It’s about music.
It’s about song writing.
It’s about so many cherished experiences… performing at amazing festivals on the shores of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans, and countless wondrous places in between.
It’s about the art of performing live, and being inspired by so many wonderful, talented, humble people…so much real friendship, integrity, and so many people who care.
It’s about the wonderful gifts we’re all given… of voice, emotion, dexterity, energy…and magical musical instruments.
It’s about Canada…so vast, and with so many freedoms, so much humility, so much rich history… and so many wonderful stories that need to be told.
It’s about spreading the word…the real Canada being there for all to see, experience and abide…through so many indescribably wondrous festivals, people, celebrations, the immeasurable scenic beauty, and the art of song lyric.
Its about good times, lots of laughs, and lots of fun!
Dana Wylie is farm girl from Saskatchewan who has travelled the world in search of home. Her struggle to reconcile the wanderer with the bumpkin, mixed with her crystal clear voice and fluid finger-style guitar playing, has resulted in a unique musical language that effortlessly straddles country and city, folk and intellectual.
Wylie's search took her first to Edmonton in 1997, to study theatre. Her 2003 one-woman Fringe hit Tempo de Java seemed destined to lead her to a long and fruitful acting career, but she had decided two things by then – that what she really wanted to do was play music, and that she needed to get out and see a bit more of the world. Circumstance took her to Taiwan, where she was surprised to find a thriving expat music scene, and where for two years she played constantly – in jug bands, bluegrass bands, cover bands, jazz bands – before moving to England to form the Dana Wylie Band, which toured Britain and North America steadfastly for five years.
While overseas, Wylie developed a profound affinity for traditional folk music – sparked by her first hearing of the great Sandy Denny’s version of ‘Reynardine” – which catalyzed an evolution in her own music and a passion for the history and practice of music-making that drives her to this day – she is currently pursuing a Masters degree in music at the University of Alberta. In ten years of recording and performing, Wylie has achieved an artistic growth that most singer/songwriters don't experience in a lifetime, a growth that led Penguin Eggs magazine to state that she “stands out from the pack with the maturity of her musical vision.”
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With a voice that skips and soars, Hamilton, ON based Sarah Beatty is one hard artist to pin down. Writing and singing about life along white pine northern shorelines and post-industrial gentrifying geographies, this is no flash in the pan, pomp-and-circumstance-snake-oil-side-show experience. Consumable by firelight, hers is a show and tell for the perpetually curious and equally incredulous. Calling up confrontational connections, a spoonful of honey sweet syrup is all that accompanies the idiosyncratic insights, hard won sentiments, and possible sage advice she’s been working into song ever since her grandpa’s funeral in 2001. Her debut solo record Black Gramophone came 11 years later after a sinuous path through various musical collaborations, as did the Hamilton Music Award nomination and Top 10 roots charting that followed. Now, with Bandit Queen and a healthy dose of self-reflected energy, fact, fable, fiction, folklore and make-you-wanna-move-grooves get soaked in oak and subterranean landscapes. Stones get turned over. Answers get questioned. And more gets revealed...
Lindsey Walker looks at the dark side of love and life through a hopeful, hilarious and passionate lens. Her greatest joy is sharing music with folks across the country. Since 2011 Lindsey has toured extensively as a solo artist in Canada with half her heart in Alberta, and the other in her hometown of Winnipeg. In 2013 Lindsey was nominated as an "Artist to Watch" at the Edmonton music awards, which heralded her debut album Our Glory with a sold-out crowd. Fans began to respond to the raw honesty and soaring vocal power of her music. Blogs followed, and IndieGogo featured her as a success story for her innovative engagement strategies. Our Glory found a national audience receiving airplay on CBC, and college and community stations from Vancouver to Halifax. Her eagerly anticipated new record this desolate bliss. will release in the fall marking a bold new direction as Lindsey takes audiences on a cinematic apocalyptic journey through roots and rock. Songwriter, traveler, and lover of all creatures; this sincere, effervescent performer wants to share her bliss with you.
Ayla Brook is one of the truest raw songwriter's on the prairies. From his beginnings in Lily Plain Saskatchewan, to success records recorded with AA Sound System, to now his solo work - Ayla has remained tried and true. His new release, "(I Don't Want To Hear Your) Break Up Songs" is exactly that, a tapestry of hurtin' and feelin' tunes about life on and off the barstools. Joined by his regular 5 piece band, The Sound Men, Ayla can be seen packing the dance floors of Alberta honkytonks soaked in wine and whiskey. He's made a name for himself on the road, supporting such diverse acts as Danny Michel, Daniel Romano and the Arkells and is always up for the next great adventure.
Ellen McIlwaine was born in Tennessee and moved with adoptive missionary parents to Japanwhen she was only two. Exposed to everything from Japanese Folk and Classical Music, American Rhythm & Blues greats like Ray Charles, Fats Domino and Professor Longhair on Japanese radio, as well as the Grand Ole Opry and European Classical Music on American Armed Forces Radio, while growing up in an International Community of families from India, Pakistan, the Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe and Asia, she was playing "World Music" before it was called World Music!
After starting out on Acoustic Guitar in Atlanta Georgia while attending Art School, she moved to Greenwich Village in 1966, opening for many Blues Greats, and getting to know Odetta, Richie Havens, Mississippi John Hurt & Jimi Hendrix to name but a few. Moving to Woodstock NY in 1968 and recording Fear Itself with her group of the same name, but going solo again in 1970, she gained cult status through her two Polydor albums "Honky Tonk Angel" 1972 and "We the People" 1973. These were followed by "The Guitar Album", a compilation of all the guitar players on Polydor in 1974: Link Wray, Rory Gallagher, John McLaughlin, Roy Buchannan et al. Ellen was the only female player.
In Montreal 1975 she recorded "The Real Ellen McIlwaine" with members of the Ville Emard Blues Band and in 1978 "Ellen McIlwaine" came out on United Artists featuring the beautifully written tunes of Rawn McKinnon and Alan Gerber but with none of Ellen's guitar or musical input. By the end of that year she had begun to venture into the realm of Electric Guitar with the Guild Solid Body given to her by Guild Guitars. In 1980 she began touring with a bassist and drummer as an Electric Power Trio and in 1982 "Everybody Needs It" was released featuring Jack Bruceon bass & vocals, Paul Wertico on drums. She toured Australia in 1980 & '84 as part of Honky Tonk Angel Productions with Margret RoadKnight, and in 1987 recorded "Looking For Trouble" in Toronto where she took up residence, absorbing the Reggae influences of Toots & the Maytals and various other Jamaican acts coming through Toronto. Also in 1987 she became a permanent resident of Canada, continuing to play the thriving Blues Club Circuit and Canadian Music Festivals and touring with Guitar Hero Johnny Winter in 1990.
In 1997 Ellen created a live musical score for the Tom Cone play "True Mummy", drawing on Egyptian and Lebanese traditional dance music and the inspiration of the great Pakistani singerUstad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. It distilled itself into her popular original "Egyptian Blues". She completed two film scores, one in Germany about the history of rockets and one in Canada called "Confessions of a Snake Killer", and appears on the "Celebration of Blues" Collector Series for Stony Plain Records. She also makes guest appearances on various other artists' CDs.
In 1998 she was featured in the Bravo documentary "A Slide Through Time" and in 1999 she played the Women in (e)motion Festival in Bremen Germany with Leo Valvassori on bass and Randall Coryell on drums. Their performance was recorded live and released that year as "Women in (e)motion/Ellen McIlwaine. In 2000 "Spontaneous Combustion" was released by the same label, featuring Taj Mahal on two cuts and his Rhythm Ambassadors, Bill Rich and Kester Smith on bass and drums. Ellen toured toured Germany, Switzerland & Austria several times with Taj Mahal & his Hawaiian Blues group, as well as solo and with Bill & Kester'sbacking.
In 2001 she collaborated with Japanese Electronica Wizard, Shinichi Osawa of Mondo Grossoon "Don't Let Go" for which she wrote the melody and words. Then in 2002 after Yukihiro Fukutomi's re-mix of Ellen's "Born Under a Bad Sign", and despite a throat infection, "Live at Yellow" was recorded in Tokyo with Bill and Kester again, and Kayoko Kimura on saxophone. Both were released on Soul Source/Polydor/Universal/Japan. She toured solo with DJ Ken Yanai of Soul Source as part of the DJ show at Dance Clubs across Japan. In 2003 she again took up her battered Acoustic Guitar to tour New Zealand and Australia on the bill once again with chanteuse extrordinare, old friend Magret RoadKnight. She wrote and performed the lyrics & melody for "Reflections" featured on Robb Scott's "Afro Odessey". In 2004 she began a collaboration with the great tabla player Cassius Khan, touring Canadian Music Festivals & Theatres with the new material. Ellen recorded "Mystic Bridge" featuring Cassius along with Linsey Wellman on soprano sax and Amika Kushwaha on harmoniums and released it in 2007on her own label Ellen McIlwaine Music. That same year she appeared with Robbin Thompson, formerly of Bruce Springsteen's band, rollicking together through Robbin's "Where You've Never Been (The Zhong Song)" featured on his latest album "just a blur in the rearview".
In 2008 she toured with Patty Larkin's La Guitara ensemble in the US and in 2009 & 2010 in Canada with Sue Foley's Guitar Women, also appearing solo at various US & Canadian Venues & Festivals. In 2011 she began work on her upcoming autobiography, continuing to tour & experiment with new material. In March of 2013 Ellen was flown to Los Angeles to be interviewed as part of the new Jimi Hendrix documentary film "Hear My Train A Comin'" which was released in November 2013. With fewer festival opportunities and dwindling venues, Ellen has started a second career as a School Bus Driver to fill the gaps between concerts! Also in November 2013 she celebrated thirty one years clean & sober. Life is good!
Nuela Charles is an alternative/soul artist based out of Edmonton, Alberta. Her brand new album "The Grand Hustle” (Nov. 4, 2016) is the ultimate comeback story. You live, you learn and you fight for what you want. This, the second album from singer/songwriter Nuela Charles, is the culmination of four very transformative years of discovery, love, loss and recovery. Drenched in James Bond inspired cinematic strings, soul infused rhythms, and introspective lyrics Nuela is converting fans, one listener at a time.
Heather Blush and The Uppercuts is a group of rogue troubadours based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Sassy, sultry, and just plain fun, these dedicated musicians perform original songs designed to knock your socks off! With energetic, audience-engaging shows, Heather is quickly becoming known for songwriting that covers all bases between witty sarcasm and gutwrenching honesty. With "Captain" Steve Hazlett on drums "Duellin’ Dale Ulan" on upright bass, and sometimes guests such as Cedric Blary on clarinet and sax, this band packs a punch and leaves a lasting impression.
Experience a trip back in musical time with Miss Rae & the Midnight Ramblers. Miss Rae bares her soul on stage, with a vibe that’s equal parts Deep South, front porch blues, and smoky Parisian nightclub Jazz. Her honeyed voice and powerful delivery have been compared to the likes of Etta James, Amy Winehouse, and Big Mama Thornton. The Midnight Ramblers feature an ensemble of Canada's top players: Clayton Sample (guitar), Grant Stovel (drums), Chris Grapel (upright bass), and Septimus Alexander (tenor saxophone).
The Gateway Big Band has been part of the Edmonton jazz scene for the past 30 years. The band is comprised of amateur musicians from all walks of life who come together because they love to make and perform music. The band is a "traditional" 18 piece big band consisting of: 5 saxophones, 4 trombones, 4 trumpets, guitar, bass, keyboard and percussion led by Mr. Jean Francois Picard. The band has performed at Edmonton's Jazz City, "The Works", and The Yardbird Suite over the past 30 years and loves to play up-tempo big-band chart's that include the swing, blues, funk and latin styles of music. In addition, the band has also performed with different vocalists over the years, which adds another dimension to the music.
The band is excited to perform at The Works on July 1, 2017 for Canada's 150th birthday and will be performing music which celebrates Canada's musicians and composers.
Heavy hitting drums and songs full of emotion,The Sweets take you down the rabbit hole with their blend of indie-pop/psych-rock and leave you breathless on the other side. Deep down, somewhere in the soft part of your belly, you crave more. You crave an instant to let your head hang and have the raw velvety vocals of Claudia Maria and yearning crafted guitar tones of Mitch Wolfe take you on a warm fuzzy trip. The Sweets approach songwriting with a “whatever we feel like it” approach resulting in hip swaying pop tunes to heavy rock riffs lit with moments of intensity. With songs like, “The Beast” and “Wild” that get you in a frenzy, to the light and dreamy lyrics of songs such as Let Love Go; sweet and honest. They are songs of longing to connect to the wild from within, nostalgic summer nights and the return of a new fervor for life itself. The Sweets have incubated their sound in Calgary and are spreading the love to the crowds of Western Canada and beyond. They have shared their feverish call to the animals in the forest with acts such as The Pack AD, Chad Vangaalen, Counterfeit Jeans and Scenic Route to Alaska. The Sweets will continue to forge on, enchanting the sweaty masses wherever they go to satisfy that craving for more, inviting you to indulge in your inner moon child, even if its just for the night.