Music News Digest, July 5, 2019

A celebration of the life of legendary Canadian songwriter Ralph Murphy takes place on July 11 at Louis Cifer in Toronto. Murphy was a big believer in the Unison Benevolent Fund's mission to help music-makers, and donations to the Fund will be accepted at this event. Hosted by Beverley Mahood, the evening will feature performances from Jamie Warren, Patricia Conroy, The Wilkinsons and more. If you cannot attend the event but would like to make a donation in memory of Ralph, please visit unisonfund.ca/donations/celebration-ralph-murphy

– Actor turned country-rocker Kiefer Sutherland is out on the road across Canada for an eight-city tour this summer, promoting his sophomore full-length country-rock album, Reckless & Me. The trek started last night (July 4) at Winnipeg's Club Regent Casino and closes out at Montreal's Pierrefonds Borough Hall on Aug. 24. 

For the last three years, Sutherland has toured extensively. In a media release, the Designated Survivor lead states: "I couldn't have imagined the depth with which I have fallen in love with touring. To have the opportunity to convey intimate, personal stories to an audience has proven to be priceless.” The tour is booked through Julien Paquin at the Paquin Artists Agency in Canada.

– Halifax's In the Dead of Winter fest has announced it is taking next year off, after 14 years of January programming. Offering hope that it may return, executive director Dana Beeler told The Coast that “I don’t want to shut things down totally—I think IDOW is an important part of the Halifax music scene."

– Ed Sheeran has announced a series of pop up stores around the world in celebration of the release of his new album No.6 Collaborations Project. Toronto hosts the only Canadian pop-up store, No. 6 in the 6ix, which will be open July 12 and 13 (10am-7pm) at 277 Queen St. W, Toronto. Here's his greeting tweet 

– Music BC is looking for 2 Export Ready Artists and 5 Export Ready Companies to participate in its first trade mission to Zandari Festa an annual music festival that takes place in the heart of Hongdae, South Korea. Apply here by July 11.

– Venus Fest has announced its third edition, taking place at The Opera House in Toronto from Sept. 20-22 and hosting music performances, art installations and free workshops including a number of all ages events. This year’s event features Charlotte Cardin, The Weather Station, The Vaselines, Tei Shei, Fiver and more. The fest states it was "founded with the intent to foster community, inclusivity, and unification, based on feminist values. 

– On July 20, the Niagara Jazz Festival presents Niagara's Summer Mardi Gras, a New Orleans-themed fest in Port Dalhousie. Music is provided by Shuffle Demons, Heavyweights Brass Band, Turbo Street Funk, The Vaudevillian and more. Tix here.

– Toronto venue Hugh's Room Live presents a new annual music series, Guitar Week, running July 13-18. The lineup includes fret wizards Antoine Dufour, Colin Linden, Jerry Douglas, Alain Caron, and Mark Lettieri of Snarky Puppy. More info here

– DOWNLOAD YYC is an electric guitar setup workshop presented by Alberta Music on July 6 at Long & McQuade, 225-58th Ave SE, in Calgary. The event features Luthier Leila Sidi of  TunaTone Instruments and is woman-led and geared towards women and non-binary people.

– This week, Secret City Records handed a gold record to Montréal pianist Alexandra Stréliski during the morning show Salut Bonjour to highlight the 40,000 copies sold of her latest album, INSCAPE. The recording has over 52 million streams worldwide; it was #1 on the charts in Quebec during the first two weeks of release, won Album of the Year at the Independent Music Awards, and was nominated on the 2019 Polaris Music Prize Long List.

– East Coast singer/songwriter Sherry Ryan is currently touring Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, with dates including the NL Folk Fest in St, John's on Aug. 11 Her sked here
 

– Music BC's sixth and final Let's Hear It Live Concert is on July 25 at The Fox Cabaret in Vancouver, featuring Teon Gibbs, COTIS, and Prado. 

– Thunder Bay-based alt-folk artist Jean-Paul De Roover released his sixth album, Love, a month ago, He plays Sudbury's Northern Lights Festival Boreal (July 5-7), Toronto's Union Station (July 8) and an official album release party at the Tranzac Club in Toronto, July 9.
– The TD Toronto Jazz Festival wrapped its 33rd edition on June 30 after presenting more than 175 free performances throughout the 10-day run. Announced, as part of the festivities, for the first time, was the Stingray Rising Stars awards handed out to emerging talent in the Festival lineup. The four finalists chosen were vocalist Caity Gyorgy, Moneka Arabic Jazz, clarinetist Virginia MacDonald and Sydanie with Kelson Fredericks and The Dirty B Sides. Each finalist received a $500 prize with Sydanie, Kelson Fredericks and The Dirty B Sides taking home an additional $500 as the winner. 
 

– The fifth annual Ontario edition of the Canadian Songwriter Challenge, presented by Music Ontarioshines a spotlight on Ontario’s Indigenous creators. If you reside in Ontario and identify as First Nations, Inuit, or Métis and write, produce and/or perform music, you're invited to apply, with a July 12 deadline. The program features experienced mentors helping co-write and record demos and participating in workshops.

– The West Island Blues Festival in Montreal was postponed last month because of bad weather. The new date is July 20, at the same location, Dollard-des-Ormeaux Park. Performers include Sylvie Desgroseilliers’s tribute to Aretha Franklin, the Freddie James Project, Deacon George, The Third Stone and Big J and the All Starz.

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