By Kerry Doole
– St. John's has been named the host city for the 2024 Canadian Folk Music Awards. The CFMAs are now accepting applications here, with a July 13 deadline. The eligibility period is for music released between May 1, 2022 and and July 13, 2023.
– One of BC's biggest annual summer music fests, Victoria’s Rifflandia Festival is expanding to two weekends this year, Sept 7-9 and Sept. 15-17. Major names performing include Iggy Pop, Chris Lake, Run the Jewels, Diplo, Herbie Hancock, Salt-N-Pepa, Mavis Staples, Stephen Marley, Chromeo, Marc Rebillet, and Paul Oakenfold. Passes are now on sale here.
– The internationally-acclaimed SING! The Toronto International Vocal Arts Festival marks its 12th year with 28 inspiring live performances and industry insider workshops taking place from May 29 to June 4, at The Concert Hall in Toronto. The full schedule, tickets and festival passes are available now at singtoronto.com. Canada’s premier a cappella festival incorporates musical styles from around the globe—from jazz to pop, barbershop to Broadway, and even spoken word. This year's talent-studded lineup includes Naturally 7, The Kinsey Sicks, the SING! Singers, Mezzotono, the Harbourtown Sound, Mixology, Maple Reserve, Tamar Ilana, Meher Pavri, Suba Sankaran, Jordana Talsky, Turkwaz, Andrea Thompson, David Delisca, Countermeasure, and Lorraine Segato, leading a mass choir version of the anthem Rise Up. Singer/actress Sharron Matthews will receive the Slaight Music SING! Toronto Legacy Award at the fest. The full schedule is available here.
– The Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival in BC is set for Deer Lake Park on Aug. 12. The just-named lineup is headlined by Buffy Sainte-Marie, and will also feature performances by Allison Russell The Dip, Boy Golden, The Trade-offs, and a soon-to-be-announced artist from the First Up with RBCXMusic program. Free admission. More info here.
– The much-acclaimed Estonian Music Week kicked off its 2023 edition with a free launch party in Toronto last night. The impressive list of Estonian and Canadian artists to perform at events in Hamilton (Collective Arts Brewery) and Toronto include Mari Kalkun, Liis Ring, Kara-Lis Coverdale, Ansambel Triskele, Kirke Karja Trio, Erik Laar, L CON, Nastasia Y, Tania Gill Quartet, Malkah Lerner & Matt Brubeck Duo, DJ McHI, Camie, Tragedy Ann, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and Zoon. Check the full schedule here.
– After attracting more than a half million visitors in London, Rome, Madrid, Los Angeles, and Montreal, The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains will make its Toronto premiere June 16 at the Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place. The 20,000 sq.ft. multi-sensory experience features more than 350 artifacts and objects collected over the band’s , from handwritten lyrics, musical instruments, stage props, and items from the personal collections of the band members; while combining art, design, music, sound and visual technology. Tickets for the Exhibition go on sale tomorrow (May 26) here. The driving force behind the exhibit is Canadian uber-producer Michael Cohl, and his venture, EMC Presents, has also partnered with Imagine Exhibitions and Warner Bros. Discovery Global Themed Entertainment to present Harry Potter: The Exhibition, billed as "the most comprehensive touring exhibition ever presented about the Wizarding World." It opened on May 19 for the first time in New York City’s Herald Square for a limited engagement. From psychedelia to sorcery.
– Alberta Music is partnering with Breaking Down Racial Barriers to facilitate a series of virtual roundtable discussions on anti-Black racism in Alberta’s music and associated creative industries. These sessions will take place virtually on May 30 and June 1. Register here.
– The 2015 book Live at the Commodore: The Story of Vancouver's Historic Commodore Ballroom will be republished by Arsenal Pulp Press this fall in a new updated version with some new chapters, more posters, and a few more stories. The original won the BC and Yukon Book Prizes in 2015.
– Mundial Montréal has announced its presence at the International Indigenous Music Summit 2023, which will be held in Toronto from May 31 to June 4. IIMS is one of the only event in the world dedicated to raising awareness, sharing resources and creating opportunities for the indigenous music community. Learn more here.
– Music NB's 2023 Annual General Assembly will take place via Zoom on June 22, at noon. Members can register here to attend.
– From humble origins at Toronto's Dakota Tavern, the “in the semi-round” songwriters series Four Chords and The Truth has blossomed to the point that its show tonight (May 25) at TD Music Hall sold out in advance. That's unsurprising, given the potent lineup of Adam Baldwin, Liz Rodrigues, Robyn Ottolini, Julian Taylor, and series founder and curator, Andrea England. More info on the series here.
– The Life Of Brian annual fundraiser in Hamilton celebrates the life of the late great local guitarist Brian Griffith. It will be held on May 27 at The Corktown, with performers including Lori Yates, Richard and Raphael Keelan, Jace Martin, Alfie Smith, JP Riemens, Jamie Oakes, and more. Now in its 6th year, the event raises money for the Brian Lee Griffith Guitar Bursary. Tix here
– Roots Music Canada celebrates its 5th anniversary with a bash (Moosefest) on June 4 at Toronto folk music hub the Tranzac. The lineup includes David Newland, Kunle, Noah Zacharin, Tannis Slimmon, Tragedy Ann, Lynn Harrison, So Long Seven and Memberz, with RMC founders Newland and Andre Frank hosting. Tix here.
– Tamara Williamson made a splash leading Toronto-based '90s alt-rockers Mrs. Torrance, and has since had a prolific solo career as a singer/songwriter. She is also a playwright and has just published a well-received memoir, Mirror Horse, one exploring her love of horses. Hamilton's excellent Epic Books store hosted a launch for the book last week. Aside from a couple of short and eloquent excerpts from the book, Williamson entertained the audience with anecdotes involving three notable musicians in the audience, Martin Tielli (Rheostatics), Steve Pitkin (Mrs. Torrance, Elliott Brood), and Lindy Vopnfjord. One describing her encounter with Oasis was hilarious. Lindy then took centrestage for a short solo set, rounding out a lovely evening. More info on the book, published by Douglas & McIntyre, here.
– Toronto indie rock outfit Jane’s Party has released Ships On An Ocean, the first single since the 2022 release of their LP, Live Again. They play a Toronto show on June 1 with Ferraro, at Horseshoe Tavern. Tickets are available here.
– Vancouver-based teen pop-punk pop-rock singer/songwriter Victoria Anthony has just released a sophomore album, New Disaster. A music video for the title track was filmed across the UK and Europe during a 15-date sold-out tour with American Tik Tok sensation Leah Kate last Nov. Check it out here.
– SLIP-ons are a Vancouver power-pop quartet whose members include Brock Pytel (The Doughboys) and Sarah McLachlan's bassist Brian Minato. A vinyl EP, Heavy Machinery, comes out on June 30, preceded by this title track single.
– Watchmen bassist Ken Tizzard has long been a prolific and hardworking rootsy singer/songwriter. He currently leads the Campbellford, ON-based Music For Goats, and that outfit has just released a new single, Drunk, Stoned and Broke. Sadly, the band's drummer Steve Dagg passed away in March. In his honour, the band has decided to release a series of singles under the title “The Dagg Sessions” which will include all the drum tracks recorded with Dagg before his passing. This will culminate with a vinyl release of these songs in one space at the end of 2023.
– After winning Best Guitarist at the 2020 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, prolific blues singer/guitarslinger JW-Jones started working on his 12th release, Everything Now, and it's coming out tomorrow (May 26). Produced by Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar), the all-original project features guest turns from Jimmie Vaughan, The Texas Horns, and Johnson. Jones will feature it during his multiple Canadian festival appearances over the next six weeks. Itinerary here.