Music News Digest, Nov. 25, 2021
The Weeknd breaks a charts record, Corb Lund (pictured) and Dallas Smith announce major tours, and the Phoenix is alive and well. Others in the news include Shania Twain, Stingray Music, Balaklava Blues, Ember Swift, Blue Standard, Tom Jackson, Sam Broverman, The Redhill Valleys, and farewell Cliff Jones and Billy Hinsche.
By Kerry Doole
On Tuesday, Billboard announced that The Weeknd's global smash hit single Blinding Lights is now No. 1 on its Greatest Songs of All Time Hot 100 chart. The track held the No. 1 spot for four weeks, and had a record-breaking run on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, earning the most weeks as a top five hit (43 weeks), a top 10 hit (57 weeks) and a top 40 hit (86 weeks). It has just surpassed Chubby Checker’s 1960s classic The Twist as the all-time No. 1 song, with 90 total weeks on the Hot 100 Chart. The latest issue of the music trade bible has The Weeknd as its cover star.
– Corb Lund has announced the Back to the Barrooms Tour, a month-long trek featuring intimate shows at small clubs. In a press release, the Albertan roots troubadour explains that “It’s important to get people into these rooms and to help rebuild business in some of the venues that have been suffering so much because of the pandemic.” The tour begins at Vancouver’s The Wise Hall (Jan. 20-21) and closes out at Toronto’s Horseshoe (Feb. 18-19). Tix on sale tomorrow (Nov. 27). Itinerary and ticket info here.
– Country star Dallas Smith has announced details for his return to the road with the 2022 Some Things Never Change Tour kicking off in May. It also features James Barker Band and Meghan Patrick, with Shawn Austin, JoJo Mason, Kelly Prescott, and Manny Blu at some dates. The 20+ city trek starts May 24 in Brandon, MB, and wraps at Budweiser Stage in Toronto on June 30. Tix go on sale tomorrow (Nov. 26) here. $2.50 from each ticket to go towards Canadian mental health charities and services, on behalf of the Lifted Dallas Smith Charitable Foundation. Reigning CCMA Awards Entertainer of the Year Smith will premiere his new single Hide From A Broken Heart via a performance during the 2021 CCMA Awards on Nov. 29.
– Lisa Zbitnew, president and co-owner of Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre, says the long-standing venue is not going anywhere, despite a story on the Daily Hive site with the headline: 39-storey Toronto condo tower to replace 70-year-old concert theatre. “Development of this building has been talked about since we took over The Phoenix 8 years ago,” she emailed FYI. “We have just opened to full capacity after being restricted for over 20 months. Our focus is on getting things reopened and running, not the long-term potential of development, which is happening everywhere in the City. It's business as usual at The Phoenix!” (Karen Bliss)
–CP reports that country music superstar Shania Twain will headline next summer’s Boots and Hearts Music Festival. The camping and country music festival is set to take place Aug. 4 to 7, Burl’s Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte, Ont. Fest producer Republic Live says Twain tops a lineup that also includes Sam Hunt, Florida Georgia Line, Dustin Lynch, Russell Dickerson, and Lindsay Ell. The full line up will be announced in the New Year. Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday. CP
–For an eleventh year, Stingray Music donated a $2K scholarship to a showcase artist at Mundial Montreal, to help career development. The winner of the 2021 Stingray Stars Award is Toronto world music group Balaklava Blues.
– Noted Toronto jazz duo Blue Standard, featuring Raoul Bhaneja on vocals and harmonica and Jesse Whiteley on piano and vocals, returns to Toronto's Jazz Bistro for a show on Nov. 27, with Juno nominee Alison Young guesting on saxophone. For reservations, call the Jazz Bistro at 416-363-5299
–Ember Swift is a prolific and eclectic Canadian singer/songwriter who has released 13 albums and 1 DVD project since 1996. Originally from Toronto, she moved to Beijing 13 years ago, while continuing to tour internationally. Now fluent in Mandarin, Swift now sings several songs in Chinese and incorporates a traditional Chinese instrument, the erhu, in her full band. A DIY artist who runs her own label, Few’ll Ignite Sound, Swift's newest album, Mid-March Meltdown, was released earlier this year. Here's a sample.
– Veteran singer/songwriter/actor Tom Jackson has announced a holiday concert at the Banff Centre's Jenny Belzberg Theatre on Dec. 11. Stories, Songs and Santa Causes will feature original music, sing-along tunes, and signature Christmas music. Jackson has travelled coast to coast to coast with The Huron Carole for many years, raising funds and awareness for local food banks and family service agencies. This show also features award-winning musician and producer, Tom McKillip. Tix here.
– For the 10th year, Toronto jazz vocalist Sam Broverman is, in his words," celebrating Christmas as only a Jewish boy can." He has a seasonal concert set for Dec. 5 (7 pm) at Toronto's Jazz Bistro. His all-star list of accompanists and guests includes Whitney Ross-Barris, Peter Hill, Jordan O'Connor, Tony Quarrington, members of the Extended Toronto Mendelssohn, Jaymz Bee, and Ori Dagan. For reservations, call the Jazz Bistro at 416-363-5299. Until the end of Dec, Broverman will be donating to the Daily Bread Food Bank proceeds of all sales of his albums on Bandcamp
– Hamilton music hub The Casbah presents a Tuesday night residency for all Dec. featuring The Redhill Valleys & Friends. Tix are available on the club's website here for each of the 4 events (Dec 7, 14, 21, 28). Special guests are being added to each show, and there is a charity component to the series.
Cliff (Clifford B.) Jones, the former artist manager for such BC stars as The Hometown Band, Shari Ulrich, and The Payola$, died this week, age 81.
His passing was reported by family members and friends on social media on Nov. 24. FYI will publish a tribute to Jones shortly.
– Billy Hinsche, a musician who started his career in the trio Dino, Desi & Billy, and ended it as a longtime touring member of The Beach Boys, died on Nov. 20, of giant cell carcinoma, at age 70. His mother passed away on the same day.
In the '60s, Hinsche formed a rock group, Dino, Desi & Billy, with Desi Arnaz Jr. and Dino Martin Jr., with whom he released four albums. The group enjoyed hits like I'm a Fool and Not the Lovin' King, and toured as an opening act for bands like The Beach Boys and Paul Revere & The Raiders before headlining their own shows.
He began recording and touring with The Beach Boys in the '70s, and had performed with them ever since, making a series of documentaries throughout the years about his time working with the legendary group.
Hinsche — who also provided background vocals to classic songs like Elton John's Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me — released his first solo album in 2003, and during the pandemic, produced a show called Live from Billy's Place, which he streamed weekly.
Mike Love paid tribute to his late collaborator on Twitter, writing: "We lost a great friend, family member, and forever member of The Beach Boys on Saturday." Love's fellow Beach Boys Brian Wilson and Al Jardine also paid tribute to Hinsche, with each sharing a photo to Twitter. Sources: People, Rolling Stone