Music News Digest, Aug. 13, 2018

On Friday, MusicNL announced the 2018 MusicNL Awards nominees. Leading the way are The Swinging Belles, Mark Bragg, and Fortunate Ones, with five nominations apiece. Other multiple award nominees include Ouroboros, The Ennis Sisters and LeRiche (4 each) followed by Rum Ragged, Mallory Johnson, Property, Kellie Loder, Carolina East, Glen Collins and Paul Brace (3 each). The awards come at the culmination of MusicNL Week 2018 taking place in Twillingate, NL, from Oct. 10-14. See the full nominees list here

– CIMA has announced the companies and artists joining its mission to the Americana Music Festival & Conference in Nashville next month. The firms participating in the Music Export Canada mission are Coalition Music, Endemic Marketing, Light Organ Records, Mavens Music, Slaight Music, and Watson Entertainment.

The annual Canadian Blast showcase returns to INDO (632 Fogg St) on Sept. 15 (noon- 6 pm) and features eight Canadian artists: Good Lovelies, Johnson Crook, Liam Russell, Madison Violet, Melanie Brulée, Nice Horse, Rosie & the Riveters, and Sarah Jane Scouten.

– Canadian alt-pop artist Lights is getting plenty of attention for her cover album of Drake’s mega-smash Scorpion (Side B) via Universal Music Canada, the country’s leading music company. Previously released on SoundCloud and quickly racking over 500k streams, the album is now available on all major streaming platforms on Friday (via Universal Music Canada).

– Nathan Ali is a Toronto-based hip-hop artist who has just released an R&B -inflected single, “I Wanna Know," ahead of an eponymous EP coming in the fall. There is musical talent in his genes, as Ali is the son of Motown Funk Brother, Gary Martin, while famed bluesman Hubert Sumlin was his great uncle. Here's a taste of the track

– Recent severe flood damage threatened the survival of much-loved Kingston record store Brian's Record Option, after 40 years in business. A crowdfunding campaign to help the store raised more than its initial goal of 10K in just six days, so its future looks much brighter now. 

Manitoba Music is teaming with MEME for this year's producer workshops on Aug. 18. The full-day event covers all aspects of electronic music production.. The panelists are Estte, Dunmore Park, Kloves, Nathan Jonson, Noah Pred, and Phil Western. More info here

– The free ArtsFest in Waterdown, ON (near Hamilton) runs Aug. 18-19. Founded by Geoff Kulawick of True North/Linus, it has a strong performance lineup this year. Artists include Matt Andersen, Steve Hill, Matt Dusk, Leeroy Stagger, Madison Violet, Barney Bentall. Michael Occhipinti and Sicilian Jazz Project, George Fox, Quarteto Gelato, Fred Penner, Lighthouse, Lori Yates, Rita Chiarelli, Harrison Kennedy, Myles Goodwyn, and Jane Bunnett and Maqueque.

– Mariah Carey isn't winning any new fans Down Under. The pop diva had earlier postponed an Australian tour, and has now cancelled planned October dates in Australia and New Zealand outright, citing a “scheduling conflict." Oz music news website termed this "a piss poor excuse," adding that "this sort of bullshit is usually pulled for poor ticket sales."

– Toronto jazz-pop chanteuse Tia Brazda releases a new album, Daydream, on Sept. 7, playing a CD launch show at Toronto's Glenn Gould Studio on Sept. 16. The title track has just been released as a single on the usual digital outlets. 


Ken Pickering, the co-founder and longtime artistic director of the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and Coastal Jazz and Blues Society, died on Aug. 10 of cancer.

Pickering helped launch the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society in 1985. As presenter of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, the society has showcased groundbreaking musicians in jazz and many other disciplines for more than three decades. It became the biggest not-for-profit music presenter in B.C. and drew attention to the Vancouver music scene around the globe.

Tributes and condolences have poured in from all over the music world, including messages from Darcy James Argue, Marilyn Crispell, Paul Plimley, and jazz scribe Mark Miller. Argue‏ called Pickering "a passionate, knowledgeable, and tireless advocate for creative music, and one of the kindest, most generous, most genuine individuals I have ever encountered." A celebration of life event will be held at a date TBA.  Sources: Vancouver Sun, Facebook

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