Music News Digest, Sept. 27, 2017

He is arguably the most famous man in Toronto, but Drake was the subject of a critical piece in The Toronto Star on Monday. This follows the shooting death on Sept. 14 of Anthony Soares, reportedly a close friend of Drake. Star reporter Betsy Powell writes that "senior police officials are privately expressing dismay that the Toronto rapper has ignored a homicide detective’s request to encourage witnesses to step forward to help solve a friend’s killing."

The story also outlines the serious criminal records of some of Drake's inner circle.

—  Great Big Sea frontman Alan Doyle will headline two 2018 ECMA Big Ticket concerts on Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5, at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront. Both shows feature Fortunate Ones in support. Tickets for reserved seating are on sale this Friday. These shows mark the end of Doyle's 50+ date North American tour in support of his upcoming third solo album. A Week at The Warehouse comes out on Oct. 13 via Universal Music Canada.

—  In other ECMA news, the trade org has announced the East Coast Music Aficionado Program, an initiative that supports the music industry and musicians of Atlantic Canada. This program welcomes patrons of the arts community to contribute to the ECMA's ongoing efforts to grow the music industry in Atlantic Canada by donating $10K to the cause. Contact Andree Gracie at for details.

—  News about Joni Mitchell has been scarce of late, but her life and work are explored in a new biography, Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell, written by David Yaffe and published by HarperCollins Canada. In an event at Hugh's Room Live in Toronto on Oct. 12, Yaffe will read from the book and sit down for an interview with music scribe Karen Bliss. The evening also features a Joni tribute performance from noted local singer/songwriter Mia Sheard. Tix are $10.

—  Re:Sound's ReWindTO2017 is the trade org's fifth annual benefit concert for the Unison Benevolent Fund, and it is set to rock the house at Revival in Toronto on Thursday night. This year’s event will feature the songs of the 90s as performed by employees from Re:Sound, SOCAN Music, Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency, and Sony Music Canada, while a silent auction is stacked with goodies. Tons of fun for a great cause, and a $10 minimum donation is requested. Last year's event raised $24K.

—  Sad news to pass along is the passing on the weekend of John David Martin, the 30-year-old son of Margaret Konopacki and the late John Martin. Margaret posts on FB that "there will be a wake on Thursday in Ottawa and a funeral on Friday where his ashes will be put in part with his father John Martin and at my family plot the Konopacki's where I plan to be buried." Contact her for more details.

— Lovers of musicals living in Toronto, or visiting the city in the next nine months, have a plethora of choices in the just-announced 2017/18 season from Mirvish Productions. The huge recent hit Come From Away returns, while the eagerly-awaited North American premiere of Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical begins on Oct. 14.

Also featured will be Million Dollar Quartet, Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles, UK beatbox musical Gobsmacked!, Phantom of the Opera, and Motown: The Musical. More info here.

— eEK! Productions and Koral Young Group have announced a new partnership resulting in the creation of the Digital Promotions Group (DPG). This marketing and promotion company offers streaming and playlisting promotion and U.S. digital PR services to Canadian artists. DPG will also bring these services to the Canadian market. For more information contact Erin Kinghorn

— Renowned Canadian blues guitar slinger/singer Sue Foley brings her band back to Toronto's Cadillac Lounge on Thursday, after rocking the joint two weeks earlier. The Sue Foley Band features members of Colin James' touring band and Soulstack's rhythm section. We're informed that Foley is shopping her new album, The Ice Queen, her first solo record in a decade. The presence of such guests as Jimmie Vaughan (The Fabulous Thunderbirds) Billy F Gibbons ( ZZ Top), Chris ‘Whipper’ Layton (Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble), Charlie Sexton (The Arc Angels, Bob Dylan) shows the peer respect this talented cat has earned.

— Our congrats to Bill King, Lido Chilelli and all at The Beaches International Jazz Festival. The favourite free fest in Toronto was just named the Top Music Event in Canada by BizBash, beating out the Montreal and Toronto Jazz Festivals, OVO Fest and others.


Johnny Burke (born Jean-Paul Bourque), a veteran Canadian country musician who played with the likes of Glen Campbell and Loretta Lynn, died on Sept. 21, of cancer. Age 77.  Born in Rosaireville, N.B., he went on to become a member of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and performed the gold-certified 1978 single "Wild Honey."

After moving to Toronto as a teenager in the early 1960s, he joined the house band at The Horseshoe Tavern, regularly supporting major US stars. Throughout the 1970s, Burke played with his band, the Caribou Showband (later named Johnny Burke and the Eastwind), on a variety of TV shows. In 2005, Burke was inducted into the New Brunswick Country Music Hall of Fame and in 2012, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. Source: CBC

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