GWNtertainment #33 by Jaimie Vernon

As the musical landscape continues to be divided into a million pieces of the profit pie, indie artists are having to be more and more creative to try and wrangle their share of it. While major label artists wrestle control of Spotify play lists – and the $3.00 in revenue that will generate – those without the music machine financing their efforts have been crowd funding new albums for the better part of the last decade. The direct route has been GoFundMe where artists raise capital over a set period of time – and offer perks to those who pony up the cash. Intrepid artists have upped the ante by putting their necks and growing careers on Patreon  – a monthly subscription initiative that requires the artist to be creative in real-time by making videos, offering exclusive content, doing live streams, setting up prize packages, meet-and-greets at future live shows,  and effectively working full-time at maintaining the interest of paying patrons. Most of the content is exclusive to paying patrons – something that heralds back to the working lives of classical musicians in the 17th and 18th centuries. The most successful of these has allowed some artists to quit day jobs and just be creative 24/7.

The first artist I ever ran across who did this was American singer Julia Nunes – whose career started on Youtube with a ukulele cover of The Foundations’ “Build Me Up Buttercup” as a college prank. Her career suddenly grew exponentially as she added more videos on YouTube, then eventually shifting to funding her original albums through Kickstarter. She grew so many followers and subscribers on social media and YouTube that she has made Patreon her current home. There are currently 438 people paying $13.50 a month to receive music content from her. That’s $5913 USD a MONTH to write and sing songs and make videos.

There are other avenues as well. For those not as committed or adventurous (i.e. have a day job that also needs to be maintained), you can run a passive approach using existing internet tools from an established website. Kaleb Hikele – better known musically as The Sun Harmonic – is promoting his music via subscription only from his Bandcamp page. Bandcamp is a great platform for indie artists because it allows them to customize digital packages or offer a place to sell vinyl and CDs of titles as well.

There’s also Canadian Folk-Rock singer-songwriter Andrew Johnston who has used his own website to generate revenue as we’ve seen traditionally over the last 25 years. You can only hear his tunes if you join his mailing list. An email address gets you three free songs. Check it out:

* Singer-songwriter Sarah Smith won a contest to perform on the Melissa Etheridge music cruise. Sarah talks about how it happened and her new album ‘Unveiling‘ here on Rudy Blair’s Entertainment Media vlog:

* For the last 17 years, Andy Kim has been gathering friends and fans together for the Andy Kim Christmas Show to celebrate the spirit and generosity of the musical community with all proceeds going to CAMH Gifts of Light. Andy has announced the 2021 lineup with include special guests Billy Talent, The Sheepdogs, Ron Sexsmith, Alex Lifeson, Jully Black, Tyler Shaw, Sloan, William Prince, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Jake Clemons, Men Without Hats, Pursuit of Happiness, Theo Tams, Beverly Mahood, Georgia Harmer and Choir, Choir, Choir. The show will be held Wednesday, December 8, 2021. Tickets available at

* Somewhere between “why did this take so long?” and “is this a social media joke?” Tim Hortons has teamed with Canadian music superstar Justin Bieber for a new three flavour line of bite-sized donuts called Timbiebs. It’s the first endorsement deal the donut chain has made with a celebrity who is not a hockey player.

* Greig Stewart has a new book called ‘Hawkins, Hound Dog, Elvis, and Red – How Rock And Roll Invaded Canada.’ It looks at the growth of rock and roll in Canada in the 1950s from its roots in the U.S. south. Look for it on bookshelves near you or online.

* This week the founding members of Trooper – Ra MaGuire and Brian “Smitty” Smith announced on social media that following the freedoms they experienced during the pandemic they’ve decided to bow out gracefully from touring and have retired from their much beloved band after more than 40 years. The duo has given permission for the remaining members of the touring band to carry on without them. GWN wishes them well on their retirement.

* The Tom Wilson Indigenous Scholarship Award has been initiated by the singer-songwriter in Honour of Bunny Wilson by McMaster University. It is dedicated to empowering the next generation of Indigenous People that will lead us into the future. Donate and discover more about the program here:

* Another teaser single from the forthcoming Jesse Cook album ‘Libre’ is “Oran” featuring Algerian violinist, Fethi Nadjem. The album will be released December 3.

* The Tea Party‘s new single features Todd Kerns (TOQUE) entitled “Hole In My Heart.”

* Contemporary classical artist Jaye Marsh welcomes audiences to experience Canada’s vast wilderness and beauty along the way with the release of her new single, “Calling” for flute and loon calls. Written by Diane Berry, and featuring loon calls by recordist John Neville, “Calling” is the first track from Marsh’s stunning forthcoming 13-song album, ‘Flute In The Wild’, due later this month.

* Navigating the depths of reconciliation and the Indigenous struggle, Quebec-based hard alt.rock outfit Sinematic – the alter-ego of author and composer Ayden Grey – brings us “Indigenous,”  the first single from the forthcoming sophomore album, ‘The Dark Circus.

* Energizer bunny and multi-faceted musician Claude Kent is at it again. He’s released a track called “365 Turns Around The Sun” written as a participating requirement for the ‘Twelfth Night’ multi-artist performance night at the Cameron House several years ago, this is one of a few collaborations by life-time musical compatriots Scott Sherman and Claude under the moniker Hi-Lo. Previously released on Volume 18 of David Bash’s International Pop Overthrow compilation, this is the first time the newly re-mastered version has been made available as a single.

* Black Hen recording artist Matt Patershuk – who hails from La Glace, Alberta – has a new album ‘An Honest Effort’ with its first single/video entitled “Radio.”

* Canadian artist Christopher Mihas fronts new synth-pop nu-disco outfit Moves After Midnight, and whose new single, “Savage Love,” come from the debut EP ‘Fluorescent Memoirs.’ “It’s a song that many people will relate to,” Mihas says. “It’s about a relationship — not necessarily with a person, but with a substance; an addiction. I think most people have had some type of chaotic relationship — whether it was with a lover or substance abuse, or even both,” he continues. “‘Savage Love’ touches on that: how something destructive can also be appealing.”

* The first track from Fergus Hambleton‘s ‘Jazz Lovers Society Vol. 2’ album has been released. The original track written by Rob McBride and John Adames is called “A Certain Smile.”

* Sown from a thicket of inspiration throughout the pandemic’s earliest days, multi-award-winning contemporary composer and singer/songwriter Carmen Braden unearths her immersive and exploratory new album ‘Seed Songs’. The 18-song collection opens with “The Mind is Wild” — the newest single/video.

* Halifax’s Hot Mondy are back with single/video #2 entitled “Vampire” from their debut EP produced by JUNO Award winner Michael Philip Wojewoda. The new video stars Marnee McClellan as a seductress of the night.

* Avril Lavigne has signed with Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker’s DTA Records. The explicit lyric first single is the pop-punk track “Bite Me.”

* Cape Breton artist, advocate & educator Buffy MacNeil’s “Somebody Pray” has been launched to support Indigenous youth. The song is part of the ‘Somebody Pray Project’ as part of a recently launched crowd-funding campaign, its purpose is to back the creation of a youth care and advocacy centre in the community of the Paq’tnkek Mi’kmaw Nation.

“As the project moves forward, I believe that it’s important to give back to the Indigenous community,” she continues. “My goal is to raise awareness — both locally, as well as provincially, nationally, and globally — about the systemic and institutional barriers and exclusion that historically and currently impact Indigenous youth, and to advocate for social change relevant to policies impacting Indigenous youth through the arts and music.

* Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Diamondtown has released their self-titled album on Label Obscura – featuring 200 limited edition blue splatter vinyl copies. The first single is the song “Dream All Day.”

* Kaya Usher will be releasing her debut album ‘All This Is’ on November 17th. The album was produced by Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew and Nyles Spencer, both of whom were frequent collaborators with her husband Gord Downie (Tragically Hip). The first single is the jaunty “Heart Clicks.”

* Capturing that golden moment when you realize time truly heals and that the spiritual superglue of making new memories can actually mend a broken heart, is Canadian folk-rock artist Dany Horovitz and his joyful and personal debut single, “Moving On.”  The lead single comes in advance of Horovitz’s forthcoming debut album, ‘Free Times’, due in early 2022.

* The Sadies have a new rocker called “Stop And Start” featuring a lyric video.

* Dale Harrison (The Headstones) created a pandemic band with other like-minded musicians during lockdown called 6 Ft. Social Band. Dale Harrison (drums, percussion, vocals), Michael Hund (lead guitar), Des Leahy (rhythm guitars), Kojo Ferguson (bass), and Frank Cusenza (bass). They’ve just released another new single called “You Know What You Know (It’s A Long Road).”

* Bad Skin – a racially-diverse, woman-only rock band from Laval, Quebec – has released their new album ‘Grey Day’ and skate-punk title track as the first single.

* Sandstone, also known as Audrey, is a Canadian singer-songwriter based in Montreal. Her new album is ‘Tales Of the Moon.’ Check out the title track here:

*Edmonton’s Chloe Albert brings us a remake of the Goffin/King standard “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” which follows her recent original album ‘Come Around Again.’

* Don Norman has remade a song originally written by Bill Talmadge and first recorded in 1965 by Ernest Tubb & His Texas Troubadours called “Waltz Across Texas.”

* After a very long absence from the music scene due to health and personal reasons, British Columbia’s Laurie Biagini is testing the water for a new original album by invoking her musical muscle memory on Steelers Wheel’s “Stuck In The Middle With You.” Welcome back, Laurie!!

* And in a collision of two of Canada’s greatest synth-pop acts of all time, Strange Advance pays homage to Spoons with a cover of “Nova Heart” for the upcoming Spoons release ‘Echoes.’

This issue was brought to you by: Heimlich Beer – A Brew You Can Choke On.
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.

One Response to “GWNtertainment #33 by Jaimie Vernon”

  1. Mike Peters Says:

    Another great round up there Jaimie! Thanks for the work. So much good stuff floating around.

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