Music News Digest, Jan. 27, 2020

SOCAN members (pictured) and Grammy Award nominees party in LA, Gordon Lightfoot goes solo on a new album, and Neil Young gets his US citizenship. Others in the news include Joel Plaskett, the Up Sh*t Creek fundraiser, Mariposa, Burlington PAC, Music BC, Matt Zaddy, Folk on the Rocks, and farewell Norm Amadio and Ken Pernokis.

Music News Digest, Jan. 27, 2020

By Kerry Doole

SOCAN members and 2020 Grammy Award nominees Northern Cree and songwriter Eric Corne, along with producers Ajay Bhattacharya “STINT” and Dan Brodbeck, attended SOCAN’s pre-Grammy party, on Jan. 23, at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in LA. Other SOCAN members in attendance were Johnny Orlando, Kardinal Offishal, WondaGurl, Stephan Moccio, Nikhil, DJ Power, Ian Janes, Jazzy Monika, FrancisGotHeat, Bobby Kuya, Andy Stochansky, Frazer Mac, London Cyr, Jenius, Laurell Barker, Jason Couse and Wes Marskell of The Darcys, and D’Ari and Mel Larkin of the Villas. Reps of the org present included Eric Baptiste, Marc Ouellette, Michael McCarty, Andrew Berthoff, and Rodney Murphy. Source: Words & Music


Gordon Lightfoot has announced that his new album, Solo, will be released via Warner Music Canada on March 20. His first collection of new music since 2004’s Harmony, the album showcases Lightfoot alone in the studio with his guitar and features songs he recorded nearly two decades ago, just prior to a near-fatal abdominal aortic aneurysm. The first single from Solo, Oh So Sweet, is out now.

Neil Young is now a US citizen. He recently shared the news via Instagram alongside a photo of himself saluting next to a sign which read, "Democrats register to vote here." Last year, Young, a loud critic of President Donald Trump, applied for citizenship for the declared reason of voting against Trump in the 2020 presidential election. The rocker claimed the process was delayed because of his admitted use of marijuana. Source: CNN 

– On April 17, the day before his 45th birthday, East Coast rock hero Joel Plaskett will release 44, an ambitious project comprising four, 11-song records, packaged together and connected thematically. Four years in the making, the songs were recorded in four cities with 33 different musicians. The first single from the first album, Head Over Heels Into Heaven was co-written by Joel and Mo Kenney and features The Emergency (Dave Marsh & Chris Pennell). Dates for the 44 Spring Tour here.


– On March 28, The Music Hall Concert Theatre in Oshawa hosts the Up Sh*t Creek fundraiser to benefit those affected by the Australian bushfires. An impressive lineup of rockers includes Aussies The Lazys and members of Sum 41, Billy Talent, Monster Truck, The Trews, and Three Days Grace. Tix here 

– New additions to the Mariposa fest lineup include Moscow Apartment, Moskitto Bar, Dala, and Celeigh Cardinal. 

– The Burlington Performing Arts Centre is offering Public Education and Outreach Workshops for ages 16+ throughout February. On Feb. 8, the Navigating the Music Industry panel will feature Artist Manager at SRO Management, Cynthia Barry; Senior VP of The Feldman Agency, Tom Kemp; Director of Programming, Marketing & Business Development at The Corporation of Roy Thomson and Massey Hall, Jesse Kumagai; and Artist Manager at ZED Music, Steve Zsirai. Other events include a Memoir Writing Workshop and a Triple Threat Workshop. 

– Music BC’s Let’s Hear It! Live micro-grants provide assistance to BC-based artists, venues, promoters, music organizers and entrepreneurs to present events throughout the province. The deadline is Feb. 28. Apply here


– Toronto folk-rocker singer/songwriter Matt Zaddy is about to release a new single, Brighter Days, the second taken from his album Be. It is timed to help support Bell Let's Talk Day across Canada on Jan. 29. "When I wrote Brighter Days, I was thinking about some people in my life that were going through some hard times, specifically mental health," Zaddy says.

– The Folk on the Rocks 2020 fest in Yellowknife, NWT, July 17 - 19 is accepting applications to perform. The deadline is Jan. 31. Apply here.



Norm (Albert Norman Benedict) Amadio, a Canadian pianist who led the way in establishing Toronto’s jazz scene, has died at age 91.

Born in Timmins, Ont, Amadio first arrived in Toronto in the ’40s as a teen bebop phenom and was instrumental in creating the earliest jazz scene in Toronto.

While playing at countless after-hours jazz lounges and holding a prominent place at the House of Hambourg, he became one of the most sought-after players in Toronto, attracting the US jazz stars of the day such as Carmen McRae, Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Lester Young, Chet Baker, Mel Tormé, Dinah Washington, Anita O’Day and Max Roach.

In 1956, Amadio became the first and only Canadian to play at the original Birdland jazz club in New York, where he performed opposite Duke Ellington.

Amadio went on to be featured in nearly 100 recordings by Canadian artists, playing with other local legends including Moe Koffman, Don Thompson, Ed Bickert, Jackie Richardson, Rick Wilkins, Reg Schwager, John MacLeod and Lorne Lofsky. For 50 years, Amadio worked for the CBC as an orchestra leader and musical director for numerous TV series.

After a career that lasted more than 70 years, Amadio retired in 2014 at the age of 86, playing his final gig as part of that year’s TD Toronto Jazz Festival. In 2016, the Toronto Musicians’ Association honoured Amadio with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Source: JazzFM

 Ken Pernokis, a guitarist with Toronto rock band Little Caesar and the Consuls, died on Jan. 26, of cancer. He was an original member of the group, one that started playing the Toronto halls in 1956.

The Consuls released their first single in 1959 on Abel Records, I'm Happy b/w Runaway. Starting in 1963, four singles, If I Found A New Girl, Something's Funny, Something's Wrong, Sea Cruise, and Heartaches, all pop/doo-wop covers, all made the top 40 in Canada.


A self-titled debut album on Red Leaf in '65 saw the band break big. A cover of My Girl Sloopy reached #3 at home, and spent eight weeks on Billboard's chart, peaking at #50 - their only time on the US chart. A cover of Smokey Robinson's You Really Got A Hold On Me a month later became only the second Canadian single to top the RPM chart.

A couple of other singles were moderate hits. Original singer Bruce Morshead left in 1967, and a revamped lineup included Gene MacLellan, for 18 months. The band carried on in the lounge circuit in different lineups. Pernokis was no longer a member of the group that recorded another album, Still Holdin' On, in 1993. Sources:, Wikipedia.

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