Halifax Urban Folk Festival

AUG 26 • SEP 2, 2018

Arsoniste

Arsoniste (Rachel Sunter) is a synthpop and piano singer-songwriter.

Appearing

Reeny Smith

Reeny Smith is a powerhouse on the stage and in the studio. As a 26-year-old singer,songwriter, musician, and producer, her age - and her modest disposition - may be deceiving. That is about to change with the release of her soul-inspired, dance hit debut album, spring 2018.Whether she is playing with a full band, as a trio with her backup singers or solo on the keys,Reeny delivers magic every time, lighting up the room. Her extraordinary vocals, confident stage presence, and energetic live show make for a truly unforgettable, entertaining experience. Reeny has been building her audience from an early age. Her natural born talent was inspired and nurtured by her family and friends growing up in North Preston, Nova Scotia. Both Reeny's father and her grandfather are former members of one of Canada’s premier gospel bands and her uncles in the Carson Downey Band are both highly esteemed musicians. In her youth, Reeny was influenced by singing and playing piano in church choirs, leading her to pursue her passion for music even further. In 2015, she enrolled in the prestigious Music Arts program at St. FX University, majoring in jazz vocals, and released her first EP, I Am Reeny.

Reeny has captured much attention and high praise from within the music industry, having an already long list of awards and accolades to her credit. She was first recognized in 2011 with the Portia White Award for Excellence in Vocal Performance, along with a scholarship from the Nova Scotia Talent Trust for her outstanding musical attributes. Reeny was selected as Casino Nova Scotia's Artist In Residence in 2015 and attended the Gordie Sampson Songcamp the same year. Reeny has received three African Nova Scotia Music Awards for Up and Coming Artist (2011), Rising Star (2012), and Artist of the Year (2015). In 2017 and 2016, she won Music Nova Scotia’s African Canadian Artist of the Year award.

Highlights from her past performances are a testament to her range of musicality and creativity. Reeny performed with classical conductor, composer and pianist Dinuk Wijeratne to a sold-out
crowd at the Prismatic International Festival in Halifax, and sang for the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia at his induction ceremony at Province House. She has opened for Grammyaward-winner Lisa Fischer and Anderson Paak at the Halifax Jazz Festival, and represented Nova Scotia in the Canada Winter Games National Artist Performing program. Festival plays at the Honeyjam Concert at the Mod Club in Toronto, Riverfront Jubilee and Halifax Pop Explosion in Nova Scotia, and the PEI Jazz and Blues Festival have helped accelerate her rising career.

With the upcoming release of her first single “Good Girl Swag” in February 2018, and her first full-length album to follow, Reeny is poised and ready to take her career to the next level. Looking back on her successes and forward on what’s to come, it’s exciting to think for Reeny, this is only the beginning.

Appearing

David Lowery

Appearing

Tomato Tomato

Hang onto your hats because this genre-bending power duo is ready to take you on a ride! Tomato/Tomato perform an eclectic mix of folk and country that will have you rolling down your windows and singing at the top of your lungs. Their live show includes jaw dropping multitasking, dynamic guitar arrangements, and soaring vocal harmonies. Stitch these elements together with compelling, heartfelt songwriting and you have an unforgettable musical experience. The past year has been a whirlwind for Mr. and Mrs. Tomato. They toured across Canada including performances at the Vancouver and Regina Folk Festivals as well as the National Arts Centre. They had very successful tours overseas to both Australia and the United Kingdom. The band was honoured with nominations for “Contemporary Folk Album of the Year” at the Canadian Folk Music Awards,“Songwriter of the Year”, and “Group Recording of the Year” at the East Coast Music Awards. To top things off, they won awards for both “Group Recording of the Year” and “SOCAN Song of the Year” at the Music/Musique New Brunswick Awards. Tomato/Tomato kicked off 2018 with a trip to Nashville to record a new album with acclaimed producer, Andrija Tokic at the analog wonderland, The Bomb Shelter Studio. This studio has produced some of today’s most ground breaking records including Alabama Shake's “Boys and Girls” and Langhorne Slim and the Law's “The Spirit Moves”. Whether you say “Tom-ay-to” or “Tom-ah-to” - this high energy duo will have you stomping your feet, clapping your hands, and playing your air washboard with reckless abandon! With two acclaimed albums (So it Goes / I Go Where You Go), Tomato/Tomato is sure to be cooking up something fresh.

Nathan Wiley

Hailing from the Maritime town of Summerside, PEI, Nathan Wiley first earned acclaim for his 2002 debut Bottom Dollar, picking up an East Coast Music Award (ECMA) for Alternative Album of the Year in the process. He made good on the promise of that release with the ECMA-winning follow up High Low two years later. His blend of classic sounds with a modern, slightly world weary perspective struck a chord with listeners, as songs full of subtle melodies and lyrics addressing those unquenchable yearnings inside all of us wormed their way into their ears. The Steve Berlin-produced The City Destroyed Me followed, as well as the recently released Bandits EP and while he's not often seen off the Island, Nathan continues to play and record

Natalie Lynn

Natalie Lynn is an indie/pop/rock songstress from Halifax NS. Her energetic stage presence and unwavering vocal and guitar performances have received audience and industry praise throughout Atlantic Canada over the last five years. Her sound reflects influences such as Stevie Nicks, Haim and The 1975, with hook-heavy choruses, stylish guitar melodies and 80's percussion; equal parts modern and nostalgic. The release of her debut single "Company" hit #1 on the East Coast Countdown where it stayed for two weeks. She completed an Eastern Canadian tour this spring and is back in-studio with long-time bandmate and drummer Ryan Perry and producer John Mullane (In-Flight Safety) working towards completing her next single.

Moscow Apartment

Winners of the Best Young Songwriters award at the 2017 Toronto Independent Music Awards, the Under 18 award in the 2018 Canadian Songwriting Competition, and the Best Young Performer award at the 2017 Canadian Folk Music Awards, Moscow Apartment is driven by a mixture of sweet harmonies and belted refrains, acoustic shimmer and electric crunch, and the clever wordplay of multi-instrumentalists and versatile vocalists Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla. The heart of their work is mature and exquisite songcraft, drawing on a source beyond their fifteen and sixteen years, but still linked to the dreams and worries of youth. Woven through with honeyed harmonies, their songs easily slip and shift through folk, pop, and punk to create a distinct kind of indie folk rock that moves your feet even as it catches in your throat. Following an initial creative explosion in 2017, momentum keeps building for the young duo: they made their Horseshoe Tavern debut as a part of Dan Burke/exclaim! magazine’s Class of 2018 series, and are thrilled to be working under the seasoned management of Jeff Rogers (Handsome Boy Records, Crash Test Dummies, Pursuit of Happiness, Lowest of the Low). This summer, new audiences across the country and the border will be let in on the secret many in Toronto already know, as Moscow Apartment tour western Canada supporting the Good Lovelies, and play in New York opening for Ron Hawkins. They're released the first single from their forthcoming LP in June 2018.

Midnight Vesta

Midnight Vesta is a Toronto based Canadiana Rock band coming off of a busy 2017 in which they had recorded, released and nationally toured their first full-length album 'Seconds'. Recorded in an auto garage, and mastered by Juno award-winning engineer Siegfried Meier, the album is a sonic buffet of homegrown tunes that are fresh, yet familiar. The band is comprised of Peter Jarvis on vocals and acoustic guitar, with Collin Carnegie on lead guitar, Robbie Patterson on drums, and Nicholas Posthumus on bass guitar. You can catch them touring around Ontario and the East Coast during Summer 2018 before they head back home to begin work on their new album.

Laurenn Marchand

Close your eyes and imagine being wrapped in the comfort of Feist and Joni Mitchell. Laurenn Marchand is an Indie/Folk singer-songwriter that will make those feelings come to life and bring warmth to your soul. Her debut EP, "Ghosts in the Garden", offers an Indie/Folk approach to storytelling. Recorded in the picturesque Gaspereau Valley, "Ghosts in the Garden" captures the life and honest energy of Marchand.

Jody Upshaw

13 year old singing sensation Jody Upshaw Canada's own, from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Pushing the envelope with each performance, cover or track. Jody has performed all over the Halifax area like Nocturne Halifax, Natal Day Esso Youth Showcase, Teens Now Talk Expo and the UNI Gottingen St. Festival and has worked with multiple local artists including J-Bru, Shevy Price, Neon Dreams and Classified.

Gianna Lauren

“...Lauren is a bit of a mystery. She’s part wallflower, part rocker, all intrigue. With a sound akin to Mary Timony, Lauren’s poetic yet gritty. ”— The Coast Homes: Edmonton, Ottawa, Halifax Sign: Aries Instrument: Guitar Favourite Things: coffee, swimming, driving, random acts of kindness, peppermint tea, singing, avocado, cycling, yoga, photography, horses, friends, salad Recommended If You Like: Angel Olsen. Julie Doiron. Big Thief. PJ Harvey. Probably others. Bucket List: learn to make clothes, learn to play chess (well), buy a camper van and drive to California, live on the ocean, have a garden Favourite Car: Saab 900 Turbo Dream Car: re-furbished Ford Bronco Favourite Book: Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner Favourite Albums: Talking Heads - Fear of Music. Portishead - Dummy. Joni Mitchell - Blue. Neil Young - On the Beach.Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians. "Gianna’s songs are delicate and somber, yet hopeful. She channels the spirits of early Joni Mitchell and contemporary P.J. Harvey." - Earshot Online "...songs are writ large with atmospheric sounds that give a heavy mood to observations on life and love in the time of technology." - Ottawa Citizen “Equal parts Cocteau Twins, Beth Orton and Sufjan Stevens, this gauzy leadoff track [‘Become What You Can’tBe’} to one of the season’s most intriguing albums is notable for a sonic template that’s unusually adventurous,especially for a singer-songwriter album.” - Toronto Star“Not so much a delicacy as a well-earned moment of delicate repose. Not so much a tearjerker as a fearless,tearful stare straight at the small challenges of displacement, adaptation and love. Gianna's music, full of melody and candor, can sneak up on you. Her most recent album, Some Move Closer, Some Move On gracefully borrows ambiance from many eras while remaining a clear statement from a young woman whose radical nature is more luscious than lurid.” - Southern Souls "Gianna’s songs are delicate and somber, yet hopeful. She channels the spirits of early Joni Mitchell and contemporary P.J. Harvey." - Earshot Online "...songs are writ large with atmospheric sounds that give a heavy mood to observations on life and love in the time of technology." - Ottawa Citizen “Equal parts Cocteau Twins, Beth Orton and Sufjan Stevens, this gauzy leadoff track [‘Become What You Can’tBe’} to one of the season’s most intriguing albums is notable for a sonic template that’s unusually adventurous,especially for a singer-songwriter album.” - Toronto Star“Not so much a delicacy as a well-earned moment of delicate repose. Not so much a tearjerker as a fearless,tearful stare straight at the small challenges of displacement, adaptation and love. Gianna's music, full of melody and candor, can sneak up on you. Her most recent album, Some Move Closer, Some Move On gracefully borrows ambiance from many eras while remaining a clear statement from a young woman whose radical nature is more luscious than lurid.” - Southern Souls

Elijah Will

The eldest of three brothers, Elijah Will was raised in rural Nova Scotia. His may be a new name to those outside of Atlantic Canada but, at 23, he’s been honing his craft longer than most recent arrivals to the global stage. The path by which he has gotten here is as individual as his voice. Following an impulse purchase of a microphone at a dollar store, he and his brothers were soon making their own music. Elijah would reach out to producers and DJs online, receiving whatever free beats, loops, or stems were on offer and would afterward create his own combinations. When still in his teens, Elijah enrolled in Grammy-winner Gordie Sampson’s songwriting camp in Cape Breton. While there, he co-wrote with Kyle Mischiek and Carleton Stone a track titled “All The Time In The World”. Sampson’s manager shared the song with brothers Mike and Luke Boyd (Classified), who connected with the young artist, going on to exchange ideas and collaborate. Elijah would sing on Class’s 2015 track “Beautiful Escape” and, that same year, Mike Boyd’s “Street Lights”. Elijah’s personal connection to his audience is a vital component to being, as he puts it, “an open book” in expressing the universal emotions we all feel. While he draws on personal experience, Elijah resists the temptation to be overly literal or linear in his storytelling, leaving room for the listener to bring their own interpretations to the music. After four years of working with Classified and the Half Life Records team, Elijah Will has the experience, confidence, and backing of a strong musical family to now step out with music under his own banner. “Keep an open mind and be true to yourself,” he says, departing on a worldwide adventure.

Dylan Menzie

The oft-repeated music industry talking points have turned into clichés –“There’s more music being made today than ever before” or “There are many more artists today competing for a piece of the same pie,” or some variation of either. And though they may still carry some truth, singer/songwriter Dylan Menzie pays them little mind. The only person he’s accountable to, that he feels any need to consistently one-up, is himself. With a sprawling vocal range and compelling approach to composition, Menzie made an indelible mark in the talent-rich Atlantic Canadian music market with his debut EP, Heather Avenue, in 2013. The release – which earned Music PEI Award nominations and acclaim from industry influencers – led to high-profile performances throughout the Maritimes, including opening slots for City & Colour and Ron Sexsmith. In 2016, Menzie was a finalist in CBC’s annual Searchlight competition on the back of his breakout single, “Kenya,” which then spent two weeks at number one on CBC Radio 2’s Top 20 leading up to the release of his 2016 album Adolescent Nature. As excitement behind his breakthrough continues to mount, Menzie already has his sights set on what’s next – another product of his self-competition and refusal to rest on any laurels. And if he continues on his current trajectory of each new song, each new release eclipsing its predecessor, he’ll soon be impossible to ignore.

Chris Kirby

If you’re into east coast music, chances are you’ve heard a Chris Kirby song or production lately. The Norris Arm, NL native has songs on recent records by Matt Andersen, The Once, Tim Chaisson, The East Pointers and much more. His song work in 2016 earned Kirby the inaugural MusicNL Ron Hynes Songwriter of the Year award. In 2107 Chris was nominated with co-writers The Once for International Folk Alliance Song of the Year award for The Once’s song “We Are Love." Kirby’s co-write with Matt Andersen, “Honest Man," was ranked #52 on the CBC Radio 2 top 100 songs of 2016. An in-demand producer in Atlantic Canada, Chris has produced award-winning works by Charlie A’Court, Keith Mullins, Kim Wempe, Brianna Gosse, Everglow and more. He has also self-produced two award-winning albums of his own. Kirby travels far and wide to make music: Nashville, Los Angeles, Netherlands, and even to Cuba, where he produced parts of Keith Mullins’“Island Sol” album at the famed EGREM studios. Between touring with Matt Andersen & the Bona Fide and his busy life as writer and producer, it’s no surprise that Kirby hasn’t had much time for his own music lately. But that’s about to change: with a stack of new songs and new inspirations, Chris Kirby promises a new album in the year ahead.

Campbell Woods released his debut record, "Oxford Street" in the spring of April 2017. He's been on the road ever since, performing everywhere from Vancouver to Halifax to Nashville to Austin. As a songwriter he's been compared to the likes of Townes Van Zandt and John K. Sampson. Powerful songs, simply delivered. "Oxford Street" debuted at no. 4 on the earshot folk/roots radio charts and has been nominated for a Toronto Independent Music Award.

Blue

Blue is a singer/songwriter from Montreal, Canada.

Baby God

Baby God is a charming mess of indie rock, alt-country and folk comprised of duo Andrew Murray and Nathan Gill. You may know Andrew from his time with English Words, Sorrey, and Wildcat, and Nathan from Two Hours Traffic and the North Lakes. This project finds the two songwriters away from home having left various relationships and bands. Their self-titled debut album was recorded under string lights in Nathan’s living room in Toronto. It is an album of the idyllic, idols and idling. The song-first approach and lo-fi production values keeps their album candid and direct.

Tommy Green Jr

Tommy Green Jr is a singer-songwriter and comedian from Halifax, Nova Scotia who uses loop pedals and effects (like Ed Sheeran) to built huge acoustic soundscapes. His live shows are a whirlwind of sing-alongs, hilarious stories and audience interaction. 

He performs elevated versions of songs from his self-titled album nominated in 2016 for “Pop Album Of The Year” and “New Artist Recording” at Nova Scotia Music Week. “Sand In My Sheets” is full of sultry hooks and warm summer chords that transport you straight to the beach, while “I Blame Toronto” (Bob Mersereau’s favourite title of 2015) is a heart-wrenching story of the loss of young love. 

 His soulful voice, seasoned banter, and the way he involves the audience to bring everyone together and create a feeling of unity and charm will make you a life long fan.

Thomas Stajcer

From Halifax, Nova Scotia via hockey-stick making Hespeler, Ontario, Thomas Stajcer’s debut is a country & western tour of doubt and regret that culminates in the ultimate question: Will I Learn To Love Again? Opening with the slow-burning, violin-infused ballad “Love Me Now (Or Never Again),” the album picks up with the late-night two-stepping “Salesman” before driving full steam ahead with the high-octane ripper “In the Long Run.” Classic country sounds and themes dominate the LP, harkening the sneer, whimsy, and frankness of outlaw country pioneers such as Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash. These influences blend with touches of rock n’ roll on tracks such as “Any Old Road” and the album’s raucous closer, “How Long Could I Wait?.” As with the best country records and performers, vibrant storytelling is on full display throughout, shining bright on the introspective “Wildfires,” the pining title track, and in the voice of the Dukes of Hazzard-esque narrator (Mike Trask) on “Sad Cowboy.” Recorded live off the floor at Joel Plaskett’s New Scotland Yard (where Stajcer is the in-house engineer), the album features two tracks - “Love Me Now (Or Never Again)” and “Wildfires” - co-written with the East Coast icon. Assembling a host of seasoned backup musicians to bring these songs to life, Will I Learn To Love Again? is true to the big band live show that garnered Stajcer a nomination for Country Artist of the Year in The Coast’s 2017 Best of Music Reader’s Poll. "The Maritimes country-rocker delivers a debut with the same energy and level of production you would expect from a seasoned professional." (Mattina, Canadian Beats) The year prior, Thomas Stajcer attended the Gordie Sampson Song Camp and has co-written with some of Nova Scotia’s most talented songwriters including Dylan Guthro, Dave Sampson, Steven MacDougall(Slowcoaster), Laurenn Marchand, Campbell Woods, Eric Stephen Martin, and Joel Plaskett.

The Mellotones

For over a decade, The Mellotones have been bringing their high-octane party to stages around the world. Lighting up dance floors wherever they go, the R&B Funk band is an 8-piece powerhouse. From weddings to festivals, or from sweaty late-night clubs to corporate events, their in-demand, energetic show provides the perfect atmosphere for any occasion. Combining powerful vocals, dynamic horns, and a groovy rhythm section with a catalogue that dives deep into the history of soul, funk, disco, and R&B music, The Mellotones recall an era dominated by the classics of Motown, Stax, and Chess Records. The members – Jeff Mosher (vocals/saxophone), Jody Lyne (trumpet), Eric Landry (trombone), Sean Weber (lead saxophone), Brad Conrad (guitar), Ian Mosher (keyboards), Mike Farrington Jr. (bass), and Damien Moynihan (drums) – are a remarkably tight unit. Equipped with a wealth of experience as road-tested session players and backup musicians for ECMA and JUNO Award winning artists, The Mellotones are a hard-working, well-oiled collection of some of the region’s best performers. Over their long career, the band has not only garnered a devoted fan base, but also the opportunity to sit-in with acts such as David Foster, Dan Akroyd, The Free Nationals, Nathan East, and even Dennis Rodman. In 2015, The Mellotones toured with renowned blues guitarist Matt Andersen as his backing band. Guaranteed to deliver a night of exceptional entertainment for the young and the young at heart, The Mellotones are a sure fire party hit ideal for any event. The Mellotones will act as Jarvis Church's Halifax All Star band at HUFF.

Stewart Legere

From Halifax, Canada. Stewart Legere's folk/pop songs are lovingly composed with vivid storytelling and luscious harmonies, darkened with such sincere delivery and frank lyrics, you'll long to sing along and make it alright. Honest, charming and open-hearted, Legere is also a member of orchestral pop outfit The Heavy Blinkers and an award winning theatre artist (The Accidental Mechanics Group + Zuppa Theatre Co.) His debut album, Quiet the Station (2017) was a "...magnificently haunting folk-pop fusion."

Makayla Lynn

Named by Rolling Stone Magazine as a new artist you need to know, Makayla Lynn has already earned herself 9 major award nominations, including 3 ECMAs and 5 Music NS nods, all before she was even old enough to drive. Winner of the 2018 ECMA Country Recording of the Year and the 2017 Music Nova Scotia Country Album of the Year, Makayla boasts more than 1 million video views from 50,000 social media fans. Recently hitting #1 on CMT’s 12 pack countdown, the Taylor Guitars artist plays more than 100 shows a year in front of crowds as large as 30,000. From major country music festivals across Canada to iconic venues such as The Bluebird Cafe, the teen’s stage show ranges from intimate songwriter circles to fronting her own band since the incredibly young age of 12. Graduating high school one year early, Makayla is currently splitting time between Nova Scotia and Nashville being mentored by some of the best in the industry, and will soon make the move more permanent. Having already proven herself a successful singer, songwriter and performer, 2017 found Makayla adding producer to the list, taking the reins alongside Smith Curry (Kid Rock, Taylor Swift) on her latest project recorded at Reba McEntire’s Starstruck Studios, “On a Dare and a Prayer” which went on to win multiple country album awards and songwriting nominations.

MAJOR LOVE is the moniker of Canadian songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Colleen Brown - and a new album featuring members of Scenic Route To Alaska, Jesse & the Dandelions, Elijah Abrams and producer Aaron Goldstein (Daniel Romano, Altameda). From Edmonton, Alberta by way of Kingston, Ontario, they've made an album of 'soulful pop-rock music for their hoser friends’. With versatile songs and a voice akin to Joni Mitchell, Colleen Brown is relentlessly unafraid. In 2015 she released her 4th solo studio album ‘Direction’ - co-produced by Joel Plaskett - topping college radio charts, and touring Canada, Germany and the UK. Kerry Doole of exclaim.ca says, "she is the rare vocalist that impresses equally on vibrant soul and quiet folk...traveling in Brown's Direction is one very pleasing trek."  The self-titled debut album by Major Love will be released on Cowboy Junkies' imprint Latent Recordings Aug 24, 2018. The first two singles 'Tear It Down' and 'So Good' both charted on CBC Radio 2 Top 20.

Jodi Guthro is a Canadian singer-songwriter from Halifax, NS. Her debut single “Heights” reached #6 on Spotify’s Canada Viral 50 chart within the first few days of its release. Growing up in a home filled with professional musicians, it did not take Jodi long to find her own place in the music business, uncovering a unique style of Pop/R&B. Whether it is writing for herself or for fellow artists, her dedication to the craft and prolific talent continuously shines through. On record and onstage, Jodi’s distinctive voice, infectious songs, and humble confidence mark her as someone to watch.

Mixing pop rock elements with captivating harmony vocals, Fairgale is a mix of Oasis & Kings of Leon with 3-part harmonies that soar like The Eagles. Two lead vocalists with distinctly different voices allow for a fresh sound from one song to the next. Fairgale won the inaugural George Street 'Rock the Block' competition in 2015 and followed that up by releasing their Music NL nominated debut album 'Own the Light' in December of that year. Fairgale were nominated for Group of the Year at 2016's MusicNL Awards, and were chosen as a Regional Finalist in CBC's Searchlight competition. They have toured Atlantic Canada and shared the stage with acts such as Trooper, Sloan and Yukon Blonde. Fairgale released their sophomore album, "Pillars" in May of 2018.

Hailing from Canada's East Coast, Newfoundland's Chris Ryan has been entertaining crowds for over a decade. With his gritty voice, stellar guitar playing and high energy stage presence, Chris has become a mainstay in the Atlantic Canadian entertainment scene. Chris has had the opportunity to perform at the prestigious Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival, as well as share the stage with country music legends Toby Keith and Deana Carter, Canadian royalty Blue Rodeo, Great Big Sea's Alan Doyle and Newfoundland folk favorites Fortunate Ones. In 2014, Chris began accompanying CCMA nominee & CMT "Big In A Small Town" finalist Quentin Reddy. While working with Quentin, Chris played stages at the Canadian Country Music Awards, East Coast Music Awards and appeared on the Bell Media show “Club One New Releases”, filmed & broadcast in both Newfoundland and Trinidad. Since the release of his self titled debut album, Chris has caught the attention of the East Coast music industry, playing showcases during East Coast Music Week and Music Nfld. & Labrador Week, along with receiving nominations for "Country Recording of the Year" and "Songwriter of the Year". Chris' songwriting skills allowed him to be part of the 2016 ECMA SOCAN Song House, working with Nashville’s songwriting guru Ralph Murphy. This also led to Chris touring with Ottawa Valley artist Kelly Prescott from Canada to Tennessee and co-writing in Nashville. Numerous singles from Chris' debut album continue to receive regular rotation on radio stations in Newfoundland and Labrador & Nova Scotia and he was recently announced as an East semi-finalist in the 2018 SiriusXM-CCMA Top of the Country Project. Chris has been hard at work writing & co-writing songs for his follow-up album to be released in 2018 and is currently on the road in Canada with Nfld. and Labrador artist Carolina East.
BRDGS (pronounced “Bridges”) is a Toronto based electronic-pop act brought to life by ECMA award-winning singer/songwriter/producer Jonathan Pike. Having released two singles in 2017, including the hit single “In the Wild” which peaked at #28 on the Canadian CHR Chart, BRDGS is quickly becoming a standout in the world of Canadian pop. Working alongside award-winning producers/songwriters like KUYA (“Here” Alessia Cara), and JoLi (“Everything is Awesome” The Lego Movie), Pike also writes and produces for other artists, some of which include Victoria Duffield, Shawn Deman, and Kayla Diamond. Bringing a larger than life persona to the stage, Pike’s performances are dramatic, thrilling, and theatrical. Having performed in hundreds of venues in every province in Canada, Pike’s latest project BRDGS is an act to watch in the Canadian pop music scene.
Villages are a folk group from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Made up of a group of cousins, Villages set out to create a sound inspired by their home in the Maritimes along with the traditional folk songs of England, Scotland and Ireland. The result is a collection of original songs that feature poetic storytelling over modern and traditional sounds. Working with producer Joel Plaskett, Villages has released several singles which have been featured on CBC Radio, BBC Radio and a number of other Canadian radio stations.

Tom Wilson’s Beautiful Scars

TOM WILSON is the best selling author of Beautiful Scars, as well as a three-time Juno winning Canadian musician with multiple gold records. He has written for and recorded songs with Sarah McLachlan, City and Colour, Jason Isbell, Colin James, Lucinda Williams, Billy Ray Cyrus, Mavis Staples and The Rankin Family. His band Junkhouse has scored eleven top-ten hits, and his iconic, Americana-fuelled Blackie and the Rodeo Kings was widely publicized for its presence on George Bush’s iPod. Tom’s most recent incarnation, Lee Harvey Osmond, has received extensive praise and airplay throughout the United States. His art has shown in galleries in New York City, Vancouver, Toronto and more recently, The National Gallery in Ottawa. The author lives in Hamilton, Ontario.“I have unchained all the prisoners from my basement and freed the ghosts from my attic. I was the guy who ended up holding the keys to their freedom. It was me who let them out. It’s a job that no one else could do and one that comes with great consequence because these ghosts and prisoners are standing around me now all day, all night long. I told my truth the way I heard it and the way I remembered it and that’s all I have. Everything else is bullshit.” Tom Wilson

Tanya Davis is a poet, musician, and performer currently based in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal. She has 4 albums and 2 books, including a hardcover by HarperCollins of the widely popular videopoem How to be Alone, a collaboration with Haligonian Andrea Dorfman. Tanya is a past poet laureate of Halifax and was the 2016 artist in residence with Dalhousie University's Faculty of Medicine. She is currently exploring new ways to merge music and poetry while teaching herself the drums and working on a book about union.

Stuart Cameron

The son of East Coast legend John Allen Cameron, Stuart Cameron is one of Canada's most talented musicians. As well as playing in his own band - Toronto's The Heartbroken - he is a sought-after hired gun guitarist, playing regularly with Crash Test Dummies' Brad Roberts and Matthew Good. Stuart is also a familiar face in HUFF All Star bands, having played with Garland Jeffreys and David Pirner in the past...

Steve Poltz

Steve Poltz is not normal. He was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada) but lived most of his life in Southern California before moving to Nashville and those geographic poles are quite likely responsible for his unhinged genius. He is a dual citizen - Canada/USA - but has often said that, "should a hostage situation arise, I become conveniently Canadian." Over the course of his life he’s met Elvis Presley (who hugged his sister for far too long), trick or treated at Liberace’s house (each finger had a diamond ring), was Bob Hope’s favourite altar boy (according to him), bravely traveled the world busking before he knew how to do it, famously co-wrote “You Were Meant For Me” with Jewel, pissed off David Cassidy and can count some of the world’s coolest people as fans. He’s also an ex high school wrestler (98 pound class), an obsessed baseball fan, a yoga practitioner, a hopeless romantic, a smart-ass philosopher and a child-like adventurer/observer with an absurdist’s view of this crazy world and the various life-forms that inhabit it. He's interested in it all - the big and the small, the sublime and the ridiculous, the terrestrial and the cosmic. He doesn't just love life, he rides it bareback, naked, at a full gallop with one hand clenched deep in its mane and the other waving to anyone watching as he flies by. Time is ticking and he has work to do... As a recording artist, he’s fronted the semi-legendary Rugburns and is responsible for a critically lauded body of work on his own: One Left Shoe, Chinese Vacation, Answering Machine, The Barn (a children's album), Tales From The Tavern (a performance DVD), Traveling, Unraveling, Dreamhouse, Noineen Noiny Noin, the soundtrack for the acclaimed Sundance-screened documentary film, Running Wild - The Life of Dayton O. Hyde and his most recent offering, Folksinger. As good as his albums are (and they're very, very good), Steve positively owns a crowd when he's on stage, where the proverbial rubber hits the road. His shows are the stuff of legend – no two are alike – and can take an unsuspecting audience from laughter to tears and back again in the space of a single song. He is a master of improvisational songwriting and works without a set list to be free to react instantly to the mood of a room. It's also worth mentioning that he is an astonishing guitar player on top of everything else. He is quite possibly the most talented, and engaging, solo performer on this planet. That's what 250+ shows a year on three continents will do for you. Whether he's Canadian, or American, or simply from space, there's no denying there's only one Steven Joseph Joshua Poltz and to know him is to love him.

Ron Hawkins

Ron Hawkins has long been revered as one of Canada’s greatest contemporary singer-songwriters. As lead singer/multi-instrumentalist and main songwriter of Canada’s legendary Lowest of the Low, Ron Hawkins has collected many accolades through the years: In 1996, 2000 and again in 2005, Chart Magazine honoured the group’s 1991 debut album, Shakespeare My Butt, with spots in the top 10 of the Top 100 Canadian Albums of All Time. In 2000 and once again in 2015, Hawkins was voted Songwriter of the Year by NOW Magazine’s reader’s poll. Also in 2000, Ron received Toronto station 102.1 The Edge’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2008 The Lowest of the Low was inducted into the Canadian Indie Rock Hall of Fame and awarded gold records for Shakespeare My Butt. Over the years, Ron has written and released four LOTL albums, five solo discs, three records with his band The Rusty Nails, and two with The Do Good Assassins. Do The Right Now is Ron’s 16th album of original material. Winnipeg Free Press “…the allure of these songs lies in Ron’s lyrics and conversational, observational storytelling style. Every song harbours a memorable line or three, and his narrators are middle-aged romantics who pine for youth and loves lost and remembered. I get these visions in my head and I go downtown and look for you, is a typical lament, while acknowledgement of what happens when the words you never should say meet the things you can never take back will be an evocation of time and place for many. Producer Joe Dunphy and the DGA do a splendid job of augmenting Hawkins’ tales, with strings, subtle horns, tasteful guitar all bringing colour to the palette without making it muddy, ponderous or overbearing. When Garden Songs is done, as it is all too quickly, you’ll find yourself playing it again to find out what else it might reveal. “ ~ John Kendle Toronto/Winnipeg/Ottawa/Edmonton/Calgary Sun-London Free Press-24 Hours-Vancouver “Armed with a sheaf of the Lowest of the Low leader’s bittersweet odes, lovelorn laments and sharp-witted ballads, they cut this disc live off the studio floor and mixed it all within a week. And why not? With songs and performances this magnificently magnetic, anything more would have been a waste of time.” ~ Daryl Sterdan Waterloo Record “Here he is with his other ace band, offering a live-off-the-floor collection of ballads and mid-tempo material. It’s what Hawkins does best, where his lyrics are given space to sink in, where the richness of his voice really shines, where cellos and accordions bring out more in his material than loud electric guitars do. The new material shows that he’s certainly not in a slump.” ~ Michael Barclay Wildy’s World/Amherst, NY“The album was recorded over the course of one week, and highlights Hawkins’ brilliance as a songwriter and lyricist. It also shows off The Do Good Assassins ability to bring those songs to life….listeners newly introduced to Hawkins will be stunned by what they hear. Garden Songs is a must have album. I’ll give it 5 stars, without reservation.” ~Wildy Haskell Exclaim! “The songs on this album were arranged and recorded in the space of a week, recorded live; it shows in the confident and laid-back energy of the band…an excellent ensemble. The intimacy of this album feels real, too; it’s a visit to Ron Hawkins’ musical neighbourhood.” ~Emily Zimmerman

Mike Ryan - Short Bio As the frontman and songwriter for The Town Heroes, Mike Ryan has toured the world, released 4 critically acclaimed albums and won an array of industry awards. A natural storyteller with a desire to entertain, Ryan’s ability to connect with an audience is unparalleled. Known for his banter, crowd engagement and comical stories, his goal as an entertainer is to transport the listener to a world where they believe anything is possible. At the root of every song is a passionate exploration of the things that make us all human. Whether good or bad, they’re the things that make us who we are: heartache, love, the scocioeconomic struggles of rural Canada, dreams and family.
Whether performing with a power-pop trio or solo, Mike Bochoff throws down a variety of catchy choruses and wry observations with authority and a healthy dash of sly humor. His highly-engaging performances have seen him grace stages all over North America supporting past efforts …in the Service of Madness (2007), Horror Culture (2009) and Start ‘Em Young (2014). Together with the aforementioned trio, The Mike Bochoff Band - rounded out with Mat Budreski (drums, vocals) and Stephen Hare (keys, vocals) - 2017 saw the release of their dark horse offering Distractions on the GroundSwell Music label. Distractions is an earnest display of the band’s versatility within the pop music pantheon, underscored with the electrifying highs of “Glory”, the scathing-yet-compassionate “Sons of America” and the brooding, somber lows of the title-track “Distractions”. Mike will be performing solo at HUFF.

John Jacob Magistery

With "psychedelic jams, bouncy pop, (and) quiet folk - John Jacob Magistery beams with mature precision" (OEB SXSW 2018). Hailing from Montreal, the post-indie ensemble blends powerful lyrics with influences of folk, soul and hip-hop. The music finds roots in the raw and sometimes violent undercurrents of life in the Americas, zeroing in on the struggle and banality in today's age of collective sensory experience. Their live performance showcases their charged emotional energy with vocals that drive an intense, well-crafted sound.
Luring you in with her powerful and expressive voice, Jessie Brown is a siren perched atop the rocky shores of Halifax, Nova Scotia. With her power trio's dark and moody take on alternative soul, they’re described as Aretha Franklin singing for Queens Of The Stone Age. This doom soul trio will entice you to shore, crush your expectations, and keep your heart as a souvenir. Jesse is performing solo at HUFF.

Gabrielle Papillon

“When you come to your knees / when you hold what you need / you will know what to keep,” sings Gabrielle Papillon near the end of her sixth, most adventurous album. Hear it as a promise, hear it as a mantra, hear it as a weary warning from someone who’s been there—the sweeping and heart-piercing Keep the Fire is packed full of thoughts like this, wise and poignant, empathetic and understanding, open to interpretation. Papillon’s music, too, is now open to interpretation—though it remains confidently, almost nonchalantly rooted in folk strumming and gentle vocal phrasings, on Keep the Fire she has embraced her pop leanings and pushed them to the forefront. The songs pulse with strings and drama, keys, and evocative percussion that combine for surprising left-turns, the kind of thing you’d find on a playlist between Florence Welch and Thom Yorke, bold without sacrificing emotion. This art-pop progression comes partly from Papillon’s continued relationship with producer and pop-folk whiz Daniel Ledwell, helmer of her last, award-winning chart-topper The Tempest of Old. Recording this batch of songs—imagined, Papillon says, as a backdrop to life, a life score—at Ledwell’s Echo Lake studio made for a foundation of strength and collaboration, which allowed for the new part of her record-making process: Corey LeRue. LeRue, the EDM pop genius behind Neon Dreams, lifts Keep the Fire into a new realm with his secret mixing recipes, adding heft and punch to pretty songs. The approaches may be disparate, but the result is something thrilling—melodic and catchy, memorable and affecting. So stay open, interpret. Sing out, dance slow. Hold the spark, keep the fire.

Dennis Ellsworth

In 2017, Dennis Ellsworth needed to make a new album. And it was an emergency. So, who better to call for assistance than Joel Plaskett, leader of The Emergency, to participate. The result is Ellsworth’s fifth solo LP, Things Change, a brilliant convergence of his irresistible power pop songwriting chops with Plaskett and co.’s trademark vintage guitar-driven sound. In the past, Prince Edward Island native Ellsworth has never hesitated to seek out the right people for specific projects. It’s led him to build an impressive body of work in conjunction with producer David Barbe (Drive-By Truckers, Sugar), along with CanRock heroes such as Josh Finlayson (Skydiggers, Gord Downie), Hugh Christopher Brown, and Tim Bovaconti (Ron Sexsmith). However, teaming up with Plaskett at Joel’s New Scotland Yard studio in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia became a totally immersive experience for Ellsworth that opened up many new creative possibilities. Things indeed change, most often when we least expect them to. But sometimes when we know change is necessary, it can force us to finally go places we’ve long put off. Dennis Ellsworth has reached a place he’s always meant to be with Things Change, and thankfully he’s welcomed the rest of us to join him there.

Cool Blue Halo

Founded by singer/songwriters Paul Boudreau and Barry Walsh in 1992, by 1995 – after numerous personnel changes and a brief hiatus – Halifax quartet Cool Blue Halo found its firm footing with the arrival of bassist and vocalist Jason Ives and drummer Glenn MacCulloch. In 1996, with Halifax-based producer and engineer Laurence Currie behind the board, the band took to Idea of East Studios (where Currie was concurrently recording Sloan’s landmark “One Chord to Another” album) to record its first – and, to date, only – full-length album, Kangaroo, for Halifax indie label No Records. Released in June of 1996, the album appeared in the top 20 charts of campus radio stations across Canada and generated glowing reviews, with AllMusicGuide’s Gina Boldman, in her four-star review, calling it “one of the most refreshing power pop albums to surface in the past few years.” Videos for "Sweetie Said," “Too Much Kathleen” and “Take It Back Now” received considerable airplay on Canada’s music television cable network, MuchMusic and, rare for an indie band without major label backing, the singles also received strong airplay on commercial radio across Canada, with “Too Much Kathleen” appearing on the top 15 of Toronto FM station Q107, as well as hometown FM station Q104 in Halifax. Performing across Canada, the band would eventually sell close to 2,500 copies of Kangaroo before breaking up, with each member moving on to new musical projects, and various members moving away from Halifax. Now, just over 20 years after its initial release, Kangaroo has received a new lease on life via Toronto-based DWRecordings. Home to Michelle McAdorey’s Polaris Prize long-listed solo album, Into Her Future, the label has released an anniversary edition of Kangaroo on vinyl, on CD and through digital outlets. The band reunited for a special hometown show during the 20th anniversary edition of the Halifax Pop Explosion in 2012, and will do so again for the 2018 edition of the Halifax Urban Folk Festival - Cool Blue Halo's second gig in approximately 21 years!

Carmen Townsend

" If Rock and Roll was walkin' down the street....it would be wearin' a Carmen Townsend T-Shirt" - Matt Andersen. Cape Breton's own Rock and Roll Valkyrie, Carmen Townsend, is a 4 time Music Nova Scotia Award winner. She was named Female Artist, New Artist Recording, Rock Recording and Album of the Year in 2011 and took home the ECMA for Rising Star Recording of the year. Upon the release of her debut album she was selected to support Heart on their 2011 Cross Canada Tour. She has performed her music all over the world. She is currently in Cape Breton laying low, playing shows and heading back into the studio to record some long-awaited new music.

Black Umfolosi 5

Black Umfolosi were formed in 1982 by school friends in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, who named themselves after the Umfolozi Omnyama River in South Africa - to where their ancestors can be traced. In 2009 The Black Umfolosi 5 continue to present their spectacular songs and dances thrilling audiences worldwide with a NEW LINE-UP. Their performances are energy driven and completely engaging, mixing a great gentleness of spirit and song with an exuberance in dance. Their trademark harmonies mixed with intricate rhythms, clicking and clapping are highlighted during their brilliantly choreographed shows with a full range of movements from subtle to vibrant stomping and leaping! Their famous Gumboot Dances showcase the traditional styles and rituals of the South African mining regions and are a particular crowd-pleaser.

Jarvis Church

Jarvis Church bio History Gerald Eaton a.k.a. Jarvis Church is a Canadian R&B singer-songwriter and music producer, originally from Jamaica, currently living in Los Angeles. He is the lead singer for the R&B-pop group The Philosopher Kings, which reached its peak popularity in the late1990s. During the group's 7-year hiatus, Eaton began a solo career, releasing the album Shake it Off in 2002 under the stage name Jarvis Church, derived from two parallel streets in Toronto, Ontario. In 2008 Jarvis released his second solo album called "The Long way Home". In 2012 he released his 3rd solo album The Soul Station Vol 1: The songs of Sam Cooke, A Tribute. As a producer, in 1999 he discovered Nelly Furtado at the Honey Jam showcase in Toronto Canada and in 2001 he co-produced Nelly Furtado's debut album Whoa, Nelly! with his Philosopher Kings bandmate Brian West. In 2001 they were nominated for the producer of the year Grammy and went on to produce a variety of different tracks under the production name Track and Field. In 2004 Jarvis also discovered Canadian/Somalian rapper K'naan in Toronto and co-wrote and co-produced his first two albums, the Juno award winning, The Dusty Foot Philosopher and his sophomore release, Troubadour. The Philosopher Kings have reunited once again in 2018. They have a new single out called Still the One and are releasing a new album in In the fall with a national tour to follow in late 2018. Awards and Honors 1995 Juno award for best new group. The Philosopher Kings. 1996 Socan award for best urban music. The Philosopher Kings. 2001 Grammy nomination for producer of the year for Whoa Nelly, Nelly Furtado. 2002 Juno for producer of the year for Whoa Nelly, Nelly Furtado. 2005 Juno for best hip hop album, The Dusty Foot Philosopher, K'naan. 2005 Socan award for pop music, Powerless (say what you want), Folklore, Nelly Furtado. 2010 Socan number one award for Take a Minute, Troubadour, K'naan

The HFX All Stars

With over a decade of experience in the music industry, at 23 years old, T. Thomason is already a force in the Canadian musical landscape. T. has garnered multiple ECMA and Music Nova Scotia nominations, placements on Degrassi, songwriting awards and recognition as one of Canada’s Top 25 Under 25 by CBC Music. Thomason has also shared the stage with The Trews, Joel Plaskett, Gord Downie, Collective Soul, Fefe Dobson, Dragonette, and Carly Rae Jepsen, to name a few. Most recently, Thomason has been named Casino Nova Scotia’s Artist in Residence for 2018. In 2015 and early 2016, T. took personal time off to hone his musical direction and develop his EP, “sweet baby”, with producer Dave Henriques (Justin Nozuka / Iskwé). The EP was released independently online in 2016, and re-released in May, 2017 on COAX Records. A conglomerate of Thomason’s songwriting sensibilities and reverb-y indie rock anthemic choruses, “sweet baby” garnered him a 2017 nomination for Rock Recording of the Year at the Nova Scotia Music Awards. In November 2017, T. and Dave embarked on a new collaborative journey developing the pop/electronic sound of Thomason’s first full length record under his new name, featuring his new voice. Release is scheduled for early 2019, with the first single "Bliss" dropping August 10th at the Carleton in Halifax.

Paper Beat Scissors

PAPER BEAT SCISSORS w/ 6-PIECE CHAMBER ENSEMBLE Critically-lauded Halifax old-boy Tim Crabtree returns with his project Paper Beat Scissors to perform a one-off show supported by a 6-piece orchestral ensemble of Halifax's finest musicians performing arrangements written during a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in the winter of 2016. Paper Beat Scissors is the expanding and contracting experimental folk project of Montreal's relocated-Brit Tim Crabtree. His haunting voice, dynamic live shows and fusion of classical and electronic elements have been heralded on both sides of the Atlantic. Following the release of the highly-acclaimed self-titled debut album with Michael Feuerstack (Snailhouse/Bell Orchestre) producing and Arcade Fire drummer Jeremy Gara mixing the music found its way onto BBC and CBC airwaves and the cover CD of Rolling Stone Magazine in Germany. PBS has toured Canada and Europe, headlining festivals and sharing the stage with the likes of Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon/Red House Painters), Owen Pallett, Tanya Tagaq and Great Lake Swimmers. Since 2015 Crabtree has been performing with locally-based chamber ensembles and full symphony orchestras from coast to coast, most recently releasing a live album backed by a specially-commissioned 7-piece chamber ensemble recorded at Montreal’s Sala Rossa with musicians who have played with the likes of Björk, Rich Aucoin and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry.

Appearing

Laura Merrimen

With vocal stylings haunted by the soul singers of yesteryear, Laura Merrimen's songwriting is bona fide and captivating. She is an old soul who wears her Americana-drenched heart on her sleeve. Keeping true to her roots, she blends rock and roll know-how with catchy country/soul melodies and the result is a smokey, wistful trip down memory lane. Merrimen has a new self-produced album set for release this fall. She recorded in it Toronto's east end with engineer Brian Murray and band mates Jordan Nieuwhof and Jeff McClellan. "It's like Emmylou, T-Rex and Crazy Horse had a love child."

Dustin Bentall

Dustin Bentall has made an indelible impression on the Canadian music scene touring extensively with icons Blue Rodeo, Sam Roberts Band, Matt Mays and many others as well as touring North America supporting internationally renowned folk legend John Prine. His latest album "You Are An Island" "breathes fresh air into the alt country back room... no small thanks to the whiskey-soaked, punk-dusted fiddling of Kendel Carson".. and the result is, "a tougher, more flamboyant breezing down a Prairie highway kind of album.. studded with quality lyrics in which Bentall becomes totally invested." Dustin has an energy and charm that is compelling, magnetic and completely authentic.

Sadie Campbell

Sadie Campbell is a woman who can hold her own. The songstress melds her powerful blues-stained vocals with a contemporary edge, to sound equally at home in both Vancouver and Nashville. Inspired by the songwriting of greats like Patty Griffin and Joni Mitchell, her music draws on the raw honesty of her lyrical narrative and incorporates influences from her time in Nashville, New York City and her travels abroad.
Mick is a singer, songwriter, guitarist & producer from St. John's, Newfoundland, who earned international acclaim with his group the Novaks. Now a prolific solo artist, Mick plays over 150 gigs a year, releasing albums regularly, with 5 excellent independent releases since 2014. Mick is the recipient of MusicNL's Male Artist of the Year award (2017). He lives in his hometown with his wife Tracy & their cat, Tom Petty.

Tim Baker

Tim Baker is best known as the writer and frontman of the much- acclaimed Newfoundland group, Hey Rosetta!. They are a Juno- nominated, Polaris-shortlisted, heavily-awarded band that has been creating poetic, powerful alternative music for over a decade. Year after year, they brought their sweeping, high-energy live show all over the world, playing major festivals, stadiums, theatres, and clubs. In the fall of 2017, the band announce an indefinite hiatus, selling nearly 10,000 tickets in a short run of farewell shows. Although a sad ending, it gave Tim the opportunity to return to a solo situation, much like how Hey Rosetta! began nearly 13 years ago. In late 2017, Tim spent time in the studio with producer and close friend, Marcus Paquin. Together, they took over 30 of Tim’s compositions, and narrowed them down to a handful that represented Tim at his core: a wonderfully imaginative acoustic songwriter, a thoughtful poet, a playful arranger, and a technically profound musician. The recordings stood to be good demos, but didn’t fully capture what Baker wanted to first offer in a solo setting. Instead, in an attempt to reconnect with fans and become inspired again, Baker embarked on a cross-Canada mission, performing in studios, living rooms, and small art spaces. He recorded 15 performances and narrowed the recordings down to a solo EP, set to be released later in 2018.
"Gonna hang on a little bit longer, sleep well, work a little harder; put my faith in something I can't see," sings Lilly Hiatt on the title track of her third LP, Trinity Lane. It's a set of honest words from an album of personal truths; a collection of songs that take stock of where she's been, where she's going and the challenges she's weathered to get there. Produced by Michael Trent of Shovels & Rope, Trinity Lane is indeed about hanging on, working hard and keeping the faith, centered on songwriting that melds the observational with the confessional and never tries to follow any particular genre code – the guitar riffs are as Seattle as they are southern, the topics are as modern as they are built on the past. East Nashville's Trinity Lane is where Hiatt lives, and Trinity Lane is a document of what lives inside her. "There is a lot of hope in the album," says Hiatt about the follow-up to her sophomore LP, Royal Blue. "There is a lot of pain, but this album is a more mature response to that pain. It's taking responsibility of those emotions, and realizing what they are. A little brighter perspective. It took some time to get there." Trinity Lane is full of gifts and full of guts – an album that is a healing process and a road map forward, filled with Hiatt's wildly expressive approach to songwriting and stark, honest lyrics. To get there, she finally had to put her faith in something she couldn't see. But to hear that journey, all you have to do is listen.

Brad Roberts

For nearly 30 years, Brad Roberts has been, "one of the most famous voices in Canadian rock and roll" (CBC). As the frontman for the JUNO Award-winning group Crash Test Dummies, Roberts underpinned the group's biggest hits such as "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" and "Superman's Song" with his unmistakable timbre and delivery. He has since struck out on his own for performances that include a healthy a dose of fan-favourites as well as new solo material. Brad will be accompanied by the HFX All Stars and the show will kick off with the Opening Songwriters' Circle featuring Lilly Hiatt, Tim Baker, and T. Thomason.