Blue Rodeo at The Cameron House  Facebook photo
Blue Rodeo at The Cameron House Facebook photo

Music News Digest, Oct. 18, 2021

CARAS and Slaight Music have announced the artists selected for the 2021/2022 Allan Slaight Juno Master Class program: Jesse Gold, Riell and Sebastian Gaskin. These emerging musicians, selected by a Super Jury of music industry notables, will join Jhyve the 2021 winner of CBC’s annual search to find the next great Canadian artist, and receive crucial tools to help them become “Juno ready”. The four selected artists will participate in a hybrid virtual and in-person customized mentorship week in Toronto, from Oct. 18 - 22, in collaboration with Canada’s Music Incubator (CMI). The program is now in its 7th year.

“My father, Allan, was a true leader in championing Canadian artists, and I know that he would be proud of the support this program continues to provide emerging talent in his honour.” said Gary Slaight, President & CEO, Slaight Communications. “We continue to see the positive effect this program has on all the selected artists, and we’re thrilled to help foster this year’s class and bolster their profile in Canada and beyond.”

– Since it opened in 1981, The Cameron House has played a crucial role in Toronto's music, theatre, and arts scene. On Saturday night, it hosted a star-studded 40th anniversary celebration party featuring some notable artists from the halcyon days of the Queen West scene. Blue Rodeo showed its appreciation of the venue that helped give the band its start by playing a set. Club co-owner/booker Cosmo Ferraro told FYI that "I didn't want to even ask them due to Covid etc., but they reached out to me and wanted to be part of the 40th. Extremely touching and generous of them."

Lori Yates and the all-star group she fronts, Hey Stella (they've long played a residency here), also performed, while Devin Cuddy led the house band, with many guests joining in, including Sameer Cash, Ferraro, Kayla Howran, Jack Marks, Patrick Brealey, Sam Polley, and Jamie Oliver (Big Tobacco & The Pickers). The 40th celebration actually lasted four days, with club regular Corin Raymond there on Thursday, John Borra Band and Devin Cuddy Band in on Friday, Cameron Family Singers playing an early show Saturday, and Kevin Quain closing it on Sunday. Ferraro tells us "we still haven't fully planned how to get back to normal here. We have started to book some special shows, so look for Justin Rutledge, Doug Paisley, and more dates coming soon." Read an earlier FYI profile of Cosmo Ferraro here

– SOCAN reports that The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) has launched a new Spotlight Award to be given annually to a song and its songwriter(s) from a country other than the US. The inaugural award, presented by the ISC and SOCAN, will be presented in 2021 to a Canadian song, and its songwriter(s).  The winner will be selected by ISC, and will be awarded a prize package including recording time at the Dark Horse Recording Studio in Franklin, TN, one week of lodging at SOCAN Nashville House, and a travel grant from the SOCAN Foundation.

The full ISC contest is open to both professional and amateur songwriters. A total of 71 winners in 23 genre categories share more than $225K in cash and prizes, including an overall Grand Prize of US $25K. Previous winners have included Jane Siberry, Sam Roberts, Tenille Townes, and The Trews. To learn more, click here; to submit your song(s), click here.

– The Juno Submissions Access Program Powered by TD is a new initiative created to assist independent Canadian artists from under-represented communities with the costs involved in submitting their work in a single Juno category. Approved applicants will be reimbursed their submission fee. More info can be found here.  

– On Oct. 21 at The Rose Theatre in Brampton, a high-calibre lineup performs at a fundraiser for the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund. The list includes Tom Wilson, Kevin Hearn (Barenaked Ladies), Josh Finlayson (Skydiggers), Logan Staats, Phil Davis, and more. Info and tix here.

– The Make Music Matter UnpluggedTogether series continues on Oct. 21 with a performance by ace folk-rockers The Grievous Angels, led by rocker turned MP Charlie Angus. Also featured are Jimmy Bowskill (Sheepdogs) and MonkeyJunk’s Steve Marriner. Funds raised via the live-stream will help survivors of trauma in Congo and other areas of conflict. Tix ($15) here 

– After being forced to cancel last year, the highly-regarded Estonian Music Week returns to Toronto this week. Over two nights, Oct. 22 and 23, it presents seven Estonian and Canadian artists. On Oct. 22, the Paradise Theatre hosts Kaili Kinnon, Estyr and Rita Ray, and the following night, at the El Mocambo, features Beatrice Deer, Duo Ruut, Erik Laar and Väike Hellero & Friends. More info and tix here.

– Beny Esguerra and New Tradition Music have followed up their Juno-nominated A New Tradition Vol. 2: Return of the KUISi with an adventurous concept album, Northside KUISi, released on Oct. 15 on Lulaworld Records). The group has an eclectic sound and socially conscious messaging. Esguerra is also a finalist for a $10K Community Arts Award from the Toronto Arts Foundation, to be presented on Oct. 27.

– Country music singer/songwriter Kelly Prescott recently signed with Warner Music Canada, and her debut single for the label, Trailer Trashed, is now out. The track has earned her a spot as a finalist at SiriusXM’s Top of the Country contest, and Prescott will perform as part of that showcase on Nov. 26 during the 2021 Canadian Country Music Awards Week. 


Everett Morton, a British drummer and percussionist best known as the drummer for the early 1980s ska band The Beat, died on Oct. 8, age 71. No cause of death has been reported.

Originally from the West Indies (St. Kitts), Morton was known for his distinctive drumming style that included syncopation and polyrhythm in a rock beat. His reggae drumming helped give The Beat their distinctive sound.

After The Beat disbanded, Morton and Saxa formed The International Beat, who were fronted by vocalist Tony Beet. The International Beat continued through the 1990s. Morton reunited with Ranking Roger and they performed as The Beat in the UK, until Ranking Roger's death, in 2019. Source: Wikipedia

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