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 »

Lynne Hanson tours Western Canada with River of Sand

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River of Sand Western Canada album launch dates:

 Feb. 13 – Wild Earth Bakery, Edmonton

Feb. 14 – Gilmour Guitars, Red Deer

Feb. 15 – Good Earth Coffee House, Canmore

Feb. 17 – White Rose Music and Art Society, Leduc

Feb. 18 – Harvest Coffee House, Pincher Creek

Feb. 19 – Wine Ohs, Calgar

Tied with Lucinda Williams on Penguin Eggs’ Top Ten Albums of 2014 list and called “one of the standout country albums of the year” by the Irish Times, Lynne Hanson’s River of Sand has seen its creator duly rewarded for the artistic courage she showed in making the record.

Long-praised for her raw, confessional song-writing, the award-winning Americana artist reflects on the chaos of life prior to September 1, 2011, the day she gave up drinking, and on the pain that can drive a person to seek relief any way they know how.

The album was #14 on Stingray Digital’s Top 100 of the year, got a five-star review in R2, and was featured in the Ottawa Citizen’s year-end Ottawa Music Playlist.  It was also featured on The International Americana Music Show’s Best of the Year program.

Now Hanson is preparing to debut the album in Western Canada.

Award-winning Australian indie Ash Grunwald brings hard-driving hip-hop-inspired punk-rock-blues to the Prairies … and back to B.C.!

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Already a major draw in Canada’s West Coast ski resort towns, Ash has signed with the Agency Group and will debut across Canada this year

Seventeen-song self-titled best-of compilation out now!
Western Canadian dates, February 2015:
Feb 7 – Surf and Song Festival, Port Renfrew, BC
Feb 8 – Duncan Showroom, Duncan, BC
Feb 10 – The Fox Cabaret, Vancouver, BC
Feb 11 – GLC, Whistler, BC
Feb 12 – Snowshoe Sam’s, Big White, BC
Feb 13 – The Last Drop, Revelstoke, BC
Feb 15 – Wild Bill’s, Banff, AB
Feb 17 – The Artery, Edmonton, AB
Feb 18 – Vangelis Tavern, Saskatoon, SK
Feb 19 – Festival Hall, Calgary, AB
Feb 20 – O’Hanlon’s, Regina, SK

Australian indie Ash Grunwald first started recording swampy, stomp-box-driven, hip-hop-inspired blues music around the same time R.L. Burnside was teaming up with the Fat Possum crew in the U.S.

Today, he’s a five-time ARIA nominee (that would be Australia’s Juno), whose hard-driving mixtures of punk rock, hip-hip, blues, electronica, rock and soul have earned him performances at the Montreaux Jazz Festival; airplay on Australia’s venerated Triple M; spots on the soundtracks to Moneyball and Limitless; and gigs opening for James Brown, the Black Keys, Jack Johnson and, most recently, Xavier Rudd.

Now, after a decade of taking “working vacations” on Canada’s West Coast each winter, during which the avid snowboarder would board by day and gig at night – drawing crowds of up to 400 in resort towns like Whistler – Ash is getting ready to take the rest of Canada like a fierce winter storm. Read the rest of this entry »

Juno-nominated Montreal indie Michael Jerome Browne reimagines songs of the Deep South

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Sliding Delta releases January 20

Launch dates:
January 17 – Blues Summit, Toronto
January 21 – Irene’s, Ottawa
January 24 – Petit campus, Montreal
January 25 – The Rivoli, Toronto

Three-time Juno-nominee and two-time CFMA Solo Artist of the Year, Montreal indie artist Michael Jerome Browne is Canada’s living, breathing encyclopedia of the music of the Deep South — and his new album, Sliding Delta, is a tribute to the artists who first ignited his passion for their sound.

With intimate, acoustic covers of lesser-known tracks by Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charlie Patton, Blind Willie McTell and other greats, Michael pays homage to the understated soul of rural blues music.

The title track comes from Mississippi John Hurt, the early 20th century Delta bluesman who was as celebrated for his skills on the axe as he was for his song-writing — his syncopated finger-picking style being credited with influencing John Fahey and a generation of musicians who came after him.

“I Heard Somebody Call” and “Write Me a Few Lines” are both tracks by Mississippi Fred McDowell, a breakthrough artist in the Northern Mississippi blues tradition of hypnotic, rhythmic riffing that would later be popularized by R.L. Burnside and the Fat Possum crew.

And “Frisco Town” comes from the first session Columbia Records recorded with women’s blues pioneer Memphis Minnie and her then husband Kansas Joe McCoy.

All the tracks were recorded live off the floor over three days, and feature Michael on several six and 12-string guitars, five-string banjo, mandolin, and rack harp.
Read the rest of this entry »

Lynne Hanson takes a sober look at living hard on River of Sand

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River of Sand street date: September 16, 2014

 River of Sand album launch dates:

October 25 – The Moonshine Café, Oakville, ON

November 1 – Fromagerie, Sudbury, ON

November 7 – Dakota Tavern, Toronto, ON

November 8 – The Black Shire, London,  ON

November 14 – National Arts Centre, Ottawa

November 15 – the Branch, Kemptville, ON

November 30 – The Mansion, Kingston, ON

 Long-praised for her raw, confessional songwriting, award-winning Americana artist Lynne Hanson displays a whole new level of artistic courage on River of Sand – her first album in nearly four years, released almost three years to the day she traded in her hard-living ways.
Working for the first time with producer Lynn Miles, Hanson reflects on the chaos of life prior to September 1, 2011, the day she gave up drinking, and on the pain that can drive a person to seek relief any way they know how.

The title track and “Whiskey and Tears” are both sober looks back at life as it was before.

“Heaven and Hell” is a brooding contemplation of depression and “This too Shall Pass” a delicate and courageous confession about its darker moments.

“Foolish Things” is a breathtaking, intimate melody about losing track of one’s priorities. “Colour My Summers Blue” is a tender ballad about drinking to kill the pain of a lost romance. And “That Old House” is a heartbreaking number that finds Hanson feeling the pain of another lost love. Read the rest of this entry »

Canadian roots heavyweights headline the Black Hen Traveling Roadshow

Nov 12 2014 Winnipeg, MB West End Cultural Centre
Nov 13 2014 Saskatoon, SK The Bassment
Nov 14 2014 Edmonton, AB The Artery
Nov 15 2014 Calgary, AB Lantern Community Church, Inglewood Music Club
Nov 16 2014 Swift Current, SK Lyric Theatre
Nov 19 2014 Penticton, BC Dream Cafe
Nov 20 2014 Vancouver, BC The Electric Owl
Nov 21 2014 Victoria, BC St. Andrew’s Church
Nov 22 2014 Whitehorse, YT Yukon Arts Centre

 Three of Canada’s greatest roots musicians will hit concert venues this fall as part of the Black Hen Travelling Roadshow – an all-acoustic showcase of Black Hen Music’s biggest names, performing both individually and collaboratively on stage. Read the rest of this entry »

Fish & Bird launch Something in the Ether

Fish and Bird

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Fish & Bird Something in the Ether album launch tour

Oct. 1  Vancouver BC – Biltmore Cabaret.

Oct. 2  Victoria BC – Victoria Event Centre

Oct. 3  Kelowna BC – Streaming Cafe

Oct. 4  Ymir BC – Old School House

Oct. 5  Twin Butte AB – General store

Oct. 7  Calgary AB – Wine-Oh’s

Oct. 8  Edmonton AB – Artery

Oct. 9  Saskatoon SK – Vangelis tavern

Oct. 11 Regina SK – Artful Dodger

Oct. 12 Winnipeg MB – Park Theatre

“Fish & Bird’s carefully planned, creative musical juxtapositions are a delight, all the better given the scarcity of such inventiveness in much of today’s safe, homogenised musical output.”  R2 Magazine (UK)


Raised on equal parts roots music and Radiohead, WCMA nominees Fish & Bird have received praise on both sides of the Atlantic for their refreshingly unclichéd writing. With Something in the Ether the young band continues to reimagine folk music for a new generation.

Founding members Taylor Ashton and Adam Iredale-Gray are once again joined on the new album by drummer Ben Kelly, electric guitarist Ryan Boeur, and upright bassist Zoe Guigueno for a collection of songs that effortlessly fuses their traditional folk influences and experimental leanings into a coherent, modern-day roots opus.   For the first time, all five members took part in writing all of the arrangements, making Ether the band’s most cohesive album to date and the first to fully realize the potential of the full line-up.  Read the rest of this entry »

New Amy Thiessen dates!

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Sep 3 - Lethbridge – Owl Acoustic Lounge

Sep 4 - Kimberly – The Platzl/ Green Door

Sep 5 - Kimberly – BJs

Sep 6 - Nelson – Expressions Cafe

Sep 7 - Kelowna – Neumovement Yoga studio

Sep 8 - Summerland – Private yoga/ concert

Sep 11 - Vancouver – Railway Club

Sep 12 - Vancouver – Cafe Deux Soloeils

Sep 16 - Prince George – Nancy Ohs Read the rest of this entry »