Music Biz Headlines, Dec. 13, 2017

In today's wrap, Sheryl Crow takes aim at country artists afraid to favour gun control, and Janelle Monae unveils her first art exhibit. Also featured are Stevie Wonder, The National, Kesha and Macklemore, R. Harlan Smith, Christmas songs, Neil Young and David Bowie.

Music Biz Headlines, Dec. 13, 2017

By Kerry Doole

Stevie Wonder opens up 'Talking Book' and 'Innervisions' at holiday benefit concert

The singer had some altruistic reasons for performing his albums “Talking Book” and “Innervisions” from beginning to end at Staples Center  – Mikael Wood, LA Times

Tracy Bonham: My five favourite Nineties songs

The US singer-songwriter looks back at classics by the Pixies, Liz Phair and more – Rolling Stone

Sheryl Crow criticizes country stars for not 'taking a stand' on gun control

Crow, who is releasing a song dedicated to Newtown victims, says country musicians are afraid of speaking about gun laws and losing their audience – Lois Beckett, The Guardian

The enduring high note of Handel’s Messiah returning in dual Toronto productions

The instant-classic composition — getting its usual seasonal productions from both the TSO and Tafelmusik – offers a grand story of how the world makes sense — John Terauds, Toronto Star


Janelle Monae tackles surveillance and conformity in first art exhibit

The singer, songwriter and actress said she wanted to explore the "weaponization of technology" in her Refinery29 piece  – Sandy Cohen, AP

The National might sound dark and political, but their Sony Centre show was full of joy

The US band's singer Matt Berninger dedicated a song to the newly crowned MLS Cup champions Toronto FC – Max Mertens, NOW

Indies feel pushed out of vinyl boom as 'dad rock' sells in record numbers

Small labels report lengthy production delays as big stars monopolise Europe’s two main pressing plants – Zoe Wood, The Guardian

My Ten Best Albums of 2017

The year was mostly about figuring out how to balance a fear of the future with continued existence in the present. These albums provided a soundtrack for that process – Amanda Petrusich, New Yorker

Kesha and Macklemore announce joint tour for summer 2018

The Adventures of Kesha and Macklemore kicks off June 6 in Phoenix and includes Canadian dates  – Billboard

 Country star trades his guitar for a pen to write autobiography

A legion of musicians he has inspired over decades will come together for an open-mike jam session on Thursday at the Yellowhead Chateau Nova Hotel when R. Harlan Smith's book about his life, Hitch Your Wagon to a Star, will be released – Nick Lees, Edmonton Journal

Christmas songs that sleigh me

As we're deep into the holiday season, you can't help but hear the jingle-jangle Christmas music that is played endlessly at every store and mall in America from Thanksgiving to New Year’s  – Easy Ed, No Depression


How TV music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas makes unknown artists mainstream on TV shows

Before Patsavas, music supervisor for The O.C., featured the Killers on the show, they were just another up-and-coming band – q- CBC

Music Reviews: Kevin Breit, Diablo Swing Orchestra, and Redi Hasa and Maria Mazzotta

A look at some left of centre new releases worthy of your attention –  Stuart Derdeyn, Vancouver Sun

Neil Young and David Bowie: two men, two docs, same resilient authenticity

Neil Young: Home Town and David Bowie: The Last Five Years show us two artists who stayed true to themselves  – Johanna Schneller, Toronto Star




The Billboard Canada FYI Bulletin: Beyoncé Country Hit A Win For Canadian Songwriters

Also in this week's roundup of industry news: Kayla Diamond launches her own boutique imprint, SOCAN names an ombudsman, and time's running out for noms for this year's Rosalie Award honouring trailblazing women in broadcasting.

Beyoncé becomes the first Black woman to top Billboard’s Country Songs chart with “Texas Hold ‘Em” and it has gone to No. 1 on iTunes in 14 different countries and counting. There are some surprising connections. The song is co-written and co-produced by Ontario-born writer/producer Nathan Ferraro, whose previous collaborations include working with Lady Gaga, Carly Rae Jepsen, Bear Mountain, RALPH, Shawn Hook, Alyssa Reid, Jessie Reyez, Lowell and Tyler Shaw.

In fact, the song has deep Canadian origins. Two other Canadian songwriters participated in this runaway hit: Megan Bülow (who records and performs as bülow) as and Elizabeth "Lowell" Boland (a.k.a. Lowell), with Ferraro co-producing the track with Killah B and Beyoncé.

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