The Raven’s Sun sheds light on Catherine MacLellan’s brighter days

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Catherine MacLellan launches The Raven’s Sun August 19

Halifax album launch concert August 26, 9pm, at the Carleton
Tickets $15 Info: 902-422-6335

Charlottetown album launch concert August 30, 8pm, at the Mack
61 University Ave., Charlottetown
All ages. Tickets $27
Tickets at, 1-800-565-0278, 902-566-1267 or in person at the Confederation Centre for the Arts box office.

In the creation stories of many Pacific Coast First Nations, the raven is the being who brings light to the world.

For Catherine MacLellan, the allusion to light-into-darkness was so perfectly suited to the theme of her new album that she borrowed the reference for its title.
The Raven’s Sun is a collection of songs that reflect the brighter place Catherine finds herself in these days, thanks in part to her happy musical and personal partnership with guitarist Chris Gauthier and an emerging sense that she’s gaining the upper hand in her lifelong battle with depression. Read the rest of this entry »

VENTANAS Brings World Music Dance Parties to Western Canada and Quebec

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VENTANAS Magic Carpet Tour of Canada
Summer 2014

July 17: DUNCAN, BC – 39 Days of July
July 18: HARRISON, BC – Harrison Festival of the Arts
July 19-20: VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Folk Music Festival
July 22: VANCOUVER, BC – Sephardic Music Workshop
(at Gandharva Loka World Music Store)
July 24: KELOWNA, BC – Minstrel Café
July 25 – FOREST GROVE, BC — Hootstock Festival
July 27: CALGARY, AB – Calgary Flamenco Workshops
July 28: CALGARY, AB – Café Koi
July 29: EDMONTON, AB – The Artery
(with guests Jane Ogilvie and Deborah Ibach)
July 31: PRINCE GEORGE, BC – The ArtSpace
Aug 1-4: WELLS, BC –ArtsWells Festival
Aug 5: CHEMAINUS, BC – Music in Waterwheel Park
Aug 6: CHEMAINUS, BC – Barefoot Flamenco on the Beach Workshop
Aug 7: DUNCAN, BC – Duncan Garage Showroom
(with Camille Miller)
Aug 11: VICTORIA, BC Victoria Flamenco Festival
Aug 12: MONTREAL, QC – Casa del Popolo
(with Quique Escamilla)
Aug 13-14:SHERBROOKE, QC – Festival Traditions du Monde
Aug 15-17: OWEN SOUND, ON –Summerfolk Festival

“VENTANAS! A group that can get the party going, take you on a whimsical journey and lure you in…” – Pascale Wilmot, Koerner Hall

Born out of Toronto’s Fedora Upside Down urban folk movement, Ventanas brings together musicians, dancers and audiences from the city’s diverse ethnic folk scenes. Balkan, Turkish, Sephardic and Flamenco music and dance are fused into a high-energy world music and dance show tailor-made for everything from the street to the greatest folk festivals across the country, to the international stage. Read the rest of this entry »

Ash Grunwald tours B.C. to launch new, exclusive-to-North-America best-of album

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Album launch date:  July 17

Album launch tour:

19 July - Fusion Festival, Surrey, BC - Sat 4:30 – 5:00pm Main Stage

20 July – Fusion Festival, Surrey, BC - Sun 7:15-7:45pm Chevron Stage

24 July – GLC, Whistler, BC - 10:00 pm showtime, doors 9pm Tix $15 adv / $20 at the door

26/27 July – Kispiox Music Festival, Kispiox, BC

30 July – Duncan Cowichan Festival Society, Duncan, BC – FREE SHOW outdoors

31 July – The Rainbow Room, Port Alberni, BC - Tix $18 adv / $20 at the door

2 Aug – Hope Bay Camp, Pender Island, BC (changed!)

3 Aug – Nanaimo Entertainment Centre, Nanaimo, BC - 10:30pm showtime.

Aug 8 – Morningside Organic Bakery, Café, and Bookstore, Saltspring Island, BC (new!)

Aug 10 – Uptown Live!  New Westminister, BC (new!)

For cose to ten years now, five-time ARIA-nominated Australian rocker – and die-hard surfer and boarder! — Ash Grunwald has been quietly sneaking out of his homeland for a couple of weeks each Canadian winter for a “working vacation” of gigging and snowboarding in B.C.

Now he’s making his second summer trek to the West Coast to launch an album produced specially for his North American fans.

The self-titled seventeen-song compilation is a “best of so far,” designed to introduce the hundreds of resort-town-dwellers who have adopted Ash as their own in recent years to his complete body of work. Read the rest of this entry »

Musician and yogini Amy Thiessen showcases her grounded folk-pop on In Between Goodbyes

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Amy Thiessen launches In Between Goodbyes

May 31 – Festival Hall, Calgary

Doors: 7pm    Start: 8pm

Early Tickets $25 (includes album)

Tickets (after May 15) $30

Tickets at:

June 7 – Prana Yoga Studio, Edmonton

The artsy, vegetarian offspring of a conservative Alberta farming family who was championed by a free-spirited older sister who died of cancer impossibly young, Amy Thiessen has devoted her life to both the creative and the healing arts.

Those worlds fuse subtly on her sophomore album, In Between Goodbyes, in the form of captivating folk-pop songs that showcase a seemingly-effortless authenticity and an ease with exploring the depths of one’s spiritual and emotional life.

Amy’s calling card is her powerful, versatile pop voice, which defies easy comparison to other artists but that at times recalls many:  the dreaminess of Dido, the jazzy sophistication of Joni Mitchell, and the raw fragility of Basia Bulat, to name but a few.  Her arrangements straddle the divide between indie folk and pop.  And her song-writing, sparklingly original and free of clichés, is reminiscent of the mature, sophisticated pop song-craft of artists such as Jann Arden …only with decidedly rootsier production.     Read the rest of this entry »

Colleen Rennison launches See The Sky About To Rain June 3

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July 31 at St. James Hall

With Steve Dawson and the Black Hen Band

Doors 7pm.  Show 8pm.

Tickets $24 ($20 Rogue folk Club members)

Available at Highlife, Rufus’ Guitars and at

Info/reservation:  604.736.3022


At any given moment, there are so many sounds competing for our attention that it’s easy to get

overwhelmed and hear nothing. But, every now and then, a voice comes along that cuts through all the random noise and clatter, a voice that makes you stop and really listen because whatever you were doing up until that point isn’t as important as listening to it and letting it take you where it wants to go.


Colleen Rennison has a voice like that. A voice that channels power, tenderness and a range of emotions that seem like they couldn’t possibly come from a singer who’s only 25 years old. Colleen has a voice that can floor you, and envelop you, and bring all of the pain and struggles of your life crashing down on you like a tidal wave. It’s a voice and phrasing that took Etta James decades to properly control, that Aretha Franklin had to go to Hell and back to even go

near. Yes, it can hurt to listen to Colleen sing, but it’s a hurting you’ll want to go through over and over again because of how much you feel better, lighter, cleansed, every time you hear it. Read the rest of this entry »

Chart-topping country artist and search and rescue pilot, John Landry pays homage to his journey on Don’t Look Back

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 May 24 – Capitol Theatre, Port Hope, ON

June 5 – Black Forest Inn, Conestogo, ON

June 7 – London Music Club, London, ON

June 13 – Roxy Theatre, Owen Sound, ON

June 15 – Piggery Theatre, North Hatley, QC

June 19 – Harmony House, Hunter River, PEI

June 20 – Company House, Halifax, NS


Most people daydream of quitting their day jobs and pursuing success as a musician.

John Landry did things the other way round.

After bursting onto the Canadian country scene in the late 90s, earning five CCMAs, three Juno nominations and two top ten albums of the year at CMN, Landry took his foot off the accelerator when it came to his music career … and pursued his dream of becoming a Canadian Forces search and rescue helicopter pilot.

Now, after a three-year tour flying Cormorants with 103 squadron in Gander, Newfoundland, during which he participated in countless daring rescues, including one that made national news, Landry is – quite literally – back!

A newly-minted “Tiger,” flying Griffin Helicopters with 424 Squadron out of Trenton, ON, “Captain Landry” has readied the release of a brand new album, Don’t Look Back, an album he regards as a tribute to his uncommonly winding journey through life.    Read the rest of this entry »

Dragons’ Den success story Eh440 launches debut album!

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Serena Ryder guests on Turn Me Up

 May 24 – London Music Club, London, ON

May 27 – The Drake, Toronto, ON

May 31 – Pickering Rib Fest, Pickering, ON

June 7 – Theatre 311, Listowel, ON

June 20-21 – Rideau Carleton Raceway, Ottawa, ON

June 27 – Black Forest Inn, Conestogo, ON

July 1 – Pickering, ON

August 21 – Prismatic Festival, Halifax, ON

Just one year after its 2012 debut, a cappella “super group” Eh440 sang and beatboxed its way into CBC’s Dragons’ Den and seduced three dragons into opening their cheque books for the group!


The selling point?  An unforgettable combination of crazy-ass beatboxing, sassy rapping, killer harmonies, and fresh, urban, RnB-influenced compositions that are more likely to evoke TLC or Salt n’ Peppa than the Nylons or the Flying Pickets.

It didn’t hurt that the fledgling ensemble’s sexy, high-energy stage show had already made them an in-demand act on the circuit, guaranteeing an impressive revenue stream for the hard-nosed investors.  Heck, even Kevin O’Leary wanted in, although the band turned down his offer in favour of one from Arlene Dickenson and David Chilton. Read the rest of this entry »

Toronto’s seamy history comes to life in the hands of B.C.’s Bob Bossin

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Bob Bossin’s Davy the Punk toasts Bossin’s outlaw father 

May 28-31 – Uno Festival, Victoria

June 3-7 – Havana, Vancouver

June 10-14 – Innes Deluxe Theatre, Toronto

June 19-29 – Ottawa Fringe Festival, Ottawa

July 16-27 – Winnipeg Fringe Festival

June 30, Concordia University, Montreal

Pioneering B.C. indie musician Bob Bossin brings to life the seedy underbelly of 1930s and 40s Toronto in a new musical stage show based on the life of his outlaw father.

Called “a triple crown of music, wry comedy, and affecting family reunion” by presenter Frank Moher, Bob Bossin’s Davy the Punk introduces audiences to a fixture of the gambling underworld, a nemesis of the Toronto police department, a fan of outrageous scams and schemes worthy of Threepenny Opera, and some would say, a victim of the rampant anti-Semitism of his day – a man who made a living where he could, but then got out so as not to raise his son in that world.

The stories are uproarious and told with great dramatic flair.  The songs are down-home, expressive, and folksy.  And together, they convey Davy’s story with a mischievous wink, a wistful sense of nostalgia, and an obvious affection for the father Bossin now realizes he hardly knew.  They also introduce us to the dark side of Toronto the Good and fill in a missing chapter in Canadian Jewish history.

“A smashing success,” raved Eric Stein of Toronto’s Ashkenaz Festival. “The capacity audience was enthralled by the colourful characters, touching anecdotes and characteristic Bossin songs. Bob’s intelligence, erudition and folksy charm combine in an intimate musical theatre experience for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Canadian Music Competition Announces Contenders in its Elite Stepping Stone Competition

 First elimination round:   

May 21-24 at Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto


May 26 and 27 at the Mazzoleni Concert Hall, Ihnatowycz Hall, The Royal Conservatory, Telus Centre for Performance and Learning, Toronto


May 29 at the Mazzoleni Concert Hall — Ihnatowycz Hall, The Royal Conservatory, Telus Centre for Performance and Learning, Toronto

 Winners will perform May 29th at 8pm at the Mazzoleni Concert Hall

 For photos of the contestants, please click on “CMC Materials” on the menu bar

The Canadian Music Competition (CMC) is proud to announce the names of the thirty outstanding young musicians who have been selected to compete in this year’s Stepping Stone – the prestigious, elite-level classical music competition that helps propel top talent onto the world stage.

Their names are listed below.

From May 21 to 29, these musicians will compete in Toronto for a grand prize of $10,000, offered by Canimex, major sponsor of the 2014 CMC and Stepping Stone.  The grand prize winner will also receive a three-week residency at the Banff Centre and a chance to perform with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec at the competition’s July 5 gala concert in Quebec City.  Read the rest of this entry »

Jim Byrnes launches St. Louis Times

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“After more than four decades in the music business, it sounds as if Byrnes is just hitting his stride.”

– No Depression

 “Byrnes is never imitative of any other vocalist. He rides these tunes just right, with a perfect balance of passion and restraint — a winning combination in a bluesman of any era.”

Jim Byrnes lives and breathes music. For nearly fifty years he’s crooned, drawled, belted, hollered and sweet- talked more songs into a microphone than most people ever get to hear in a single lifetime.

Even so, he’s never recorded an album like this one.  St. Louis Times is Byrnes’ most personal record to date. Reminiscences of his childhood home of St. Louis are expressed through his original compositions as well as versions of songs he grew up with that were recorded by St. Louis musicians. By revisiting songs associated with Chuck Berry, Stump Johnson, Little Milton, Peetie Wheatstraw and more, Jim Byrnes takes us on an intimate musical journey through a world that has passed by – just in time for the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city of St. Louis and the 100th anniversary of the song ‘St. Louis Blues.’

St. Louis Times is the sixth album that Jim Byrnes and Steve Dawson have recorded together, and its release coincides with the tenth anniversary of their partnership. With that in mind, Dawson gathered some of the best roots musicians in Canada together for a super session to record the basic tracks for St. Louis Times on vintage equipment in a big old studio blessed with brilliant ambience and acoustics. As usual Dawson’s signature string work rides shotgun through St. Louis Times and has never sounded more right for Jim’s songs, while Darryl Havers’ innovative keyboard work and the rock solid rhythm section of Jeremy Holmes on bass and the tireless Geoff Hicks on drums gracefully support every track. Horns from a host of legendary Nashville players provide depth and texture on many of St. Louis Times’ best songs.

Jim’s old friend John Hammond passed through Vancouver while St. Louis Times was being recorded, which provided the perfect opportunity for the two veterans to duck into the studio and cement a forty-year friendship in song. Hammond trades verses with Byrnes on ‘Duck’s Yas Yas Yas’, offers some tasty National Steel on ‘Cake Alley’ – an ode to one of St. Louis’ seedier neighbourhoods of yesteryear – and blows some serious harp on ‘Evil’ and ‘I Believe That Was A Lie.’ Not to be outdone, the Canadian blues icon, Colin James stepped up to play an acoustic solo on ‘That Will Never Do’ that may very well be the best thing he’s ever recorded. No Sinner’s Colleen Rennison also dropped by the session to belt and snarl her way through ‘Miss Me,’ the old Fontella Bass and Bobby McLure hit that will surely be remembered as one of the finest performances on St. Louis Blues. Read the rest of this entry »