Music News Digest, Aug. 10, 2020

Jessie Reyez (pictured) releases a new video from her hit album, Terra Lightfoot announces a new record, and Matthew Grimson’s famous friends boost his legacy. Also in the news are Juice WRLD and The Weeknd, Fast Romantics, the CFMAs, The Nursery, The Paddock, Music PEI, Jazz Bistro, and farewell Brent Carver, Martin Birch, and Wayne Fontana.

Music News Digest, Aug. 10, 2020

By Kerry Doole

Released back in March, Before Love Came To Kill Us, the debut full-length album from Jessie Reyez, became a US Billboard Top 20 hit and was recently shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize. A video for the title track has just been released. Directed by Claire Edmondson, it features the singer’s hometown of Toronto as the backdrop. Reyez also makes an appearance in the new visual album by Beyoncé, Black Is King.

– Hamilton rocker/road warrior Terra Lightfoot will release a new album, Consider the Speed, on Oct. 16. The first single and video, Paper Thin Walls, is out now.


– Smile, a collaboration of late US hip-hop star Juice WRLD and The Weeknd, has just been released, on Grade A/Interscope Records. Prior to his death, Juice WRLD tweeted about making music with The Weeknd, saying that the pair “would make a diamond record.” Source: The Music Universe

 Murderecords and New Scotland Records are co-presenting the posthumous release of Matthew Grimson’s 1995 recorded output which features Sloan’s Andrew Scott and Chris Murphy, Matt Murphy (The Super Friendz/Flashing Lights) and Clive McNutt. All the songs on the album, Prize for Writing, were remixed by Joel Plaskett in 2018/2019. A local hero in Halifax, Grimson only released one solo album prior to his death in 2018. You can listen to or buy this LP at

– Toronto modern rock combo Fast Romantics released a new album, Pick It Up, on Friday. A worldwide album release party/live-stream from the Dakota Tavern is set for Aug. 20. Purchase tickets via Side Door here 

– The 2021 Canadian Folk Music Awards is currently accepting applications for the Unsung Hero Award. This is an annual award recognizing the exceptional contribution of an individual, group, or organization active in any aspect of the Canadian folk music scene (performance, promotion, presentation, etc). The deadline is Aug. 31.


–  Toronto's post-punk synth-pop trio The Nursery made a noise with its 2017 debut, Life After Wartime. The group has been busy building a studio in Toronto, and now returns with a new single, Radium Girls, the first track from a sophomore LP, Candy + Gloom, due out later this year. 

– It looks like the latest casualty on the Toronto club scene will be The Paddock. A FB post on the weekend explained that "With a heavy heart we bring you this news: It appears The Paddock will be coming to an end shortly, as our negotiations with our landlord have hit a stalemate." The watering hole, around for 74 years, was not a regular music venue, but it had often hosted events for CMW, NXNE, Indie Week, Music City North, Summerworks, TIFF, and more. It will be missed.

– Music PEI members are invited to vote for the 2020–2021 Board of Directors nominees. Voting closes Aug. 12 at 5 pm AT for all current members. Log in here to vote. The new board members will be announced on an open Zoom Call for Music PEI's AGM on Aug. 19.


– A rare bit of good news for the Toronto live music scene is the announcement of a reopening of Jazz Bistro for performances. A new season launches on Aug. 14 and 15 with shows by vocalist Colin Hunter and the Joe Sealy Quartet. All covid-related precautions will be taken.


Brent Carver, a Canadian stage actor who found international fame, passed away on Aug. 4 , in his hometown of Cranbrook in BC, at age 68. No cause of death has been released.

Carver's career took him to Broadway in New York, London's West End and many theatres across Canada, including the Shaw and Stratford festivals, as well as roles in TV and film.


Early in his career, he made a splash on the Toronto scene in such plays as Bent and Unidentified Human Remains And The True Nature Of Love.

In 2014, he was awarded the Governor General's Performing Arts Award For Lifetime Artistic Achievement.

In 1993, Carver won a Tony award for best actor in a musical for his role in the Broadway production of Kiss of the Spider Woman, alongside Chita Rivera.

Carver appeared in nine seasons with the Stratford Festival, beginning with Long Day's Journey Into Night with William Hutt and Jessica Tandy in 1980. In 2017 — his last season with the festival — he starred in Twelfth Night and The School for Scandal, as well as presenting his own cabaret. Sources: CBC, NOW

Martin Birch, a record producer and engineer known for his work with Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Rainbow and Black Sabbath, has died at the age of 71. No cause of death has been reported.

The news was confirmed by David Coverdale, for whom Birch produced the first six Whitesnake studio albums.

Birch made a habit of working with bands for long periods of time. He produced every Iron Maiden album from 1981's Killers to 1992's Fear of the Dark, and engineered and / or produced nearly a dozen Deep Purple albums. He also helmed Black Sabbath's Ronnie James Dio-fronted Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules, engineered five early Fleetwood Mac albums, and produced Rainbow's first three studio efforts.

He retired from the industry after producing Iron Maiden’s Fear of the Dark. Source: Ultimate Classic Rock

Wayne Fontana (Glyn Geoffrey Ellis), an English pop singer, who scored a major transatlantic hit with The Game of Love in 1965, has died aged 74 at hospital in Stockport. The cause of death has not been announced.


Born in Manchester, Fontana took his stage name from the Elvis Presley drummer DJ Fontana. Backed by his band, the Mindbenders, he released his debut single in 1963 and further singles grew ever more successful: Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um reached No 5 in the UK in 1964, with The Game of Love reaching No 2 the following year and going on to become his signature song. Source: The Guardian

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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