Corey Hart at MusiCounts presentation  Photo: Tania Heath
Corey Hart at MusiCounts presentation Photo: Tania Heath

Music News Digest, May 31, 2019

Earlier this week, Corey Hart joined MusiCounts, Canada's leading music education charity, to surprise the students of Juniper Ridge Intermediate in Torbay, NL with a performance, and $10K in new instruments from the MusiCounts Band Aid Program. Juniper Ridge Intermediate is one of 20 schools who received instruments this year, thanks to the support of Canada’s Great Kitchen Party. 2019 Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Hart kicks off his nationwide Never Surrender Tour on May 31 in St. John's, NL.

– Hamilton's free Supercrawl fest takes place on James Street stages Sept. 13-15, and the announced lineup includes Bahamas, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Stars,  Bettye LaVette, Begonia, Jennifer Castle, Dilly Dally, Ellis, Fateh, HPO with Twin Within, Lacey Hill, Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar, nêhiyawak, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, The Sorority, and Yamantaka//Sonic Titan. More acts TBA. 

– Known for his extensive work on David Bowie's Blackstar, US saxophonist/bandleader Donny McCaslin is heading to Canada for summer jazz fest dates. Running June 21-29, the tour visits Vancouver, Victoria, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. Expect to hear material from last year's album Blow. Featured on that record and now in McCaslin's live band is Canadian indie rock hero Ryan Dahle (Limblifter/Mounties, Age of Electric).

– New York Rocks the Canadian Songbook returns to Joe's Pub at The Public in NYC on Canada Day, July 1. Presented by Jeff and Don Breithaupt, the event features performers Marissa Mulder, Ophira Eisenberg, JXUN (J'Sun), Janis Siegel (Manhattan Transfer), Alyson Palmer, Shelley McPherson, the Breithaupt Brothers,  Amy Cervini, La Tanya Hall, and more, covering Canadian classics, new and old. Tix here

– The TD Halifax Jazz Festival call for 2019 Volunteers is now open. The 33rd edition of the fest runs July 9-14, and those interested can apply here

– The Canadian Federation of Musicians has announced success in its efforts to affect changes to Canada's Air Policy with regard to the transportation of musical instruments on Canadian air carriers. Effective July 15, Air Passenger Protection Regulations within the Canadian Transportation Act will include language that ensures that all air carriers must accept musical instruments unless security or safety is an issue. These amendments will consist of clear and predictable terms and conditions concerning musical instruments as well as the obligation to carry and accept them. 

– The next installment in Ontario Creates' Discussion Series is entitled Marketing with Metadata, and it takes place in Toronto (Arcadian Court)  on June 21. Moderated by Margaret McGuffin (ED, Canadian Music Publishers Association) it features panelists Amanda Lee, Tessa Sproule, and Tom Leighton. Registration is free, but space is limited.

– Today (May 31) is the last chance for Folk Alliance members to register with the Early Bird rate for the 2020 conference, set for New Orleans, Jan. 22-26. 

Music BC is partnering with Groundwerk in their search for underground house and techno artists to DJ a stage at Monstercat Compound on, Aug. 24. The free street party takes place at Monstercat HQ in Railtown. Apply here.

RIP

Leon Redbone, a cult favourite singer-songwriter who specialized in old-school vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley-style music, died May 30, his family confirmed. He was 69 — although, in characteristically whimsical fashion, the official statement announcing his death gave his age as 127.

No cause of death was given. Redbone had officially retired in 2015, with a representative then citing unspecified health concerns as the reason.

Redbone performed several times as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live — including two spots in the inaugural 1975-76 season alone — and frequently appeared with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show.

Later successes had him singing the themes for TV’s Mr. Belvedere and Harry and the Hendersons, along with recording a duet of Baby, It’s Cold Outside with Zooey Deschanel for the soundtrack of Elf, for which he also voiced the animated character of Leon the Snowman.

Redbone's career began with gigs in Toronto’s folk clubs around the Yorkville-area in the late 1960s and 1970s. His personal history was shrouded in mystery, but in the 1980s, Toronto Star columnist George Gamester stated Redbone was born in Cyprus as Dickran Gobalian, then changed his name upon emigrating to Canada in the mid-1960s. It is believed Redbone moved to the US in the late '70s.

Redbone’s career saw the release of 16 full-length albums beginning with On the Track, his 1975 debut on Warner Bros. He went on to put out albums on his own August imprint through Blue Thumb, Private Music, and Rounder, with his final release being 2014’s Flying By.

Those calling themselves fans included Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, and Jack White, whose Third Man Records put out a 2016 re-release of Redbone’s Warner Bros debut as well as Long Way From Home, a new collection of recordings unearthed from the early ’70s.

Redbone frequently performed at Hugh's Room in Toronto, and promoter Tom Dertinger, who booked the shows with Richard Flohil, tells FYI that "in the last decade his shows were a steady sell out." Sources: Variety, Toronto Star, Nicholas Jennings

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