Uplifting and socially conscious, Buckman Coe’s Malama Ka ’Aina draws inspiration from Reggae and Hawaii

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Malama Ka ’Aina releases through Tonic Records on Sept. 25
Launch concert
October 10 – The Imperial – Vancouver, BC
With Adham Shaikh and Vince Vacarro
Doors: 8 p.m. Show: 9 p.m.
Tickets $15 adv. / $18 door
Tickets available through ticketweb.ca and at Highlife Records, Zulu Records, Red Cat Records, Studio on Granville

Buckman Coe summer tour dates:

Aug 20: Mikey’s Juke Joint – Calgary, AB
Aug 21-24: Blessed Coast – location TBA / performance date TBA
Aug 21-24: Golden Sound Festival – Golden, BC / performance date TBA
Aug 29-Sept 6: Burning Man Festival – Nevada Desert
Sept 18-20: Axis Mundi – Revelstoke, BC

Drawing strongly from Reggae’s mixture of joyful, danceable rhythms and socially conscious vibes, the latest album from Vancouver’s Buckman Coe is a gorgeous and downright infectious manifestation of the artist’s spiritual nature and passion for social justice. It is simultaneously his most political album to date and possibly also his most uplifting!

Featuring masterful production by global/electronic artist Adham Sheikh and musician-activist Jason Kecheley, Malama Ka ’Aina (pr: Ma-LA-ma kah-AY-nuh) – a Hawaiian phrase meaning to respect the land and live in harmony – sees Coe’s almost ethereal, soul-drenched voice soaring over arrangements that draw from folk, pop, soul, psychedelia and hip hop, and singing songs that celebrate the awakening of social consciousness and the togetherness of those who are fighting for a better world. Read the rest of this entry »

Vishtèn gets back to its roots on Terre Rouge (Red Earth)

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Terre Rouge releases Sept. 11, 2015
Album launch dates:
11 Sep. – Festival Celtique de Québec, Québec, Qc
12 Sep. – Festival Celtique de Québec, Québec, Qc
13 Sep.. – Beat & Betterave, Frelighsburg, Qc
16 Sep. – Monument National, Montréal, Qc
17 Sep. – La Mitaine, Joliette, Qc
18 Sep. – La Caravane, North Hatley, Qc
24 Sep. – Centre Aberdeen, Moncton, N.B.
25 Sep. – The Pourhouse, Charlottetown, PEI
10 Oct. – Pas Perdus, Îles de la Madeleine, QC
15 Oct. – Imperial Theatre, Saint John, NB
16 Oct. – The Playhouse, Fredericton, NB
18 Oct. – Carrefour Beausoleil, Miramichi, NB.
22 Oct. – Decoste Centre, Pictou, NS
23 oct – Pearle Theatre, Lunenburg, NS
24 Oct. – Évelina’s, Little Brook, NS
30 Oct. – King’s Theatre, Annapolis Royal, NS

For the follow-up to their award-winning 2012 album Mosaïk, which brought vintage sounds such as Moog and Korg synthesizers and Taurus bass pedals to their hopping Acadian party music, ECMA winners Vishtèn went back to the source: the red soil of the Magdalens and Prince Edward Island and their local characters and torchbearers.

After years of incessant touring, and a brief period living in Montreal, the band’s trio of powerhouse multi-instrumentalists, Pastelle and Emmanuelle LeBlanc and Pascal Miousse, longed for fresh engagement with their Acadian musical roots – so they took up residencies in their local communities and studied parts of the tradition they had never fully explored. Read the rest of this entry »

New Folsom Prison provides the starting point for new Linda McRae album

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Shadow Trails releases Sept. 18
Album launch tour:
October 09, 2015 – Silence (The Space), Guelph, ON
October 10, 2015 – London Music Club, London, ON
October 15-17, 2015 – Westin Bristol Place, Toronto, ON
October 18, 2015 – Hugh’s Room, Toronto, ON
October 23, 2015 – Spirit of Rasputin’s, 430 Churchill at Byron, Ottawa, ON
October 25, 2015 – Cafe Campus, Montreal, PQ
November 12, 2015 – West End Cultural Center, Winnipeg, MB
November 13, 2015 – LaGrange Laurier, Laurier, MB
November 14, 2015 – Tom Wilson’s Elbow, Saskatchewan House Concert
November 19, 2015 – The Needle Vinyl Tavern, Edmonton, AB (tentative)
November 20, 2015 – Lethbridge Folk Club at The Cave, Lethbridge, AB
November 21, 2015 – Beneath The Arch, Turner Valley, AB
November 27, 2015 – Venue TBA, Vancouver, BC
November 28, 2015 – Deep Cover Folk Club, Sidney, BC
November 29 – Sooke Folk Club, Sooke, BC

California’s Folsom State Prison occupies a hallowed place in the history of country music. As the location of several Johnny Cash performances and the subject of his song “Folsom Prison Blues,” it has become a symbol of the “outlaw” element of outlaw country.

Now, some 60 years after Cash first put it on the map, the California State Prison complex has had a transformational impact on another country roots musician: Canada’s Linda McRae.

After answering a call to host a writing workshop at New Folsom in 2011, McRae and her husband, James Whitmire, were moved to develop similar workshops for at-risk youth – to try and prevent them from ending up behind bars in the first place.

Her new, Steve Dawson-produced album, Shadow Trails, is inspired by that work. Read the rest of this entry »

John Wort Hannam tackles the legacy of residential schools on Love Lives On

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Album releases October 2 on Black Hen Music

Album launch tour

October 2, 2015 – Empress Theatre, Fort Macleod, AB
October 3, 2015 – Ironwood Stage, Calgary, AB
October 4, 2015 – Square Butte, Bragg Creek, AB
October 7, 2015 – The Root, Lloydminster, AB
October 8, 2015 – Nancy Appleby Theatre, Athabasca, AB
October 9, 2015 – Royal Canadian Legion, Jasper, AB
October 10, 2015 – Festival Place, Sherwood Park, AB
October 14, 2015 – Fratters Speakeasy, Red Deer, AB
October 15, 2015 – Medicine Hat Folk Club, The Hat, AB
October 16, 2015 – Wide Cut Weekend Festival , Calgary, AB
October 17, 2015 – Canmore Miner’s Hall, Canmore, AB
October 18, 2015 – Rosebud Theatre, Rosebud, AB
October 22, 2015 – The Bassment, Saskatoon, SK
October 23, 2015 – The Artful Dodger, Regina, SK
October 24, 2015 – Times Changed, Winnipeg, MB
November 8, 2015 – Canadian Folk Music Awards, Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, AB
November 12, 2015 – The Burdoch, Toronto, ON
November 13, 2015 – London Music Club, London, ON

Perhaps it’s the growing list of accolades, which these days includes a Juno nod, a Canadian Folk Music Award, a Galaxie Rising Star Award and a Kerrville New Folk title. Perhaps it’s the lofty comparisons reviewers have made to Tom Russell, W.O. Mitchell and Margaret Laurence.

Whatever it is, John Wort Hannam is making music with a new-found confidence these days, and nowhere is it more evident than on “Man of God,” the signature song on his new Leeroy Stagger-produced album Love Lives On – a track that sees the one-time school teacher on the Kainai Blackfoot reserve tackling the legacy of residential schools.
John’s voice resonates with empathy for the parents who watched their children driven away from them, an experience he says he never could’ve sung about before becoming a father himself. His stirring account earned the endorsement of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and was part of the final ceremonies in Ottawa. Read the rest of this entry »

Andrea Superstein teams up with Les Cooper (Jill Barber) for indie jazz-pop extravaganza

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Album launch concerts:

Oct 1 – Salmon Arm Jazz Soc, Salmon Arm BC
Oct 2 – Jazz Club Revelstoke, BC (in the Regent Inn)
Oct 3 – Vernon Jazz Club, Vernon BC
Nov 12- Fratters Speakeasy, Red Deer, AB
Nov 13- Calgary all Canadian Jazz Fest, Calgary AB
Nov 14- Yardbird Suite, Edmonton AB
Nov 15- House concert Golden BC
Nov 16 – Pynelogs, Invermere BC
Nov 20 – Frankie’s Vancouver BC

Also appearing:
Oct 18 – Jazz vespers @ St. Andrew’s Wesley in Vancouver BC


Produced in Toronto by Jill Barber co-conspirator Les Cooper and released on Vancouver’s esteemed Cellar Live imprint, the sophomore album from Vancouver-based indie artist Andrea Superstein is a quirky, arty, pop-jazz tour-de-force.
The ambitious production draws on Andrea’s background in musical theatre, her training as a jazz vocalist, and her love of 90s trip hop acts like Portishead and Morcheeba – and it pulls them all together into a wonderfully playful and cohesive musical package.

The diverse repertoire on What Goes On includes a super sexy version of Bananarama’s “Venus,” a heavily Portissed-up rendition of Radiohead’s “Karma Police,” a sultry original about Andrea’s awkward first date with her now-husband (“Just One Time”) – featuring a chorus sung by the Juno-winning Good Lovelies – and a wistful rendition of “I Love Paris,” marked by gauzy accordion and moody bass.

The cherry red-haired chanteuse also turns in a mischievous cover of “I Want to Be Evil,” punctuated with Hammond B3; a nostalgic original called “My Baby Loves Me,” which is inspired by early jazz; and a groovy version of Jean Leloup’s “I Lost My Baby” that sees the Montreal-born-and-raised Andrea singing in French. Read the rest of this entry »

Alicia Hansen follows up her auspicious debut with her experimental Companion

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Alicia Hansen and Ben Brown – Companion, releases Aug. 25

Album launch concert Sept. 24 at Pyatt Hall, VSO School of Music
8 p.m.
Tickets $8 plus service charge adv. $10 at the door.
Advance tickets at http://aliciahansenbenbrown.brownpapertickets.com/

“Bleak and brilliant” – Alex Varty, The Georgia Straight

“Her ethereal voice and classically informed arrangements come together in experimental pop that’s both listenable and challenging … It’s rare to come across a musician so fully formed yet so new to touring and recording.” – Benjamin Boles, Now

In the four years since her beautiful and disturbing solo debut Fractography earned ebullient critical praise, one-time Vancouver Chamber Choir vocalist Alicia Hansen has gone from the hell of depression, toxic relationships and a crisis of meaning to the complicated joys of marriage, motherhood, and artistic maturation.

Her personal journey has also transformed her already- riveting music, taking its jagged shards of artistic brilliance – dissonant passages combining ominous piano, chillingly ethereal vocals, and abstract lyrics – and rendering them even more powerful in their newfound cohesion.

The result is Companion, a one-of-a-kind collaboration between the pianist/singer and her long-time artistic companion, Juno-winning drummer Ben Brown. Read the rest of this entry »

The Slocan Ramblers release Chris Coole-produced sophomore album Coffee Creek

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July 21 – Battleford House Concert, North Battleford SK (7:30pm tickets: jessica.labman@gmail.com)
July 22 – The Blackfoot Balehouse, Blackfoot AB (7:30 pm tickets: peterleonore1968@gmail.com)
July 24-26 – Dawson City Music Festival, Dawson City YT
July 28 – Fratters Speakeasy, Red Deer AB
July 29 – The Geomatic Attic, Lethbridge, AB
July 30 – Waterton Lakes Opera House, Waterton Lakes National Park AB 8pm
Aug. 1-2 – Kaslo Jazz Etc. Fest, Kaslo BC
Aug. 4 – The Blue House, 503 4th St, Nelson (7:30pm tickets: Otter Books, 398 Baker St, 250-352-3434)
Aug. 5 – Fernie Arts Station, Fernie BC (6:30-8:30pm)
Aug. 6 – Ironwood Stage & Grill, Calgary AB (8pm)
Aug. 7-9 – Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Edmonton AB
Aug. 10 – Connections Coffee House, Sangudo AB (7:30pm)
Aug. 11 – The Stop Coffee House, Black Diamond AB
Aug. 12 – Sneedden House Concerts, Kelowna BC (7:30pm)
Aug. 14-15 – Salmon Arts Roots & Blues Festival, Salmon Arm BC
Aug. 16 – Shady Grove Bluegrass Fest, Nanton AB
Aug 21 – Roy Thomson Hall Patio, Toronto ON

Best New Artist at the 2013 Toronto Jazz FestivalTorontoist

“Every few years a new generation of bluegrass players seems to be spawned from the hipster streets of Toronto. Enter the Slocan Ramblers, one of the hottest young bluegrass bands I’ve heard for ages. […] It’s hard to single any of them out, they all play so darned smooth and make it sound so easy.” – Penguin Eggs Magazine

Add Toronto’s Slocan Ramblers to the list of bands taking a pass on polished pop production values and embracing the unvarnished authenticity of old-time mountain music and bluegrass – while showcasing their own worldly influences.

Praised everywhere from Hockey Night in Canada to the pages of Sing Out magazine for their debut effort Shaking Down the Acorns, and having already opened for Steve Martin and been featured in a TV series alongside the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Slocans are getting set to launch a follow-up album, Coffee Creek on July 16 Read the rest of this entry »

Gypsophilia launches new Joshua Van Tassel-produced album, Night Swimming

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Halifax album launch shows
June 6, 7pm cabaret show, the Company House
June 6, 10:30pm dance party, the Company House
June 7, 2:30pm all-ages matinee, the Company House
Tickets for each show $19.55 at https://gypsophilia.bandcamp.com/merch

Jazz Festival Tour
May 30 – Apple Blossom Festival, Wolfville, NS
16 June – Winnipeg International Jazz Festival
19 June – Edmonton International Jazz Festival
20 June – Vancouver International Jazz Festival
21 June – Victoria International JazzFest
24 June – Rochester Jazz Festival
25 June – Ottawa International Jazz Festival
26 June – Toronto TBC
June 28-29 – Montreal International Jazz Festival

Recorded in Joel Plaskett’s New Scotland Yard Studio and produced by Joshua Van Tassel, the new album from Halifax indie act Gypsophilia is a haunting, cinematic work of “music noir” – combining the band’s swinging blend of hot jazz, indie pop, klezmer and global influences with a dark, sophisticated, and atmospheric sonic palette. Read the rest of this entry »

Ex Canada Council music section chief is now fully in the spotlight with second release, In Plain Sight

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After reclaiming his physical voice for his debut solo album Crazy Shades of Blue, ex Canada Council music section chief Russ Kelley finds his artistic voice with the rawer, In Plain Sight.

The long-time civil servant even finds his political voice on this album – relishing his freedom to speak out at last.

An accomplished performer and songwriter in the 60s and 70s, who had a #1 hit in 1972 when Renée Martel’s “Partir Au Soleil” (a French version of his “Elaine”) went to the top of the charts in Quebec, Russ shifted his focus into arts administration after vocal cord surgery in the late 80s robbed him of his singing voice.

In 2012, with those vocal cords now functioning again, Russ returned to music, this time as a song-craftsmen who performs with hushed intensity and a smoky blues style.

Now, with In Plain Sight, Russ finds himself building on that sound with a collection of songs that could be described as a meditation on getting older. The songs talk about the ending of relationships (“I Keep Talking”), new beginnings (“No Looking Back” and “It Must Be Love”), and the struggles that continue as we age. Russ speaks to adult bullying in “Think Before You Jump”, while the heart-wrenching “Memory” is a song for caregivers that derives from Russ’ personal experience while his mother battled Alzheimer’s.

And then there’s “We’re Falling,” a first foray into political song-writing for the long-time civil servant, who was accustomed to keeping his politics to himself. Finally free to speak his mind, Russ adds to the political folk song cannon with a lament about the erosion of Canadian democracy.

Though a veteran musician, whose 60s band Rings and Things was courted by major labels and booking agents – only to break up after deciding global stardom wasn’t for them – Russ has reinvented himself in a way he never thought would be possible at 67 years young. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »