Create A Stir, Vancouver’s new digital arts & culture magazine, spills the sad news that the Vancouver Folk Festival may have hit the wall after 45 years of operation. Gail Johnson has the details that push the event’s board to call for a Feb. 1 general vote on the dissolution with projected annual costs reaching near-impossible high levels. In the same mag, Janet Smith reports in detail on the strong likelihood that the Squamish Constellation Festival may be hitting the brakes. Reportedly costs in 2022 over (pre-pandemic) 2108 were up as much as 40 percent for the 3-day event.
– Indo-Canadian singer, rapper, songwriter and record producer AP Dhillon, Montreal-based electronic music producers Banx & Ranx, Timmins-born Preston Pablo, dance-pop singer Rêve and certified CanCountry superstar Tenille Townes are the latest performers named to appear at the March 13 Juno Awards in Edmonton. They join the previously announced pop star Tate McRae and this year's Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee, Nickelback. Marvel superhero and Kim’s Convenience star Simu Liu is named returning host of the Sunday night show.
– Canadian retail baron Doug Putman (owner of Sunrise Records, David's Tea and numerous other storefront brands) has done what many saw as unimaginable, and that is to bring music retailer HMV UK back from the dead and earn a tidy profit. According to The Telegraph newspaper, sales at Sunshine Records and Entertainment, which owns HMV and smaller chain Fopp, jumped from £90M to £150M in the 12 months to May 2022 and turned a profit of £2M (about C$3.288), the newspaper reports.
- Madonna’s Live Nation-produced 35-city Celebration global tour opens in Vancouver on July 15 and then stops in Toronto on Aug. 13 and Montreal on Aug. 19. The American singer announced her return to the stage on YouTube earlier this week with a cast that featured Judd Apatow, Jack Black, Lil Wayne, Diplo, Bob the Drag Queen, Kate Berlant, Larry Owens, Meg Stalter, Eric Andre and Amy Schumer.
– After raising over $300K with a Fuck Cancer benefit concert in Vancouver that attracted an all-star alumnus of BC R&R talent, retired Prism drummer Rocket Norton (born Garry Wanstall) finds himself again facing terminal cancer. He’s found an experimental treatment on offer, but it’s expensive. Damned expensive. “The first treatment is $11,000.00. Subsequent treatments are $7,000.00 every 3 weeks,” he explains on a GoFundMe donor page. Take a moment and read his plea and, if you can, donate here.
– Canadian Press scribbler David Friend turns up some fascinating and fresh evidence about how social media is impacting the song charts, most recently with The Weeknd’s Die For You, which is back as a Top 10 hit six years after its initial burst of success. But Friend cites others enjoying renewed fame, such as the Vancouver band Mother Mother.
– RBC and the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television have announced the extension of the Music Video Production (MVP) Project until 2025. The program, which launched in 2018, provides funding for emerging Canadian musicians and filmmakers to create and produce music videos. This renewal coincides with round nine of the program, which has awarded grants to 10 artist teams from a variety of musical genres and filmmaking styles. Since its inception, the joint initiative between RBCxMusic and the Prism Prize has awarded 97 grants to emerging artists, supporting the creation of 71 music videos, and surpassed $1M in funding this past July.
– One Horse Blue bass player and vocalist Gord Maxwell has done many things over the years, including 20 years with Ian Tyson’s band. The man may be gone but he left a lifetime of songs. On his passing, Maxwell, shared a few thoughts in a letter that was published in the Vancouver Sun. With his permission, we reprint the same.
“I played bass, sang harmony and recorded 6 albums with Ian Tyson from 1997 to 2017. In those 20 years, we drove many miles all over North America. I learned volumes about the music business, sticking true to your beliefs and how to work your butt off for perfection!
"Ian had many levels. He was an intelligent, well-read, multi-talented, inspired, often quirky man - driven by a work ethic that was off the charts. A self-proclaimed “prickly curmudgeon”, it wasn’t always an easy road, but we saw countless amazing places and met so many great people … and played so many great songs! It was a third of my life that I wouldn’t have given up for anything. Thank you, Ian. And in your own words … ‘Go easy, boss.’”
– Tomorrow (Jan. 20) is the deadline for artist entry applications for NXNE that takes place in Toronto June 13-17. The sell tag for the event is “DISCOVER 250+ Emerging Artists In 20+ Venues…” Ducats and online entry forms here.
– Calgary-based Jesse Murray dips back into a magical era of long-form music with his debut album that has notes reminiscent of diarist Ray Davies, elegant acoustic storyteller Al Stewart–and, yes, the Payola$ brand of stylish punk. Canadian Beats’ Jenna Melanson fills in the detail in this invu, and below, Mermaid’s Song is one of several advance tracks from I did it all for you–Murray’s debut indie Jan. 27 album release. Contact info: Jane Murray Communications 514. 248. 5102 or firstname.lastname@example.org
– Amazon Music Canada has named Nemahsis, Dom Vallie, Madeline Merlo, New West, Elio, and Shreez as artists to watch in 2023. Here’s the reel explaining the list…
– American jazz critic and music historian Ted Gioia loves to ruffle feathers with his weekly newsletter–smartly entitled The Honest Broker. His latest edition paints a gloomy future for vinyl because, he claims, the major record companies have no interest in creating a mass market for the format. In his words: “They hate running factories—which is hard work. So they tried to outsource manufacturing instead of building it themselves. Chronic shortages resulted.
And “they refuse to spend money on R&D, so they stayed with the same vinyl technology from the 1950s. In other words, the record business became the only entertainment industry in the world with no plan for technological innovation. In the year 2023, even bowling alleys, bordellos, and bookies are more tech-savvy than the major record labels.” You can read his blistering observations here.
– Anderson Cooper’s 60 Minutes interview with Rick Rubin. He can’t play an instrument, can’t work a soundboard and doesn’t know much about music–but he knows what he likes, and his success is the stuff of legend.
– The Best Documentaries of 2022: A Year in Review. The excellent POV magazine has published its list, and it's one worth taking note of. Below the trailer from Moonage Daydream, a doc about Bowie that shows as a runner-up.
– Ludwig Van is a free daily newsletter aimed at ‘Serious’ music fans and an understated mission to promote news about opera and classical music originating from Toronto and Montreal. Editor-in-chief Michael Vincent pulls together an admirable, informative and even entertaining year-end edition that includes such unlikely stories as a UK company’s successful quest to build amphitheatres from discarded pianos.
– And staying with classical music, Toronto-born operatic singer Emily D’Angelo, a relatively new DG signing whose debut 2021 album energeia won a slew of notable international recognition–and a Juno (in the Classical solo artist category), takes centre stage at Koerner Hall on Feb. 23.
And fellow DG labelmate, Montréal pianist Bruce Liu made headlines in the classical world in October 2021 after winning the 18th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, making him the first Canadian to do so. He’s tapping the ivories at Place des Arts, Joliette’s Centre culturel Desjardins, and Kingston’s Isabel Bader Centre on April 19/20, 23 and May 16.
– Peter Burnside, owner of Pacemaker Ent., Canada's oldest and most prolific CD reissue label that’s been operating since 1994, is now heading PGB Radio, offering consulting and training for land mobile radio comms. Back to Pacemaker, the latest releases noted on the imprint’s website include collections from the Staccatos/Five Man Electrical Band, David Wiffen, Dixie Rumproast’s “lost” album–produced by Bob Ezrin and mixed by Terry Brown for Jack Richardson’s Nimbus 9 Prod’s.
– Download a free music business handbook featuring lesson content pulled from Berklee Online courses.
– Unidisc has issued a number of April Wine titles on coloured vinyl. Retailers are asking and getting $36 and $40 a pop for Nature of the Beast, Greatest Hits, Stand Baack, Harder Faster, First Glance, The Whole World’s Going Crazy, Power Play and other titles by this successful Canadian band.
But these prices are chump change compared to specialty packages for sale on the Tragically Hip website. Road Apples 30th-anniversary edition remastered on red vinyl lists for $40 with a CD box set of the same for $120 and the vinyl box set for $225. There’s also a Long Time Running super deluxe collector’s edition DVD, Blu-Ray edition for $164.99 that comes packaged with a booklet, tour program and other ephemera.
All of which pale by comparison to the $1,238.32 sticker price on a five Warner Bros. Flaming Lips vinyl set (Heady Nuggs) or the $767 asked for a two-disc Wham compilation pressed in Japan. Scroll other nosebleed prices on the Amazon.ca website.