Leaf Rapids launches Lucky Stars

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New project by Keri and Devin Latimer of the Juno-winning group Nathan releases April 14

Launch dates:

April 17 – West End Cultural Centre, Winnipeg, MB

April 18 – The Happy Nun Café, Forget, SK

April 19 – The Exchange, Regina, SK

April 21 – The Mercury Room, Edmonton AB

April 22 – House Concert, Edmonton, AB

April 23 – Wine Ohs, Calgary, AB

April 24 – The Last Drop, Revelstoke, BC

April 25 – Tractorgrease Café, Chilliwack, BC

April 26 – The Railway Club, Vancouver, BC

April 29 – Twin Butte General Store, Twin Butte, AB

April 30 – The Slice, Lethbridge, AB

May 1 – The Root, Lloydminster, AB

May 2 – Vangelis Tavern, Saskatoon, SK

 ”…It has been a long time since I have heard a band reach out and embrace melody and song writing craft in quite such a blatant and exuberant manner.” - Americana UK

 “Infectious alt-country noir, fractured folk-swing and surreal songwriting.” - Acoustic Guitar Magazine

 Living under a skyline so wide open that you can see the horizon shimmer a thousand miles in the distance has changed Keri Latimer.

Best known for her four albums with Nathan, the Juno award-winning artist doesn’t like the moss to grow under her feet. When not touring or recording with Nathan, she’s released a solo album and has recorded for television, installation and short films — most notably contributing soundtrack material for Courtney Hunt’s Oscar-nominated, ‘Frozen River’ in 2008 and theremin parts for Guy Maddin’s short film ‘Only Dream Things’ in 2012. Read the rest of this entry »

West Coast Indies Toast Leonard Cohen with Tower of Song

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Oliver Swain and Glenna Garramone tour their minimalist, modern take on the Montreal icon

April 10 – The Centennial Theatre, North Vancouver, BC

April 11 – Heritage Playhouse, Gibsons, BC

April 17 – Creekside Threat, Lake Country, BC

May 8 – Rialto Theatre, Montreal, QC

May 14 – The Jazz Room, Waterloo, ON

May 15 – Barton Stone United Church, Hamilton, ON

May 16 – Meaford Hall, Meaford, ON

May 17 – Aeolian Hall, London, ON (Matinee)

 Plenty of people have covered Leonard Cohen over the years, but nobody’s done it quite like this.

Tower of Song is a truly west coast take on the Montreal icon, staring Vancouver Island roots guru Oliver Swain (The Bills, the Dukhs, Outlaw Social) and arty, jazzy west coast vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Glenna Garramone (Shane Koyczan).

The sound is minimalist modern roots, with Oliver’s delicate, fractured tenor and Glenna’s sultry, slightly Basia Bulat-like mezzo soprano spinning stirring harmonies over understated arrangements. Read the rest of this entry »

Son of iconic Canadian guitarist debuts with Let it Storm

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Great songs are in Scott Shea’s DNA

Album launch dates:

April 9 – Black Rock Resort, Ucluelet, BC
April 10 – Char’s Landing, Port Alberni, BC
April 11 – The Vault Café, Nanaimo, BC
April 16 – Duncan Showroom, Duncan, BC
April 17 – McMillan Arts Centre, Parksville, BC
April 18 – Sooke Coffee House, Sooke, BC
April 23 – Railway Club, Vancouver, BC
April 24 – Victoria Event Centre, Victoria, BC
April 30-May 1 – Cameron House, Toronto, ON
May 2 – The Mansion, Kingston, ON
May 3 – The Black Sheep Inn, Wakefield, ON
May 9 – Wilser’s Room, Fredericton, NB
May 10 – Barrelshead, Rothsay, NB
May 12 – Plan B, Moncton, NB
May 13 – Trailside Café, Mt. Stewart, PEI
May 14 – The Company House, Halifax, NS

His father was Red Shea, the man who wielded the axe behind our seminal Canadian folk singers: Gordon Lightfoot and Ian and Sylvia.

So it’s little wonder that Scott Shea’s debut album already sounds like the kind of stuff Canadian classics are made of.
It’s literally in his DNA.

The songs on Let it Storm, which releases next month, feel instantly familiar; their combination of memorable hooks and rugged authenticity have been the hallmarks of Canadian radio mainstays for decades.

It’s a stunningly-crafted, mature collection of numbers about maturity itself – specifically, about arriving at a place of contentment in life, learning to live with one’s “issues,” valuing close relationships with loved ones, and searching for spiritual meaning in life. Read the rest of this entry »

Alberta indie Lizzy Hoyt launches New Lady on the Prairie

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Lizzy Hoyt dates:

March 13 – Full Moon Folk Club, Edmonton, AB

March 21 – Petit Campus, Montreal, QC

March 26 – Magnolia Café, Guelph, ON

March 27 – Stonecroft Folk Show, Ingersoll, ON

March 28 – Cuckoo’s Nest Folk Club, London, ON

March 29 – The Tranzac, Toronto, ON

April 10 – The Artful Dodger, Regina, ON

April 11 – George Layh Theatre, Langenburg, SK

April 18 – Nickelodeon Folk Club, Calgary

Add Edmonton-born, Calgary-based artist Lizzy Hoyt to the list of young Canadian indies – such as the Fretless and April Verch – who are “going back to the source” and embracing traditional music while forging unique artistic identities.

 The daughter of professional classical musicians and grand-daughter of an old-time fiddler, Lizzy has become a new-generation proponent of the so-called trans-Atlantic  movement, a style of music that bridges the Irish traditions of the old world and the Appalachian, bluegrass and old-time traditions they influenced in the new world.

On her new album, New Lady on the Prairie, Lizzy teams up with Canada’s most respected bluegrass and Celtic musicians, including Grammy-winning mandolinist John Reischman and Juno-winning Irish whistle-player, flautist and fiddler Jeremiah McDade, for a lyrical nod to the past – a collection of songs about Canadian history, immigration, women and family. Read the rest of this entry »

Juno-nominated Montreal indie Michael Jerome Browne brings songs of the Deep South to Western Canada

Michael Jerome Browne photo

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Sliding Delta launch dates:

April 10: Blue Chair, Edmonton AB

April 11: Ironwood Stage, Calgary AB

April 12: The Blue House, Nelson BC

April 13: Edgewood Legion, Edgewood, BC (near Nakusp)

April 17: Duncan Showroom, Duncan BC

April 18: Harbinger House Concerts, Hornby Island BC

April 19: Rogue Folk Club, St. James Hall, Vancouver, BC

The Chance pays off for Juno nominee J.P. Cormier

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First single attracts hundreds of thousands of soldiers to J.P.’s music

April 2 – Richard’s Landing Old Town Hall, Richard’s Landing, ON
April 4 – West End Cultural Centre, Winnipeg, MB
April 7 – The Bassment, Saskatoon, SK
April 10 – River Park Church, Calgary, AB
April 11 – Queen Alexandra Community Hall, Edmonton, AB
April 12 – Sweet Things, Whitecourt, AB
April 15 – Fratters Speakeasy, Red Deer, AB
April 16 – Canmore Legion, Canmore, AB
April 17 – Strathmore Golf Course, Strathmore, AB
April 18 – Cochrane Alliance Church, Cochrane, AB
April 19 – Ghostown Blues, Maple Creek, SK

750,000 Facebook views in its first two weeks on-line
More than half a million YouTube view for the lyric video
And thousands of letters of thanks from veterans across North America.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the first single from J.P. Cormier’s forthcoming album, The Chance, has already changed the life of this 30-year veteran of the music industry trenches – just when the Juno nominee and multiple ECMA winner was starting to wonder if he had anything new to say.
“Hometown Battlefield,” first posted to J.P.’s Facebook page last March, is a song about what happens after the war – vets fighting and dying from post traumatic stress disorder.
And it’s struck a chord with thousands who feel they’ve been tossed aside by the society they fought for.
Nearly a year later, dozens still write to J.P. each week. The lyric video is made entirely of personal photographs they sent him.
Now J.P. , who did his own brief tour in Afghanistan – as a musician – is launching the full album from which the single derives. Read the rest of this entry »

Red Deer indie Levi Cuss launches Steve Dawson-produced sophomore album

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Up-and-coming Red Deer roots artist Levi Cuss comes by the blues honestly.

His dad died when he was five.

His mom was a hard-working, hard partying single mother.

He spent his teens and early 20s drinking, doing drugs and doing crime.

And eventually doing time.

That was a long time ago now, and you can add Levi to the list of artists that credit music with keeping them on the straight and narrow.

These days he’s earning an honest wage working mostly manual labour jobs and putting that money toward his passion.

Just over a year ago, the Banff Centre was sufficiently impressed to give him a residency. And there, he persuaded the producer of his dreams, Steve Dawson, to make a record with him. Read the rest of this entry »

Catherine MacLellan kicks off Western tour with two Juno nods, two ECMA nods in tow

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 Feb. 4 – The Park Theatre, Winnipeg, MB

Feb. 6 – The Bassment, Saskatoon, SK

Feb. 8 – The Exchange, Regina, SK

Feb. 10 – Communitea, Canmore, AB

Feb. 11 – The Artery, Edmonton, AB

Feb. 12 – The Ironwood Theatre, Calgary, AB

Feb. 13 – The Jasper Legion, Jasper, AB

Feb. 14 – The Root, Lloydminster, AB (new!)

                 East Coast singer-songwriter Catherine MacLellan kicks off her Western Canadian tour this week with an arm-load of new accolades for her latest recording, The Raven’s Sun.

                 Last week, Catherine earned the first two JUNO nominations of her career in the categories of Songwriter of the Year and Roots and Traditional Album of the Year – Solo.

She adds those to a pair of East Coast Music Award nominations for Songwriter of the Year and Folk Album of the Year.   Read the rest of this entry »

Alex Cuba readies the release of Healer

Alex Cuba

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One of the great challenges of the artist is to overcome cultural and social expectations in order to create work that is truly authentic – work that captivates audiences by giving unique expression to our most primal emotions and universal experiences.

Ever since he arrived in Canada, Cuban Canadian musical visionary Alex Cuba has been relishing his freedom from Cuban music constraints to reimagine the music of his homeland — by cutting back on the showmanship and dialing up the soul. It’s a style of innovation that has paradoxically earned him unprecedented success for a Canadian in the Latin music scene.

But on the appropriately-titled Healer, Alex throws off even more artistic shackles, casting away not only the last vestiges of his reflexive deference to Cuba, but also ideas about what Canadian audiences expect from him – ideas he realized he’d internalized years ago based on early-career conversations with Canadian industry people.
The resulting album combines the finest characteristics of Alex’s previous works – the soul and intimacy of Agua del Pozo, the hooky pop song-writing of Ruido en el Sistema; and the nuanced blends of Cuban and American music of his self-titled third album – with even more goodness that Alex had, until now, been holding back: romance, introspection, spirituality, and an almost metaphysical message about reclaiming what’s really important in life. Read the rest of this entry »

Jon Brooks’ Smiling & Beautiful Countryside gives new life to the murder ballad

Jon Brooks

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Jon Brooks spring dates

March 4 – The Moonshine Café, Oakville, ON
March 5 – Hugh’s Room, Toronto, ON
March 6 – Point Rock Concerts, Fall River, NS
March 7 – The Company House, Halifax, NS
March 12 – The Pearl Company Theatre, Hamilton, ON
March 15 – Petit Campus, Montreal, QC
March 25 – Michael’s On Main, Sundridge, ON
March 26 – The Fine Thymes Bistro, Bracebridge, ON
March 28 – Take Note Music House, Barrie, ON

The Highway of Tears.

The Christine Jessop murder.

Domestic violence.

Mass shootings in the workplace.

The forced relocation of the Sayisi Dene near Churchill, MB.

They all make an appearance on the ironically-titled The Smiling & Beautiful Countryside, Toronto indie Jon Brooks’ new collection of original rural Canadian murder ballads.

But as fans of Brooks’ literate, layered and subversive song-writing will have already guessed, there’s more to this theme than just a sensational body-count (Total death-count: 75, in case you’re wondering).

With some eerie-sounding, back-water banjitar and the distressed vocals of a post-heroine Steve Earle, Brooks humanizes the serial killers and challenges the listeners to contemplate their own inner darkness. He riffs a little on the theme of the corporation as psychopath, and ultimately questions what’s really killing us on the album’s 1:38 thesis statement, “These are Not Economic Hard Times.” Read the rest of this entry »