Robbie Robertson. Instagram account
Robbie Robertson. Instagram account

Music News Digest, Aug. 19, 2019

Robbie Robertson's upcoming solo album Sinematic (due September 20 via UMe/Universal Music Canada) is grabbing plenty of media attention. A new track, Let Love Reign, is being shared, and Robertson explained its sentiments to Rolling Stone:  "Some people think John Lennon's dream about love and togetherness went up in flames. I think that's wrong. It's everlasting. There was something a little naive about John Lennon going around singing about peace, but in that period young people celebrating love and peace helped end a war."

– The East Coast Music Association (ECMA) has announced a business exchange showcase opportunity in partnership with Showcase Scotland at the 2020 Celtic Connections Festival, taking place in Glasgow, Scotland from Jan. 30- Feb 3, 2020. Approaching its 20th year, Showcase Scotland introduces international and worldwide audiences to new music. Showcase Scotland is the largest showcase for folk roots and acoustic music in the UK. ECMA will present three showcasing artists at the Showcase Scotland reception held at Celtic Connections and is accepting applications here until Sept. 9.

– Given the intensely busy work sked of mainman Tom Wilson (Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, Lee Harvey Osmond), 90s Canrock fave Junkhouse only get together for a couple of gigs a year these days. One was at Cactus Festival in Dundas, ON, Saturday night, and the band delivered a generous set that thrilled the large crowd. Joining original members Wilson, Ray Farrugia, and Russ Wilson onstage were newer comrades Greg Brisco and Aaron Goldstein. A show highlight came when Wilson angrily addressed the plague of Yellow Vest-ers in his beloved hometown of Hamilton before launching into a version of the anthemic Shine that had the crowd singing along. Moving stuff.

– Music BC is giving away two pairs of GA weekend passes to the renowned Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle (Aug. 30-Sept. 1). Members can enter a contest to win here

– Friday night at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern featured three tribute bands, but with a difference. Rather than the rock superstars targeted by most such outfits, these three paid homage to leading lights of the Manchester post-punk scene Joy Division, The Fall, and The Smiths (respectively, The Dead Souls, Mr. Pharmacist, and The Queen is Dead).  Especially impressive was Mr. Pharmacist, fuelled by the superb drumming of Glenn Milchem of Blue Rodeo.  

– GrassRoots Regina is presenting a fall/winter lineup of five acoustic concerts. it kicks off Sept. 11 with a show by Winnipeg-based The Sturgeons, followed by famed Brit folkie Martin Simpson (Oct. 9), Anglo band The Young’uns (Nov. 5), Saskatoon-bred country songsmith Zachary Lucky (Nov. 22), and US folk duo The Brother Brothers (Nov. 29) More info and tix here

– BreakOut West has announced the final wave of artists that will showcase at the 17th annual fest, this year in Whitehorse, Yukon, Oct. 2-6. Notable names include Hellnback, King of Foxes, Leela Gilday, and Mariel Buckley. See the full list here

– Last week, Music Canada certified that 88GLAM's Lil Boat single is certified gold. The Ed Sheeran/Justin Bieber collaboration I Don't Care is now quadruple platinum, Daddy Yankee's hit featuring Snow, Con Calma, is double platinum now, as is the Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello smash, Señorita.

– Juno-winning folk veteran Stephen Fearing is teaming up with famed Canadian luthier Linda Manzer for a show at Toronto's Dakota Tavern on Sept. 26. The 30 Year Cowpoke celebrates the legacy of Fearing’s 30-year-old Manzer Cowpoke acoustic guitar, explores the artistry behind the two-year process of creating its replacement, and features Fearing performing the new Cowpoke for the first time in front of an audience. Tix here 

– The oft-volatile relationship between Guess Who principals Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman is clearly on a positive footing these days. The pair reunited for a charity event at Toronto's Casa Loma recently (FYI story here), then, last Friday night, Bachman surprised and thrilled the crowd at Cummings' CNE Toronto show by taking the stage to help close out the night with their hits American Woman, No Time and BTO's Takin' Care Of Business.

– Toronto-based garage rock meets synth-pop quartet Neon Bloom has released Lighten Up, the first single from a forthcoming EP (expected in early 2020).  A video for the track was shot during the band's tour of Taiwan. Two hometown shows are scheduled next month: Sept. 8 at the Monarch Tavern, and Sept. 14 at Adelaide Hall.

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