Collette Savard & The Savants release video for “Cecil Street”

Check out the whimsical new video for “Cecil Street,” one of the standout tracks from Collette Savard & The Savants‘ self-titled debut album. The song was inspired by Toronto’s Kensington Market, and anyone familiar with the neighbourhood will recognize it in the video.

The band plays the TRANZAC in Toronto on April 12:


CBC previews Dennis Ellsworth’s Things Change


Excitement is building for the release of Dennis Ellsworth’s new album Things Change on April 20! Thanks to CBC Radio’s Jeff Liberty in Saint John for the extensive preview of the record. Click the link above to listen to his take, and to hear a few of the songs!

Things Change [Cover]

Dennis Ellsworth releases lyric video for “Caught In The Waves”

Dennis Ellsworth will release his fifth solo album Things Change, on April 20 through his own Pyramid Scheme label, marking a major creative advancement for the veteran singer-songwriter. As demonstrated by the album’s first single “Caught In The Waves,” Ellsworth embraces a dreamy, power-pop sound, complementing a newfound approach to songwriting and recording.

Pre-order Things Change HERE

The fresh take can be credited in part to Ellsworth teaming up with Joel Plaskett, who assumed production duties and enlisted compadres Charles Austin (Superfriendz) and Dave Marsh (longtime drummer in Plaskett’s backing band the Emergency), to participate. The results on Things Change are a brilliant convergence of his irresistible 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, collaborating 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.

After two decades of making music in various incarnations, Ellsworth chalks up what he’s accomplished on Things Change in large part to simply being older and wiser. “For years I wrote dark, smooth, romantic alt-country-ish type songs,” he says. “I don’t know how I ever got there but I stuck with it for a while. I love those records, but I knew it was time I switched things up just to keep myself interested.”

Dennis Ellsworth’s full tour schedule in support of Things Change to be announced soon.

Aaron Allen and the Small City Saints releasing Judgement Day on April 27

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Aaron Allen-Judgement Day COVER

There’s a revolution underway in country music, and Aaron Allen is doing his part. On his latest album, Judgement Day — released April 27 on Shakey Wheel Records — the native of London, Ontario shows his solidarity with artists such as Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell in bringing country back to songs about real life and real people. Although Allen reveres country music’s legends, he isn’t by any stretch a traditionalist. With much of his body inked, he doesn’t immediately resemble most people’s image of a country singer. But from the moment he kicks his band into gear and launches into one of the new album’s signature tracks, “Rambling Man,” there’s no questioning his authenticity or conviction.

Judgement Day was recorded essentially live at London, Ontario studio The Sugar Shack with Allen’s Small City Saints – guitarist/producer Dan Brodbeck, drummer/co-producer Archie Gamble, fiddle player Tara Dunphy (from The Rizdales), bassist Simon Larrochette (formerly of Olenka and the Autumn Lovers), pedal steel guitarist Doug Johnson, mandolin player Blair Heddle (also from The Rizdales), and organist Michael Bonnell.

The spontaneous recording approach perfectly complements Allen’s plainspoken writing style, which digs deeper into country music’s familiar themes on songs like “Whiskey On My Mind,” “Cold Shoulder” and “Runaway.” Although in the past he’s often been compared to Steve Earle, Bruce Springsteen and cult hero Chris Knight, Judgement Day finds Allen boldly staking out his own territory by drawing from his own experiences, particularly on the aforementioned “Rambling Man.”

“I wrote that song about my drummer Archie Gamble,” Allen says. “He’s been on the road for over 30 years, and I have a ton of respect for his commitment. Music is everything to him and he’s put all else aside to achieve his dream. I’ve spoken with him many times about how the scene has changed. He’s been through a lot of tough times, but for him it’s been a hell of a ride that he would never trade for anything in the world.”

With Judgement Day, Aaron Allen now begins a significant new stage of his own ride, one that’s poised to add his name to the conversation about Canada’s best new roots rock artists.

Mariel Buckley’s “Rose Coloured Frames” premieres at Wide Open Country

Mariel Buckley press photoRose Coloured Frames

I’m very excited to be working with Calgary-based alt-country singer/songwriter Mariel Buckley, whose sophomore album Driving In The Dark (produced by the great Leeroy Stagger) comes out May 4.

The first single, “Rose Coloured Frames,” premieres today at Wide Open Country. Get a listen here:

Track of the Week: S. Earl Hardy “The New Normal”

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From his latest collection, Back In Del Rio, reborn Toronto punk legend Scott Earl Hardy delivers an old school rawk anthem for our time with “The New Normal.” Backing provided by John Dinsmore and Mark Kesper of NQ Arbuckle.

Get it from Bandcamp