GWNtertainment #5 by Jaimie Vernon

Buckle up kids, the winter is going to make itself very apparent this week throughout most of the already frozen tundra. Polar dippers were greeted with very stiff…water…on Lake Michigan last weekend. Even without a pandemic, this is the perfect time to put on the footie pajamas and snuggle with the fur babies, human babies, and man-babies to listen to some great Canadian music courtesy GWN’s sonic radar.

* In celebration of Black History Month, culturepreneur Joy Bun has assembled a 75-minute virtual performance entitled Celebrations and Revelations 2021 featuring four rising Canadian Black classical musicians: Ashaan Rori Allwood, Tanya Charles Iveniuk, Nadine Anyan, and William Franklyn Leathers (whom many may recall in the news recently when he accepted to Julliard at the age of 17). The artists will be revising under-appreciated Black classical composers from the 17th to 21st centuries. The broadcast can be viewed here:

* Drummer Dave King has announced that he’s signed a deal with SONY Orchard/Innsbruck Records to re-release his entire catalogue which includes music by his jazz band Rapid Transit. That group’s debut, Rapid Transit 1, was released to digital platforms on February 5. Follow the releases as they become available at

* The man with one of the coolest voices in Canadian radio, Jeff Woods, has launched his own YouTube channel – Jeff Woods Radio. He’ll be adding content created from his Wild Woods Blue Performance Studio in Collingwood. You should subscribe. Jeff has been creating some of the best syndicated music shows for Canadian radio for many years. There’s always something interesting for everyone.

* Matthew Muise has been assembling the Valentine’s Day Virtual House Party which will run live on YouTube February 14 at 7PM. It will be fundraising to help The Brantford Food Bank. Acts announced so far are Dave Rave and The Second Responders, Sabrina Reid Smith, Verne Payne, Dan Macaulay, Shaelee Sheppard, Em Jordan, The D’Souza Family, and illusionist Lucas Wilson.

* Fledgling rapper BucksInDaCut (real name: Romello) said last week that rap superstar Drake not only helped him with his financial difficulties (in cash, no less), but offered to pay off the young rapper’s OSAP student loan as well. Finally, a good news story!

* Canada’s Walk of Fame is presenting #RBCEMP2020 Finalist, Maya Malkin, performing as part of this year’s RBC Emerging Musician Program virtual Festival du Voyageur 2021 showcase. Catch her with the rest of the competition winners, and finalists, and special guest alumna Faouzia, on February 19th at 8PM CST.

* Meanwhile, at 8PM on February 14, you can check out Jaymz Bee’s Caravan of Music which will raise money for the Unison Benevolent Fund. Just some of the participants that night will include: The Blackburn Brothers, John Finley, Jackie Richardson, Billy Newton-Davis, Lou Pomanti, Andy Maize, Kevin Hearn, The Breithaupt Brothers, The Shuffle Demons, Serafin Lariviere, Vezi Tayyeb, Caity Gyorgy, Laura Anglade, and dozens more. There will also be toasts and testimonials courtesy Paul Shaffer, Anne Murray, Tom Cochrane, Jayne Eastwood, and Jeanne Beker.

* Explorer’s Edge presents the Winter Arts Collective, a series of weekly posts to honour the many, many talented artists in the Explorer’s Edge region of Ontario who’ve been hit hard by the pandemic, but whose creative spirit remains powerful nonetheless.

* The massive annual Light of Day Canada Music Festival returns this year as a two-night online virtual event February 19 – 20 to raise money for Parkinson’s and Cancer research. This year’s line-up is: Steve Earle, Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine), Rusty Young, Gowan, Wayne Kramer (MC5), Chris Koster (The Glorious Sons), comedian Ron James, Jake Clemons, John Cafferty, Vincent Pastore, Colin Macdonald (The Trews), Joe Grushecky, Willie Nile, Joe D’Urso, Jesse Malin, Miss Emily, Bobby Mahoney, Jason Heath & The Greedy Souls, Ike Reilly, Dave Rave & The Second Responders, Mike Plume, Don Schmid (Northern Pikes), The Partland Brothers, and others. All proceeds to The Steve Ludzik Foundation, Walker Family Cancer Center (Niagara Health Foundation), and the Light of Day Foundation. Tickets can be purchased at

* Heritage Toronto has launched a new website called Sounds Like Toronto that explores the last 65 years of music in and around the city. It includes an overview of the various eras, music scenes, and venues, and has profiles of artists who’ve created a large impact both within the city’s borders and beyond.

* Sonic Envy and Cerberus Management are excited to announce the signing of legendary Canadian band Men Without Hats. Sonic Envy will release their new album of 12 original songs, as well as an album of cover songs via the label in 2021, just as the band celebrates its 40th Anniversary.

* Legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Hill has been inducted into the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame for his seminal hit “Sometimes When We Touch” (co-written with Barry Mann). Hill will be inducted on CTV’s Your Morning TV program on February 10. Huge congrats to Dan!

* The 2021 Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival is presenting a special broadcast taking place on Saturday, February 27th at 3pm EST. It will feature a special compilation of select moments from Oscar Peterson & Friends, a 1981 CBC television series that includes select moments with Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Lorne Lofsky, Jimmy Rowles, Butch Watanabe, and Mary Lou Williams. The show will also be recognizing the 2021 Canadian Jazz Master Award honourees. Check out the Festival’s official Facebook page or here:

* Toronto singer-songwriter Deanna Faye has a new album out entitled Good To You. The latest single is “Reassure”

* Singer Denise Leslie has released her new album, One Fine Morning, which features jazz interpretations of known pop standards including the title track – originally written and recorded by Lighthouse. Denise calls on veteran Canadian musicians to help with the performances including Lighthouse’s horn section. Rounding out the musical line-up is guitarist Bob McAlpine, bassist Pat Collins, and drummer Paul DeLong. The cover tunes are not your average fair with inspired choices that include Badfinger’s “Day After Day,” The Police tune “Driven To Tears,” Van Morrison’s “Into The Mystic,” and Little River Band’s “Reminiscing.” Denise also includes two original tunes.

* A cool new surf trio is making waves out of Toronto called The Chairmen of the Boards. The band includes Rob Hiemstra (guitar), Leonardo Valvassori (bass), and Gary Craig (drums). Their debut album, Surfin’ the Apocalypse, is now out and features 14 fantastic instrumentals available on CD, LP, and download.

* Calgary, Alberta’s Noah Michael returns with his nom-de-plume If I Look Strong You Look Strong for split release with Edmonton’s Torso entitled Couture Split. Each act has two tracks, and the release is available here:

* A new music collective has emerged from Toronto called the Bona Fide Scoundrels featuring drummer Dave Clark (Rheostatics); bassist Michael Herring (Walrus), accordionist Michael Jude Ward-Bergeman (Division St), and guitarist Kevin Breit (Breit Brothers). They have a new album entitled Bone Fidelity which was recorded a year ago in Toronto at Jeremy Darby’s Canterbury Music Company.

* Petawawa’s Sean Krause has been making music in Prague with his Czech Republic band Hedgehog Eyes. They’ve got a new EP out entitled Cold Winter’s Night. The first single is “Turn The Light Down.”

* Scarborough’s 1990s roots-rock act The Bel-Vistas have dusted off an old live recording from the once long-lamented Silver Dollar Room in Toronto. The new release – Live – Silver Dollar – features material that never appeared on any of their three official album releases.

* The first video from the forthcoming release The Best And the Rest of Dr. Minz And The Chronic Harmonic, Volume 1 is called “Steve And Dave And Mike And Bob!” The compilation will feature 20 songs of old and new chronically harmonicized material.

* Nebulous Toronto post-punk act Garage Baby (Michael Bennett, Claude Kent, James Paul) returns with a 58 track (!!!) live album entitled 3 x 3: Live at the Painted Lady that was recorded in 2016 over three consecutive Sundays. The band promises that the material is edit and fix free. They also promise that it contains nonsense.

* The Kings have returned with yet another great new video. “I Know So” is a dance mash-up and a big band mash-up that makes fine use of vintage movie and TV footage to make your feet move. There’s a nice nod to late saxophonist Earl Seymour mixed in with clips of the Kings themselves.

* Kyp Harness has released a new solo album entitled Red Rover recorded last August at The Gas Station with help from musical friends Victor Bateman, Blake Howard, Dale Morningstar, Tania Gill, and Rebecca Hennessy. Check it out:

* Jimmy Rankin has a new album on True North Records entitled Moving East and is currently riding the back of the global shanty song phenomenon with his own take on the genre called “Haul Away the Whale.”

* Ottawa Blues guitarist Paul Blissett has dropped his newest album entitled Memphis. The entire album can be streamed here:

* Finally, Mississauga musician Mark Kelso has released a video single for his arrangement of The Police track “Wrapped Around Your Finger.” Check out his Stewart Copeland-like drum chops and fantastic harmonies here:

This issue was brought to you by Black History Month – which should be every month! Send us your news, views, and all manner of CANADIAN musical releases to promote and wave a flag for. Join the GWN Facebook page and drop us a message:

Keep up the fight!
Jaimie Vernon, 2021


Jaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 41 years, and recently discovered he’s been happily married for 24 years. He is also the author of The Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia and editor of “Sunny Days: The Skip Prokop Story.” Available through Amazon. 

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