Alicia Hansen follows up her auspicious debut with her experimental Companion

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

“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:
July 22 – The Blackfoot Balehouse, Blackfoot AB (7:30 pm tickets:
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

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 »

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 »