With a career spanning 60 years and more awards than can be readily listed (including an Oscar, a Gemini, Junos and a wall full of honorary doctorates) Canada’s Buffy Sainte-Marie is a staggering talent whose work encompasses music, art, film, literature and humanitarianism. She’s a mesmerizing presence, a woman who has and continues to fight passionately for an end to war and oppression, using her voice and her talents to condense centuries into moments.
Carlos Del Junco and the Blues Mongrels
Cassie & Maggie
Coco Love Alcorn
Known globally for The River, a luscious, layered piece beloved by community choirs everywhere, Calgary’s Coco Love Alcorn arranges and composes intricate, heart-stopping lyrics with the voice as the primary instrument. Messages of hope, love and inspiration are at her core as she mixes folk, pop and soul into an incredible fusion of soaring, passionate sound.
Gunning & Cormier
Canadian singer/songwriter Jon Brooks, four times nominated for Songwriter of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, demands you lean in and listen hard to his profound lyrics, delivered with a gritty and gruff voice and a style laced with the power of spoken word poetry.
Joey Landreth Trio
Jon and Roy
Les Poules à Colin
So imagine marrying the voice of Dolly Parton with the depth and breadth of k.d. lang’s songwriting. I know, right? Boggles the mind. Dubbed “Indie Lindi” in her hometown of Toronto while on her decades-long pursuit of overnight success, Ortega falls somewhere between a heart-hurtin’ C&W siren and a short-skirted folk goddess who can sing a tale unlike any other. Brace yourself.
Edmonton songwriter Scott Cook is a throwback, a nod to the likes of Woodie Guthrie and Steve Goodman. A slightly subversive roots balladeer, he applies his gentle, whimsical humour liberally to contemporary issues with unique and keenly observant lyrics.
There’s a parallel universe in which Steve Poltz lives, and sometimes we all wish we could live there, too. But only sometimes. An Owen Wilson kind of goofy sweetness… until his evil twin Warren Zevon emerges. Hang on for the ride and hang onto your sides. A storyteller extraordinaire, a songwriter with a biting wit and a skilled guitar player, Poltz is riveting & an attorney for dogs!!!
Son De Maple
Let loose your inner Latino! Son De Maple is a Vancouver-based band playing Mexican Son Jarocho and other Latin music idioms. Formed by Tom Landa (Locarno, BC World Music Collective, Paperboys) as a vehicle to play traditional songs from his native Mexico, the collective brings strings, drums, fiddle and voice to a joyous stage.
Multiple Juno nominee Shakura S’Aida brings the blues home with a scorching voice and a stage presence that will leave you riveted – hopefully not to your seat. You need to be up and moving to this woman. Runner-up in the 2008 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, she’s a force to be reckoned with.
Toronto roots and blues singer Suzie Vinnick, a 10-time winner of the Maple Blues Award for both songwriting and female vocalist, has a voice you’ve heard a thousand times and one you’ll never forget. It soars, it growls, it whispers and it shouts from a deep, deep well of emotion. The pure joy she exudes when she picks up that guitar is so worth the show.
The Stray Birds
Beautiful tight vocals, exquisite harmonies and pristine picking and strumming, Nashville’s The Stray Birds brings to the table a deeply-steeped love of folk traditions and stories that actually mean something. The raw powerhouse voice of Maya de Vitry blended with those of with bandmates Oliver Craven and Charles Muench is a sound that will float with you for a very long time.
Alternately languid and contemplative, old-time folk married to pop, this quintet from New York State identify as “subversive acoustic traditionalists” – or “a party band with a conscience”. Well chosen words. Their lyrics will haunt you, their exquisite harmonies will uplift you.