Win a 45-minute Photo Shoot with Rob Waymen
May 7, 2018
Patrice’s Pick: Scotty Kipfer
May 9, 2018

In The News (May 2018)

This section of the newsletter is comprised of news stories, press releases and links to Internet articles that are sent in by our members who believe they will be of general interest to the membership.  We include them as a courtesy to our members but do not verify or edit their content.  Their inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by the CMAOntario nor do their contents reflect the views or opinions of the CMAOntario. If you would like to have something included in the newsletter, please send us a short synopsis, a photo or graphic and the hotlink that can be included in the news listing. Submissions can be sent to Please make sure the Subject Line reads “For inclusion in the CMAOntario Newsletter”. The deadline for submissions is the 20th of each month.

Musicians’ Jam During CMAOntario Weekend in London

Hello fellow musicians! There is something new to do this year at Country Music Association of Ontario Conference Weekend in London. We are having a Musicians’ Jam, a time for professional musicians to come together, to connect with old friends, meet new ones and, of course, play some great music.

The jam is in support of the Unison Benevolent Fund, who plays an important role in a musician’s time of need. The event will be co-hosted by Canadian Beats.

PA equipment provided, bring your own instruments. They’ve got a big stage so let’s fill it up!

The jam will take place on Friday June 1st from 10 pm till close at the Bull and Barrel Saloon, 359 Talbot Street, London. For further details, please contact David James at or join the Facebook Event page:

TIN PAN NORTH Songwriters Festival, Toronto May 24-26th, 2018


The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) – Toronto  Chapter –  is hosting their 19th annual TIN PAN NORTH songwriters’ event, May 24th – 26th, 2018 , at various venues throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).  See performances by over 40 talented songwriters, performing their songs and sharing the story behind the song.  Mark these dates, so you don’t miss three great nights of songwriters sharing their songs.

TIN PAN NORTH features a special Gala Show on Saturday, May 26th at Hugh’s Room: Headliners announced include:

  • Benita Hill: Benita’s star-studded career has seen her write songs for some of Country Music’s biggest stars, including Crystal Gayle and Garth Brooks, for whom she wrote the #1 Single “Two Pina Coladas”.
  • Suzie Vinnick is a Canadian Blues & Roots artist who has 10 Maple Blues Awards, including Best Female Vocalist, and 3 Juno Nominations.
  • Thomas Wade is a successful Canadian songwriter who has had songs recorded by Celine Dion and other artists, as well as winning 7 CCMA Awards.
  • Blair Packham is best known for being the Lead Vocalist/Guitarist for the 1980s band, The Jitters. He continues to be a force in the songwriting world, hosting coast-to-coast Songwriter events such as Bluebird North and songwriting seminars such as Songstudio.
  • Chris Tait is a Canadian singer-songwriter and producer, best known as the Lead Singer and Guitarist of the rock band, Chalk Circle.
  • Danny Marks: (just added) is the popular radio show host of Fm’s Saturday night BLUES SHOW, and former guitarist and singer for the 60s band Edward Bear.

This year, we’re also celebrating the 25th year of the Toronto Chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association International or NSAI.

Other Headliners for the Songwriter Rounds on Thursday and Friday (May 24th-25th) include some of Canada’s most celebrated songwriters and producers, including: Benita Hill, Chris Birkett, Chris Whiteley, David Bradstreet, Jamie Warren, JK Gulley, David Leask, Ambre McLean, Eric Etheridge, Brea Lawrenson, Patrick Ballantyne and Caitlin Hanford

TIN PAN NORTH, now in its 19th year, is based on the very famous Nashville Songwriter’s Festival called TIN PAN SOUTH, which features some of the biggest stars in Country music. Like that festival, TIN PAN NORTH aims to be an all-ages festival of singer-songwriters, and provides music fans who love songwriting an up close and personal peek into the glamorous world of songwriters and songwriting.


The Songwriter Rounds will begin on Thursday May 24th & 25th at 7:30 pm at 3 of the venues: the Cadillac Lounge, the Moonshine Café and Cities Sports Bar.

The Gala Show will take place on Saturday May 26th, 7:30 pm at Hugh’s Room Live.

Stay informed with updates for TIN PAN NORTH, and sign up to be on our newsletter list or join us on Facebook. The complete SCHEDULE is now available at:



Songwriters Showcase Locations:

Cadillac Lounge, 1296 Queen Street West, Toronto
Moonshine Café, 137 Kerr Street, Oakville
Cities Sports Bar, 5835 Dixie Rd, Mississauga
Hugh’s Room Live, 2261 Dundas St W, Toronto

Tickets now on Sale at Ticket Window – 1-877-700-3130

Hugh’s Room Live Gala show tickets available at 416-533-5483


Music Row North 2018

An intensive songwriting seminar will be held during the Tin Pan North Festival on Saturday, May 26 starting at 10 AM. This will be held at Trebas Institute, 2340 Dundas St W in Toronto (northeast corner of Dundas St W & Bloor St W). Special discounted rates for NSAI, CMAO, SAC,& SOCAN members.

Tickets on sale at Ticketwindow. Go to to reserve your spot.

10 AM – Meet & greet with Benita Hill.
Get to know Benita & how she turned her songwriting into a career.

10:30 AM – Benita Hill – Songwriting in the 21st Century – A workshop & Q & A with Practical Tips For LIving in a Digital Age

12 PM – Lunch on your own or join our pizza lunch (only $5)

1 PM – SYNC 101
Mishelle Pack (Manager, Synchronization/Film & TV/Digital Media, Sony/ATV Music Publishing)
Kyle Merkley (Director of Music and Technology, Arpix Media)

Give your song the best chance of being placed in a TV show, movie or digital media.  Learn about publishing, collaborating, writing with sync in mind and best practices when pitching to music supervisors

2-2:15 PM – Break

2:15 PM – Q&A PANEL
with Thomas Wade, Benita Hill and Brian Allen

Learn how to navigate your way in the changing music industry from hit songwriters and producers

3:15-3:30 PM – break

3:30 PM – Song critique session  – Thomas Wade, Benita Hill, Brian Allen

Songwriters will bring in a song to be critiqued by the pro writers. Song can be played live or on CD or played from a device (such as an IPhone or a stick etc). Please bring 6 copies of your song lyric.

5 PM – Wrap up & networking

Canadian Artists Win Big In Major US Songwriting Competition

The International Songwriting Competition (ISC is pleased to announce its 2017 winners. Created in 2002, ISC is widely recognized as the most prestigious and respected songwriting competition in the world and received more than16,000 entries from almost 140 countries. Prizes include more than $175,000 in cash and merchandise.

The Grand Prize winners this year are Nicholas Miller (better known as Illenium), Annika Wells, Kate Morgan, and Michael Biancaniello for the song “Crawl Outta Love Ft. Annika Wells.” The Grand Prize consists of $25,000 in cash (USD) and over $35,000 in additional prizes.

Winners hail from all over the world (61% of this year’s winners come from outside the USA) and range from talented amateurs to seasoned songwriting veterans. The 23 categories include all genres of contemporary music, from Rock to Pop to Country to R&B/Hip-Hop and more.

Canadian songwriters fared extremely well in ISC, garnering four First Places and three Third Places. Canadian winners also received 39 Honorable Mentions.

“This marks the first time in the competition’s history that Canadian songwriters have scored four First Places in categories,” says Candace Avery, ISC Founder and Director. “It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to write great songs, and ISC is honored to throw the spotlight on these talented Canadian songwriters and their achievements.”

Over the years ISC winners have included: Vance Joy, Bastille, Passenger, Kate Miller-Heidke, Lindsey Stirling, Gotye, The Band Perry, Kasey Chambers, Lupe Fiasco, Rachel Bloom, Gin Wigmore, Kimbra, Gregory Porter, Kehlani, For King & Country, and many more.

The list of 2017 Ontario winners includes:

Third Place Winners:

Country: “Tequila” – Johnny Simmen, Hunter Leath, Matt McGinn – Toronto, ON

Ontarians with Honourable Mentions include:

Country: “Chills” – James Barker, Donovan Woods, Travis Wood, Gavin Slate (James Barker Band) – Toronto, ON

Folk: “Freedom” – Ariana Gillis – Vineland, ON; “Baby, I Understand” – Kat Goldman – Toronto, ON

Performance: “When You Think No One Loves You” – David Leask, Daryl Burgess (David Leask) – Mississauga, ON

For a complete list of ISC 2017 winners and to hear the winning songs, go to:

Shae Dupuy’s “Strong Is Beautiful” Movement Returns

Shae Dupuy is excited to announce that her “Strong Is Beautiful” movement is back for it’s second annual year. “Strong Is Beautiful”, takes place during the month of April, sharing the importance of positivity for mind, body, and soul. This year, Shae is excited to share with everyone that “Strong Is Beautiful” will be focusing on the journey to self-acceptance through a series of videos available now at Shae invites you to join the movement by following along on Instagram @StrongIs_Beautiful and using the hashtag #STRONGISBEAUTIFUL.




Blackie Jackett Jr. Gets The Party Started With The Release Of For A Good Time Call

This isn’t the classic country music that your parents listened to. Bringing together some of Toronto’s top talent for one hell of a party, Blackie Jackett Jr. announces the release of their debut album with Royalty Records, For A Good Time Call on April 20, 2018. Creating their own brand of old school smart-assed country rock, the 11-track album takes listeners through the highs and lows of a proper bender.

Ten years in the making, Blackie Jackett Jr. are getting the good time started with not one, but two new singles. The band leads with the more mellow ‘Stuck In Rewind’ where they channel their inner Johnny and June and follow with the party pleasing ‘Bender’  that takes listeners along the hazy ride of a wild night with no end in sight.

Blackie Jackett Jr. was born in the back of a tour bus within the minds of Finger Eleven guitarists James Black and Rick Jackett. After hearing Sandra Dee singing karaoke between slinging drinks at their local bar, she became the female power behind BJJR, and shortly thereafter, the addition of Jimmy Reid on guitar took Blackie Jackett Jr. from a lone traveler to a band to be reckoned with.

Self-produced and recorded in the band clubhouse, dubbed ‘The Outhouse’, Blackie Jackett Jr. rounded out their sound on the album with the addition of Kevin “The General” Neal on pedal steel.

The way that each song came about was completely unique to itself,” says Black. “I’ve never been a part of anything like this – despite our hard work, the record really kind of made itself.

Never in one place for too long, Blackie Jackett Jr. will be hitting the road this spring with a handful of performances over the summer. Kicking things off during Canadian Music Week at the SiriusXM House on May 10, fans will be able to catch BJJR at The Phoenix Concert Hall with Kiefer Sutherland & Lindsay Ell.

For more information:


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