Music News Digest, Sept. 30, 2021

The Canadian Folk Music Awards nominations are led by Allison Russell (pictured) and Rob Lutes, Celine Dion will be profiled in a feature-length documentary, and Alex Cuba is up for another Latin Grammy. Also in the news are Supercrawl, The Dream Café, Oshawa and YYC Music Awards, Nice Horse, Adina V, We Are Busy Bodies, MusicNL, Caroline Wiles, and farewell Bobby Edwards and Dr. Lonnie Smith.

Music News Digest, Sept. 30, 2021

By Kerry Doole

The Canadian Folk Music Awards has announced the 105 nominations for its 17th edition, covering 19 categories. Leading the way with four noms each are Allison Russell's album Outside Child and Rob Lutes' Come Around, followed by Whitehorse, Cédric Dind-Lavoie, The Hello Darlins, Rosier, Rick Fines, and Poly, who each earned nods in three categories for their albums. See the complete list of nominees here, and watch the announcement video below. The CFMA 2022 Awards Weekend takes place Apr 1-3, in Charlottetown, PEI.

– A feature-length documentary about Celine Dion has just begun production, Sony Music Entertainment’s (SME) Premium Content Division has announced. The as-yet untitled film is being made in partnership with SME Canada and Vermilion Films, and is being directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Irene Taylor (The Final Inch). A press release notes that it “is being made with Dion’s full participation and support, and will commemorate the Canadian songstress’ incredible life story and career accomplishments including album releases, award accolades, world tours and Las Vegas residencies.”


– Cuban-Canadian singer/songwriter Alex Cuba has just received a Latin Grammy Award nomination for his recently released album, Mendó, in the Best Singer-Songwriter category. With four Latin Grammys already in his trophy case, Cuba has now notched eight noms, along with three Grammy nominations and three Juno wins. Cuba was recently announced as one of the performers who will pay tribute to Latin American musical icon, Carlos Santana, who will be receiving the "Legend Award" at the 34th Hispanic Heritage Awards airing next month. Cuba has five October shows in his home province of BC. Details here

– The pandemic again forced the cancellation of Hamilton's very popular late-summer streetfest, Supercrawl, but organisers have now announced a new event, Supercrawl on the Bay. It will be held at Bayfront Park, Oct. 8 and 9, and the high-powered lineup includes Tim Baker, Death From Above 1979, The Halluci Nation, Kiesza, Terra Lightfoot and more. Local jazz/avant-garde fest Something Else is partnering with the event and presenting some of the acts. Food trucks and drag performances will also be featured. Proof of vax rules are in place. The shows remain free. More info here.


– Penticton BC music venue The Dream Café has announced its official re-opening. Via a series of hybrid shows, with established and up-and-coming Canadian artists, The Dream Café will be hosting over 20 performances with live and streaming access. An impressive lineup of acts includes JW-Jones, Harry Manx, Elizabeth Shephered, David Gogo, Doug Cox and Linda McRae, Laila Biali, WiL, and Samantha Martin. Purchase tickets here. Dream Café's Coop Chair Lori Keith credits an Amplify BC grant and a FACTOR grant with enabling it to survive the pandemic.

– Now in its fourth year, The Oshawa Music Awards recently named its 2021 winners. The awards show, live-streamed from the Biltmore Theatre, included performances from Skye Wallace, Sonny Hendrixx, New Moon Junction and a special surprise appearance by Crown Lands. Hosting was Tania Joy, who won as Songwriter of the Year. Gal George Gjurin won two awards, including Video of the Year (below). This year’s recipients of OMA’s Lifetime Achievement/Hall of Fame honours are Ivan Berry and the late Al Cole and the late Andy Gondek. Check the winners here.


– Showcasing and honouring Calgary's musical talent produced in the Calgary area, the YYC MUSIC AWARDS (YYCMAs) held its 6th annual Gala Awards on Sept. 26, as a live-streamed event. Hosted by 2021 YYCMA nominee, and past winner, Troy Kokol, the awards stream recognized artists and industry leaders in 25 categories and saw music videos aired from Kokol, King Dylan, Wxsted Txlent, Nice Horse (multiple winners on the night) and Kyle McKearney. See the winners list here.  


– Ontario indie-folk singer Adina V has won the Sauga’s Summer Songwriting Contest with her tune Admit It. The contest is presented by the Mississauga Arts Council (MAC) and Metalworks Studios, and the prize is recording time at the famed studio.

– Eric Warner's prolific indie imprint We Are Busy Bodies is launching its 100th release WABB 100, a compilation featuring new and previously unheard tracks from artists on the roster who have released music in 2021. That list includes New Age Doom & Lee "Scratch" Perry, Limblifter, Lammping, and Dany Laj and the Looks. 50% of the proceeds from album sales, as well as 100% of the many test presses and out of print release sales, will go in support of SickKids Hospital. The album will go on sale Oct. 1 through its Bandcamp and Shopify store. WABB will issue 37 releases in 2021 and a similar number in 2022.. 

– Toronto music venue Hugh’s Room Live has been seeking a new space for quite some time, and has now announced a partnership with 3030 Dundas (in the Junction area) that will hopefully bring shows in the fall. Those wanting to volunteer with HRL should e-mail Mary at

– The deadline to apply for an official showcase at next year's Folk Alliance International conference has been extended to Oct. 4 at 9 am CT. The deadline to purchase the necessary application form remains today (Sept. 30) at 5 pm CT. More info here.

– MusicNL is collaborating with industry partners to develop a wellness app designed for musicians and those in the music sector. This follows a 2018 survey by the ECMA in which an alarming 20% of participants reported having struggled with suicidal thoughts, compared to the national average of 3.3%. The planned app will deliver a daily message to subscribers that offers guidance in self-care and mindfulness, advice for overcoming obstacles, where to find support, and creating balance when navigating the music industry. Contribute your thoughts and advice here.


– Hamilton-based roots-pop singer/songwriter Caroline Wiles releases her fifth album, Grateful, on Oct. 1. Recorded with Bob Doidge at the famed Grant Avenue Studio, the record features all-original material save for Talking In Your Sleep, written by Gordon Lightfoot, who has praised Wiles’ work. 


Bobby (Robert David) Edwards, a noted Canadian session guitarist, died on Sept. 15, at age 72. No cause of death has been reported.

Edwards began his career at age 15, and as a composer, arranger, and performer, he worked with artists including Norm Amadio, Gordon Lightfoot, Glen Campbell, Anne Murray, Kim Mitchell, Oscar Peterson, Henry Mancini, Kenny Rogers, and Ella Fitzgerald.

In the 1970s and 80s he was the go-to guitarist for the CBC, and provided instrumentals for the beloved character “Rusty” on the Friendly Giant.

Edwards performed twice for Queen Elizabeth II, acted as musical director for the Juno Awards, and performed with the Toronto Symphony and in stage shows by artists including Patsy Cline and Al Jolson.


In later years, he and his wife of 26 years, Maggie, ran music schools in Toronto and Bolton.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. The family welcomes donations to The Alliston & District Humane Society or Guitars for Kids – Toronto or the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Sources:, Canadian Jazz Archive


Dr. Lonnie Smith, a Hammond B3 organ legend who was musically influential over many decades, died on Sept. 29, age 79.

His label, Blue Note Records, announced the news, and called Smith "One of the funkiest & most inventive organists to ever walk the earth, Doc made his name on Blue Note in the late-1960s & returned home to the label in 2016 still at the peak of his powers. We were proud to bring this remarkable man's joyous music to fans all over the world. RIP, Doc."

Smith was a member of the George Benson quartet in the 1960s. He recorded albums with saxophonist Lou Donaldson for Blue Note before being signed as a solo act in 1968. He was a prolific artist, releasing five albums for the label into the early Seventies. For a period he left Blue Note and worked with a variety of artists, including a brief stint with Marvin Gaye and also Etta James.

He reconnected with Blue Note in 2016. Shortly after, he was named an NEA Jazz Master and subsequently penned collaborations with artists such as Norah Jones and the Roots.

His final albums were 2018’s All in My Mind and 2021’s Don Was-produced Breathe, which featured several collaborations with Iggy Pop. Sources: Blue Note, Wikipedia, Rolling Stone

The Kid LAROI and Tate McRae
Iwi Onodera/Redferns; Michael Buckner

The Kid LAROI and Tate McRae

Music News

The Kid Laroi Calls Tate McRae His ‘Girlfriend’ On Stage at Dublin Concert: Watch

The two singers have been sparking dating rumours for months.

The Kid Laroi just made things official. After months of rumors that he and Tate McRae are dating, the “Stay” singer confirmed to fans at his Sunday (April 14) show in Ireland that the Canadian pop star — who was watching from the wings — is his girlfriend.

The moment came between songs while Laroi was on stage, telling the crowd at 3Arena in Dublin, “I need everybody in here to sing this as loud as they can because my girlfriend’s here tonight, and I don’t want to look lame.”

This article was first published by Billboard U.S.

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