Music News Digest, March 4, 2020

Ron Hynes (pictured) to be celebrated at the ECMAs, Michael Kaeshammer premieres a concert film, and another hometown show for The Weeknd. Others in the news include Ernesto Cervini, Sarah Harmer, IFPI stats, Cancer Bats, Public Enemy, Serena Ryder, The Dennis Kwok Jazz Orchestra, the Toronto Summer Music Festival, and farewell Rhéal Lanthier, 

Music News Digest, March 4, 2020

By Kerry Doole

The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) has partnered with the East Coast Music Awards to celebrate the induction of celebrated folk singer-songwriter Ron Hynes to the CSHF. Hailing from Newfoundland, Hynes, who passed away in late 2015, was known as the “man of a thousand songs,” and was a major force in the region’s culture.

The six-time East Coast Music Award winner will be honoured in a special ceremony during the 2020 East Coast Music Awards Show on April 30 at Mile One Centre in St John’s, NL. Friend, noted producer, and founder of the CSHF, Frank Davies, will present the induction to the Hynes family. Additional special guests and performers joining the induction celebration will be announced later.


– This month, acclaimed BC pianist and singer Michael Kaeshammer will premiere Boogie On The Blues Highway, on select public television stations across the US, via AMERICAN PUBLIC TELEVISION. This concert special was filmed during a pair of hometown shows at the Charlie White Theatre on Vancouver Island. Guests on the special include Randy Bachman, Colin James, and US soul star Curtis Salgado. Following the broadcast, in April, Boogie On The Blues Highway will have a DVD release along with a CD of the same performances simply titled Live In Concert.

– The Weeknd has added a third Toronto show to the sked of his summer After Hours tour. It is set for Aug. 31 at Scotiabank Arena, and the same venue has earlier shows on June 29 and 30. Tix on sale Friday here.  Produced by Live Nation, the 57-date tour covers North America, the UK, and Germany.

– Hard-working Toronto jazz drummer/composer/publicist Ernesto Cervini launches his new album Tetrahedron with two nights at The Rex Hotel & Jazz Bar in TO, March 5 and 6. His A-list group also features Luis Deniz, Alex Goodman, and Rich Brown. Another of Cervini's projects, Turboprop, is again nominated for a Juno this year.


– The Saints And Sinners 2020 Tour, featuring Canrock faves Headstones, Moist and The Tea Party, has announced two new dates: Windsor's Bluesfest on July 12 and Hamilton's FirstOntario Place, July 20. The cross-country trek kicks off June 26 in Penticton B.C. and heads east before closing in St. John's NL on July 30.

– Sarah Harmer has added dates to her upcoming tour. Full itinerary here 

– New data released by global record industry body IFPI has revealed the Top 10 best-selling artists around the world in 2019. The list is based on the cumulative revenue generated across every recorded format (streaming, CD, download, vinyl) by each act (In IFPI’s own words, the list is “weighted based on the relative value of each method of consumption”). The official Top 10 is led by Taylor Swift. She’s followed by, in order, Ed Sheeran, Post Malone, Billie Eilish, and Queen. Drake comes in at 8. Of note: eight of the artists in the Top 10 (and their catalogs) are distributed by and/or signed to Universal and its labels, while UMG also distributes the Japanese-language recordings of BTS (No. 7). Source:MBW


– Multiple Juno-nominated Canadian metal band Cancer Bats are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their acclaimed third full-length Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones by releasing a remastered vinyl pressing and a remastered digital version of the album on March 20, via their own label Bat Skull Records in Canada. Produced by award-winner Eric Ratz and Kenny Luong, the vinyl reissue has been remastered by Harry Hess.

– The latest casualty in the US Democratic campaigning is Public Enemy hypeman Flavor Flav. Two days after the rapper sent a cease-and-desist letter to Bernie Sanders over Chuck D’s concert at the campaign’s LA rally Sunday, PE leader Chuck D sacked FF, after 35 years. A lawyer for Chuck D added, “From a legal standpoint, Chuck could perform as Public Enemy if he ever wanted to; he is the sole owner of the Public Enemy trademark. Source: Rolling Stone


– Multiple Juno Award-winner Serena Ryder joins the lineup for the 60th anniversary of Mariposa Folk Festival, coming to Orillia, ON, July 3-5. Other new adds are Begonia,Ice Cream, Arrogant Worms, and Rosier. Tix here   

– The Dennis Kwok Jazz Orchestra celebrates the release of its debut album, Windward Bound, on March 29 at 918 Bathurst, Toronto, as part of the TD Discovery Series Special Projects. The evening will also feature the world premiere of the Vija Celmens Suite,  by local composer and saxophonist Brenden Varty

– From July 9 to Aug. 1, the Toronto Summer Music Festival presents Beethoven Unleashed, a celebration of the 250th anniversary of the iconic composer Ludwig van Beethoven and his legacy. The 2020 season marks TSM’s 15th anniversary. More info here


Rhéal Lanthier, guitarist for popular Hamilton blues-rock band Crowbar, died on March 1. Age and cause of death not reported

Born in the foothills of the Laurentians in Buckingham, Quebec, Lanthier took to the road with his guitar at a young age. While in a local Toronto band called The Ascots, Roly Greenway and Lanthier packed their bags and headed to Nevada, and for a couple of years on a nightly basis they played various Vegas clubs, opening for the likes of Zsa Zsa Gabor and even Liberace.

Upon returning to Canada, they went their separate ways, with Greenway joining Bobby Curtola's touring band. In  1969, the pair founded The Royal Ascot Review, along with Kelly Jay and ex-Ronnie Hawkins' harmonica player, King Biscuit Boy (Richard Newell). Along with three other players, this group became Hawkins' backing band, but was fired in the summer of 1970.


Under the guise of King Biscuit Boy and Crowbar, they released their first album in 1970, Official Music. Between 1970 and 1975, the group's heyday, Crowbar released seven albums. The 1970 single Oh What A Feeling is now recognised as a Canadian rock classic. Crowbar was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011.

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys perform onstage during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sept. 13, 2009 in New York City.
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys perform onstage during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sept. 13, 2009 in New York City.


Alicia Keys and Jay-Z to Perform ‘Empire State of Mind’ on 2024 Tony Awards

The song always packs a special jolt of excitement when performed in New York City.

It was too perfect an opportunity to pass up: Alicia Keys and Jay-Z will perform “Empire State of Mind” during the 77th Annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 16. The show is set to air live on both coasts from the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City (8:00-11:00 p.m. ET/5:00-8:00 p.m. live PT) on CBS, and to stream on Paramount+ in the U.S.

“Empire State of Mind” is featured in Hell’s Kitchen, the musical based on Keys’ early life and music which is nominated for 13 Tony Awards. That put it in a tie with the play Stereophonic as this year’s most-nominated production.

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