Music News Digest, April 1, 2021

The Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMAs) has announced the full line-up and programming schedule for the 2021 Awards Week. The annual will feature 6 virtual shows spotlighting 33 nominee performances over five days. The 16th edition takes place April 7 -11, beginning with four artist showcases and culminating in two Gala Awards Shows set for Saturday and Sunday evening at 8 pm ET. The shows will include the presentation of all 20 awards, interspersed with performances by six of this year’s nominees each night. During the two bilingual CFMA shows, Benoit Bourque and Jean Hewson will review the nominees and announce the recipients for all the categories, including the Slaight Music Unsung Hero Award

All CFMA online events are free of charge. Performing artists are receiving honorariums. In addition, viewer donations will be accepted across all showcases with 100% of donations to be divided evenly between all performing artists. Notable showcase performers during the week include Joe Nolan, Coco Love Alcorn, Crystal Shawanda, Julian Taylor, William Prince, Leela Gilday, Spencer Burton OKAN, The East Pointers, Pharis & Jason Romero, Sultans of String, and Catherine MacLellan. More info here.    

– The website for the Radio Starmaker Fund is back online and accepting applications for the 79th Round. The VP of Programs & Applications, Jerry Leibowitz (, can answer your questions should you need assistance. New this Round is news of the creation of the new Orion program, a funding stream dedicated to supporting music creation by members of the Canadian music industry who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour. The Radio Starmaker Fund distributes private funds that provide “substantial incremental investment where the artist has established a proven track record.” However, racism and other systemic barriers may prevent applicants from qualifying for the established Starmaker programs. The Orion program was established to distribute these funds in a manner that lowers the barrier to entry for eligible BIPOC artists who have not yet met Starmaker sales criteria. More info here.

– The Jim Beam Bourbon Presents Live From Inside series returns to Danforth Music Hall in Toronto with a performance from Blue Rodeo on April 30. The evening will include a pre-show event with each of the band members sharing their favourite tour stories as part of a “Blue Road” series. The band is also partnering with venues across the country and a portion of ticket sales will go directly to supporting these venues' coast to coast.  Fans can visit to access pre-sale tickets and information. Tix for the general public go on sale starting April 2 at 10 am here 

– On April 20, the worlds of cannabis and music coalesce at CMW. The virtual conference welcomes partners of recently launched cannabis brand LOOP/POOL, who join music journalist Alan Cross for a discussion about the ways in which music, the artist experience and cannabis converge in Canada, the first major country to federally legalize recreational cannabis. The conversation also features the artists themselves discussing how they are adapting, reacting and rethinking how they build their careers and engage with their fans through these times of uncertainty. LOOP/POOL is an artist co-owned cannabis brand that’s committed a minimum of 5% of proceeds to give back to and support emerging Canadian artists. The company is co-owned by seven major Canadian artists:  Our Lady Peace, Blue Rodeo, Stars, Felix Cartal, Kiesza, dvsn and Roy Woods. CMW registration here.

– A notable new addition as a Keynote speaker at the upcoming indie101 virtual conference is Tim Westergren. He co-founded Pandora more than 20 years ago and last year he helped create Sessions, a live-streaming platform making a mark. Check here for more info and a full list of speakers.

– Hamilton drummer/singer Gene Champagne is currently in a Burlington, Ont., hospital's ICU and on a ventilator, fighting pneumonia caused by Covid-19. He’s the drummer for local bands Teenage Head, the Killjoys and Tongue Fu. He also fronts his own band, The Un-Teens. Source: CBC

– BC's Shambhala Music Festival has postponed its 2021 festival to 2022. The decision comes just a week after BC Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that large events are "unlikely" to proceed this summer, in addition to a number of other obstacles the festival has faced such as border closures and the ongoing public health order. Next year's festival will be held at the same location it has called home since 1998: the Salmo River Ranch. Source: Broadway World

– Festival (506) is taking place Oct 21-24, in various venues across New Brunswick. The fest features 12 emerging and developing artist showcases. 

– Canadian country star Dean Brody and fast-rising US black country singer Mickey Guyton have claimed their spot on the top of the Nielsen BDS Country Airplay and Mediabase charts, landing the #1 spot at Canadian Country Radio with their duet Boys, from Brody’s 2020 EP by the same name. Boys marks Brody’s third duet to take the top spot at country radio, following Bounty f. Lindi Ortega and, last summer, the newly platinum-certified Can’t Help Myself f. The Reklaws.

– Yesterday (March 31) Tegan and Sara, founders of the Tegan and Sara Foundation, announced they are launching a healthcare survey to understand experiences with the Covid-19 vaccine within the LGBTQ+ community. The survey was developed by Foundation in collaboration with health communications firm Entree Health and reviewed by researchers at SurveyMonkey, , with contributions from physicians and healthcare experts specializing in LGBTQ+ healthcare. Respond to the survey here

– Nova Scotia house music producer Dezza aka Derek Silvester has released a second album, 44° North, 63° West, following a well-received 2019 debut, Cosmos. Dezza toured internationally behind that, pre-lockdown. Here's his latest single and video.

– The three Music Managers Forums of North America  (Canada, US, Mexico) are getting together for some foreign relations with an online networking event, set for April 7, 4-6 pm ET. It begins with virtual networking via the interactive platform Remo (see more below), followed by remarks from the leadership of the three MMF organizations as well as a  featured keynote presentation by Haley Jones, Head of Independents, MRC Data on 2021: Emerging Trends in North America. Then comes breakout group discussions on two key topics: Trading Notes on Alternative Revenue Streams to Live - What worked and What Didn't and Growth Strategy for 2021 and 2022. A free event. Register here.

– Though Australia is now generally Covid-free, a recent flare-up of cases in Queensland has forced the cancellation of one of the country's biggest music events, the Bluesfest music festival in Byron Bay, NSW. Set to run over the Easter weekend, it was forced to cancel just the day before it was due to begin. The plug was pulled by the NSW Government's Minister for Health, who signed a public order cancelling the event over health concerns. Bluesfest 2021 was an all-Australian event this year because of Covid. International acts from the cancelled 2020 event have been rescheduled into 2022. Jimmy Barnes was headlining this year’s event, with a line-up of top Oz acts including Tash Sultana, Mark Seymour, Pete Murray, Xavier Rudd, Black Sorrows, Ian Moss, Ross Wilson, Tex Perkins, The Waifs, Kasey Chambers, Kate Ceberano, The Church, Jon Stevens, The Angels, The Living End, Ian Moss, and more. Source:

– Creative Manitoba is presenting a Google Classroom webinar series entitled The Art of Managing Your Career, running April 27- June 8. If you are a self-employed artist or looking to increase the portion of your employment derived from your art, this course is highly recommended. It is applicable to artists from all disciplines including actors, craftspeople, dancers, filmmakers, musicians, new media content creators, visual artists and writers. The deadline to apply here is April 9.

– A reminder that tomorrow (April 2) is another Bandcamp Friday, a day when the site waives its usual share of the proceeds of sales, in an ongoing effort to help touring musicians living in a still-so-not-touring world.

– Vancouver folk troubadour Reid Jamieson has just released a new album, Songs of 69, featuring fresh interpretations of classic songs released in 1969. Originally recorded as a surprise birthday present for his wife and musical partner Carolyn Victoria Mill, to celebrate the year of her birth, it's now been properly mixed and mastered for release. On April 4, Jamieson and Mill launch the record with a live-stream (dubbed a love-stream) at 4 pm ET. Link here

– Presented by Art NB, The Fresh AIR (artist-in-residence) program will return for the 2021 summer season. The program will support 10 artists as they engage with the public and develop their artistic practice or existing projects over five days at an NB provincial park or tourism site. More info here.

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