This is ground control to Commander Hadfield: you’ve more than made the grade and the papers want to know how a former farm boy from Canada with a love of David Bowie has accomplished a one-man mission to make space cool again.
Chris Hadfield left orbit in style yesterday after five months aboard the International Space Station. Hours before his planned return to Earth aboard a Soyuz capsule, he cast himself as Bowie’s Major Tom in a remake of the singer’s 1969 classic, “Space Oddity”. - The Independent (UK)
Who could have ever thought that an adaptation of David Bowie's 1969 song, "Space Oddity" would capture the imagination of millions in the 21st century?
That is exactly what happened when astronaut Chris Hadfield revised and sang the song... from space on Sunday.
Hadfield, 53, an engineer and former test pilot from Milton, ON was Canada's first professional astronaut to live aboard the space station and became the first Canadian in charge of a spacecraft. He relinquished command of the space station on Sunday.
'It's just been an extremely fulfilling and amazing experience end to end,' Hadfield told Mission Control on Monday. 'From this Canadian to all the rest of them, I offer an enormous debt of thanks.'
He was referring to all those in the Canadian Space Agency who helped make his flight possible.
The "Space Oddity" video, a collaborative effort, involving Canadian musician Emm Gryner, Canadian filmmaker Andrew Tidby, Canadian producer Joe Corcoran and Hadfield's son, Evan. Yet the idea for the entire project was all Hadfield's. He first approached Gryner on his current mission, asking if she'd like to help him put together a music video based on "Space Oddity." Her answer was a definitive "yes."
It's not the first time that Hadfield and Gryner collaborated; they first worked together in 2004 when Gryner recorded "Christopher", commemorating Hadfield's first spacewalk. According to Gryner's blog, she's always adored space.
"Even as a young kid I'd lay on the floor with the Rand McNally space atlas and just read in amazement about our universe and the world beyond Earth," she writes on her blog.
There's another reason why Gryner was perfect for Hadfield's project, though. About 10 years ago, she sang with David Bowie in his band. However, she never did officially play "Space Oddity" during her stint with the musicians.
Now a certifiable viral video sensation, it took six months to put it all together. Gryner came up with the piano music in the beginning of the video, and then had Corcoran blow it up into a fully produced song. They added space station noises in the background to eventually create new rendition of "Space Oddity".
Now, after becoming an Internet sensation, Hadfield is returning to Earth, but the video continues to have a life of its own.
Ian Tyson, Canada’s iconic singer and songwriter, turns 80 in September, but his energy remains undimmed — and he’s releasing a second “best-of” compilation of songs from some of the dozen-odd albums he’s recorded for the Edmonton-based Stony Plain label.
The new collection — the follow up to All the Good ‘Uns, his 1996 Gold album — will be released by Stony Plain Records on May 21.
Titled All the Good ‘Uns Vol. 2, it is a collection of 19 recordings — including many of the “story” songs that Tyson has crafted about life in the west, the vanishing cowboy culture, and a few of the more personal songs that reflect the singer’s own experiences. The new CD, distributed in Canada by Warner Music, will be released in the US by ADA on June 18.
The songs, chosen by Tyson and by record label head Holger Petersen, are taken from five of the dozen Ian Tyson albums Stony Plain has released over the years.
A familiar voice returns
Tyson is also celebrating the near-complete recovery of his voice, badly damaged six years ago by the combination of a near-deaf rock and roll sound man at a massive outdoor county music festival, followed by a cold virus that wouldn’t quit.
“I fought the sound system, and lost,” he recalled. “I remember coming off stage and telling Ray Benson, of Asleep at the Wheel, ‘Ray, I think I hurt my voice.’ I saw a doctor, and he said, basically, live with it.”
Tyson was forced to learn, with courage and craftsmanship, to sing his songs with what he called “my new voice.” Two superb Stony Plain albums, Yellowhead to Yellowstone (2008) and Raven Singer (2012) saw a wide range of new songs presented in a uniquely intimate, arresting and heart-to-heart voice.
“Late last year, I did three nights of my annual shows in Longview, near the ranch I have south of Calgary,” he says. “The last night was really hard, so I figured I’d have to do something drastic.”
He visited Tom Gillis, a Calgary ear, nose and throat specialist. “He checked me out very carefully, explored my throat, and found a whole mountain of polyps down there. The operation to remove them, and a continuing course of therapy with Katherine Ardo of the Canadian Voice Care Foundation seems to have done the trick.”
Looking at the future with clear eyes
Closing in on his 80th birthday, he looks back at five decades of a career that’s earned him countless awards, the Order of Canada, and a devoted following.
He has concerts booked well into next year, including three shows in early July at Calgary’s Martha Cohen Theatre and fall dates across the country with Corb Lund.
At the same time, he continues to supervise his working ranch; this is a man for whom “the cowboy life” is an ever-present reality.
And Ian Tyson stares at the future with clear eyes and a weather-worn face.
Here at The Buzz, we've long been fans of eloquent Toronto singer/songwriter Jadea Kelly. A musical free spirit, she has recorded with progressive metal band Protest The Hero and Catherine MacLellan, while her rootsy 2010 debut, Eastbund Platform, scored rave reviews, a Canadian Folk Awards nomination and led to a European house concert tours.
After releasing the ‘Til You Got Your EP and hitting the road earlier this year, Jane’s Party is happy to announce that their sophomore full length album, Hot Noise will be released by Toronto’s upstart alt-roots label, Cameron House Records.
"Our signing with Cameron House Records for the release of 'Hot Noise" is symbolic of the incredible relationship we've formed with the Cameron House label, venue and community over the past year," the band stated in a joint statement. Continuing: "Throughout the creation of this album, we have practically lived at the Cameron house, drawing influence from our peers - both musicians and listeners - while performing and growing as artists. This is a partnership that was bound to happen, and we're excited to be joining such a talented roster of musicians.”
Recorded at Zeus’ Ill Eagle Studio with Taylor Knox, Hot Noise makes good on the acclaim that has been building since the release of their 2009 debut LP, The Garage Sessions. With multiple national tours under their belt and shows supporting artists such as Kathleen Edwards, Matt Mays, Wintersleep, Zeus and as backing band for the Devin Cuddy Band, Jane’s Party has cut their teeth on the road on and off the stage. No surprise then that Jane’s Party will be heading back out on tour immediately following their hometown album release show on June 1st. All dates are listed below with more to be announced very soon.
Jane’s Party Hot Noise Tour Dates:
June 1 – Toronto, ON @ The Cameron House
June 6 – Ottawa, ON @ Raw Sugar Cafe
June 8 – Barrie, ON @ Clarkson Pub
June 13 – Toronto, ON @ The Supermarket
July 15 – Halifax, NS @ The Carleton
July 17 – Moncton, NB @ Plan B
July 19 – Ottawa, ON @ The Rainbow
Six Canadian artists are among the winners in an international songwriting competition judged by a panel that included included Tom Waits, Bernie Taupin, Nas, Jeff Beck, Martina McBride, McCoy Tyner, producer Steve Lillywhite and Alligator Records founder Bruce Iglauer.
Three of the Canadian acts placed 1st in a competition fielding 68 categories, a further three taking 2nd and 3rd place honours in the International Songwriting Competition, which received over 20,000 entries from 119 countries.
The ISC is an annual event designed to showcase and enhance opportunities for both aspiring and established songwriters.
Non-cash prizes offered to first place winners in each category include a parcel of services intended to enable the artists develop their careers.
The Canadian winners are:
Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite of Everything - Toronto ON: 1st place, Instrumental - Song: "Auctioneering Everything".
Helen Austin - Comox, BC: 1st place Children's Music - Song: "Always Be A Unicorn".
Pear - Denis Dufresne and Lynae Dufresne + Bryan Wayne - Calgary AB: 1st place Country - Song: "This Ain't A Love Song".
Thierry Matrat (Funk Embassy) - Montreal QC: 2nd place Dance/Electronica - Song: "Unity".
Dale Boyle - Dorval QC: 2nd place Americana - Song: "You Might Come Around".
To hear songs by the winning entrants, link to the International Songwriting Contest winners page.
Longstanding Toronto Star entertainment writer and musician Greg Quill died Sunday afternoon in his sleep due to complications from pneumonia, his family said in a Facebook entry. He was 66.
"We appreciate all the messages of sympathy and support. We loved Greg very, very much and it is clear that many of you did too. Thank you for keeping Greg in your thoughts,” they added.
Quill was the Toronto Star music critic for a number of years before shifting beats to cover TV, radio, books and the arts scene. Earlier he had written for Music Express, Graffiti, Canadian Composer and had also written a number of fan type books about superstar acts such as the Stones, Michael Jackson and Bon Jovi.
He was also a noted musician who started his career in his native Australia where he began his career in Sydney in the late 60s. In 1970 he put together his first line-up of Country Radio and based the band’s sound on the music of The Byrds, Bob Dylan and The Band.
The group signed to Infinity Records in May 1971 and recorded its debut album, entitled Listen To The Children. The following year, Kerryn Tolhurst joined the group and began a songwriting partnership with Quill. Together they wrote "Gypsy Queen" that reached no. 12 on the Australian Top 40 in 1972.
Country Radio also had a second hit with "Wintersong" in 1973.
In 2003 Quill and Tolhurst renewed their longstanding relationship, resulting in a new batch of songs that found their way onto the album So Rudely Interrupted, released in Canada on True North Records.
Most recently, Quill had been performing with fellow expatriate Australian Terry Wilkins (bass, ex Flying Circus) in the band Ironbark, which also featured Cam MacInnes (guitar), Bucky Berger (drums), and Mitchell Lewis (drums, guitar, stringed instruments). On his website, Quill described Ironbark as "an extension of the traditional bush music and country-rock roots of core members Quill and Wilkins, whose musical kinship extends even further back than their time with fabled Australian country-rock bands Country Radio and Flying Circus, respectively, to Sydney’s folk, blues and jug band haunts in the late 1960s.
To those who knew him well, Quill was a consummate professional. He wrote spirited prose, delved into his subjects, often expressed deep understanding and empathy for fellow songwriters and walked to the beat of his own drum. Outside of his twin professional lives, he was deeply attached to his family and made a point of separating his professional work from his private life.
To say his sudden death was a shock is an understatement. He was a giant of a man, both in stature and in life.
- David Farrell
YouTube's move to launch dedicated subscription-based video channels is expected to be launched later this week, according to various credible sources that include Billboard magazine and the New York Times. The move could be a game-changer for content providers on the Internet which have largely existed on ad revenues to help underwrite the cost of content creation and delivery.
The expected launch follows successful subscription-based services offered by Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others.
The fee-for-services may, however, not be a windfall for media companies and opt-in acts. Billlboard reports unidentified sources familiar with the launch as saying that content creators will receive less than 30% of any subscription dollars flowing from the YouTube channels.
The Ontario government wants to invest in musicians, boost tourism and the province's creative industrie and Wednesday morning (May 1) the province's Finance Minister Charles Sousa, along with Culture Minister Michael Chan took centre stage at Lee's Palace in T.O. to announce a three-year, $45-million program to support the production, distribution and performance of music in the province and to promote Ontario-made music across Canada and around the globe.
“This is going to be money well spent because the ripple effect of this investment, of these grants, Sousa said at the press conference. "(This) is going to enable us to attract more productions, more talent here in Ontario. … It’s going to develop jobs. It’s going to enable our young people to be even more involved and stay at home to get it done. It’s going to attract people from all over the world to want to come to Ontario. And it’s going to make us an even more dynamic and vibrant province.”
Chan, who oversaw the creation of a “live-music strategy” last year that has put $5 million toward music festivals and other events with the potential to draw visitors to Ontario, said the proposed Ontario Music Fund - carrying the slogan "Music Means Jobs"- would go a long way to “strengthening Ontario’s position on the world map as a premier music attraction for live performances” and “bring(ing) Canadian recordings to a global audience.”
“Ontario has everything it takes to become a top live-music destination — not just in Canada, not just in North America, but around the world,” he said, pronouncing Toronto “a global music capital for today, tomorrow and beyond.”
The announcement comes on the heels of a strategy paper released by industry trade association Music Canada that earmarked live music as a key component of an industrial renewal for Ontario, and music affiliated industries as cornerstones in Canada's new economy.
Ontario's music industry is one of the most robust and diversified in North America. The recording sector alone generates more than $300 million in economic impact in Ontario which accounts for 81% of the total activity across Canada.
Responding to yesterday's announcement, Music Canada President Graham Henderson stated that "Music is a superpower that's primed and ready to perform for Ontario.
"It's a smart investment given the globally competitive advantage we have in the recorded and live music sectors (and) research has shown that targeted support for music will pay off with enormous dividends including job growth, increased investment, tourism and the transformation of Ontario into one of the recording capitals of the world. As we in the music community like to say, music can help."
The new capital was clearly music to the ears of many in the community. The announcement was also delivered in stereo, with performances by Courage My Love and Royal Wood.