Ed Sheeran has officially taken over from Drake to be ranked the world’s most popular artist on Spotify based on global monthly listeners. Almost six weeks after releasing his two record-breaking comeback singles, Sheeran has established 42.18m monthly listeners on the Swedish platform, which equates to around a third of its total active users.
Spotify’s global listener rankings are calculated on a rolling monthly basis. The Chainsmokers are currently in 2nd place with 37.8m monthly listeners. They're closely trailed by The Weeknd (37.67m) and Drake (34.56m). Source: MBW)
The Guelph-based Kazoo! Festival presents year-round programming plus an annual music and arts festival. This year's 10th anniversary fest runs April 5-9. Name acts in the lineup include Constantines, Weaves, Polaris short-listers Jessy Lanza and U.S. Girls, John Southworth, Richard Laviolette, and Xylouris White. More info here
-- The recently-opened Peter Tosh Museum in Kingston, Jamaica, is already making a mark, being cited by the New York Times as a key reason to visit Kingston this year. On Feb. 25, Kingston will host The Steppin’ Razor Experience at the newly appointed Peter Tosh Square at the Pulse Centre. Those performing will include Andrew Tosh, Dre Tosh, Jahzarah McIntosh (Peter’s granddaughter), Asadenaki Wailer, and Garnett Silk Jr.
-- To mark its 15th year, Toronto blues and roots festival Winterfolk presents over 150 artists on six stages this weekend (Feb. 17-19). An opening party at The Black Swan last night featured Peter Verity, Tony Quarrington and Soozi Schlanger, and the Command Sisters entertaining an audience that included other Winterfolk performers Noah Zacharin, Julian Taylor and HOTCHA!. This year’s lineup may be the strongest yet. Details at winterfolk.com
-- Calgary’s Sled Island Music & Arts Festival has announced the lineup for its 11th year. The fest’s rep for adventurous programming of left-field independent artists is being maintained. Name acts booked include Low, Converge, Cloud Nothings, Waxahatchee, Silver Apples, and Land of Talk. The fest runs from June 21-25 at different city venues, rather than the previous outdoor stage at Olympic Plaza. Details here
-- Now based in Austin, Canadian honkytonk songstress Whitney Rose has begun a North American tour in support of her new Six Shooter Records EP South Texas Suite. She checked into The Horseshoe in Toronto last night, impressing the crowd with a set comprising well-crafted original tunes and covers of “Suspicious Minds” and “Stand By Your Man.” A backing band of six players included Toronto guitar ace Nichol Robertson and provided a full sound to complement Rose’s strong vocals. At the end of March she heads to Europe for three months of shows. Tour dates here
-- At Folk Alliance International in Kansas City on Wed, night, Bruce Cockburn received the People's Voice Award in recognition of his role in social and political commentary. Upon accepting the honour from Kris Kristofferson, Cockburn took aim at Donald Trump. "It seems evident that the current administration is not much interested in democracy," he said in prepared remarks. "They are trying to stifle opposition across the board by a range of means. Looks to me like they're just getting started." Urging his peers to remain active, he said "We may get tired, but we have to keep singing." Source: Canadian Press
-- Toronto garage rockers Crazy Bones are preparing for the release of a new EP, Cosmic Drips, and they’ve announced dates in Toronto, Brantford, Ottawa and Montreal in March, beginning with a hometown show on March 2 at The Bovine.
-- Calgary-based country duo Leaving Thomas (Annika Odegard and Bryton Udy) played a well-attended industry showcase at The Drake in Toronto last night. They signed a three-year licensing deal with dynamic indie label MDM Recordings three months ago, and label head Mike Denney reports they’re getting an enthusiastic reaction. They impressed with a set that displayed strong songwriting and a more versatile sound than many of their peers. The warm stage presence of Odegard is another asset. Leaving Thomas recently had a writing trip to Nashville and they have been making the radio promo rounds. One to watch.