Music News Digest, Jan. 2, 2019
ET Canada reports Jacob Hoggard married Canadian actress Rebekah Asselstine in Vancouver on New Year’s Eve, apparently inside or around the Vancouver Art Gallery. The Hedley frontman is due to appear in a Toronto court on July 11 and 12 on sexual assault charges.
– Celebrity endorsements and promotion of wines have become common, and Canadian rocker Sass Jordan has joined the party. She has teamed up with Niagara-region winery Vineland to launch a new label, the fittingly-named Kick Ass Sass. The first two offerings, Kick Ass Sass Red 2016 and Kick Ass Sass White 2017, have now been released. Word is Jordan took a hands/nose on role in the blending process. Source: Wines In Niagara.
– Famed British music and entertainment retail chain HMV has filed for administration following soft December sales. The move puts over 2,200 jobs at risk at the 97-year-old company. HMV last fell into administration in 2013 before being rescued by restructuring experts Hilco. On Dec. 28, Hilco confirmed its troubles and has appointed KPMG as its administrator. HMV’s 125 UK stores will remain open while discussions with suppliers and potential acquirers continue. The Canadian arm of HMV closed its 102 stores in 2017. Source: MBW
The Toronto hip-hop scene is still mourning the loss of slain rapper Smoke Dawg, killed on a downtown T.O. street in June, and is now embracing the music of his younger brother, Young Smoke, who has released a well-received (100K plus views) video for the track "Days By Da Rabba.” Source: Hip-Hop Canada
– CIMA is conducting an incoming mission targeting the Eastern European market., Feb. 5-10, in both Toronto and Ottawa. CIMA is flying in eight delegates from various sectors of the music industry in Eastern Europe (Estonia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Poland etc). The purpose of the mission is for the export-ready Canadian music industry to learn more about the Eastern European market. The mission is in partnership with MEGAPHONO’s international delegates programming. Apply to join here. Deadline is Jan. 14.
– On Feb. 21, Music Canada Live presents a free webinar available only to members by Gowling WLG. Learn from legal professionals about how to deal with allegations of abuse, harassment, and other inappropriate/unwanted behavior. The webinar will touch on risk management techniques from insurance, employment and contract perspective that can be implemented before, during and after an event. Webinar access information will be sent to all Music Canada Live members in good standing.
– Contemporary pianist Jean-Michel Blais received a major career boost by making the Polaris Prize shortlist in 2018. He recently released eviction sessions, an EP recorded live in his Montreal apartment, and he begins a European tour in February. Shows precede that at Toronto's Royal Cinema on Jan. 19 and Quebec City's Grand Théâtre on Feb. 19.
– BC music promoter Travis Pangburn was in the news last month when CBC reported that he and his company, Pangburn Philosophy, owed popular children's performers Sharon and Bram an estimated $15K from a recent tour. The CBC now is reporting new allegations that many contractors hired by Pangburn for the Kootenay Country Music Festival held last July are still waiting to be fully paid. Back in November, Pangburn posted on Twitter that, "effective immediately, the Pangburn Philosophy Corporation will be folding."
– On the eve of the holiday break, Manitoba Music reflected on the year that was, both for the trade org and for Manitoba artists. The impressive stats include the fact that Manitoba artists and music companies picked up 45 awards and 222 nominations for their work in 2018, including Juno Awards, Western Canadian Music Awards, Indigenous Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards, and more. Local artists launched over 190 new music releases. Read more here
– Regina rock band Coherency recruited the Western Hockey League's Regina Pats for its new music video, "Bleed," a track from the 2018 album Cognitive Dissonance. The team gave the band access to an endless supply of highlight footage, as well as some time at the Brandt Center to do some on ice-filming. Check the results here.
– Nominations are now open for the 2019 City of Hamilton Arts Awards. Recipients receive a cash prize of $1,000-$2500. Musicians previously honoured include Jackie Washington, Stan Rogers. Lori Yates, Tom Wilson, and Harrison Kennedy. Nominations deadline is Feb. 15. More info here
Ray Sawyer, Dr. Hook vocalist, died in Florida on Dec. 28, age 81.
The Alabama-born Sawyer founded Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show (later shortened to Dr. Hook) with Dennis Locorriere, Billy Francis, and George Cummings and was a member from 1969 to 1981.
In 1970, Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show’s demo tapes wound up in the hands of author/songwriter Shel Silverstein, who recruited the band to become a vessel for his music. The group would turn Silverstein-written tracks like “Sylvia’s Mother” and 1973's “The Cover of ‘Rolling Stone'” into hits and released two albums of Silverstein-penned songs, 1971’s Dr. Hook and 1972’s Sloppy Seconds.
Sawyer appeared on a string of other Dr. Hook hits in the ’70s and ’80s, including “A Little Bit More,” “Only Sixteen,” “Walk Right In,” ”Sharing the Night Together,” “When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman,” “Better Love Next Time” and “Sexy Eyes.” His signature look featured an eye patch and cowboy hat.
After nine albums with Dr. Hook, Sawyer left in 1983 to pursue a solo career; he previously released a self-titled solo LP in 1977. While Locorriere maintained ownership of the official Dr. Hook moniker, Sawyer toured as Dr. Hook featuring Ray Sawyer over the past few decades. Health issues forced Sawyer to stop performing live in 2015. Source: Rolling Stone
James Calvin Wilsey, member of The Avengers and lead guitarist for Chris Isaak, died on Dec. 24, age 61.
Wilsey played bass with San Francisco punk band the Avengers but became better known as the lead guitarist for Chris Isaak's band Silvertone. His playing was featured on Isaak's first four albums Silvertone, Chris Isaak, Heart Shaped World, and San Francisco Days, and Isaak's smash hit "Wicked Game."
Wilsey released a solo album of guitar instrumentals in 2008, titled El Dorado. Source: Wikipedia
David Sinclair, member of Straight Lines and guitarist for Sarah McLachlan, kd lang, and others, died on Dec. 18, of cancer, at age 69.
In 1982 Straight Lines had a top 10 hit with the ballad, “Letting Go.” He and bandmate Bob Buckley later teamed up in Body Electric.
Sinclair toured with McLachlan, including the Lilith Fair tours, and accompanied such artists as kd lang, Valdy, Susan Jacks, and Leon and Eric Bibb. In recent years he often performed n a duo with harmonica player Keith Bennett.
In 2018, he was inducted into the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame in recognition of a 50-year career, and he has a star on the Granville StarWalk.
On Facebook, Luke Doucet (Whitehorse) paid tribute, recalling that "David Sinclair was my roommate on the first US tour I did with Sarah McLachlan in 1993. He set the bar very high on stage every night and even higher in his personal conduct. That he should leave us prematurely is beyond ironic. A mentor, an inspiration and a friend." Sources: Burnaby Now, Facebook
Honey (Ann Margot) Lantree, drummer and singer of British Invasion group The Honeycombs, passed away on Dec. 23 at the age of 75. No cause of death given.
As one of the very few female drummers in the early days of rock ‘n’ roll, Lantree performed on the band’s famed single “Have I The Right?” Produced by Joe Meek, the song peaked at #1 in the UK (on the Pye label) and #5 in the US in late 1964. Lantree also co-sang the lead on the group’s second-biggest UK hit, “That’s the Way.” “Have I the Right?" was the group’s most significant success and only top 10 single.
The Honeycombs split in 1966. Source: Celebrity Access
Norman Gimbel, the Oscar and Grammy-winning lyricist, died on Dec. 19 at the age of 91, his family announced.
Gimbel's work included "Killing Me Softly With His Song - recorded by Roberta Flack, the Fugees and others - and the theme to TV series Happy Days. He also wrote the English lyrics to the Brazilian bossa nova melody, "The Girl from Ipanema."
Norman Gimbel was born in Brooklyn and began his career with music publishers David Blum and Edwin H Morris. His early successes included the lyrics to Andy Williams's 1956 hit single "Canadian Sunset."
He was also well known for his work in film and television, writing the songs for popular shows such as Laverne & Shirley, Wonder Woman, and HR Puffnstuff.
Gimbel and composer Charles Fox won a Grammy Award in 1973 for "Killing Me Softly." He and composer David Shire shared an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1979 for "It Goes Like It Goes," which was sung by Jennifer Warnes in the film Norma Rae.
In 1984 Gimbel was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Sources: BBC News, Variety