This riotous and swaggering six-piece honky-tonk juggernaut has ignited crowds from coast to coast. The Bitterweed Draw has over 300 performances under their belt, spanning a range of venues including large festival stages, crowded bars, local markets, private functions, on-air radio, and whiskey swiggin’ sunrises aplenty.
Over the course of five years, The Bitterweed Draw has toured across Canada and has released multiple recording projects including The Burnt Cabin Sessions (2011, EP) and Heart of the Old West (2012, LP). Wheatland County Rag, their Sophomore LP, is set to be released in the Spring of 2015, with a national and international tour to follow.
From Edmonton, Alberta, Braden Gates is quickly becoming one of the most intriguing singer/songwriters in the province. A born raconteur in both his songwriting and song introductions, he is often compared to a young Loudon Wainwright: for his similar grimacing as he hits the notes and the sharpness of his observation and sly humor. Drawn to those with a story to tell, Gates aims to communicate these stories in a way that brings people together – which is often the case in one of his intimate live shows. Gates’ second album, Ferris Wheel, is a combination of intricate guitar work, driving fiddle playing and honest story telling. Engineered by celebrated recording engineer and producer, Miles Wilkinson -- a man who's worked on records by everyone from Bonnie Raitt to Guy Clark to Rosanne Cash, Gates’ latest work focuses on personal experiences as well as the stories of those that he has crossed paths with throughout his travels.
Alberta native Brooke Wylie spent her early musical career developing her own original country/roots sound in Calgary and throughout Southern Alberta. Brooke spent several years touring across Canada with her former band Brooke Wylie and the Coyotes.
Eventually, Brooke chose to venture solo, but continues to collaborate whenever possible with various musical friends. These days you will find Brooke performing regularly as part of a trio with Winnipeg songwriters Kristopher Ulrich and Sol James. Brooke has had the pleasure of collaborating with various Canadian favourites, including Calgary's own T. Buckley Trio, members of Winnipeg's The F-Holes, and Peterborough's The Weber Brothers Band. Brooke also recorded two of her three full-length albums with legendary producer Steve Loree, in Nanton, Alberta.
Cam has been quoted as saying: "I've never really written topical songs, I usually write about the emotional struggle, the pull between what's right and wrong." He currently has six full albums and an EP that back up that statement perfectly.
In the Southern Manitoba Mennonite community where Cam was raised, his family didn’t exactly blend in. His parents ran an illegal roadhouse and his bootlegging Grandfather delivered his wares via the back-country gravel roads. Cam can certainly never be accused of blending in either. His trademark beard sets him apart at first glance and then his voice seals the deal. Combined with Cam’s personal and heartfelt lyrics, his voice is piercing. Not in the shrill or loud sense of the word but in a way that reaches directly into your soul.
When you listen to Carter Felker, you will be carried away to the days of yore, a time when railroads separated lovers by geography, a time when cowboy’s boots licked stirrups on stallions, and most evidently, a time when firewood was used for warmth, and strings were used for making music. His brave poetics tell you the stories of cheatin’, rambling, and sorrowful heart plucking murder ballads. Born and raised in the Prairies, Carter Felker’s eyes have seen the
length of the wheat fields through many winter mornings, and the stretch of the sun through many short-lived summers.
With five years between the release of her 2008 debut, Dedicated State and her follow-up Dream Catcher in 2013, Chloe can’t exactly be blamed for being overly prolific. Instead, Chloe is a deep, thoughtful and melodic writer and player who can confidently tread the line between Folk and Pop. We like to call it “Roots”!
With early access to her mother’s guitar and records by Bonnie Raitt, Jimi Hendrix, and The Beatles in heavy rotation on the turntable, the young Chloe evidently soaked it all up like a sponge. Luckily for us, she was later able to wring it all out into a savvy and mature musical bowl. Clean and totally refreshing!
Craig Moreau is a Calgary, Alberta based, Singer/Songwriter of the first tradition. He always believed you have to live it to write it. "Everything I did, I did in search of a song."
Craig has definitely lived a storied life. He has been a roadie, bartender, farmer, cowhand, truck driver, stuntman, actor, carpenter, mechanic and a postal worker. Travelled 10 years on the rodeo circuit and even spent some time in California learning how to surf. Moreau will be releasing his second, full length, record 'The Daredevil Kid' in 2014. Performing his songs as a solo artist, in bars and coffee houses, festivals, banquets and on live TV and radio. His first record Every Now and Then received local, national and global airplay achieving critical acclaim from Performing Songwriter magazine and was picked as on of the best of 2000 by Fast Forward weekly in Calgary.
Crystal Plamondon hails from Plamondon, the village in Northern Alberta founded by her Franco-American great grandfather in 1908. Crystal is a talented bilingual singer, songwriter, and performer with a twenty-year track record of consistently delivering passionate concerts that cover an emotional range from heart-warming ballads to rockin’ country, roots and cajun. Whether performing with her high-powered five-piece band, an acoustic ensemble, or covering classic jazz standards in her new TORCH act, Crystal never fails to connect with her audience. People drive for miles around just to catch one of her shows because of Crystal’s warmth and wit and report with the audience. No one ever leaves disappointed and feels like they have made a life long friend after attending one of her concerts.
Google Dave McCann and chances are you’ll get a sportscaster hogging the spotlight; some fast-talking guy who spouts stats, plays, and bad puns a-mile-a-minute. Well, he may have been born in Toronto but “Alberta’s own” (as we happily call him) Dave McCann lets his words come out at a slower, more deliberate, and much more meaningful pace.
You can’t really say that Dave has “matured” over the course of his five albums. If you’re lucky enough to have a copy of his Woodland Tea album from 2000, give it a long-overdue spin. Those songs stand up strong alongside those on his latest (2014) release Circle Of Light. Dave McCann was mature all along!
Hailing from the rolling foothills of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, The Doll Sisters are a fiery Celtic Americana duo who weave haunting harmonies and stellar songwriting together to create an unforgettable experience for their audience. As skillful multi-instrumentalists on guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, and bodhran, Jenna Leigh Doll & Shelby Doll tirelessly strive to push the boundaries of what it means to be a female musician. Fusing together influences from their rich Irish and Scottish heritage, as well as elements from roots and rock, they have created a signature sound that is uniquely their own and has drawn them comparisons ranging from Heart to Alison Krauss to The Civil Wars. They are winners of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival's Emerging Artist of the Year Award for 2015.
The true spirit of the “Jam Band” is encapsulated by this “All-Star / Super-Star” Alberta collective that is managed and nurtured by CKUA’s Peter North.
All band members are veterans of the Alberta live music scene. The core consists of Gord Matthews, Ron Rault, Thom Moon, and Crawdad Cantera, however the line-up can be fluid if necessary and musical friends and family have been known to sit in on a fairly regular basis.
Up On Cripple Creek, the incredible tribute to the music of The Band, boasts most of the same members as FPRR, so keep your ears wide open for some classic Band tracks along the way during Wide Cut Weekend.
Fort Saskatchewan-born Joe Nolan was immersed in the Alberta music scene for some time prior to his 2011 debut Goodbye Cinderella, but just a brief three years later, he released his sophomore album Tornado on Toronto-based Six Shooter Records. Recognized as one of the (if not THE) best independent Canadian label around, Six Shooter has always had a gift for signing and nurturing great musical talents. Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland (individually and collectively - as Whitehorse) have made the label home for many years, as have Amelia Curran, NQ Arbuckle, and Hawksley Workman.
Believe us when we tell you that Joe Nolan’s singing and songwriting talents fit the Six Shooter tag line perfectly: “Life is too short to listen to shitty music”!
Don’t believe people when they tell you that John Wort Hannam was a teacher before becoming a professional musician. Maybe the age of his pupils has increased but John is still very much a teacher; standing at the front of the room and educating those in attendance about the amazing part of our country we live in and the blue-collar lives that most of us live here. Singing about love, family, and the ups and downs of day-to-day life. No lecturing, just relating.
We are extremely happy to have John play at the inaugural Wide Cut Weekend as part of the CD Release Tour for his brand new album Love Lives On.
As most of these Jrs are climbing towards being Srs we are proud to present this true-blue Alberta “heritage” act at our very first Wide Cut Weekend. Jr. Gone Wild recently reformed with Mike McDonald, Dove Brown, Larry Shelast, and Steve Loree. The band is gigging and writing new material for an upcoming recording.
These guys are well-loved, well-respected, and recognized as being one of the leading lights in the original Canadian “cow-punk” movement … and they can still rock and own any stage today.
As Mike Ross of Gig City so aptly put it: “It’s as if Jr. Gone Wild stepped out of a time capsule - its honky-tonky, punky good-time Alberta country music perfectly preserved all this time to be revived with a vengeance by four rock ‘n’ roll Rip Van Winkles.”
Family man, baseball fan, song-spinner, song contest winner, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist … and an all-round nice guy! Whether he’s solo, a bandleader, or part of an ensemble, you can rest assured that J.R. will give everything he has to give during a performance and will leave you saying “WOW”! You’ll find yourself re-living some great moments, humming some catchy melodies, and singing some of his smart, savvy lyrics.
When he’s not telling you a slice of history in his own songs, J.R. may very well be rocking out on a Coasters cover or totally “owning” a classic track by The Band, Neil Young, or John Prine.
Let’s face it: despite having been raised in B.C., Leeroy Stagger has been considered a true-blue Albertan for a long time now. A one-man tour de force, Leeroy is not only a great songwriter with catchy roots and pop sensibilities in his melodies, but he has also honed his production skills to a world-class level over the last few years. If that isn’t enough, check out his annual collaborative shows with friends John Wort Hannam and Dave McCann (Highway 3 Roots Revue) as well as his “trio” releases with Tim Easton and Evan Phillips.
To sum up Leeroy in three short words: “Talent To Spare!”
Being a Christmas Eve baby back in 1993, Lucas has certainly given the gift of music to us all for many of his 21 years. Lucas is already somewhat of a veteran of Folk Festivals, Folk Alliance Conferences, Folk Music Awards, and many other musical events. As far back as 2009, Lucas was a finalist in the Calgary Folk Festival Songwriting Contest and the Calgary Stampede Talent Search. No surprise at all really for those who have known him for some years, and become familiar with his very mature outlook on life, love, and relationships. Lucas’ head remains firmly planted on his shoulders and his ears are always open to new sounds and stories. In case you’ve never heard him before, make a point of it during Wide Cut Weekend.
Magnolia Buckskin members Corry Ulan, Emily Triggs, Natasha Platt, and Kathy Cook are excited about sharing their new CD titled Die Laughing. They have been winning the hearts of audiences for more than half a decade with their intriguing lyrics and captivating arrangements. A flavorful blend of grassroots, folk, and acoustic pop music highlights sweet harmonies, laced with banjo, accordion, clarinet, mandolin, bass, and guitar. Songs from Magnolia Buckskin's last self-titled CD have placed within CBC's top 100 playlist.
Meanwhile, Emily Triggs has struck out on her own, and won accolades across the country, with an album called When Guinevere Went Under, a collection of original songs that straddles country, rock, and folk.
Take one part Loretta Lynn, add a splash of Joan Jett and a little Townes van Zandt, and you’ve got Mariel Buckley. On the occasion of her debut album Motorhome, Buckley has proven she’s a songwriting pro, not only offering songs with unapologetic, straight-up delivery, but also moving her listeners with moments of deep introspection. Buckley’s Maritime roots combine with her upbringing in Alberta, producing a combination that draws on the traditions of both regions. Yet she’s distinctively country, with a fresh take on the classic sounds of her predecessors.
Outside the Lights of Town is a tribute to Patershuk’s rural roots in northern Alberta: everyday characters drift through his narratives that pay homage to the empty landscape, cold winters, and racing winds. It’s mostly Patershuk’s voice that is immediately familiar. At once warm and friendly, his singing is much like the real-life Patershuk, an affable songwriter always willing to share a story. His country-folk influences of Willie P. Bennett and Fred Eaglesmith are obvious in songs like the title track, a gentle, rollicking ode to the prairies, and then take an upbeat turn in “Silver Bangles”, a tune perfect for a spin around the tavern floor.
With songs and a voice that consistently drip with lilting guttural emotion, the music of Mike Stack can take you to a craggy Maritime rock with a desperate Irish father or have you kicking up dust in a Texas honky-tonk along with two young Mexican lovers. Inspired by his songwriting heroes, John Prine, Dave Alvin, Guy Clark, and Steve Earle, and the people he meets along the way in this journey of life, Stack abashedly says, "music, it's my life, my heart, my soul, my passion." Not that he is necessarily embarrassed to admit it, just that as he says, "who am I to say such a thing?"
His songs and performing skills earned him membership in The Burners, with fellow Calgarian Tim Leacock (National Dust, Beautiful Joe). In the late '80s, under the management of Neil MacGonigill (Jann Arden), the band opened shows for The Georgia Satellites, Blue Rodeo, Tragically Hip and Jeff Healy and released Low Tech High Torque.
The new millennium found Stack on his own with a guitar case full of songs in a community of friends and family urging him to go it on his own. The result, 'I Need Wheels' released in November 2001 produced by Kit Johnson (Murray McLaughlin, David Wilcox), mixed by Danny Greenspoon (producer - Spirit of the West, Great Big Sea) and featuring many of his musical friends like the great Billy Cowsill, David Wilkie, Steve Pineo and Jane Hawley (Beautiful Joe), has indeed Stack's wheels rolling.
Ryland was born a singer-songwriter.
His concise and lyrically driven songwriting is deep beyond his years, with an increasing awareness that life is always bigger than you think it is. Sometimes politically satirical and often offset with fun-loving humor, Ryland's wit and social conscience shine through effortlessly in the well-crafted vernacular of a songwriter that has found his voice.
Scott MacLeod is from a small community in P.E.I. where storytelling is a way of life. Raised in a family where everyone worked in everyday jobs, he soon became a keen observer, listening to tales of people’s lives. Since moving to Calgary 12 years ago, he has worked in hospitals and assisted living facilities helping others through the rollercoaster of life.
His lyrics tell the stories of Canadians, our values, hard work, and enjoyment of life from the east coast to the prairies. His country-infused rock and laid-back acoustic ballads signal influences like Bruce Springsteen and Steve Earle. Scott’s notoriety and reputation in the music business has led him to perform alongside such well-known artists as The Duhks, Matt Minglewood, and Dustin Bentall. MacLeod was featured at NXNE in Toronto for three consecutive years (2007-2009), showcased at the Alberta Music Series in 2009, played the “Songwriters Café” at the 2008 CCMAs in Winnipeg and has also held the stage at the Sled Island Music Festival and the South Country Fair in Alberta.
Son of Ray is the music of Calgary based musician/singer-songwriter, Rob Lagace. Son of Ray's music has been described as a front porch blend of folk and country-blues. With a grizzly rasp and catchy lyrical hooks, Rob's tatsy blend of musical styles and passionate live delivery will get you dancing, smiling, and feeling like you're hanging with an old friend.
Put one of Calgary’s most promising songwriters together with the city’s top players, and the result is the wildly popular T. Buckley Trio. Performing weekly at their Wine-Ohs "T. Buckley Tuesdays" has made the band, consisting of Buckley, Derek Pulliam, and Tim Leacock, one of the finest live acts the city has seen in years. Buckley’s original songs have led the group to dabble in classic country and folk arrangements, but they’re never afraid to rock out. They punctuate their sets with covers of deep cuts from artists you may recognize and love, like Guy Clark. If you want to see musicianship at its finest, the T. Buckley Trio is the first place to turn.
To date, Tim Hus’s biggest accomplishment might be the personal invitation he received to open for Stompin’ Tom Connors’s final tour in 2010. For good reason: Hus is a modern-day troubadour, without a doubt in the vein of Connors. Taking his show on the road to Canada’s smallest towns has given Hus a deep well of material for the songs he writes about everyday folks working in some of the country’s toughest occupations. Whether from the perspective of a miner, logger, trucker, or apple picker, Hus’s songs are rich with the lore that defines each region of Canada; his between show banter and after-gig chats reveal only the surface of the stories he’s collected over the years.
Put four farm boys who grew up on a combination of classic rock and old country tunes together and you’ve got Tin and the Toad, a group who, with their collective work, might be the Alberta scene’s most experienced. Between the superior production skills of Steve Loree, the songwriting abilities of Justin Smith and Cody Shearer, and the instrumental prowess of Pete Loughlin, the band has produced a set of exceptional country rock tunes for their debut album, Roots to Ramble On. But the record doesn’t fully betray their best quality: constant, and constantly interesting, four-part harmony. For that reason alone, this is a band that is best experienced live.
With his latest album, Mr. Superlove, Tom Phillips has tapped into a new expressive path. Known principally in his hometown of Calgary for penning songs that addressing the sorrow of heartbreak and loneliness in the way only classic country can, Phillips’s latest endeavour finds him traversing new stylistic territory. In this album of little-known cover songs, Phillips worked with producer Lorrie Matheson to dig into personal turmoil and redemption, resulting in a reinvention that leaves fans excited to hear what’s next. Not to worry if you’re a fan of his older material – Phillips still visits it regularly in live performance, keeping him in his place as Calgary’s best-loved country singer.
While a bit of a chameleon, shifting artistic personas as he wends his way through multiple groups (Kitchen Boys; Talk Like Joe; The Lokels), media (music; visual art), and places (Calgary; Vulcan), one thing about Steve Coffey remains constant: his ability to challenge the way you think, and to want to move, all at the same time. His songs often address tough topics like the environment or personal crises, but regardless of topic, they are always realized in good-time roots rock arrangements, making his group one of the best party bands in the province. With his energetic voice and driving tunes, Steve Coffey and the boys will have you on the dance floor in no time.
Ralph Boyd Johnson is a world-class singer-songwriter from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The title “songwriter” does not clearly define Ralph’s work. He’s a wordsmith, a poet, and an observer of life who writes songs and poems of every style and genre. His poetry and compelling delivery of the spoken word is what sets him apart from other songwriters. Ralph has been compared to Steve Earle, Bruce Springsteen and John Prine and is cut from the same cloth as icons Hank Williams Sr., Tom Waits, and Lou Reed. His debut CD, Dyin’ to Go produced by Billy Cowsill and Tim Williams was nominated for a 2002 Prairie Music Award.
TOBY CHARRINGTON MALLOY
Toby Malloy is a pig whisperer and smartass (not necessarily in that order) born and raised in the east end of Toronto, now living in Nanton Alberta. She's been singing songs her entire life. Currently Toby is kept busy as resident muse and chief bottle washer at Thirsty Acres Ltd.
Shaye and SYDNEY Zadravec
Head to an open mic any night of the week and you are bound to find Shaye Zadravec, a vocal powerhouse, singing her way through a repertoire that astounds the most diversely inclined listener. Zadravec may be young, but that hasn’t stopped her from learning a set of classics that range from country and western to R&B and soul. She can partner with Calgary’s best singers for duets that will knock your socks off, or take the lead in front of any band, getting the crowd roaring after just one song.
Sister Sydney will be appearing at the festival as well. Like Shaye, Sydney has a rich trove of country classics up her sleeve and a voice that will take you back to the magic of the earliest - and best - recordings of the genre.