William Shatner has a new Xmas record coming, Shatner Claus: The Christmas Album, and a video featuring ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons rocking out on a new version of the classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" has just been released. Guests on other cuts include Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins and members of the Cars, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Jethro Tull.
– The Al Purdy Songbook is a new multi-media release on noted roots music label Borealis Records that pays tribute to the much-loved Canadian poet. The three-disc set features the music from Brian Johnson’s film Al Purdy Was Here on CD as well as the film itself in both DVD and Blu-ray formats. The project was launched in a fitting venue, Toronto's Arts and Letters Club, on Tuesday night. The evening included clips from the film, including comments from fans Leonard Cohen and Bruce Cockburn, plus performances from Jason Collett, Felicity Williams, Doug Paisley, and Sarah Harmer. Those six artists are featured in the film's music, alongside Greg Keelor, Margaret Atwood, Dave Bidini, Snowblink, and Casey Johnson. Borealis head Bill Garrett tells FYI that "it was a great night, with a packed and enthusiastic house."
– Toronto-area supper club Apres Noir lured Drake in for a performance last night (Thursday), the biggest name yet in its list of stars appearing. Earlier events have featured Jennifer Hudson, Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty, and magician David Blaine. Also on the bill last night were Jessie Reyez, Mia Martina, and Dr. Draw. The Toronto Star's Ben Rayner recently profiled the club.
– The Last Pogo Jumps Again is an expanded version of Colin Brunton’s noted 1978 concert documentary The Last Pogo, one that explored Toronto's thriving and colourful punk rock scene. It now runs 204 minutes and is given a special screening at Toronto's Revue Cinema on Sat. Dec. 1. The film is based around the notorious Last Pogo concert at The Horseshoe Tavern, promoted by The Gary's to close out their bookings there.
– Hedley singer Jacob Hoggard's sex assault case has been put over for three weeks, until Dec. 19. That ruling was made in a Toronto court on Wednesday, at which Hoggard was not present. He is charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual interference. Source: Global News
– Canadian hip-hop artist Julian Thomas has released two new tracks, “Time On Their Hands” and “So Long," as a project titled i can’t trust it, coinciding with a show at Toronto's Mod Club last night. Thomas reunited with acclaimed Toronto producer (and fellow Remix Project alumni) FrancisGotHeat on both cuts.
– Unesco – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – is known for designating sites of historical importance. It also compiles a list of international cultural treasures, and Jamaican reggae music has just been added to that. The organisation declared that "Reggae’s contribution to the international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, sociopolitical, sensual and spiritual.” The musical style was also described as "a vehicle for social commentary, a cathartic practice and a means for praising God.” Source: The Guardian
– Music Manitoba hosts a workshop on Dec. 8 at its office entitled How to Access Funding and Write Grant Applications Panellists providing tips are J Riley Hill, Tessa Gooden, and Stephen Carroll, artists, experienced grant writers and funding representatives. More info here
– Kitchener-area folk singer/songwriter Jesse Parent recently released a new song, Quebec City In The Rain." Listen for it during his set at Toronto's Burdock on Sunday, An early (and recommended) show..
– A reminder that public voting for the Maple Blues Awards closes at midnight tomorrow (Dec. 1).
– Pop siren Ariana Grande has announced a new documentary series called Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman Diaries. The first of four parts premiered on her YouTube channel last night. It features footage from concerts, the making of her new record Sweetener, and more. Check out the trailer here.