By Kerry Doole
The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame has announced the hitmaking songwriting team of Marc Jordan and John Capek as the newest Inductees to join the class of 2023. Although Jordan and Capek will be honoured individually as songwriters for their respective catalogues, they are also long-time collaborators most recognized for co-penning Rhythm of My Heart, one of Rod Stewart’s most successful global hits. The pair had three other songs recorded by Stewart, and other notable Capek-Jordan collaborations include Bonnie Raitt’s Deep Water; Joe Cocker’s Take Me Home; Love So High and The Same Mistake by Cher; Diana Ross’s Pieces of Ice; Victorious by Chicago; and Amanda Marshall’s million-selling Promises.
As part of its 25th anniversary initiatives, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame is also announcing the inaugural Legends Series, supported by the RBC Foundation The induction series will celebrate songwriters and song inductions in various cities across Canada with performances from emerging artists, intermingled with conversations with Inductees in intimate settings. As part of this series, Jordan and Capek will be honoured at Toronto's Glenn Gould Studio on Nov. 1.
– Every year, the Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize recognizes two Canadian albums for their contributions to the national musical heritage on their artistic merits, without any regard for sales, genre or affiliation. The 2023 edition is now awaiting your votes. The 12 albums up for consideration are Beau Dommage — Beau Dommage, The Guess Who — American Woman, k-os — Exit, k.d. lang — Absolute Torch and Twang, Jean Leloup — Le dôme, Maestro Fresh-Wes — Symphony In Effect, Sarah McLachlan — Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Plastikman — Consumed, Rap Essentials Volume One, Robbie Robertson — Robbie Robertson, Skinny Puppy — Bites, Spoons — Arias & Symphonies. One album will be recognized by a jury of music media and historians; the other winner is selected by public vote, open through Oct. 13. Vote here.
– The Western Canadian Music Awards has announced the 2023 specialty award recipients. The Heritage Award will be presented to acclaimed Inuvialuit musician, Willie Thrasher; independent label trailblazers, Mint Records, will receive this year’s Kevin Walters Industry Builder Award; and the 2023 Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee is groundbreaking Vancouver hip-hop group, Rascalz. Willie Thrasher, Mint Records and Rascalz will be formally honoured and recognized at the WCMA Industry Awards Brunch on Oct. 14 during BreakOut West in Kelowna, BC. Winners of the artistic categories will be announced during the BreakOut West Welcome Reception on Oct. 11. The full list of 2023 WCMA nominees can be found here.
– The 34th Annual IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards were held Sept. 28 at Raleigh, North Carolina’s Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts. There was Canadian content amongst the winners in the form of the Special Consensus project, victors in the Collaborative Recording of the Year category for Alberta Bound. This group comprises Canadian bluegrass stars Claire Lynch, Pharis & Jason Romero, Patrick Sauber, Ray Legere, John Reischman, and Trisha Gagnon. Check out a list of winners here.
– The Metcalf Foundation has named the 15 finalists for the 2023 Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prizes/Les Prix Johanna-Metcalf des Arts de la scène (Johannas) with a total value of $195K in prizes. The five winners will each receive a prize of $25K and will be announced on Nov. 29 at a ceremony at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto. The Johannas celebrate mid-career artists across the disciplines of dance, theatre, and music/opera. Composer/musician finalists include Sina Bathaie, John Kameel Farah, ShoShona Kish, Suba Sankaran, Roydon Tse, Vineet Vyas, and Mandy Woo. More info here.
– On Oct. 1, Barenaked Ladies - Ed Robertson, Jim Creegan, Tyler Stewart and Kevin Hearn - celebrated the 35th anniversary of the band's first ever concert with a two-and-a-half hour performance capturing every era of the act. While the very first BNL gig was held at Nathan Phillips Square as a benefit for the Second Harvest Food Bank and included co-founder Steven Page, Sunday night’s gig was held at the El Mocambo, sponsored by SiriusXM and taped for a future performance. Highlights included such smashes as the Big Bang Theory Theme, One Week, If I Had $1000000 and a reflective rendition of Gordon Lightfoot’s If You Could Read My Mind - as well as the usual humourous banter and stories. At one point, Robertson shared how he and Page attended an El Mocambo show by The Proclaimers with the solitary intention of handing siblings Craig and Charlie Reid their “yellow” cassette tape. Robertson reported that they received a note from the twins a few days later telling them how much they loved the tape and to look them up if they ever got to Scotland.
Sure enough, the day came when BNL played Scotland, but hadn’t kept in touch with the brothers due to a lack of contact info. When they played their first gig at a small Scottish venue, BNL were perplexed that not only did they pack the place, but audience members sang along to every word. Robertson said it turned out that once The Proclaimers caught whiff that BNL was going to be in the neighbourhood, they brought the tape to a radio station and demanded it be added to the playlist to support their friends. That was just one of the cool stories and hilarious ad-libs the foursome told at the El Mo taping.
And although he wasn’t at the event, ex-BNLer Steven Page commemorated the anniversary via Facebook. It read in part: "Yesterday marked the 35th anniversary of the very first @barenakedladiesmusic show. On Oct. 1, 1988, Ed Robertson and I played at a battle of the bands at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto. We kept meaning to rehearse before the show but we never quite got around to it. We huddled in a stairwell below the square and brainstormed what songs we both knew. Psycho Killer, Terence Trent D’Arby’s Wishing Well and maybe a few originals. We asked the organizers to remove us from competition and suggested we just do a couple of songs in between each competitor. We won anyway. It was our first gig as BNL and we collected members along the way. I stayed with them for over 20 years and am proud of, and grateful for, everything we did together. I’m having the time of my life doing what I’m doing right now, and it’s thanks to what we did together that got me here. Keep going! Congrats, guys.” (Nick Krewen)
– Apply now for the 2023 Music Manager Mentorship program presented by MMF Canada in partnership with M for Montreal. Mentees who are selected for the program will be paired with a mentor for two 1-on-1 meetings over the course of the conference. Mentees will be given a 1-year MMF Canada membership as well as a 2023 M for Montreal conference registration. Apply here by Oct. 11.
– Newfoundland-based country artist Justin Fancy has released a sophomore album, Whiskey & Me, the follow-up to his 2021 debut album Sure Beats a Good Time, which earned him two Music NL Awards that year. This month, Fancy heads out on tour with George Canyon. More info here.
– Described as a synth-driven power-pop combo, Autogramm comprises members of prominent bands from Seattle, Chicago and Vancouver, including Blood Meridian, Black Halos, Black Mountain, and Destroyer. The group has made a splash internationally and has a new album, Music That Humans Can Play, ready to roll on Nov. 17 via Stomp Records. Here's a video for the first advance single, WannaBe.
– Monkey House, an A-list musical collective headed by composer/keyboardist Don Breithaupt, has earned serious peer respect and critical acclaim over a career launched in the '90s. Live performances are rare, so the chance to catch the group in action at the Redwood Theatre in Toronto on Oct. 13 should not be missed. Tix here.
– At the Flato Markham Theatre last week, acclaimed Toronto world music ensemble Sultans of String performed the world premiere of a new project, Walking Through the Fire, accompanied by award-winning First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists, including Leela Gilday, Don Ross, Duke Redbird, Shannon Thunderbird, Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk, Marc Meriläinen (Nadjiwan), and more. Much of this lineup then joined SoS for six more Ontario dates, and a second leg of the tour begins shortly. These Ontario dates run from Oct. 10 (in Sudbury) to Nov. 12 (Walkerton). More dates are being added in 2024. Check the full itinerary here. More info on the ambitious project here
– David Laronde is an Ontario-based award-nominated Indigenous singer-songwriter performing contemporary roots, folk, rock, and blues. To promote his most recent album, I Know I Can Fly, he recently played Eastern Canadian dates, and has more Ontario shows lined up for this month, including FMO Conference Showcases. Check his itinerary here.
– Ontario guitarist/composer Terry Gomes has put out a cool animated video for an instrumental piece, Dark Riders. He explains that "this animation is set to an unorthodox rock guitar soundtrack written several years before. Encompassing a surreal 'dark ride with Old West imagery, it follows an individual's unexpected and unusual journey. I think of this project as a cross between David Lynch and Scooby Doo--somewhat creepy and surreal and yet, sort of, fun." Check it out here.