The 2023 East Coast Music Award winners were announced at two events in Halifax, on May 4 (the 35th Annual East Coast Music Awards Show) and May 7 ( the East Coast Music & Industry Awards: Part II). The East Pointers led the list of victors with three ECMA wins, followed by David Myles, Kellie Loder, and Corey LeRue, with two wins each. Other notable names in the circle of winners and achievement award recipients included The Trews, Rich Aucoin, Fortunate Ones, Lisa LeBlanc, Jah'Mila, Morgan Toney, JRDN, Dylan Menzie, Natalie MacMaster, Mallory Johnson, Rawlins Cross, Jason Mingo, and Adam Baldwin. Myles Goodwyn's induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame was included in the May 4 ceremony. See a full list of winners at ECMA.com
– The Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAOntario) has announced the full list of performers for the CMAOntario Festival & Awards Weekend, taking place June 2-4, in Hamilton. This annual celebration of country music across the province will feature free concerts, family activities, and an artisan market.
The artists to perform include Robyn Ottolini, Owen Riegling, Jade Eagleson, The Redhill Valleys, Buck Twenty, Elyse Saunders, Nicole Rayy, David Boyd Janes and more, while the Songs & Stories: Songwriters in the Round event will feature Dave (Dwave) Thomson, Jim Witter, Reney Ray, and Roslyn Witter. The weekend closes with the 11th Annual CMAOntario Awards Show, presented by Slaight Music. Hosted by Jason McCoy and Shannon Ella, the Award Show at Theatre Aquarius will feature award presentations and performances by Ottolini, Nate Haller, Karli June, Graham Scott Fleming, Sacha, Eagelson, Saunders, Vincent Bishop, Jason Blaine, Genevieve Fisher, Andrew Hyatt, Ryan Langdon, Owen Riegling, and Julian Taylor. Award show tix here.
– Acclaimed Canadian roots artists Allison Russell and William Prince are included in the just-announced nominations list for the 2023 Americana Music Awards. Russell is up for Artist and Song of the Year, with Prince cited in the Emerging Artist of the Year category. See the full list here.
– Adventurous music and arts festival Sappyfest returns for its 18th edition from Aug. 4-6 in Sackville, NB. Just announced as the first slate of performers is By Divine Right, Flour, Love Language, Mother Tongues, Nico Paulo, Sluice, and Witch Prophet. Early bird passes are now on sale here.
– After 27 years together, hit Canadian pop-punk band Sum 41 is calling it a day, and its forthcoming album, its ninth studio effort, will be its last." The news was reported on May 8 by Variety. On social media, the group posted that “We will still be finishing all of our current tour dates this year, and we’re looking forward to releasing our final album Heaven :x: Hell, along with a final worldwide headlining tour to celebrate. Details will be announced as soon as we have them." In the post, the group also wrote that "Being in Sum 41 since 1996 brought us some of the best moments of our lives. We are forever grateful to our fans both old and new, who have supported us in every way. It is hard to articulate the love and respect we have for all of you and we wanted you to hear this from us first.
The band, currently comprising frontman Deryck Whibley, Dave Baksh, Jason McCaslin, Tom Thacker, and Frank Zummo, has had multiple personnel changes along the way. Its legacy includes multiple albums that have gone gold and platinum in Canada, the US, and other markets, beginning with the smash 2001 debut full-length All Killer No Filler, which went platinum in the US and UK, and 3X platinum at home.
– The Estate of Jeff Healey recently announced the production of See The Light: The Jeff Healey Story, the first official feature-length documentary film on the life and legacy of the Canadian music great. "We are thrilled to be partnering with Toronto-based TGTV to produce this documentary. The film will look at Jeff's remarkable story through new interviews, archival footage and Jeff’s own unique voice," said Cristie Healey, wife of the late Jeff Healey and Co-Administrator of his Estate. Here's a teaser trailer.
– Music PEI has announced registration and programming details for the Canadian Song Conference (CSC), an annual boutique music conference focusing on developing multiple revenue streams for songwriters outside of live performance opportunities. This year is the 9th edition of the CSC and will be held in Charlottetown from May 31 -June 2. The event features a songwriting workshop and panels of industry experts discussing such topics as sync & supervision, pitching for playlists, royalties and metadata, labels and management, and copyrights & royalty splits. Also featured is the Canadian Songwriter Challenge, with the participating artists this year being Abi, Dylan Menzie, Emily MacLellan, Joce Reyome, Scott MacKay, Trinity Bradshaw, and Vince the Messenger, and The Listening Sessions, featuring other PEI artists will present selections from their recording catalogue. More info and registration here.
– Music Nova Scotia is holding the annual election for its board of directors, and nominations are now open, with a May 16 deadline. More info here.
– May 6 marked the 15th Anniversary of MDM Recordings, the country-focused indie record label founded and operated by Mike Denney. He comments that "I can say with certainty that we have built lasting relationships all over the world, and that is pretty cool. It hasn't always been easy, but I wouldn't change the last fifteen years for the world and I look forward to all that is next." Our congrats to Denney and his team.
– Entries are now being accepted for the 2023 Toronto Blues Society Talent Search. Six finalists are selected to perform for a professional development package including festival gigs, mentorship meetings, studio time, graphic design and more. All finalists will perform a free show at the TD Toronto Jazz Fest on June 25 (2:30 - 5:30 pm). The deadline to submit here is May 31.
– On May 12, CONTXT by Trane presentThe Last Spring Concert: One More For Freddie Hubbard, a celebration of the music of the great jazz trumpeter, featuring The Alexander Brown Quartet. The locale is 254 Lansdowne Ave, Toronto (near College St). Tix here.
– The Très Bien Ensemble is a Toronto-based band featuring alumni or current members of acclaimed indie rock outfits The Weakerthans, Wayne Omaha, and Guh. The sextet headed to Hamilton last weekend, delivering a thoroughly entertaining set at Clifford Brewery. The presence of three vocalists (guitarists Greg Smith and Matt James and keyboardist Yawd Sylvester) and the trombone stylings of Jason Clarke gives the group a large canvas on which to paint their freewheeling compositions. One song had a Grateful Dead vibe, concluding with a chant of 'Jerry Garcia,' while others brought the Rheostatics to mind (fittingly, Rheo Martin Tielli was in attendance, as was Mark Sasso of Elliott Brood). The most recent TBE album, Chewin' The Sun, came out in 2015, so news they're working on another one is welcome. Opening up in fine style was roots-rocker Bryce Clifford, accompanied by keyboard ace Greg Brisco. Clifford and his band Brother Superior are now heading out for five Ontario shows in support of influential US songsmith David Dondero, including a show at Clifford on May 12. Check the itinerary here.
– Alternative singer-songwriter Zoe Sky Jordan recently released her debut full-length album, Selfish, and she has now delivered the title track's music video. Directed by Maya Fuhr, the clip in part pays homage to Jordan's mother singer-songwriter Amy Sky’s music video, I Will Take Care Of You.
– On May 30, at the TD Music Hall in Toronto, highly-lauded UK author Max Porter presents Shy: An Evening of Storytelling. Of special interest is the presence of Leslie Feist, who will provide live musical accompaniment. Tix here.
– The accurately entitled Legendary Downchild Blues Band has a rare hometown show at Toronto’s Massey Hall on May 13, joined by special guests Daniel Lanois, Natalie MacMaster, and Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne. Opening is Jenie Thai. Tix here.
Exactly a year ago, jazz/pop singer/songwriter Fawn Fritzen performed at Toronto's Arts & Letters Club. She is returning on May 26, to perform material from her most recent album, How To Say Sorry and Other Lessons, followed by shows at Waterloo's The Jazz Room (May 27), London's Aeolian Hall (May 28), Kingston's Chalmers United Church - McCallum Hall (June 1), Ottawa's Emmy & Victor Abboud Music Studio - Shenkman Arts Centre (June 2), and Montreal's Upstairs Jazz Bar (June 3). Highly recommended. Those joining Fritzen on stage include noted pianist David Restivo, who co-wrote the album with her, and musical sheros, Montreal's Valérie Lacombe (drums) and Toronto's Lauren Falls (bass). More info here.