Music News Digest, April 6, 2018

Senator Winebar imports secretly seductive sorcerer Elle Madeline tonight and Saturday, cellist Margaret Maria honours Canadian women, Tory Lanez announces international tour dates, and Nando’s Music Exchange workshop expands to Canada. Also in the news are Long Range Hustle, Mickey Gilley, Beaches Jazz, Hamilton Arts Awards, Merkules, Obey The Brave, and it's farewell Cecil Taylor.

Music News Digest, April 6, 2018

By FYI Staff


There is a mystery performer of a sort appearing at Bobby Sniderman’s upscale 24-seat boutique Senator Winebar tonight and Saturday.

Think of a recent Canadian singer who has taken London and Paris by storm with an imaginative chess play of songs reimaged from a classic catalogue of song hits and you can rightly guess who will be on stage.

Performing under the pseudonym of Elle Madeline, the set time is 9 pm–but one is almost guaranteed to need a dinner reservation to obtain a seat in this intimate French-inspired bistro that has taste-maker Nicholas Jennings booking an eclectic array of talent for the room. See you there?


Margaret Maria (Tobolowska), a former NAC cellist and co-founder of Ottawa’s OrKidstra, has just released her ninth album that is dedicated to Canadian women “who bravely live their truth.” Entitled Heroines in Harmony (available through CDBaby and co-funded through an Ontario Arts Council grant), Maria honours Buffy Sainte-Marie, Roberta Bondar, Lieutenant Colonel Maryse Carmichael, Evelyn Hart, Emily Carr, Viola Desmond, Joannie Rochette, Elisapee Sheutiapik, Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova, missing and murdered Indigenous women, Honourable Louise Arbour, Margaret Atwood, Marguerite D'Roberval, Angela Hewitt, and Tina Fedeski.

An interview about the project can be found at ArtsFile.

And here’s a taste of Maria’s talent from an earlier release

Rum Ragged, Janet Cull, Earle and Coffin participated in Caribbean and Atlantic Canadian Music Showcase at Club One on Gower St. in St. John’s last night. These acts, and others from New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, will perform together in what has become a musical extravaganza that will be filmed for Flow/CWC TV in the Caribbean and Bell Fibe TV1 in Canada. Additional segments for this show were filmed on location in Trinidad and Tobago in March. – The Telegram


– American folk singer-songwriter and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner Tom Paxton teams up with the singer/songwriter duo, the DonJuans (Don Henry and Jon Vezner) at Hugh’s Room Live on Oct. 13 with door ducats set at $50. Both songsmiths have had umpteen covers over the years. Below, an ode Paxton wrote about the bravery of firefighters who died Sept. 11, 2001.

In between, Tom Rush can be found at the Roncesvalles’ district dinner-club this Sunday (8th), James Keelaghan this coming Thursday (12th), Laura Smith on the 14th, and Dave Gunning with JP Cormier on the 18th. Line-up and ticket details here.

CIMA is heading to Nashville in Aug. to lead a Canadian trade mission at the Americana Music Festival & Conference. The 19th annual will be taking place between Sept. 11-16 and is expected to feature approximately 500 live performances at over 60 venues in Music City. Contact Jenia Schukov ( for details or apply here.

–  Still On The Run: The Jeff Beck Story, a 108-minute Eagle Rock doc has its release on May 18. The film includes interviews with Beck, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, David Gilmour, Ronnie Wood, Slash, Jan Hammer, and Joe Perry. The guitarist starts touring in the UK and Europe in June and has one Canadian show scheduled at Budweiser Stage in Toronto on Aug. 1.


– The Passport: Music Export Masterclass is set to run in Calgary, April 8-12 and includes international music industry mentors at Studio Bell. Produced by Manitoba Music, Music Nova Scotia, Canada’s Music Incubator, and the National Music Centre, Passport is funded by FACTOR with support from the Government of Canada. The event includes a free public showcase on the evening of April 11 featuring Ahi, Sate, Samurai Champs, Nuela Charles, and Port Cities. More info here


– Canadian hip-hop star Tory Lanez has announced his international touring plans to support his new release Memories Don't Die. The trek begins May 11 in Miami and includes Canadian shows in Vancouver (June 9), Edmonton (June 12), Calgary (June 13), Toronto (July 4), Quebec City (July 11) and Montreal (July 13). The North American tour closes out Aug. 11 in Birmingham, AL. Dates in the UK and Europe run Sept. 18 to Oct. 9. See the full sked here

– Roots-rock combo Long Range Hustle has started its month-long Tuesday night residency at Toronto's Dakota Tavern, in the 6-9pm slot.  A different guest is featured each week, including Lee Watson on April 17 and Oh Geronimo on April 24.

– Nando’s Music Exchange workshop is expanding to Canada for the first time through a partnership with noted non-profit The Remix Project. The program offers budding musicians a four-day workshop in the UK featuring chart-topping artists and industry experts. Past mentors include Ella Eyre, Urthboy, Dope Saint Jude and Muzi. Two young Canadian artists will be chosen to participate in the program, running June 4-7 at famed London live venue, The Roundhouse.

– US country music veteran Mickey Gilley was recently presented with the Calgary White Hat honour. The White Hat recognizes the recipient as an honorary citizen of Calgary and is a symbol of friendship and hospitality. Other notable recipients include former US Presidents Clinton and Bush, the Dalai Lama, Oprah and the Rolling Stones. Gilley received the award at the Deerfoot Inn & Casino in Calgary, and he stated “It was a great honour receiving the White Hat in Calgary, just about like when I got the star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was awesome!”

– One of the biggest and best free summer music fests around has announced the dates for this year's event. The Beaches International Jazz Festival in Toronto returns from July 7 – 29, celebrating its 30th anniversary. Locations include Woodbine Park, Jimmie Simpson Park, and, for the ever-popular StreetFest, Queen Street East.


– The just announced 2018 Hamilton Arts Awards nominations include some notable Steeltown musicians. Those named in the Established Artist category are Andre Bisson, Benjamin Hackett, Amy King, Harrison Kennedy, Bill Majoros, Mike McCurlie, Max Schramp, Terra Lightfoot, and Pip. The Emerging Artist nominees are Vince Tarlton, Andrew MacPhail, Justin Ross, Jennifer Budd, Jason Hachey, Travis Stoddart, Gillian Nicola, Ryan Moore, and Olivia Brown. The Awards Presentation will take place at Theatre Aquarius Dofasco Centre for the Arts as part of Hamilton Arts Week. $35K in cash prizes will be awarded to artists.

– The highly-anticipated but seemingly jinxed planned appearance by Aretha Franklin at the Toronto Jazz Festival is now officially off. It had been set for the 2017 fest but was rescheduled for June 28 at the Sony Centre this year. The TJF has now announced the cancellation, noting the soul diva "has been ordered not to perform in the coming months,” for medical reasons.

– Oshawa Music Week is now underway. It began April 5 and runs until April 12, and is presented by the Music Business Management program of Durham College. Oshawa Music Week has been around for 18 years, though previously under the name of Reel Music Festival. Concerts and an awards show are featured, and you can check the lineup of events here.


– BC rapper Merkules released his latest full-length release, Cole, last week. The 15-track album features such guests as Project Pat, singer/producer Stevie Ross, Evil Ebenezer, Caspian and Jelly Roll. Two singles have already been taken from Cole, and here's the new video for the third single "Moment." The clip has rapidly racked nearly 400K YouTube views.

– Canadian metalcore heavyweights Obey The Brave will play dates in Quebec and the Maritimes this spring and summer, in support of latest album Mad Season. The tour begins at Trois-Rivières Metal Fest on April 7, closing out at Baba's Lounge in Charlottetown on July 8. Itinerary here


Cecil Percival Taylor, an American pianist and poet, considered a pioneer of free jazz, died on April 5, at age 89.

After studying at the New England Conservatory. In 1955, Taylor moved from Boston to New York City. His first recording, Jazz Advance, featured Steve Lacy and was released in 1956. Taylor collaborated with John Coltrane shortly after. In 1964, Taylor co-founded the Jazz Composers Guild to enhance the working possibilities of avant-garde jazz musicians. He began to perform solo concerts in the second half of the sixties, and his work in Europe influenced free improvisers there. In a tweet, Living Colour's Vernon Reid termed Taylor "a revolutionary artist who pushed jazz piano to its outer reaches. He was fearless. He was bare-knuckled intellect and raw heart."

The Beaches performing at Billboard Canada's Women in Music Launch on June 5, 2024
Marc Thususka Photography

The Beaches performing at Billboard Canada's Women in Music Launch on June 5, 2024


The Beaches, Charlotte Cardin, Allison Russell Make the 2024 Polaris Music Prize Long List

The 40-album long list for the Polaris Prize, which awards $50,000 to the best Canadian record of the year features up-and-comers like punk group NOBRO and producer Bambii, plus rapper TOBi, and legends like Quebec group Karkwa and previous Heritage Prize winner Beverly Glenn-Copeland.

Some of the country's biggest breakthrough artists are in contention for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

The 40-album long list was revealed today (June 11) at Sonic Boom record store in downtown Toronto. It features some of the buzziest names in Canadian music, from The Beaches — who were recently awarded Billboard Canada Women in Music's inaugural Group of the Year award — to Grammy-winner Allison Russell, to Canadian Hot 100 charting acts like Charlotte Cardin and Talk, to underground mainstays like Cindy Lee, who had an organic breakthrough this year with Diamond Jubilee.

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