Music News Digest, Jan. 16, 2019

Drake (pictured) signs up for a Vegas residency, The Who returns with three Canadian concert dates, and MDM signs Don Amero. Others names in the news include Elton Rohn, Kelowna, A2IM,  Manitoba Film and Music, Vivek Shraya, Contact East, Gene MacLellan, Music BC, The PepTides, Jeremy Darby,  Brittany Lyseng, and farewells to Bonnie Guitar, Shirley Boone, and Carol Channing. Videos added for your enjoyment.

Music News Digest, Jan. 16, 2019

By FYI Staff

WENN reports that Drake has signed a $10M (US) deal for a residency at Las Vegas’ XS Nightclub. It is believed to be a multi-year agreement for a minimum 10 show commitment at the nightspot, located inside the Wynn Las Vegas casino and hotel.

The unofficial news comes after Drake hinted at a residency deal last Thursday as he performed at XS during the Consumers Electronics Show. “Vegas! When I came back, I thought it’d be back at T-Mobile Arena or some (stuff). But I’ll be back here at XS all year. You’ll have a lotta chances to see me,” the rapper told the cheering crowd.


–  The Who has announced a 29-city Moving On! Tour for North America (presented by Live Nation), beginning May 7 in Grand Rapids, MI. The first leg wraps June 1 in Toronto at Scotiabank Arena. Fall dates launch on Sept. 6 in St. Paul, MN and concluding with shows at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Oct. 21, and Rogers Place, Edmonton, Oct. 23. There are just three Canadian dates at this point. Tix on sale Jan. 18. The Who is planning to release its first studio album in more than a decade later this year.

– Last week's No. 1 best-seller was A Star Is Born, holding the top album ranking for its 8th week in Canada. In the week, it sold 3,500 copies, of which 2,100 were CDs. All told, the s/t album has sold 96,000 copies in digital and CD formats since its release on Interscope Records last Oct. 5.By comparison, as reported by Alan Cross, the US best-seller, Hoodie SZN by A Boogie Wit Da Hoddie (born Julius Debose), sold 823 albums–but add in the cocktail recipe for converting streams to albums sold, and The Billboard 200 credits the Bronx rapper as having sold the equivalent of 55,333 albums.


– Ron Camilleri’s Reggie tribute act, Elton Rohn, has added Lenny Solomon's string quartet on a new round of show dates that includes April 10 at the Flato Markham Theatre and May 16 at Hamilton’s McIntyre Theatre in Hamilton. For those who don’t know, Solomon had an initial round of success with the Juno winning duo Myles and Lenny and went on to make a fortune with his international hit show, Bowfire. Camilleri, a former record salesman, is having a blast with his high-octane Reggie recreation that is earning him a small fortune too.

Kelowna is added for the first time to the list of cities hosting preliminaries rounds for Canada’s entries into Germany’s annual Wacken Metal Battle contest. National finals take place in Calgary on May 25 and the eventual winner reps Canada at the 30th annual that last year attracted 80K metalheads to the 3-day outdoor scream fest.

– MDM Recordings Inc. has signed three-time Juno nominee Don Amero to its roster. The Winnipeg-based singer/songwriter released his sixth studio album, Evolution, last August.

– The independent US music advocacy group A2IM (The American Association of Independent Music) has announced Dr. Richard James Burgess as President and CEO of the organization. Andrea Pagnanelli has been appointed General Manager.


– Manitoba Film and Music has two funding programs to boost record production in the province, the Music Recording Production Fund (for homegrown artists) and the Music Recording Production Fund For Out-Of-Province Artists. The next deadline for both programs is Jan. 24. Details here

– Canadian author and musician Vivek Shraya has announced a $5K music grant designed to assist an artist who is Indigenous, Black or a person of colour and between 18 and 25 years old to create a debut EP. As well as the money, the grant will also include support from Shraya to discuss album vision, promotion and marketing and industry resources. The application deadline is  May 15. In 2017, Shraya partnered with Arsenal Pulp Press to create VS Books, an imprint through which she mentors young writers of colour. Source: NOW


– Submissions are open for Contact East 2019, presented by Atlantic Presenters Association (APA). The event runs Sept. 26-29 in Charlottetown, PE and the deadline to apply is March 15.

– Directed by PEI filmmaker Millefiore Clarkes, The Song And The Sorrow is a film documentary that profiles master songwriter Gene MacLellan ("Snowbird") and his daughter, singer/songwriter CatherineMacLellan. It screens at Toronto's Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema in Toronto tomorrow (Jan. 17), part of the Mental Health Film Series. It is a free screening.

– Music BC’s Let’s Hear It! Live: BC micro-grants program for the province's artists, venue operators, promoters, music organizers and entrepreneurs has announced its latest application deadline is Feb. 22.

– The PepTides are a nine-member band from Ottawa with a freewheeling eclectic sound. They have a new release, Galápagos Vol. I, coming on Jan. 25, an ambitious concept album based on Kurt Vonnegut's 1985 novel Galápagos. Check out this early single.

– Jeremy Darby's Canterbury Music Studio is a much beloved Toronto recording facility. A case full of microphones was recently boosted from the space and a GoFundMe campaign has been started to assist Darby.

– Calgary comedian Brittany Lyseng has signed a record deal with Vancouver independent label 604 Records. On Jan. 19, her set @ Yuks Vancouver will be recorded, then released under the title Going Up in the spring, on 604 imprint Comedy Here Often?


Bonnie Guitar (born Bonnie Buckingham), country music artist and label owner, died on Jan. 13, age 91.


In December a GoFundMe page was established for Guitar to help defray the cost of her battle with congestive heart failure.

Guitar is best known for her hit single “Dark Moon” released in 1956 via Dot Records. The song took off when it was re-released the following year, peaking at 14 on the US country charts and crossing over onto the pop charts.

Earlier in her career, she performed as a session musician in LA  for Fabor Records, working with the likes of Jim Reeves and Ned Miller.

In 1958, Guitar partnered with refrigerator salesman Bob Reisdorff to launch Dolphin Records (later renamed to Dolton Records) which served as a home for bands such as The Fleetwoods and surf guitar legends The Ventures. Dolton Records played a key role in the development of California’s nascent surf rock scene.

Guitar continued to record as well, returning to Dot Records after a hiatus and scoring hits such as “I’m Living In Two Worlds,” “A Woman In Love,” and “I Believe in Love,” which all cracked the top ten. In 1967 she won the Academy of Country Music's Top Female Vocalist award. Her final recording was “Still the Same” with Bob Dylan in 1989. Sources: Celebrity Access, Saving Country Music


Shirley Boone, the longtime wife of singer Pat  Boone, philanthropist and singer, died on Jan. 11, age 84.

Shirley and Pat Boone had been married for 65 years. During that time, she helped to establish Mercy Corps, which has become an international charitable organization dedicated to addressing economic, environmental, social and political problems. She also published writings, hosted TV shows and recorded music.

Shirley Boone is the daughter of Red Foley, a country singer of the 1930s and 1940s who became a star with his recording of "Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy."

Shirley and Pat Boone had been high school sweethearts, and they married when he was 19 and rising to stardom. Source: AP

Carol Channing, the Broadway star who earned a lifetime achievement Tony Award for her legendary career, died of natural causes on Jan. 15. She was 97.

Although much of Channing's career was spent on Broadway, she won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as Muzzy Van Hossmere in 1967's Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Born in Seattle, Channing got her start in New York's theatre scene in 1941's No For an Answer. The following year she debuted on Broadway as a member of the cast of Proof Through the Night.

Her star-making role would come in 1949 when she played the gold-digging Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Because of this role, Channing would forever be associated with the song "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend." Marilyn Monroe played the part in the film adaptation.

Channing would go on to star as Dolly in the hit Hello, Dolly! She also had success in film, with roles in Paid In Full, The First Traveling Saleslady, and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

In 1995 she received the Lifetime Achievement Tony Award. Channing was also given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Sources:  NBC News, Playbill

Allison Russell at an interview with iHeartRadio for Billboard Canada Women in Music on June 19, 2024
Marc Thususka Photography

Allison Russell at an interview with iHeartRadio for Billboard Canada Women in Music on June 19, 2024


Allison Russell, Charlotte Cardin, DijahSB Shortlisted for 2024 Polaris Music Prize

The Beaches, rapper TOBi, indie experimentalist Cindy Lee, and previous winner Jeremy Dutcher are also amongst the ten artists in contention for the $50,000 prize, which recognizes the best Canadian album of the year based solely on artistic merit. See the whole list here.

Some of Canadian music's biggest breakthroughs of the last year are facing off for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

Charlotte Cardin for 99 Nights, The Beaches for Blame My Ex, Allison Russell for The Returner and Cindy Lee for Diamond Jubilee are among the ten artists shortlisted for the 2024 award, which recognizes the best Canadian album of the year.

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