Music News Digest, Sept. 29, 2017

Nunavut’s first music industry conference kicks off this week in Iqaluit. Running Sept. 28-30, Nunavut Music Week will bring performers, international delegates, media and industry attendees to gather in Iqaluit, many for the first time. The conference's mission is to showcase the vast breadth of musical talent in the territory and to build partnerships and opportunities for northern artists.

Artists being presented include IVA, The Jerry Cans, The Trade-Offs, and Riit, while young performers, including Billy Jay Amaaq, Colleen Nakashuk, MisterLee and Lazarus Qattalik, will receive mentorship and artist development opportunities. Delegates and attendees heading way north include Six Shooter's Helen Britton (Six Shooter), Jesse Kumagai ( Massey Hall), Allison Outhit (FACTOR), Neville Quinlan (Peer Music Canada), Ben Rayner (Toronto Star), and Emily Smart (Tire Fire Press).

— Gord Downie made a surprise announcement this week that he has completed another solo album. Entitled Introduce Yerself, it is scheduled for an Oct. 27 release on Arts & Crafts. It is a double CD, comprising 23 new songs about the people in his life. It is the result of another close collaboration with Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene, who produced the record and co-wrote a number of the songs. The pair previously worked together on Downie's Polaris Prize-nominated album Secret Path.

A label press release explains that the album was recorded over two four-day sessions in January 2016 and February 2017, with the final version often reflecting the first takes.

— CARAS’ AGM on Sept. 26 welcomed five new members to the Board of Directors, the largest board rotation in years.

They are: Julie Adam - Senior Vice President Radio, Rogers Communications, Jennifer Dettman (Observer) - Executive Director, Unscripted Content at CBC, Christina Litz - Senior Vice President, Marketing & Content, Canadian Football League, Meghan Symsyk - Vice President, International Marketing & Management, Entertainment One, and Rob Zifarelli - Agent, Paradigm Talent Agency.

A complete list of the CARAS Board of Directors here

— This video below is by a 14-year old and a 15-year old. Together, these two girls call themselves Moscow Apartment.

So far this year Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla have appeared at four major folk festivals (Winnipeg, Hillside, Shelter Valley and Summerfolk).

This Saturday they’ll officially launch their self-titled debut EP at the Burdock in Toronto. The show already promises to sell-out.

They’ll showcase at the Folk Music Canada showcase at the Folk Music Ontario conference in October, and have been chosen for the Young Artists’ Development Programme.
They take no prisoners.

— Manitoba Music is one of the most active trade orgs around. One upcoming initiative just announced is The Manitoba Music Export showcase, set for the Horseshoe Tavern on October 24. It will feature performances from dark synthpop duo Ghost Twin, indie pop singer/songwriter Boniface, hip-hop artist Hellnback, and noisey punk trio Tunic, and is a free event.

This will be the seventh such annual showcase MM has presented in Toronto. For more information about the artists and Manitoba Music, please visit

— The real roll Canadian songwriter Thomas “Tawgs” Salter is on was reaffirmed when he recently received four SOCAN No. 1 Song Awards at a reception in Toronto. Salter earned the honours for co-writing chart-topping hits for Mother Mother ("The Drugs"), Walk Off the Earth ("Fire In My Soul"), Scott Helman ("Kinda Complicated"), and Serena Ryder ("Electric Love"). The latter three tunes all topped the CBC Radio 2 Top 20 Countdown this year, while "The Drugs" reached No. 1 on the Nielsen BDS Modern Rock Chart in February.

— Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar won a faceoff of three blues acts at the Toronto Blues Society's Challenge at Hugh's Room Live this week. The prize is a trip to Memphis in January for the International Blues Challenge. The other contenders were Raoul & the Big Time and Dan MacKinnon. At a similar event in Kitchener hosted by The Grand River Blues Society, veteran Hamilton blues-rocker Tim Gibbons also earned a trip to Memphis for the IBC.

— At a function at The Supermarket in Toronto yesterday afternoon, Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) released a one of a kind study and report funded by The Department of Canadian Heritage, A Continent of Opportunities: Canadian Independent Music in the Latin American Market. This in-depth, country-by-country analysis of Latin America provides essential information on genres that chart on the radio, festivals and music companies that make each market tick.

Jordi Puy, a market specialist from Sound Diplomacy , presented key information from the report and was followed by a panel of expert exporters to the region led by global music industry consultant Robert Singerman. The committee targeted trade and showcase opportunities in each market.

—  In between Hey Stella sets at The Cameron in Toronto this week, Blue Rodeo bassist Bazil Donovan informed us that The Jim Cuddy Band has been recording another album and will be touring it early in 2018. Donovan was still buzzing about The Jim Cuddy Band getting to back Kris Kristofferson for five songs recently at Ronnie Hawkins' bash on his Peterborough area estate, one now up for sale.

— A reminder that the 9th annual Closer to the Heart fundraiser for the Regent Park School of Music takes place at Toronto's Lula Lounge on Sunday.

Artists covering their favourite Canadian songs include Matt Mays, Bazil Donovan (Blue Rodeo), Larry Evoy (Edward Bear), Royal Wood, Chris Tait (Chalk Circle), Stephen Stanley (ex-Lowest of the Low), Brian Byrne (ex-I Mother Earth), David Baxter, Tania Gill, Gregor Beresford, Samantha Martin, Ewan Currie (Sheepdogs), Damhnait Doyle (The Heartbroken,  Dayna Manning (Trent Severn), and host Sean Cullen. More info here 

— Fresh from an impressive performance at the CSHF Gala, roots-rockers Blackie & And The Rodeo Kings have announced fall tour dates, beginning Oct. 20 at Kingston's Grand Theatre and closing out at the NAC in Ottawa on Nov. 4. The tour features 10 Ontario dates plus shows in Halifax and St. John's. A full itinerary here, and here's their brand new video, taken from the Kings and Kings album and featuring US hat star Eric Church.

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