Music News Digest, Jan. 20, 2020

Lennie Gallant (pictured) will perform at the CFMAs, Barenaked Ladies announce a major summer tour, and Castro's Lounge is under threat. Others in the news include NLX, Holy Fuck, Jane Siberry, Songwriters Hall of Fame, Benjamin Dakota Rogers, Rising Insane, CIMA, and farewell David Olney and Chris Darrow.

Music News Digest, Jan. 20, 2020

By Kerry Doole

The Canadian Folk Music Awards turn 15 this year with a debut visit to Charlottetown, PE (at The Delta Prince Edward), April 3 and 4. The two nights feature performances from 12 artists, including noms/folk faves Vishtèn, Kaia Kater, Lennie Gallant, Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys, Abigail Lapell, Le Vent du Nord, and Irish Mythen. Hosted by Jean Hewson and Benoit Bourque, the bilingual show will hand out 20 awards, including the presentation of the Slaight Unsung Hero Award.  Full noms list here. Tix and weekend passes on sale now here

— Barenaked Ladies have announced an extensive Last Summer On Earth tour of North America, one featuring fellow '90s pop-rock faves Gin Blossoms and Toad The Wet Sprocket in support. The tour kicks off in Florida on June 3, and wraps up in Toronto at Budweiser Stage on July 23, with the TO show (the only Canadian date) featuring Kim Mitchell as direct support. These shows follow a string of UK concerts in the spring, which will culminate with a sold-out show at London’s Royal Albert Hall. This will be the 6th edition of the tour, founded by the band in 2012. Dates here


— Castro's Lounge, a popular bar and live music venue in The Beaches area of Toronto, is now threatened with closure, given reports that the AGCOis looking to revoke its liquor license. The problem arose after Castro's owner Anthony Greene had a written altercation with a liquor inspector. As a result, he spent a night in jail, is banned from entering his club, and now faces a hearing at the Licence Appeal Tribunal from Jan. 21 to 24 at 9:30 AM. In an FB post, Greene admits, "I did a dumb thing," but queries "Is it a reasonable and proportionate response to my poor judgement to shutter a much-loved well-established business?"


One of the few music spaces in East Toronto, Castro's hosts such local notables as Jerry Leger, Lily Frost, Thelonious Hank, and Danny Marks. Supporters are asked to attend the Tribunal (15 Grosvenor Street, Second Floor, Toronto.) or contact local politician Rima Berns-McGown (Beaches-East York) at A petition has also been started here and has quickly attracted over 2,600 signatures. Update: Jan. 20-  it now seems a hearing will be avoided. Check here  

— Singer/songwriter NLX (Natasha Alexandra) now splits her time between Toronto and New York City. She plays Toronto's Dakota Tavern on Tuesday (Jan. 21), sharing a bill with Danny Greaves of The Watchmen. Recommended. Of note: Of note: Alexandra operates a company, SoundSentiments, that produces greeting cards that give the gift of a downloadable song. Artists involved include Greaves, Andy Frank, Miss Emily, and Jamie Leonheart.

 Holy Fuck released a new album, Deleter, via Last Gang Records, on Friday. Check a recent q session here.. Extensive international touring start in March.

— World-travelling troubadour Jane Siberry is keen to reconnect with peers from the Toronto scene of the '80s, so she's hosting a casual drop-in at the Tranzac Club, the evening of Feb. 12. She invites musicians, poets, sound, lights, artists, club owners, bartenders, photographers etc. to register here 


— The 2020 inductees into the Songwriters Hall of Fame comprises Mariah Carey, the Isley Brothers, Eurythmics, the Neptunes. Steve Miller, Rick Nowels, and William 'Mickey' Stephenson. The honours will be presented during a June 11 ceremony at New York’s Marriott Marquis.

— The Sault Ste. Marie Museum is hosting its first-ever concert on Feb, 16, featuring noted roots singer/songwriter Benjamin Dakota Rogers. Tix here

— German metalcore band Rising Insane has released a cover of The Weeknd's global hit Blinding Lights. Check it out below.


— CIMA will be co-presenting a showcase with BreakOut West during Tallinn Music Week, Mar. 25 - 28, in  Estonia. CIMA will also be focusing on several business events throughout TMW. Companies wishing to participate can contact


David Olney, an Americana singer-songwriter whose works were covered or co-written by many stars, died on Jan. 18 of cardiac arrest while performing onstage at the 30A Songwriter Festival in Florida. He was 71.

Olney was a revered figure in the folk-rock and Americana communities who recorded 20 albums of his own as well as having his songs covered by Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Del McCoury, Steve Young, and Steve Earle. 

Harris, in particular, brought attention to Olney as a songwriter with her covers of Jerusalem Tomorrow in 1993 and Deeper Well on her 1995 album Wrecking Ball. Sources: Deadline, Variety 

Chris Darrow, a US multi-instrumentalist and psychedelic and country-rock pioneer, died at the age of 75 on Jan. 15, after suffering a stroke.

Darrow began his music career as a co-founder of psychedelic folk band Kaleidoscope, appearing on their first two albums, Side Trip and A Beacon From Mars.

Darrow later took part in two later reunion lineups of the band. After his first departure, he spent a year with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band from 1967 until 1968, appearing on the studio album Rare Junk and a live LP, Alive!, before the group went on hiatus.

He went on to form The Corvettes, who released two singles before Linda Ronstadt recruited them as her backing band. After he left to return to the Dirt Band in 1970, Darrow was replaced by future Eagles co-founder Bernie Leadon.

Darrow released the first of 10 solo albums in 1972. He played bass on Leonard Cohen’s first release, Songs of Leonard Cohen, and violin on James Taylor’s second album, Sweet Baby James. He was also part of a brief collaboration with Moby Grape bassist Bob Mosley, titled the Darrow Mosley Band. Source: Ultimate Classic Rock


50 Cent

50 Cent


50 Cent Takes A Victory Lap at Toronto's Cabana Pool Bar: Canadian Concerts of the Week

Also this week: it's festival season, with Hillside, Le Festif! and the Vancouver Folk Music Festival all happening on the same weekend.

Summer is in swing, and that means festival season. While many of the biggest ones take place in August, this weekend sees a handful of folk or adjacent events with the perfect summer vibes. Find those below, after our concert of the week featuring one of the biggest rap success stories of the last two decades.

Concert of the Week

50 Cent at Cabana Pool Bar, Toronto — Saturday, July 20

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