Music News

Music News Digest: Ontario's Black Music Conference, Scotiabank Arena Bursary Program

Also in this week's roundup of Canadian music news: Alberta country star Dan Davidson goes global, an all-star tribute to Gordon Lightfoot at Massey Hall and more.

Solitair, one of the performers at The Grand River Black Music Festival and Conference in Kitchener, ON

Solitair, one of the performers at The Grand River Black Music Festival and Conference in Kitchener, ON

Courtesy Photo

Festivals News

Billed as "Ontario's Black Music conference," The Grand River Black Music Festival and Conference runs June 14-16 at Kitchener Public Library (85 Queen Street N, Kitchener, Ontario). An impressive lineup of performers features Solitair, Jully Black, Erroll Starr, Toronto Mass Choir and more, while speakers at the conference include Master T, Michael Williams, Jully Black, Carlos Morgan, Ron Nelson, Rudy Blair and more. The fest features both ticketed and free events. Tickets here.

– Peggy’s Cove Centre for Arts & Culture has announced its new summer concert series, Saturdays at The Schoolhouse in Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. It runs June 29 to September 21, kicking off with two shows by crooner Matt Dusk. Other artists featured include Melanie Doane, Dave Gunning, North Atlantic Drift, Eleanor McCain (founder and CEO of the Centre), J.P. Cormier, Morgan Toney and Jessica Lalonde & Adrean Farrugia. Info here.


Industry News

Canadian Music Week, together with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), has announced the return of the Scotiabank Arena Bursary Program, which will be granted to 15 aspiring music industry professionals in 2024. Each Bursary Program recipient will receive a CMW Music Summit Conference pass, access to MLSE representatives through one-on-one meetings in the CMW Conference Mentor’s Café, and entry to the Live Music Industry Awards show. To apply for the Bursary Program, complete the application form online by April 30.

– Albertan country star Dan Davidson has notched an impressive 30 million streams for his material since earning a platinum single back in 2016 with “Found.” He is now expanding internationally via a just-signed Australian record deal with ABC Records, who release a special edition of his latest album Nineteen Eighty Something for that market. Davidson has shows in Calgary (April 3), Spruce Grove (April 5), and Camrose (May 1) alongside Australian dates (April 13-20), and summer fest show in Italy, the UK and Canada. Itinerary here. He has also just released a new single, “Won’t Forget,” featuring Canadian star Tim Hicks and Australian breakout artist Max Jackson, which is one of this week's hot new radio tracks.


– On May 23, an elite grouping of Canadian musical stars will pay tribute to Gordon Lightfoot at his favourite venue, Massey Hall in Toronto. The list of performers includes Allison Russell, Aysanabee, Tom Wilson, Burton Cummings, Caroline Wiles & Bob Doidge, Meredith Moon, Sylvia Tyson, The Good Brothers, Tom Cochrane, William Prince and members of Gordon Lightfoot’s longtime group, The Lightfoot Band (Rick Haynes, Barry Keane, Mike Heffernan and Carter Lancaster). With that lineup, the show inevitably quickly sold out. Info here.

– On April 30, JAZZ FM91's Sound of Jazz Concert Series pays tribute to Toronto jazz master Guido Basso on International Jazz Day with a concert at Lula Lounge. Tickets here.

– Canadian rock band Coney Hatch has announced that its live album, Postcard from Germany, will be available on vinyl for the first time via Anthem Records. The limited-edition (300) vinyl pressing will be available for purchase on April 20, as part of Record Store Day. The album features two newly recorded tracks, "It's About A Girl" and "Heaven's on the Other Side."


The Salvation Army’s Canadian Staff Songsters will host an evening of music on Saturday April 6 at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in Toronto. It features over 200 of the organization’s most-talented singers, from Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., with repertoires ranging from traditional to contemporary compositions. The event is sold-out for in-person attendance, but is available via livestream at:

Artists News

– To celebrate the memorable milestone of 50 years as a band, Hamilton garage/punk rock heroes Teenage Head play a hometown anniversary gig at Carmen's Event Centre on April 6. Founding members Frankie Venom and Gord Lewis are no longer rockin' the planet, but co-founder/bassist Steve Mahon, frontman Dave Rave, guitarist Trent Carr (Headstones) and drummer Gene Champagne are keeping the Teenage Head flame alive in kick-ass fashion. Tickets here.


– Since a long stint as drummer in Toronto indie rock band Rheostatics, Dave Clark has headed many interesting and musically varied musical projects, including the Woodchopperʼs Association and Woodshed Orchestra. A current one is Western Slang, a band built around Clark's original country tunes. Accompanied by top-notch players Lowell Whitty, Michael Herring and Paul Kolinski, Clark held court at The Capitol in Hamilton on Saturday night in highly entertaining fashion. He is a funny and endearing frontman, coaxing the audience into singing and dancing along. Alongside his traditional honkytonk-themed tunes were some featuring elements of tropicalia and funk. Check our Clark's recent album Cosmic Raydeo on Bandcamp. Opening up with an impressive solo set was local songsmith Darryl Gould, who has also been collaborating with Clark.

– Veteran hitmaking singer/songwriter Ian Thomas has a full band tour of Atlantic Canada later this month. The trek covers nine cities, running from April 19-30. Itinerary here. He also has an extensive Ontario tour lined up, June 10-24.

– To promote the release of its recent Juno-nominated second album Convergence, the Nick MacLean Quartet feat. Brownman Ali is playing April Ontario dates in Newmarket, Campbellford and Toronto. Details here.

AP Dhillon smashing his guitar at Coachella

AP Dhillon smashing his guitar at Coachella


AP Dhillon Drops Off Coachella's Second Weekend

The Punjabi-Canadian star has faced backlash in Indian media and on social media for his guitar smash on weekend one, but the festival says he's cancelling due to scheduling conflicts.

AP Dhillon is leaving the California desert behind. Coachella announced that the Punjabi-Canadian star will not appear at the festival's second weekend as planned, citing scheduling conflicts. The festival announced it in a follow up tweet to one announcing that rapper Kid Cudi has been added.

While Dhillon's first-weekend performance was well-received by the Coachella crowd and many of his supporters, he's also had some backlash due to how he closed his set, which has been widely covered by media in India.

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