Music News Digest, Feb. 23, 2018

The Juno Songwriters’ Circle is now well-established as one of Juno Week's most popular events. This year's Circle takes place at Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre on March 25 (12-2 pm), and an A-list lineup of performers has been announced. It comprises Jim Cuddy, Rose Cousins, Ruth B., Iskwé, and Scott Helman (all Juno nominees this year), joined by co-hosts Bob Rock and Jann Arden. The showcase benefits MusiCounts and is co-presented by SOCAN and the CMPA. More info here

–  More Juno news: To celebrate the return of the Comedy Album of the Year Award Category at this year's Awards, CARAS has announced that this year's nominees in that category will take the stage at the first annual SiriusXM Canada Juno Comedy Show. The Comedy Mix club will host two shows on Friday March 23. Comedian Graham Clark will host and MC this inaugural event. Ticket info here 

Randy Bachman hypes his 13-track tribute album to George Harrison (By George, Universal Music, March 16) at Toronto’s Adelaide Hall on Feb. 28. Paquin Entertainment is orchestrating the follow-up tour.

– Today, Warner’s releases remastered editions of Bowie’s Low, Heroes, Live, Lodger, and Scary Monsters on various configurations that include vinyl.

– How much do musicians make compared to others? An Oxfam report spells it out. Music Think Tank reports on the numbers.

– Registration for Top of The Country, a new music competition from SiriusXM Canada in partnership with Canadian Country Music Association for emerging Canadian country artists, closes March 2. Details here.

Slaight Music has partnered with Universal Music Canada and Hidden Pony Records for It's Your Shot 2018, an annual national songwriting and artist development competition that's helped launched careers. The winning artist will receive recording, marketing, and distribution support as part of the Grand Prize, valued at $100K. Submissions are now officially open and will close March 15. Details here.

CIMA has put the call out for submissions and showcasing opportunities at its 1st annual Mission to Mexico. Details here.

– Musicians take note. Re:Sound is working on your behalf to beef up your incomes and if you don’t know about the royalties collective, you should. And they are reaching out with a new (bilingual) video to tell you how they can make your life better, and just what it is they do.

– The 12th annual Glenn Gould Prize is to be announced April 13, at Koerner Hall in Toronto.

–  SOCAN members interested in nominating themselves as a candidate for the pro's Board of Directors election in 2018 have a week left to do so, as submissions close on March 2. More details on the nominations process here

Patti Jannetta makes an appearance at the RBC Theatre in Mississauga with her tribute show, Memories of Louis Jannetta at the Imperial Room, on March 23, with Jackie Richardson and Adrian Lucas.

– St. John's, NL, has not exactly been considered a hip-hop hub, but local crew ChessClub is aiming to change that. Though now based in the 6ix, CC honed skills on The Rock. The group's second album,These Flowers Are For You, comes out on the respected Urbnet imprint today, and they play Toronto's Burdock on March 15. ChessClub's 2014 eponymous debut was nominated for an ECMA.

– Last week, Saskatoon rockers One Bad Son released "Hurricane," taken from last year's album Made In The Name of Rock N Roll. The band also announced it will accompany multi-platinum rockers Shinedown for eight dates on their Canadian tour, kicking off in Penticton, BC, March 27 and wrapping April 6 in Abbotsford, BC. Dates here

– Saskatoon's eclectic live music venue Vangelis is re-branding as the Black Cat Tavern, but it will continue to present bands. After a retirement party for Vangelis on March 25, The Black Cat Tavern launches with a bang on March 30. The inaugural show features punk veterans DayGlo Abortions, Good Enough, and Zelda BellaDonna and the Deadly Nightshades. Source: SaskMusic

– The Brit Awards do reserve a few categories for international acts, but Canadians were shut out at the show, held in London on Wednesday. Drake lost in the International Male Solo Artist category to Kendrick Lamar, and Foo Fighters edged out Arcade Fire in the International Group category.

–  Nova Scotia-based music publisher Sound of Pop has announced the signing of a publishing deal with Newfoundland award-winning electronic artist Happy Beats. The deal includes two full-length releases Volume 1 and Volume 2. Happy Beats is songwriter Michael Kirby, also a member of rock band Cabbages and Kings.

– Dominican artist Romeo Santos has made moves with his recent album, Golden, and a sound mixing Latin pop and R&B. There's a strong Canadian connection on the album, for it includes production work by Boi-1da (Drake), Illangelo (The Weeknd), and Frank Dukes (Drake, BadBadNotGood)), with vocals by Jessie Reyez on the track "Un Vuelo A La," a major hit. Santos has a show at Toronto's Air Canada Centre on March 2.

– Melodic Yoza has had tracks featured on productions such as MTV's Jersey Shore, On The Ice, and CBC's Kim’s Convenience. His genre-hopping sound mixes reggae, dancehall, pop and hip-hop strains, and an album, Countri Boi Kingston, is coming this year. The new single "Celebrate" was produced by Terence Lam (Alessia Cara, JRDN, Kardinal Offishall). Yoza plays Revival in Toronto on April 20.

– Now in its fifth year, The TD Niagara Jazz Fest has launched its Twilight Jazz series. Focusing on acoustic jazz piano, it opened last night (Feb. 22) with a concert by John Sherwood. John Roney performs his 'Tribute To Gershwin" on March 8, followed by Brian Dickinson paying tribute to Bill Evans on March 22. The White Oaks Resort in Niagara On The Lake is the venue.

– The annual SHINE Concert in Toronto raises funds for the SHINE Youth Music Bursaries in memory of Jim Fay, James Gray and Doug Queen - local musicians who inspired others to music and who died too young. Bursaries are awarded to young people (16-24) who want to pursue their practice or study of folk or traditional music but who face financial barriers. The Awards are presented at the SHINE Concert, taking place on Feb. 25 at Lula Lounge. Performers are Quique Escamilla, Layrite Boys, Tim Bovaconti  and the 2017 Bursary winners. More details here



Brian O'Neill, agent and office manager at Sphere Entertainment, passed away last week of a heart attack, at age 61.

Working at Hamilton's Theatrical Supply in Toronto, O'Neill dressed thousands of performing artists and the public wanting a fun costume experience. He joined Sphere Entertainment agency, one of Canada's top family entertainment producers, 11 years ago as office manager and agent. He retired last September. Sphere founder Pat Silver praised O'Neill as "a rare contributor to the variety industry, a strong advocate for artists and a warm-hearted person."

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