To help celebrate the championship win of his beloved Toronto Raptors, Drake, the team’s global ambassador, has released two new tracks, Omerta and Money In the Grave, featuring Mississippi rapper Rick Ross. Drake took to his Instagram account shortly after the Raptors’ Game 6 victory over the Golden State Warriors to reveal artwork for the release (entitled The Best in The World Pack), which features the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. “Two songs dropping tomorrow, a championship to the city of Toronto for the first time ever – congrats,” he also posted. Sources: Hits Daily Double, CP
– Les Francofolies de Montréal takes place June 14-22 in le Quartier des spectacles, and close to 1 million visitors are expected to attend 150 performances, including 120 free outdoor shows. Performers include Ariane Moffatt, FouKi, Safia Nolin, Sans Pression, Vulgaires Machins, Émile Bilodeau, Les Négresses Vertes, 2Frères, and Koriass. For the 9th year, Rendez-vous Pros des Francos welcomes more than 200 professionals, who can discover new talent, enjoy receptions, and attend workshops focused on industry trends and issues. Fest support comes from The Canada Arts Presentation Fund and The Quebec Economic Development Program.
– Green Door Studios in Toronto's Parkdale hood is an intimate recording space that has hosted such artists as Dan Mangan, Amelia Curran, The Once, Juno-winners Elliott BROOD, The Warped 45s, and many Toronto bands. Hosted by studio owner John Critchley and Tina Cooper, the annual open-door summer party is always a blast, and Saturday night's was no exception. Artists spied there included Lindy, The Discarded, Matt James, Craig Daniels, Laura Repo, The Freckles, Larry Cramer, and Jane Bunnett and Maqueque. The latter group has overcome some visa hassles to begin US dates soon, and Bunnett tells us she is thrilled with their new album, On Firm Ground/Tierra Firme, set to come out Sept 6.
– London, Ontario's free world music event, TD Sunfest, turns 25 this year. Presenting, 25 international and 15 national bands on five stages at Victoria Park, July 4-7. Acts include Samba Squad, Newen Afrobeat, Elida Almeida, Lorraine Klassen, Ladama, Eagle Flight Singers, OKAN, Le Vent du Nord, and Five Alarm Funk. Details here
– On June 26, Music Canada President and CEO Graham Henderson will deliver a keynote address at the Economic Club of Canada on Closing the Value Gap: How to Fix Safe Harbours & Save the Creative Middle Class. This new report follows up on Music Canada’s 2017 groundbreaking report, The Value Gap: Its Origins, Impacts and a Made-in-Canada Approach. The event runs from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. Tickets here
– MS Sucks is a star-studded benefit show at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern on June 19. Presented by The Watchmen and Friends, the event is to raise funds to assist the family of Watchmen bassist Ken Tizzard, whose wife Allison is undergoing a stem cell bone marrow transplant. Performers include Josh and Andy (Skydiggers), Lindy, Julian Taylor, Holly McNarland, The Young Novelists, and See Spot Run, with Tizzard and Watchmen singer Daniel Greaves also playing solo. Tix here.
– Renowned US rock photographer Bob Gruen has a new exhibit of his work at Toronto's Liss Gallery, running until July 6. He was on hand at the opening on Saturday night, signing copies of books of his photos. Gruen is best-known for his '70s shots of John Lennon and such punk pioneers as The New York Dolls, Blondie and The Clash.
– A reminder that a Celebration of Life of retail music industry veteran Grant Hurley is being held today (June 17) at Kilgour's in Toronto (509 Bloor Street West), from 5 pm.
– Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy is known as a serious wine lover. He has partnered with top Niagara-area winery Tawse on a line of wines, one of which received a positive review from Globe and Mail critic Beppi Crosariol on the weekend. He gave Cuddy by Tawse Chardonnay 2014 a score of 89, terming it "a fine effort."
– After selling out the physical release of his 2019 Record Store Day Canada project Kevin Hearn & Friends Present: The Superhero Suite, Barenaked Ladies keyboardist Kevin Hearn released it in digital form last week. Contributing to the album are Barenaked Ladies, Violent Femmes, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Ron Sexsmith, and Colin Hay. Hearn has also been a prolific solo artist, and has just re-released his entire solo catalogue, dating back to 1997’s debut Mothball Mint.
– Last week, the six-part Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly was named Program of the Year at the 40th annual Banff World Media Festival. The series detailed sexual abuse allegations against the R&B star and led to criminal charges against him. Several of those involved in making Surviving R. Kelly won the A+E Inclusion Award for visionary work in media. Source: Toronto Star