Archive for Toronto Music

Matt Weidinger Presents a Tribute to Van Morrison

Friday, January 17, 2019 | 8:30pm

Matt Weidinger Presents a Tribute to Van Morrison
$35 Advance / $40 Door *

… Matt Weidinger and his stellar group of musicians have put together a live music gem.” – Bob Hunt, The Blues Studio Sessions

Young Matt Weidinger is an old soul. Steeped in real-deal rhythm & blues, blues, and soul music from his earliest years, he is renowned for his blue eyed soul vocals, guitar playing, and prowess on the Hammond organ. Matt’s 2018 Registry Theatre amazing concert of the music of Van Morrison was a season highlight, with its rich, authentic take on a genuine music icon. The concert such a hit that Matt will be back next season for Van The Man Volume 2. – Lawrence McNaught,  Registry Theatre

“Matt’s interpretation of Van’s music is a deeply moving personal memoir of Celtic soul. Simply marvellous..Actually fantabulous!” – Bruce Hall,  Grand Rivers Blues Society

Born decades after Van Morrison was creating some of his most enduring music, singer-songwriter, Matt Weidinger, has a musical connection to the ’60s and ’70s, what he calls the golden age of record-making.

Anyone who’s seen him perform would agree with the “old soul” label, so it’s particularly fitting that he’s taking on the songs of an old soul master with his latest tribute to the music of Van Morrison.

It’ll be something of a retrospective of Van the Man’s extensive song catalogue, with a particular focus on the early stuff that was Weidinger’s introduction to Morrison’s brand of Celtic soul.

“I started listening to Van Morrison in high school, with Astral Weeks … and then Moondance,” he says, soon uncovering a treasure trove of musical offerings. “He’s got a huge catalogue. With Van Morrison, there’s just so much to see, so much to discover.”

Morrison has been prolific, with dozens of albums to his credit since 1967’s Blowin’ Your Mind! Fifty years on, in fact, he’s currently touring 2017’s Versatile, a collection of jazz standards and originals.

For Saturday night’s show, Weidinger’s put together a seven-piece band, including two horns to reflect the sound for which Morrison is known.

Weidinger’s own influences stem from the ’60s, as can be heard in both his vocals and his choice of music. Like Morrison, he began performing as a teen. For a relatively young performer, he’s already got more than a decade of experience under his belt that has earned him a solid following. In addition to singing and writing songs, he’s a multi-instrumentalist, equally at home on the piano, organ, guitar, bass and mandolin.

In preparation for the show, he’s had to dig deeper into Morrison’s music, developing an even greater appreciation for it … and banking some songs for future performances.

“Any time I can learn songs that I can put in my repertoire, add to the list, it’s great,” says Weidinger, adding such exercises help his own songwriting, providing a way to see words and music from a different perspective.

website: http://mattweidinger.com/
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB0vCB6QHEg


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Connie Kaldor and Garnet Rogers

Wednesday, January 8, 2019 | 8:30pm

Connie Kaldor and Garnet Rogers
$35 Advance / $40 Door *

Garnet Rogers
Born in Hamilton, Ontario to parents of Nova Scotian descent, Garnet Rogers spent many hours in front of the old floor model radio listening to Grand Ol’ Opry broadcasts and harmonizing with his brother, the late folk legend Stan Rogers. Two years later, Garnet was playing the definitive 8-year-old’s version of “Desolation Row” on his ukulele. He soon abandoned that instrument to teach himself the flute, violin and guitar.

At 18, Garnet was on the road as a full-time working musician with brother Stan. Together they formed what has come to be accepted as one of the most influential duos in the history of North American folk music. Garnet acted as producer and arranger for his older brother from 1973 to 1983, when Stan died tragically in a plane crash.

Since then, Garnet has courageously established himself as a formidable solo artist. Hailed by the Boston Globe as a “…charismatic performer and singer — one of the major talents of our time,” they continue by saying that “Garnet’s vocal and instrumental talents are complimented by an undeniably powerful physical presence — close to six and a half feet tall — with the lungs to match.” With his “smooth, dark baritone” (Washington Post) his in- credible range and thoughtful, dramatic phrasing, Garnet is widely considered by fans and critics alike to be one of the finest singers anywhere. His music, like the man himself, is literate, passionate, highly sensitive, and deeply purposeful. Cinematic in detail, his songs give expression to the unspoken language of the heart. An opti- mist at heart, Garnet sings extraordinary songs about people who are not obvious heroes and of the small every- day victories. As memorable as his songs, his over-the-top humor and lightning-quick wit move his audiences from tears to laughter and back again.

Rogers has been the featured performer on numerous television and radio programs including Much Music, Mountain Stage, and All Things Considered. He has been a headliner at concert venues and festivals such as Wolf Trap, Lincoln Center, and Art Park; sharing the stage with performers such as Mary Chapin Carpenter, Billy Bragg, Bill Monroe, Ferron, Greg Brown, and Guy Clark. Though Garnet has enjoyed much popularity over the years, he remains resolutely independent, turning down offers from major labels to ensure that he contin- ues doing music his own way.

website: https://garnetrogers.com/
youtbe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MADHdKE032I

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“Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, something roars in and it turns you about.”

Connie Kaldor writes this and more about the unexpected twists and turns of life and love. She could well be writing about her personal artistic complexities. Music pundits have tried to define the essence of the prairie-born acoustic performer for over two decades, but even the most eloquent have fallen short of perfection. Fact is, Connie Kaldor is a performer without borders. A contradiction in terms. She is a Juno Award-winning singer who has flourished on the folk music scene for over two decades, yet her repertoire of original material blurs musical boundaries, embracing elements of gospel, rock, country and western, folk, blue grass and adult contemporary.

She is an artist of substance without pretension, witty and urbane without condescension. She is a fearless chronicler of the human experience without the folksong angst. She has recorded nine albums, sold tens of thou- sands of copies, but has never had a commercial hit. Her live performances are legendary and her fan base broad and fiercely loyal. People come back to see her again and again because a Connie Kaldor performance is about more than just the power of music. It is also about the power of personality. What she says between songs is as intriguing as the lyrics she sings.

She has traveled prairie backroads to visit modest community centers and sold out concert halls in major cities. From Beijing to New Delhi to Saskatoon to Washington, Connie has triumphed with a mix of song and spoken word honed in pacing and tone by the many years she spent performing. Like many prairie girls in the 50s and 60s, Connie grew up singing in the church choir and listening to Patsy Cline and The Beatles on her record player. But it wasn’t until the 1980s, after four years spent performing with an avant-garde theatre company in Toronto, that Connie turned to music full time and was welcomed with open arms by the folk scene.

website: https://www.conniekaldor.com/
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M009mhFg6wA


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Jack de Keyzer

Saturday, December 14, 2019 | 8:30pm

Jack de Keyzer
$25 Advance / $30 Door

“The finest blues guitarist in Canada.” – Jeff Healey

Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter Jack de Keyzer plays the blues world wide, from Alert, Arctic Circle to Puerto Escondido, Mexico; from Athens, Greece to Hornby Island, BC and many points between. One of Canada’s most awarded and  in demand live performers and session guitarists, Jack has released 10 CD’s and 1 DVD. He has also played on hundreds of recordings and live sessions with artists ranging from Etta James to Ronnie Hawkins and Bo Diddley to Blue Rodeo.  He is an exciting live performer, soulful vocalist and world class song writer and performs an average of 120 shows per year. De Keyzer has brought audiences to their feet at many major Jazz and Blues Festivals including the Montreal Jazz Fest, Blues Sur Seine (France) The Ottawa Blues Festival and Puerto Blues, (Mexico).  A much celebrated musician, de Keyzer has been nominated for the Juno (Blues Album of the Year) 5 times and won the Juno twice in 2003 and 2010. He has won 7 Maple Blues Awards (Canada’s national blues awards) , first place in the International Songwriting Competition and won CBC’s Great Canadian Blues Award from a poll of radio listeners. Always touring with an incredible band, Jack will have you rocking in your seat and swaying to his hot  blues, soulful r&b and cool soul jazz. World class.

 “If Jack de Keyzer was from Chicago, New York or LA, he’d be famous.” Bob Dylan

“Electric Love…a rock blues album with nods to guitar influences Clapton, Hendrix and Page… a disc of excellent new songs by a bluesman who should be considered their equal.” (Maple Blues) 

Two-Time Juno Award Winner 
Seven-Time Maple Blues Award Winner

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Craig Cardiff

Friday, December 13, 2019 | 8:30pm

Craig Cardiff
$20 Advance / $25 Door *

Craig Cardiff is a Canadian singer-songwriter. Known throughout Canada, Craig is developing a following throughout North America and into Europe. With guitar in hand, Craig can turn any setting into an intimate affair. Infusing his music and lyrics with an uncompromising humanism rarely seen in today’s production-heavy climate.

Songwriter, troubadour, Craig Cardiff builds landscapes of sound using live digital loops, bringing the room to a hush. Edged, folk, beautiful, melancholy and left leaning, one song breaks your heart, and the next one puts it back together.

Craig makes it a point to keep the relationship with his fans personal, inviting and accepting any opportunity to make his audience as much a part of the performance as he is. Don’t be surprised if one day you find yourself enjoying one of Craig’s renowned performances from the comfort of your own living room.

website: http://www.craigcardiff.ca/
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5yl6tXdJIE&feature=youtu.be

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Quartette

Sunday, December 8, 2019 | 8:30pm

Quartette
$50 Advance / $55 Door

Since their debut in 1993, the four members of Quartette have been both publicly and critically acclaimed for their lush harmonies and delightfully diverse repertoire. Cindy Church, Caitlin Hanford, Gwen Swick, and Sylvia Tyson are seasoned singer/songwriters whose influences range from blues and gospel to folk and country to jazz and pop.

The group’s first appearance, a showcase of Canadian women songwriters, took place at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. What began as a “songwriter in the round” concert of musical friends grew into an inspired collaboration. This initial performance generated an appearance on CBC Radio’s Morningside with host Peter Gzowski. The phones began to ring with requests for a recording, and seven months later in April of 1994, the self-titled album, “Quartette,” was released to rave reviews. This was followed by coast-to-coast tours of theatres, folk festivals, performances with symphony orchestras, and live appearances on radio, including two appearances on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.

In 1995 a second album, “Work of the Heart ,” was released and, following this, CBC’s Adrienne Clarkson Presents profiled the group in an hour-long special.

With the untimely death of original member, Colleen Peterson, in 1996, Quartette elected to continue performing, and welcomed another musical friend, Gwen Swick, to the group. Gwen’s skills as a songwriter and vocal arranger carried the group to a new level as they prepared to record once again, and the result was “In The Beauty Of The Day,” released in 1998.

Quartette has received several Juno nominations, won a Canadian Country Music Award for best vocal collaboration, performed with major symphony orchestras across Canada, and recorded the CMT-TV special, “A Quartette Christmas.” They have also released two Christmas CDs, “It’s Christmas!” in 1996, and “I See A Star” in 2002, both of which are collections of traditional and original Christmas songs, and their Christmas shows have become a tradition with audiences across the country.

Quartette continues to tour and record. In October of 2007, they released their sixth recording, “Down At The Fair,” produced by legendary guitarist, arranger and producer Colin Linden.

An evening with Quartette is always a magical musical journey.

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Ensemble Vivant

Friday, December 6, 2019 | 8:30pm

Ensemble Vivant
$35 Advance / $40 Door *

Ensemble Vivant has been thrilling audiences of all ages in concert and on Recordings for over 3 decades. A favourite wherever the group performs, Ensemble Vivant receives accolades internationally. A pioneer in the piano chamber music world, Ensemble Vivant’s exciting, innovative programming ranges from Classical to the syncopated rhythms of Ragtime, music of The Great American Songbook, Latin, and other Jazz related styles. Ensemble Vivant’s unique core instrumentation of piano, violin, viola, cello and bass, suggests and delivers these diverse musical genres, which the group has been steeped in for over 30 years. Frequently joining the core quintet are greats from the Toronto Jazz community, including Don Thompson, O.C., vibes, Kevin Turcotte, trumpet/flugelhorn; Mike Murley, sax; Nick Fraser, drums; Juan Carlos Medrano, Latin Percussion, and others. Passionate, virtuosic performances and a warm engaging rapport with all audiences add to the immense appeal of this unique, much adored group. Jazz great Rick Wilkins, C.M. commented: “This is the highest-level chamber music-making. No matter the genre, there is magic in Ensemble Vivant’s music-making.”  Ensemble Vivant record’s for Opening Day Entertainment Group and Latin Romance is the group’s 14th recording through the registered, non-profit charity, Euterpe: Music is the Key,

Ensemble Vivant is known for fostering a love of great music among our youth. Live, high calibre, interactive, inspirational performances of Classical, Jazz and related musical styles are brought to those who might not otherwise be exposed to these life-enhancing opportunities. With a principal focus on children, these musical genres are known to provide inestimable benefits to the developing brain. Euterpe’s invaluable musical initiatives have been endorsed by the scientific community and have been enriching the lives of children and their communities for over a dozen years.

“Ensemble Vivant… great warmth and swing…what you get is absolute magic.” – The WholeNote

“Molti bravi Ensemble Vivant!…Please return soon!” – de Blasiis CMS at the Hyde, Glens Falls, NY, USA

“To my heart, your rendition of ‘Oblivion is the most touching I have ever heard. Bravo!” – Radio Classique, Montréal

“Led by a remarkable pianist, Catherine Wilson, Ensemble Vivant boasts a collection of musicians whose abilities and qualifications are second to none…highlight of the Kelowna Community Concert Association series…Merci Ensemble Vivant.” – Kelowna B.C. Performing Arts

“Ensemble Vivant does a fantastic job with the nuevo tango of Astor Piazzolla…these musicians capture the passion as well as the verve… Wilson’s piano gives this music unerring drive and plenty of sparkle.” – Toronto Star

“Beautiful, poised performances reveal the deep musicianship and light interpretive touch of these Toronto-based musicians led by pianist Catherine Wilson.”  – Toronto Star

“…precisions of sonority, dynamics and rhythm that Ensemble Vivant, led by pianist Catherine Wilson, fully deliver….the intricate ensemble writing is performed magnificently…a moving experience… Wilson’s playing is evocative.” – The WholeNote

“…thoroughly enjoyable…” – Boston Herald, USA

website: https://www.ensemblevivant.com/
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFkq41AHX1M


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Leahy

Saturday, November 30, 2019 | 8:30pm

Leahy
$30 Advance / $35 Door

Over the course of their notable career, Canadian group Leahy has secured a place as one of the country’s most highly regarded progressive folk-roots bands.  Their emergence on the Canadian music scene in the late 1990’s with their chart-topping instrumental single “Call to Dance”, introduced audiences to a new way of accessing a uniquely Canadian music genre.  The “Leahy sound” – a combination of strong stride piano, unique bass guitar and drumming styles along with driving rhythm guitar – was the foundation from which wildly talented fiddle led instrumentals and vocals were launched to mainstream music listeners.  Leahy would go on to win three Juno awards and receive countless accolades for their dynamic and powerful performances.

To date Leahy has sold more than half a million albums worldwide. They have been featured in three PBS television specials – Leahy Live in Concert, Gael Force (with the Chieftains), and Leahy Live from Gatineau, Quebec – and are the subject of an Academy Award winning documentary, The Leahys: Music Most of All.  As well as touring extensively throughout Canada, the USA and Europe in support of three acclaimed records – Leahy, Lakefield, and In All Things – the band had the enviable opportunity of opening for fellow Canadian, Shania Twain, throughout the USA, Canada and the UK on her record-breaking Come On Over tour.

Since early 2017 Leahy has been back in the studio recording new music.  The focus is on songs and the band’s original songwriting and instrumental compositions.  The result is a wide-ranging collection that reflects the individual personalities that make up Leahy.  Built on their roots and the distinctive “Leahy sound”, their new material reveals the band’s drive to continue pushing beyond its traditional footings.  It’s a powerful record that delivers a sumptuous feast of solid music, pulse-raising rhythms, compelling storytelling and infectious melodies.

On the edge of a new chapter in their career, some things don’t change – the experience.  An encounter with Leahy is inimitable. Performances are full of energy, big rich sound, poignant songs, fiery instrumentals and percussive step-dancing – all delivered with unapologetic passion! In one word – unforgettable.

 

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and fees

Leahy

Friday, November 29, 2019 | 8:30pm

Leahy
$30 Advance / $35 Door

Over the course of their notable career, Canadian group Leahy has secured a place as one of the country’s most highly regarded progressive folk-roots bands.  Their emergence on the Canadian music scene in the late 1990’s with their chart-topping instrumental single “Call to Dance”, introduced audiences to a new way of accessing a uniquely Canadian music genre.  The “Leahy sound” – a combination of strong stride piano, unique bass guitar and drumming styles along with driving rhythm guitar – was the foundation from which wildly talented fiddle led instrumentals and vocals were launched to mainstream music listeners.  Leahy would go on to win three Juno awards and receive countless accolades for their dynamic and powerful performances.

To date Leahy has sold more than half a million albums worldwide. They have been featured in three PBS television specials – Leahy Live in Concert, Gael Force (with the Chieftains), and Leahy Live from Gatineau, Quebec – and are the subject of an Academy Award winning documentary, The Leahys: Music Most of All.  As well as touring extensively throughout Canada, the USA and Europe in support of three acclaimed records – Leahy, Lakefield, and In All Things – the band had the enviable opportunity of opening for fellow Canadian, Shania Twain, throughout the USA, Canada and the UK on her record-breaking Come On Over tour.

Since early 2017 Leahy has been back in the studio recording new music.  The focus is on songs and the band’s original songwriting and instrumental compositions.  The result is a wide-ranging collection that reflects the individual personalities that make up Leahy.  Built on their roots and the distinctive “Leahy sound”, their new material reveals the band’s drive to continue pushing beyond its traditional footings.  It’s a powerful record that delivers a sumptuous feast of solid music, pulse-raising rhythms, compelling storytelling and infectious melodies.

On the edge of a new chapter in their career, some things don’t change – the experience.  An encounter with Leahy is inimitable. Performances are full of energy, big rich sound, poignant songs, fiery instrumentals and percussive step-dancing – all delivered with unapologetic passion! In one word – unforgettable.

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and fees

Truth and Dare with Christina Martin, Crissi Cochrane, Mary Stewart

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 | 8:30pm

Truth and Dare with Christina Martin, Crissi Cochrane, Mary Stewart
$20 Advance / $25 Door *

Christina Martin
Christina Martin is a multi-award winning Canadian singer-songwriter whose style has been described as an effortless union between Americana and Rock.

Raised on Canada’s East Coast, Martin moved to Austin, Texas in the summer of 1999. In the fall of ’99 she moved to Salzgitter, Germany where she collaborated on a commercial pop project, marking her first experience singing in a professional studio. In May 2000 she returned to Austin to explore performing and song writing. Following her role as supporting vocalist and dancer for the Austin high-energy rock band Young Heart Attack in 2001, Martin launched her solo career in 2002 with an opening slot for Wilco and her debut album Pretty Things. Shortly after the album’s release, she moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia and had her first commercial success when two of her songs were placed in the award-winning British-Canadian two-part drama Sex Traffic (2004) and in the TV drama series Snakes and Ladders (2004).

Following two years of touring across Germany, Poland, The Netherlands, The UK, Switzerland, Austria, France and Canada, Martin returned home briefly in 2016 to write her newest album. A fervent anthem for those who are lost and longing, Lungs Are Burning was the first single from her album Impossible To Hold (Released March 23, 2018). The first single was triggered by the rising Fentanyl drug crisis killing thousands of Canadians, with Christina’s lyrics set to music by her and Dale Murray. With lyrics like “while I’m watching the babies” and “got to go out and get some, baby”, Martin captures the desperation of “chasing the dream” and the horror of living it. Murray’s stately production brings that stark reality home with a bite. Martin: “The song is an modest attempt to bring light to the heavy topic of addiction, and reflects my own personal sense of loss, longing and a deep void, and the ache I feel from losing my brother and friends to addiction and mental illness.” For her Canadian tour dates, Christina has partnered with Center for Addiction and Mental Health to increase engagement and awareness.

“Impossible To Hold” is Martin’s sixth and strongest studio album, achieving a perfect balance between organic ambience and impeccable production. “I’m writing about faith and love more than ever with songs like ‘Keep Me Calm’ and ‘Always Reminding’, but I haven’t shaken the need to write about the darker things that are part of our human journey”. Combining good taste, passionate singing and thoughtful lyrics, “Impossible To Hold” is where music and poetry meet. The album won the 2018 Music Nova Scotia Award for Pop Recording of the Year.

Crissi Cochrane
Native to the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, Crissi fashions a sultry and soulful brand of popular music, jazz, and R&B. Silky vocals reminiscent of Billie Holiday and Norah Jones glow atop the purr of her Fender Jaguar electric guitar.

On stage, refined songs reveal more than a decade’s worth of experience first gained as a young girl growing up in small town Canada, diligently writing, recording, and performing. For a few years, Crissi settled in the nearby city of Halifax, studying Music Business and becoming known for her melodic folk/pop style. Her debut studio album Darling, Darling emerged in the summer of 2010, recorded in Chicago with musician Mike Kinsella (of Owen, American Football, Joan of Arc), but not before a trip to Canada’s southernmost city set the wheels of change into motion. Crissi fell in love with Windsor, Ontario and neighboring Detroit in early 2010 and moved there by summer’s end.

With the influence of Motown only a riverbank away, a musical maturation began. Detroit’s radio, record stores, and clubs offered a cup from which she drank deeply, inspiring new songs with echoes of jazz, blues, bossa nova, and soul. Her latest album Little Sway (2014) reveals a soulful sophistication, hailed by CBC personality Grant Lawrence as “a confident bridge towards sultry soul and classic, smoky jazz.” Listeners voted Crissi among the Top 10 Best New Artists nationwide in CBC’s 2014 Searchlight contest, and her song “Pretty Words” has gone viral on Spotify with more than 12 million listens. Her music has been heard across Canada on CBC Radio 1, 2, and 3, and has charted on campus/community radio, reaching #1 at SCOP in Toronto and remaining in the charts for 12 consecutive weeks, and her song “A Damn Shame” was heard in the ABC TV show Nashville. Today she is the wife of songwriter/bassist Michael Paul (The Walkervilles), and has been seen sharing stages with Walk Off The Earth, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Sarah Harmer, and Jesse Cook. While working on plans for a new album, she writes love songs by request, completing more than 50 of these special songs since 2016.

Mary Stewart
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.

Hailing from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Mary grew up consuming an incredible range of genres from folk and pop to opera and hair metal – true story. Before her pop days, Mary was classically trained in opera. Her mother sang in hair metal bands and her dad was a sound engineer.

“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.

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Linda McRae, Barry James Payne (String Bone) and Deni Gauthier

Monday, November 18, 2019 | 8:30pm

Linda McRae, Barry James Payne (String Bone), Deni Gauthier
$25 Advance / $30 Door *

Linda McRae
BC‘s Hall of Fame Pioneer Artist Linda McRae is a storyteller with a touring career spanning three decades. Her unforgettable melodies and thought-provoking lyrics, imbued with compassion, love and wonder, carve their way into the heart. Her musicianship on banjo, guitar and accordion distinguish her as one of the true, soulful pioneers of honest roots music. She is also an experienced and empathetic teacher presenting her Express Yourself Writing Workshops in partnership with festivals, youth and adult correctional facilities and recovery facilities.

John Apice, No Depression: There is a Linda McRae sound. This Linda McRae sounds like it’s a bottle of wine that has been hidden in a cool damp cellar for 75 years and only recently was uncorked.

Mike Sadava, Penguin Eggs Magazine: She keeps cranking out great songs, and she’s never sounded better. Great grooves and some killer playing. In three words, this album kicks.

Barry James Payne (String Bone)
Americana to the bone, Canadiana in the heart & soul

File under playlist with: Lucinda Williams, Jay Farrar/Son Volt, Wilco, Calexico, Rodney Crowell, Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello.

Heart and home are often elusive for those whose spirits are drawn to the open road.

Sit back, buckle up and ride along with String Bone down winding highways, around sharp turns, on great escapes and daring rescues with searching songs in pursuit of home for an unbound heart.

An unbreakable bone nut creates the essential contact point between a guitar’s strings and the wooden body; String Bone draws the chaotic vibrations of the restless heart closer to its desire for gravity with songs of adventure bearing the weight left behind.

Southern Ontario songwriter Barry James Payne is the architect of String Bone, and brings listeners to a collection of artfully designed songs and stories with “Love & Highways”, his latest full-length recording.

String Bone brings Payne’s true life narratives close to the ear with tender arrangements supporting his gruff sincerity, well worn by the rumble of the road.

In concert, String Bone intertwines with bass, guitar, pedal steel and fiddle accompaniment in a variety of duo and trio combinations, or offers a richly bare solo performance exposing the songs at their core essentials.

Barry James Payne also performs and records with several other musical projects including Celtic powerhouse ‘Rant Maggie Rant’ and alongside Canadian blues veteran Rick Taylor (Willie P. Bennett, Stan Rogers, Colleen Peterson) among others.

Payne’s dedication to music sparked his 10 year long concert series ‘String Bone Presents!’, which sadly ended in 2018, bringing the best of Canadian folk-roots to the stage at Stratford’s Foster’s Inn and Revival House with 12 concerts in each season, concurrent with his “Annual Winter Kitchen Party” series and “Late Night Cafe” series at other Stratford venues.

Many of Payne’s songs on ‘Love & Highways’ as well as his debut ‘nadir’ drive through darkness, betrayal and remorse towards love, light, escape and freedom on the road ahead with String Bone at the wheel.

Payne shares struggles with relationships, and wrestles in the aftermath of lost wishes and broken dreams with an eye towards the next adventure.

Unraveling ten melodic originals and two well-chosen covers from Neil Young and Radiohead, ‘Love & Highways’ features a full complement of players including pedal steel by Steve Wood, electric guitar by the album’s producer Shannon Lyon, cello by Ben Bolt-Martin and violins by Payne’s ‘Rant Maggie Rant’ band-mate Lindsay Schindler.

In the passenger seat on “Love & Highways” is a stellar collection of guest vocalists including Sarah Jane Scouten, Mae Moore and longtime String Bone collaborator Ginger St. James, who also co-wrote ‘Where Do You Go’.  Violinist Lindsay Schindler also contributes to trio harmonies on a soaring cover of Neil Young’s “Birds” with Trent Severn collaborators Dayna Manning and Emm Gryner. Roman Tome (New Country Rehab) contributes background vocals to “Somber Eyes”, as well as percussion on five of the album’s tracks.

“Love & Highways” was recorded by Shannon Lyon at Lyon’s Lake Studio in Point Clark and Bayfield, Ontario at sessions through 2015 and 2016, with additional sessions at Stratford’s Knox Presbyterian Church by John Hazen (Loreena McKennitt, Rita Chiarelli, Harry Belafonte).

Resurrected following a lengthy creative blackout for Payne, this music project called String Bone sprung to life in 2006 as an outlet for his reflections on a wealth of life experiences as the foundation for his songwriting.  Payne spent his early days hitch-hiking across the vast Canadian landscape to the west coast where he worked odd jobs to survive, eventually involving himself in Vancouver’s burgeoning indie scene and finally working behind the scenes at Cargo Records in the height of the 90’s alternative and Seattle punk-grunge explosion.  Eventually, the road brought him back to Southern Ontario and when Cargo bit the dust, not deterred, he found work in corporate life for 6 or 7 years, which almost killed his spirit. Leaving that dog-eat-dog environment he focused more on his writing and wrote 50 songs in 2006 and greased the wheels of his burgeoning music career.

Since then, Payne has toured extensively in Canada, the US and Europe. His song “Midnight Train” found regular rotation on Australia’s national country radio station ABC Country.  String Bone was also included in the “Linda’s Playlist” exhibit at the Stratford Perth Museum in 2014 celebrating the region’s music-makers along with Richard Manuel (The Band), John Till (Janis Joplin’s Fill Tilt Boogie Band), Loreena McKennitt, Emm Gryner & Dayna Manning among others.

He has shared the stage with Juno nominees and winners and some among them include Bill Bourne, Danny Michel, Emm Gryner, Luke Doucet, Loreena McKennitt, Linda McRae, Jenny Whitely and has collaborated with the likes of Ginger St. James, Shannon Lyon, Bob Egan (Blue Rodeo, Wilco), and many more.

“…nadir is truly a masterpiece” ~ Music Star (Germany)

Deni Gauthier
“Settle in for the ride – it’s gonna get moody.”

With that playful warning, singer/songwriter Deni Gauthier introduces his ambitious new collection of songs and stories, Passenger.

A true artist, Denis has been creating music as a profession for quite some time. Never heard of him? That’s OK, maybe this will be your little secret now, or maybe you’ll want to tell a few people about this unique, good feeling, rootsy music from the heart of an extraordinary songwriter.

Self-produced in Gauthier’s St. Thomas, Ontario Studio, Passenger is a concept album that weaves Deni’s musings on life, love, and relationships together with stories about characters dealing with change, both positive and negative.

“You live and die a passenger,” Deni explains. “But you can live such a cool and meaningful life. That’s what this record is about.”

Deni is known for his lush but understated songwriting and singing style. He makes effective use of his looping station, as well as ambient guitar noises that add texture to his often haunting melodies. Like his other CDs, Passenger is an ode to beauty and restraint, with insightful lyrics drawn from real experience.

“I wrote these songs with an old campfire guitar, walking up and down the street watching my kids last summer,” he says. “Lyrically, they’re definitely the strongest songs I’ve written.”

Deni’s previous full-length CDs include Quiet Town (2014), i (am) hope (2012), and Man About Town (2011). His songs have been played frequently on CBC Radio 1, and singles including Into the West and All I Really Want have reached top-10 status on radio stations across Canada. He has been nominated for several awards, including the prestigious 2016 Jack Richardson Music Award in the Contemporary Singer/Songwriter category. He plays close to 200 shows per year, and has shared the stage with artists including Jason Collett, The 77s, Craig Cardiff, Kerosene Halo, and many others.

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