David Foster with Michael Bublé  in the studio. Photo: Instagram
David Foster with Michael Bublé in the studio. Photo: Instagram

Music News Digest, Nov. 19, 2018

The release of pop superstar Michael Bublé's new album (one featuring a heart emoji as its title) marks his reunion with ace producer (and fellow Canadian) David Foster, who recently told Variety he was lured out of retirement to work again with his former protege. "His talent alone could get me out of retirement," Foster explained, calling Bublé "the most seductive person I’ve ever met in my life." The interview features revelations about the pair's earlier creative relationship.

– On Tuesday (Nov. 20), the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, will invest 2 Companions, 15 Officers and 24 Members into the Order of Canada at Rideau Hall. The list of new Members includes two prominent Canadian musicians, Jacques Boucher, from Saint-Lambert, Quebec, and Valerie Tryon, from Ancaster, Ontario

Organist Boucher has served as producer and director of music programming for Radio-Canada's French-language radio network; as artistic and general manager of the Jeunesses Musicales du Canada; and as dean of the Faculty of Music at Université de Montréal. As a performer, he has recorded 40 albums and given numerous international concerts. Classical pianist Tryon has performed for six decades, establishing a musical legacy in Europe, the United States and Canada through various solo and recital performances, as well as two dozen notable recordings. She is currently the artist-in-residence at McMaster University. Check the full list of honour recipients here.

– Bono made headlines last week by apparently hinting at the end of U2 when the band closed out its Experience + Innocence tour in Berlin. If so (and we term that unlikely), the Irish band leaves on a high, as the road trip is one of the highest-grossing this year. Pollstar cites a final tally of $126,188,794 (US) and 927,034 tickets sold for the tour, which featured 59 performances in 30 arenas and supported U2's 2017 release, Songs of Experience. Source: Variety

– Matt Mays, Ashley MacIsaac, and Basia Bulat head the just-announced lineup for Calgary's winter Block Heater music fest (presented by the Calgary Folk Music Festival). The event runs Feb. 21-23 on four stages, including Studio Bell. Other artists featured include The Wet Secrets, DJ Logic, Andrew Combs, Beatrice Deer, Eamon McGrath Devastation Trio, Ghostkeeper, The Handsome Family, Jeff Lang, Kacy & Clayton, Kay Berkel, Pierre Kwenders, Pokey LaFarge, Riit, Shaye Zadravec, and Snotty Nose Rez Kids.

 Canadian Heritage has organised its second departmental trade mission for the creative industries. The mission will focus on Latin America, and more particularly Mexico, Colombia and Argentina from Feb. 10 to 19. In addition to advancing business-to-business networking opportunities, the mission will foster a greater understanding of the Latin American business environment and its opportunities and challenges. The deadline to apply is Nov. 30.

– Top Toronto piano player Scott Cushnie (aka Professor Piano) died after a fall this summer, at age 80. His life and musical legacy (credits include Aerosmith, Ronnie Hawkins, and The Canadian Aces) will be celebrated at Toronto's Great Hall on Dec. 10. Beginning at 3 pm, the event will feature casual musical tributes and headline performances from some of Cushnie's many musical friends. Tix here 

– Christmas is coming early for fans of hit Canadian TV comedy Letterkenny. Crave TV is streaming a brand new special, A Letterkenny Christmas: The Three Wise Men, on Nov. 23, followed by a fresh six-pack of episodes launching Christmas Day. Based on demand, additional shows and markets have been added to the 2018 Letterkenny Live tour – a 90-minute comedy experience, starring Jared Keeso, Nathan Dales, K Trevor Wilson, and Mark Forward. Kicking off in Orillia on Dec. 1 at Casino Rama it ends at Vancouver's Orpheum Theatre on Dec. 18.

– A new Big Sugar retrospective. Big Sugar: Icon came out last Friday (on UMC), and includes many of the platinum-selling rock band's biggest hits, handpicked and sequenced by frontman Gordie Johnson plus a historical collage of memorabilia and photos. On Dec. 28 the band plays a special tribute concert for longtime band member, the late Garry Lowe. The show is at Toronto's Danforth Music Hall and will include friends from Barenaked Ladies, Bedouin Soundclash, Broken Social Scene, Danko Jones, Dream Warriors, I Mother Earth, and more.

– Chris Stapleton led the winners' list at the 2018 Country Music Association (CMA) Awards night in Nashville last week, taking home four trophies. Keith Urban won as Entertainer of the Year, and Kacey Musgraves won for Album of the Year, for Golden Hour. Source: AP

– Photographer/author John Cosway (Toronto Sun) has published a book of his photographs from the '60s and '70s entitled Brushes With Fame-Photo Tripping With Music Fame. Artists captured include the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Johnny Cash, Ronnie Hawkins, Gordon Lightfoot, and Ian and Sylvia.

– Early bird tickets are now on sale for the 2019 Armstrong Metal Fest, running July 12 and 13 in Armstrong, BC. Tix here

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