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Billy Talent
  • Artist

    Billy Talent

  • Album

    Dead Silence

  • Label

    Warner Music Canada

A Provincial Perspective: Saskatchewan

As we’re enjoying (?) one of the hottest and wettest summers in recent memory, SaskMusic has been keeping busy with our usual wide variety of projects.

Our spring workshop series was launched in May using our new delivery method in partnership with the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan. Most of our workshops are now held ‘in person’ in Saskatoon with a live, interactive video feed to (and from) Regina. We were thrilled to have back with us Bob Hunka (HunkArts Productions and SOCAN rep Los Angeles) for a publishing workshop; we presented a funding panel with the assistance of Kathy Allen of the Saskatchewan Arts Board to explain the options available to Saskatchewan artists; the awesome Bill Baker of Mint Records gave us “So You Recorded a Record – Now What?”; and we hosted the inimitable Martin Atkins (Invisible Records/Tour:Smart) for an engaging workshop on touring.

We also presented two workshops (Composition, with The Bad Plus, and Touring Canada, with Grant Paley of Paquin Entertainment) in partnership with the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival; and coming up on the August 4-7 weekend, we will be partnering with the Regina Folk Festival to present “So You Think You Can Fest?’ with Chris Frayer (Winnipeg Folk Festival), Kerry Clarke (Calgary Folk Festival) and Sandra Butel (Regina Folk Festival) as well as a Songwriting Seminar with Fred Penner, Mike Dawson and Carl Johnson (Library Voices), Jeffery Straker, and Marta Jacivbek-McKeever (e.s.l). We’re also looking forward to working with the “Music in the House” music school this September to present the Stickman Drum Festival with Chris McHugh (Keith Urban) and Shawn Pelton (Saturday Night Live, Sheryl Crow)!

In artist developments, we’ve been closely following and doing what we can to help The Sheepdogs with promotions around Rolling Stone’s “Choose The Cover” contest. This hardworking band is really making a name for themselves with their fabulous music and has been a great ambassador for Saskatchewan as well! We can hardly wait for the winner to be announced next month, although regardless of the outcome, a ton of doors have already been blasted open for the band. We’re also very pleased to see many very talented Saskatchewan artists nominated for Western Canadian Music Awards, including Little Miss Higgins, who recently opened for k.d. lang on her UK tour, as well as large slate of Saskatchewan names on the second ballot round of CCMA voting. As always, you can stay up-to-date with the latest news from our members from all genres at www.saskmusic.org, where you’ll find new albums, press releases and features, plus plenty more.

Big Dog 92-7's "Next Big Thing" winner Jess Moskaluke
Photo courtesy of Ben Checkowy/Aperture Photographics

In June, SaskMusic produced Big Dog 92-7’s third annual “Next Big Thing” contest. We had a deep pool of artists submit for this year’s project and as always, it was a tight competition. The country music community in Saskatchewan is extremely close-knit and it was pretty cool to see how the artists supported each other, even those in competition in the finals round. This year’s winner, Jess Moskaluke, is a young rising star with a powerhouse vocal and has also received an official showcase spot at this year’s CCMAs. She joins previous years’ winners WYATT and Chris Henderson, who have gone on to success at commercial country radio and plenty of live performances.

Another new partnership for us this year is the Regina Symphony Orchestra. Their free annual summer concert, “Symphony Under the Sky,” takes place on August 21. We helped them create a new band contest to get the public involved in deciding who will play as “openers” for this hugely popular event.

We’re also currently taking submissions from artists for our next export mission for the film and TV market, going to Los Angeles later this year. With our fiscal year end coming up on August 31, we are putting our plans together for “next year” and deep in discussion with our core funders, with plenty of excitement that Country Music Week and BreakOut West/the Western Canadian Music Awards will be hosted in our province in 2012.

In the meantime, it’s summer festival season and coming up soon, the Regina Folk Festival, John Arcand Fiddle Fest, Northern Lights Bluegrass & Old Tyme Music Festival, the Saskatoon FolkFest, Redneck Rumble…still lots more to see, do and hear in our great province!

Hope everyone is having a great and safe summer. Please follow SaskMusic on Facebook as well as Twitter for regular news & views!

About SaskMusic

SaskMusic is a non-profit association that represents, promotes and develops the music industry of Saskatchewan. We offer programming including career consults, workshops, marketing and export assistance, artist listings, networking opportunities and much more. Our artists and music professionals hail from across the province, and work in pretty much every genre you can imagine. We are a source of information and resources for both the public, and the music industry. If you have questions about the scene here, we can help. We are the voice of Saskatchewan music.

Music Canada Editor: Have you attended any of SaskMusic's seminars? Are you planning on going to any of Saskatchewan's summer festivals? What's your favourite band from Saskatchewan? Let us know!

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FACTS - Gold & Platinum

  • Elton John holds the highest certification for a Single, with Candle In The Wind (Mercury Records) reaching Nineteen Times Platinum status in December 1997.