Music News Digest, Nov. 2, 2020

Jack de Keyzer (pictured) leads the Maple Blues Awards nominations list, Alex Cuba to play on the Latin Grammys, and Fran Herman is remembered with a special fund. Also in the news are Teenage Head, John Orpheus, the Canadian Music Class Challenge, Glass Tiger, Noble Son, Dan Mangan, the Colonial Tavern, F.Scott and The Nighthawks, Princess Century, and farewell Jose Padilla, Bishop Rance Allen, and Lou Pallo.

Music News Digest, Nov. 2, 2020

By Kerry Doole

Jack de Keyzer, JW-Jones, Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar, and Downchild lead the nominations for the 24th Annual Maple Blues Awards. Hardworking veteran de Keyzer and his bandmates collect seven noms, followed by Jones, with five, and Martin with four. Downchild earned three nods, while its keyboardist Michael Fonfara is up for the Blues With A Feeling award. Produced by the Toronto Blues Society (TBS), the Maple Blues Awards are recognised as the genre's biggest Canadian event. In recent years, it has been held at Toronto's Koerner Hall, but covid restrictions have forced it to go virtual in 2021. The winners will be announced online from four cities over four nights –Feb. 1, 8, 15, and 22.  See the full nominees list here.


“The pandemic has given us a new reason to feel the blues, but fortunately we will honour the latest body of work and artists with trophies and digital celebrations”, says TBS prez Derek Andrews. Registration and voting for the 24th Annual Maple Blues Awards' opens to the Canadian public today (Nov. 2) through to Dec. 1. Vote here.

– BC-based singer/songwriter Alex Cuba has just been named as one of the performers on this year’s Latin Grammy Awards show, set for Nov. 19 at 8 pm EST in Miami. Cuba has won four Latin Grammys, and is nominated in two categories this year, Best Singer-Songwriter Album and Best Engineered Album, alongside veteran Canadian recording engineer John "Beetle" Bailey. Cuba has previously been a presenter at the Latin Grammy Awards but has never performed before.



– A reminder that Picture My Face: The Story of Teenage Head, a feature documentary on the Hamilton punk rock legends, is scheduled to broadcast on TVO on Nov. 3 at 9 pm. Guaranteed to be more fun than watching US election results, though political junkies can catch the doco on repeat on the weekend. Here's a trailer.


–  Fran Herman,  a Canadian pioneer of Music Therapy who served on the Canadian Music Therapy Fund’s Board of Directors for 15 years, passed away on Oct. 19, at age 93. In honour of her work, the Canadian Music Therapy Fund has established The Fran Herman Memorial Fund, an ongoing initiative to further the work she did for the music therapy community and for the CMTF. Donations can be made here. Read more about Herman's accomplished life here.

– Last week, Toronto author and recording artist John Orpheus launched a new single/video for Electric, a track featuring Michigan rapper/composer, Jordan Hamilton. This is Orpheus' first single since his 2019 album, Wey Ya Call Dat Ting, and Look To The Moon, a collabo with Chemical Dreams, the side project of Martha Johnson and Mark Gane. A forthcoming Orpheus memoir, Saga Boy, is set for publication next year via Penguin Random House. Check out the new clip here.

– CBC Music has announced the panel of judges for the 2020 Canadian Music Class Challenge. They comprise an oboe player (Ron Cohen Mann), a hip-hop artist (Odario Williams), an opera singer (Julie Nesrallah)  and a guitar rocker (Terra Lightfoot). The top 10 finalists will be announced on Dec. 8, and the winners of the 2020 Canadian Music Class Challenge will be named on Dec. 15. 


– Veteran Newmarket, Ontario, rock band Glass Tiger has assembled a star-studded list of Canadian talent for its first Christmas album, Songs for a Winter’s Night, a 10-track collection of largely original music for the holidays. Nova Scotia fiddler Natalie MacMaster, pop singer Roch Voisine and Lebanese-Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian all appear, and Gordon Lightfoot makes a brief appearance to read Ode for a Winter’s Night, a poem written by lead singer Alan Frew. The album came out digitally via Warner Music on Oct. 30, with physical versions coming Nov. 26. 


– Vancouver singer/songwriter Noble Son has released a new video for his track Sleepin’, with a cast including newly minted Netflix star Maddie Phillips (Teenage Bounty Hunters) and Dan Mangan. The song is featured on his second full-length record Life Isn’t Fun.

– Vancouver singer-songwriter Dan Mangan will take part in the annual 65 Roses benefit, a fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis Canada. The event is being held online this year, on Nov. 7 at 6.30 pm, and will be hosted by media personalities Gloria Macarenko and Fred Lee via private video-conference link. More info and tickets here. Source: Georgia Straight

– Toronto's famous Colonial Tavern, once one of North America's top music clubs, is now commemorated with a granite disc etched into the sidewalk at its former site of 203 Yonge Street. The names of many of the stars who played in the club are featured. This is part of the Downtown Yonge BIA's ongoing attempts to give the city's rich musical history it due.

– Emerging Toronto singer/songwriter OHKABE is back with a new single, Wait, produced by Tiz McNamara, a Toronto-based Irish singer/songwriter with a large following.

– On Oct. 30, feisty roots-rockers  F.Scott and The Nighthawks released an EP,  Straight To Heaven, on Kiss The Sun Records. The band has already scheduled another EP, Hold On To Your Heart, for a May 14 release next year. Here's a track from the new record.

– Princess Century is the solo project of  Berlin-Toronto techno producer Maya Postepski, noted for her work in Austra and TR/ST. In advance of a third album coming in 2021, she has released a new single and video, Cosmic Minivan. The video, directed by Laura Hypponen, was shot in Berlin and Thailand, on Super8mm film, in a bloody homage to the legendary Italian horror maestro, Dario Argento.



Jose Padilla, a Spanish DJ well-known on the Ibiza scene, died on Oct. 18, of colon cancer, at age 64.

Born in Barcelona, Padilla is known widely as the “godfather of chill-out.” His Café del Mar residency was the inspiration behind the popular mix series of the same name. He was an active DJ for over four decades. His first album Souvenir was released by Mercury Records in 1998; his last album was 2015’s So Many Colours. Source: Pitchfork

– Bishop Rance Allen, a gospel music star, died on Oct.31, at age 71. He had been recovering from a medical procedure at an Ohio hospital.

The world-renowned gospel singer and minister, known for the gospel hit Something About the Name Jesus, formed The Rance Allen Group with his brothers Tom and Steve in 1969. Source: CNN

Lou Pallo, a guitarist who accompanied Les Paul in the Les Paul Trio for decades, has died at the age of 86.

Pallo played alongside Paul from the 1980s to the 2000s. He was a central figure in the New York/New Jersey session and live scene extending back to the 1950s. An incredibly accomplished player, Pallo was known as the Man of a Million Chords for his mastery of the instrument.


Keith Richards was amongst those paying tribute on social media. Source: Guitar World

Billie Eilish performs during Music Midtown 2023 at Piedmont Park on Sept. 16, 2023 in Atlanta.
Nykieria Chaney/Getty Images for ABA

Billie Eilish performs during Music Midtown 2023 at Piedmont Park on Sept. 16, 2023 in Atlanta.

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