Reuben and the Dark  Photo: Scott Ramsay
Reuben and the Dark Photo: Scott Ramsay

Music News Digest, Nov. 16, 2018

The M for Montreal festival and conference is in full swing, with many notable artists from Quebec and beyond slated to perform today (Nov. 16) and tomorrow. On tap for tonight are Foreign Diplomats, Krief, Munya, Helena Deland, Yukon Blonde, and The Zolas, with Saturday's lineup including Elliot Maginot, Rachel Beck, Russell Louder, and Reuben and the Dark. Earlier highlights have reportedly included Hubert Lenoir and Partner. M for Montreal was founded in 2006 by Sebastien Nasra (Avalanche Productions) in collaboration with legendary British programmer Martin Elbourne (Glastonbury Festival, The Great Escape, WOMAD). Fest sked here

– Andy Kim is taking his very popular Christmas charity show on the road, to The Burlington Performing Arts Centre (BPAC) on Dec. 20. This is the show's first performance in Ontario outside of Toronto. Co-Hosted by Kim and comedian Sean Cullen, The Andy Kim Christmas will feature musical performances by Ron Sexsmith, Sarah Slean, Kevin Fox and The TransCanada Highwaymen (Steven Page formerly of Barenaked Ladies; Chris Murphy of Sloan; Craig Northey of Odds; and Moe Berg of The Pursuit of Happiness). Proceeds go to BPAC’s Golden Ticket program, which provides complimentary access to professional entertainment and artistic workshops to underserved schools and students in the Halton region. Tix here

–The nominees for the inaugural Saskatchewan Music Awards have been announced. There are 18 categories, covering both music and industry sectors. Notable names include The Sheepdogs, Jess Moskaluke, Colter Wall, Kacy & Clayton, Megan Nash, Jay Semko, Jason Plumb, and Jeffery Straker. The awards ceremony takes place at The Exchange in Regina on Sunday, Nov. 25. Source:  Regina Leader-Post

–  Last week, Folk Alliance International (FAI) opened its new office in Kansas City and announced its seven-year lease and commitment to the city. Executive Director Aengus Finnan (a Canadian) noted the office will be presenting listening room Finest Folk concerts, and announced that FAI's conference will return to Kansas City in 2021, 2022, and 2024 (bringing with it a combined total economic impact of $15M - as determined by Visit KC). The 2019 conference takes place in Montreal, Feb. 13-17.

– Onstage comments by Bono at the final date of U2's ‘Experience + Innocence’ tour in Berlin on Tuesday night has fans reeling. Said Bono: “We’ve been on the road for quite some time, just going on 40 years, and this last 4 years have been really something very special for us. We’re going away now…” These words have left some fans concerned that this could be the end for the Irish rock stars. Source: NME

–  Presented by CBC Music and MusiCounts, the Canadian Music Class Challenge features music classrooms from across the country offering takes on one of a list of great Canadian songs. Just announced as judges are Ashleigh Ball (Hey Ocean!), Dina Gilbert, Odario Williams (Grand Analog), and Julie Nesrallah (Tempo).

– After touring her debut album, Playing Chess, in the UK and Europe (including dates opening for Rick Astley), Toronto singer Elise LeGrow joins Royal Wood this month on the Canadian dates of his North American tour. Playing Chess is a re-imagination of classic hits and obscurities from the catalog of Chicago’s seminal electric blues label, Chess Records, and the record has been notching rave reviews internationally. Dates here

– Edmonton-based roots singer/songwriter Joe Nolan played The Dakota this week, his first Toronto show in three years. He was thrilled at the warm response he deservedly received from the audience, and he impressed with material from new album Cry Baby and earlier tunes. The blues-tinged numbers worked especially well. Industry types spied included Richard Flohil, Matthew Smallwood, Jason Schneider, and Jude Coombe.

– Now in its fifth year, The Midem Artist Accelerator is a comprehensive program which connects international artists and their team with music business notables. The program includes masterclasses, workshops and mentoring sessions and a showcase. Deadline is Jan. 25. Apply here

– Rootsy troubadour Ken Tizzard has been gigging extensively in support of his new album, A Good Dog Is Lost,  a collection of covers of songs written by his friend and mentor, the late Ron Hynes. He launched the album in his former hometown of St. John's, then played a Home Routes tour of Alberta. Tizzard and a full band play the Burdock in Toronto tonight (Nov. 16) and Red Dog in Peterborough on Saturday. He continues to perform sporadically with platinum-selling rockers The Watchmen.

– Though now based in New Zealand, powerhouse vocalist Tami Neilson frequently returns to her Canadian homeland to perform. This month she plays shows in Ottawa (Rainbow Room, Nov. 20), Montreal (L'Astral, Nov. 21), London (Aeolian Hall, Nov. 22), Hamilton (Mills Hardware, Nov. 23), and Toronto (Cavalcade of Lights, Nov. 24).

– Over the past six years, the Village Vinyl Emporium and Cafe in Toronto's West End (Lakeshore and Islington) has built a positive reputation amongst the city's vinylophiles. Part of its attraction is owner Keith Pope's well-curated free performance series on Sunday afternoons (from 2 pm). This has featured both well-established artists (Stephen Stanley, Jerry Leger) and promising newcomers to fine effect. This Sunday (Nov. 18) Leger and Eric and the Soo are featured, with The Beat Club in on Nov. 25.

–  Chloe Watkinson is a hotly-tipped Toronto blues/soul singer. She is on the talent-packed bill for the 32nd Women’s Blues Revue at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto tonight (Nov. 16) and has just released a new single, "Stonewalling', on Aporia Records. Check it out below. After some US club gigs, she plays La Vitrola in Montreal on Nov. 29.


Roy Linwood Clark, a country music star and former host of the long-running TV series Hee Haw, died on Nov. 15, at age 85, of complications from pneumonia at his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Raised in Washington D.C., the guitarist and banjo player began his musical career as a young teen. He made his first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry at age 17.

Band gigs led to television appearances on The Tonight Show and American Bandstand.

In 1969, Clark and Buck Owens were tapped to co-host Hee Haw. The country music and comedy show aired in syndication for more than two decades, with Clark as host or co-host its entire run.

With hits like "The Tips of My Fingers" and "Yesterday, When I Was Young," Clark was one of the first cross-over artists to land singles on both the country and pop charts.

In 1982, Clark won a Grammy for best country instrumental performance for "Alabama Jubilee." He was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry. A memorial celebration is planned in Tulsa in the coming days. Sources: CNN, The Tennessean

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