Music News Digest, Feb. 28, 2018

The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund will receive $5 million in funding as part of the 2018 Canadian federal budget. The Fund, established last year, honours Chanie Wenjack, an Ojibway youth who died after running away from a residential school in 1966. His story inspired Downie's much-praised 2016 album The Secret Path.

– Toronto hip-hop star Tory Lanez releases his new album Memories Don’t Die on Friday. He'll make a splash around it by performing four free shows in four cities in the first week of release. They're at NYC on March 2 (SOB’s), March 4 in Toronto (The Mod Club), March 6 in Los Angeles (1720), and March 7 in Atlanta (Masquerade). Lanez is also doing meet and greets in those cities. To request tix go to

– The Vans Warped Tour has been a significant player on the travelling music fest circuit since 1995, but it is pulling the plug after one last rockin' blowout this summer. The final itinerary has just been announced by Live Nation, and a Toronto date at Budweiser Stage on July 17 is the only Canadian pit stop. Past performers have included No Doubt, Sublime, Beck, Katy Perry, NOFX, Limp Bizkit, Black Eyed Peas, Green Day, Eminem, Sum 41,  Bad Religion, and countless others. See dates here 

– As has been previously reported in FYI, Universal Music Canada is planning to move its HQ to a new building in the Liberty Village area of Toronto. That building, at 80 Atlantic Ave, is now under construction and yesterday it was given a rave advance review by Toronto Star columnist Christopher Hume.

He wrote that "the five-story building, expected to be finished by year’s end, marks the first time brick-and-beam construction has been used in Toronto for almost a century. It is a contemporary remake of the historic factories and warehouses that have been reinvented as everything from office and commercial space to lofts, studios and condos." UMC will be the main tenant.

– Submissions are now open (until March 5) for the 4th annual SOCAN Song House at the 2018 East Coast Music Awards, scheduled for May 2-3 in Halifax. Renowned songwriter/producer/author Ralph Murphy will lead the two-day interactive workshop. Twelve songwriter participants from Atlantic Canada will be selected to participate. Submit here

– The latest opening act on Hedley's controversial tour to cancel is Ontario band Liteyears. After performing on several of the tour dates, the group pulled out of a Quebec City concert at Videotron Centre on Monday when rape allegations against Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard surfaced. In light of those allegations, Caesars Windsor has cancelled the Hedley show scheduled for that venue on March 11.

– Young Scottish star Lewis Capaldi called upon fast-rising Canadian artist Jessie Reyez to co-write and contribute vocals to his new single, "Rush," produced and co-written by Grammy winner Malay (Frank Ocean, Lorde). Fuelled by the hit single "Bruises," Capaldi's 2017 debut EP Bloom has over 100 million streams.

– Last call for the Get Out of the Blues show, set for The Phoenix in Toronto tonight (Feb. 28). Starring The Official Blues Brothers Revue, it also features Tomi Swick, with his duo Strummers Union. All proceeds from ticket sales, as well as the silent auction, will be donated to CAMH Gifts of Light. Tix here

– Billed as Atlantic Canada's most adventurous music festival, OBEY Convention has announced the first wave of artists set to perform at the 11th annual in Halifax, May 24-28. The list includes NÍDIA, ONO, Pharmakon, Liu Fang, i dm theft able, Joseph Shabason, and Anaïs Maviel. More info here

– Roots singer/songwriter Graham Nicholas recently made NOW Magazine's list of Toronto Musicians to Watch in 2018. This week he released a new album, Dial Tones and Pretty Notes, and it gets its official launch with a March 1 gig at Burdock in Toronto. Extensive touring from the Maritimes to Winnipeg follows. Here's the title track.

– The days of relentless cross-country touring are over for Canadian blues giants Downchild Blues Band, but they do have upcoming Ontario dates in Peterborough (March 2), Orleans (March 3), Belleville (April 20) and Oshawa (April 21). The group's latest album, Something I've Done, is up for a Juno Award.

–  Pop/jazz singer/songwriter Ellen Doty is releasing her second album, Come Fall,  on Alma Records on March 2. After a hometown release show in Calgary March 3, at Bella Hall, she has dates from Victoria to Montreal. Itinerary here. Engineered by Juno- winner John “Beetle” Bailey, the album features co-writes with Justin Rutledge, Andy Stochansky, Danny Vacon (The Dudes), and more.

– Patricia Guest of Brooklyn, ON, was given a 50th birthday party to remember last Friday. Knowing his wife was a fan of popular '90s English band The Wonder Stuff, her husband hired the band's frontman, Miles Hunt, to fly across the Atlantic to perform at the party at the Brooklin Pub. Wonderful stuff indeed. Hunt reportedly also spent time in Toronto researching for a novel he’s currently writing that features the city. Source: Express and Star

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