host SOCAN’s popular “Cookin’ Beats” panel, this time with multi-platinum producer FrancisGotHeat. A SOCAN booth will be at the trade show from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day throughout CMW. A full schedule of CMW events can be viewed here.

–  The musical work of Jann Arden has not had a major impact Down Under, but as an author, she is gaining traction in kangaroo country. A highly popular interview show on Radio New Zealand (the country's CBC Radio equivalent) recently featured an extensive chat with Arden about her recent acclaimed memoir, Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as My Mom Lives with Memory Loss. As you'd expect, the singer turned author charmed with her signature mix of wit and empathy.

The Board of Directors of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has announced the appointment of Matthew Loden to the position of Chief Executive Officer of the TSO. He will begin in July, succeeding Gary Hanson, Interim Chief Executive Officer since Sept. 2016. Loden comes to the TSO from The Philadelphia Orchestra where he has been Interim Co-President since January 2018. At the TPO, he launched Canadian Yannick Nézet-Séguin into his first season as music director.

–  Afghan-Canadian rapper Kresnt is making major moves with his new six-song EP, The Lunar Phase. Helping it grab attention is the presence of co-producer/mixer Ken Lewis, a Grammy-nominated producer/engineer known for his studio work with Kanye West. The video for recent single "In Your Place" is notching serious eyeball stats (currently at 608K views). Source: Hip-Hop Canada

–  The recently departed Andrei Talbot was much-loved by Toronto musicians for his support, especially as a booker at the Dora Keogh Irish Pub venue. He was farewelled by many of these artists on Saturday night with a celebration of his legacy at the venue that featured a long list of peformers. Included: Al Tuck, Grier Coppins, Lucas Stagg, Cleave Anderson, Paul Reddick, Alex Radeff, Callan J. Furlong, Mark Sepic, Chris Bennett, Sean Conway, Washboard Hank, Julian Taylor, Jay Aymar, Sameer Cash, Kevin Jollimore, Fergus Hambleton & Circle 5, Chris Staig, Joshua Cockerill, and Stanley.

–  Maritimes blues star Matt Andersen is renowned for the power of his live performance, so deciding to release a live album is a no-brainer. Featuring the 10-piece Mellotones, a show at famed Halifax dance hall Olympic Hall was recorded and will be released (as Matt Andersen & The Mellotones Live at Olympic Hall) on May 25.

– Edmonton singer/songwriter Lindsey Walker will soon head east, playing shows in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba in support of her latest release, this desolate bliss. The tour begins May 16 at Toronto's Cavern Bar, closing out at Strong Badger Coffeehouse in Winnipeg, on June 2. More info at

– Singer/pianist Elizabeth Shepherd and guitarist Michael Occhipinti are two of Canada's most celebrated jazz artists, amassing 12 Juno nominations between them. On Friday, they make their Rome debut together at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, part of the ongoing Jazz Love series. The Canadian Club of Rome is presenting a pre-show artist talk.

– Mark Howard is renowned as the sound engineer on landmark recordings by Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Tom Waits, Neil Young, U2 and Emmylou Harris, many in collaboration with Daniel Lanois. Howard is now fighting for his life, as earlier diagnosed skin cancer has aggressively spread into his lungs and brain. He is currently in Toronto receiving treatment for stage 4 melanoma. As he is unable to work, a GoFundMe campaign has been launched for him.

– The Toronto post-punk/new wave scene of the early '80s has generated increased attention in recent years. UK-based writer Nick Smash was a key participant in that scene, and is now its leading archivist. On May 10, he explores this vital era in Toronto's independent music history with a Wavelength Music Talks event. It will be held at the Lillian H. Smith Branch - Toronto Public Library. Your chance to learn more about the likes of A Neon Rome, Breeding Ground, Fifth Column, the Hunger Project, Kinetic Ideals, L’Etranger, Sturm Group, Tulpa, and Vital Sines. The event is free.

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