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Music News

Music News Digest: Canadians Win at Blues Music Awards, Bruce Cockburn Enters Mariposa Hall of Fame

Summer festival season is kicking off: this week also brings the lineups of Rifflandia, Something Else! and Springtide; a look at artists making a Great Escape; and Sean Barrette's book of first guitar memories.

Pictured at Blues Music Awards: (l-r): Holger Petersen, Kenny Blues Boss Wayne, Sue Foley, Geoff Kulawick

Pictured at Blues Music Awards: (l-r): Holger Petersen, Kenny Blues Boss Wayne, Sue Foley, Geoff Kulawick

Courtesy photo

Awards news

Canadian and Canada-based blues artists Sue Foley and Kenny 'Blues Boss' Wayne had a big night in Memphis on May 9.

The Blues Music Awards are the most important for the genre,and at the 45th edition guitarslinger/singer/songwriter Foley won in the Traditional Female Artist (Koko Taylor Award) category. She posted on Facebook about the win: "I'm honored to win this award. It was so much fun to see everyone out at the awards tonight, and it reminded me what a beautiful and loving community we have. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees."


Juno-winning keyboardist/singer Wayne also won, in the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player category. Both these artists are on the Stony Plain Records label, and current head Geoff Kulawick and label co-founder Holger Petersen were on hand to enjoy the celebration with them. See a full list of winners here.

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– The Mariposa Folk Foundation has announced it will induct Bruce Cockburn in its Hall of Fame at this year’s festival, July 5 -7, at Tudhope Park in Orillia. In a press release, Festival president Pam Carter called Cockburn "a courageous and inspiring Canadian artist who first played the festival in 1968 and has graced our stage 8 times over the years. We’re honoured to induct him to the Mariposa Hall of Fame."

“It's of course an honour, but I actually look forward to being at the festival more than I look forward to getting this," said Cockburn. A special live and pre-recorded tribute to the veteran songsmith will be held on the evening of Sunday, July 7 at Mariposa’s Gordon Lightfoot Mainstage to commemorate the induction.

– Congrats to Grammy-nominated Canadian composer-arranger-bandleader Darcy James Argue for winning the Arranger of The Year award at the recent Jazz Journalists Association Awards. Fellow Canadian Jane Bunnett was nominated for Soprano Saxophonist of the Year.

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Festivals news

– The Rifflandia Festival in Victoria (Matullia Lands at Rock Bay) will run September 13 to 15, and is revealing the daily lineup details in stages. Read our item on the Day One performers here. Recently announced was the fest's day-two lineup, which features ‘90s faves TLC, Canadian rap luminaries per K-OS, Maestro Fresh Wes, Michie Mee and Rascalz, Broken Social Scene, Aysanabee, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Glass Petals and more. Tickets here.

– The Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) is returning to The Great Escape Festival & Conference this week in Brighton, UK for 3 full days of Canada House showcases of Canadian artists. TGE is described as the UK’s premier new music and industry gathering. The showcases are heldat The Green Door Store on May 16, 17 & 18, withshowcasing partners including Alberta Music, M for Montreal, Manitoba Music, Music BC, Music Nova Scotia, MusicOntario, SaskMusic and SODEC. The impressive list of performers includes Begonia, Corridor, Witch Prophet and Haviah Mighty. See a full list of the Canada House artists here.

– Last year saw the debut of the VENUExVENUE music festival and conference in London, Ontario. Presented by IndieWeek, it was a multi-day, multi-venue Live Music Festival featuring 40 + top emerging London region artists performing at six venues across London over three days. The festival also included a full day indie101 conference. VxV returns to London Nov. 14-16 and artists from anywhere in Ontario are invited to apply here by May 28.

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– The 5th edition of Ontario's Springtide Music Festival runs across 12 stages in Uxbridge, ON, June 6-8, and it has just announced its full lineup. Notables joining headliners Good Lovelies and Begonia include Adrian Sutherland, Aphrose, Barbra Lica, Band of Weeds, Ben Kunder, Conor Gains, David Owen, Gravely, Melissa Payne, Mimi O’Bonsawin, Minuscule, Moonfruits, Sarah Beatty, Stephen Stanley & Chris Bennett, Tamara Williamson, TBD (that’s the name), Tennyson King and Whitney Ross-Barris. More info here.

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– Now in its 11th year, the Something Else! Festival in Hamilton has been deservedly praised for its adventurous programming of avant-garde jazz and new music artists from across Canada and beyond. This year’s event takes place at a few different venues, June 20-23. Announced performers include Shuffle Demons, Earth Wind & Choir, Gayle Young, Amrita, Ugly Beauties and Imaginary Brass Band. More info here. As a preview taste of the fest, Something Else! Presents a concert by Sophie Agnel & John Butcher, plus IPE Ceramix at St. Cuthbert's, Hamilton, on May 20. Tickets here.

Industry news

– Canadian author-musician Sean Barrette has received a very positive response to Volume I: Heartstrings - First Guitars, a book published last Nov. As the title indicates, it features recollections from a star-studded list of Canadian and international guitar aces (alongside less familiar names) on their first instrument. Major names featured include Gordon Lightfoot, Bruce Cockburn, David Knopfler, Colin Linden (Blackie & the Rodeo Kings), Johnny Hickman (Cracker), Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair and Paul Langlois (Tragically Hip), Tom Wilson, Moe Berg, Lori Yates, Suzie Vinnick, Gordie Johnson, David Baerwald, Serena Ryder, Jim Cuddy, Bruce and Brian Good, Myles Goodwyn (April Wine) and dozens more.

Barrette informs Billboard Canada that a second volume is well under way, with contributions expected from Chris Murphy (Sloan), Josh Finlayson (The Skydiggers), Valdy, Lee Aaron, Craig Northey (Odds), David Wilcox and many more. Volume 1 is available on Amazon and can be ordered here.

Artist news

– A much-beloved English eccentric, singer-songwriter-showman John Otway played four sold-out gigs (three in Toronto, one in Hamilton) last weekend, delighting all in attendance. This scribe saw his matinee gig at The Capitol in Hamilton, and witnessed this one-man tour de force in full form, at 71. He uses props like a theremin, double-fused guitars and body microphone packs, along with hilarious anecdotes and songs that range from totally wacky ("Beware Of The Flowers" ) to tender ("Cheryl's Going Home") to hilarious (a spoken word take on The Sweet hit "Blockbuster). Otway is the perfect definition of a cult favourite, as shown by the fact that a group of British fans flew over to catch all his Ontario shows! Big thanks to Gary Topp and Lou Molinaro for bringing the fun!

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– Western Canadian bluegrass sensations The Dead South are marking the 10th anniversary of their first full-length album, Good Company, with a new Dolby Atmos spatial audio version and collectors’ edition vinyl. The record spawned a viral video for the track “In Hell I’ll Be In Good Company" (a platinum single in the US) and the band has generated a phenomenal one billion streams plus worldwide. The Dead South are touring extensively for the next year, including Canadian shows. Itinerary here

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Gordon Lightfoot
Country Music Association of Ontario

Gordon Lightfoot

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