Music News Digest, May 29, 2019

The SiriusXM Top of the Country competition returns (pictured, 2018 winner Andrew Hyatt), Kalle Mattson wins two Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards, and early Chilliwack albums get a new life. Others in the news include The James Barker Band, Massif Music 2019, Wavelength, Rollo Bay Fiddle fest, Grant Hurley, Nicola Piovani, JV’s Boogaloo Squad, and farewell Genevieve Waite.

Music News Digest, May 29, 2019

By Kerry Doole

SiriusXM Canada has announced the three finalists for the second annual SiriusXM Top of the Country competition, in partnership with the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA). These three artists will duke it out in after a live onstage battle during Country Music Week 2019 in Calgary, from Sept. 5-8, The winner will receive the $25K grand prize, an international SOCAN songwriting camp, and more. The 2019 Top of the Country finalists are Matt Lang (Maniwaki, QC), Kelsi Mayne (Windsor, ON), and Tim & The Glory Boys (Winnipeg, MB). Andrew Hyatt won the inaugural contest last year.

– The Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards (NOMFA) were announced at a gala in Sudbury on May 25. Singer/songwriter Kalle Mattson won two awards (including Best Video, for the clip below), while other winners included Patricia Cano, Cindy Doire, and Quantum Tangle. A full list here 


– Ontario has eliminated an Indigenous Culture Fund as the government cuts tens of millions of dollars in arts funding, CPreports.  The Progressive Conservative government is cutting arts sector support from $18.5 M to $6.5M, and the Ontario Arts Council, which awards grants, is receiving $10M dollars less from the government this year. The elimination of the Indigenous Culture Fund, administered by the council, is in addition to the $10 million cut. Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler says the arts, including music and storytelling, are a very important part of Indigenous culture, and cutting this fund sends a terrible message.

– For the first time, the five Chilliwack albums that predated their deal with Mushroom Records and Solid Gold Records are being made available on DSPs as part of an agreement with Linus-owned distributor IDLA and Bill Henderson’s Some Sung Songs. The albums span the years 1970-1975 and include hits such as Lonesome Mary and Crazy Talk.  Announcing the fact, Linus has certified two of the band's songs:  a Gold Single (40,000 digital units) for Fly At Night, and a Platinum Single (over 80,000 digital and physical units) for My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone).


– The Wavelength Summer Music & Arts Festival returns Aug. 17 and 18 with a lineup featuring Milk & Bone, Cadence Weapon, Art D’Ecco, Tallies, Hua Li, Yonatan Gat, Fet.Nat, and Anthems of the Void. The action takes place at a new Toronto venue, Stackt Market on Bathurst St. Tix and passes on sale May 31.

– Massif Music Festival Society (MMFS) has announced the second wave of performers at their fourth annual event, Massif Music 2019, which takes place Sept. 20 and 21 at the Fraternal Order of the Eagles Lodge in downtown Nelson, BC. The lineup features BA Johnston, Heavy Trip, HARSH, Wild Powers and White Queen. Tix here. The MMFS is a non-profit music promotion society, supported by the BC Arts Council and the Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives Program. Massif 2019 is presented by Nelson Brewing Company.

– The James Barker Band released a new EP, Singles Only, last Friday (via UMC), as the group's upward momentum continues apace. In our Track of the Day feature we predicted the ensemble's most recent single, Keep It Simple, would be a hit, and it went on to reach No. 1 on country radio. The JBB has now earned 100 million global streams, and a new video for EP focus track There’s A Drink For That has just come out. 


– The great news for Toronto Raptors fans isn't so good for Twenty One Pilots fans in Toronto. With the opening game in the NBA finals set for Scotiabank Arena on Thursday, set-up time means a planned Pilots show for tonight (May 29) has been cancelled. The  US band took the setback gracefully.


– The annual Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival runs July 19 - July 21, in Rollo Bay, PEI, with a lineup including The Barra MacNeils, The East Pointers, Vishtèn, Richard Wood, Shane Cook, Scandinavian String Alliance, Liz Stringer, and more. Tim Chaisson of The East Pointers is Festival Director of the event, founded in 1976. 

– A Celebration of Life of Grant Hurley will be held on June 17 at Kilgour's in Toronto (509 Bloor Street West), from 5 pm. The retail music industry veteran passed away last Nov. FYI obit here 

– Some notable Italian singers and musicians are heading to Toronto next month. Composer Nicola Piovani's concert on June 20 marks the closing of the Italian Contemporary Film Festival and the opening of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura and TD Toronto Jazz Festival Spotlight On Italy. Running June 24-26, that showcase features six Italian jazz artists,  O-Janà and Rosa Brunello, Gabriele Boggio Ferraris Quartet, Giacomo Tantillo 4tet, Hobby Horse and ITACA.

– Toronto organ trio JV’s Boogaloo Squad performs for JAZZ FM’s fundraising event at the Long & McQuade Performance Hall in Toronto on May 30. Details here


Genevieve Waite (born Genevieve Weight), the South African actress, singer, and model who became a quintessential face and voice of the 1960s died in Los Angeles on May 18. She was 71.

Married to John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas for 16 years and first cast as South Africa’s answer to supermodel Twiggy, Waite's death was announced on Twitter by daughter Bijou Phillips, who described her mother as “a beautiful soul and born from another planet.”

Waite was best known for her starring role in archetypal swinging ’60s film Joanna and a 1974 album, Romance Is on the Rise, produced by John Phillips, her husband. She was both his collaborator and muse.


Her unique singing voice, described as “Betty Boop crossed with Billie Holiday,” and a comedic persona that had the air of Marilyn Monroe’s dizziness belied her wit and bookish intellect. Waite inspired, and in some cases helped co-write, some of her husband’s more rhapsodic and empathetic songs, which tracked their 18-year relationship and beyond.

Her proximity to the violence and unrest of apartheid was, in part, what drove her to England in 1967 at 19, and soon after she was cast as the lead in the controversial feature film Joanna as a promiscuous, flighty art student looking for love in swinging London.

The success of “Joanna” earned her a contract with 20th Century Fox and afforded a move to New York, where Waite lived in the Chelsea Hotel and was briefly married to poet Matthew Reich. In New York, she became part of the madcap scene around Warhol’s Factory and served as a muse to photographer Richard Avedon, who shot her for Vogue.

In 1969, Waite was introduced her to Phillips — recently separated from his wife Michelle, who was also his partner in the Mamas and the Papas.


The two married in 1972 after the birth of their son Tamerlane, in an eccentric ceremony administered by a one-legged Buddhist monk at the Golden Palace restaurant in L.A.’s Chinatown. The guest list included Mick Jagger and his wife Bianca, Cass Elliot, Joni Mitchell, Jack Nicholson and Donald Sutherland. Their circle of friends included then-California Secretary of State Jerry Brown, Britain’s Princess Margaret, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and John Paul Getty Jr.

Their marriage ended in 1988, a casualty of their drug addiction. Source: LA Times

Françoise Hardy
Joost Evers / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Françoise Hardy


Obituaries: French Pop Icon Françoise Hardy, 'Suspicious Minds' Songwriter Mark James

This week we also acknowledge the passing of broadcaster/musician Jeremy Tepper, Tejano music TV host Johnny Canales and Scottish rocker Davie Duncan.

Françoise Hardy, a French pop singer, actress, author and model, died on June 11, at age 80 after a long battle with lymphatic cancer.

A Billboard obituary terms Hardy "one of the leading lights of the French yé-yé pop movement, and an inspiration to Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger.

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