Music News Monday: the 2013 JUNO Awards, tribute to Rita MacNeil, and more

It’s Monday morning and for the first time in a long time, most of our fair country is looking at blue skies and above zero degree temperatures. Except for Regina, SK – where even Michael Buble couldn’t heat things up there.

But no icicle will stop the JUNOs.

Buble’s charm aside, the 2013 JUNO Awards gave plenty away to some very talented Canadians. Carly Rae Jepsen took home a bevy of awards: Album of the Year, Single of the Year, and Pop Albumof the Year. Leonard Cohen took home the well-deserved accolades of Songwriter of the Yearand Artist of the Year, while Metric cleaned up the awards for Alternative Album of the Year and Recording Package of the Year, with guitarist Jimmy Shaw also winning Producer of the Year. Head here for the full list of winners.

The show stopper was the incomparable k.d. lang – who told the audience to “let their freak flags fly” and paid a personal tribute to Stompin’ Tom and Rita MacNeil. Polite, low key and without a bra full of fireworks, lang reminded everyone how the Canadian music scene sets itself apart. It is not always about the glitz or the glamour – but true sincerity. The Sheepdogs proved that this year, as have numerous other internationally acclaimed stars before them. Keep watching this space for more photos and videos from the 2013 JUNOs in the coming hours and days!

Vancouver’s Safe Amplification Site Society (Safe Amp) fight to launch a safe, all-ages venue will celebrate a major victory next week. After months of collecting donations, scouting spots and securing the necessary legal means – it is official. Safe Amp will be celebrating the grand opening party at their new space,Astorino’s– a former ballroom and bingo hall that closed its door last year, but is getting a new lease on life as an all-ages venue. Learn more about the Safe Amp project here.

Continuing with the good vibes nature of this Music News Monday, this past Saturday was Record Store Day and vinyl lovers world-wide were hitting up their favourite record shops to grab special releases and lusted after rarities. There have been many comments on the resurgence of vinyl collecting, hipster vinyl how-to’s and my personal favourite – drawing lines in the sand between a hipster and a real record collector. Really though, while I was browsing my fave Ottawa record shops, I saw all numbers of people enjoying the day and supporting their independent retailers.

Around the world: today is Earth Day and you can honour the hour without power by pulling out your wind-up gramophone getting your jam on electricity free; Daft Punk broke the Spotify record for most streams for their new single “Get Lucky” and The Flaming Lips once again make something everyone can get behind. Obvi, ammirite?!

Finally, I would like to take a moment to remember Rita MacNeil – a true social justice activist who used an incredible talent to commemorate some tragic moments in Canadian history. Today Rita will be laid to rest, and like many, I grew up watching her holiday specials with my Nana and shedding young tears over the deaths of miners a thousands of kilometers away and many years before me. Thank you Rita, for being exactly who you were, and for honouring a great tradition of telling history through song.

– Jenn Prosser


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