Blues award recipient Sarah French.
Blues award recipient Sarah French.

Music News Digest, Nov. 14, 2018

Canadian blues publicist Sarah French (pictured above)  is one of the 11 individuals and organizations from around the globe just named as recipients of the Keeping the Blues Alive Awards by the US-based Blues Foundation. French has handled publicity for the Maple Blues Awards for the past nine years and represents many top Canadian blues artists. She'll receive the honour at a function in Memphis on Jan. 25. The KBA Awards are part of The Blues Foundation’s 35th Annual International Blues Challenge, one featuring many Canadian acts.

– The 16th edition of Indie Week in Toronto culminated in performances by the selected finalists at the Mod Club on Nov. 11. Competing for a chance to perform at Coma Fest in Brazil were Twin Flames, Towers and Trees, Greezy Deckz, Georgi Kay, Dona Cislene, TRISS, Dylan Hennessy, Ghost Caravan, and Double Experience. The Best Of The Fest prize went to TRISS from South Korea, with Ottawa's Double Experience placing second and Toronto's Dylan Hennessy third. Before the announcement of the winner, 2017 Best of The Fest winners ETNO from Brazil performed a headline set. Others receiving awards on the night included Gavin Brown, Bubaseta,  Altre Di B "Sherpa", The Redhill Valleys, and Dot Legacy.

Close to 500 total performances at 25 venues featured over 250 bands from 18 countries. Four days of the Indie 101 conference covered a wide range of topics and featured mentorships and demo listening.

– Alessia Cara's keenly-awaited second album The Pains of Growing is due out Nov. 30. One of its tracks, "Not Today," premiered yesterday (Nov. 13) as Zane Lowe's World Record on his Beats 1 show. The Canadian singer told Lowe "it was one of the last songs I actually wrote for the record. Something happened to me that made me write a lot of new songs. I went through the end of a relationship, and just really, really bad terms." Check it out here

– It doesn't take place until July 5-7, but the Cavendish Beach Music Festival has just announced its first two headliners, US country stars Eric Church and Carrie Underwood. Tix on sale Friday for Atlantic Canada’s largest multi-day outdoor music festival.

– Rising is a new original content series from Juno TV, one that explores artists’ creative musical processes while telling personal narratives of the musicians featured. The first episode features Toronto-based electro-pop music duo, Once A Tree, and delves into the dramatic life story of Jayli and Hayden Wolf.

– The 2018 Manitoba Country Music Awards were held in Winnipeg last Saturday. Multiple winners included Petric and Don Amero.  A full list of winners here

– Today (Nov. 14) is the final deadline for applications to Amplify BC, the province’s new music fund, administered by Creative BC. Guidelines here

– Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir has announced the appointment of Carol Kehoe to the position of Executive Director. Ms. Kehoe most recently served as the Executive Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, then joined Tafelmusik in August as Interim Executive Director and now permanent ED. The Toronto-based Tafelmusik is recognised as one of the world's leading period ensembles. 

– "Weird Al" Yankovic has announced the dates for his 2019 Strings Attached Tour, one featuring a full symphony orchestra and which he promises is "my most elaborate and extravagant tour ever.” Beginning in Florida on June 5, the trek includes five Canadian dates. Tix on sale Friday.

– Epic Rights and Perryscope Productions, exclusive retail branding partners for Authentic Hendrix – which celebrates the style, vision and talent of Jimi Hendrix – announce a new, luxury apparel partnership, blending the spirit of Hendrix with Los Angeles-based fashion label Libertine, founded by innovative designer Johnson Hartig. To kick-start the new collaboration and in celebration of the 50th-anniversary release of Electric Ladyland, Hartig has created a limited-edition Jimi Hendrix unisex shirt. Of note: Perryscope is headed by Canadian music industry veteran Norman Perry.

– When Great Big Sea retired in 2013, bassist Murray Foster started a new venture helping other musicians develop their songwriting in a weekly class in Toronto. The Toronto Songwriting School now offers regular classes, one-on-one private lessons, recording sessions, and songwriter getaway trips to music cities like New Orleans, Nashville, and St. John's. The School marks its fifth anniversary with the release (on Nov. 25)  of Everyone Has a Song, Volume 1 a 10-song compilation of songs written by its students and recorded with Foster. Sales of the CD will be split equally among the songwriters with all remaining profits donated to Unison Benevolent Fund. More info on the School here

– The Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards (NOMFA) is now accepting submissions of film, TV, and music projects that have been released commercially between Jan. 1, 2017 and Dec. 31, 2018. The deadline is Jan. 11, and NOMFA will be held in Sudbury, ON from May 23 – May 25. Music submissions here

– Lunch At Allen's is a quartet comprising top Canadian singer/songwriters Ian Thomas, Murray McLauchlan, Marc Jordan and Cindy Church. Long a popular concert attraction, they have announced a 10-date Ontario tour, running Dec. 4-16. Itinerary here.

– Mr! Mouray is a new Toronto rock band comprising some grizzled veterans of the local scene. Frontman Jaimie Vernon is known as the author of the Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia and head of Bullseye Records, and he reunites here with former Moving Targetz bandmate Simon Bedford-James and Domenic Whelan. A debut MM album, Bats In Disguise, is now out and their first public gig is at This Ain't Hollywood in Hamilton on Saturday (Nov. 17).

–  Last Saturday night, Community Rocks, a Toronto fundraising event in support of people with an intellectual disability, raised over $600K  for local developmental services agency Community Living Toronto. Among the event's activities was a set by Sam Roberts Band.

– Back in June 1977, jazz saxophone great Art Pepper played at Toronto's Bourbon Street, accompanied by local players Bernie Senensky, Gene Perla, Dave Piltch, and Terry Clarke. The results can now be heard on a new three-CD set, Unreleased Art Pepper Vol. 10: Toronto, produced and curated by his widow, Laurie Pepper. Source: Marc Myers, JazzWax


Hugh McDowell, the former ELO and Wizzard cellist, died on Nov. 6 at age 65 following a battle with cancer. McDowell joined Jeff Lynne’s band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)  in 1972 when he was 19. One year later, he made his recording debut on the group's sophomore album, ELO 2. He left the band to join Roy Wood in Wizzard, but returned to ELO until 1980. He's credited on the albums Eldorado, Face the Music, A New World Record and 1977’s double-LP, Out of the Blue.

He later played with various groups and classical music ensembles and was featured on recordings by Mel Gale, Asia and Geoff Downes among others. He also scored film and theatre arrangements. He created the music composition program, Fractal Music Composer, in 1992. Source: Billboard

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