Music News Digest, Dec. 13, 2017

Making the news today: Gordon Lightfoot donates canoes, Unison's smashing Schmoozefest, new Rock Hall of Fame inductees, Manitoba Music's Bonspiel, Junos launch BC live program, Quincy launches his own Qwest TV channel, Sam's sign lights up, and farewells to Carl Horton and Pat DiNizio.

Music News Digest, Dec. 13, 2017

By FYI Staff

Last week Gordon Lightfoot visited The Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough to donate three of his canoes to the museum’s collection, along with one from his friend and paddling companion Fred Gaskin.

One of the canoes was the subject of his 1981 song “Canary Yellow Canoe” (a previously unreleased track included on the 1999 career retrospective album Songbook). The yellow canoe is scarred from an infamous mishap when Lightfoot and Gaskin paddled the Nahanni River in the 1970s. An avid canoeist, he often took canoe trips in Canada’s Far North. Source: Kawartha Now

– In just three years, the annual Unison Holiday Schmoozefest has staked out its turf as the Toronto music industry's favourite seasonal party. That was confirmed Monday when the first winter storm failed to deter schmoozers from packing the Spice Route on King West in the city. Party MC, Slaight Music's Derrick Ross, proudly announced that over 550 tickets were sold, at $30 a pop, resulting in the Unison Benevolent Fund receiving a healthy boost of much needed holiday cheer. Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene) was the DJ, and handsome Santa Paul Mason was a hit.


Mingling with the industry scenesters was an impressive list of artists. Those we spotted included Kim Stockwood, Kayla Diamond, Andy Maize, Lily Frost, Joan Besen, and The Command Sisters. One fun night.

– Manitoba Music and Manitoba Film & Music have announced plans for the Manitoba Music Rocks Charity Bonspiel. The eighth annual event will take place at the Granite Curling Club in Winnipeg on Feb. 10, and will bring the province's music community together to raise funds and awareness for the Kevin Walters Memorial Fund.

This charity honours the memory of an industry favourite who passed away in 2014 with financial support for promising performers and organizations in music, film, performance and the creative arts. Over 120 curlers rocked last year's event, raising over $4.2K for the Fund. Info here


– The 2018 list of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees was announced today (Dec. 13). It includes Dire Straits, The Moody Blues, The Cars, Bon Jovi, Nina Simone, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The 33rd annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Apr. 14 at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio.

– Applications are now open for the 2018 Junos Experience Music Program. This will inject a total of $25K into the BC music community in the months leading up to Juno celebrations, culminating in awards night on March 25 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

Artists, venues, promoters, and music industry entrepreneurs are encouraged to seek grants of up to $1K each, to present unique musical experiences in BC. Applications close Dec. 31. You can apply here.

–  The Mundial Montreal world music conference and festival has announced a showcase in New York City venue Drom that will feature artists from Canada and beyond. The free show takes place on Jan. 12, and the lineup includes Canadians April Verch, Melisande, Shauit, and Wesli.


– On Dec. 15, Qwest TV will launch globally. Co-founded by music industry giant Quincy Jones, it is the world's first subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platform. The announcement comes just two months following a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in Fall 2017 that raised nearly $170K (US), nearly double the platform's target goal.

Launch date artists include Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Bobby McFerrin, Robert Glasper, Sun Ra, Al Jarreau, Maceo Parker, Chick Corea, Gregory Porter, Macy Gray, Wayne Shorter, George Benson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Pharoah Sanders, Elvin Jones, Milton Nascimento, and many more. New original content is to be added monthly. Subscription info here 


– Now relocated to Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, the famed neon Sam the Record Man signs have now been lit and will remain so until Jan. 3. An official lighting ceremony takes place ‪at 5 pm on Jan. 10.

–  Music BC recently travelled to India’s Bacardi NH7 Weekender music festival, showcasing two BC artists: Bad Pop and Youngblood. The fest,  held in Pune, Dec. 8-10, is one of India's largest music events with an annual attendance over 100K. Artists to have performed in earlier years include Steve Vail, Mogwai, Mark Ronson, The Wailers, and Imogen Heap.

–  Former VJ and broadcaster turned author Kim Clarke Champniss (aka KCC) has created a theatrical monologue based around his recent memoir, Skinheads, Fur Traders and DJs. He has upcoming performances at The Tell (#133 - 401 Richmond) in Toronto on Dec. 15, and Mill's Hardware in Hamilton on Jan. 18.

– Tonight (Dec. 13), Lula Lounge in Toronto hosts "An Evening of Native Jazz - Songbirds & Nightingales of Turtle Island." The show presents three stellar Indigenous vocalists, Andre Menard, Cheri Maracle, and Rosary Spence, backed by an all-star band assembled by George Koller. More info here



Carl Horton, a Hamilton-based pianist, composer, arranger and instructor, on Dec. 9. Age 57 of a heart attack. Horton was the director of Recording Arts Canada, a music production school with campuses in Toronto and Montreal, as well as an instructor in the faculty of music at Hamilton's Mohawk College.

Born in Warsaw, Ind., Horton moved to Hamilton with his family as a youth. A self-taught musician, Horton began his musical career in 1979, performing alongside the likes of Ronnie Hawkins, Ian Thomas and Salome Bey. He performed hundreds of concerts on piano with longtime collaborator, singer Jude Johnson, and accompanied her on nine of her 10 albums. The last show he played on a local stage was Sonny Del-Rio's annual Christmas benefit at The Bay City Music Hall on Dec. 3.


Horton wrote numerous film scores, including Home for Christmas, starring Mickey Rooney, and the award-winning British short Breakfast with Monica. He also scored many television shows for CITY-TV, LIFE, Bravo and CHCH during the 1980s. A musical celebration of Horton's life is being planned for Dec. 13, at 2 p.m., at the First Unitarian Church of Hamilton, 170 Dundurn St.  Source: Hamilton Spectator

Pat DiNizio, the lead singer of The Smithereens, passed away on Dec. 12 at age 62. No cause of death given. The news was announced on his Facebook page Tuesday night. “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Pat DiNizio, lead singer and songwriter of the influential New Jersey rock band, The Smithereens – America’s Band,” the post said.

Formed in Carteret, New Jersey, The Smithereens had a string of hits in the ’80s and ’90s including “Only a Memory,” "Blood and Roses," “A Girl Like You” and “Too Much Passion.” He went on to release a number of solo albums.


DiNizio was one of the first musicians to throw his support behind XM Satellite Radio, becoming host and program director for the XM Radio Unsigned station in 2001. He also had an unsuccessful run for the New Jersey seat of the United States Senate in 2000. Sources: The Wrap,

Buju Banton

Buju Banton


Legendary Jamaican Artist Buju Banton Coming To Toronto On North American Arena Tour

The show will come as part of the reggae artist's first U.S. tour in 13 years. Don Toliver and Snotty Nose Rez Kids have also revealed upcoming Canadian dates.

A legendary Jamaican artist is making a major return to Canada.

Grammy-winning reggae and dancehall musician Buju Banton will perform at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on October 13, for his first Canadian show in over fifteen years.

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