BTW-Austra, Jerry Leger, Jan Kudelka, Ron Hawkins, Winterfolk, Maple Blues Awards, Blackalicious

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Venues may come and go but Toronto's got live, if you want it.

"Our current climate leaves many feeling apathetic but despair can act as a compass - the less you can ignore, the more you have to act." This cryptic call to arms from cold wave artrock band Austra's guiding light Katie Stelmanis is at the core of upcoming album Future Politics, out Jan.6. Austra recently revealed the video for the album's title track and kicks off an extensive international tour on January 20 at The Mod Club with Lafawndah

Austra's third LP is the Canadian band's most ambitious to date and calls for radical hope: "a commitment to replace the approaching dystopia," says Stelmanis, who leads Austra with the support of Maya Postepski (Princess Century, TR/ST), Dorian Wolf, and Ryan Wonsiak.

Future Politics is a collection of urgent, disciplined anthems for dance floors and headphones alike, that asks each of us to remember that apocalypse is not an inevitability, but the product of human decision-making. It aims for a world without borders, where human compassion and curiosity drive technological innovation rather than profit, where the necessity of labour is replaced with time for creativity and personal growth, and the terror and destruction wrought by colonialism and white supremacy is recognized as a dark age in human history. The album is radicalism distilled: to galvanic beats, gorgeous, kinetic melodies, and the vulnerable majesty of Stelmanis voice.

Inspired by her time living in two cities - Montreal and Mexico City - and propelled by economic and philosophical texts she was reading throughout the album's creation, Stelmanis was driven to face the world's ailments with positivity, purpose, and engagement, rather than detachment or despair. Inspiration also came from European club culture - Objekt, Peter Van Hoesen, Lena Willikens as well as the likes of Massive Attack; in all, artists who understand the dancefloor as a source of radical ideas and radical joy.

"Change," Rebecca Solnit (author, activist, environmentalist and editor at Harper's Magazine) writes, comes from "writers, scholars, public intellectuals, social activists, and participants in social media". Stelmanis adds "artists, club scenes, parties, teenagers, ghettoes" to that list - "e very single person's idea about the future is valid and relevant, especially the freaks and the queers and the outsiders."

Watch "Future Politics" (Official Music Video) here
Watch "Utopia" (Official Music Video) here

Austra tour dates
January 20 | Mod Club | Toronto, ON
January 21 | Fairmount Theatre | Montreal, QC
January 24 | The Sinclair | Boston, MA
January 26 | Warsaw | Brooklyn, NY
January 27 | Union Transfer | Philadelphia, PA
January 28 | Black Cat | Washington, DC
January 31 | Exit/In | Nashville, TN
February 1 | Terminal West | Atlanta, GA
February 2 | Gasa Gasa | New Orleans, LA
February 3 | Trees | Dallas, TX
February 4 | Mohawk | Austin, TX
February 5 | Lowbrow Palace | El Paso, TX
February 7 | Valley bar | Phoenix, AZ
February 8 | Casbah | San Diego, CA
February 9 | El Rey Theater | Los Angeles, CA
February 11 | Mezzanine | San Francisco, CA
February 13 | Holocene | Portland, OR
February 14 | The Crocodile | Seattle, WA

Jerry LegerJerry LegerSince releasing his last album, Early Riser, Jerry Leger has taken a break from the road and spent time making music with his side project, The Del Fi's. However, Leger and his band, The Situation, have been working on a new album due out later this year, so the time has come for them to "get back into the swing of things a little, casually," quips Leger. And so, every Wednesday this January, Jerry Leger and The Situation can be found in the front room of The Cameron House at 10pm, revisiting some tunes from Early Riser and performing a few new tracks which are destined to be released on the new record.

Audiences can also expect Leger to include a cover or two throughout the evening to lead up to a new album release. "We thought it would be fun to film some covers by artists that I admire," says Leger. "Like many, I was deeply saddened by the passing of one of the all time best - Leonard Cohen. He has been a big influence on my writing and the song 'The Law' features one of my favourite Cohen lines, 'My heart is like a blister from doing what I do'. I can relate to that."

Joining Leger on stage during the residency will be a rotating cast of guests which includes Don Stevenson (Moby Grape) and Tim Bovaconti, Ben Somer, Matt Cooke (The Del Fi's), and Angie Hilts (Rucksack Willies, The Double Cuts), with The Del Fi's closing the night out every Wednesday at midnight.

JERRY LEGER CAMERON HOUSE RESIDENCY
Jan 4 - Jerry Leger & The Situation w/ Don Stevenson & Tim Bovaconti, The Del Fi's
Jan 11 - Jerry Leger & The Situation w/ Ben Somer, The Del Fi's
Jan 18 - Jerry Leger & The Situation w/ Angie Hilts, The Del Fi's
Jan 25 - Jerry Leger & The Situation w/ Matt Cooke, The Del Fi's

Jan KudelkaJan KudelkaThe 3rd Annual Janis Joplin Birthday Bash happens Wed. Jan.18, at 8:30pm Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Avenue, fronted by the irrepressible Jan Kudelka backed by the on point JanisWorld band of David Gray on guitar, Tyler Wagler on bass, Michelle Willis on keyboards and Martin Worthy on drums.

Here is an excerpt of the Facebook post by Jan Kudelka, gearing up for the show:

"Janis was quite the fashion plate. Doing my best to honour the fact. Given my expression of an older self. Knowing no one can touch her, I move to embrace her. She certainly embraced us with a UNIVERSAL SENSE, knowing all humanity needed that love. It was a true part of her. Flawed but never false.... Being brave is what she would encourage, our Janis. She is to me the essence of emotional bravery. Diving into the pool of song whether there was water in it or not. That's my girl. Leonard Cohen nailed it in CHELSEA HOTEL #2. Yes, that's my girl."

Known for her powerful voice and mesmerizing presence, Jan Kudelka sings full throttle and with eerie accuracy in this riveting evening of celebratory song and storytelling about the legendary icon. She performs 18 songs from the Joplin music catalogue. Piece of My Heart, I Need a Man To Love, Cry Baby, Ball and Chain, Me and Bobby McGee and Mercedes Benz are just a few of the soulful blues rock songs Kudelka brings to the stage.

Ron HawkinsRon HawkinsCanadian singer-songwriter, Ron Hawkins and his band The Do Good Assassins are thrilled to be special guests on 14 dates of the upcoming Blue Rodeo tour. Starting in Thunder Bay on January 11th, Ron and his band will then head into Western Canada right through to Victoria, before ending up at Toronto's Historic Massey Hall for a final date with them on February 3rd. Tunes from Ron's Pheromone releases Garden Songs (2015) and Spit Sputter and Sparkle (2016) will be featured, along with a couple of Lowest of the Low tracks. Current album, Spit Sputter and Sparkle features 11 original songs including CBC Radio 2 lauded Beautiful Girl , Till It Kills Ya , and new single Swamp. Ron put together a video for Swamp as an ode to the highly successful Breaking Bad series - http://www.ronhawkins.com/videos/swamp/ .

Meanwhile, Ron is in the studio with Lowest of the Low, currently recording their first album in 12 years, with release and touring scheduled end of April 2017.

Upcoming Blue Rodeo Tour Dates:
January 17 - Saskatoon, SK - TCU Place
January 19 - Edmonton, AB - North Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
January 20 - Edmonton, AB - North Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
January 21 - Calgary, AB - South Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
January 22 - Calgary, AB - South Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
January 24 - Penticton, BC - South Okanagan Event Centre
January 26 - Victoria, BC - Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre
January 27 - Vancouver, BC - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
January 28 - Vancouver, BC - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
February 3 - Toronto, ON - Massey Hall

Blair PackhamBlair PackhamBITS'N'PIECES-TORONTO - Festival-goers will have a chance to get a sneak preview of what's in store at the 15th ANNUAL WINTERFOLK BLUES AND ROOTS FESTIVAL when some of the finest folk, roots and blues artists take the stage at Toronto's Acoustic Harvest on Saturday, January 21st. Doors open at 7:30 pm and music starts at 8:00 pm for this event to benefit Winterfolk. Presented by Lillian Wauthier, Artistic Director of Acoustic Harvest along with Winterfolk Blues & Roots Festival, the event will include Blair Packham, Tony Quarrington, Lynn Harrison, Brian Gladstone, HOTCHA!, Kim Doolittle, Glen Hornblast, and Tragedy Ann. For more information and updates please visit www.winterfolk.com , Toronto's Winterfolk XV festival which will run from February 17-19, 2017, will present a jam-packed night of music as a teaser to the upcoming all-ages, mid-winter, weatherproof urban blues and roots festival.

HOTCHA!HOTCHA!Every year the Winterfolk Blues and Roots Festival engages in special preview performances that showcase some of the finest emerging and established talent the city has to offer. We want audiences to get a glimpse of what will be on offer for the upcoming festival. Acoustic Harvest has been a huge supporter and presenter for the festival and continues its tradition of featuring the finest local, national and international acoustic roots talent, all in cozy setting that (in tandem with Winterfolk values), fosters the building of friendships, community spirit and a love of music and the arts. Hosted by Acoustic Harvest Artistic Director Lillian Wauthier, artists will perform two sets in the round, which will include singer-songwriter and radio personality Blair Packham, guitar ace Tony Quarrington, spiritually-inspired singer-songwriter Lynn Harrison, flying finger pickin' Brian Gladstone, hillbilly swing duo HOTCHA!, made up of roots/folk power couple Bev Kreller and Howard Druckman, blues belter Kim Doolittle, award-winning troubadour Glen Hornblast and exciting new duo, Tragedy Ann.

PREVIEW AT A GLANCE:
Doors at 7:30 pm
8:00 (introduction)
8:10-9:10 pm - Tragedy Ann, Glen Hornblast, Blair Packham, Lynn Harrison
9:40-10:40 pm - Brian Gladstone, Tony Quarrington, HOTCHA!, Kim Doolittle

Monkey JunkMonkey JunkMultitalented and multi-instrumental producer and musician Steve Marriner of the award-winning trio MonkeyJunk is set to host the 20th annual Maple Blues Awards at Koerner Hall in Toronto on January 23 rd, 2017. The gala is Canada's national blues celebration, recognizing outstanding musical achievement and gathering blues musicians and music fans from across the country each year. A cast of some of Canada's notable and emerging new blues talent will be performing at the gala concert and are all current nominees. This year the performers include Toronto's Shakura S'Aida who is nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year, Calgary's Tim Williams, nominated for Acoustic Act of the Year and Guitar Player of the Year, Montreal's The Paul DesLauriers Band, nominated in five categories including Entertainer of the Year, Electric Act of the Year, Guitar Player of the Year, Drummer of the Year and Bassist of the Year. Also performing is Toronto's Sugar Brown, nominated for Songwriter of the Year, and Piano Player of the Year nominee Michael Kaeshammer from Victoria.

The performers will be backed by The Maple Blues Band, comprised of Gary Kendall, Michael Fonfara, Teddy Leonard, Al Lerman, Tom Bona, Howard Moore, Pat Carey and Chris Murphy. Following the awards and concert will be the popular after-party nominee jam hosted by Godboogie.

Paul JamesPaul JamesThe Toronto Blues Society is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the Blues. The Maple Blues Awards is Canada's national blues awards program. Its goal is to promote blues music across Canada and to recognize outstanding achievement in the field.

Koerner Hall, presents 70+ concerts annually from acclaimed classical, jazz, pop, and world music and hosts an additional 100+ concerts and events from a wide range of not for profit arts groups, charities, and corporate clients.

The annual Paul James birthday throwdown happens Fri.20th Jan at The Phoenix Concert Theatre and has a historical record of being an all out blast. PAUL JAMES 66TH BIRTHDAY BASH will feature the Paul James Band & Friends, most of whom will be known to most of y'all. Maple Blues Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Paul James has shared the stage with Bob Dylan, Edgar & Johnny Winter, Leon Russell, Willie Deville, Jeff Healey and too many more to list. This Juno Award winning guitarist/singer/songwriter's career has now spanned 5 decades and is still going strong.

BlackaliciousBlackaliciousBlackalicious is an American hip-hop duo from Sacramento, California, made up of rapper Gift of Gab and DJ/producer Chief Xcel. They are noted for Gift of Gab's often tongue-twisting, multisyllabic, complex rhymes and Chief Xcel's deemed "classic" beats. The duo have released four full-length albums (Nia in 1999, Blazing Arrow in 2002, The Craft in 2005, and Imani Vol. 1 in 2015). Currently at work on new material, their gig at Lee's Palace Fri.Jan.20.will draw from the back catalogue cut with fresh tunes from the upcoming cookie and should be a stormer. Peace.Out.