Music News Digest, Aug. 2, 2017

Two fast-rising young Canadian stars, Scott Helman and Ria Mae, are teaming up for a joint cross-Canada tour in the fall. Dubbed "Scott Vs Ria," the 17-city trek starts Oct. 15 at Toronto's Danforth Music Hall, concluding at Victoria's Sugar on Nov. 8. A full itinerary here.

The pair first met at the 2016 Juno Awards in Calgary, where both were nominees. Both have currently charting singles, "Kinda Complicated" for Helman and "Bend" for Mae.


—  Undeniably one of Canada's major live music clubs, Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern is also one of the longest-lived. From late September to late December, it will celebrate its 70th birthday in fitting fashion, presenting special shows from name Canadian and international acts. Billy Bragg kicks off the concert series with a three-night residency, Sept. 26-28. Hollerado, Elliott Brood and 54-40 all play multiple nights, while there are one-night shows from D.O.A. and the reunited The Pursuit of Happiness. See the sked here.

Coinciding with the 70th celebration is the Sept. 23 publication of a history of the club. Written by local scribe David McPherson, The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern: A Complete History, comes out on Dundurn Press.

— The 15th annual edition of the BreakOut West festival takes place in Edmonton, Sept. 13-17. Yesterday the fest revealed the third and final round of participating artists. The list includes Ellen Doty, Ken Stead, The Matinee, Twin Peaks, Astral Swans, and Wooden Horsemen. Check the full schedule here 

— BC indie rockers Hey Ocean! have announced a special tour of intimate club shows across Canada this fall. These 18 gigs will feature two sets spanning more than a decade of music together, including new material from a recently-completed album (release date tba). The jaunt begins on Oct. 12 at Kelowna's The Habitat, and closes out at The Seahorse in Halifax on Nov. 24. A full itinerary here

— The Massey Hall Presents series features emerging Canadian artists performing at Toronto venues smaller than the storied Hall. Just announced for a joint Sept. 25 show at the Drake Underground are singer/songwriters Jessica Mitchell and Spencer Burton.

— BC singer/songwriter Dan Mangan has just shared a new video for “Whistleblower”, from his latest release, Unmake. It has a timely message, with Mangan noting in a press release that "there is a lot of anger in the world. Anger can be important. Anger can topple tyrants. This video was not made with the intent to incite anger, but it does hope to advocate to work through anger and find the other side of it. To find resolution, forgiveness, and peace."

— Blue Frog Live is a live web streaming concert series, filmed at the Blue Frog recording theatre in White Rock, BC. Since launching in 2010, the series has developed into nearly 150 concerts per year, with 100 audience members purchasing tickets for each one. Upcoming acts featured include Jane Bunnett and Maqueque (Aug. 24), Kirby Sewell Band (Aug. 25), Angel Forrest (Sept. 8-9), Danny Michel (Oct. 4), and The Lowest Of The Low (Oct. 5). More info here.

— Boys Do Girls is the catchy title of a musical evening coming to the Casbah in Hamilton on Aug. 25. Featuring songs made famous by women, performed by men, it has an impressive cast, including Big Rude Jake, Raoul Bhaneja, Matty Simpson, Terry Gillespie, and Deeps with Justine Fischer & Matt Burns. Danny Marks hosts the show, one presented by veteran promoter/publicist Ellen Davidson. $5 of the $15 ticket cost will be donated to The Hamilton Arts Council.

Michael Wrycraft has curated shows with the same concept (Boys Do Girls and Girls Do Boys) at Hugh's Room Live in Toronto in recent years.


Sam Shepard, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, actor and musician, died on July 27 of Lou Gehrig's disease. Age 73. Though best known for his writing and acting, Shepard also had connections with the world of music. He was a drummer in '60s counter-culture favourites Holy Modal Rounders, he participated in Bob Dylan's 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue, and he co-wrote a song with Dylan, "Brownsville Girl," for the 1986 album Knocked Out Loaded. Shepard had a well-publicised affair with Patti Smith in the '70s.

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