Music News Digest, Nov. 25, 2019

Shania and Taylor (pictured) shine at the AMAs, Michael Wekerle promises the Elmo is getting close, and a confession from David Foster. Also making news are BTS, Bill Wylie, Drake, Gordon Lightfoot, Anyway Gang, Alex Pangman, a McGarrigle tribute, Patrick Harbron, Steven Guilbeault, Saskatchewan Music Awards, Miranda Mulholland, George Seara,  Sheenah Ko, Manitoba Music, MusicNL Awards, and farewell Gerry Atwell and Goo Hara.

Music News Digest, Nov. 25, 2019

By FYI Staff

Shania Twain performed a medley of acoustic covers of Post Malone, Twenty One Pilots, Taylor Swift and Drake hits, plus several of her own chestnuts at the American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles last night. The appearance is strategic to pump her profile in advance of a return to Sin City at the Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on Dec. 6. The 23-date residency is the singer's second Vegas stint after "Shania: Still the One," which ended its two-year run in 2014.

Taylor Swift,  Billie Eilish, Dan + Shay, and Khalid were the big winners at the AMA's last night. The only Canuck to earn notice was Shawn Mendes who earned a co-star win with Camila Cabello for their summer hit, Señorita, in the Collaboration category.


— We ran into Michael Wekerle, owner of the El Mocambo, at Canada’s Walk of Fame event Saturday evening. Dressed like a hipster matador and exuding enough high-octane energy to power the club’s iconic neon sign, he admitted there is at least one more delay in getting permit approvals from the City. He’s offered a walk-through this week and is confident of a soft-opening at the top of 2020.  

— South Korea’s Ministry of Defense has declined to waive mandatory military service for boy band BTS. "All of the members say they will definitely enlist for military service", Minister Do Jong-hwan said, according to The Korea Herald. Fans of the group apparently have been trying for months to petition the government to extend exemptions to pop groups, but this recent decision puts an end to those hopes.

David Foster takes a ribbing in Britain’s cheeky Daily Mail. The tabloid titillates over the titanic age difference between the pop maestro and his latest bride, 35-year-old Katharine McPhee who is one of many high profile guests appearing on his eponymously titled new Christmas album. In the photo-rich spread, Foster reportedly admits he 'passed on' producing the Celine Dion hit My Heart Will Go On when she first brought it to him in the 1990s.


'I don't like the song, I don't wanna do it,' the songwriter recalled telling the Canadian songbird. 

'I couldn't have made a bigger mistake.' 

Drake’s attempt to trademark Canada’s warning label for marijuana has been rejected by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Sudbury musicianBill Wylie has some sympathy for exiled Coach’s Corner star Don Cherry. So much so that he has penned a song about the flamboyant hockey puckster.

Gordon Lightfoot, as ever, is in the news. He’s the subject of a new book penned by Richard Harison, the Sundown singer’s longtime stage and road manager (read more or purchase Once Upon a Red Eye on the Friesen Press website) and has cancelled a string of eastern Canada concert dates due to continuing issues relating to a leg injury reported on this past summer.

Dave Monks (Tokyo Police Club), Sam Roberts (Sam Roberts Band), Menno Versteeg (Hollerado), and Chris Murphy (Sloan) have teamed up as Anyway Gang and recorded the better part of an album. Here’s a song from the sessions.


Alex Pangman has recorded If You Don’t Mean It, a previously unrecorded song penned by Connee Boswell from 1930’s Louisianna Boswell Sisters harmony group.

“You can’t imagine how incredible and surreal it feels to be singing this … It is certainly a ‘pinch-me’ moment! To think that probably only a handful of people have sung this song, including its creator who was one of the greatest early jazz singers to have lived? This is buried treasure.” Pangman tells Tinnitist’s Daryll Sterdan.


2020 marks a decade since the passing of Montreal folk matriarch Kate McGarrigle, and that milestone is being marked with two tribute concerts featuring members of the McGarrigle and Wainwright clans. That list includes Kate's children, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, her sisters Anna McGarrigle and Jane McGarrigle, Sylvan and Lily Lanken plus Vinnie Dow, Kathleen Weldon, and Montreal musicians Joel Zifkin and Chaim Tannenbaum. The shows are at Montreal's Theatre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts on Feb. 2 and Toronto's Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Feb. 8. Tix on sale now.

— Music PEI is now accepting recommendations for nominees in the eight Industry categories for its annual Awards. Submit here

— Now based in the US, celebrated Toronto rock photographer Patrick Harbron presents a gallery talk back in his hometown on Nov. 30. Billed as An Evening of Rock & Roll with Patrick Harbron at the Analogue Gallery, the digital presentation features Harbron guiding a tour of his work. Photographing in Toronto from 1976 until the early-1990's, he covered many of the essential names of rock for magazines, album covers, publicity, and the groups themselves. Tix here

— Last week's Cabinet reshuffle saw the appointment of Quebec MP Steven Guilbeault to the post of Minister of Canadian Heritage. Music Canada offered congrats, and noted that "We look forward to meeting with you and working together to support Canadian creators and the businesses that invest in them." Guilbeault replaces Pablo Rodriguez, who had taken over from Melanie Joly in July 2018.

— A reminder that the 2019 Saskatchewan Music Awards will be held Nov. 28 in Saskatoon, in conjunction with the Very Prairie: Saskatchewan Music Summit, running through Dec. 1. Nominees here

— The multi-faceted Miranda Mulholland is a renowned singer/songwriter, fiddler, record label head (Roaring Girl), festival producer, and musicians advocate. Rather under the radar, she has just released a new solo album, By Appointment or Chance, and MM tells us, "It is a real return to my folk roots and recorded live off the floor with an international band. I'm so proud of it." Mulholland's current priority project remains Harrow Fair, her duo project with Andrew Penner. Expect their new album in the spring.


— One final note on Canadians involved in the recent Grammy nominations: Top engineer John 'Beetle' Bailey informs us that one of his peers, George Seara, recorded and mixed the Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello single Senorita, nominated in Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category, as well as the Ed Sheeran and Mendes cut on Sheeran's No.6 Collaborations Project, up for Best Pop Vocal Album.

—Best known as a core member of Besnard Lakes, and the touring keyboardist for Bedouin Soundclash, Montrealer Sheenah Ko is readying a sophomore album, Nowhere In Time, for early 2020 release. A new single and video, Wrap Me Up, has just come out. Ko plays Cabaret Folk at Le Cheval Blanc, Montreal, Dec. 1.


— Manitoba Music is accepting submissions for a showcase it's presenting in Los Angeles, Feb. 3-10, 2020. This enables export-ready artists to perform for LA-based entertainment reps. There will also be networking opportunities for other Manitoba-based artists and music companies. Apply here by Dec. 6.


—The MusicNL 2019 Awards and associated events will take place in St. John’s from Jan 26 – Jan 28, 2020. The Awards show takes place Jan. 28 at the LSPU Hall.


Gerry Atwell, a Juno Award-winning musician known for playing keyboards in Winnipeg band Eagle and Hawk, died Nov. 23, after a heart attack. Age not reported. Atwell also played keyboards and sang in bands Ministers of Cool, Rockalypso and Voice of Boom.

"The city is a bit colder and a little bit darker… because Gerry Atwell isn't around... We lost a real, true gentleman and an excellent human being," Eagle and Hawk lead vocalist Jay Bodner told CBC's Weekend Morning Show. Such fellow musicians as Scott Nolan and Graham Shaw paid tribute on social media.

Eagle and Hawk won a Juno Award in 2002 in the Indigenous Music Album of the Year category for On and On. Source: CBC 

Goo Hara, K-pop star and TV celebrity, was found dead at her home in Seoul on Nov. 24. The cause of death wasn’t immediately known. She was 28.

Goo made her debut in 2008 as a member of the girl group Kara, which had big followings in South Korea, Japan and other Asian countries. She later worked as a solo artist and appeared on many TV shows. Source: AP

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Courtesy NFB

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This week also brings Canadian music news from the Mississauga Music Walk of Fame, the Forest City London Music Awards, and a key member departs Juno-winning hard rock band Monster Truck.

Internationally acclaimed classical violinist Adrian Anantawan and multi-platinum selling guitarist and songwriter for Platinum Blonde, Sergio Galli, will be inducted into the Mississauga Music Walk of Fame as part of this year’s Southside Shuffle Blues and Jazz Festival. The Induction Ceremony will take place on September 8 at 11:00 am at Memorial Park’s Gazebo Stage in Port Credit, Ontario and the public is welcome to join the festivities.

Established in 2012, the Mississauga Music Walk of Fame has previously inducted Oscar Peterson, Gil Moore and Rik Emmett of Triumph, Ronnie Hawkins, Tommy Hunter, Denny Doherty of the Mamas and Papas, Jeff Healey, Phil X of Bon Jovi, Liberty Silver, Alessia Cara and many more.

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