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Music News Digest: LU KALA, Allison Russell and Josh Ross Earn SOCAN No. 1 Song Awards

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Awards News

The 2024 Canadian Folk Music Awards were presented recently during two gala concerts at the Majestic Theatre in St. John’s, marking the 19th year of Canada’s premier folk music event. Topping the winners list was the much-decorated singer-songwriter William Prince, with three trophies (Contemporary Album of the Year, Solo Artist of the Year, and Single of the Year). The only other multiple victor was Mia Kelly, winner as New/Emerging Artist of the Year & Young Performer of the Year. Other winners in the 21 Awards categories included Suzie Vinnick, Sophie Lukacs, The Bombadils, and Kaeley Jade Wiebe, while the Unsung Hero Award went to John Clarke. The 20th anniversary of the CFMAs in 2025 will be held in Ottawa. Watch the two awards shows here and here.


– On the heels of a public vote and industry panel judging, SiriusXM Canada and the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) have announced the three finalists for the sixth annual SiriusXM Top of the Country competition. They are: Robert Adam (Bonnyville, Alberta), Zach McPhee (Vernon, BC) and Trudy (Montreal). The winner, announced during Country Music Week 2024 in Sept., will win a grand prize of $25,000, with both runners-up receiving $10,000 each.In the months ahead, the finalists showcase in Nashville at CMA Fest, then perform at top fest Lasso Montréal, in mid-August. More info here.

SOCAN took advantage of Juno Awards weekend in Halifax, March 25-27, to present five No. 1 Song AwardsNo. 1 Song Awards to its members. LU KALA received two awards, for her hit tracks “Nothing But Love” and “Hotter Now.” The former topped the CBC Music Top 20 Countdown Chart on Feb. 29, 2024; Hotter Now” topped the same chart on Nov. 30, 2023. Allison Russell was honoured for the success of “Demons,” while country star Josh Ross earned his No. 1 Song Award for “Trouble,” which topped the Mediabase Canada Country Chart on Sept. 11, 2023.

Finally, five representatives of Anthem Entertainment (Ryan Cain, Jason Klein, Gilles Godard, Dave Collier, Andy Hawke), shared a No. 1 Song Award for publishing “Together Right,” by Finger Eleven, which topped the Mediabase Canada Active Rock chart for six weeks straight, starting on July 30, 2023.

Festivals News

Golf Canada has announced a new partnership that sees SiriusXM Canada become the title sponsor of the SiriusXM Concert Series at the RBC Canadian Open, the biggest annual event in Canadian golf. The two night series features platinum-selling, Juno-winning rock band Our Lady Peace as the headliner on Friday, May 31 followed by 2023 CCCMA ‘Breakthrough Artist of the Year’ Josh Ross on June 1 at the historic Hamilton Golf and Country Club. More info here.

Industry news

– In the classical music world, Montrealer Yannick Nézet-Séguin is something of a superstar. A Juno and Grammy award-winner, he is currently the Metropolitan Opera‘s music director. This month, Nézet-Séguin leads the Philadelphia Orchestra (he is their Music and Artistic Director) on a tour that includes stops in Toronto (April 17), Ottawa (18) and Montreal (19).

– Rightfully respected at home as one of Canada’s great singer/songwriters, Bruce Cockburn has been the subject of tribute albums and had many songs covered by Canadian peers. Now, an impressive group of U.S. artists is featured on James Toth Presents… Imaginational Anthem vol. XIII – Songs of Bruce Cockburn, a tribute album put out by the Tompkins Square label and curated by respected indie artist Toth. Those appearing on the album include Bill Callahan, Matt Valentine, Luke Schneider and Jerry David DeCicca. Check out a track here.

– Co-founder and vocalist for Martha and The Muffins, Martha Johnson has, as Martha Johnson and Company, just released a new single, “Slow Emotion.” It explores the theme of living with Parkinson’s Disease, a condition she was diagnosed with over two decades ago). The song came about via a suggestion from Johnson’s Toronto neurologist, Dr. Alfonso Fasano, who felt he could help promote awareness of Parkinson’s to a wider audience with the number. Collaborators on the song included Fabio Dwyer and Mark Gane, Johnson’s partner in Martha and the Muffins/M+M.

Artists news

– Award-winning Newfoundland pianist/composer Florian Hoefner collaborated with chamber music ensemble Iris Trio on its just-released album Project Earth: The Blue Chapter, one featuring his compositions alongside original poetry written and recited by Griffin Prize-winning poet Don McKay.

His His is the analog recording project of Toronto-based artist Aidan Belo. He has announced a recent signing with Victory Pool Records, and has just released a new single, “Outside.”

– The Way Back Whens is an Edmonton octet described as “a brand-new, old-fashioned jazz band.” The group launched its debut album, Live At The Yardbird Suite, with a show at that hometown venue on April 5.

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