Music News Digest, Feb. 19, 2020

The Hunter Brothers (pictured) top the list of nominees for the SCMAs, Ottawa’s Bluesfest lures big names, and a new Yukon fest is launched. Also in the news are Block Heater, CMAOntario Awards, Laura Fernandez, a vinyl doco, Canadian Screen Awards, Linda Manzer, Your Favorite Enemies, Melissa Payne, Kyle Meagher, and farewell Andrew Weatherall.

Music News Digest, Feb. 19, 2020

By Kerry Doole

The RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa is well-established as one of the country’s biggest summer events. The high-octane 2020 line-up has been announced, and notable names include Rage Against The Machine, Jack Johnson, Blink-182, Alanis Morissette, Daniel Caesar, The National, Boyz II Men, Vance Joy, Tash Sultana, King Crimson, Blue Rodeo, Billy Talent, Garbage, Saints and Sinners Tour (Big Wreck, Headstones, Moist and The Tea Party), Ali Gatie, Nelly, July Talk, Dashboard Confessional, Charlotte Day Wilson, Travis Tritt, Patrick Watson, Sharon Van Etten, DJ Shadow, and The New Pornographers.  RBC Bluesfest runs from July 9 to 19 at LeBreton Flats Park. General tickets on-sale starts Feb. 20. More info here  


– Sibling country group The Hunter Brothers top the list of nominees for the Saskatchewan Country Music Awards, with seven. They're followed by Tenille Arts with six and Amy Nelson with five, while Samara Yung, Chris Henderson, Justin LaBrash, and Brody Siebert each earned four noms. The 2020 SCMA Awards weekend takes place April 17-19 in Regina with the final awards being presented on the televised awards show held on April 18.

– Now in its fifth year, the Calgary Folk Music Festival’s Block Heater fest runs Feb. 20-22 at various venues in Inglewood and East Village. The lineup is eclectic, with a focus this year on artists of African descent as part of Block Heater’s Black Future Month. They include AfrotroniX, Cecile Doo-Kingué, and Angelique Francis. Other notable performers booked include Kid Koala, Justin Rutledge, Del Barber, The Weather Station, Boogat, Chad Van Gaalen, Samantha Martin, and Hannah Georgas. Sked here. Source: Calgary Herald

– Brand new arts and music festival Wonderhorse takes place throughout the Yukon (Whitehorse, Carcross, and Dawson City) from May 14-17. The first artists announced include Haviah Mighty, Necking, Jeremy Parkin, FET.NAT, Steven Lambke, Wares, The Sweeties, and Ida Toninato. Organized by the Society of Something Shows, the fest welcomes 25+ local, national and international musicians, 10+ visual artists, and 20+ industry delegates participating in mentorship pairings, workshops and panels. More info here 


– Today (Feb. 19) is the final deadline for nominations for the 2020 CMAOntario Awards. Submissions are open to CMAOntario members in good standing only. Submit here

 – Popular Toronto jazz vocalist and radio host Laura Fernandez will emcee and perform at Remember The Music, a fundraiser for Alzheimer’s research and outreach. It is set for April 5 (2-4pm) at The Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles St. W., Toronto, and other performers include Sam Broverman, TranzitionzJazz, Ilana Waldston,  and the University Of Toronto Jazz Orchestra.

The benefit is presented by TranzitionzJazz, researchers at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music and St. Michael Hospital, the Alzheimer Society of Toronto and Recollectiv. The two financial goals of the concert are to raise at least$20K of individual and corporate sponsor donations to fund groundbreaking Alzheimer’s research, plus $5K in net ticket sales to support the excellent work of the Alzheimer Society of Toronto and Recollectiv. 

– Lovers of all things vinyl should watch out for The Vinyl Revival, an upcoming documentary from the makers of Last Shop Standing that explores the renaissance in all things vinyl. Arriving on DVD on April 10 via Wienerworld, it includes interviews from Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), Philip Selway (Radiohead), Ade Utley (Portishead), Joel Gion (The Brian Jonestown Massacre), The Orielles, CASSIA and many more.


– The 2020 Canadian Screen Awards nominations have been announced. Up for Best Original Score are Ian LeFeuvre and Stephen Krecklo (James vs His Future Self), Robert Carli (LieExposed), Peter Chapman (Riot Girls), Andrew Lockington (The Kindness of Strangers), and Howard Shore (The Song Of Names). LeFeuvre, Chapman and Shore are also up for Best Original Song, alongside Bramwell Tovey, Richard Bell, and Leslie Seaforth (More or Les).


– The latest episode of Steve Waxman's popular podcast The Creationists profiles Linda Manzer, a Canadian luthier who has built custom instruments for hundreds of musicians around the world including Carlos Santana, Bruce Cockburn and Gordon Lightfoot. Her most notable association though is with Pat Metheny, who has commissioned over 20 guitars from her. In this episode, Manzer is interviewed in her workshop where she talks about discovering her life's calling as a consequence of being a Joni Mitchell wannabe, dealing with government regulations on endangered woods and building cardboard air guitars. View here 

– Two weeks after reaching #1 in the iTunes top charts upon the release of their album The Early Days,  Quebec prog-rock outfit Your Favorite Enemies pulled ahead of Garou, Patrick Watson, Céline Dion and Leonard Cohen on the PalmarèsADISQ chart for Quebec artists, placing #1 in sales in the province, for the week of Feb. 11 to 17. 

– Roots singer/songwriter/fiddle player Melissa Payne (Matt Mays) releases her new album, Darker Than Your Dark, on March 6. Produced by Greg Keelor (Blue Rodeo), James McKenty (The Spades), and Maia Davies (Ladies of the Canyon), the record features co-writes with the three producers. Payne has a series of tour dates throughout Eastern Canada in spring and early summer. Dates here.

– Canadian actor/musician Kyle Meagher has released a new pop single, Just Talkin’, co-written with Joe Jordan and produced by Mark Liggett (Billy Idol, George Michael, New Kids on the Block), and Jerry Lane. Meagher made a splash with his debut EP and visual album, Beats in a Bagel Shop, and his acting credits include Anne with an E. Listen to the track here 



Andrew Weatherall, English DJ, musician, producer, writer and remixer, died on Feb. 17, aged 56. The cause of death was a pulmonary embolism.

Weatherall produced such artists as Beth Orton, Primal Scream and One Dove, and remixed the work of Björk, Siouxsie Sioux, the Orb, The Future Sound of London, New Order, Manic Street Preachers, My Bloody Valentine, James and many others. His work has been viewed as ground-breaking and highly influential.

Following a young adulthood in the post-punk scene, Weatherall became a key figure in countercultural – and occasionally mainstream – British music after becoming a key DJ in the acid house movement of the late 1980s. He played at London nightclub Shoom, and soon founded the record label Boy’s Own Recordings and the production outfit Bocca Juniors.

Perhaps his most famous musical work was with Primal Scream on their breakthrough 1991 album Screamadelica,  one of the most celebrated of the decade

He remixed artists including Björk, My Bloody Valentine and Saint Etienne; with Terry Farley, he remixed New Order’s 1990 World Cup song World in Motion. He was an early champion of the Chemical Brothers and their debut track Song to the Siren, playing it in his DJ sets and remixing it. He later signed them to Junior Boy’s Own, where they released their debut album. 


Weatherall consolidated the trip-hop sound of the mid-1990s with his production on Beth Orton’s 1996 breakthrough album Trailer Park. 

He continued to work as a DJ and producer until his death, with his A Love from Outer Space club night series and production projects like the Asphodells. He reunited with Primal Scream in 2002 to co-produce their album Evil Heat. Sources:The Guardian, Quietus

Hailey Bieber
David Sims for W Magazine

Hailey Bieber

Music News

Hailey Bieber Opens Up About ‘Emotional’ Moments During Pregnancy & Trying to ‘Soak In’ Alone Time With Justin Bieber

The couple announced they are expecting their first child together in the spring.

Hailey Bieber is gearing up for motherhood, and the model opened up about her pregnancy journey for a new W Magazine cover story.

“I probably could have hid it until the end, but I didn’t enjoy the stress of not being able to enjoy my pregnancy outwardly,” she explained of announcing her pregnancy at the six-month mark. “I felt like I was hiding this big secret, and it didn’t feel good. I wanted the freedom to go out and live my life.”

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