Music News Digest, April 11, 2018

Audiotree North announces a strong presence at CMW, The Washboard Union launches its new album with a YouTube performance, and Civic Theatres Toronto wants you to help change names. Also in the news are Lindsay Ell, Santa Teresa fest,  Haley Blais,  Paul White, Jon Mullane, George Thorogood, Lonely Parade, and farewells to Mark Rye, Vanessa Staples, and Fraser Loveman.

Music News Digest, April 11, 2018

By Kerry Doole

The newly established Audiotree North has announced its Canadian Music Week (CMW) showcase line-up, set for May 11 at The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. The showcase lineup comprises Ought, Casper Skulls, Begonia, Pkew Pkew Pkew and Pony. CMW Explorer/Explorer+ Wristbands and tickets are available via TicketWeb, Rotate This and Soundscapes.

Audiotree North is also partnering with the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) to present a pre-event celebration, open exclusively to CMW delegates. The event will premiere live music videos from six artists, shot in Toronto at the Great Hall, the Longboat and Revolution Recording. This pilot session featured Pup, Lido Pimienta, Casper Skulls, Pony, Magic Giant and Begonia.


The Washboard Union is launching its new album What We’re Made Of live on YouTube in Toronto soon, and is inviting some lucky fans to join the fun. They have a few all-access passes to award for the April 19 event. Apply here. Names of the winners will be drawn April 16.

–  Canadian impresario Michael Cohl has had a successful career selling concert tickets but his sprawling Key Biscayne home is one attraction that isn’t moving as fast as he might have hoped. The Florida market at best is topsy-turvy but having had this dream palace with a US$36M price tag sit unsold for over a year, he’s now put it up for auction. We say topsy-turvy because prices can often times turn skittish. Take Celine Dion’s Jupiter Beach complex, put on the market for $73M and eventually selling five years later for the knock-down price of $28M.

 Take a gander on what’s on offer at Michael’s 960 Harbor Drive pile in the video below.

– The lineup of the 2nd Edition of the Santa Teresa Festival has been announced. Taking place in Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec, from May 18 - 20, it features such notables as Feist, Nick Murphy (fka Chet Faker), Klô Pelgag,  Lil Uzi Vert, Todd Terje, July Talk, The Voidz, Wolf Parade, Alice Glass, and francophone acts Gazoline and Zen Bamboo. The full lineup here


– Earlier this week, Civic Theatres Toronto announced a “national public naming competition” (complete with a prize package worth $2.5K) for three Toronto theatres, the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, the Toronto Centre for the Arts, and the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. The renaming contest is taking submissions until April 27. 

– Canadian country artist Lindsay Ell has a blockbuster hit on her hands with the single "Criminal." This week, Ell has earned the top spot at both Mediabase and BDS Canadian country radio charts with the track, the first Canadian female artist to hit number one on both those charts in Canada. Terri Clark’s “In My Next Life” in 2008.  The Project, Ell's first full-length country album, is currently poised to go Top Twenty at US country radio. Currently on tour with Brad Paisley, Ell is set to join Sugarland for 23 dates starting in July.

–  Vancouver pop singer/songwriter Haley Blais first had a real impact via her own Youtube channel. Created in 2013, it has attracted over a million views. Last week she released her second EP, Let Yourself Go. Lead single “Small Foreign Faction” received over 150,000 streams within weeks of release, and Blais has just announced a Toronto show at The Baby G, set for May 12. Here's the new video for the track "Remove Tag."


– The late Canadian record label legend Paul White will be remembered at a Celebration of Life event in Toronto on May 3. It will be held at the Imperial Pub, Library Bar (2nd. floor, 6-9 pm). Please RSVP to Piers Hemmingsen at Known as the man who introduced Canada to the Beatles, White passed away on March 13.


– Shine On, a music documentary profiling the East Coast singer/songwriter Jon Mullane, recently won the award for Best Video Long Form at the 16th Annual Independent Music Awards, held at The Lincoln Center in New York, NY. The film was produced and directed by John Rosborough of Halifax NS based RPM Productions and shot in Nova Scotia and Los Angeles.

– George Thorogood plays Massey Hall in Toronto on April 26, part of his national Party Of Onetour. The day before, he hosts a meet and greet at Sunrise Records in Pickering, ON, from 6-8pm. The first 200 customers who purchase any new George Thorogood album will receive a wristband to meet him then.

–  Montreal-based lo-fi rock Lonely Parade has just signed to Toronto label Buzz Records. A debut album for the label is expected later this year. The group has upcoming gigs at Montreal's Theatre Plaza (opening for Preoccupations on April 16), Fredericton's Flourish Festival (April 21), and Ottawa Explosion (June 15).


Mark Rye, English record industry executive, manager and archivist, has died suddenly aged 66.

He began his career at BBC Records and then Raft Records as a radio plugger. He joined EMI in 1974 to run Harvest, home of Pink Floyd, Roy Harper and Be-Bop Deluxe. Rye signed Marshall Hain, then managed the band before their 1978 worldwide hit Dancing in the City took off. He also added Bill Nelson to his management roster.

He worked with the See For Miles catalogue label and started Magpie, a catalogue distribution and mail order service, in 1990. In 2000, he formed Highnote, a music publishing company with Steve Waters, and they published The British Hit Singles Jan 1940-Oct 1952: The Missing Charts (2013), accompanied by CDs of hits from those charts. Sources: The Guardian, Radio New Zealand


Yvonne Staples, one of the five members of the gospel and R&B greats, The Staple Singers, has died at her home in Chicago at the age of 80.

Led by Roebuck “Pops” Staples, the family group signed their first record contract in 1952. Their first album, Uncloudy Day, was released on Vee-Jay in 1959. The most significant success for The Staple Singers came after they signed to Stax Records in 1967. That is when Yvonne became a permanent part of the group, after previously having filled in for her brother Pervis while he was in the service.

In the '70s, the group had hits with “Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom-Boom),” Respect Yourself,” "I’ll Take You There,"  “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me),” “Touch a Hand Make a Friend,” and “Let’s Do It Again.” The Staples Singers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Gospel Hall of Fame this year, along with receiving a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. Source:

Fraser Loveman, frontman of St. Catharines band The Modbeats, died on April 6. Initially called the British Modbeats, the group released its debut album,  Mod…is the British Modbeats, in 1967 and was active locally for several decades. The band shared the stage with such acts as The Byrds, The Rascals, and The Four Tops. The group performed on and off in the Niagara region for decades.

Loveman was also a musicologist with over 50,000 records in his collection. He was also a frequent poster on social media. Source: Blues Hamilton, St. Catharines Standard




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