By Kerry Doole
Classified and The East Pointers lead the 2023 East Coast Music Awards nominations list with six each, followed by Jason Benoit with five and David Myles, Madison Violet, Andrew Waite and Lisa LeBlanc, with four apiece. Musical artists from Nova Scotia — outside Cape Breton — earned the most nominations, with 86, followed by artists from Newfoundland and Labrador with 58, New Brunswick with 40, P.E.I. with 29, and Cape Breton with 20. The festival’s 2023 edition is scheduled for May 3-7 in Halifax. See the full list of nominees here.
– After two years of an online-only hiatus due to the Covid pandemic, Toronto’s annual Winterfolk Blues and Roots Festival is back in-person for its 21st Anniversary. On Feb. 24, a streamed concert will run 8-10.30 pm online, followed by two days of live music, Feb. 25 and 26, 1-10 pm.
The festival moves to the Kensington Market hood this year. The strong lineup includes Sultans of String, Gary Kendall Band, Anne Lindsay, Alfie Smith, Brian Blain, Brian Gladstone, Chris Birkett, Danny Marks, David Celia Band, David Essig, David Laronde, Garnetta Cromwell & DaGroovmasters, Hilario Duran, Howard Gladstone, Isabel & The Uncommons, Kevin Breit, Laura Fernandez, Laura Hubert Band, Melanie Peterson, Noah Zacharin, Ori Dagan, Paul Mills, Quarrington and Adams (Q & A), The Swingin' Blackjacks, The Vaudevillian, and Tyler Ellis. A full artist list is here.
– Fans and the public are invited to contribute to a fundraising campaign to celebrate and honour musician Jackie Shane with a commemorative plaque in downtown Toronto. The legacy and influence of the '60s Toronto soul singer and Black trans pioneer has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, including a 2019 Grammy nomination, a Polaris Music Prize Heritage Award nomination, and a recent Heritage Minute. Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story, a Crave Original documentary co-produced by Banger Films, Bell Media and the NFB, is currently in production with an anticipated release in 2024.
All donors will be invited to the unveiling of the plaque, which is planned for June 2023 during Pride Toronto. Donors can also follow and join the journey on Instagram at @thejackieshaneplaque. Donations, public or private, can be made through the JustGiving Campaign Page or by cheque, and gifts $20 or over will receive a Heritage Toronto charitable donation tax receipt.
– Nunavut musicians now have a music industry association to call their own with the just-announced formation of Nunavut Music. Organizers say that the non-profit will work to support industry professionals, build careers and strengthen the Inuit language and culture.
– Women In Music Canada has announced the special programming that will take place in March in celebration of International Women’s Day. Through March 7 and 8 in Toronto, artists and industry professionals will participate in workshops, speaking engagements and networking opportunities, followed by the inaugural Women In Music Canada Honours. The event honours the 2023 recipients recognized for their outstanding success and contributions to the music industry. Tickets are available here, along with more info. Register for sessions here.
– Nickelback has announced its 2023 Get Rollin’ Tour, in support of its recent 10th studio album, Get Rollin’. Produced by Live Nation, the trek visits 38 cities this summer, kicking off on June 12 in Quebec City, at Videotron Centre, with stops across North America in Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Nashville and more before wrapping up on Aug. 30 in Belmont Park, NY. Country rocker Brantley Gilbert joins the band on all non-festival dates along with another country artist Josh Ross. Tickets go on sale tomorrow (Jan. 27) here.
– Silent Tears: The Last Yiddish Tango, a recent album of original songs based on the stories of Canadian women who survived the Holocaust, has received international attention and glowing reviews. It was brought to life earlier this week with its sold-out first in-person public performance (Jan. 24 at Ottawa's National Arts Centre’s Fourth Stage). Toronto-based producer Dan Rosenberg (exec producer of the album) put the concert together, recruiting Toronto’s Payadora Tango Ensemble, a world-class contemporary chamber-music ensemble that specializes in Argentinian/Uruguayan tango, and Lenka Lichtenberg, one of the star vocalists on the recording. Learn more about the project in this Ottawa Citizen feature and the EPK below.
– Roddy Colmer is a musician and comedian who made a splash on Howard Stern's show and with a #1 comedy LP, Comfortably Dumb, and his own Sirius XM program, The Dumb Show. He is also the creator and curator of Unplugged North, a monthly Toronto live acoustic music series at The El Mocambo. It has already featured such notables as Jully Black, Andrew Hyatt, and Nefe, and the strong Jan. 29 lineup comprises Chad Price, Andrea Ramolo, Yarro, and Victory. More details are here.
– Hillside Inside is the winter concert series of popular Guelph summer fest Hillside. On Feb. 3, the always entertaining turntablist/composer Kid Koala x Lealani headlines a show at Royal City Mission in Guelph, with special guest DJ Skratch Bastid also on the bill.
– Artist submissions to showcase at Contact East 2023 (set for Woody Point, NL, in Sept.) are open from now until Feb. 13 More info here.
– Highly-lauded Toronto-based world music artist Sina Bathaie plays Revival in Toronto on Feb. 4. Here's a recent tune you can expect to hear there. Tix here.
– Acclaimed honkytonk troubadour Zachary Lucky is currently touring Ontario. He plays Clifford Brewery in Hamilton tonight (Jan. 26), followed by shows in Parry Sound, Lions Head, Midland, Sarnia, Goderich, Orillia, Toronto, and Peterborough. Itinerary and ticket info here.
– Studio E in Stoney Creek, Hamilton, is hosting its first Writer's Round tonight (Jan. 26), with Brian Melo, Jacob Moon, Mattie Leon, and Steven Ryan swapping songs and stories in an intimate and interactive environment. Tickets are available for $25 here.
– A potent pair of punk-inflected bands rocked Mills Hardware in Hamilton last weekend. Local trio Anxious Pleasers impressed with their snappy melodies in an opening set, followed by Vancouver punk veterans The Black Halos. The talent-stacked quintet includes bassist John Kerns (ex-Age of Electric) and guitar ace Rich Jones, currently part of Michael Monroe's band, and they laid down solid riffs and backing vocals for frontman Billy Hopeless. He's got plenty of entertaining moves, and his gutsy vocals drove tunes from the group's current album, How the Darkness Doubled. One standout new track was Ain’t No Good Time to Say Goodbye, dedicated to Hopeless’ friend Chi Pig, of SNFU fame. Spied making the scene were local rockers Chris Houston, Gene Champagne (The Killjoys), Scott McCullough (Rusty), and impresario Lou Molinaro.
– Canzona Chamber Players present Trio Ink with guest soprano Rachel Krehm for two Toronto concerts soon. A Toronto Island concert is set for Feb. 5 (2 pm) at St. Andrew-by-the-Lake Church (tix here), followed by a Feb. 6 performance at 27 Sherbourne St North (tickets here).