Music News Digest, Feb. 17, 2020

True North Records has signed Craig Cardiff (pictured), Brian Hetherman revives the Sonic Envy label, and a new song from Gordon Lightfoot. Also in the news are SoundCloud Creator Forum, Billie Eilish, Lennon Stella, The Golden Ticket, Music PEI, Music BC, and farewell Buzzy Linhart.

Music News Digest, Feb. 17, 2020

By FYI Staff

True North Records has announced the signing of Waterloo, Ontario based singer/songwriter Craig Cardiff. His music has found a broad audience on streaming platforms including Spotify where he has over half a million listeners, and his most popular song, Dirty Old Town, has 82 million streams and has been certified as a gold single in Canada. Cardiff, who is booked in Canada by APA Agency and managed by Tom Sarig and his Esther Creative Group in New York City, will tour Canada, the US and Europe in 2020. His first single on True North, a cover of Bob Dylan’s Boots of Spanish Leather, came out last week, and a full album is expected later in the year. 


– Toronto music biz veteran Brian Hetherman has announced via FB that "after 10 years of focusing mostly on Country, Roots and Americana music with Curve Music, I am going back to my roots, my Rock 'n Roll roots that is! ......and am relaunching the Sonic Envy label. We have just released Killed The Love by Bonds of Mara to the world of radio and video... The band consists of members of the hugely successful groups' Default, Hail The Villain and My Darkest Days ...and the song kicks ass!"

– The SoundCloud Creator Forum is coming to Toronto for the first time, Feb. 19-21. This event is open to all creators with a focus on education, connection and helping Canadian artists get discovered. The forum includes panel discussions, Q&A sessions, workshops and musical showcases featuring TOBi, Amaal Nuux, Jayd Ink and DJ Rosegold. Registration details and program here.

–  Legendary singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot has released a new song from his upcoming album Solo (due out March 20). Why Not Give It A Try follows up on the release of Oh So Sweet, his first release of new music since 2004’s Harmony.  Check it out here.


Billie Eilish’s theme song for the upcoming James Bond action spectacle No Time to Die sounds to be a slam dunk. Released late last week, the song is a co-write with brother, Finneas O’Connell. Eilish, who turned 18 in December, is the youngest singer to record a theme for the franchise. She gives the song its first live performance at this week's Brit Awards, accompanied by composer Hans Zimmer and former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. The 40th annual is to be held Wednesday at the 02 Arena in London. International fans can watch via

– Nashville-based Canadian singer/songwriter, actress, and multi-instrumentalist Lennon Stella released her new single, Golf on TV featuring JP Saxe, on Friday. The song was written by Lennon, Ruslan Odnoralov, JP Saxe and Simon Wilcox and produced by Odnoralov. 

Stella also announced her North American headlining tour, as well as the title of her debut album, Three. Two. One. The tour will hit 28 cities across North America, including venues such as RBC Echo Beach in Toronto (May 26), Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC (June 1), Hollywood Palladium in LA (June 23), and Ryman Auditorium in Nashville (July 12). Tix go on sale Feb. 21. Tour dates here 


– The Golden Ticket is a Music PEI program developed to assist artists in releasing a single to the market with the goal of picking up additional radio play and publicity. The program covers the cost for successful applicants to hire a studio for tracking, hire a producer and a PR team. The Golden Ticket began last year with the band Sorrey and its song Talking to Them charting extremely well. Also released last year, both Alicia Toner’s Dangerous Home and Logan Richard’s Lover Again received significant radio play and playlists adds. The latest program-supported track is Can I Come Over? by Little Cities, produced by award-winner Gavin Brown.


Music PEI recently announced a new Microgrant Program for all aspiring Island artists. It will offer up to eight Microgrants annually, to a maximum of $300 each. The deadline to apply is March 20. Details here 

 In celebrating International Women’s Day, Music BC announces Follow Your Career Compass Vol. 2. This panel will feature women from various parts of the BC music industry sharing their knowledge and insight. With Kristina Lao, Tamara Stanners, Taryn Stephenson, Neesha Hothi, Sarah Shandl, Tonye Aganaba and Lindsay MacPherson, it takes place on March 7 (3-5 pm). Location TBA. Register here

– CIMA, in partnership with CARAS, will be bringing in 10 International Buyers to the Juno Awards in Saskatoon this March with a primary focus on Germany and a secondary focus on the UK and the US. CIMA will host a dedicated event on Saturday morning and is looking at less formal events too. If you are a CIMA member interested in knowing more about these events please fill in this form 

– A reminder that voting for the Fan Choice Entertainer of the Year Award for the East Coast Music Awards (ECMAs) is now open here.


William "Buzzy" Linhart, an American rock performer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and actor, died on Feb. 13, age 76. Linhart suffered a heart attack, seizures, and other complications in 2018, and remained in poor health after.

Raised in Cleveland, Linhart moved to New York City in 1963 and became friends with John Sebastian and Fred Neil. One of his first bands, Seventh Sons, released a raga-rock LP for ESP Records. Linhart later released a series of solo albums from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s starting with his Philips debut buzzy in 1969.


His skill on the vibraphone led to work as a session musician on recordings by Buffy Sainte-Marie, Richie Havens, Carly Simon, Cat Mother & the All Night Newsboys, and Jimi Hendrix (Cry of Love album and Electric Ladyland).

Linhart was joint composer of (You Got To Have) Friends, a collaboration with Mark "Moogy" Klingman, which became singer Bette Midler's de facto theme song. This was the end of his major-label career, but although he never achieved commercial success, Linhart continued to write, record, sing and compose music for many years afterward.

Linhart had significant visibility as an actor in the mid-1970s and was a regular on the 1976 television show Cos, starring Bill Cosby. Source: Wikipedia, Best Classic Bands

Allison Russell accepting the Billboard Canada Women in Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year award
Marc Thususka Photography

Allison Russell accepting the Billboard Canada Women in Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year award

Music News

Allison Russell Named Billboard Canada Women In Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year

The Nashville-based musician from Montreal has been having a huge year, including her first Grammy and her first Hot 100 appearance. Accepting the award on June 19 at the iHeartRadio Canada studio, she talked about her LGBTQ+ advocacy work and the importance of playing with underrepresented musicians.

It was a special Juneteenth for Allison Russell.

Not only did she serve as the special Toronto opener for Sarah McLachlan on the Canadian icon’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy 30th anniversary tour, but she earned another big honour: Billboard Canada Women In Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year.

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