Music News Digest, July 31, 2019

Drake partners with LeBron on a new venture (pictured), Polaris Prize performers are announced, and Mattyfest features music and food. Also in the news are LyricFind, Molly Johnson, Unison, CMAOntario, Sass Jordan, CD Baby, CIMA, Bruce Cockburn, Charlie Angus, Alberta Music, Laura Barrett, Rachel Cousins, Manitoba Music, and Alex Pangman. Videos added for your enjoyment.

Music News Digest, July 31, 2019

By Kerry Doole

Drake's latest business expansion is a partnership with Uninterrupted, the digital athlete empowerment platform run by LeBron James and business manager Maverick Carter, that brings it to Canada. The deal will see Drizzy become a part owner and promoter for Uninterrupted Canada. The star-fronted Canadian arm, to be led behind the scenes by CEO Scott Moore and chief content officer Vinay Virmani, like its US counterpart will allow Canadian athletes to speak directly to fans via content from video shorts to features. James' sports media brand was launched in 2015.  Source: Hollywood Reporter

– The following Polaris Music Prize Short List-nominated acts are confirmed to play the Gala, Sept. 16 at The Carlu in Toronto: Marie Davidson, Elisapie, Dominique Fils-Aimé, PUP, and Shad. Public tickets to the gala are limited and go on sale via Ticketmaster Aug. 2. More performers will be announced Aug. 12.


– Mattyfest is a Toronto food and music fest launched by noted local chef Matty Matheson (Parts & Labour). Coming to Echo Beach on Sept. 7, it boasts an eclectic and high-powered music lineup, spearheaded by Wu-Tang Clan, the Descendents, METZ, Gogol Bordello, Danny Brown, Jennifer Castle, Daniel Romano, Chastity, and more. Tix on sale Aug. 1 at

– Toronto-based LyricFind has confirmed an agreement with 63 UK publishers through PMLL, a division of the UK Music Publishers Association, that sees PMLL members and other MPA and MCPS members encouraged to opt in to direct licensing agreements with LyricFind, for whichever territories are not currently licensed. The deal brings these publishers’ catalogs into LyricFind’s global lyric licensing system, which pays rights holders for every lyric display, lyric translations and merchandise featuring lyrics.

– Ontario duo Mountain Head is making a splash with its recent video cover of Wu-Tang Clan’s Shimmy Ya. The band shared a short clip with Wu-Tang Clan last week, and Wu-Tang posted the video to their Instagram account. It quickly grabbed over 50K views, and when the full version was added to Wu Tang’s YouTube page, over 15K views followed. 


– Jazz star turned festival producer Molly Johnson is back at work organising the upcoming edition of her beloved brainchild, the Kensington Market Jazz Festival in Toronto. She performs a fundraising show for the fest on Sept. 4 at 'hood hub Supermarket. Email to reserve your seats.

– Unison Benevolent Fund has announced the addition of five new members to its Board of Directors; Daniel Glick, Shawn Hook, Brian Huston, Vanessa Thomas, and Charlotte Thompson. Unison thanked departing Board members Genevieve Cote and Rubin Fogel for their service, and co-founders Jodie Ferneyhough and Catharine Saxberg for their commitment to the health and resilience of the music community. 

–  Rats, the third album from multi-platinum selling rocker Sass Jordan, turns 25 this year, and the milestone is being celebrated with a vinyl reissue. The limited-edition run of 1,000 orange-colored vinyl copies will be available at upcoming shows and through select retailers, with pre-orders available here. Recorded in LA with a star-studded cast, Rats made the Billboard Top 20 Rock chart, with lead off-track Sun’s Gonna Rise also charting.


– CD Baby’s annual DIY Musician Conference is coming to Austin, Aug. 16-18 at the Austin Hilton. This year features keynotes from Questlove and Darryl McDaniels, aka DMC from Run DMC, a fireside chat with Alejandro Escovedo, a session with Bob Boilen (NPR), one-on-one mentoring, in-depth workshops, and more. Tix here

– CIMA, in partnership with BuzzAngle Music, publishes weekly Canadian independent-only music charts, the CIMA 20 and CIMA 40. The two countdowns represent the market success of independent artists in Canada, by ranking their current album packages encompassing music sales, downloads and streams. Check the new charts out here


– Bruce Cockburn releases a new instrumental album, Crowing Ignites, Sept. 20, on True North Records, and the first 100 label store pre-orders will receive a signed copy. The album is supported by 40+ North American tour dates.

– He is now best known as one of the NDP's most notable MPs, but former punk/folk-rocker Charlie Angus (ex-L'Etranger) hasn't forgotten his musical roots. News that he is currently recording a new album, Fields of Normandy, with his band Grievous Angels is welcome. Andy Maize of Skydiggers guest. Here's a brand new song.

– Alberta Music has just made its annual report available. Download it here

– The 2019/2020 CMAOntario Board of Directors has been announced. The Executive Committee comprises Steve Kassay - President, Jennifer Goheen - 1st Vice President, Ken Boyer - 2nd Vice President, Sam Arraj - Treasurer, and Brian Allen - Secretary. Directors are Michel Benac, Patrick Duffy, Stacey Lee Guse, and Jared Leon.

– Toronto singer/songwriter/composer Laura Barrett has released her first solo album in eleven years, Who is the Baker?, on Paper Bag Records. The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) graduate plays a local release show at The Monarch Tavern on Aug. 8.

– Newfoundland artist Rachel Cousins has signed a publishing deal with Toronto-based Cymba Music Publishing. Her single Let Go was previously featured on SYFY’s Wynonna Earp and CBC’s Hudson, and has since been picked up for a made-for-TV-movie called The Art of Falling in Love.

– MMMerch Fair is a new pilot project from Manitoba Music, starting on Sept. 6. It will be a monthly event on First Fridays at MM's Resource Centre, and local bands and musicians can sign up for a creative space to sell their merch outside of show nights to reach an audience of merch collectors. Apply here


– Acclaimed Canadian jazz and swing songbird Alex Pangman has released a new project, Hot Three, recorded direct to 78rpm acetate disc to capture that retro sound. She played the Niagara Jazz Festival last week and has upcoming Toronto shows at Reservoir Lounge (Aug. 1 and Sept. 5) and Senator Winebar (Sept. 7).

Billie Eilish performs during Music Midtown 2023 at Piedmont Park on Sept. 16, 2023 in Atlanta.
Nykieria Chaney/Getty Images for ABA

Billie Eilish performs during Music Midtown 2023 at Piedmont Park on Sept. 16, 2023 in Atlanta.

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