Folk Alliance International 2017 Official Showcases
FAI’s annual event draws 2500 registrants from 20 countries to Kansas City and is known for its community atmosphere, business-networking opportunities, and as an industry hotspot for new talent discovery. The theme for the 2017 conference is Forbidden Folk, which is a celebration of activism in art and will feature Billy Bragg as the Keynote speaker.
#FolkAlliance #ForbiddenFolk #FAI2017
Belle Plaine (SK)
Big Little Lions (BC)
After winning Ensemble of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards for their 2015 debut album they released their sophomore album, Just Keep Moving, which has garnered attention from many CBC and College radio stations as well as blogs and magazines. The album was nominated for two 2016 Canadian Folk Music Awards - Contemporary Album and Vocal Group of the Year.
Darwin Baker (MB)
Harpdog Brown & The Travelin' Blues Show (BC)
And Blues Evangelist is a very fitting moniker. "I speak the blues like it's the truth, and it is" he was recently quoted. "I do feel like I'm a servant of the people. And I do heal people if they pay attention to the good messages in the songs I choose." He delivers those messages in the traditional sound of early electric blues. Think of the old Chess Records and Sun Records of the late 40's and early 50's. Harpdog says "Blues has a healing power. It's a beautiful celebration of our perfectly flawed lives. We help people forget about their issues of the moment and then they realize that we all have our issues, and that's ok."
Vancouver-based Harpdog Brown was born in Edmonton in 1962, an adopted child who has felt somewhat detached his whole life - "a lifelong battle of not feeling like I belonged. I think I was born for the circus, you know, born to travel. The blues tapped me on the shoulder years ago and said 'this is where you belong, son'. So the blues became my circus and there's no better way to travel than with a classic blues band!"
They love the traditional early electric blues sound and they perform that style with authenticity. Some call it a Chicago Blues sound. Harpdog calls it Classic Blues. Late 40's and early 50's vintage electric blues. They perform mostly originals yet they often include great songs of the masters from that era. Think Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed and of course, Muddy Waters. Audiences say that they love hearing that lo-fi vinyl sound live on stage. They do it all while using vintage gear as well.
Harpdog Brown is a gifted vocalist and an imaginative harmonica player. Guitarist Jordie Edmonds plays a lowdown understated style yet has plenty of flash when needed. Doghouse bass player Pat Darcus drives the engine with his percussive style. The Travelin' Blues Show sometimes includes other guest musicians that befit the band and situation such as sought-after drummer Andy Graffiti. Regardless of the incarnation you see, this show is unique, refreshing and leaves audiences feeling good and wanting more.
He is a two-time Maple Blues Award Winner (2014 and 2015), Fraser Valley Music Award Winner, two-time Western Canadian Music Awards Nominee, Juno Nominee and the only Canadian to win the coveted Muddy Award. In case you haven’t heard, he’s been nominated for 3 Maple Blues Awards (Harmonica Player, Male Vocalist and Album of the Year) for his latest release Travelin’ With The Blues. The album features a duet with Charlie Musselwhite and was produced by the Beale Street Blues Bopper himself, Little Victor with guest appearances from Kid Andersen, Big John Atkinson and more.
The band is juried to showcase at Blues Summit in Toronto, then off to compete at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, representing the White Rock Blues Society, followed by another juried showcase at Folk Alliance in Kansas.
His recent album release Travelin' With The Blues is quickly gaining momentum on roots and blues charts and follows his Top 20 charting 2014 release What It Is (Roots Music Report International Blues Albums).
In With the Old (SK)
Jake Vance (BC)
Growing up in a musical family in Southern Alberta, Jake is a burgeoning artist in the Canadian music scene.
Multitalented, Jake writes all his own music and lyrics as well as playing guitar and piano.
So far in 2016, Jake has completed the Artist Entrepreneur Program at CMI in Toronto, and played the TD Green Room at the 2016 Juno Awards. He was also a top 10 regional finalist in the CBC Searchlight competition. In September he performed at Canada’s Walk of Fame Festival after being chosen as one of the winners of the Emerging Artist Mentorship Program.
Jake's first EP ""White Elephant"" (2015) charted on several Canadian college stations reaching as high as #4 in both Alberta and Ontario
Jake has just completed his second EP, titled “Eden” with Russell Broom producing. It was released on May 27th 2016. The first single “The Poet” has been receiving airplay in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, it has also been selected as a top 10 finalist in Jango’s Songwriting Contest and a semi-finalist in the Unsigned Only Songwriting Competition. In September, ""Eden"" was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award and ""The Poet"" is currently being featured on TDMusic.com.
JP Hoe (MB)
Karpinka Brothers (SK)
Kayla Luky (MB)
Ken Stead (AB)
Kimberly MacGregor (AB)
Kimberley started 2016 with a triumphant bang, winning Female Artist of the Year at the Edmonton Music Awards for the second consecutive year. She delivered several noteworthy performances in 2016, including The Mayors Celebration of the Arts, The Works Arts and Design Fest, Late Night Cabaret at Edmonton Fringe Fest, the EMA’s at The Winspear Centre and Folk Alliance in Kansas City.
Kimberley released her sophomore album, “I Am My Own”, in October 2015 and garnered national press coverage, and great reviews. In addition to being heard on CBC and CKUA, the album charted across Canada, holding steady for several weeks in the Earshot National Top Ten Folk/Roots/Blues Charts.
Kimberley is committed to getting her music in front of new audiences, and has been on the road for much of 2016, including a Western Canadian tour, in which she played 20 shows in 18 cities over 18 days. She will be completing a 5 week Musicians Residence at The Banff Centre for the Arts in late fall 2016. The focus of the residency will be material for her next album, with plans to return to the studio in 2017.
Leanne Goose (NT)
She grew up playing music since the age of 12 and is committed to a thriving and diverse musical landscape of live performing artists telling our story.
What’s different about Leanne is her brand of Canadian Country-Blues that is a reflection of contemporary culture and geographical obstacles that have been a both a barrier and a catalyst in her career.
Leanne’s style is a combination of storytelling and music with influences of contemporary Inuvialuit (In-oo-vee-al-oo-it) and Dené culture, a style that is reflective of the Canadian Western Arctic.
Leonard Podolak (MB)
2016 was busy for Podolak, with tours of the U.S., as well as stops in Ireland with New Road (featuring piper Leonard Barry and multi-instrumentalists Seamie O'Dowd and Rick Epping). Podolak is busier than ever juggling new fatherhood, multiple musical projects that include Dry Bones (trio project with JD Edwards and Nathan Rogers), as well as a violin and banjo duo with Irish fiddler Matt Gordon, not to mention taking the helm as executive director of innovative Canadian not-for-profit, Home Routes / Chemin Chez Nous
Leonard Sumner (MB)
Lion Bear Fox (BC)
Vancouver’s Lion Bear Fox, who derived their name from connection with their “spirit animals”, Christopher Arruda, Cory Woodward and Ryan McMahon craft compelling, honest stories that they convey with passionate commitment.
Described as “a musical force of nature” that’s sure to “be around for a lifetime” (Nanaimo Daily News/Terry David Mulligan), the three men, known initially for solo careers, joined forces in 2012 and were soon after selected as one of the top 20 unsigned bands in British Columbia by the Peak Performance Project.
In the fall of 2013 the band released their self-produced breakthrough EP We’d Be Good Men. “We knew we wanted to use the opportunity to mould the sound and aesthetic from scratch using the songs we’d decided to record,” Cory (The Bear) explained in an interview in BC Musician. “A decision was made very early on to remove all ego from the production process. Nothing was taken off the table; we tried everything, no matter how silly, crazy or counterproductive it seemed…we really wanted to stand apart, sonically speaking.”
They toured relentlessly for the next two years, with appearances at Canadian Music Week (Toronto), Contact East (PEI), OSAC (Regina), the Mission Folk Festival and The Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, amongst many others, and they’ve shared stages with artists including Tom Wilson, Good For Grapes, Elliot Brood and Kim Mitchell.
“All three artists are known for the passion they bring to their performances and the honest songs they write,” enthused the Ladysmith Chronicle, “and they have succeeded in creating gripping, dynamic songs while capturing a sincerity rarely heard this side of the 2000s”.
In 2016 Lion Bear Fox further cemented their growing status as a new Canadian band to watch, and with the help of friend and producer Nygel Asselin (Half Moon Run), the trio spent ten days in the Vancouver Island wilderness crafting ‘the record of their lives’, a collection of songs steeped in character and full of warmth.
One part folk, one part rock, with a pinch of gospel and a dash of growl, their self-titled LP is a testament to the trio’s strength as songwriters. Lush acoustic guitars are bookended by buzzing electrics and screaming organs, anchored by rich percussion and three voices in thrilling harmony; it’s a sound that harkens back to an era when the song was paramount.
Christopher (The Lion) says, of the album’s genesis, “At the beginning we definitely took a softer, more ‘folk’ approach because we were three dudes singing with acoustic guitars. As our touring began to refine our roles and our live show became more explosive, we thought we’d be a heavier bluesy-rock act. More recently, we had taken a really polished full-band pop-approach during some demos last year. This growing process was interesting, exciting and at times, painful.”
When asked how he perceives the new album, Ryan (The Fox) responds “This was a big undertaking for us all - our producer Nygel included - and it certainly marks a shift in sound and seriousness for Chris, Cory and myself. When we use the phrase ‘record of our lives,’ we’re not kidding. It’s the most important work I’ve ever been a part of in 17 years of calling myself a musician, and I’m very proud of the result that has come from the hard work we all put in.”
Thursday, February 16at 10:50PM - 11:05PM: BreakOut West Showcase - Acoustic Room #554
Thursday, February 16 at 12:30AM -12:50AM: BreakOut West Showcase - Governors Suite #529
Friday, February 17 at 2:00PM - 3:00PM: BreakOut West “3 In the Round” - Governors Suite #529
Friday, February 17 at 11:30PM - 11:50PM: BreakOut West Showcase - Governors Suite #529
Saturday, February 18th
Saturday, February 18 at 11:30PM - 11:45PM: BreakOut West Showcase - Acoustic Room #554
Maria Dunn (AB)
A true preserver of the spirit of folk music, past Juno nominee Maria Dunn is often compared to Woody Guthrie for her keen social awareness and unvarnished songs about ordinary people.
In April 2016, Maria released her sixth album, Gathering, produced by Shannon Johnson (of Juno-winning band The McDades). In keeping with Pete Seeger’s words (1994), “The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known”, Gathering highlights stories of love—not typical songs of romantic love, but songs of family, community, humanity and the love that knits us together and fires our actions to make the world a better place. The songs range from historical and narrative to personal and immediate, inspired by social justice stories both global (Malala, When The Grandmothers Meet) and local (How I Live, When I Was Young).
Maria performs (solo, duo, trio) at theatres, folk clubs, conferences and festivals across Canada and internationally. She has been featured on Canadian TV, CBC National Radio, CKUA Alberta Radio, BBC Radio Scotland, and her original songs published in Sing Out! and Penguin Eggs magazines and the Rise Again songbook (2015). Other artists, including Niamh Parsons, The Outside Track and Bob Bossin, have recorded her original songs.
Recent performance highlights include a three-week tour of UK folk clubs in November 2015, following her Irish debut in October 2015, opening three concerts for the legendary Andy Irvine (Sweeney’s Men, Planxty, Patrick Street).
In Summer 2016, Maria Dunn Trio performed at Canmore and Bear Creek Folk Festivals.
An arrestingly powerful singer-songwriter who writes great historical and social commentary. - WFMT Chicago
A wonderful collection of new songs from one of our most important and vital songwriters… Essential listening, then, this Gathering. – Roddy Campbell, Penguin Eggs Magazine
Thursday, February 16 at 10:30PM - 10:45PM: BreakOut West Showcase - Acoustic Room #554
Saturday, February 18 at 2:00PM - 3:00PM: BreakOut West “3 In the Round”- Governors Suite #529
Mariel Buckley (AB)
Few performers combine the lyrical heartfelt authenticity of classic country music with a steely eyed intensity that compels an audience’s attention like Calgary, Alberta’s Mariel Buckley. Amidst a sea of neon-Nashville superstars, Buckley offers a crunchy, roots alternative.
A veteran live performer, with an appearance at Calgary Folk Music Festival to her credit, Buckley deftly matches her stark and haunting narratives of real-life struggle with a brassy wit that sets her apart from her contemporaries in its fearlessness. Her strengths as a songwriter are exemplified by her self-titled EP, and full-length debut Motorhome, hailed by No Depression as, “a new Loretta Lynn, speaking her mind, joking, flirting, ruminating, like Loretta did on some of her classic songs.”
Currently in pre-production for a new full-length album with producer Leeroy Stagger, Mariel Buckley’s skills as a songwriter and performer continue to impress new listeners while her long-time supporters look on with an assured understanding that they knew the depth of her talents from the beginning.
The Northern Beauties (AB)
Over the Moon (AB)
"We love to write and record our own songs and to create arrangements of covers in a way that they focus on our vocal blend and the beautiful sound of our many acoustic instruments". "During our shows, we like to approach the audience as if they were a room full of friends, rather than a slick overly staged show, by sharing humorous stories of our adventures on the road and sometimes the even bigger adventures of our life at home on a ranch south of Longview AB" "It's funny, that by then end of the show, most of the people are new friends :)"
Now with the simplicity offered by two people/ two vocals/ an array of acoustic instruments, playing roots-based songs that feature their blending vocals, they’re quickly becoming a highly regarded and sought after act here in Alberta and beyond.
Over The Moon... Uncluttered, Simple and Sweet
Poor Nameless Boy (SK)
Poor Nameless Boy leaves a piece of himself on stage every time he performs. His mellow sound is personal, singing honestly about love, life, and our changing hearts in a busy world. His third album “Bravery” has turned industry and music lovers’ heads, debuting nationally at #2 on Canadian folk charts.
Rebecca Lappa (AB)
Rebecca is excited to release her Folk-Rock CD, Reckless Heart, produced by Russell Broom in November 2016. It was funded by Factor Juried Sound Recording Grant. She is in her 2nd year of a Bachelor of Music program at MacEwan University. She performs as a soloist or as Rebecca and The Revelry, with a bassist and drummer. She’s managed by Laurie Brown of Porch Swing Entertainment.
Roger Roger (MB)
Their debut album Fairweather (released January 2016) reached the No. 1 spot on the Canadian folk/roots/blues charts, and saw them zigzagging across Canada for the year, playing over 90 shows at Canadian folk festivals, house concerts, and folk clubs.
Scott Cook (AB)
""Scott Cook has distilled his travels down into songs powered by a sharp eye for imagery, a healthy dose of humanity, and that unforgettable voice, that at the same time intones the rigors of the road and the most comfortable couch you have ever slept on."" -David Francey, 3x Juno-winning songwriter
""There's nothing flash about Canada's Cook. He sings his heart and soul, and in doing so lets light flood into your own... He has a good eye for imagery, a gentle human touch, a wry sense of humour, a whole lot of integrity, a warm, rugged voice and a bunch of memorable lines... Truly one of Woody Guthrie's children."" -David Burke, R2 Magazine"
The Doll Sisters (AB)
The Doll Sisters are honoured to have been awarded the 2015 Edmonton Folk Music Festival’s 'Emerging Artist of the Year' Award, and are two-time nominees for ACMA's Duo/Group of the Year award in 2013 and 2014. As past Canadian Folk Music Award nominees, they have had the honour of sharing stages with the likes of Paul Brandt, Clayton Bellamy, The Good Lovelies, Coig, Cindy Church, & Lisa Brokop, to name a few. Their growing resumé consists of multiple folk festivals, including the acclaimed Edmonton Folk Music Festival and Canmore Folk Music Festival along with many folk clubs, concerts and house concerts. The girls have brought their music into BC, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Halifax and have crossed the border into the US, showcasing in Kansas City, New York and Florida. The duo was recently scouted and cast on the first season of CMT's new TV Series 'Ice Racer Showdown’ hosted by Clayton Bellamy, airing in October and November 2015.
Their sophomore record, ""Off the Edge of the Earth"", is a milestone project that showcases the duo's multi-dimensionalism as both artists and songwriters.
William Prince (MB)
A founding member of the Aboriginal collaborative Indian City, Prince helped release two albums which garnered him the Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year award at the 2014 Indigenous Music Awards.
Stepping out on his own as a country-folk singer-songwriter, his lead single “The Carny” hit No. 1 on Sirius XM’s National Aboriginal Music Countdown Top 40.
2016 saw Prince opening for the likes of Amelia Curran, Susan Aglukark, Marty Stuart, and Buffy Sainte-Marie while holding his own on folk festival stages across Canada. Rounding out a year of travel with two Canadian Folk Music Award nominations (Contemporary Singer of the Year and Aboriginal Artist of the Year) and a Western Canadian Music Award win for Aboriginal Artist of the Year, Prince has his sights set on touring in 2017.
Thursday, February 16 at 11:30PM - 11:50PM: BreakOut West Showcase - Governors Suite #529