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Music News Digest: Joni Mitchell, Blackburn Brothers, Sarah Harmer  & More

Plus news on Bernie Finkelstein, Jim Beam Talent Search, Tom Wilson, Tokyo Police Club, Kevin Drew and Robert Priest.

Joni Mitchell at the 2022 Newport Folk Festival

Joni Mitchell at the 2022 Newport Folk Festival

Via Facebook

Awards news

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) has named Vancouver as the host city for the 2025 Juno Awards. This will mark the fifth time the city has hosted the event.

- The East Coast Music Association has announced the performers for the 36th annual East Coast Music Awards at the Delta Prince Edward Confederation Ballroom in Charlottetown, PE on May 2 at 8 p.m. The show, co-hosted by Damhnait Doyle and Rose Cousins, will feature performances by The East Pointers, Tara MacLean, Rum Ragged, Morgan Toney, Maggie Andrews, KAYO, Jenn Grant, Émilie Landry, and Lennie Gallant.2024 ECMA Awards Show tix are on sale now at


- Congrats to Toronto blues/soul combo Blackburn Brothers for receiving three nominations for the prestigious 2024 Blues Music Awards, presented by The Blues Foundation. BB were cited in the Album Of The Year and Soul Blues Album of the Year categories for recent Electro-Fi release SoulFunkn'BLUES, and the track "Bobby's Blues" is up for Song of the Year.

Festivals news

- Now in its 28th year, Toronto’s Festival of Beer is a popular fixture in that city’s musical summer. FoB has just announced that the headlining acts for this year’s event, running July 26- 28, will be Cypress Hill, Josh Ross and Taking Back Sunday. More performers TBA. Tix here.

- The Just Like Heaven festival in Pasadena, CA, on May 18 has impressive Canadian content in the form of Alvvays, Tegan & Sara, Metric, and Broken Social Scene. Other notables on the bill include The Postal Service, Phoenix, Death Cab For Cutie and The War On Drugs. Passes here.

- Late Bird applications to play this year's NXNE fest in Toronto close Jan. 31. Apply here.

- Celebrating Canadian jazz music and the culinary excellence available in Markham, ON, Jazzlicious 2024 is presented by Destination Markham Corporation in collaboration with the Markham Jazz Festival. The series features A-list jazz artists performing at different restaurants in the city, and George St. Kitts, Barbra Lica, Michael Kaeshammer, Matt Dusk and Heather Bambrick are all scheduled over the next two months. Tickets here.


Industry news

- Submissions are now open for the 2024 Jim Beam National Talent Search presented by Canadian Music Week. Canadian artists and bands of any genre can apply online until April 7 here. Five pre-selected National Finalists will receive a paid trip to CMW in Toronto with access to Conference and Festival events plus the chance to perform in the CMW Jim Beam Showcase on June 2. One winner there will get to play the 2024 Jim Beam INDIES on June 6 at The Danforth Music Hall.

- RANGE Magazine has named the lineup for its official South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival showcase at Chess Club in
Austin on March 14. The six Canadian punk and metal acts on the bill are NOBRO, WAKE, Indian Giver, Hot Garbage, La Sécurité and Grimelda.

- Music Nova Scotia and Garrison Brewing’s first New Music Thursday show at The Seahorse Tavern in Halifax takes place on Feb. 1. Performing are Blessing Tangban, aRENYE, Harmz, and Mayaya. Tickets here.


- The latest project of prolific Mohawk singer/songwriter/visual artist/author Tom Wilson (Tehoháhake ) is the launch of a new art book, MohawkWarriors,Hunters&Chiefs, a bilingual (English and Mohawk) book that explores Wilson’s paintings and iconography. To coincide with its publication, Cultural Goods Gallery in Toronto presents a selection of works Wilson created between 2015 and 2024. The exhibit runs Feb. 2-17, with a free public book launch and artist talk on Feb. 3, 2-5 p.m.

- Bernie Finkelstein, a legend in the Canadian music industry as founder of True North Records and longtime manager of Bruce Cockburn, has ventured into the film world. In a recent Facebook post, he shared the news that "We're just putting the finishing touches on our feature length documentary film Atomic Reaction, which is about Canada's role in the Manhattan Project and it's fallout into present days. We've just been accepted to our first Festival, the International Uranium Film Festival held in Rio de Janeiro in late May."The film was made for CBC's Documentary Channel, with plans for airing late this year. In a recent interview with Billboard Canada, Executive Producer Finkelstein noted that the film project "has been five years in the making." Learn more here


Artists news

- Joni Mitchell has just announced that her first show in Los Angeles since 2000 will take place at the Hollywood Bowl on October 19, 2024. It will feature Brandi Carlile and the Joni Jam, and tix for the general public go on sale Feb. 2 here. As reported here, Mitchell performs for the first time at the Grammy Awards this Sunday.

- After a successful career spanning 20 years, Newmarket, ON, indie rock band Tokyo Police Club is breaking up. TPC will farewell fans via a Nov. 29 show at History in Toronto, plus other shows TBA. The group released five full-length albums and three EPs, and earned two Juno nominations in the category of Alternative Album of the Year, in 2011 for Champ and in 2019 for TPC.

- Platinum-selling folk singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer has announced March tour dates in B.C., following U.S. concerts. Shows, running March 16-21,are set for Cumberland, Salmon Arm, Nelson, Oliver and Lake Country. Details and tickets here.

- Skydiggers and Paul Langlois (The Tragically Hip) share a bill on a four-city Ontario trek, March 26-30. Stops are in Belleville, Peterborough, Kingston and Ottawa. Tix here.


- Also announcing late March Ontario dates is Broken Social Scene frontman Kevin Drew. In support of his current solo album, Aging, Drew plays shows in Ottawa, Kingston, London and Hamilton, March 21-28. Details and tix here.

- Veteran Toronto poet/songwriter Robert Priest launches his new CD, People Like You And Me, with a concert at Hugh's Room in Toronto, on Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. He'll be accompanied by Bob Cohen and David Hines, with Kevin Breit and Alison Young guesting on the show. Tickets here.

- Ottawa blues/roots artist Jeff Rogers (HOROJO Trio, The Cooper Brothers) has an album launch show for his new disc, Dream Job, at Hugh’s Room in Toronto on Feb. 10, with Jennie Thai in support. Recommended. Tix here.

The Weeknd with Metro Boomin and Future
@metroboomin Instagram

The Weeknd with Metro Boomin and Future

Rb Hip Hop

The Weeknd Spotted at Kendrick Lamar's 'Pop Out' Concert in Los Angeles

Unlike former Toronto Raptor DeMar DeRozan, the Scarborough-born artist never got onstage, but he was in the audience of the show that featured Drake diss tracks 'Not Like Us' and 'Euphoria.'

Kendrick Lamar took over the internet last night (June. 19) with his "Pop Out" concert live-streamed on Prime Video from the Kia Forum in Los Angeles. If it wasn't clear Kendrick had won public opinion in his beef with Drake, it was when the stage united cultural figures from L.A. — from up-and-comers to legends like Dr. Dre, basketball stars like Russell Westbrook, even someone Drake name-dropped in one of his diss tracks, DJ Mustard — to dance along to the scathing "Not Like Us."

DeMar DeRozan, the beloved former Toronto Raptor who was once close enough to Drake that he spilled the beans on an upcoming mixtape joined fellow L.A.-born NBA player Westbrook onstage at the Forum during "Not Like Us."

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