Sue Foley  Photo: Danny Clinch
Sue Foley Photo: Danny Clinch

Music News Digest, Feb. 22, 2022

After testing positive for Covid-19, Justin Bieber was forced to postpone his Las Vegas show at T-Mobile Arena scheduled for Sunday night (Feb. 20), CNN reports. That concert, part of his recently commenced Justice World Tour, has been moved to June 28. A Glendale show set for tonight (Feb. 22) has also been postponed, with an Inglewood stop booked for Feb. 24 also in jeopardy. The tour, originally scheduled to begin in March 2020, had been postponed for nearly two years due to the Covid pandemic. The Bieber camp reports that "The tour launch in San Diego on Feb. 18 was a massive success and Justin is excited to bring this spectacular show to his Las Vegas fans as soon as possible."

– Ottawa blues guitarist/singer Sue Foley has earned three Blues Music Award nominations for her recent Stony Plain album, Pinky's Blues. She is up for Album of the Year, Traditional Blues Album” and Traditional Blues Female Artist at the prestigious event, set for Memphis on May 5. Foley has shows in Western Canada and Ontario in March and April, including an April 13 date at The Paradise in Toronto. Itinerary here

–  The Regina Folk Festival has announced new dates for its Winterruption 2022 fest. Running March 30 to April 2, the event will feature DijahSB, Julian Taylor, People of the Sun, Snake River, TEKE::TEKE, The Garrys, and The North Sound. More info here

– Hamilton Winterfest has begun, running through to March 6. The fun takes place on The Mountain, on the grounds of the historic Auchmar House, and features live music, art exhibits, family entertainment, and more. Headline acts include Ellevator (Feb. 26)  and LeRen (March 5), with other locals performing including the hotly-tipped Golden Feather, Laura Cole, Max Wray, The Dill, Mississippi Bends, Los Chukos, and Ginger St James. More info here.

– ShiftChange 2022, produced by the Atlantic Presenters Association and sponsored by Side Door, will take place online on Feb. 23 and 24, and March 2 and 3.  More information here

Simple Plan and Sum 41 have arguably been Canada’s two most successful pop-punk bands. They now join forces for the first time, with Sum 41 vocalist Deryck Whibley guesting on a new Simple Plan single, Ruin My Life. Another recent SP single, The Antidote, has fared very well, and a new album is expected later this year.

– Polaris Prize winner Haviah Mighty has named the 10 winners in her Black Entrepreneur Giveaway initiative. Mighty has donated $10K amongst a diverse network of Black-owned businesses to help them further expand and thrive. She interviewed the top 20 finalists on Instagram Live in late Jan, then narrowed the list to the 10 winners. Mighty provided $1K to each winner, and Afro Caribbean Business Network Canada gave $250 to each of the 10 runners-up. Check the winners here.

– The late Canadian songwriting great Ralph Murphy is being honoured with a room named after him in the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Songwriting Center. A campaign to enable this has been initiated by his mentee, Tommy Polk. If you would like to make a gift in memory, it can be made online here. Donors should designate “Ralph Murphy Songwriting Room” in the giving designation box. 

– In these turbulent times for live music, news of a new music venue is always welcome. Red Bird Live, Ottawa’s newest music club, is slated to open this week, the Ottawa Business Journal reports. Owned and operated by Geoff Cass, it will feature a large stage, a licensed café, and five small music teaching rooms.

– TheMuseum in Kitchener, ON, has announced the extension of The Rolling Stones Unzipped exhibition, from Feb. 27 to March 27. and first opened on Nov. 30. The package includes free admission to a Ron Wood exhibit.

– Guitarist with Canadian country favourites Prairie Oyster, Keith Glass now heads his own Ottawa-based band and has just released a new single, Different World. The song was actually written pre-Covid, and Glass describes it as "an attempt to cover all the unexplainable and crazy changes that are occurring." Expect a full album soon. 

– Popular veteran Toronto recording studio owner/producer/engineer Vezi Tayeb (Kensington Sound) promotes his memoir, On The Record, at a book launch party at Supermarket today (Feb. 22) 7-9 pm. Learn more about Tayeb here.

– St. Vincent-born, Montreal-based rapper Skiifall has just released a new single on prestigious UK label XL Recordings (Adele, Sigur Ros, The xx). An earlier cut, Ting Tun Up, became a radio staple and underground anthem in the UK.

– The next free NWC webinar, entitled Demystifying Mastering, is set for Feb. 24, at 2 pm EST, via Zoom. The session features Noah Mintz, senior mastering engineer and owner of Toronto's Lacquer Channel Mastering, and Professional Sound Assistant Editor Andrew Leyenhorst discussing the core principles of mastering and delves into this intriguing process. Register here 

RIP

Jamal Edwards, a British music entrepreneur who helped launch the careers of artists including Ed Sheeran, Jessie J and Stormzy, has died on Feb. 20, after a sudden illness, age 31.

Edwards attended the BRIT Awards on Feb. 8 and reportedly performed as a DJ in London on Saturday night.

Edwards founded the online music channel SBTV as a teenager in 2006. Frustrated that he could not find the music he loved online, he began filming performances by friends in his west London neighborhood. SBTV now has more than 1.2 million subscribers on YouTube and has drawn over one billion video views. It helped a generation of performers gain national and international attention. Emphasizing the discovery of emerging artists, SBTV would come to feature early work from several major artists, including Ed Sheeran, Dave, Jessie J, Rita Ora, Bugzy Malone, Krept & Konan and Stormzy.

He was given an MBE, an honour from the queen, in 2014 for services to music and was an ambassador for Prince Charles’ charity, the Prince’s Trust. As SBTV grew, Edwards used his success to support mental health programs. In 2021, he launched a project aimed at refurbishing youth centers. Sources: AP, VarietyThe Guardian

William Kraft, a percussionist, composer, conductor and educator who played a long and indispensable role in making Los Angeles a world capital of new music, died on Feb 12, of heart failure, at age 98.

His resume included a decades-long career with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as percussionist, principal timpanist, composer-in-residence and associate conductor. He was the founding conductor of the L.A. Phil New Music Group, which, with its Green Umbrella concerts, helped transform the notion of what a modern orchestra could become.

He became Igor Stravinsky’s go-to percussionist, and befriended and gave the premieres of major works by many of the leading avant-gardists of his time, yet also wrote several film and television scores. Read an extensive LA Times obituary here.

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