MUSIC NEWS: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2017
GORD DOWNIE - MOURNED
Rush says of the death of Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie, ``It's a sad, sad day for Canada and Canadian music.''
Nickelback tweets, ``Thank you for inspiring so many with a well-lived life,'' while k.d. Lang says, ``Swift rebirth Gord Downie.'' Downie was such a beloved figure in Canada, the NBA's Toronto Raptors, the NHL Players' Association and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau all sent condolences. Downie died Tuesday night after a battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer. He was 53.
What began as a subdued memorial for Gord Downie organized by city officials in his hometown of Kingston, Ontario grew into an improvised candlelight vigil last night.
Fans paid tribute to the Tragically Hip frontman who died Tuesday at the age of 53 with sing-alongs, breakout dance parties and, in one case, by broadcasting classic Hip concerts from a flatscreen T-V in the back of a van.
The evening began with a couple hundred people gathered around same city square where thousands gathered just over a year ago to watch a public screening of the band's sold-out final concert.
But as Downie's voice echoed over the speakers, the crowd's energy shifted and a heavy sadness that weighed over Kingston began to lift.
It started when ``Ahead By a Century'' started playing, then one man pulled out his guitar and led the crowd in a sing-along that picked up steam with every verse.
Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson earlier laid a wreath dedicated to Downie at city hall, which was illuminated in red and white in the evening.
The town of Bobcaygeon in Ontario's cottage country felt a special warmth for Gord Downie.
A Tragically Hip song named after the town from the Hip's 1998 album ``Phantom Power'' earned a Juno Award for best single in 2000.
About 50 people gathered near the water last night in to commemorate Downie, who died Tuesday at age 53.
Candles were placed on the ground and illuminated local musician Richard Kyle, who strummed along to famous Hip songs ``Wheat Kings,'' ``Ahead by a Century,'' and of course, ``Bobcaygeon,'' on his black acoustic guitar.
Kyle said he planned on playing a few Hip songs in dedication to Downie regardless of whether anyone would show up.
Residents of Bobcaygeon remembered Downie for putting them on the map by writing the hit song about their town.
Local business owner Sacha Douglas said residents ``feel a great connection'' to Downie and always have.
In the final months of his life, Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie became an outspoken advocate on Indigenous issues, notably as part of his ``Secret Path'' project.
It honoured 12-year-old Chanie Wenjack who died in 1966 after running away from a residential school near Kenora, Ont.
Proceeds from the album and graphic novel are being donated to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler says Downie often said he was struck by that story and ``couldn't let go of it.''
He says Downie wanted to make it his mission to share that story with the rest of the country.
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde added that it was almost as if Wenjack's spirit connected to Downie.
Bellegarde said Canada can now take up Downie's challenge of building a better country.
As Canadian musicians tearfully reflected on the legacy of Gord Downie, many used a word the late Tragically Hip frontman himself belted out onstage in his signature howl: ``Courage.''
His peers agreed that Downie's advocacy on behalf of Indigenous Peoples and his fundraising efforts during his fight with terminal brain cancer were incredibly brave and galvanized a nation in a way that will be felt for decades.
Rush frontman Geddy Lee called Downie a national hero who tried to do as much good with the time he had left.
Former Barenaked Ladies singer Steven Page said Downie's ``great and lasting contribution'' was his commitment to raising awareness about Indigenous issues.
Sean McCann, singer and former Great Big Sea guitarist, said he was also awed by Downie's political activism in his final year, saying he was a man who did so much more than politicians who've spent 30-year careers avoiding issues.
In a statement, Dan Aykroyd called Downie's death ``the end of an era.''
There was an uncommon slowness in Justin Trudeau's step as he walked toward the weekly Liberal caucus meeting on Parliament Hill, his thoughts weighed heavily with the news that Gord Downie had died.
With voice cracking with emotion and tears streaming down his face, Trudeau said simply that ``it hurts.''
Trudeau added that Canada was less of a country for having lost Downie.
There was a personal connection between the prime minister and the musician that was only seen publicly on a few occasions.
As his band ended a 15-stop farewell tour in Kingston in the summer of 2016, Downie called out to Trudeau, who was in the audience, urging him to take action on behalf of Canada's Indigenous peoples, to make their lives better.
Trudeau commended Downie yesterday for his love of country, his profound ability to use words to create landscapes and his dedication to the plight of Indigenous Canadians.
(Roundup by The Canadian Press)
(The Canadian Press)
CMA - ARTISTS OF THE YEAR
Singer Jason Aldean and other stars honoured victims of a mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas instead of accepting awards at the C-M-T Artists of the Year show last night. The format of the show pivoted to focus on victims of the shooting, as well as those recovering from hurricanes and wildfires, with a night of sombre tributes, inspirational anthems and voices lifted in harmony. Aldean, who was on stage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival when the shooting occurred Oct. 1st, stood side-by-side with the night's other award winners, including Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban, to dedicate the night to music fans. The honorees did not accept awards or give speeches as usual, but some chose to perform or other musicians performed in their honour.
CMAS - FIRST PERFORMERS
Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and Miranda Lambert have signed up to perform at the Country Music Association Awards.
Brothers Osborne, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Little Big Town, Old Dominion, Jon Pardi, Chris Stapleton and Thomas Rhett also will perform. Carrie Underwood will perform and co-host with Brad Paisley. The awards will air live from Nashville on ABC on Nov. 8th.
JON PARDI - ON NAMES,
Jon Pardi seemed destined to be a country singer from the time he was a kid. Pardi says when he was asked his name in preschool, he'd say it was Randy Travis -- or Merle Haggard, or George Strait. Then he grew up, moved to Nashville and got into disagreements about cowboy hats. Pardi says he got into a lot of arguments with his management and his label about wearing a cowboy hat for his ``California Sunrise'' album. He says he can't help but point out that's his first album that went to number one.
MICHELLE WILLIAMS - ONCE SUICIDAL
At the height of fame for Destiny's Child, Michelle Williams wanted out so badly she considered ending her life. Williams revealed on the C-B-S show ``The Talk'' yesterday she suffered from depression from the time she was a teen, and she was suicidal in her 20s. She went to manager Mathew Knowles about it and he said, ``You all just signed a multi-million dollar deal. You're about to go on tour. What do you have to be depressed about?'' She says that's not a dig on Knowles as much as he just didn't understand her problem. Williams says she wants to normalize the conversation about mental health.
PROPHETS OF RAGE - HOW CAME TO BE
There was the very real possibility that Prophets of Rage would fail miserably, according to Tom Morello. He says it looks good on paper to bring together members of Rage Against The Machine, Cypress Hill and Public Enemy, but they practiced in secret to see if they had any chemistry. D-J Lord says they started out riffing their parts verbally and shouting, ``Record that!'' Chuck D says the key to any art is to be fearless and he quotes Morello as saying, ``This will be worked out in the mosh pit.'' The self-titled Prophets of Rage album is out now.
ELVIS' BOYHOOD HOME - FOR SALE
A house billed as the home where Elvis Presley lived as a child in Tupelo, Mississippi, is for sale. GWS Auctions estimates the house and the 16 acres surrounding it could sell for as much as 2.5-million at auction Nov. 11th. It's not the Elvis Presley Birthplace, which is a museum nearby. G-W-S Auctions says the house is one of several Presley's father, Vernon, built for family members in the 1920s and 1930s. A Presley family member says Elvis and his mother lived there and Elvis played on the land.
Presley Birthplace officials say they can't confirm the Presleys lived in that house. Other Elvis items for sale include a boat named ``Hound Dog,'' a two-bedroom mobile home from his Circle G ranch and a T-V that Elvis had shot but was repaired.
(The Associated Press)