The Western Canadian Music Alliance has announced the nominees for the 2022 Western Canadian Music Awards, the event’s 20th anniversary. Leading the noms list with three are Snotty Nose Rez Kids, while Ariel Posen, Haley Blais, and Katie Tupper are amongst those cited twice. See the full list of nominees for the Artistic and Industry Awards here. The winners will be celebrated at the BreakoutWest festival and conference event, set to run in Calgary from Sept. 28 – Oct. 2, with venues throughout Calgary’s downtown core. Registration is now open, with passes available here. Voting for the awards is now open to members of all western Provincial and Territorial Music Industry Associations, concluding on June 22.
– Five top musicians from the London, ON region will be inducted into the Forest City London Music Awards London Music Hall of Fame during the Forest City London Music Week, June 19-26. The five new inductees are John Acquaviva, internationally renowned DJ; Rory Dodd, rock singer for the stars, including Meatloaf, Bonnie Tyler, James Taylor and Lou Reed; Loreena McKennitt, global multiple award-winning Celtic musician, including Grammy nominations and the Order of Canada; Larry Mercey, member of the legendary country act the Mercey Brothers, with chart-topping recordings, and Cherrill Rae Yates, a singer with an international career, and a number 1 hit on the Top 40. Lifetime Achievement honours will be awarded to John Smale, and Brian Mortimer, recognizing their outstanding contribution to the music community over many years. Hall of Fame inductees and Lifetime Achievement honorees are determined by a steering committee and the board of directors of FCLMA. They will be recognized at galas on June 19 and 26 as part of London Music Week. More info here.
– Today (June 9) at the Hamilton Arts Awards ceremony, veteran blues/soul singer/songwriter Harrison Kennedy receives a Lifetime Achievement Award. A proud Hamiltonian, Kennedy is best known as a founding member of the 70’s soul hitmakers Chairman of the Board, and he has gone on to acclaim as a more blues-oriented artist. On June 17, he releases a new album of original soulful blues,Thanks For Tomorrow, on Electro-fi. Catch him on Aug. 1 at Union Station, Toronto, as part of the Blues Monday free noontime concert series, a partnership of the TBS and Union Station.
– The 40th Anniversary edition of Canadian Music Week (CMW) in Toronto is well underway. Those still set to perform at various industry awards and showcases include Bran Van 3000, Coeur de Pirate, Dear Rouge, Grae, Haviah Mighty, SATE, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Monowhales, Emanuel, Mauvey, Sam Drysdale, Preston Pablo, Rêve, and NOBRO. Check the sked here
– One of Toronto’s noted celebrations of community and culture, Manifesto, has announced its 2022 lineup. In partnership with Live Nation Canada, the annual Hip-hop/R&B-slanted event will feature Grammy-Award winning Jazmine Sullivan, Tems, Amaal, Dylan Sinclair, Planet Giza and Zeina. They all perform at Budweiser Stage on Aug. 12. Tix on sale June 10 here.
– The return of the Do West/Dundas West street fest to Toronto last weekend was a roaring success, by all accounts. This scribe caught the Sunday aft music and was highly impressed by Zoon, proponents of an atmospheric yet virile shoegaze sound. Closing out the fest, Sloan was predictably great, reprising crowd-pleasing faves from a catalogue of 30 years. Nice to see industry comrades like Jeff Rogers and Ben Rayner there, alongside members of prominent local bands Tallies and METZ, who reportedly blitzed the fest the night before. Congrats and thanks to fest head honcho Shaun Bowring (The Garrison, Baby G, Transmit Presents) and his team. Bowring has been a passionate and eloquent advocate for the live music scene during the shitshow of the last two years and it's great to see him thrive again.
– The Prince Edward County Jazz Festival, running Aug 16-21, features some top-notch Canadian talent, including Emilie-Claire Barlow, Manteca, the Brian Barlow Big Band and Laila Biali. Info and tix here
– Tenille Townes, Lindsay Ell, and the Reklaws are part of a talent-heavy lineup announced to play Nashville North at Calgary Stampede, July 7-16. The concert series opens with Meghan Patrick on July 7, and other performers include Tebey, Tim Hicks and the Hunter Brothers, and Nice Horse. More info here.
– Last weekend saw the much-anticipated gala opening of the Stratford Festival season for the famed fest's brand new venue, the Tom Patterson Theatre. The 600-seat auditorium with the elongated thrust stage is almost a replica of the former Tom Patterson stage as is the seating, about 600 in horseshoe wrapping the thrust. No theatregoer is more than 28 feet from at least one part of the stage. The public rooms include Lazaridis Hall, a versatile space for up to 250 people that can be configured for cabaret-style performances, screenings and panel discussions.
– On June 6, Toronto firm Hariri Pontarini Architects won the top Canadian honour, the Governor General's Medal in Architecture, for the design of the new Tom Patterson Theatre. An impressed Globe and Mail theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck noted that "there is great enjoyment to be found simply in approaching and entering this light-filled building, in exploring the pleasing curves of its elegant wraparound lobbies as you await curtain time. But an audience member will only feel like a true explorer upon breaching the auditorium’s U-shaped seating area, which now involves going down instead of up; it’s like descending into the hull of a giant ship."
– On June 7 at the Botanical Garden in St. John’s, Rhonda Tulk-Lane, Chief Executive Officer of MusicNL and Steve Crocker, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation, announced a new initiative in support of Come Home 2022. The provincial government has provided MusicNL with an investment of $200K, allowing the trade org to launch its new program, “MusicNL’s Community Presenters Program.” Through the support provided by the government, MusicNL has been able to provide grants to 110 groups in 81 communities to arrange musical entertainment for their Come Home 2022 festivities.
– MusicNL and Gower Street United Church are partnering to offer a creative rental space in downtown St. John's for work, play and performance called Play on Gower. Offering space in the heart of the City, this should be of interest to local musicians, artists, and community members. More info here.
– The Birdsong New Music Foundation hosts its first live fundraising concert at The Duke ( 1225 Queen St East, Toronto) tonight (June 9). It features the emerging singer/songwriters who are mentored by the Birdsong initiative, including Earl Johnson, Ashley Bell, Jordan Gow, Thomas Messenger, PK, Jhamal King and others accompanied by The Long Black Cadillacs. The evening will be MC’d by music podcaster, Aaron Badgley and the founder of this music charity, Margaret Konopacki. More info here.
– Tonight (June 9), Toronto's Paradise Theatre hosts the premiere of The Onyx Experience, a live concert film tracing Black rock music in Canada. It is an invite-only event, with limited CMW Wristband Access. The Onyx Experience, directed by Andrew Hamilton (Drake, Our Lady Peace, dvsn), produced by David 'Click' Cox, and helped by an Indiegogo campaign, features Fefe Dobson, The OBGMs and 2022 Juno Award nominee SATE.
– On May 27 and 28 at L.R. Wilson Concert Hall in Hamilton, Tom Wilson led two star-studded Mohawk Symphony concerts, designed to fundraise for The Tom Wilson Indigenous Scholarship Award in honour of Bunny Wilson at McMaster University. Guests included Colin James, Terra Lightfoot, Darcy Hepner, and Layla Staats, who later posted that a very impressive $300K plus was raised for the cause.
In other Tom Wilson and McMaster news, the veteran rocker (Junkhouse, Lee Harvey Osmond, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings) recently donated his personal archive to the University. His collection includes photographs, paintings notes and annotated galley proofs of his memoir Beautiful Scars. Read more on the donation here. Next up for the prolific Wilson is the release of a new Blackie and the Rodeo Kings full-length, O Glory, on July 8, followed by a joint album with iskwe, Mother Love, due out on July 20. Here is the latter's new single.
– Previously held at Toronto’s Kensington Sound, the AM to FM Live concert series is moving to Spirit in Niagara, located in Niagara on the Lake. Series founder, music promoter Andrea Morris, tells us that “this is a complete revamp of the series as it will now be open to the public and we are moving from the studio environment to more of a supper club scenario.” Kicking things off is country artist Matt Teed on June 16. The first set will be recorded and filmed for the AM to FM Live YouTube channel. More info here
– The Weeknd has announced a partnership with Binance for what is claimed to be "the first crypto-powered world tour.' According to an announcement from the artist, the stadium tour will be “the first global concert tour to integrate Web 3.0 technology for an enhanced fan experience”, with cryptocurrency exchange Binance named as the tour’s official sponsor. On July 8, Abel Tesfaye will play the first date of his ‘After Hours Til Dawn’ world tour at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Read more on the venture here.
– Fresh off his 2022 Juno win for Instrumental Album of the Year with That Tall Distance, Fredericton singer-songwriter David Myles has released Mystery, the lead single from his forthcoming 15th studio album It’s Only A Little Loneliness, due out on Sept. 23. He'll support it with a fall Canadian tour. Dates here.
– Toronto-based musician/composer Ken Ramm has long earned peer respect and critical acclaim for his work under the name Euphoria. He informs FYI that "Good things are going on for me, via BFE, The Orchard and Sony Music Entertainment in the US. They have licensed part of my back catalogue and released the EP, Deep Calls Out Remixes [sample below] An album of new ‘Euphoria’ material is also to be released."
– A popular fixture of the Toronto blues scene, Raoul and The Big Time (fronted by singer/actor Raoul Bhaneja) play their 24th Anniversary show (presented by Hugh's Room Live) at 3030 on June 10. Tix for the live show and a live stream here.
– Acclaimed Ontario roots-rockers Cuff The Duke don't seem to gig much these days, but they play Toronto's Dakota Tavern on June 11, with Mauvey and Ariel Posen in support. Recommended. Tix here.