The Reklaw siblings, Jenna and Stuart Walker
The Reklaw siblings, Jenna and Stuart Walker

Music News Digest, June 6, 2018

It is no secret that the Canadian Football League (CFL) has been struggling to attract new fans, and it is now increasingly using music as a draw. The CFL on TSN has just announced a new look (and sound) for its Thursday Night Football broadcasts. Expect a new theme song from Canadian brother-sister country duo The Reklaws and performances by top Canadian musical artists.

That list includes The Reklaws (who kick off the series in Winnipeg on June 14), Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine (The Launch), the James Barker Band, Tim Hicks, The Beaches, LOUD, Kardinal Offishall, Jazz Cartier, and Chad Brownlee. See the full sked here

Executive producer and founder Lido Chilelli officially announced the July 6-29 Beaches Jazz Festival program at the Balmy Beach Club on Tuesday with MD Bill King who has been instrumental in building the brand’s diverse and inclusive musical motif since day one.

The annual now attracts as many as 800K people to multiple stages set up between Billy Bishop airport to the west, and Kew Gardens and the popular Queen East street fest in the east beaches district, with 800 performers appearing at this year’s events. One of the city’s top-ranked events, the people’s fest is entirely free–and yet grant funding and sponsorship dollars have always proven a difficult sell. In fact, as popular as Chilelli’s dream has become, its annual budget pales against other summer brands’ marketing dollar spends. This year’s anniversary edition hasn’t been any different.  Six weeks in front of yesterday’s announcement, organizers were in a cold sweat awaiting approvals from several grant and sponsor orgs, so forward-funding the operation remains a challenge.  – Click here for the full program details.

–  Hamilton is the first municipality to earn the SOCAN ‘Licensed to Play’ designation, a distinction that means city-owned recreational facilities and venues are now licensed to play music by the PRO.  The license is part of an on-going program to encourage businesses to show that music is an integral aspect of the customer experience, with fees returned to member songwriters, composers and music publishers.

 – Toronto duo Lolaa (aka sisters Nadia Valerie King and Lex Valentine) release a Spanish version of their self-titled debut EP this Friday ( June 8). Lolaa, produced by Jon Drew (F*cked Up/Tokyo Police Club) and released in 2017, took its inspiration from '80s Latin American pop songs. The sisters are of Mexican descent and always wanted to record these songs in Spanish too. Upcoming shows include Coney Island Baby in New York (July 12), Bar 10 in Chicago (July 20), and Handlebar in Toronto (Aug. 4).

– The Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMA) has announced Tara Park is its new Project Director. She has previously worked with The Royal Conservatory, Young Voices Toronto and SING! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival. Park also plays the cello and sings and tours with Countermeasure and The Ruach Singers. Contact:

– Shania Kids Can (SKC) the non-profit foundation established by artist and children’s advocate Shania Twain, has announced a text-to-donate fundraising initiative tied to her North American NOW tour. Through to Aug. 6, N/A fans can text ‘SHANIA’ to 20222 and donate $10 to Shania Kids Charitable Foundation.

– To punk rock fans, Brett Gurewitz is known (and loved) as Bad Religion's guitarist. To the music industry at large, he is known as the founder of Epitaph and Anti- Records, two of the most important indie record labels. It was recently announced that, on June 21, he will receive A2IM’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the organization’s Libera Awards ceremony. A2IM CEO Richard James Burgess noted that “at a time when there is much talk about artist-owned labels and DIY, it is fascinating to watch one such label, Brett Gurewitz’s Epitaph Records, evolve from the singular punk vision of an artist/songwriter/producer into one of the most respected and diverse independent label groups.”

– Arts and culture fest FrancoFEST Hamilton, will be held at Gage Park, June 22-23. Musical artists to perform include Burkina Faso's Bonsa. Montreal's Le Winston Band, Claude Bégin, Le Couleur, Céleste Lévis. Jacobus, Les Hôtesses d'Hilaire, Ariko, and Billy Love Band. Last year's fest attracted over 8K attendees. A full sked at  

– Canadian classical guitar star Liona Boyd will receive the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award from the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition on June 9. The popular singer, songwriter, author and plucker has received five Honorary Doctorates, The Order of Canada, The Order of Ontario, and the Diamond Jubilee Medal, five Junos over the years and topped Guitar Player Magazine's annual poll five times as the planet's best classical guitarist.

Boyd plays a Toronto Jazz Festival concert at Church of the Redeemer on June 23 and has an extensive Ontario tour set for November.

– Toronto-based lovers of music-themed documentary films are in for a treat this summer. Yonge-Dundas Square (YDS) has just announced its City Cinema Rockumentary series, screening every Tuesday at 8pm from June 26 – Aug. 28. It kicks off with famed Canadian doc Festival Express, and includes the Leonard Cohen-themed I'm Your Man, the popular Standing in the Shadows of Motown, It Might Get Loud, 20 Feet From Stardom, Amy (Winehouse), Martin Scorsese's Stones pic Shine A Light and, as the series closer, the Tragically Hip film Long Time Running.

– June 7 is the last day of voting for the finalists of the 2018 SOCAN Songwriting Prize that comes with a $10K prize.. A list of nominees and voting info here

– Toronto emo-rock outfit Summerteeth has released a new track and video, seasonably fitting “Stay Warm” (watch it below). It's on the band’s forthcoming Sweet Nothing EP, out June 22. That same day the band begins a seven-city tour at Montreal's La Victrola.

– Proof that classic rock is alive and well in the hinterlands is the fact that Saskatoon's Rock the River fest has sold out three months in advance of the Aug. 17-19 event. Acts featured include Trooper, Toronto, Nick Gilder, Sweeney Todd , Nazareth, Lee Aaron, Men Without Hats, Sweet and Little River Band, Prism, Kim Mitchell, and Gino Vanelli. It is the fest's fifth consecutive sell-out.

– Music PEI's 11th annual buyer’s conference takes place Sept. 20-23. Submissions are now open, with a June 29 deadline.

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