Acclaimed singer/songwriter Martha Wainwright is opening a new cultural venue in the heart of Montreal's Mile End, the Montreal Gazette reports. Named Ursa, it is situated in a building Wainwright has purchased, one that happens to house the HQ of the Pop Montreal fest. “The idea is for it to become a clubhouse for the community, for Mile End, Outremont, then greater Montreal, then the planet," she told The Gazette.
Ursa’s first event was an invite-only fundraising dinner and show, featuring Martha and her brother Rufus Wainwright. Upcoming events include the Ursa Micro festival, June 21-23, with performances by Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, Little Scream, Betty Bonifassi, members of Plants and Animals, Broken Social Scene, and others.
– On June 28, Canadian-Bermudian singer-songwriter Heather Nova releases her 10th studio album, Pearl, some 25 years after her chart-topping breakout album, Oyster. Nova has sold over 2 million records, released 12 charting singles, played nearly 1,000 concerts worldwide (including as a main act on Lilith Fair). The new record features the return of producer Youth (The Verve, Dido, Crowded House), the man at the helm for Oyster. Here's the clip for her new single.
– Toronto's NXNE fest has announced the lineup for this year's expanded Festival Village, comprising four stages in and around Yonge-Dundas Square from June 14-16. The headliners are Santigold, Cold War Kids, and Killy, with other acts including Leikeli47, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Greys, anders, 88Glam, Notifi, Hot Garbage, Walrus, and No Party for Cao Dong. Previously announced acts include Haviah Mighty and Just John x Dom Dias. The hip-hop component this year is especially strong.
– The Festival de musique émergente en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (FME), in its 17th year, runs Aug. 29- Sept. 1. Early artists named include Kid Koala, Koriass, Jeanne Added, FouKi, Loud, and Alaclair Ensemble. The full lineup will be announced on July 16.
– Noted Canadian record producer/engineer Mark Howard recently recovered from melanoma and, along with his brother Chris, has just published a book on his experiences in the studio with some of the biggest names in rock. Entitled Listen Up!: Recording Music with Bob Dylan, Neil Young, U2, R.E.M., The Tragically Hip, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Waits..., it is published by ECW, and was launched with an event at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern last week.
To give thanks to the team at The Princess Margaret Hospital who aided his recovery, Howard has organised a benefit concert (in memory of Jennifer Van Leeuwen) at The Music Hall in his hometown of Hamilton, June 1. Hosted by Coyote Shivers, its lineup includes Jon Harvey (Monster Truck), Dave Rave (Teenage Head), Chris Caddell, Melissa Marchese, Tim Gibbons, Tom Wilson, Hailee Rose, Ginger St James, and more. They'll perform songs by such Howard clients as Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Iggy Pop, U2, R.E.M., and Willie Nelson. Tix here. Last October, Howard organised a similar star-studded benefit at Roy Thomson Hall.
– Manitoba Music presents an industry showcase and conference in Winnipeg in partnership with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network’s Indigenous Day Live celebration, June 21-22. This is an opportunity for up to six up-and-coming First Nation, Metis, or Inuit acts to perform for music industry delegates from across Canada as well as community members. Deadline to apply here is May 30.
– Toronto-based singer/songwriter Peter Serrado was recently named Best New Talent at the International Portuguese Music Awards, and he will play a mini-tour of Portugal in June. Serrado's eponymous debut album came out digitally on Feb. 22 and will be physically available on June 5 at his official launch at The Piston in Toronto. He also plays Burdock in T.O. on May 29. Of note: A portion of the proceeds from the song Sail On will be donated to Toronto's SickKids Foundation.
– Alberta roots-rocker Ken Stead releases his album Civil War on Friday, (May 31), preceded by a new single, Trouble. He plays a CD release show at the King Eddy in Calgary, June 1, and a vinyl release show on July 6 at The Station in Edmonton. Check other gigs here. Stead placed third in the 2017 Project WiLD contest.
– Music PEI is now hiring a Summer Employee for 10-weeks, June 10 to Aug. 16. The application deadline is June 3. Info here
– Music Nova Scotia’s Annual General Meeting will be held June 25 at the MNS office at 2169 Gottingen Street. MNS is holding its annual election for its board of directors, with seven incumbents re-offering and nine positions in total to fill. Nominations close on May 27 at 5 pm.
– Much-missed roots music duo Scarlett Jane (comprising noted singer/songwriters Andrea Ramolo and Cindy Doire) reunites on July 1 for a Canada Day show at Mountjoy Historical Conservation Area (Participark) in Timmins, ON. Each plays a solo set too.