Music Biz Headlines, June 2, 2022

Tributes pour in for Ronnie Hawkins and Michael Wrycraft, a Stones gig at The El Mocambo (pictured) had a huge impact, and a TV series boosts a Kate Bush classic. Also in the headlines are Lester Smith, Scotia Festival of Music, Hopscotch Fest, Vancouver punks, Railway Club, UMG, TikTok, Bob Dylan, Russian oligarchs, Eminem, Abba, Mavis and Levon, BTS, Billy Bragg, and The Sex Pistols.

Music Biz Headlines, June 2, 2022

By Kerry Doole

Rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins dies at 87

Born in Huntsville, Arkansas, Hawkins was legendary in the ‘50s and ‘60s for his Camel walk and regularly performing sold-out residencies at such Yonge Street clubs. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star 

Rocker Ronnie Hawkins was also a mentor to iconic Canadian musical acts

But when the veteran singer-bandleader – for whom the “big time” was always “just around the corner” – died on Sunday, the entertainment world mourned the loss of a bona fide legend whose greatest legacy was his mentoring of some of Canada’s finest musical stars. – Nicholas Jennings, Globe and Mail

Designer Michael Wrycraft created artful album covers and concert posters

Michael Wrycraft, a Juno-winning graphic designer who created thousands of concert posters and album covers, was a man devoted to music and musicians. A collegial presence at the backstages of Canadian folk fests, he embraced life and people with bear-hugging enthusiasm. A larger-than-life figure with both a combustible temper and a fun-loving demeanour, he was an unsinkable, sparkle-eyed Falstaff. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail


Lester Smith returns to Trickbag with the blues

Lester Smith may live in Ancaster, but his heart resides in the musical triangle of Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. That’s where blues, boogie and old-time country blend together in the alchemic stew that we now call roots music. It’s all there on the 11 original songs Smith wrote for his new album “Another Day in Paradise,” featuring Trickbag. –  Graham Rockingham, Hamilton Spectator

8 new songs you need to hear: Tate McRae, Yves Jarvis, Kanye West and more

Plus, Calvin Harris teams up with Dua Lipa and Young Thug for an early entry for song of the summer. – Staff, Toronto Star

The Scotia Festival of Music plays on

After four decades, the annual event still has lots to offer. Simon Docking, artistic director of the Scotia Festival of Music, can’t really pick what he’s most excited for at this year’s festival, happening from May 29-June 12. – Morgan Mullin, The Coast

New Rolling Stones album Live at the El Mocambo marks Canada’s rock and roll coming of age

On the just-released album Live at the El Mocambo, the Rolling Stones convincingly roar through a setlist that includes It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (but I Like It). Singer Mick Jagger had it wrong, though – It was never only rock and roll. The gig had a huge impact. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail


Hopscotch Festival is bringing Freddie Gibbs to Halifax on July 31

One of the biggest names in modern hip hop will play at The Light House Arts Centre. –  Morgan Mullin, The Coast

In OG Punk, photographer Dina Goldstein documents the untamable spirit of middle-aged Vancouver punks

Old Vancouver punks die, but they do not fade away. “They lived hard lives,” photographer Dina Goldstein with her ongoing project and current exhibition OG Punk, is documenting the survivors and still-thrivers from the city’s punk scene of the late 1970s and 80s. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

Toronto’s venerable movie theatres survived Covid — what comes next?

Cinemas adapted to Covid in different ways — offering live events, online streaming and meal options. – Ryan Uytdewilligen, Toronto Star

Legendary Vancouver music venue relists with asking price reduced for former Railway Club

An iconic live-music venue in Vancouver has returned to the market in another bid to get a new owner on board. The former Railway Club, now Railway Stage & Beer Café, listed again on May 20 with a reduced price of $449,000. A previous offering for the downtown establishment for almost half a million dollars did not land a buyer. – Carlito Pablo, Georgia Straight


Universal assigned Baa1 and BBB long-term credit ratings by Moody's and S&P

It's been eight months since Universal Music Group was listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. On May 31, the world's biggest music rightsholder was assigned its inaugural credit ratings since going public from two of the world's three major rating agencies. UMG has been assigned a first-time Prime-2 short-term credit rating, and a Baa1 long-term credit rating "with stable outlook" by Moody's. – Murray Stassen, MBW


Musicians are sick and tired of labels allegedly gatekeeping releases unless they "go viral" on TikTok

Recently, Halsey made a TikTok that shed light on a conversation that lots of other musicians have been talking about for a while now: TikTok basically runs their lives — and careers. – BuzzFeed

Pop stars made millions from these Russian oligarchs

“Playing for oligarchs and rich people is just fucking gross,” says one musician. “I can’t even believe we did it.” – David Browne & Adam Rawnsley, Rolling Stone


Jamming with Jokerman: how Bob Marley and Bob Dylan’s songs powered hit musicals

It’s not often you get the green light from Bob Dylan to run riot with his songs. But for composer Simon Hale and playwright Conor McPherson, a call from the Old Vic theatre in 2017 was just that: an invitation to rework Dylan’s songbook into a musical. – The Guardian

Eminem releases 20th-anniversary edition of The Eminem Show

The update of the rapper’s 2002 LP comes with previously unreleased tracks, instrumentals, and more. –  Allison Hussey, Pitchfork


Abba Returns to the stage in London. Sort of.

The Swedish superstars — or digital versions of them, at least — performed on Thursday to 3,000 enthusiastic fans with the help of 140 animators, four body doubles and $175 million. – Alex Marshall, NYT









Billy Bragg trends after his lyrics were quoted in Anthony Albanese speech

Billy Bragg started trending on Twitter today after Australia’s new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese quoted one of his lyrics in his first press conference as Prime Minister. – Noise11

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Farm Aid Returns in September, With Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews & Neil Young's Return From Hiatus

Farm Aid will be held in Saratoga Springs, New York, on Sept. 21.

Neil Young's planned performance at Farm Aid is his first announced show since his tour with Crazy Horse announced a "big unplanned break" that includes a number of Canadian dates. - Billboard Canada

Farm Aid is returning to New York this year, and will be held Sept. 21 at Broadview Stage at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York.

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