Music News Digest, June 4, 2018

Casting has begun for the second season of The Launch, Trent Severn attracts stars to a Toronto show, and Drake is urged to stand down on his feud with Pusha-T. Those also making news include MusiCares, Canadian Blast in Australia, Danielle Bourjeaurd, Upper Canada Choristers, Kalle Mattson, Pierre-Philippe Côté, Murray McLauchlan, Kris the $pirit, and a farewell to Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater. Videos added for your enjoyment.

Music News Digest, June 4, 2018

By Kerry Doole

Hit Canadian music reality show The Launch is now accepting submissions for Season Two. Unsigned solo artists, duos and groups from all types of music genres will be considered. Deadline for entry is June 11  at 11:59 p.m. (EST). For all casting details and updates, including instructions on how to apply, go here

– The Grammys-backed non-profit charity MusiCares is now the subject of significant controversy.  On May 21, MusiCares/Grammy Foundation vice president Dana Tomarken sent a letter to the Recording Academy board alleging that Recording Academy chairman and president Neil Portnow funnelled money away from the charity to fund this year’s Grammys deficit and that MusiCares had been asked to reduce the amount of financial support for its clients. The Academy has denied both allegations.


As of earlier this year, MusiCares, which was established in 1989, has distributed nearly $60 million to more than 125,000 clients, assisting them through personal health crises, addiction, and natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina. Source: Billboard

– The East Coast Music Association, Canadian Independent Music Association, Canadian Music Week and BreakOut West  have joined forces to present Canadian Blast @ Australian Music Week. The AMW festival and conference takes place in Cronulla, New South Wales, Nov. 7-9, 2018.  Showcase applications are now open HERE. Two CIMA members will be selected for two showcase opportunities there. Both artists will be given one industry showcase as well as a secondary festival showcase. Apply via this submission form before July 31.

– The much publicised rap beef between Drake and US hip-hop artist Pusha-T escalated when Pusha-T put out the diss track "The Story of Adidon." In the latest twist to the feud, Drake has been urged by James 'J.' Prince not to respond further. Prince is the CEO of Rap-A-Lot Records, and, during an interview with DTLR Radio on Saturday, he said he thought Pusha-T's diss was disrespectful and that he's encouraged Drake to avoid responding. Prince claims he told Drake "We're going to put this to bed because we can't get into the pigpen with pigs. Because pigs turn into hogs and hogs get slaughtered."


The Pusha-T track is now charting. Check it out here. Source: Complex

– Canadian country singer/songwriter Danielle Bourjeaurd has just debuted a new video, "Happy Hour." Now working with veteran publisher Frank Davies, Bourjeaurd earlier made a splash by collaborating with Tom Cochrane on the radio hit  "Sunday Afternoon Hang." "Happy Hour" is on her debut EP Country Sorta Way. Check out the new clip here.

– Canadian folk trio Trent Severn played a show at Toronto's Heliconian Hall last week that featured some heavy-hitters in attendance. Kim Mitchell and Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott were in the audience, as was Earl Slick, guitarist sideman to such stars as John Lennon, Ian Hunter, and David Bowie. We're guessing that Trent Severn member Emm Gryner may have had something to do with that, given her earlier role as a member of Bowie's touring band.

– The acclaimed Toronto-based choir Upper Canada Choristers and conductor Laurie Evan Fraser present a Strawberry Social fundraiser on June 17, 3-5 p.m. in the Parish Hall of Grace Church on-the-Hill, 300 Lonsdale Road. The 40-member mixed choir focuses on the songs of George Gershwin and Cole Porter at the event. More information here 


– Juno-nominated songsmith Kalle Mattson has shared a new track (and video) from an album expected later this year.  “Kids On The Run” is  produced by Colin Munroe (Drake, Sky Ferreira), and Mattson acknowledges it has a Springsteen feel. Extensive cross-country touring will run Sept 19 to Nov. 24. Dates here


– Pierre-Philippe “Pilou” Côté – also known as singer-songwriter Peter Henry Phillips – has won the Best Original Score Iris Award. This came for his work on director Robin Aubert’s film Les Affamés , and was presented at the 2018 Gala des artisans Québec Cinéma, held at Maison de Radio-Canada last week. Côté was included in SOCAN Words & Music magazine’s Top 10 for 2017, and also participated in SOCAN's most recent edition of the Kenekt Québec Song Camp.

– Our congrats to Murray McLauchlan for receiving a lifetime artistic achievement award at the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards gala in Ottawa on Saturday night. Here's hoping this helps media outlets learn how to spell his surname. A CBC TV news report on Sunday mangled it as McLaughlan (though later corrected), an error repeatedly made over the years in many media outlets..

– The Living Skies Teen Vocal Showcase is accepting submissions from Saskatchewan youth vocalists, age 13-19. All genres are covered, and the deadline is June 9. Auditions will be held June 24 in Humboldt and July 8 in Regina. More info here

– Montreal rapper Kris the $pirit has just released a debut album Spirit Mode Vol. 1, and a second volume is expected later in the year. He made Huffington Post’s list of 10 Artists to Follow in 2014a and won as Cult MTL’s Favourite Hip-Hop Act in 2015. On June 9 he performs at Mural as part of Make It Rain Records’ first anniversary event. Tickets are available online.

– Now in its fifth year, Manitoba's Real Love Summer Fest returns to the Ignite Retreats grounds in Teulon for two days of music and camping, July 28-29. Homegrown acts in the lineup include dream-pop band Lev Snowe, hip-hop artist Malcolm Jay, singer/songwriter Sam Singer, indie popsters Veneer, and synthpop act Warming. 



Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater (born Edward Harrington), Grammy-nominated blues guitarist and vocalist, died of heart failure on 1, in his hometown of Skokie, Illinois. He was 83.

Born in Mississippi, he moved to Chicago in 1950, first performing under the name Guitar Eddy. Clearwater's first full-length LP, 1980’s The Chief, was the initial release on Chicago’s Rooster Blues label, launched him onto the national and international blues scene.

Over the decades he recorded over 15 solo albums and never stopped touring, with fans from Chicago to Japan to Poland. His 2003 album on Bullseye Blues, Rock ‘N’ Roll City, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album. He released West Side Strut on Alligator in 2008 to both international popular and critical acclaim. His most recent CD was the self-released Soul Funky in 2014. 

He was inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame in 2016 and also won two Blues Music Awards including Contemporary Male Blues Artist Of The Year in 2001. Clearwater was regarded as one of the finest practitioners of the West Side style of Chicago blues. Source: Alligator Records

Norman Wong



Happy Anniversary, Archie: Alvvays' Debut Record Gets a 10th Birthday Re-Issue

The Canadian jangle pop group's first album will be available on a new cerulean blue vinyl with an unearthed bonus track, as well as the ten original songs — including breakout single 'Archie, Marry Me' — that launched their career in 2014.

A major Canadian indie rock album turns 10 today (July 22), and the band is celebrating with a special re-issue.

Alvvays' self-titled debut helped the group break through on an international scale, propelled by jangly guitars, aloof vocals and an expertly catchy single. "Archie, Marry Me," with its soaring chorus and pleading lyrics, became a wedding song for a generation of ambivalent millennials, earnest and sardonic at the same time.

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