Music News Digest, Oct. 11, 2017

Running Oct. 11-13, the Women in Music Conference and Music Festival will take over The Drake Underground Toronto, filling the spot with local musical talent and influential industry leaders. The event will feature live performances, panels, educational workshops and important conversations.

An eclectic artist lineup includes Maybe Baby, Pony, Mackenta, Witch Prophet, Lemin, Bambii, Nino Brown, Little Coyote, Beyries and Falcon Jane. Confirmed conference speakers and educators include Joelle Bertrand (Universal Music), Jackie Dean (CARAS), Kyria Kilakos (Indica Records), Olivia Ootes (Feldman Agency), Katy Maravala and Nicole Powell (Part and Parcel), musicians SATE and Peter Dreimanis (July Talk), and Alka Sharma (Folk Music Ontario). The conference/fest is presented by Women in Music Canada. More info here

Voting for the Delta Halifax & Delta Barrington Entertainer of the Year is now open to the public, closing on Friday, Oct. 27 at 5 pm. This year's nominees are Cassie and Maggie, Jenn Grant, Neon Dreams, Port Cities, Reeny Smith, and Rose Cousins. The winner is to be announced at Nova Scotia Music Week (NSMW), held in Truro from Nov. 2-5. Vote here. Check the full NSMW sked here

— MusicNL is presenting its NewFound Talent Contest 2017 tonight (Oct. 11)  at 7 pm at the Majestic Theatre in St. John’s, NL. This is an opportunity for young musicians aged under 19 to gain performance experience and compete for a chance to win a prize bundle aimed at kickstarting their musical career. Prizes valued at over $7K include studio time and promotional tools. MusicNL is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

— Canadian country star Gord Bamford has just announced an extensive 29 date cross-country Neon Smoke tour. It kicks off in Brampton, ON, on Jan. 24, closing out on March 2, to be followed by Bamford dates in the Australian summer. The tour support slot goes to Aaron Goodvin. Check the itinerary here

Bamford’s eighth studio album, Neon Smoke, will be released in early 2018. His 2016 album Tin Roof, won as the CCMA Album of The Year last year. The second single from Neon Smoke, “Ain’t It Grand” (a duet with Jim Cuddy) is currently charting.

— Liz Scott has been appointed Artistic Director of the Mariposa Folk Festival, taking over from Mike Hill, who remains a member of the Board of Directors. Based in Meaford, ON, Scott has worked as a presenter, promoter, artistic director, agent, and is a former Artistic Director of the Eaglewood Folk Festival, and Village Vibes at Blue Mountain Resort. Mariposa Folk Festival takes place July 6-8, 2018, in Orillia, ON.

— Fans of the golden age of music journalism are advised to check out the new documentary Melody Makers when it screens on the Documentary Channel on Oct. 22. It is a look at famed UK music weekly Melody Maker, as seen through the lens of photographer, Barrie Wentzell. Now based in Toronto, Wentzell was the magazine's chief contributing photographer from 1965 to 1975 and documented many pivotal moments in rock 'n roll over that crucial decade.

Those interviewed in the doco include artist managers, producers, publicists and such artists as Yes, Eric Burdon and Ian Anderson. Judging by this trailer, it t promises to be a fascinating watch.

— Much-respected Toronto period opera company Opera Atelier has been asked to create a new production of Rossini's Ricciardo e Zoraide to open the Rossini Opera Festival's 2018 season in Pesaro Italy, Aug. 11 to 20. Opera Atelier has previously staged productions at La Scala in Milan and the Royal Opera House in Versailles.

— Bryan Adams' next album, Ultimate, will be released on Nov. 3, with his new single 'Please Stay,´set to come out on Friday (Oct. 13). The rocker shared the news in a recent post on his FB page. Adams recently played the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in Toronto alongside Bruce Springsteen, and the two performed "Cuts Like A Knife and “Badlands" together.

—The Caliban Arts Theatre in Toronto is celebrating its 20th anniversary with an ambitious three-part jazz project honouring some titans of the genre. A John Coltrane tribute took place last month, and on Oct. 14 it is Thelonious Monk's turn (he'd have been 100 this year). Held at Remix Music Lounge, it will feature the Michael Arthurs Quartet with Bernie Senensky. The final installment celebrates the music of Dizzy Gillespie (it's also the centenary of his birth) on Oct. 21. More info here

— Roots music faves Jadea Kelly and Sweet Alibi head out on a fall tour together next week. It begins at the Signal Brewery in Corbeyville, ON, on Oct. 18, then heads West, concluding at The Occidental, Quesnel, BC , on Nov. 11. Sweet Alibi headline some shows in Ontario as well, while Kelly has her own gig at Heartwood Concert Hall- Owen Sound on Oct. 26.

The two acts share management (Camino Productions) and plan to tour Europe together early next year.

RIP

Walter "Bunny" Sigler, a singer and songwriter, credited with a significant role in creating the Philly Sound of '70s soul music, died on Oct. 6. Age 76, of a heart attack. Sigler worked closely with the production team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.

Sigler's biggest hit was his 1967 cover of Leonard Lee's "Let the Good Times Roll," He then began working with Gamble and Huff's then-fledgling Philadelphia International Records, which became home to artists such as the O'Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The Jacksons, Patti LaBelle and Instant Funk.

Sigler co-wrote hit songs for The O'Jays, Patti Labelle, and Jackie Moore. In 2006, he sang on a track on The Roots' Game Theory album. Source: Rolling Stone

Jerry Jan Ross, a US songwriter, A&R man, record producer, and record label owner, passed away on Oct. 4. Age 84. As a writer, his greatest success was with "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," which he co-wrote with his protégé Kenny Gamble. His greatest successes as a producer include "Sunny" by Bobby Hebb, and "Venus" by Shocking Blue. Ross produced The Mob on their self-titled first album in 1970. Sources: Wikipedia, gamble-huffmusic.com

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