Music News Digest: June 5, 2017

BC music fans lamenting the loss of the Pembroke fest can take some solace in the Vancouver-based Westward Music Festival. To be held in multiple downtown music venues September 14-17, it features 14 live music events. The just-announced lineup is headed by Vince Staples and features a strong cast of Canadian artists. That list includes A Tribe Called Red, Hannah Georgas, Dear Rouge, PUP, Charlotte Day Wilson, Busty and the Bass, and Neon Dreams. See the full lineup here

The fest is produced by MRG Concerts, which recently announced a strategic partnership with Toronto-based concert production company Fource Entertainment.

Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am may think Fergie has left the group, but the singer insists she’s just focusing on a solo album.

— Sri Lankan-born Torontonian Roveena dazzled audiences with a debut EP a couple of years ago that shimmered and shone vocally. She’s back with a new heart-pounding single “Burning Room” that teases the release of Fearless (Vintage Green Records) that follows ASAP.

— CIMA and MusicOntario’s 10th Annual Summer BBQ is set for June 22, 2-4pm, at the St. Patrick St. offices.

— Charmie, Jeremy Fisher, Kayla Diamond, Kim Stockwood & Damhnait Doyle, and Zaki Ibrahim have been announced as the performers for CIMA's Gala Awards next Monday, June 12, at The Glass Factory in Liberty Village.

Alabama Shakes’ sessions for American Epic (live)

— Canada's Come From Away has won three Drama Desk Awards, including outstanding musical.

The 9/11-inspired production was awarded the top prize at a ceremony held at New York's Town Hall on Sunday night.

Canadian husband-and-wife duo Irene Sankoff and David Hein, the co-creators of Come From Away, won outstanding book of a musical.

Jenn Colella won outstanding featured actress in a musical for her portrayal of real-life retired airline Capt. Beverley Bass. The show is up for seven Tony Awards later this month (CP)

—Toronto rocker Taylor Knox releases his debut full-length album, Love, via Cadence Music on June 9. He has announced Ontario and Montreal shows, beginning at Waterloo's Starlight on June 15 and concluding at the Ottawa Blues fest on July 8. He plays Toronto's Drake on June 23 and Montreal's La Vitrola on July 6. A full itinerary here

Prior to starting his solo recording career, Knox was an in-demand drummer for the likes of Hayden, Alvvays, Jason Collett, and Luke Doucet. Molly Rankin of Alvvays guests on "Running Into Love," the first single from "Love."

— In October, acclaimed pianist Robi Botos will release a new album on A440 Entertainment/Universal Music Canada. He will preview some of its material with a performance at the prestigious The Montreal Chamber Music Festival as part of their TD Jazz Series, on June 10 at Salle Bourgie.

Botos' previous album, Movin' Forward, earned a Juno last year. Last week he released a single entitled "Calhoun Square," a tribute to Prince. 

—In a business marriage made in ganja heaven, an investors group that includes Bob Marley's son Damian has bought a controlling interest in High Times for US$42M. Valued at $70M (US), the counterculture magazine founded in 1974 sees a regular 20M unique online visitors per month beyond its 236K print subscribers.

RIP

Bern Nix, a jazz guitarist best known for his collaborations with Ornette Coleman, passed away on May 31 in New York City, at age 69.

Nix played in Coleman's acclaimed avant-garde group Prime Time, and recorded seven albums with that group from 1976 to 1988. He led his own trio from 1985 until his death, and also performed with James Chance and the Contortions.

 

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