The Ontario Media Development Corporation hosted a swish soiree for Ontario Juno nominees, media and music biz elite at boutique hotel 1 King West in Toronto last night.
The event managed to attract an impressive number of nominees for a first-class schmoozefest that also included superlatives spoken by OMDC President Karen Thorne-Stone, local MPP Han Dong, CARAS President and CEO Allan Reid, and OMDC chair Mark Sakamoto.
Reid joked that “four days away from the start of Juno Week we’re in a state of controlled chaos,” and also made note of the fact that the annual $15 million Ontario Music Fund is a huge boost to CARAS too. All chimed in with variations on the fact “there has not been a more exciting time for Canadian music."
Sakamoto cited the substantial financial contribution music makes to the Canadian economy while stressing that “music helps create a more open society, and we need more of that.”
Members from the Strumbellas, Arkells, Sultans of String, Whitehorse, and Okavango African Orchestra joined with fellow nominees including Matthew Barber, Alysha Brilla, Paul Reddick, Matt Dusk, and Harrison Kennedy.
-- It is now common for artists to give house concerts, but rarely in their own house. On Wednesday night much-lauded singer/songwriter Sarah Slean did just that, opening up her Toronto home to musical comrades, industry types and PledgeMusic-supporters for a living room performance. Assisted by a string quartet, and seated at a well-used piano, Slean dazzled with a short set that included material from her upcoming album, Metaphysics.
It will be released on Cadence/Fontana North on April 7. Referencing the crowdfunding element to the record, she exclaimed "labels are weird and I'm not 25 anymore."
Those spied enjoying the proceedings included Julien Paquin, Julian Tuck, Jon Goldsmith, composer Christos Hatzis and Slean collaborators Jean Martin, Dean Drouillard and Joshua Van Tassel. Slean performs with The Art of Time Ensemble at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre on March 31 and April 1.
-- The Ottawa Jazz Festival has announced its lineup, and non-jazz female artists figure prominently. Feist, Joss Stone and Serena Ryder are three of the headliners at the fest, now in its 37th year. Others include St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, Maceo Parker, Downchild Blues Band, and Kenny Rogers.
On the jazz side are Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, under the direction of pianist Carla Bley, Bill Frisell, new supergroup Hudson, The Bad Plus, Kenny Barron and Donny McCaslin. The fest runs June 22 to July 2 at various venues around the city. The full sked here.
-- Sibling duo Matthew and Jill Barber is nominated for a Juno in the Contemporary Roots category for The Family Album. Matthew will be in Ottawa to play goalie in The Juno Cup game but he won't be performing. He told FYI at the OMDC reception in Toronto last night that a radius clause prevents them from playing a Juno Week gig. The Barbers perform at the National Arts Centre on May 6.
-- Tomorrow (March 25), live music venues across Canada will participate in the Lights Out project for Earth Day. Over 100 venues will present over 100 bands in performance across the country. Among those signing on in Toronto are Luke Nicholson, Emma Cook, Marlon Chaplin, Great Bob Scott and Tom Walsh. St. John’s has Mark Bragg, Jerry Leger is in Kingston, Amos the Transparent in Kanata, and Lorrie Matheson is in Calgary. Indie Week is one of the main sponsors, and main man Darryl Hurs tells FYI this is the biggest edition of the annual to date.
-- The Bluesfest Windsor line-up this year includes Kenny Wayne Shepherd, The Sheepdogs, Foghat, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds (with Kim Wilson), Slim Jim Phantom from the Stray Cats and Joe Louis Walker. This year's event budget for talent hit $250K. and the shows run July 13--16 at the Riverfront Festival Palace.