By Kerry Doole
Yesterday (Aug. 30), MusicNL announced its 2023 Award nominees in over 30 categories. Leading the way with 7 noms is Nico Paulo, followed by Mallory Johnson and Jason Benoit with 6 nods, and Youngtree & The Blooms, Baraka, Jing Xia, and The Swinging Belles with 4 nominations apiece. MusicNL also released a new award to celebrate francophone music in the province: L'Artist/Groupe Francophone de L'Année. See a full list of nominees here and watch the nominees press conference here. MusicNL member voting will open on Sept. 1 and close on Sept. 8. Vote on the MusicNL Members Only Page.
– As part of the Country Music Week 2023 festivities in Hamilton, on Sept. 15, CCMA House presented by Amazon Music features a star-studded lineup of Canadian country music artists performing in the Music Hall in the historic New Vision United Church in the heart of The Hammer's downtown. The event is free to attend with an RSVP here. Notable performers include Tim Hicks, High Valley, Andrew Hyatt, JoJo Mason, Madeline Merlo, Tyler Joe Miller, Jess Moskaluke, Nice Horse, Meghan Patrick, Owen Riegling, Josh Ross, Tim and the Glory Boys, and The War and Treaty.
– Also timed to coincide with the country music festivities in Hamilton, though not a CCMA-sanctioned event, is the songwriters' series Blue Jay Sessions, running from Sept. 13-15. The event, presented in partnership with Craig Senyk Initiatives, features 40+ Canadian musical acts over the course of three days and takes place in the reportedly spectacular upper-level Blue Grotto event space at the Capri restaurant. The lineup includes Andrew Hyatt, Ryan Langdon, Jason Benoit, Graham Scott Fleming, Karli June, Don Amero, Nicole Rayy, Desiree Dorion, Noah Derksen, and David Boyd Janes. More info and tix here.
– The CCMA Songwriters Unplugged Series presented by Rogers runs Sept. 14-16 at The Studio in Hamilton. This acoustic performance series has attracted some heavy hitters, including Don Amero, Dan Davidson, Aaron Goodvin, Ryan Langdon, Madeline Merlo, Jess Moskaluke, Tim Hicks, Andrew Hyatt, Robyn Ottolini, Amanda Rheaume, and Steven Lee Olsen. Info and tix here. The CCMA Awards will be held on Sept. 16 at FirstOntario Centre. Tix here.
– NXNE is presenting a showcase at POP Montreal on Sept. 28 at Ursa (5589 Avenue du Parc). The high-quality lineup comprises Housewife + Boyhood + Lillian Blue Makin + KT Laine. Tix here.
– A Drake concert set for Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on Monday (Aug. 28) was postponed at the last minute. CP reported that "a statement posted on social media by Canucks Sports & Entertainment, which runs the arena, cited issues with the newly installed video board. The statement was posted about an hour before the concert was set to begin. It noted Drake was 'ready and excited to perform,' adding that Rogers Arena apologized for any inconvenience. The Drake concert set for Aug. 29 at the same venue went ahead, and the postponed Mon. concert was held on Wed. (Aug. 30) instead.
– They sure do love The Weeknd Down Under. The Canadian superstar announced last week that he was bringing his global stadium tour to Australia and New Zealand this year. Stops in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Auckland through Nov. and Dec. were initially confirmed, and now The Weeknd has added another three dates due to overwhelming demand. Second shows in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney have now been added. The Weeknd’s stadium run has regularly been shattering records in England and Europe. A UN World Food Programme Goodwill Ambassador, Abel Tesfaye will again contribute funds from this new leg of his tour to the XO Humanitarian Fund, which supports the organisation’s response to the global food crisis. Source: Rolling Stone Australia
– Acclaimed Toronto artist Amanda Martinez and award-winning author Martha Bátiz present a concert called Canciones y Cuentos - an afternoon of Song and Story - on Sept. 10 at The Music Gallery (918 Bathurst Street, Toronto). It pairs the music of Martinez and her trio and the short stories of Batiz. The event supports the Gustavo Martinez Love of Learning Scholarship for Amistad Canada & Jovenes Adelantes, with proceeds aiding the studies of a medical student in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The scholarship honours Amanda's late father. Click here for tickets or to make a donation.
– As part of the pre-release hype campaign for his upcoming album For All The Dogs, Drake has just delivered a merch t-shirt, now available on his official website. The T-shirt includes the hand-drawn graphic by his son Adonis that will reportedly grace the album. No word yet on a release date. Source: Hypebeast
– Late singer/songwriter Ron Hynes has long been considered a musical poet laureate of his beloved home province of Newfoundland and Labrador. A stellar cast of talent from there has contributed to a tribute album, Sonny Don’t Go Away: A Tribute to Ron Hynes, to be released on Oct. 20 on Sonic Records. The 20-song collection features covers of tunes by the so-called Man of a Thousand Songs and is produced by Alan Doyle and Cory Tetford. Guests include Amelia Curran, The Once, Quote The Raven, Kellie Loder, Rum Ragged, Fortunate Ones, and Joel Thomas Hynes, among others. The first single from the record, Leaving on the Evening Tide by Tim Baker, came out last week.
– The YQM Country Music Festival, held in Dieppe, NB, last weekend, is one that Jeff Broussard won't forget. He sings in a Halifax band, Homegrown, and was keen to see a musical hero, Keith Urban, at the fest. Broussard‘s girlfriend made a cardboard sign asking if her boyfriend could sing with Urban, and it grabbed the country superstar's attention. He invited Broussard up to sing a couple of verses, and he reportedly acquitted himself well. Broussard told CTV Atlantic News that "Keith smiled when he heard my singing. It was a cool experience.”
– The Ontario Association of Broadcasters invites all Ontario member stations to enter their work to be considered for one of four OAB Awards: Best In Class Sales Award, Creative Award, Community Service Campaign(s) Award, and Promotion Award. Submit here by Oct. 20.
– Terra Lightfoot recently released a new single, Cross Border Lovers, the debut track from her forthcoming album, Healing Power (out Oct. 13 via Sonic Unyon Records). The single arrives alongside a video co-directed by Lyle Bell and Lightfoot herself. Of note: Earlier this month, Lightfoot married US musician Jon Auer (The Posies). Our congrats.
– Grammy-nominated Canadian vocalist and songwriter Steven Lee Olsen has announced his new single Out Here, via a new partnership with indie label Starseed Records (Dean Brody, The Reklaws). Penned solely by Olsen, it was produced with Brandon Day (Brantley Gilbert, Jason Aldean, Plain White T’s). Stream the track here.
– Juno-winning alternative rockers Monowhales have announced a North American tour taking them to 25 markets this fall. Check the full itinerary here. A new single and video, Hear Me Out, is now out.
– Talia Schlanger is best known as the popular host of cultural and music programs at both NPR + CBC, but she is now taking the limelight as a musical artist in her own right. She has an album set for release in early 2024 on Latent Recordings and will preview its material at a showcase at The Rivoli in Toronto on Sept. 6 (doors at 7:30 p.m.). Her A-list band comprises Brian Kobayakawa, Davide Di Renzo, and Kevin Breit. The show is open to the public, with tix here.
– Last Sat. afternoon the new-ish location of beloved Hamilton record store Into The Abyss hosted an in-store performance by acclaimed singer/songwriter Hannah Georgas. Her new album, I'd Be Lying If I Said I Didn't Care, came out the day before, and its material impressed the appreciative audience. Into The Abyss is operated by noted musician Brad Germain (Golden Feather, The Marble Index) and he is now regularly booking a wide range of artists for shows there. A nice boost to the local scene.