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Music News Digest: ECMA Noms, Amanda Rheaume, Wavelength, JUNOfest & More

Plus news on Lori Yates, Le Phoque OFF, Loreena McKennitt, International Folk Music Awards and more.

The East Pointers

The East Pointers

Courtesy Photo

Awards news

The East Coast Music Association (ECMA) has announced the 2024 nominees for the 36th annual East Coast Music Awards set to take place in Charlottetown, PE, May 1-5. Topping the list with for the Music Award & Industry Award categories with seven nominations is PEI folk/roots combo The East Pointers, followed by Jenn Grant (NS) and Tim Baker (NL) with six nominations each, and Jimmy Rankin (CB) and Neon Dreams (NS) with four nods apiece.

Other notable artists making the list include Charlie A'Court, Ofra Harnoy & Mike Herriott, Tara MacLean, Rich Aucoin, Dave Gunning, Nico Paulo, Villages, Justin Fancy, Hillsburn, Classified, Morgan Toney, KINLEY, Carleton Stone, Christina Martin, Dennis Ellsworth, Kellie Loder, Lennie Gallant, POSTDATA, and Rum Ragged. Public voting for the Fan’s Choice Entertainer of the Year and Fan’s Choice Video of Year opens on Jan. 24 at ECMA.com.


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- Amanda Rheaume, a Métis singer/songwriter and co-founder of Ishkode Records, has just been presented withThe Spirit Of Folk Award by Folk Alliance International. A CFMA winner and Juno nominee, Rheaume also serves as Operations Director of the International Indigenous Music Summit. The other 2024 recipients are Jerod Rivers, Terika Dean and Jim Fleming. A FAI press release states that "These awards are presented to honor and celebrate people and organizations actively involved in the promotion and preservation of folk music through their creative work, community building, and demonstrated leadership."

- The FAI has also announced the nominees for The 2024 International Folk Music Awards, and Canadian artists feature in all three categories. Digging Roots are one of five candidates for Artist of the Year, William Prince is up for Album of the Year for Stand In The Joy, and the highly-decorated Allison Russell is nominated in the Song of the Year category for “The Returner," a song she co-wrote with Drew Lindsay and JT Nero. Also of note: One of the Album of the Year nominees, California folk group Rainbow Girls, features a Canadian-born member, Caitlin Gowdey.

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Winners are determined by the voting membership of FAI and the results are announced during the International Folk Music Awards on Feb. 21 at the FAI International Conference. All FAI members in good standing are invited to vote here by Jan. 26.

Festivals news

- JUNOfest Presented by CBC Music is coming to Halifax, March 22-23, with over 10 venues across the city presenting local musical talent and 2024 JUNO Award nominees. Artists who want to be considered for a slot can apply here until Jan. 31.

- Presented by SiriusXM, the 10th anniversary edition of Quebec City's alt music fest, Le Phoque OFF, will run Feb. 9-17. Nearly 100 Canadian and international acts will perform, and there's an industry component, with panels and parties. Headliners include TEKE::TEKE, GET THE SHOT, Los Viejos, and the Hubert Lenoir & Lou-Adriane Cassidy-led collaboration DooDooDoo. More details here.

- CrewFest returns to Brantford, ON, on July 19 and 20, at Lions Park Arena. There's a definite '90s rock flavour to the lineup, one featuring headliners The Goo Goo Dolls and Headstones alongside Sloan, Big Wreck, Junkhouse, The Trews, and Buckcherry. Tickets are on sale here.

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- A truly legendary music fest, The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has announced the lineup for its 2024 edition, set to run from April 25 to May 5. Neil Young and Crazy Horse is one of the headlining acts, while the omnipresent Allison Russell is the only other Canadian artist on the stellar lineup. More info here.

- The Wavelength Winter Festival in Toronto has announced the lineup for its 2024 edition, from Feb. 29 to March 2. Notable names include DijahSB, Georgia Harmer, Beams, COTS, Kali Horse, Charles Spearin, Animatist, Love Language, and Big Sissy. Shows will take place at Hugh's Room Live, Hart House Music Room, and St. Anne's Parish Hall. More details here.

Industry news

- Brought to you by the folks behind Indie week, SCREENxSCREEN returns as an online event, running Feb. 6-8. Described as "a tech-infused experience, uncovering the latest industry trends and winning strategies," it features 75+ Speakers, 25 Sessions, B2Bs, Breakouts and more. Register here.

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- The Atlantic Presenters Association is hiring a Block Booking Manager. The deadline to apply is Feb. 11. View the full posting here.

Artists news

- Internationally successful Canadian Celtic/world music artist Loreena McKennitt will release a new album, The Road Back Home, on March 8. A label press release notes that "it harkens back to the earliest days of her career and the most traditional of Celtic music."

- Veteran Ontario country/roots singer/songwriter Lori Yates has announced Jan. 29 as the release date for her new album, Matador. Advance singles have earned a warm response, especially "Time After Time," a tune Yates co-wrote in Nashville with the late great Texan songwriter Guy Clark. The song was recently featured on the AmericanaUK website.

- An industry buzz is building around young Niagara Falls singer/songwriter Evan Rotella. He is playing a January residency at The Casbah in Hamilton (with shows on Jan. 23 and 30 to come), and has just announced a February residency at Toronto's Cameron House. Last weekend, Rotella played two shows in New Jersey as part of The Light of Day Foundation's Winter Fest, including one at the famed Stone Pony club. One to watch.

- Roots singer/songwriter Kristin Lindell has released a new album, River of Light, and plays a Jan. 25 show at The Cameron House in Toronto. The record is co-produced with Bret Higgins and co-written with Jesse Whiteley. They both play on it, alongside fellow A-list local players Dean Drouillard, Adam Warner, and Kathryn Rose. Check out a new track here.

- Hard-hitting Halifax rock combo Like A Motorcycle has revved it up for a fiery attack on the unholy trinity of Musk, Bezos, and Branson on its new single, "Billions." The cut is produced by LAM and Howard Redekopp (Mother Mother, Tegan and Sara).

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Gordon Lightfoot
Country Music Association of Ontario

Gordon Lightfoot

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