Music News Digest, July 13, 2018

The annual Radio & Records Party was a feel-good success, Lights covers Drake, and Babyface heads north. Also in the news are Joel Plaskett, BreakOut West, Contact East, Cadillac Bill, an Annapolis benefit, Folk Alliance, and a farewell to Ken Morris and Henry Butler.

Music News Digest, July 13, 2018

By Kerry Doole

The reputation of the Radio & Records Party as being one of the most enjoyable annual music industry parties in Toronto remains intact. The 2018 edition, held in the new locale of the Roy Thomson Hall patio, was graced with beautiful weather and an excellent turnout of veterans from all aspects of the music and radio biz. The invitation-only event was hosted by John Donabie, Doug Chappell, Dave Charles, Al Mair, James Campbell, Gary Muth and Tom Wilson. The sponsors this year were Arnold Gosewich, John Murphy, Bernie Finkelstein and Deane Cameron, President/CEO of The Corporation of Massey Hall & Roy Thomson Hall. In his welcoming remarks, he reassured attendees that "we're not going to screw up the renovation of Massey Hall."

A strong sense of camaraderie permeated the soiree, with plenty of reminiscing and catching up with old friends going on. Space won't allow a full recounting of those in attendance, but this scribe enjoyed hearing Peter J. Moore's stories about the Joe Strummer retrospective he is working on. Two years ago at this event, Moore and Jan Haust paraded the Grammy Award for Best Historical Album they won for their work on Bob Dylan's The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11. At this party, everyone was a winner.

– In the "that was quick" category, Canadian pop songstress Lights has recorded an entire album of Drake covers, specifically, Side B of his blockbuster new album, Scorpion. On Twitter, Lights announced "Because I’ve been feeling extra since Scorpion came out i decided to cover the ENTIRE SIDE B. produced, engineered, performed by me. 13 songs. Pour up a glass and listen."

– 11-time Grammy Award winner  Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds is a US producer/songwriter who has worked with such stars as OutKast, Whitney Houston, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, and Bruno Mars. He heads up the Discovery Song Camp in Toronto from Sept. 24-28, an event presented by Good Vibes, a company co-founded by Edmonds and Jason Murray, President of Black Box Music. Interested songwriters and producers can apply here. Deadline is Sept. 2.


– On Wednesday, popular East Coast rocker Joel Plaskett helped launch the Sun Life Financial Musical Instrument Lending Libraryprogram, one that will allow Halifax residents to borrow instruments. Plaskett performed at a branch of the Halifax Public Library in Dartmouth. The initiative already operates in eight other Canadian cities.

– BreakOut West has a decidedly international and cross-Canada flavour this year. Partnering with the East Coast Music Association (ECMA), Australian Music Week, FOCUS Wales, Wales Arts International (WAI), and the Welsh Government, the 2018 edition features artists from Eastern Canada, Wales, and Australia, showcasing at the fest in Kelowna, BC, Oct. 10-14.  Acts include Busby Marou (Queensland, AUS), Campfire Social (Llangollen, Wales), Kidsmoke (Wrexham, Wales), Like a Motorcycle (Halifax, NS), Motherhood (Fredericton, NB), and Tom West (Adelaide, AUS).

– The Contact East 2018 room block and conference pricing will only be available until August 20, or until the block reaches capacity. To reserve online choose the Group Attendee Promo Code option and enter Group Code 1809PRESENT. Contact East takes place in St. John's, NF, Sept. 20-23.


– Hamilton-based garage/psychobilly rockers Cadillac Bill & the Creeping Bent have a hometown CD release show at This Ain't Hollywood tonight (July 13), a release gig for new album The Cadillac Bill Show. A great showman, Cadillac Bill has been treading the boards for nearly three decades, and he also hosts his own cable TV show.

– On July 28, The city of Annapolis in Maryland is holding a benefit concert to honour the five Capital Gazette employees killed in an attack in their newsroom on June 28. Local rock band Good Charlotte will headline "Annapolis Rising: A Benefit for The Capital Gazette and Free Press." Source: CP

– The deadline for applications to showcase at Folk Alliance International 2019 is Aug. 15. Next year's conference/fest is in Montreal, Feb. 13-17. Apply here


Ken Morris, a Toronto-based bass player, sound engineer, and event manager, died in Toronto after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 67.

The well known and much loved music man came to Canada in 1970 as a teenage musician from Dublin looking for opportunities. He was a bass player and shortly after arriving formed a band called The British Are Here who were booked by Ray Danniels and Vic Wilson and played all the Toronto and Ontario clubs existing at the time.


After the band broke up, Terry Brown hired him as an assistant engineer at Toronto Sound Studios where he assisted on many of Brown’s celebrated sessions with artists such as Max Webster, Rush, Klaatu, Moe Koffman, and Dr. Music.

When Brown and Doug Riley closed TSS down, he found and managed the Toronto band Surrender, fronted by Alfie Zappacosta.

After Zappacosta went solo, Morris broke out from the artist management business and formed an audiovisual event production company, Behind The Screen, which grew into an operation that handled events around the world and at home for music orgs such SOCAN.


Worth noting is that he was the guy that found and introduced Neil Peart, a St.Catharines area musician who played the same bar circuit as his band, to Rush and Ray Danniels in the early seventies.

He is survived by his wife Maureen and son Ian, a musician and producer.

Henry Butler, a US jazz pianist, passed away on July 2, aged 69, of cancer.

He was known for his technique and his ability to play in many styles of music. In 1987, New York Times music critic Jon Pareles wrote that Butler "revels in fluency and facility, splashing chords all over the keyboard and streaking through solos with machine-gun articulation. "

Referred to by Dr. John as "the pride of New Orleans," Butler was his generation's representative in the Crescent City's lineage of piano players such as Professor Longhair, James Booker, Tuts Washington, and Jelly Roll Morton. Butler recorded for several record labels, including Impulse, Windham Hill, and Basin Street Records.

50 Cent

50 Cent


50 Cent Takes A Victory Lap at Toronto's Cabana Pool Bar: Canadian Concerts of the Week

Also this week: it's festival season, with Hillside, Le Festif! and the Vancouver Folk Music Festival all happening on the same weekend.

Summer is in swing, and that means festival season. While many of the biggest ones take place in August, this weekend sees a handful of folk or adjacent events with the perfect summer vibes. Find those below, after our concert of the week featuring one of the biggest rap success stories of the last two decades.

Concert of the Week

50 Cent at Cabana Pool Bar, Toronto — Saturday, July 20

keep readingShow less