Nominees 2013

= Recipient

While the recipient is listed first, there is no significance to the order of the remaining nominees.

Traditional Album of the Year

  • Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac - Seinn

    http://www.maryjaneandwendy.com

    Seinn reflects the great love and respect that Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIssac have for Nova Scotia tradition, and for each other. The record achieves a delicate balance between the musical sensibilities of two artists, showcasing traditional and original compositions among the melancholy of Gaelic song and the joy of fiddle tunes. Some of the material was learned from the recordings of older Cape Breton singers and fiddlers, some songs were chosen from existing repertoires, and some were written specifically for this project. A powerful collaboration borne of a long-time friendship and a shared love of Celtic music, the record fuses Roots arrangements with a traditional presentation, capturing the enjoyment and fun that Mary Jane and Wendy have together on and off the stage.

    On Cape Breton Island, the rich heritage of the region’s Highland settlers was kept alive through music, songs, and stories. While enrolled in Saint Francis Xavier University’s Celtic Studies program, Mary Jane released her first album, Bho Thir Nan Craobh, a collection of traditional material that introduced her unique singing voice and, then unknown fiddler, Ashley MacIsaac. She has continued to dedicate her musical career to the preservation of Scottish Gaelic songs and has garnered numerous JUNO and ECMA award nominations, critical acclaim, and a worldwide audience for her efforts.

    Wendy is an award-winning fiddler, piano player and step dancer from Creignish, Cape Breton. A born performer, she began appearing publicly at age 5 as a step dancer. At age 12, she began fiddle lessons with Stan Chapman. With five records to her credit, she is a favourite with traditional audiences everywhere. Wendy has toured the world as a solo performer, and with The Rankins, Ashley MacIsaac and Beolach.

     
  • Erynn Marshall - Tune Tramp

    www.hickoryjack.com

    Erynn Marshall is a Canadian fiddlers that has carved out a niche for herself as an old-time fiddler in North America and abroad. She has played for over thirty years, performed and taught at many music camps in the US, Canada and England and fulfilled her dream to learn old-time music directly from visiting 80-90 year-old southern fiddlers (many of whom have now passed on). She won first place in the 2008 open fiddle category at “Clifftop” (The Appalachian Stringband Festival) in West Virginia and was the first woman and person from outside the US to do so. This festival is one of the largest and most prestigious for Appalachian music in the country. She also won a Galaxy Rising Star award at the Edmonton Folk Festival and was filmed in the Bravo documentary on old-time/bluegrass music in Canada called “I’ll Fly Away Home.” Erynn has authored the book, Music in the Air, filmed an instructional fiddle DVD, and recorded four CDs: Calico, Meet Me in the Music, Shout Monah (Haints), including her latest recording Tune Tramp featuring 45 traditional musicians from across North America. Erynn lives in Galax, Virginia, performs with fiancé Carl Jones, and is the Music Program Manager at the Blue Ridge Music Center. Her website is www.hickoryjack.com

     
  • Pharis and Jason Romero - Long Gone Out West Blues

    www.pharisandjason.com

    In the tiny town of Horsefly, B.C. lives a pair of musicians with a pair of extraordinary claims to fame. Jason Romero is widely considered one of the best boutique banjo builders in the world, with a client list that includes Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs and Martin Simpson. He and Pharis – an alumnus of the roots act Outlaw Social – also have a vintage roots duo that’s taking off in the folk world.
    Like the second coming of some 1937 country act, Pharis & Jason combine unadorned lead vocals with top-notch picking, powerful harmonies, and a collection of songs so honest-sounding you’d swear they were plucked off a field recording. The glorious originals are virtually impossible to distinguish from their stirring covers of old time classics. And they perform everything on vintage pre-war guitars and their own splendidly hand-crafted banjos and resonator guitars.
    Their debut duo album A Passing Glimpse earned a 2012 Canadian Folk Music Award and an American Independent Music Award. It was #1 at American folk radio in September 2011, and was also named one of the best albums of the year by Folk Alley.
    Its follow-up, Long Gone Out West Blues, was released in early 2013 to ebullient endorsement from Utne Reader to CMT Edge, The Herald Scotland to the Huffington Post. CMT Edge said it “effortlessly evolves tradition with innovation.” Folk Alley called the duo songwriters and pickers extraordinaire, with “as much natural talent for the traditions of American folk music as they do for the intrinsic musicality of their two voices.”
    When not touring or building, they teach music to emerging singers and pickers at workshops across North America. 2013-2014 takes them to performances in A Prairie Home Companion, the Vancouver Folk Festival, Pickathon and other global stages. Their delight in making music for music’s sake no doubt contributes to the joyful lack of pretense in their albums and performances and to the rapidly-growing fan-base for both.

     
  • Vishtèn - Mosaïk

    www.vishtenmusic.com

    For the past decade Acadian powerhouse trio Vishtèn have acted as Francophone musical ambassadors throughout the world. The Canadian trio has dazzled audiences with their fiery blend of traditional French songs and original instrumentals that fuse Celtic and Acadian genres with a modern sensibility of rock influence.

    Hailing from Prince Edward Island’s Evangeline area and from the most remote reaches of Quebec – the windswept Magdalen Islands – twin sisters Emmanuelle and Pastelle LeBlanc join musical forces with Pascal Miousse to form a sophisticated sonic signature combing tight sibling harmonies, layered foot percussion, virtuoso acoustic and electric instrumentation create an expansive sound that would be difficult to reproduce, in sheer complexity, by a quintet. Their trademark blend of fiddle, guitar, accordion, harmonium, whistles, piano, bodhrán, jaw harp, moog, electric guitar and percussive dance make for a unique tour de force of traditional and contemporary sounds.

    After touring extensively on three continents, the name Vishtèn is now synonymous with Acadian music worldwide. In addition to releasing four albums and performing at thousands of international festivals – from the Vancouver Olympics to to France’s Interceltique de Lorient – their music has been showcased on American television (ESPN) and the Japanese film, Finding Anne.

     
  • Lemon Bucket Orkestra - Lume, Lume

    http://www.lemonbucket.com

    From Toronto to New York, Budapest to Berlin, audiences around the world are hailing the Lemon Bucket
    Orkestra as folk music revolutionaries. Since their birth three years ago, the band has grown from its initial
    quartet of buskers to a fifteen-piece guerrilla folk force with an army of grass roots followers and mainstream
    fans at home and abroad.
    Those discovering the band for the first time quickly realize that their shows are more than concerts: they’re
    wild, joyful experiences rarely contained by four walls; they’re celebrations of tradition and culture expressed
    with an explosive punk spirit; they’re ecstatic street parades that erupt from the collision of nostalgia and
    imagination.
    “Adventurously multicultural…amazing”
    - Wall Street Journal
    The LBO enjoyed worldwide media attention last summer after playing klezmer music on a delayed Air
    Canada flight en route to a three week tour of Romania– the video garnered 250,000+ YouTube hits and was
    covered by CNN, New York Times, Fox News, Huffington Post, Jimmy Kimmel, CBC, CTV, The Toronto Star,
    The Globe and Mail, and more.
    “absolutely alive and electric… like a traveling musical caravan burning wildly across the night sky”
    - AlanCross.ca
    2012 was a monumental year for LBO: they released their debut full-length album “Lume, Lume” (produced
    by Michael Phillip Wojewoda at Toronto’s Revolution Recording), toured eight countries in Europe and North
    America, shared stages with the most renowned artists in their genre (Shantel and the Bucovina Club Orkestar, Taraf de Haidouks, and Fanfare Ciocarlia, among others), and were featured performers in “Midwinter
    Night: Sacred and Profane Rituals” at the legendary LaMaMa Theater in New York City.
    “Music to shake you by the scruff, in the best possible way.”
    - CBC Music
    This was nothing short of expected to fans of the band in their hometown of Toronto, who bought up over 4,000
    copies of the band’s debut EP “Cheeky” last year, and eagerly follow the band

     

Contemporary Album of the Year

  • Justin Rutledge - Valleyheart

    http://www.justinrutledge.com

    Justin Rutledge’s 5th studio album, Valleyheart, was released in February 2013. The quiet songwriter returns to his roots with a stately collection of spacious songs featuring Rutledge’s trademark poetic lyrics. “I wanted to write songs the way I look at old photographs,” the singer says. “Valleyheart is, at the core, an album about translating memory.” The album is spare in its arrangements, and patient in its delivery. “At this point in my career, I understand that my strength lies in writing songs that don’t exceed the speed limit,” jokes Rutledge. “I feel as though after 4 albums, I have finally grown comfortable with my writing.”

    It has been almost three years since Justin Rutledge has released an album—the longest stretch in between albums for the 33 year-old songwriter who was born and raised in The Junction, an old railway neighbourhood in the west end of Toronto. During this time, he recorded an album with his band in Los Angeles, Early Winters, and also became involved in the world of theatre. Rutledge has worked with such pivotal directors as Daniel Brooks and Morris Panych, and collaborated with Michael Ondaatje on adapting his novel Divisadero for the stage. Rutledge was also the composer and music director for Canadian Stage’s production of The Arsonists, featuring such venerable Canadian actors as Michael Ball and Sheila McCarthy.

    Valleyheart was recorded in Toronto with Rutledge’s veteran backing band, featuring his best friend Bazil Donovan (Blue Rodeo) on bass, and mixed in Los Angeles by Dan Burns (Puscifer, Chuck Prophet). Rutledge has increasingly been spending more time in California, writing and recording with his band, Early Winters. “Travel is a major theme on Valleyheart,” says Rutledge. “It is perhaps my most ‘Canadian’ album to date, even though it is heavily influenced by California.”

    Rutledge has twice been nominated for a Juno Award, and twice been long-listed for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

     
  • David Francey - So Say We All

    www.davidfrancey.com

    David Francey is a Scottish-born carpenter-turned-songwriter, who has become known as “one of Canada’s most revered folk poets and singers” (Toronto Star).

    A truly authentic folk singer, Francey is a documentarian of the working person who never imagined earning a living from his music. But when he was in his 40s, his wife, artist Beth Girdler, encouraged him to share his songs and sing in public. His first album Torn Screen Door came out in 1999 and he has since released ten albums and won three JUNO Awards.

     
  • Lynn Miles - Downpour

    www.lynnmilesmusic.com

    There’s something to be said for experience, for taking the time to grow into your own skin. All sturdy things need time to root firmly into the ground to find their strength.
    Lynn Miles is one of Canada’s most accomplished singer/songwriters. With twelve albums to her credit, the winner of multiple Canadian Folk Music Awards (2011 English Songwriter), and 2003 Juno for Roots and Traditional Solo Album of The Year, she has certainly found her strength over time.

    Through a career that has seen her move from Ottawa to Los Angeles and back again, with stops in Nashville and Austin TX., and a healthy touring schedule that regularly takes her through the US, Europe and Canada, she has always created and performed music with unbridled feeling and vulnerability.
    Lynn’s new release “Downpour”, has been described as “11 remarkable new songs of love, life, darkness and light-a celebration of our fragile, flawed and beautiful world”.

     
  • Ruth Moody - These Wilder Things

    www.ruthmoody.com

    Ruth Moody is a two-time Juno Award winning singer-songwriter from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Founding member of the internationally renowned, Billboard-charting trio The Wailin’ Jennys, and former lead singer of the Canadian roots band Scruj MacDuhk, she has performed in sold-out venues around the world, made numerous critically-acclaimed albums, received five Juno awards nominations, and has appeared more than a dozen times on the American national radio show A Prairie Home Companion

     
  • Annabelle Chvostek - Rise

    annabellemusic.com

    Annabelle Chvostek is a versatile multi-instrumentalist who was born and
    raised in Toronto, and who made her professional debut with the Canadian
    Opera Company at just seven years old. After many years as a solo artist, in
    2004 she joined the Juno-winning Wailin’ Jennys – a gig that took her from
    obscurity to international acclaim. During her years with the Jennys, Chvostek
    toured Europe, performed on A Prairie Home Companion, sang on the Juno
    Awards telecast and earned a Juno nomination. Then, in 2007, she left the
    Jennys and reprised her solo career, signing to Borealis Records and releasing
    what many see as her solo debut: Resilience.
    Since the album’s release, Chvostek has toured the UK yearly, criss-crossed
    Canada and the US, and completed a 2009 tour through Poland and Slovakia.
    She also released a live album, Live from Folk Alley in 2010. And last year, her
    co-written duet with Bruce Cockburn was released on his Juno-winning album
    Small Source of Comfort.
    This fall will see Chvostek touring Ontario, Quebec and Eastern Canada,
    followed by a tour of the UK and Europe in the first quarter of 2013.
    “The Wailin’ Jennys’ loss is the world’s gain… her original compositions are
    full of aching desire dressed in poetry and rendered with a musical imagination
    that seems to know no bounds.”
    – Saskatoon Star Phoenix

     

Children’s Album of the Year

  • Helen Austin - Always Be A Unicorn

    http://www.helenaustin.com

    After years of writing songs while making a living as a musical stand-up comedian, Helen Austin’s move to Canada in 2002 was the catalyst for her musical career.

    Ten years and six albums later, Helen is a prolific songwriter with over 70 TV,movie and ad placements, awards and competition wins under belt, the most recent being a JUNO nomination and a John Lennon Songwriting Contest Grand Prize win.

    Helen brings her quirky humour to her music, as well as the ability to tug at your heart strings with her more serious songs and her melodies stay in your head long after you have heard them.

    “Every track on this project represents the awesomeness that is Helen Austin the artist, musician and songwriter.” – I Am Entertainment Magazine

    Many of the songs on Helen’s past albums have appealed to adults and kids alike. ‘Always Be A Unicorn’ is Helen’s first collection of songs written specifically for young children but in a style that won’t drive parents crazy.

    “Helen’s words and notes are real in the way the best moments in life are real, and she is sincere in every phrase without losing one precious moment of quirkiness.” – Indie Music Reviewer Magazine

     
  • Jennifer Gasoi - Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well

    www.jenifergasoi.com

    Award-winning and two time Juno-nominated singer/songwriter Jennifer Gasoi is quickly making a name for herself as one of Canada’s hottest children’s performers and recording artists. Jennifer has a unique gift for writing and performing upbeat, intelligent jazz and world based children’s songs that adults love too. Her ability to appeal to kids and adults alike is one of Jennifer’s most unique and endearing qualities.

    “Jennifer shuns categorization…”
    - Kathryn Greenaway, Montreal Gazette

    Her natural affinity for music led her to study classical piano for 12 years and later study jazz voice , piano and composition. Jennifer has appeared at the Calgary Childrenʼs Festival, the Northern Alberta Childrenʼs Festival and has been a three time performer at the Vancouver Jazz Festival. She has been a regular entertainer at the famed Upstairs Jazz Bar in Montreal for over ten years, charming the crowd with a combination of jazz, cabaret and the occasional kids tune thrown in the mix! Jennifer is passionate about living life to the fullest and creating music and live shows that reflect this passion. Through her music, she hopes to inspire kids (and adults ) to live from the heart, stay true to themselves and follow their dreams.

    “When life gives you lemons put on this album and make pink lemonade!” -John Wood of Kidsmuzic.com
    www.jennifergasoi.com

    Quick facts:
    2013 Juno Nominee for
    2013 WINNER for Sirius XM Indie Children’s Artist of the Year
    2013 Canadian Book Centre Selection
    2013 Semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition
    *RECENT SOLD OUT SHOWS at the Jewish Public Library (550 attendees) and CD Launch at the Rialto Theatre in Montreal (350 attendees)
    *2005 Juno Nominee for Children’s Album of the Year for Songs for You
    *Great American Songwriting Competition Winner for Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting
    *Official Folk Alliance Showcase
    *2005 Canadian Children’s Book Selection
    *2004 Parents’ Choice Gold Award

     
  • Gary Rasberry - What's the Big Idea?!?

    www.garyrasberry.com

    Gary Rasberry is an artist-educator living in Kingston, Ontario. His latest record, “What’s the Big Idea?!?” featuring old time fiddle and banjo duo Sheesham & Lotus arrives in the world June 1, 2013. What’s the Big Idea?!? is children-powered but it’s also for non-children. It’s a record for people who want to sing out loud, connect, laugh and make music together. The songs hold distant echoes of Pete Seeger, a splash of Fred Penner and the beautiful vibe of songs sung around the campfire. The Big Idea is a record for several hundred people gathered together in song. It’s a record for a family of four. It’s a record for you.

    Gary Rasberry is a teacher, musician and poet who has released three solo recordings as well as one record with the acoustic trio Fireweed. He is about to release his 2nd book of poems, “More Naked than Ever” in October 2013 (Hidden Book Press). (As Though it Could be Otherwise,’ Idea Manufactory Press, was released in 2011.) As an educator, Gary teaches songwriting workshops at Queen’s University and offers Song, Story & Sound workshops in schools everywhere. Gary has appeared at Hillside Music Festival, Ottawa Folk Festival, Summerfolk, Mariposa, Peterborough Folk Festival, Blue Skies Music Festival and Home County Music & Art Festival. Watch for Gary Rasberry and The Big Idea Band this summer …

     
  • Madame Diva - Viva la Diva

    madamediva.com

    In spite of her slightly flamboyant, eccentric self, Madame Diva’s underlying goal en anglais et in French, is to take her young audience on a journey to explore an absolutely inclusive world. This summer, Madame Diva is touring with a crazy gang of live musicians in the ‘I love Madame Diva band’! They will get your toes tapping and your hands clapping! Her award nominated first album has been followed up with a new release VIVA LA DIVA which has already toured as far as Whitehorse since it’s release in December.. the adventures continue this summer at Kidsfest, the Winnipeg Folk Festival and with journeys to Ontario, Alberta and the Just for Laughs Festival (La place de la famille) in Québec!

     
  • The Funky Mamas - Pickin' in the Garden

    www.thefunkymamas.com

    One of Canada’s best loved children’s bands, The Funky Mamas have been putting the ‘fun’ in ‘funky’ since 1998 with their winning combination of folk, funk, bluegrass and blues. Their three critically-acclaimed albums have been known to inspire spontaneous dance parties in kitchens, giggles on car rides and “it’s-great-to-be-alive adrenalin rushes” for children and adults alike. Their joyful, banter-filled live performances and original, yet familiar songs have had them much in demand across Canada and as far afield as Australia. 
    The Guelph, Ontario, quartet’s gentle harmonies, and gleeful good humour captivate children and adults alike in an interactive, participatory concert experience that is the musical equivalent of milk and cookies and a hug from Mom. Be warned, attending one of their shows has been known to lead to singing in the shower, backseat and playroom for weeks afterwards.
    The Funky Mamas are Georgia Urban (guitar, mandolin and musical saw), Chantal von Maydell (fiddle, bass), Tannis Maynard-Langedijk (guitar, ukulele) and Kate Vsetula (banjo, percussion). Dedicated to making music for families that is playful, musically proficient and never patronizing, these women are “Real Mamas, Real Music”!

     

Traditional Singer of the Year

  • Pharis Romero of Pharis and Jason Romero - Long Gone Out West Blues

    www.pharisandjason.com

    In the tiny town of Horsefly, B.C. lives a pair of musicians with a pair of extraordinary claims to fame. Jason Romero is widely considered one of the best boutique banjo builders in the world, with a client list that includes Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs and Martin Simpson. He and Pharis – an alumnus of the roots act Outlaw Social – also have a vintage roots duo that’s taking off in the folk world.
    Like the second coming of some 1937 country act, Pharis & Jason combine unadorned lead vocals with top-notch picking, powerful harmonies, and a collection of songs so honest-sounding you’d swear they were plucked off a field recording. The glorious originals are virtually impossible to distinguish from their stirring covers of old time classics. And they perform everything on vintage pre-war guitars and their own splendidly hand-crafted banjos and resonator guitars.
    Their debut duo album A Passing Glimpse earned a 2012 Canadian Folk Music Award and an American Independent Music Award. It was #1 at American folk radio in September 2011, and was also named one of the best albums of the year by Folk Alley.
    Its follow-up, Long Gone Out West Blues, was released in early 2013 to ebullient endorsement from Utne Reader to CMT Edge, The Herald Scotland to the Huffington Post. CMT Edge said it “effortlessly evolves tradition with innovation.” Folk Alley called the duo songwriters and pickers extraordinaire, with “as much natural talent for the traditions of American folk music as they do for the intrinsic musicality of their two voices.”
    When not touring or building, they teach music to emerging singers and pickers at workshops across North America. 2013-2014 takes them to performances in A Prairie Home Companion, the Vancouver Folk Festival, Pickathon and other global stages. Their delight in making music for music’s sake no doubt contributes to the joyful lack of pretense in their albums and performances and to the rapidly-growing fan-base for both.

     
  • Mary Jane Lamond of Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac - Seinn

    http://www.maryjaneandwendy.com

    Seinn reflects the great love and respect that Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIssac have for Nova Scotia tradition, and for each other. The record achieves a delicate balance between the musical sensibilities of two artists, showcasing traditional and original compositions among the melancholy of Gaelic song and the joy of fiddle tunes. Some of the material was learned from the recordings of older Cape Breton singers and fiddlers, some songs were chosen from existing repertoires, and some were written specifically for this project. A powerful collaboration borne of a long-time friendship and a shared love of Celtic music, the record fuses Roots arrangements with a traditional presentation, capturing the enjoyment and fun that Mary Jane and Wendy have together on and off the stage.

    On Cape Breton Island, the rich heritage of the region’s Highland settlers was kept alive through music, songs, and stories. While enrolled in Saint Francis Xavier University’s Celtic Studies program, Mary Jane released her first album, Bho Thir Nan Craobh, a collection of traditional material that introduced her unique singing voice and, then unknown fiddler, Ashley MacIsaac. She has continued to dedicate her musical career to the preservation of Scottish Gaelic songs and has garnered numerous JUNO and ECMA award nominations, critical acclaim, and a worldwide audience for her efforts.

    Wendy is an award-winning fiddler, piano player and step dancer from Creignish, Cape Breton. A born performer, she began appearing publicly at age 5 as a step dancer. At age 12, she began fiddle lessons with Stan Chapman. With five records to her credit, she is a favourite with traditional audiences everywhere. Wendy has toured the world as a solo performer, and with The Rankins, Ashley MacIsaac and Beolach.

     
  • Ken Whiteley - The Light Of Christmas

    kenwhiteley.com

    Canadian roots music legend, Ken Whiteley has been honoured with numerous accolades including Lifetime Achievement awards from Mariposa Folk Festival and the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals, a Canadian Folk Music award, a Genie award for Best Original Song in a Canadian film, Parent’s Choice award, 7 Juno nominations and 14 Maple Blues nominations. A powerful singer, prolific songwriter and versatile multi-instrumentalist, he has performed in every province and territory of Canada. His recent Borealis release, Another Day’s Journey was a Canadian Folk Music Award Nominee. The Light of Christmas, Ken’s 28th recording, was released in November, 2012. His popular, once-a-month winter Sunday afternoon gospel series at Hugh’s Room is now in it’s eleventh season.

     
  • Ian Bell - Forget Me Not, When Far Away

    www.ianbellmusic.ca

    Almost always a part-time musician, Ian Bell has none-the-less performed professionally across Canada and in the United States since the late 1970s On his own and with a number of different groups, he has appeared at numerous folk festivals (Winnipeg, Mariposa, Edmonton, Ottawa, Yellowknife, Owen Sound, Lunenberg , Montmagny, and others) and in concerts in every sort of venue.
    As a long-time freelance broadcaster, Ian has worked on many occasions with Stuart McLean on CBC Radio’s Vinyl Café. Ian has co-written and served as musical director for five Vinyl Café national concert broadcasts. For seven years Ian was a regular contributor to the weekend Fresh Air program on CBC radio. Ian has also contributed to numerous film scores and performed period music for and occasionally appeared in the TV series, The Road to Avonlea.
    Ian performs material from a large repertoire that includes both Canadian traditional music and his own songs and instrumental compositions. Ian’s original songs have been performed and recorded by: Anne Lederman, Ian Robb, Bobby Watt, Allison Lupton, Lee Murdock and others.
    An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, Ian appears on dozens of recordings as sideman as well as many under his own name.

     
  • Natalie Edelson of The Blue Warblers - Birds

    www.thebluewarblers.com

    The Blue Warblers duo is a celebration of the spirit of vocally-driven old time music that highlights beautiful fractures in more than just the written word, but also in the vocal explorations of two campfire girls who have lived and grown in the Yukon for more than twenty years.

    Their brand new record, BIRDS, features a total of 15 tracks. Six songs penned by Edelson and/or Beggs are intertwined with inspiring renditions of songs from campfire heroes including Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Martha Scott Stey, and Hazel Dickens, and complemented by four traditional old time standards..

    The vocally-driven album features Edelson’s clawhammer banjo meshed with Beggs’ rhythm guitar and Skin n Bones percussion. The vocals weave together throughout the album, Beggs and Edelson alternating lead vocal throughout. Special guests on the album include Amelia Rose, Bob Hamilton, Linda McRae, and MC Hansen from Denmark.

    THE BLUE WARBLERS- RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS

    Following an autumn that saw them nominated for both a Canadian Folk Music Award and two Western Canadian Music Awards, the duo of esteemed Yukon artists Kim Beggs and Natalie Edelson have returned from their successful CD release tour for their debut record Pretty Good .

    Their “Rails To Routes” tour, took them from Ontario to BC on Via Rail and the Home Routes House Concert Series in BC/AB, who book A-list roots talent into carefully-selected living rooms across the country.

    The latest in a series of brilliant old-time projects from the Yukon, The Blue Warblers feel like an edgy back-porch sing-along in which Beggs’ sweet, girlish vocals grind with Edelson’s more rough-hewn alto over a backdrop of old-timey guitar, clawhammer banjo, and skin-and-bone percussion.

    The result is a sweet and savoury mix: warm yet unaffected, like silk worn under wool.

     

Contemporary Singer of the Year

  • Ian Sherwood - Live At The Hive

    www.iansherwood.com

    Ian Sherwood

    Sherwood is a story teller. And his stories of loss, joy, regret and reward are often painted with the backdrop of Canadian landscapes. He is a constant creator and has penned tunes for many other artists as well as film and television. In 2012 he was named Male Artist of the Year by the International Acoustic Music Awards for his song “What Am I Doing Here”. He was the 2008 and 2010 Music Nova Scotia Musician Of The Year and has been described as “… a natural performer, a highly personable guy who entertains as much with his wit and stories as with his songs.” – Bob Mersereau, CBC Fredericton.

    Starting his music career as an in-demand saxophone player in Toronto, Sherwood began looking for an outlet for his poetic side. Soon, with words and music coming together in full compliment, he quickly gained recognition as a solid performer, lyricist and player which garnered him a nomination for the 2011 ECMA award for Male Solo Artist Recording of the Year.

    “Live at The Hive” is the latest musical creation from this prolific broken-heart. His energetic stage presence and honesty truly captures the essence of what has made Ian so popular with his audience.

    “… impressive guitar work amid catchy hook lines galore, surely the main thought in the room was, “Yep. It’s only a matter of time before he’s a household name.””
    -Todd MacLean, Charlottetown Guardian

    “You know that Silk Soy Milk? The chocolate kind? That’s what his voice sounds like.”

    -Shaun Majumder, Comedian

     
  • Justin Rutledge - Valleyheart

    http://www.justinrutledge.com

    Justin Rutledge’s 5th studio album, Valleyheart, was released in February 2013. The quiet songwriter returns to his roots with a stately collection of spacious songs featuring Rutledge’s trademark poetic lyrics. “I wanted to write songs the way I look at old photographs,” the singer says. “Valleyheart is, at the core, an album about translating memory.” The album is spare in its arrangements, and patient in its delivery. “At this point in my career, I understand that my strength lies in writing songs that don’t exceed the speed limit,” jokes Rutledge. “I feel as though after 4 albums, I have finally grown comfortable with my writing.”

    It has been almost three years since Justin Rutledge has released an album—the longest stretch in between albums for the 33 year-old songwriter who was born and raised in The Junction, an old railway neighbourhood in the west end of Toronto. During this time, he recorded an album with his band in Los Angeles, Early Winters, and also became involved in the world of theatre. Rutledge has worked with such pivotal directors as Daniel Brooks and Morris Panych, and collaborated with Michael Ondaatje on adapting his novel Divisadero for the stage. Rutledge was also the composer and music director for Canadian Stage’s production of The Arsonists, featuring such venerable Canadian actors as Michael Ball and Sheila McCarthy.

    Valleyheart was recorded in Toronto with Rutledge’s veteran backing band, featuring his best friend Bazil Donovan (Blue Rodeo) on bass, and mixed in Los Angeles by Dan Burns (Puscifer, Chuck Prophet). Rutledge has increasingly been spending more time in California, writing and recording with his band, Early Winters. “Travel is a major theme on Valleyheart,” says Rutledge. “It is perhaps my most ‘Canadian’ album to date, even though it is heavily influenced by California.”

    Rutledge has twice been nominated for a Juno Award, and twice been long-listed for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

     
  • Old Man Luedecke - Tender is the Night

    http://oldmanluedecke.ca/

    Old Man Luedecke isn’t afraid to put his neck on the line. His latest album, Tender Is The Night, goes beyond his beloved solo, banjo-driven folk tunes. Driving a Nashville band from beginning to end with his recognizable voice, this is an artist honing his cunning lyrical flair – tenderly pushing the boundaries of his storytelling with his unique mix of folk, bluegrass and pop hooks.

    Old Man Luedecke has a penchant for language. Based in Chester, Nova Scotia, the award-winning roots singer-songwriter’s latest album, Tender Is The Night, gives nod to F.R. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel, a title lifted from John Keats poem, ‘Ode To A Nightingale.’

    With skillful precision and a storyteller’s heart, Luedecke’s narrative-driven folk songs are playful, coy, and soul warming. Rich in metaphor, heart and instrumentation, Tender Is The Night muses on love, art and purpose.

     
  • John Wort Hannam - Brambles And Thorns

    johnworthannam.com

    From the prairies in Southern Alberta comes one of Canada’s best
    folk/roots songwriters, John Wort Hannam.
    For five years John Wort Hannam taught grade nine language arts on
    the largest reserve in Canada – The Kainai Nation, part of the
    Blackfoot Confederacy. But in 1997 he heard a Loudon Wainwright III
    record and was hooked by the music and stories. In 1998, he bought a
    guitar and learned some chords. In 2002, he quit teaching and began
    to pursue the dream of being a working musician.
    In the ten years since leaving the teaching profession to become a
    working musician, John has captured a Juno Award nomination for
    Best Traditional/Roots album, a Canadian Folk Music Award for Album
    of the Year, and seven Grand prize / First place awards for his finely
    crafted, narrative songwriting.
    His music has taken him across Canada to the US, UK, Australia, to
    appearances in Trafalgar Square, the Winter and Summer Olympics,
    the Smithsonian, and a solo main stage slot at the coveted Kerrville
    Folk Festival.
    With comparisons to Gordon Lightfoot, James Keelaghan, and John
    Prine, John Wort Hannam is a born story-teller with a keen eye for the
    quirky and lyrics that create stories behind the songs.

     
  • Stephen Fearing - Between Hurricanes

    www.stephenfearing.com

    Multiple JUNO Award-winning, Blackie & the Rodeo Kings member, Stephen Fearing returns with his first solo album in seven years: the highly anticipated Between Hurricanes. The follow-up to 2006’s acclaimed Yellowjacket, Between Hurricanes was co-produced by Fearing and John Whynot. Born out of several life-changing events, Between Hurricanes is both the document and result of many significant changes for Fearing. The disc’s eleven tracks were shaped with the idea of crafting a solo record while not employing a traditional ‘folk’ approach to the music. Fearing and Whynot put their focus on the fundamentals of the songs while subtly adding space and atmosphere. The minimal arrangements range from the finely honed piano, bass, and drum accents on “As The Crow Flies” to the ethereal synths on “Cold Dawn”, to the rapid-fire shuffle of “Keep Your Mouth Shut”.
    Fearing, a mainstay of the Canadian Folk Music scene since his first album (Out To Sea) was released in 1988, has continued to establish himself within Canada, the US and overseas through his long relationship with Bernie Finkelstein – True North Records, his celebrated work with Colin Linden and Tom Wilson – Blackie & The Rodeo Kings and his ongoing collaboration with Belfast singer/songwriter Andy White – Fearing & White. Over the course of 25 highly creative years, Fearing has released eight albums under his own name, seven with B&RK and one with F&W. He has been nominated for numerous awards and received two Juno’s, a Canadian Folk Music Award and a West Coast Music Award. Fearing has logged countless miles behind the wheel, been invited onto the main-stages of most Canadian roots music festivals and toured just about every region of the country, performing, teaching and producing other artists from coast to coast.
    With new albums by Blackie & The Rodeo Kings and Fearing & White coming in 2014, Stephen Fearing continues to push the creative envelope and open new doors. Stay tuned….

     

Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year

  • Chrissy Crowley - Last Night's Fun

    www.chrissycrowley.com

    Deemed a “seriously swinging fiddler, technically flawless with every thrust of her bow and a spellbindingly precocious talent” by the Guardian UK, Chrissy is a fiddler with a firm foundation in the traditional music of Cape Breton. With the irrepressible curiosity of an artist driven to create and discover, her music is in a new direction; a path of fearless innovation which has earned the fiddler a Top 20 Under 20 in Canada award, three consecutive Canadian Folk Music Award nominations, and numerous East Coast Music Association and Music Nova Scotia nominations and showcases.

    Chrissy’s new release is titled “Last Night’s Fun.” Chrissy made a unique yet vulnerable move in her third recording; one that only a true musician could execute. To maintain the fresh and lively sounds that are so often lost in a recording process, Chrissy and her band isolated themselves in a house for just one week to arrange and write all tracks the night before each studio session. The result is a stunning masterpiece recorded with the same energy and spontaneity you’d find in Chrissy’s live shows… an honest and raw sound described as “fiery fiddle playing with a distinctly mischievous personality” (Tim Readman, Penguin Eggs Magazine).” The album is literally Last Night’s Fun.

    “I said her next album would probably be interesting. I was right: Chrissy Crowley has successfully merged the energy of her would– be rock–chick side with the quality of her traditional fiddle background, and produced a collection of music which is both powerful and beautiful.” The Living Tradition

    “True to title, Last Night’s Fun soars like an old-school, live off-the-floor Cape Breton kitchen party. Parmar’s, Doodlesack Jigs, Trundle’s and Castlebay Scrap are sonic single-malts, while Shenanigans highlights Crowley’s fury and finesse on the fretboard. The crux of this collection hinges on fun, frolic and and the simple joy of a young woman letting loose on her fiddle.”
    Celtic Life Magazine

     
  • Rachel Davis - Turns

    www.rachel-davis.ca

    Strongly influenced by the playing of her grandfather, Clarence Long, Baddeck native Rachel Davis has been a student of the fiddle since she was twelve. She fondly recalls sitting in a corner of her grandfather’s barber shop, squeaking away at tunes under his careful guidance. Those first efforts lead to more teachers (including Karen Beaton, Kyle MacNeil and Stan Chapman) and great progress, as she has developed into a dynamic player with great timing and a great lift to her music.

    Now considered one of the best young Cape Breton style players currently on the go, she was fortunate enough to be the recipient of the 2009 Frank “Big Sampy” Sampson Award, which is sponsored by the Celtic Colours Festival Volunteer Drive’er Association, and Lakewind Sound Studios, giving financial aid for a Cape Breton artist to record their first CD. Her self-titled debut album was released during the Celtic Colours Festival that October, with a CD release party held at the late night Festival Club. Her CD has received rave reviews, with articles in the Cape Breton Post, Rambles.net, fRoots magazine, and Penguin Eggs Magazine. Cuts from Rachel’s debut album have been featured on promotional CDs for Lakewind Sound Studios and Cape Breton University.

    She has also been honoured as the winner of the 2007 Tic Butler Memorial Award, given each year to a young performer for outstanding contribution to Cape Breton culture. And this past year, Rachel was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award in the Young Performer of the Year category.

    Rachel has toured across Canada, the US, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Her latest album, “Turns”, which includes Rachel’s fiddling and singing talents, was released in April 2013.

     
  • Stephanie Cadman - Foggy New Year

    www.stephaniecadman.com

    STEPHANIE CADMAN grew up in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. Born into a musical family, she was drawn to the fiddle and developed a passion for dance and theatre starting at age 4. Now as an accomplished artist, her professional reputation extends throughout North America and around the world.
    Stephanie began her professional career as a lead in the hit musical ‘Swingstep’ combining her skills as actor, dancer, singer and fiddler. She then went on to perform in the Mirvish Productions Celtic review ‘Needfire’, and the Broadway National Tour of ’42nd Street’. She is a founding member of the hit stepddance show ‘The StepCrew’, and is also one of Canada’s top violinists featured in the production of ‘Bowfire’. She is also a member of the CMT super group BELLE STARR.
    As a dancer Stephanie is accomplished in tap, Celtic stepdancing and jazz. She has appeared as a tapdance soloist and fiddler with Symphonies all over North America including the Kennedy Center’s National Symphony orchestra. She was the top female at the World Tap Dance Championships in Germany at age 16. She also holds three stepdancing titles at the prestigious Pembroke Championships.
    In 2006 Stephanie had the incredible opportunity to create a hot, new, original show at the Charlottetown Festival in PEI. After a sold-out 5 week run at the Confederation Center, Stephanie’s Celtic Blaze has toured throughout the US and Canada to rave reviews. Celtic Blaze is now touring as a trio with Jake Charron on piano/guitar and Charles James on double bass. They just finished recording their second album at the Woodshed Studio in Toronto ON. Produced by one of Stephanie’s idols Daniel Lapp, the CD it is set to be released Fall 2013.
    This album showcases Stephanie’s unique talents as a composer, fiddler, Ottawa Valley stepdancer and tap dancer.

     
  • Maxim Cormier - Maxim Cormier

    http://maximcormier.com

    Maxim Cormier is incredibly talented.

    Having played guitar since he was 11 years old, Cormier, a student of guitar performance at Dalhousie University, now balances his days as a fulltime student, solo guitarist, composer and freelancing musician. Cormier’s dedication to instrumental guitar, both with the use of a pick or in pure finger style, is beautifully captured in his self-titled 2012 release Maxim Cormier.

    A third year student at Dalhousie University, Cormier’s guitar playing demands the listener’s attention as he effortlessly provides a musical experience that is truly peaceful and yet extremely complex. It is this presentation of dynamic emotion and style that fuels every note Cormier hits.

    Cormier’s original works are largely comprised of acoustic guitar that highlights a contemporary, modern approach to otherwise classic sounds. The word “versatility” best defines Cormier’s virtuosic talent as at a young age he masterfully performs styles as diverse as jazz blues and traditional Celtic music.

    When asked what he loves best about music, Cormier confides, “I love that music is accessible to everyone. Anyone can feel it. Yet, it’s complex enough to be a life long journey.”

    His life long journey in music is one that, lucky for us, started early and will no doubt continue to be a fruitful endeavor. In 2012, Cormier was awarded the Drive’ers Association and Lakewind Sound’s Big Sampie Award. In addition to this award, Cormier’s talent has been featured at the Celtic Colours Festival and appreciated in collaboration with Grammy Award winning Gordie Sampson.

    Tom Knapp of Rambles.net wrote: “Maxim Cormier is the next in a line of gifted guitarists to crop up in the music-rich soil of Cape Breton. I expect to hear a great deal more from him in years to come.”

    This writer agrees – music lovers of all ages are guaranteed to find comfort in Cormier’s style blending and unique sound. His is a name that one is best served to remember and keep an eye on.

     
  • Jorge Miguel - Guitarra Flamenca/Flamenco Guitar

    jorgemiguel.com

    Jorge Miguel is a Spanish Canadian Flamenco guitarist and composer.
    Jorge’s new CD “Guitarra Flamenca/Flamenco Guitar” is an exploration of the depth and breadth of Flamenco Guitar by an artist that has dedicated his life to this art form. Eight diverse songs styles, known in Flamenco circles as “palos”, are performed with precision, passion and originality, yet remain firmly rooted in tradition.

    Jorge’s family is from Cadiz, Andalucia, Spain and his parents moved from Seville to Toronto just one year before he was born. After years of trying to ignore his Spanish roots, Jorge realized his true calling was playing Flamenco guitar. Jorge moved back to Spain in 1995 to immerse himself in the study of Flamenco Guitar, and he has not strayed from that path since.

    Jorge has studied with maestro’s Pepe Russo in Cadiz, Don Antonio Villar in El Puerto de Santa Maria, Carlos Del Rio in Madrid, Augustin Carbonell in Seville and attended workshops w/ Diego Del Morao and singer Rocio Marquez in Toronto. Jorge has also accompanied renowned dancers such as Esmeralda Enrique, Soledad Barrio, Isabel Bayon, La Choni, and Maria Serrano.

    In 2002 Jorge formed the Jorge Miguel Flamenco Ensemble with a mandate to take true Flamenco to audiences across Canada. His Ensemble combines the three pillars of Flamenco, the guitar, the dance and the song (el Toque, el Baile y el Canté). Jorge has performed over 1000 shows from Whitehorse, The Yukon to Antigonish, Nova Scotia as well as in the U.S. and Europe. Jorge’s Ensemble was nominated in 2011 for Capacoa Touring Artist of the Year.

     

Instrumental Group of the Year

  • Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite of Everything - Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite of Everything

    www.theoppositeofeverything.com

    
Contorting the violin into new traditions, violinist/composer Jaron Freeman-Fox dances down the fine line between the beautiful and the ridiculous, while redefining what the violin is capable of. Having produced or played on over 40 albums, and toured the world as a solo artist and collaborator, Freeman-Fox fuses his roots of Celtic and bluegrass fiddling with his study of Indian classical music and jazz, playing the 5-string violins of his late mentor; fiddle pioneer Oliver Schroer. 
 Now, after 3 years of touring, writing, recording and spelunking with his fiery band “Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite of Everything”, Jaron unveils his new self-titled album, fully demonstrating the breadth, depth, and general lunacy of this ensemble’s creativity.

    
Folks may be intrigued by the fact that Jaron has performed for 100,000 people and the young royal couple on Parlimant hill, that the Canadian Embassy was kind (or foolish) enough to send him off to collaborate with a troupe of Rajasthani gypsies at the Delhi Int’l. Arts Fest, that his debut album “Manic Almanac” won an independent music award, or that he’s performed with Delhi2Dublin, Ben Caplan, and James Kudelka. Jaron however, is most proud of the fact that he’s broken 3 different fiddles on stage & 0 bones, had his violin stolen by monkeys in Bali and stole it back without contracting rabies, and mostly that he gets to play with his favourite musicians in the world in his own band.

    Described as “Tom Waits playing the fiddle, backed up by the Mahavishnu Orchestra”, The Opposite of Everything transform Freeman-Fox’s intricate compositions into an infectious party! The line-up consists of clarinetist John Williams, accordionist Robbie Grunwald, bassist Charles James, and drummer Dan Stadnicki. After 3 years of touring and festivals (including the Vancouver Folk Fest, The Ottawa Jazz Fest, and WOMEX) the band will be touring coast-to-coast again this summer, then heading overseas for a european tour this fall.

     
  • The Log Drivers - The Log Drivers

    www.thelogdrivers.ca

    With jaw dropping virtuosity and a maturity that belies their ages, The Log Drivers are a new force to be reckoned with on the Canadian folk scene. Their stunning blend of Fiddle, Pipes, Flute, Guitar and Vocals creates a sound that has the weight of tradition, the fire of youth and a strong sense of place. These young musicians are taking Canadian Celtic music to places it’s never been before and changing the way their generation thinks about folk music.

     
  • The Boxcar Boys - Rye Whiskey

    www.theboxcarboys.ca

    The Boxcar Boys deliver a veritable gumbo of wild gypsy, Dixieland jazz, Klezmer, and folk music performed with a good time New Orleans spirit. The Boxcar Boys are the combined forces of clarinetist and tunesmith John David Williams (Jaron Freeman-Fox and the Opposite of Everything, The Roofhoppers), jazz master Karl Silveira on trombone (The Lemon Bucket Orkestra), violin whiz Laura C. Bates (Trent Severn) soulful accordionist Ronen Segall and JUNO nominee Rob Teehan (Heavyweights Brass Band, Saidah Baba Talibah) on sousaphone.
    With their first album Don’t Be Blue [2011] they caught the ears of critics across the country, placing on the Ejazznews list of Best Canadian Jazz of 2011, receiving 3.5/4 stars in the Toronto Star, as well as praise in Wholenote, Canadian Folk Music and Penguin Eggs magazines.
    Their new album Rye Whiskey further explores their unique instrumentation as they delve deeper into both the folk and jazz genres. These 15 live-off-the-floor studio tracks showcase the band’s raw acoustic sound and lively performances. Their ability to effortlessly switch from a gritty sprawling blues into a tight western swing number or an emotive tango is demonstrated in compositions by all band members. Rye Whiskey also features charming vocal renditions of folk classics “Sam Hall”, “Rye Whiskey”, and “Freight Train”, a joyous instrumental performance of “You Are My Sunshine.” Rye Whiskey captures The Boxcar Boys at their finest, musicians with appreciation for old jazz and folk music who have honed a sound that is undoubtedly their own.

     
  • Lemon Bucket Orkestra - Lume, Lume

    http://www.lemonbucket.com

    From Toronto to New York, Budapest to Berlin, audiences around the world are hailing the Lemon Bucket
    Orkestra as folk music revolutionaries. Since their birth three years ago, the band has grown from its initial
    quartet of buskers to a fifteen-piece guerrilla folk force with an army of grass roots followers and mainstream
    fans at home and abroad.
    Those discovering the band for the first time quickly realize that their shows are more than concerts: they’re
    wild, joyful experiences rarely contained by four walls; they’re celebrations of tradition and culture expressed
    with an explosive punk spirit; they’re ecstatic street parades that erupt from the collision of nostalgia and
    imagination.
    “Adventurously multicultural…amazing”
    - Wall Street Journal
    The LBO enjoyed worldwide media attention last summer after playing klezmer music on a delayed Air
    Canada flight en route to a three week tour of Romania– the video garnered 250,000+ YouTube hits and was
    covered by CNN, New York Times, Fox News, Huffington Post, Jimmy Kimmel, CBC, CTV, The Toronto Star,
    The Globe and Mail, and more.
    “absolutely alive and electric… like a traveling musical caravan burning wildly across the night sky”
    - AlanCross.ca
    2012 was a monumental year for LBO: they released their debut full-length album “Lume, Lume” (produced
    by Michael Phillip Wojewoda at Toronto’s Revolution Recording), toured eight countries in Europe and North
    America, shared stages with the most renowned artists in their genre (Shantel and the Bucovina Club Orkestar, Taraf de Haidouks, and Fanfare Ciocarlia, among others), and were featured performers in “Midwinter
    Night: Sacred and Profane Rituals” at the legendary LaMaMa Theater in New York City.
    “Music to shake you by the scruff, in the best possible way.”
    - CBC Music
    This was nothing short of expected to fans of the band in their hometown of Toronto, who bought up over 4,000
    copies of the band’s debut EP “Cheeky” last year, and eagerly follow the band

     
  • Gordon Grdina's Haram - Her Eyes Illuminate

    http://www.gordongrdina.com/haram#!haram/c1xhf

    Gordon Grdina¹s Haram
    Her Eyes Illuminate

    Her Eyes Illuminate is the debut album from Haram, a ten piece power-house ensemble from the depths of Vancouver’s rich avant garde improvisational music community. The album will be released in August, 2012 on Songlines, just prior to the band’s first national Canadian tour.

    Led by Gordon Grdina (Dan Mangan, Paul Motian, Gary Peacock), Haram was first formed in 2008 as a large ensemble vehicle to study and perform Arabic repertoire that Grdina had been performing in small groups. Though more publicly known for his guitar playing, he here exchanges it for the Iraqi oud.

    The pieces on Her Eyes Illuminate are lovingly reinterpreted with an ensemble half studied in the tradition and half who cut their teeth in the improv-indie-rock-jazz scene. This blend of musicians is what gives Haram its unique sound. The songs are not simply recited, but paid reverence to amid the openness of improvisational ideologies.

    Approaching Haram as a listener is a juxtaposing intention. Its traditional foundation feels familiar but avoids the kitsch of a simple homage band. The music developed over time and has reached that sublime state of effortless cohesion while retaining its sense of wild abandon. The repertoire starts with Iraqi folk music and ends at the mid-century era of Egyptian radio music in which Oum Khalsoum and Farid Al Atrash reigned.

    The sheer size of the band aside, trying to collect this ambitious selection of players in the same place and time is a feat. On stage you’ll find drummer Kenton Loewen (Dan Mangan, The Crackling, Jerry Granelli), trumpeter JP Carter (The Inhabitants, Destroyer, Fond Of Tigers) Chris Kelly (Now Orchestra, Eye of Newt) and bassist Tommy Babin (Paul Plimley, Now Orchestra, Sendero Luminoso).

    Violinist Jesse Zubot (Tanya Tagaq, Hawksley Workman, Fond Of Tigers) is a staple of Vancouver’s “free” music scene and is founder of the world-renowned Drip Audio label. Percussionists Tim Gerwing and L

     

English Songwriter of the Year

  • David Francey - So Say We All

    www.davidfrancey.com

    David Francey is a Scottish-born carpenter-turned-songwriter, who has become known as “one of Canada’s most revered folk poets and singers” (Toronto Star).

    A truly authentic folk singer, Francey is a documentarian of the working person who never imagined earning a living from his music. But when he was in his 40s, his wife, artist Beth Girdler, encouraged him to share his songs and sing in public. His first album Torn Screen Door came out in 1999 and he has since released ten albums and won three JUNO Awards.

     
  • Justin Rutledge - Valleyheart

    http://www.justinrutledge.com

    Justin Rutledge’s 5th studio album, Valleyheart, was released in February 2013. The quiet songwriter returns to his roots with a stately collection of spacious songs featuring Rutledge’s trademark poetic lyrics. “I wanted to write songs the way I look at old photographs,” the singer says. “Valleyheart is, at the core, an album about translating memory.” The album is spare in its arrangements, and patient in its delivery. “At this point in my career, I understand that my strength lies in writing songs that don’t exceed the speed limit,” jokes Rutledge. “I feel as though after 4 albums, I have finally grown comfortable with my writing.”

    It has been almost three years since Justin Rutledge has released an album—the longest stretch in between albums for the 33 year-old songwriter who was born and raised in The Junction, an old railway neighbourhood in the west end of Toronto. During this time, he recorded an album with his band in Los Angeles, Early Winters, and also became involved in the world of theatre. Rutledge has worked with such pivotal directors as Daniel Brooks and Morris Panych, and collaborated with Michael Ondaatje on adapting his novel Divisadero for the stage. Rutledge was also the composer and music director for Canadian Stage’s production of The Arsonists, featuring such venerable Canadian actors as Michael Ball and Sheila McCarthy.

    Valleyheart was recorded in Toronto with Rutledge’s veteran backing band, featuring his best friend Bazil Donovan (Blue Rodeo) on bass, and mixed in Los Angeles by Dan Burns (Puscifer, Chuck Prophet). Rutledge has increasingly been spending more time in California, writing and recording with his band, Early Winters. “Travel is a major theme on Valleyheart,” says Rutledge. “It is perhaps my most ‘Canadian’ album to date, even though it is heavily influenced by California.”

    Rutledge has twice been nominated for a Juno Award, and twice been long-listed for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

     
  • Lynn Miles - Downpour

    www.lynnmilesmusic.com

    There’s something to be said for experience, for taking the time to grow into your own skin. All sturdy things need time to root firmly into the ground to find their strength.
    Lynn Miles is one of Canada’s most accomplished singer/songwriters. With twelve albums to her credit, the winner of multiple Canadian Folk Music Awards (2011 English Songwriter), and 2003 Juno for Roots and Traditional Solo Album of The Year, she has certainly found her strength over time.

    Through a career that has seen her move from Ottawa to Los Angeles and back again, with stops in Nashville and Austin TX., and a healthy touring schedule that regularly takes her through the US, Europe and Canada, she has always created and performed music with unbridled feeling and vulnerability.
    Lynn’s new release “Downpour”, has been described as “11 remarkable new songs of love, life, darkness and light-a celebration of our fragile, flawed and beautiful world”.

     
  • Old Man Luedecke - Tender is the Night

    http://oldmanluedecke.ca/

    Old Man Luedecke isn’t afraid to put his neck on the line. His latest album, Tender Is The Night, goes beyond his beloved solo, banjo-driven folk tunes. Driving a Nashville band from beginning to end with his recognizable voice, this is an artist honing his cunning lyrical flair – tenderly pushing the boundaries of his storytelling with his unique mix of folk, bluegrass and pop hooks.

    Old Man Luedecke has a penchant for language. Based in Chester, Nova Scotia, the award-winning roots singer-songwriter’s latest album, Tender Is The Night, gives nod to F.R. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel, a title lifted from John Keats poem, ‘Ode To A Nightingale.’

    With skillful precision and a storyteller’s heart, Luedecke’s narrative-driven folk songs are playful, coy, and soul warming. Rich in metaphor, heart and instrumentation, Tender Is The Night muses on love, art and purpose.

     
  • John Wort Hannam - Brambles And Thorns

    johnworthannam.com

    From the prairies in Southern Alberta comes one of Canada’s best
    folk/roots songwriters, John Wort Hannam.
    For five years John Wort Hannam taught grade nine language arts on
    the largest reserve in Canada – The Kainai Nation, part of the
    Blackfoot Confederacy. But in 1997 he heard a Loudon Wainwright III
    record and was hooked by the music and stories. In 1998, he bought a
    guitar and learned some chords. In 2002, he quit teaching and began
    to pursue the dream of being a working musician.
    In the ten years since leaving the teaching profession to become a
    working musician, John has captured a Juno Award nomination for
    Best Traditional/Roots album, a Canadian Folk Music Award for Album
    of the Year, and seven Grand prize / First place awards for his finely
    crafted, narrative songwriting.
    His music has taken him across Canada to the US, UK, Australia, to
    appearances in Trafalgar Square, the Winter and Summer Olympics,
    the Smithsonian, and a solo main stage slot at the coveted Kerrville
    Folk Festival.
    With comparisons to Gordon Lightfoot, James Keelaghan, and John
    Prine, John Wort Hannam is a born story-teller with a keen eye for the
    quirky and lyrics that create stories behind the songs.

     

French Songwriter of the Year

  • Dany Placard - Démon vert

    http://www.danyplacard.com

    Jusque-là, il portait un nom de famille banal comme en porte la majorité des gens. Mais par une caniculaire soirée d’été, alors que ses colocataires font un boucan du tonnerre de Dieu, notre malheureux planque son matelas dans le placard de l’appartement, à l’abri du bruit, sous l’escalier. Il en ressort le lendemain, après une nuit agitée durant laquelle de séduisantes créatures le visitent en songes, avec un nouveau patronyme. Il sera désormais Dany Placard.
    Originaire de Laterrière au Saguenay, Placard, saisi d’admiration par son cousin qui joue de l’orgue à l’église, harcèle ses parents afin de pouvoir lui aussi goûter à la musique. On lui met donc une guitare classique entre les mains, il en jouera longtemps. Jusqu’à l’université en fait, où il poursuivra par ailleurs ses études en chant classique avant que l’écriture de chansons le fasse pour de bon bifurquer vers la voie, plus cahoteuse et plus stimulante, du folk-rock. Après un premier album autoproduit en 1998, l’auteur-compositeur jette avec Éric Villeneuve les bases de Plywood 3/4, joyeuse bande de bizouneurs d’airs patraques qui enregistrera deux albums.
    Seul, Placard pave avec Rang de l’église (2005) et Raccourci (2008), deux albums salués par la critique, un poussiéreux chemin folk entre le Saguenay et le Sud des États-Unis.
    Réalisateur, Placard reçoit dans sa mythique shed de nombreux auteurs-compositeurs-interprètes qu’il aiguillera dans la direction de l’authenticité et du dépouillement. Chantal Archambault, domlebo, Francis Faubert et Louis-Philippe Gingras signent avec lui des albums éminemment personnels qui portent néanmoins sa patte.
    À l’automne 2012, Placard revient avec Démon vert, un album plus ambitieux et vulnérable. Mis en boîte en groupe dans un esprit de camaraderie et d’immédiateté typique des grandes séances d’enregistrement des années soixante-dix, Démon vert lui permet de renouer avec le folk-rock de terre retournée et de routes cabossées de ses premières incursions en solo.

     
  • Louis Jean Cormier - Le treizième étage

    http://louisjeancormier.com

    Après 15 ans de tournées et d’aventures musicales avec la formation Karkwa, Louis-Jean Cormier s’était promis un repos bien mérité. Pourtant, après quelques jours seulement, son nouveau projet s’est tout naturellement imposé à lui.
    Il faut dire que Louis-Jean n’a jamais vraiment cessé de gratter la guitare depuis son adolescence. À cette époque, il écumait déjà le circuit des bars de son Sept-Îles natal, en interprétant classiques québécois et compositions.
    C’est au Cégep Saint-Laurent, en 1998, que Louis-Jean se pose et s’accorde avec ses futurs collaborateurs, Karkwa naît de cette amitié grandissante. En 2001, le groupe se fait connaître du grand public lors des Francouvertes, où ils se rendent en finale. Au fil des années, le groupe sort 3 albums, notamment Les Chemins de verre en 2010, pour lequel ils gagnent le prestigieux Prix Polaris. Que ce soit à Londres, en Islande, au Texas ou durant la première partie d’Arcade Fire à la place des Festivals à Montréal, Karkwa a toujours su bouleverser et soulever son public. La signature singulière du groupe fait probablement écho à la nature curieuse du chanteur. « Mélomaniaque » à ses heures et toujours désireux de repousser ses propres limites, Louis-Jean a parsemé son parcours musical de défis hautement créatifs. En s’unissant entre autres à Patrick Watson pour la série de spectacles Karwatson en 2008, Louis-Jean et sa bande prouvent qu’il est possible de traverser le mur du son et de la langue.
    Avec les années, sa réputation de guitariste et de multi-instrumentiste l’a emmené à travailler sur la réalisation du projet musical des 12 hommes rapaillés de Gaston Miron. Son rôle en tant que réalisateur sera, également notable sur les albums de Marie-Pier Arthur et de Lisa Leblanc.
    C’est avec l’aide d’une équipe de qualité que Louis Jean, nous livre un premier album marqué de sonorités folks et d’une une poésie puissante sculptée autour de cette nouvelle aventure plus personnelle.

     
  • Chantal Archambault - Les Élans

    www.chantalarchambault.com

    Chantal Archambault est une auteure-compositrice-interprète qui présente des pièces aux textes intimistes et imagés, sur une musique folk, ornée d’une touche country. En 2008, elle autoproduit “Le Collage”, un démo qui lui permet de participer aux Francouvertes et de faire la rencontre de Dany Placard, avec qui elle se lie pour réaliser son premier album, “La romance des couteaux”, lancé au FME en 2010. Elle récolte plusieurs prix et bourses en 2011, notamment une nomination à l’ADISQ et aux GAMIQ, le statut d’ambassadrice de sa région qu’est l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, plus de 20 premières parties de Vincent Vallières dans l’est du Québec et ailleurs, une vitrine à la Bourse Rideau, ainsi qu’une participation à l’émission Belle et Bum, aux Francofolies, en plus d’une tournée à travers le Québec. Enfin, sa chanson “La barque” fut reprise par Renée Martel sur son plus recent album. Chantal revient s’établir à Montréal en 2012, puis y enregistrera un second album, “Les Élans”, paru en février 2013.

     
  • Alexis Normand - Mirador

    www.alexisnormand.com

    Alexis Normand (Aleksiss) présente un folk chaleureux et atmosphérique dans lequel un groove jazz entrainant et une voix suave s’installent. Sa poésie sincère, empreinte d’émotions discrètes nous révèle une sensibilité touchante. Après sa participation à Chant’Ouest en 2002 (le gala interprovincial de l’Ouest), Alexis poursuit ses études en musique et en éducation à l’Université d’Ottawa avant d’entreprendre une année de formation à l’École nationale de la chanson de Granby.

    En 2010, la Fransaskoise lance son premier enregistrement – un EP de 5 pistes chaleureusement accueilli par les radios du pays. Depuis, elle offre un grand nombre de spectacles dans le cadre de divers festivals et évènements partout au Canada dont le Regina Folk Festival (SK), le Festival Edmonton Chante (AB) et la Scène des Prairies (Ottawa) en plus de nombreuses tournées canadiennes. La Fransaskoise a également été demi-finaliste au Festival en chanson de Saint-Ambroise et au Festival International de la chanson de Granby en 2010. L’année dernière, sa chanson ‘Cet horizon’ a remporté le concours Fais-moi une chanson de Radio-Canada Saskatchewan. Co-écrite avec Shawn Jobin, elle est devenue la chanson thème de l’Année provinciale des Fransaskois 2012.

    Le 15 janvier dernier, Alexis Normand a lancé Mirador – son premier album complet qui est le résultat d’une collaboration avec Zoé Fortier, une artiste visuelle fransaskoise. Elle vient de recevoir deux nominations au Gala des Prix Trille Or dans les catégories «Découverte par excellence de l’Ouest» et «Meilleur album de l’Ouest». De plus, Alexis est en lys aux Western Canadian Music Awards dans la catégorie du meilleur album francophone de l’année.

     
  • Catherine Durand - Les murs blancs du Nord

    http://www.catherinedurand.com/

    Voix forte de la chanson québécoise depuis près de quinze ans, Catherine Durand conjugue en français et avec douceur un folk ambiant sur lequel soufflent la brise mordante de l’hiver et l’air chargé de promesses des grands espaces.
    Catherine enregistrera son premier album, Flou (1998), avec la multinationale Warner Music Canada. Avec Diaporama (2005) Catherine sera magnifiquement salué par la critique et nominé à l’ADISQ. Cœurs migratoires (2008), à l’instar de Diaporama, creuse le sillon de l’intimité et du raffinement. Récompensé au Canadian Folk Music Awards, deux fois nominé au Gala de l’ADISQ, célébré par la presse et étreint par un public fidèle, l’album consolide dix ans de travail passionné.
    Sur l’enveloppant Les murs blancs du Nord, qui paraît à l’automne 2012, Catherine Durand s’entoure d’une équipe toute étoile de musiciens, dont Jocelyn Tellier, Robbie Kuster (Patrick Watson) et François Lafontaine (Karkwa).
    Jeune vétérane de la chanson québécoise, Catherine Durand peut à bien des égards être considérée parmi les plus importantes défricheuses ayant pavé la voie à la réjouissante déferlante de jeunes auteures-compositrices folk. Pour le dire simplement: elle inspire.

     

Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year

  • Nancy Mike of The Jerry Cans - Nunavuttitut

    www.thejerrycans.com

    Growing up in Iqaluit, Pangnirtung, and Arctic Bay, Nunavut, The Jerry Cans have had a multidimensional musical upbringing with influences ranging from rock n’ roll, community square dances, to seal hunting. The band started to jam together over the long dark Iqaluit winters in a garage that had heat – most of the time – and had little vision of sharing their music beyond the borders of Nunavut. In 2009, the band began to experiment with fusing northern and southern musical styles. It was through this exploration that The Jerry Cans developed their highly unique sound blending traditional and contemporary musical styles – a sound that is highly reflective of the life in the contemporary Arctic.
    By singing in Inuktitut and incorporating traditional Inuit throat singing with country and reggae rhythms, the band has developed a sound that is truly one of a kind. In a territory where many young musicians are choosing to express themselves in English, The Jerry Cans are passionately dedicated to ensuring that Inuktitut continues to play a vital role in the lives of youth across Nunavut. This dedication to the promotion and preservation of Inuktitut is foundational to the artistic philosophy of the band.
    Resulting from their passion to share a glimpse of live in Nunavut, and the release of their debut album in January 2012, The Jerry Cans have had invitations to play across Canada including Festivals in Toronto, Ottawa, Yellowknife, and numerous Nunavut communities. Along with these important milestones, The Jerry Cans will continue to be proud to speak, learn, and sing in both English and Inuktitut and are working hard to encourage young people from Nunavut to do the same. Through performance and workshops, members of the Jerry Cans are busy promoting music education, leadership, along with Inuit cultural and language pride. The band views this work as inseparable from their music and seek to share this passion throughout all of their activities.

     
  • Kristi Lane Sinclair - The Sea Alone

    kristilanesinclair.com

    Raised on grunge in the backwaters of British Columbia, singer-songwriter Kristi Lane Sinclair’s musical roots are reflected in her sophomore album The Sea Alone. It is an intoxicating mix of grunge, folk and classical. Grunge and classical you say? Yes, grunge and classical, Kristi growls back. In her low, hard-edged vocals, Kristi sings about heartbreak, great loves and the sea on her latest album.

    Growing up Oceanside in Prince Rupert, B.C., with family roots in Masset, Haida Gwaii, it is no wonder Kristi finds healing in open waters. “It is what I turn to when everything else turns to shit,” she says. For Kristi, waters provide her energy and she feels it is the one thing she can constantly depend on and that is reflected in the moody The Sea Alone.

    A Canadian Folk Music Award nominee for her first album I Love You, Kristi calls on her good friend cellist Cris Derksen to provide doleful accompaniment on The Sea Alone. Mixed with her own searing guitar lines, Kristi’s sound is conducive to coffee shops, folk festivals and to the Seattle-set television show Grey’s Anatomy – which is known for discovering cutting-edge music.

    Catch Kristi on tour throughout North America in 2013. For more information check out kristilanesinclair.com.

     
  • Don Amero - Heart On My Sleeve

    www.donamero.com

    You can call Don Amero one of the hardest working independent musicians in showbiz today. Since leaving his job as a hardwood flooring installer six years ago to pursue music fulltime, the singer/songwriter from Winnipeg has toured coast-to-coast, headlined concerts, presented at festivals, performed with the symphony, played national television, and showcased at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City.

    Don’s musical style has been likened to John-Mayer-meets-Keith-Urban. His first three albums (Change Your Life, Deepening, The Long Way Home) have generated six national and international awards – Male Entertainer of the Year (2012 Aboriginal People Choice Music Awards), Best Country Song (2012 Indian Summer Music Awards), Aboriginal Recording of the Year (2011 Western Canadian Music Awards), Best Folk Recording (2011 Native American Music Awards), Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year (2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards), Male Artist of the Year (2009 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards) – and 20 more nominations.

    Don’s fourth album, the self-produced Heart On My Sleeve, was nominated Aboriginal Album of the Year at the 2013 JUNO Awards. His most personal album to date, which tells a story from beginning to end, was released in October 2012 at an “intimate and international” house concert streamed live on APTN.ca.

    On radio, Don has seen four songs climb to #1 on the National Aboriginal Countdown. Two tracks – Turn These Grey Skies Blue and original holiday song All I Need This Christmas – earned notable “most active download” designations on DMDS.com, and were spun on commercial stations across Canada.

    Don Amero captivates audiences of all ages with powerful and expressive vocals, percussion-style guitar play, and engaging storytelling. He is often called upon as a keynote speaker, and to deliver workshops for youth. His story inspires, and his message is one of encouragement, positivity and beauty. He continues to impress wherever he goes.

     
  • Diem LAfortune - BEAUTY AND HARD TIMES

    www.mamadhorizondancer.ca

    DIEM LAFORTUNE
    Beauty in Hard Times
    Politically charged music with a message for the socially conscious.
    If they gave out medals for artistic courage, then Diem Lafortune would get the Victoria Cross.
    Diem Lafortune, Toronto-based singer/songwriter has a hard-won wisdom eloquently showcased on Beauty and Hard Times, an album demanding our attention as a compelling and passionate work of art. While a rich and lush melodicism provides the Beauty on the album, the lyrics probe deeply into Hard Times. Lafortune covers a wide swathe of stylistic terrain on the album. Her sound draws from blues, folk, rock, gospel, country, Eastern European, and classical styles, yet remains coherent, thanks to her singular artistic vision. It is accurate to describe her music as “quintessentially Canadian… Everything is there… nothing disappears: they co-exist. It’s an allegory for an idealized version of what we think Canada should be about”. With a voice described as “like a barn – big, earthy and full of timber”, people are catching on. And so is radio, as she has been picked by many campus radio stations and has charted on several – especially those with music colleges. Young players love working with her.
    Her powerful rhythms lay down grooves and together her voice and her playing are a mesmerizing package. Beauty and Hard Times is an immensely satisfying result from a truly renaissance woman who can “wear many hats at the same time.” Make one of those hats a bowler, in honour of one of her cultural heroes, Charlie Chaplin.

     
  • Vince Fontaine of Indian City - Supernation

    www.indiancity.ca

    Guitarist, composer, and producer Vince Fontaine, best known for his multi-award winning band Eagle & Hawk, is making waves with his new ‘supergroup’ Indian City and their debut album “Supernation”.
    Indian City is the realization of a creative concept and vision that has been taking shape in Fontaine’s mind for the last few years. Building on his 20-year career in the music industry, the founder and leader of one of North America’s most successful Indigenous groups of the past 10 years has brought together some of today’s best Indigenous music talents in Indian City and is poised to take them to the world stage.
    Indian City includes vocalists Pamela Davis and William Prince as well as established award-winning musicians Neewa Mason, Tik Mason (Segway) and rising star Don Amero. The 10-piece live band is rounded out by Eagle & Hawk veterans Marty Chapman on drums, slick keyboardist Gerry Atwell, traditional singer Ray “Coco” Stevenson and multi-style Native dancer Buffy Handel.
    Indian City’s sound is a unique mix of world music fusion combining Indigenous music elements and themes with pop, rock and folk. With a live performance that is full of energy and rhythm, the band’s music and lyrics are expressions of the modern conscience of today’s Indigenous people.
    Indian City’s debut CD “Supernation” has, in pre-release, already secured radio airplay and headline festival appearances as well as a Western Canadian Music Award nomination. The band’s powerful stage show and engaging music has landed the band a national television performance on Aboriginal People’s Television Network on the main stage for Canada’s National Aboriginal Day concert.
    Members of Indian City have toured Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Collectively, they have earned over 40 music awards.These artists are no strangers to the main stage or the podium and all indicators suggest that collectively, Indian City will rise even higher.

     

Vocal Group of the Year

  • Good Lovelies - Live at Revolution

    http://www.goodlovelies.com

    Funny and upbeat, with just a pinch of sass, the Good Lovelies‘ textbook three-part harmonies, constant instrument swapping and witty on-stage banter have enlivened the folk music landscape since they joined forces in 2006 for their first show at Toronto’s funky Gladstone Hotel.
    How the Good Lovelies (Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and Sue Passmore) got together is a bit of a mystery: Sue remembers meeting her band mates during a limbo competition, Caroline thinks they met at a chess tournament, but Kerri is convinced they first crossed paths during a bar fight… Whatever the story may be, the ladies immediately realized they had something special, so they hit the road on a mission to charm Canadian audiences coast to coast.
    Lighthearted songwriting and irresistibly buoyant dispositions have made them the darlings of the summer festival circuit, including spots at the storied Mariposa and Hillside Festivals and the Montreal Jazz Festival. They have toured with Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe and appeared on stages and in studios with Broken Social Scene, Kathleen Edwards and Jill Barber.
    In addition to their acclaimed holiday album, Under the Mistletoe (2009), which showcases old and new seasonal tunes (including three original songs), the Good Lovelies’ self-titled full-length album (also released in 2009) proved their blithe brand of folk music has year-round appeal. With this record, the Good Lovelies won New Emerging Artist at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. In 2010, this same album received a Juno for Roots/Traditional Album of the Year.
    Let the Rain Fall, their third full-length album, was recently nominated for the 2012 Juno for Roots/Traditional Album of the Year. With equal parts city and country, highway and home, wistfulness and sass, the Good Lovelies’ good humour and self-assurance shines through from the toe-tapping start of “Made for Rain” to the sweet final notes in the French-flecked “Mrs. T.”

     
  • the Wilderness of Manitoba - Island of Echoes

    www.thewildernessofmanitoba.com

    Thematically, a lot of the new Wilderness of Manitoba album, Island of Echoes, is about the past year or so and all of the songs come from that timeframe. There wasn’t a lot of downtime for the Toronto-based band as they were on tour, primarily in the United States and England. Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Will Whitwham reflects, “For me personally, a lot of my songwriting was done on the road because it had to be. So, whenever I was home, I’d have a week or two to record demos and then be back at the drawing board again in a van or hotel room.” The constant touring, the ever-changing geography, playing larger venues and working the new songs into the live sets, all had a profound influence on both the band and the new album. Whitwham started playing electric guitars and the sound became more expansive to fill the halls they were playing. “This also carried over into writing the new songs as we had fuller band arrangements in mind”, adds Whitwham.

    When it came to recording the new album, Whitwham points out, “It forced us to find the right person for the various songs we were recording and we ended up asking some of the best singers we knew (who also happened to be female) to collaborate. The results were even better than we expected.” One of those singers was vocalist/violinist Amanda Balsys of Kingston band The Gertrudes. From its inception, the Wilderness of Manitoba has been known for its three and four part harmonies. Balsys ensures the continuity of that signature vocal blend while bringing a strong female lead voice and contributing to the instrumental mix with her effects laden violin. Rounding out the band is drummer/percussionist Sean Lancaric and bassist Wes McClintock who bring a new fluidity to the rhythm section.

    The band’s previous two releases, Hymns of Love & Spirits and When You Left The Fire, were recorded mainly in the basement recording studio of the house on Delaware Avenue where most of the band members lived. Gradually, over the course of the year, everyone except Whitwham moved out and found apartments. When it came time to record Island of Echoes, the decision was made to record the basic tracks and mix at Revolution Recording, a throwback to the original great Toronto studios of the sixties and seventies. Intent on capturing the band’s evolving live sound, Whitwham says they got the best of both worlds, “We have never made a studio album until now and I think you can especially hear it in the percussion as well as the overall mixes. We still had the necessary time and space to alter and experiment with overdubs at the house for a month, but the backbone of the tracks has a much fuller studio presence than any of our earlier recordings.”

    Expanding on the changes reflected in the new album, Whitwham explains, “We don’t want any of the albums to be similar, but, at the same time, we aim to create a mood or cohesiveness in everything we do. It felt as though we’d already made folk records and it was time to experiment with what that means. There are elements of folk happening throughout the album, but it is in no way strictly a folk record although it is definitely a Wilderness of Manitoba record. The seventies was just a reference point that happens to include some of our favourite influences such as Fleetwood Mac. We were looking to bring in the kind of instrumentation you hear from that era that is heavy with electric guitars, Hammond organ, synthesizers and a prominent backbeat with lots of harmonies happening vocal-wise on top.” In addition to Whitwham’s vocals, the presence of Balsys along with Elise Legrow and Felicity Williams brought the high end/female vocals to another level and contributed to the more dynamic music direction being pursued by the band.

    The new album is called Island of Echoes. The name will likely conjure up several images to each person, but the central idea comes from nostalgia and all that surrounds it. Most people write about what they know which inevitably becomes or already is the past. ‘Echoes’ refers directly to burdens or triumphs that you carry with you, that remind you of what you’ve been through. “Without memory, we wouldn’t know what to make of our identity”, says Whitwham. “I also kept playing with the idea of different bodies of water in the songs and its effect. Then, there is a line from a novel when two men were canoeing on a lake through a forest fire. ‘It’s like the island we slept on when we finally made it out of the fire’, which reminded me of everything that has happened to us since When You Left The Fire was released. Lastly, I started thinking about the island as the mind and the ocean as encompassing all things outside of it. An island of echoes was our island of memories.”

    There were a number of highlights for the Wilderness of Manitoba over the past two years, ranging from their UK debut at the End of the Road Festival where they received a standing ovation to playing the Philadelphia Folk Festival and meeting Levon Helm; from their first shows in Berlin, Hamburg and the Netherlands to touring the U.S. opening for artists ranging from Cloud Cult to Aimee Mann; from playing the WOMAD festival in the UK with artists like Robert Plant to performing at SXSW in Austin. 2013 promises to be just as exciting as the band returns to Austin for SXSW and starts a monthly residency in New York. Island of Echoes was released on September 18th in Canada.

     
  • The Sweet Lowdown - May

    www.thesweetlowdown.ca

    The Sweet Lowdown is an acoustic roots trio from Victoria, B.C. Drawn together by mutual passion for old-time groove, hard driving bluegrass, sweet harmonies and well-wrought songs, The Sweet Lowdown (Amanda Blied–guitar, Shanti Bremer–banjo and Miriam Sonstenes–fiddle) blend original song-writing with old time roots music to create a sound that is unique yet timeless.

    Formed in 2008, The Sweet Lowdown recorded an EP with Adam Iredale-Gray (Fish and Bird) the same year. In January 2011 they traveled by train to Parry Sound, Ontario, to record their first full-length album, The Sweet Lowdown, with musician and sound engineer Andrew Collins (Creaking Tree String Quartet, Foggy Hogtown Boys). By the early spring of 2011 the trio won the Monday Magazine M-Award for Favorite Roots/World Music Group. In June, they released their self-titled debut album which was nominated for 2012 “Album of the Year” by the Vancouver Island Music Awards.

    In early 2012, the trio headed back into the recording studio with musician, producer and recording engineer Adrian Dolan (The Bills, Ruth Moody), on Mayne Island, BC. The result of that session is May, an emotionally intimate collection of 10 original compositions and two traditional songs that build upon their previous collection of music while demonstrating a greater range of their influences, including Irish and Indian music. May recently won the 2013 Vancouver Island Music Award for Roots Album of the Year.

    The Sweet Lowdown has traveled around the continent sharing their music and teaching their craft, including Haida Gwaii (Edge of the World Music Festival), Nova Scotia (Cape Breton Island, Lunenburg Folk Harbor Festival), Saskatchewan (Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Camp and Festival), California and the Midwest (Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago).

    www.thesweetlowdown.ca

    “With a fresh sound and originality, they’re walking a musical road with a clear vision for their songs.”
    –Joe Ross, Roots Music Report

     
  • Dawn and Marra - Teaspoons and Tablespoons

    http://dawnandmarra.com/welcome.cfm

    Dawn and Marra aren’t sisters but most people think they are. They’ve been performing together since Marra was fourteen and Dawn was sixteen. Drawn together by a love of music at such a young age, they immediately impressed all who listened. Song writing has always been at the heart of the duo. Debuting a new song most weeks has kept their loyal fans in the working class city of Hamilton enthralled by their rapid, but still natural development. Dawn has always been an old soul and as the primary songwriter in the group she brings a depth of understanding of the human condition that is breathtaking. Complementing Dawn is Marra, with her youthful exuberance and solid musicality. In 2010 they entered and won the Rising Star competition at the Hamilton Music Awards, dazzling the judges with their creativity. In the winter of 2012 they recorded a single with producer Dan Weston (Paper Lions, Northcote, The Reason); “A Love Letter,” rich in melody, with dense harmonies underlying simple yet poignant lyrics, the song tells the story of two lovers separated by oceans. The collaboration was very rewarding and did much to add to the young performers confidence and understanding of the art of producing. The song was well received, being played on the CBC and BBC as well as National Public Radio. The next six months was a period of incredible creative energy. Over fifteen songs were written. It was soon decided they were ready to return to the studio but first they needed the right producer. Scouring the backs of albums, one name appeared over and over again, Howard Redekopp. His work in the Indie genre is a who’s who of great Canadian bands; Tegan and Sara, Said the Whale, Paper Lions to name just a few. Emails were sent and returned, and over six months eight songs were chosen that would become Dawn and Marra’s debut album. In January 2013 the duo arrived in Vancouver, and over a three-week period they recorded the tracks that would become “Teaspoons and Tablespoons.”

     
  • Trent Severn - Trent Severn

    www.trentsevernband.ca

    Meet Trent Severn. Not the waterway system in Southern Ontario, but Trent Severn – the Canadiana band whose songs are fueled by the folklore of Ontario; whose lyrics pay tribute to Canadian legends.
    Trent Severn is a trio from Stratford, Ontario comprised of indie songster Emm Gryner, the multi-talented Dayna Manning and violin whiz/songbird Laura C. Bates. When listening to their self-titled 10-track debut album, the first infuence that comes to mind is Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. There is no lead singer in Trent Severn. There are no doubled tracks. There is a guitar or banjo (Manning), a bass and stomp box (Gryner), a fiddle, and a shaker here and there. You can hear the watermarks of greats like Spirit of The West, Simon and Garfunkel, Tom Petty, Joni Mitchell, Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard. The sound of this band is CANADIANA based in Folk, Roots and Old Country.
    Every note on the album is played, arranged and penned by the trio with the exception of a one track guest appearance by Joel Plaskett. Song titles like “Snowy Soul”, “Muskoka Bound” and “Bluenose On A Dime” paint instant Canadian portraits. The lyrics seamlessly offer inside jokes our citizens will laugh at, yet nothing a welcome visitor couldn’t relate to and enjoy.
    Trent Severn are three treasured and talented musicians who have years of experience touring this country, getting to know audiences and creating lasting friendships. This band is a seed that blooms to life on a Canadian stage, and like every modest Canadian, has achievable goals:
    -To show a Canadian audience a really great time
    -To write songs that touch the hearts and tell the stories of our friends, neighbours and legends
    -To offer an album that sounds just like the concert
    - And of course, to be kind, to enjoy a beer at the end of a long day and to talk about – I dunno, maybe how cold it is?

     

Ensemble of the Year

  • Good Lovelies - Live at Revolution

    http://www.goodlovelies.com

    Funny and upbeat, with just a pinch of sass, the Good Lovelies‘ textbook three-part harmonies, constant instrument swapping and witty on-stage banter have enlivened the folk music landscape since they joined forces in 2006 for their first show at Toronto’s funky Gladstone Hotel.
    How the Good Lovelies (Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and Sue Passmore) got together is a bit of a mystery: Sue remembers meeting her band mates during a limbo competition, Caroline thinks they met at a chess tournament, but Kerri is convinced they first crossed paths during a bar fight… Whatever the story may be, the ladies immediately realized they had something special, so they hit the road on a mission to charm Canadian audiences coast to coast.
    Lighthearted songwriting and irresistibly buoyant dispositions have made them the darlings of the summer festival circuit, including spots at the storied Mariposa and Hillside Festivals and the Montreal Jazz Festival. They have toured with Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe and appeared on stages and in studios with Broken Social Scene, Kathleen Edwards and Jill Barber.
    In addition to their acclaimed holiday album, Under the Mistletoe (2009), which showcases old and new seasonal tunes (including three original songs), the Good Lovelies’ self-titled full-length album (also released in 2009) proved their blithe brand of folk music has year-round appeal. With this record, the Good Lovelies won New Emerging Artist at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. In 2010, this same album received a Juno for Roots/Traditional Album of the Year.
    Let the Rain Fall, their third full-length album, was recently nominated for the 2012 Juno for Roots/Traditional Album of the Year. With equal parts city and country, highway and home, wistfulness and sass, the Good Lovelies’ good humour and self-assurance shines through from the toe-tapping start of “Made for Rain” to the sweet final notes in the French-flecked “Mrs. T.”

     
  • Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac - Seinn

    http://www.maryjaneandwendy.com

    Seinn reflects the great love and respect that Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIssac have for Nova Scotia tradition, and for each other. The record achieves a delicate balance between the musical sensibilities of two artists, showcasing traditional and original compositions among the melancholy of Gaelic song and the joy of fiddle tunes. Some of the material was learned from the recordings of older Cape Breton singers and fiddlers, some songs were chosen from existing repertoires, and some were written specifically for this project. A powerful collaboration borne of a long-time friendship and a shared love of Celtic music, the record fuses Roots arrangements with a traditional presentation, capturing the enjoyment and fun that Mary Jane and Wendy have together on and off the stage.

    On Cape Breton Island, the rich heritage of the region’s Highland settlers was kept alive through music, songs, and stories. While enrolled in Saint Francis Xavier University’s Celtic Studies program, Mary Jane released her first album, Bho Thir Nan Craobh, a collection of traditional material that introduced her unique singing voice and, then unknown fiddler, Ashley MacIsaac. She has continued to dedicate her musical career to the preservation of Scottish Gaelic songs and has garnered numerous JUNO and ECMA award nominations, critical acclaim, and a worldwide audience for her efforts.

    Wendy is an award-winning fiddler, piano player and step dancer from Creignish, Cape Breton. A born performer, she began appearing publicly at age 5 as a step dancer. At age 12, she began fiddle lessons with Stan Chapman. With five records to her credit, she is a favourite with traditional audiences everywhere. Wendy has toured the world as a solo performer, and with The Rankins, Ashley MacIsaac and Beolach.

     
  • Genticorum - Enregistré Live

    www.genticorum.com

    « Genticorum : l’énergie acoustique – Nuancé dans l’approche, rock dans l’attitude, le power trio Genticorum est un parfait mélange de raffinement et de simplicité. »

    LE DEVOIR

    Avec ses nominations aux Juno et à l’ADISQ, et ses quatre Prix de Musique Folk Canadienne, GENTICORUM est un des groupes phares au cœur de
    l’engouement général que connaît actuellement la musique traditionnelle québécoise.

    En douze ans, le groupe trad québécois Genticorum s’est taillé une place de choix sur la scène internationale des musiques traditionnelles, folk et celtiques. Les quatre albums du groupe ont été salués par la critique au Canada et à l’étranger et lui ont permis de développer une solide carrière. Reconnu pour son énergie et sa présence scénique, le groupe a déjà présenté plus de 800 concerts dans une quinzaine de pays et son calendrier de spectacles est bien garni pour les années à venir.

    Le trio s’est produit sur de nombreuses scènes de renom et a été programmé dans plusieurs festivals prestigieux du milieu world/folk, tels Celtic Connections en Écosse, le Tonder Folk Festival au Danemark, le Vijlandi Folk Festival en Estonie, le Festival International de Chihuahua au Mexique, le Independent Music Festival d’Alexandrie en Égypte mais aussi en Malaisie, en Israël, ainsi qu’en Australie lors de trois tournées mémorables… Ils ont été sélectionnés pour les concerts-vitrines du Womex à Newcastle, et tournent régulièrement en Grande-Bretagne, au Danemark, aux États-Unis et au Canada.

     
  • Corin Raymond & The Sundowners - Paper Nickels

    www.corinraymond.com

    Toronto troubadour Corin Raymond is a charismatic figure well-known in the Canadian folk music community. The Winnipeg-born wordsmith is admired for his incisive song-writing, witty banter, compelling stage presence, and for being an infectiously enthusiastic champion of great songs and songwriters.
    Over a fifteen-year career, he has toured extensively on three continents as a solo artist, as part of roots duo The Undesirables, with his band The Sundowners, and as a storyteller, performing his one-man show Bookworm which was an award-winning hit on the Fringe Festival circuit in 2012.
    Corin’s latest effort, Paper Nickels, is a 20-song double album recorded live with The Sundowners (Treasa Levasseur, Brian Kobayakawa and David Baxter) over two sold-out nights at Toronto’s TRANZAC in January 2012. The goal was to compile Corin’s favourite tunes, which he’d “collected” during many years on the road, on an album of “the greatest songs you’ve never heard”. The liner notes (actually a 144-page book), filled with anecdotal introductions to each song, recall the kitchen parties, front porches and greenrooms where he first heard them. Alan Lomax and Pete Seeger would smile approvingly at Corin’s colourful brand of musicology. The result of his efforts is, as The Globe and Mail’s Brad Wheeler put it, “a live album that couldn’t be more ‘Made in Canada’ if it was scented with maple syrup, shipped by beavers and came with thimbles of Stompin’ Tom Connors’ blood.”
    If you think that’s an exaggeration, you need to know that Paper Nickels was financed with Canadian Tire money. The full story is at www.corinraymond.com.

     
  • Vishtèn - Mosaïk

    www.vishtenmusic.com

    For the past decade Acadian powerhouse trio Vishtèn have acted as Francophone musical ambassadors throughout the world. The Canadian trio has dazzled audiences with their fiery blend of traditional French songs and original instrumentals that fuse Celtic and Acadian genres with a modern sensibility of rock influence.

    Hailing from Prince Edward Island’s Evangeline area and from the most remote reaches of Quebec – the windswept Magdalen Islands – twin sisters Emmanuelle and Pastelle LeBlanc join musical forces with Pascal Miousse to form a sophisticated sonic signature combing tight sibling harmonies, layered foot percussion, virtuoso acoustic and electric instrumentation create an expansive sound that would be difficult to reproduce, in sheer complexity, by a quintet. Their trademark blend of fiddle, guitar, accordion, harmonium, whistles, piano, bodhrán, jaw harp, moog, electric guitar and percussive dance make for a unique tour de force of traditional and contemporary sounds.

    After touring extensively on three continents, the name Vishtèn is now synonymous with Acadian music worldwide. In addition to releasing four albums and performing at thousands of international festivals – from the Vancouver Olympics to to France’s Interceltique de Lorient – their music has been showcased on American television (ESPN) and the Japanese film, Finding Anne.

     

Solo Artist of the Year

  • Lynn Miles - Downpour

    www.lynnmilesmusic.com

    There’s something to be said for experience, for taking the time to grow into your own skin. All sturdy things need time to root firmly into the ground to find their strength.
    Lynn Miles is one of Canada’s most accomplished singer/songwriters. With twelve albums to her credit, the winner of multiple Canadian Folk Music Awards (2011 English Songwriter), and 2003 Juno for Roots and Traditional Solo Album of The Year, she has certainly found her strength over time.

    Through a career that has seen her move from Ottawa to Los Angeles and back again, with stops in Nashville and Austin TX., and a healthy touring schedule that regularly takes her through the US, Europe and Canada, she has always created and performed music with unbridled feeling and vulnerability.
    Lynn’s new release “Downpour”, has been described as “11 remarkable new songs of love, life, darkness and light-a celebration of our fragile, flawed and beautiful world”.

     
  • David Francey - So Say We All

    www.davidfrancey.com

    David Francey is a Scottish-born carpenter-turned-songwriter, who has become known as “one of Canada’s most revered folk poets and singers” (Toronto Star).

    A truly authentic folk singer, Francey is a documentarian of the working person who never imagined earning a living from his music. But when he was in his 40s, his wife, artist Beth Girdler, encouraged him to share his songs and sing in public. His first album Torn Screen Door came out in 1999 and he has since released ten albums and won three JUNO Awards.

     
  • Maria Dunn - Piece By Piece

    www.mariadunn.com

    A true preserver of the spirit of folk music, Maria Dunn is often compared to Woody Guthrie for her keen social awareness and her unvarnished songs about the lives of working men and women. With her new CD, Piece By Piece (2012), Maria pays tribute to immigrant women who worked at a Western Canadian clothing factory over its 93-year history (1911 – 2004). Locally inspired, the songs are universal in theme—immigration, family, striving for a better life. Stylistically, Maria’s previous four recordings have melded North American roots music with influences from her Scottish-Irish heritage. With Piece By Piece, Maria adds musical inflections and instrumentation that evoke the countries of origin (Italy, India, Vietnam, Ukraine) of the women who inspired the songs.

    Distributed in Canada by Outside Music, Piece by Piece is Maria Dunn’s fifth independent recording, produced by Shannon Johnson (Juno award winner with The McDades for 2007’s Bloom). Guest musicians include: Shannon Johnson (violin), Ojas Joshi (tabla, percussion), Michael Lent (upright bass), Sharmila Mathur (sitar), Jeremiah McDade (bansuri, whistles).

    Media accolades for Piece By Piece include: #4 on Penguin Eggs “Albums of the Year for 2012”; #15 on CKUA Radio (Alberta) Top 100 CDs for 2012; #30 on Top 100 for 2012 – Galaxie Folk/Roots (Canada) Charts for 2012

    Maria’s four previous independent CDs include: The Peddler (Nominee – 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award), 2004’s We Were Good People (a concept album exploring the vibrant people’s history of Western Canada), For A Song (Nominee – 2002 Juno Award), and From Where I Stand (Nominee – 1999 Prairie Music Award), all produced by Shannon Johnson.

    Tim Readman, Penguin Eggs Magazine: “Maria Dunn remains one of the few songwriters in Canada to document the lives of ordinary working people. Piece By Piece, [is] her profoundly moving latest recording…”

    Mike Regenstreif, Folk Roots/Folk Branches: “Piece By Piece…one of this year’s folk music masterpieces”

     
  • John Wort Hannam - Brambles And Thorns

    johnworthannam.com

    From the prairies in Southern Alberta comes one of Canada’s best
    folk/roots songwriters, John Wort Hannam.
    For five years John Wort Hannam taught grade nine language arts on
    the largest reserve in Canada – The Kainai Nation, part of the
    Blackfoot Confederacy. But in 1997 he heard a Loudon Wainwright III
    record and was hooked by the music and stories. In 1998, he bought a
    guitar and learned some chords. In 2002, he quit teaching and began
    to pursue the dream of being a working musician.
    In the ten years since leaving the teaching profession to become a
    working musician, John has captured a Juno Award nomination for
    Best Traditional/Roots album, a Canadian Folk Music Award for Album
    of the Year, and seven Grand prize / First place awards for his finely
    crafted, narrative songwriting.
    His music has taken him across Canada to the US, UK, Australia, to
    appearances in Trafalgar Square, the Winter and Summer Olympics,
    the Smithsonian, and a solo main stage slot at the coveted Kerrville
    Folk Festival.
    With comparisons to Gordon Lightfoot, James Keelaghan, and John
    Prine, John Wort Hannam is a born story-teller with a keen eye for the
    quirky and lyrics that create stories behind the songs.

     
  • Stephen Fearing - Between Hurricanes

    www.stephenfearing.com

    Multiple JUNO Award-winning, Blackie & the Rodeo Kings member, Stephen Fearing returns with his first solo album in seven years: the highly anticipated Between Hurricanes. The follow-up to 2006’s acclaimed Yellowjacket, Between Hurricanes was co-produced by Fearing and John Whynot. Born out of several life-changing events, Between Hurricanes is both the document and result of many significant changes for Fearing. The disc’s eleven tracks were shaped with the idea of crafting a solo record while not employing a traditional ‘folk’ approach to the music. Fearing and Whynot put their focus on the fundamentals of the songs while subtly adding space and atmosphere. The minimal arrangements range from the finely honed piano, bass, and drum accents on “As The Crow Flies” to the ethereal synths on “Cold Dawn”, to the rapid-fire shuffle of “Keep Your Mouth Shut”.
    Fearing, a mainstay of the Canadian Folk Music scene since his first album (Out To Sea) was released in 1988, has continued to establish himself within Canada, the US and overseas through his long relationship with Bernie Finkelstein – True North Records, his celebrated work with Colin Linden and Tom Wilson – Blackie & The Rodeo Kings and his ongoing collaboration with Belfast singer/songwriter Andy White – Fearing & White. Over the course of 25 highly creative years, Fearing has released eight albums under his own name, seven with B&RK and one with F&W. He has been nominated for numerous awards and received two Juno’s, a Canadian Folk Music Award and a West Coast Music Award. Fearing has logged countless miles behind the wheel, been invited onto the main-stages of most Canadian roots music festivals and toured just about every region of the country, performing, teaching and producing other artists from coast to coast.
    With new albums by Blackie & The Rodeo Kings and Fearing & White coming in 2014, Stephen Fearing continues to push the creative envelope and open new doors. Stay tuned….

     

World Solo Artist of the Year

  • Jorge Miguel - Guitarra Flamenca/Flamenco Guitar

    jorgemiguel.com

    Jorge Miguel is a Spanish Canadian Flamenco guitarist and composer.
    Jorge’s new CD “Guitarra Flamenca/Flamenco Guitar” is an exploration of the depth and breadth of Flamenco Guitar by an artist that has dedicated his life to this art form. Eight diverse songs styles, known in Flamenco circles as “palos”, are performed with precision, passion and originality, yet remain firmly rooted in tradition.

    Jorge’s family is from Cadiz, Andalucia, Spain and his parents moved from Seville to Toronto just one year before he was born. After years of trying to ignore his Spanish roots, Jorge realized his true calling was playing Flamenco guitar. Jorge moved back to Spain in 1995 to immerse himself in the study of Flamenco Guitar, and he has not strayed from that path since.

    Jorge has studied with maestro’s Pepe Russo in Cadiz, Don Antonio Villar in El Puerto de Santa Maria, Carlos Del Rio in Madrid, Augustin Carbonell in Seville and attended workshops w/ Diego Del Morao and singer Rocio Marquez in Toronto. Jorge has also accompanied renowned dancers such as Esmeralda Enrique, Soledad Barrio, Isabel Bayon, La Choni, and Maria Serrano.

    In 2002 Jorge formed the Jorge Miguel Flamenco Ensemble with a mandate to take true Flamenco to audiences across Canada. His Ensemble combines the three pillars of Flamenco, the guitar, the dance and the song (el Toque, el Baile y el Canté). Jorge has performed over 1000 shows from Whitehorse, The Yukon to Antigonish, Nova Scotia as well as in the U.S. and Europe. Jorge’s Ensemble was nominated in 2011 for Capacoa Touring Artist of the Year.

     
  • Lenka Lichtenberg - Embrace

    http://www.lenklichtenberg.com/home.cfm

    Born in Prague, Lenka Lichtenberg is a composer, vocalist (Yiddish, English, Czech, French, Russian, Hebrew), and bandleader with 6 solo CD releases and several collaborations on her resume. She creates uniquely Canadian world music, channeling the rich Toronto soundscapes of Middle East, India and Brazil, and her own East European heritage. A prolific composer, Lenka’s two new compositions were chosen for publication in 2013 by Shalshelet International Festival of New Jewish Liturgy.
    Lenka is in the midst of a diverse international concert career, traveling across continents as a solo artist, with a trio, her six piece ensemble Fray, or with one of her collaborative projects: “Bridges – Jewish and Arabic music in dialogue,” and “Lullabies from Exile,” a recording work-in-progress with Yair Dalal, of intertwined Yiddish and Babylonian music. Lenka was also the bandleader and principal arranger for the award-winning group Sisters of Sheynville.
    Lenka has been written about as “…a force of nature within Canada’s world music scene” (Nicholas Jennings, Penguin Eggs); CBC Radio’s Karen Gordon describes Lenka’s 2013 album “Embrace” as “absolutely exquisite” (Fresh Air.)

     
  • Sora - Scorpion Moon

    www.soramusic.ca

    With unconventional lyrical vision, the music Canadian singer/songwriter Sora writes is naturally neoteric; a collision of past and future. Sora evokes a new esoteric in music that fuses the poetry of the Celts, the global influence of
    World and the stunning melodiousness of Neo-Classical into music that defies the boundaries of traditional genre categorization.

    On her fourth studio album, Scorpion Moon, Sora delves deeply into stories, both mythic and modern, that transcend time and place, boldly claiming the complexi- ty of contradictory truths within the emotional landscapes that shape our own personal stories. Light and dark, joy and sorrow, urban versus nature, birth/rebirth but also death, ancient and modern, Sora delicately balances it all to provide music that is at once ethereal and grounded.

    In addition to Scorpion Moon, Sora has released three previous recordings — Winds of Change (traditional folk songs from the British Isles), Light (a four-song
    EP ) and Heartwood (a Top 20 album on the international Zone Music Reporter chart, featuring all-original material). Heartwood has received international praise and airplay, charting on several Canadian college radio stations (CFAM – Manitoba, CFBX – BC, CKUW – Manitoba, IRFT -Ireland).

    As a performer, Sora’s crystalline voice, unusual instrumentation and penchant for threading stories and narratives through her live shows makes her a sought after commodity. In 2010 Sora was a featured performer three times for the
    Winnipeg Concert Series Musica Speciale as well as a featured performer with the Lily Quartet. In 2011, choral arrangements of Sora’s songs were requested by the Airdrie Community Choir, for a performance in which Sora was the fea- tured soloist. In 2011/2012, Sora’s unique collaborative concert series, The Mask and the Music, were each performed to sold out crowds.

    Sora’s uncanny sensitivity to meaning within stories and her ability to maintain urban relevancy within the organic setti

     
  • Aviva Chernick - When I Arrived You Were Already There

    www.avivachernick.com

    Those who have experienced Aviva Chernick’s intoxicatingly soulful vocals never forget where they heard them first. Whether in her new solo project of original devotional songs, as the lead singer with Juno Award-nominated world music ensemble Jaffa Road, or in concerts of Balkan Judeo-Spanish melodies, Aviva’s passionate voice blurs the lines between sacred and secular, asking, isn’t it all holy?
    Writing, recording and touring an original combination of world music sung in Hebrew, Ladino, English and French, this multi-lingual singer collaborates with some of Canada’s best world music makers as well as international virtuosos such as Yair Dalal and Frank London.
    2012 ended on a high note for Aviva — both her own solo project and Jaffa Road’s second album Where the Light Gets In were released to sold out houses. As well as these ongoing collaborations, Aviva studies with ‘American Treasure’ and Sephardic musician Flory Jagoda. She celebrates this Balkan Judeo–Spanish folk tradition in contemporary re-imaginings with various partners including Eric Stein (Beyond the Pale), Joel Schwartz (Zebrina) and Drew Jurecka (Jill Barber).
    Aviva’s collaborative recordings have garnered nominations and awards including Juno nominations for Jaffa Road’s albums Sun Place and Where The Light Gets In and a Canadian Folk Music Award Nomination for The Huppah Project’s Under the Canopy.
    With the release of her first solo, self-penned album of devotional music, When I Arrived You Were Already There, Aviva sings in both English and Hebrew, marrying her pure, raw and unguarded voice to atmospheric, meditative instrumental textures.
    This first solo outing is anything but — Aviva and co-producer Chris Gartner (Mia Sheard, TASA) enlisted the support of a cross-section of Toronto’s amazing music community. The result is a genre-defying fusion that works beautifully. When I Arrived You Were Already There transcends the bounds of culture, faith, and language.

     
  • Alex Cuba - Ruido En El Sistema

    www.alexcuba.com

    Singer-songwriter Alex Cuba hails from Artemisa, Cuba (1 hour west of Havana) and resides in Smithers, Canada. Musically he lives everywhere in between. His fourth studio album, Ruido en el Sistema/Static in the System, follows the critically acclaimed and Grammy winning album, Alex Cuba. Following the compass points of folk, funk and rock on his fourth album, Cuba continues his journey as a critically acclaimed independent artist who’s charted his own destiny across the world stage while earning a growing legion of devoted listeners at each new juncture.

     

World Group of the Year

  • Jaffa Road - Where The Light Gets In

    www.jaffaroad.com

    Jaffa Road is a Toronto based world music group made up of some of Canada’s most exciting and innovative interpreters of inter-cultural music. Their music creates a unique sonic landscape that takes listeners on a journey that is at once ancient and modern, acoustic and electronic, sacred and secular.

    Jaffa Road’s organic fusion blends influences and inspirations from the worlds of Jewish music, Classical Arabic and Indian music, modern jazz, electronica, rock, pop, and dub. Their music has been recognized with JUNO nominations (2010, 2013), Grand Prize and a Lennon Award in the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest and Best World Music Artist at the Toronto Independent Music Awards.

    They released their second CD Where the Light Gets In in late 2012 to critical acclaim, and an enthusiastic, standing room only crowd at Hugh’s Room, one of Toronto’s premier music venues. The album was not even officially released when the first track Ana El Na, won the prestigious Songs from the Heart Song Writing contest from Folk Music Ontario (formerly OCFF). The band has enjoyed sharing their music all over Canada through frequent airplay on CBC, community radio, and at folk music and jazz festivals in many regions of the country. They will make their international debut this coming fall at Klezfiesta, the Jewish Music Festival of Sao Paolo, Brazil.

    The band’s trailblazing musical odyssey is ignited by the ethereal vocals of multilingual lead singer Aviva Chernick, the evocative oud playing of Aaron Lightstone, the visionary grooves of bassist Chris Gartner, the entrancing exhillerating sounds of saxophonist/flutist Sundar Viswanathan and the driving beat of percussionist Jeff Wilson. Together, these stellar musicians challenge accepted notions of Jewish music while creating a new form of expression that breaks cultural boundaries.

     
  • Njacko Backo & Kalimba Kalimba - Ici Bas, Rien N'est Impossible (Here Below, Nothing is Impossible)

    www.NjackoBacko.com

    Musically and spiritually Njacko Backo draws on the lessons he learned in Cameroon from his musical family, mentors and village life. He often points to the movie “The Gods Must Be Crazy” to demonstrate the truly rural and organic nature of his upbringing. With an adventurous spirit he left home at age 17 to look for new musical styles and approaches to add to his repertoire. He spent 15 years travelling and performing in Africa and Europe before coming to Canada in 1989.

    He created his band Kalimba Kalimba in 1990 in Montreal to introduce the kalimba to all generations and to give everyone the opportunity to enjoy its sweet soothing sounds. Njacko re-created the group when he moved to Toronto in 1999 and has been working with the same core group of musicians ever since. The band features Njacko on lead vocals, kalimba and ngoni, and the music is rhythmically supported by two percussionists (Bwana Moto, Joaquin Nunez Hidalgo) and electric bass (Paco Luviano). Other colours are added by Chip Yarwood (guitar, banjo, flute, backing vocals), Anne Lederman (violin, accordion, backing vocals), and Celina Carroll (backing vocal).

    Njacko is celebrating 24 years of making music in Canada with the release of Ici Bas, Rien N’est Impossible, a collaboration with some of Canada’s most accomplished musicians (Jane Bunnett, Ken Whitely , George Koller, Pat O’Gorman, Paul Neufeld, Colin Doroschuk, Sahara Sloan). As Backo’s 11th independent release, this album marks an important milestone in the musician’s journey that began 54 years ago in a small village in rural Cameroon.

    Njacko and Kalimba Kalimba have appeared at major festivals across North America. He won the first prize in the 17th Annual Billboard World Song Contest for his song “Afrique Réveille Toi”. He also was recognized for his song “Mama Oh” with honourable mentions from both the 2006 International Songwriting Competition (world music category) and the 15th Annual Billboard World Song Contest.

     
  • Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite of Everything - Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite of Everything

    www.theoppositeofeverything.com

    
Contorting the violin into new traditions, violinist/composer Jaron Freeman-Fox dances down the fine line between the beautiful and the ridiculous, while redefining what the violin is capable of. Having produced or played on over 40 albums, and toured the world as a solo artist and collaborator, Freeman-Fox fuses his roots of Celtic and bluegrass fiddling with his study of Indian classical music and jazz, playing the 5-string violins of his late mentor; fiddle pioneer Oliver Schroer. 
 Now, after 3 years of touring, writing, recording and spelunking with his fiery band “Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite of Everything”, Jaron unveils his new self-titled album, fully demonstrating the breadth, depth, and general lunacy of this ensemble’s creativity.

    
Folks may be intrigued by the fact that Jaron has performed for 100,000 people and the young royal couple on Parlimant hill, that the Canadian Embassy was kind (or foolish) enough to send him off to collaborate with a troupe of Rajasthani gypsies at the Delhi Int’l. Arts Fest, that his debut album “Manic Almanac” won an independent music award, or that he’s performed with Delhi2Dublin, Ben Caplan, and James Kudelka. Jaron however, is most proud of the fact that he’s broken 3 different fiddles on stage & 0 bones, had his violin stolen by monkeys in Bali and stole it back without contracting rabies, and mostly that he gets to play with his favourite musicians in the world in his own band.

    Described as “Tom Waits playing the fiddle, backed up by the Mahavishnu Orchestra”, The Opposite of Everything transform Freeman-Fox’s intricate compositions into an infectious party! The line-up consists of clarinetist John Williams, accordionist Robbie Grunwald, bassist Charles James, and drummer Dan Stadnicki. After 3 years of touring and festivals (including the Vancouver Folk Fest, The Ottawa Jazz Fest, and WOMEX) the band will be touring coast-to-coast again this summer, then heading overseas for a european tour this fall.

     
  • Lemon Bucket Orkestra - Lume, Lume

    http://www.lemonbucket.com

    From Toronto to New York, Budapest to Berlin, audiences around the world are hailing the Lemon Bucket
    Orkestra as folk music revolutionaries. Since their birth three years ago, the band has grown from its initial
    quartet of buskers to a fifteen-piece guerrilla folk force with an army of grass roots followers and mainstream
    fans at home and abroad.
    Those discovering the band for the first time quickly realize that their shows are more than concerts: they’re
    wild, joyful experiences rarely contained by four walls; they’re celebrations of tradition and culture expressed
    with an explosive punk spirit; they’re ecstatic street parades that erupt from the collision of nostalgia and
    imagination.
    “Adventurously multicultural…amazing”
    - Wall Street Journal
    The LBO enjoyed worldwide media attention last summer after playing klezmer music on a delayed Air
    Canada flight en route to a three week tour of Romania– the video garnered 250,000+ YouTube hits and was
    covered by CNN, New York Times, Fox News, Huffington Post, Jimmy Kimmel, CBC, CTV, The Toronto Star,
    The Globe and Mail, and more.
    “absolutely alive and electric… like a traveling musical caravan burning wildly across the night sky”
    - AlanCross.ca
    2012 was a monumental year for LBO: they released their debut full-length album “Lume, Lume” (produced
    by Michael Phillip Wojewoda at Toronto’s Revolution Recording), toured eight countries in Europe and North
    America, shared stages with the most renowned artists in their genre (Shantel and the Bucovina Club Orkestar, Taraf de Haidouks, and Fanfare Ciocarlia, among others), and were featured performers in “Midwinter
    Night: Sacred and Profane Rituals” at the legendary LaMaMa Theater in New York City.
    “Music to shake you by the scruff, in the best possible way.”
    - CBC Music
    This was nothing short of expected to fans of the band in their hometown of Toronto, who bought up over 4,000
    copies of the band’s debut EP “Cheeky” last year, and eagerly follow the band

     
  • David Buchbinder & Odessa/Havana - Walk to the Sea

    www.odessahavana.com

    Award-winning trumpeter and composer David Buchbinder teams up with Cuban master pianist Hilario Durán and a crew of Canada’s top jazz and world musicians to
    present this exciting, unprecedented musical ensemble. Odessa/Havana released its debut CD on the Tzadik label to great critical and audience acclaim, including receiveing over 100 rave and 4-star reviews, being named the #Jazz CD of 2007 by Toronto Life and Allmusic.com, and being awarded the 2008 Canadian Folk Music Award for Best World Music Recording.Odessa/Havana has already struck a sonorous chord with music lovers around the world and across the musical spectrum, attracting fans of neo-Klezmer, Latin jazz, world fusion and those who like a music that just kicks hard. The most common response from audiences and reviewers alike is that the Odessa/Havana sound is both unique and seamless, taking listeners on a journey to a musical land they have never visited but feels like home. Working from the roots of each tradition and finding many areas of sonic commonality the musicians have crafted a sound that is exciting, fresh and compelling as it challenges listeners’ comfortable genre preconceptions. This is as far from Fiddler on the Roof meets Desi Arnaz as you can get! The debut recording was follwed up with several major North American tours including headlining performances at festivals and concert halls in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington D.C., Vancouver, Ottawa, Halifax, Toronto and more. In 2011, the ensemble was at the centre of Andalusia to Toronto, a commissioned, sold-out performance at Toronto’s Koerner Hall. Now, Odessa/Havana returns with its second recording, Walk to the Sea (again on Tzadik). Working with JUNO-winning producer Roberto Occhipinti, the ensemble has taken its fresh, fiery and original sound and pushed it over the top with the addition of Ladino-influenced vocals. Odessa/Havana is celebratory and joyous music from these brilliant musical masters!

     

New/Emerging Artist of the Year

  • Mo Kenney - Mo Kenney

    http://www.mokenney.com

    Since the release of her debut recording in September 2012, Mo Kenney has toured the country with Joel Plaskett and The Emergency, selling record numbers of CDs offstage and gleaning outstanding reviews. She has played the prestigious Iceland Airwaves Festival, has been nominated for the CBC Radio 3 Bucky Award for 2012 Rookie of the Year and is on the iTunes list of the Best Singer Songwriters of 2012.

    The buzz on Mo Kenney started before the release of her self-titled debut, fuelled by her quirky songs, unique voice and the admiration and support of industry veterans such as Joel Plaskett, Ron Sexsmith and Gordie Sampson. East Coast rock and roll hero Plaskett, produced and played on the album, as well as contributing a couple of co-writes. Plaskett’s label New Scotland Records released the recording in partnership with Pheromone Recordings.

    Plaskett may still be best known as a prolific and popular Juno-winning rock and roll veteran, but his bona fides as a producer are now well-established. Such acclaimed artists as Two Hours Traffic, Sarah Slean, and Steve Poltz have all made good use of his studio skills.

    She may be just 22, but Mo Kenney is far from being a novice songwriter. She began writing in her early teens, and by the age of 14, she’d already done some recording at a small studio in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Her musical tastes have undergone a transition over the past decade. Having influences and inspirations drawn from classic and alt-rock artists rather than the traditional singer/songwriter pantheon helps account for the bracing freshness of Mo Kenney’s style. Fitting her sound into a neat box is an exercise in futility, though, if pressed, Mo can settle for “pop music with a folky twist. These songs are like a collection of the music I have been carrying around since I was about 15. Many of the songs were written when I was younger, so the album is a weird mix.” More wonderful than weird, we say.

     
  • Ashley Condon - This Great Compromise

    www.ashleycondon.com

    Raised between two potato fields on Prince Edward Island, Ashley Condon is the grandchild of Bill Leblanc, a Canadian country pioneer who once spent the night in jail with Hank Snow. Like pecan pie – sweet and nutty – Ashley has won audiences over with her larger-than-life stage presence and down-to-earth charm. Growing up on everything from old-time country to folk, blues and southern rock, her music resonates.

    Her most recent release was produced by three-time JUNO winner David Francey. The album was also release through David Francey’s label – Laker Music

     
  • Ten Strings And A Goat Skin - Corbeau

    tenstringsandagoatskin.com

    Rooted in the traditional, members of this award winning trio celebrate the music of the Irish and Francophone cultures they share, infuse their original compositions and traditional standard tunes with modern and world rhythms and interpretations to create an infectious energy and unique sound that speaks to all ages.
    Building on a base of much loved traditional Maritime music with a good dose of originality, innovation and humour, the band grabs both French and English audience right from the first note. They easily connect with their listeners while they create an atmosphere that is pure fun.
    Milestones saw the group making waves on both English and Francophone venues at the 2011 and 2012 ECMAs and their début bilingual album, TRI, was awarded MUSIC PEI’s 2012 Roots Traditional Recording of the Year and was nominated for the 2012 ECMA Roots Traditional Group Recording of the Year. Ever traveling more often and further afield, the group was nominated for Music PEI’s 2013 SpinCount Touring Artists of the Year.
    Touted as “the busiest and hardest working band on PEI, ….playing seemingly everywhere…”, the group now includes some of Maritime Canada’s major folk music festivals on their resume, having performed at The Stan Rogers Folk Festival, The Halifax Urban Folk Festival and The Canadian Irish Festival as well as The Festival of Small Halls and numerous local French & English music festivals and cultural events closer to home.
    For the second consecutive summer the group hosted daily weekday ceilidhs at the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company’s Garden Theater in New Glasgow, PEI.
    These three young musicians and best friends, high school senior and university freshmen, Jesse Périard, and brothers Rowen Gallant and Caleb Gallant, hailing from the North Shore of Prince Edward Island are having the time of their lives immersed in the music they love and performing together as Ten Strings And A Goat Skin.

     
  • Trent Severn - Trent Severn

    www.trentsevernband.ca

    Meet Trent Severn. Not the waterway system in Southern Ontario, but Trent Severn – the Canadiana band whose songs are fueled by the folklore of Ontario; whose lyrics pay tribute to Canadian legends.
    Trent Severn is a trio from Stratford, Ontario comprised of indie songster Emm Gryner, the multi-talented Dayna Manning and violin whiz/songbird Laura C. Bates. When listening to their self-titled 10-track debut album, the first infuence that comes to mind is Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. There is no lead singer in Trent Severn. There are no doubled tracks. There is a guitar or banjo (Manning), a bass and stomp box (Gryner), a fiddle, and a shaker here and there. You can hear the watermarks of greats like Spirit of The West, Simon and Garfunkel, Tom Petty, Joni Mitchell, Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard. The sound of this band is CANADIANA based in Folk, Roots and Old Country.
    Every note on the album is played, arranged and penned by the trio with the exception of a one track guest appearance by Joel Plaskett. Song titles like “Snowy Soul”, “Muskoka Bound” and “Bluenose On A Dime” paint instant Canadian portraits. The lyrics seamlessly offer inside jokes our citizens will laugh at, yet nothing a welcome visitor couldn’t relate to and enjoy.
    Trent Severn are three treasured and talented musicians who have years of experience touring this country, getting to know audiences and creating lasting friendships. This band is a seed that blooms to life on a Canadian stage, and like every modest Canadian, has achievable goals:
    -To show a Canadian audience a really great time
    -To write songs that touch the hearts and tell the stories of our friends, neighbours and legends
    -To offer an album that sounds just like the concert
    - And of course, to be kind, to enjoy a beer at the end of a long day and to talk about – I dunno, maybe how cold it is?

     
  • Lemon Bucket Orkestra - Lume, Lume

    http://www.lemonbucket.com

    From Toronto to New York, Budapest to Berlin, audiences around the world are hailing the Lemon Bucket
    Orkestra as folk music revolutionaries. Since their birth three years ago, the band has grown from its initial
    quartet of buskers to a fifteen-piece guerrilla folk force with an army of grass roots followers and mainstream
    fans at home and abroad.
    Those discovering the band for the first time quickly realize that their shows are more than concerts: they’re
    wild, joyful experiences rarely contained by four walls; they’re celebrations of tradition and culture expressed
    with an explosive punk spirit; they’re ecstatic street parades that erupt from the collision of nostalgia and
    imagination.
    “Adventurously multicultural…amazing”
    - Wall Street Journal
    The LBO enjoyed worldwide media attention last summer after playing klezmer music on a delayed Air
    Canada flight en route to a three week tour of Romania– the video garnered 250,000+ YouTube hits and was
    covered by CNN, New York Times, Fox News, Huffington Post, Jimmy Kimmel, CBC, CTV, The Toronto Star,
    The Globe and Mail, and more.
    “absolutely alive and electric… like a traveling musical caravan burning wildly across the night sky”
    - AlanCross.ca
    2012 was a monumental year for LBO: they released their debut full-length album “Lume, Lume” (produced
    by Michael Phillip Wojewoda at Toronto’s Revolution Recording), toured eight countries in Europe and North
    America, shared stages with the most renowned artists in their genre (Shantel and the Bucovina Club Orkestar, Taraf de Haidouks, and Fanfare Ciocarlia, among others), and were featured performers in “Midwinter
    Night: Sacred and Profane Rituals” at the legendary LaMaMa Theater in New York City.
    “Music to shake you by the scruff, in the best possible way.”
    - CBC Music
    This was nothing short of expected to fans of the band in their hometown of Toronto, who bought up over 4,000
    copies of the band’s debut EP “Cheeky” last year, and eagerly follow the band

     

Producer of the Year

  • David Travers-Smith - (1)-These Wilder Things-Ruth Moody (2)-Jaron Freeman-Fox and The Opposite of Everything (David Travers-Smith)

    http://davidtraverssmith.com/home.cfm

    David Travers-Smith : Biography
    Producer/Engineer

    David Travers-Smith is a Toronto-based Producer, Mixer, Engineer and Musician who has produced and/or engineered recordings for numerous artists including The Wailin’ Jennys, Ruth Moody, Deerhoof, Jayme Stone, Jane Siberry, Veda Hille, Oh Susanna, Jaron Freeman-Fox, Luke Doucet, Melissa McClelland, Elizabeth Shepherd, Spiral Beach, Dan Goldman, Oliver Schroer, Lori Cullen, Jim Byrnes, The Brothers Creeggan, Kiran Ahluwalia, Kevin Breit, Harry Manx, David Buchbinder, and many more.
    He toured extensively with Jane Siberry, as both musician and engineer and his playing can be heard on over 65 albums. He holds music degrees from Yale University (MMus) and The University of Victoria (BFA). His work has been featured in publications including EQ Mag, Recording Magazine and Canadian Musician.
    Recordings he has produced and/or engineered have garnered 35 Juno Nominations, with 9 wins along with nominations and wins at the Maple Blues Awards, Western Canadian Music Awards, American Folk Alliance Awards, American Indie Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards, and East Coast Music Awards. He was nominated as Engineer of the Year at the 2007, 2010 and 2012 Juno Awards and co-produced the 2012 Juno winner for Roots Ensemble of the Year, Bright Morning Stars. He and Mark Howard were co-recipients of the Producer of the Year Award at the 2011 Canadian Folk Music Awards.

     
  • David Francey, Mark Westberg, Ken Friesen - So Say We All (David Francey)

    www.davidfrancey.com

    David Francey is a Scottish-born carpenter-turned-songwriter, who has become known as “one of Canada’s most revered folk poets and singers” (Toronto Star).

    A truly authentic folk singer, Francey is a documentarian of the working person who never imagined earning a living from his music. But when he was in his 40s, his wife, artist Beth Girdler, encouraged him to share his songs and sing in public. His first album Torn Screen Door came out in 1999 and he has since released ten albums and won three JUNO Awards.

     
  • Jory Nash & Chris Stringer - Little Pilgrim (Jory Nash)

    www.jorynash.com

    Jory Nash is an award-winning singer-songwriter and storyteller who blends elements of folk, jazz, blues, pop & soul into an original stew of sound. He has recorded 7 critically acclaimed albums, including his newest CD Little Pilgrim. His 2009 album New Blue Day was named Penguin Eggs Magazine Critic’s Choice Album of the Year. Jory Nash has also received a Canadian Folk Music Awards nomination for Best Producer for New Blue Day. He is also a previous winner of the OCFF Songs From The Heart Award.

    Jory Nash is a past Artistic Director of the Shelter Valley Folk Festival, and is the co-founder of an annual large scale, multi-artist concert celebrating the music of Gordon Lightfoot.

    Jory Nash plays acoustic guitar, piano and banjo and his warm, unique voice urges you to listen to his thoughtful lyrics and intricate melodies. Jory Nash is regularly heard on numerous CBC Radio programs, SiriusXM, BBC, Galaxie, and college/NPR stations across North America. He tours regularly across Canada and the United States playing folk festivals, house concerts, folk clubs and soft seat theatres. Festival appearances include Summerfolk, Mariposa, Home County, Stewart Park, Eaglewood, Shelter Valley, Hillside, Blue Skies, Live From The Rock, Winterfolk and more.

    Jory Nash has a hat collection that numbers in the hundreds and he is also a long-suffering fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Happily the Leafs have made the playoffs in 2013 and Jory’s suffering might finally be over.

     
  • Steve Dawson - Brother Sinner & The Whale(Kelly Joe Phelps)I Hear The Wind In The Wires (Jim Byrnes) (Steve Dawson, Producer)

    www.stevedawson.ca

    Over the past decade or so Steve Dawson has become such an indelible fixture on the Canadian musical landscape that it’s tempting to take him for granted. One of the drawbacks of being so talented is that Dawson makes everything he does sound so effortless. The music that continually flows out of him is so natural and unforced that it’s possible to forget all of the toil that went into producing it. Behind the organic, flowing guitar work, the crisp arrangements and the laconic singing voice, resides one of the brightest, hardest working musicians the country has ever produced.

    In addition to working on his own music, he’s kept very busy producing memorable albums by such luminaries as Jim Byrnes, Kelly Joe Phelps, Old Man Luedecke, The Sojourners, and The Deep Dark Woods, as well as bringing the award winning Mississippi Sheiks Tribute Project to fruition (featuring Steve’s work with Madeleine Peyroux, Bruce Cockburn, John Hammond, and many more). Add to that his session work and touring commitments and it’s amazing that this 2-time Juno award winning artist (not to mention 5 other Junos for his production work!) ever finds the time to create any new work under his own name.

    A new solo album from Steve is always something special. Because Dawson is such a diverse artist, you’re never quite sure what kind of mood he’ll be in when he finally makes it into the studio to record. A master of many genres from gentle acoustic ditties and gut bucket blues through to free flowing experimental compositions, Dawson is comfortable in almost any musical setting you could name, and his newest album, “Nightshade” draws from these many interests to form his most satisfyingly complete album to date.

    Though “Nightshade” continues in the vein of his four previous solo recordings, it nevertheless expands upon the language of his guitar work and offers more complex and fully realized songs than ever before. The opening cut, the riveting “Darker Still” sets the direction and mo

     
  • Valley Hennell - THE GREAT GAZZOON - A Tall Tale With Tunes & Turbulence (Rick Scott)

    www,rickscott.ca www.gazzoon.com

    Rooted in folk and blues and inspired by Broadway musicals, Pete Seeger and Danny Kaye, Rick Scott is his own genre. Canada’s leading proponent of the Appalachian dulcimer, over 40 years he’s released 19 recordings and performed his lively, original music in nine countries, solo and with iconic folk trio Pied Pumkin. His gift for combining wacky humour and poignant human commentary has earned him a devoted following of all ages. Kudos for his 7 children’s CDs include 3 Juno nominations and Parents’ Choice, NAPPA Gold and Children’s Music Web Awards. Pied Pumkin’s PUMKIDS (with Shari Ulrich and Joe Mock) was honoured with a 2007 Canadian Folk Music Award. In fall 2012 Rick released the 4-CD musical audio novel THE GREAT GAZZOON, co-written and produced by his longtime collaborator Valley Hennell, with a 40-page songbook illustrated with 50 original paintings by Ottawa artist Linda Sanborn. Combining the talents of 25 actors, singers and musicians, GAZZOON tells the epic tale of how one boy’s love of music overcomes his fear and transforms his community. It won 2012 Parents’ Choice Approved and Family Choice Awards, was named a 2013 Best Books for Kids & Teens by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, and is nominated for Package Design in the prestigious APA Audie Awards in New York. Rick is Goodwill Ambassador for the Down Syndrome Research Foundation and curator of the Protection Island Museum.

     

Pushing the Boundaries

  • Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite of Everything - Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite of Everything

    www.theoppositeofeverything.com

    
Contorting the violin into new traditions, violinist/composer Jaron Freeman-Fox dances down the fine line between the beautiful and the ridiculous, while redefining what the violin is capable of. Having produced or played on over 40 albums, and toured the world as a solo artist and collaborator, Freeman-Fox fuses his roots of Celtic and bluegrass fiddling with his study of Indian classical music and jazz, playing the 5-string violins of his late mentor; fiddle pioneer Oliver Schroer. 
 Now, after 3 years of touring, writing, recording and spelunking with his fiery band “Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite of Everything”, Jaron unveils his new self-titled album, fully demonstrating the breadth, depth, and general lunacy of this ensemble’s creativity.

    
Folks may be intrigued by the fact that Jaron has performed for 100,000 people and the young royal couple on Parlimant hill, that the Canadian Embassy was kind (or foolish) enough to send him off to collaborate with a troupe of Rajasthani gypsies at the Delhi Int’l. Arts Fest, that his debut album “Manic Almanac” won an independent music award, or that he’s performed with Delhi2Dublin, Ben Caplan, and James Kudelka. Jaron however, is most proud of the fact that he’s broken 3 different fiddles on stage & 0 bones, had his violin stolen by monkeys in Bali and stole it back without contracting rabies, and mostly that he gets to play with his favourite musicians in the world in his own band.

    Described as “Tom Waits playing the fiddle, backed up by the Mahavishnu Orchestra”, The Opposite of Everything transform Freeman-Fox’s intricate compositions into an infectious party! The line-up consists of clarinetist John Williams, accordionist Robbie Grunwald, bassist Charles James, and drummer Dan Stadnicki. After 3 years of touring and festivals (including the Vancouver Folk Fest, The Ottawa Jazz Fest, and WOMEX) the band will be touring coast-to-coast again this summer, then heading overseas for a european tour this fall.

     
  • the Wilderness of Manitoba - Island of Echoes

    www.thewildernessofmanitoba.com

    Thematically, a lot of the new Wilderness of Manitoba album, Island of Echoes, is about the past year or so and all of the songs come from that timeframe. There wasn’t a lot of downtime for the Toronto-based band as they were on tour, primarily in the United States and England. Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Will Whitwham reflects, “For me personally, a lot of my songwriting was done on the road because it had to be. So, whenever I was home, I’d have a week or two to record demos and then be back at the drawing board again in a van or hotel room.” The constant touring, the ever-changing geography, playing larger venues and working the new songs into the live sets, all had a profound influence on both the band and the new album. Whitwham started playing electric guitars and the sound became more expansive to fill the halls they were playing. “This also carried over into writing the new songs as we had fuller band arrangements in mind”, adds Whitwham.

    When it came to recording the new album, Whitwham points out, “It forced us to find the right person for the various songs we were recording and we ended up asking some of the best singers we knew (who also happened to be female) to collaborate. The results were even better than we expected.” One of those singers was vocalist/violinist Amanda Balsys of Kingston band The Gertrudes. From its inception, the Wilderness of Manitoba has been known for its three and four part harmonies. Balsys ensures the continuity of that signature vocal blend while bringing a strong female lead voice and contributing to the instrumental mix with her effects laden violin. Rounding out the band is drummer/percussionist Sean Lancaric and bassist Wes McClintock who bring a new fluidity to the rhythm section.

    The band’s previous two releases, Hymns of Love & Spirits and When You Left The Fire, were recorded mainly in the basement recording studio of the house on Delaware Avenue where most of the band members lived. Gradually, over the course of the year, everyone except Whitwham moved out and found apartments. When it came time to record Island of Echoes, the decision was made to record the basic tracks and mix at Revolution Recording, a throwback to the original great Toronto studios of the sixties and seventies. Intent on capturing the band’s evolving live sound, Whitwham says they got the best of both worlds, “We have never made a studio album until now and I think you can especially hear it in the percussion as well as the overall mixes. We still had the necessary time and space to alter and experiment with overdubs at the house for a month, but the backbone of the tracks has a much fuller studio presence than any of our earlier recordings.”

    Expanding on the changes reflected in the new album, Whitwham explains, “We don’t want any of the albums to be similar, but, at the same time, we aim to create a mood or cohesiveness in everything we do. It felt as though we’d already made folk records and it was time to experiment with what that means. There are elements of folk happening throughout the album, but it is in no way strictly a folk record although it is definitely a Wilderness of Manitoba record. The seventies was just a reference point that happens to include some of our favourite influences such as Fleetwood Mac. We were looking to bring in the kind of instrumentation you hear from that era that is heavy with electric guitars, Hammond organ, synthesizers and a prominent backbeat with lots of harmonies happening vocal-wise on top.” In addition to Whitwham’s vocals, the presence of Balsys along with Elise Legrow and Felicity Williams brought the high end/female vocals to another level and contributed to the more dynamic music direction being pursued by the band.

    The new album is called Island of Echoes. The name will likely conjure up several images to each person, but the central idea comes from nostalgia and all that surrounds it. Most people write about what they know which inevitably becomes or already is the past. ‘Echoes’ refers directly to burdens or triumphs that you carry with you, that remind you of what you’ve been through. “Without memory, we wouldn’t know what to make of our identity”, says Whitwham. “I also kept playing with the idea of different bodies of water in the songs and its effect. Then, there is a line from a novel when two men were canoeing on a lake through a forest fire. ‘It’s like the island we slept on when we finally made it out of the fire’, which reminded me of everything that has happened to us since When You Left The Fire was released. Lastly, I started thinking about the island as the mind and the ocean as encompassing all things outside of it. An island of echoes was our island of memories.”

    There were a number of highlights for the Wilderness of Manitoba over the past two years, ranging from their UK debut at the End of the Road Festival where they received a standing ovation to playing the Philadelphia Folk Festival and meeting Levon Helm; from their first shows in Berlin, Hamburg and the Netherlands to touring the U.S. opening for artists ranging from Cloud Cult to Aimee Mann; from playing the WOMAD festival in the UK with artists like Robert Plant to performing at SXSW in Austin. 2013 promises to be just as exciting as the band returns to Austin for SXSW and starts a monthly residency in New York. Island of Echoes was released on September 18th in Canada.

     
  • Kevin Breit - Field Recording

    http://kevinbreit.com/

    K e v i n B r e i t is without a doubt one of North America’s most enigmatic and multifaceted guitarists. Considered a “guitarist’s guitarist”, Breit has recorded with Norah Jones, Rosanne Cash, k.d. Lang, Hugh Laurie, Holly Cole, Amos Lee, Jane Siberry, Molly Johnson, Serena Ryder, Natalie McMaster, Jane Bunnett, and many others.

    Breit’s extensive career as an in demand guitarist has seen him garner multiple awards and accolades – he has performed on recordings that have earned ten Grammy Awards.

    Breit is a member of the popular all male quartet, Sisters Euclid. Their brilliant disc, Run Neil Run, was received a Juno Award for best instrumental recording in 2006. With the Sisters Euclid, he has recorded ten albums, and received a Juno Award for the Run Neil Run recording. They have performed throughout Canada and Europe several times. Several of the group’s compositions have been featured in movies, television and radio programs. In 2009, they were presented with the award for Electric Jazz Group of the Year from the National Jazz Awards. Kevin has recorded three albums with Harry Manx, and was awarded the Maple Blues Award for Acoustic Act of the Year in 2007.

    Breit’s trio, Folkalarm, has recorded five CD’s and toured throughout Canada. He has recorded three solo discs for his label, Poverty Playlist. His group, the Stretch Orchestra, was awarded a Juno for Best Instrumental Recording in 2012.

    Always on the lookout for new musical adventures, Kevin Breit has created the Upper York Mandolin Orchestra and its megalomaniac leader, Thomas Dooley to release this collection of 11 brilliant originals. Field Recording showcases Breit’s adept skills on the mandolin and vocals as well as masterful, thought provoking and sometimes quirky lyrics.

     
  • Orchid Ensemble - Life Death Tears Dream

    www.orchidensemble.com

    Established in 1997, the JUNO nominated Orchid Ensemble transforms its Chinese roots to create a unique repertoire that breaks down boundaries between musical genres. Taking ingredients from Chinese, Indian, Jewish, and Central Asian music, reconstructing within a contemporary framework, and adding spirited improvisation, the Orchid Ensemble takes its audience on unexpected journeys. With artistic director Lan Tung on the erhu/Chinese violin & vocals, Haiqiong Deng on the zheng/Chinese zither, and Jonathan Bernard on marimba & percussion, the ensemble creates a distinct new sound.

    The Orchid Ensemble gives over seventy performances/presentations internationally every year, including music festivals, community concerts, school presentations, and university residencies. Past appearances included National Arts Centre (Ottawa), Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, Harbourfront Centre (Toronto), Centre Pierre Peladeau (Montreal), Kennedy Center for the Arts (DC), the Smithsonian Institution (DC), Detroit Institute of the Arts, Ottawa Chamber Music and Folk festivals, and Vancouver Jazz, Folk and Children’s festivals.

    The Orchid Ensemble actively commissions new Canadian compositions with its unique instrumentation. At the same time, it produces annual concerts to present innovative cross-cultural programs, including large-scale interdisciplinary projects with media artists, dancers, and visual artists.

    As BC’s spokesperson for the UNESCO ASPnet in Canada, the Orchid Ensemble fosters the understanding and interest in non-western music for the next generation of audiences, promoters, administrators and musicians.

    In Fall 2012, the Orchid Ensemble has just released its 3rd CD “Life Death Tears Dream”, reaching the top 10 of Canadian campus radio’s international chart and receiving two nominations by the 12th Independent Music Awards. Its 2005 release “Road to Kashgar” was nominated for JUNO and Western Canadian Music Awards. Its debut CD “Heartland” was nominated for

     
  • New Country Rehab - Ghost of Your Charms

    newcountryrehab.com

    It’s been two years since New Country Rehab grabbed the folk world’s attention with their impressive self-titled debut. Since then, the band have built a dedicated brood of fans, bringing their unique stew of traditional country, bluegrass, rock and jazz to audiences in Canada, the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.

    Featuring singer/fiddler John Showman, guitarist “Champagne” James Robertson, double bassist Ben Whiteley and drummer Roman Tome, NCR’s unique blend of instruments and playing approach have left critics with a tough task in describing the band’s sound.

    Hailed as “the next big thing in Canadian music” (Tom Power- CBC) and “Canada’s answer to the Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons” (UNCUT), NCR have raised a raucous that shows no signs of slowing down on their sophomore effort, Ghost of Your Charms.

    NCR have stepped up their sonic palette on Charms, and the result is the sound of a band that has gotten very comfortable in their skin. Working again with producer Chris Stringer (Timber Timbre, Ohbijou), Charms was recorded live off the floor at Casa Wroxton. Love, loss and tall tales of sordid characters inhabit the album’s eleven tracks, including reworkings of Hank Williams Sr.’s (“Too Many Parties”), and “Image of Me,” a Wayne Kemp country classic that Conway Twitty took to #1 in 1961.

     

Young Performer of the Year

  • Kierah - Stonemason's Daughter

    www.irishmadness.com

    After 13 years of classical training (receiving one of
    Canada’s highest marks on her ARCT Performance exam with the Royal Conservatory of Music) combined with 12 years of learning and performing Celtic fiddle music, Kierah is a “fiddler extraordinaire”. Inspired by the hearfelt playing of Martin Hayes, her own playing radiates with the love she has for traditional (and not so traditional) Celtic music – always playing with the clear and precise intonation for which she is known.
    After spending last summer in Ireland, she was further inspired by the music, the musicians, the history and the kindness of the people – much of which is reflected on her new release – “Stonemason’s Daughter”.
    Kierah’s first 2 CDs ,”Irish Madness” and “A Fiddle Affair” earned her CFMA nominations in 2008 and 2010 in the Young Performer category. As a prolific composer, Kierah has published Western Canada’s first book of all original fiddle tunes found in music stores across Canada, called “Kierah’s Collection” and features 15 of them on her new CD.

     
  • Ten Strings And A Goat Skin - Corbeau

    tenstringsandagoatskin.com

    Rooted in the traditional, members of this award winning trio celebrate the music of the Irish and Francophone cultures they share, infuse their original compositions and traditional standard tunes with modern and world rhythms and interpretations to create an infectious energy and unique sound that speaks to all ages.
    Building on a base of much loved traditional Maritime music with a good dose of originality, innovation and humour, the band grabs both French and English audience right from the first note. They easily connect with their listeners while they create an atmosphere that is pure fun.
    Milestones saw the group making waves on both English and Francophone venues at the 2011 and 2012 ECMAs and their début bilingual album, TRI, was awarded MUSIC PEI’s 2012 Roots Traditional Recording of the Year and was nominated for the 2012 ECMA Roots Traditional Group Recording of the Year. Ever traveling more often and further afield, the group was nominated for Music PEI’s 2013 SpinCount Touring Artists of the Year.
    Touted as “the busiest and hardest working band on PEI, ….playing seemingly everywhere…”, the group now includes some of Maritime Canada’s major folk music festivals on their resume, having performed at The Stan Rogers Folk Festival, The Halifax Urban Folk Festival and The Canadian Irish Festival as well as The Festival of Small Halls and numerous local French & English music festivals and cultural events closer to home.
    For the second consecutive summer the group hosted daily weekday ceilidhs at the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company’s Garden Theater in New Glasgow, PEI.
    These three young musicians and best friends, high school senior and university freshmen, Jesse Périard, and brothers Rowen Gallant and Caleb Gallant, hailing from the North Shore of Prince Edward Island are having the time of their lives immersed in the music they love and performing together as Ten Strings And A Goat Skin.

     
  • Rebecca Lappa - Avant Garden

    www.rebeccalappa.com

    Edmonton teen, Rebecca Lappa, is a prolific songwriter and born storyteller. She received CFMA “Young Performer of the Year” Nominations in 2011 & 2012. Her music has played on CBC, CKUA, CJSF, CJSR, CJLY, CJUM, and CHMR. Her CD “Myths and Monsters” charted #8 on the Top Ten Roots/Country Albums at CFBX and #23 on CHMA’s top 31.

    “Rebecca’s an accomplished keyboard player and moves easily from blues to jazz to pop styles. Her songwriting often weaves historical threads and evokes powerful images and emotions. She can move you to tears and laughter in the same song”
    Red Door House Concerts, Feb. 2013

    In June, Rebecca released her 3rd CD “Avant Garden” produced by Alana Levandoski. These folk-pop tunes represent a range of styles: a veritable garden of songs. The CD includes “Welcome to Wayne” a top 6 finalist in the All Albertan Songwriting contest and the Sonic Youth winner at the 2013 Calgary Folkfest Songwriting Contest.

    “Her song was very artistic and it showed a lot of imagination. I was highly impressed. I thought it was in a category unto itself.” 

    Grant Stovel, CKUA host and judge for All-Albertan Song Contest

    Besides a new CD, Rebecca wrote the music for 6 songs in Alison Neuman’s Fringe musical “Searching for Normal”. Rebecca also stretched her wings as a playwright and performed her Folk Opera, “The Earl” at Edmonton’s Nextfest.

    “The teen composer is an incredible artist…I was blown away by her incredible stage presence…she has successfully created music that switches between different voices, different ages and genders.”
    Laura Raboud Director of The Earl, Edmonton Journal; June 8, 2013

    She has opened for Back Porch Swing, Joanne Janzen, Maria Dunn and Alana Levandoski. Her national performances include the Galaxie Young Performers Program at the 2012 Winnipeg Folkfest, and a CFMA Showcase in St. John, NB. Upcoming shows include the Winnipeg Folkfest, Calgary Folkfest and the “Young Albertan” at the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta Showcase.

     
  • Sydney Delong - My Vow To You (3-Track Demo EP)

    www.sydneydelong.com

    In May 2013, 17 year old Sydney Delong “won” a chance to perform at Georgian Bay Folk Society’s Summerfolk Festival this coming August as the youngest performer on a bill that also includes idols such as Kathleen Edwards, The Proclaimers, Alex Cuba and The Bills. This honor came after 2 rounds of the GBFC’s Discoveries Series’ competitive auditions.

    Just 24 months earlier, 15-year-old Sydney was writing urban-folk inspired songs alone in her bedroom, performing only for her mom as she cleaned the kitchen after dinner. Yet between May and July of that year, Sydney went from teen bedroom obscurity to national TV after being selected as a Top 16 Finalist (out of 4000 who auditioned) on a national YTV teen talent search show. She was labeled an “indie-rock hopeful” with a “powerful voice” by judges after hearing her perform an Americana-themed original called Little King. But Sydney quickly discovered she didn’t fit the “pop star” model of reality TV. So without any previous formal training, performance experience or “industry connections” Sydney committed herself to the long, painful/joyful path towards trying to make a name for herself as a singer-songwriter.

    Over the last two years, Sydney has written and recorded her first 6-song EP (Rose Red, Black Stone), gained a solid YouTube fan base, and has showcased at numerous high profile festivals — including Burlington Sound of Music Festival, Indie Week Canada, and 2013 NXNE Festival in Toronto. She also looks for performance opportunities to support charities – recently raising her voice at shows to help stop sex trafficking in Cambodia, fund breast cancer research, and support Rotary charity efforts in Oakville and overseas.

    Sydney is currently writing songs for her second EP (tentatively titled Cruel, Adore) to be released in the fall of 2013.

     
  • Keiffer Mclean - Keiffer Mclean

    keiffermclean.ca

    Keiffer is a genuine prairie kid who is taking giant steps on the path of the folk/indie music scene. From his stories about skipping out of choir and learning the piano from his grandmother, to him recalling the impact a Bob Marley poster had on his music career, makes you appreciate how far he has come in such a short time.

    Keiffer’s lyrics and the simple melodic arrangements that he creates have a depth and meaningfulness that far exceeds his nineteen-year old mind. Because he comes from a musical family, Keiffer is adept on many instruments including the piano, melodica, accordion and hand-drums. His main instrument is the acoustic guitar.

    In his first year of actively performing, he has already made an impact on the Saskatchewan music scene, with upcoming performances in the summer of 2013 at the Regina Folk Festival, Gateway Festival and Ness Creek Music Festival. In addition, Keiffer performed at JUNOFest 2013 held in Regina, Saskatchewan.

    Keiffer performs as a solo act or with the Curiosity Club Trio with Robert Mclean on various hand percussion and Chris Pripch on stand-up bass.

    Keiffer recorded his first EP “Keiffer Mclean” during the winter of 2011-2012. He finished the recording in January 2012 at the age of 17.