Music News Digest, Dec. 5, 2018
Lennon Stella (pictured) announces her first solo tour, Ottawa's Bluesfest attracts country stars, and Oh Susanna gets in the holiday spirit. Also in the news are Redeye, the Grammys, The Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival, Mariposa, Thompson Egbo-Egbo, the Halifax Jazz Festival, Tipitina's, Breakout West, Creative BC, and farewell Calvin Newborn. Videos added for your enjoyment.
By Kerry Doole
Canadian pop artist Lennon Stella has announced her first headline tour across North America this spring. The 13-date run kicks off March 20 and includes shows at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall, New York’s Irving Plaza, Los Angeles’ The Fonda Theatre, and more. Full itinerary here. Stella first made a splash as one half of country sibling duo Lennon & Maisy, regularly featured on hit TV series Nashville. Last month Lennon Stella released her debut EP Love, me via Records LLC/ Columbia Records. It debuted in the top 5 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Album chart in the US.
– Ottawa's biggest music festival, RBC Bluesfest, has announced more names for the 2019 edition. Country acts Eric Church, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, and Colter Wall join the previously-announced Backstreet Boys. A ‘pre-new year’ holiday sale began Dec. 4, and runs to Dec. 24, featuring early-bird pricing on full festival passes and general admission day tickets for two of the days.
– Oh Susanna's holiday show at Hugh's Room Live in Toronto last weekend raised $1343 to support new refugees in Canada via the Together Project. Guests on the night included Lee Harvey Osmond, Gentleman Reg, The Layrite Boys, Kate Boothman, The Young Novelists, Whitehorse, and Michael Johnston. Oh Susanna and Johnston recently released a joint holiday-themed EP, Decemberly.
–The Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival (OPIJF) has announced a heavy-hitting lineup for its 2019 edition, set for Feb. 15-17. Performers include Kenny Barron, Bill Charlap, Niki Haris, the Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra, Ingrid Jensen, Joe Lovano, Kirk MacDonald, Russell Malone, Lewis Nash, Jeremy Pelt, Renee Rosnes (the fest's Artistic Director), Reg Schwager, Neil Swainson and Peter Washington. The fest takes place in the Niagara wine region of Ontario.
– In deference to the state funeral of former President George H.W. Bush, set for today (Dec. 5), the Recording Academy will now announce Grammy Awards nominations on Friday (Dec. 7).
– Hillsborough, NC-based Redeye has announced that it will begin direct physical distribution to retail accounts in Canada starting Dec. 1. Redeye was previously distributed exclusively in Canada by Outside Music. The Redeye catalog will include titles from top independent labels including New West, Daptone, Mom+Pop, Barsuk, Yep Roc Records, Innovative Leisure, Kill Rock Stars, and more. Redeye began in 1996 and has grown into one of the most respected digital and physical distribution companies in the US. It maintains a Toronto office.
– Mariposa Folk Festival has made the first lineup announcement for its 2019 event, Swedish folk-pop duo First Aid Kit. The fest runs July 5-7 at Tudhope Park in Orillia, ON.
– Tonight (Dec. 5), acclaimed Toronto pianist Thompson Egbo-Egbo takes on the official MC duties for Dixon Hall Music School’s annual Music For Life Gala at Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park (Toronto). He's an alumnus of the school, and the Secretary of Dixon Hall’s Board Of Directors. The school offers subsidized music lessons for children from low-income families in Regent Park and the surrounding area.
– The Halifax Jazz Festival has just announced the dates for its 33rd annual edition as July 9-14, 2019. Passes are already on sale, with early bird pricing until Jan. 1. Artist lineup TBA.
– To lovers of New Orleans music, the name Tipitina's has real resonance. Since opening in 1997, it has become one of the most recognized nightclubs in the US, hosting shows by such Crescent City faves as Dr. John, The Neville Brothers, The Meters, Cowboy Mouth, the Radiators, Galactic, and Trombone Shorty. It was also featured in the Dennis Quaid movie The Big Easy. The club has just been purchased by local funksters Galactic, who will continue to feature local and national touring acts at the venue. No financial details have been disclosed.
– Creative BC, Music BC and SOCAN are partnering for a work party today (Dec. 5) at Creative BC's office, 7 West 6th Avenue, Third Floor. RSVP to attend here
– Tomorrow (Dec. 6) is the deadline for applications to two jobs with Breakout West, that of Creative Content Manager and Logistics Manager. More info here
Calvin Edwin Newborn, a guitarist considered one of rock ‘n roll’s early pioneers, died Dec. 1, at age 85.
Newborn, began his career as a guitarist in West Memphis, Ark., and continued it in Memphis, Tenn., performing in a band that included his father, Phineas Newborn Sr., on drums and brother Phineas Newborn Jr. on piano. The group touched on much of rock ‘n’ roll history, performing as B.B. King’s band on his first recordings in 1949, then as the session players for Sun Records in 1950.
Calvin Newborn gave guitar lessons to Howlin’ Wolf, and the Newborns’ twice-weekly performances at the Plantation Inn Club were often frequented by a young Elvis Presley. He was also a touring member of the Delta Cats that backed Jackie Brenston, who, with Ike Turner, recorded the song “Rocket 88” in 1951, considered by musical historians as the first rock ‘n’ roll record.
Newborn later toured and played with acts like Earl Hines, Lionel Hampton, George Coleman, Ray Charles, and Count Basie. Since the 1970s, Newborn remained in Memphis where he played local clubs well into the ’90s. Source: Celebrity Access