Charlotte Cardin
Charlotte Cardin

Music News Digest, March 9, 2023

Awards news

The 22nd Anniversary of the Jim Beam Indies Awards take place on June 8, at History in Toronto, and features a closing concert set by Charlotte Cardin, a previous multiple Indies winner. The 2023 Jim Beam National Talent Search Winner will open the show. Public tickets are on sale tomorrow (March 10). Submissions for award nominations are being accepted here until April 8.

– With preparations for its 12th annual awards show well underway, Country Music Alberta has named its performer lineup for the April 2 show at Grey Eagle Resort and Casino. The list includes Gord Bamford, Nice Horse, Ryan Lindsay, Devin Cooper, Amy Hef, The Dungarees, and Brettyn Rose. More info here.

–  Canadian blues singer/guitarslinger Sue Foley has relocated back to her former base of Austin, TX, and is making a splash there. That was shown by her two recent wins at the Austin Music Awards for Best Blues and Best Guitarist. See a full list of winners here.

Festivals news

–  The Lasso Montréal country festival has announced a star-studded lineup for its 2023 edition, set for Aug. 18 and 19 at Parc-Jean-Drapeau, and preceded by a Lasso In The City event on Aug. 17. Fest headliners include Chris Stapleton, Kane Brown, Jake Owen, Brothers Osborne, and Elle King, with Canadian acts including Jade Eagleson and Les Hay Babies. Tickets (now on sale) and info here.  $1 from every ticket sold will be donated to the evenko foundation.

–  The BC music festival Fvded in the Park has cancelled its 2023 edition amid the soaring costs of the post-lockdown era. Past years have seen as many as 50K attendees at the weekend-long event in Surrey, which largely showcases hip hop and electronic music. Festival promoter Blueprint announced the artist lineup just weeks ago for the June fest, including headliners Jack Harlow, Odesza, and DJ Snake. Blueprint founder Alvaro Prol said in an interview that the cost of booking artists had grown by as much as 50 per cent over Fvded’s return-from-Covid edition last summer. Source: Globe and Mail

Industry news

–  Justin Bieber is wiping the last of his Justice tour dates from the calendar. A run of concerts that include stops in Europe, the United States and Australia all changed to a “cancelled” status on Ticketmaster last week, and his website also no longer carries mention of any tour dates. Tour dates had previously been postponed multiple times. Source: CP

–  Dartmouth battle rapper Pat Stay earned worldwide acclaim before his death at 36 last Sept.  A recent hometown benefit event in his honour at the Axis Club raised over $200K for his family. Source: The Coast

–  Last weekend, The Tragically Hip’s 1993 hit song Fifty-Mission Cap was played at an event for Conservative Party of Canada leader Pierre Poilievre in Hamilton, and the band's guitarist, Paul Langlois, was not pleased with the placement. He initially termed it "highly offensive," but the group later conceded the event had secured a license to use their music. The same rally played the Lynyrd Skynyrd Southern redneck anthem, Sweet Home Alabama. 

–  MusicNL is partnering with the Town of Gander and Center for Music Ecosystems (CME) to help advance music's role in rural remote communities. This project aims to demonstrate that any community, anywhere, can leverage and benefit from its musicians and music ecosystem and that through partnership and best practices, conditions for musicians can improve and with it, places will become more resilient. More info here.

–  The Jazz Series at the Columbus Centre, presented by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Toronto and Villa Charities Inc., has announced its first three concerts in 2023, all hosted at the Columbus Centre ( 901 Lawrence Ave. West) in Toronto. The 2023 jazz series begins on  March 15 (7.30 pm), with the internationally renowned Hilario Duran Trio, featuring Hilario Duran (piano), Roberto Occhipinti (bass) and Mark Kelso (drums). The April 26 concert features the Fabrizio Mocata Trio, from Italy, with NYC-based Italian saxophonist in on May 31 Francesco  Cafiso. Click here to buy tickets.

Artist news

–  Last week was certainly an eventful one for Kevin Hearn. He flew to NYC to pay a musical and personal tribute to his friend Lou Reed on the occasion of Reed's birthday (Hearn was his music director for a spell), then heard the news that charges had been laid against those involved in a massive art fraud, forging the work of Indigenous artist Norval Morrisseau (Hearn's uncovering of these crimes is depicted in the documentary There Are No Fakes) Then, on Sat., Hearn and his musical collaborator Hugh Marsh played a concert at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, one focused on material from the new Hearn/Marsh project, Dreaming of the '80s.

The show featured imaginative reworkings of songs by OMD, Alphaville, Joy Division, Billy Idol, The Smiths, Psychedelic Furs, Kraftwerk, Tom Waits, Lou Reed, and They Might Be Giants, and Hearn mixed in some of his idiosyncratic originals too. His melodic and understated vocals and fluent playing were neatly complemented by Marsh, bassist Chris Gartner and drummer Davide DiRenzo. Spied in attendance were peers Martin Tielli (Rheostatics), Chris McKhool (Sultans of String) and industry notables Tom Dertinger and Amanda VanDenBrock.

–  Free-spirited Ontario singer/songwriter Ronley Teper is known for the imaginative videos that accompany the entertaining material she creates with her band, The Lipliners. Her new song and video, Pimple On The Nose, is no exception.

– Thunder Bay-based modern rock outfit The Honest Heart Collective has just begun a tour of Ontario and Alberta that runs from March 9 to April 1. Dates here. The group has just released a new single, Suffocate, on AWAL, produced by Derek Hoffman (Arkells, The Darcys). 

–  Night Plow is a new duo project by Canadian keyboardist Gregory Macdonald (Sloan, Limblifter) and acclaimed US bassist Tim Lefebvre. A self-titled album is now out via Toronto label We Are Busy Bodies, and it features an amalgam of rock, psychedelia, new music, and electronica. Here's a sample.

–  The Maple Blues Band has announced that after 24 years they are leaving the role of host band for the Maple Blues Awards. Comprising A-list players led by musical director Gary Kendall, the group recently released an album, Let’s Go, on Cordova Bay Records, and is beefing up its performance schedule. Its presence will be missed.

–  Multiple CMA and 26x CCMA Award winner Gord Bamford has announced the first leg of his spring/summer Canadian Dirt Tour, one that promotes his forthcoming 11th studio album, Fire It Up, due out April 28 via Anthem Records. Joining Bamford on the road for select dates out west is award-winning country singer/songwriter Duane Steele, with SiriusXM Top Of The Country Semi-Finalist Teigen Gayse joining select dates in BC. The tour begins in St. Gregor, SK, on April 14 and will continue through to August, making stops across Saskatchewan, BC and Alberta with more dates TBA later this year. Info and tix here.

 –  Highly original singer/songwriter Friendly Rich has released a new single,  Le P'tit Bonheur, in anticipation of a new album, Man Out of Time, due out March 31 on We Are Busy Bodies. The single is sung in French and is an homage to one of Friendly Rich’s greatest inspirations, the Quebecois songwriter Felix Leclerc

–  With Joni Mitchell back in the spotlight of late, it is good timing for the Hugh's Room Live presentation of Mia Sheard's Songs Are Like Tattoos - A Tribute to Joni Mitchell concert, set for 3030 Dundas Street West in Toronto on March 30. Highly-lauded songsmith Sheard will be joined by Lori Cullen and Sheila Carabine (with more to come), backed up by a band including Robbie Grunwald, Chris Gartner, David Celia and Ryan Granville-Martin. Livestream access to the event is also offered. Tix here.

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