Music News Digest, May 22, 2019

James Corden and Céline Dion (pictured) clown around in Vegas, a tough month for Toronto music venues, and Woodstock 50 attracts a new investor. Also in the news are Frank Dukes, Sultans of String, Peak to Shore, CIMA, Squamish Constellation Festival, Tom Avis, Music PEI, Home Routes, Festival of Friends, and farewell Mike Wilhelm.

Music News Digest, May 22, 2019

By Kerry Doole

James Corden's very popular Carpool Karaoke segments for his late night TV show featured Céline Dion as a guest earlier this week, and the results were both charming and funny. Céline helps Corden navigate Las Vegas streets while improvising her way through snippets of a bunch of songs. The segment is already a YouTube hit, quickly gaining 5.85M views.

Céline Dion Carpool Karaoke

–  A year ago, popular T.O. bar/resto/music venue The Cadillac Lounge announced it had been sold, but when that deal fell through, owner Sam Grosso kept the place going. He has just reported a new buyer has been found, and July 14 will be the Caddy's final day of business, after nearly two decades. Grosso tells FYI, "some type of retail" is the likely fate of the space.


In other T.O. venue news, 500 Keele Warehouse recently announced it has temporarily closed, citing "City regulations and spacing issues that need to be resolved." The space has been primarily used for electronic music shows. Gigs skedded for the venue have all been relocated. Add to this the news that the attempt to reopen the famed honky-tonk The Matador has been abandoned and the building sold (see today's Music Biz Headlines), and you have a miserable May on the local music scene.

–  The latest twist in the complicated saga of the planned Woodstock 50 fest is that organisers have found a new financial backer after the event was cancelled by Dentsu Aegis. The new partner is Oppenheimer & Co., a New York-based investment bank and financial services company. Rolling Stonereports that organisers still have to secure a number of crucial permits, including a mass-gathering one from the New York State Department of Health before tickets can go on sale.

–  Hit Canadian hip-hop producer /songwriter Frank Dukes is featured on Confessions of a Dangerous Mind; the recently-released fifth studio album from US rapper/producer, Logic. Other A-list collaborators on the record include Eminem, YBN Corda, Gucci Mane, Wiz Khalifa, and Will Smith.


–  Internationally-acclaimed and Juno-nominated Toronto world music ensemble Sultans of String is going the crowdfunding route to make its next album, Refuge. The concept is an homage to "the beautiful contributions of recent immigrants & refugees to USA & Canada." Learn more and contribute here

–  The Peak to Shore Music Festival near Collingwood, ON, runs July 17-21 with a highly diverse lineup, from opera to hip-hop. The 35-plus concerts include a free show at Blue Mountain Village with Skydiggers and special guest Paul Langlois of The Tragically Hip. Other notables include Digging Roots, Long Range Hustle, Gryphon Trio, Johnson Crook, Goodnight Sunrise, Quartetto Gelato, Chris Antonik, Danielle Bourjeaurd, and Michael Nyman. 

– A reminder that CIMA's Fifth Annual Celebration & Awards Gala will be held at Lithuanian House Banquet Halls - 1573 Bloor St W, Toronto, on June 10. The event honours notables in the Canadian independent music sector for their contributions to the industry. Tix here

– One of the most influential architects of the 20th century, I.M. Pei, died on May 16, age 102. Pei designed the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.


– The first ever Squamish Constellation Festival (July 26- 28) is now offering single day passes to the general public, beginning on Friday (May 24). Available here 

– Lucky Bird Media — composed of Daniel Cooper, Susan Hubbard, Jake Lanier, and Maddie Corbin — has announced a partnership with Tom Avis of Hive Mind PR. Avis will maintain Hive Mind as Lucky Bird’s Toronto branch, expanding the US company into Canada. He has worked with such acts as Pile, Weaves, Ellis, JEFF The Brotherhood, and Homeshake.


– Tonight (May 22), Music PEI and videogames music composer Ryan Hale present a workshop entitled How To Make Money Writing Music for Videogames. Free for Music PEI members & $10 for non-members. Register in advance here

– Home Routes/Chemin Chez Nous, the Winnipeg-based house concert network, is seeking hosts from across Canada to join their network of volunteer hosts for the upcoming Fall 2019 season. More info here

–  Hamilton's famed Festival of Friends is now accepting applications for performers to play both the side stages, as well as limited slots on the main stage. The application process is now free and open to everyone, with a June 30 deadline. Apply here


Mike (Michael Ray) Wilhelm, an American guitarist, singer and songwriter best known as a founding member of the influential Bay Area band The Charlatans, died on May 14, age 77. The Charlatans have been widely credited as starting the Haight-Ashbury psychedelic scene during the 1960s. 

Wilhelm first learned to play blues guitar in his teens, from legendary Tennessee bluesman Walter "Brownie" McGhee. In 1964, Wilhelm became a founding member of the Charlatans. The band's music had more pronounced jug band, country and blues influences than many other Bay Area groups, while their distinctive late 19th-century fashions exerted a strong influence on the Summer of Love in San Francisco.

The Charlatans' recorded output was small, with their only studio album, The Charlatans, appearing in 1969, two years after the band's 1965-1967 heyday. Despite being influential on the San Francisco counter-culture scene during the late 1960s, the Charlatans never managed to break into the national Billboard charts.

After his '70s band Loose Gravel broke up, Wilhelm spent six years as lead guitarist with the Flamin' Groovies He played on two of their studio albums, Flamin' Groovies Now (1978) and Jumpin' in the Night (1979). He went on to release four solo studio albums and two live records. Source: 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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