Music Digest, June 19, 2019

A world class opera singer awaits emergency surgery that pre-empts her returning home to attend her father's funeral; Drake revives OVOfest for 2019, the Wolfe Island Fest announces its lineup, The Toronto Blues Society reveal their finalists  and the Arkells extend their Rally Cry tour dates to cover Halifax and Ontario are among the items for today.



Music Digest, June 19, 2019

By Nick Krewen

Brueggergosman loses father, faces pending heart surgery

World-renown Canadian opera star Measha Brueggergosman revealed on Facebook that not only did she recently lose her father, but she may also miss his funeral due to pending emergency heart surgery. In a post dated June 15, the acclaimed soprano revealed that her father, Rev. Sterling Gosman, had passed a few days earlier, and that she was in Calgary's Foothills Hospital awaiting double bypass surgery after awakening to chest pains on the day she was to return to Nova Scotia following a concert the previous night.

"I hate to pile, on but currently I am a patient in the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary awaiting double bypass surgery on my heart," Brueggergosman wrote. "My Dad and I are strong of spirit but we also share a bum ticker, unfortunately. Nearly ten years to the day of my aorta exploding, I woke up in Calgary on the day I was meant to fly home to Nova Scotia with severe chest pain - almost at the same time that my father was making his own journey home to glory on the other side of the country. I can’t begin to express how devastating it is to be this far from home, in a hospital bed, and unable to be with my family. The agony of not being with my mother and my sons right now has inspired me to write this post because I am in desperate need of prayer and support."


- Drake to revive OVOfest

If there was one serious music takeaway from The Toronto Raptors' victory parade at Nathan Phillips Square on Monday, it occurred when the team's official goodwill ambassador - Aubrey "Drake" Graham - took to the stage as the last speaker of the event. Drake admitted in passing that he'd be bringing back OVOFest this year - the unique and star-studded unique-to-Toronto epic concert that's usually packed to the gills with star-studded surprise cameos before the man himself takes to the stage for a headlining set. Usually held on or around the August civic holiday, with the choice venue being what is now known as the Budweiser Stage, OVOFest was first launched by the rapper in 2010 when he first showed signs of his international clout by bagging both Jay-Z and Eminem as his superstar guests. Since then, artists ranging from Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg and The Weeknd to Kanye WestNicki Minaj and Kendrick Lamar are just some the A-listers that have given attendees a night to remember.


No date had been had been confirmed by deadline, but expect the show and the venue to be announced in the next few weeks. The last OVO Fest was held in 2017.

- Toronto Blues Society announces 2019 Talent Search finalists

The finalists of the 2019 Toronto Blues Society Talent Search have been announced, and the testosterone-free competitors include Avery Raquel, Emily Gilbert, Hanorah, Kalnya Rakel, Sandra Bouza and Zaynab Wilson.

To determine who will win the grand prize, which includes performances at Blues Summit 10, the 2019 Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle, the Aurora Winter Blues Festival, the Orangeville Jazz.& Blues Festival and a slot at the TD Jazz Festival, all in 2020; three hours of Cherry Jam rehearsal time; a Bill King photo shoot, an Allegro North flyer package;  a Maple Blues newsletter feature; mentorship meetings with Derek Andrews, Sarah French and Richard Flohil; a year-long Bandzoogle site and consideration to a) showcase at TBS's Blues Showcase at the 2019 Folk Music Ontario conference and b) consideration to represent TBS at the 2020 International Blues Challenge.


Finalists will perform in front of a trio of judges - Mariposa Folk Festival Artistic Director Liz Scott, Indie Week Festival Programmer Cameron Carpenter and Showtime Music Archives' Dave "Daddy Cool" Booth - on the OLG Stage at the Toronto Jazz Festival on June 29 to determine the winner.

- Wolfe Island Music Fest back with Born Ruffians, The Sadies and new format.

Born Ruffians, The Sadies, NQ Arbuckle, and Jim Bryson are among the headliners for the 2019 edition of The Wolfe Island Music Festival.

Held Aug. 9-10 at St. Margaret's Hall in Marysville Village, the organizers are introducing a new format called The Party Hall Edition - which means all the acts will be performing in one main venue instead of multiple locations as in previous years. In a statement, Virginia Clark, Wolfe Island Music Fest director, say this year's fest will honour "our dear friend Daryl Weeks," whom she says, "was a key member of our festival and last year he really loved our showcase at St. Margaret's Hall with The Weather Station, so we are returning to that same venue in his honour."

Ice Cream, Charlotte Cornfield, Emilie Steele, Joe McLeod, The Mills Rights and Piner round out this year's roster, which will be performing on Wolfe's Island, the largest of the Thousand Islands, located at the end of Lake Ontario and the start of the St. Lawrence River. Tickets are $40 daily, $65 for a weekend pass and available here as of today.


- Universal Music Canada launches Maison Barclay Canada imprint

Dakar-born Juno Award winner Karim Ouellet and Montreal-based urban pop singer and songwriter Eli Rose are the first two signings to the new Maison Barclay Canada imprint, launched in collaboration with - and named after - France's famous Barclay label. Under the leadership of UMC president and CEO Jeffrey Remedios, newly hired Maison Barclay Director Guillaume Moffet and UMC Quebec head of operations Sophie Barbe, the label will focus on, as the press release states, "discovering and signing culturally-relevant, progressive Canadian artists, and developing and promoting their work - not only in Quebec and Canada, but jointly in France and around the world."


Those artists will also be championed by Barclay in France, a label initially founded in 1958 by Eddie Barclay, and the label's General Director, Benjamin Chulvanij, says he's looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Maison Barclay Canada. “For us at Barclay, the launch of Maison Barclay Canada means the beginning of an historical chapter that will only reinforce the relationships and the cultural and musical exchanges that France and Canada have created over the last 60 years,” said Chulvanij in a statement.  “We want to congratulate Jeffrey Remedios and his team and assure our full collaboration in their future endeavours. Long live Maison Barclay Canada!”  For his part, UMC's Remedios says Maison Barclay will sign "a bespoke, highly curated, focused label roster" that "will lean into the future, championing our artists both here at home and with our Universal Music colleagues worldwide.”


Operations will be shared between UMC's Montreal and Toronto offices. Both Ouellet and Rose are expected to release albums in 2019, with Rose's first single Carrousel currently making the rounds on radio, YouTube and Vevo.

- Hart-To-Heart: Corey Hart's triumphant return after 22 years

Last Friday, Corey Hart further shook off the shackles of retirement as he took to the Budweiser Stage with the Toronto portion of his current cross-Canada jaunt, his first national tour in 22 years. And the crowd estimated at 14,500 strong was ready for him, preventing Hart at times from addressing his audience due to deafening, extended ovations warmly welcoming back into the fold. Headlining a triple bill that included Glass Tiger and A Flock of Seagulls, the latter bolstered by the guitar presence of The Spoons' Gord Deppe, Hart and his nine-piece band peppered the past with a bit of the present during his 105-minute set.

But it wasn't the expected nostalgic numbers like Sunglasses At Night, Never Surrender or It Ain't Enough that made the evening - although they certainly enhanced it.: it was the spontaneous moments that really hit the mark.  For example, Hart told the tale of a fan that had written him to inform him he was no longer No. 1 on her list of favourites "because he never put out any new music." No, that distinction, she told him, now belonged to Blue Rodeo frontman Jim Cuddy. She happened to be at the show, so the Montreal heartthrob called her onstage, Cuddy came out from the wings, and the duo serenaded her with  First Rodeo, the Hart-Cuddy duet from his new Dreaming Time Again EP. The second emotional moment occurred when Hart brought out his sister Donna and delivered a promise he made to his dying mother years ago, that he would sing I  Am By Your Side to her. It was a rare moment of intimacy between siblings that was witnessed by an amphitheatre full of people.

Hart is singing better than ever these days, and the love shown by the thousands gathered should fuel him if he decides he'd like to pick up where he left off in the future.

It was also a night of miracles concerning Glass Tiger, whose singer, Alan Frew, confessed that he had broken his neck just three weeks earlier.  But that didn't stop him from ripping off his shirt during the finale of This Is Your Life...although, Alan, it really wasn't necessary.

- Shania says "Let's Go" to Vegas

Canadian sweetheart and triple Diamond Award recipient Shania Twain has announced a 23-day residency - spread over several months, mind you - at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.Twain will serve as her own creative director for Shania Twain - Let's Go! The Vegas Residency when it lands at the Zappos Theater on Dec. 6 for its first six days.

Dates will resume in March 2020 and include shows in May and June, which should give her enough time to finish her role in I Still Believe,  Christian singer Jeremy Camp's biopic.  Tickets start at $US 60 and $1 per every purchased ticket will be donated to Shania's Kids Can charity.

- Megadeth's Mustaine announces throat cancer

Megadeth guitarist and singer Dave Mustaine announced through his Instagram account that he has contracted throat cancer, and therefore most of the band's 2019 tour has been canceled as a result."I’ve been diagnosed with throat cancer. It’s clearly something to be respected and faced head on - but I’ve faced obstacles before. I’m working closely with my doctors, and we’ve mapped out a treatment plan which they feel has a 90% success rate. Treatment has already begun." Mustaine goes onto say that the 2019 Megacruise "will happen and that the band will be part of it in some way" and reveals the band is in the studio finishing the follow-up to Dystopia. 

He promises to keep everyone posted on his progress as he fights the disease.

- Arkells extend Rally Cry tour through Halifax, Ontario and help Rainbow Railroad in the process

Hamilton's Arkells are extending their acclaimed Rally Cry tour in October and November by seven dates with appearances in Halifax, NS and Ontario. The band is also partnering with PLUS1, allotting $1 from every ticket sold to Rainbow Railroad, an organization that helps LGBTQI people around the globe to escape persecution and violence. The group has already raised $16,000 for the cause from their pending Budweiser Stage show this Saturday in Toronto. Tickets here.

Here are the newly announced dates with opening acts:

Oct 26 - Halifax, NS - Scotiabank Centre (w/ Mother Mother)

Nov 7 - London, ON - Budweiser Gardens (w/ COIN)

Nov 8 - Guelph, ON - The Sleeman Centre (w/ COIN)

Nov 9 - St. Catharines, ON – Meridian Centre (w/ COIN)

Nov 14 - Oshawa, ON - Tribute Communities Centre (w/ COIN)

Nov 15 - Peterborough, ON - Peterborough Memorial Centre (w/ COIN)

Nov 16 - Kingston, ON – Leon’s Centre (w/ COIN)

- Big Wreck announces three Canadian dates during first leg of North American run

The Ian Thornley-led Big Wreck has announced that Halifax, Moncton and Saint John will be the sole Canadian appearance of the first leg of its North American tour, due to kick off September 18 in Watertown, NY. Prior to this leg, however, the band is appearing at several festivals and donating $2 per ticket to the Canadian Cancer Society, in tribute to guitarist Brian Doherty who passed away two weeks ago. Tickets for the new leg here.

Here are the Fall dates:

September 18 – Watertown, NY – Exhibition Hall

September 19 – New York City, NY – Gramercy Theatre

September 20 – Philadelphia, PA – The Foundry

September 22 – Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel

September 26 – Halifax, NS – The Marquee Ballroom

September 27 – Moncton, NB – Tide & Boar Ballroom

September 28 – Saint John, NB – Imperial Theatre

September 30 – Albany, NY – The Hollow

October 2 – Asbury Park, NJ – Wonder Bar

October 3 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall

October 4 – Rochester, NY – Anthology

October 5 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom

October 7 – Detroit, MI – The Shelter

October 9 – Minneapolis, MN – Turf Club

October 10 – Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge

October 11 – Milwaukee, WI – The Back Room at Colectivo

October 12 – St. Louis, MO – Delmar Hall

October 14 – Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge

October 15 – Atlanta, GA – Purgatory at the Masquerade

October 17 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theatre

October 19 – Tempe, AZ – Marquee Theatre

October 20 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom

October 21 – San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill

October 23 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile

Big Boi

Big Boi


CNE Bandshell Gets Big Boi, Sloan, Big Wreck And More For Throwback Summer Concerts

The headliners tie together the Toronto waterfront series' '90s and 2000s revival theme, while contemporary acts like MacKenzie Porter, Ruby Waters, Tynomi Banks and more will keep things current.

Toronto's CNE Bandshell concert series is leaning into big nostalgia this summer, with major '90s and 2000s acts headlining the throwback-themed lineup.

OutKast rapper Big Boi, Canadian-American rock band Big Wreck, and east coasters Sloan are leading the summer music programming at the Canadian National Exhibition, a major entertainment fair that takes over the Exhibition Place grounds every August.

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