By David Farrell
CMW kicks off tomorrow at 9:45 a.m. with Canadian Heritage topper Steven Guilbeault keynoting, followed by an executive suite of prognosticators whose focus is about what is on the road ahead for Canada’s music industry, and how progress is being made abroad. From 11 to noon a panel discusses the dismal state of live and the upside to drive-in and streamed living room shows.
Same time, Ian Montone, American manager to Vampire Weekend, Jack White, Danger Mouse and others, kicks the ball around with Variety music editor Jem Aswad in a Q&A about what is expected from a talent advocate in today’s world.
Other discussions in the day include the role Music directors (conductors/arrangers) play in smartening up superstar tracks, a Global Promoter Super Session, a Meet the Managers powwow, A Fireside Chat with American musician, songwriter, record and film producer Dallas Austin, a stirring discussion about Box office safety protocols and vaccine passports, How to kick-start new talent careers, Candid conversations needed to overcome racial inequality in the music biz, a session highlighting Ways you can contribute and take action to promote inclusivity and belonging, a TikTok masterclass, a Keynote with AEG global touring exec VP Debra Rathwell, Merck Mercuriadis hosts conversations with clients’ Nile Rodgers and Timbaland, plus lots more. Full details about the four-day conference and details about here.
– News that The Tragically Hip is to perform with Feist on the Juno Awards’ June 6 CBC-telecast and stream has made headlines because it’s the first time the band members have regrouped for a live show since the death of frontman Gord Downie in 2017. With the return of Jake Gold as manager of the group last year, the band’s worth has measurably increased as Gold renegotiated and sought new revenue opportunities to expand the Hip’s already considerable annual royalty incomes from music, merch and branding deals with Stoney Ridge winery and Up Cannabis. With the Juno performance, it's fair to wonder if the Hip is testing the waters to see if a sans Downie reunion tour is in the cards.
Meantime, the Hip is also set to receive the 2021 Humanitarian Award (presented by Music Canada) at the annual Canadian music shindig. The trophy is being handed to the remaining four members by Music Hall of Famers, Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee.
– Amazon Music, Nickelback, Eleanor McCain, The Tragically Hip, and the Jim Beam-sponsored Indie Awards have rallied in support of a $1M charitable drive to replenish Unison’s battered support fund to provide emergency assistance to creators and music biz practitioners who have found themselves in desperate need.
Since the start of the pandemic, The Unison Fund, established in 2011 and entirely reliant on donations, has dispersed $2.3M to 2,200 people, in addition to offering free consultations for those in need of professional crisis intervention and financial counseling. Donations here, and more about Unison here.
– Toronto film director Peter Guzdapaints a cinéma vérité backdrop to Corey Hart’s Morning Sun, an inspirational new song. It’s a panoramic storyline that convincingly casts Alan Frew as a hardluck tunesmith playing to a mostly empty house in an unfussy working man’s tavern, shot in Little Italy’s Hard Luck tavern last month.
On the cusp of turning 60, the Montreal-born singer has lived a colourful and comfortable life that has spanned continents and seen his life evolve from a frenzied global pop star to a reflective father and husband who has never surrendered his desire to burnish his creative desires. In an e-mail, he told me a few days ago that Morning Sun “is one of the most meaningful songs I’ve ever written” and that, from him, is high praise.
Guzda directed Dreaming Time Again, a joyous and colourful video that mixes action shots of Hart and bandmates in the studio alongside street footage in Nassau near where he lives. Photo credit: John Wagner.
– Digital music distributor TuneCorehas named Dan Rutman as Director, US & Canada. Acquired by Paris-based Believe (Digital) in 2015, TuneCore has reportedly paid out over $2B to artists since its launch in ’05. Rutman is also owner of Solitaire Recordings which counts 14 acts on its roster, including Toronto’s Little Kid and Common Holly from Montreal.
– Calgary’s Booze Can owner Greg Smith organized a Blues Can's Blues-A-Thon Fundraiser & On-Line Auction on the weekend. Musicians donated time to the event’s virtual fest, and the owner is hoping fans will donate some cash to offset his losses, and bring some pressure on the government officials. “We need more help than the politicians are willing to give us in order to make sure we are here when the pandemic restrictions are finally lifted, so please tune in and/or donate if you can,” he posted on the club’s website.
– Tulsa is now home to a three-story Bob Dylan Centerthat houses more than 100K items that include photos, handwritten lyrics, film performances, and recordings.
– Worth a listen is Florida R&B singer Delta Haints wailing up a storm on The Doors’ Cars Hiss by My Window, originally released as a blues shuffle on the band’s album, LA Woman.
– Media heir Lachlan Murdoch just made a huge splash Down Under, buying a boat shed on the coast of Australia for about US$29.8M. The half-acre property includes two boat docks, four moorings and a swimming pool on 131 feet of waterfront on Point Piper, a Sydney suburb known for its deep water.