Road warrior Brett Kissel
Road warrior Brett Kissel

Music News Digest, June 27, 2018

Invictus Entertainment has announced Part 2 of Brett Kissel's marathon We Were That Song tour beginning Sept. 19 in Whitehorse, and running to Nov. 27, in Kelowna. Kissel, the reigning CCMA Male Artist of the Year, previously performed 50+ shows across Canada from January to March of this year, making this tour one of the country's most extensive. Special guest is Dan Davidson, and show tix went on sale yesterday. Here's the clip for Kissel's latest single.

– At a time when so many music venues across Canada are closing, it's a good news story to report on the opening of a new one. Rising from another of Edmonton’s dead venues, The Station opens its doors on June 29, with Serena Ryder appearing the following night. Other acts booked include The Watchmen (July 5). Co-owner Greg Scott  told the Edmonton Journal that “We called it The Station because CKUA called this building home for 57 years.” The site previously housed the Needle Vinyl Tavern, shuttered after a former co-owner was charged with sexual assault. 

– Toronto singer-songwriter Ben Kunder releases his second album, Better Human, this Friday, preceded by a hometown gig at The Monarch Tavern tonight  (June 27). The record features guest vocal turns by Oh Susanna, Jim Guthrie, and Carleigh Aikins plus Sarah MacDougall and Maia Davies (the latter two co-wrote a tune each). Don't be surprised if some of them show for the gig. Canadian and European tour dates TBA.

– The first day of Escapade, a two-day electronic dance music festival in Ottawa, was marred on Saturday by the admission of five concertgoers to hospital with suspected drug overdoses. The Ottawa Paramedic Service reported that one of the patients was in critical condition and another was in serious condition on Saturday, with both overdoses attributed to GHB (liquid ecstasy). Artists headlining the fest included Zedd, Alesso, and Kaskade. In 2014, two people attending Toronto EDM fest Veld died after ingesting party drugs, and drug-related deaths later occurred at BC fests Boonstock and Pemberton and at Evolve Festival in Nova Scotia. Source: CP

– Music Canada Live is hosting a free webinar for its members today (June 27), Noon - 1 pm EST. It is entitled "Understanding the Legalities: How to Partner with Cannabis Brands," a timely topic. This legal seminar will help you understand the legal implications of incorporating cannabis companies as part of your live music event and provide tips on how to negotiate sponsorship agreements and how to activate brands of cannabis companies. 

– The Montreal International Jazz Festival has announced that it will expanding beyond the city's downtown core, starting next year, its 40th anniversary. In addition to downtown venues and outdoor stages, the city will erect an outdoor stage in a different borough each year. The chosen borough for 2019 is TBA. The move is designed to make the fest more accessible to all Montrealers. This year's edition runs June 28 to July 7. Source: Montreal Gazette

– Artistic risk-taking is the mandate of BRAVE: The Festival of Risk and Failure, set for Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, July 12-29. The diverse lineup of the multidisciplinary arts festival includes John Waters, Bif Naked, Youssef, Afghan composer Qais Essar, UK folkies The Young’uns, Queen of Live Loops Mama Mihirangi,  Egyptian rocker Ramy Essam, and world music star Thomas Mapfumo and The Blacks Unlimited.

– The 32nd edition of the TD Halifax Jazz Festival runs July 10-15. The free opening show on July 10 features The Halifax All-Star Jazz Revue, supported by Molly Johnson. The fest includes many other free shows and Jazz Labs. Ticketed concerts include The War on Drugs and Alvvays, Nicholas Payton, Laila Biali, Chaka Khan, Matt Andersen, and Daniel Caesar and Charlotte Day Wilson. 

– Walking After Midnight is a Patsy Cline tribute show set for The Casbah in Hamilton on Friday (June 29). Hosted by Lori Yates and her band the Nashville Rejects, it features 12 local female singers performing their two fave Patsy songs. That lineup includes Melissa Marchese, Laura Hubert, Heather Morgan, Piper Hayes, Jennifer Budd, and Samantha Windover. Recommended.

– A staple of the Canadian live music scene, Call The Office in London is reportedly facing an uncertain future as the building owners are exploring options. CTO's Tony Lima addressed rumours on FB, noting "we are booked well into the fall at this point." He has, however, started a GoFundme page to raise dollars (he set a $15K target) for some needed improvements to the club.  An impressive $10K plus was pledged in the first day.

– Illness has forced The Borodin Quartet to cancel its opening slot at the 2018 Toronto Summer Music Festival on July 12 and 13 at Koerner Hall. It is replaced by the Escher String Quartet, making its Toronto debut.

– Nominations for the Music PEI Board of Directors are now open, until June 29. Those interested in serving on the board for a three-year term can apply here 

– Toronto roots-rock fans already excited about the Horseshoe show by Edmonton's reunited Jr. Gone Wild tonight (June 27) will be pleased to hear that The Lowest Of The Low has just been added as the opening act. JGW tour dates here


George Cameron, drummer of the 1960s baroque pop act The Left Banke, died June 24, at age 70, of cancer. The news was reported on the group's official Facebook fan page by founding guitarist Tom Finn .

The Left Banke is best known for the 1967 hits "Walk Away Renée" and "Pretty Ballerina," which reached #5 and #15 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively. Cameron played drums and contributed backing and some lead vocals to all three of The Left Banke's studio albums. Cameron, Finn and a new lineup of musicians played a series of Left Banke reunion shows in 2011 and 2012. In January, it was announced via The Left Banke's official Facebook page that Cameron and the group's original lead singer, Steve Martin Caro, had been rehearsing together for some possible new shows, but that never eventuated. Source:

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