Music News Digest, March 14, 2018

The just-announced lineup for the blockbuster Quebec City Summer Festival includes The Weeknd, CBC's Searchlight names the ten finalists, and Field Trip ditches Nestle. Also in the news are SXSW, CMPA, MerleFest, BreakOut West, Music Moves Me, Fred Turner, Vans Warped Tour, Bender, and Andrew Rathbun, plus farewells to Craig Mack, Nokie Edwards, and Ken Dodd.

Music News Digest, March 14, 2018

By Kerry Doole

The Quebec City Summer Festival (Festival d'été de Québec) can lay claim to providing the biggest bang for the buck of any Canadian music festival. It runs July 5-15 this year, and a $100 pass gets you access to all 11 days. The headliners, in chronological order, are The Weeknd, Neil Young, Future, Shawn Mendes, Foo Fighters, Patrice Michaud, The Chainsmokers, Beck, Lorde, Avenged Sevenfold, and Dave Matthews Band. Other acts include The War On Drugs, Busta Rhymes, Passenger, Charlotte Cardin, Tory Lanez, Metz, Sturgill Simpson, Sum 41, Phoenix, Glass Tiger, Scott Helman, and dozens more. A full lineup and ticket info here.


– Over 2,000 artists submitted material to CBC Music's talent search, Searchlight 2018, and hundreds of thousands of votes were cast and counted. The top 10 finalists have just been announced.

The Top 5, as decided by vote, are Amanda Johnston Band, C.C. Trubiak, Chloe Hataley, The Kwerks, and Scarlet Sway. The Top 5 finalists as judged by CBC Music are Aquakultre, Fallbrigade, Jordana Talsky, Sara Diamond, and Sinzere. The winner will be announced on March 19.

– The CMPA (Canadian Music Publishers Association) has announced it is heading to Germany and Denmark in September for its 2018 Create missions. Launched in 2016, Create provides B2B opportunities for members to connect with international music and film contacts and facilitates collaboration between Canadian songwriters and their foreign counterparts during songwriting camps. Application deadlines TBA.

– Also in CMPA news, Amy Eligh and Rell Lafargue have joined its Board of Directors. Eligh is the Director of Publishing and Licensing at Arts & Crafts Music, and Lafargue is the President & Chief Operating Officer at Reservoir. 

– This year’s SXSW in Austin has begun, and the festival has revised its performance agreements, removing references to the possibility of deportation for international acts who violate the contracts. This follows a significant uproar last year over those contract provisions. Source: Pitchfork


– After impressing with their recently announced lineup, Toronto summer festival Field Trip stumbled into controversy when word spread that international food giant Nestle was a fest sponsor. That company has long been the target of criticism and boycotts for their business practices. Field Trip quickly responded to the uproar by pulling the plug on the sponsorship yesterday, posting that "We have heard all of your feedback and concerns as they pertain to Field Trip's sponsorship arrangements with Nestle. As a result, Nestle and Perrier will no longer be a partner of Field Trip 2018."

– One of the most important roots music fests in North America, MerleFest, runs from April 26-29 this year, in North Carolina. It has just singled out ten “must-see” artistswho will perform this year, and Canadian acts figure strongly. That list comprises Sarah Jane Scouten, The Andrew Collins Trio, The East Pointers, and The Lonesome Ace Stringband. The complete 2018 lineup here

– A reminder that the submission deadline for BreakOut West 2018 is midnight CST on March 21. Submissions for the awards can be made by the Artist/Industry professional themselves or submitted on the Artist’s/Industry professional’s behalf. Full details here


–  April 1 is the deadline for the Music Moves Me program, presented by TD and the East Coast Music Association. Nova Scotia, high school students are encouraged to record a video of themselves performing an original or cover song, posting it on YouTube, and applying here. One student will receive $1K for their school's music program, plus travel to and tickets for the East Coast Music Awards Show in Halifax. The winner is also invited to perform their song during the 2018 ECMAs week, May 2-6.


–  Randy Bachman has announced that Fred Turner, his bandmate in Bachman-Turner Overdrive, is retiring from touring. In a Facebook post, Bachman wrote “While he has earned a well-deserved break, I’m going to keep going for as long as I can. Hats off to Fred for a tremendous legacy of rock. Not many can shriek like this man!”

–  This year's Vans Warped Tour (the 24th annual) will be the last one for the travelling road show. It has just been announced that the fest is teaming up with Anthem Films and  Dola Media Group for the official Vans Warped Tour documentary, with a hoped-for release at the end of 2017. The doc will be a 4-part series chronicling the rise and fall of the tour and will be filmed during the tour's final expedition this summer.

–  We recently reported on the death of top Ottawa rapper Bender. A crowdfunding campaign to support his family has quickly raised $12.5K, and a group of his local friends have created a tribute mural on the wall at the Ottawa Technical Secondary School. Source: Hip-Hop Canada

– At a time when interest in the work of Margaret Atwood has never been stronger, acclaimed saxophonist/composer/arranger Andrew Rathbun is releasing two new suites set to Atwood's poetry. Recorded in NYC with his Large Ensemble, the two-CD set, Atwood Suites, is being released on Origin Records on April 20. Toronto native Rathbun is Professor of Saxophone and Jazz Studies at Western Michigan University.


Craig Mack, the Long Island rapper who found fame on Diddy's Bad Boy Records label, died on March 12 at age 46, of heart failure.

Mack rose to hip-hop acclaim with the best-selling summer hit "Flava in Ya Ear" in 1994, the first hit on Diddy's famed hip-hop label.


Born in Queens, NY, Mack accompanied New York rap group EPMD on tour at an early age, then started rhyming in the late 1980s. Under the name MC EZ, listed alongside DJ Troup, he released a debut  12-inch single on Fresh Records in 1988: "Just Rhymin'" b/w "Get Retarded." Mack freestyled for Diddy to earn a record contract, then broke through with "Flava in Ya Ear" and its accompanying gold-certified album Project: Funk Da World.

He struggled to replicate his initial success. After leaving Bad Boy Records he released Operation: Get Down in 1997, but it did not generate a hit. Mack later quit the music industry in favour of religion, working as an emcee at the controversial Overcomer Ministry church in South Carolina. Sources: LA Times, NY Daily News, Rolling Stone.

Nole Floyd ("Nokie") Edwards, the lead guitarist of The Ventures, died March 12 at age 82, from complications following hip surgery.

The Ventures are considered the most successful instrumental group in rock history, and the guitar sound of Edwards had a major influence on generations of players. "I believe in simplicity, "Edwards told an interviewer in 2001. "If you have a melodic line, people will like it. If you can hum it, you can have a hit."


The group had 14 hit singles, beginning with "Walk Don't Run" in 1960 and including the mega-hit theme song to '"Hawaii Five-O" in 1969. The Ventures were able to sustain an extended career by recording and performing hits of the day arranged as instrumentals. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. Edwards was also an actor, who appeared briefly on TV series Deadwood. Source: LA Times

Sir Kenneth Arthur (Ken) Dodd, English comedian and singer, died on May 11, at age 90. One of the most popular comedians of his time in Britain, he also enjoyed success as a singer. His signature tune "Happiness" was released in 1964 and his single "Tears" was the third highest-selling song of the 1960s in Britain, beaten only by two Beatles singles. Fellow Liverpudlians the Beatles were big fans of Dodd. Upon learning of his death, Sir Paul McCartney tweeted a picture of Sir Ken with the Beatles, praising him as "a champion of his home city." 

Dodd charted 18 times in the UK Top 40, including his first single "Love Is Like a Violin," in 1960. His 1965 hit "Tears" was the biggest hit single in Britain that year, selling over a million copies in the UK alone. 

After making his name in the music halls, Dodd's career in television and radio took off. In the 1960s, he made it into the Guinness Book of Records for telling 1,500 jokes in three and a half hours. He was knighted in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to entertainment and charity. Source: BBC, Wikipedia

Céline Dion in 'I Am : Céline Dion'
Prime Video

Céline Dion in 'I Am : Céline Dion'

Tv Film

Céline Dion Calls Prime Video Documentary 'A Love Letter To My Fans' In a Message at Her Montreal Premiere

The Quebec artist is as vulnerable as ever in 'I Am: Céline Dion,' which premiered on June 17 before its official release on June 25. Here's what we learned from the sneak peek of the film, which is raw and vulnerable and sometimes hard to watch.

The Maisonneuve Theatre in Montreal was packed to celebrate Quebec's national treasure, Céline Dion.

Monday evening, June 17, Prime Video organized a handful of previews of Irene Taylor's highly anticipated documentary I Am: Céline Dion. In Montreal, where Billboard Canada was among the guests, many people came to attend the special screening.

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