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Tom Wilson and LeE HARVeY OsMOND
Tom Wilson (guitar and vocals) struck Canadian rock gold in the '90s as the leader of the much-loved Junkhouse, and then found a whole new audience as a crucial component of roots-rock super-group Blackie and the Rodeo. Wilson released solo albums in 2001 and 2006, and his 2005 collaboration with Bob Lanois, The Shack Recordings, was critically acclaimed. A Quiet Evil was LeE HARVeY OsMOND's debut album, hatched when Latent Recordings owner/producer Michael Timmins and Tom Wilson conspired to create the birth of "Acid Folk". The album was critically rewarded and placed on the Polaris Prize long list. 2013’s The Folk Sinner is the logical progression, produced once again by Michael Timmins and joined by a fantastic group of guests, including Margot Timmins, Hawksley Workman, Colin Linden, Oh Suzanna, Andy Maize, and Paul Reddick, to name a few.
Now in his eighth decade as a performer and seventh as a recording artist, Gordon Lightfoot is one of the most prolific and greatest Canadian singer-songwriters of all time. There are the stats: 20 albums, 5 Grammy nominations and 17 Junos. The truckloads of chart-topping songs in both the US – 5 #1s, 5 top-10s and 13 top-40s – and Canada – 16 #1s, 18 top-10s and 21 top-40s.
There is the postage: Canada Post issued a Lightfoot stamp in 2007. There are the versions of his songs recorded by a veritable who’s-who of country, pop, folk and rock artists including: Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Jr., Marty Robbins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Judy Collins, Johnny Mathis, Anne Murray, Olivia Newton-John, Sarah McLachlan, Barbra Streisand, Peter Paul & Mary, Harry Belafonte, Jane’s Addiction, Richie Havens, Glen Campbell, Toby Keith, George Hamilton IV and Eric Clapton. And there are the inductions and honours: He is one of less than 400 artists inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. He has been decorated with the highest honors bestowed to a civilian including the Governor's General Award and the Companion to the Order of Canada honor of merit. He is a member of Canada's Walk of Fame and has been inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.
Ron Sexsmith started his first band at 14, and after making the rounds on the folk circuit, he decided to focus his attentions on becoming a songwriter. After moving to the Toronto area, Sexsmith formed the Uncool and began issuing his own material in 1985. He continued performing while maintaining a day job as a courier but did not release anything more until 1991's Grand Opera Lane, recorded by Blue Rodeo's Bob Wiseman. The collection of songs helped earn Sexsmith a songwriting contract and eventually a recording deal with Interscope Records; teamed with producer Mitchell Froom, he released his self-titled debut in 1995. His 13th album, Forever Endeavour, came out in 2013.
The members of Harlan Pepper are both your average bunch of 21-year-olds (best friends since kindergarten, hockey teammates and university roommates) and not your average 21-year-olds (musicians talented beyond their years and catalogue). Though they have one album to their name, they’ve already achieved an impressive list of music biz milestones that include meeting Neil Young and performing at Massey Hall. Harlan Pepper’s sweet and pure rock groove contains good-time vibes that bring to mind a variety of musical references, from 50s rock and roll, 60s surf rock; the Yardbirds, the Traveling Wilburys, a Tarantino-esque taste for retro groove and more.
“Mosey music” is what singer-songwriter Daniel Romano calls the classic country music that has influenced him and which he plays. While influences like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard are apparent in Romano's music, they certainly don't demystify his talent. The Globe & Mail called his 2011 Polaris Prize Long Listed album, Sleep Beneath The Willow, a "dreamy homage to a bygone country-music era." 2013’s Come Cry With Me furthers his Mosey aesthetic, where, amidst tales of woebegone orphans, family knots and broken hearts, there are spoken word yarns that recall Hank Williams-as-Luke The Drifter. Romano's deep rumbling baritone vocal dips serve, conversely, to lighten the mood, leaving no doubt that this artist knows how to deliver a punch line.
Jory Nash is an award-winning singer-songwriter and storyteller who blends elements of folk, jazz, blues, pop and soul into an original stew of sound. He has recorded seven critically-acclaimed albums; 2013’s Little Pilgrim was nominated for a 2013 Canadian Folk Music Award; 2009’s New Blue Day was named Penguin Eggs Magazine Critic’s Choice Album of the Year and was nominated for Best Producer at the Canadian Folk Music Awards; and Nash won the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals’ Songs From The Heart Award. Nash is also a sought-after songwriting instructor, who will be part of the Royal Conservatory of Music’s songwriting-immersion program SongStudio’s faculty, as well as the featured songwriting instructor at 2015 Haliburton Folk Society’s March Folk Music Camp. Off the stage, 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.
When Andrea Ramolo and Cindy Doire met at a Toronto music club, they each had respectable solo careers and couldn’t have imagined that over a decade later they would unite to become one of Canada’s hardest working and most anticipated new duos. Scarlett Jane embodies both a spirit of the blues that can only come from roughing it on the road and a sense of grandeur that can only come by way of having big dreams. Their 2012 debut, Stranger, captures all that is sensual and soulful about Scarlett Jane, and garnered two Canadian Folk Music nominations. In 2013, Metro called them one of “7 Canadian Indie Acts You Need to Know.” They’ve shared stages with the likes of the Skydiggers, Alan Doyle, the Strumbellas and Lee Harvey Osmond and had the honour of joining Adam Cohen’s band with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in 2013.
Singer and award-winning pop and folk songwriter Jacob Moon, who employs live-looping in his performances, has received accolades from Rush, Queen, Gordon Lightfoot and Ron Sexsmith for his unique and compelling live show, and his ability to inhabit a cover song as if it was his own.