Music News Monday: Sled Island headliners, R.I.P. Stompin’ Tom, ECMA Awards and more


(Nardwuar surfs the crowd at NMC during The Evaporators’ set at Sled island 2012. Photo: Arif Ansari)

The sassy youngster of the Canadian festival scene, Sled Island announced its first round of headliners and set hipster hearts aflutter across North America. The Jesus and Mary Chain, Explosions in the Sky, Swans, Divine Fits, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Mac DeMarco, Colin Stetson, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and Metz will join curators Tim Hecker and John Dwyer’s band Thee Oh Sees on stages across Calgary June 19-22. This multi-venue festival has only grown in size and reputation since its debut in 2007, and with growing green initiatives and a commitment to highlighting positive attributes of Calgary, there is a lot to be proud of with this festival.

Sled Island’s older, wiser, craftier and still very sexy festival sister has also announced a few of their own headliners. Calgary Folk Festival will be bringing in the low-down sounds of Alabama Shakes; as well as Canadians Elliott Brood, Danny Michel and Cousin Harley, when it consumes Prince’s Island Park July 25-28. Check their website every Monday for a new Leak of the Week until the full lineup is revealed April 25.

As always, both festivals (and many other musically inclined events) look for volunteers just like YOU. Get involved – you won’t regret it.

A Canadian legend left this world last week at the age of 77 – leaving behind many beaten-up wooden boards and a lasting impact on both Canadians, and musicians worldwide. Much has been said about Stompin’ Tom Connors; he was a folk singer who gave a voice to the many Canadian identity conundrums. Regardless of one’s region or religion, class or gender, politics or apolitical – Stompin’ Tom exemplified the power of the folk song and the complexity it can articulate. His last letter to fans puts it best – succinctly and sincerely.

“Hello friends, I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin’ Tom.

It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with it’s beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world.

I must now pass the torch, to all of you, to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future.

I humbly thank you all, one last time, for allowing me in your homes, I hope I continue to bring a little bit of cheer into your lives from the work I have done.

Sincerely,

Your Friend always,

Stompin’ Tom Connors”

The East Coast Music Awards have been giving Canada a folkin’ good time for the past 25 years, and it is clear from the calibre of this year’s nominees and winners there is no slowing down for artists emerging from our eastern provinces. During this year’s five day celebration of folk, rock, spiritual, blues, pop and every other genre in between, Rose Cousins swept up with three ECMA wins: Folk Recording of the Year, Solo Recording, and Songwriter of the Year. Other winners included Matt Mays taking home Album of the Year for Coyote, The Stanfields winning Best Group Recording of the Year, Lone Cloud won Aboriginal Recording for We Are Medicine People, and Jenn Grant took Pop Recording for The Beautiful Wild.

Around the world: Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy) joins the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for the New Creations Festival; London art gallery Victoria & Albert and David Bowie come together for a thoroughly glamorous exhibition; and the sweaty glory of SXSW takes over Austin, Texas for the rest of this week.

– Jenn Prosser

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