Choir Nation has confirmed or is confirming the availability of Canada’s biggest musical artists. The roster includes Juno winners and nominees, songwriting award winners and artists that have toured extensively across Canada and the globe. Check back to this page as we add the names of confirmed artists!

Alan Few
Alan Frew
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Alan Frew
Alan Frew has always had a passion for reinvention; a passion that’s defined his 30-plus year career in the entertainment business, including more recently his work as a public speaker and best-selling author. Now that passion for reinvention has been applied unreservedly to his new record, 80290 Rewind, Scheduled for release on Nov 6th 2015 on Black Box Recordings, 80290 Rewind
finds Frew taking on beloved 80’s tracks – a set of songs from the decade during which his Juno Award-winning, Grammy-nominated band, Glass Tiger, became one of the most popular bands in the world – including Tears For Fears’ Hold Me Now, Simple Minds ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’, John Waite’s ‘Missing You’ and Glass Tiger’s ‘Someday’.

“They’re amazing songs,” Frew says, “Songs that I loved as a fan and now love even more of as a vocalist. Due to the production of the time, so many songs of the 80’s weren’t quite appreciated for just how beautiful and well crafted they are. So, in the studio, we let the voice lead the way and went with ‘less is more’ when it came to the band.” The intent was to completely reinvent the songs by adopting a stripped down approach in an effort to ensure their melodies, lyrics and core sentiments shone through as never before. “And the end result is exactly what we envisioned, pure and simple,” Frew says.

Although the album draws on material as diverse as ‘Nothing Compares To You’ and ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’, Frew, producers Jason Murray and Sean Andrews, and a high-powered band including Matchbox Twenty guitarist, Kyle Cook, treated the songs as a unit, creating a record that hangs together, both sonically and lyrically, and on which the melody and lyrics of these classic songs have never stood out so profoundly.

“The eighties were an era where so much of the music was defined by positive emotions and ideas,” Frew adds.

As if the vocal challenge of 80290 Rewind wasn’t enough, Frew experienced a major setback when after the final recording of his vocals at his home studio in Ontario in late summer 2015, he suffered a stroke in his sleep, which left him with temporary paralysis on his right side. “I was thinking of my family and friends first and foremost, but the album, my voice and whether I’d be able to sing again weren’t far behind,” he says, “particularly having just captured what I felt were the best vocals of my life.”

Frew has taken a similar approach with his recovery to the one he’s taken throughout all his life; taking action and having non-conforming, unrelenting belief. Alan remains positive and completely focused while throwing himself into physical therapy with the utmost determination to get back his full mobility and is now looking towards starting rehearsals – which he sees as an extension of the
rehabilitation he’s undertaken so far – for an early 2016 tour.

80290 Rewind presents a truly fresh reimagining truly classic songs. You’ll know every one, but you’ve never heard them like this. On this album, Alan Frew succeeds in makes these tracks his very own; deftly capturing the original spirit of the time they were created in, as well as the timelessness of the sentiments they express. As his manager puts it, “covers have never sounded so original”.

About Alan Frew:

Alan Frew is a multi-platinum selling songwriter, public speaker and author of the best-selling book ‘The Action Sandwich-A Six Step Recipe to Success by Doing What You’re Already Doing’.

His work with Glass Tiger has garnered him five Juno Awards, a Grammy nomination and five Canadian Classic Awards in recognition of songs that have been played in excess of 100,000 times on Canadian Radio. Additionally, Frew co-wrote ‘I Believe’ (the theme song for CTV’s coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games) with Stephan Moccio, ‘Fire It Up’ (the title track for Johnny Reid’s Juno-nominated 2013 album) with Johnny Reid and Joe Cocker).

Also, in 2010, Frew’s ‘Free To Be’ became the Toronto Maple Leafs’ theme song. He also co-wrote the title track from Johnny Reid’s Juno-Nominated album “Fire it Up”,which was coincidentally also recording by the legendary Joe Cocker.

Frew has toured with artists including Rod Stewart, Tina Turner and Fleetwood Mac, and performed for the Canadian Armed Forces and their allies in Bosnia, Israel, Egypt and Afghanistan. In light of his recent health scare, Alan is actively speaking out on the dangers of high cholesterol and hypertension in an effort to increase public knowledge and raise awareness of proper health practices in stroke prevention.

In-Flight Safety
In-Flight Safety
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In-Flight Safety
Halifax, Nova Scotia is a coastal city – a Canadian indie music hub since the 1990’s, nestled among ragged shorelines of the Atlantic Ocean. From this home base, In-Flight Safety has been crafting thoughtful, melodic indie rock that’s made its way across North America and Europe.

There’s been a lot of praise and accolades over the years, from television placements to awards, but the band still had growing to do. From The Coast is Clear (2006) to We Are an Empire, My Dear (2009), In-Flight Safety was building a solid fan-base in North America, the UK and Germany. Whether it was a performance on BBC Radio in London or a SXSW showcase, the band was outwardly focused during those years, playing copious shows and making new music for their fans.

Pre-2011 In-Flight Safety was by all accounts an extrovert. In 2011, the gears shifted. John Mullane (Vocals/guitars) spent time scoring films and Glen Nicholson (Drums) went to school to study architecture. At a glance the band had a record’s worth of new material ready to go. “At the end of 2011, I listened all our demos but all I saw was trees. No forest. I called Glen and was totally honest. To me, that’s when we started working on the album – during that conversation,” says Mullane.

From this introspection, confidence and maturity, Mullane and Nicholson came together to construct Conversationalist. It was built, literally and figuratively, on the backs of thousands of conversations between Mullane and Nicholson. Inspired by contemporary bands like Wild Nothing, The Walkmen and DIIV, In-Flight Safety created an album that is true to their history, but their most adventurous and honest. “There’s a celebratory feeling in the new songs. If we have a playful side, it’s on this album,” says Mullane.

The ten tracks on Conversationalist balance the light and the dark that is In-Flight Safety. You’ve got guitar hooks that will get stuck in your head and make you want to dance all night, but the imagery is more mysterious. It can be raw and haunting, but always uplifting with rich, thoughtful production that’s anything but indie. Mixed by Gus van Go (The Stills, Hollerado) in Brooklyn NY, Conversationalist is crafted with meticulous attention to detail. There’s beauty in opposites and this record is both pragmatic and ethereal, it builds and burns, leaving you wanting more. It’s a love letter and a breakup in one album.

But even introverts need to get out. Conversationalist will be released late summer 2014 (tour dates to follow) and In-Flight Safety will head out on the road, crossing oceans and continents, welcoming you to the conversation.

Royal Wood
Royal Wood
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Royal Wood
ROYAL WOOD

Sometimes in order to really find yourself, you have to lose yourself. Just ask Royal Wood, whose latest record, the breathtakingly poignant The Burning Bright, captures his truest, most confident musical voice even as it chronicles an extraordinary year of tumult, travel and personal discovery.

The Burning Bright registers a number of firsts for Wood, whose chart-topping 2012 release, the JUNO-nominated We Were Born to Glory, firmly established him as one of Canada’s most accomplished alt-pop singer/songwriters, producers, arrangers and multi-instrumentalists.

For one thing, The Burning Bright is the product of multiple worlds – a culmination of five weeks spent writing in Wood’s ancestral home of Ireland, recording at home and, for the first time, in Los Angeles with Bill Lefler, himself a producing/arranging/multi-instrumentalist dynamo (see Dashboard Confessional, Gym Class Heroes, Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump).

The record also found Wood collaborating in new ways: with Lefler and fellow Canuck singer/songwriter Simon Wilcox – with whom he wrote the sticky and wickedly buoyant first single “Forever and Ever” – with long-time guitarist/co-producer Dean Drouillard, and with the spectral voices in the hills of County Meath, where Wood withdrew in spring 2013 in the aftermath of his collapsed marriage.

The Burning Bright may scan as a breakup record; witness lyrics like “Well I once believed in a fairy-tale, now I’m holding a coffin nail,” exhaled regretfully in the song “Promises” and pretty much the whole of the achingly tender “I Wish You Well.” But it’s actually a compass pointing forward, spinning on the honest, from-the-gut creativity that propelled Wood into music in the first place.Yet ask Wood if the stakes felt higher for The Burning Bright given its emotional heft and arrival on the heels of a bona fide hit and he says, “No.”

“To be honest, the stakes felt higher on the last album. This time, I finally made the decision to simply make art again for the sake of making art. It is its own reward and what happens next is just a part of the journey in making it.”

And what an enlightening – if winding – journey it has been so far.

As Wood explains, The Burning Bright unfolded more or less in four distinct phases. Phase One: a pre-Ireland visit to L.A. where he met Lefler through Wilcox as part of a quest to write something for film or TV. The magic was immediate; so much so that, having conjured “Forever and Ever” without breaking a sweat, Wood did two more songs with Lefler and Wilcox just in case the single was dumb luck.

“At that point, Bill and I said, ‘We have to make a record together.’ Then I went off to Ireland to write” – this would be Phase Two – “and when I came back, I felt I had two… not opposing but different directions I could go in making this record. I felt like I wanted to have both of those voices heard.”

It’s no surprise that Wood was thinking on a grand scale, given that he crafted something like 40 songs during his ascetic Irish hideaway where being “plugged in” meant being wise to the local gossip down at the pub.

“I took long walks, visited old graveyards. It became a search through my past as well as my future. A lot of songs, like ‘City Lights’ and ‘The Light of Dawn’ came from just thinking about family. Ireland let me go home without having to go home, if you know what I mean.”

As the month of May dissolved into June, what would eventually become The Burning Bright entered Phase Three.

“I got together with Dean and I sat him down and asked him to produce these ideas I had. I sketched out the parameters. I said I wanted Rose Cousins to sing on it, plus Carleigh Aikins and Felicity Williams. I didn’t want to do any backing vocals myself, just the lead and the main instruments – the guitar, the piano, a little bit of banjo and ukulele.

“I also wanted horns and strings and I wanted it to all be about the song. Not tons of layers, just the song. I said, ‘That’s the record I want you to make. Now I am going to go to Los Angeles to make a totally different record with Bill,’” he chuckles, referencing what became Phase Four.

Wood continues: “For the L.A. record, I was playing the majority of instruments. Bill was playing drums but the rest is just me jumping around from bass to piano to guitar. Although I realized I was making a different record in L.A. than I was making with Dean, there was this through-line in the lyrics and the delivery, despite the different producers and different studios.

“We put it all together to make The Burning Bright and it’s… the perfect record. It all works together – the lyrics, the instrumentation, the sound. Everything. I don’t know if that’s the ideal way to make a record,” Wood laughs, “but it feels like it is now.”

Even a cursory listen confirms the record’s astonishing candor of lyrics, and virtuosity of the music, as heard in the already released, and outrageously hooky single, “Forever and Ever.”

Wood allows “the single doesn’t quite fit the mood of the album, but it’s an honest song celebrating true and real love, which I am a firm believer in.”

All of which means our man is destined to revisit these highly personal songs – pardon the pun – forever and ever. Any trepidation?

“I have never dealt with life without music in it, so if I wasn’t writing a song that forced me to feel something genuine, I’d be listening to something that did,” Wood says, citing Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Van Morrison as tireless inspirations.

“I always want to perform honest music that I connect with and am touched by. And if that means I have to go out there emotionally, then I will go there emotionally. That’s why I am not on some psychiatrist’s couch,” he smiles, “because I get to do this.”

 

Brendan Canning
Brendan Canning
(Broken Social Scene)
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Brendan Canning
(Broken Social Scene)
Brendan Canning is well recognized for his role as co-founder of Broken Social Scene, one that has afforded him the opportunity to work in a multitude of creative mediums and collaborate with artists on a global level. The sound he and BSS originated has been performed around the world, has been the topic of study at the University of Toronto, has been recorded numerous times on late night television and won the group several Canadian Juno Awards. They are named as the seminal band that influenced an entire movement in independent music in Canada and the US and have been covered widely by the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Spin and Interview Magazine. Their seminal album You Forgot it in People is a mainstay on many greatest albums of all times lists annually. Canning has led hundreds of interviews on behalf of the group and continues to receive extensive coverage for his solo albums and other work by many publications.

In 2009 Canning was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for his score for the film Trigger. With his band mates and on his own he has scored and contributed original music to numerous films including Half-Nelson, Wicker Park, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, The Time Traveller’s Wife, Wet Bum, This Movie is Broken, The Canyons and The Tracey Fragments.

In 2013 he established an imprint and film company, Draper Street Records and Films.

This past summer Draper Street Films produced and provided music for the critically acclaimed feature film Diamond Tongues, which premiered at Slamdance and is distributed by Mongrel Media in Canada and in the US and world wide by the Brooklyn based, art house Factory 25. Diamond Tongues was the number one Canadian film its opening week in Canada. Draper Street Films continues to develop feature film projects while Draper Street Records will release Canning’s third solo effort Home Wrecking Years summer of 2016.

Canning recently returned from The Banff Centre where he performs the role as faculty visiting lecturer to the Indie Music Residency, a course of study in which he works with and mentors musicians during an intensive semester. He has also functioned several times in the mentor role at the Canadian Film Centre vetting applicants for the songwriting and film-scoring program and has served on the jury for the Canadian Screen Awards. He continues to sustain close ties to the CFC and most recently worked with the Centre on their David Cronenberg interactive film that premiered during his retrospective at TIFF Lightbox. Canning sits on the board of directors of the Songwriters Association of Canada.

In 2010, he and legendary producer Hal Wilner, working with the Olympic Committee, curated a Neil Young tribute concert at Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre during the Vancouver Olympics. A program that included Elvis Costello and Lou Reed.

His essays have been published in Time and National Geographic and he is also credited with writing the pivotal Globe & Mail book review for the novel US Conductors by Sean Michaels that won the prestigious Giller Prize.

Brendan has made contributions to the art work of the self-titled Broken Social Scene album as well as collaborating with Juno award winning artist Robyn Kotick on the album design for his last solo album You Gots 2 Chill. His photographs appeared as part of a group show at Akasha Gallery in 2013 and drawings have been exhibited in galleries in Toronto.

An avid collector of rare vinyl records has been dj’ing in the Toronto scene since the late 90’s, a passion that has led him on musical and cultural journeys all over the globe.

Living on Toronto’s historic Draper Street for more than two decades Brendan has immersed himself in the arts community since 1992. Whether it be music, theatre, film, painting, architecture, illustration, writing or dance, Canning has loved seeing Toronto grow into a world-class city and is proud to be part of the arts community en masse. He is asked on a regular basis to collaborate on artistic projects that have always kept him at the center of a wide array of artistic disciplines. Canning is an observant listener and inspiring project manager.

Ken Tizzard
Ken Tizzard
(Watchmen & Thornley)
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Ken Tizzard
(Watchmen & Thornley)
Very few Canadian musicians have had as fascinatingly diverse a career as Ken Tizzard. In over two decades as a professional musician, he has gone from plying his trade as the charismatic bassist in top Canadian rock bands The Watchmen and Thornley (he is featured on six gold and platinum records received numerous Juno nominations and MuchMusic Awards, and licensed songs to such TV shows as CSI and Fashion Television) to then emerging as an eloquent roots-based singer/songwriter and guitarist with a prolific solo career.

Wearing his rock ‘n roll hat, Ken has toured internationally, appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and played such major venues as The Air Canada Centre. When he puts on his cowboy hat, Tizzard can be spotted performing his original material, solo or with a band, for a loyal and growing audience in pubs, clubs and concert halls across Canada.

His new album, No Dark No Lightis Tizzard’s fifth solo studio record since his 2006 debut, Quiet Storey House…an Introduction. A work of real emotional and musical resonance, No Dark No Light is emerging as his strongest work to date. It continues Ken’s pattern of never repeating himself stylistically, as its acoustic country meets folk ambience is in sharp contrast to his previous album, 2012’s The Goodness of Bad Intent.

“In the past, I’ve battled a lot with trying to find a character or niche with my music,” Tizzard explains. “Now I realize that maybe I’m a guy who doesn’t do the same thing twice. Every record I’ve done has moved me in a different direction and onto a different career path. That’s fine and it’s fun!”  He views No Dark No Light as “the most cohesive record I’ve made. It almost feels like a concept record to me, and in the early stages I had songs sequenced in order that told a complete story.” That approach was modified, but a thematic coherence remains.

There is a soul-baring lyrical honesty to the material on No Dark No Light. The majority of the songs are focused upon his own emotions and experiences or those of close friends, but, in true folk music tradition, he also creates characters and stories. He takes those songs just as seriously, striving to imbue them with real authenticity. “I see those songs as research pieces,” says Ken. “Rather like a method actor working on a role, I really immerse myself in those themes, searching to find the real story.”

Tizzard has now moved out of the dark and into the light, and his luminous music is ready to shine.

Oh Susanna
Oh Susanna
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Oh Susanna
Suzie Ungerleider began performing as Oh Susanna in the mid-1990s, crafting a persona that matched the timeless qualities of her music, sounds that drew from the deep well of early 20th Century folk, country and blues, yet rooted in her finely-honed storytelling skills. This Canadian songstress has a voice that can pierce a heart of stone. Her superbly crafted songs often tell stories of troubled souls who rebel against their circumstances to attain a quiet dignity. These are tales of longing and love, of small town joys and pains, of our simple feelings and strong passions. These are tales that look into our beautifully flawed human hearts.

Born in Massachusetts and raised in Vancouver, Suzie first recorded a cassette of seven songs for a couple hundred bucks, making 50 copies and catching the attention of the music industry before Alt-Country even had a name. The positive reaction she received inspired Suzie to quit her day job as a library clerk and take her chances in Toronto. Soon after, she recorded her internationally acclaimed debut album Johnstown with assistance from Bazil Donovan (Blue Rodeo), Peter Moore (Cowboy Junkies) and Bob Egan (Wilco/Blue Rodeo).

The follow-up, Sleepy Little Sailor, firmly established her reputation within what was then known as Alt-Country circles, and her third, eponymously titled album from 2003 found Suzie expanding her sound in an exciting roots rock direction. After pausing to start a family, she returned in 2007 with the stunning collection, Short Stories, bolstered by a top-notch band anchored by a rhythm section comprised of her husband Cam Giroux (Weeping Tile) and Bazil Donovan (Blue Rodeo), along with a crew of string-bending virtuosos including Luke Doucet, Kevin Fox, Joey Wright and Burke Carroll. This group reconvened for 2011’s Soon The Birds,which brilliantly blended the stark beauty of her early work with fleshed-out ensemble arrangements.

Looking back at how her career developed, Suzie says that she definitely had a narrow focus at the beginning, drawing on American influences such as Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, Tom Waits, and field recordings of traditional balladry which she maintains was necessary for her to find her voice. However, Suzie now says, “In order to grow and feel inspired, I have to open up my field of vision. The drawback is that people still want to define you somehow. At the same time, whatever music I make will always have similar themes of people at the crossroads, trying to cope with the situations they’re in.”

In that respect, Namedropper is vintage Oh Susanna, in spite of the songs coming from other sources. Interpreting those words with her unique combination of grit and subtlety has made them her own, while also providing ample proof that Canada’s songwriting tradition is in safe hands with this generation of artists. Being a member of that community has even moved Suzie to pursue her Canadian citizenship, and now that she’s healthy, she fully expects to have new material ready to record in the not too distant future.

www.ohsusanna.com



 

Miranda Mulholland
Miranda Mulholland
(Great Lake Swimmers)
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Miranda Mulholland
(Great Lake Swimmers)
Classically trained on violin and in voice, Miranda is a versatile performer and in high demand as a fiddler and singer covering a wide range of styles. Her debut full length solo album, Whipping Boy, was released in May, 2014 to critical acclaim. It became the flagship of her own record label, Roaring Girl Records which at just shy of two years old is quickly gaining a reputation for as a home for diverse and excellent artists.

Currently she is a member of Great Lake Swimmers and Belle Starr and the newly minted Harrow Fair, a duo with Andrew Penner of Sunparlour Players. She makes select appearances in the violin show, ‘Bowfire’ and has sung and played fiddle with Jim Cuddy, Steven Page, Calexico, Joel Plaskett, Rose Cousins, Alan Doyle, Raine Maida, Dan Mangan, John Borra, The Rattlesnake Choir and Justin Rutledge, among others.  Not limited to band performances, Miranda has appeared in various theatre productions including the Dora winning productions of ‘Parfumerie’ and ‘Spoon River’ with Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto.

In addition to varied studio work, she has toured extensively in Europe and North America with the celtic rock bands The Mahones and The Peelers, The Paperboys, The Glengarry Bhoys and the alt-country band Luther Wright and the Wrongs.

Miranda can be heard on records by Justin Rutledge, Sarah Slean, Cowboy Junkies and N.Q. Arbuckle to name a few.  Miranda studied Opera Performance at The University of Western Ontario and McGill University.

Justin Rutledge
Justin Rutledge
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Justin Rutledge
At the mouth of the open sea, there are three ships on the horizon one of them is on fire. Black plumes of smoke rise from its charring masts like a mountain’s shadow across the dawn. Perhaps those on board are tossing their lean prayers to the wind like holy matchsticks before thrusting their bodies overboard into the furiously silent ocean. Perhaps several hundred miles away a girl brushes a lock of hair from her eyes as she regards the indolent waters. Perhaps she turns, slowly making her way back to a house where the windows are always broken, away from a blackening horizon, towards the hurt of a dawn through a curtain. These are The Early Widows.

Justin Rutledge returns with The Early Widows, a stoic collection of songs that rehabilitate the heart and illuminate the dark. Produced with intense fragility by Hawksley Workman, Rutledge’s fourth album is an arrestingly moving and lyrically meticulous piece of art penned by one of the most progressive songwriters at work today. Shouldering an electric guitar instead of his trademark acoustic, Rutledge infuses the new material with a newfound conviction and drive. The Early Widows also includes songs co-written with literary giant Michael Ondaatje, and award-winning songwriter Darrell Scott from Nashville.

Each song is like an undisturbed room in which a wounded echo reclines. “Be A Man” is a mantra sung by a mirthless poet at an AA meeting; the rallying drum cry which begins “The Heart of A River” calls for metropolitan migration; the weathered, blustery scrub of “Snowmen” responds with a longing for spiritual hibernation, with a refrain that escapes the shadows of condo towers. Like the birth of a dawn through a curtain, The Early Widows is a study in light and shadow, with words that move like a pilgrimage towards one¹s ear. The Early Widows was recorded live utilizing two drummers, Gary Craig and Blake Manning, with Bazil Donovan (Blue Rodeo) on bass, Burke Carroll on pedal steel, David Baxter on electric guitar, and Jesse Zubot on violins. In addition to this stunning ensemble of musicians, the album features the soaring and explosive voices of gospel choir, The Faith Choral.

Signed to Six Shooter Records, Justin Rutledge’s albums garner impressive amounts of critical acclaim. Between his debut, No Never Alone (2005), his sophomore release, The Devil On A Bench In Stanley Park (2006) and third album, Man Descending (2008), Rutledge has earned a Juno nomination, a Galaxy Rising Star award, countless year-end critics’ picks, the title of Toronto’s Best Local Songwriter (NOW Magazine), a spot on the 2008 Polaris Prize Long List and a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination. Justin has shared the stage with artists such as Blue Rodeo, Dolly Parton, Martha Wainwright and Great Lake Swimmers.

Wilderness of Manitoba
Wilderness of Manitoba
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Wilderness of Manitoba
The Wilderness of Manitoba prefers to characterize itself as an evolving entity. The band’s most recent album, Between Colours, was as far-reaching as anything in its catalogue. “When a band isn’t changing, it’s not growing,” says guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist Will Whitwham. From the band’s inception, it has redefined itself with every album; from Hymns of Love and Spirits through When You Left The Fire,Island of Echoes and The Leslieville Sessions. The evolution of their sound has run the gamut from four part harmonies and chamber folk to cinematic indie rock and anthemic folk rock.

The Wilderness of Manitoba’s Between Colours showcased an explosion of strength  with male/female vocals and a more rhythmic bottom end. Recorded at Revolution Recording in Toronto with producer Joe Dunphy, the album fully embraced all the studio had to offer.  The expanding instrumentation and layered guitar and synth effects combined to create one-listen pop hooks and adventurous sonic exploration.

In its six year existence, the band’s ongoing transitions come as a direct result of the wealth of traveling the band has done; playing a multitude of festivals and touring in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, the USA and Canada. “The live show,” says Whitwham, “is a constantly evolving portrait of the band and its efforts.” Those efforts were recognized when the Wilderness of Manitoba were nominated for a JUNO. Summing things up, Whitwham says, “There is no lacking in the quantity ofideas in terms of our music and the band’s future projects.”

Visit their website – http://www.thewildernessofmanitoba.com/about/

Mike Ford
Mike Ford
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Mike Ford
Mike is a Juno-nominated Franco-Ontarian solo artist, has released 4 acclaimed albums of Canadian history -inspired songs, been described as being “rabble-rousing and Pythonesque” and “essential listening” by the Globe & Mail, created his own one-hour national CBC Radio Labour Day special (with Age of Persuasion’s Mike Tennant), toured as a swing member of The Arrogant Worms, sung at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa for The Vigil Project, performed and MC’d at festivals coast-to-coast, created an ever-growing repertoire for his Canada Needs You School tours, and sailed across the Great Lakes on a working Lake Boat with David Francey, from which the two wrote and recorded their album SEAWAY.  Mike’s latest albums feature song-cycles about the War of 1812, and en français, the life of Étienne Brûlé.   In 2012, Mike was awarded The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his on-going musical explorations of Canadian history.

Mike is known to many for his former life in the folk/rock/vaudeville Moxy Früvous, with whom he headlined festival stages all across North America and Europe, sold over ¼ million albums, and once crashed through a stained-glass window at a Buffalo in-store performance.

Mike is grateful to the Ontario Arts Council for their assistance in the completion of Canada Needs You volume two. He is also the recipient of an Ontario Arts Council Artist In Education Grant, enabling him to work with Toronto students in the creation of their own songs about the environment, community and identity. Mike would also like to thank The Toronto Arts Council and The Canada Council for the Arts for their support of his new work “Le retour d’Étienne Brûle”, and The Department of Canadian Heritage for their support of his 1812 Song Project.  As well as his club and festival appearances, Mike performs in French and English across Ontario in Middle and High Schools, presented by Prologue to the Performing Arts.

Mike and his wife Therese live in Toronto.  He has worked in or visited every region of this incredible country and is dedicated to sharing his enthusiasm for Canada’s land and history with people of all ages.

 

Sam Cash
Sam Cash
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Sam Cash
Sam Cash’s new album Tongue-In-Cheek Vows perfectly captures that moment when a young artist and his cohorts find their collective voice and suddenly realize that there are no limits to what they can accomplish together. The explosive opening track “Cast Away” serves notice that this isn’t just another singer/songwriter-fronted band. With Cash’s unflinching poetry riding atop The Romantic Dogs taut exuberance, Tongue-In-Cheek Vows is a gimmick-free, melodic masterpiece—tipping its hat to an era when conviction was measured by the amount of sweat and blood exuded on stage, and in the studio.

Set for release on March 25 via Cameron House Records, Tongue-In-Cheek Vows is Cash’s third album and the second with the Romantic Dogs. It follows the group’s acclaimed 2013 debut, Stand Together, Fall Together, an album that earned more attention than even Cash was hoping for, given how spontaneously it was made. While the rambunctiousness that drew fans and critics to that album is on full display, Cash chose to take more time to develop Tongue-In-Cheek Vows. Working in tandem with producer and bona fide Canadian alt-rock legend Ian Blurton (Change Of Heart, C’Mon, Public Animal), Cash and the Dogs have served up 11 tracks brimming with lyrics as razor-sharp as the performances driving them. Those who have followed Cash’s development to this point are sure to be stunned by the self-awareness and insight into the human condition embedded in songs like the album’s first focus track “Tossing & Turning” as well as “That Was The Summer” and “Carmen,” from which the album’s title was drawn.

 

 

“I really wanted this record to be a statement, and I gathered all the best material I had on hand for it, including some songs I purposely didn’t want to put on the last album,” Cash says. “It felt good to be able to involve the band more on this one too, considering we’d made Stand Together, Fall Together in basically two days. Everyone worked really hard and there was a great exchange of ideas.”

Cash views Tongue-In-Cheek Vows not just as a mere coming-of-age document, but a symbol of how he has embraced the craft of songwriting itself. “These songs were written during a three or four year period starting when I was 19, which is a pretty exciting time for anyone,” he says. “But what I love most about songs are those moments when you hear something and it hits you in a very specific way, and you’re not even thinking about what the writer’s intentions are. That’s the ultimate effect I would like my music to have on people, when they can make their own connection, which is just as real and meaningful as what was in my head when I wrote the song.”

Those who have been around long enough will undoubtedly hear echoes of Cash’s father Andrew Cash, part of Toronto’s original punk rock community and later one of Canada’s most respected singer-songwriters. Yet, from the time Sam launched his own music career in his late teens, he’s forged his own uncompromising path toward establishing a name within the Toronto underground rock scene, and building his band into one of the most formidable live outfits in the city. To see it for yourself, catch Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs on tour across Canada with Lee Harvey Osmond and Electric Six beginning on February 13. Full tour dates can be found below with more dates to be added shortly.

 

Devin Cuddy
Devin Cuddy
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Devin Cuddy
Devin Cuddy has always made music his way, and some might argue, the hard way. As the son of Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy, country rock has been the soundtrack to Devin’s entire life — he was born the same week Blue Rodeo began recording its 1987 debut album, Outskirts. But from the moment Devin was drawn to playing music, he was determined to get as close as possible to the sources of all the sounds he loved, whether they were made by rock and roll’s founding fathers, the Grand Ole Opry’shonky-tonk heroes, or Jelly Roll Morton and the kings of jazz. Thus far, that path has already led to a Juno Nomination for Roots / Traditional Album of the Year for his first record, Vol 1.

Coming from a lifetime surrounded by song, Devin Cuddy noted in the Winnipeg Free Press that “my passion for music grew out of being surrounded by it for so long,” noting he and his siblings developed their musical tastes by picking through their dad’s (Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy) vast collection of CDs.”

Wayne Petti
Wayne Petti
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Wayne Petti
Wayne Petti has been the primary songwriter and band leader for the alt-country outfit Cuff The Duke for well over a decade. Cuff The Duke is a two time JUNO nominated band and have released six studio albums over the course of their career. Cuff The Duke has toured both domestically and internationally with the likes of Blue Rodeo, The Sadies, Sloan, Hayden, The Weakerthans, Calexico and Nick Cave.
As a solo artist, Wayne has been a touring guitar player for Blue Rodeo, Hayden and Serena Ryder, as well as performed on nine cuts from Blue Rodeos album ‘The Things We Left Behind’ (2009).
Peter Katz
Peter Katz
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Peter Katz
“If you want to make something that’s like nothing you’ve made before, then you have to shake yourself up, go beyond what’s comfortable and known and let yourself feel disoriented, overwhelmed, even intimidated. Those moments, when you lose your bearings, when you’re forced to sink or swim, are the moments when you have an opportunity to rise to the occasion, to surprise yourself, to do the things you didn’t know you could do. That’s what making this album was for me, I’m so proud of the process, and I’m so proud of the result.”

The result is ‘We Are The Reckoning’, a striking new collection of 11 original songs from JUNO-nominated singer-songwriter and recently crowned Best Male Vocalist in the popular NOW Magazine Best-Of-Toronto 2014 reader’s poll (readership of ½ million) Peter Katz. After 3 successful national and international tours in support of his 2012 release ‘Still Mind Still’, Peter spent the better part of the past 2 years writing well-over 50 new songs while collaborating on some of them with an impressive list of co-writers in Los Angeles, London, and at home in Toronto (a new approach for Peter who had always typically written alone). He managed the mental intensity of the writing and recording sessions by taking up a robust regimen of running (which also put him in the best shape of his life). “It was the only thing I could do to feel like I had control over something. Every morning in LA I would wake up early and run up the Hollywood Hills. I was the only guy actually running all the way to the top. It was incredibly challenging, but it gave me this little secret confidence to draw on when I needed it.” His hard work paid off when he attracted the attention of co-producers Royal Wood (multiple Juno-Award Nominee) and Bill Lefler (Ingrid Michaelson, Cary Brothers), who signed on to help him turn those songs into Peter’s most sonically-rich album to date.

The 3 of them holed up in studio with Juno-award winning engineer Tim Abraham of The Hive, and, taking turns on different instruments, built up the musical-landscape that would become ‘We Are The Reckoning’. He also attracted an impressive list of guests to join him on the album, including rising Scottish star Rachel Sermanni, legendary lapsteel player Ben Peeler (Fleet Foxes, Jimmy Cliff, Wallflowers) and Felicity Williams (Bahamas) to name a few.

Over the past decade, Peter has seen his albums debut at #1 on the iTunes singer-songwriter charts; he’s shared the stage and studio with the likes of Academy Award Winner Glen Hansard (Once, The Swell Season), Juno Award-Winners The Good Lovelies, Polaris-Prize nominated Melissa McCelland (Whitehorse) and the Legendary Garth Hudson from The Band. He’s toured all over the world, regularly playing to capacity crowds, and has managed to build an impressive fan-base of loyal listeners, selling over 25,000 copies of his discs mostly from the stage, one show at a time. Never content to sit still for long, Peter Katz has his eyes firmly set on the future. “I’m in a different place than I was when I started 10 years ago. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into and I maybe didn’t always put my focus in the right place. Now I know what this thing is, I know the relentlessness that’s required, I know it’s not a race, and I know that the music has to come first. I feel like I finally did that with this record. I took my time. I shook myself up, threw myself into unfamiliar territory and took some big risks. Now that I’m on the other side of it, I can see why it was the right thing to do, and I’m more excited than ever to share what we made.”

‘We Are The Reckoning’ is slated for release in 2015 through Maple Music/Fontana North with worldwide touring to follow. Many of the tour dates will be full-band, another new step in Peter Katz’s career.

www.peterkatz.com

twitter: @peterkatzmusic

facebook.com/peterkatzmusic

Elliott BROOD
Elliott BROOD
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Elliott BROOD
“Elliott BROOD’s brand of fuzzed-up roots music makes for captivating, frenetic performances, which also translates on the band’s acclaimed records. Over their career the band have released five studio albums while receiving five JUNO nominations, winning a JUNO Award in 2013 for Days Into Years. The band have been nominated for a Genie Award for their soundtrack for “Grown Up Movie Star” and shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize in 2009. Their style has been called everything from ‘blackgrass’ to ‘death country,’ but those descriptions don’t capture the transcendent heights of their unique approach to roots music. Work and Love, their most recent and personal album to date is the sound of a grown-up band searching their hearts for all they’ve lost and gained.

Formed in 2002 by two high school friends (Casey Laforet, Mark Sasso) they quickly became a trio with the addition of Steve Pitkin on drums and piano. Elliott Brood have garnered Five Juno Nominations over their career and gone on to tour extensively Nationally as well as Internationally while playing major Festivals both at home and abroad.”

Festivals:

  • Azkena Rock Festival (Spain)
  • BBK Festival (Spain)
  • End of the Road Festival (UK)
  • Byron Bay Blues Fest (Australia )
  • Sasquatch (US)
  • Squamish Music Festival (CAN)
  • Winnipeg Folk Festival (CAN)
  • Vancouver Folk Festival (CAN)
  • Calgary Folk Festival (CAN)
  • Festival D’éte (CAN)”

Visit Elliott BROOD online at:

 
Amanda Martinez
Amanda Martinez
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Amanda Martinez
Amanda Martinez is a singer-songwriter whose music exultingly blends her Mexican father and South African mother’s roots with Latin soul and folklore. Her sultry, bright vocals and upbeat sound get entire audiences on their feet around the world.

Her third and latest CD “Mañana” was helmed by GRAMMY-winning producer Javier Limón. Limón hails Martinez as “one of the greatest voices in the world.”

 

Her songs have appeared on three Putumayo world music collections: Bossanova Around the World, Latin Dreamland and most recently, Cafe Latino.

 

Martinez has headlined at the legendary Blue Note jazz club in New York, at Toronto’s Koerner Hall and Winter Garden Theatre, at the Festival Centro Historico de Mexico and at the 2010 FIFA World Cup Festivities in South Africa. She also performed a series of concerts during the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games, as well as hosting several events. During the games, she also served as a torchbearer and as the honourary co-chair of the Ignite program.

In the media, Martinez hosted PANAMANIA– a TV series she produced with CBC Sports that highlights Toronto’s cultural scene. Martinez has worked as a radio host (launching Canada’s JAZZFM91 Latin Jazz program), TV personality (BRAVO Arts & Minds, Star TV!) and actress (Regnesis and Disney’s Life with Derek). She also hosts and co-produces Ingredients for a Good Life to promote Mexico to Canadians.

As a honourary ambassador for SOS Children’s Villages, she recently traveled to Namibia where she spent just over a week caring for a family of eight orphaned and abandoned children. A mother of three young children, Amanda calls the SOS mission “a cause close to my heart.” As a result of that experience, she wrote and recorded the song “Under African Skies”– now on iTunes.

In late 2014, she was chosen as one of the Top 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians by the Hispanic Business Alliance and the Canadian Hispanic Congress.

Amanda is currently working on her fourth album, due out in 2017.

 

Emerging Artists

Katey Gatta
Katey Gatta
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Katey Gatta

At only 24, Rose City native Katey Gatta has played her share of stages across the Niagara region & GTA. Entering the local restaurant music circuit at the tender age of 16, Gatta quickly honed her skills playing covers for hours on end and gained a reputation for a repertoire full of top 40 and classic rock songs – each with a unique twist on them. After spending any spare time found between working part time jobs & completing her Bachelors of Business Administration at Brock University writing songs, Gatta released her debut EP, “Songs from the Basement” – a mixture of folk-inspired songwriting and smooth, jazz-influenced vocals in January of 2014. With opening slots for bands like JJ & the Pillars, Andy Brown, Eli & the Strawman and Juno-nominated Wake Owl, Gatta is definitely a songstress to keep an eye on.

 

Laura Tremblay
Laura Tremblay
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Laura Tremblay
Canadian recording artist Laura Tremblay is an emotive vocal powerhouse whose original compositions deliver; intense, catchy, rhythmic, bouncy
and diverse energy that addicts the listener and keeps them wanting more. Inspired by her down-to-earth rural upbringing and by multiple
generations of her musical family members including her beloved Grandmother, Laura picked up a guitar at the age of 12 and never looked back.
With an array of film and television roles to her credit, including The Expanse (Syfy/Space Channel), Paranormal Witness (OWN/Slice), Ben-Hur
(2016; Paramount Pictures), The Cocksure Lads (Spiral Entertainment), and a leading role in the highly-acclaimed touring stage production of Evil
Dead: The Musical, Laura never lost sight of her long-held childhood goal of becoming a singer, songwriter and recording artist.
Tremblay has released her debut full-length album, titled “Lived It Well.” A fabulous collection of songs that was recorded at Lincoln County Social
Club in Toronto, ON and produced by Murray Foster. Tremblay has participated in the Artist on Board program hosted by VIA Rail Canada, and has
performed at venues in select cities across Canada, including Toronto, Winnipeg, Jasper, Vancouver, Calgary and more. Laura is also supporting
her album release with multiple scheduled television appearances and an extensive radio tour.
Her natural stage presence and expressive intensity captures the attention and the hearts of audiences, everywhere she graces the stage. Laura’s
growing fan base is a testament to her born-to-perform energy and charm. An artist whose definitive dedication to the craft, combined with a splash
of serendipitous energy, has solidified her dream of sharing universal messages through song, far and wide
Sarah Siddiqui
Sarah Siddiqui
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Sarah Siddiqui
Sarah Siddiqui is a seasoned Toronto based singer songwriter who creates soulful

edgy/alternative style songs with the intimacy of folk. Vocal and narrative centric songs laden

with poetic lyrics, Sarah approaches each song like a painting creating strong and moving

visuals. To date, Sarah has released 2 full length albums and multiple singles, one of which has

been placed in 2 films, Word of Honor (2003, starring Don Johnson, Jeanne Tripplehorn),

Triggermen (2002, starring Donnie Wahlberg, Claire Forlani). One of her songs "Show Me" was

released through Awesome/EMI Canada.

She was born to South Asian Peace Poet Icon, Syeda Nuzhat Siddiqui. Writing was naturally

ingrained as a mode of expression early on. Sarah is a classical and theatre trained singer by

Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music, and self-taught on guitar. Her late father, Saleem

Siddiqui was also a writer and translated Sarah's mother's poetry from Urdu to English. Sarah is

also a poet, and a member of the Toronto’s actors union, ACTRA.

Sarah was 14 years old when her father passed away; one of the answers to the question in

terms of where so much inspiration comes from for Sarah. Having had to grow up fast, realizing

how precious life was, Sarah quickly turned all the pain into beauty and so the story keeps

unfolding in her music, touching upon themes of life, death, love, hope, loss, and redemption.

Sarah started playing live at 15 years old in Toronto singing her own music and as a backup

singer for rock bands. A huge moment was when she sang backing vocals for U.K. rock band

Loveson at the Opera House, one of Toronto's monumental live venues. At the age of 17,

Sarah recorded/produced her 1st full length CD titled "Petals of the Self", at the time she went

by her middle name "Batool". The CD is a mixture of eastern, western and european world

influences. In 2005 Sarah recorded, produced and released her 2nd full length CD titled

Rosewater Songs of which featured formidable musicians, guitarist, Tim Bovaconti (Ron

Sexsmith), Michael Churchill on drums, and Santosh Naidu on Tabla (K-OS). The CD features

more pop sensibilities.

At the age of 18, Sarah was flown to Vancouver, B.C. by EMI Publishing Canada to co-write

with a talented songwriter/producer. Shortly after she decided that she had to carve out her own

path and develop her sound on her own without label support and that she did! Since then,

Siddiqui has shared the stage with many prominent Canadian acts and formidable musicians;

LAL, Shaye (Damhnait Doyle, Kim Stockwood, Tara McLean), Chris Brown & Kate Fenner

(NYC), Taima (Aboriginal Juno Winners), Diggin Roots, Mark Cassidy, Peter Katz, Dayna

Manning, Jean O'brien, Tim Bovaconti (Ron Sexsmith), Santosh Naidu, Michael Churchill, Cold

Jack, Paul Brennan, David Celia, and flamenco guitarist Juan Dino Toledo (Jesse Cook).

At only age 18 Sarah had the amazing opportunity to record with internationally acclaimed

instrumentalist Jesse Cook on his rendition of Stevie Wonder classic "Superstitious".

In 2007, Sarah was featured as a guest vocalist on Mexican rock band, Chikita Violenta's

premiere release "Stars and Suns Sessions" produced by Dave Newfeld (Broken Social Scene),

at the request of Dave Newfeld in Toronto. Chikita Violenta is signed by Arts & Crafts and is

internationally acclaimed. Other featured guests included Justin Peroff, and Kevin Drew of

Broken Social Scene. Sarah recorded some of her demos when she was 20 years old with

producer Dave Newfeld at his then studio in Toronto. In 2003 Sarah was nominated for best

singer/songwriter for Canada's MyBindi Awards. Sarah has also worked with producer Doc

( Esthero). To add, Anne Murray's daughter, Dawn Langstroth opened up for Sarah in 2003 at

Toronto's Mitzi's Sister, now known as The Tennessee.

Sarah has played in various parts of Canada and the U.S. In 2013 she booked herself a

showcase at Manhattan's iconic venue, The Bitter End, where she opened up for the

longstanding NYC Songwriters Series. It was also the night she met Billy Joel who was present

at the show and her sound check. They shared a great conversation about how he started at the

Bitter End… a night she'll never forget.

Another major highlight was when Sarah jammed with actor/ singer songwriter Terrence Howard

(Crash, The Butler, Empire). Another impromptu opportunity arose when Sarah ended up

singing freestyle with Sabina Sciubba (Brazilian Girls) at their Toronto concert at The Hoxton

Feb. 2nd 2014. But the most exciting moment in Sarah's life was in In 2001. She was casted

and hand picked out of hundreds of headshots by the man himself, Danny DeVito for the role of

guitarist in his feature film, "DEATH TO SMOOCHY", starring himself, the late Robin Williams

and Edward Norton. She worked with the cast at the CBC Studios in Toronto for approximately

2.5 weeks straight.

Sarah is currently recording her 3rd full length album "No More Waiting Rooms".

Formidable musicians and friends lined up for the studio include guitarist, Tim Bovaconti

(Burton Cummings, Ron Sexsmith), drummer, Tony Rabalao (Joydrop, Tara Sloan Band,

Kalan Porter), and cellist, Kevin Fox (Chantal Kreviazuk, Kathleen Edwards). The album

will feature a collection of thematic works that will take you through Sarah's intimate

journey of loss, love, mental health and redemption.

www.sarahsiddiqui.ca

“You sound good Sarah!!” ~ Billy Joel (2013, NYC, The Bitter End bar)

“ Sarah’s an excellent writer, performer, and a pleasure to work with!”

~ David Newfeld (Broken Social Scene, Kevin Drew, Apostle of Hustle)

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