Once again I polled members of the music industry from across Canada on their year-end “best ofs”. With this year being so unusual, and frankly surreal, I changed the questions to reflect the past 12 months.
I have also compiled a very diverse playlist on Spotify containing everyone’s song of the year.
You can have a listen here
It seems The Weeknd got more love from our readers than he did from the Grammys and both Bob Dylan and John Prine showed up on many lists. When it comes to documentaries a lot of people spent some time with Taylor Swift, the Beastie Boys and Teenage Head.
Kim Temple- High Priestess Publishing/Six Shooter Records
Song of the year - WAP (Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion)
I will remember 2020 by the hilarious radio mix sing-alongs in the car with my kids: "You dealing with some wet and gushy."
Streaming show of the year - Travis Scott in Fortnite blew my mind
Music film/doc of the year - Beastie Boys Story
Last live performance you attended - Berlin Philharmonic back in February. I was at the Berlin Film Festival with a group of Canadian composers and Amin Bhatia suggested this excursion. We had no idea we'd be coming home to lockdown and a global pandemic. Grateful we went. Thanks, Amin!
What did you miss most in 2020 - Music export missions, playing hockey and celebrating Six Shooter's 20th Anniversary in person.
Thoughts for 2021 - High Priestess = Time to retreat and reflect, let your inner instincts guide you.
Excited to hear new music from the High Priestess roster (Zaki Ibrahim, Witch Prophet, James Baley, and Sun Sun)
Rob Oakie - Music PEI
Song of the Year - Everyday- Logan Richard
Streaming Show of the Year - I am going to have to say our own Island Voices concert on June 30 featuring Irish Mythen, Inn Echo, Dylan Menzie, KINLEY and Sarah Hagen in the iconic St Mary’s Church.
Music Film/doc of the year- Once Were Brothers
Last Live Performance Attended- Haunted Hearts at the Trailside Cafe, Charlottetown. Much anticipated reunion of a dearly loved Charlottetown band after a long hiatus.
What I missed most in 2020 - Attending music conferences to see and visit with old friends and make new ones in the industry.
Thoughts for 2021 - We will all be happy to say goodbye to 2020 but the music industry will be entering 2021 with so much uncertainty. Even with a vaccine in the near future it is difficult to imagine people flocking back to large events. The hope is people will be starved for live music and will not hesitate to return. International touring may still be some time off, depending on how rapid the vaccine is widely distributed and how quickly international borders will be open. On the positive side, many artists are exploring different ways of creating revenue from their songs and music like never before. Those who have thrived during the pandemic and built audiences online will do well.
T. Thomason - Recording Artist
Song of the Year - Body Knew - Lu Kala
Streaming Show of the Year - Anything by HEIST
Music Fim/doc of the year - Miss Americana
Last Performance Attended - Rose Cousins' album release at the Danforth Music Hall on March 5th, 2020
What I missed most in 2020 - I missed travelling to tour/write
Thoughts for 2021 - Let's hope to god the vaccine comes quick and works!
Jason Schneider - FYI Music News Contributor
Song of the year -Bob Dylan - False Prophet
Streaming show of the year - Ayla Brook & The Sound Men -- Starlite Sessions, Edmonton AB
Music film/doc of the year -- Picture My Face: The Story of Teenage Head
Last live performance you attended -- Jonathan Wilson/John Borra -- The Great Hall, Toronto, March 10, 2020
What did you miss most in 2020 -- Summer
Thoughts for 2021 -- Venues, those that remain, need government support. These funds should come from taxes on streaming services
Laura Simpson - Side Door Access
Song of the year - This is a recent favourite - Chasing Rabbits by Terra Spencer.
Streaming show of the year - I am biased, but the Dream Serenade fundraiser show (with Hayden, Feist, Kathleen Edwards, Barenaked Ladies, William Prince, Brendan and Kevin from BSS and more) just happened on Side Door on Saturday, November 28 made me laugh, weep and feel more alive than ever.
Music film/doc of the year - I didn't watch enough music films/docs this year! But I did watch Miss Americana and showed it to my 9-year-old daughter and it gave her a little bit of perspective on what 'being famous' actually means for a singer/songwriter.
Last live performance you attended - On Nov. 5 when we had a reprieve in Nova Scotia and could have shows again, Kim Harris held her album release of Heirloom at St. Andrew's Church in Halifax. Distanced and masked, we - as she put it - "Care Bear beamed" our love to her and her back to us for this incredibly beautiful show with a star-studded band and babies running around the stage.
What did you miss most in 2020 - I realize I spend A LOT of time each week just going to live shows by myself and not only seeing great music, but meeting up with friends at the venues. I miss the millions of beautiful, weird, awesome surprises that happen on these nights. I miss walking back home from Gottingen St (Halifax) at 2 am and feeling like all is right in the world after seeing a great live show. I also miss hosting in my own house, but I actually can't even talk about that without getting really verklempt.
Thoughts for 2021 - If we didn't before, we all know what really matters now. Let's focus on all of that stuff, k?
Kerry Doole - FYI Music News Contributor
Song of the year – Bob Dylan- Murder Most Foul
Streaming show of the year – The John Prine tribute
Music film/doc of the year - Picture My Face (Teenage Head doc)
Last live performance you attended – Quarteto Gelato, The Cotton Factory, Hamilton. Early Nov. 2020. Very fortunate to be part of the very small and socially distanced audience.
What did you miss most in 2020 – Hanging out with friends at This Ain’t Hollywood or The Horseshoe Tavern listening to a great band.
Thoughts for 2021: Hoping for the return of live music in clubs and that there still be clubs left to host that!
Patrick Zulinov - Hyvetown Music
Song of the year - John Prine - I Remember Everything
Streaming show of the year - Dan Mangan Performs More or Less
Music film/doc of the year- Laurel Canyon - A Place In Time
Last live performance you attended - Duke’s Restaurant Maui - March 2- Random Hawaiian Beach Band (playing the hits)
What did you miss most in 2020 - Travel and visiting friends around the world.
Thoughts for 2021 - Ctr>alt>delete 2020 - Be positive, hope we can swing this world around to a reasonable version of normalcy. Avoid ingesting too much negative and toxic media and social media. Go outside and play. I think we now realize all the frivolous things we can do without. This year has shown the best and worst in people.
Richard Flohil - Legend
Song of the Year - Can’t think of one, since I don’t listen to commercial radio. But that 17-minute epic Dylan gave us could qualify. (Murder Most Foul)
Streaming show of the year - Most of them have been total crap — but the roots/blues guitarist Rory Block does one from her living room every week, and they’re not bad. Ditto songwriter Mary Gauthier, who always has interesting guests, via Zoom, every Sunday. Oh, and a brief set by Serena Ryder, shot for the Mariposa Folk Festival, and on their website.
Last live performance you attended - Paul Reddick at Sauce on the Danforth, March 11.
What did you miss most in 2020 - Live music. Oh, yes, and I miss record shops, Lyle Lovett’s music (if he’s still making it), the seven folk festivals across the country I was going to, the Dakota Tavern and The Horseshoe, and a trip to hang out with friends in London, Amsterdam and Berlin. And I miss John Prine, Jerry Jeff Walker, Billy Joe Shaver, Hal Ketchum, Spencer Davis, Eddie Van Halen, Hal Wilner, Little Richard and Toots Hibbert. At 86, I am discovering that mortality is a bitch.
Thoughts for 2021 - Why am I not optimistic? IF we are saved, it will be by a relatively untested vaccine that may not be available to Canadians until the middle of 2021.
Mark Tara - Host Rainbow Country
Song of the year - Kylie Minogue Magic
Streaming show of the year - The Undoing
Music film/doc of the year - Laurel Canyon
Last live performance you attended - Say what now ...
What did you miss most in 2020 - Freedom! Sanity!
Thoughts for 2021 - Onward & Upward!
Julian Taylor - Recording Artist
Song of the year - It’s Still Alright by Nathaniel Rateliff
Streaming show of the year - Ottawa Bluesfest
Music film/doc of the year - Belushi
Last live performance you attended - Rhett Miller at The Horseshoe Tavern
What did you miss most in 2020 - My extended Family and my friends
Thoughts for 2021 - I would like to find more peace within myself so that I can be more present with the people I love.
Bronwin Parks - Feisty Creative
Song of the year - There has been some incredible music released throughout the wild ride that has been 2020, but one track I keep coming back to is Orville Peck’s cover of the legendary Bobbie Gentry song, Fancy. Hands down, best song of 2020 for me.
Streaming show - I’ve got to say that Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Discovery top my list as best new streaming shows. Their seamless expansion on the existing Trek universe as well as their beautifully diverse casting gave my nerdy heart hope and solace this year.
Music film/doc - The Go-Gos was a great insightful and candid look at both the band and how the music industry treats female artists.
Live performance - The 2019 CCMA Awards in Calgary.
Missing most in 2020 - hugging my friends, and I’m not a big “hugger” so that’s saying something.
2021 - Moving forward both we (artists and industry) need to critically look at our income streams to ensure we’re not putting all our eggs in one basket. With today’s wealth of technology and the ability to reach audiences around the world on a myriad of platforms, the fact that the industry ground to a halt as soon as live performances/touring stops is ludicrous. It demonstrates a clear imbalance in the distribution of wealth and power within the industry. While I fully recognize the truly magical experience of live shows and the fan connections they create, it is essential that artists and industry diversify. Moving into 2021, we all need to future-proof our careers to ensure they are able to survive and be quick enough to pivot when one or more of our income streams is closed off either due to global crisis, or technological advancement.
David Boyd Janes - Recording Artist
Song of the year - First and foremost as a songwriter this question is nearly impossible to answer as there is just so much amazing music out there. BUT for me Worry B Gone by Chris Stapleton is my pick! Just listen to the words!
Streaming show of the year - 2020 CCMA Awards, that was an easy one!
Last live performance you attended - 2020 CMA Ontario awards in London ON and it was an amazing night! Big thank you to the CMA Ontario awards for putting that together!
What did you miss most in 2020 - I missed my fans and seeing their faces and smiles in the crowd. Nothing can replace that feeling of walking out on the stage to see them.
Thoughts for 2021 - My thoughts for 2021 is to stay positive and for everyone to do their part in fighting the pandemic. I REALLY hope we find a way to get back out there entertaining the world in a safe way for everyone.
Nick Krewen - FYI Music News Contributor
Song of the Year - If I Have A Son - Ruth B. - Perfectly encapsulates the reality of white privilege in a simple context. Here is a woman worried about her son not safely returning from the corner store because of a potential target painted on their back just because of their skin colour. Pop music as its finest with a tender performance from Ruth B.
Streaming show of the Year - In advance of its release as part of the Sign O’ The Times boxed set, the Prince estate streamed a 1987 New Year’s Eve concert featuring special guest Miles Davis on YouTube for a limited time. Two iconic trendsetters sharing the stage - even if it was for only 10 minutes or so - was too good to resist.
Music Film/Doc of the Year - see above.
Last Live performance - Storry at the Lula Lounge. Quite a dynamic performer who can transition into opera as adeptly as she handles other R&B/pop/rap styles of music. She’s a keeper.
What did you miss most in 2020 - The freedom to travel and some concerts, but truthfully, this time has allowed me to focus in on other aspects of my life.
Thoughts for 2021 - hopefully not as ugly politically, racially, pandemically as it was in 2020.
Darryl Hurs - Indie Week/CD Baby Canada
Song of the year - It might be because I just discovered this track but really liking Michelle Treacy Time Off From A Letdown because it is not the typical style that's out there right now.
Streaming show of the year - Billie Eilish
Music film/doc of the year - Beastie Boys Story on Apple TV
Last live performance you attended - The CD Baby Showcase at Folk Alliance with Desiree Dorian and Sierra Noble
What did you miss most in 2020 - Travelling to festivals and conferences which includes seeing many friends in the industry
Thoughts for 2021 - It's going to be interesting to see what get back to normal and what moves forward in a new direction
Jeff Liberty - Music Columnist/Media Personality
Song of the year - Blinding Lights - The Weeknd
Streaming show of the year - Kathleen Edwards Live from Quitters Coffee, Total Freedom Album Release
Music film/doc of the year - Really enjoying Hip Hop Evolution on Netflix. Looking forward to seeing Crock of Gold - A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan.
Last live performance you attended - Well I was working as a PA on it, but it was Boney M! Great show btw! The stand out was finally seeing Robert Plant from about 25 feet from the stage!
What did you miss most in 2020 - I’m one of the organizers for Ara 506 in Saint John, NB. I’m looking forward to working on it for 2021. Check it out!
Thoughts for 2021 - I’m staying optimistic and believe we will start to see and feel normalcy by mid summer once the vaccine has made its way nationally.
Yvonne Matsell - Queen Of F*cking Everything
Song of the year - Blinding Lights - The Weeknd
Streaming show of the year - Nick Cave solo in London
Last live performance - Private party at LiveNation private member’s club with Sheepdogs playing a small acoustic set .
What did you miss most in 2020 - My entire life ! I miss everything. Going to see live music in live music venues. Being with family and friends. Hugging my family & friends
Thoughts for 2021 - If everyone followed the Covid protocols perhaps we would overcome this? People like the BBQ guy suck ! (A Toronto restaurant owner who refused to close)
Lou Molinaro - CFMU
Song of the year - Capital Eyes by TV Freaks
Streaming show of the year - Strange Brew Podcast
Music film/doc of the year - Picture My Face: The Story Of Teenage Head
Last live performance you attended - BA Johnston’s live stream from This Ain’t Hollywood - April 22nd 2020
What did you miss most in 2020 - My Bar (the recently closed This Ain’t Hollywood in Hamilton)
Thoughts for 2021 - Stronger initiatives from all levels of government to support live music venues and musicians.
Dustin Therrien - Cheshire Cat Pub
Song of the year - And It’s Still All Right - Nathaniel Ratliff
Streaming show of the year - I Am Not Ok With This
Music film/doc of the year - What Happened Miss Simone (I know 2015 but just saw it, love her) if it has to be this year I’d take Beastie Boys Story - huge fan and was nice recount
Last live performance you attended - Amos the Transparent (at the Cheshire Cat Pub)
What did you miss most in 2020 - Crowds and the noise and fun that comes with them.
Thoughts for 2021 - I would thankfully say there is light at the end of the tunnel and that a return to pre-pandemic gatherings will be back. I am looking forward to hosting live music, events and fun. I think there is a lot of pent up energy waiting for a place to happen.
Ray Howard - Vinyl Hero
Song of the year - Under The Graveyard - Ozzy Osbourne
Streaming show of the year - Big Wreck from the El Mocambo
Music film/doc of the year - didn't see any this year.
Last live performance you attended - Vinyl Hero & Redfox played a sold out show at Piranha Bar (Montreal) in September - great ,safe ,show!
What did you miss most in 2020 - As a tech & musician, I miss being on stage in either capacity ( mostly the playing part)....ya know, working!
Thoughts for 2021 - Seeing family without needing to quarantine would be awesome, and being able to go back to work & tour!
Claire Dagenais - The Polaris Prize
Song of the year - I listened to a lot from the 2020 Long List, but the most played would likely be Sarah Harmer's St. Peter's Bay.
Streaming show of the year - I didn't watch a ton of TV, but I really enjoyed the Instagram Verzuz series from Swizz Beats & Timbaland...I mean Patti Labelle v Gladys Knight, Brandy v Monica, Beenie Man v Bounty Killer...lots of legends and legendary music
Music film/doc of the year - Again, I didn't watch a ton of TV or films this year, but to be honest I think our Short Films for this year's 2020 Short Listed albums were compelling and moving and not just because it was for Polaris, but because I was genuinely astounded by the quality and caliber of storytelling that each filmmaker brought.
Last live performance you attended - Probably the previous Polaris Gala in September 2019. Lockdown happened before I was able to get out again :(
What did you miss most in 2020 - Seeing and working with our colleagues who are super talented. Working on the gala each year is like going to a very intense summer camp with my favourite people, so that was a real gap.
Thoughts for 2021 - I have none.....it's best not to plan too much at this point.
James Clark - The James Clark Institute
Song of the year - iPhone by Sparks
Streaming show of the year - urgntlive 9.1 featuring Clamp
Music film/doc of the year - Zappa
Last live performance you attended - Ummmm....Maybe Robyn Hitchcock at The Monarch Tavern.
What did you miss most in 2020 - Live performances
Thoughts for 2021 - Crossing my extremities that live performances are able to return.
Jerry Leger - Recording Artist
Song of the year - I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You by Bob Dylan. Just a beautiful song, especially love the lyrics:
"My heart's like a river, a river that sings
Just takes me a while to realize things
I've seen the sunrise, I've seen the dawn
I'll lay down beside you when everyone's gone"
Streaming show of the year - lo-fi Monday Madness with Hank Holly
Music film/doc of the year - I'm in the middle of the new Dolly Parton doc, I'll let you know! I haven't had a chance to see the Aretha Franklin one yet but I want to. The Robbie Robertson/Band doc was good for the footage and hearing about the pre-fame/ego years. Same thing I liked about his book, reading about him growing up here in Toronto, hooking up with The Hawk, Levon and the rest of the guys.
Last live performance you attended - David Essig at Hugh's Room, Toronto, end of Feb. I was going to this show anyway, since I'm a fan, but I ended up opening solo, which was a thrill.
What did you miss most in 2020 - Family, friends, playing music with my pals, touring my album Time Out For Tomorrow 'round the world (2020 gave the record title new meaning though)
Thoughts for 2021 - Hoping we can stay safe, smart, helpful, respectful and considerate of others. I've been staying creatively busy but of course getting back on a stage and the road (safely) is something that I depend on, not just for keeping a roof over my head.
Laura Robinson - Next Magazine
Song of the year - Lockdown - Anderson Paak
Streaming show of the year - Schitt's Creek. I was backpacking through Southeast Asia at the beginning of 2020 and had to come home in the middle of my trip for obvious reasons. Watching new episodes of the final season with my family was one of the first things that lifted my spirits in lockdown.
Last live performance - In the Philippines, when I popped into a bar and came across a Valentine’s Day-themed open mic night. We’re talking Matchbox Twenty, Bruno Mars and Oasis covers. An eclectic mix, but some super talented singers!
What did you miss most in 2020 - Live music, dancing, hugging loved ones! Preferably all in the same night.
Allegra Swanson - Music Nova Scotia
Song of the year - Tim Baker - Survivors
Streaming show of the year - The Juno Awards 2020
Last live performance you attended - Traditional Irish night at Dora Keogh
What did you miss most in 2020 - Running into friends across the city at different shows, restaurants, conferences, awards…
Mo Tarmohamed - Rickshaw Theatre
Last live performance you attended (with an audience) - That would be March 14th's Album Release show by the band Sunday Morning at the Rickshaw. The last live performance without an audience I saw was The Pack AD which we streamed late November also at the Rickshaw.
What did you miss most in 2020 - 2020 was shaping up to be the best year ever for the Rickshaw. We had more confirmed shows booked for the rest of the year by the middle of March than ever before. I had to cancel over 90 shows, but the one that hurt the most was a 3-nighter with Billy Bragg. That one...I don't even want to revisit my despair.
Thoughts for 2021 - I am very optimistic that once we can finally get back to normal and are able to attend concerts with wild abandon, we will see attendances at concerts at all time highs. There will be such pent up demand that even shows that might have drawn a tepid response in the before times, will see increased attendances. Also, I see this a great moment for Canadian artists; they will be the first ones out of the gate as venues open up, as it will take time for touring bands to map out their itineraries.
Marlon Harder - Autopilot
Song of the year - To me it’s a tie between The Killers Dying Breed and Caribou You and I
Streaming show of the year - At the start or the lockdown in March, Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab did a 30 min acoustic set every day for a few weeks. We just got back from a US tour before the border closed so we were in isolation at home. Listening to his set everyday really helped to pass the time.
Last live performance you attended - We played a show with our friends W3apons in Saskatoon at a cancelled Juno Fest spot at Amigos. Checking out their set was the last show we caught.
What did you miss most in 2020 - Going to shows, playing live, touring, and catching up with all our industry friends on the road.
Thoughts for 2021 - I’m optimistic on the music industry recovering, but I don’t see live music coming back in full force for a while. Just hoping venues can survive.
Karen Bliss - FYI Music News & Billboard’s Canadian correspondent
Song of the year - tie The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights — this multiple Grammy-worthy (yep) pedal-to-the-metal pop single gets you moving even though you’re at home in your PJs for days, weeks and months. Jonathan Roy’s Keeping Me Alive — he’s finally found his sound and it’s pure and intense, the type of music that gets inside every pore.
Streaming show of the year - Canada’s Great Kitchen Party – Home Edition: the weekly Wednesday live streamed concerts encouraged Canadians coast-to-coast to order food from local restaurants, then sit back and enjoy performances and food-related greetings from notable Canadians, from musicians to Olympians.
Music film/doc of the year - Stacey Lee’s documentary Underplayed, covering the ridiculously disproportionate amount of females on festival lineups, and their struggle to get there.
Taylor Swift Miss Americana will confirm your respect for the singer-songwriter or open your eyes to it.
If I had Apple TV, I’m sure Springsteen’s Letter To You would be my one and only pick #biased
Last live performance you attended - Pre-covid pandemic, my last full show was Chalk Circle at Lee’s, March 7, and caught the last couple of songs by Samantha Martin for the Wheatsheaf Tavern opening, March11. But then there were all these drive-in shows. Watching a concert through glass doesn’t appeal to me, but when one of my favourite people and rock ‘n’ roll bands announced theirs, I was down for the experience — Sam Roberts Band Sept 30 on the Ontario Place grounds. It had been months since I was ready, app and browsers both open, minutes before a Ticketmaster on-sale, and then watched the throbber spin to see if I had secured tickets. My plan was to take my Solstice so I could watch the show with the convertible top down, weather permitting, before putting it away for the winter. When the day of the concert rolled around, it poured all day, but I was hopeful. By the time I picked up my friend, the rain had stopped, and stayed that way until the very end of the concert. I took in every second, knowing it would be my last concert for a while. I was both satiated and sad. When I dropped off my friend, it started to pour.
What did you miss most in 2020 - Live shows and standing by the kitchen entrance to catch the servers carrying the hors d’oeuvres at some party/music event/restaurant opening.
Thoughts for 2021 - Let’s all do our part and honour the simple guidelines (masks, wash your hands, stay 6 feet from people) so we can get our industry back up and running. Also, excited to launch my secret side project when life does return to normal.
Mark Watts - Consultant
Song Of The Year - Blinding Lights - The Weeknd. He’s a beast, surrounds himself with great people, and gets better and better.
Streaming Show of the Year - I’m looking into my crystal ball...and it's the Canada in Unison Holiday Special: In Concert (Dec 17, 2020). I hope everyone tunes in to this very special streamed (paid) concert. This event will directly benefit UNISON, which in turn supports our music industry. As you know, UNISON provides various types of support and services to those working in the Canadian music industry and that have fallen on tough times. UNISON needs our financial support right now more than ever.
Music film/doc of the year - Picture My Face: The Story of Teenage Head. It’s a great look at a punk/rock band cutting their teeth and a path in the CDN music landscape. It has a very sensitive and important side to it as well - mental health. TVO should be applauded.
Last live performance you attended - The Glorious Sons, Scotiabank Centre, Feb 27, 2020.
What did you miss most in 2020 - Live music, friends, family, travel.
Thoughts for 2021 - I’m feeling optimistic about 2021 and although it will get worse before it gets better, I think we’re nearing the end of the pandemic. I’m hoping all songwriters, musicians, and everyone working in the music industry can hang in long enough to get to the finish line. Hopefully the recently announced Federal emergency funding will get into the hands of the industry sooner than later. It’s going to be a wonderful and beautiful thing when we finally get out of this mess. And regarding the live music sector, it may look different initially and baby steps taken at first, but once it gets rolling I hope there will be enough venues and days in the year to accommodate the demand.
Erin Benjamin - Canadian Live Music Association
Song of the year - Closed Chapter - Gianna Lauren
Streaming show of the year - Side Door’s Veda Hille show at The Cultch (Vancouver), May 24
Music film/doc of the year - Ms. Americana
Last live performance you attended -It was the Capital Music Awards – presented by the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition, on March 12th… that I ended up being able to attend as I was meant to be in Saskatoon that day.
What did you miss most in 2020 - I miss my peeps. Living in Ottawa means I often had to travel to see most of my industry colleagues. I haven’t done that since I lugged my JUNO suitcase back up to my bedroom, unopened, on March 12th. I miss everyone very much. I guess, I miss hugs the most. Sounds silly… couldn’t be more true.
Thoughts for 2021 - Looking forward to leveraging all of the “silver linings” we’ve all talked about so much for the future of the live music industry. We will be back.
Sandra Sutter - Recording Artist
Song of the year - Slave”by Bucky Cromwell
Streaming show of the year - Allan Greyeyes is doing some great work!
Music film/doc of the year - Eagle and Hawk, the Great Divide
Last live performance you attended - one of mine lol, Calgary's Arts Commons held some Covid Safe Pop Up Concerts - the #ArtsXpeditions concert series, soul refreshing I must stay .... we played one at Calgary's Olympic Plaza downtown on September 9th. I miss live music!!
What did you miss most in 2020 - Hanging out with friends and family pre and post concert events!
Thoughts for 2021 - We're going to get better at delivering music in new ways, and will continue creating great music. We will grow together as a community in ways that we would have not envisioned pre-Covid - less competition - more collaboration - we are in this together!
Sergio Da Sliva - Turbo Haus
Song of the year-Anything Off the new IDLES record I was stoked on.
Music film/doc of the year-I didn’t watch a film or Doc but I picked up the new Beastie Boys book and it was fantastic.
What did you miss most in 2020- My parents
Thoughts for 2021- Keep the No Moshing dream alive. Death to 5$ shows and Guest list.
Tyson Cale Boyd - Concert Works/The Starlite Room
Song of the year – Lift You Up – Ayla Brook & The Soundmen, Desolation Sounds – The album was released March. 12th, the day we shut down. We did the album release, a rooftop show as well – and the song continues to be the soundtrack of 2020 for us
Streaming show of the year – For me personally, it was the North Country Fair livestream as it felt like there was a strong connection that day to the community.
Music film/doc of the year – Beastie Boys Story
Last live performance you attended – K-Riz – River City Revival House – October. 30, 2020
What did you miss most in 2020 – live music, all of it.. period.
Thoughts for 2021 – Patience, stay vigilant – we will get to the other side hopefully soon!
Sandy Graham - Cashbox Canada/EMG
Song of the year - There have so many great songs that it is hard to narrow it down to just one - but the song that had an impact on me personally is I Live on a White Cloud by Murray McLauchan - a positive protest song with an apology and a chance to understand
Streaming show of the year - Virgin River because it was produced in Canada (British Columbia) directed by a Torontian Gail Harvey and is #1 on Netflix - and they used Your Song by Elton John to open up the series!
Music film/doc of the year - Bruce Springsteen's Letter to You - just cuz he is still the boss
Last live performance you attended - Indie Week 2019 - I went into lockdown early February 2020
What did you miss most in 2020 - I missed seeing my music colleagues from all over the world, we were supposed to meet in France, Sweden, Portugal, Romania and Wisconsin - all cancelled.
Thoughts for 2021 - Rather than be caught up in the negative I think we should all realize what a wake-up call Covid-19 has been for us all and to know things can be taken away so quickly and when we get back to normal (whatever that will be) we should appreciate what we have, be more patient, be a little kinder to each and listen more to the music out there and support live shows whenever possible.
Tara King Cohen - The Horseshoe Tavern
Song of the year - Thoughts and Prayers - Drive By Truckers
Streaming show of the year - Matt Mays 5 hours live from his quarantine cabin in NS
Music film/doc of the year - Letter to You Springsteen. On repeat in this house
Last live performance you attended - I was fortunate to be the ONLY non working person in the room for The Sadies show!
What did you miss most in 2020 - MY LIFE!!
Thoughts for 2021 - Hope that with the time we had, we reflect and can become a kinder more caring society when we can reemerge
Darwin Roy - SaskMusic
Song of the year - Blinding Lights - The Weeknd
Streaming Show of the year - American Music Awards
Music film/doc of the year - Bruce Springsteen Letter to You
Last performance you attended - Earl Pierera - Backyard Treehouse Concert
What did you miss most in 2020 - Playing live shows
Thoughts for 2021 - Music is medicine so it is up to us as musicians to heal the people in 2021
Karen Spaulding - The Carleton
Song of the year -It’s just not possible to separate music this year from politics, pandemic, and loss. The Chicks Gaslighter, Steve Poltz Quarantine Blues, John Prine I Remember Everything.
Streaming show of the year - I have to give this one to Matt Mays epic 5 hour Mantel Music VII. Shout out to my biweekly escape with Songwriters’ Circles hosted by Bruce Guthro, and to the first ticketed partially pre-recorded online shows I watched -- Billy Bragg headlining The City Winery All-Stars on Mothers Day.
Music film/doc of the year - David Crosby: Remember My Name. On my watch list: Echo in the Canyon. Memory lane: Searching for Sugarman.
Last live performance you attended - The Carleton was fortunate to be able to host live shows from July through mid-November. Capacity was half, but that did not diminish the joy of sharing music. Just before the latest shutdown, Nova Scotia native Terra Spencer released her Chasing Rabbits album, warm and intimate with articulate lyrics and just enough bite.
My last “big” live performance was in fact back to back festivals in the Caribbean in February -- first the Girls Just Wanna Weekend, then the Cayamo cruise. Both offered well-known headliners (Brandi Carlile, Sheryl Crow, Brian Wilson, Jeff Tweedy, Mavis Staples, Rodney Crowell), as well as artists you may not know and should check out (Lake Street Dive, Dar Williams, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Madison Cunningham, Yola, Molly Tuttle, perpetual Carleton fav Steve Poltz).
What did you miss most in 2020 - Hugs
Thoughts for 2021 - I revisited this haunting tune just recently. Beautiful at any time, especially moving right now: Alison Krauss and Natalie MacMaster Get Me Through December written by Gordie Sampson and Fred Lavery on Natalie’s 1999 album, In My Hands.
Our Carleton mantra has been “Stay safe, be kind, and listen to music – it’s good for you”. I can’t think of a more fitting wish for 2021
Cameron Carpenter - FYI Music News Contributor
Song of the year - One from each side of the pond - Should I Tell Her- The James Clark Institute and The Bluff - Kev Sherry.
Streaming show of the year - I really didn’t watch a lot of these but there was some comfort in watching Steve Poltz live performances back in late March.
Music film/doc - Picture My Face: The Story of Teenage Head.
Last live performance you attended - Autopilot at The Painted Lady on March 5th. I had no idea that would be the last show I would see this year, but was thankful that my son joined me for a pint that night.
What did you miss most in 2020 - Obviously all of the family events that were cancelled, birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving, engagements, etc. Really missed going to shows and ending up playing pinball at the back of the Bovine at 2 AM or grabbing a Teenburger at the A&W when the Horseshoe was closing. Missed conferences, lobby bars and just hanging out with friends.
Thoughts for 2021 - I think business will start to crawl back to life in the spring. The vaccine will help and a lot of Canadian bands are going to have the chance to perform again although I don’t think we will be seeing sweaty tight crowds for a little bit longer. Wear a mask, wash your hands, get the vaccine.