A documentary film on the life of Gordon Lightfoot has its world premiere in Toronto next month. Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind has been announced as a Special Presentation at the renowned Hot Docs festival, running April 25 to May 5. The fest notes state: "From a rural Ontario childhood to Greenwich Village of the ’60s, stadium tours of the ’70s and beyond, vivid archival footage helps chart the career of the legendary songwriter as he reveals the inspiration behind his lyrics and longevity." The film is co-directed by Joan Tosoni and Martha Kehoe. Profiles of Miles Davis and Michael Hutchence are also featured at the fest.
– Canadian musical maverick Chilly Gonzales presents the second Gonzervatory, an all-expenses-paid 10-day music performance workshop taking place in his hometown of Cologne, Germany, this fall. Five selected students from all parts of the globe will win a trip to hone their musical skills in preparation for a final concert led by Gonzales himself. Applications close May 1.
In other Gonzales news, he features in season 2 of CBC Music's Inside the Junos podcast. In Chilly Gonzales' Songs in the Key of Eh, he sits down at the piano and deconstructs six of Canada's best-known Juno-winning songs, including tunes by Feist, Shawn Mendes, and The Weeknd. Check it out here
– A pillar of the Canadian roots music scene, veteran Toronto publicist/promoter Jane Harbury is being honoured with a special tribute night at Hugh's Room Live in Toronto on April 11. Sweet Jane: An Appreciation of Jane Harbury features Sylvia Tyson, Ian Thomas, Marc Jordan, Brent Titcomb, Liam Russell and others TBA. Such recognition is totally deserved.
– The nominations deadline for the 2019 Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards, to be held during Canadian Music Week (CMW), has been extended to March 15.
– Canadian alt-rock trio Courage My Love returns to the US for a spring tour with Northampton, MA's Potty Mouth, beginning next month. The group's latest single, "Remission," released via Warner Music Canada, has earned 100K YouTube views. Dates here
– A buzz has been building around Toronto-based songstress Skye Wallace, and she releases an eponymous debut album on June 7. On March 8, International Women’s Day, she put out her new version of Patti Smith’s (cover of Bruce Springsteen's) “Because the Night." Wallace plays JunoFest in London on March 16, followed by other Ontario dates.
– Lennie Gallant, Vishtèn, and Dave Gunning have been added to the 2019 East Coast Music Awards Show, set for Charlottetown on May 2. They join previously announced acts Classified, Catherine MacLellan, Fortunate Ones, Jimmy Rankin, Les Hôtesses d’Hilaire, Reeny Smith, Rachel Beck, Hillsburn, and Mallory Johnson. Tix here
– Chicago-born rapper Juice WRLD has released his sophomore album, Death Race for Love, and it features production work from Toronto hitmakers Boi-1da and Frank Dukes. Daniel Caesar’s “Who Hurt You?” is sampled on the track "10 Feet." Source: HipHop Canada
– Toronto hardcore punk band Fucked Up continues to tour in support of its latest release, the heavily-feted Dose Your Dreams. FU has a hometown show on April 25 at The Phoenix with Black Lips and a Montreal gig at Foufounes Electriques on April 24, as part of a North American tour that begins in Brooklyn on April 21, closing out in Minneapolis on April 28. FU then plays four shows in Spain and Portugal in May.
– Fresh from its own conference in Montreal, FAI (Folk Alliance International) heads to SXSW in Austin this week. Its official showcase on March 15 includes Canadian singer/songwriters Elisapie and Melanie Brulée.
– The deadline to apply to showcase at Contact East 2019 in Charlottetown, PE, Sept. 26-29, is March 31. Apply here. The same date is the deadline for early bird applications for the Halifax Pop Explosion.
Hal Blaine ( born Harold Simon Belsky), a Hall of Fame drummer and member of revered LA session team the Wrecking Crew, died on March 11, at age 90.
The musician’s family confirmed the news in a statement via Facebook.
Often described as the most recorded drummer in history, Blaine played on such classic albums and singles as the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and “Good Vibrations,” The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water," The Byrds’ version of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man,” The 5th Dimension’s “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” and Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were.”
Forty singles he played on reached No. 1 on the charts, with 150 making the Top Ten. Eight of these records won Grammys for Record of the Year.
In the Sixties, Blaine became a crucial member of the Wrecking Crew, which served as producer Phil Spector’s studio band and helped shape his signature “wall of sound” approach — exemplified on the Ronettes’ 1963 hit “Be My Baby.” Blaine became renowned for his smooth touch and ability to work in a variety of styles — from mainstream pop to folk-rock to jazz to R&B.
The Wrecking Crew’s contributions to music history went largely overlooked in their time, only achieving more esteem years later thanks to biographies and documentaries. In 2000, Blaine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
On learning of Blaine's death, Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson tweeted “I’m so sad, I don’t know what to say. Hal Blaine was such a great musician and friend that I can’t put it into words. Hal taught me a lot, and he had so much to do with our success —he was the greatest drummer ever. We also laughed an awful lot. Love, Brian.” Sources: Rolling Stone, Rock Hall of Fame