Music News

Music News Digest: Anthem's Gilles Godard Enters Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame, More Musicians Receive Order of Canada

Also in this week's roundup of Canadian music news: NERiMA sign to Sonic Envy and Rose Cousins signs to Nettwerk, Music PEI increases its grant funding, much more.

Gilles Godard

Gilles Godard

Courtesy CMAOntario

Awards news

When new recipients of the Order of Canada were announced last week, it was pop-punk star Avril Lavigne who grabbed the most ink. There were some other notable musicians honoured, however, including Quebec singer-songwriter Daniel Lavoie, American-born conductor and artistic director Kent Nagano and percussionist Beverley Johnston.

The office of Canada's Governor General, Mary Simon, describes Lavoie as "a leading ambassador" for Franco-Canadian culture, who was "catapulted" to the top of the charts with the "must-listen" song "Ils s'aiment."

Kent Nagano served as the music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (OSM) from 2006 to the end of the 2019–2020 season, and in that role he conducted commercial recordings for such labels as ECM New Series, Analekta and Decca.


The Canadian Music Centre (CMC) terms Beverley Johnston "an internationally renowned percussionist who has been at the forefront of the development and promotion of Canadian music, commissioning, performing and recording compositions from Canadian composers since the 1980s. Many of those works have become a staple of the standard percussion repertory around the world."

– The Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) has announced Gilles Godard as the 2024 Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame Stan Klees Builder inductee. Both Godard and recently named fellow Hall Of Fame Artist inductee k.d. lang will be honoured and celebrated in an induction ceremony during Country Music Week 2024, taking place in Edmonton, September 11–14.

A native of Cornwall, Ontario, Gilles Godard boasts over five decades of music industry experience, and currently serves as the President of Anthem Music Publishing Nashville. He began his career with Anthem (formerly known as ole) as a writer, working his way up through various key positions. Godard oversees Anthem’s extensive roster of country songwriters including Canadians Meghan Patrick, Chris Buck, Jimmy Thow and Patricia Conroy.

An accomplished writer, publisher, artist and producer, Godard’s talents have earned him two CCMA Awards, two BMI Awards, four SOCAN Awards including an International Songwriter Achievement Award, a Felix Award, and multiple JUNO Award nominations. Over 400 of his songs have been recorded by artists such as Terri Clark, Patty Loveless, Anne Murray, Ricky Skaggs, Tommy Hunter, Blackhawk, Tracy Byrd, The Road Hammers, Colleen Peterson and Ronnie Prophet. Read more on Godard in this Larry Delaney profile.


Industry news

– Sonic Envy Music and Cerberus Management have announced the signing of Toronto indie-punk-pop band NERiMA to their respective label and management rosters. The band celebrates their new signing with a special in-store performance at Kops Records in Oshawa on July 3 at 4 p.m. Both Sonic Envy and Cerberus are headed by veteran Toronto A&R guy/manager/label owner Brian Hetherman, and he's clearly excited at this deal. "As a long time A&R man, when I see and feel the magic of a band like this, its undeniable, then it's even more important to have the band and you on the same page with the same vision,” says Hetherman. Expect a new NERiMA EP this fall on Sonic Envy/ Warner Music.

Formed in 2010, alternative and rock label Sonic Envy is the sister company to Curve Music, and its roster includes Lowest Of the Low, When In Rome and Men Without Hats.


– Highly-acclaimed East Coast singer-songwriter Rose Cousins has signed to the Nettwerk label and released a new single, "Forget Me Not," a haunting piano ballad. Cousin's work has earned her two JUNO Awards (2013’s We Have Made a Spark & 2021’s Bravado), two Canadian Folk Music Awards, 11 East Coast Music Awards and one Grammy Award nomination (2018’s Natural Conclusion).

– The Music Pro Summit online conference runs Sept. 10-12 this year, featuring 50+ speakers, 20+ sessions, B2Bs, meet-ups and more. The first round of speakers has been named, and includes Ted Cohen (TAG Strategic), Vanessa Ferrer (Merch Cat), Alanna Matty (Artist / Livestreamer), Steve Stewart (SongHub), Cory Crossman (London Music Office), producer/musician John Switzer and Darryl Hurs (INDIE WEEK / DIT). Topics include AI, Web Tools, Grant Writing, Music Sync, Future of Live Music, Building Music Cities, Merchandising and more. Register here.


Music PEI has secured increased funding from Innovation PEI for a revamped Investment Program, and has raised the number of Artist I grants from 8 per year to 12. The Artist II grant amount has been increased from $3,000 to $3,500; however, the number of grants available has decreased from 12 per year to 10. There have been no changes to the Artist III grants, which will remain at 4 grants per year at $8,000. The new Market Access Fund, with an annual pot of $20,000, will support artists and music industry professionals attending domestic and international conferences and showcase festivals, targeted business meetings, and collaborative songwriting trips. It will accept applications on a rolling deadline until the funds are depleted. More info here.

– Registration for Contact East 2024, happening September 26-29 in Charlottetown, Epekwitk/PEI, is now live. Register here. Programming highlights include live artist showcases, Digital Discoverability sessions, artist pitches, one-to-one meetings and more.

Artists news

– East Coast singer-songwriter Jimmy Rankin will perform live at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre in Calgary, on Sept. 6. For the show, he’ll be reunited with his beloved Martin D-35 acoustic guitar that’s currently on loan to NMC.Tickets on sale now

– Known as the drummer in Teenage Head and The Killjoys, Hamilton rock 'n roller Gene Champagne is now making a splash as a solo artist. Two songs from his new EP, Let's Jet, have been playlisted on Little Steven's popular Sirius XM show and many international stations. On Saturday night, Champagne launched the release with a well-attended hometown show at The Corktown, delivering a high-energy set comprising both originals and such well-chosen covers as "Teenage Kicks" and garage-rock classic "Shake Some Action." He dedicated the latter to Hamilton '80s power-pop heroes The Shakers, then invited that band's Dave Rave onstage to guest on a great take of Teenage Head favourite "Picture My Face." Some kind of fun indeed. Check out the EP here.


– Tamara Williamson's acclaimed solo theatrical show, The Break-Up Diet, has a run at Toronto's Theatre Centre, July 4-7, to raise funds for Edinburgh Fringe 2024. Tickets here. Williamson is a noted singer-songwriter, the former leader of indie rockers Mrs. Torrance and an author (Mirror Horse).

– Held over the holiday weekend, Hamilton's free three-day It's Your Festival event sported three major Canadian acts as headliners, Sass Jordan, Big Sugar and The Jim Cuddy Band. Big Sugar played a well-curated set, one mixing earlier radio hits and the reggae-flavoured material that is part of their signature sound. Leader Gordie Johnson impressed with his guitar prowess and established an easy rapport with the crowd. His long stint living in Austin has influenced his sound, as shown by a reggaefied excerpt of country classic "Luckenbach, Texas."


– Also impressing at the fest was another guitar-based trio, Tim Gibbons and The Swampbusters. A Hamilton veteran and a cool cat, Gibbons (The Shakers, Trouble Boys) gave a masterclass in fluent and entertaining guitar solos, effortlessly drawing upon the blues, Southern and swamp rock and good ole rock 'n roll.

– Ontario folk singer-songwriter Ian North has just released a new single and video, "China Moon." It is the second advance track from an upcoming third album, Everything is Incomplete, co-produced with Chris Gartner.

– Toronto piano-pop troubadour Mike Evin is about to release "Along the Way,” the fourth single from his upcoming seventh album Something Stirs When You Sing. It is produced by Chris Stringer (Abigail Lapell, Rose Cousins). More info here.

Norman Wong



Happy Anniversary, Archie: Alvvays' Debut Record Gets a 10th Birthday Re-Issue

The Canadian jangle pop group's first album will be available on a new cerulean blue vinyl with an unearthed bonus track, as well as the ten original songs — including breakout single 'Archie, Marry Me' — that launched their career in 2014.

A major Canadian indie rock album turns 10 today (July 22), and the band is celebrating with a special re-issue.

Alvvays' self-titled debut helped the group break through on an international scale, propelled by jangly guitars, aloof vocals and an expertly catchy single. "Archie, Marry Me," with its soaring chorus and pleading lyrics, became a wedding song for a generation of ambivalent millennials, earnest and sardonic at the same time.

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