Music News Digest, Aug. 13, 2020

The Dead South (pictured) celebrates a major milestone, the Jim Beam National Talent Search goes virtual, and CMAO resets its performance series. Also making news are Lindsay Ell, Oh Susanna, Kathleen Edwards, Jay Douglas, Bryce Clifford, Metallica, Mississauga Music Walk of Fame, Patti Jannetta, The Weeknd, Adrian Sutherland, NOW, The Georgia Straight, MMF, Southern Supper, Regina Folk Festival, Samantha Martin, and farewell Trini Lopez.

Music News Digest, Aug. 13, 2020

By Kerry Doole

Canadian Music Week (CMW) has announced the Jim Beam National Talent Search Tour will take place virtually, Sept. 26 – Oct. 3, with 30-minute episodes spotlighting five bands from eight Canadian cities. Hosted by Josie Dye of Indie88, each of the resulting regional webisodes will be streamed via and plus Vimeo, and YouTube as well as partnering radio stations across the country. Fans are invited to vote for their favourite band to play live at the Jim Beam INDIES in 2021 at More info here

– Earlier this year CMAOntario offered its artist members spots in its 2020 Summer Performance Series. Due to the impact of Covid-19, these performances have been rescheduled to the 2021 Summer calendar.  As part of Performance Series 1, Owen Barney will join the 2021 lineups for Crooks Rapids Country Fest, Manitoulin Country Fest and Lucknow's Music In The Fields. As part of his Performance Series 2 selection, Aaron Allen will take the stage at the 2021 editions of Boot Hill Country Jamboree, Havelock Country Jamboree and Winding Roads. Both artists will be featured at the 2021 CMAOntario New Faces Showcase & Concert, alongside Kansas Stone, Charissa Pavlou and Robyn Ottolini.


– Three years ago, FYI ran a feature story on the phenomenal success of In Hell I'll Be In Good Company, a tune and video by Regina bluegrass combo The Dead South. The clip had then reached an impressive 11M views, with then-manager Brian Hetherman predicting that "20M is not out of the question." Fast-forward to now, and, with Six Shooter Records now at the helm, that video has notched a mind-blowing 200M views! To celebrate, a new Worldwide Dance Party video version of the track was compiled from clips sent in from fans around the globe. the results (below) will surely brighten your day.


–– Kathleen Edwards has grabbed major international press attention with her 'comeback' album, Total Freedom. It officially comes out tomorrow (Aug. 14), and she launches it with a live-stream then (at 3 pm EST). She'll perform the new material with her band live from her Ottawa cafe, Quitters Coffee.  Watch on Amazon Music Twitch, Youtube, and Facebook.

– Nashville-based Canadian country star Linday Ell releases her sophomore album, Heart Theory, tomorrow (Aug. 14), and is going all out in its promotion.  Beginning 11 pm CT on Aug. 13, Ell will live-stream on her Instagram for 24 hours, featuring special guests and performances. The current ACM New Female Artist of the Year nominee will perform the record’s hit single Want Me Back on the Today show on Aug. 17 from Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium. The track was #1 most-added at country radio in its debut week and continues to climb. Stream it here 

– On Aug. 29, Metallica plays its first show of 2020, for the Encore Drive-In Nights series. The band's full set will be shown at hundreds of drive-in and outdoor theatres across the US and  Canada. Canadian hard rock group Three Days Grace is a special guest. Four digital downloads of Metallica's S&M2 album are included with each ticket purchase. General on-sale begins on August 14. Info here 


Mississauga Music Walk of Fame has announced singer, recording artist and event organizer Patti Jannetta as its 2020 Inductee. The Induction Ceremony will take place on Sept. 13 at 8 pm, part of the Tim Horton’s Southside Shuffle Blues and Jazz Festival Virtual Event, streaming on YouTube and Facebook. Patti Jannetta’s career began as a teen singer/actress in the Los Angeles and Las Vegas production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Performing internationally, she released three albums and seven singles, and starred in her own CTV television special A Family Christmas. She is a Juno Award nominee and received a Diamond record for her collaboration on the MuchMusic Dance hit Tell Me You Love Me.


The Weeknd has cause for celebration, given the news that his smash hit Blinding Lights has posted an unprecedented 21st week at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B Songs chart as the track retains the top slot on the list dated Aug. 15, the trade pub reports. This feat surpasses a trio of tracks that shared the previous record of 20 weeks – Drake’s One Dance, featuring WizKid and Kyla, The Weeknd’s own Starboy, featuring Daft Punk, and Bruno Mars’ That’s What I Like. The rankings began in 2012.

– Adrian Sutherland, leader of Indigenous roots-rock band Midnight Shine, has earned a rep as an eloquent spokesperson for his community. That has helped him score a just-announced publishing deal with Penguin Random House to write a memoir of his life growing up in Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario. Source: CBC 

– The 2020 call for nominations for the MMF Canada Board is open until Aug. 18. Interested candidates can nominate themselves by submitting their info including a photo, bio, and candidate statement via the online form

– Until recently, free alternative weekly papers NOW (Toronto) and The Georgia Straight  (Vancouver) had, for decades, played a major role in promoting the music scenes in their cities. That no longer seems to be the case, thanks to the recent takeover of both publications by MediaCentral. That company bought NOW magazine and last Nov, and in March took over The Georgia Straight. The result has been a major reduction in music coverage in both publications. Go to the Straight’s website and you’ll see 11 subject headings. They include Cannabis and E-Sports, but to find Music, you have to scroll down in the ‘More’ category. Similarly, the NOW site has nine headings, including Gaming and Cannabis, with Music relegated to a sub-head under Culture. Over the decades, these papers have had regular contributions from many of Canada's top music journalists (Sir Bob Geldof once worked for the Straight!), so witnessing this serious decline is a sad sight.


– The Center des Musicians du Mondein Montreal will present Kiya Tabassian & Hamin Honari in a free series of intimate concerts from the Four Corners of the World, beginning Wed. from 5 pm to 6 pm. There will be 40 tickets sold for each concert, and social distancing guidelines will be followed.

– The lineup for the Regina Folk Festival’s upcoming drive-in concert series has been finalised. Marshall Burns (Rah Rah), Megan Nash and Andino Suns are the headliners this coming weekend, in a series that’s co-presented with Summer Bash in a parking lot at the Conexus Arts Centre. Shows are Aug. 14-16, 2 pm and 9 pm daily; the nighttime shows include big-screen projections. Find tickets at Source: Regina Leader-Post


– The popular Southern Supper music series hosted in Hamilton at superb southern food restaurant Mississippi Queen has been forced to head outdoors and out of town in the pandemic. In a booking coup, MQ owner Connie Rouble has landed Tom Wilson (BARK, Lee Harvey Osmond) and Jesse O'Brien for the next event, on Aug. 22. The duo will perform at a private residence, approximately 30 minutes from Hamilton. 16 tables (properly distanced) are available, and the ticket price includes dinner. Advance reservations are essential. Info here.

– The Blues Productions and The Cove Inn, Westport, ON, have announced a Covid-modified version of the Blues On The Rideau dinner and show fundraiser series. Pandemic rules mean the fall series will feature duos & trios playing “sit-and-listen” blues to a smaller audience (50), properly distanced. The first night, Sept. 18, features Rick Fines and Suzie Vinnick, with TheSamantha Martin Trio in on Oct. 23 and 24, and Horojo Trio there Nov. 13-14. Note: To date the BOTR @ The Cove Series has raised over $74K for local Westport charities. Advance reservations are essential. Info here 

– Hamilton roots-rocker Bryce Clifford and his band Brother Superior have just released a second single and music video from the forthcoming album Rebounder.

– Toronto music veteran Jay Douglas has a live-stream set for today (Aug. 13) at 12.30 pm, as part of the Play The Parks series hosted by Canada's Music Incubator and Downtown Yonge BIA. Expect a range of Caribbean and R&B flavours as he performs from the inside of the Friar's Music Museum. Available on the @DowntownYonge Facebook page. Recommended.

– Tomorrow (Aug. 14) at 7 pm PDT, acclaimed roots songstress Oh Susanna presents a Campfire & Cocktails live-stream event from a backyard in East Van via Facebook Live. She and her ace band comprising Paul Pigat, Jeremy Holmes, and Cam Giroux will sing songs and sip cocktails around the fire. Pay What You Want through If you tip $50 or more you will receive an Oh Susanna CD in the mail. A deluxe reissue of her breakthrough album Sleepy Little Sailor comes out Sept. 4.

– Support the Future of Folk, the summer fundraising campaign by Folk Alliance International (FAI), continues, with the aim of raising $25K in order to be able to offer free resources to its community throughout the year. The org is still a little short of that goal, and you can assist by donating here.


Trini Lopez (Trinidad Lopez III), the US singer, guitarist and actor known for his Sixties hits If I Had a Hammer and Lemon Tree, died on Aug. 11, from coronavirus, at the age of 83.

Born in Dallas to parents who were from Mexico, Lopez began his music career at the age of 15, when he formed his first band. One of his groups, The Big Beats, signed to Columbia, before he struck out on his own as a solo artist and he signed to King Records in the late Fifties.

After releasing several singles that failed to chart, he left the label and soon after began a residency at Los Angeles club PJ’s. Frank Sinatra caught Lopez performing during his residency and in 1963, Sinatra signed Lopez to Reprise Records.

Lopez’s 1963 Reprise debut, a live album called Trini Lopez at PJ’s, produced several hits, including his rendition of If I Had a Hammer, written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays that hit Number One and eventually achieved gold status, and his version of the Will Holt-penned Lemon Tree.

He continued to release albums and hits through the Sixties as well as performed nightclubs throughout the U.S., including regular stints as a Las Vegas headliner.

He also designed two guitars for Gibson, The Trini Lopez Standard and the Lopez Deluxe, which were produced from 1964 through 1971. His guitars are prized by musicians, including Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl.

“Today the world sadly lost yet another legend, Trini Lopez. Trini not only left a beautiful music legacy of his own, but also unknowingly helped shape the sound of the Foo Fighters,” Grohl tweeted via the Foo Fighters’ Twitter account. “Every album we have ever made, from the first to the latest, was recorded with my red Trini Lopez signature guitar. It is the sound of our band, and my most prized possession from the day I bought it in 1992. Thank you, Trini for all of your contributions.”

Alongside his music career, Lopez also pursued acting. In 1967, he starred alongside an ensemble cast that included Charles Bronson, Ernest Borgnine, John Cassavetes, Lee Marvin, Donald Sutherland and Telly Savalas in Robert Aldrich’s classic The Dirty Dozen. He also appeared as himself in 1970 film The Phynx and starred in the title role of Claudio Guzman’s 1973 film, Antonio. He also appeared on several TV shows.

Lopez recorded more than 60 albums. He was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2003 and was honoured on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars in 2008.

Filmmakers P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes have recently wrapped shooting a documentary about Lopez’s life. Sources: Rolling Stone, BBC

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