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Music News Digest: Music PEI Awards, Country Artist Alli Walker Signed In Nashville & More

Also this week: Veal reunites, The Winnipeg Folk Festival announces its lineup and the Country Music Alberta Awards choose their winners.

Alli Walker

Alli Walker

Courtesy Photo

Awards News

The 2024 Music P.E.I. Awards were handed out on Sunday night at a ceremony at the Confederation of the Arts in Charlottetown that also featured performances by some of the winners and top nominees. Leading the winners list with two trophies apiece were Noah Malcolm, Sirène et Matelot and The Umbrella Collective, with other notable victors including Tara MacLean, The East Pointers and Dylan Menzie. See a full list of winners in this CBC report.

– The 13th annual Country Music Alberta Awards (CMABs) were held at the Edmonton Convention Centre on March 10, following a weekend of events and an industry conference. Leading the pack of winners was Kyle McKearney, with four, followed by Hailey Benedict with three, and Aaron Goodvin. Other victorious notables included Nice Horse, Tenille Townes, Drew Gregory and The Prairie States. See a full list of winners here.


Festivals news

– Long considered one of Canada’s premier roots music events, The Winnipeg Folk Festival has announced a strong lineup for its 2024 edition, to be held at Birds Hill Provincial Park, July 11–14. It includes U.S. stars Mt. Joy, Band of Horses, Lucinda Williams, Tom Paxton, Noah Cyrus, Band of Horses, Grace Potter, Rainbow Girls and The War and Treaty.

Notable Canadian names include Zoon, Orville Peck, Ruth Moody, Choir! Choir! Choir, Cowboy Junkies, Helena Deland, Elisapie, Kaia Kater and Noah Reid. Check the full lineup here. Tickets are on sale now.

Springtide Music Festival has named the first wave of performers set to take the stage of multiple venues in downtown Uxbridge, ON, June 6 - 8. It features an all female lineup of headliners, comprising Begonia, Juno Award winners MONOWHALES and Good Lovelies. Other notables listed include Adrian Sutherland, Aphrose, Ben Kunder, Melissa Payne, Mimi O'Bonsawin, Minuscule, Sarah Beatty and Tennyson King, with more TBA. More info here.


Industry news

– PEI country artist Alli Walker has been making real strides in the U.S., boosted by over 10 million views of her viral sensation “The Whiskey’s Gone" and the recruitment of almost 700k social media followers. That caught the attention of RECORDS Nashville, which has just announced a signing of Walker to a record deal. Here's her new single, “I Like Big Trucks.” She has been added to the bill at Toronto's Festival of Beer, July 27 at Bandshell Park.

– On April 12 at Shawn & Ed Brewing Company, Dundas, ON, Ladybird Animal Sanctuary hosts a star-studded fundraiser to support its sterling work. Ladybird Soiree will be headlined by Ron Sexsmith, with Whitehorse and Nosey Neighbour also performing. Get your tickets here. Of note: Melissa McClelland of Whitehorse is a Ladybird co-founder.

Opera Atelier in Toronto has announced the company’s 2024/2025 season: A Miracle, A Metamorphosis, A Masterpiece Reborn. It. It kicks off in the Elgin Theatre with the company’s fully-staged production of Handel’s pastorale Acis and Galatea, Oct. 24 - 27, and closes with the North American premiere of Pynkoski and Zingg's internationally acclaimed production of Marc Antoine Charpentier's David and Jonathan. More info here.


– Music Nova Scotia and Garrison Brewing’s next New Music Thursday show at The Seahorse Tavern in Halifax on April 4 will feature All Mother, Callum Gaudet, Clever Hopes and Serena Wu. Tickets are on sale here.

The Mighty Duck Blues Band, Ontario blues veterans since 2006, lost their founder and guitarist Dave Curry when he passed away suddenly in Dec. In his honour they have collaborated with his wife Denise to establish The Dave Curry Memorial Music Fund, a scholarship to support music programs in the Niagara area and assist young musicians financially. The Escarpment Blues Society will act as consultants and a support organization to the fund. Donations to the GoFundMe campaign and/or downloading the band`s Duck Soup recording from Bandcamp will benefit the fund.


Artists news

– On a list of Canadian bands most likely to reunite after 20 years apart, few would have chosen rock trio Veal. Between 1996 and 2003, they delivered three albums that earned some critical praise but weren’t exactly commercial hits. Mainman Luke Doucet went on to a more successful career, both solo and as one-half of Whitehorse, but, as he told the audience at his Hamilton show at Mills Hardware on Friday (Mar. 8), pandemic restlessness brought an urge to put Veal together again for Canadian gigs.

Doucet and comrades Chang (drums) and Lyle Bell (bass) put on a sizzling show built around Doucet’s dazzling guitar virtuosity. He was self-deprecating about songs he wrote “as an angry 22-year old,” but they hold up really well, two decades later. His Whitehorse partner Melissa McClelland guested on a sizzling rendition of “Mexico, Texaco,” while such other Veal faves as “Radio,” “Mitzi’s,” and “Everybody Wants More Cocaine” still thrill. A bonus for the night was the last-minute substitution of Doucet’s Six Shooter label-mates NQ Arbuckle as opening act. Eloquent songsmith Neville Quinlan and his top-notch band mixed material from their new album with earlier crowd-pleasers.

In early April, Veal play shows in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver. Details here.

– Veteran folk/roots singer-songwriter Stephen Fearing (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings) has announced a May Ontario tour, with stops in Whitby, Clinton, Barrie, Ottawa and Toronto. Details & tickets here.

– Led by drummer/composer Ernesto Cervini,Turboprop is a talent-stacked Toronto-based jazz ensemble. Its new album, A Canadian Songbook, was released last week and it comprises fresh takes of a couple of classic Canadian tunes alongside originals by Cervini and some local peers.


Adrian Sutherland, Indigenous singer-songwriter and leader of Midnight Shine, releases a new solo album, Precious Diamonds, on March 15, preceded by a release show at Toronto's Cameron House on March 14. Tix here.

– If a sinkhole had swallowed The Corktown in Hamilton on Sat. night (Mar. 9), the city's music scene would have been irreparably damaged. It seemed like half the crowd at the sold-out show for Anglo guitar hero Chris Spedding (Roxy Music, John Cale, The Sex Pistols) comprised notable local musicians, all eager to revel in the distinctive axemanship of the 78-year-old veteran. Many were also attracted by the presence of drum virtuoso Anton Fig (The World's Most Dangerous Band, KISS, and many more). As a headliner, he doesn't change his sets radically, but favourites like "Wild In The Streets," Silver Bullet," "Hurt By Love," "Guitar Jamboree" and "Motorbikin'" still please. He may not be a great vocal stylist, but his languid delivery works well, while the focus remains on his fluent and versatile guitar playing. Billboard Canada has learned that this show was taped for a live album.

Courtesy OVO/Republic Records


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Drake Releases Kendrick Lamar Diss Track ‘Push Ups’ on Streaming Services: Listen

The 6 God makes it official.

Drake has finally brought his “Push Ups” diss track taking aim at Kendrick Lamar among others to streaming services.

After leaking last weekend, “Push Ups” popped up on DSPs on Friday (April 19). As of press time, Drake is yet to publicly recognize the scathing song’s release. For the cover art, Drake elected to use a shoe-sizing tag, which he mocks Lamar’s small feet for on the record.

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