TOM COCHRANE with RED RIDER (Saturday, July 22) - Upon the release of Mad Mad World 25 it looks like Tom Cochrane’s life will continue to be a Highway.
He says “the road was and is like going to school.”
An iconic career which started in the pubs, rough neck bars and coffeehouses of the roads and highways of first Ontario and then the rest Canada and then the world has spanned over 4 decades and is characterized by creative, adventurousness and musical and personal integrity.
Commenting on some of the jobs he had early on in his life, which include cab driving, working at CIL Paints, on the loading dock at Sears and Canada Packers, crewing out on a sail boat (not a cruise ship). “Those gigs are character builders, you pay some bills along the way with them but it’s real life also that you learn from and draw songs from.”
A few years into his tenure with Red Rider they graduated to larger venues, halls, arenas and festivals stages. “The early days never leave you though, they get etched on your soul like a tattoo.” Within and without Red Rider, Tom has released 17 albums. Having helped shape the musical landscape for future generations of Canadian artists, Tom remains one of only 3 male Canadian singer songwriters to have a diamond certified album in Canada (over a million copies sold). Mad Mad World is now around 1.7 million in Canada, and at over 3 million worldwide. Songs such as Life Is A Highway and Lunatic Fringe have been international hits and continue to garner much airplay around the world.
The release of Mad Mad World 25, #MMW25, will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the release of this hallmark recording and will be accompanied by a launch at the National Music Center in Calgary and a tour in 2017. MMW25 will include a re-mastered edition of the original recordings as well as a live Westwood One performance circa 1992 from Chicago and the original demo of Life Is A Highway before it was renamed. “We are extremely excited to play MMW25 in it’s entirety live also with some of the other songs people want to hear in the set as well of course.” – Tom says.
A coffee table style MMW25 book will be released early in 2017 as well.
Being part of our collective cultural consciousness and landscape for a long while now, this list has been seen before but to recap: Tom Cochrane is a recipient of 8 Juno Awards, and is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, Walk of Fame, a prestigious Officer of the Order of Canada, the Order of Manitoba, former Honorary Air Force Colonel in the 409 squadron, an honorary doctorate, a recent Diamond Jubilee award, many songwriter awards from SOCAN, CAPAC and ASCAP, a Grammy nomination as well as numerous other citations and awards. Asked about some of these Tom says “I was tremendously proud to get the key to the city of Winnipeg a while back and my cousin asked me if I get free parking with it” he says with a sheepish grin “that kind of stuff brings you back down to earth you know? The thing is I’ve been extremely blessed in my life and career, I’ve had the good fortune of having some good people around me over the years, I’ve put one foot ahead of the other to see where the road would take me and providence has been kind…so from time to time I’ve happened to or tried to do the right thing” and continues “of course I’m very proud and humbled especially with the Officer of the Order of Canada and the Order of Manitoba investiture and induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the CMIHOF one as well, I’m a proud Canadian” … “ the biggest reward though is when someone comes up and says this song or that song got me through some tough times or was part of the best times in my life, or when I fell in love that was our song.”
Throughout his career, Tom, has thrown his support behind a wide range of worthy causes. He has traveled the world, including Africa 9 times and Asia twice on behalf of World Vision. He helped spearhead the Canada for Asia initiative, entertained our troops in Afghanistan, raised money for Parkinson’s research, has performed at Live 8, in Tears Are Not Enough, Young Artists for Haiti, and more. He endorses or supports besides World Vision: Waterkeeper’s Alliance, Amnesty International, War Child, Medicin Sans Frontiers, Unison, World Animal Protection, The United Way, Tree Canada, Unison and Tempo, to name a few and has lent and continues to lend his support to several other causes.
An outspoken proponent of freedom of speech in his work and personally, Tom believes that journalism and journalistic freedom is the cornerstone of democracy. Before embarking on a music career he wanted to be a foreign correspondent and report “the truth from different parts of the world”, which continues to transcend and fuel his musical creativityin the same manner he touched on the universal values of hope and perseverance in his international hit, "Life is a Highway".
“I was a funny kid, my heroes included the likes of Edward R Murrow, Eric Sevareid, Walter Cronkite, and the great Canadian journalist Peter Jennings.
I felt there was nothing more noble than doing what they did, that’s why I like to think of myself as a sonic journalist” this may partly explain songs like White Hot, Lunatic Fringe, and the album Neruda.
A down to earth Canadian prairie boy at heart from Lynn Lake Manitoba, who came of age and started playing music in the west end of Toronto, Tom now divides his time between the tour bus, the city, and his beloved studio/retreat “Layastone” on the shores of Georgian Bay.
His passion for life and interests in, global issues, music and Canada have not waned.
Upon finishing summer touring for 2016, and quicker than you can say “Dharma Bums” he and his reunited Red Rider with the legendary Kenny Greer and Jeff Jones, will be preparing to be back on the road in 2017 touring Mad Mad World 25 while down the road looking towards a book and then music for the next new release.
“The highway has been a good teacher I’ve learnt a lot from her, it stretches out before us like a canvas.” www.tomcochrane.com
54-40 (Friday, July 21) -
54•40 have certainly left their mark on the Canadian cultural landscape. With more than three decades of performing and recording behind them, the band has an unbelievable catalogue of hit songs. Lead by chief songwriter Neil Osborne, 5440 have carved out a legacy of gold and platinum albums and an outstanding reputation for their live performances that carries through to this day. Over 35 years, 2500 performances, and 17 album releases the secret to 5450's longevityis their ability to redefine and reinvent themselves, taking the long time 5440 fans on a joyride that is bound to pick up new young fans on the way. To experience 5440 in concert is to experience how their songs have touched and continue to touch people's lives. From people who have followed the band from their humble beginnings in east Vancouver to new young fans that have discovered the truly original band that is 5440, a 5440 concert is an extraordinary affair that bridges the gaps between generations through a shared love of music. The band’s latest 2016 release La Difference: A History Unplugged, produced by Dave ‘Rave’ Ogilvie, is an intimate and unplugged reimagining of 5440’s greatest hits recorded as you’ve never heard them before. 54•40 is currently preparing for their 2017 release entitled Keep On Walking.
THE SADIES (Saturday, July 22) - The cover of The Sadies’ new album is a powerful image of the northern lights made by photographer David Kilabuk in Pangnirtung, Nunavut, a sight few of us will ever get to behold with our own eyes. Yet, the awe-inspiring natural beauty and mystery captured in the photo are an ideal reflection of the music contained within. No further embellishment seems necessary.
That’s been the essence of The Sadies’ story ever since the quartet comprised of singer/guitarists Dallas and Travis Good, bassist Sean Dean and drummer Mike Belitsky first exploded onto the North American scene 20 years ago. Back then there was still something called “alt-country,” a catchall for artists striving to carry on traditions with punk rock attitude. The Sadies certainly fit that description, but the breadth of their skills and musical knowledge was unparalleled since a group of fellow Torontonians left Ronnie Hawkins in the mid-‘60s to take a job backing Bob Dylan.
As the aurora borealis shifted with each album The Sadies made, the overall picture took on more defined colours. On top of that was the incredible list of collaborations—Neko Case, R&B legend Andre Williams, The Mekons’ Jon Langford, Jon Spencer, Robyn Hitchcock, John Doe, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Gord Downie, Neil Young for fuck’s sake!—each one pushing The Sadies’ own sound into new, unmapped territory. Eventually, more time was taken in between albums as focus shifted to their original songwriting, and what was once the best live band in Canada became the best band in Canada, period.
Is it fair then to call Northern Passages their masterpiece? Yes, at least until the next album comes along. With “Riverview Fog” setting a haunting tone off the top, the sense of time collapsing is palpable. The psych-folk touches are no mere homage; this is the sound of our inscrutable world, and how we manage to survive in it. The song began as a letter to their friend Rick White, whose contributions, both musical and visual, have played a huge role in The Sadies’ story. Although White wasn’t involved with Northern Passages, embedded within “Riverview Fog” is hope that White will return to the fold.
Conversely, other friendships are on display, specifically the track “It’s Easy (Like Walking),” sung by Kurt Vile who became a convert after touring in support of The Sadies years ago. Without a second thought, he laid down his vocal part in the midst of his own grueling tour schedule. It’s one of the album’s standouts to be sure, but resides in the shadow of Northern Passage’s centrepiece, “The Elements Song.” Perhaps never before has everything The Sadies do best been harnessed in the span of five minutes. And perhaps fittingly, it was the starting point for Northern Passages when the band convened at the home of Dallas and Travis’ parents north of Toronto to record throughout the winter of 2015, with Dallas once again handling production duties.
“That was the first song I wrote for this album, and it was completely an extension of our last record, Internal Sounds,” Dallas Good says. “It took the longest to write, and took the longest to record, so in a way it gave the record this daunting feeling.”
However, Dallas is quick to note that Northern Passages contains several humourous moments, albeit of the extremely dark variety he’s known for. One is the album’s most overt “country” song, “God Bless The Infidels,” a scathing takedown of religious hypocrisy perfectly suited to our current social climate. Although Dallas has never proclaimed any political allegiances in his work, there are times like now when reality checks such as this are absolutely necessary.
As Dallas has found his songwriting voice over the last several albums, so too has Travis on Northern Passages. That’s evident on the tracks “Through Strange Eyes,” “Questions I Never Asked” and “As Above, So Below,” some of Travis’ strongest material yet. “I always want to hear Travis perform songs that show what he’s capable of,” Dallas says. “He did that all over this record, especially the three songs on which he sings lead.”
The overall group mentality of huddling in a basement for several months, Big Pink-style, actually led to some parallels to the 2004 project The Unintended with Rick White and Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor. Northern Passages’ hazy instrumental “The Noise Museum” would have fit nicely alongside that record’s deep woods psychedelia, while closing track “The Good Years” (containing among other killer lines, “He haunted her before he was dead”), is a prime example of the “northern gothic” approach The Sadies have all but patented.
Despite the eclecticism at the heart of The Sadies’ sound, Northern Passages’ main strength is a cohesiveness that gives it a more consistent feel overall. Dallas credits this in part to recording with no time restrictions or distractions, and, significantly, by returning to the same space where he and Travis first started playing in bands. “We had nothing to lose by trying to make the record down there, and we weren’t sure if anything good would come out of it,” he says. “But removing any unfamiliar elements allowed us to focus a lot better. My parents’ basement turned out to be my favourite studio yet.”
Given all of their associations and tireless touring regimen, it can seem at times as if The Sadies are everywhere, all the time. Yet, they are a band that fans cling to like a closely guarded secret, with each new release fulfilling the promise to reach further, for all of our sakes, not just their own. With Northern Passages, the time has come to make room for more on this wild acid-folk-country-punk trip, and trust me, we’ll be better off because of it.
SHADOWY MEN ON A SHADOWY PLANET (Saturday, July 22) - Best known for supplying the theme song to the popular TV comedy show The Kids in the Hall, Toronto's largely instrumental trio Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet originally formed in 1984, consisting of members Brian Connelly (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Reid Diamond (bass, lead vocals), and Don Pyle (drums, backing vocals). The band merged punk (à la the Dead Kennedys) and surf (à la the Ventures) sounds together to create a highly original style, resulting in a steady stream of EPs/singles issued throughout the mid- to late '80s. These included such quirky titles as "Love Without Words," "Wow Flutter Hiss '86," "Schlagers!," "Live Record with Extra Bread and Cheese," "Explosion of Taste," and "Reid Does Neil."
By 1989, a local comedy troupe (who were also friends of the band) was given their own TV show, The Kids in the Hall, which used the Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet track "Having an Average Weekend" as their theme song. In 1990, the trio issued their debut full-length release, Savvy Show Stoppers, which was a compilation of material from their earlier singles. Two more releases followed shortly thereafter, 1991's Dim the Lights, Chill the Ham and 1993's Sport Fishin' (the latter of which was recorded by Steve Albini), and the group backed B-52s frontman Fred Schneider on several tracks for his solo album Just Fred. But by 1995, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet had split up. The former members went on to other projects: Diamond and Pyle joined forces once again in Phono-Comb, while Connelly worked with Neko Case's Boyfriends and Atomic 7. In early 2001, Diamond passed away after a battle with cancer. In 2016, Yep Roc Records released expanded and remastered editions of the three Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet albums.
LINDI ORTEGA (Saturday July 22) - When Lindi Ortega went in search of some quiet last year, the award-winning artist was pleasantly surprised to find a voice she hadn’t heard in some time – her own. Amid sparse, atmospheric production, it’s precisely this voice – a combination of Ortega’s fatalistic perspective expressed with her evocative soprano – that grips your attention on a brand new EP, Til The Goin’ Gets Gone.
A dogged resilience permeates this unadorned collection – three originals and a cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “Waiting ‘Round To Die.” The songs are the hard-won spoils of an internal war with words that struck after an extended stretch of touring, addressed in the EP’s title track about the detours and ditches that a traveling musician faces.
“What A Girl’s Gotta Do,” a song that is the silver lining of an otherwise dreadful date, explores the gritty pragmatism of making ends meet. Alongside the title track, this song offers a second metaphor about artistic life that strengthens the EP’s overall sense of resolve. Ortega’s somber rendition of “Waiting ‘Round to Die,” acknowledges a personal debt – her recent discovery of the legendary songwriter’s music is what finally cured her writer’s block. The closer, “Final Bow,” came when Ortega assumed she only had one song left in her. “I thought I had to quit music but I wanted to leave gracefully,” she says. “But then I decided to get up and sing some more.” As a whole, this statement captures the essence of Ortega’s new EP – it’s about dusting off, gutting it out, stepping up for another round.
Ortega recorded Til The Goin’ Gets Gone in a converted East Nashville manor, where therapy horses linger on the property. Recording with her longtime guitarist James Robertson, Ortega co-produced the set with Jay Tooke and Jason “Rowdy” Cope. The small production team and minimalist instrumentation make an intimate, immediate setting for Ortega’s stark vision of the human condition. Although classic country is an indelible part of her musical history, the EP also sets the tone for the next chapter of her career: “I'll always love Loretta, Dolly and Patsy. But I just want more space. I want more ambience.”
Ortega’s guitar-playing chops and innate country music instincts put her in an elite group of artists; she has earned an unusually inclusive type of success with both indie cred and mainstream country recognition. From supporting Carrie Underwood on the CMA Awards to her opening slot on Chris Stapleton’s upcoming Canadian arena tour, Ortega is a sought-after and unique personality in Nashville’s music community and beyond.
BASIA BULAT (Friday July 21) - With an electrifying voice and lyrics like silver arrowheads, Basia Bulat has become one of Canada's most conspicuous talents. Juno nominated and shortlisted for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize, she often appears solo in gigantic halls, winning over crowds with an autoharp or charango, stomping feet and two mighty lungs. Her massive talent has also been recognized at scale: her songs have been adapted for major performances with symphony orchestras, and she's been tapped for prestigious tributes to Leonard Cohen and The Band. Since releasing her debut in 2007, she has shared a stage with artists including Arcade Fire, The National, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Daniel Lanois, St Vincent, Sufjan Stevens, Destroyer and Andrew Bird. Bulat was born in Toronto and grew up listening to her mother's piano students, Sam Cooke and Stax on the oldies station. In early 2016 she released, Good Advice, produced by Jim James of My Morning Jacket.
THE WOODEN SKY (Friday July 21) - The title of The Wooden Sky’s fifth full-length album is an abridged quote from Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi novel, Dune: “Survival is the ability to swim in strange water.” It’s a phrase that seems especially apt in 2017, as many of us are still reeling from the previous year. For Gavin Gardiner, the frontman of the Toronto-based indie rock band, the way to understand and reconcile these unknowns — from oil pipelines and refugee crises to his own family’s personal history— is through songwriting. “It’s how I filter a lot of things that come in,” says Gardiner, as he walks through the residential streets of Toronto’s Roncesvalles neighbourhood. “For better or for worse, it’s how I deal with things and how I communicate my feelings.” Swimming in Strange Waters is Gardiner trying to make sense of the world.
The band (made up of Gardiner, multi-instrumentalists Simon Walker and Andrew Wyatt, violinist Edwin Huizinga and drummer Andrew Kekewich) started writing and recording demos in a small farmhouse in rural Quebec in January 2015, but then put them aside as they embarked on a year-long tour in support of their previous album, Let’s Be Ready. When they resumed work on the album in March 2016, Gardiner says the band caught a severe case of “demoitis”, a condition wherein “you fall in love with the scrappiness of the demos.” So rather than completely re-working them, they decided to record the album in the same way as the demos: in Gardiner’s home studio, using old tape machines and live off the floor.
The resulting album is a sonic maelstrom that sees the band exploring unchartered waters, where textural psychedelia inspired by the Paisley Underground movement melds into quiet, acoustic cyclical guitar melodies, before once again transforming into a bombastic, Johnny Cash-esque rally against the XL Keystone pipeline in Canada. While Let’s Be Ready found the Wooden Sky writing a pure “rock and roll” album, Swimming in Strange Waters sees the band experimenting once again. “I feel like we’re back on track,” says Gardiner.
John Angello (known for his work with Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Phosphorescent and Kurt Vile) mixed the album at Water Music in New Jersey. Around 95 percent of it was recorded to an old tape machine at Gardiner’s home studio, and the rest was done at Hotel2Tango in Montreal and at a Toronto church where multi-instrumentalist Walker’s father is the Anglican minister.
“Deadhorse Creek”, which is named after the body of water that runs through Gardiner’s hometown of Morden, Manitoba, creates a layered soundscape with backward guitar, easygoing harmonica and a crooning slide guitar that all erupt in a foot-stomping, rollicking jam; “Black Gold”, inspired by the Keystone XL pipeline protests, features a 16-person choir, a Velvet Undergroundesque screaching violin undertone by band member Edwin Huizinga, and Gardiner embracing a lower register for the first time; “Riding on the Wind” tells stories about refugee families Gardiner met while working with Romero House, over a bed of dreamy reverb.
Meanwhile first single “Swimming in Strange Waters” glimmers like a technicolored circus with warbling synths and organs, cyclical, vocoder-drenched gang vocals and a spoken word interlude, performed by The Highest Order’s Simone Schmidt reading from Herbert’s Dune Messiah.
“More now than ever, I feel the weight of responsibility to act and make things better for the people to come,” says Gardiner. “Maybe that sounds cliche, but it feels very real now. As an artist, you have your voice, and not much else. So you gotta use it.”
On every album, the Wooden Sky’s aim is to somehow capture the band’s live performance, to compress that adrenalin and vigour into a collection of songs that’ll inevitably be played through headphones and crappy computer speakers. It’s a tall order, considering the Wooden Sky has become known for both high-energy, sold-out rock shows and their charming, unconventional pop-up gigs – like 2014's series of three acoustic record store sets in three hours, where they biked to each shop with instruments slung over their backs.
Swimming in Strange Waters marks the closest the band has ever got to this coveted goal. To achieve that energy, Gardiner had to let go of any insecurities and garner new confidence, part of which he found after speaking with an opera singer friend and working with legendary producer, Angello, and part of which came from encapsulating that energy himself.
“You have to give the energy that you want to get back,” notes Gardiner. “When I’m recording, I’m standing on a chair like I’m on stage, wearing my boots and my sunglasses, just trying to create this atmosphere of cacophony. How do you expect to convey that excitement if you don’t feel it? Let’s not sit here and be bashful.”
NORTHCOTE (Friday July 21) - Hope Is Made of Steel is the third full-length album from Northcote, the moniker of Canadian songwriter Matt Goud. The album arrives September 2015 and is an exciting step forward for the hard working artist. 2014 saw Goud and his band mates build their audience around the world with over 160 shows throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and the UK. The new record reflects Northcote's punk rock and folk influences while sonically embracing the rock sound that they have developed through 18 months of near constant touring on the road.
“When I was putting together songs for this record, I wanted to pursue the ones that didn't feel necessarily like Northcote-type songs.” Goud says. There was a big batch that I knew could work and that could fit well with the other records, but I wanted to pursue the material that felt surprising and challenging to me. The record feels vulnerable in that way and reflects some of the experiences I have had in life and from all the touring we have done.”
Hope Is Made of Steel confirms emphatically that Northcote has emerged from a coffee house singer/songwriter into something more fleshed out and fierce. Following years of solo touring around the world, Goud and his band mates Stephen McGillivray (guitar), Mike Battle (bass) and Derek Heathfield (drums) ventured together on Northcote’s European headlining tour and in the Spring of 2015 the same group supported New Jersey icons The Gaslight Anthem on a five-week tour across North America. Northcote’s larger scale full band tours of the past months have foreshadowed Hope Is Made Of Steel, which is forged by Americana-rock electric guitar and soulful hard-hitting rock drums.
"I’ve been touring solo or with various arrangements for almost seven years and I’m in a place where I want to start playing more electric guitar, feeling that energy and freedom you get with playing the songs loud and with the band. With this record it is a priority for me to bring a more dynamic show on the road."
Along with a heavy touring schedule Goud, his wife Brittany and their two dogs Libby and Gigi have uprooted twice in the past year moving from Victoria to Ottawa and back again, nearly 3,000 miles in each direction. The theme of movement and finding ones place in the world continues to be a central theme for Northcote, however this time the feeling is more clearly communicated and soaked in experience.
“In between tours I was writing songs in the basement of Lydia’s bar on Bank Street in Ottawa. When we decided to move back to Victoria, Britt went ahead of the dogs and I to find an apartment. I spent a couple more weeks alone in Ottawa before driving the car across the country with the dogs. Upon arrival in Victoria, I turned around and immediately started tracking the new album in Vancouver that very next weekend. We had the bed tracks done before the moving truck showed up. I think that stress and energy influenced the album positively by allowing me to be more raw and direct in the writing and making of the record.”
Hope Is Made Of Steel was produced by Vancouver-based Musician and Producer Dave Genn (54-40, Hedley, Matthew Good Band). Additional special collaborators and contributors include producer Gavin Brown (Metric, Billy Talent), and guest vocal appearances by Canadian songstress Hannah Georgas, and two of Goud’s biggest influences – Chuck Ragan and Dave Hause.
Goud credits the artists he has toured with in the past two years as influences on his work ethic, and approach to writing and performing live.
“I was lucky enough in the past couple years to support some of my heroes in music. I learned that seizing the moment in front of you is the most important aspect to touring. I look up to musicians like Chuck (Ragan) and Dave (Hause) in particular and how their personality and spirit is so visible in their music. I think there is a lot of dread in that vulnerability, but there is also a type of freedom. I’ve always been attracted to artists who are 'laying-it-on-the-line’, no matter what the genre may be.”
Although the album sounds brave and fresh, there is plenty of dynamic and variety here. ‘Small Town Dreams’ is the third track and represents a progression for the band to a more alternative/modern rock leaning sound. The song tells the story of small town youthful naivety – all the hopes and dreams of the two characters someday making it to the big city. In contrast, the track ‘Leaving Wyoming’ echoes the sensitivity and heart-on-your-sleeve storytelling that of tracks from previous albums such as ‘Speak Freely’ from the album Northcote (2013) and ‘Under the Streetlights’ from the album Gather No Dust (2011).
"There is a clarity to the songs that I think I may have struggled with in the past.” Goud admits. “I remember playing at the Horseshoe in Toronto last summer and a friend asked me what a particular song of mine meant to me, and I didn’t haven’t a very clear answer. I feel on this record, I have written a batch of songs that are more direct and that feels less safe. I challenged myself to be more lyrically direct on this album, and I believe I have accomplished that.”
THE DUDES (Friday July 21) -. The Dudes are legit. They make rock songs that come from the most closely guarded vaults of the emotional banks. They sing about the triumph of good over no good. They trumpet the march of the working class lady. They tell stories of love gained and lost, knife fights, cops and kindness. The Dudes want you to see them play live. They would like you to laugh and dance. After the show, they want to give you a high five. Matt will teach you a special handshake. Bob will ask you for your phone number. They used to have a brown van that took them across Canada thrice. Now its paid the price. She's sitting along the highway at a petrocan in Winnipeg and the last they checked, the doors were still unlocked. You know, if you want to go sit in it or something. Soon they will come to your town in a blue van. Will you be there? Maybe sleep on your floor?
THE GARRYS - The Garrys are a trio of sisters who play chilled out, surf garage doom-wop. If The Black Lips went on a date with The Shangri-Las, they would eat ice cream sandwiches and dance to the Garrys. Like father, like daughter(s).
MEGAN NASH - In a Canadian music scene that continues to sprawl out like the prairies she calls home, Megan Nash’s indie folk sound consistently stands out from the crowd. Whether it be for her powerful, one-of-a-kind voice, her deeply personal and insightful songs, or her unapologetically open and honest personality, she makes an impression upon everyone who hears her. From town to town across Canada and beyond, Nash, who calls the rural Saskatchewan area of Treaty 4 home, has been steadily connecting with listeners of all ages for the past three years. She is the kind of performer who commands your attention, haunting your soul and gently searing a stamp on your heart.
Nash’s voice is hard to pin down. By constantly gliding from the gentle whispers of longing and hope to the howls of anguish and loss, her vocal palette is broad and beautiful like a Saskatchewan sunset. Each aspect of her voice is used to carve the stories she tells, leaving no detail of any of her beautiful songs absent from her voice.
Her songs are both universal and individual. She tells stories of love and loss; of worry and hope, all through the eyes of a young woman growing up and living in Saskatchewan. Her songs are steeped in prairie longing. They sound like dusty summer nights and wondering if you said the right thing, and they will make you miss someone special. Even if you don’t know who that someone is yet.
If you are somehow left unmoved by the music, Nash’s personality will surely seal the deal. She has a knack for making every single person in the audience feel like it’s just them in the room. It’s like you’re catching up with an old friend over coffee instead of sitting at a show. Her live banter melts in and out of songs such that the stories being told are never-ending. Some of them just happen to be sung to you; beautifully and effortlessly as if you’re the only one there.
In October of 2016 she released a brand new full-band version of a tune from Song Harvest Volume One and went out on her first full-band tour for her solo music shortly thereafter. The single garnered nationwide attention, including from CBC Radio Host Tom Allen who said “[Nash] has a powerful voice and an authoritative style - a singer with much to say.” Never one to slow down, Nash has also been hard at work on writing and recording new music with the band. This highly-anticipated follow-up to Song Harvest Volume One is slated for release in late 2017.
A strong female artist who regularly draws comparisons to such giants as Neko Case and Stevie Nicks, Megan Nash shows no sign of slowing down. Her powerful music will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
AVA WILD - From the living skies of Saskatchewan Ava Wild began to collect inspiration and translate her world through music. Dwelling primarily in the genres of folk roots and acoustic pop, her writing style is spiced up with embellishments of jazz and old-country (as being influenced by Tom Waits and Norah Jones). Within her lyrics are original ideas about land, love and life. There are drinking songs without alcohol; fairytales wrapped in leather; and an admiration for humanity. With a honey sweet voice laced in a red shoe attitude, Ava Wild dances with crowns and grasps her audiences attention with her authentic storytelling. In 2016 Ava released her debut EP BARE as a representation of some of her best work to-date. Recording it live-off-floor, the listener is introduced to her reckless perfection and truths that speak to where she has come from, where she is, and where she plans on going.
BADLAND COUNTRY BAND - Badland Country Band covers top 40 country hits, classics of country and some classic rock’n roll hits. Badland Country’s current musicians have been entertaining Southern Saskatchewan for the past 10 years – playing local pubs, weddings, rodeo dances, music festivals in and around South West Saskatchewan.
SMALL CITY BLUES - Some people wonder what five guys could possibly do in the middle of a cold Saskatchewan winter in a small city surrounded by oil wells, cattle and snow covered fields. Well, for these five it’s ROCK!
Small City Blues is a hard rock power plant. Their legion of fans have helped them push past other acts to become one of the most exciting, sought after bands on the Canadian prairies! Don’t let the name fool you into believing this is going to be some relaxing evening, you’ll be on your feet cheering as 100% Rock tears through the room like a fever.
The band consists of Adam Hoffart on vocals, Austin "Beans" Kot on Guitar, Dalton Lemon also on guitar, "The Creature" Evan Mass on bass, and Izak Keller on drums. Small City Blues has been the house band for the popular nightclub “Pumpjacks” and have enjoyed bookings at clubs, festivals and concerts where they’ve opened for the likes of Jordan Cook and Big Wreck among others.
JUDY K (SK) // Judy K writes and performs her own swingin’ blues/country style of music. Beginning at a young age in her father’s dance band allowed the love of strong, danceable rhythms to mature into what she promotes today. Her lyrics tell stories of people and situations that have been close to her.
JUDY K BAND members, Dougie, Phil and James, have pop/rock/country backgrounds. Together, they complement each other and leave their audience wanting more.
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Bios coming soon for Badland Country Band // and many more...