David Clayton-Thomas
David Clayton-Thomas

Music News Digest, March 6, 2020

Toronto jazz impresario Jaymz Bee has put together a Caravan of Music fundraiser for the Unison Benevolent Fund, featuring David Clayton Thomas, Molly Johnson, and many more. Held at the Old Mill, Toronto, on April 14, the four-hour event enables hundreds of people to tour the various historical rooms at the inn, taking in songs from each band in each room. The night kicks off with a Gala Dinner from 6-8 pm with special performances from Clayton Thomas, Johnson, John Finley, and more TBA.  Other performers in the rooms include Lou Pomanti, Jay Douglas, Billy Newton Davis, Errol Fisher, Genevieve Marentette, and more. Tickets now on sale here.

– Steve Jordan, Polaris Music Prize founder and executive director since its formation, started a new gig as the CBC’s Senior Director of Music at the top of the month, so a small celebration of well-wishers gathered at the Drake in Toronto Tuesday night to wish him the best. Among the celebrants: Polaris' Claire Dagenais and Aaron Brophy,  Slaight Music’s Derrick Ross, Warner Music Canada prez Steve Kane, Revolution Recording's co-owner Kim Cooke, Grammy-winning journalist Rob Bowman, Billboard and Samaritan Mag’s Karen Bliss, SOCAN Music’s Howard Druckman, author Nicholas Jennings, WWF’s Joshua Ostroff, Sick Kid’s communications guru Mary Dickie, journalist Liisa Ladouceur, The Toronto Star’s Ben Rayner, Dakota promoter Yvonne Matsell, many others and of course, the guest of honour himself - Steve Jordan. (Nick Krewen )

– An all-Canadian lineup has been announced for the CBC Music Festival in Toronto, at Echo Beach on May 30. The acts include Metric, Lights, Half Moon Run, Dizzy, Geoffroy, Snotty Nose Rez Kids and Polaris Prize winners Haviah Mighty and Jeremy Dutcher. Tix here 

Coronavirus fears are leading to growing calls to cancel the South by Southwest festival in Austin later this month. The Concord record label group has canceled a planned SXSW event over COVID-19 concerns, as have executives for Twitter, Facebook and Tik Tok, and Universal Music Group has advised its employees not to attend. A change.org petition to cancel the event completely has gathered more than 25,000 signatures. Festival officials said in a statement that “SXSW is working closely on a daily basis with local, state, and federal agencies to plan for a safe event. As a result of this dialogue and the recommendations of Austin Public Health, the 2020 event is proceeding with safety as a top priority.” Source: LA Times

– The 2020 instalment of Ultra Music Festival in Miami is a new victim of the coronavirus scare. City officials and the  Mayor encouraged organizers to postpone the event during a meeting on Wednesday, according to the Miami Herald.

– III, the third album from US folk-rockers The Lumineers, is now certified gold in Canada, the first market to reach that level. III is out via Dualtone (an Entertainment One Company) in the US and Canada. The group's 2012 self-titled debut is certified triple platinum in Canada, and the 2016 sophomore album, Cleopatra, went platinum. The band plays Montreal's Bell Centre tonight (March 6) and Ottawa's Canadian Tire Centre on March 7, then has five dates in western Canada, Sept. 2-12.

– Lady Gaga has announced a six-city stadium tour of Europe and North America, kicking off July 24 at Paris’ Stade de France. A Toronto date s set for Aug. 9 at the Rogers Centre. Her next album, Chromatica, is out on April 10, via Interscope. 

– The 2020 Contemplative Arts Festival of Saskatoon runs May 7-10, launched with a fundraiser concert featuring Jane Siberry on May 3. Tickets through Eventbrite.com. The free fest is hosted by the Grosvenor Park United Church.

– Top-selling Canadian children’s music group Mini Pop Kids has partnered with Walmart Canada to launch an exclusive clothing line this spring. The apparel and accessories collection will feature sizing for boys and girls sizes 4 XS - 16 XL. The group begins an extensive national  Bright Lights concert tour in Barrie, March 7. Dates here

– Toronto live music staple Hugh's Room Live is proceeding with its Drum Week series. Running from March 11-14, it features Mark McLean’s Playground, TorQ Percussion Quartet, and Ari Hoenig, and Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts Trio. A skedded March 10 show by veteran Jimmy Cobb (Miles Davis) was cancelled due to ill health. Tix here.

– Another recommended Hugh’s Room Live show celebrates International Women's Day on March 8, with a concert by platinum-selling R&B powerhouse Jully Black. Tix here.

– Canadian born Alissa Faratro is one of two Canadians chosen for the Spotify Equal (EQL) Studio Residency Program since the 2018 program launch in the United States. She has worked alongside Grammy-nominated vocal producer/engineer Simone Torres,  Grammy-nominated artist Kelli-Leigh and Rob Lewis, and more.  In conjunction with the program, Faratro currently works at the Spotify Studios in LA, honing her ability as a vocal producer and sound engineer.

– The Toronto Blues Society’s popular Guitar Workshop is back this year and hits The Dakota Tavern on March 29 from 4-7 pm. The workshop will be hosted by guitarist, vocalist, and bandleader Fraser Melvin (Bad Luck Woman and Her Misfortunes, The Fraser Melvin Band). This year's guitar masters are Dave Barnes (Bywater Call), Adam Beer-Colacino (The Melvin-Colacino Band) and 2019 Best New Artist Maple Blues Award winner Emily Burgess. Tix at the door. 

– Thunder Bay-based rocker Jean-Paul De Roover is out touring his new album, LOSS. He plays This Ain’t Hollywood in Hamilton on Sunday (a matinee) and a free show at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern on March 9, then shows in Montreal, Ottawa, North Bay, Sault Ste Marie, and Sudbury. Dates here. Here’s the lead single, Wreck.

– London, Ontario folk/pop band The Pairs launch an eight-concert tour of Ontario tonight (March 6) with a sold-out hometown show at Taproot above The Root Cellar. Dates include a March 21 show at Toronto's Burdock.

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