Music News Digest, March 25, 2021
Johnny Orlando (pictured) shines on a new track with DVBBS, Credit Union Music PEI Week 2021 launches tomorrow, and the CLMA continues to lobby. Also in the news are Music Publishers Canada, Maple Blues Awards, Moneka Arabic Jazz, The MVP Project, Justin Rutledge, Women in Music Canada, CityView Drive-In, Suzie Ungerleider, Mike Field, The Discarded, Al Qahwa Ensemble, Beams, CBC Music, and farewell Connie Bradley and Freddie Redd.
By Kerry Doole
On March 24, globally popular Canadian pop singer-songwriter Johnny Orlando released I Don’t (with DVBBS) via Universal Music Canada. For the track, Orlando teamed up with multi-platinum Canadian production/DJ duo DVBBS (brothers Chris Chronicles and Alex Andre), who count artists like Belly, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Quinn XCII, and Wiz Khalifa among their recent collaborators. Of note, Orlando's recent EP, It's Never Really Over, is nominated for this year'sJuno Awards, in the Pop Album of the Year category.
– Credit Union Music PEI Week 2021 launches tomorrow (March 26) with two diverse shows. Diggin Deep Roots features Luka Hall, Cory Gallant, Lawrence Maxwell, and Shane Pendergast, with special guest Emmet MacLellan performing a song created as part of Music PEI’s Diverse Voices program. Red Dirt Rock showcases Wrong Planet Band, Little Cities and The Royal North. Saturday afternoon brings the SOCAN Songwriter of the Year concert featuring nominees Catherine MacLellan, Rachel Beck, KINLEY, Dylan Menzie and Logan Richard. The lineup for Saturday night’s Sounds For The Soul comprises Nikkie Gallant, Logan Richard, Brielle Ansems, Brandon Howard Roy and Kierrah. Acts at The Block Party are nominees Braeden Van Asperen, Slime da Garbage Mane, Hailey MacIsaac, Phyzxx, Spivey, Adjust the Facts and Vince the Messenger. All shows take place at the Delta Hotel PEI Convention Centre. Tickets are available here.
The Festival finale Sunday night, with MacLellan, Sarah Hagen, Sirens, Dylan Menzie, Rachel Beck, and Brielle Ansems, is sold out. The Music PEI Awards Party happens Sunday afternoon at 1 pm and will be streamed live on the Music PEI Facebook page.
– Music Publishers Canada is now accepting applications for its 2021 Women in the Studio National Accelerator. This program offers a series of curated production-related opportunities and networking experiences to women-identifying producer-songwriters from across the country. To qualify, the candidate must be a mid-level working Canadian producer-songwriter able to provide discography and a streaming link to 3 examples of their work. Applications will be accepted online until March 26 here
– The 24th Maple Blues Awards reached 13K online views for its 4 segments of Awards broadcasts, streamed from Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Vancouver on our YouTube channel or on TBS Facebook page. For all the videos visit the TBS channel here.
– In a press release issued yesterday, The Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) stated that it "thanks the Government of Ontario for today’s provincial budget which acknowledges hard-hit sectors such as the live music industry. Welcome are the new Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant and the Ontario Tourism Recovery Program – both which will hopefully address members' urgent needs. 'Minister MacLeod has worked exhaustively on behalf of her stakeholders, and today’s budget shines a necessary spotlight on our Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture industries,' said Erin Benjamin, CLMA President & CEO.“
– The CLMA is continuing its #ForTheLoveOfLIVE campaign, and is now applying pressure to the federal government on behalf of the live music industry, in advance of the federal Budget, set for April 19. You can join the CLMA tomorrow (Friday) at 2pm ET as the org shares its strategy and new tools to create even more impact, amplify its message further, and work to ensure that its members collective futures are prioritized in the budget. Register for the session here.
– As announced last August, the 23rd season of the TD Markham Jazz Festival has evolved into a series of monthly online concerts through March 2021. Concert # 6 happens this coming Sunday, March 28 (2 pm) featuring Moneka Arabic Jazz. Go to markhamjazzfestival.com and click on the “concert link” button.
– The MVP Project is open for Round 6 submissions until April 1. The program is a joint funding initiative of RBCxMusic, Prism Prize and the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, and offers music video production grants valued between $5K and $15K to the successful recording artist/producer/director teams. Learn more and apply here.
– Highly-lauded singer/songwriter Justin Rutledge releases a new record, Islands, tomorrow (March 26). Here he revisits material from his compelling eight-album catalogue, re-recording select songs alone, with minimal accompaniment. The album was recorded over 3 days at Toronto’s Union Sound with friend/collaborator Chris Stringer. Two previously unreleased songs are included, the longtime fan favourite Jellybean and the anthemic Tragically Hip song, Nautical Disaster. Accompanied by friends Tom Juhas and Aaron Comeau, Rutledge plays a virtual release show on March 28, via Side Door Access. Tix here. Highly recommended.
– Women in Music Canada(WIMC) is a registered non-profit organization, and one of the largest music industry associations in Canada. It hosts educational, career development, and networking events alongside broader programming initiatives, industry engagements, research, and advocacy. The org has just announced that Music Nova Scotia, with the support of Music PEI, Music Newfoundland, and Music New Brunswick, is coming together with WIMC to establish an Atlantic Canadian chapter of the organization. For more info on the Atlantic Chapter of WIMC, contact Music Nova Scotia: firstname.lastname@example.org.
– CityView Drive-In, launched last year after the pandemic lockdown, has announced its return with new five shows its promoting. Included are Big Wreck (May 14), Skratch Bastid, with guests k-os, Shad and Haviah Mighty, (May 22), and a double bill of Tokyo Police Club and Born Ruffians, May 28.
– Toronto-based artist, trumpeter, composer, and world-traveller Mike Field has a new video to accompany his latest single Rocket, with both officially coming out tomorrow (March 26). The upbeat rock feel of the track contrasts with Field's usual jazz compositions. It was written as a sequel to his song Mechanic, from the acclaimed fourth album True Stories.
– As Oh Susanna, roots singer/songwriter Suzie Ungerleider has been at the forefront of the Canadian roots music scene for 25 years, earning international accolades aloing the way. After much soul-searching, she has now decided to abandon her stage name, and will go by her birth name. She took her moniker from a Stephen Foster song that she now disowns. On her website, Ungerleider writes "It didn’t matter to me that not very many people know that the original lyrics to the song Oh Susanna are racist. I felt that if I were to continue to use the name Oh Susanna I would be passively accepting and perpetuating its racism."
– Punk-inflected Ontario rock trio The Discarded has just released The Pandemic Sessions via Bandcamp. These comprise three live sets recorded in recent months, with two featuring earlier material, and the third comprising previously unreleased songs. Of note: The group features a father (Joel Wasson) and his two sons, Jared Dean & Caden Jax.
– Acclaimed Toronto world music group Al Qahwa Ensemble celebrates African Routes in its live-stream performance from Koerner Hall on April 9, at 8 pm. A new video for the tune Lullaby has just been released.
– Noted Toronto roots combo Beams is releasing a concert film, Ego Death, streaming over at Bandcamp Live on March 26 at 8 pm ET, with a live album of the same name coming that day. Ego Death is a documentary style concert, filmed at eight different beloved and shuttered venues and art spaces around Toronto, including The Dakota Tavern, The Horseshoe Tavern, The Boat, and Union Sound Co. Here's a trailer.
– The CBC is getting ready to launch Canada Listens, an event series designed to name the one Canadian album you should listen to in 2021. Five celebrity advocates will champion five Canadian records that have been selected as finalists. The contenders are releases by k-os, Tegan and Sara, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Kardinal Offishall, and Daniel Caesar. The hour-long shows will air daily on CBC Music Mornings beginning at 8 am on April 12 (and repeating on CBC Music’s Drive show at 5 pm). One album will be eliminated each day until the winner is announced on April 15. This is not an original concept, but mimics the Mother Corp's Canada Reads series.
Connie Bradley, longtime ASCAP Nashville head, died on March 24, age 75. No cause of death has been reported.
Bradley served as head of ASCAP Nashville for most of her 34 years with the organization.
Bradley was considered one of the pioneering women of the music business in Nashville, She joined ASCAP in 1976 and retired in 2010, taking the role of senior advisor at that time.
Among the artists signed and nurtured during Bradley’s time at the ASCAP helm are Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley, Chris Young, Alan Jackson, Rodney Crowell, Billy Currington, Reba McEntire, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts, and John Rich.
A Shelbyville, Tennessee native, Bradley worked for the TV station WLAC-TV, Dot Records and RCA, among other companies, before joining ASCAP in 1976.
Bradley received the Country Music Association’s Irving Waugh Award of Excellence in 2018. She had been president or chairperson of the CMA’s board of directors at various points and served on the board from 1983 through 2012.
- Freddie Redd, a hard-bop pianist and composer who alternated over a 70-year career between periods of high profile, obscurity, and locally based resurgences, died on March 17 in New York City. He was 92. Cause of death was not disclosed.
An autodidact, Redd had a lithe, lyrical, bluesy touch on the piano and a distinctly personal harmonic conception. Though he drew from Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell, he sounded like neither. Redd opted for a rhythmically playful style with well-crafted improvised lines.
As a composer, Redd both adapted and subverted the conventions of bebop, writing both catchy, singable tunes and labyrinthine, Parker-esque lines, all of which he would set in unusual structures (albeit usually within the 32-bar parameter). His best-known work as both a composer and a player is undoubtedly The Connection, Redd’s original score for both Jack Gelber’s 1959 play and Shirley Clarke’s 1961 film adaptation thereof. It was released as a 1960 album (also featuring saxophonist Jackie McLean) on Blue Note Records.
The soundtrack album was also the peak of Redd’s commercial success as a jazz musician. Shortly after a successful tour of Europe with the production of The Connection, Redd relocated there, issuing no recordings for a decade. He returned to the United States in the mid-’70s and worked on the West Coast until moving back east in the 1990s. This began another period of relative quiet, though Redd grew active again in the 2010s after moving to Baltimore. At that time he became a regular presence on bandstands in both the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. areas before returning to New York in retirement for the last years of his life. JazzTimes