There was nothing in yesterday’s Throne Speech that addresses the government’s action plan and commitments to Arts & Culture. The fact the latest, and 3rd Heritage Minister in Trudeau’s cabinet is a rookie MP suggests the portfolio has a diminished presence in the government’s latest strategy for home rule. However, Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet is a key figure in pressing for progressive reform in the House when it comes to the A&C file. Blanchet was president of ADISQ from 2003 to 2006, and also founded Diffusion YFB, an integrated music entertainment firm where he managed francophone rock musician Éric Lapointe’s career for over a decade.
— Andy Kim hosted the first of three annual Christmas charity benefit concerts at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto earlier this week and reprises the show at Montreal’s Théâtre Jean-Duceppe, Place des Arts on the 13th and Burlington, ON Performing Centre Dec. 21. The soft-spoken and soulful singer-songwriter has a big heart when it comes to giving, but there was some give back in the week too when Choir! Choir! Choir! helped him celebrate the 50th anniversary of his song Sugar Sugar with a massed performance that one can take in below.
— Today, Music PEI is expected to announce nominations across 30 categories vying for awards at the association's annual music week summit in Charlottetown. Feb. 5-9.
— Jann Arden’s Blood Red Cherry album is on offer as a deluxe 20th-anniversary edition on Jan. 24. Enhanced with an Arden essay and five new tracks, the package is to be released on CD and as a twofer cherry red vinyl set, Crave TV helps give it a lift-off with a one-hour special on Jan. 6.
— Streaming service Idagio has added a freemium service offering access to the European firm’s catalogue of 2M-plus classical tracks that include works included in the Sony Classical, Deutsche Grammophon (Decca, Philips, ECM) and Warner Classics catalogues.
— CMW 2020 delegates will be able to tone up after late nights on the town with on-site daily fitness workshops. The feature is the result of the event’s partnership with Fit On Tour (FOT), the official wellness partner for the 38th annual in Toronto, May 20-22.
— Last night's annual CIMA and MusicOntario holiday bash was another fun-filled (and room jammed) affair that attracted luminaries from the indie sector to the trade orgs' Toronto HQ. Those we spied included Peter Cardinali, Brad Machry, Indie Week's Daryl Hurs and Cam Carpenter, Iain Taylor, Rick Fenton, Andrea Morris, Greg Nisbet, Rebecca Webster, Margaret McGuffin, Joanne Smale, Serge Sloimowitz, Diane Foy, Beth Cavanagh, Jane Harbury, and Tim Potocic, the newly-elected CIMA chair.
— Musicians from across Ontario are gathering at Purple Hill Country Opry Sunday in support of Canadian fiddling champ John P. Allen, who is recovering from a heart transplant and hasn't worked since March. The veteran was a member of the rock band Great Speckled Bird in the ‘70s and played with bluegrass bands the Good Brothers, Big Redd Ford the Dixie Flyers and as a member of Tommy Hunter's band. Last year, Allen was inducted into the London Music Hall of Fame. Purple Hill is five miles east of the city. Below, a performance video made six years ago with the Allen family at Purple Hill.
—The Saskatchewan Music Awards were recently handed out at an event at The Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon, as part of the Very Prairie Music Summit. Notable winners included Foxwarren, The Hunter Brothers, The Dead South, Kacy & Clayton, Tenille Arts, and Reignwolf. A full list of winners here
— Montreal fest Taverne Tour's fifth edition will run Jan. 30 - Feb. 1 on Plateau Mont-Royal. The impressive lineup includes Deerhoof, The Sadies, Thus Owls, SoCalled, Alaclair Ensemble, Fred Fortin, Material Girls, and Daniel Romano. More info here.
— The Toronto Blues Society board of directors has announced Brian Blain will receive its Blues Booster Award at the Maple Blues Awards in Toronto on Feb. 3. The veteran musician has released four solo records and produced albums for Fraser & DeBolt and others. The award also recognises his work of over 25 years of editing and publishing music newsletters and websites for such orgs as the TBS, The Toronto Jazz Festival and the Toronto Musicians’ Association. Congrats BB!
— A reminder that Creative Manitoba's Holiday Party is on today (Dec. 6), 5-9 pm at HQ, 245 McDermot, 4th Floor. Free and open to the public.
— Veteran Toronto club booker Yvonne Matsell (Horseshoe, Ultrasound, Ted's Wrecking Yard and many more) informs us that, effective Jan., she'll be booking mid-week shows (Tues to Thurs) at The Dakota Tavern. Two thumbs-up to the queen of the one-finger salute.
— Saskatchewan family country act Hunter Brothers has earned its first Music Canada gold certification, for the track Lost the lead single from the sophomore album, State of Mind. It doubles as the group's first #1 CanCountry hit. Last week, at the 2019 Saskatchewan Music Awards, Lost was awarded Single of the Year.
— The East Coast Music Association is seeking a Volunteer Outreach Coordinator for the 2020 ECMAs Festival & Conference in St. John’s, NL from April 29 - May 3. The successful candidate will be responsible for recruiting volunteers for ECMA 2020 St. John’s, NL. Submit a resume and cover letter to email@example.com by Dec. 12.
— Creative Manitoba is accepting submissions for its Music Industry Youth Mentorship programs, with a Dec. 13 deadline. Apply here
— On Dec. 8 (4-7 pm), Alleycatz in Toronto hosts the annual Toronto Blues Society's Christmas Party, featuring Gary Kendall & Michael Fitzpatrick (aka The Big Groove) at their weekly residency with guests Raoul Bhaneja & Darren Gallen. The event is free with an RSVP here.
— Spotify Canada recently partnered with Canada’s country music lifestyle brand Live Country on a new playlist, a rebrand of Spotify Canada’s Down Home Country. Calgary’s Mackenzie Porter is the first cover artist. The partnership also sees the launch of a limited-edition Dallas Smith bomber jacket available exclusively to Spotify Canada fans.