Gord Bamford
Gord Bamford

Music News Digest, July 17, 2019

The 12th Annual Gord Bamford Foundation Charity Golf Classic takes place Aug. 7-8, at the Cambridge Hotel Resort & Conference Centre in Red Deer, AB. JEDCO Energy Services Corp is presenting sponsor for the two-day event, emceed by Paul McGuire. The star-studded gala includes appearances from sports notables and performances from Bamford, Jess Moskaluke, Aaron Pritchett and JoJo Mason.

The charity golf classic is the primary source of fundraising for the Gord Bamford Foundation, with $470K raised at 2018’s sold-out event. The funds raised were shared between the MusiCounts, Big Brothers Big Sisters – Lacombe, Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre, and supported music therapy programs in children’s hospitals across Canada. More info here

–  MF Live, the company behind the ill-fated Roxodus fest, filed for bankruptcy on July 12. MF Live was a partnership between fest founder Mike Dunphy and Fab Laranger, described by Alan Cross (who helped promote the fest earlier) as "the money guy, who financed everything with the help of his Alberta-based oil and gas company."

According to the bankruptcy documents filed on July 9, MF Live’s assets total $154,075. Their liabilities total $18,261,874.70. The documents, signed by Loranger, list nearly 200 creditors. MF Live’s sole purpose was to organize the Roxodus Music Festival. According to the trustee, initial reasons given for cancelling the festival by MF Live (poor ground conditions) were not telling the full story. “We understand that the event did not generate sufficient ticket sales to cover the expected costs, leaving MF Live Inc. insolvent," the trustee stated. Expect lawsuits to follow. Sources: Collingwood Today, A Journal of Musical Things

– Some good news on the cancer front about two valued members of the music industry: singer and songwriter Cadence Grace received news late last week from her doctors that there is no trace of Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia that invaded her body over a year ago. And veteran publicist Lisa Weitz of LW Communications has also received a clean bill of health following a battle with breast and thyroid cancer. Way to kick cancer's ass, ladies!

– Beyonce's Netflix documentary/concert movie Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé was nominated for six Emmy Awards yesterday, in the outstanding variety special (pre-recorded), directing, writing, music direction, production design and costumes category. In a few categories, Homecoming faces off against a showcase other formidable music stars. The competition for a pre-recorded variety special includes Springsteen on Broadway and Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool. The Springsteen showcase is also up for variety-special directing, and the Paul McCartney special is nominated for variety directing, writing, editing and sound mixing.

– There are two days left to save 50% on All Access passes for Indie Week in Toronto, Nov. 13-17. The next Indie Week Student Session is on July 18 at The Paddock Tavern in Toronto, with Metalworks as the participating school. The event features a discussion with booking agents, Industry Speed Dating and performances by Jonny Starkes, Cassidy, Jordan Paul, Sebastian Van Wyck, Fonfur. RSVP here 

– The Corporation of Massey Hall & Roy Thomson Hall Board of Governors today announced the appointment of Thomas C. MacMillan as Interim President & Chief Executive Officer. MacMillan served on the Board of Governors from 2000 to 2009 - three as Board Chair, from 2006 to 2008. His close personal connection to the Halls, paired with his distinguished career in the financial services sector, makes him the consummate successor to the late Deane Cameron in one of the most important periods of the Corporation’s history, given the ongoing Massey Hall Revitalization project.

– 18-year-old Nova Scotian singer/songwriter Zamani has won the 2019 Stingray Rising Stars contest at The TD Halifax Jazz Festival. Zamani was chosen through a two-tiered process of peer assessment and online voting, and she receives $3K to advance her career. Her style fuses R&B and jazz, and she recently performed at the New Skool Rules Festival in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

– Manitoba Music is presenting another season of Open Mic Nights with the Winnipeg Folk Festival at The Handsome Daughter. Each event is hosted by a different artist, and hosts will be offered an honorarium. Submissions are now open for artists who are interested in hosting. Deadline is July 31.

– Lights and Felix Cartal's joint single Love Me is now officially certified Gold in Canada, and the pair were surprised with custom plaques by Cadence Music Group in Toronto ahead of  Cartal’s highly anticipated set at the recent Bud Light Dreams Festival.

– The Downie Wenjack Fund presents Secret Path Live, a benefit concert to be held on Oct. 19 at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, and featuring a performance by the all-star Secret Path Band with Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists. Proceeds raised will support DWF programs. More info here

– Suman Entertainment Group is looking for cover bands for performance opportunities on cruise ships throughout the summer. Individual artists that can do sideman work will also be considered. July 27 is the deadline to apply.

 

RiP

Johnny Clegg, singer, dancer and activist, and one of the most celebrated voices in modern South African music, died July 17  in Johannesburg at age 66. He had battled pancreatic cancer since 2015. His death was announced by his manager and family spokesperson, Roddy Quin.

Clegg was born in England, but he became one of South Africa's most creative and outspoken cultural figures. After growing up in Zimbabwe and Zambia, he moved to South Africa with his mother.

He discovered South Africa's music when he was a young teenager in Johannesburg, and he was enchanted with the sound of Zulu-style guitar. Clegg later explored his idea of “crossover” music with the multi-racial bands Juluka and Savuka at a time of bitter conflict in South Africa over white minority rule.

Clegg recorded songs he was arrested for and “never gave in to the pressure of the apartheid rules,” his manager said. The apartheid-era censorship also restricted where he could perform.

Juluka released a debut single Woza Friday, 1976, followed by debut album Universal Men in 1979. The group's 1982 song Scatterlings of Africa," found chart success in the UK. Juluka  released six more full-length efforts between 1981 and 1984, before disbanding in 1985.

Clegg continued a similar eclectic musical path with new band Savuka, which he formed alongside Juluka bandmate Dudu Zulu. The group's 1987 album Third World Child sold over one million copies internationally.

The outfit disbanded in 1993 following the assassination of Dudu Zulu, and they released a Grammy-nominated final album Heat, Dust and Dreams that same year.

Clegg reformed Juluka in the mid-'90s to tour and release final album Crocodile Love. He released four solo albums under his name from 2002 through 2017, the most recent being 2017's King of Time.

Clegg was awarded the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French government in 1991, South Africa's Order of Ikhamanga (Silver) in 2012, and was named an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2015.

The musician was performing as late as in 2017, high-kicking and stomping, with the cancer in remission during one last tour called The Final Journey. Sources: NPR, AP

Jerry (Jerome Eugene) Lawson, an American singer, producer, musical arranger, and performer, best known as the original lead singer of the a cappella group The Persuasions, died July 10 at age 75. 

His wife, Julie confirmed his death. She said that Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder, had compromised Mr. Lawson’s immune system.

Led by Mr. Lawson’s smooth, warm baritone, the Persuasions sang R&B, rock, blues, gospel and pop with no instrumental accompaniment, long after the doo-wop era that their sound evoked and long before the recent Pitch Perfect movies brought new attention to a cappella singing.

In the 1970s, with Lawson on lead vocals, the Persuasions had five albums in the Billboard Top 100, four of which were in The Billboard 200: We Came to Play, Spread the Word, Street Corner Symphony, We Still Ain't Got No Band, and More Than Before.

Lawson left the group in 2002. A few years later he joined a much younger group of San Francisco a cappella singers who had based themselves on the Persuasions. As Jerry Lawson and the Talk of the Town, the group released an album in 2007 and appeared on the NBC music competition show The Sing-Off in 2011.

He released his first and only solo album, Just a Mortal Man, in 2015. Sources: New York Times, Wikipedia 

Russell Smith, a singer/songwriter best known for work with The Amazing Rhythm Aces, died July 12, at age 70, of cancer. The news of Smith’s death was announced by the band in a heartfelt Facebook post.

Born in Nashville but raised in Lafayette, Tennessee, Smith was known for his gritty voice, witty lyricism and for his ability to move seamlessly between a multitude of genres including country, southern rock & roll, bluegrass, gospel and soul.

Beyond fronting the Grammy-winning Aces, who were best known for their pop-country Top 20 hit, Third Rate Romance, Smith cracked country’s Top 40 as a solo artist with his song I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight. 

As a songwriter, he co-penned No. 1 hits for Randy Travis (Look Heart, No Hands), T. Graham Brown (Don’t Go to Strangers), Ricky Van Shelton (Keep It Between the Lines) and Don Williams (Heartbeat in the Darkness). His songs were also recorded by Tanya Tucker, Rosanne Cash, Kenny Rogers, the Oak Ridge Boys and numerous others.

Smith also led Run C&W, a novelty bluegrass supergroup that also featured the Eagles’ Bernie Leadon and songwriters Jim Photoglo and Vince Melamed. Sources: Celebrity Access, Rolling Stone

Leave a comment