Music News Digest, Oct. 7, 2019

Tickets are on sale soon for the 2020 CMAOntario Awards hosted by Jason McCoy (pictured),  the CSHF will induct classic Toronto songs, and The Violins of Hope head to Montreal. Also in the news are SRC Vinyl, Winnipeg Public Library, Indie Week, JazzAhead, Wolf Den, and farewell to Larry Willis, Larry Junstrom, Diahann Carroll, and Ginger Baker.

Music News Digest, Oct. 7, 2019

By Kerry Doole

Tickets for the 2020 CMAOntario Awards will be on-sale to the general public this Friday (Oct. 11). The 8th annual celebration commemorates the accomplishments of the Ontario country music industry live at Centennial Hall in London on May 31, 2020. CCMA Award winner Jason McCoy (The Road Hammers) returns as host, with The Western Swing Authority as the awards show house band. Performers are TBA. Tix will be available for purchase online at or by phone at 1.888.999.8980.

– On Nov. 21, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) presents a concert at Toronto's Phoenix Concert Theatre. Entitled Decades: Toronto Sound of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, it features the induction of six classic songs by Toronto artists into the CSHF.


– SRCVinyl founders Jenna Miles and Danny Keyes have launched a small batch distillery, Limited Distilling, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON. It will share its tasting room with SRCVinyl creating what they claim is "the world’s first craft distillery record shop." Opening celebrations commence Oct. 18-20.

– On Friday, Sarah McLachlan visited Winnipeg to help launch a musical instrument lending program, run by the Winnipeg Public Library and funded in part by Sun Life. Details of the program here. Source: Global

– Presented by Slaight Music and Alchemist Brewing Company, the Pre Launch Party for Indie Week Canada 2019 is at The Hideout in Toronto on Oct. 17. Tix here 

– The Montreal Holocaust Museum and the Orchestre Métropolitain present The Violins of Hope, a concert under the direction of Dutch conductor Vincent De Kort. Following select performances in Europe and the US, the Violins of Hope will be played for the first time in Canada by musicians of the Orchestre Métropolitain at Maison Symphonique de Montréal, Place des Arts on Nov. 2. The Violins of Hope is a collection of string instruments restored by Israeli master luthier Amnon Weinstein and his son Avshalom. These violins were owned by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust and have survived pogroms, concentration camps, and the passage of time. Eight of these precious violins will travel to Montreal.


– The 2020 JazzAhead conference will be held in Bremen, Germany, April 23-26. The CQM (Québec Jazz) and CIMA are joining forces under one Canadian banner "to ensure a collective and robust presence"  of the pan-Canadian Jazz scene. Several activities are being organized to promote Canadian participants and artists. To register for the Collective Canada Stand, complete the registration form here before Dec. 10. More info here

– Wolf Den is a new music collective of Indigenous artists from various backgrounds, born out of a chance meeting at a Music Ontario Songwriting Challenge for Ontario Indigenous Artists. Comprising Thea May, Julian Taylor, Troy Junker, Mya Gomez, and Mike Tompa, Wolf Den released a debut single, So Close, on Friday. 


Larry Willis, a Grammy-nominated jazz pianist and composer who also enjoyed popular success as a member of Blood, Sweat & Tears, died September 29, age 76. Cause of death was a pulmonary hemorrhage due to complications from diabetes.


Willis performed internationally as a leader and soloist as well as with BS&T and many other artists, including Hugh Masekela, Woody Shaw, Cannonball Adderley, and Stan Getz. He appeared on over 300 recordings, including 22 under his name. Source: JazzTimes

Larry Junstrom, longtime .38 Special and founding Lynyrd Skynyrd bassist, has died at the age of 70. No cause of death has been announced.

Junstrom helped form Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1964, and departed the group in 1971, prior to the recording of the band's debut album.

He joined .38 Special in 1977, and appeared on all 12 of the US band's studio albums before a hand injury forced him to retire in 2014. Source: Ultimate Classic Rock


Diahann Carroll, an actress and singer who broke barriers with her TV sitcom Julia, died on Oct. 4, at age 84. The cause of death was complications of breast cancer. 

In addition to being a sitcom pioneer, she sang on television, in nightclubs, on recordings and on Broadway, where she won a Tony Award. Here is a New York Times obituary

Ginger Baker, recognised as one of the most brilliant, versatile and turbulent drummers in the history of British music, died on Oct. 6, aged 80.

His family had previously made it public that he was critically ill and asked fans to “please keep him in your prayers.” His Facebook page said he “passed away peacefully” on Sunday morning.

Baker is best known as the percussive powerhouse in two rock supergroups, Cream and Blind Faith. Before that, as a teenager, he played with jazz guitarist Diz Disley and bandleader Terry Lightfoot, then played blues in Blues Incorporated and US-style R&B with the Graham Bond Organisation, both alongside Jack Bruce on bass guitar.

In 1966, Baker and Bruce formed Cream with Eric Clapton, a power trio that helped define the psychedelic rock sound of the decade. Shortlived, the group sold more than 15M records, with three of their four albums reaching  top five in the US, Canada, and the UK.

In 1969, Baker and Clapton formed the short-lived band Blind Faith with Steve Winwood and Ric Grech, and the latter pair joined Baker in his next project, jazz-rock band Ginger Baker’s Air Force.

Baker moved to Nigeria in 1971 and set up the Batakota recording studio in Lagos, which hosted local musicians as well as established stars, including Wings. He performed with Nigerian star Fela Kuti, helping to expose the Afrobeat style to the world.


Baker went on to collaborate or perform with a hugely varied array of musicians: Public Image Ltd, Hawkwind, Baker-Gurvitz Army, and jazz performers Max Roach, Art Blakey and Elvin Jones. In 1994, he formed a jazz trio with Charlie Haden and Bill Frisell. A film documentary, Beware of Mr Baker, was made about his life in 2012.

Fellow musicians quick to pay tribute included Paul McCartney, Dave Davies, Flea, and Steve Van Zandt. Sources: The Guardian, Louder Sound, Rolling Stone

Nelly Furtado
Valentin Herfray

Nelly Furtado


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