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Music News Digest, March 16, 2023

Awards news

Halifax will be the host city for the 2024 Juno Awards, with the main gala set for the Scotiabank Centre on March 24, preceded by other Juno-themed events in the city, March 21-24. It's the first time the Junos have been held on the East Coast since Pamela Anderson hosted them in Halifax in 2006.

– The 2023 Music PEI Awards were held at the Rodd Charlottetown Ballroom on Sun. March 12, and roots group The East Pointers were the big winners, with three awards (Album, Single and Songwriter of the Year). They were followed by Atlantic String Machine, Lennie Gallant and the Burning Hell with two each. See a full list of winners here. The Awards Party was held on the last day of a five-day celebration including concerts and showcases held across PEI. The closing event was the Festival Finale on Sun. night, featuring four of the top nominees.

Festivals news

– Presented by the Downtown Kitchener BIA, The Museum, and Good Company Productions,  the DTK Live series features top-line artists in free performances. Tonight (March 16) is Just Ideas x Friends, the Mar. 23 show features co-headliners Aysanabee (a recent Juno nominee) and Conor Gains, and Softcult and Pony perform on March 30. Reserving tickets here is required to attend, but please note entry is not guaranteed due to capacity.

– The Tall Pines Music & Arts Festival – a community-focused, culturally curated outdoor event – recently announced the single-day line-up for the 2023 festival. Returning June 16 & 17 for its second year at The Muskoka Wharf, the all-Canadian line-up includes Friday night headliner Matthew Good and Saturday’s Blue Rodeo performing against the backdrop of Lake Muskoka. Other notables featured include Serena Ryder, Tokyo Police Club, Classified, I Mother Earth, Ombiigizi, Jerry Leger, and Redhill Valleys. The Tall Pines Music & Arts Festival features a diverse lineup of 15+ artists, a local vendor village, food trucks, craft booths, and new camping and canoeing options.  More information is here.

– The latest news in the on and off again saga of the troubled Vancouver Folk Music Festival is that the event is now back in July 2023. Credit an outpouring of public support for the festival and needed funding from the B.C. Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport with its resurrection. Read more here.

Industry news

– The Canadian Live Music Association presents two Safer Spaces Training Sessions, March 28 and 29, as part of its commitment to fostering a healthier, safer live music community in response to harassment in Canada’s live music industry: Bystander Intervention Training (register here) and Civility and  Respect in the Workplace (register here). The two training sessions are free and open to live entertainment industry workers and artists.

– Drake has announced his 2023 North American tour with recent album collaborator 21 Savage. Entitled It’s All a Blur, the tour comprises 29 arena dates this summer with two Canadian stops in Montreal (July 14) and Vancouver (Aug. 28). Live Nation says additional dates, including Toronto, will be announced at a later date. This is Drake’s first tour in five years. General sale ticketing starts March 17.

– The Bonsound team welcomes Population II to its label, publishing and booking rosters. Consisting of singer/drummer Pierre-Luc Gratton, guitarist/keyboardist Tristan Lacombe and bassist Sébastien Provençal, the Montreal-based three-piece will release new music this year.

– A Celebration of the Life of the late Rawle James will be held at the Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship church (1307 Bloor St. W. in Toronto) on March 26 at 11 am. For more information call Blcf Church at 416 535-9578. Read our FYI tribute to James here.

– Nova Scotia Music Week (NSMW) is heading to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia from November 2-5.  Showcase applications to play at NSMW2023 are open now until March 28. Apply here.

AM to FM Promotions is presenting a two-night showcase, North of Nashville, on March 29 and March 30 at Nashville North in Georgetown, ON. The event features eight independent Canadian country artists performing for radio programmers from across Canada and for the public. The artists are Rob Fitzgerald, Emily Kate, Blue Ridge Band, and Jay Kutcher (all on March 29) and Jessica Sole, Ty Wilson, Matt Teed, and Ty Baynton (March 30). Info here.

– Lulo Music Group (Lulo) is a new label formed by Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Ivany students in the Music Business Program, and its first signing is Halifax indie pop/rock group Good Dear Good. That band's new record is coming out this spring. Lulo has signed a worldwide distribution agreement with Outside Music. 

Artists news

– Hamilton-based punk band TV Freaks weren't able to promote their 2020 album People properly (you all know why), but their local fan base has remained loyal, as shown by the group's soldout show upstairs at The Corktown last weekend. After opening sets by Bad Crush, Man Made Hill, and Uh-Huh (who reminded us a tad of King Cobb Steelie), the Freaks came out and blitzed the joint in one of the most thrilling rock shows this scribe has seen in a while. The searing riffs had the mosh pit jumping, while there are real melodies enmeshed in the sonic fury. One cut featured a Joy Division-style bass riff under Dave O'Connor's Iggy-styled vocals, while an album highlight, Capital Eye, also dazzled. Promoter Lou Molinaro helped the band develop via gigs at This Ain't Hollywood, and he remains a big supporter, as is local scribe Stuart Berman, who gave People a rave review in Pitchfork and was spied at this gig. Check them out.

– Acclaimed East Coast singer/songwriter Jenn Grant releases her all-Canadian collaboration album Champagne Problems on June 21. Here is the second advance single and video, featuring Amy Millan of Stars.

– Opera Atelier's final performance of its 2022/23 season will be Canada's first fully-staged version of Handel's The Resurrection in front of a live audience at Toronto's Koerner Hall on April 6, 8 & 9. This production also celebrates the 315th anniversary of the premiere of Handel's The Resurrection on Easter Sunday, April 8, 1708, in Rome. More info and tickets are here.

– A three-time Juno nominee, roots songsmith Del Barber has a new (and eighth) album, Almanac, set for release on April 28 via Acronym. Barber has also announced an extensive cross-Canada tour, beginning in Rochedale MB on April 4 and concluding on May 6 in Dartmouth. Itinerary is here and the new single and video below..

– Formed in 1996 in Toronto, The Sisters Euclid comprise guitar virtuoso Kevin Breit, Ian DeSouza, Gary Taylor and Mark Lalama. They won a Juno, for Best Instrumental Recording in 2007, recorded 10 discs and one DVD, and are favourites on the local club scene, but have now announced they're disbanding. Their final four shows are at The Rex in Toronto, March 15-18. 



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