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FYI

The Billboard FYI Bulletin, Nov. 30, 2023: Rarities From The Early Years of Toronto Music & More

Plus: Nickelback and Gowan tour news, a new COO for SOCAN and more.

The Billboard FYI Bulletin, Nov. 30, 2023: Rarities From The Early Years of Toronto Music & More

Toronto music historian Jan Haust is coming close to closure on an exhaustive CD collection that captures the early years of pop and R&B in Hogtown and the surrounding area. Much of the material is taken from archival recordings from now-defunct Canadian imprints such as Roman Records (David Clayton-Thomas & The Shays, Little Caesar & the Consuls, and Levon and the Hawks), Red Leaf (DC-Thomas, The Paupers, Shirley Matthews, Jay Jackson, The British Modbeats, The Magic Cycle, The Scoundrelz), and Tamarac (Dave Mickie, Hughie Scott & The Meteors).

As per usual, Haust is tight-lipped about the project, which has been underway for several plus years, but he’s something of a perfectionist, so whenever the project is completed, it’s sure to be full of surprises and a truly great snapshot of those early years, with many of the recordings remastered by the late Peter Moore.


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Haust was also a producer on the TV series Pop 69 and the Toronto Rock & Roll Stories that captured the freewheeling years when jazz, R&B and The Hawks all lived side by side in Yonge Street taverns and nightclubs.

In 2016, he and Moore took home a Grammy in the Historical Album of the Year category for the 6-CD, 138-track Bob Dylan and The Band's The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11.

– Toronto-based Pacemaker Entertainment has a previously unreleased Pukka Orchestra album on its release schedule. Popular in the ‘80s, releasing their self-titled debut album in 1984 on Solid Gold Records, the band had a top 40 chart hit in Canada with a cover of Tom Robinson / Peter Gabriel's "Listen to the Radio." Other singles that became FM favourites included "Cherry Beach Express" and "Might As Well Be on Mars." The band released a final album, Dear Harry, in 1992.

The new release, Chaos Is Come Again, captures sides recorded for Solid Gold that were never released because the imprint went bankrupt. Alan Cross has penned the liner notes. Specializing in Canadian oldies, other Pacemaker releases have included titles by Indio, Chilliwack, The Paupers and Witness Inc. (pre-Streetheart), Kensington Market, Whiskey Howl, and Five Man Electrical Band.

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– Nickelback has announced new tour dates that span the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and the Czech Republic in May and June of next year. Currently, off the road, the band’s first show in 2024 is on March 1 in Honolulu. On July 10, the band headlines London, ON’s Rock The Park, a four-day music fest that organizers anticipate could attract as many as 50K to Harris Park in the city.

– Calgary-born Victoria-based Bella White earned notice with the release of her rootsy-oriented 2020 album debut, Just Like Leaving. She’s one of the very few that has been signed to Rounder Records, a prestige imprint specializing in bluegrass and Americana recordings. She subsequently released Among Other Things earlier this year and is now riding a high with a song included in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. It’s a song written for the film, and the song-video is below.

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– Classically trained pianist turned singer-songwriter Lawrence Gowan shot to fame in the mid-'80s with his second CBS album, entitled Strange Animal that spun off a number of hit singles, most notably “Criminal Mind,” “(You’re a) Strange Animal” and “Moonlight Desires.” He subsequently released four more albums under his name before replacing Dennis DeYoung as the lead singer in the American band Styx, with whom he has recorded four studio albums.

Now 67, he’s still active with Styx and remarkably, 40 years after launching a solo career, he’s still able to fill halls at home in Canada. Late this month, he plays the first of nine shows in 2,000+ soft-seater theatres in Ontario and Quebec. The first being Massey Hall on Nov. 30.

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A Criminal Mind - Gowan

– Noted musician, engineer, producer and author Bobby Owsinski has published The Musicians AI Handbook, a 276-page guide to the hottest new Pro tool separated into three main key areas covering the basics of composition and production, music marketing and copyright. On Amazon.ca, the paperback edition runs $68.99 and $9.99 for the Kindle edition

– Want a treasury of collectibles? Launched in 2008, GottaHaveRockandRoll.com is an online auction house with an incredible collection of music, sports, pop culture and historical memorabilia. Items once owned by Elvis, autographed Beatles memorabilia, and a Duane Allman-owned Les Paul Guitar are either on the block or have sold on the site and often for breathtakingly steep prices. The current R&R Pop Culture auction ends Dec. 16. It’s brimming with Lennon & McCartney, Beatles items, and a few possessions once owned by The King. How about a Harley Davidson golf cart once owned by Elvis?

Appointments

Annita Lala has been appointed as SOCAN’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). She first joined the PRO as a consultant in 2018, and in 2021 she became the first Chief Transformational Officer, on contract. Lala Annita holds a Master of Arts degree in Translation (French/English) and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

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The cast of "Stereophonic"
Julieta Cervantes

The cast of "Stereophonic"

Pop

Will Butler on Writing the Tony-Nominated Music for ‘Stereophonic’: ‘It Was Like a Thousand-Piece Puzzle With 200 Pieces Missing’

The former Arcade Fire member has two nominations for his stunning songs, written for a fictional (but very believable) rock band onstage.

Will Butler’s first meeting with playwright David Adjmi was fairly open-ended: a friend had told Butler that Adjmi — a fan of Arcade Fire, the band Butler was in at the time — was working on a play about a band and that Butler could “write the music or just consult or whatever.”

But from their first sit-down at a diner near New York’s theatre district, Adjmi’s vision was “instantly recognizable” to Butler: “Like, oh, it’s a demo — it’s like a transcendental thing that they can never recapture. You have things falling apart because the headphones sound bad, you have people yelling at each other over music but it’s because of how their dad treated them,” he recalls with a laugh.

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