Music News Digest, Aug. 3, 2021

Billy Raffoul (pictured) wins the SOCAN Songwriting Prize, Dine Alone signs teen popster Aviv, and Drake backs a documentary on Black hockey players. Also in the news are Our Lady Peace, Music PEI, Marianas Trench, CIMA, The Pumps, Danko Jones, The East Pointers, Joey Landreth, Kadooh, Barney Bentall and Geoffrey Kelly, The Trews, Anna Tom, Habari Africa fest, and farewell Charles Connor and Chris Wall.

Music News Digest, Aug. 3, 2021

By Kerry Doole

Ontario singer/songwriterBilly Raffoul is the winner of the 16th annual SOCAN Songwriting Prize, for his composition Western Skies and is now the recipient of a Yamaha keyboard, and a $500 gift card from Long & McQuade. A francophone edition  earned Thierry Larose a similar package.

– Toronto indie label Dine Alone Records has signed Aviv, a local 15-year-old singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist described as a ‘lo-fi bedroom pop’ artist. Joined by Octavio the Dweeb, Aviv has debuted the official remix for her double single Black Coffee.Apparently her material to date has gained 1M Spotify streams.  

– Our Lady Peace is to release a sequel to the band's Spiritual Machines album this fall on the Shelter Records imprint. 


– Drake and basketball star LeBron James are two of the executive producerslisted  in Black Ice, an upcoming  doc that is said to explore the experiences of black hockey players. Uninterrupted Canada has announced the production of the doc in partnership with DreamCrew Entertainment, a SpringHill Company (co-founded by James), and Bell Media. Hubert Davis will direct. TSN, Crave and CTV platforms have signed on to screen the film. Source: BlogTO

– Music PEI is accepting submissions for the Golden Ticket and Takin Care of Business programs through to Aug. 31. The initiatives are limited to PEI residents. Guidelines for Golden Ticket here, and Takin’ Care of Business here.

– Last Friday, Winnipeg rockers The Pumps released Gotta Move - The 40th Anniversary Edition, a beefed up version of their 1981 album. This, apparently, is the first release of the record on CD. The band made a splash in the early ‘80s with tracks like Success, Coffee With The Queen and Bust The TV. In 1983, the group signed with CBS/Portrait, changed its name to Orphan and released two more albums.


Danko Jones releases its 10th studio album, Power Trio, on Aug. 27 via Sonic Unyon Records. The following day, the band plays two live-stream performances at Bridgeworks in Hamilton. Tickets & info here. A just-released song and video, Start The Show, features Phil Campbell, affiliated with UK banger band Motörhead.

– On Aug. 11 (1-2 pm ET), MMF Canada (with support from FACTOR and Ontario Creates) presents a webinar entitled It Ain’t All Roses: Artist Management Contracts & Best Practices, one set to feature sage advice for artist managers. Speakers are Susan Abramovitch (Gowling WLG), Helen Britton (Six Shooter), and Jermayne Clayton (Awesome Productions). Register here.

– Last week, Joey Landreth (The Brothers Landreth) released his Songs I Love EP on Birthday Cake. A collaborative project with his wife and filmmaker Anna Salgado, the EP features performance videos for the three cover songs featured. Plain Jane Heroin (below) is written by Theo Katzman.

– BC rock band Marianas Trench recently received its second Road Gold certification, in recognition of exceeding 25K sales domestically. Road Gold is a certification program run by CIMA that celebrates and acknowledges Canada’s hard-working touring artists and bands. The Certification is dedicated to the group's 2019 Suspending Gravity Tour.


– Vancouver-based country artist Kadooh has released a video for his new single Rattlesnake Bite, out via 604 Records. Chad Kroeger (Nickelback) appears in the clip and co-produced the track.

– Two popular West Coast music veterans, Barney Bentall and Geoffrey Kelly (Spirit Of The West) are pooling their considerable talents on a newly announced joint all-instrumental album, RanchWriters, that has its release Sept. 17 on True North Records.

– Presented by local heroes The East Pointers,  The Harvest Home festival in PEI runs Sept. 24 and 25, and features a fine cast of East Coast talent. Performers include Half Moon Run, Ria Mae, The East Pointers, Reeny Smith, and more TBA. Early Bird tix go on sale today (Aug. 3). More info here


– Hamilton band The Trews releases Wanderer, a new album, on Nov. 19, via Known Accomplice. It will include the band's recent single I Wanna Play that has become something of a pandemic anthem.

– Longtime and much-respected Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival publicity head Anna Tom finished her tenure there on Friday. We wish her well in future endeavours.

– World music lovers should note that the Batuki Music Society in Toronto is presenting the Habari Africa Virtual Festival this month. Free, it features new concert videos by various artists posted daily Aug 13 - 22 at 8pm EST. Notables include Alpha Rhythm Roots, The Black Stars, Blandine, Della Hayes & Women of Colour Band, Donné Roberts, Emde, Lorraine Klaasen, and Mighty Popo.  Watch here.


Charles Connor, a drummer for Little Richard and other music greats including James Brown and Sam Cooke, died on July 31, aged 86. He was diagnosed with normal pressure hydrocephalus, a brain disorder that causes fluid buildup.

Connor started his professional career at 15, playing with Professor Longhair. At 18, he joined Little Richard’s original road band, the Upsetters. The band appeared in several popular feature films including The Girl Can’t Help It with Jayne Mansfield, along with Don’t Knock the Rock and Mister Rock and Roll.

During his career, Connor toured with numerous stars, including James Brown, Jackie Wilson and the original Coasters. He also received a certificate of special recognition from the US congresswoman Maxine Waters in 1994. He was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2010. Source:AP

Chris Wall, an Austin-based honkytonk country artist, died on July 29, of cancer.


California-born, he was encouraged by Guy Clark to move to Austin in 1988. He released a couple of records, Honky Tonk Heart in 1990, and No Sweat in 1991, that earned him a serious cult following in the Lone Star State. It also helped when Jerry Jeff Walker cut Wall’s song Trashy Women. Confederate Railroad’s version of that song was a Top 10 country in 1993. Wall used the royalties to start his own label called Cold Spring Records, and its roster included James Hand and Reckless Kelly.

More solo records followed, without much commercial success, but he remained well-regarded by his peers. Source: Saving Country Music

Tanya Tagaq
Katrin Naleid

Tanya Tagaq

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Tanya Tagaq Plays a Pivotal Role in 'True Detective' Season Finale

The Inuk artist provides vocals for the HBO series' soundtrack, and her song "Submerged" scores a pivotal moment in the season finale on which she appears as an actress.

The new season of True Detective wrapped up this weekend, and timed with the tense final episode, HBO also released the show's gripping soundtrack. Inuk artist Tanya Tagaq, one of the most celebrated contemporary musicians in Canada, contributed to seven songs on the soundtrack as well as making appearances in the show herself.

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