Music News Digest, June 30, 2017

Given the struggles many summer music festivals are having this year, there was some concern over the fate of Drake's annual OVO Fest. Drizzy put that to rest this week by announcing the lineup for OVO's eighth edition.

It features Canadian hiphop and R&B faves PartyNextDoor, Majid Jordan, dvsn and Roy Woods, along with Drake, of course, amd, most likely, surprise special guests. It takes place at Toronto's Budweiser Stage on August 7, with tickets going on sale today (June 30).

—  Canada Day concerts and festivals from coast to coast to coast will elicit patriotic thoughts, but few are likely to be as stirring as an event in Calgary's Olympic Plaza.

At 1.30 pm on July 1, a large crowd is exected to gather there with Ian Tyson for a mass (perhaps 1,500 strong) strum 'n singalong version of Tyson's classic song "Four Strong Winds," considered by many something of an unofficial national anthem. Sign-up info here

— One would think that helping Broken Social Scene reunite, record and tour would have kept frontman Kevin Drew busy enough, but he recently somehow found the time to make his debut as a playwright.

It was announced this week that his play A&R Angels will be one of the productions to be mounted for Crow’s Theatre’s 2017/18 schedule. This is the well-respected Toronto company’s 35th season. Drew told The Globe and Mail's Brad Wheeler that “They say to write what you know. Failure makes for some of the greatest comedy.”

A&R Angels is described as "a comedic rock fable about the malaise of middle age and the distress of a pair of songwriters." Drew will co-star with fellow Canadian rocker Ben Kowalewicz, of Billy Talent). Another Crow's production with a music connection is a remount of 2016 hit True Crime, co-written and performed by Torquil Campbell of Stars (and, occasionally, Broken Social Scene).

— The Kultrún World Music Festival will take place July 8-9 at Victoria Park in Kitchener, preceded by a ticketed opening gala event at The Museum. It features top Latin singer Amanda Martinez and local First Nations pop singer Elsa Jayne. More info here

— Prices for the Mariposa Folk Festival increase on July 1st. The event runs July 7-9 in Orillia, ON. Check out the famed folk fest's eclectic (from Bruce Cockburn to The New Pornographers) 2017 lineup here.

— Tibetan-Canadian singer and multi-instrumentalist Dorjee Tsering has released a single entitled “Thank You Canada” as an expression of gratitude for the welcome he has received in this country.

As part of the New Canadian Global Music Orchestra (NCGMO) assembled by The Royal Conservatory of Music to celebrate Canada's cultural diversity as it turns 150, Tsering will perform in Toronto at Nathan Philips Square today (June 30).

— 21-year old Quinn Bachand and his band Brishen are quickly making a musical impact. Bachand has won a Saga Djangofest Award, and earned WCMA nominations for Instrumental Album of the Year and 2017 Jazz Artist of the Year. He made the finals of Canada’s Walk Of Fame' Emerging Artist competition, has a full ride 4-year music scholarship at Berklee, and has scored multiple  CFMA nominations, as well as touring internationally with Natalie MacMaster and Ashley MacIsaac.

Bachand and Brishen will support a new album, Blue Verdun, with a show at Toronto's Burdock Music Hall on July 10.

— Though now based in New Zealand, fiery Canadian roots songstress Tami Neilson has made the long trek to play here numerous times over the last couple of years. She opened a Colin James tour earlier this year, and has now returned for a five-city headline tour.

Judging by the good-sized crowd at Toronto's Mod Club on Wednesday, Neilson's hard work (and CBC airplay) is paying off. Charming as ever, she delivered a dynamic set heavier on the gospel (Mahalia Jackson and Mavis Staples tributes) and soul than previous shows here, but she has the pipes to pull it off. Her remaining shows are at the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival in Saskatoon tonight (June 30) and the Vancouver International Jazz Festival on Canada Day.


Dave Rosser, guitarist for US rockers Afghan Whigs, died June 27 following a battle with inoperable colon cancer. He was 50. When the Afghan Whigs reformed in 2014 for Do to the Beast, the band's first album in 16 years, Rosser was a member of the new lineup. He previously played in frontman Greg Dulli's side projects The Gutter Twins and the Twilight Singers. Rosser also wrote for and played on albums by Ani DiFranco, and Joseph Arthur.

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