Music News Digest, Nov. 15, 2021

Hit producer/songwriter Cirkut (pictured) signs a major publishing deal, Johnny Orlando bests the Biebs at the MTV EMAs, and Alessia Cara collaborates with Allen Stone. Also in the news are Drake, Arkells, West End Phoenix, RBT, Beth Ann Cole, KellyLee Evans, The Great Escape, Music PEI, and farewell Doug Dombrowski, Graeme Edge, John Goodsall, and Jeff Wald.

Music News Digest, Nov. 15, 2021

By Kerry Doole

Canadian producer and songwriter Cirkut (real name Henry Walter) has signed an exclusive global publishing agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), Music Business Worldwide recently reported. Cirkut has written and produced multiple Billboard Hot 100 No.1 singles, including Part of Me, Roar and Dark Horse by Katy Perry, Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus, and Sugar and Girls Like U by Maroon 5.

He also produced seven songs on The Weeknd’s Grammy-winning smash hit album Starboy and recently collaborated on Kanye West’s album Donda for the track Hurricane featuring The Weeknd and Lil Baby. Cirkut won the Jack Richardson Producer of the Year Award at the 2014 Junos and gained a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year with Katy Perry’s Roar. He is co-managed by Luke Mitzman of 100 MGMT and APG‘s Mike Caren.


– US soul star Allen Stone released his new album, Apart, on Friday. Of note is a collaboration with Alessia Cara on the track the Bed I Made. A label press release explains that Cara has covered that song since 2013: "Bed I Made has been one of my favourite songs since the moment I heard Allen do a live rendition of it while surfing the internet. It’s still the first song I play when I pick up a new guitar. I’m so incredibly honoured to be on this new version with him. It feels super full circle for me ‘cause this tune and his music mean so much to me!” Stone has a Dec. 2 show at Toronto's Phoenix. Could a surprise guest turn be possible?

– As well as being named in lawsuits following the Astroworld fest tragedy in Houston, Drake is also facing heat over reports that he visited Houston strip club Area 29 the following night. Consequence and other sources state that Drake spent $1M dollars at the club, covering the floor with bills. In one video posted by Drizzy associate DJ Akademiks, a group of female dancers are heard saying, “Thanks, Drake!”


Justin Bieber led the nominations list for the 2021 MTV European Music Awards with eight but came away from Sunday’s awards show empty-handed. Variety reports that BTS won the most awards, including Best Pop, Best Group, Best K-Pop and Biggest Fans, while Ed Sheeran won Best Artist and Best Song for Bad Habits. A winner in the Best Canadian category for the third consecutive year was Johnny Orlando.

– Hometown favourites Arkells have been named as the halftime show performers for the upcoming Grey Cup, to be held on Dec. 12 at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton. The lads will be hoping the under-achieving Tiger-Cats somehow make it to the game. 

– Author/rocker Dave Bidini (Rheostatics) has reason to smile at the moment. The West End Phoenix, the Toronto community newspaper of which he is the co-founder/publisher, is the subject of a positive profile in this week’s issue of The New Yorker. The WEP has attracted such big-name contributors as Margaret Atwood, Alex Lifeson, and Jeff Lemire, and this kind of exposure is invaluable. One quibble with the profile is its summation of Rheostatics as “a band who used to tour with The Tragically Hip.” The large and loyal following for these indie rock veterans know there is far more to their story than that. Check the paper out here.


– The folks at Hugh's Room Live have some more high-quality shows (all featuring Juno winners) coming to the Toronto venues they're now using. Sammy Jackson is in at 3030 Dundas Street West on Nov. 25, new super-duo ES:MO (Elizabeth Shepherd and Michael Occhipinti) plays there on Dec. 2, and KellyLee Evans brings a holiday-themed show (Winter Song) there on Dec. 16.  Headed to the El Mocambo (on Dec. 14) is Madison Violet. More info at


The Great Escape in Brighton, England, will host 450+ acts in over 35 venues, 11-14 May, 2022. Artist registration is now officially open in partnership with Family In Music. Apply here before Feb. 13.

– To mark the fifth anniversary of the passing of bard Leonard Cohen, Toronto singer/songwriter/actor Beth Anne Cole recently released a video, Song for Leonard, taken from her third acclaimed album Perhaps The Gods Of Love. A-list players on the track include Tiina Kiik and Tania Gill. Check out the song (co-written by Cole and Martin van de Ven) here.

– Acclaimed veteran Canadian singer/songwriter Rosanne Baker Thornley (RBT) informs us that she has a new album, Sorry I'm Late, ready for release in mid-2022. Here's a video for a new advance single. More info here.

– Music PEI is currently looking for industry professionals to take part in the jury process for the upcoming 2022 Music PEI Awards. If interested, complete the Juror Application Form here.


Doug Dombrowski, a noted US rock promoter, died on Nov. 10, from complications of heart and kidney failure. He was 71.

In 1978, Dombrowski set up his own indie Rock promotion company, Could Be Wild Promotions, in Buffalo, with his partner Bruce Moser.

The company played a major role in the early success of The Cars, and also championed Canadian artists Bryan Adams and Rush.

If desired, a contribution in Dombrowski's name can be made to a charity of choice. Online condolences may be shared at Source:  All Access

– Graeme Charles Edge, an English musician, songwriter, and poet, best known as the co-founder and drummer of the English band the Moody Blues, died on Nov. 11, of cancer, at age 80.


In addition to his work with the Moody Blues, Edge worked as the bandleader of his own outfit, the Graeme Edge Band. He contributed his talents to a variety of other projects throughout his career. In 2018, Edge was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Moody Blues.

Edge was born in Rocester, Staffordshire, and moved to Birmingham with his family shortly after. He then joined up with Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder to form the Moody Blues in 1964.

Edge played on all their Decca singles, including the UK chart-topping Go Now (January 1965). He initially was a poet for the band, contributing Morning Glory and Late Lament to Days ofFuture Passed in 1967 (narrated by Pinder). Edge himself opened In Search of the Lost Chord (1968) with his brief poem Departure, though Mike Pinder narrated his The Word poem later on that set. Further poems provided by Edge included In the Beginning (co-narrated by Hayward, Edge and Pinder in turn) and The Dream (spoken by Pinder) for On the Threshold of a Dream (1969).


In 1969, as the band launched their own label, Threshold Records, Edge began contributing songs. His effort Higher and Higher commenced the band's fifth album To Our Children's Children's Children, which also featured his instrumental composition Beyond.

The first electronic drum is said to have been created by Edge in collaboration with Sussex University Professor Brian Groves. The device was used in the song Procession from the 1971 album Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. For their 1972 Seventh Sojourn album, Edge co-wrote You And Me with Hayward, who took lead vocal.

He returned to recording later in 1974, forming his studio-based Graeme Edge Band (featuring guitarist/vocalist Adrian Gurvitz and Paul Gurvitz). They released two albums, Kick Off YourMuddy Boots (1975) and Paradise Ballroom (1977)

After the Moody Blues' reunion in 1978, Edge contributed a few more songs to the albums that followed.

Edge was the only remaining original member of the Moody Blues still performing in the band until his retirement in 2018.

In tribute, the group’s frontman, Justin Hayward said: "When Graeme told me he was retiring, I knew that without him it couldn't be the Moody Blues anymore. And that's what happened. It's true to say that he kept the group together throughout all the years because he loved it." Sources: BBC News, Wikipedia

– John Goodsall, a British progressive rock and jazz fusion guitarist most noted for his work with Brand X, Atomic Rooster, and The Fire Merchants., died on Nov. 11, age 68.

At 15, he became a professional musician and joined Carol Grimes' Babylon. He then toured extensively, first with The Alan Bown Set, then with Atomic Rooster. He later joined Brand X, a band led by Phil Collins.

After Brand X's 1979 world tour (the last with Phil Collins), Goodsall moved to Los Angeles and worked as a session musician and as a member of the band Zoo Drive (1980–1987). Goodsall also performed and/or recorded with Bill Bruford, Desmond Dekker & The Aces, Peter Gabriel, Bryan Adams, Toni Basil, Patrick Moraz, and more. His session credits include Lisa DalBello’s Drastic Measures.

His group The Fire Merchants released two albums, Fire Merchants and Landlords of Atlantis before Goodsall and Percy Jones re-formed Brand X as a trio in 1992 with drummer Frank Katz. This Brand X line-up released the albums X-Communication and Manifest Destiny.

He played live with John Goodsall's Ghost Society in 2008. During his last years, Goodsall continued to record on sessions for international projects in Japan, Germany, England, the U.S. and France. Sources: Wikipedia, DMME

– Jeff Wald (born Jeffrey Sommers), a veteran artist manager, producer and boxing promoter, died on Nov. 12, at age 77. A cause of death was not available.

Wald began his career in Chicago as a talent buyer. In 1968, he moved to Los Angeles and formed a company alongside Ron De Blasio, with George Carlin and The Turtles on its roster, before signing a record deal with Capitol Records two years later.

Wald was married to actress and singer Helen Reddy at the time, working as her manager throughout their 18-year marriage.. Wald’s deal with Capitol Records was tied to Reddy.

In 1975, Wald began to construct his own management company, attracting high-profile clients such as Miles Davis, David Crosby, Sylvester Stallone, Marvin Gaye, Elliott Gould, Donna Summer, Roseanne Barr and Mike Tyson. In 1986, he became president of The Gong Show game show production company Barris Industries, which became the Guber-Peters Entertainment Company shortly before Sony acquired the studio in 1989.

A prolific producer, Wald’s television credits over his career included The Roseanne Show. He also produced feature films for Orion and Rysher Entertainment including 2 Days in the Valley.

In the late 1990s, Wald and Irving Azoff partnered to promote George Foreman’s last two fights as well as other bouts.

He was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve a four-year term on the board of the United Service Organizations and was also on the organizing committee for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Wald later served as CEO of Aria Multimedia Entertainment and Creston Enterprises, which has produced and published coffee table books including the Official Michael Jackson Book and Hip Hop: A Cultural Odyssey. Source: Variety

Pearl Jam
Danny Clinch

Pearl Jam


Pearl Jam Hosting Listening Parties at These Indie Record Stores in Canada

Ahead of their Dark Matter album release on April 19, the Seattle band is bringing their new record to record stores in select locations.

Seattle rockers Pearl Jam are shedding some light on Dark Matter.

The '90s icons are releasing their 12th full-length next Friday, April 19, but Canadian fans can get an advance listen at four independent record stores around the country this Sunday. On April 14, the band is hosting listening parties in Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax and Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu. (Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu is about a half hour drive for Montreal fans).

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