Today (March 25), Artists Against Racism launches Eagles Rising, a national Indigenous billboard and bus shelter campaign in honour of founding member Gord Downie and the First Peoples across Canada. This campaign will feature artwork from noteworthy artists including Tom Wilson, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Roy Henry Vickers, Maxime Noel, Clarence Mills, Colleen Gray and more, featuring powerful messages about truth and reconciliation, native spirituality and wisdom, missing and murdered women, the environment and more.
– Toronto punk-rock band PUP releases its new record Morbid Stuff in April. PUP made its US late night television debut last week, performing the lead single, “Kids,” on Late Night with Seth Meyers. The group begins a North America, UK and Europe tour in Calgary, March 26. All Canadian dates are already SRO, as are many of the international shows. The band plays a hometown show at Echo Beach on July 21.
– The campaign to halt BBC's move to cut Radio 3's specialist programming has been gathering real momentum. Over 550 people signed an open letter to the BBC protesting the planned cuts. Signatories included Shirley Collins, Jarvis Cocker, Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway of Radiohead, Peaches, Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy, Brian Eno, and Kieran Hebden.
Popular veteran Toronto music scribe Lenny Stoute is currently facing severe health issues, and local comrades are coming to his aid. On Thursday (March 28), The Horseshoe Tavern is presenting a benefit concert, Lenny We Got Your Back, hosted by Jaymz Bee with scheduled performers including Fergus Hambleton, Don Graham, Look People, Big Rude Jake, Tim Bovaconti, Kim Doolittle, and Joanne Powell. A GoFundMe page has been set up. An interview with Stoute is featured in the podcast below.
– Toronto-based (Edmonton-raised) singer-songwriter Danielle Knibbe released her sophomore album, The Ribcage & The Heart, on March 1. The record was mixed by Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire) and features Fats Kaplin. Knibbe played four dates in western Canada in support, and is at Hugh's Room Live in Toronto, March 27, and The Mule Spinner in Hamilton, March 29.
– Fresh off the first leg of its 2019 Canadian tour, Streetheart has released a new single, “Nature’s Way,” the last recording featuring lead singer Kenny Shields before his passing in 2017 of heart failure. Since forming in 1977, Streetheart earned multiple platinum and double-platinum Certifications, induction into the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and a Juno in 1980. Streetheart’s new compilation album, Life. Legacy. Music celebrates the band’s career. It will be released digitally and on CD April 12 via Universal Music Canada.
– Toronto rapper Ekelle has been making moves on the local club circuit. A new EP, Dark Skin & Tattoos, is slated for release on May 1. Check out the title cut here
– Veteran Hamilton blues-rocker Rita Chiarelli has begun a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a project close to her heart. She explains that "Two years ago I was invited to go into The Topeka Correctional Facility for Women in Topeka, Kansas, and work a bit with some of the women there, maybe get them singing and writing. I left with a broken heart and a promise to return. Their stories of abuse were beyond anything I had heard before. "My plan is to go into the prison with an all-female film crew and make a documentary. For approximately 10 days I will work with the inmates, with the intention of putting together a concert. My hope is to have their voices raised to tell their stories through the power of music."
Chiarelli's earlier work with inmates at the notorious Angola Prison in Louisiana was documented in the acclaimed 2010 film, Music From The Big House, directed by Bruce McDonald.
– Celebrity couple Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West continue to expand their Hidden Hills compound. The LA Times reports Kimye has paid $2.7M (US) through a trust for a neighboring home, meaning their property now measures about six acres.
– Late rock 'n roller Johnnie Lovesin will be celebrated at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on April 28. If you are a musician and would like to perform at the event, contact Bill Belson or Michele Morgan.
– On March 29, Music BC hosts another of its How-To series. Entitled Business Series for the DiY Musician, it discusses financial planning, taxes, royalties, and contract essentials. More info here
– Currently drummer in Teenage Head, Gene Champagne (ex-Killjoys) also fronts Hamilton band The Unteens. They impressed with a set opening for Supersuckers at This Ain't Hollywood last week, serving up melodic pop-punk.