Music News Digest, Feb. 14, 2022
Paper Bag Records (pictured) is celebrating its 20th anniversary in style, Elton John cancels four Canadian shows, and James Gordon takes on the truckers. Also in the news are Nickelback, SXSW, The Road Hammers, Country Music Alberta Awards, AFROWAVETO, Reid Jamieson, Baby G, Madison Violet, and farewell Rose-Ellen Nichols, Salim Sachedina, and Ian McDonald.
By Kerry Doole
Noted Toronto-based indie record label Paper Bag Records is celebrating its 20th anniversary in style next month. From March 4-6, PBR will present live-streamed concerts from Halifax’s Seahorse Tavern, Toronto’s Great Hall, and Vancouver’s Rickshaw Theatre, with a dozen of the label's active artists participating. The three day fest is accessible via one wristband, meaning fans can check out the lineup in their own city and tune in to live-streams of the other shows too. Available now, online events tickets are $15 and live event tickets (plus online access) for the shows in the three cities are $25. The live concerts will follow current protocols. Artists involved include Zoon, POSTDATA, Frog Eyes, Princess Century, Gold & Youth, Luke Lalonde, and Lou Canon. Read an earlier FYI label profile of PBR here. Congrats to one of our fave indie imprints.
– Four Canadian arena shows included in Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour itinerary have been cancelled, with Covid restrictions cited as the cause (John contracted Covid earlier this year). The concerts were planned for Montreal’s Bell Centre on March 9 and 10 and Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena, March 12 and 13. Shows planned for Toronto’s Rogers Centre on Sept. 7 and Vancouver’s BC Place on Oct. 21 remain on John’s website. Source: CP
– Nickelback will headline an outdoor concert on the Vancouver E-Prix track, Friday, July 1, during Canadian E-Fest weekend. The 3-day inaugural event runs June 30-July 2 and includes a sustainability conference, the Vancouver E-Prix, an E-Celebrity Race, E-Sports tournament and an E-Volve conference to address future mobility solutions. More info here.
– Music publication RANGE has organised a talent-heavy lineup of Canadian hip-hop and R&B artists for an official SXSW showcase in Austin next month. The bill comprises Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Haviah Mighty, Just John, Cartel Madras, Aqyila, and Mauvey, who'll take the stage at Lucille on March 17.
– Folk music veteran and Guelph City Councillor James Gordon is grabbing plenty of attention for a new song, Crybabies Caravan, that takes aim at protestors occupying Ottawa and disrupting border traffic. The tune grabbed 200K views in just a few days. Find it on Bandcamp here
– Hit country rockers The Road Hammers have been named hosts of The 2022 Country Music Alberta Awards, set to take place in Red Deer on March 20. Tix for the awards show are on sale now, and the show itself will be simultaneously live-streamed to country fans near and far.
– AfroWaveTO, Toronto’s newest Black music festival, is hosting a Black History Month virtual winter concert series lineup featuring eight buzzworthy all-female Toronto acts who will perform on Feb. 24, leading up to this year’s festival. The Supernatural Showcase, streaming on the fest's YouTube page, features performance sets by Omega Mighty, Chelsea Stewart, Dynesti, Chizzy Bashment, Alicia Cinnamon, Benita, Imah, and Fridaee. More info here.
– In honour of Valentine's Day, here's an appropriate new single from Ontario folk singer/songwriter Caroline Wiles, taken from her recently-released album, Grateful.
– Also on the V-Day tip, Vancouver-based lovebirds Reid Jamieson & Carolyn Victoria Mill celebrated 20 years together by performing an all-originals Lovestream yesterday (Feb. 13). You can still access it here.
– Toronto rock club Baby G has announced the return of “Happy Sundays”, a free weekly series featuring developing acts and emerging artists. Those skedded for March shows include STAYOUTLATE, Terrell Morris, Broco, By Divine Right, Blonde Elvis, PONY, LAL, and more. Check the lineup here.
– Acclaimed roots singer-songwriter duo Madison Violet and guest Andrea Ramolo pair up for a show at play an intimate concert at Bridgeworks in Hamilton on Feb. 25. Recommended. Tix here
Rose-Ellen Nichols, an Indigenous BC opera singer, died on Jan. 30 at the age of 41, of cancer.
Nichols was a Coast Salish mezzo-soprano known for her roles in productions of Marie Clements and Brian Current’s Missing and Margaret Atwood’s Pauline.
CBC Music's Marion Newman paid tribute to her friend Nicols, calling her “a successful Indigenous woman in the arts. She was openly proud of all of who she was and had a deep love and respect for her family. She sang with a gorgeous, deep voice, sometimes heart-wrenching and other times overflowing with joy — a voice that revealed her entire very real and down-to-earth personality.”
Read an extensive obituary in The Globe and Mailhere
– Salim Abdulhussein Sachedina, the former owner of the legendary Toronto recording studio Sounds Interchange, died on Feb. 8, age 83.
Sachedina immigrated to Toronto from Tanzania in 1966, where he soon began a celebrated career in the recording arts. He was first the general manager of Eastern Sound Studios, and later the owner of the legendary Sounds Interchange recording studio where he facilitated the works of countless artists like Anne Murray, Elton John, Rush, Black Sabbath, and Gordon Lightfoot.
His son, Jeremy posted a tribute on Facebook that read, in part, that "Salim was truly proud of what he accomplished in the Toronto recording industry, and always spoke very highly of his employees and partners. If he ever had a bad experience with any of you, he never mentioned it. His recollection of his experiences at Eastern Sound, Berryman, Sounds Interchange and Supercorp were (with the notable exception of the time he told Cat Stevens to go fuck himself) of immense positivity and pride."
He continued as an entrepreneur, as President of Canadian Sportfishing, and even after his retirement, he continued to act as a business consultant. Sachedina was very active in his community as a member of the committee to establish Toronto's first Islamic mosque in 1979. He also founded the Ithnasheri Union of Toronto. Source: Legacy.com
Ian McDonald, best known as a member of King Crimson in 1968 and 1969 and then Foreigner from 1976 to 1980, died on Feb. 9, at the age of 75, of cancer
A multi-instrumentalist, McDonald was a co-founding member of prog-rock pioneers King Crimson, and was on board for the group's biggest album, 1969's In the Court of the Crimson King, contributing flute, clarinet, organ, vocals,
Writing in the sleeve notes to the Epitaph box set in 1997, King Crimson leader Robert Fripp noted, "Ian brought musicality, an exceptional sense of the short and telling melodic line, and the ability to express that on a variety of instruments."
McDonald left that band in 1969, though he later appeared on its album Red. In 1969, he and fellow KC alumnus Michael Giles released the critically-acclaimed album McDonald and Giles, and in 1976 McDonald helped form Foreigner. He played on the band’s first three albums and such hits as Feels Like The First Time, Cold As Ice, Hot Blooded, Double Vision, and Dirty White Boy.
He also recorded with Steve Hackett of Genesis and John Wetton of Asia. Sources: Rolling Stone, Noise11, Wikipedia