Music News Digest, Dec. 17, 2020
Gord Bamford (pictured) hosts a star-studded holiday special, Unison’s fundraising live-stream is on Friday, and Justin Bieber partners with a choir of London medical staff for a charity single. Also in the news are the 2020 Saskatchewan Music Awards, Mariposa, John Prine, Barenaked Ladies, Andrea Ramolo, Matt Mays, RSDC Unsigned, BIPOC Fest, ArtsCan Circle, David Bowie, and farewell Don Zimmermann.
By Kerry Doole
Anthem Entertainment and award-winning country artist Gord Bamford have announced Real Country Livin’ Christmas Special: Gord Bamford and Friends – a one-night-only 60-minute live-stream holiday broadcast. Hosted by Stingray’s Paul McGuire, the star-studded special will also air across Stingray’s 19 New Country/Real Country/KIXX Country radio stations nationwide on Dec. 19, 20, 24 and 25. On Dec. 23 at 8 pm ET, fans can join Bamford and special guests Corb Lund, Eric Ethridge, Gowan, Kalsey Kulyk, Meghan Patrick, Stuck On Planet Earth, Tenille Townes, and Terri Clark for the live-stream concert.
– A reminder that one of the holiday season's most important fundraising shows is on this evening (Dec. 17). In past years, the favourite party of Toronto music biz types, the Unison Benevolent Fund's holiday show is a live-stream event this year, with all funds going to members of the Canadian entertainment industry who are in need in these anxious times. The A-list lineup of Canadian talent includes Iskwe + Tom Wilson, Jim Cuddy, July Talk, Matthew Good, members of Mother Mother, Neon Dreams, Ruth B., Sam Roberts Band, Sarah Harmer, Scott Helman, Tim Hicks, The Glorious Sons, Allydice, Classified, and Tom Jackson. Tix here
– Justin Bieber has teamed up with a choir of London medical staff to record a special charity Christmas single, a new version of Bieber's Holy, in a bid to top the Christmas chart. The choir, made up of nurses, doctors and other health care staff working in the British capital’s Lewisham and Greenwich public health service, recorded their vocals at London’s famous Abbey Road Studios. Profits from the collaboration will go to National Health Service charities. The choir gained fame when it vied with Bieber in 2015 for the Christmas No. 1 song. Bieber urged his millions of fans on Twitter to support the choir, not him, and it eventually won the top spot on the singles chart. The star then travelled to London and presented them with their charity award.
Bieber stated that “It’s great to be reunited with the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir, as we share a fun bit of U.K. chart history together. Especially in these difficult times, I’m humbled to team up with them for a charity single that will benefit NHS workers on the frontlines of this pandemic and pay tribute to their unbelievable dedication.” Source: AP
– SaskMusic recently announced the nominees of the 2020 Saskatchewan Music Awards, via a streamed event. The awards celebrate the achievements of Saskatchewan music industry members over the past year., and will take place in a streaming format on Jan. 24, 2021, via SaskMusic’s social media pages. Performers will be announced at a later date. One award, for Album of the Year, is determined by public vote. Multiple nominees this year include The Hunter Brothers, Tenille Arts, W#PONS, velours, The Garrys, and Too Soon Monsoon. The awards are being held in conjunction with the Very Prairie Music Summit. See a full list of nominees here.
– Earlier this week, the Mariposa Folk Festival released a special documentary video to honour the life and career of John Prine, legendary songwriter and winner of the 2020 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The video includes compelling footage of Prine, and some special appearances from his legion of friends, including Birds of Chicago. View it on the Mariposa website.
– In other John Prine news, posthumously he has been named Artist Of The Year at the recent Americana Music Awards. Female supergroup The Highwomen was the big winner on the night. More info and winners list here.
– Matt Mays has put out a video for the song Talking to The Sky, from his latest album Dog City. The clip is a collaboration between Mays and his friends Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis of July Talk, who also contributed vocals to the project.
– Record Store Day Canada and Microforum Vinyl Record Pressing have announced Tafari Anthony as the winner of the 2020 RSDC Unsigned Competition. Anthony, a Toronto-based artist, will receive a complimentary vinyl package from Microforum. In its second year, the #RSDUnsigned competition gives one unsigned artist the opportunity to get their music pressed onto 300 vinyl records for free by sending in a video of one of their original songs. This year’s runners-up were Mikalyn from Guelph and Cory Hotline from Toronto.
– Ontario Creates has announced that From Page to Screen 2021 will be an all-virtual event, set for March 2. It has been created to promote the adaptation of Canadian fiction, non-fiction and children’s literature published by Ontario publishers to the big and small screens. It will provide a forum for Canadian film and television, and interactive digital companies to meet with the publishers in one-on-one scheduled meetings. The deadline for applications is Jan. 15. From Page to Screen is open to qualified, Ontario-based companies. Info on guidelines here.
– BIPOC Fest, Canada’s first music festival with an all-Black, Indigenous, and POC line up, has been announced. The performances from 20 artists will be streamed on YouTube Live on Dec. 19 and 20 from 7-9:30 pm EST. Ticket proceeds go directly to performers, collectives, and VIBE Arts, a charitable arts organization servicing marginalized youth in Toronto. Featured talent includes Natasha Fisher, Nicole Chambers, Peach Luffe, Tremayne, and Lane Webber. Tickets here.
– The much-admired ArtsCan Circle charity has created an online platform, #ArtsCanConnects, dedicated to connecting Artists to Northern Indigenous and Inuit Youth because of the Pandemic. The org asked 17 artists to record a 30-minute #ArtsCanConnects workshop video available to watch on YouTube. The response was impressive, with Buffy Sainte-Marie, Susan Algurkark, Leela Gilday, Nelson Tagoona, Mark Brown, Twin Flames and other artists contributing. ArtsCan Circle facilitates virtual workshops with classrooms in the Far North. In the New Year, it introduces a Youth Mentorship Online Program and a series of Recording Workshops led by a local community artist in the James Bay area.
– A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day! is a star-studded live-stream concert set for Jan. 8, from6 pm PT, and hosted by Mike Garson, David Bowie’s longest-standing band member. The stream brings together artists who worked with Bowie or were deeply influenced by him and his work, for a celebration on what would have been his birthday and weekend of the fifth anniversary of his passing. Just added to the lineup are Duran Duran, Adam Lambert, YUNGBLUD, Andra Day, Ian Hunter, Anna Calvi and more, plus additional Bowie alumni, including Peter Frampton, David Sanborn and Rick Wakeman.
A Bowie Celebration will donate $2 per ticket purchase to the Save the Children organization, a charity important to Bowie and the beneficiary of funds raised from his 50th Birthday Concert held in 1997 at a sold-out Madison Square Garden. Tix here.
– Barenaked Ladies present their new holiday variety show online tomorrow (Dec. 18), at 9 pm EST. Expect sketch comedy written by the band, plus a few special surprises and performances. Tix here.
– Toronto singer/songwriter Andrea Ramolo has a live-stream performance set for Dec. 18 at 7:30 pm, from the Aeolian Hall. Tix here.
Don Zimmermann, former Capitol/EMI President/COO, died on Dec. 11, age 85. He had been battling a respiratory infection.
Zimmermann led Capitol Records led from some lean years into a golden era of success in the '70s and '80s with a roster of stars including Glen Campbell, Duran Duran, Natalie Cole, Heart, Iron Maiden, Paul McCartney, Anne Murray, Linda Ronstadt, Pink Floyd, Tina Turner, John Lennon, Steve Miller, and many more.
He was a lifelong Capitol/EMI employee holding numerous sales and marketing positions starting in the '60s as a salesman and District Sales Manager in San Francisco. He became the EVP/COO in 1976 and was named President of Capitol in 1982. After a stint as President Capitol/EMI North America, Zimmermann returned to President of Capitol Records in 1984. He left the label in 1989 to become an artist manager. Source: All Access