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FYI

Music News Digest, Dec. 4, 2019

Alanis Morissette set to tour Jagged Little Pill (pictured), Six Shooter shutters Interstellar Rodeo, and the return of Sarah Harmer. Also making news are the Apple Music Awards, Genius, LyricFind, Winterruption YEG, Walk Off the Earth, and farewells to Joe Smith and Greedy Smith.

Music News Digest, Dec. 4, 2019

By FYI Staff

Alanis Morissette has announced a 30* 25th-anniversaryJagged Little Pill, Live Nation-produced sheds tour running June 2 through July 25 with Liz Phair and Garbage guesting. So far the lone Canadian stop is TO's Budweiser Stage on July 11. May 1 she releases Such Pretty Forks in the Road., her first album since 2012’s sleeper, Havoc and Bright Lights. It could be a groundbreaker, too. This week she offered a taste of a rejuvenated Alanis spinning a truth serum, co-written with Michael Farrell and produced by Alex Hope. It's a corker, too.


The Broadway iteration of her biggest hit—that earned her 5 Grammys and Junos and sold 33M copies—opens Thursday, Dec. 5. FYI: All told, Morissette has won 7 Grammys and 14 Junos since 1995.

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— Inclement weather in Winnipeg and stiff competition with the Edmonton Folk Festival are perhaps two of the reasons Six Shooter is killing off its Interstellar Rodeo outdoor fests that ran for three years in the ‘Peg and eight in Edmonton. In a media release, the company states: “The demands of our burgeoning label and management companies are stretching us to glorious (un)limits, and we found ourselves faced with this very tough decision. "

— On a brighter note, the big-hearted Six Shooter gang is honouring the memory of late industry comrade Jon Box by organising a socks drive this holiday season with donations going to shelters and other community organizations. Deadline is Dec. 20 at the SS Toronto HQ (51 Bulwer St., 3rd Floor), Soundscapes Toronto, Blackbyrd Myoozik (Calgary and Edmonton), and Red Cat Records Vancouver. More locations TBA.

— On February 21, platinum-selling roots fave Sarah Harmer will release Are You Gone, her first album in a decade (via Arts & Crafts). North American tour dates run Feb. 26 to May 16, with 21 Canadian shows included. Tix are on sale Dec. 6 here. Check out a new song here.

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— The first Apple Music Awards are celebrated with a global, live-streamed performance by Billie Eilish at the Steve Jobs Theater tonight. Eilish takes top honour as Global Artist of the Year, she and her brother Finneas shared Songwriter of the Year, Lizzo won Breakthrough Artist, and Old Town Road by Lil Nas X is Song of the Year.

— The company behind lyrics website Genius, Genius Media Group Inc., is suing Google and Toronto-based LyricFind for “unethical, unfair and anti-competitive” behaviour. The lawsuit, filed in New York on Dec. 3, seeks “no less than $50 million” in “combined minimum damages” from both Google and LyricFind. Genius alleges traffic to its site started to drop because its staff-annotated lyrics are being copied, and then published by Google via the tech giant’s lyrics partner, LyricFind. Source: MBW

— Edmonton's Winterruption YEG fest runs Jan. 23 to 26 at various downtown venues. Performers includeWu-Tang Clan member GZA, Ezra Furman, Weaves, Bodega, No Age, Coleman Hell, Partner, Bully, Begonia. Eamon McGrath, Girlfriend Material, Jennifer Castle, Dboy, Hannah Epperson, Nuela Charles, and Blessed. Details here 

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Walk Off the Earth has announced summer tour dates supporting current album Here We Go!, which debuted at #3 on Nielsen's Top Canadian Albums Chart. Included on the June swing are concerts at Toronto's Budweiser Stage (June 26) and Montreal Jazz Festival (June 28). Beforehand, WoTE is donating to Heart and Stroke Foundation funding events in Saint John and Moncton, June 12 & 13.

Obits

Joe Smith, a legendary record executive who signed the Grateful Dead and helmed three labels, including as president and CEO of Capitol-EMI Music, has died, age 91.

Smith, who received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015, worked closely with a number of artists, including Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Frank Sinatra, Garth Brooks, Eagles, Rod Stewart, The Cars and Bob Seger.

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Smith attended Yale University, worked as a DJ at several radio stations, then became a promo man for Warner Bros.

He was named president of the label in 1972, working with acts as diverse as Van Morrison, Carl Reiner, Black Sabbath, James Taylor and the Allman Bros. Bandm as well as sister label Reprise Records and artists including Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young.

When he received the Clive Davis Visionary Award at the 2014 Billboard Power 100 event, Smith recalled,  "at Warner Bros., we made more money than the movie or the television people, so we had a lot of clout, so we could go out and take shots.. we followed our instinct.  We talked to our people...and we didn't have to go to corporate. Our bosses in New York said, 'Hey, come to us if you have any problems, but meanwhile run the company.' That doesn't happen anymore."

Smith moved to Elektra/Asylum as chairman in 1975 and for the next eight years aided the careers of The Eagles, Browne, Queen, Linda Ronstadt and Motley Crue. He left Elektra/Asylum and, in 1983, became president and CEO of Warner Cable's Home Sports Entertainment before becoming president of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (now known as The Recording Academy). 

He returned to label life in 1987, at Capitol-EMI, rising to president &CEO before his retirement in 1993. Smith later worked with World Cup Soccer and was also well known as an artists' advocate in the halls of Congress.

In 2012, the Library of Congress acquired more than 200 hours of interviews conducted by Smith for his 1985 book, Off the Record, a collection of interviews with more than 200 famed artists, producers and executives. A gifted raconteur, Smith became known as a toastmaster extraordinaire, hosting industry events for more than 40 years. Sources:Billboard

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Andrew ‘Greedy’ Smith, co-founder, keyboardist and vocalist of popular Australian rock band  Mental As Anything, died on Dec. 2, of a heart attack, aged 63.

Smith, the only remaining member of the group, was on a national tour.

Smith, Martin Plaza, Reg Mombassa, Peter O’Doherty and Wayne de Lisle formed Mental As Anything in 1977. Their first single, 1979's The Nips Are Getting Bigger, reached No. 16 in Australia. They had their first UK hit in 1981 with If You Leave Me Can I Come Too.  In 1985 You’re So Strong’ was a hit in the US, and  Live It Up also had international success. The group released two albums, Cats and Dogs and Creatures of Leisure, in Canada on the Solid Gold imprint in '81 and '83.

The group enjoyed 20 top 40 singles and four top 10 albums in Australia.

Andrew Smith got the name Greedy after the Mentals did a lunchtime gig at a teachers’ college in Sydney. With his right hand, Smith played his Farfisa organ, with his left, he ate 16 pieces of KFC. Guitarist Reg Mombassa then dubbed him “Greedy”.

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Smith released two solo albums, Love Harmonica in 1996 and Greedy’s People in 1997.

The band was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame in 2009. Last month Smith entered the Australian Songwriters Hall of Fame. Sources: Noise11, Sydney Morning Herald, The Music

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Soleil Launière
Jaime Antonio Luna Quezada

Soleil Launière

Music

Soleil Launière wins the Francouvertes: “It means a lot to me as an Indigenous artist”

Meet the Innu artist, big winner of the 2024 edition of the showcase-competition, who is the first Indigenous artist to win since the Quebec music competition started allowing submissions in Indigenous languages.

Soleil Launière has won the 28th edition of Francouvertes, becoming the first Indigenous artist to win the Quebec-based music competition.

The multidisciplinary Innu artist from Mashteuiatsh, Quebec won the grand final of the musical showcase on Monday, May 13. The Montreal-based artist edged out rapper Sensei H and maximalist rock singer-songwriter Loïc Lafrance.

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