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Music News Digest, March 14, 2022

 Alexisonfire, City and Colour, Dine Alone Records and Live Nation Canada have partnered for a 4-day summer fest, Born & Raised, to be held at Montebello Park in the artists’ hometown of St. Catharines, ON, from June 30-July 3. There is serious firepower on the bill, with those joining AoF and C&C on the bill including Broken Social Scene, Pup, Billy Talent, Sam Roberts Band, Elliott, Hot Water Music, cleopatrick, Ruby Waters, Chastity, Dooms Children, and The OBGMs. More info here. Tix on sale March 17 here. $1 from every ticket sold will be donated to the Indspire Building Brighter Futures Scholarship program.

– Hardcore pioneers D.O.A. will tour the US West Coast and Canada in April and May to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the band's landmark album, Hardcore 81. After the US tour, there are shows in Regina (May 5), saskatoon (May 6), and Winnipeg (May 7). Hardcore 81 was honoured with the prestigious Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize in 2019. Itinerary here

– Québécoise Geneviève Nadeau is the recipient of the Slaight Music Unsung Hero Award for the 2022 Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMAs). A press release notes that “Geneviève Nadeau is an artisan of culture and is thus a key component of a whole part of our culture. She is an essential worker in the shadows who certainly deserves a little light.” The Award will be presented to Nadeau, who has dedicated a lifetime to promoting and fostering Quebec music, at the 2022 CFMAs Concert, Apr 1. More info here.

– Acclaimed roots singer/songwriters Suzie Ungerleider and Caroline Marie Brooks (The Good Lovelies) team up for a Hugh's Room Live presents show at Toronto's Paradise Theatre on April 8. Tix here. The pair then have joint shows in Stratford, Owen Sound, and Collingwood. Ungerleider was recently nominated for a Juno, and also has western shows and an Ottawa NAC date set. Itinerary here.

– Simon Ward has made plenty of news this past week. First it was announced he was stepping down as frontman of The Strumbellas, though he remains active as a songwriter for the platinum-plated band. Then, last Friday saw the release of Love We Lost, a collaborative track featuring Ward and Dutch EDM heavyweights Armin van Buuren and R3HAB. Stream it here. Ward released a debut solo album last Nov. under the name Simon and the Island. 

– Free-spirited musical adventurer Ronley Teper and her ace band the Lipliners are having a busy March. Taking inspiration from her new studio album Everyone Loves A Good Story, Teper (as curator and hostess) is welcoming visitors to The Lyceum Gallery in Toronto, both in-person and virtually. The exhibition showcases commissioned artworks by 15 artists within a variety of artistic media, each inspired by a song from the record. Surprise small events and workshops at the gallery are popping up during the March 3-20 run. The project will culminate on March 27, with an all-day/all-ages festival extravaganza running from 2-11 p.m. at The Tranzac Main Hall and featuring Lipliners sets alongside solo sets from such group members as Vivienne Wilder, Tim Posgate, and Jaron Freeman-Fox. More info here

– Ontario folk songsmith Ken Yates recruits some heavyweight talent on his new single, The Big One. Kathleen Edwards guests on vocals, Jim Bryson produced, and Philip Shaw Bova mixed and mastered. The track is taken from the upcoming album Cerulean, out June 3.

– Connie Rouble's Hamilton resto/music venue Mississippi Queen is sorely missed, but she and partner Shane McCartney have opened the Front Porch Southern Kitchen and Blues Joint, a Southern roadhouse resto/music club in Langton, Norfolk County. The food is grabbing rave reviews and now the music action gets underway on March 19, when Downchild singer Chuck Jackson holds court. Tix here

RIP

Jimbeau Hinson, a country singer/songwriter known for penning several hits for The Oak Ridge Boys, David Lee Murphy, Kathy Mattea, Steve Earle, Patty Loveless, and more, died March 4 at age 70. Hinson underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery in July 2021, and as a result, suffered a stroke, followed by another stroke recently.

The Newton, Miss., native wrote songs including The Oak Ridge Boys’ hits Fancy Free, Let Me Be The One, When You Give It Away and Colors, as well as Steve Earle’s Hillbilly Highway and Down the Road.

 In 1969, Hinson earned his first ASCAP Award at age 18 with the song Sugar in the Flowers, recorded by Anthony Armstrong Jones. His second ASCAP honour came for the Brenda Lee-recorded Find Yourself Another Puppet. Lee also had a Top 10 hit with Hinson’s Broken Trust, in 1980. He also had songs recorded by Reba McEntire, Tammy Wynette, Ricky Skaggs, Connie Smith, Rodney Crowell and more.

Hinson released several albums, including 2013’s Strong Medicine via Wrinkled Records. At the time of his passing, Hinson was working on an autobiography titled The All of Everything in the Life and Times of Jimbeau Hinson. Source: Billboard 

– Gavin Martin, an Irish music journalist and poet, died on March 10, age 60. The cause of death has not been confirmed.

Raised in Bangor, Co Down, he co-founded the important Alternative Ulster fanzine with Dave McCullough. He wrote for the NME when he was still at high school, then moved to London to join the music mag's staff while still a teenager.

He wrote the first NME cover story on U2, then dissed that band's War album. Other notable interviews and features profiled Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone, James Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, Van Morrison, Depeche Mode, B.B. King, and more.

He later became a music writer for the Daily Mirror and wrote and performed poetry.

Martin was remembered fondly in tributes on social media as a principled and passionate writer. Read more here 

– Bobbie Lee Nelson, elder sister of Willie Nelson and longtime pianist in his band, died on March 10, age 91.

Texas music authority Joe Nick Patoski posted on Facebook that "He called her Little Sister Bobbie, but Bobbie Lee Nelson was in fact Willie Nelson’s big sister in so many ways. She was born two years earlier and was the first to be taught music by the grandparents who raised them in the town of Abbott. After learning the pump organ, she attended gospel singing conventions in nearby Hillsboro. At age six, she showed enough talent for her grandfather to buy her a piano. She soon was playing piano at the Abbott Methodist Church.

"When Bobbie married at the age of 16, she and her new husband started a band, Bud Fletcher and The Texans, and she recruited her little brother to join on guitar. Their radio show on KHBR in Hillsboro and performances at honky tonks in the area brought enough attention to Willie that several girls started the very first Willie Nelson fan club."

"Bobbie then worked for the Hammond Organ Company as Willie's career took off from 1960 on. She landed in Austin in the late 1960s and found work on the piano bar circuit. By the time Willie became a one-name superstar in the late 1970s on the heels of the albums Red-Headed Stranger, Stardust, and Wanted: The Outlaws, Bobbie was by her little brother’s side again, adding her straight-up honky-tonk piano to the expansive sound of the Family Band. Her sound brought levity to what sometimes seemed like a screaming, screeching truck barreling down a mountain road without brakes."

In the mid-1990s, when Willie Nelson and Family toned down their live sound, Bobbie’s piano became the glue of the live band. They recorded albums together, playing the church music and pop songs they’d grown up with. The tour bus never left a gig until Bobbie was on it." Other sources: Yahoo News, Billboard

 Timmy (Timothy E.) Thomas, an American R&B singer, keyboardist, songwriter, and record producer, best known for the hit song Why Can't We Live Together, died on March 11, age 77.

Thomas was born in Evansville, Indiana. He first attracted interest in his work as an accompanist with Donald Byrd and Cannonball Adderley, before working as a session musician in Memphis and releasing singles on the Goldwax Records label. He had little solo success until he moved to Glades Records in Miami, Florida, and in late 1972 he released Why Can't We Live Together. The record topped the U.S. Billboard R&B chart, made the top three on the Billboard Hot 100, and top 20 in other countries including the UK, and sold over two million copies.

Thomas followed up the hit with People Are Changin 'which reached the charts in 1973. In 1974, he released the album You're the Song I've Always Wanted to Sing. He went on to release six further Glades singles and then, in 1975 recorded a duet with Betty Wright entitled It's What They Can't See.  From 1976 through 1980, Thomas recorded singles for both the Glades imprint and the T.K. Disco label, and the albums The Magician (1976) and Touch to Touch (1977). He also continued to work on sessions for TK Records artists, including Gwen McCrae, and in later years as a producer.

Thomas went on to record several R&B hits, including Gotta Give a Little Love (Ten Years After), a U.S. top 30 soul entry in 1984. In the 1990s, he worked as a producer for LaFace Records and released the album With Heart and Soul for DTM Records. His song (Dying Inside) To Hold You was a massive hit in the Philippines and gained further popularity in 2017 when it was covered by Darren Espanto for the film All of You.

In 2015, Drake sampled Thomas' signature hit, Why Can't We Live Together, on his hit single Hotline Bling. Sources: Wikipedia, Soultracks

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