SONGWRITER SESSIONS | OCTOBER 9, 2018
David Leask | Andrea Ramolo | Tony Quarrington | Melanie Peterson
$20 Advance | $25 Door
Hugh’s Room Live loves a good songwriter and is home to many a concert featuring Canada’s best. Our new Songwriter Sessions series explores songcraft in a round robin format with players peeling back the stories behind their work. Crossing genres and tapping into the natural Canadian gift of open, honest lyrics and tunes, we’ve invited some of our favourites to delve deeper and share their songs with you.
Originally from Jedburgh, Scotland, David is a powerful performing songwriter, who has built an artistic bridge between the influences of his birthplace and the fresh possibilities of his adopted Canadian home to produce five critically-acclaimed CD’s and numerous international songwriting awards in different genres. Songwriters Magazine called David, “the most consistent Canadian songwriting competition winner.” He was also awarded the Mississauga Established Performing Artist of the Year. David’s sixth and latest recording, “Six in 6/8” has just been released. A seasoned and commanding performer, having played nearly 2500 gigs in the last 20 years, David’s music draws from Celtic roots, Americana and country, topped up with a pop sensibility that brings to mind the talents of Van Morrison, Jack Johnson and Foy Vance.
A gifted songwriting teacher, David has been a songwriting mentor for 10 years with the School Alliance of Student Songwriters, on the songwriting faculty for Guitar Workshop Plus, and has conducted numerous songwriting workshops at Folk Festivals and on behalf of the Songwriters Association of Canada with students ranging in age from 7 to 70+. David has the experience, passion and people skills to motivate any individual to write a song and to adapt his workshops to many different settings and needs.
Andrea Ramolo, one half of acclaimed Canadian folk-pop duo Scarlett Jane, has a new solo album, NUDA (Italian for naked). The album emerged out of a deep depression following a romantic breakup and a shift in her artistic path; but brought about a hugely positive metamorphosis, personally and creatively.
Cool, dark, understated and melancholy, the alternative-folk album produced by Michael Timmins — a man who knows about melancholy and understated in his own band Cowboy Junkies — has a companion version of the same songs without a full band. Stripped down to its barest form, Da Sola (meaning by myself), was produced by her pal Faye Blais and features Andrea singing and playing either baritone or acoustic guitar.
“I’ve definitely matured and acquired this confidence in my writing and in my voice as an artist,” she says. “Sharing the stage with Gordon Lightfoot, Ron Sexsmith and Adam Cohen, and doing a couple of shows with Lee Harvey Osmond and Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, showed me that living in a van for three-and-a half-years in the early days of my solo career, honing my craft, paid off. “Now I feel like this language of music is a part of my vocabulary as a human being and that filtering life through song is just second nature. After almost a decade of touring and recording, I know now that music is not only a job, but a necessary part of my existence.”
Veteran musician, Tony Quarrington, has been a formidable and thriving presence on the Toronto music scene for more than 40 years. He first appeared at the Mariposa Folk Festival in 1966, and played at many renowned Yorkville nightclubs and coffee houses in the late ‘60s, performing ballads, blues and his own original tunes.
Quarrington’s relentless career as a sideman and studio musician has seen him appear on literally hundreds of other artists’ recordings, playing guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano and dobro, and lending his voice as a singer. He spent the ‘70s and ‘80s playing countless sessions, and eventually moved into a new role as a producer, helming dozens of widely varying projects. In 1998, he won a Juno Award for his work on Willie P. Bennett’s masterful roots recording, Heartstrings. He not only produced, but arranged and played on this seminal album, and also wrote its title song.
Blessed with an ability to imbue her vocals with palpable emotion without going over the top, Melanie Peterson, a Saskatoon born, Toronto based, singer-songwriter and actress has boldly become one of the brightest lights on the Toronto music scene.
Melanie has been referred to as “Mary Poppins with a broken heart” by BBC Radio and has been recognized as having “a beautiful voice” and being a “terrific songwriter” by Joe Warmington of the Toronto Sun. She earned a spot within the independent music scene in Toronto March 2012, when she showcased her original music during Canadian Music Week, at the Royal York Library Bar. She was invited back to perform two showcases at CMW 2013. She launched her first full-length album ‘Unbreakable’ in April 2013 at The Piston in Toronto. Melanie followed that up with a triumphant NXNE showcase and a successful southern Ontario tour.
In November 2016, Melanie received a FACTOR artist development grant, which she used to record and promote an original holiday single titled “Santa’s Sleigh”. The single was produced by award winning producer Chris Birkett (Sinead O’Connor and Buffy St. Marie), and was released to radio stations across Canada in December 2016.
In early 2017, renowned SKA artist Susan Cadogan recorded a cover of Melanie’s folk song “Truth Talking” and released it as a single. “The legendary Susan Cadogan sings a rootsy rocksteady love song in her unmistakable voice, with a sweet lyric by Melanie Peterson that could have been written a thousand years ago or last week.” ~ SKA’D For LIFE, ska4u.com.
Melanie’s most current project is a two-song EP titled ‘Two’. Produced by Mitch Girio, it will be released on July 14, 2017, with Ontario tour dates to follow.