Bob Ezrin  Photo: Primary Wave Music
Bob Ezrin Photo: Primary Wave Music

Music News Digest, Jan. 5, 2023


Over the holidays, a new batch of appointees to Order of Canada honours was announced, and the music community was well represented. Named as Officers were Lis Aubut, Jim Corcoran, Eleanor Daley and Bob Ezrin, while those named as Members included Steve Bell, Kevin Blackmore, Wayne Chaulk, Alan Cote, Douglas Dunsmore, Raymond Johnson, Michael Massey, Lorraine Segato, and Mark Sirett. See the full list and brief bios here.

– The Toronto Blues Society has announced that the 26th annual Maple Blues Awards will run Jan. 30 (from 7 pm) at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre. This is a change of venue from Koerner Hall, home of the last 11 awards galas. In a statement, TBS explains that "we have decided to move the awards to a more intimate venue. The relationship between the TBS and RCM/Koerner Hall continues to be strong and enormously valued by both sides." Quisha Wint will host the evening, one featuring performances from Canadian blues stars, all backed by The Maple Blues Band. Tickets can be purchased here.

Industry news

–  Over the holiday period, speculation grew that Justin Bieber intends to sell his music catalogue to the tune of (US) $200M, with the Wall Street Journal citing the Blackstone-backed Hipgnosis Songs Capital as the likely buyer. Confirmation of such an acquisition has not been made known yet. The proposed deal would include Bieber’s shares of his publishing and recorded-music catalogue.

– Sean Vedell, a popular CHAM Radio (Hamilton) personality, died on Dec. 28 at age 60.  He was on-air at the station from 1989-98. Friends and Family are invited to Turner Family Funeral Home, 53 Main St. Dundas, on Sat. Jan 7, from 10 am to noon for a Celebration of Vedell’s Life. The family requests that masks be worn. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory to the Heart and Stroke Foundation or the Canadian Cancer Society – Ovarian Cancer. Condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. Sources: Legacy. com, Nick Krewen, Larry Delaney.

– On Jan. 10 ( 2 pm ET), CMW's Virtual Voices series presents an encore presentation of Show Me The Money, How To Make A Living As A Music Creator, hosted by Rudy Blair. This panel session features Houtan Hodania (SOCAN), Arun Chaturvedi (Songwriters Association of Canada), artist Andrea England (CMRRA), and consultant D. Jae Gold, with topics including performance and mechanical royalties, syncs, neighbouring rights, master royalties, and other revenue streams available to music creators. 

– Last week, The Music Hall in Hamilton hosted the 14th annual JR Digs Acoustic Christmas concert, one that raised a lot of money for 24 different local charities. The show certainly lived up to its billing as one of the city's most entertaining music events. The impressive list of performers featured local and national stars, including The Trews, Tom Wilson, Matt Mays, Luke Bentham (The Dirty Nil), Tim Hicks, Golden Feather, Gary Louris (The Jayhawks), Dave Rave, and members of Dwayne Gretzky, The Arkells, Sum 41, Monster Truck, and more. Massed finale versions of classics by The Band, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, and Teenage Head, closed out by Neil Young's Keep On Rockin' In The Free World, ensured we all left smiling. Congrats to all involved in putting this together.

Artists news

– Veteran Canadian rockers Black Halos make a welcome return to the stage this month with shows in Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, London, and Hamilton, supporting the new album How The Darkness Doubled. Check the itinerary here.

– On Jan. 10, two-time Guinness World Record-setting Toronto rapper Duane “D.O.” Gibson kicks off his annual Black Canadian history school tour, titled Black Music 365. It offers students insight into musical contributions from notable Black Canadian talent, and is taking place in person again after last year’s completely virtual tour. The 2023 tour will also include a week-long residency at the Michael J Fox Theatre in Burnaby, BC, starting on Jan. 16. The trek visits schools in BC and Ontario, closing out in West Hants, NS on May 3.

Gibson also announced the return of his second annual virtual Black 365 Conference on Feb. 1 in support of Black History Month. The conference is expected to draw audiences of students from school classrooms across Canada, where Gibson will rap, motivate, and speak to the contributions of Black Canadians throughout history. Gibson will also release a new music video, Black Music 365, on Feb. 1 and the single via all streaming services on Feb. 3.

– Veteran Toronto rock 'n roller Paul James hosts his Annual Birthday Bash/Fan & Friend Appreciation Night at The Phoenix Concert Theater on Jan. 21. This has been an annual tradition for the past 25 years. Check out James' social media for a password to get you in for free.

– Jazz pianist/composer Noam Lemish plays an album release show at the McLean Performance Studio, York University, Toronto, on Jan. 21. Tix here. The new album, Twelve, features original compositions for a chamber-sized jazz orchestra (12tet), and the performance will feature A-list musicians. Formerly based in Israel and now in Toronto, Lemish is best known for leading or co-leading several celebrated ensembles, and he has assembled an impressive discography since his 2008 debut album Yes And.

 Fans of the indie rock maverick Mac DeMarco know to expect the unexpected. The latest example is news that his next album, Five Easy Hot Dogs, is all-instrumental. It is released digitally and on CD on Jan. 20 (on Royal Mountain Records and Mac’s Record Label), with the vinyl edition to follow on May 12. A press release informs that DeMarco wrote the record on the road between Jan. 15 and March 15 last year, and each track is named after the corresponding city it was written in and appears on the record in chronological order. “The plan was to start driving north and not go home to Los Angeles until I was done with a record,” says DeMarco.

– Mariposa in Concert’s (MIC) popular An Evening of Blues & Gospel Show returns on Feb. 4 with another strong lineup of vocalists and musicians assembled, arranged and directed by Orillia’s own Juno-winning producer, Lance Anderson. Guests include Bobby Dean Blackburn, Matt Weidinger, Thomas Nelson, and Verese Vassell-Bowen. The show will be held at the Orillia Opera House. Tix here.

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