By Kerry Doole
Just prior to the long holiday weekend, The Governor General of Canada, the Right Honourable Mary Simon, announced a new batch of appointees to the Order of Canada. The list includes some notable figures from the music and entertainment sectors. Named as a Companion of the Order is Andy Kim, cited for "his contributions to Canadian music as a trailblazer and legendary artist." Honoured as new Members of the Order are Lydia Muriel Adams ("For her enduring dedication and contributions to the growth of Canadian choral music, as a leading conductor, educator, accompanist and composer"), Barbara Assiginaak ("For her diverse contributions to contemporary music as a classically trained musician rooted in Anishinaabe teachings), Carole Vivier ("For her leadership in Manitoba’s film and music industry, bolstering the province’s reputation as a thriving arts scene and international cultural hub"), Tom Wilson ("For his multifaceted contributions to the arts in Canada, notably as an iconic musician, as well as for his advocacy of Indigenous communities in Canada"), and Stephen Stohn ("For his long-time contributions to the Canadian entertainment industry, notably as a television producer, lawyer, mentor and advocate for artists"). Read the full list of appointees here. Our congrats to all the recipients.
– The Western Canadian Music Alliance has announced the 2023 Western Canadian Music Award nominees and Mauvey and Snotty Nose Rez Kids top the list with four nominations each. The winners of the awards in both the Artistic and Industry categories will be named during BreakOut West, which takes place this year in Kelowna, BC from Oct. 11-15. Voting is now open to members of all western Provincial and Territorial Music Industry Associations, with a deadline of July 18. See the full nominees list here. Now in its 21st year, BreakOut West 2023 features a five-day career development conference and international industry program. The 2023 music festival will highlight 50+ artists performing at multiple venues across the host city. Festival wristbands are available now here.
– FKB from Edmonton has been named the 2023 Jim Beam National Talent Search winner, following their performance at the CMW showcase in Toronto last month. As part of their grand prize, FKB opened the Jim Beam INDIES Concert, attended the CMW Music Summit and Festival, had a Live Performance Masterclass with Tom Jackson (Taylor Swift, Magic!, Shawn Mendes), a songwriting session with Shaun Frank (The Chainsmokers and Halsey), a recording session at Noble Street Studios, and other rewards from CMW, Long & McQuade, and Canadian Musician.
– Music BC has selected the top 15 artists from its flagship artist development program, ARC 2023. Applications for ARC opened on April 24, and after a rigorous evaluation process, the jury consisting of industry professionals with expertise in various genres has chosen the participants for this year's cohort. ARC, funded by Creative BC and the Province of British Columbia, Stingray, and FACTOR, is designed to equip emerging artists with the necessary tools to thrive in the music industry. The program offers a comprehensive accelerator experience where artists receive one-on-one mentorship from industry professionals, including managers, creative content directors, and music producers. The full list of participants is here
– Hamilton’s popular free street fest Supercrawl celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, with music on James St. N. running Sept. 8-10. A typically strong and eclectic lineup was announced at its recent media launch, attended by yours truly. Headliners (in alphabetical order) are BadBadNotGood, Broken Social Scene, Rita Chiarelli & Sweet Loretta, The Flatliners, Hamilton Superstars, and Raine & Chantal. Other notables include Boy Golden, Shad, Suzie Vinnick, Chastity, The East Pointers, Goodnight Sunrise, Adrian Sutherland, Ryan Langdon, New Friends, The HP’s featuring Northern Soul Horns, HPO Brass Quintet x LTtheMonk, and Lacey Hill. For updated lineup information, check the Supercrawl website.
– Crescendo Fest is being billed as Eastern Canada's first black music festival and conference. Set for Halifax, Aug. 4-5, its lineup is headed by Canadian hip-hop pioneer Michie Mee and rising Afro-RnB star Nonso Amadi. The event includes a conference, a celebrity interview (Mee), a free public concert at Parade Square and the Crescendo Fest Wrap party featuring local DJs. More info at Crescendofest.com
– The free It's Your Festival 2023 was held at Hamilton's Gage Park over the long and wet holiday weekend, and a fine bill featured headliners Chilliwack and The Box. The one set this scribe could catch was from Tim Gibbons and The Swampbusters. The local rock 'n roll veteran was in strong form, dishing up boogie and blues-inflected rock with grit and muscle.
– It's now official. The long and complicated journey for Toronto non-profit roots music org Hugh's Room Live to find a new HQ venue is over with the official confirmation that HRL has purchased the historic church property at 296 Broadview Avenue. An HRL press release notes that "this major acquisition secures the future of our beloved cultural institution in the city and paves the way for an innovative new music hub. Brian Iler, the Board Chair, states 'This new home isn’t just a game-changer, it’s a groundbreaking music sanctuary. Our vision for this space includes dedicated support for artists, performance studios, and vibrant community musical activities.'" Hugh’s Room Live is now preparing the space for live performances to kick off in Sept.
– There has been a change at the helm of Paper Bag Records, one of the most prominent Canadian record labels of the past two decades. Company President Trevor Larocque has decided to step down from his role, effective immediately, and Tory Cassis, a member of the label's executive team already, assumes the position of President. Under Larocque's guidance, Paper Bag Records played a role in launching Canadian artists as accomplished and diverse as Broken Social Scene, Stars, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Young Galaxy, Tokyo Police Club, You Say Party!, Born Ruffians, POSTDATA, Frog Eyes, The Acorn and Yamantaka //Sonic Titan (among many others). Recent artists include Art d'Ecco, Royal Canoe, FRANKIIE, Gold & Youth, Mappe Of, Lou Canon, Devarrow, Sunnsetter, Pony Girl and Zoon. Of note: Tory Cassis is an accomplished singer/songwriter and actor, and was a 2000 Juno Award nominee for Best New Solo Artist. Read more about the label here.
– Nova Scotia folk singer Dave Gunning is lending his name to a program that provides healthy food to students at rural schools in the province, saying he wants to raise awareness about an often invisible problem. CP reports that "the Pictou County recording artist is becoming the sponsor of a funding drive to set up centres — referred to as School Free Stores — that will stock rural schools in Nova Scotia with food and necessities. The Rural Communities Foundation of Nova Scotia, which operates the program, says child poverty in the province is most acute in rural areas.
– Popular Toronto musician and graphic artist John Grove passed away on June 17, at age 60. His local comrades are now organising a Celebration of Life to be held at The Horseshoe Tavern on Sept. 3. Grove played in such punk bands as Animal Stags, Hugh Groove Experience, BFGs, and GRIND, and his artwork appeared in such outlets as Exclaim! and Impact magazines, as well as the book Tomorrow Is Too Late - Toronto Hardcore Punk in the 1980s.
The deadline to submit to CBC Music's Searchlight 2023 competition isJuly 6, at 3 pm ET. Apply here.
– Grammy Award-nominated Canadian country singer/songwriter Steven Lee Olsen celebrates a career milestone when he makes his Grand Ole Opry debut on July 23 in Nashville. "Having the opportunity to perform on the Grand Ole Opry stage and stand in the circle has always felt like going to the moon for me. Everybody wants to, but not everybody gets the chance,” said Olsen in a press release. His latest hit single, Outta Yours, is currently #9 on Canadian Country radio.
– Acclaimed Ontario singer/songwriter Danny Michel recently released his first album in five years, Ghost Town. He has been gigging out West and plays the Mariposa Folk Festival this weekend, followed by Durham's Four Winds Festival on July 16, then dates out east plus shows at the Edmonton Folk Festival. Check here for his itinerary.
– Multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer Sunnsetter recently released two new tracks, It Gets Better, and The Best That I Can Be. These two tracks are b-sides, one of which was the original title track for Sunnsetter’s most recent album.