December is always a busy month for me, and this year is no different! I’ve got a bunch of recent/upcoming shows and things to share…
This past weekend was one of back-to-back awesome shows. Saturday night I joined Isla Craig and her amazing band (featuring a Soul Sisters revival of sorts – 4 out of the 5 were there!) at the Great Hall for the December edition of Long Winter. LW is an amazing local series that mashes up all kinds of cool music, art and experiences. And it’s all ages – something that Toronto needs so badly since most of the downtown all-ages venues of my high school days have closed.
I’ve got a couple more shows coming up in the next week as well. On Dec 16th I’ll do some singing with my friend Tim Moxam at Burdock. He is celebrating the release of the video for his new single Meant to Be, which I had the pleasure of singing on (check it out below). And on December 22nd I’ll be back at Burdock with kith&kin and friends for a special seasonal tribute to two of our favourite folk singers: Jean Ritchie and Leadbelly. There’s more info on that show here.
I'm excited to say that I'll be playing an Ivy Mairi show at one of my favourite new venues here in Toronto, Burdock Music Hall. Burdock is a lovely place, and is run by a group of folks who are very close to my heart. I'm so proud of the beautiful space for music that they've worked so hard to bring to life!
I'll be playing music from Nonbeliever, as well as some new songs, and I'll have a new band to help bring life to them! My friends Matthew Bailey,Johnny Spence, Kieran Adams, and Caitlin Woelfle-O'Brien will be joining me for the evening. My east/west coast friend Devarrow will be stopping in the middle of his Canadian tour to play an opening set. He has just put out a new album, check it out! I am beyond excited for this show!
The show is on Thursday Oct 29, and you can find all the details on facebook here.
Another exciting announcement – I will be singing with my good friends in the Weather Station when we open for Bahamas as part of the Live at Massey Hall Series (!!!) on November 27th! It will be a beautiful show, and one of the final shows there before they close the doors for some legacy renovations. I'm so honoured to be joining such a talented group of people on such a storied stage for the evening!
I’m gonna be involved in a couple of cool shows this month…
The first is TONIGHT at the Art Gallery of Ontario, as part of their monthly First Thursdays series. I’ll be singing some a capella Canadian nostalgia/anti-nostalgia in the reverberant Canadian galleries with Isla Craig, Sean Donald, Felicity Williams, and Robin Dann – such an amazing crew! We’ll be popping up throughout the night, so if you’re there, come find us! Full info can be found on the Facebook event.
Over the past year, Bruce Peninsula created some music to be featured in a new film, Sleeping Giant, which will be screened at TIFF 2015. On Friday Sept 11, the BP gang will be performing a set that also includes snippets of the Sleeping Giant music along with excerpts from the film. It’s all happening as part of TIFF Festival Street – you can get more information on the website here.
Then, on Friday Sept 18th I’m going to sing a couple of songs with local Toronto supergroup April Snow at my old stomping grounds, the Island Cafe, from 7-9pm. Should be an amazing way to celebrate the last threads of summer!
Check out this clip from Sleeping Giant that features some BP-created music!
I’m headed over to Guelph this morning to play the Hillside Festival with my buds in the Weather Station! We play the Lake Stage at 6pm, right after one of my favs Doug Paisley. It should be a beautiful weekend of music, swimming, food, and fun hangs!
In other news, I finally joined Twitter. I’m not the biggest social media butterfly, but I felt that it was time…so you should follow me, and “get at me!” as they say!
Thought I’d post this beautiful video that Weather Station made last summer – we shot in this crazy old house in Parkdale, Toronto. And I just moved in around the corner from that house! Happy Summer everyone!
May has been a great month so far, and there’s lots to tell!
About 10 years ago I was introduced to Michael Timmins, and in many ways that meeting laid the groundwork for my wonderful musical life to come. I was introduced to him by my good friend Anne Bourne, who had seen me sing my version of Pete Seeger’s One Grain of Sand and thought I should record it. I went to Mike’s old studio, the Clubhouse, and sang my 15-year old heart out! Mike and I went on to make my first 2 records together and I’ve learned immensely from working with him. Latent Recordings has chosen that original recording of One Grain of Sand as their feature for May’s Under Cover free download. You can download the song by clicking here.
In other news, kith&kin – my family a cappella trio – are branching out a bit this summer and presenting a music/theatre piece called The Hollow Square as part of the Toronto Fringe. The show will feature lots of the haunting Shapenote music that we perform, and our awesome choir will take part in the project as well! We have launched a crowdfunding campaign to help cover the costs of this labour-of-love, and donations can be made by clicking here. We only have a couple of weeks left to reach our goal – and we MUST reach our goal or we don’t get the money!
Also I have a new(ish) video to share! On the very last day of wintry weather in Toronto, Matt Bailey and I went out to shoot a live video of our song The First Day of Winter – we did it just in time! Many thanks to the Live in Bellwoods boys for making this beautiful video!
First – I recorded a version of the beautiful Mary Margaret O'Hara song Dear Darling last year, and it's now available as a free download via the Latent RecordingsUnder Cover series. Follow the prompts on this link to get it! If you don't know Mary Margaret's music, you should check it out – she is a rare treasure. My version of Dear Darling also features some pretty playing by Matthew Bailey and Noah Reid – thanks you two!
Second – my darling dear friend Tamara Lindeman (aka the Weather Station) is going to put out her much-anticipated new album Loyalty in May. It is so beautiful! The folks at Stereogum previewed one of the tracks recently and you must hear it! I've posted the track below, you can read the Stereogum feature here.
AND FINALLY – one nice note: The Calling (the drum n bass song that I made with my friend Rene LaVice) has been in steady heavy rotation on BBC Radio in the UK as part of their A List! We are blessed to be occupying space on the list next to Kanye, Rihanna, and Paul McCartney !! If you haven't heard the song you can listen on youtube here.
I love winter, but in the last couple of days I've been feeling the first of those spring-pangs – when you're starting to feel ready for the warmer weather to return. In that spirit, I thought I'd post a video I sang in at the end of last summer with my friend Tim Moxam. I've been doing a bunch of work with him and our third bandmate Raffa Weyman over the past year, and a new album is on the way this spring! The video is by our pals at Live in Bellwoods– bigups Mike and Kyle!
And speaking of videos, mine and Rene LaVice's new track the Calling is well over 100K views on youtube now, which is AMAZING! You can watch the video here. Thanks to all the drum n bass fans who've been sending love our way!
It's an exciting week! Two projects that I poured a lot of love into over the past year are finally being released!
The first actually already has been released…sort of. My good friend and drum n bass producer supreme Rene LaVice (who is poised to have a HUGE year) and I worked our butts off on a couple of new collaborations in Spring 2014. The first of them – the Calling – finally saw the light of day last week when BBC's Zane Lowe chose it as his Hottest Record that day and premeired it on the radio! UKF Drum n Bass also put it out on youtube and the love has been flowing in! I'm so proud of Rene – this song was a true labour of love. Check out the UKF video below.
Then, on January 25th, my best bud Matthew Bailey will release his new EP, You Said I Said. I sing and play keyboards on it (I'm slowly getting better). We've been performing these songs for about a year now, so it is awesome to finally have them recorded and ready for the world! We'll be celebrating the release at the Common on the 25th. Details can be found on facebook here. Check out the teaser video below (the one with the long hair is me!). The album will be out on Bandcamp shortly, and I'll post the link here when it is!
For the last seven years, my Novembers and Decembers have been dedicated to a lovely show I put on at the Music Gallery with kith&kin – the vocal trio I sing in with my sister Martha, and our mom Kathleen. Over the years it's become a wonderful tradition not only for our family, but also for many other people – the members of our kith&kin choir, the Music Gallery staff, and of course all the families and friends who come year after year.
It is always a special night. This year our choir will feature the Toronto talents of Isla Craig, Frank Griggs, Max Milton Kelly, Gabriel Levine, and a new member Andrew Patten, holding down the bass end of things. Our beloved member D. Alex Meeks can't join us this year because he'll be touring in warmer climates with the awesome Hooded Fang – we'll miss our beloved Holiday Rambler!
Below are the details for the show, and also be sure to check out the beautiful new video made by Tyler Hnatuk. It features kith&kin's performance of Oh My Mother is the Ocean Sea, a song that was originally composed by the great Wade Hemsworth for an NFB doc called Seaweeds. Tyler has edited the footage from Seaweeds beautifully to match our version of the song, which is on kith&kin's album Cool of the Day.
7th Annual kith&kin Holiday Wassail
at the Music Gallery, 197 John Street, just north of Queen