Alternative, Canadian, Folk, Interviews, Music, Pop

Interview: Gina Loes, Lead Singer/Guitarist for The Ruffled Feathers

No Comments 17 December 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan


MB:  How long has The Ruffled Feathers been together?

GL:  We’ve been making music together going on six years now. It’s always been a collaborative efforts. Multiple songwriters. It’s about bringing to life each other’s music, which might not have a life of its own if not for the band. I find that when I’m learning someone else’s song I’m continually challenged, which helps me grow as a musician and helps us all grow together.” Continue Reading

Acoustic, Canadian, Country, Interviews, Music, Pop

Interview: Autumn Hill

No Comments 27 November 2014

AutumnHill_Press_2014_Photo Credit_Matt Barnes

by Nilabjo Banerjee

The old saying is don’t judge a book by its cover. But you can judge someone by their social media right? After perusing through social feeds of Mike Robins and Tareya Green, the duo that makes up Autumn Hill, this is how I summed them up:

Mike –> Smurf pajamas, Tim Hortons, gummies

Tareya –> coconut water, wet naps and Franks Hot sauce.

Was I right?

“That is pretty accurate”, laughs Calgary native Green. “I am listening back to that”, adds Toronto’s own Robins, “we must be the weirdest band ever”. Don’t know about weird, but definitely a band on the rise. In September 2013, the duo released their debut Favourite Mistake, that spawned 3 chart topping country hits. The album’s crossover appeal, made them the first country artist to chart on pop radio since Shania Twain. Throw in CCMA and Juno nominations; and Autumn Hill should be making a serious dent on your music radar.

The charming twosome, currently on tour with Kira Isabella, twanged their way into my playlist permanently after an impressive show in Toronto last week. See below  as we chatted about tour memories, meeting John Mayer and questions they are tired of answering

Both of you are in close quarters all the time. What are quirks about each other you like?

Mike: This is going to be a funny one. Tareya is very picky and health conscious, and its turning around my eating habits. We will be in a restaurant, and she will be like, “this doesn’t look right. Mike, you need more salad”

What about you, Tareya?

Tareya: Hmm,

M: What do you adore about me? Hahaha

T: Mike is, I don’t know how he does it, he has so much energy all the time. If I wake up, and am feeling a little sluggish or just zoned out, he always tries to amp me up. Its cute, and definitely helps and gets us going on the road

Now, you are a duo of two attractive people of opposite sex. So, what questions are you tired of answering?

M: Hahah, we are not tired of answering any questions. It’s all good.

Then let me ask, you guys dating? What’s it like being a duo on the road?

T: Haha, so Mike, are we a couple?

M: Haha, I don’t know. We are a couple of something.

T: It’s so funny! At one of our shows, I wore this gigantic fake diamond ring on the middle finger of the other hand. And couple of fans came up to me, and they were like “we didn’t know that you were engaged”.

M: And they said to me, “Look at this. This is your blueprint. This is what you should get when you are ready to ask Tareya”

T: Hahaha, that would have been like 25 carats.

M: I think what happens more is people just don’t know us at all. We have been in situations where people are like ‘hey! Its Lady Antebellum’.

T: We are like, ‘Where! Hilary?!’

I am pretty new to country music. And I feel, including myself, people maybe judging the genre wrong. What do you think are some misconceptions about the genre?

T: Hmm. Maybe people think, and there are certainly a lot of songs about tractors and farm and super country stuff. If you really listen to a lot of the current songs, there is a common theme of love and heartbreak. The songs have incredible and intricate storytelling!

M: That’s a perfect response. I just wanna add that people still have this view of country being very traditional. Right now, it’s so exciting. Its perfect time to be listening to country, and open your mind to it because there a lot of bands that will sort of borrow from other genres.

With country music, including your songs, crossing over to pop radio, is there a sense of country being watered down for the masses?

M: Honestly, one of the things that we truly love working about in the Canadian country industry is that it IS such a family. We went to our first CCMA awards, and we were told, that this is more of a family reunion than an awards show. In all sincerity, this is a genre, where everybody from the artist to people working in the industry like in radio and television, and all the way down to the fan listening, we all support each other. I feel everybody is happy that the music crossing over is opening doors to new audiences, pushing country music as far forward as possible.

How has this tour been so far? Any memorable fan interactions? Moments on stage?

M: There has been a ton of those moments. This tour is one of the most exciting things we have done in a while. The energy is always 11. There have been standout shows, like we got to perform in Tareya’s hometown Calgary at this incredible bar ‘Cowboys’, and the crowd was on fire. Winnipeg was awesome.

T: One of the coolest things on stage has been seeing fans sing along to the fans. This is one of the first tours where we have been able to connect with the fans, and just see them singing their hearts out is an incredible feeling.

That’s incredible. My last question is a multiple choice. You have to pick one out of the three:

 Meeting John Mayer (Interview clip)

Singing a duet with childhood idol?

Landing a sponsorship deal with Tim Hortons?

M: I don’t want to pass up meeting John Mayer, but having Tim Hortons and Autumn Hill being synonymous would be ideal

T: This is hard! But, if I could just stand in the same room with Celine Dion, and sing while she sings, unaware of my presence. Doesn’t even have to be a duet. That would be a dream come true for me.

Interviews, Music

Interview: Johnny Feelings of The Tower of Dudes

No Comments 20 November 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan


MB:  So Johnny Feelings is your stage name?

JF:  Yeah. Silly name.”

Hey, so is Bono. So, what are Tower of Dudes about?

It’s an avenue for me to play the songs I write. The band itself is a rotating cast of characters. The most recent bunch have been together for about 2 1/2 years. Of course, there’s my wife, she plays the accordion. The band started in the Czech Republic. We lived there for about 5 years.” Continue Reading

Alternative, Canadian, Folk, Interviews, Music

Interview: Brodie Dawson

No Comments 02 November 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

Photo by Kirk Friederich

Photo by Kirk Friederich

It is not easy being a musician anywhere these days, what with CD sales plummeting and fewer record deals to go around.  But surely things are even worse for an artist trying to eke out a career in a community like the Comox Valley (on Vancouver Island, BC), which is somewhat removed from any music industry hub? Continue Reading

Interviews, Music

Interview: Sarah MacDougall

No Comments 22 October 2014

by Nilabjo Banerjee


Born in Sweden, moved to Vancouver, and then called the wilderness of Yukon home. That sums up Sarah MacDougall. The nomadic singer-songwriter has had a quiet a start to her career making critically acclaimed albums, while adjusting to a life in the Canadian wild as a city dweller. That had to be rough, right? Continue Reading

Concerts, Interviews, Music

Stranded On an Island with 18 Bands

1 Comment 15 August 2014

by Brita Brookes

If I’m ever asked that timeless question of- “If you were stranded on an island, who would you want to be with?” I can now say Harlan Pepper as one of my potential answers. I just spent a weekend on an island with over 18 bands, amazing food, artists, local Pelee Island vineyard wines, Walkerville craft brews, refreshing lake waters to swim in, tons of scenery and plenty of sunshine. Continue Reading

Acoustic, Canadian, Country, Folk, Interviews, Jazz, Roots


No Comments 13 August 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

IMG_5479_1 Copying

I caught up with West My Friend, or most of them anyway, at the tail end of a practice. They were rehearsing for an appearance that night at the Solstice Café, a concert that I was lucky enough to catch. Bass player Adam Bailey was sick that day, but I chatted with Eden Oliver (vocals, acoustic guitar), Alex Rempel (mandolin, vocals) and Jeff Poynter (accordion, vocals): Continue Reading

Canadian, Electronic, Electropop, Interviews, Music, Pop

Interview: Meet Animalia aka Jill Krasnicki

No Comments 19 July 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

Animalia, or Jill Krasnicki as her mother calls her, is originally from Hobart, Tasmania. After playing bass for Australian bands for several years she finally ended up in Toronto where she decided to go solo. ‘Mouth Full of Teeth‘ is her wonderful debut. I got the chance to catch up with Jill to discuss her new album and to ask about her transition from an acoustic artist to an electronic one: Continue Reading

Alternative, Canadian, Folk, Interviews, Music

Interview: Adrian Chalifour and Jesse Boland of Towers and Trees

1 Comment 06 July 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan


It was noon on July 2nd. The indie folk collective, Towers and Trees, had just played the night before (Canada Day) on the lawn of the BC Legislature. Band members Adrian Chalifour and Jesse Boland were on their lunch break from their day jobs, but they were still kind enough to speak with me between bites, despite being a little tired from the previous evening’s concert: Continue Reading

Alternative, Canadian, Interviews, Music, Pop

Interview: Cardinals “Fly Farther Than Love” at SCENE Music Festival

No Comments 03 July 2014

by Brita Brookes

Day 1 of the SCENE music festival made itself known to be the hottest ‘‘Day 1’’ ever, in both weather conditions and in the musical line up. Part of the “Day 1” SCENE line up included Niagara’s very own Cardinals. This Ontario trio began their musical journey like many, in their family homes. Lead singer and guitarist Levi Clattenburg had a musical father and a supportive family. “We always had some kind of music going on in the house growing up,” stated Levi as we all sat down to talk prior to their performance at SCENE on the main stage Saturday. Bass Player/Vocals, Myles Rogers dad was also a musician and is an active mentor to the band today. Drummer and Vocals, Nathanial Rustenberg’s parents were not musicians but were supportive of his musical interests as he grew up in the Niagara area and started playing in local bands. This is the band’s third time playing SCENE and their first time playing the SCENE main stage. “We are so excited to be playing the main stage this year, it’s important to us as we have been here playing at this Festival before and it’s our home town area.” Continue Reading

Alternative, Canadian, Folk, Interviews, Listen, Music

Interview: Mike Edel on “The Closer”

No Comments 02 July 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

It’s Canada Day in Victoria, so I should really be down listening to Towers and Trees in front of the Legislature Buildings or checking out Ska Fest. But no, here I am scrambling to find Mike Edel. He just dropped his latest single, “The Closer”, and I am so impressed with it that I must speak to him – like now. He’s from Victoria, so should be easy to find, right? What’s that? He’s in San Francisco? Oh. I don’t know whether the lines were all busy on my end because of Canada Day or it was just some weird set-up he has down there, but it took us about 40 minutes of dial tones, recorded messages and strange alien-sounding interference before we finally connected. But we did, and here’s what he had to say: Continue Reading

Alternative, Canadian, Interviews, Music

Band on the (Cosmic) Run: An Interview With Spaceport Union

No Comments 11 June 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan


Photo by KTB photography

Victoria’s Spaceport Union describe themselves as a progressive art rock band, but if you think that means they play retro 70’s dinosaur music then you are very mistaken. Their music is, in fact, fresh and contemporary, and they take the term “progressive” in its literal sense. Continue Reading

Canadian, Interviews, Music, R&B/Hiphop, World Music

Let’s Go To Field Trip With: Zaki Ibrahim

No Comments 06 June 2014

by Nilabjo Banerjee

South African-Canadian singer/songwriter Zaki Ibrahim plays Day 2 of Field Trip this weekend. If you are the kind who likes their R&B fused with jazz and soul and everything else, give her Polaris nominated debut Every Opposite a listen before the show.

For now, check out my chat with Zaki as we talked about being the new kid in high school, performing while pregnant and photobombing Rob Ford. Continue Reading

Alternative, Canadian, Interviews, Music, Pop

Let’s Go to Field Trip With: Maylee Todd!

No Comments 06 June 2014

by Nilabjo Banerjee
Maylee Todd is a blogger’s nightmare. Genre classification doesn’t work with her music. Listen to her last release Escapalogy and you will know what I mean. Todd is all over the spectrum covering genres like soul, indie-pop, jazz and the list goes on. The delightful Toronto’s own will be playing June 7, Day 1 of Field Trip! Check out our interview, as we talked about keeping it real, showing Bjork around Toronto and taking a selfie with NDG. Continue Reading

Alternative, Canadian, Interviews, Music

Interview: Emm Gryner

No Comments 15 April 2014

by Nilabjo Banerjee

Emm Gryner has earned cred from people in high places

–          Bono wishes he wrote one of her songs “Almighty Love”

–          David Bowie has deemed her as one of 2 Canadian acts that you must know

–          Nelly Furtado has called her album Science Fair her ‘desert island’ disc

Does she still feel that she has to prove herself?

“I have always felt like an outsider”, Gryner admits, “when it comes to the music industry”. That is hard to believe, coming from someone who recently played piano on Chris Hadfield’s “Space Oddity” cover during his ISS mission. She also has a duet, on her new album, Torrential, with the Canadian astronaut. You impressed yet?

Give the album a listen, and you will be a fan of the strong pop melodies (“Excess Baggage”), resonating lyrics (“So Easy”) and subtle country vibes served with words of social commentary (“Pioneer”). The fiercely independent Gryner may have saved the best for her 14th one. And doubt it will be her last. Continue Reading

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