Toronto’s Andrew Rathbun recently released a remarkable big band jazz album, Atwood Suites, which features the poetry of famed Canadian author Margaret Atwood. Already a great saxophonist and composer, Andrew proves highly adept as a large ensemble band leader here. Atwood’s poetry, more on the evocative side than the literary penning of Canada’s most hailed bards like Archibald Lampman and EJ Pratt, works perhaps better as vocalized lyrics. The album does contain instrumental pieces with some discreet scatting for those who prefer wordless jazz.
Most tracks have been given a generous length which allows players of various instruments to take turns in the lead (with some spine-tingling solos) and the backing music to be sculpted into dynamic, rich layers. Rathbun brought in vocalists Luciana Souza and Aubrey Johnson, trumpeter Tim Hagans, and drummer Bill Stewart. Also find clarinets, flute, flugelhorns, trombones, piano, rhodes, guitar, bass, and of course saxophones. The album is a double CD set containing three suites and a total of 10 tracks. Enjoy the featurette below, with snippets of the tracks, as Andrew describes his work and introduces the orchestra. Atwood Suites is a beauty.
Drake‘s “God’s Plan” has accomplished half of what “One Dance” did. The latter has been certified a diamond single, and, still hot on the charts, “God’s Plan” (2018) has been certified by Music Canada at quintuple platinum.
Equalling Drizzy is acoustic guitar pop maestro, the young Shawn Mendes, as JUNO winner for Single of the Year, “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” coasts into quintuple platinum territory as well. It is the highest certification on a work by the Portuguese Canadian boy.
“Body” (featuring Brando) by Loud Luxury now stands at double platinum. Today, for the first time, the white-hot track struck #1 at iTunes Canada across all categories, beating out Bebe Rexha & FGL, Imagine Dragons, The Backstreet Boys, Bad Wolves, and Ariana Grande!
As far as albums go, Sam Roberts‘ We Were Born in a Flame has been certified double platinum. It is the first multiplatinum certification for the Montrealer. Both EPs from hot newcomer Charlotte Cardin, Big Boy and Main Girl, have gone gold.
View a list of the latest gold and platinum certifications from Music Canada below.
There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back by Shawn Mendes, Quintuple Platinum
God’s Plan by Drake, Quintuple Platinum
Body (ft. Brando) by Loud Luxury, Double Platinum
Nice for What by Drake, Double Platinum
Wastin’ Gas by Dallas Smith, Platinum
Call Out My Name by The Weeknd, Platinum
Main Girl by Charlotte Cardin, Gold
Kiss Me Quiet by Jess Moskaluke, Gold
I Be U Be by High Valley, Gold
Ain’t Easy by Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, Gold
Just Sayin’ by James Barker Band, Gold
Wicked by Tyler Shaw, Gold
In My Blood by Shawn Mendes, Gold
PDA by Scott Helman, Gold
B.I.D. by Tory Lanez, Gold
We Were Born in a Flame by Sam Roberts, Double Platinum
Chemical City by Sam Roberts, Platinum
Revival by Johnny Reid, Gold
Furiosity by Monster Truck, Gold
Main Girl (EP) by Charlotte Cardin, Gold
Can’t Keep a Secret by Faber Drive, Gold
Seven Second Surgery by Faber Drive, Gold
Big Boy (EP) by Charlotte Cardin, Gold
Three Days Grace has been … graced … with a batch of gold and platinum certifications for the band’s singles and albums. Chief among the singles is “Animal I Have Become” clawing into the double platinum den. The song charted in 2006 and appears on the group’s One-X album, an album that now stands at an impressive triple platinum certification.
Forming in Norwood, ON in 1997 as a post-grunge outfit, Three Days Grace became popular in 2003 with single “I Hate Everything About You” from its self-titled debut album. The group has gone through a couple of lineup changes since then. Find a list of recent certifications below.
Animal I Have Become, Double Platinum
Never Too Late, Platinum
I Hate Everything About You, Platinum
Just Like You, Gold
I Am Machine, Gold
Chalk Outline, Gold
The High Road, Gold
One-x, Triple Platinum
Transit of Venus, Gold
We have 15 full-length Canadian artist albums released May 18, 2018. Find them in the table below. So far this year, there are 232 plus 58 EPs.
|Angels of Death||Jennifer Castle||S-S/Folk|
|Canyon Diablo||Patiently Awaiting the Meteorite||Alternative|
|In Bad Faith||Feel Alright||Alternative|
|It’s a New Day Tonight||Michael Rault||Alternative|
|Let’s Be Wilderness||POSTDATA||Alternative|
|Mystic Rain||Junior Bourcier||Classical|
|Phase of the Moon||Matthew Barber||S-S/Folk|
|Run to Waters||Justin Nozuka||S-S/Folk|
|Strange Prison||Astral Swans||S-S/Folk|
|Sweet Old Religion||Pharis & Jason Romero||S-S/Folk|
|Trick of the Light||Dana Sipos||S-S/Folk|
|Valery Vaughn||Valery Vaughn||Alternative|
|Violet Psalms||Frog Eyes||Alternative|
It has been quite a week. The Eurovision song contest declared a winner; there was a major plane crash near the city where half of Camila Cabello’s heart is; a Laurel versus Yanny debate surged; the “never again” slogan proved presumptuous via Santa Fe, Texas; beloved Canadian actress Margot Kidder, best known for playing Lois Lane in the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, has departed from this world; and there was a Royal Wedding which attracted far more fans than the current US President’s inauguration. Regarding Canadian music, here’s the latest…
She Had to Work for the Prism Prize
Canadian R&B singer CDW a.k.a. Charlotte Day Wilson was crowed winner of the 2018 Prism Prize which grants a cash reward to what is deemed the best/most artistic Canadian music video of the year. Her MV for song “Work”, the whole of which features pedestrians on an escalator, pleased the judges most.
Surrounding the awards was talk of the potential demise of higher-budget music videos made for Canadian B-list artists due to the folding up of muscular funding bodies like MuchFACT. Since its inauguration in 1984, The Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent awarded $100 million to 9,000 projects.
The gala proceeded at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox at which the 10 shortlisted MVs were screened, the artists being Grimes, Jessie Reyez, Leonard Cohen, Daniel Caesar, Feist, PUP, CRi, Alvvays, Alice Glass, and Charlotte Day Wilson.
Director Fantavious Fritz, director of Charlotte’s “Work”, won the grand prize of $15,000 for best Canadian music video. He declared that part of the money would be used to create a one-time music video grant for a female director.
Three other awards were given out at the shindig: The audience award, selected by public vote from the top 20 long-list, which went to directors Keaven Yazdani and Sean Brown for Daniel Caesar’s “Freudian, a Visual”; The hi-fidelity award, “presented to a Canadian recording artist with a strong visual identity in music video art,” that went to Grimes; and The Lipsett award for “an innovative and unique approach to music video art” that went to Karena Evans, who directed Drake’s “God’s Plan” and “Nice For What,” as well as Belly’s “The Come Down Is Real Too.”
The Furious Five Populate 2018 BBMA Nominations
If you have been following Canadian Music Blog, you know who we mean by “the furious five” – Alessia Cara, Drake, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, and The Weeknd – currently the most internationally charting of Canadian recording artists. The 2018 Billboard Music Awards will take place tomorrow night (Sunday, May 20) at 5 p.m. Pacific, broadcast from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and hosted by U.S. singer Kelly Clarkson. Canada’s Shawn Mendes will be one of the performers. He is nominated for Top Social Artist. Drake has 9 nominations, Justin Bieber 8, The Weeknd 4, and Alessia Cara 1 (Top Dance/Electronic song with Zedd).
CCMA Awards: First Three Performers Announced
As far as Canadian award shows go, there have been more announcements regarding the CCMAs (Canadian Country Music Association awards). The top selling female country artist of all-time internationally, Shania Twain, will do hosting duties. This week, the first three performers were announced: Lindsay Ell, High Valley, and New Zealand born Keith Urban. The nationwide broadcast (CBC) happens from FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton on Sunday, September 9, at 5 p.m. Pacific.
Lindsay Ell recently pulled off a feat that no other Canadian female soloist has been able to muster for a full decade: she scored a number one country radio hit for her song “Criminal”. It also cracked into the Top 20 in the United States. Her album The Project was named the #1 Critic’s Choice Country Album of the Year by Billboard magazine. Lindsay is from Calgary, hometown of such other aces as Paul Brandt, Jann Arden, Kiesza, and Tegan & Sara.
Also from Alberta is two-time CCMA Award Group of the Year winning bro-duo High Valley. Song “She’s with Me” reached #7 on the Billboard US Country Airplay chart (yes, you read that right). Since 2011, the brothers have placed 10 songs on the Canadian Hot 100. “I Be U Be” made it to #1 at Canadian country radio.
Eric Lapointe and Loud Luxury Rip Up the Charts
Rocker Eric Lapointe scored a #2 album with Delivrance this week, outshone only by Post Malone. On the Digital Chart, Celine Dion‘s “Ashes” from the Deadpool 2 soundtrack, debuted at #5; it appeared on the Hot 100 at #72. Great news for Loud Luxury‘s “Body”, the big success story of the year. The single, now a double platinum one, is #10 on the Hot 100 and currently sits at #2 on iTunes just behind the new release from The Backstreet Boys. Shawn Mendes‘ “Youth” debuted at #22.
Marie-Mai has a hot new single out – “Empire”. The Barbers (Jill and Matthew) will each be releasing new albums in the next little while. Coeur de pirate‘s upcoming disc (June 1) is titled en cas de tempête, ce jardin sera fermé (roughly, The garden will be closed in case of a storm). Shawn Hook will be embarking on a headlining tour in the autumn, joined by Neon Dreams. And lest we forget, soul singer Yama Laurent won The Voice Season 6 (2018).
Some good releases are out this week. Highlights are as follows.
Fresh country music artist Jessica Mitchell launches Heart of Glass, her debut full-length. (No, it doesn’t contain a cover of a Blondie song.) The album’s a beauty.
World music specialist Loreena McKennitt‘s latest is Lost Souls. It is the two-time JUNO winner’s 10th album and first in eight years.
JUNO winning jazz vocalist Molly Johnson contributes the splendid Meaning to Tell Ya.
Referring to her style as Inuindie, Montreal-based Inuk recording artist Beatrice Deer has perhaps the most enjoyable album this week. She mixes English and Inuktitut and pop/rock with indie folk making it accessible enough for the mainstream but different enough to draw interest. The ace songwriting is what makes everything engaging. Check out the catchy title-track “My All to You”.
Finally, let’s talk about Kandle. She’s a JUNO nominee originally from BC and offers up EP Damned If I Do of fine indie rock with a touch of blues.
Find these and more in the table below.
|Dans ma main||Jean-Michel Blais||Classical|
|De ville en aiguille||Dave Harmo||S-S/Folk|
|Heart of Glass||Jessica Mitchell||Country|
|Laisse aller||Nos Deux||S-S/Folk|
|Lost Souls||Loreena McKennitt||World|
|Meaning to Tell Ya||Molly Johnson||Jazz|
|My All to You||Beatrice Deer||World|
|Nick&Astro’s Guide to the Galaxy||Potatohead People||Alternative|
|Shoddy, GLD, L Nino||Bardy Boyz||Rap|
|Spoiled Sunday||Greg Ball||Rock|
|Born to Do This (EP)||Angee Wings||R&B|
|Damned If I Do (EP)||Kandle||Alternative|
|Stay (EP)||Drew Thomson Foundation||Alternative|
Canadian music makers are going to need to create more pop songs if they want to capitalize on the current state of affairs, and more pop albums have hit the markets in this week’s batch of new releases.
In a snapshot of the twenty most purchased tracks at iTunes Canada, we drafted the following chart showing that pop hits are the most liked, followed by rock, then rap, and finally country. Points were tallied for each of the four genres. The genre of the #1 song was awarded 20 points, 19 points for the #2 song and so on, down to 1 point for the genre of the 20th most popular song. We’ve kept things simple so that pop includes songs designated as “dance”, rock includes “alternative”, rap “R&B”, and country “folk”.
Highlights of this week’s new Canadian artist releases include the following. Kiran Ahluwalia is a double JUNO winner and specialist of world music. The new album is entitled 7 Billion. Among the choicest of Franco music is fresh disc L’amour et le chaos from electropop duo Alfa Rococo. For a little atmosphere check out the artistic Arms of a Dream from Alberta’s Reuben and the Dark. Two-time JUNO nominee and rocker Éric Lapointe tops iTunes albums with his latest effort, Délivrance. BC punk band D.O.A. is still at it and contributes Fight Back. Also from the west coast is 3-time JUNO nominee Felix Cartal and EDM LP Next Season. Legendary 70s rock group Offenbach is all about a Renaissance. Finally, definitely give a listen to nicely done synthpop EP Voyager léger from double JUNO nominee Yann Perreau. Find these and lots more goodies in the table below.
|7 Billion||Kiran Ahluwalia||World|
|L’amour et le chaos||Alfa Rococo||Pop|
|Arms of a Dream||Reuben and the Dark||Alt|
|Driving in the Dark||Mariel Buckley||S-S|
|Home Away from Home||The Lay Awakes||S-S|
|In City & Country||The Young Novelists||S-S|
|Next Season||Felix Cartal||Pop|
|La chute de Sparte (EP)||La Bronze||Pop|
|Voyager léger (EP)||Yann Perreau||Pop|
We leave you with exquisite new track “Anybody Out There” from Vancouver platinum recording artist Tyler Shaw and Toronto’s Amaal Nuux.
Queen Céline rises from … the ashes … to deliver a new song which will be included on the Deadpool 2 soundtrack. Deadpool 2 is the sequel to, as you guessed it, Deadpool. It stars Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds. The upcoming film (release date: May 18, 2018) was shot in Vancouver. Briefly, it is based on a comic book character who appeared in the X-Men series. Reynolds plays Wade Wilson, an operative turned mercenary who was offered an experimental treatment for his terminal cancer. It left him with special abilities including healing powers.
The music video for “Ashes” by Céline Dion was released this morning. The day is not over, and it has already surpassed 2.5 million views on YouTube. Of the song, Dion says:
“Over the years I’ve received some incredible songs and I’ve been involved in some amazing projects. ‘Ashes’ is one of those songs and ‘Deadpool 2’ is off-the-charts! Take the most insane ride of your life when ‘Deadpool 2’ opens on May 18 … you’ll be laughing your “ashes” off!”
The track will be included on the motion picture soundtrack along with classics by A-ha, Air Supply, Cher, Dolly Parton, Pat Benatar, and Peter Gabriel. The album will be available the day the film opens; “Ashes” is available for digital download now. iTunes
The last time Céline made the Top 40 of the Canadian Hot 100 was in 2013 when “Loved Me Back to Life” peaked at #26 without much radio support.
Dusted is a pet project of Brian Borcherd and Blackout Summer its sophomore record. Essentially a work of alternative rock, its strong suit lies in the writing. Songs often begin discreetly and grab attention when the bass and drums enter the picture. Opener “Seasons” welds the brooding hypnosis of The Psychedelic Furs’ “Sister Europe” with the ghostly yodels of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”. The more experimental “Dead Eyes” pairs subdued vocals with perky guitars oscillating between simpler arrangements and ones more sophisticated. The swaggering “No Prison” beautifully captures the jangly guitar sound of the 60s from such aces as The Byrds and beefs things up with some pleasurable pulses. Well done! iTunes
This week’s releases come mainly from Quebec with a few Ontarian acts and one from BC. They follow the big news that Shawn Mendes will be releasing his third album May 25 and that Shania Twain will be hosting the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) awards in September. Find a table below of 20 brand new Canadian artist releases – 14 LPs and 6 EPs.
|Bleu Nuit||Claude Bégin||Pop|
|Dave Chose||Dave Chose||Alt|
|Diamond Baby Blues||Lee Aaron||Rock|
|L’école des vertiges||Tristan Malavoy||S-S|
|Floor Kids (VG Soundtrack)||Kid Koala||Soundtrack|
|La rouille se pose…||Auguste||S-S|
|Run to Me||Samantha Martin/D. Sugar||Blues|
|Tout refaire||Michel Robichaud||S-S|
|Unreason in the Age…||GrimSkunk||Metal|
|Jus’ Rite (EP)
|Last Winter (EP)
|Love a Girl (EP)
|Velvet Noise (EP)||Velvet Noise||Pop|
Serena Ryder Guesting on The Voice
La Voix is into the quarter finals. The talent search show has been going strong since the beginning and this year enjoys its sixth season. This year’s coaches are Garou, Lara Fabian, Éric Lapointe, and Alex Nevsky. Tonight, Serena Ryder will be guesting on the second quarterfinal episode to play a number of her hits.
Felix Cartal Dropping New Album
Avicii is no longer with us, Zedd is busy drooling over his newly constructed unsightly colourless mansion, and we haven’t heard much from deadmau5. Stepping up to the EDM plate is Vancouver’s own Felix Cartal who will be releasing new LP Next Season on so-called Star Wars Day. The album will include many of his previous single releases such as hit “Get What You Give” and plenty of new pieces.
Loreena McKennitt and Facebook’s Lost Souls
Celtic/new age/world music star Loreena McKennitt, hailing from the same hometown as Justin Bieber, will be releasing a new album as well. Lost Souls, out May 11, will be her 10th. She managed to attract some press, no so much with the upcoming work but with her statement that she will be deleting her Facebook account after the album comes out due to the social media platform’s breaches of privacy.
Shawn Mendes at Queen’s 92nd Birthday
Britain is treating Canada better since the fiasco that was the Queen’s diamond jubilee in 2012 when no Canadian artist was included in the performance lineup and artists from non-Commonwealth nations were invited. For the Queen’s 92nd birthday, the lineup made more sense. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the longest reigning monarch in British history. Canada’s Shawn Mendes performed along with Sting from England, Tom Jones Wales, Jamie Cullum England, Kylie Minogue Australia, Shaggy Jamaica, and Craig David England.
Tom Cochrane’s “Big League” Makes a Comeback
Tom Cochrane’s song “Big League”, 75th of 1988, has picked up a number of radio spins since the Humbolt Broncos tragedy. He has also released a simplified version of the song – acoustic guitar and voice only – which is Top 40 at iTunes. The song tells the story of a young hockey player headed into the big leagues but crashes into a truck.
All the right moves when he turned eighteen
Scholarship and school on a big U.S. team
Out with his girl near Lake McClean
Hit a truck doing seventy in the wrong lane
To the big league
Benefit Concert for the Broncos
Country stars Brett Kissel, Chad Brownlee, Dallas Smith, Gord Bamford, The Hunter Brothers, and Jess Moskaluke are going to play a big fundraising concert for the victims of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy April 27 in Saskatoon. Sixteen were killed in a bus crash when a lorry struck it on the highway.
Other Canadian artists have paid tribute to the victims including Paul Brandt who performed a powerful song on CBC’s q, as well as rap superstar Drake who wore a Broncos jersey at a recent Toronto Raptors (basketball) game. After the match, he and the Raptors signed the jersey, which will be auctioned to raise funds for the families.
A Go Fund Me page that has raised $14 million — one of the largest sums ever on the site — will close on Wednesday.
Andrew Rathbun has one of the finest jazz albums we’ve heard in years. Atwood Suites contains original compositions inspired by the poetry of Margaret Atwood arranged in a large ensemble of saxophones, flutes, clarinets, trumpets, flugelhorns, trombones, guitar, piano, Rhodes, bass, and drums. The concrete jungle jazz sound is augmented by guest vocalists Luciana Souza and Aubrey Johnson.
Two-time JUNO nominee Donovan Woods has the frontrunner for folk / singer-songwriter album of the year in the beautifully done Both Ways.
Siméon‘s self-titled work is made especially appealing by the funky chillout piece “Pas loin de la vérité”, another fine singer-songwriter disc.
Michael Kaeshammer, a six-time JUNO nominee, combines vocal jazz and blues on album Something New. Guests include Randy Bachman and Colin James.
The Spark That Moves is the latest from four-time JUNO nominee Cancer Bats, a metal outfit, for those who like their music hard.
Rising country group The Washboard Union presents What We’re Made Of which is filled with gripping songs, one of the better albums of the genre to come out this year.
Find a table of selected releases from this week below.
|3069: A Space Rock…||Nightseeker||Rock|
|Atwood Suites||Andrew Rathbun Large Ensemble||Jazz|
|Both Ways||Donovan Woods||S-S/Folk|
|Grand’ Marée||Michel Villeneuve||S-S/Folk|
|Landscapes||The Long War||Rock|
|Raphaël Butler||Raphaël Butler||Rock|
|Rock N Roill Rebels||Dizzygoth||Metal|
|Something New||Michael Kaeshammer||Blues|
|Sous le ciel de Paris||Rita Tabbakh||AC|
|The Spark That Moves||Cancer Bats||Metal|
|What We’re Made Of||The Washboard Union||Country|
|Les amants de l’ombre (EP)||Claude Marc Bourget||AC|
|Delta Jackson (EP)||Delta Jackson||S-S/Folk|
Canadian country is beginning to infiltrate the United States, and one of the more recent signs could be seen at the 2018 Academy of Country Music Awards which went down tonight. Albertan duo High Valley was nominated for an award – New Vocal Duo or Group of The Year. Although HV lost out to Midland, the duo’s song “She’s with Me” is big news in the Republic, reaching #7 at US Country Airplay. The song is from album County Line released way back in 2014. Amazingly, then, it took four years for the song to make it big in the States. The MV has over 4 million views.
Calgary’s Lindsay Ell was not nominated; however, she was present at the gala with her #1 Canadian Country hit “Criminal” at #20 Stateside. Lindsay revealed major news – that she will be featured in a track on Keith Urban’s upcoming album. She will be playing Canadian arenas with the Kiwi slayer in the fall.
Red Deer, Alberta’s Melody Stang has released three-track EP Wrong Side of the Moon. It is worthy of a writeup on Canadian Music Blog, a disc of singer-songwriter songs with torrents of atmosphere thanks to smart production and the use of synthesizers. A mountain of sound plummets down on “Carousel Ride” with tasty beats and sparkling keys. Title-track “Wrong Side of the Moon” is soaked in good feels with nice backing vocals and chillout string strums. Guitar-driven ditty “Somebody Else” muses on the yearning post breakup. Melody Stang is an artist to watch given this first-rate EP. iTunes
Below we list selected Canadian artist releases for the week of April 13, 2018.
SELECTED NEW SINGLES
“Ariane” by Choses Sauvages (Alternative)
“Loud” by Tim Hicks (Country)
“Somnambule” by Coeur de pirate (AC)
SELECTED NEW EXTENDED PLAYS
Berceuses sous la hotte by Marie Paquin (S-S/Folk)
Cue by Jaunt (Alternative)
Dates by Dates (Punk)
Wrong Side of the Moon by Melody Stang (S-S/Folk)
SELECTED NEW ALBUMS
Arriver jusqu’à toi by Laura Gagné (AC)
Feux de bengale by Joannie Benoit (S-S/Folk)
M. Chandler by M. Chandler (Rock)
Le sage by Michel Thériault (Rock)
Science by Robotaki (Pop)
Zay by FouKi (Rap)
FEATURED MUSIC VIDEO
We leave you with the new music video for Meghan Patrick’s “The Bad Guy”. Meghan is the reigning CCMA Female Artist of the Year. The track is from her January 2018 album Country Music Made Me Do It.