Music News Digest, March 4, 2019

Gordon Lightfoot (pictured) is working on a new album, the Toronto hip-hop scene gets a library exhibit, and submissions are now open for the SOCAN Song House. Also making the news are Metro Metro, Jerry Lee Lewis, Michael Jackson, Matt Andersen, Jim Cuddy, Twitch, Evil Ebenezer and JYAY, Indigenous musicians, Michael Wrycraft, Johnnie Lovesin, and farewell Tom Goodkind. Videos included for your enjoyment.

Music News Digest, March 4, 2019

By Kerry Doole

Gordon Lightfoot is working on a new album, Closer Weekly reports. In an exclusive interview, the 80-year-old Canadian legend tells the publication that "You come to a realization that there’s enough material inside of you that you know you’re going to be able to do it. I’ve got a full tank here! I hope to make it by the end of the year. It’s like writing a novel." He adds that "the song I’m working on now is 'Easy Flo.' It’s about my new wife. Florence is not her name, but it’s still about her. You can think of it as 'easy flow.' She’s like that."


Lightfoot begins more US touring today (March 4), and he has 10 Ontario shows set for April. He notes "I had no idea that I’d still be performing at the age of 80. I didn’t know I had it in me!"

– The new Metro Metro hip-hop music festival in Montreal is doing very well in advance ticket sales, the Montreal Gazettereports. The weekend VP passes ($300) have sold out, and more than 70 per cent of weekend passes for the fest are gone. It takes place at the Olympic Stadium’s Sun Life Esplanade on May 18 and 19, with Cardi B (for her first Montreal performance) and Future as headliners.

– The Toronto Reference Library is now hosting the exhibit For the Record: An Idea of the North, one that demonstrates how Toronto's hip-hop scene brought local artists to a world stage. It features material from the library's collections and also loaned items from the local music community, including vinyl, cassette tapes and photographs. For the Record runs at the TD Gallery until April 28. Source: CBC

– Submissions are now open for the fourth SOCAN Song House at the 2019 East Coast Music Awards: Festival & Conference, May 1-2 in Charlottetown, PE.  Brian Howes, a Juno-winning songwriter and producer, will lead the two-day interactive workshop. Twelve songwriters from Atlantic Canada will be selected to participate, gaining valuable insight into the craft of writing a hit song. Deadline is March 13.


– Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis is expected to make a full recovery after suffering a minor stroke on Feb. 28. The news was first reported on the 83-year-old musician's Facebook page. The post read in part: "He is with his family, recuperating in Memphis and the doctors expect a full recovery. He is looking forward to getting back into the studio soon to record a Gospel record and on the road performing live for his fans."

– Michael Jackson has been dropped from BBC Radio 2’s music playlists. Ahead of the release of documentary Leaving Neverland, which details new child sex abuse claims, it’s being reported that the decision not to have any of the King of Pop’s songs played on the station was made recently. Source: The Independent.

– East Coast blues/soul artist Matt Andersen releases his new album, Halfway Home By Morning, on True North on March 22. Pre-orders for limited autographed CDs and vinyl here


– News of releases for Record Store Day on April 13 is gradually being leaked. One notable Canadian entry will be an exclusive 7″ vinyl single from Jim Cuddy. The two-track feature live in the studio recordings of Cuddy’s “Countrywide Soul” and the Glen Campbell classic, “Rhinestone Cowboy”. The single will be limited to 500 copies,

– Amazon’s Twitch streaming service has announced a new singing competition that will let Twitch streamers compete for a US$20K prize. The final four singers will travel to TwitchCon Europe to perform in the finals.


– Five-time Western Canadian Music Award nominee Evil Ebenezer and East Coast, hip-hop artist JYAY, have released their new joint single "Don't Step" online. The cut was produced by C-Lance (Snak The Ripper, Merkules) and recorded by Juno-winning hip-hop producer Rob The Viking at Chamber Studios. "Don't Step" is from their upcoming album Rambo, slated for April. Look for a national tour that kicks off at CMW in May.

– Musicians met in Banff last month for the Canadian Indigenous Classical Music Gathering. It was one of the first gatherings of its kind and included musicians from Alberta, the west coast, and northern Ontario. Along with creating music, participants also drafted a statement to the music industry about the importance of including Indigenous musicians in any music project involving Indigenous culture. The statement is co-signed by ten musicians, including Polaris Prize winner Jeremy Dutcher and Cris Derksen. Source: CBC News

– Back in action after major surgery last year resulted in the loss of both legs, noted graphic designer and roots music promoter Michael Wrycraft is again presenting his popular tribute concerts at Hugh's Room Live in Toronto. Sweet Baby James, a James Taylor tribute, is on March 15, with a lineup featuring Arlene Bishop, Heather Bambrick, Wendy Lands, Chris Birkett, Annie Sumi, Taivi, Tyra Jutai, and The Zubots.

–  A funeral for Toronto rocker Johnnie Lovesin is on Tuesday, March 5 at Tallman Funeral Home in Vineland, ON, at 1 pm. A future celebration of life is being planned. A GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses has been set up.


Tom (Thomas Stone) Goodkind, a longtime fixture on the New York City music scene, died Feb. 28 after a long battle with a chronic degenerative illness. He was 65.

Goodkind was best known as the co-founder of The Washington Squares folk revival group. In recent years, he served as the conductor of the Lower Manhattan-based all-volunteer group TriBattery Pops, described as something of a contemporary spin on the traditional marching band.


Earlier in his career, Goodkind was instrumental in creating and/or managing such popular New York music venues as Irving Plaza, the Peppermint Lounge and Roseland.

The Washington Squares formed in 1983 as a trio featuring former NYU students Goodkind and Bruce Jay Paskow (who died in 1994), plus Lauren Agnelli. The trio, all of whom sang, was modeled after classic 1960s folk groups such as the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary, taking their name from Washington Square Park in the heart of Greenwich Village.

They became popular at acoustic music venues such as Folk City but also performed at rock music clubs in the early ’80s. Their repertoire consisted of covers of songs from the so-called folk era and also original music.

For some time, the trio added drummer Billy Ficca, formerly with Television. A self-titled 1987 debut album received a Grammy nomination.

The Washington Squares staged a reunion concert last year at New York’s City Winery, which featured Goodkind, Agnelli, Ficca and Mike Fornatale on bass. They were joined there by guest Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary. Source: Best Classic Bands


Steve Albini in the 'A' control room of his studio, Electrical Audio, Chicago, Illinois, June 24, 2005.
Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Steve Albini in the 'A' control room of his studio, Electrical Audio, Chicago, Illinois, June 24, 2005.


Steve Albini’s Legacy to Be Honored With Viral #ThankYouSteveAlbini Campaign

Organizers ask fans to upload photos and stories on July 22 to honor the late musician on what would have been his 62nd birthday.

Just months after his shocking death at 61, legendary producer/engineer/band leader Steve Albini will be honored with a global celebration of his noisy legacy. Touch and Go Records announced on Thursday (July 18) that it is turning what would have been Albini’s 62nd birthday on Monday (July 22) into a chance to share memories about the late rock rabblerouser known for creating righteously riotous music as well as for his vicious wit.

“Though we tragically lost Steve Albini on May 7, 2024, his indelible influence on music remains. Let’s turn his birthday, July 22nd, into a worldwide celebration to honor his life and legacy,” the label said in a statement announcing their request that fans and friends flood Instagram on Monday with “stories and photos that capture the essence of Steve’s impact. Share pictures of his albums that shaped you, concert memories, or even handwritten notes that resonated deeply. If you were lucky enough to meet him, let’s see those photos!”

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