Music News Digest, Aug. 23, 2019

The Sheepdogs (pictured) go platinum, the Northern Power Summit is rated a success, and Taylor Swift vows to re-record her albums. Others in the news include  George Canyon, Windsong, a Patsy Cline tribute, Unison, Music PEI, Justin Stirling, Killer Dwarfs, Kendra Kay, Jamphitheatre, the Tranzac, and farewell Julien Gauthier. Video added.

Music News Digest, Aug. 23, 2019

By Kerry Doole

Earlier this month, Saskatchewan-bred rockers The Sheepdogs received their second Canadian platinum certification plaque for their 2012 self-titled album. The surprise presentation came from the band's label, Warner Music Canada, when The Sheepdogs were in Toronto to throw out the first pitch at Rogers Centre ahead of the Blue Jays game vs the Yankees. The band also performed a free outdoor show ahead of the game as part of the Jays’ Summer Sound Festival.

The group's first platinum album award was for the Juno-winning release Learn & Burn. That record’s lead single, Feeling Good, also received a platinum Single Award certification in 2019. Source: Music Canada


George Canyon (born Frederick George Lays) has announced he's running as a Conservative candidate in the riding of Central Nova in the upcoming federal election.

"I've always wanted to serve, I've had a very serving instinct in my life since I was a kid," Canyon told CBC News on Wednesday.

Canyon's name was added to the Conservative roster after the previous candidate, Roger MacKay, dropped out this week, citing "personal reasons."

Canyon currently lives in Alberta but said he's looking around for a home to buy in the Central Nova riding. 

– The Northern Power Summittook place in Toronto last weekend, and the producers report the urban music conference was a real success. "We had over 200 people from both days," Duane D.O. Gibson tells FYI, while Preetam Sengupta states that "from an organizer's perspective, our highlights came from the immediate feedback we received from our attendees. Some that have attended NPS every year said it was their favourite to date, and that we took a big step forward by holding Day 2 at Artscape Sandbox. We couldn't have asked for a better venue partner."

Keynote speakers at NPS included Sander Shalinsky and Grammy-winner Michael "Wanz" Wansley. Dates for next year are tentatively Aug 21-22.


– The Windsong Music Festival takes place in Powassan, ON, Aug. 23 and 24. Heading the lineup are Whitehorse, Joel Plaskett, Danny Michel, and Wild Rivers. Tix here

– The 14th edition of the popular annual Patsy Cline Birthday Show heads to Toronto's Lula Lounge on Sept. 5. A benefit for ArtsCan Circle, the tribute to the country queen sports a formidable lineup that includes Sonya Jezebel Cote, Lily Frost, Kim Doolittle, Laura Hubert, Andrea Koziol, Sue Leonard, Danny Marks, Julie Michels, Heather Morgan (founder of the Patsy Cline shows), Paul Reddick, Kathryn Rose, Loryn Taggart, and Samantha Windover. Tix here 

– As a result of her very public feud with manager Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta, founder of Big Machine Label Group, it appears Taylor Swift is planning on re-recording all the music she created while under contract to Big Machine. In the transcript of an interview on CBS Sunday Morning, the superstar stated she absolutely ”has a plan to do that," one that provides a way to regain control of her master recordings. She repeated that statement in an interview on Good Morning America yesterday, stressing her belief that "artists deserve to own their own work" (see video below). Swift signed with Universal in Nov. 2018 and releases a new album, Lover, today (Aug. 23). Sources: Celebrity Access, Good Morning America


– Last weekend (Aug. 17), Unison was the beneficiary of a fundraising event, Caboose and Chords, that featured performances from Skydiggers, Hannah Georgas, Union Duke, Harrow Fair, and Devin Cuddy. The result was a $32K boost for the coffers of the benevolent fund. The concert was hosted by Michelle and Jason Sparaga ( Co-CEO of Spark Power Corp.) at their lakefront cottage. Caboose and Chords was born when Jackie Dean and Ed Nemes decided to make an impact in the music community through supporting Unison. Source: Unison


– Shawn Mendes' concert at Ottawa's Canadian Tire Centre last Sunday was a homecoming occasion for Justin Stirling, the newest member of Mendes management team. As an Ottawa Citizen feature recently explained, Stirling grew up in Barrhaven but is now based in Los Angeles. Last year Stirling was named head of marketing for AG Artists, a boutique artist management company founded by Andrew Gertler for which Mendes is their star client. Stirling previously worked with Cody Simpson and had a stint at Geffen Records. Read more here

– The 5th annual Killer Dwarfs charity golf tournament Rock Against Hunger is happening today (Aug. 23) at Lakeridge Links & Whispering Ridge Golf Courses in Whitby, ON. Last year's tourney raised over $8K for Feed the Need in Durham, bringing the total over four years to $20K. The goal is to raise $10K this year. The event features an intimate acoustic performance by the Killer Dwarfs and friends. More info at

– Sakamoto Agency has announced the addition of Kendra Kay to the international roster. The Manitoban-raised country singer/songwriter released two singles in 2018 that made their appearance in the Top 100 Canada Country National Airplay chart for a combined 17 weeks and amassed nearly half a million streams. She also took home the Manitoba Country Music Award for Fan’s Choice Entertainer of the Year, and the Canadian Independent Music Video of the Year Award for Best Country Video, in the last 12 months. She has two shows during CCMA Week in Calgary, Sept. 6 and 7.

– Music PEI has announced that the next Music PEI Week will take place Feb. 5-9, 2020. The event includes showcases, concerts and the Music PEI Awards. Submissions for the 2020 Music PEI Awards will open later this fall.


– Lee Lifeson Art Park, the community hub named for two Willowdale natives who formed the rock band Rush, was designed with music in mind. The Park's amphitheatre hosts a jam session, Jamphitheatre, tonight (Aug. 23) from 6:30-8:30 PM, one featuring some top Toronto musicians and open to newcomers. The event is a partnership with Councillor John Filion, Good Kind Productions and Small World Music.

– The Tranzac Club, an fixture of the Toronto live music scene, hosts a fundraiser tonight (Aug. 23) to assist in the soundproofing of its Main Hall. Sound For Silence III features Omhouse, HOFS and DJ Époque Selector. The club is at $11K of a $22K goal.


Julien Gauthier, a French-Canadian composer, was killed in an attack by a grizzly bear in the Northwestern Territory of Canada last week. He was 44.

Gauthier, who had served as Composer-In-Residence with the Brittany Symphony Orchestra, in Rennes, France, since 2017, was travelling along the Mackenzie River as part of a musical project to record the remote sounds of nature. It’s believed he was attacked and dragged away from his camp site by a grizzly bear while sleeping overnight.


He was born and raised in Canada with his two French parents, but moved to France - where he lived - at the age of 19, reports say.

Last year, he spent five months recording sounds in the Kerguelen Islands in Antarctica, and the result of that trip was a piece called Symphonie australe (Southern Symphony), which was broadcast on French radio. Sources: The Violin Channel, BBC News

Céline Dion in 'I Am : Céline Dion'
Prime Video

Céline Dion in 'I Am : Céline Dion'

Tv Film

Céline Dion Calls Prime Video Documentary 'A Love Letter To My Fans' In a Message at Her Montreal Premiere

The Quebec artist is as vulnerable as ever in 'I Am: Céline Dion,' which premiered on June 17 before its official release on June 25. Here's what we learned from the sneak peek of the film, which is raw and vulnerable and sometimes hard to watch.

The Maisonneuve Theatre in Montreal was packed to celebrate Quebec's national treasure, Céline Dion.

Monday evening, June 17, Prime Video organized a handful of previews of Irene Taylor's highly anticipated documentary I Am: Céline Dion. In Montreal, where Billboard Canada was among the guests, many people came to attend the special screening.

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