Liona Boyd
Liona Boyd

Music News Digest, Jan. 8, 2020

BMG makes the move to its new digs at 320 Front St. W. next week. That's close to CBC HQ, in case you are wondering. Noteworthy too, UMC will be making a move shortly, from 2450 Victoria Park Ave. to Liberty Village. The new offices' ring reminiscent of the time when CBS Records put competitors to shame with its (now bulldozed) Leslie St. refit (that never got rid of the smell of Wrigley's gum wafting south).

—  Remember Stephen “Steve” Prendergast (former manager to Honeymoon Suite among others many moons back)? He went on to become EVP Live Nation/Ticketmaster in LA and now runs Turnstile Live, an LA-based mobile live event and ticketing platform he founded six years ago.

— The Stratford Perth Museum’s successful Justin Bieber exhibit, Steps to Stardom, has been extended for the third year. The Stratford Beacon-Herald reports that new items have recently been added, including some from Bieber’s wedding last year to Hailey Baldwin. “The family dropped a lot of stuff off here from the wedding,” museum general manager John Kastner told the paper. “We have things like wedding invitations, place settings, and the swag bag for the wedding guests.” He estimates the exhibit has been responsible for bringing in roughly 60 percent of museum guests over the past two years, with Bieber fans from around the world visiting.

—  Suzi Kory made a splash with her 2017 debut EP Spellcasting and, last year, with the single Pretty Little Things. Today she releases Settle of the Dust, a lusciously arranged ballad reminiscent of Linda Ronstadt’s glorious country roots. The charismatic and pertinacious self-promoter is entertaining offers so, if you are half as impressed as we are, contact her (fast) through her website.

—  Liona Boyd's concert film, A Winter Fantasy, was broadcast 123 times in the USA on various PBS stations, and for Canadian audiences, it remains available for free streaming on CBC’s GEM. Featuring accompanist and soloist Andrew Dolson and Grammy-nominated flutist Ron Korb, it was produced by Peter Bond and included pieces from her third holiday album, A Winter Fantasy. She has a new instrumental album set for release through UMC, and award-winning producer Vanessa Dylyn is producing a doc on her lifelong obsession with the classical guitar.

—  Peter Foldy writes in to trumpet the fact that his recent release, Toxic World, topped “Minnesota Morning” radio show host Karen Wright’s 2019 Songs list.

—  Recent Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Terry Draper (ex of Klaatu) releases a new song collection entitled Sunset on Mars on the 17th of this month. Here’s a snoutful of what’s in store.

—  Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue has entered the public domain, along with many famous books, such as those from Thomas Mann and E. M. Forster, as well as movies from Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, as reported by Digital Music News.

— Aussie-born, Montreal based musician, campanologist, photographer, videographer troubadour and pamphleteer J.D. Sage often writes songs that are pure Dickensian in their bleakness. Call him a glass-half-empty type of guy. Kicking off the new decade, he’s released a self-written lyric-video prohibition-era song.

—  Sammy Hagar is seeking a buyer for his US3.9M Lake Arrrowhead estate, the French-inspired chateau that is also available for lease at $30,000 a month — or even just for weekends. Meantime, music exec and producer Antonio “L.A.” Reid has listed his modern mansion on the Westside of LA for sale at $22.9M, and Brit record producer Spike Stent — who has won five Grammys for his collaborations with Madonna, Beyoncé, Muse, Frank Ocean and Ed Sheeran — has sold his seven-bedroom traditional-style home in Encino for $2.65M.

— Nominees for Blues Foundation's 41st annual Blues Music Awards include Canadian artists Dawn Tyler Watson and Sue Foley. Watson is named in the Vocalist of the Year category, alongside notables Shemekia Copeland, Curtis Salgado, and Mavis Staples, while Foley is nominated as Best Traditional Blues Female Artist  (Koko Taylor Award). US act Fruteland Jackson is nominated for Best Acoustic Album for Good As My Last Dollar, recorded in Toronto with top local players and released on Canadian label Electro-Fi. The Awards will be presented in Memphis on May 7.

— Veteran Vancouver rock drummer Terry Russell (Slow, Tankhog) and wife Debbie are reeling from the theft of much of their life possessions— including two drum sets and a hand-painted cabinet by Randy Bachman — stolen from a moving truck in Richmond, BC, last weekend.  A GoFundMe campaign was started to raise $25K, and as of Tuesday, it was at $11K. Russell estimated the replacement cost at $40K. It was reported Tuesday that police had recovered the stolen truck and some of its contents, though a full inventory is yet to be completed. 

— A $59K Ontario Trillium Foundation grant will support a new initiative at Matthews House Hospice in Alliston, ON. The Magic of Music Program will feature a series of monthly seminars and acoustic performances. Canada’s pre-eminent musicologist (and FYI contributor), Martin Melhuish, will guide interactive discussions regarding how music affirms a shared human condition. More info here. Source: New Tecumseth Times

— Vancouver jazz guitarist/composer/oud player Gordon Grdina's new project is entitled Nomad Trio and features pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Jim Black. The group's debut, Nomad,  comes out Friday (Jan. 10), and the trio performs at The Annex in Vancouver tonight (Jan. 8), followed by shows in Montreal, Ottawa and Hamilton, Jan. 10-12. Grdina won the 2019 Juno for Instrumental Album of the Year with his solo release, China Cloud.

— Spirited veteran Toronto rockers Dodge Fiasco play a Wednesday matinee (6-8 pm) residency at The Cameron House this month, with shows on Jan. 8, 15, 22, and 29. Recommended.

— The Regina Public Library presents a 'Getting Started Guitar Tutorial' from its Digital Media Studio Specialists on Jan. 13 (7 pm) at the Central Branch. Teens, ages 15 and over, are welcome. Please bring your guitar. More info here 

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