GWNtertainment #11 by Jaimie Vernon

As Glenn Frey once said, “The Heat Is On.” We’re in fake spring right now and the dog turd landmines have begun to thaw while kiddies on bicycles and joggers are out in full force. I expect that some are listening to music while fitting their bits. Below is a whole new batch of Canadiana filling earbuds and smart speakers everywhere.

* The second annual Sauga City Music Conference has already begun, virtually on Zoom, which started on March 17 and goes to March 26, 2021. The conference is free with registration on Eventbrite. Featuring two keynote speakers, a webinar, and three music panels, the conference provides tools and advice for emerging and veteran musicians adapting to life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Toronto musician Kat Goldman has a new book out called “Off The Charts: What I Learned From My Almost Fabulous Life In Music” about her trials and tribulations before and after being hit by an automobile while standing in line at a coffee shop. The accident ultimately ended her career, but she is making the effort to carry on including writing a clever song about selling the book.

* Hamilton’s annual Supercrawl Festival is a go – organized and run by the brainchildren behind the Sonic Unyon record label – but this year it’s a virtual affair. Already slated to appear are Big Wreck, Serena Ryder, Athanase, and Alfie Smith & Nicole Christian. More artists will be added in coming weeks. Info and tickets here:

* Toronto’s world music group Al Qahwa Ensemble (Arabic meaning “The Coffee House”) released their third album African Routes in November, 2020 and will celebrate the release with a livestream performance from Koerner Hall on Friday, April 9, 2021 from 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm EST.  A new video of the track “Lullaby” will also be coming out on March 26. The ensemble, from varied backgrounds are Egyptian-Canadian Maryem Tollar on vocals, riqq (Arabic tambourine), and qanun (Arabic table harp); Canadian Ernie Tollar on wind instruments; Greek-Canadian Demetri Petsalakis on oud (Arabic fretless lute), and Iranian-Canadian Naghmeh Fahrahmand on Middle Eastern percussion. Special guests include Waleed Abdulhamid, Fethi Nadjem and Roula Said. The event will also showcase Maryem’s other ensemble Turkwaz, which includes members Jayne Brown, Sophia Grigoriadis, and Brenna Maccrimmon, who will do a short set of music and will join Al Qahwa and their guests for a few songs. Roula Said will be adding some dance for a great celebratory evening of music and joy. African Routes is available on all platforms where music is streamed or downloaded.

* Death Of A Ladies Man is a new Apple TV movie inspired by the songs of Leonard Cohen and stars Gabriel Byrne, Antoine Olivier Pilon, Suzanne Clement, and Jessica Pare. Cohen’s tunes feature prominantly and have been interpreted by Leif Vollebekk, Hayden, Mo Kenney, Chad Vangaalen, Jenn Grant, Dan Mangan, Karelle Tremblay, Whitehorse, and Ron Sexsmith. The promo campaign has been launching a zoom video of each artist performing their song from the soundtrack. Check out the Death of a Ladies Man YouTube channel here:

* Winnipeg musician Nic Dyson discovered this week that he’s a cousin of CNN talking head Jake Tapper. Tapper reached out in a private message last week to the budding musician explaining that his mother – a Canadian – had relatives in Canada of which Dyson was descended. Tapper’s been singing the praises of the singer-songwriter in a series of tweets to help bolster his career. Dyson released the album Figments last year along with two singles – “I’m A Bruise” and “Sooner of Later”.

* Damhnait Doyle announced a new live streaming show on her Facebook page this week: “Well after a year of Covid – I’m diving in and doing an actual show! And with two of my favourite people, Dayna Manning and Tara Maclean!!! Gonna be a Good Earth Day:)” Tickets and other info at: http://www/

* Author Mark Doble announced this week that the new biography he has been co-writing with Frank Troiano will be entitled “Domenic Troiano – His Life And Music” and is scheduled for release in July. Troiano was a founding member of Toronto bands The Five Rogues/The Mandala), Bush, and later a member of The James Gang and The Guess Who. The book will feature never before seen photographs and stories about Domenic’s various musical adventures and production work including television and film.

* Canadian siblings Margo, Michael, and Peter Timmins, plus Michael’s childhood friend, Alan Anton, first started making music together over thirty years ago. Sixteen studio albums and five live albums later, Cowboy Junkies are still touring the world. Author Dave Bowler has released a book covering the band’s career in the authorized biography “Music Is The Drug“. Available now.

* The Oakville Performing Arts Centre continues its streaming schedule of incredible Canadian talent. Molly Johnson takes to the stage for a lives stream Saturday, April 17, 2021 8:00pm EST. $20 Live Stream tickets. Presale code: Oakville.

* Toronto-based folk quartet Samways acknowledge the work of a late, great Canadian poet in this, their new single, “Untrodden Ways.” The music was written by guitarist/composer Nathan Hiltz, but the track’s lyrics are based off of the poem of the same name written by Kingston-based author and poet, Agnes Maule Machar in 1913. The song, from the band’s forthcoming debut album, is backed by a steady bass groove and the sounds of Hiltz’s acoustic guitar, and driven by vocal harmonies by co-lead singers Shannon Butcher, Melissa Lauren, and Jessica Lalonde.

* Edmonton artist Samantha Schultz is a proud Canadian-Filipina who has had notable performances at Edmonton’s Folk Fest, headlined at San Antonio’s Fiesta festival, various shows in Los Angeles, and a gig that kept her career alive through the pandemic – appearing on a CoverGirl commercial. Her single “The Quiet” is an ode to those who have been suffering in silence in the pandemic – addressing mental health issues, isolation and other struggles.

* With 200,000+ Spotify spins across his three breakthrough singles, Canadian pop singer Avry gets mellow for this, his debut music video for ”Back to You.” The ambient, three-minute pop track follows the release of the Vancouver-born, Toronto-based artist’s previously released singles “Close to Me” (2020) and “Running Dance” (2020). https://www.*

* Toronto’s Startigrade (aka Rob Christian) has a new single/video out entitled “Beyonce.”

* Jonny Grothe, Sean Lee, Stacey Petersen, Chantal Vitalis, and Carl Cress are Alberta band Wild Rose County and have a new single/video called “Diesel.”

* Waterloo-raised, Ottawa-based indie folk artist, Craig Cardiff, sets out on his latest musical journey with his warm and gripping new single “All This This Time Running.” The single is one example of the material featured on the ‘All This Time Running’ album. The 11 track release also marks his debut on True North Records.

* Whitehorse’s new album, ‘Modern Love,’ is out and they’ve dropped two singles this past week alone -“I Wanna Make Promises (That I Can’t Keep)” and “Radio Silence.”

* Brian Blain’s new single “Water Song” celebrates Water Action Month and World Water Day, March 22. Brian appeals to the world for more attention to be paid to the water crisis with his song as 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. The song is from his new album ‘I’m Not Fifty Anymore‘ which features Brian Blain’s blues fusion along with support from Harry Manx, Ruth Mathiang and Sadio Sissokho.

* Vancouver supergroup The New Yank Yorkies have returned with a new single “Bring Back the Love.” The band features Geoff Gibbons (vocals, guitar), Pat Steward (drums), Jimmy Barnes (drums), John Ellis (guitar), Jay Buettner (guitar), and Rob Becker (bass). The band expects a new album later this year, a follow-up to 2018’s self-titled debut.

* Nelson Sobral is a Toronto guitarist, singer, and songwriter and has released his new lyric video for the song “Pendulum.”

* Art Bergmann makes a triumphant return with the new single “Entropy” from the new album ‘Late Stage Empire Dementia‘ due May 21.

* Saga’s new album ‘Symmetry‘ is finally available. The band has spent the year recording in their home studios creating acoustic re-arrangements of fan favorites such as “Wind Him Up”, “Say Goodbye To Hollywood,” and “Tired World.” The release is available on CD and 2LP vinyl gatefold.

* Brian Asha is a vocalist, songwriter and music producer now based in Vancouver. His newest recordings feature sounds in dance music, alternative rock, and retro pop; delivered with his unique, intimate vocal style. Check out his interpretation of “Pure” by The Lightning Seeds entitled “Fall From Grace.”

* Teenage Head frontman Dave Rave never sits still, aside from his work with the seminal Hamilton punk band he also plays and records with Minnesota band The Guvernors, and now with his ad hoc band of Hamilton veterans under the name The Second Responders. The group stars Dave Rave (guitar, vocals), The Trews’ Jack Syperek (bass), The Shakers’ Claude DesRoches (drums), and LMT Connection’s Mark Foley (guitar, production). The first single/video is “Eye To Eye.”

* Serena Ryder‘s new album is out entitled ‘The Art of Falling Apart.’ The first single is “Better Now.”

* A new band out of Hamilton called April has emerged featuring bassist Eric Meloche of Spin Dizzy, drummer PJ Reynolds, guitarist Stacy Stray  (Die Mannequin/Robin Black) and singer Evan. Their debut single is called “Love.”

* Kurt Chaboyer is a Montreal musician via Vancouver and NYC. His latest single is a cover of Sam Cooke’s “Keep On Movin'”

This issue was brought to you by Natural Flavoured Organic Topiary Sundresses. 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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