Acoustic, Canadian, Covers, Folk, Music, Watch

[Watch] Choir! Choir! Choir! with Tim Baker – Carry Me Home

No Comments 16 December 2014

by Mica McCurdy

Tim Baker of indie rock band Hey Rosetta! recently teamed up with Toronto’s own Choir! Choir! Choir! for a special rendition of the band’s classic “Carry Me Home”. Just in time for the holidays, this version showcases Baker’s soaring vocals while the talented choir brings home the nostalgic and longing lyrics with their lush accompaniment.

Catch Hey Rosetta! on tour with Stars in the new year. See full tour dates here.

Acoustic, Canadian, Folk, Listen, Music, Roots

[Listen] Birds of Bellwoods – No Less Than All

No Comments 03 December 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
birds iof bellwood

The breezy, comforting sounds of the folksy, blue-grass influenced Toronto group Birds of Bellwoods makes for a good way to ease into your Wednesday.

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.

Acoustic, Canadian, Listen, Music, Singer/songwriter

[Listen] Abraham – Burn Bright

No Comments 26 November 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

Sydney Batters (aka Abraham) is one of those ‘velvet hammer’ singers — her voice comes across with softness and vulnerability but behind it there is a steely strength. On her debut single, the indie folker “Burn Bright”, she sings with crystal clarity above an arrangement of subtle beauty (gotta love that touch of brass). The lyrics are inspired by a startling true event in her life — a woman attempted to abduct Batters on the day she was born. The song is about “…life and death, and overcoming life’s unexpected challenges.”

Acoustic, Canadian, Listen, Music

[Listen] Kashka- Bones

No Comments 23 November 2014

by Tiana Feng
Let Kashka’s acoustic Bones EP guide you gently into your dreams.

Acoustic, Canadian, Folk, Listen, Music, Singer/songwriter

[Listen] Tobias Jesso Jr. – Hollywood

No Comments 20 November 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

Piano-playing singer-songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr. has been catching attention from L.A. to London and he hasn’t even recorded an album. After all the buzz we finally get his first single, “Hollywood”, a sparse confessional about the Vancouver artist’s trials and tribulations in Los Angeles. Despite the song’s bleakness it’s captivating.

Acoustic, Canadian, Folk, Listen, Music, Pop

[Listen/Download] Mabaleka – into the tide

No Comments 13 November 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

The acoustic brother duo Mabaleka live in separate cities (Ottawa and Saskatoon) but manage to come together to create upbeat and heartfelt music. The infectious “Into the Tide” sirs memories of not only ’90’s indie pop but also the great singer-songwriter Paul Simon.

Acoustic, Ambient music, Canadian, Electronic, Listen, Music

[Listen] Babe Rainbow- Music For 1 Piano, 2 Pianos, & More Pianos

No Comments 08 November 2014

by Tiana Feng
Babe Rainbow aka Cameron Reed (or you might know him as @DoritosOntario released a fantastic ambient album this year titled “Music for 1 Piano, 2 Pianos, & More Pianos”. I don’t know why I totally forgot to post about this but the collection is beautiful and you should listen to it right now.

Acoustic, Canadian, Folk, Pop, Watch

[Watch] KASHKA – Salmon Arms

No Comments 01 November 2014

By Mark Anthony Brennan Kat Burns now performs as KASHKA. The video to her folk pop tune "Salmon Arms" was shot, edited and hand-painted by Burns herself.

Acoustic, Blues, Canadian, Classic Rock, Folk, Listen, Music, Roots

[Listen] The Goatbox Rebel – The Goatbox Rebel (EP)

No Comments 11 October 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

The Goatbox Rebel is Ivan Westley, a one-man band with a reverence for the traditions of blues, rock and folk but with a bitter, punk attitude. This self-titled EP is the debut for the Montreal-born/Toronto-based artist (uprooted via the 401).

Acoustic, Alternative, Ambient music, Concerts, Electronic, Folk, Music

Asgeir, Low Roar @ Lee’s Palace 10/08/2014

No Comments 09 October 2014

photo 4-2

by Nilabjo Banerjee

Last night, Lee’s Palace was infused with Icelandic musical flavours courtesy of Asgeir. Seemed like an ideal companion for many on a chilly night in early October.

Low Roar captivated the usually restless crowd during openers. There was absolute silence for the entire set, with no banter until the last song. Project of singer-songwriter Ryan Karazija (ex- Audrey Sessions), there was a certain cinematic and grandiose element to the songs ideal for listens during dark foggy nights. Karazija’s wailing falsettos never hit a false note, as the haunting melodies helped by eccentric synth patterns and electronic percussion all pieced together to establish a serene ambience. The set didn’t have the expected pauses. This was a bit puzzling for the crowd, unaware when to howl in appreciation. But, with such enthralling music, pausing for talk is more of an unnecessary interruption. Karazija and crew exited to encore chants. Not too shabby for a Toronto debut.

photo 5


The evening of subdued melodies continued as Asgeir cozied the nippy venue with lush falsettos supported by a stellar crew of musicians collectively part of Asgeir Trausti band. Gaining initial fame for his Icelandic debut, the 22-year-old bearded songster announced his bilingual intentions at the start, much to the roaring delight of those wanting to hear from both Dýrð í dauðaþögn and the English translated In The Silence. After all, Asgeir’s gentle serenade is the real star. Voice that has the maturity of Justin Vernon or JVM, the fairly reserved Nordic star excelled both during acoustic gems ‘Summer Guest’ and the viral cover of Nirvana’s ‘Heart Shaped Box’ or louder jams ‘Torrent’ and the hit single ‘King and Cross’.

Impressive live performances can only further Asgeir’s widespread acclaim. If last night’s rowdy reception is any indication, the Icelandic star is all set to be the next successful musical export

Acoustic, Alternative, Canadian, Concerts, Country, Folk, Music, Reggae

Current Swell, Theatre Crisp @ The Horseshoe Tavern 10/05/2014

No Comments 09 October 2014

photo 4

by Nilabjo Banerjee

Toronto is a resilient city. Instead of sulking in the disappointment that was Nuit Blanche on Saturday, hordes came out to the ‘Shoe for an evening of crunchy west-coast rock courtesy of Current Swell.

Theatre Crisp had an admirable consistent peppy energy as the venue was gradually filling up. Bringing their brand of ‘funk-hop’, the Niagara-based band played their unique cross genre of ska, funk and hip-hop. Fedora-adorning frontman humbleHAB was equally stellar as emcee and singer, impressing during A Tribe Called Quest and Jack Johnson covers. David Cox, tap dancer extraordinaire, was put to good use for percussion elements during brief ballad moments. Other times, Cox’ tapping sounds were understandably masked by instruments, appearing more to be a distraction. The band’s honest energy was particularly charming, as they ended the set with groovilicious ‘Suzie’.

photo 3Packed house on a Sunday night was apparently not the expectation from lads of Current Swell. Thankful for the roaring crowded reception, Scott Stanton and his buds from Victoria jumped right into their catalogue full of radio-friendly alt-rock tunes. What sets them apart is the varied mix of genres catering to your every music need. You have the funky & acoustic ‘Young and Able’ or nostalgic & folky ‘Long Time Ago’ or slide-guitar party jam ‘Rollin’, off the new release Ulysses. Newer material resonated even more with gems like ‘One Day I’ll Be Rich’ (move over, BNL!) or reflective ‘Man of Maps’. The hits never stopped comin, and there was barely a soul in the audience that wasn’t sweating along. Even Ghosty Boy shared his sentimental bliss. “Looked into the crowd during the song, and just the amount of beaming smiles back at me”, said the bassist, “made me realize it’s all worth it’. A true ‘awe shucks’ moment!

Humble and organic talent. That is word association for Current Swell. Doubt anybody would disagree with that. When you get to see them live, you would mostly like add ‘effing awesome’ to that list as well.

Acoustic, Alternative, Canadian, Folk, Music, Watch

[Watch] Jennifer Castle- Nature

No Comments 24 September 2014

Is this Jennifer Castle video filmed at the CNE?!

Acoustic, Canadian, Country, Folk, Watch


No Comments 21 September 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

Singers John Antoniuk and Jen Lane team up as Jen & John (bizarre name). Here they perform “End of the World” from their self titled album.

Acoustic, Canadian, Country, Covers, Folk, Listen, Music


No Comments 19 September 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

Peter Gardner, lead singer of Hawk and Steel, had an idea: team up with folk singer Sydney Batters, rent a warehouse and then, with little rehearsal, just record their favourite folk-rock songs. Simple. Earnest. Brilliant. The pair lovingly render versions of classics by Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle and Guy Clark. The rustling of fabric, the odd missed note, a false start and some traffic noise merely add to the honesty of the effort.

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