Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 20, 2020

Pharrell Williams (pictured) gets happy designing condos, Celine Dion's mother passes, and Tommy Banks is honoured by the SJO. Others in the headlines include Neil Peart, a Grammys scandal, Tebey, Chilly Gonzales, Laurie Anderson, Lincoln Center, Halsey, T. Rex, Los Lobos, and Eminem.

Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 20, 2020

By Kerry Doole

Rush’s Neil Peart was revered as one of the world’s best drummers

Neil Peart was not like most drummers. He played his instrument with virtuosity and athleticism, pushing himself to the outermost limits of his creativity and ability with distinctive fills and complex solos that helped make Rush such a formidable rock band. — Nicholas Jennings, The Globe and Mail 

Review: BadBadNotGood's Matthew Tavares and Leland Whitty reunited at Burdock

Tavares has left the band, but he's got a collaborative album with saxophonist Whitty on its way – and they played a fully improvised jazz set at Piano Fest to tease it. — Richard Trapunski, NOW

Céline Dion’s beloved mother passes away

Thérèse Tanguay Dion, Céline Dion’s mother, passed away peacefully on Friday at the age of 92. Thérèse Dion was not only known for being Céline’s mom, but also for her charitable work.  — Phil Carpenter, Global News 


Pharrell Williams’ first condo design coming to Toronto

The music man who made the world “clap along” with his mega-hit “Happy” six years ago is bringing to one of Toronto’s most dynamic neighbourhoods a condominium development styled with a “calming energy.” —  Carola Vyhnak, The Toronto Star

Country, pop singer-songwriter Tebey dishes on differences before sold-out Festival Place show

You’d think that a songwriter of Tebey’s stature would want to skip out on winter touring. Wrong. While his skills as a songsmith are still high in demand, Tebey himself is much more interested in developing his own following as a performer. — Tom Murray, Edmonton Journal

Tribute to Tommy: SJO concert honours Canadian jazz icon

The life and legacy of jazz legend and Canadian senator Tommy Banks was honoured in a talk and SJO concert on the weekend. — Matt Olson,  The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix 

For Chilly Gonzales, it's not the instrument that's interesting

For many musicians, a chosen instrument becomes tantamount to identity — a permanent preface to their name. But to Chilly Gonzales — a lifelong piano player who resists the appellation of “pianist” — the instrument is merely a vessel. — Carly Lewis, The Globe and Mal

Toronto label opens its studio for pay-what-you-can recording sessions

With affordable recording spaces disappearing, Telephone Explosion Records is offering up Studio Z on a name-your-price basis – just bring your own engineer. — Jesse Locke, NOW


Laurie Anderson flies visitors To The Moon with VR installation at Royal Ontario Museum

The multidisciplinary artist Laurie Anderson visited the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto last week and held a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite in her hands. Anderson has been thinking a lot about space rocks and ticking time these days.—  Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail 

Review: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Celebrating its 50th anniversary year, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center recently presented an all-French program in the continuing Calgary Pro Musica Society series at the University of Calgary’s Rozsa Centre. — Kenneth DeLong, Calgary Herald

Pianist’s concentration and skill were so impressive, he barely seemed human

Young French pianist Lucas Debargue’s spectacular Thursday-night recital at Koerner Hall can only be described as a celebration of moreness, a celebration of the human will. — John Terauds, The Toronto Star

Halsey adds fuel to the argument pop's come a long way with the unflinching and confessional Manic

The ultimate power of Manic is the way that Halsey advances the argument that these are fascinating times for pop music. More than at any point in history, inner torment and raw emotion trump sugar-barbed hooks and radio-ready choruses. — Mike Usinger, The Georgia Straight  


Grammy shocker: Deborah Dugan ouster was a ‘coup,’  insiders say

As the music industry reeled in the wake of Deborah Dugan’s sudden removal from her post as president/CEO of the Recording Academy on Thursday — a mere five months after she’d taken charge, and just ten days before the Grammy Awards — even insiders were stunned by the abruptness of the move and perplexed by the purported reasons for it. — Jem Aswad, Variety


Top of the flops: is streaming rendering the charts obsolete?

Record companies might disagree, but exclusives, eligibility algorithms, bundling and ‘streaming farms’ are threatening to ruin the Top 40. — Eamon Forde, The Guardian

How is a Yemeni school using music to help children in wartime?

A school in the southwest of Yemen is implementing music lessons, in the hope of easing the stress of children living within the community. Around four years ago, Al Nawras school in Taez was forced to close due to the country’s ongoing war intensifying. Once reopened, the teachers then decided to make music lessons a main part of the curriculum. — Euronews


The timeless glam perfection of T. Rex: Why Marc Bolan still casts a spell

The new Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees have been a guiding spirit for cosmic dancers from Prince to Harry Styles. — Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone

Los Lobos sings out for homeless San Diego youths

The fabled band from East L.A. performed a Saturday benefit concert at Speckels Theatre for the San Diego charity Doors of Change. The org since 2001 has raised nearly $4.5M to help homeless and at-risk San Diego youth. — George Varga, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Eminem drops surprise album, calls for changes to gun laws in new music video

Rapper Eminem once again dropped a surprise album, releasing Music to Be Murdered By on Friday – along with a video that calls for changes to gun laws. The follow-up to 2018’s Kamikaze – also released without warning – was announced on Twitter just after midnight. — AP

Big Boi

Big Boi


CNE Bandshell Gets Big Boi, Sloan, Big Wreck And More For Throwback Summer Concerts

The headliners tie together the Toronto waterfront series' '90s and 2000s revival theme, while contemporary acts like MacKenzie Porter, Ruby Waters, Tynomi Banks and more will keep things current.

Toronto's CNE Bandshell concert series is leaning into big nostalgia this summer, with major '90s and 2000s acts headlining the throwback-themed lineup.

OutKast rapper Big Boi, Canadian-American rock band Big Wreck, and east coasters Sloan are leading the summer music programming at the Canadian National Exhibition, a major entertainment fair that takes over the Exhibition Place grounds every August.

keep readingShow less