Music News Digest, Nov. 11, 2021

Hit songwriter (Carly Rae Jepsen) and Marianas Trench frontman Josh Ramsay is readying the release of his new solo effort The Josh Ramsay Show, due in early 2022 on 604 Records. The first single, Lady Mine, comes out on Dec. 3 and features a guest turn by Chad Kroeger. An A-list of album collaborators also includes Dallas Smith, Fefe Dobson, Ria Mae, Serena Ryder, Tyler Shaw, and Fionn. In a label press release, Ramsay explains, “My goal was to try and do as many genres as possible, so it feels kind of like a variety show. I see it as my ‘calling card’ – not just as a songwriter, but as a producer and arranger.” Here's a video teaser.

– The Lemmon Stage is an ongoing professional development platform for emerging artists. It enjoyed a 10-year run presenting emerging talent at Vans Warped Tour and has just launched a series in partnership with Toronto’s El Mocambo venue. On Tuesday night it kicked off in impressive fashion with performances by Lemmon alumni The Beaches and Whale & The Wolf. The series, the only ongoing program at the Elmo, will run every Tues. evening. Of note: The Lemmon Stage has helped boost the careers of The Dirty Nil, Courage My Love, Sumo Cyco, and more.

– Singer/songwriter Andrea Ramolo performs at the Paradise Theatre in Toronto tonight (Nov. 11), a launch party for her new solo album, Quarantine Dream. Guests include Madison Violet and Sahra Featherstone. Tix here

– Multi-platinum-selling rockers The Glorious Sons return to their hometown of Kingston for a New Year’s Eve show at Leon’s Centre, with JJ Wilde in support. The Sons recently opened for the Rolling Stones in L.A., the third time they’ve had that coveted slot. Tix go on sale here Nov. 12.

– Andy Curran, bassist and founder of Canadian hard rock faves Coney Hatch, has signed 100 limited-edition reproductions of the artwork (by Martin Springett) for the band’s self-titled 1982 debut album. A large portion of the proceeds from their sale will go to the music industry charity Unisonfund. More info here.

– CP reports that Cancountry star Gord Bamford will give unvaccinated fans Covid-19 rapid antigen tests before they attend his concerts and will set up mobile testing sites in communities the day before his shows. The concert series, called the Kick Covid In the A** Tour, is set for stops in Alberta and Saskatchewan from Dec. through May (dates here). Bamford said fans can register for an antigen test, paid for by Bamford, when purchasing tickets online. 

– Primarily known as an actor who has shone at Stratford, in the musical Once, and Netflix drama Locke and Key, Toronto-based Ian Lake is also an accomplished singer/songwriter. Last week he released a new single, The Bottom, from his upcoming album What It Is, set for release in 2022. Notable collaborators include Matthew Barber (as producer) and Drew Jurecka (strings arranger).

– Toronto drag queen and Canada’s Drag Race winner Priyanka will join country star Lindsay Ell as co-host of this year’s Canadian Country Music Association Awards. The show takes place at Budweiser Gardens in London, ON, on Nov. 29.

– Juno-winning jazz pianist Robi Botos brings his ace trio (featuring Mike Downes and Larnell Lewis) to the Bravo Niagara Festival of the Arts as part of their TD Jazz Series on Nov. 19, at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharine’s. Joanna Majoko guests. Tix here.

– The Joni Mitchell classic The River may be approaching Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah as a tune that has been over-covered, but acclaimed Canadian/Kiwi roots artist Tami Neilson has managed to breathe new life into the song in her just-released version. A label press release notes that "For Canadian-born Neilson, River dives into the pain of homesickness, a sentiment that resonated deeply during her first Christmas living abroad in New Zealand. 'Being in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are flipped so it's really it's hot and it's summery, and it's so strange to be decorating your Christmas tree while in shorts and a tank top,' she said."

– Folk Alliance International has just named the list of official showcasing artists at next year's conference/fest. A long list of Canadian acts includes OKAN, Julian Taylor, Barbra Lica, Sophie Lukacs, Suzie Vinnick, The Once, The East Pointers, T Buckley, Rum Ragged, and Amanda Rheaume. See the full list here.


Andy Barker, longtime member of Manchester electronic music group 808 State, died on Nov. 6, at age 53. The band confirmed the news on social media, saying he died “after a short period of illness. His family and friends asks that people respect their privacy at this time but remember him for the joy he brought through his personality and music. You’ll be sadly missed.”

Barker started DJing as a teenager, inspired by hip-hop and electronic music. He was one half of DJ duo the Spinmasters with Darren Partington, and he joined 808 State after Gerald Simpson departed the group. His first records with the group were 1989’s Quadrastate EP and the subsequent 1989 album 90, released in America as Utd. State 90 (updated to include their landmark single Pacific State). The group’s 1991 follow-up ex:el featured guests including Björk and Bernard Sumner. Barker’s last album with 808 State was 2019’s Transmission Suite.

Barker is credited as a songwriter and producer on multiple 808 State records, and, in a 1990 Melody Maker interview, he explained that everyone played multiple roles in the group. “Everybody does everything, no one has a set job, everyone has a voice,” he said. “It’s not like anyone’s the drummer, anyone the bass player.” Sources: Pitchfork, DJ Mag

Leave a comment