Music News Digest, March 11, 2020

More presenters for the Junos are announced, Burton and Randy (pictured) add US dates, and Dan Mangan headlines the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival free concert series. Also in the news are Music Publishers Canada, Pearl Jam, Music March for Music Therapy, Shirley Gnome, Split Enz, Nas, Festival of Beer, Coachella, The Treble, and farewell Keith Olsen and Charlie Baty.

Music News Digest, March 11, 2020

By Kerry Doole

More presenters for the 2020 Juno Awards have been announced. The list includes Dallas Smith, Emma Hunter (Fridge Wars, Mr. D), Ewan Currie (The Sheepdogs), Felix Cartal, Jonny Harris (Still Standing, Murdoch Mysteries), Lights, Nuela Charles, Riit; Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault, and The Dead South. Special performance presenters will feature the Governor General of Canada, Julie Payette, and Tom Wilson.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Anne Murray will return to the Juno stage to induct Jann Arden into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. The 49th annual Juno Awards and Juno Week 2020 are hosted in Saskatoon  from March 9- 15, 2020, culminating in The Juno Awards, on March 15, at the SaskTel Centre, broadcast live on CBC, CBC Gem, CBC Radio One, CBC Music, the CBC Listen app and globally at


– Dan Mangan headlines Tim Hortons' Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival free concert series, performing at the Rideau Carleton Casino Hillside Stage at Mooney's Bay Park on the festival's opening night, June 25. So far no other acts have been announced for the 28th annual.

– Ex-Guess Who members Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings recently announced Canadian dates, their first shows together in 10 years. US dates have now been added, with the tour featuring six theatre and casino shows in the Midwest from June 13-21. Itinerary here.  Source: Ultimate Classic Rock

– Music Publishers Canada is accepting applications for its Women in the Studio National Accelerator Program. Now in its second year, this program offers a series of curated production-related opportunities and networking experiences to six producersongwriters from across the country. Applications from women, transgender, gender fluid, non-binary and gender non-conforming people are welcomed. Benefits of participating in the program include a Canadian Music Week-related experience in Toronto, access to industry mentors, involvement in various Music Publishers Canada events and programs, and other curated training and networking opportunities. To qualify, the candidate must be a mid-level working producer-songwriter with credits, and must also be a Canadian resident. Applications accepted here until March 23.


– Both the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach festival were postponed on Tuesday by promoter Goldenvoice amid growing concerns over the coronavirus. This year’s Coachella festival was slated to begin on April 10, and the dates for Weekends 1 and 2 have been moved to October 9-11 and October 16-18.  Stagecoach is moved to Oct. 23-25. 

– The 7th Annual Music March for Music Therapy in support of the Canadian Music Therapy Fund takes place in Toronto on March 29. A march begins at noon, ending at the Tranzac Club, which then hosts sets by Matata 6, Rachel Romu, and Superfire. This year the fundraising goal is $25K. More info here

– On Monday we ran an item about the upcoming Pearl Jam album, Gigaton,  and an international listening party launch on March 25.  Presumably those screenings are going ahead, but the band has just postponed the first leg of its planned tour, given the coronavirus outbreak. Read the group's statement here 


– Vancouver-based cabaret comedian Shirley Gnome, known for her salacious and unapologetic lyrics, has a new album “Decoxification, slated for release on March 13. It is her fifth studio album and second under 604 Records and its comedy arm, Comedy Here Often. One of the new cuts is a witty homage to her label boss, Chad Kroger, entitled Nickelback's Not Too Bad.

– Split Enz's 1980 breakthrough album True Colours (a major hit in Canada, along with the single I Got You) is coming back as a remixed 40th anniversary edition. Split Enz member Eddie Rayner insisted on remixing the album, noting that “I have both the original stereo masters from the 1979 mixing sessions, and the versions currently held in repositories such as Spotify….and they are radically different, sonically." Source: Noise11


– Toronto’s Festival of Beer has announced its opening night concert is headlined by hip-hop veteran Nas, on the OLG Bandshell Stage, Exhibition Place, on Friday, July 24. The 24th edition of the annual runs from July 24 - 26. 

– Winnipeg alt-rock group The Treble's next album, Rivals is set for release April 24 via Cadence Recordings. To celebrate the release the band will be performing their first hometown headlining show since 2016 at the West End Cultural Centre on April 24. Tickets here. The record is produced by Ryan Worsley (Dear Rouge), Tyler Del Pino and the band. 


Keith Olsen, a noted US record producer, has died. Age and cause of death not treported.

Best known for his work with Fleetwood Mac, Olsen also produced hit albums by Ozzy Osbourne, REO Speedwagon, Grateful Dead, Pat Benatar, Santana, Heart, Whitesnake, Foreigner, Rick Springfield, The Scorpions, and more.

Born in Sioux Falls, S.D., Olsen cut his teeth in the Minneapolis music scene, and was the bass player for the Music Machine, a group best-known for their 1966 hit Talk Talk.

By the late ‘60s, Olsen relocated to Los Angeles, eventually becoming an engineer at the famed Sound City Studios. An early break came via a couple of fledgling musicians, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. Olsen produced the duo’s self-titled 1973 LP, and then worked on Fleetwood Mac’s 1975 self-titled LP. The album, featuring such classic hits as Rhiannon, Say You Love Me and Landslide. would hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart, eventually selling more than seven million copies in the US.


Notable subsequent releases among Olsen’s impressive resume include the Grateful Dead’s Terrapin Station (1977), Foreigner’s Double Vision (1978), Pat Benatar’s Crimes of Passion (1980), Sammy Hagar’s Three Lock Box (1982), Osbourne's No Rest for the Wicked (1988) and Whitesnake's self-titled 1987 album.

According to his website, Olsen produced more than 120 albums in total, with 24 earning platinum certification or better. The site goes on to note that “sales from Keith Olsen’s work exceeds 125 million units at retail, equaling more than a billion dollars in business.” The producer also earned six Grammy awards over the course of his career. Sources: UCR, Noise11

Charles 'Little Charlie' Baty, a US blues musician, died on March 6, of a heart attack. He was 66.

Baty is best known as the leader of award-winning blues band Little Charlie & The Nightcats, who released nine albums on Alligator Records between 1987 and 2008. Over the course of his career, he shared stages with Muddy Waters, Gregg Allman, Robert Cray, Albert Collins, Los Lobos and many others.

In recent years, Baty fronted jazz trio Little Charlie & Organ Grinder Swing, and performed often with artists including Mark Hummel, Kim Wilson and Anson Funderburgh. His extensive musical vocabulary was comprised of blues, jazz, rockabilly and swing. 


Baty was born in Birmingham, Alabama and moved to San Francisco at an early age. He began his musical career in the mid-1960s as a Chicago-style blues harmonica player and vocalist, turning to guitar in the early 1970s. 

Baty moved to Sacramento in 1975, and there he met harmonica player, vocalist and songwriter Rick Estrin. The two added a drummer and bassist and formed Little Charlie & The Nightcats, quickly becoming one of the most talked-about blues bands on the local scene. The group signed with Alligator Records in 1987. They released nine albums and toured the world non-stop before Baty retired from the band in 2008. Baty released 14 total albums in his lifetime. His most recent was Skronky Tonk in 2017 on the EllerSoul label. Source: Alligator Records

50 Cent

50 Cent


50 Cent Takes A Victory Lap at Toronto's Cabana Pool Bar: Canadian Concerts of the Week

Also this week: it's festival season, with Hillside, Le Festif! and the Vancouver Folk Music Festival all happening on the same weekend.

Summer is in swing, and that means festival season. While many of the biggest ones take place in August, this weekend sees a handful of folk or adjacent events with the perfect summer vibes. Find those below, after our concert of the week featuring one of the biggest rap success stories of the last two decades.

Concert of the Week

50 Cent at Cabana Pool Bar, Toronto — Saturday, July 20

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