Music News Digest, Sept. 30, 2019

Johnny Reid (pictured) gets in the holiday spirit, Dream Serenade announces a star-studded lineup, and Canadian acts feature in recent Music Canada certifications. Also in the news are MusiCounts, the climate strike, SaskMusic, HMAT, Project WILD, and farewell José José, Busbee, and Jim Huff. With video.

Music News Digest, Sept. 30, 2019

By Kerry Doole

Johnny Reid releases a Christmas EP, My Kind Of Christmas, on Oct. 25, to be followed by a national cross-Canada My Kind Of Christmas Tour that will cover 23 dates and will run from Nov. 16 to Dec. 14. Dates here. Tix now on sale here

– This week, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4, Canada’s music education charity, MusiCounts, hosts six 2019 MusiCounts Scholarship recipients for a mentoring and networking experience in Toronto. The week includes mentoring and presentations from Allan Reid from CARAS/ the Juno Awards & MusiCounts and Matt Webb of Marianas Trench, a roundtable with 2019 Juno Award nominees Jamie Fine x Elijah Woods and more.  


– Music Canada's gold and platinum certifications for this month include gold single status for Dallas Smith's Drop, Death From Above 1979's Freeze Me, Lucky Rose's Wild One, High Valley's Come On Down, Tim Hicks' Loud, quadruple platinum for Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello's Senorita, and a gold album for Émile Bilodeau's Rites de passage.

– The massive crowd estimated at 500,000 people in downtown Montreal for the climate strike protest on Friday was greeted with performances by some of the city's most notable musicians. Arcade Fire members Richard Reed Parry and Tim Kingsbury, The Barr Brothers, and Patrick Watson played before a speech given by Greta Thunberg.

– Toronto’s annual Dream Serenade benefit concert is back for its sixth year in support of the Toronto community of children with developmental and or physical disabilities and their caregivers. Held on Nov. 2 at Roy Thomson Hall, the concert will feature sets from Matt Berninger (lead singer of The National), July Talk, Barenaked Ladies, Hayden, Shad, U.S. Girls, Donovan Woods, and surprise guests. 

Dream Serenade is the creation of Toronto parents Christie Greyerbiehl and Hayden Desser. This past summer, Dream Serenade audiences helped send 100 children to summer camp. Tix at 416-872-4255 or online here 


– SaskMusic has opened Nominations for the Saskatchewan Music Awards, set for Nov. 28 in Saskatoon, in conjunction with the Very Prairie: Saskatchewan Music Summit. Review the award guidelines including eligibility criteria and submit before 5 pm CST on Oct. 15.

– Hamilton’s third annual Musician Entrepreneur Conference is set for Oct. 19. The half-day conference includes discussions about how to build a team, copyright ownership, EPKs, and strategies for indie acts on touring. The summit is organized by the Hamilton Music Advisory Team (HMAT). Attendance is free, but registration is required at David Braley Health Sciences Centre Auditorium (100 Main Street West), from 12.30 pm.

– The next three Project WILDshowcases in Calgary are set for Oct. 10 (with Mark Times, Ben Chase, Michela Sheedy), Oct. 17 (Mariel Buckley, Blake Reid Band, Lauren Mayell), and Oct. 24 (Julia Vos, Ryan Lindsay, Mariya Stokes). All take place at Knoxville's Tavern.


Jim Huff, a Canadian guitarist, producer, songwriter, and composer, passed away on Sept. 24, at age 61, of prostate cancer.

After working in Toronto bands Mannequin and The Works (and, briefly, Teenage Head), Huff moved to Los Angeles, where he and his wife Cathie resided for nearly two decades,


There he worked as a producer and songwriter with acts including Edwin, Donica Knight, Joe Bonamassa, Jocelyn, The Mudmen, and Holly Brook (Skylar Grey).  As a composer, his resume includes shows on The Discovery Channel, NBC movies of the week, Days of Our Lives, and the HBO feature film Under Heavy Fire.

Friend and fellow songwriter Vince Degiorgio tells FYI  that "Jim was in the process of completing a solo album, which will be released posthumously." He adds no funeral will take place, however a celebration of life will take place ASAP in LA.


Busbee (Michael James Ryan), a Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer who worked extensively with a wide array of artists ranging from Maren Morris to Pink to Shakira, has died on Sept. 29, age 43, of brain cancer.

He had credits on such records as Maren Morris’ My Church, Pink’s Try and Keith Urban’s Fighter, featuring Carrie Underwood.

He had a worldwide publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music and a creative partnership with Red Light Management. His label, Altadena, was under the Warner Records umbrella. A Variety obit here

José José (born José Rómulo Sosa Ortiz), a Mexican music star for half a century, has died at age 71, of pancreatic cancer.

The singer, called by fans and colleagues "El Príncipe de la canción" (Prince of the romantic song), was known for romantic ballads like La Nave del Olvido, 40 y 20, Gavilán o Paloma and El Triste. Read a CNN obit here

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The Weeknd Spotted at Kendrick Lamar's 'Pop Out' Concert in Los Angeles

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