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City of Toronto to Host Austin Toronto Music City Alliance This Fall

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Submittted to Cashbox Canada

Mayor John Tory, Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic Development Committee and Co-Chair of the City's Toronto Music Advisory Council, and Councillor Josh Colle (Ward 15 Eglinton-Lawrence), announced today after a successful business mission in Austin, Texas that the City of Toronto will host a summit with business and key music industry stakeholders from Toronto and Austin this fall.

"The table stakes for economic development in cities like Toronto and Austin is the ability to compete successfully for talent,” said Mayor Tory. “I have been to Austin and I have seen how creative sectors like music, film and technology drive economic growth, job creation, investment and tourism – and help attract and retain young talent. If we’re going to bring more jobs, and attract and keep world class talent in Toronto, we need to focus on promoting and growing our creative sectors and this summit will be critical to that process.

Mo Kenney at Harbourfront Centre Theatre

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Submitted by Lee Fraser
Photo Credit Stephen Jones

It was a perfectly clear day, though cold, and fans were streaming into the theatre by the harbour. Couples, parents and their children, groups of friends; all looking forward to learning more about the woman with the clear, beautiful voice who has been receiving increasing radio play. Mo Kenney was presented by Massey Hall and sponsored by Lexus, two very strong brands, an indication of the recent support behind Kenney. Inside, an indication of her influences, David Bowie was the accompanying music to the social gathering in the lobby.

Mo Kenney emerges onto the stage with a friendly, informal greeting of “Hello! What’s up?” before introducing her new guitar, a Gibson, that seems to have replaced the Les Paul that she won in 2013. She and her band start the evening with “The Great Escape” and “Mountains to the Mess” before letting us all know that she’s looking forward to us all getting to know what she’s really like. And if we were all to believe her, we would be finding out how weird she is. Mo referred to her songs, lyrics and drawings as being weird, but the full house of admirers might refer to her as talented and gifted, not weird. Humorous, too: “It’s the small things” she quips after pointing out the cup holder clipped to her mic stand.

Al Bunetta John Prine Manager Passes Away

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Al Bunetta, who spent more than 30 years guiding the career of John Prine and managing the catalog of the late Steve Goodman, passed away after a brief battle with cancer. He was admitted to Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee on March 12 and passed away on March 22nd 2015.

Bunetta founded and headed his namesake management company as well as Oh Boy Records. He was also a music publisher through his own Blue Plate Music and won a Grammy for co-producing the Best Contemporary Folk Recording ‘A Tribute To Steve Goodman’. In 2006, Prine’s Fair & Square album, released by Oh Boy, won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

Al was preceded in death by his son Juri Bunetta, who passed away in 2011. Al Bunetta and wife Dawn Bunetta started the Juri Bunetta Friendship Foundation and Building Bridges Golf Tournament in his loving memory, to benefit organizations including Safe Haven Family Shelter.

Hey Romeo! New Single - I Got This

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Submitted by Don Graham

Award winning Canadian country band Hey Romeo! have released a new single from their current EP. Third time’s a charm and this third single release from the I Got This EP is their best yet. “I Got This” is two and half minutes of radio friendly music with a positive, uplifting message. Lead singer Stacie Roper’s sincere vocal sits perfectly on clean, crisp track laid down by the band, including nice guitar work by Darren Gusnowsky and keyboards by Rob Shapiro. Reached at his home in Edmonton, Alberta, Rob talked about the new release. “We’re really pumped about this new single. We co-wrote this song with the very talented Clay Mills. Clay wrote a couple of number ones for Darius Rucker including “History In The Making” and “Don't Think I Don't Think About It”. We got to record it in Muscle Shoals and Nashville; I personally had a blast playing the Hammond B3 organ at John Paul White from The Civil Wars house in Florence, Alabama. We recorded the drums at Noise Block Studios in Florence as well. Our producer Brad Crisler is from the area also.  Brad was signed to FAME publishing for quite a while which the documentary Muscle Shoals was based on. We had a great time making this record in this historic place and I think it shows in the final product. Really proud of this effort. We’re hoping for a little radio love with this release.”

Billy Block Nashville Loses a Shining Light

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Submitted by Don Graham

Billy Block, champion of the talented artists needing a leg up and a break in the hard-to-break-into Nashville music scene has passed away at age 59.

Billy Block famously championed talented, emerging artists and gave countless numbers of artists their first shot in front of a live Nashville audience on  his weekly radio show. The Billy Block Show was one of Nashville’s longest running shows (just under twenty years) Billy Block was known as “The Honky-Tonk Underdog’s Best Friend.”  Billy claimed his show catered to “the misfits, the troublemakers and the creative geniuses who resist all categorization” but if you examine the list of stars that got their start on his show, you’ll see that it was much more than a stage for off-the beaten track talent. Mainstream artists such as Keith Urban, KaceyMusgraves, Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean got  their chops together and found their big breaks on this legendary stage.

Block was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic melanoma in 2013 after doctors discovered cancer in his lymph nodes, spleen and liver. It was his third bout with melanoma, which he had battled in his twenties and again in the 1990s. He went into hospice care on Tuesday March 10th and passed away on Wednesday March 11th.

BTW-starring Grace Vonderkhun, Lucky Mike’s Sunday Matinee, Shad, Andria Simone, Chris Staig, Cancer Bats, Nimbus Young Producers Contest

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

So here’s our pick for wild chile of the week. Grace Vonderkuhn is a musician and songwriter out of Wilmington, Delaware. She sings, plays the guitar, bass, keys, and drums. All ferociously. After fronting her bands (Kind of Creatures, A New Dakota) from 2009-2014, she went solo with a style which cherry-picks elements from garage, psychedelic, punk, classic, and glam rock genres. Some say she’s the unearthly love child of Kim Deal and Joan Jett. Her current EP "Saints With Death Wishes", is rough around the edges in all the right places, She’s all beautiful, messy charm and knows her way around muscular music, brave enough to let the skeleton show through in places.

noisey.vice.com/blog/premiere-grace-vonderkuhn-salutes-saints-with-wishes

Jimmy Greenspoon of Three Dog Night Succumbs to Cancer

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Three Dog Night had an iconic sound of organ and electric piano, and that was Jimmy Greenspoon. He died on March 11 of metastatic melanoma, which he only announced just over five months ago.

On the Three Dog Night Facebook page, the band announced, "We are very saddened at the passing of our dear friend and longtime band mate, Jimmy Greenspoon. Jimmy died peacefully at home today surrounded by his family. Please keep him and his loved ones in your prayers and your hearts."
Named Three Dog Night for the original members of the band Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron and Cory Wells they decided to expand the band to seven pieces by hiring four musicians, Greenspoon being one of them.

Greenspoon was raised in Beverly Hills, where his musical training began at the age of seven with piano lessons encouraged by his mother, Mary O’Brien, the former silent screen actress.He recorded with his surf group the New Dimensions while in junior high and high school. After attending the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, he became a fixture at Sunset Strip clubs, playing with a host of bands. For a brief time he lived in Denver, where he was a member of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band.

Charting started for Three Dog Night in 1969 with hits like ‘One’, ‘Mama Told Me Not to Come’, ‘Eli’s Coming’, ‘Never Been to Spain’, ‘Black and White’ and ‘Joy to the World’ with the opening line of Jeremiah was a bullfrog that identified the song to us all.

BTW-Starring Swamperella, The Bright Light Social Hour, Mr.Goshness, Lee Harvey Osmond, Pharis and Jason Romero, Will Butler, Aqua Alta, Ruthless Ones

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Swamperella is a name synonymous with traditional Cajun music in Canada. Now celebrating its 20h year, this Toronto based group continues to honour the tradition from which their music stems while adding heartfelt and lively originals which dovetail beautifully into that tradition. Members include: Soozi Schlanger (fiddle, vocals, washboard); Peter Jellard (accordion, fiddle vocals); Conny Nowé (rhythm guitar); Rachel Melas (bass); Dave MacDougall (drum set , triangle). Swamperella has honed its musical chops over the years by playing to packed crowds at monthly cajun dances at the legendary Gladstone Hotel and has performed at kitchen parties, weddings and folk festivals across Canada. At the newly tarted up Tranzac last week, the crew showed no signs of slowing down, running through vintage zydeco material from such as Clifton Chenier, gorgeous Cajun waltzes with their roots in 17th Century France and original tunes from the band’s four albums, most recent being Leopard Skin Coat. As advertised, getting dancing room on the packed floor involved sinuous squeeze plays as it almost always does when Swamperella roulez les bon temps and their ardent fans woudn’t have it any other way.

Fontana North’s Sumo Cyco Signs With TKO & Kicks Off Tour

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Fontana North has announced that Sumo Cyco has signed with TKO (The Kirby Organization) Booking Agency for worldwide representation.

Known for booking elite Hard Rock & Metal acts like Motorhead, Anthrax, Sevendust plus many more - Sumo Cyco has found a home that they will fit perfectly into. Andrew Goodfriend, President of TKO says 'TKO are very excited to be working with SUMO CYCO. They have great vision and their music is incredible for such a young band. We are really looking forward to helping them get to the next level."

Hailing from Toronto, Sumo Cyco blends heavy metal guitars with in-your-face blast beats, that are coupled with scorching vocals. Since forming in 2011, the band have recorded and released nine singles digitally to date, created fabulous grindhouse-esque B-movie videos, built an impressive online presence and premiered their raucous debut 'Lost In Cyco City.' Fronted by Sever, the alter ego of Skye Sweetnam (the former teen-pop sensation, who signed to Capitol Records and EMI (Sony/ATV) Publishing at the age of fourteen) - Sumo Cyco has gone on to win Indie Week Canada in 2013 and were awarded 'Best-Female Fronted' band at the 2012 Toronto Independent Music Awards. They have shared stages with Finger Eleven,Hollywood Undead, Hollerado, and illScarlett, to name a few.

John Erlendson Passes Away in Toronto, Ontario

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Toronto musician John Erlendson passed away on Saturday, March 7 at age 70.  Hailing from Winnipeg, he followed his jazz pianist brother Bob to Toronto and became the "hot young bass player" in the late 60s.  He went across Canada with nit singer Bobby G. Griffith ("Give My Love to Lady Canada") and Sunnyside.

In 1977 he formed the Sphere Band, which was a staple in Toronto and Ontario nightclubs.  On the side, the group did clown shows, ending up with a deal with A & M Records for the first Sphere Clown Band album, "I Can Do Anything". It rated a Juno nomination. The next album went Gold, only the 8th Canadian children's artist in history to achieve that status.  John continued to play the local jazz scene until a couple of years ago, when cancer slowed him down.

He'll be remembered for his mellifluous voice, solid bass playing, very entertaining clown character, and contributions to the jazz scene. A musical celebration is planned for Thursday, March 19th starting at 7:30 pm at Whistler's Grille & The McNeil Room in Toronto. Should you want to participate musically please contact John-Michael Erlendson at jaan.koel@primus.ca.

All are welcome to celebrate the life and love of John Murray Ross Erlendson.   

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