From the head offices of Central Casting we bring you another scintillating round up of this week in Canadian music news. We’re in that exciting period between Halloween and Christmas where everyone’s hurtling toward the holidays. We’ll be bringing you Canadian Christmas music soon enough, but for now here’s the latest in new music. Be sure to check out the links in the paragraphs below or dial up the Spotify playlist we’ve assembled 40 tunes for this week’s movers and shakers [hit the playlist icon below]
< Click image for GWNtertainment Playlist #49
Hamilton’s finest gathered November 5th for a celebration of life for the late Gordie Lewis of TEENAGE HEAD. The guitarist passed away tragically this past summer. The band, featuring original bassist Steve Mahon, along with long-time vocalist Dave Rave, drummer Gene Champagne, and assisted by Headstones guitarist Trent Carr and keyboardist Greg Brisco, took the stage for a full night filled with songs from Teenage Head’s deep catalog of songs. The night kicked off with a number of eulogies read by Hockey Night In Canada announcer Dave Hodge including one from producer Daniel Lanois. Proceeds from the event – held at Hamilton’s First Ontario Concert Hall to a capacity crowd – went to the Hamilton Good Shepherd organization.
Teenage Head were energized for an opening salvo of songs after which Dave Rave handed the microphone over to a who’s who of vocalists including Luke Bentham (The Dirty Nil), Colin MacDonald and Jack Syperek (The Trews) – who were accompanied by Sonny Del Rio (Crowbar) on saxophone for “Something On My Mind,” Chris Houston (The Forgotten Rebels), Andy Curran (Coney Hatch), Mike Trebilcock (The Killjoys), Tim Gibbons (The Shakers), Sammy Squid, Lou Molinaro (Tongue Fu) who helped organize the entire event, John Kastner (The Doughboys), and Scott McCullough (Rusty).
[l. to r. Gene Champagne, Steve Mahon, Dave Rave, Trent Carr]
Other highlights from the show included MC duties from Brian West (Y108-FM), plus video tributes from Colin Linden (Blackie & The Rodeo Kings), Tom Wilson (Florida Razors, Junkhouse), Dennis Dunaway (Alice Cooper Band, Blue Coupe), and Joe and Albert Bouchard (Blue Oyster Cult, Blue Coupe) among others; also a few inspiring words from journalist and long-time associate of the band Graham Rockingham, and the return of 1980s-period Teenage Head drummer Jack Pedler. The highlight and show stopper for many there was the solo performance by Gordie Lewis’s nephew, Michael Lewis, who performed a moving rendition of Gordie’s solo song “Parasite” which was met with a standing ovation. Hamilton did themselves proud on this night for a worthy cause and to honour a fallen brother.
* Former HELIX guitarist Daniel Fawcett – who performed with the band from 2002 to 2004 – was found dead of suspicious circumstances in his home in London, Ontario November 6, 2022. Police have since ruled the death a homicide. An investigation is ongoing. Condolences to Mr. Fawcett’s family and friends.
* HONEYMOON SUITE guitarist Derry Grehan posted on social media this week that the band has tracked 10 brand new songs for their forthcoming album plus two bonus tracks with remakes of “New Girl Now,” and “Love Changes Everything.”
* UNIVERSAL HONEY‘s latest single, “Hush A Word,” as featured here a few issues ago, has sped past 100,000 views on YouTube in a few weeks. If you haven’t seen the vid/heard the song check it out here.
* Musical Everyman Ian Blurton posted on social media this week that he and CHANGE OF HEART bassist Rob Taylor have reconvened 28 years after Taylor left the band to track a new album. They began recording in December 2021 and have called on former COH alumni Glenn Milchem, Ron Duffy, Damon Richardson, and John Borra among others to flesh out the record. Of note is that they discovered some unused percussion tracks from the late Mike Armstrong – who earlier this year – that they’d repurposed for the record. The album, as yet untitled, should be out in 2023.
* A company called Side Door Access was developed by Vancouver music Dan Mangan and Nova Scotian music industry entrepreneur Laura Simpson back in 2017 as a means of putting live music into unconventional spaces like living rooms, bookstores, and warehouses. The business partners have co-founded a web-based platform to centralizes the process and have secured a $500K deal with Arlene Dickinson on reality TV show Dragons’ Den.
* Drew Arnott of STRANGE ADVANCE announced this week that Universal Music is finally going to re-issue the band’s first two albums – Worlds Away and 2WO – on vinyl in the new year.
* There’s massive buzz surrounding the new Rob Freeman documentary called Drop The Needle which follows the evolution of Toronto’s Hip Hop scene as it began in the back room of Eugene’s Play De Record retail store on Yonge Street in the late ’80s/early 1990s. It’s been playing at Hot Docs and should be available to wider audiences shortly. Check out the trailer here.
* Former KLAATU member Terry Draper, hot off his pandemic released latest album The Other Side, has announced his next album will be called Bread And Cirkus due in December.
* JACKIE SHANE has been honoured with her own Heritage Minute. See the new TV spot here.
* GWN is saddened to hear about the passing of musician John McGale (Offenbach, Buzz Band) in a car accident in Lacolle, Quebec October 30th – his 66th birthday. Condolences to his family, friends, and the music community’s loss.
* Damhnail Doyle announced on social media that she has become the new host of CBC Music’s The Intro.
* HEADSTONES drummer Dale Harrison has been keeping busy with many projects. There’s a new single by 6ft Social Band called “See How It Goes.” YOUTUBE // SPOTIFY
And Deadwood Valley’s new single “Never Look Back” YOUTUBE
* Speaking of Ian Blurton, his current band Ian Blurton’s Future Now has a new album out called Second Skin. Check out the first single, “Like A Ghost.” YOUTUBE // SPOTIFY
* GWN regular DON NORMAN usually finds a spot in our Cover Ups column with fantastic renditions from the pop music songbook, but he’s just released an original track we quite like called “Edward’s Eyes (Lovesong To A Grandson)” which he wrote in 1991. His grandson is now 33, but Grandpa’s love remains. BANDCAMP
* Kyp Harness has a new album out entitled Poverty Line. It features contributions from Bob Wiseman (Blue Rodeo), Dale Morningstar (Dinner Is Ruined) and Mary Margaret O’Hara.
* Accomplished kora player, and singer-songwriter Sophie Lukacs has released “Before You,” the fourth single from her upcoming debut album Falling set for release in 2023. The song features Habib Koité. Lukacs was also recently chosen to perform a live showcase at the Folk Alliance International conference in Kansas City, Missouri in 2023.
YOUTUBE // SPOTIFY
* LEE AARON appears to be swinging for the fences these days as single #2 has emerged from the as yet unreleased album Elevate which is due November 25. The new track/video is called “Troublemaker” and we believe it! YOUTUBE // SPOTIFY
* Quebec’s Lori Dore has released her debut album entitled Something In The Air. It features 12 original tracks she co-wrote with Rick Steven Rogers and third writer Andre Dore. Produced by Jeff Nystrom (FIST) with guitar work by Jon Park-Wheeler and Rob Stefan. The title track is a stand-out suitable for Country radio while Dore explores other genres including the Blues on “When The Walls Fall Down” and Latin Music with “Kiss Me.”
YOUTUBE // SPOTIFY
* Toronto’s A Short Walk To Pluto has a new single called “You Are Not The Only One.”
YOUTUBE // SPOTIFY
* This week’s cover tune is all parts Canadian from the CANADIAN COVER CREW who’ve previously done versions of Lighthouse’s “Pretty Lady,” The Delfonics “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind,” and Redbone’s “Come And Get Your Love.” This round they’ve brought in Blair Packham (Jitters) to round the team of Paul DeLong (drums), Peter Nunn (keyboards), Rik Emmett (guitar), and Pete Bleakney (bass), along with backing vocalist Rita & John Carroll to bring us Michel Pagliaro‘s “Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy.” YOUTUBE
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Keep up the fight!
Jaimie Vernon, 2022
Jaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 44 years, and recently discovered he’s been happily married for 25 of those. He is also the author of The Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia and editor of “Sunny Days: The Skip Prokop Story.” Available through Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Jaimie+Vernon