Music News Digest, June 24, 2019
Frank Dukes (pictured) partners with Regent Park School of Music and The National headlines a talent-packed bill in Hamilton. Also in the news are Manitoba Music, Up Here 5, YYZ Live, Lisa MacLeod, and farewells to Bill Carruthers, Dave Bartholomew, and Elliot Roberts. Videos are provided for your enjoyment.
By Kerry Doole
On Saturday (June 22), Regent Park School of Music in Toronto partnered with Grammy Award-winning producer Frank Dukes in a not-so-typical end-of-year student recital. The team launched its new collaborative 11-track sampler album called Parkscapes. The Toronto-born Dukes, who has worked with Drake, Frank Ocean and The Weeknd, spent three days working alongside 14 RPSM students between the ages of nine and 18 to create the album. Designed for the specific purpose of being sampled, Parkscapes is being added to Dukes’ Kingsway Music Library, which houses a collection of original samples created by the music producer and composer. All proceeds from the album will help fund the school's music program.
– Manitoba Music announced its board of directors for 2019-20 its annual general meeting at The Forks last week. Check the list here. At the AGM, the board also announced Ashley Au, a Winnipeg-based bassist, composer, arranger, and educator, as this year's recipient of the Kevin Walters Legacy Award. Manitoba Music’s board also announced the recipient of a new honour made possible by the Kevin Walters Memorial Fund, recognizing significant achievement in songwriting by a Manitoba artist. Matt Schellenberg of Royal Canoe was named.
– Perfect summer weather helped ensure a large crowd (6K) showed at Pier 8 on the Hamilton waterfront on Saturday for a talent-packed bill headlined by US rock combo The National. The Canadian acts certainly acquitted themselves well, beginning with Hannah Georgas, then Jennifer Castle and the Angels of Death Band. Castle's mellifluous voice was bolstered by a full group and female backing vocalists. She was followed by Hayden, who, both solo and with a band, delivered a superb set spanning his entire catalogue and including some brand new material. Wayne Petti of Cuff The Duke helped out on a storming cover of Neil Young's "Powderfinger."
Next up was Alvvays, whose blistering set confirmed their status as one of our very best rock bands and that Molly Rankin is a genuine star. The setting sun then allowed The National to employ its full lights and video show. The group's combination of lushly atmospheric instrumentation and introspectively philosophical lyrics is a potent one, and the crowd responded positively. Congrats to Collective Concerts and Supercrawl for a very well-organised event.
– The second wave of Up Here 5's music lineup has been announced, with notables including Lydia Ainsworth, Simply Saucer, Alexandria Maillot, new Polaris longlisters FET.NAT, Cindy Doire, NUAGE FLOU, Greyson Gritt, The Monsieurs Jennifer Holub Music, and Andy California. The fest runs Aug. 16-18 in Sudbury.
– With the YYZ Live program, The City of Toronto supports local artists through paid performance opportunities. Free concert series City Hall Live continues all summer long at Nathan Phillips Square, Union Square and Union Station UP Express. Apply here
– The recent cabinet shuffle in Ontario sees Lisa MacLeod taking over the tourism, culture and sports portfolio. She previously stirred controversy over her handling of the autism file as minister of children, community and social services.
– The SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival is now under way in Saskatoon, running until June 30. The Joshua Redman Quintet plays the Broadway Theatre tonight. Full sked here.
Bill Carruthers, Canadian country music drummer and talent booker, died June 20 at the age of 67, of heart failure.
He was named the Canadian Country Music Association's Drummer of the Year for four consecutive years (1990-1993) and was also part of South Mountain, the group of musicians named winners of the CCMA Rising Star award.
Carruthers was the longtime drummer in the late Terry Sumsion's band Stagecoach, and he backed many of the biggest stars in Canadian country music plus some notable American country artists.
On the industry side, in 1995 he earned CCMA Award nominations as both Country Person of the Year and Record Company Person of the Year, for his work with Savannah Music. He helped get Ontario's Casino Rama off the ground (he booked Faith Hill as their opening act), and was nominated for the 1999 Ron Sakamoto Talent Buyer or Promoter of the Year Award at the CCMAs.
Funeral service details are pending. Sources: Randy Owen on Facebook, Bruce Good
Dave Bartholomew, credited by many with creating early rock ‘n roll in his work with Fats Domino, has died at age 100 at East Jefferson General Hospital in New Orleans, his son said.
A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, Bartholomew was a trumpeter, producer, arranger, songwriter, and bandleader. He was the longtime collaborator of Fats Domino, helping him write, arrange and perform some of the nation’s biggest hits back in the 1950s and ’60s.
Born in Edgard, Louisiana on Christmas Eve in 1918, he played in area bands until joining the Army in World War II, where he was a member of the 196th Army Ground Forces Band.
After working at Imperial Records as a talent scout, Bartholomew also helped such labels as Decca, King and Specialty discover the New Orleans sound. He wrote and recorded My Ding-a-Ling, which became a hit for Chuck Berry, and he produced Lloyd Price’s recording of Lawdy Miss Clawdy, which Price had written, with Domino, uncredited, playing piano.
He also worked for Trumpet Records and Mercury Records, before establishing his label, Broadmoor Records, in 1967.
He also produced some of New Orleans' most memorable music by artists including Smiley Lewis, Snooks Eaglin, Little Sonny Jones, Pee Wee Crayton, Shirley and Lee, Frankie Ford and Sugarboy Crawford.
Domino and Bartholomew created such hits as I’m Walkin’, Blue Monday, I Hear You Knocking and Whole Lotta Lovin’. Source: MSN News
Elliot Roberts, the US music manager who stickhandled the careers of artists including Joni Mitchell and Neil Young, died on June 21, age 76. No cause of death has been announced.
He worked as Neil Young’s manager since 1967 in what may be the longest-lasting manager/client relationship in rock ‘n’ roll. Roberts was also instrumental in the early career of Joni Mitchell, whom he managed until 1985. Roberts and Mitchell were both key figures in LA’s Laurel Canyon rock scene.
Born in the Bronx, Roberts was a two-time college dropout who harbuored ambitions as an actor, but moved laterally into band management in the mid-‘60s.
At William Morris in New York, Roberts came under the tutelage of his hustling contemporary David Geffen. The pair formed the Geffen-Roberts Company and Roberts took on the young Joni Mitchell as his first client. He went on to handle David Crosby, Neil Young, CSNY, Jackson Browne, America and the Eagles, among others, in tandem with Geffen.
The pair then founded Asylum Records, where they signed friends and clients like the Eagles, Jackson Browne and others.
After getting out of the label game and going his own way as a manager, Roberts' Lookout Management took on the careers of artists including Tom Petty, Talking Heads, Yes, Morrissey, Devo, Tracy Chapman, Bad Religion and Spiritualized. But in later years, especially, it was Young with whom Roberts remained joined at the hip in the eyes of the music business.
In a post on his website, Neil Young paid eloquent tribute to Roberts, calling him the greatest manager of all time."
Canadian industry notables spoke fondly of Roberts. NXNE's Michael Hollett wrote that "Roberts leaves an impressive track record and the world of music is much better because of his place in it."
When informed on Saturday of Roberts' passing by FYI, Hayden's manager William 'Skinny' Tenn recalled Roberts as "a really funny guy. He was really supportive of Hayden and made sure he got on the bill of the Bridge Concert [Roberts booked that star-studded benefit series for over 30 years]."
Tenn later posted on FB that "Hayden, Sandy Pandya and I had the pleasure of Elliot’s company on many occasions including at Neil’s ranch, Bridge School and many times in Toronto. Sandy and I also signed Tegan & Sara to his /Neil’s label so we got to know and love this wise, special and very funny guy. He was one of a kind!" Sources: Variety, Beat Route, Neil Young Archives, William Tenn