Music Biz Headlines, Dec. 13, 2021

After a 50-year career, Bruce Cockburn is still going strong, Drake’s Grammy snub reflects the times, and Colter Wall turns down a big name. Others in the headlines include Andy Kim, the Beatles, Jason Blaine, Neil Young, ARC Ensemble, UMG, Michael Nesmith, Thundercat, Geoffrey Himes, Vicente Fernández, and Slim 400.

Music Biz Headlines, Dec. 13, 2021

By Kerry Doole


Five highlights from Andy Kim’s Christmas Show at Toronto’s Massey Hall

We laughed. We cried. We took the Stairway to Heaven with Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson. On Wednesday at Toronto’s recently reopened Massey Hall, Sugar, Sugar singer Andy Kim hosted his 17th annual star-studded Christmas show. Midway through the three-hour extravaganza, the city’s Mayor, John Tory, surprised Kim by presenting him with the key to the city, causing the 75-year-old pop star to break down in tears. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

This Canadian musician turned down a guest spot on 'The Joe Rogan Experience'

Colter Wall isn't a major name in the music industry, however, Joe Rogan made it clear, he's a huge fan of the Western Canadian's work, but when he invited him on the show, he was told Colter couldn’t do it as he was busy working as ranch hand. – Alex Passa, The Things


Toronto’s best music 2021: Luna Li’s unexpected path to breakout success

After the pandemic derailed her big plans, the Toronto singer/songwriter blew up from her bedroom. – Richard Trapunski, NOW

Bruce Cockburn celebrates 50 years of songwriting at Freight Salvage

The singer-songwriter spent many a lockdown day inside, angrily composing new quasi-protest songs like Orders and Us All. He has now amassed music enough for a full album, which will follow last year’s Greatest Hits (1970-2020) and 2019’s all-instrumental experiment Crowing Ignites. His seasonal Christmas set from 1993 is also resurfacing this month. – Tom Lanham, San Francisco Examiner

Drake’s Grammys snub reflects the increasing irrelevance of TV awards shows in a social-media world

It’s perhaps easy to see Drake's move as one made in a snit – snubbed in the major categories, the ego-wounded Toronto-bred rapper may have turned down his genre-specific nods in protest. In the bigger picture, Drake’s defiant gesture – along with similar actions by other major artists like the Weeknd – represents a paradigm shift in the music industry. The tail now wags the dog, and the gatekeepers have lost the keys to the castle. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

Neil Young breaks down 'Barn,' track-by-track

Young has always sought to perfectly capture a moment in time; a sound, a feeling. With his new album, Barn, he's captured all of that, plus one: a place. But who better to explain than Neil himself — who joins to take us through Barn track by track. – NPR


The ARC Ensemble brings forgotten composers back from the musical dead

By their names shall ye probably not know them: Walter Braunfels, Franz Reizenstein, Robert Kahn, Mikhail Gnessin. The list goes on. These are the composers time tried to forget and likely would have done, were it not for the work of such artists as Simon Wynberg and his fellow members of the ARC Ensemble. – William Littler, Toronto Star

Jean-Paul De Roover releases 10 years worth of holiday collaborations to benefit food banks

The Thunder Bay singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has released a new album, Songs for the Holidays, that captures the generous, giving spirit of the season in more ways than one; it features recordings of treasured Christmas songs made with a host of musical friends from the Thunder Bay scene, and it raises money for a good cause. – Bev Kreller, Roots Music Canada

The top 10 music moments of a tumultuous 2021

From the Weeknd’s Grammys boycott to a blockbuster album release from Adele, Brad Wheeler looks back at the musical highlights of the year that was. – Globe and Mail

Jason Blaine excited for Home For The Holidays Dec. 19 at Festival Hall in Pembroke

Country star and Upper Ottawa Valley native Jason Blaine is heading over the border and through the woods, returning home to Pembroke for a spectacular Christmas show at Festival Hall Centre for the Arts on Dec. 19, just in time for the big day. – Anthony Dixon, Pembroke Observer



Universal Music Group and Genies announce global partnership to develop avatars and wearable NFTs

UMG and leading avatar technology company Genies have announced a global partnership to develop avatars and digital wearables for UMG’s artist roster, building on the companies’ early collaborations to bring recording artists into the metaverse. – Jem Aswad, Variety

Monkees’ manager on Michael Nesmith’s final months: ‘He died knowing they were beloved'

Andrew Sandoval talks about how the drive to go out and say thank you to the fans on one last tour revivified Nesmith this fall. – Chris Willman, Variety


The world owes Yoko an apology! 10 things we learned from The Beatles: Get Back

Peter Jackson’s eight-hour documentary on the Fab Four reveals Ringo is an amazing drummer, McCartney was a joy and their entourage were coolest of all. – Andy Welch, The Guardian

Thundercat enters the spotlight: How the behind-the-scenes jazz virtuoso ascended to pop stardom

In the somewhat obscure world of jazz-fusion music, Thundercat is a towering figure. Behind the scenes — as a session musician for artists like Snoop Dogg and Erykah Badu, and one of the creative architects behind Kendrick Lamar’s seminal album “To Pimp a Butterfly” — Thundercat has also left a significant mark on contemporary hip hop and R&B. – Richie Assaly, Toronto Star

Geoffrey Himes and the Nashville Scene situation: Which side are you on?

Looking at the fairness of the publication’s snap decision to axe the longtime Country Music Critics’ Poll. – Don McLeese, RockandRoll Globe

Guillermina Esmoris created a resin for musical instruments and now exports to more than 20 countries

An entrepreneur from Bahía Blanca created a resin for musical instruments and, with the help and advice of the National State through the Ministry of Productive Development and the Argentine Foreign Investment and Trade Agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, today she exports her products to different parts of the world. – TodayIn24

Vicente Fernández dies at 81. The cowboy crooner was known as El Rey, the king of Mexican ranchera music

Fernández started out singing for tips on the streets of Guadalajara, a cradle of mariachi music, and rose to become one of Mexico’s most popular musicians, recording dozens of albums that sold an estimated 50 million copies. He died Sunday, four months after suffering a fall at his home, according to a post on his Instagram page. –Washington Post

The top 10 TV series of 2021 dazzle with quality, originality and heft

Amid the comfort TV that served as a pandemic distraction and the live sports and news events that were a communal viewing experience, these 10 shows mattered. – John Doyle, Globe and Mail

Rapper Slim 400 reportedly shot and killed in Inglewood at age 33

Multiple reports have identified a person shot and killed last week in Inglewood as rapper Slim 400. According to TMZ, the shooting victim was Slim 400, the 33-year-old rapper born in Germany and raised in Compton. Slim 400 was known for songs such as “Goapele,” featuring YG, and “Piru,” featuring YG and Redrum 187. – Christi Carras,  LA Times


13 albums that revisit (and redefine!) holiday classics

Fresh seasonal releases from Kelly Clarkson, Bryson Tiller, Nat King Cole and Pistol Annies span genres and generations. – New York Times

How Olivia Rodrigo went from Disney princess to pop queen: ‘I’ve only ever seen myself as a songwriter’

“I remember the first time an article said, ‘Olivia Rodrigo is the next big pop star’ — I was like, There are so many things that go along with ‘pop star’ that I never thought I’d be.” She laughs. “But I’ll take it.” – Mikael Wood, LA Times 

Vanessa Heins


Music News

Alexisonfire Are Releasing a Live Album from Their Hometown Born & Raised Festival

The St. Catharines, Ontario band are bringing the festival back this summer, and they'll release LIVE Born & Raised 2022, St Catharines ON just in time for fans to hear it first.

After a two year hiatus, Alexisonfire are resurrecting their hometown festival Born & Raised on July 5 and 6 at Montebello Park in St. Catharines, Ontario. Just in time, they're releasing a live album from the last time they held the festival, in 2022.

The album, LIVE Born & Raised 2022, St Catharines ON, captures their career-spanning set from the inaugural edition of the festival. In front of their hometown fans, they played songs from throughout their more-than-two-decades long career.

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