Growing up in the prairies of Alberta, Alex Vissia (VISS-ee-yah) has been preserving things in song-shaped jars for over a decade. Based in Edmonton, Alex has been building an audience around Western Canadian coffee shops, music clubs and festival stages since her debut album in 2011 (A Lot Less Gold; November 2011).
It’s the combination of deft penmanship, deliberate arrangements, and honed vocal tone that make Alex Vissia stand out among a sea of young singer-songwriters striving for uniqueness. Alex grows into her sound with her second release, a whiskey-drenched batch of songs titled Young Love (May 2013). She’s taken her folk-country songwriting roots and added some dirt to the guitars, settled into a subtly weighted ensemble, and layered on backup vocals inspired by the girl-groups and folk-rockers of decades past to bring together a soulful, sultry, folk-alt-rock record.
Colleen Brown grew up on the prairies of Alberta and Saskatchewan and is now a force on the Canadian music scene, traveling coast to coast, singing and playing guitar, piano, and bass (in her rock side-project The Secretaries). She writes music that takes on the subjects of love, fate, and psychic retooling; she is often compared to Joni Mitchell, Carole King and sometimes Heart.
Brown is a favourite on CBC radio (appearing on the popular program Q) and has shared stages at festivals and concert halls with the likes of Jakob Dylan, Randy Newman, Jim Cuddy, Hawksley Workman, Brandi Carlisle, Kathleen Edwards, Frank Black and Don MacLean. She has toured Canada with Crash Test Dummies, Emm Gryner, Hannah Georgas and Buck 65.
Colleen recently wrapped recording sessions in Halifax with beloved Canadian music icon Joel Plaskett, as well as sessions in Toronto and Los Angeles with Raymond Richards (Local Natives), the latter of which was released, in part, on her most recent effort - 'Direction 1: Major Love'. The EP is a taste of the musical redirection she'll take on the new album, 'Direction' which will see release March 16, 2015, once Colleen gets her Directions straight.
"the talents of this Edmonton based vocalist shine like a beacon"
- Robert Everett-Green, The Globe and Mail
“a national treasure in the making – along the lines of Joni Mitchell, Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot or k.d.lang.”
- Sandra Sperounes, The Edmonton Journal
Craig Moreau is a Calgary, Alberta based, Singer/Songwriter of the first tradition. He always believed you have to live it to write it. “Everything I did, I did in search of a song.” Craig has definitely lived a storied life. He has been a roadie, bartender, farmer, cowhand, truck driver, stuntman, actor, carpenter, mechanic and a postal worker. Travelled 10 years on the rodeo circuit and even spent some time in California learning how to surf. Moreau will be releasing his second, full length, record ‘The Daredevil Kid’ in 2014.
Performing his songs as a solo artist, in bars and coffee houses, festivals, banquets and on live TV and radio. His first record ‘Every Now and Then’ received local, national and global airplay achieving critical acclaim from Performing Songwriter magazine and was picked as on of the best of 2000 by Fast Forward weekly in Calgary.
Returning to music full-time in 2013, Craig finished writing the songs then headed down to Austin, TX to record with Mark Hallman at the Congress House Studios. With the help of Kevin Welch, Kimmie Rhodes, Gurf Molix, Kim Deschamps, Elana James, Ben Tagseth and Andre Moran and the encouragement of his fans, friends and family; they ended up with one helluva’ record.
Craig plans on touring extensively in 2014/15 in support of ‘The Daredevil Kid’ and is currently assembling a backing band of seasoned musicians to flesh out the studio effort. He hopes to give this collection of songs the exposure they deserve.
Hailing from the rolling foothills of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, The Doll Sisters are a fiery Celtic Americana duo who weave haunting harmonies and stellar songwriting together to create an unforgettable experience every time they perform. As skilful multi-instrumentalists on guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin and bodhrán, Jenna Leigh Doll & Shelby Doll tirelessly strive to push the boundaries of what it means to be a female musician. Fusing together influences from their rich Irish and Scottish heritage, as well as inspirations from roots and rock, they have created a signature sound that is uniquely their own, and has drawn them comparisons ranging from Alison Krauss to The Civil Wars to Heart.
Their Rankin-esque harmonies easily conjure up images of moonlit mountains and misty, rain-soaked hills, backed by the fierceness of Shelby's soaring fiddle and Jenna's rhythmic and adaptive intensity on guitar. The dynamism and connection between the duo captivates audiences, drawing them in from the beginning to the end.
The Doll Sisters are past Canadian Folk Music Award nominees, and they were recently nominated for the ACMA's Duo/Group of the Year award in 2013. They have had the honour of sharing stages with the likes of Cindy Church, The Good Lovelies, Clayton Bellamy and Lisa Brokup, to name a few. Their resumé includes multiple folk festivals, such as the Edmonton Folk Fest and the Canmore Folk Fest, as well as several folk clubs, concerts and house shows across Alberta, BC, and Ontario. In February 2014, they were selected to be a part of a delegation of Alberta musicians who traveled to the Folk Alliance Conference in Kansas City, Missouri as representatives of the province.
Ellen Doty Trio
(Josh Crowhusrt, Oliver Miguel)
Ellen Doty is a soulful vocalist and songwriter from Calgary, Alberta with a world-class voice and a classic sound. Citing influences from legendary singers like Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald to modern artists like Michael Buble and Norah Jones, Doty’s music is an organic blend of traditional jazz and easy-listening pop. Doty released her much-anticipated first full album titled “Gold” on May 29th, 2014. The album is currently in the top ten on several jazz charts in Canada including CFBX (Kamloops), and CFMU (Hamilton). The record features ten of Ellen's original compositions, as well as one song by Toronto songwriter Kyle Zavitz. Her co-writers include Oliver Miguel, Josh Crowhurst, Kyle Zavitz, Conrad Good, and Danny Michel. Doty will be embarking on a thirty city Canadian tour this fall with her quartet to promote the album. The tour kicks off in Sydney, Nova Scotia on September 26th, and ends in Victoria, BC on November 15th. See the SHOWS section for more details.
Originally from Okotoks, Alberta, Doty has been a performer since age five. In her early years she sang at church choir and competed in the Youth Talent Showdown at the Calgary Stampede. She went on to study vocal jazz at Carleton University in Ottawa, ultimately performing in their prestigious Talent Showcase. She also sang at the Canadian University Music Society Congress in the summer of 2009. She now lives in Calgary and performs weekly at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel and also guest performs with Calgary’s Primetime Big Band. She’s had the opportunity to work with many of her jazz heroes thus far including Al Kay, Pat Labarbera, Bobby Shew, Dave Mancini and PJ Perry.
Doty's six-song EP “That’s Love” was released to a sold-out crowd of four hundred eager fans in Calgary last May followed shortly after by a crowd-funded fifteen-city Western Canada tour. Following an exciting year that included performances in Los Angeles, an award for outstanding soloist at the 2013 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, a Banff Centre Artist Residency, and countless rave press reviews, Doty was awarded a grant by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts for her debut album that she has co-produced along with LA engineer Steve Dierkens and well-known sax player Oliver Miguel.
Born in Chiang Mai Thailand, and raised outside of Edmonton, AB, Jenie Thai is building a musical presence throughout the country through the electric energy she displays on stage and the old soul that's conveyed through her songwriting. Raised in a musical household of six, silence was rare.
In 2011, Jenie released her EP “Lady Flower”. With the titled track she received an “honourable mention” as a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition (ISC) under the performance category (a category of 13 finalists out of 16, 000 submissions from around the globe). With the EP, she has been heard on many festival stages including both the Edmonton Folk Music Festival (2011) and the Canmore Folk Festival (2012).
Both solo and with her trio, Jenie has shared her songs across Western Canada on festival stages, in blues bars, theatres, lounges, and living rooms. In spring of 2012, Jenie started the “Couch Concert Series”, a continuing project where she arrives on strangers steps to play a living room show in exchange for donations and a couch to sleep on.
In April 2013, Jenie Thai released "Only The Moon" which is “a beautifully crafted nine-song album of original songs showcasing a voice that has warmth and beauty..." writes David Farrell, writer for Toronto's New Canadian Music. The organic and vibrant music has been unearthed through the stereos of CBC Radio 1, 2, and 3, CKUA, CJSR, and other various stations from coast to coast and internationally being aired in states such as Florida and New York. With the album, Jenie was nominated for several Edmonton Music Awards (2013, 2014) for “Artist To Watch” and “Female Artist of the Year”.
"Sensual, frank and fearless", said Calgary Fast Forward Magazine about performing songwriter Jenny Allen. Her first solo recording, 'Something to Say', produced by Canadian folk legend Valdy, led to invitations at major festivals both in Canada and the US. and widespread critical acclaim.
Opening for the likes of Taj Mahal, Jennifer Warnes, and Shawn Colvin, her music invited comparisons to Mary Chapin Carpenter and Tracy Chapman, swinging effortlessly between a rich variety of styles such as roots, blues, pop and rock.
On the heels of her acclaimed sophomore release 'If I Fall', Allen joined forces with Calgary-based songwriters Lin Elder and Lori Reid. Their trio The Fates' became one of Albertas most beloved oncert acts, touring extensively throughout Western Canada over nine years in support of their three studio CD releases, receiving extensive airplay and charting at #2 for best album of 2008 on CKUA Radio.
The last three years have seen Jenny teamed up with fellow singer/songwriter Leslie Alexander, and what started as a double bill quickly became 'Allen and Alexander', a high energy, winsome duo, the two supporting each other vocally and instrumentally.
Continuing to write and perform as a solo artist, Allen released her first solo project in ten years in the spring of 2012. For her many fans it's no exaggeration to say the record was highly anticipated, featuring production by BCCMA Producer of the Year John MacArthur Ellis (Ridley Bent, Leeroy Stagger) and a set list of original songs well-seasoned with experience, insight, and emotional impact. Backed by Pat Steward on drums, Rob Becker on bass, John Ellis on guitars, and Mel Smith, Pete Loughlin and tour mate Leslie Alexander on vocals, the album is garnering rave reviews, leaving one critic to say, "Blanket is alive from the onset, then begins to build into a class, or category of its own.' (Victory Music)
At the crossroads between Nashville Tennessee, Austin Texas and Calgary Alberta, lives the musical soul of J.R. Shore. Shore, an award-winning songwriter, is equal parts storyteller, social commentator and performer. Shore’s songs provide a glimpse into years gone by, as well as contemporary characters with melody and lyrics that have audiences hanging on every line.
A multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Shore began his musical career in the early 90′s with the Grateful Dead inspired, Hiway 2. Original projects, Sgt. Singalong and the Military and Panama Red followed, with Shore developing greater and greater depth in his writing and performing. In 2004, Shore and his wife relocated to Music City, U.S.A. He seized the opportunity to see first-hand, what it takes to write and play with some of the best in the business. Extended journeys through the American South gave Shore a taste of where his music came from. Having the opportunity to rub shoulders with Buddy Miller, Chip Taylor and Guy Clark gave Shore the inspiration to spread his own wings wide and carve his own path. After two years in Nashville, playing such venues as The Bluebird Cafe, Mercy Lounge and The Basement, Shore was ready to return back to his home turf, Calgary, Alberta, and play his songwriting trade in some familiar digs.
Upon his return to the Canadian prairies, Shore turned the Alberta songwriting scene on its head, winning 3 Calgary Folk Fest Songwriting Competitions, and placing as runner-up on two other occassions. Months after his first win, Shore released his debut album, An Impeccable Shine. On the heels of Shore’s critically successful 2008 debut album, An Impeccable Shine, his sophomore record, Talkin’ on a Bus, was released in July, 2010. Produced by Edmonton’s own, Barry Allen, Talkin’ On a Bus was one of the most highly anticipated albums to come out of Alberta this year, reaching the top of the CKUA charts for 8 weeks during the summer. The album made numerous top albums of 2010 lists and was the #2 album on CKUA’s top albums of 2010. The album also rose to the top 20 on the European Americana Charts.
Kat Danser’s music navigates a paddle steamer from the muddy banks of the Mississippi Delta downriver toward a big ol’ full moon over New Orleans. Dubbed ‘Queen of the Swamp Blues’, this Edmonton-based guitar slinger, songsmith, and blazing vocalist channels the spirit of roots, blues and gospel music pioneers.
Her fourth album, Baptized by the Mud, is a collaboration between Danser and Juno-award winning producer Steve Dawson. The recording addresses the dichotomy of ‘church-blues’: blues music as devilish and church music as angelic. This sub-genre demonstrates that human truth and the divine are one in the same – “one is preached from behind the pulpit and the other from behind the plow”.
This CD (distributed by Outside Music) is the summation of years of study, mentorship, and songwriting with legendary blues icons in Mississippi- birthplace of the blues- and her graduate studies at the U of A, where Danser focused her Masters thesis on the representation of blues music over the past century.
Lisa Nicole Grace
One thing is clear; Lisa Nicole Grace is passionate about the arts. From her efforts within the music community as an independent Singer/Songwriter to teaching voice lessons, to being the social media coordinator for the Northern Lights Folk Club in Edmonton, to co-creating and co-hosting the three years running arts podcast, The Prairie Belles, she is whole-heartedly dedicated to the creation, promotion and preservation of the arts in her local community and beyond.
Within her many artistic endeavours Lisa has found songwriting to be an extra special treasure. Lisa has also enjoyed co-writing with local artists Erica Viegas, Rob Heath, Marty Pawlina, Chloe Albert and Lesley Pelletier.
In follow up to her 2011 full length release “Prairie Belle” the past year has been a whirlwind of new excitement and projects for Lisa. She gave birth to her first child, a son Asher in January and was awarded a 10K20 Rawlco Radio grant to record a new album soon after!
“Tree of Life” is a collection of songs from the various precious seasons of life. Recorded in St. Albert, Alberta at Phonetic Sound Studio with Jeff Olson, “Tree of Life” was a true “family affair”. Jered Evangelos – Lisa’s husband – produced and mixed the album. Their new bundle of joy Asher tagged along for every studio session and even Lisa’s brother Brent Schaitel played organ and sang harmonies along with a host full of dear friends singing and playing other instruments.
Lizzy Hoyt is an award-winning Canadian vocalist and songwriter who also happens rank among the top Celtic instrumentalists in the country. With the voice of an angel, Lizzy delivers music and stories with soaring melodies rooted in Celtic and folk traditions.
Lizzy’s fourth album New Lady on the Prairie (produced by John Reischman and Lizzy Hoyt) demonstrates a mature and refined ‘trans-Atlantic’ sound that blends influences from Celtic, bluegrass and folk traditions. The title track, inspired by Lizzy’s great great aunt immigrating to Canada from Ireland in the early 1900s, demonstrates her ability to craft songs that are touching, poignant, and lyrically rich. Her arrangements are detailed and atmospheric, and her talents as a multi-instrumentalist are featured in spades.
Lizzy’s music has been recognized on both the national and international level. She won “Best Female Artist” at the 8th International Acoustic Music Awards (a contest that saw over 11 000 applicants), was a Canadian Folk Music Award Nominee for “Traditional Singer of the Year” and has been named a finalist in both the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and the USA Songwriting Competition. In addition to these, Lizzy was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Governor General of Canada for her outstanding contribution to commemorating Canadian veterans and history through music.
Matt lives just outside the tiny hamlet of LaGlace, Alberta. He ventured to the big smoke of Vancouver to make his first album “Outside the Lights of Town” with multi-Juno winner Steve Dawson. Songs on the record share stories of an aging small town hero who is still a legend in his own mind, an oilfield widow, and a farmer with his own take on the divine. A former forester, sketches of the lives of working men and women in rural Canada are strong in many of Patershuk’s songs.
He is a genuine and open performer who loves to share a song. Support for the record on independent radio charts and record stores in his native Alberta has led to several exciting performance opportunities for Matt including: The Calgary Folk Music Festival, live on CKUA’s “Wide Cut Country” radio show, an Alberta tour with John Wort Hannam and Linda McRae opening for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Ana Egge, Tom Phillips, the Spinney Brothers and a belly dancer at the Teepee Creek Hall.
"Rebecca Lappa is her name and extremely classy folk, singer-songwriter, jazzy art pop is the nature of her game" (Urban Wally Wallstrom, UnitedRock.com). Her strong, beautiful voice and artful playing draw listeners into stories about history, myth, and poetry. As a 4x Canadian Folk Music Awards nominee, not only has Rebecca “written a lot of songs – she’s written a lot of good songs” (Kevin Maimann, Edmonton Examiner). This multi-instrumentalist won the CN Youth Artist Award at the 2014 Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts, was a top 6 finalist in the 2012 All Albertan Songwriting Contest, and the Sonic Youth winner (2013) and third place winner (2014) at the Calgary Folkfest Songwriting Contest. She has performed at the Edmonton Folkfest, Canmore Folkfest, Winnipeg Folkfest, Calgary Folkfest, St. John CFMA Nominee showcase, Calgary CFMA Nominee showcase, and as the “Young Albertan” for the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta 2013 Showcase. From acoustic sets to rock'n it on the main stage, Rebecca performs with confidence, plucking the audience’s heartstrings or tickling their funny bone. In June, Rebecca released her 4th full-length album “Ode to Tennyson”, produced by award winner Barry Allen and funded by a Rawlco Radio 10K20 grant. Her music has been played on radio across Canada and charted on Canadian College stations.
T Buckley and his band deliver soulful laments and gritty truths. Their roots rock is imbued both with thoughtful turns of phrase and driving honky-tonk, all with a distinct Canadian flavour. As a trio, the band is a triple threat of Calgary talent, courtesy of Derek Pulliam’s upright bass and Tim Leacock’s lead guitar. (Both Leacock and Pulliam were also crucial partners in T Buckley’s debut album Roll On, as producer and recording engineer respectively).
As Albertan as it comes, T Buckley’s lyrical portmanteau is filled with the people and places that define his home. With a degree in Canadian History and a family background filled with professional musicians, it comes as no surprise that he would take up the mantle of songwriter, though his keen desire to create transportive musical experiences was inspired as much by the works of Hyatt, Lovett or Cowsill as from his own personal background.
Defined by the geography of the heart as much as the land, Buckley seeks to discover the internal why, writing from inside the characters he creates, seeing from the eyes of others, tracking the dusty miles through the soles of their shoes.
100 Mile House
Edmonton-based husband and wife duo Peter Stone and Denise MacKay, plus multi-instrumentalist Scott Zubot, have shared their unique brand of original transatlantic folk at shows and festivals near and far. Their beautiful harmonies, rich arrangements and captivating lyrics make their sound truly distinctive.
The new 100 mile house release, Wait With Me, is their third full-length album, packed with the lyrically driven roots tunes that gained this band a devoted following in the Canadian music scene and beyond. Debuting at No.1 on CKUA across Alberta, the album is nominated for a WCMA for ‘Roots Duo/Group Recording of the Year’ and the song ‘London’ just won the coveted Calgary Folk Festival Songwriting Contest, the second time the band has walked away with the prize. This haunting and highly personal song collection is the follow-up to hollow ponds, their award-winning 2011 release.< Previous Post Next Post >