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Terra Lightfoot and Steve Strongman Earn 2018 JUNO Nominations

TERRA LIGHTFOOT Press shots Photo by Dustin Rabin. STEVE STRONGMAN Photo by Matt Barnes

(TORONTO, ON) Sonic Unyon recording artists Terra Lightfoot and Steve Strongman both earned nods when the 2018 JUNO Awards nominees were unveiled today at The Great Hall in Toronto, as part of a special event setting the stage for Canada’s biggest music bash. The 2018 JUNO awards will be handed out March 25, 2018 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC.

Press shots / Album cover. Hamilton, ON. June 27, 2017
Photo by Dustin Rabin. 2766

Road-tested rocker Terra Lightfoot, currently touring in support of her acclaimed album New Mistakes, received a 2018 JUNO nomination for Adult Alternative Album of the Year and also celebrated a JUNO nomination in the Recording Engineer of the Year category, where New Mistakes producer Gus van Go was nominated for his work on Lightfoot’s breakout single “Paradise” and Whitehorse’s “Boys Like You”; Van Go also produced Lightfoot’s 2015 album Every Time My Mind Runs Wild. (Lightfoot also cheered Fred Penner’s nomination for Children’s Album of the Year for Hear the Music, on which she appears as part of an all-star guest-list of Canadian talent.)

Steve Strongman photo by Matt Barnes

For seasoned bluesman Steve Strongman, today’s JUNO nomination for 2018 Blues Album of the Year follows earlier JUNO Awards for Blues Album of the Year in 2013 (for A Natural Fact) and a JUNO nomination for Blues Album of the Year in 2015 (for Let Me Prove It to You). Strongman is currently touring in support of his bold, game-changing album No Time Like Now.

Terra Lightfoot’s New Mistakes was funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters. The album was made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Sonic Unyon would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, as well as the support of the Radio Starmaker Fund.

Steve Strongman’s No Time Like Now was funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.The album was made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.   |   |

Local Consortium Hopes To Usher Copps Coliseum and Hamilton Place Into The Future

Hamilton Spectator report

The Carmens Group is inviting City Council to accept an unsolicited business proposal which promises to provide an ambitious rejuvenation of FirstOntario Centre (Copps Coliseum) and FirstOntario Concert Hall/Studio (Hamilton Place) through a consortium of local business partners, and a special partnership with Scott Warren, the former General Manager of the three iconic facilities which are currently managed by Comcast Spectacor’s Spectra Entertainment.

The timing of the proposal comes when the current contracts for management of the facilities are expiring. It is possible that at this juncture the future of the facilities as iconic entertainment destinations could be in jeopardy, or at least their economic viability in their present form could be called into question. Councillor Sam Merulla recently proposed a motion to city council that would explore different options for the future of the facilities, which could include repairs, upgrades, renewal or re-purposing.

I don’t for a moment want to second guess the value of our downtown stadium and our world-class concert hall. What a tragedy and waste of time it would be for Council to enter into a phase of consultant’s reports, public consultations, etc. about what to do with Copps? or where to find money to upgrade Hamilton Place?

This proposal comes at the perfect time, and it harnesses the positive energy and forward-thinking optimism that makes me proud to live in The Ambitious City. It brings partners and most importantly dollars to the table.

The proposal, which was outlined in a letter to the Mayor and City Council, promises several benefits to the city:

  • effective management under the leadership of Carmen’s group partnering with Scott Warren
  • upfront capital investments to upgrade facility aesthetics
  • flexibility with regard to future development options
  • programming expertise with Scott Warren in charge of talent buying and booking. Warren has a proven track record, is connected and known internationally, and has years of experience managing the key Hamilton entertainment facilities in question
  • employee continuity and stability of union and non-union work
  • a local advisory board drawing from the local and national entertainment industry

I like this initiative for many additional reasons in addition to those benefits stated above. First, it adopts the positive and ambitious attitude of “Hamilton Is Unstoppable” as stated in our recent bid for Amazon HQ2. City staff were perhaps overly ambitious in thinking we had a chance to win the Amazon bid, but they were smart to produce a document that aims high and puts our beautiful city in the best possible light. For every citizen who is critical of the City for wasting money on a dreamers document like the Amazon pitch book I believe there is a practical businessperson who is excited about what the future could bring!

Second, I like the fact that Scott Warren is key to the proposal. His expertise and track record in the entertainment management field is unquestioned, his understanding of Hamilton in all its demographic diversity is accurate and realistic, and his vision for what Hamilton stands to gain by promoting and growing its entertainment industry is indispensable. I have heard Scott explain how Hamilton is poised and capable of becoming a regional music centre in its own right, even more-so than it already is. The Garth Brooks concert series of just over a year ago settled it for me. We need to build on efforts to reach artists, artist mangers, and tour agents. Warren is fully qualified and passionate about achieving this. He understands how the entire tourism sector must work together as a whole in order to support out of town visitors. Yes, the success of our big venues will bring more people into town. Transportation is key. Restaurants are huge. Accommodations must hum with energy. The benefits to our local people will be in the new jobs, the enriched entertainment options, and the vibrant cultural mix. Warren is one who readily accepts and believes that Hamilton is capable of drawing its own market share, with no threat to any Toronto venue.

Even our smaller live music venues understand the importance of selling the Hamilton market to artists and managers, who too often just look at Toronto for a show, and then down the 401 to London as the next available market.

The third thing I like about this proposal is that it brings strong and trustworthy corporate leadership and commitment to what will become a focused and effective process of growth and new initiatives. The Carmens Group is a well-known, sizeable, and trusted company in Hamilton. Finding new ways to build our entertainment sector needs big ideas and big players. The fact that Carmens Group is in the hotel business is of critical importance. An improved selection of hotels will be a factor in Hamilton becoming a destination in its own right. Yes, we have good hotels, but we don’t have destination hotels that create their own hype and their own aura of excitement. If any company is poised to create such a place it would be Carmens.

The future belongs to dreamers. Dreamers need doers to make it all come true. Carmens is coming forward clearly with the purpose of being a major doer in helping Hamilton move ahead in its dream of becoming a regional, national and international destination for entertainment tourism.

I believe the Carmens group’s proposal is worth considering.

#RespectTheBand Fights for Musicians’ Fair Pay During Television Appearances

Quoted from AFM President Ray Hair’s report in January 2018 edition of International Musician:

TV Negotiations Update—Respect the Band!

On December 15, 2017, the Federation resumed discussions in Los Angeles with representatives from CBS, NBC, and ABC toward a successor agreement covering the services of musicians engaged to perform on live television. Despite three rounds of negotiations, which began 18 months ago, the talks have been deadlocked over the networks’ refusal to bargain over the Federation’s proposals for progressive payment terms for advertiser-supported and subscriber-based streaming of live and on-demand TV. Our proposals for better terms for musicians engaged in the production of live television programs made for initial exhibition on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu were also rebuffed.

Despite the networks’ stonewalling, our team was determined to break the bottleneck and find ways to turn up the heat. At my request, AFM Organizing and Education Director Michael Manley, together with organizers from Local 802 (New York City) and Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA), Recording Musicians Association President Marc Sazer, and player representative Jason Poss of Local 47 worked to develop a plan of action by arranging a series of meetings with musicians working on late night shows, award shows, and prime time variety shows. The musicians identified, discussed, and prioritized issues surrounding the producers’ lack of additional payment when their performances are free to watch online.

A concerted campaign with a catchy name, #respecttheband, emerged from those meetings and quickly gained traction. As the December negotiations got underway in Los Angeles, audience members waiting in line outside the studios on both coasts received leaflets outlining the issues. Musicians from the bands inside released statements to the press speaking out about producers’ lack of respect and fair treatment when their performances are streamed.

The Late Late Show with James Corden musicians released a photo from their green room displaying a #respecttheband banner.

“Other performers are all paid when Jimmy Kimmel Live! streams on YouTube or other online outlets, yet musicians are paid nothing. Musicians just want to be compensated for our likeness and our music,” says Cleto Escobedo III, musical director of Cleto and the Cletones. “I love Jimmy, the producers, and everyone we work with. We just need to make sure the networks treat us and all of our colleagues fairly.”

“This is about fairness. It’s a travesty that musicians are being treated this way. We are just asking the networks for a little respect—and the networks can certainly afford to treat musicians with the respect we deserve,” says Harold Wheeler, who is well known in the Broadway and recording scene and will be the Oscar’s music director in 2018 for the third consecutive year. He was also the original Dancing With the Stars music director.


International Musician is the monthly publication of the American Federation of Musicians and the Canadian Federation of Musicians.

London, ON to Host Juno Awards in March 2019 | CBC News

Ryan Jackson – aka Lil J – Announces SCR (Steel City Ridahs)

Ryan Jackson, 31, has been making music for 10 years. He lives in the east end of Hamilton and uses the rap name Lil J.

Ryan’s other half goes by Big Mcguig with two kids at home. He explains, “Coming From Rude Krew him and member Jesse Julez instantly grew on me with their passion. Julez has now hung up the mic and Big Mcguig after a short stint in bang out battles and beastmode has decided to start fresh with Steel City Ridahs, SCR.”

Says Ryan, “We both come from the same rough neighbourhood and grew up with somewhat similar scenarios. Whether it be gangs, drugs or violence, we conquered it and look to send a positive message to the youth, basically saying you can do anything you want if you just have a reason.”

“We’ve accomplished a lot in our music including Artists 4 Haiti and several other charity events for CP and Epilepsy. We call these accomplishments because we feel like we were honestly giving back even if it was just through some ticket sales and our music,” he continues.

SCR has hosted and entertained at a wedding. Recent promotional and networking efforts have paid off. Jackson continues, “We’ve had the chance to open up for or work with Danny Fernandez, DY, Mia Martina, JRDN, D12, Bubba Sparxx, Adlib, Illvibe and 9 0 Nickel. As our first SCR show we opened up for Maino from Brooklyn.”

Says Ryan, “We’ve made a lot of contacts and feel blessed for every new one we make. One of the biggest was when we released Brandon Banks song and music video. For those who don’t know, Brandon Banks plays for the Tiger Cats. Anyways he ended up seeing the video and hearing the song and fully supports it. He now comes out to it at all home games and events.”

So what does SCR have in store for 2018? “I will be looking to have Brandon Banks make surprise appearances this year at a few outdoor festivals we have in the works, including Dundas Buskerfest and Barton Village Festival. And you can look for us when we join Evil Ebenezer on his Canadian tour stops in London, Hamilton and Toronto or when we compete in Coast 2 Coast 2018. Big things are coming. Stay tuned!”

SCR Presents The 2018 Light It Up Tour With

Xman Enemy Linez//
Jay Evans//
Kidd Murda//
Wize Guy Pesh//
With DJ Boy1Der

Presented by Gerrit House Movements with special guests and surprises
June 1st Sam’s Place In Hamilton
June 3rd The Music Box in London
June 7th Rockstar In Windsor
June 8th The Boat in Toronto
June 9th Detour Music Hall in St Catherine’s
June 16th Bourbon Room in Ottawa

This Is What A Live Music Performance Contract Looks Like

When a musician wants to follow best practices when arranging a live performance and wants to do things the right way and cover all the bases (ie. have recourse when problems or disputes arise), this is the contract that they will use according to the Canadian Federation of Musicians.

For more information about contracts, pensions, insurance and other benefits that are available to members of the musicians union, contact

Hamilton Musicians’ Guild, Local 293, AFM/CFM

20 Hughson Street South, Suite 401
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 2A1
Phone: 905-525-4040
Fax: 905-525-4047


If The Soundman Gets Paid, So Should The Musicians – Fighting For Fair Pay At West Coast Music Alliance’s Breakout West

Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) (CNW Group/Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM))

This announcement was released by American Federation of Musicians Canadian Vice President Allan Willaert.

January 5, 2018

Dear Members:

In early December, the West Coast Music Alliance (WCMA) sent out a notice that it will start accepting submissions on January 8th, for performance opportunities at its annual festival: BreakOut West (BOW), an event which features an industry conference, an opening day concert and various live performances in public venues.

WCMA/BOW remains on the AFM’s International Unfair List for the reasons detailed below.  All members are notified now, that they are not to apply for, nor, accept any performance at BOW 2018.

Since May of last year, the union has been reporting its attempts at negotiating a successor agreement with the WCMA.  Unfortunately, the WCMA continues to refuse to bargain. Without a collective agreement in place, you, the musicians, on which the Festival is based, are not guaranteed reasonable fees and pension.  Additionally, there is no language preventing the WCMA or broadcasters from recording, broadcasting or otherwise exploiting your performances without proper remuneration.

Despite receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in combined subsidies from government grants and corporate sponsors, WCMA have stated that musicians should not consider Breakout West a gig; they should consider it a ‘networking opportunity’ – however sound/stage crew receive guarantees.  Ticketed events, in public venues, are not showcases, they are gigs – if the sound person receives a guarantee, so should you!

The CFM is affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), and we have simply asked the WCMA to meet the CLC’s national push for “$15/hr and Fairness”, based on a 4-hour minimum call, which would see musicians earn at minimum $60 (each) for their performance, noting that certain headline musicians performing the concert portion of the festival are paid high guarantees.

All Canadians deserve to be paid for their work and this must include professional musicians.  This is a simple matter of social justice and WCMA’s continued reluctance to meet this minimum standard is unacceptable.  We continue to ask, as should you: Where is all that money going? Musicians have to eat, like everyone else.


Vice President from Canada

Ottawa’s King Swan Brings ‘Desert Space Rock’ to Doors Pub Jan. 18

King Swan is a deep thinking, mad riffing three piece desert space rock band from Ottawa, Canada. Drummer Chris Buttera has played in various metal bands in Ottawa over the years and guitarist Austin DiLabio is responsible for all the awesome riffage that defines King Swan. Newcomer Ryan Wheatley on bass brings a new energy that brings confidence, comfort, and another level of musicianship to the band.

Combining improvisational wizardry with organized chaos, King Swan’s music will take you on a musical voyage through space and time. Their self-titled was met with modest appreciation and positive reviews amongst Ottawa music fans. The song “Generation Zero” from the first album, was used on Don Cherry’s Rock Em Sock Em 27. The follow-up record “Rituals of Fire” was released on Halloween in 2016. The single “Wicked Witch” appeared on Rock Em Sock Em 28. In spite of the bands’ main members living across the country, the band has carried on and has resumed shows and will record a follow up EP in 2018, which will be sure to appeal to heavy metal headbangers and rock and roll junkies alike.

See the event listing info

Jazz Vespers At The Music Hall – A Reflective Gathering For Jazz Listeners

The Music Hall at New Vision United Church
Various Dates

The acoustic setting of the soaring church space at Hamilton’s Music Hall will be an important highlight of the experience of Jazz Vespers first gathering on December 10, 2017. The intent of using the “acoustically pure” meeting space is to experience the musicians’ vibe the way the musicians really mean it. Jazz pianist Adrean Farrugia observes, “I’ve found some of my best playing experiences have been in these events. People can close their eyes and listen to and feel the vibration and have the experience as intended.”

Jazz began in the resistance of African American slaves to white church culture. The slaves took the harmonic and rhythmic structures of white church music, and made it speak in an African way. Saxophonist John Coltrane is a transcendent example of the evolution of this resistance: ““My music is the spiritual expression of what I am — my faith, my knowledge, my being. When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups. I want to speak to their souls.”

Farrugia, who is playing the Jazz Vespers in The Music Hall at New Vision United Church on Sunday December 10 at 4:30 pm, returned to his hometown of Hamilton after starting his career in Toronto. Though most of his career is still in the GTA, he’s noticing that a topic of conversation among musicians in Toronto is the stuff that is going on here. New Vision United Church’s decision to offer its space as a mid-sized concert venue is just another step in what is happening locally.

Farrugia is joined on Dec 10 at The Music Hall by fellow JUNO award winner vocalist Sophia Perlman, with Darcy Hepner on saxophone and Clark Johnston on acoustic bass, and New Vision’s Rev Ian Sloan. The gathering is pay what you are able for the musicians, and a collection for a simple meal so everyone can remain in the space afterward for something to eat regardless of their ability to pay.