Music News Digest, June 2, 2022

Blue Rodeo is honoured with a street name (pictured), the the CMAOntario Festival & Awards Weekend is ready to roll, and finalists for the 2022 SOCAN Songwriting Prize are announced. Also making news are the Allan Slaight Juno Master Class, Tebey, Global Toronto, The Do West Fest, Sloan, NXNE, ArtHaus, CMW, NMC, Buffy Sainte-Marie, TSO, Oscar Peterson Program, Indigenous Grooves, East Pointers, Chemical Club, Bruno Capinan, Nuela Charles, David Leask, and Lunar Bloom.

Music News Digest, June 2, 2022

By Kerry Doole

Awards and Honours

The 2022 SOCAN Songwriting Prize Finalists (10 English and 10 French) have been named, and these emerging songwriters will vie for a $5K prizes comprising $5K, a Yamaha workstation and a $500 gift card from Long & McQuade. Each of the other nominated songs will be awarded a $500 cash prize and a $50 gift card from L&M.  Fans can vote daily here until June 8 to select their favourite. A list of finalists is here.

– The 10th Annual CMAOntario Awards take place on Sunday, June 5 at Centennial Hall in London, ON, as the culmination of the CMAOntario Festival & Awards Weekend, running June 2-5. Hosted by Jason McCoy and Robyn Ottolini, the CMAOntario Awards Show is presented by Slaight Music. Tix for the Awards Show are on sale here.


– A strong line-up has been named for the free 2022 CMAOntario Bonfire (formerly New Faces Showcase & Concert) at the CMAOntario fest in London, on June 4 (Dundas Place, 8-11 pm). That list features Brian John Harwood, Dustin Bird, Gabrielle Goulet, Karli June,  Nate Haller, and Tebey, who will headline the event.

– In an official ceremony on May 31, the City of Toronto, repped by Mayor John Tory and Councillor Paula Fletcher, named a Toronto street Blue Rodeo Drive, in honour of the city's roots-rock heroes. The honour was reportedly approved back in 2016, but the naming event could not be held prior to this. The street is in the Broadview area of east Toronto, just a few blocks away from Blue Rodeo HQ, home of their Woodshed studio and management, Starfish Entertainment. Band members and management attended the ceremony, with Greg Keelor taking the opportunity to pay tribute to the inspiration of the late Ronnie Hawkins. Congrats guys.

– Submissions for the 2022/2023 Allan Slaight Juno Master Class, Canada’s leading artist development program, are now openhere, until June 30. Now in its eighth iteration, the Master Class is designed to support emerging artists with opportunities to refine their craft and further develop their music careers. The program (valued at over $100K) includes An all-inclusive trip to Toronto for an intensive mentorship week and industry showcase, hosted by Canada’s Music Incubator, a trip to the 2023 Junos in Edmonton, including transportation, accommodations, and a Juno Weekend ticket package, a chance for one of the artists to perform in front of the Canadian music industry at the Juno Opening Night Awards in Edmonton, a cash prize and more.


Festival and conference info

– The Global Toronto 2022 music conference and showcasing event features pre-conference activities taking place from June 7-10 in-person at various venues in Toronto, including the Aga Khan Museum, Paradise Theatre, and Royal Conservatory of Music. This is followed by an online conference, on June 20-22. Key Toronto / Ontario-based artists performing include Digging Roots, Jeremy Ledbetter Trio, King Cardiac, John Orpheus, Zaki Ibrahim, Marta Elena, The Pairs, and Ammoye. For the full list of Canadian and international artists performing at GT22 click here and visit Global Toronto on Instagram for full schedules and updates. Conference registration is available here via the Minode’e app to engage with any of the scheduled programs, talks and networking sessions. 


– One of Toronto's most popular street fests, The Do West Fest (DWF), produced by Transmit Presents, returns this weekend (June 3-5) to the Dundas West and Ossington hood. A talent-packed lineup is headed by Sloan and Metz and includes Zoon, Hot Garbage, Badge Epoch Duo, Burner, Breeze, Keegan Powell, and more. Info here.

– The venerable NXNE  fest returns to multiple Toronto venues, June 14-19, and most of the sked has been announced. As promised by fest co-founder and current head Michael Hollett, the emphasis this year is heavily upon new and emerging talent, so odds are you won't recognise many of the names. Those that caught our eye include Anthony OKS, Lennie Bull, and Redhill Valleys. Given the bargain price of a full pass (just $20), this is an ideal chance to catch something new. Sked and passes here.  


– RANGE Magazine is partnering with PlayMPE and ArtHaus for a CMW party in Toronto at ArtHaus ( 60 Lindsey Ave) on June 8. Set to perform are Magi Merlin, Prado, Little Destroyer, Teon Gibbs, and Sophia Eleftheria, with DJ sets by DJs Paul Saulnier (PS I Love You) and Michael Wallace (Preoccupations). RSVP here.

Industry News

– On May 27, the National Music Centre (NMC) launched a new permanent Music & Wellness exhibition that taps into the power of music on mental and physical health. Located on Studio Bell’s third floor,  the exhibition will explore numerous topics through a series of video interviews that create an immersive sense of personal conversation between the viewer and a variety of experts, including medical professionals, music therapists, community wellness advocates and Indigenous Knowledge Keepers. More info here.

– In other NMC news, the Buffy Sainte-Marie: Pathfinder Exhibition opens at Studio Bell on June 3, running until Aug. 1. It is billed as "a retrospective exhibition by an innovator of digital art, and the travelling exhibition is in partnership with NMC and Paquin Entertainment. NMC hosts a public lecture with Buffy Sainte-Marie on June 18 at 8pm. Tix are on sale  here

– The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) celebrates the final weeks of its 2021/22 season with a Free TSO Live Stream of Gimeno Conducts Grieg & Mahler, on June 9, at 8 pm, and available for viewing through June 15. The program includes two World Premières—both commissioned by the TSO as part of its Centennial Celebrations—and masterworks by Edvard Grieg and Gustav Mahler. RSVP for the Free TSO Live Stream by June 8 at TSO.CA/LiveStream.


– The Royal Conservatory has announced the details of the new Oscar Peterson Program, which provides comprehensive, tuition-free musical training for youth in underserved communities in the Toronto area. Beginning in Oct., students will receive instruction from the faculty and will have the opportunity to attend concerts at Koerner Hall by world-class musicians. The program will provide students with instruments, as required. The Oscar Peterson Program is split into two streams: orchestra and scholars. Young musicians in Grades 6 through 9 are invited to apply here before the Sept. 17 deadline. 

– Founded during the pandemic, Toronto company FabCollab has presented over 150 artists, live-streamed to over 100K people worldwide and produced dozens of shows, including the signature series, Women in Song. Co-founder Tamar Ilana informs FYI that " we are throwing an Indigenous rave, Indigenous Grooves, for the first time on June 4, at Lee's Palace. It features all Indigenous, all electronic and all women/non-binary artists, plus an Indigenous fashion show and marketplace." Tix here.


Artists News

– Popular PEI-based roots group East Pointers tragically lost bandmate Koady Chaisson back in Jan. The remaining members are honouring him with the release of six new singles, recorded with Koady. The series launched on May 27 with the track  Stronger Than You Know. Source: Saltwire

– Ottawa-duo Chemical Club has signed to Arts & Crafts. A new single, Spring, is taken from a forthcoming EP scheduled for Aug.

– Artists lending their name to craft beer and wine is now quite commonplace. Coffee, less so, but veteran rocker Lee Aaron has teamed up with Writers & Rockers Coffee Company to launch her own BodyRock coffee blend. Robert Young, Writers & Rockers creator, terms the blend "the Metal Queen's coffee." Source: Brave Words

– Brazilian-Canadian singer/songwriter Bruno Capinan recently released a new album, Tara Rara, that is creating a buzz. They play a free show as part of Toronto’s Do West Fest on June 3, at the Lulaworld Stage (Dundas West, east of Brock). Recommended.

– Three-time Juno-nominated alternative/soul singer-songwriter Nuela Charles plays the El Mocambo in Toronto on June 7, following the recent release of a new single, Worthy. Back in Feb., the SOCAN Foundation announced Charles as a winner of the second annual Her Music Awards, with a $5K prize. Her work has amassed an impressive 3.5M  streams to date.

– Acclaimed folk songsmith David Leask pays tribute to Massey Hall with his song and video, Take A Seat, featured on his CFMA-nominated album Voyageur in Song. Take A Seat was written and recorded with the famed Six String Nation Guitar that contains a piece of one of Massey Hall's seats. Leask does the grand hall justice here.

– Lunar Bloom releases its debut album, Running Deep, on June 4. The group plays the SING! Festival in Toronto on June 5, Live! On Elgin in Ottawa on June 25, and The Tranzac in Toronto, supported by Caroline Marie Brooks, on June 30 (tix here). Check out the title track single here.

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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