Music News Digest, April 27, 2020

Avril Lavigne (pictured) remakes a track for a good cause, Alanis Morissette offers a Diagnosis, FAI cancels, and Ryan Langdon runs Buck Wild. Also making news are Walk Off the Earth, Craig Cardiff, the Calgary Stampede, Astrocolor, T​aylor Janzen, William Prince, Benny The Butcher, and farewell Harold Reid, Hamilton Bohannon, and Fred the Godson. With video.

Music News Digest, April 27, 2020

By Kerry Doole

In light of the current global covid-19 health crisis, platinum-plated rocker Avril Lavigne has released a new version of the track Warrior from her sixth album Head Above Water, fittingly re-titling it We Are Warriors. The Avril Lavigne Foundation has partnered with Project Hope, a global health organization supporting local health care workers across the globe on the frontlines of the outbreak. All net proceeds from sales and streams of the track and its accompanying video will help relief efforts around the world – including providing PPEs. You can make an additional donation here 

–  Alanis Morissette has released a new single, Diagnosis, taken from her upcoming album, Such Pretty Forks In The Road (release date TBA). The song finds the Canadian star tackling the topic of mental illness (read one writer's take on the tune here). Morissette is still planning a world tour this year, supporting the new record as well as celebrating the 25th anniversary of her breakthrough album Jagged Little Pill. Announced North American summer dates may be in jeopardy given ongoing pandemic concerns. Source: Stereoboard


– The first pandemic-related cancellation of a major music event for 2021 was announced on Friday. Folk Alliance International(FAI) Executive Director Aengus Finnan issued a press release and a video (below) stating that “in addition to suspending events for the remainder of the calendar year, we have determined that the best course of action at this time is to suspend our in-person conference next February 2021. Full refunds will be processed for everyone who has already purchased a 2021 registration, and we will be extending all current membership to the end of the calendar year, at no extra cost. The entire community will be consulted about the best timing for the next edition, once it is safe to be held.” FYI has reached out to Finnan for further comment.


– In times like these, a good chuckle is to be embraced. You'll certainly get that from the just-released video for Ryan Langdon's current single, Buck Wild. The fast-rising Ontario country singer delivers an infectious ode to payday partying, and we suggest you blast it loud.

– Canadian pop-rock band Walk Off the Earth has teamed up with the long-running animated series Pokémon for the release of its latest anthem, Journey Starts Today, which serves as the official theme song for Pokémon Journeys: The Series coming June 12 to Netflix. The full track will be available on all digital streaming platforms on June 12. Here's a trailer for the upcoming season and to hear a sneak preview of Journey Starts Today on the official Pokémon YouTube channel. 

– Juno-nominated singer/songwriter Craig Cardiff’s song To Be Safe, Loved & Home is indeed timely, and a homespun video for it is grabbing attention, with high FB and YouTube viewing totals. Check it out here. Recognizing the songs’ relevance to the situation today, even though it was written and originally released several years ago, Cardiff asked his fans to share videos of themselves acting out the signs he gave them and body positions that evoke human symbols of chorus lyrics to be “Safe”, “Loved” and “Home”.  For each submission, his label True North Records is contributing $50 to the Unison Benevolent Fund.


– To nobody's surprise, this year's Calgary Stampede, initially set to run July 3-12, has been cancelled. Last year's event featured Feist, Death Cab for Cutie, and T-Pain as musical headliners. Country stars Maren Morris and Blake Shelton were on this year's lineup.

– Victoria, BC-based electronica group Astrocolor has released a new single, Gold, the third from the forthcoming album, Hue, set for release May 8 via Entertainment One. The song features Victoria vocalist Adrian Chalifour


– 20-year-old Winnipeg singer/songwriter ​Taylor Janzen has put out a new single, Devotion (Arts & Crafts in Canada + Glassnote Music.) The track was produced by Luke Niccoli (Miya Folick, Joji) and mixed by Neal Avron (Brandi Carlile, Bleachers, Twenty One Pilots).

– Some of the Six Shooter Records roster are busy doing the live streaming thing. Whitehorse is featured on Canada’s Great Kitchen Party - Home Edition, FB Live, April 29 (8 pm),  and WilliamPrince, fresh from a standout slot on the Stronger Together bill, does a FB Live show on May 3 (noon CT) and an American Songwriter FB live-stream, on May 17 (noon, CT).

–  Entertainment One (eOne) and Benny The Butcher have announced a new global label deal with Benny’s Black Soprano Family (BSF) imprint and unveiled plans to release a slate of new music in 2020 for its roster.  Under this new deal, BSF artists, Heem & Rick Hyde, will release new albums this later this year, preceded by the single, Da Mob, which features Benny, Heem & Rick Hyde. 


Harold Reid, a founding member of the country and gospel group The Statler Brothers, died on April 24 following a long battle with kidney failure. He was 80.

The baritone singer served as the group’s foundation for more than four decades.

The foursome changed its name from The Kingsmen to The Statler Brothers around 1963 to avoid confusion with multiple acts using the same moniker. Only two of The Statler Brothers were actual siblings: Reid and younger brother Don Reid (now 74). Phil Balsley and Lew DeWitt rounded out the quartet. Due to illness, DeWitt was replaced by Jimmy Fortune in 1982. DeWitt passed away in 1990.


The Statler Brothers, part of Johnny Cash’s touring cast for over eight years beginning in 1964, scored their debut hit in 1966 with Flowers on the Wall which climbed to No. 2. It was their first of 66 Hot Country Songs appearances and was also the group’s biggest crossover hit, peaking at No. 4 on the all-genre Hot 100.

Between 1965 and 1989, The Statler Brothers mounted a span of hits which encompassed 33 top 10s, including four No. 1s. From 1972 to 1977, they earned six consecutive CMA Vocal Group of the Year trophies and went on to win that award three additional times. 

During their run, The Statler Brothers won the group of the year trophy nine times from the Country Music Association and entered the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008. The quartet officially retired from touring in 2002.

Read a recap of The Statler Brothers’ 20 biggest hits on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart here. Sources: Billboard, Rolling Stone

Hamilton Frederick Bohannon, an American percussionist, bandleader, songwriter and record producer, died on April 24, age 78. No cause of death has been announced.

The drummer backed Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye before writing a string of much-sampled disco hits.


Bohannon’s first career break came from being hired by Stevie Wonder as his live drummer and this brought him to the attention of Motown Records, who later employed him as a bandleader. His group Bohannon & The Motown Sound backed numerous label stars on tour, including Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops, the Temptations, and Diana Ross and the Supremes.

After Motown moved to Los Angeles, he stayed in Detroit and started a solo career, beginning with 1973 album Stop & Go, and he eventually released 19 studio albums by the end of the 1980s. He struggled to cross over in the US pop market – only one of his singles reached the Top 100 – but he became a mainstay in the disco boom of the mid-1970s onwards with tracks like Let’s Start the Dance.

He had three Top 40 hits in the UK: South African Man, Foot Stompin’ Music and Disco Stomp, the latter reaching No 6 in 1975.

Bohannon became a cult favourite among his fellow musicians, with Tom Tom Club respectfully chanting his name over and over in their hit Genius of Love; artists including Mary J Blige, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake and Snoop Dogg have all sampled his tracks. He is seen as helping to pioneer the “four-four” beat that powered disco and later house and techno, and the octave-jumping groove of Me and the Gang became the core of Paul Johnson’s house hit Get Get Down, a UK No 5 hit in 1999. Source: The Guardian

Fred the Godson, a US rapper, has died at the age of 35 after contracting coronavirus earlier this month.

Fred revealed his diagnosis on April 6, asking his followers to “keep me in y’all prayers.” 

The South Bronx rapper first broke out with the 2010 mixtape Armageddon. He was a member of XXL’s 2011 Freshman Class alongside the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller, Lil B, Meek Mill, Big K.R.I.T. and YG.

His other releases included the mixtape City of God in 2011, followed by Gordo in 2017, God Level in 2019 and Training Day and Payback earlier this year. Source: The Wrap

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