Christa Couture’s Long Time Leaving is a celebration of “ordinary” heartache

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“Criminally under-rated” – The Georgia Straight

April 7 – Duncan Showroom, Duncan, BC
April 8 – Solstice Café, Victoria, BC
April 9 – CBC Studio 700, Vancouver, BC
April 10 – The Schoolhouse, Ymir, BC
April 11 – The Ironwood, Calgary, AB
April 14 – Times Change(d), Winnipeg, MB
April 20 – The Bassment, Saskatoon, SK
April 23 – The Blue Chair, Edmonton AB
April 24 – R ‘Ouse, Sherwood Park, AB
April 28 – The Burdock, Toronto, ON
April 29 – Le Cagibi, Montreal, QC,
May 1 – Live on Elgin, Ottawa, ON
May 5 – Rose & Kettle, Cole Harbour, NS
May 6 – Homeport Homestages, St. John, NB
May 7 – Grimross Taproom, Fredericton, NB

For most musicians, the break-up album is the quintessential songwriter cliché – bringing with it the burden to eek out originality from an oversubscribed muse.

But for award-winning indie artist Christa Couture — whose first three albums reflected on her teenage battle with cancer, the loss of her left leg to the disease, and the deaths of both of her young children under separate circumstances — the opportunity to write songs about such ordinary heartache seemed like a welcome reprieve.

On the Steve Dawson-produced Long Time Leaving, Christa offers a truly unique take on the topic thanks in part to a long and complex relationship with grief that’s given her rare insight into its nuances.

It’s a mostly upbeat album filled with sweet soaring hooks, whimsical melodies, clever word-play and Christa’s trademark sweet, quirky vocals.

It is at times an album to sing along to, even an album to do housework too (!!) – something Christa was striving for – and an album about continuing to move forward in the aftermath of tragedy. Read the rest of this entry »

Trailblazers in Ukrainian cultural revival return with new album

Zeellia photo 2

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Vancouver’s Zeellia formed around the fall of the Soviet Union,
return as the independence fight heats up

Album launch for Tse Tak Bulo/That’s How it Was
April 2, 8 pm, at the Ukrainian Hall
Tickets are $20 in advance from High Life Records
$22 at the door

Born out of the Ukrainian cultural revival that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union; nurtured during Vancouver’s global music “golden age” in the early 90s; and recently revived in conjunction with a renewed fight to protect Ukrainian independence, Vancouver’s Zeellia has been at the forefront of a global Ukrainian cultural Renaissance for more than 20 years.

It combines the powerful, piercing harmonies and mournful, minor key melodies of Slavic folk music with a modern artist’s approach to arranging.

Founded and fronted by Beverly Dobrinsky, the ensemble returns after an extended absence with Tse Tak Bulo/That’s How it Was, a collection that is both beautifully reverent toward Ukrainian tradition – Dobrinsky has even included the voices of the now-deceased elders from whom she first learned her repertoire – and filled with vital new energy in the form of clever re-workings of many songs. Read the rest of this entry »

Steve Dawson launches Solid States and Loose Ends with a Black Hen Traveling Roadshow Revue

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The Black Hen Traveling Roadshow Revue 2016 features Dawson, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Russell deCarle and Roxanne Potvin!

Mar 29, 2016 – Penticton, BC, The Dream Cafe
Mar 30, 2016 – Penticton, BC, The Dream Cafe
Mar 31, 2016 – Campbell River, BC, Tidemark Theatre
Apr 1, 2016 – Victoria, BC, Alix Goolden Hall
Apr 2, 2016 – Vancouver, BC Blue Shore Financial Ctr for the Performing Arts
Apr 4, 2016 – Whitehorse, Yukon, Yukon Arts Centre
Apr 6, 2016 – Winnipeg, MB, West End Cultural Centre
Apr 7, 2016 – Saskatoon, SK, The Bassment
Apr 8, 2016 – Sherwood Park, AB, Festival Place
Apr 9, 2016 – Calgary, AB, Festival Hall

Part of the vision for Steve Dawson’s forthcoming album, Solid States and Loose Ends, was to put together a really hot band and kick some musical ass – so it stands to reason that Dawson would tour that new record with an equally kick-ass group of musicians.

Dawson will launch Solid States with the latest installment of the Black Hen Traveling Roadshow Revue, a much-anticipated showcase of A-list roots and blues talent that recalls the days of the touring revue shows of the ‘60s, like Stax and Motown.  This time, the lineup features Dawson, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Russell deCarle and Roxanne Potvin. Read the rest of this entry »

An evening with Grammy Award-winning artist Judy Collins in Ottawa (Sold Out!)

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Judy Collins and special guest Garnet Rogers
Friday, March 11, 2016, 8:00 pm, at Southminster United Church
15 Aylmer Avenue at Bank Street, Ottawa
Tickets $46.50 at www.folkzone.ca
(includes all processing fees)

This concert is a fundraiser for the Ottawa Grassroots Festival taking place at Southminster United Church from April 21 to 24, 2016 – see www.ottawagrassrootsfestival.com

Grammy Award winner and beloved folk artist Judy Collins inspires audiences with her sublime vocals, her boldly vulnerable songwriting, her fascinating personal anecdotes and her firm commitment to social activism.  In the 1960s, Judy evoked both the idealism and the determination of a generation united against social and environmental injustices.  Five decades later, her luminous presence continues to shine brightly as new generations bask in the glow of her iconic 50-album body of work. Read the rest of this entry »

WCMA nominee Matt Patershuk uses sophomore album to memorialize his sister

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I Was So Fond of You is dedicated to the memory of Clare Patershuk

Album launch dates

March 16 – Dawson Creek Art Gallery, Dawson Creek, BC
March 17 – Grande Prairie Live Theatre, Grande Prairie, AB
March 18 – Festival Hall, Calgary, AB w/ The Crooked Brothers
March 19 – CKUA Radio Performance Space, Edmonton, AB
March 20 – The Geomatic Attic, Lethbridge, AB
March 21 – Village Guitar & Amp, Saskatoon, SK
March 22 – TBA, Regina, SK
March 23 – West End Cultural Centre, Winnipeg Manitoba
April 2 – Northern Lights Folk Club, Edmonton, AB

Country music is the music of heartbreak, and Matt Patershuk’s got plenty of heartbreak to sing about on his forthcoming sophomore album.

Less than six months after releasing his auspicious, Steve Dawson-produced debut, Outside the Lights of Town, and earning the rapt attention of the music media, Matt’s beloved younger sister, Clare, died senselessly in a head-on collision with a drunk driver.

I Was So Fond of You is Matt struggling through song to make sense of that loss. Read the rest of this entry »

Montreal’s Neema teams up with Lanois collaborators for breathtaking third album Painting My Wall Gold

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Emmylou Harris appears on backing vocals on Painting My Wall Gold

Street Date:  March 4, 2016

Album launch concerts:
March 11 – Sala Rossa, Montreal, QC

April 1 – Palais Montcalm, Quebec City, QC

April 17 – Hugh’s Room, Toronto, ON

From the opening strains of the joyful “For You,” featuring glorious harmonies by Emmylou Harris, to the sultry, Middle Eastern-flavoured “Come;” the soulful, minimalist cover of the Creole “Papa Loco;” the bittersweet choruses of “That’s Where I’ll Be,” and the French language cover of Steve Earle’s “Goodbye” done in the classic understated style of the French chansonnières, the breathtaking third album by Montreal artist Neema – titled Painting My Wall Gold – overflows with the kind of wisdom, maturity, nuance and diversity that only comes from having packed a lot of living into a relatively small number of years. Read the rest of this entry »

David Francey populates Empty Train with captivating cast of characters

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For a hi-rez image, right click the photo and select “save target as” or your browser’s equivalent. Band line-up l-r: Mark Westberg, Darren McMullen, Chris Coole, David Francey.

Colin and John-Angus MacDonald of the Trews contribute a co-write

Empty Train releases Feb. 26, 2016

People watching.
It’s the ultimate pastime of the introvert: spending time alone in a crowd, contemplating the dynamics of the characters around you, reflecting on their emotional lives, reflecting on your emotional life.

On Empty Train, three-time Juno winner David Francey elevates the practice to high art.
The long-time manual labourer-turned-revered singer-songwriter populates Empty Train with the lonely, faceless patrons of a Yukon night club (“Mirror Ball”); hospital patients who “might get home but you never know” (“Hospital”); working class heroes in the form of sailors, signalers and stokers (“Crucible”); and women seeking to escape their circumstances through the sex trade (“Blue Girl”). Read the rest of this entry »

Uplifting and socially conscious, Buckman Coe’s Malama Ka ’Aina draws inspiration from Reggae and Hawaii

Buckman Coe

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Malama Ka ’Aina releases through Tonic Records on Sept. 25
Launch concert
October 10 – The Imperial – Vancouver, BC
With Adham Shaikh and Vince Vacarro
Doors: 8 p.m. Show: 9 p.m.
Tickets $15 adv. / $18 door
Tickets available through ticketweb.ca and at Highlife Records, Zulu Records, Red Cat Records, Studio on Granville

Buckman Coe summer tour dates:

Aug 20: Mikey’s Juke Joint – Calgary, AB
Aug 21-24: Blessed Coast – location TBA / performance date TBA
Aug 21-24: Golden Sound Festival – Golden, BC / performance date TBA
Aug 29-Sept 6: Burning Man Festival – Nevada Desert
Sept 18-20: Axis Mundi – Revelstoke, BC

Drawing strongly from Reggae’s mixture of joyful, danceable rhythms and socially conscious vibes, the latest album from Vancouver’s Buckman Coe is a gorgeous and downright infectious manifestation of the artist’s spiritual nature and passion for social justice. It is simultaneously his most political album to date and possibly also his most uplifting!

Featuring masterful production by global/electronic artist Adham Sheikh and musician-activist Jason Kecheley, Malama Ka ’Aina (pr: Ma-LA-ma kah-AY-nuh) – a Hawaiian phrase meaning to respect the land and live in harmony – sees Coe’s almost ethereal, soul-drenched voice soaring over arrangements that draw from folk, pop, soul, psychedelia and hip hop, and singing songs that celebrate the awakening of social consciousness and the togetherness of those who are fighting for a better world. Read the rest of this entry »

Vishtèn gets back to its roots on Terre Rouge (Red Earth)

Vishten

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Terre Rouge releases Sept. 11, 2015
Album launch dates:
11 Sep. – Festival Celtique de Québec, Québec, Qc
12 Sep. – Festival Celtique de Québec, Québec, Qc
13 Sep.. – Beat & Betterave, Frelighsburg, Qc
16 Sep. – Monument National, Montréal, Qc
17 Sep. – La Mitaine, Joliette, Qc
18 Sep. – La Caravane, North Hatley, Qc
24 Sep. – Centre Aberdeen, Moncton, N.B.
25 Sep. – The Pourhouse, Charlottetown, PEI
10 Oct. – Pas Perdus, Îles de la Madeleine, QC
15 Oct. – Imperial Theatre, Saint John, NB
16 Oct. – The Playhouse, Fredericton, NB
18 Oct. – Carrefour Beausoleil, Miramichi, NB.
22 Oct. – Decoste Centre, Pictou, NS
23 oct – Pearle Theatre, Lunenburg, NS
24 Oct. – Évelina’s, Little Brook, NS
30 Oct. – King’s Theatre, Annapolis Royal, NS

For the follow-up to their award-winning 2012 album Mosaïk, which brought vintage sounds such as Moog and Korg synthesizers and Taurus bass pedals to their hopping Acadian party music, ECMA winners Vishtèn went back to the source: the red soil of the Magdalens and Prince Edward Island and their local characters and torchbearers.

After years of incessant touring, and a brief period living in Montreal, the band’s trio of powerhouse multi-instrumentalists, Pastelle and Emmanuelle LeBlanc and Pascal Miousse, longed for fresh engagement with their Acadian musical roots – so they took up residencies in their local communities and studied parts of the tradition they had never fully explored. Read the rest of this entry »

New Folsom Prison provides the starting point for new Linda McRae album

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Shadow Trails releases Sept. 18
Album launch tour:
October 09, 2015 – Silence (The Space), Guelph, ON
October 10, 2015 – London Music Club, London, ON
October 15-17, 2015 – Westin Bristol Place, Toronto, ON
October 18, 2015 – Hugh’s Room, Toronto, ON
October 23, 2015 – Spirit of Rasputin’s, 430 Churchill at Byron, Ottawa, ON
October 25, 2015 – Cafe Campus, Montreal, PQ
November 12, 2015 – West End Cultural Center, Winnipeg, MB
November 13, 2015 – LaGrange Laurier, Laurier, MB
November 14, 2015 – Tom Wilson’s Elbow, Saskatchewan House Concert
November 19, 2015 – The Needle Vinyl Tavern, Edmonton, AB (tentative)
November 20, 2015 – Lethbridge Folk Club at The Cave, Lethbridge, AB
November 21, 2015 – Beneath The Arch, Turner Valley, AB
November 27, 2015 – Venue TBA, Vancouver, BC
November 28, 2015 – Deep Cover Folk Club, Sidney, BC
November 29 – Sooke Folk Club, Sooke, BC

California’s Folsom State Prison occupies a hallowed place in the history of country music. As the location of several Johnny Cash performances and the subject of his song “Folsom Prison Blues,” it has become a symbol of the “outlaw” element of outlaw country.

Now, some 60 years after Cash first put it on the map, the California State Prison complex has had a transformational impact on another country roots musician: Canada’s Linda McRae.

After answering a call to host a writing workshop at New Folsom in 2011, McRae and her husband, James Whitmire, were moved to develop similar workshops for at-risk youth – to try and prevent them from ending up behind bars in the first place.

Her new, Steve Dawson-produced album, Shadow Trails, is inspired by that work. Read the rest of this entry »