Wednesday, March 13, 2019 | 8:30pm
Steven Bowers CD Release with Mary Stewart
Advance $15 / Door $20 *
Steven Bowers writes songs that are as hooky as they are thoughtful, with a novelist’s grasp of the human condition, and a melody junkie’s thirst for pretty sounds. Born and raised in Newfoundland and living now on Vancouver Island, Bowers has just wrapped production of his fifth full length album, forthcoming in February 2019, produced by Jason Mingo and JUNO award-winning producer Colin Stewart (Dan Mangan, Yukon Blonde, Black Mountain). His 2012 release, Beothuk Words, landed placements on TV shows such as CBC’s Heartland (Season 4, Episode 1), and in independent films such as Roaming (2013 Best Feature Film Winner, Canadian Independent Film Festival). His 2008 effort Homing received significant airplay on CBC, specialty and folk radio programs across Canada, and generated nominations for Folk Recording, Songwriter and Producer of the Year from 2008 Music Nova Scotia Awards along with a JUNO Showcase and an East Coast Music Award nomination for Folk Recording of the Year. He lives in Victoria, BC, with his wife and their daughter.
Elk Island Park was written and recorded over a 4 year span in various bedrooms and studios across Canada, with many parts recorded and e-mailed back and forth over long distance. It features backing vocals from Juno award winning songwriter Meaghan Smith on several songs (most notably on the post-apocalyptic Just You), along with appearances by Bowers long-time collaborators Dave Gunning, Jason Silverberg (Lennings), and Kev Corbett. During the time of production, Steven worked at a youth society on Treaty 6 territory in Edmonton. Several of the songs (Shelter, The Bear) were inspired by this time and recorded at the youth music studio. Title track Elk Island Park was written after a less-than-confident winter walk through the park with his newborn daughter. The final two tracks (Bad Friend, and lead single Future Ghosts) were recorded and produced by Colin Stewart, and feature Vancouver Island musicians Jaya Bremer (vocals/synth), Nick Mintenko (bass), and Andrew Pederson (drums).
Mary Stewart isn’t a singer songwriter. Well, she does sing and she likely writes more songs than anyone you’ve ever met, but if you’re picturing a sullen woman perched atop a wooden stool, playing depressing songs on her oversized acoustic, you’ve pegged her all wrong.
In fact, Mary has never sported an acoustic guitar during a live show and prefers to strum along on her Gretsch, singing clever pop songs, and sharing anecdotes about her love of baking, cats, and hopes of becoming Sidney Crosby’s wife.
“My parents would bring me along to gigs because it was easier than finding a babysitter,” says Mary. She really didn’t stand a chance to fall in love with any career other than music.
At 16, Mary had her first recording experience and shared it with fellow New Glasgow native, George Canyon who has since become a long-standing supporter of Mary’s music.
Canyon isn’t the only heavyweight Mary has had the chance to work with. She’s opened for acts like Jill Barber, Wintersleep, Jenn Grant, and Blue Rodeo. A huge fan of Jim Cuddy, Mary giggles, “I almost wore a wedding dress on stage.”
Among her many accolades, Mary was nominated for Music Nova Scotia’s Female Artist Recording of the year in 2009.
Mary currently uses Toronto as her stomping grounds, performing at famous venues like The Horseshoe Tavern, Hugh’s Room Live, The Drake and is rarely not on a bill somewhere. She recently played a packed show at Canadian Music Week and is gearing up for the release of her second album, Chances are I Like You.
The record is the result of a hugely successful yearlong project where Mary wrote one song each day, allowing website statistics and fan votes to dictate which of the 365 songs would make their way onto the album. Because of the unique conception, Mary says that the album doesn’t really have a conscious theme. Instead, it is a snapshot of a year – and not necessarily a good one.
The tunes have that gritty and wonderfully natural feel, but still rely heavily on Mary’s pop sensibilities that make her immediately pleasant to listen to, and we’re delighted to have her as the opening act to the CD Release of Steven Bowers here at Hugh’s Room Live in March.
* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and fees.