Music News Digest, Sept. 12, 2018

The star-studded Dream Serenade benefit concert returns (pictured), Gord Bamford and Danielle Bourjeaurd collaborate, and The National Music Centre partners with ADISQ. Also making news are Anne Murray, Mécénat Musica Prix, Westward Music Fest, Norm Kelly, John Legend, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, the ECMAs, Roger Waters, Barney Bentall, Megan Bonnell, Music Ontario, Sarah Davachi, Headstones, and Al Muirhead. Videos provided for your enjoyment.

Music News Digest, Sept. 12, 2018

By FYI Staff

The closure of Massey Hall means that the annual Dream Serenade benefit concert relocates to Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto for its fifth anniversary, on Nov. 17. What hasn't changed is the A-list calibre of the lineup, organised by benefit founders Hayden Desser and his wife, Christie Greyerbieh. This year, it features City and Colour, Barenaked Ladies, Owen Pallett, Weaves, Hayden, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Iskwé and special guests. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 am.

Dream Serenade began in 2014 as an event to raise funds for Toronto’s Beverley Street School and services for children with developmental and or physical disabilities and their caregivers. It now benefits other like-minded schools in the city too.


Gord Bamford and Danielle Bourjeaurd were spotted everywhere at the CCMAs talking to programmers and other influencers, so the news is out: The two have recorded a duet of one of the songs off Danielle's EP (Country Sorta Way) called "Bigger Glass". It will be released as 'Danielle Bourjeaurd Feat. Gord Bamford' - date to be announced shortly by Ole Red Dot.

The National Music Centre (NMC) has a new partnership with ADISQ (the l’Association québécoise de l’industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo), Quebec’s music industry association, which will see the ADISQ Hall of Fame find a permanent home in Calgary within Studio Bell.

During a gala event in Montreal Wednesday, Harmonium will be inducted into the hall of fame, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2018. Artifacts from them and other inductees will be incorporated into future exhibitions at Studio Bell. 

The ADISQ Hall of Fame joins the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Collection, on level five of Studio Bell.


– This week marks the 40th anniversary of Anne Murray’s debut as a recording artist with the release of What About Me, released on Bill Gilliland's independent Canadian Arc Records imprint (and later picked up by Pickwick Records in the US). The lead single, the title cut, was written by Scott McKenzie and was a sizable Canadian radio hit. The project was produced by Brian Ahern and covered songs by Joni Mitchell, Ken Tobias, and John Denver. After a year-long stint on Arc, Murray switched to Capitol Records in 1969 to record her second album, This Way Is My Way, which was released in the fall of 1969. It featured the single that launched her career, "Snowbird.” That song marked her as the first Canadian female solo singer to reach No. 1 on the U.S. charts, and also the first to earn a Gold record.

– Award-winning Canadian children's entertainers Splash'N Boots and their Big Yellow Boot Family are bringing their new show to stage across Canada this fall.

– The winners for the first-ever Mécénat Musica Prix 3 Femmes have been announced. The prize shines the spotlight on emerging Canadian female and female-identified composers and librettists who demonstrate extraordinary promise in opera creation. The $25K award goes to five teams for proposals of compositions in English, French, and a Jewish work. The five operas will see performances in 2019 in Montreal and Toronto. See the winners list here. Source: Broadway World


–  Westward Music Fest (presented by MRG Concerts) returns to Vancouver for its second year, Sept. 13-16. Held across multiple downtown venues, the strong lineup includes Blood Orange, Kali Uchis, Kelela, Metz, Poppy, Andy Shauf, Angel Olsen, Rhye, Mudhoney and Odds.

– Toronto City councillor (and former deputy mayor) Norm Kelly has made a name for himself via Twitter feeds as the council's unofficial rap ambassador. He's now back in the headlines for "forgiving" rapper Meek Mill for his earlier feud with Drake. After learning the two rap stars have buried the hatchet, Kelly tweeted "You are welcome back in Toronto, @MeekMill." Given the current fight between City Hall and the Doug Ford-led provincial government, one could suggest Kelly find more important uses of his time. Source: The Independent


– The Creative Arts Emmys were held over the weekend. Winning for Outstanding Variety Special was Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert, and its victory meant that its three executive producers, John Legend, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, all became EGOT winners. That clumsy acronym refers to individuals who score an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony (EGOT), and only 15 people have ever achieved that feat. Source: Hollywood Reporter

–  Submissions for the 2019 ECMA Awards and Showcases are now open, with an Oct. 4 deadline.  An album/song/video must have been released between June 1, 2017-Oct. 3, 2018 to be eligible for this year’s awards. To be eligible for the majority of showcases, artists must have had a qualifying release (minimum of 3 songs released to the public) within the eligibility period. Check all showcase eligibility criteria here. The 2019 ECMAs will be held in Charlottetown, PEI, May 1-5.

–  On Oct. 26, Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd fame) releases The Soldier’s Tale on Sony Classical. If features his recording of Stravinsky's acclaimed 1917 composition, with Waters narrating the whole of this harrowing modern fairy tale himself. The seven musicians with whom this recording was made are all associated with the prestigious Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival. Another recent Waters project was his collaboration with Palestinian band Trio Joubran on a new song, "Carry The Earth," in dedication of the four Palestinian boys who were killed while they were playing on the Gaza beach in 2014. 


–  Roots-rockers Barney Bentall & The Cariboo Express hit the road in November, announcing 11 shows, including a three-night run at the Charlie White Theatre in Sidney, BC. This is their 13th annual tour to benefit local charities. The initiative has raised more than $1.4M over the years and counting. This year’s tour will benefit the Empress Theatre Society, Friends of Children, CKUA, Classroom Champions, Saanich Peninsula Lions, Salt Spring Community Services, Nanaimo Region John Howard Society, and the Potluck Café Society.

–  An old stone church in the Outaouais has been transformed into a recording studio, concert venue and artists' residence. The 132-year-old St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church is in the small community of Quyon, Que., on the shores of the Ottawa River. Co-owner Erin Flynn is the station manager at Ottawa community radio station CHUO. The first concert in the church features John K. Samson ( The Weakerthans) on Oct. 5.

–  Toronto singer-songwriter Megan Bonnell has plenty of gigging ahead, as she promotes her current album, Separate Rooms. Starting tomorrow  (Sept. 13) in Regina, she is supporting GreatLake Swimmers on tour until Sept. 29. She then joins The Once for the Eastern leg of their Canadian tour, Nov. 16- Dec. 1. Dates here


–  MusicOntario is surveying its membership and independent industry at large. Completing its questionnaire will help the org enhance its programs and services. It will also place your name into a draw for the chance to win $250. Survey deadline is Sept. 18.

–  Canadian ambient composer Sarah Davachi has earned kudos from such publications as The New York Times and The Guardian. She releases a new album, Gave In Rest, on Sept. 14 on Ba Da Bing!, and has announced dates in the UK and Europe. These run from Oct. 2- 27.

– Hard rockers Headstones celebrate the 25th anniversary of their debut album, Picture of Health, with a reissue coming out Oct. 26  via Cadence Recordings. Extra tour dates, including stops in Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna, and Kamloops, have just been announced.

– Canadian jazz musician/composer and octogenarian Al Muirhead releases a new album, Undertones, on Chronograph Records on Sept. 28. He has had a fascinating musical career, starting to play in the Regina Symphony and dance bands by age 12. Muirhead began recording with his own group very late, earning a 2016 Juno nomination for his debut album, It's About Time. On the upcoming record, Muirhead plays bass trumpet, accompanied by all-star players Kelly Jefferson (sax), Reg Schwager (guitar), Neil Swainson (bass) and Ted Warren (drums).

Allison Russell accepting the Billboard Canada Women in Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year award
Marc Thususka Photography

Allison Russell accepting the Billboard Canada Women in Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year award

Music News

Allison Russell Named Billboard Canada Women In Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year

The Nashville-based musician from Montreal has been having a huge year, including her first Grammy and her first Hot 100 appearance. Accepting the award on June 19 at the iHeartRadio Canada studio, she talked about her LGBTQ+ advocacy work and the importance of playing with underrepresented musicians.

It was a special Juneteenth for Allison Russell.

Not only did she serve as the special Toronto opener for Sarah McLachlan on the Canadian icon’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy 30th anniversary tour, but she earned another big honour: Billboard Canada Women In Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year.

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