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: http://www.amythiessen.com

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 www.roguefolk.bc.ca

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

www.davythepunk.com

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

 Semi-Final: 

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

 Final: 

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 »

Eliana Cuevas brings Espejo to Western Canada

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April 17 – Wine Oh’s, Calgary

April 18 – Yardbird Suite, Edmonton

April 19 – Pat’s Pub, Vancouver

April 25 – Hermann’s Jazz Club, Victoria

April 26 – The Bassment, Saskatoon

                Newly-nominated for two Independent Music Awards for her latest album, Espejo, Latin-jazz chanteuse Eliana Cuevas will tour Western Canada next month, introducing audiences to her most ambitious and personal recording to date.

                It’s Cuevas’ first Western Canadian run since the album’s May 2013 release, and it will showcase both her extraordinary range as a vocalist and composer, as well as her one-of-a-kind blends of Latin rhythms and jazz.  She will be joined on stage by some of the finest musicians in Canada, all composers in their own right:  Jeremy Ledbetter (piano) George Koller (bass) and Daniel Barnes (drums).  Their chemistry, forged over nearly a decade of playing together, combined with Cuevas’ absolute marvel of a voice, will make for performances that are exciting, spontaneous, original and filled with passion – the perfect vehicle for her stunning new music. Read the rest of this entry »

Ann Vriend’s New Album Captures the Heart of the Inner City with Explosive Retro Soul Beats

Ann Vriend

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Ann Vriend launches For the People in the Mean Time

March 13 – Mikey’s Juke Joint, Calgary, AB
March 15 – The Slice, Lethbridge, AB
March 19 – The Root Emporium, Lloydminister, AB
March 20 – The Artery, Edmonton, AB
March 21 – TBC, Toronto, ON

Ann Vriend’s new album, For the People in the Mean Time, tells tough tales of inner city life against a backdrop of explosive retro soul beats and harmonies, with Vriend’s absolute marvel of a voice – oft-likened to that of a young Dolly Parton or Aretha Franklin – guiding the way.

Crowned “The One” by last year’s Ottawa Folk Fest “She’s the One” talent search, Vriend borrows sounds from the likes of Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Sly Stone, P Funk, Ray Charles and the Queen of Soul herself to give her album that old familiar soul feeling. Toronto indie producer Tino Zolfo, meanwhile, keeps the overall sound contemporary to current pop with just a hint of his signature quirk.
For the People in the Mean Time was inspired in part by Vriend’s six years-and-counting as a resident of Edmonton’s McCauley neighbourhood, a place where it’s not uncommon to find discarded syringes in one’s back yard, a homeless person sleeping on one’s doorstep, or even a person in the throws of mental illness breaking into one’s house. And yet it’s also a place where a fierce camaraderie exists among those who live on the streets, and where artists such as Vriend, drawn to the neighbourhood’s affordable rents, come to creatively and beautifully reckon with the forces responsible for the chaos.
Vriend’s response was to borrow from the ethos of the blues. Tell it like it is. Get some grooves on. And play and sing your heart out!! Because you may not be able to solve anyone’s problems, but everyone goes home feeling better for having shared in the process. And indeed, a person would have to be made of stone not to feel great after listening to Vriend’s out and out celebration of the complexities of human suffering. Read the rest of this entry »

Juno-winner Steve Dawson launches Rattlesnake Cage

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Album launch dates:

Mar 20 – Saskatoon, SK / The Bassment
Mar 21 – Calgary, AB / Calgary Folk Festival Hall
Mar 22 – Sherwood Park, AB / Festival Place Theatre
Mar 23 – Fort St. John, BC / North Peace Cultural Centre
Mar 25 – Gibsons, BC / Gibsons Heritage Playhouse
Mar 26 – Cumberland, BC / Cumberland Hotel
Mar 27 – Saltspring Island, BC / Southend Grooveyard Farmhouse
Mar 28 – Victoria, BC / Hermann’s
Mar 29 – Errington, BC / Errington War Memorial Hall
Mar 30 – Vancouver, BC / St. James Hall
Mar 31 – Chilliwack, BC / Bozzinni’s
Apr 24 – Burnstown, ON / Neat Food
Apr 25 – Montreal, PQ / Petit Campus
Apr 26 – St. John’s, NL / LSPU Hall
Apr 27 – Halifax, NS / The Carleton
Apr 29 – London, ON / Aeolian Hall (new!)
Apr 30 – Huntsville, ON / Etwell Concert Series
May 1 – Toronto, ON / Hugh’s Room
May 3 – Innisfil, ON / Music Up Close
May 4 – Picton, ON / Acoustic Grill

“Anyone who can hear Dawson play and not be moved is made of stone!”
– Penguin Eggs Magazine

“One magazine has referred to Steve Dawson as the T-Bone Burnett of Canada. I tend to think of him more as a Canadian version of Ry Cooder… his fine slide guitar and storytelling, everything seeming to flow effortlessly.” – Toledo Blade

Sometimes it’s best to just put up a microphone in a room, sit down and play your guitar…

This is the record that Steve Dawson’s growing number of fans have been waiting for. ‘Rattlesnake Cage’ finally gives them the opportunity to hear Steve interact with his guitar in a way that has never been captured on record before. Until now, hearing the sweet melodies and deep soul of Steve playing solo guitar has been a treat reserved for live audiences in intimate settings. These new simple and unadorned recordings hearken back to the ‘American Primitive’ sound that John Fahey and other artists such as Peter Lang and Leo Kottke recorded on Fahey’s iconic Takoma record label in the sixties – instrumental music informed by the deep traditions of blues, ragtime, jazz and even Hawaiian music, but taking those influences in unexpected directions. The opening track, ‘Blind Thomas at the Crime Scene’ which takes its title from Fahey’s earliest nom de plume is the recording that most clearly communicates Dawson’s respect for the American Primitive aesthetic, and gives the listener the clearest indication of what’s to come. Read the rest of this entry »