By Kerry Doole
Last week, Universal Music Canada (UMC) presented The Tragically Hip with Diamond plaques celebrating some impressive certifications for the fan-selected, 37-track compilation album Yer Favourites, making them Canada’s only 4x Diamond Certified band. Rob Baker, Paul Langlois, Gord Sinclair, Johnny Fay, Pat Downie, and Mike Downie gathered at UMC's Liberty Village creative campus in Toronto, where they were presented with the awards by the full UMC team, led by Chairman & CEO Jeffrey Remedios. The band was joined by management (Jake Gold and Ryan Hefford). Originally released in 2005 as a double CD set and recently released on vinyl for the first time, Yer Favourites has over half a billion streams globally and is currently 14x platinum (Diamond plus 4x Platinum) and counting. Yer Favourites is the second best-selling compilation album ever in Canada, only behind The Beatles’ 1.
– Indigenous Sounds Now runs as part of SummerSeries in Trillium Park, Ontario Place, in Toronto, from July 28-30. Performers will include award-winning TV actor and musician Gary Farmer who brings his band of Troublemakers, Juno winner Murray Porter with his former band mates Josh Miller and The Pappy Johns Band, and Cliff Cardinal & the Skylarks. More info on the free fest is here.
– The Hagersville Rocks Music Festival on July 14 and 15 boasts a solid lineup. The Friday night features Jess Moskaluke, Shawn Austin, Fiddlestix, One Ugly Cowboy, Practically Hip, Elyse Saunders, the Cory James Mitchell Band, and New Moon Junction. Saturday's performers are Colin James, Big Sugar, David Wilcox, Daniel Lanois, Julian Taylor, and My Son the Hurricane. Tix and info here.
– The Niagara Jazz Festival runs July 15-22 and includes a flagship event on July 15 at Jackson-Triggs Winery that features Juno-winning vocalist/pianist and radio host Laila Biali, plus the John Sherwood Trio and Nicholas Mustapha Trio. More info here.
– Live Nation Canada has acquired The Opera House, one of Toronto's most historic performing venues that opened in 1909 as La Plaza Theatre. Over the years it has also been a cinema and a live theatre venue. Seating capacity runs 680 on the main floor with the one balcony holding an additional 270. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Two weeks ago, Live Nation acquired the historic The Kee to Bala in the Muskokas and announced a booking deal with The Theatre, a new 5,000-seat venue set to open in the Great Canadian Casino Resort complex in Toronto.
– The 2023 Indigenous Song Camp presented by Amazon Music is billed as Canada's only music program solely dedicated to songwriting and fostering the storytelling of emerging Indigenous artists. It is supported by the OCAN Foundation and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and is now accepting applications here until Aug. 5. The Song Camp will take place at Kilometre House in Toronto from Oct. 23-26, featuring 15 Indigenous and non-Indigenous songwriters, artists, and producers coming together to explore new writing styles, develop new collaborative relationships, and create a community experience.
– For the second year in a row, Mundial Montréal attendees will have the chance to participate in the mentoring program. Registered delegates and showcased artists will be able to benefit from privileged moments with industry professionals in an intimate and educational format at The Mentor Café, Presented by L’ADISQ. Also, back this year is the Speed Schmooze, taking place in various locations along the heart of Quartier des Spectacles including Les Grands Ballets, Galerie WIP and various cafés in the surrounding area. More info here.
– July 17 is the last day to submit your application to showcase at the FAI Conference in Kansas City, February 21-25, 2024. Apply here.
– The final submission deadline for the 2024 Canadian Folk Music Awards is July 13, at 5 pm ET. Apply here.
– On Tues. night, UMC hosted a listening party at Toronto jazz hub The Rex to preview the release of a new John Coltrane live album that has caused real excitement in the jazz world. Officially released tomorrow (July 14), Evenings At The Village Gate was recorded over two nights at this club in NYC in Aug. 1961 and featured elite players Eric Dolphy, McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones and Reggie Workman alongside Trane. The recording was only recently retrieved from the bowels of the New York Public Library. This event featured a full run-through of the album plus an informative and interesting panel discussion led by Walter Venafro of JazzFM. Offering anecdotes and insights were two titans of Canadian jazz, Pat LaBarbera and Terry Clarke, and younger stars Alison Au and Luis Deniz.
– Last Saturday night, the Corktown in Hamilton hosted a triple bill of righteous rock 'n roll. The Squids (comprising singer/guitarist Sammy Squid and ace drummer Pete Lambert) kicked things off, delivering snappy primal punk tunes that sport a big grin. Gabagool rules! Next up were The Un-Teens, the project headed by Killjoys/Teenage Head drummer Gene Champagne. He takes on vocal and guitar roles here and has come up with strong hooky power-pop meets garage rock songs beefed up by his fine lead guitarist Neen Youkhana. Champagnepaid eloquent tribute to his comrade Gord Lewis with fiery covers ofFlamin' Groovies classics Teenage Head and Shake Some Action. Headlining the night was UIC, major figures on the late 80s/early ‘90s Toronto indie rock scene and still a potent force. Singer Dave Robinson is an energetic and charismatic frontman (think Peter Garrett meets Gord Downie) and his bandmates delivered solid riffing, rhythms and backing vocals. Fine original numbers were complemented by spirited covers of Husker Du’s Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely and, as the set closer, the Damned’s New Rose. This was reportedly the band’s first Hamilton show in 30 years. Let’s hope for a much shorter gap next time. Kudos to promoter Lou Molinaro for this great lineup.
– Hotly-tipped Toronto neo-soul artist Aphrose (Joanna Mohammed) has just released a new single, YaYa. She has paid dues as a backing vocalist for Daniel Caesar and Jessie Reyez, and it's now her time to shine. Her upcoming Toronto shows include Evergreen Brickworks on July 27 (Candlelight Concerts, Birth of Soul) and a free gig on July 31, Live @ The Clark.