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Mel Tillis, Singer-Songwriter and Country Music Hall of Famer, Dies at 85

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By Erin Nyren and Chris Willman
Courtesy of Variety
Photo Credit Steve C. Mitchell

Mel Tillis, country music singer and songwriter, has died, the Country Music Hall of Fame confirmed in a statement. He was 85.

According to the Tennessean, Tillis died early Sunday morning at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Fla. after almost two years of ill health stemming from a bout of diverticulitis, for which he received surgery. The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure.

Tillis began recording in the late 1950s and continued to perform through 2015, but remained best known for a string of No. 1 country hits in the late ’70s, along with a succession of appearances in Hollywood movies alongside Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood that helped make him a household name even outside the country music sphere.

“Mel Tillis spent a lifetime giving us joy and laughter and music, which is why his death brings such sadness,” said Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young. “Had he never stepped on a stage, he would still have been one of the funniest and most genuine people on the planet.”

“But his whimsy and warmth were only a part of his appeal. He wrote some of country music’s most compelling and consequential songs, he fronted a remarkable band, and he sang with power and emotion. He also shone as an inspiration, revealing what others called an impediment as a vehicle for humor and hope.”

A Tribe Called Red Release Video For The Light Pt. Ii

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada
Photo Credit Matt Barnes

A Tribe Called Red has released a new video featuring Lido Pimienta. Filmed in Santiago, Chile, the video stars and was directed by Pimienta, who set out to “collaborate with artists in Chile who navigate their reality in the spirit of what The Halluci Nation represents – a way of life motivated by resistance and love”. The video – which was produced by Porch productions in Toronto and Somos Patria in Santiago – follows Pimienta’s character as she is mistaken for a maid by a bourgeois family in Santiago, then turns to a celebration within an artistic community.

Pimienta continues, "The people featured in the video are not actors, they are real Chilean artists, creatives and activists working in Santiago and elsewhere in Chile right now, in similar ways as ATCR in Canada. I set out to showcase how settler colonialism is in fact way more nuanced and complex by challenging these assumptions and preconceptions of how Indigenous people ought to be.”

Lido PimientaLido Pimienta

Robert Knight Gave Us ‘Everlasting Love’

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Robert Knight has sadly passed away at the age of 72.

The legendary singer was known world-wide for his hit song “Everlasting Love.”
Robert Knight, who recorded the first version of ‘Everlasting Love’, one of the biggest songs to come out of Nashville, died Sunday, November 5, 2017 after a short illness.

He was born Robert Peebles in Franklin on April 24, 1945.

As young man, he was a member of the Fairlanes and sang lead for the Paramounts before becoming a solo artist.

In 1967, while performing during a fraternity party at Vanderbilt University, Mac Gayden heard "this voice coming from the Kappa Sigma House." He ran over there and met Knight as he was coming off the stage. "He didn't want to talk to me, but I gave him my card," Gayden remembered. Gayden introduced Knight to Buzz Cason, who signed Knight to Rising Sons Music, and they began working on an album.

Cason and Gayden had written a song called ‘The Weeper’, which they thought would be Knight's breakout hit. But then he cut another Cason/Gayden composition: ‘Everlasting Love’. It was, Gayden said, the last song cut during the session, "kind of like a throwaway tune."

Knight's infectious, soaring recording became an R&B and pop hit, and a beach music staple. Over the last half-century, it has been covered by Carl Carlton, Love Affair, U2 and Gloria Estefan, among others.

CMA Awards 2017

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Submitted by Don Graham

The 51st CMA Awards were held on November 8, 2017, with a spectacular show at the Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville.It was an emotional show allowing the songs and artists to use the powerful genre to focus on unifying the country through country music during a year rampant with gun violence, hurricanes, floods and a divisive political climate.

Garth Brooks took home the night's top honor of Entertainer of the Year for the sixth time in his career although it was not without controversy as Brooks admitted post-show to lip-synching his performance due to a bad throat. Brooks explained, "We made a game-time call on whether to sing to a track or lip-sync. And we decided to lip-sync it. My voice just isn't going anywhere and we wanted to represent country music the best we can." Brooks won out over Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan and Eric Church. Brothers Osborne and Chris Stapleton were the night's most-awarded performers, with two wins each.

Chris Stapleton's ‘From A Room: Volume 1’ was named Album of the Year, beating out releases that included Miranda Lambert's ‘The Weight of These Wings’ and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit's ‘The Nashville Sound’. Stapleton won Album of the Year in 2015 for ‘Traveller’. He also added Male Vocalist of the Year category, beating out Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Keith Urban and Thomas Rhett for his third consecutive win.

The Rubens Release New Single ‘Million Man’

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada
Photo Credit Giulia McGauhan

The Rubens return with new single, Million Man (via Ivy League Records) – a soulful, groove-fuelled track, that follows on where their now certified platinum, #1 triple j’s hottest 100 single, Hoops, left off.

The story of Million Man begins at 2013’s Laneway Music Festival, where The Rubens befriended NYC rapper, EL-P (Run The Jewels) and his band, which included his Run The Jewels producers/collaborators, brothers, Wilder Zoby and Little Shalimar (aka Torbitt Schwartz).

After a few nights spent drinking in New York at a bar that Torbitt and Wilder co-owned, it seemed their effortless friendship could lead to a pretty interesting musical collaboration.

2017 and those musings became reality when both producers flew out from the bustling streets of New York City to the band’s newly created recording studio, housed in a World War II communications bunker in the outskirts of Camden in Sydney’s deep South West.

On the collaboration, keyboard/vocalist/songwriter, Elliott Margin says, “When it came time to look for a producer for this new record, we realized that they'd be the perfect guys to work with. ‘Million Man’ was the first track we worked on in the studio with the boys. It was genuinely just a fun time building the song and being creative together.”

Boogie Nights Singer Keith Edward Wilder Passes On

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Funk Legend of the hit song ‘Boogie Nights’ passed away on October 29, 2017, at the age of 68. The unconfirmed cause of death was a massive heart attack.

Keith Edward Wilder was a vocalist for the legendary funk band Heatwave. Formed in 1975 by Wilder’s brother Johnnie Wilder, Jr., Heatwave hits included "Boogie Nights," "Always and Forever" and "The Groove Line."It was 40 years ago at this time that Heat Wave was climbing to #2 on the pop chart with this disco-dance smash.

In London during the mid-1970’s Johnnie Wilder, Jr. and Rod Temperton (both who have passed away 2006 and 2016 respectively) with several other musicians including Keith came together and created music history. The group has changed musician members over the years. Napoleon Eugene Phillips, Elliot Levine, Keith Busey, Geno Myers, Nathan Watson, Ignatius Mason, Byron Byrd, Donavan Blackwood and my longtime friend ElWarren Weatherspoon (World-Class Drummer) affectionately known in the industry as “Spoon”.

Fats Domino Adieu Antoine Godspeed

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Submitted by Don Graham

Antione “Fats” Domino, one of the most influential rock and roll performers of the 1950s and 60s, has died at the age of 89.

He was best known for his songs ‘Ain't That A Shame’, ‘I’m Walkin’ and ‘Blueberry Hill’ and sold more than 65 million records, outselling every 1950’s rock and roll acts with the exception of  Elvis Presley. Elvis Presley once referred to Fats Domino as "the real king of rock n roll" and Paul McCartney reportedly wrote the Beatles song ‘Lady Madonna’ in Fats’ style of piano playing. He was one of the first rhythm and blues artists to gain popularity with a white audience and his music was most prolific in the 1950s.

Domino had 11 US Top 10 hits and his music was a big influence on artists during the 1960s and 70s.

He was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, but by then he would no longer leave New Orleans, not even to accept the award.

Fellow New Orleans-born musician and actor Harry Connick Jr. paid tribute to Domino on Twitter, saying he had "helped pave the way for New Orleans piano players".

Rhye Release New Song "Taste"

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada
Photo Credit Genevieve Medow Jenkins

On October 27, 2017 Rhye released another new song entitled Taste. The new single is available now on iTunes, Spotify, and Apple Music via Last Gang Records, and will be featured on the group’s much anticipated sophomore album, due for release in early 2018. The forthcoming album follows Rhye’s debut, Woman, which was released in 2013 to wide critical acclaim. Sonically, Taste is reflective of the band’s evolving live show as the group gears up for extensive touring next year.

Rhye frontman, Milosh, comments, “We’re hitting the road hard in 2018. So much of the new music we’re making has been inspired and influenced by our live show and all the touring we’ve done over the last few years, and we can’t wait to share it with you. Today we’re happy to present ‘Taste’…something to satiate you until we meet again.”
Earlier this week, Rhye announced a 2018 tour, which will kick off in Mexico City on February 1st and visit cities across North America and Europe going into the spring. Rhye will be stopping in Montreal on March 3rd before hitting Milosh’s hometown of Toronto on March 5th. Tickets for all dates are available for purchase starting today at 10:00 AM local time. See below for a complete schedule and purchase links.

Monsieur Job

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Submitted by Kevin Webber

On “Chow Chow Eyyy Pow Pow” - Monsieur Job, fuse diverse talents by inviting artists such as; Marty of No Mercy, Kiño, Luis Carlos Toro, Alejandro Gomes Caceres, Sarah Sophia, Elemece, Thiago, Christian Gimenez, Vojke Djans, Diego Caceres, Oscar Moncada, Denis Dzigal, Cholo, Vick D, Mc Lions & Bingi, Kid Corrupt, Dave Floyd, Nacho Alvarez, Pablo Bendov and Aldo Cadiz therefore mixing a variation of many styles recreating genres like Reggaetón Electronica, Dancehall, Reggae, Dub, Tropical House, Rock, Chill Out, Rap, Trap, Hip Hop, Worship, and Son Montuno involving Afro Cuban and African Succu rhythms.

They do a good job, if I am so inclined to opine on what isn’t sung in English, possibly being ambiguous anyway. It’s the Hip Hop and Dancehall factors that shine through no matter what, so if you love that you’ll enjoy the song. It kicks off with an Electronica intro and at first you might think it’s going to be an EDM track. But it flows better in Pop waters than it seems. This is a Latin wonder at the end of the day, and all you can do is let it do its magic or not, depending on your taste. It’s a very simple but satisfying beat tracking. This is all best understood in Spanish, but a universal language speaks through the music as well.

Jason Benoit Inks U.S. Management Deal With D & D Endeavors

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Canadian singer-songwriter Jason Benoit has announced that he has signed a deal with U.S. management company, D & D Endeavors. D & D Endeavors will represent Benoit in the U.S. and worldwide. In 2015 Benoit won the inaugural Canadian Country Music Association Discovery Atlantic Award and his highest charting single "Gone Long Gone" reached no. 7 on the Canadian Country Billboard Charts.

"I am so excited to have Doni and David representing me," says Benoit. "It's always been a dream of mine to pursue an international music career and I can't think of anyone else who I'd like better to take me to the next level of my career than D & D."

Benoit began his musical career in 2013 with a country rendition of Armin van Buuren and Trevor Guthrie's "This Is What It Feels Like", which reached no. 46 on the Canadian Country Billboard Charts. Benoit signed his first label deal with JV Records/Sony Music Canada releasing the singles, "Cold Day Coming", "Crazy Kinda Love" and "All Wanna Party" which saw success on the Canadian Country Billboard Charts at no. 21, no. 29 and no. 36 respectively. In 2015 Benoit hit the stage with Tim Hicks on his "Get A Little Crazy" nationwide tour. Benoit then went on to open for two international country stars, Tim McGraw at Boots & Hearts and Kenny Chesney at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival.

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