Serena Ryder http://serenaryder.com (Sunday)
Serena returns to the festival after a great packed concert in 2009. The recipient of three JUNO Awards and two gold albums, this year Ryder unveiled her most personal and ambitious album yet. The result is ‘Harmony’ – robust, passionate, optimistic, adventurous, haunting and addictive.
Serena ended up working with two different producers on this album – Emmy/Grammy nominated producer/songwriter/musician Jerrod Bettis (Gavin Degraw, Better Than Ezra) and producer/songwriter/musician Jon Levine (K’naan, Nelly Furtado). Serena, Jerrod and Jon play most of the instruments on the album. By recording much of ‘Harmony’ at her own home studio The Cottage, the essence of the songs were able to properly flourish. They also recorded at Guest House Studios in Los Angeles and Synagogue in Hollywood; then the album was mixed by Joe Zook (Modest Mouse, Katy Perry). “Harmony” is my journey…my past, my present, my future and all the ugly and beautiful things that I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing so far in my short life here,” shares Serena.
The Good Family is… (Saturday)
(The Good Brothers http://www.thegoodbrothers.com)
(members of The Sadies http://www.thesadies.net/band.htm)
The Good Brothers have gained a worldwide audience over the course of their accomplished career. Twins Bruce and Brian, along with kid brother Larry, knew they were destined for something bigger than their suburban Toronto roots. Formed in the early 1970s from Kinfolk and then a stint with James Ackroyd, the Good Brothers’ first gig was at legendary Toronto club The Riverboat, on May 14, 1974. They played simple music, straight from the heart that encompassed country, bluegrass, folk, and the occasional taste from the rock and roll songbook. Fiddle tunes flowed as did cover songs, highlighted by Larry’s banjo breaks, Bruce’s autoharp, their unique sibling harmonies, and enough on-stage energy to burn down the cornfield. They also played that summer at the 3rd Northern Lights Folk Festival. Forty years later, with platinum records, eight straight Junos for Country Artist of the Year and acclaimed tours on every continent, The Goods finally recorded an album this year with their entire family.
Although they have often been accompanied by The Sadies’ Dallas and Travis Good, 2013 marks the first record of all The Sadies and The Good Brothers performing together. This will no doubt be a dynamite show, returning the Sadies to the Festival for the 3rd time and the Goods first appearance in Sudbury since 2003.
Buck 65 http://www.buck65.com/ (Friday)
Rich Terfry is Buck 65. He’s from Mt. Uniacke, Nova Scotia, which qualifies technically as the middle of nowhere. When he started making music, he was terrified that his friends would find out about it and kick his ass. That was a long time ago. In the last 20 years, he has released and given away more than 20 albums and countless other stray songs.
Buck 65 travels the world alone and collects books and movies and stories that haven’t been told yet. Buck 65’s music started out as hip hop, and there’s still a strong whiff of that tradition, but it has evolved into something else. Sometimes it sounds rural. Sometimes it sounds like something fished out of a drain pipe. He wishes it sounded like a Terrence Malick film or a Max Ernst painting. Now no one knows what to call it. Buck 65 raps, sings, makes beats, plays instruments and DJs, but is best known for his dancing. He is also the wildly popular host of CBC Radio 2’s great afternoon show, Drive.
Sheesham and Lotus and Son http://www.sheeshamandlotus.com/
An important moment of reckoning between Lotus Wight and Sheesham Crow was when they realized that they had the common experience as children brushing their teeth to the fiddle tune “Turkey in the Straw”, using the shape of their mouths to manipulate the melody of the tune. It was this kind of idle, yet innate musicality which followed them as youngsters. They came together in 1998 in the group Flapjack, traveling for seven years, mastering traditions of fiddling and old time music across the continent. Since founding as a duo in the wake of Flapjack, Sheesham and Lotus have become a welcome mainstay at the Northern Lights Festival Boréal. Whether holding court on the grassy knoll, family stage, workshops or the mainstage, Sheesham and Lotus and Son have embodied the heart and soul of our weekend.
Lynn Miles http://www.lynnmilesmusic.com/
Lynn Miles is one of Canada’s most accomplished singer/songwriters. With eight albums to her credit, the winner of multiple Canadian Folk Music Awards and a 2003 JUNO Award for Roots & Traditional Solo Album of the Year, she has certainly found her strength over time. Through a career that has seen her move from Ottawa to Los Angeles and back again, with stops in Nashville and Austin, she has always written music with unbridled feeling and vulnerability. Miles has consistently been unflinching in putting herself out there. On er latest album, “Fall For Beauty”, the voice of her experience has truly elevated her songwriting to its richest depth of emotion. While her melodies undulate between traditional country and folk roots, it’s her sensitivity to the world around her that pours itself directly into Miles’ music to make it stand out.
Genre-defying maestro Socalled is a musician, producer, composer, arranger, magician, filmmaker, photographer and visual artist based in Montreal. Born in Ottawa and raised just north of there, in Chelsea, Québec, he grew up taking piano lessons and loving funk and hip hop. When Socalled first heard klezmer music on an old Yiddish record, he was fascinated by the cool sounds he could sample to make hip hop beats. Then he realized that integrating this Jewish music from the 1930s into his songs was a way of representing himself and his cultural heritage. It enabled him bring something of his own to funk and hip hop, giving him what he calls “a real reason to make music.” Socalled has performed all over the world, has released three CDs and recorded with Yiddish singer Theodore Bikel, lounge pianist Irving Fields, musician and producer Gonzales, master clarinetist David Krakaeur, country singer Katie Moore, rapper C-Rayz Walz, and funk trombone legend Fred Wesley, among others.
Caracol is a Montreal-based singer-songwriter. Her music is filled with raw emotion, in a style that includes pop-folk-indie-vintage with a retro soul influence. She writes in both French and English and is equally comfortable in both languages. She has received several top prizes for both show and album from Radio-Canada, Bourse Rideau, Prix Miroir, Adisq, as well as nominations at the Junos and Canadian Folk Music Awards. She made an intense impression on Sudbury audiences in 2011, and is back to make her Festival Boréal debut.
Adopted at birth by an Inuit family Elisapie was raised in Salluit, Nunavik, immersed in Inuk culture. For Elisapie, the North is not the end of the earth; rather, it is the centre. With the duo, Taima, she won a JUNO in 2005. This Montreal singer, composer and filmmaker returns with her sophomore solo album “Travelling Love”. Singer-songwriter Jim Corcoran co-wrote six tracks on the album, which also features Brad Barr (The Slip, Barr Brothers), Robbie Kuster (Patrick Watson) and Simon Angell (Patrick Watson). Skipping across languages and genres she easily shifts from English and French to Inuktitut and from quiet acoustics to synthy electronics. Describing the album title she explains “Love cannot be owned. It is something that is always moving, always flowing. That’s what I mean by ‘Travelling Love’.”
New Country Rehab http://www.newcountryrehab.com/
New Country Rehab is a tasty and eclectic brew. Driven by John Showman (seen at NLFB with Creaking Tree String Quartet), James Robertson, Roman Tome and Ben Whiteley (of the famous Whiteley family… his cousins were in the Junior Jug Band!), the band’s unique sound at once channels time-out-of-mind Hank Sr. as it deftly flirts with the edge of indie-rock. Add Showman’s keenly observed, street-smart tales of love and loss, and the effect is as compelling as it is resonant.
The Weber Brothers http://www.weberbrothers.com/
“If I had The Weber Brothers with me in 1952, Elvis would’ve been my roadie.” –Ronnie Hawkins.
The baddest band in the land. Ryan and Sam Weber left their Baltimore home as teenagers to meet rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins. They became full-fledged members of “The Hawks”. By the ages of 18 and 21 they had already performed alongside Kris Kristofferson, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Jeff Healey, David Wilcox and, in 2012, with Merle Haggard and Chuck Berry. They’ve recorded eight albums and toured extensively in the US, Canada and Europe, joined by keyboardist Shai “Cookie” Peer and drummer Marcus Browne. A reputation as an awe-inspiring band now precedes them.
D’Harmo is composed entirely of harmonica players. This type of band, rarely seen and heard, truly offers a one-of-a-kind show. D’Harmo performs an original roster of songs composed by its members and played using various types of harmonicas (diatonic, chromatic, bass and chord). The harmonicists, Pascal “Per” Veillette, Samuël Caron, Cédric Houdayer and Lévy Bourbonnais, are among the most talented in Canada. Winners of Le Conseil des arts de Montréal “Prix de la Diversité 2011” and Prix Roseq/Rideau 21012, their music is inspired from klezmer, Québec folklore, jazz and classical music, and combines modernity and tradition, eclecticism and pop.
Rosie and the Riveters http://www.rosieandtheriveters.ca/
First appearing on a WWII poster, Rosie the Riveter has been immortalized as a symbol of the strength and power that lurks inside every woman. This force drives and inspires Rosie and the Riveters. They are four fiercely talented women inspired by Rosie and the fashion and music of the 1940s. Seductive vocal arrangements, percussion, acoustic instrumentation, scintillating choreography, inviting humor and a whole lot of charm! Their show consists of traditional African American spirituals, toe-tapping bluegrass numbers, contemporary folk songs, and original material. Audiences will be left awestruck as The Riveters revisit the spirit of gospel music with folk and jazz.
After 15 years of partying up crowds, Swamperella has deserved its acclaim as a guaranteed good time. The original mandate of Swamperella, “to honour the Cajun music tradition”, has never been compromised. The integrity of the traditional form is always maintained even as originals and Zydeco began seeping into the repertoire of Sweet Cajun ballads, knock-out two steps and Creole. In February 2013, Swamperella released their 4th CD, “Leopard Skin Coat”, which features rocking Swamperella originals, some classic Cajun and Creole favourites.
Through six albums, The Grievous Angels chronicled the Canadiana life like few since Stompin’ Tom. After Charlie Angus returned to the North in 1992, the band’s last four albums centered on Northern Ontario… mining and rural life. In 2004, Charlie Angus entered parliament as the MP for Timmins-James Bay and has brought his passion for the north to the tables in Ottawa. Charlie, with Peter Jellard, Tim Hadley and Dave Patterson, remain the top chroniclers of what it is to live in the north. Charlie was the 1999 recipient of the Jackie Washington Award.
Mike Ford http://www.mikeford.ca/
Mike is a Juno-nominated Franco-Ontarian with four acclaimed albums of Canadian history-inspired songs, described as being “rabble-rousing and Pythonesque” and “essential listening” by the Globe & Mail, toured as a swing member of The Arrogant Worms, performed and EmCeed at festivals coast-to-coast. Mike’s new album, his first en français, is now available! “Le retour d’étienne brûlé” is an original 12-song journey from 17th century Wendake/Huronia to 21st century Toronto. Mike is known to many for his former life in the folk/rock/vaudeville Moxy Früvous, with whom he headlined all across North America and Europe.
Silver Birch String Quartet http://silverbirchstringquartet.com/
Named after the trees inhabiting the area, Sudbury’s JUNO-nominated Silver Birch String Quartet is one of Canada’s most innovative young quartets. String Quartet-in-Residence at LU, performing has taken them across North America, to performances and masterclasses at QuartetFest at Wilfrid Laurier University, the Ottawa International Jazz Festival, the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Stanford University Summer Chamber Music Festival, and Music by the Sea. The quartet has collaborated with the finest chamber musicians, including octets with the Penderecki String Quartet, quintets with pianist Peter Longworth, accordionist Joseph Petric, and cellist Simon Fryer.
24th Street Wailers http://the24thstreetwailers.com/
The 24th Street Wailers have quickly made a name for themselves in Blues and Rockabilly scenes. They won both the Relève en Blues and the Bourse Air Transat/Blues Sur Seine competitions at FestiBlues International de Montréal and were nominated for New Artist of the Year at The Maple Blues Awards, and Blues Group/Duo of the Year at the Sirius XM Indie Awards. The release of “Unshakeable” has brought The 24th Street Wailers much deserved recognition around the world. Boisterous. Swinging. Unshakeable!
Silas Lowe http://www.silaslowe.com/
Silas Lowe has been based out of Austin, Texas since 2006. His most recent project was with Bad Livers founder Mark Rubin in the Atomic Duo. Silas has performed at The Kennedy Center, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Vancouver Folk Festival and many more. His rabble-rousing songs will illuminate political perspectives and his quick turn of a phrase is signature of the Austin music scene.
Alfie Smith http://www.alfiesmith.org
Alfie Smith is a true modern day Blues Man, blending hard-edged rock and roll, gospel, folk and jazz with pure primal blues to create his own unique sound. He is adept at many instruments including 7-string slide guitar, banjo, guitar, 12-string guitar and lap steel. Alfie is a deep, passionate, brooding baritone in the vocal tradition of the old Blues shouters. He has released several albums, independently and through Busted Flat records.
A Hora is a musical form in Jewish music; it could be a slow walking tune in 3/4 time or a fast dancing tune. The Horables do it all – Klezmer, Django-style jazz, polkas, Gypsy dance tunes, rags and the occasional Cajun tune just to scare the horses. They rose from the all woman Klezmer band Pomegranate. Rachel Melas and Conny Nowe also play in Swamperella. Rachel Shenin is a lifelong violinist and leads the Bulgars and Freylachs fearlessly, solos effortlessly and sings in Yiddish. Michael Kaler has recently joined The Horables on upright bass.
Kate Maki http://www.katemaki.com
Kate Maki is a hardy country type of pioneer woman. Her guitar picking rhythm is like a drum, and she can belt out, even when she is quiet, like a storm. Her music carries its own necessity of illuminating and her songs represent a real natural talent for writing tunes that feel like a friend you’ve never met, but that you’ve known forever. Born and raised in Sudbury, Kate has been recording and touring since quitting her day job as a grade-school teacher in 2003. She has released five solo albums and has established a solid international fan base. A frequent collaborator, Kate has worked with Howe Gelb, Ruth Minnikin, Dale Murray, the Levecque brothers and most recently with her husband, Fred Squire. After touring the country together in 2011, Kate and Fred decided to take a break from the road and settled down in Copper Cliff to start a family.
Fred Squire http://music.cbc.ca/#/artists/frederick-squire
Fred is Canada’s favourite elusive songwriter. His newest album is “Sings Shenandoah…and other popular hits”. ‘Shenandoah’ is a traditional folk ballad of obscure origins. Echoing this classic narrative form, Squire leads the listener through forgotten moral territory with a set of exceptionally written songs primarily about forgiveness. Frederick Squire has been long active in the music community, initially as co-founder/songwriter of Shotgun & Jaybird (2003-08), and lately has been found collaborating with Calm Down It’s Monday, Mount Eerie, Daniel (Romano), Fred & Julie (Doiron) and most recently with Kate Maki.
Anne Feeney http://www.annefeeney.com
Based in Pittsburgh, Anne uses music to carry the message of solidarity to working people. After two decades of community activism and regional performances at rallies, Anne took to the road. Since 1991, she has traveled to the frontlines in 42 states, Canada, Mexico, Denmark, Ireland and Sweden. Her anthem, “Have You Been to Jail for Justice?” is being performed by activists everywhere. Anne is “the best labor singer in North America” according to Utah Phillips. In 2005, Anne received the Joe Hill Award from the Labor Heritage Foundation. Past recipients include Cesar Chavez, Pete Seeger, Faith Petric and Hazel Dickens.
One of our festival favourites returns! Widely multitalented, darlenYa is adept at every known stage skill except, perhaps, ventriloquism. She is apt to play one tune on a child’s toy accordion and, on the next, accompany herself with a didgeridoo. Along the way, darlenYa has expanded her vocal skills to encompass just about any kind of keening or chanting or ululation, from operatic soprano to mariachi to Finnish yoiking to throat singing to yodeling or even barking like a dog. She will be accompanied this weekend by Captain Dirt and the The Skirt and Dede.
Captain Dirt and the Skirt http://www.dirtandskirt.com
This is a collaboration between singer-songwriter-guitarist Kristin Sweetland and bassist-violinist Lyndell Montgomery, and they are currently recording their debut album “The Adventures of Captain Dirt & The Skirt” with multiple JUNO award-winner David Travers-Smith (Wailin’ Jennys, Oh Susanna). Coming from their own independently successful music careers, Sweetland and Montgomery are seasoned road-warriors. The new album will showcase their skills as composers, arrangers, and instrumentalists. The songs are diverse in style, drawing from traditional folk, Eastern-European folk, bluegrass, hymnal, Parisian café music, gypsy-jazz, and pop-rock.
Marie-Claire et les Hula-Hoops http://marie-claire.bandcamp.com
Think 60′s French yéyé meets psychedelic space rock with a splash of surf guitar and you’ll find Marie-Claire et les Hula-Hoops. This refreshing new band from Sudbury is made up of Marie-Claire Cronier, winner of Ontario Pop in 2012 and semi-finalist at the Festival International de la chanson de Granby next September, Jeff Houle and Mitch Houle (Strange Attractor, Statues, Varge) and Eric Hoop (UV Ray, Strange Attractor). Marie-Claire et les Hula-Hoops’ atmospheric grooves with a friendly punk attitude will take you to space and maybe back again.
Kill the Autocrat http://www.killtheautocrat.com
History shows us that music has the power to unify against incredible odds, and that every revolution needs a voice of reason. That is exactly what Sudbury-based Kill The Autocrat has become for a new-age labor movement that is taking North America by storm. They are putting the power behind “new generation protest music”, with a unique blend of hip-hop, rock n’ roll and indie. “We use music as a tool to express the need for human change,” says front man OB. “People deserve a fair shot in life and we keep getting hammered.” He has performed at rallies across the continent including the Wisconsin General Strike.
Low Animal http://lowanimal.bandcamp.com
Formerly called Muleskinner, Damien and Matt were 2/3rds of the Sudbury band Elephanta several years ago. Too often, critics try to praise two-piece bands by saying it sounds like there are more than two people onstage. Low Animal doesn’t sound like there are more than two people onstage; they sound like there are two giants onstage. Landing in territory varying from post-rock blues to folk and outlaw country, embrace the growth of Low Animal.
Dale is a past recipient of the Jackie Washington award for his dedication to the arts in our community. A lifelong educator, storyteller at festivals and schools and actor and supporter of community theatre, Dale has given his life to cultural development at the grassroots level. Storysocks is his storytelling hat for working with younger children. He has toured all over Ontario telling stories in classrooms, libraries, festivals and education conferences.
Music from most of the 20th century… songs about gambling, rambling, loving and losing. It’s all presented with tongue in cheek and a big a$$ brass horn called The Tuba, along with guitar and percussion. Always fun for all ages.
Sam Cassio (Meltdown Winner 2013 – solo)
A regular performer at Sudbury’s Townehouse Tavern, Sam mainly plays of mix of roots music and rock. Sam also plays in Coast Redwood, who appeared at the River & Sky festival last year. He is also one half of ‘Murder Murder’, which is project that pays tribute the old time murder ballads often heard in roots country and folk music. Sam writes and performs with a maturity not often seen in performers his age.
Coast Redwood (Meltdown Winner 2013 – band) http://coastredwood.bandcamp.com/
Coast Redwood are an indie-rock band. They write heavy songs without being heavy, pretty songs without being prissy. Each of them have been playing in all kinds of bands locally for years, from the slacker rock of Singapore, to the indie-pop of Willett, and the outlaw country of Murder Murder, with other groups along the way. They were awarded an Ontario Arts Council grant in the last season, and look forward to releasing their first full-length album in August, following a self-titled EP released last summer, on Cosmic Dave’s Record Factory.