Music News Digest, Sept. 8, 2020

Justin Bieber stars in a video for a hit by DJ Khaled and Drake (pictured), a rooftop concert series comes to The Hammer, and Jann Arden’s hit show returns. Also making news are George Canyon and Aaron Pritchett, HUFF, Dean Brody, Evangeline Gentle, Corb Lund, Half Moon Run, The Rex, Alan Doyle, Melanie Brulée, Kaytranada, The Darcys, URGNT, and farewell Lucille Starr and Gary Peacock.

Music News Digest, Sept. 8, 2020

By Kerry Doole

Two Canadian music superstars have just collaborated in a fun way on Popstar, the smash hit by DJ Khaled that features Drake. Both Drizzy and Justin Bieber appear in the new video for the track, with Bieber’s wife Hailey and manager Scooter Braun also making cameo appearances in the lighthearted clip, one that has quickly earned over 20M views. Source: ET Canada

– Hamilton's popular annual Supercrawl free fest is cancelled this year, but organisers have just announced a new Supercrawl Skytop Live Concert series, taking place downtown this month. This features four ticketed shows presented from a rooftop, with a limited capacity (100 max), as per the province's covid rules. Headliners are Tim Hicks (on Sept. 24, with Jessica Mitchell), Lee Harvey Osmond (on Sept. 25, with Evangeline Gentle - already sold out), Choir! Choir! Choir! (Sept. 26), and Skratch Bastid (Sept. 27, with guests). Tix on sale via Eventbrite. Supercrawl's Tim Potocic informs us he will have more live music announcements coming soon.


– Toronto filmmaker Paul Saltzman premieres Meeting The Beatles in India as a ticketed online feature tomorrow (9th) with a rental option for the 82-minute doc. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, with David Lynch, Pattie and Jenny Boyd, Mark Lewisohn, Lewis Lapham, Rikki Cooke (the real ‘Bungalow Bill’), and others. Further details here. The filming took the crew from Canada and the USA to the UK and India.

– Jann Arden's CTV show JANN was the most-watched new Canadian comedy series of the 2018-19 broadcast season, so it's no surprise it is returning for Season 2, premiering Sept. 21. Expect guest appearances from Sarah McLachlan, k.d. lang, Elisha Cuthbert, Keshia Chanté, and more.

– The Enmax Centre in Lethbridge will host a drive-in concert featuring performances by Canadian country music stars George Canyon and Aaron Pritchett on Oct. 1 (at 7 and 9 pm). The Big Screen Harvest Party will feature the singers and their bands performing live on stage at the drive-in with a video feed to the big screen and audio broadcast to car radios. Tix, at $100 per vehicle, are on sale here.


– The Halifax Urban Folk Festival (HUFF) took place over the weekend, with shows from Sept. 3 to 6. The pandemic situation necessitated a lineup of Atlantic Canadian acts only this year, as HUFF Artistic Director Mike Campbell told Halifax Today. “Things are much smaller this year. Usually, we’d have between 40 and 60 artists, where that number is lower this year. We would have had eight or so venues and outdoor shows, but this year it’s all at The Carleton.” The fest did host an impressive lineup, with performers including Ben Caplan, Catherine MacLellan, Dennis Ellsworth, Nathan Wiley, Mo Kenney, Adam Baldwin, Kim Harris, Reeny Smith, Quake Matthews and more.

– Live Nation Canada in partnership with DNA Live has announced that Dean Brody with Sacha will perform on Sept. 27 as part of the Budweiser Zero Concert Series at the drive-in venue located at Wesley Clover Parks, Ottawa. Tix on sale on Sept. 9. Other upcoming concerts in the series at the same venue include deadmau5 (Sept. 11 and 12), Big Wreck (Sept. 16) The Sheepdogs (Sept. 19),  Brett Kissel (two shows on Sept. 20), and Sam Roberts Band with Ice Cream (Sept. 30).


– Peterborough-based folk singer/songwriter Evangeline Gentle released a self-titled album (produced by Jim Bryson) on Sonic Unyon on Aug. 21, and it is quickly earning kudos. On Saturday, Gentle and a full-band took to the stage at Hamilton’s Mills Hardware for an international live-stream concert, via Side Door. Here is their current single.


– Following the sell-outs of two shows (Sept. 11 and 12), Corb Lund has added a third performance, on Sept. 13,  at Wildhorse Live, the Calgary event series, presented by Air Miles. Tickets are now on sale. Additional concerts and artists will be announced soon.

– On Friday, popular Montreal rock band Half Moon Run put out The Covideo Sessions, featuring the audio from 11 tracks from the Covideo series the group first released on social media. It is available as a video collection on YouTube and assembled as a self-produced album, via Crystal Math/Glassnote Records. 

– The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar is arguably Toronto's most important jazz venue, presenting multiple acts daily all year round. Local artists are thrilled it has returned to live music action, on a newly renovated stage and following all covid protocols. Check out their sked here 

– Following in the footsteps of peers like Tom Wilson, Jann Arden, and Ron Sexsmith, former Great Big Sea frontman Alan Doyle has become an author. The Toronto Star reports that on Nov. 24, Doubleday Canada will publish Doyle's book All Together Now: a Newfoundlander’s Light Tales for Heavy Times, described as "a virtual pub with tall tales and reminiscences for those missing the cheery clamour of pubs … where one yarn follows another." 

– Bilingual roots songsmith Melanie Brulée has released a new track, The Mess. Co-written with Davy Gallant during a self-guided writing residency at Toronto Island’s Artscape Gibraltar Point, the song explores an inner struggle. It is officially planned for release on Oct. 2 to coincide with Mental Illness Awareness Week, but you can check it out here. 

–Last Friday, noted Canadian artist and producer Kaytranada released an instrumental version of his sophomore album, BUBBA. via Kaytranada Music & Publishing, Inc. BUBBA (Instrumental Version) features vocal-free versions of all tracks featured on the original album, with exception to those that originally debuted as instrumentals. 


– The Harrison Festival Societyin BC has been hosting a Still Running Online concert series, and the final video has now been uploaded. Uprooted is a 28-minute concert that features top folk/roots acts, Emmanuelle and Pastelle LeBlanc of Vishtèn, Steve Dawson with Fats Kaplin, and Blick Bassy

– Toronto duo The Darcys have signed to Warner Music Canada roster. The group first made a mark as an adventurous modern rock quartet signed to Arts & Crafts, but has slimmed back down to founders Jason Couse and Wes Marskell and adopted a more commercial dance-pop sound. Here's a new single.

Presented by URGNT, Slavic Music Meet is an online event described as "the world's first cross-Atlantic summit focussed exclusively on Eastern European music." It features a day of music and talk from Eastern Europe, starting at 10 am ET on Wed. Sept. 9. Toronto duo Balaklava Blues is showcased alongside some Eastern European notables, while Aengus Finnan of Folk Alliance is a keynote speaker. The event is free (no registration needed) and will stream on Facebook and YouTube Live. URGNT was started by Toronto musician Mark Marczyk (Lemon Bucket Orkestra) as a live-stream initiative during the pandemic. More info here.



Lucille Starr (born Lucille Marie Raymonde Savoie), a Franco-Manitoban/British Columbian singer, songwriter, and yodeler, died on Sept. 4, age 82. No cause of death has been reported.

Starr was born in Saint Boniface, Manitoba, and raised in Port Coquitlam, where she learned to play guitar, bass and mandolin.

She started her musical career with the local group Les Hirondelles. She met and married country singer Bob Regan, and, using the stage name Lucille Starr, she began performing with him as a country singing duo called Bob & Lucille. Between 1958 and 1963, they released several singles that were mainly covers of singers such as Perry Como and Connie Francis. Their records met with modest success on the North American West Coast and in 1963 they were signed by A&M Records in Los Angeles, California, with which they began recording as The Canadian Sweethearts.

At A&M Records, Starr recorded a song called The French Song that was produced by Herb Alpert. It was recorded in both French (as Quand Le Soleil Dit Bonjour Aux Montagnes) and English, and in 1964 it was an international success that made Starr the first Canadian artist to have a record sell over a million copies.

The popularity of the song led to a tour of the US and appearances on the Louisiana Hayride radio show and on Chicago radio station WLS' popular National Barn Dance.

In 1967, Starr and the Canadian Sweethearts duo signed a recording contract with Epic Records.  A divorce ensued, and their musical collaboration ended in 1977.

Starr enjoyed a long and prosperous career recording primarily in English but also in French and Spanish. Her 1969 song Cajun Love reached No. 1 on the Canadian country chart. For the most part, Starr sang country music, becoming the first female inducted into the Canadian Country Music Association’s Hall of Honor in 1987. A capable yodeler, she was hired to do the yodelling for the Cousin Pearl character on several segments of the hit TV series, The Beverly Hillbillies.

Back to You: the Life and Music of Lucille Starr, a jukebox musical with a script by Tracey Power, was performed at the Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg in November 2010.

In her honour, a street in the city of Coquitlam, British Columbia was named Lucille Starr Way.

Starr was a trailblazer for women in music, according to the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. "A member of both the CCMA Hall of Honour and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, Lucille paved the way for female artists in country music," CCMA president Tracy Martin said in an emailed statement. "Her career continues to be an inspiration for countless artists, both male and female."  Sources: CBC, Wikipedia

Gary Peacock, a versatile bassist, composer and bandleader who collaborated with some of the 20th century's most notable jazz musicians, has died on Sept. 4, age 85. No cause of death has been reported.

Over a career that spanned seven decades, he played on recordings alongside Albert Ayler, Paul Bley, Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, among many others.

Peacock was born in Idaho and grew up in Yakima, Wash. In high school, he played trumpet, piano and drums, and he began to attend the Westlake College of Music in Los Angeles before he was drafted into the Army. He served in Germany, where he played piano in a trio but then switched to bass.

Upon his return to Los Angeles, his style, which exuded the influence of jazz greats like Paul Chambers and Ray Brown, won him a steady stream of gigs. A move to New York and collaborations with giants like Davis, Bley, Ayler and Tony Williams established him as a formidable player and his style helped set the template for bassists for the decades to follow.

In the following decades, Peacock persuaded numerous jazz greats of his virtuosity and innovative approach. In addition to stints with Bley, Evans and Jarrett, he played on many of the mid-1960s recordings of Ayler, a free jazz pioneer, and collaborated with numerous other vital figures in jazz — a partial list includes Marilyn Crispell, Don Pullen, Masubumi Kikuchi, Paul Motian and Tony Williams.

He even did a two-month stint with Miles Davis, subbing for Ron Carter in April and May 1964. He recorded 12 times as a leader, but he is probably best known as a member of Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio with Jack DeJohnette. The ensemble first recorded in 1977 on Peacock's Tales of Another album and subsequently created an extraordinary body of work — 22 albums — that is a definitive statement of the piano trio in modern jazz. Source: NPR

Soleil Launière
Jaime Antonio Luna Quezada

Soleil Launière


Soleil Launière wins the Francouvertes: “It means a lot to me as an Indigenous artist”

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