Alanis Morissette Facebook photo
Alanis Morissette Facebook photo

Music News Digest, May 6, 2019

The Alanis Morissette musical Jagged Little Pill is set to debut on Broadway this fall. The show's producers say the hit-driven stage show begins preview performances Nov. 3 and will have its opening night Dec. 5. It heads to the Great White Way after an acclaimed 10-week run last year at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass. Jagged Little Pill centres on a picture-perfect suburban family who is forced to face "harsh truths about themselves, their community, and the world around them." Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody wrote the story while Morissette supplies lyrics and an array of hits from her hit 1995 debut of the same name. Tix on sale May 23. Source: CP

– The Trews (Colin MacDonald, John-Angus MacDonald, and Jack Syperek, along with co-writer Derek Hoffman) and Canadian blues veteran Jack de Keyzer both earned first-place prizes at the 2018 International Songwriting Competition (ISC). The Trews won in the rock category for their song, “Times Speeding Up,” while de Keyzer won in the blues field for “My Love Has Gone.” The contest attracted 19,000 entries from 140 countries. A complete list of winners and honorable mentions here. Source: SOCAN

– Popular Canadian music industry veteran Faye Perkins has been appointed Executive Director of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra. On FB, she posted that "I love my hometown and I am looking forward to working with [music director] Bradley Thachuk, the NSO, the staff and board to share our love of music with our community. Come and join us to hear some great music in St. Catharines. We rock!"

Commencing her role today (May 6), Perkins succeeds Candice Turner-Smith. Perkins is the founder and president of Real World Artists Management, and was previously Director at Epic Records and  VP of International Marketing for Sony Classical in NYC.  As a former adviser to the Glenn Gould Estate, she will continue to act as a consultant to Primary Wave on his behalf.

– Recently-departed cult hero Joe Hall is remembered in a tribute night at Toronto's Tranzac on May 17. Hosted by Jay Swinnerton and Tony Quarrington, it features guests Jaymz Bee, Judith Lander, Trevor Davis, Scott B., Saskia Hummel, Chandra Corriveau, J. P. Hovercraft, Zoey Adams, Sebastian Agnello, Morgan Hall, Rebecca Campbell, and Martin Worthy. Those offering remembrances include Harvey Glatt, Paul Corby, Eldon Garnet, MC Boyer, Nick Jennings, Mike Burke, Bill Macmullan and Pete Hudson. 

– Long a local hero on the Toronto scene before relocating to Nashville, roots renaissance man Colin Linden (Blackie and The Rodeo Kings) makes a rare solo appearance back in T.O. on July 15. He plays Hugh's Room Live as part of the club's Guitar Week, one featuring Music City roots legend Jerry Douglas on July 16. Tix here

– Noted music scribe Marty Melhuish has organised a benefit event for Matthews House Hospice in Alliston, ON, the facility that recently cared for his late mother. Set for May 16, the concert and seminar feature Sass Jordan, Derek Sharp (Guess Who), local singer/songwriter Kendal Thompson, and Minnie Til (wife of late music author Richie Yorke). Info and tix here

– Transmit Festival is a new Toronto event taking place June 6-8, at the Garrison and the Baby G clubs, plus an outdoor all-ages stage as part of Dundas West Fest. The impressive lineup for the free outdoor shows (June 7-8) includes Suuns, Teenanger, Peeling, Dilly Dally, Mother Tongues, Tallies, Nyssa, Blonde Elvis,  Royal Crowns and more. Ticketed shows include Slingshot Dakota, Feels Fine, FACS, Kiwi Jr and Sahara.

– Bruce Springsteen joined Little Steven Van Zandt and the Disciples of Soul onstage for the West Coast record release show of that group's new album at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, CA, on Saturday night. The Asbury Park Press reports that Van Zandt's 'Boss' helped his band perform the E Street Band's “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” '80s anti-apartheid anthem “Sun City,” and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes' “I Don't Want to Go Home,” which was written and produced by Van Zandt. Released on May 3, Summer of Sorcery is the Disciples of Soul first album of new material since 1989’s Revolution.

– Calgary's Wide Cut Weekend fest has announced via Facebook that the 2019 festival won’t be happening. The event's 4th edition last October featured Colin Linden, Sam Baker, and Romi Mayes as well as local roots and folks artists. Named after popular CKUA radio program Wide Cut Country hosted by Alison Brock, the event was spread out over various venues. The fest pledged to "get back on the horse and ride again.” Calgary Herald

– The Tin Pan North Songwriters Festival turns 20 this year, with the milestone edition running May 23-25. It features the Songwriter Rounds on May 23 and 24, held at Toronto's Free Times Cafe, Oakville's Moonshine Café, and Mississauga's Cities Sports Bar, followed by the Gala Show on May 25 at Hugh’s Room Live in Toronto. Artists at the Gala include Ronney Abramson, Joan Besen, David Celia, Diane Chase, Wendell Ferguson, and Sylvia Tyson. Performers at the earlier club shows include Jamie Warren, David Leask, Lisa Marie, Patrick Ballantyne, David Baxter, JK Gulley, Brian Gladstone, Katherine Wheatley, James Gordon, Marshall Dane, and Thomas Wade.

– Jim Cuddy has joined famed children’s entertainers Sharon & Bram on their new single "Talk About Peace." The third of six songs being released in honour of their 40th Anniversary, it was performed during the duo's farewell concert tour appearance in Saint John, NB. With the live release, Sharon & Bram are honouring recipients of the YMCA’s Peace Medal program, who met the duo before the May 4 event. Originally written by the late Joe Hampson, husband of Sharon and a former member of The Travellers, the song has long been a favourite of camps and choirs notably for its universal message of hope, with children leading the way. The 2019 version of "Talk About Peace" features new lyrics by Sharon’s daughter Randi Hampson.

– More than 250 young Greater Victoria musicians will sing at the BC legislature today (May 6) at noon, performing "Hymn to Freedom," written by Oscar Peterson. The event is part of the 15th annual Music Monday, a cross-Canada event to raise awareness for music education.

– The Bell Media Canadian Songwriting Challenge, hosted by acclaimed folk artist David Francey, takes place in St. John's, NL, June 1-2. Register by May 17.

RIP

John Starling, one of the smoothest voices in bluegrass and a founding member of the Seldom Scene, died May 2 in Fredericksburg, VA. The Grammy winner and member of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame was 79.

Starling was the last surviving member of a group termed the greatest vocal trio bluegrass has known. The blend of his voice with those of John Duffey and Mike Auldridge made songs like "Wait A Minute," "Body and Soul," and "Out Among the Stars" instant classics.

Starling’s musical career started almost by accident, after serving as an Army surgeon in Vietnam. During a medical residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, he found some musical friends, and they formed the Seldom Scene in 1971.

Starling played guitar and was the lead singer until 1977 when he left to devote full time to his medical practice. 

He later released a solo album Long Time Gone, with guest appearances from Emmylou Harris, Little Feat guitarist Lowell George, pedal steel guitarist Buddy Emmons and his former bandmates. With singer Claire Lynch, he formed a country-rock band, Ready Section.

His recording Spring Training, with banjoist/songwriter Carl Jackson and the Nash Ramblers, won the 1991 Grammy for best bluegrass album. He briefly rejoined the Seldom Scene in the mid-1990s. After his retirement from medicine in 2006, he reunited with his bandmates as John Starling and Carolina Star for a final collaboration, Slidin’ Home (2007). Sources: Washington Post, Bluegrass Today

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