Music News Digest, Aug. 26, 2021

RBC Bluesfest’s lineup includes Jann Arden (pictured), the Manifesto festival turns 15, and a British metal band covers Avril. Also in the news are CityFolk, Savannah Ré, Orchestre Métropolitain, Gord Downie, Catherine MacLellan, Supercrawl, Skratch Bastid, Indie Weekly, Carson Koa, Slaight Music Unsung Hero Award, Gregory Oh, Stereos, CMW, Jenie Thai, and farewell Brian Travers.

Music News Digest, Aug. 26, 2021

By Kerry Doole

Live music is returning to Ottawa in a big way. RBC Bluesfest and CityFolk organizers have announced their two events will take place during two weekends next month, at The Great Lawn at Lansdowne Park. Both fests feature strong lineups of live acts and are produced by RBC Bluesfest/CityFolk ED and artistic director Mark Monahan and his team. Events run Sept. 16-18, with artists including Charlotte Day Wilson, DVSN, Roy Woods, Our Lady Peace, Moist, Dean Brody, and The Reklaws. RBC Bluesfest spans Sept. 23- 25, with performers including Half Moon Run, Tokyo Police Club, Jann Arden, Barenaked Ladies, Ryland James, Tom Cochrane, April Wine, and MonkeyJunk. General on-sale begins today (Aug. 26) here


– Manifesto, a Toronto festival of music, arts and culture, celebrates its 15th anniversary in a major way, with a live music concert at CityView on Sept. 11. It is co-headlined by recent Juno winner Savannah Ré and Notifi, with Charmaine, Baebe Ruth, JAHKOY and others on the bill. Tix here

Manifesto will also be hosting a free 2-day Summit (Sept. 9-10) with panel discussions featuring celebrated Miami-based production & songwriting duo Cool & Dre, American photographer Ernie Paniccioli, Donisha Prendergast, the granddaughter of Bob Marley, and conversations involving dub poet and activist d'bi young, rapper Raz Fresco, producers 2oolman (The Halluci Nation) and Akeel Henry, plus influencers and music artists. Register here.

– The Orchestre Métropolitain and its artistic director and principal conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin have announced details of their 2021-2022 season, the 40th anniversary of the OM's founding. The season features 12 concert programs, six conducted by Nézet-Séguin. He kicks off the 2021-2022 season on Sept. 30, when internationally-renowned pianist Hélène Grimaud joins the OM to perform Ravel's Piano Concert in G Major. Five of the season's six guest conductors are women. More info here 


– On Tuesday night, this scribe was lucky enough to be part of a small audience allowed to catch the taping of a Supercrawl-sponsored concert at Hamilton’s Bridgeworks by celebrated PEI singer/songwriter Catherine MacLellan. With the skilled accompaniment of longtime collaborator David Baxter, she delighted with a set featuring older favourites (Take A Break) newer material, and covers of Snowbird (written by her dad Gene MacLellan) and Joni’s Big Yellow Taxi. A faint hint of pandemic rust was detected, but this charming artist was clearly thrilled to be back onstage. Spied in the audience were local notables Tom Wilson, Lori Yates, Lindy Vopnfjord, Noel Webb (Skydiggers), Mark DiPietro, and CIMA Board Chair Tim Potocic (Sonic Unyon). This large event space is being tapped for more concerts, good news for the Hammer scene.

MacLellan’s concert will be streamed on Sept. 12. Other acts in the free Supercrawl series include Bad Waitress (Sept. 4), Nuela Charles (Sept. 10), Cadence Weapon (Sept. 11) and Athanase (Sept. 26). All shows start at 7pm EST. Tix here.

– Tomorrow (Aug. 27), Arts & Crafts releases Coke Machine Glow: Songwriters' Cabal, the expanded 20th Anniversary release of Gord Downie's acclaimed album Coke Machine Glow. The triple-album features the original two-disc set plus a bonus record of 12 unreleased demos, alternate versions, and never-before-heard outtakes – curated by Gord’s “oldest Toronto friend” Josh Finlayson and brother Patrick Downie with Arts & Crafts’ Jonathan Shedletzky.


– English hard rock band Inglorious has covered Avril Lavigne’s I’m With You as its new single, from an upcoming covers' album, Heroine (out Sept. 10). Of note: £1 from every sale of this album on the band's web store will be donated to UK charity Women's Aid.

– Tuning In To Nature, 2.0 is a joint fundraiser for three Prince Edward Island orgs, the Island Nature Trust, the PEI Symphony Orchestra, and the Indian River Festival (IRF). On Oct. 2, the three lead a guided nature walk featuring live, nature-inspired music along the route, in Indian River, PEI. Musicians from the PEI Symphony perform at the end of the walk. Tix here


– The next Indie Weekly webinar, on Aug. 31 at 4 pm ET, is entitled Grants for Musicians and presents useful advice for artists. It features Jorge Miguel (Seneca College) with host Darryl Hurs (Indie Week / CD Baby). Free with registration here.

– Promising 18-year-old singer-songwriter/actor Carson Koa officially releases a new single, Breakfast Special, tomorrow (Aug. 27). It features his writing collaboration with mentor Lily Frost, along with Rob Joy, Denielle Bassels, and Chris Bartos. Koa works out of LA and Toronto.

– The Slaight Music Unsung Hero Award, presented at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, is still accepting submissions here, with an Aug. 31 deadline.

– Toronto Harbourfront Centre’s popular Summer Music in the Garden series welcomes award-winning pianist, Dora-nominated music director and conductor Gregory Oh as its new curator for the 2022 season. He takes the helm next month.

–  The next CMW Virtual Voices Webinar, supported by RBC Emerging Artist Project, is on Sept. 7. Entitled The Song Does Not Remain The Same, it features Patrick Kordyback of pop-rock hitmakers Stereos in conversation with Rudy Blair. Register for free here.

– As restrictions ease up, the Skratch Bastid & Friends concert on Aug. 27 at CityView in Toronto has been converted from the drive-in format to a general admission, festival-style, standing-room only event. The same layout will be in place for a Sept. 30 show featuring Grandson, Monowhales, and Kasador.

– The Toronto Blues Society Piano Blues Series presents Jenie Thai at 8 pm on Sept. 15 at The Medley,  2026 Yonge Street. Reservations and info here


– Correction: An early version of the Monday edition of FYI mistakenly ran a photo of Ricky Skaggs inducting Don Everly into the Musicians Hall of Fame.


Brian David Travers, a saxophone player and founding member of English band UB40, died on Aug. 22, at age 62. In a statement, UB40 paid tribute to their longtime bandmate, announcing he had died “after a long and heroic battle with cancer.”

Travers joined UB40 not long after his friends Ali Campbell and Earl Falconer had started a band. They played their first show in Feb. 1979 in Birmingham. The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde saw one of their shows and invited them to open for her band. Soon after they released their first single Food for Thought and debut album Signing Off.

The group went on to become an internationally popular pop-reggae band. Hits over the years included covers of Neil Diamond’s Red Red Wine and Elvis Presley's Can’t Help Falling in Love With You. The band also earned four Grammy nominations, all in the reggae category. 

Duncan Campbell left the band recently following a seizure. UB40 released their most recent album Bigga Baggariddim this year. Travers last played a show with UB40 on 2019. Sources: Rolling StoneNoise11




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