The Americana Music Association in Franklin, TN announced on Wednesday that Buffy Sainte–Marie will receive the Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award at the 14th annual, to be staged at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium on Sept. 16. Other honorees include Don Henley, Ricky Skaggs, and Los Lobos. "Since the 1960s, Buffy Sainte–Marie has been arguably the world's most visible and vocal Native North American folk singer and social activist, but she's been so much more, including a visual artist with a PhD in Fine Art, an educator and a philanthropist," noted the press release posted on americanamusic.org. Co–presented by the First Amendment Center, other artists to have received the award include Joan Baez and Johnny Cash. The 74 year-old (born Beverly Sainte-Marie on the Piapot Cree First Nation Reserve in the Qu'Appelle Valley, SK) is short-listed for a Polaris Music Prize this year with Power In the Blood, her first album in seven years and recorded in Toronto with three of Canada's top producers — Michael Wojewoda, Chris Birkett and Jon Levine.
— The Stanfields launch a national tour a week following Groundswell Music launching their fourth studio album, Modem Operandi, on September 18th. The opening show on the 24th is at Toronto's The Horseshoe Tavern, following which the five-piece Maverick's in Ottawa, The Townehouse in Sudbury, Winnipeg's Park Theatre, Saskatoon's The Capitol Club, Edmonton's Denizen Hall, the Vat in Red Deer, Dickens Pub in Calgary, The Roxy in Vancouver and The Last Drop in Revelstoke. Additional tour dates in Atlantic Canada will be announced in the coming weeks. The lead track is the suitably rough 'n' tumble Gaelic inflected "Fight Song." Ian McKinnon at Groundswell is managing, and agent is Jason MacIsaac at the MacIsaac Agency.
— The Guardian gives Mac De Marco's latest album, Another One, 4 out of 5 stars this week. Writing in the UK Observer, Ally Carnwath scribbles: "Canadian songwriter Mac DeMarco can rest easy. He continues to craft wry pop songs about the vicissitudes of love and his slackerish geniality pervades Another One, from its hype-diffusing title to the offer of a cup of coffee that he extends to listeners on the final track. Though nothing on this record gives the impression of being overthought, there’s a familiar strangeness to his songwriting too. DeMarco’s quiet croon is set to pattered drums, pitch-bending guitars and pump organ, so that an appealing creepiness underlies the simple arrangements of the best tracks. Ally Carnwath handed the album three stars, and Tshepo Mokoena gives it four out five in The Guardian.
— Bruce Cockburn has broken from his self-imposed semi-retirement in San Francisco and at two festivals in Newfoundland this week. On Saturday he was scheduled to appear at the 39th annual Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival in St. John’s, then he's driving to the Writers at Woody Point literary festival where he is scheduled to perform two concerts at the Heritage Theatre in Curzon Village tonight and Wednesday. The following day, Cockburn is to be interviewed on stage at the theatre by Canadian novelist, essayist and memoirist Lawrence Hill.
— Perennial east-coast award winning In-Flight Safety has just released "Stockholm" from their most recent album, The Conversationalist. It's a warm-up for a string of down-home shows and a quartet in Ontario that include the 'Shoe in Toronto-Sept. 9, and Zaphod Beeblebrox in capital city on the 12th.
— Canadian metal band Kobra and the Lotus have a strong rep on the continent and Europe, helped by having classically trained Kobra Paige's Kevlar-piercing staccato vocals fronting the five-piece and a catalogue of albums that have employed pricey producer and remixers. The band's upcoming Aug. 28 release is called Words of the Prophets, a five-track EP covering hallmark tracks by Triumph ("Lay It On the Line"), April Wine (Sign of the Gypsy Queen"), Alannah Myles ("Black Velvet, of course), BTO ("Let It Ride") and Rush (The Spirit of Radio"). You can view Kobra and band performing the Rush classic on the last night of a recent UK tour here.