Music News Digest, Oct. 6, 2017

Given her long close ties with the city, it is no surprise Celine Dion became emotional when she performed at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, two days after the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

The Huffington Post reports that "as she took to the stage, Dion told her audience, 'I hope that you're doing OK.'" The singer added that "on Sunday we lost too many beautiful, innocent souls, and so many are still suffering, but tonight we're going to let these families know that we are supporting them and that we will help them through their tragic loss. We dedicate tonight's show to all of the victims and their families, and to the first responders, and to the doctors and nurses who are working around the clock to save lives, and to so many heroes who did whatever they could to help complete strangers in a time of desperate need."

Dion also announced that all the proceeds from her concert would be donated to the families of the victims of the shooting on Sunday. At least 59 people were killed at the festival, and over 500 were injured. Last October, Dion celebrated her 1,000th performance at her Las Vegas residency.

—  Hamilton, ON-based singer-songwriter Ariana Gillis has been lauded by a long list of notables including rock critic Dave Marsh and Elton John lyricist Bernie Taupin, who is quoted saying "I'm staggered by how good she is. There's not much that impresses me these days, but after hearing her available tracks, I can honestly say she's the single most exciting thing I've heard in a long time."

The accolades kept coming, but then her career came to a screeching stop when she suffered a head concussion two years ago. She’s back on the circuit hoping to regain her earlier momentum and last week Gillis and an all-star band packed Toronto’s Hugh’s Room Live for a concert that was a homecoming of a sort for her fans and the official release party for Headfull of Stars, a crowd-funded five-song EP.

After the concert, fans flocked around wanting autographed copies of her new disc. One of them told her “We’re glad your back, Ariana.” She smiled and murmured, “So am I. This is who I am and I’m back doing what I want to do.”

—  Tickets go on sale today (Oct. 6) for the 2017 iHeartRadio Canada Jingle Ball, taking place Dec. 9 at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Fergie and Cardi B have been added to a bill that includes: Backstreet Boys, Fifth Harmony, Kelly Clarkson, Noah Cyrus, and Canadian artists Jessie Reyez, Ria Mae, and Virginia to Vegas. More superstar performers and celebrity appearances will be announced in the coming weeks. Further details here

—  A new list of 19 nominees for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been published. Expect it to fuel the usual controversy. To be eligible 25 years need to have passed since the release of an artist's first album. Results confirming five new inductees will be announced at the end of the year with the ceremony held in April.

The nominees (in alphabetical order) are: Bon Jovi, Kate Bush, The Cars, Depeche Mode, Dire Straits, Eurythmics, J Geils Band, Judas Priest, LL Cool J, MC5, The Meters, Moody Blues, Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Nina Simone, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Link Wray, and The Zombies.

—  Nickelback and insurance giant Lloyd’s of London have settled a $13.1 million lawsuit.  Lloyd's had disputed whether it was obligated to pay $13.1M to the group after its 2015 tour was cut short by the lead singer Chad Kroeger's vocal problems.

The company's lawyers filed court papers with Los Angeles Superior Court last Friday stating that its case against the Canadian rock band is resolved. No terms were divulged. In its complaint filed in December 2015, Lloyd’s sought rescission of the parties’ contract because Kroeger allegedly did not disclose he had a pre-existing vocal condition before the policy was finalized. Nickelback completed the first two legs of its 2015 No Fixed Address world tour, but Kroeger suffered an operable cyst on his vocal cords in June and Nickelback had to cancel its remaining dates, according to the lawsuit.

— The Ontario government yesterday introduced ticket sale legislation to ban scalper bots and impose new rules on reselling tickets. The Canadian Press reports this is part of a larger consumer protection bill. Attorney General Yasir Naqvi has previously admitted enforcing a ban on scalper bots, which are not unique to Ontario, would be difficult.

— BBC Radio 1 is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, and popular Canadian music industry veteran Anya Wilson jetted to London to join the fun. Wilson was active in the UK music biz in the '70s, before emigrating to Canada.

—  Expect major lineups at Indigo's flagship store in Toronto on Oct. 11 when Indigo head Heather Reisman engages In Conversation with Robbie Robertson. They will discuss the rock legend's well-received Testimony: A Memoir, with a book signing to follow. 

— Music BC is seeking artists in the communities of Surrey, Williams Lake, Kamloops and Cowichan Valley to apply via its website for the opportunity to perform at this year’s Hometown Hockey festival throughout BC this winter. Artists from nearby communities are encouraged to apply. Deadline for applications is Oct. 27th @ 5:00 pm PST. 

—  CIMA has announced that the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) has entered into a partnership with Music Ally, a subscription business information service. The deal means that CIMA members can now access the service for free, avoiding the annual $660 subscription fee.

—   Critically-revered Montreal band Ought has signed to Royal Mountain Records for Canada and Merge for the rest of the world, and these elite indie labels will release a third Ought album in early 2018.

In a press release, the group explained the process: "So band made album and band poked around for labels and Merge + Royal Mountain heard said album and offered to front certain standard costs for manufacturing and distribution of said album but also to enter us into their bosoms of artist-centered excellence. And my what rosters and my what fine names to have on our new album, so band said yes and felt excitement."

Ought begin a US tour at Stubb's in Austin tonight (Oct. 6), running through to a Nov. 20 show at the Gild Hall in Arden, DE. An itinerary here.

— At its recent AGM, Alberta Music welcomed its board of directors for 2017/18. It comprises Tony Bao (Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium), Josh Gwilliam (OCL Studios), Mitch Lee (Redemption Audio, and Beat Drop), Graham Lessard (Wembley Zoo), Caitlin North (The Arden Theatre, and Northern Alberta International Children's Festival), Brent Oliver (Director of Cultural Services Spruce Grove, and Brent Oliver Productions), Adam Oppenheim (Stampede Entertainment Inc.), Allison Pfeifer (Government of Alberta), and Andrew Charles Wilcox (Harvard Broadcasting).

— Toronto blues guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Dan McKinnon received the $2K Amy Louie Grossman`s Music Scholarship at the 6th annual fundraiser at Grossman's Tavern in T.O. last week. The grant will help fund a new recording coming next year. The presentation was made by Grossman`s owner Christina Louie and 2016 ALGMS recipient Raha Javinfar (Bad Luck Woman & Her Misfortunes).  McKinnon also won The Toronto Blues Society’s Talent Search in June. The 2017 fundraising event netted $1.4K.

—  P.E.I. Music Award-winning singer/songwriter Ashley Condon launches her new album, Can You Hear Me, today. It features guest turns from fellow East Coasters Catherine MacLellan and Meaghan Blanchard and is produced by Dale Murray (ex of the Guthries and Cuff the Duke). The new album isn't Condon's only focus, as she and husband Ken have just launched their P.E.I.-based microbrewery, Copper Bottom Brewing. Given the boom in craft beer compared to the challenges of the music biz, that sounds like a smart idea.

—  The 29th annual Dauphin Countryfest in Manitoba takes place June 28-July 1, 2018 Dauphin’s Countryfest. The just-announced lineup includes Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line, Paul Brandt, The Roadhammers, Dallas Smith and the James Barker Band. Tix on sale Nov. 6. 

—  U.S Girls (aka Toronto artist Meg Remy) made a mark with 2015's Polaris shortlisted album Half Free. She is now back with a fiery new track (and video), "Mad as Hell."

After completing a solo summer US tour with Beth Ditto, U.S. Girls (fleshed out as an eight-piece band) begin a 10-date North American tour tonight (Oct. 6), at Edmonton's Up and Down Festival. Dates are also set for Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, and Ottawa. A full itinerary here

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