Music News Digest, March 10, 2022

Ottawa's RBC Bluesfest returns after two years, The Strumbellas (pictured) name a new frontman, and the Indie awards are accepting nominations. Also in the news are Gala Dynastie, Hugh’s Room Live, Country Music Alberta Awards, Paper Bag Records, Lily Frost and Kate Boothman, Beny Esguerra and New Tradition Music, Tennyson King, and farewell Ted Jones and Ziggy Sigmund.

Music News Digest, March 10, 2022

By Kerry Doole

After shuttering for two years because of the pandemic, Ottawa's RBC Bluesfest, one of the country's biggest summer festivals, announces its return. Running July 7-17, it features headliners including hometown heroine Alanis Morrissette, Sarah McLachlan, Jack Johnson, Luke Combs, Rage Against The Machine, Alexisonfire, and The National. Tickets g on sale tomorrow (March 11) here.

– Canadian Music Week (CMW) has opened nominations for the 21st Anniversary of the Jim Beam INDIE Awards, set for June 11 at Toronto's El Mocambo. Submissions are being accepted through until April 8. Artists or their reps (including labels, managers, agents and publishers) can submit their nominations. National music release dates must fall between the eligibility period of Jan. 1, 2021, and Feb. 1, 2022.


– There are big changes in The Strumbellas camp. Simon Ward, former frontman of the multi-platinum, Juno-winning band,is stepping aside, replaced by Jimmy Chauveau, former lead singer of Ascot Royals before fronting the duo Kadeema in 2019. Ward will remain an active part of The Strumbellas line-up, but in a behind-the-scenes role as a songwriter. In a press release, the band notes that "We’re writing new songs together and working to get new Strumbellas songs to our fans as soon as we can.”

– Fourteen awards were presented at the sixth annual edition of the Gala Dynastie, held March 5, at Place des Arts’ Théâtre Maisonneuve in Montréal. The annual event marks the end of Black History Month festivities and celebrates outstanding members of Québec’s Black communities in the fields of music and the arts. Performers included Preach, y DJ Sweet La Rock, Kelly Krow, Alan Prater, Lost, Djely Tapa, Yama Laurent, and Zach Zoya. Tributes were paid to the late Don Harley Fils-Aimé  and Karim Ouellet, and Lamine Touré, founding president of the festivals Nuits d’Afrique and Vues d’Afrique, received the Grand Prix Dynastie 2022. See a full list of winners here. Source: SOCAN Words & Music.


– Good news for Toronto roots music and jazz fans is the word that Hugh’s Room Live has reached an agreement to acquire a heritage church Lennox located at 296 Broadview. The hoped-for acquisition comes after a two-year search by the muso org hierarchy to find a new home after its west-end location became too pricey. HRL is a registered charity and now needs to raise $2.2M to complete the deal, though a loan guarantee from the City of Toronto was an important step in securing funds to purchase. Donors can contribute at Canada Helps or transfer money to and receive a tax receipt.

– The 11th annual Country Music Alberta Awards take place on March 20, at the Cambridge Red Deer Hotel and Conference Centre, and the org has announced its full awards show lineup, including special appearances by singer Aaron Goodvin and Heartland star Amber Marshall. Other performers will include The Road Hammers, Dan Davidson, Hailey Benedict, and The Prairie States onstage at the 11th Annual Country Music Alberta Awards on March 20. The Kick-Off Party (March 19) will feature performances by Alex Hughes, NewLaw, Robert Adam, and Nice Horse. The Songwriters Stage (March 20), hosted by Aaron Pollock and Amy Hef, features performances by ANNIKA, Devin Cooper, Bretton Rose, Emet, The Dungarees, and Shaela Miller. Tix are on sale now here.


– Toronto indie imprint Paper Bag Records recently celebrated its 20th Anniversary with coast to coast live-stream shows and events and is now heading to Austin. A SXSW fest showcase presented by the label and Double Denim Management team is set for Swan Dive on March 15,  with performances from Art d'Ecco, Zoon, Living Hour, Cuffed Up, Frankiie, and Maya Malkin.


– Two top-notch Ontario singer/songwriters, Lily Frost and Kate Boothman share a bill at The Heartwood Concert Hall in Owen Sound on March 13. Recommended.

– Northside KUISi Vol 3, the recent Lulaworld album from Beny Esguerra and New Tradition Music has been nominated for Global Music Album of the Year in the 2022 Junos. To celebrate, Esguerra and his band are launching a three-part mini-documentary on the making of the album, available via YouTube. 

– Chinese-Canadian BC folk-rock artist Tennyson King released a new album, Good Company, on Jan. 21, and is now touring out east. The trek begins tonight (March 10) at Toronto's Drake Underground, followed by nine more Ontario dates, at breweries, cafes and clubs. Itinerary here.


Ted Jones, an acclaimed graphic artist who worked extensively with Klaatu, died in Halifax on March 1, age 68, of a suspected heart attack.

Born in Windsor, ON, Jones grew up in Toronto.

Terry Draper of Klaatu, named as Jones' next-of-kin, informs FYI that "Jones did virtually all of Klaatu's album covers, graphics, illustrations and artwork except the Sir Army Suit album (Hugh Syme) and Peaks (Terry Watkinson of Max Webster). Ted has also done 11 solo album covers for me over more recent years, many of which feature Ted's trademark style. His artwork for 3:47 E.S.T was featured in a Gold Award-winning advertising campaign for then trade magazine Record World in the U.S in 1977. We formed an enduring friendship, and he is missed." Sources: Terry Draper, Frank Davies

– David "Ziggy" Sigmund, a Vancouver guitarist who played with Slow, Art Bergmann, The Scramblers, Copyright, and Econoline Crush, has died, age 56. A cause of death has not been reported.

Sigmund was a member of the industrial-pop unit Econoline Crush from the late 90s to early 2000s. The band's leader, Trevor Hurst, posted this on its Facebook page: “David “Ziggy” Sigmund, my friend, partner, my brother in arms has crossed over. His sudden passing has taken all of us by surprise. He was a brilliant musician, creative genius, entertaining conversationalist and the best hang. My life is forever changed. I want to thank everyone for the kind messages of support during this difficult time.”


On Facebook, his comrade Art Bergmann posted: "Goodbye sweet Ziggy. Always love you."

Sigmund was a member of the seminal Vancouver punk band Slow, from 1984-87, and was part of its reunion in 2017. After Slow split for the first time, he joined the Scramblers. An archival album of that group's blues-infused hard rock material, Good Gone Bad, was released in 2005 via Heart of Texas Records.

Sigmund would go on to join Econoline Crush, first appearing on the band's 1997 LP The Devil You Know. The single All That You Are (X3), on which Sigmund earned a writing credit, earned the group greater exposure in the US.

The third album Brand New History followed in 2001, produced by fellow Canadian Bob Rock, who had previously enlisted Sigmund as a touring guitarist for his short-lived Rockhead outfit. Econoline Crush went on hiatus in 2002 and reunited without Sigmund in 2006. After fourth full-length Ignite arrived in 2008, it was announced that Sigmund had rejoined the band in 2010.


Sigmund was most recently part of the Slow reunion. Sources: Exclaim, Georgia Straight, Vancouver Province

Matt Barnes



New & Upcoming Canadian Album Releases: deadmau5 Returns with New EP, Hollerado's Menno Versteeg Goes Solo

Boy Golden and Begonia also have new releases this week, while Rush's Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson are reissuing their solo albums.

A mid-summer release week brings some notable new releases from Canadian artists, including Oleyada andRuss Brannon. Hot off the exclusive cover story in the new Rolling Stone Quebec, deadmau5 is also back with a new release, some ep, that combines his first solo music in two years with his alter-ego Testpilot.

For Eden, meanwhile, is the second full-length from indie folk/roots songsmith Boy Golden (Liam Duncan). His debut LP, Church of Better Days, hit #1 at Canadian Alternative radio, and he has quickly become a favourite on the touring circuit. Already a Juno winner, Winnipegger Begonia turns heads with her force of nature voice, and new album Open Swim will spread the word.

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