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Confed Centre Art Classes

Winter registration is now open for Saturday Art Classes in the Family Studio at Confederation Centr [ ... ]

Bob Jensen and Tony McManus

The Swallowtail

The Swallowtail —Bob Jensen and Tony McManusSpoken word poet Bob Jensen has joined forces with Tony McManus to release The Swallowtail for Christmas. McManus, who is touted by many critics as the greatest Celtic guitarist in the world, is originally from Scotland but now resides in Elora, Ontario.

The Swallowtail is a true story. In 2015, Jensen took a frozen spruce into the house to decorate for Christmas and a couple of hours later, a beautiful yellow butterfly emerged, remaining in the house for the duration of the holidays. A dish of fruit was set out for the newly wakened visitor, and it spent many hours on some broken orange pieces, which seemed to sustain it.  “He was to me, a living metaphor for those who are lonely at Christmas,” says Jensen. “How could I not write a poem about him?”

And so he did.  It was originally recorded by PEI’s Lennie Gallant, but Jensen wanted to release his own version with music this year and recorded the poem in October with well-know Charlottetown guitarist and producer, Chris Corrigan, who has worked with artists such as Natalie MacMaster and Rita MacNeil, whose last album he produced. MacManus adapted a traditional keening song from the Isle of Barra for the piece, and recorded the guitar part in Woodstock, New York at the studios of Jerry Marotta. Jensen and MacManus are planning to release a full CD of Christmas poetry, short stories and music in November of 2019.

The Swallowtail is being released as a holiday single to CBC, campus and community radio across Canada, as well as into some international markets. It is available for sale and live streaming on digital platforms, including Amazon, Apple Music, iTunes and Spotify.

Rick Sparkes + The Enablers

The Trouble with the Light

The Trouble with the Light—Rick Sparkes and The EnablersSummerside musician and writer Rick Sparkes and his band, The Enablers, celebrated the recent release of their new LP, The Trouble with the Light, with an album release show at Evermoore Brewing Co. in Summerside in November.

This is the first full-length album that features Rick Sparkes + The Enablers (Paul Koberinski, lead guitar; Ruth Ann MacMurdo, backing vocals; Stephane Bouchard, bass guitar). The Trouble with the Light was recorded at Studio Dimanche with engineer and co-producer Brent Chaisson, who also played drums on the record. The first single from the album, “Nashwaak,” was released this past May to critical acclaim and has been receiving regular airtime on CBC and local Maritime radio stations.

Though there are elements of folk and country, at its core, The Trouble with the Light is a rootsy rock record. The release follows Sparkes’ 2017 EP Dirty Little Love Songs which was nominated for two 2018 Music PEI Awards.

Rick Sparkes and The Enablers have performed many notable stages across the Maritimes including the Tay Creek Folk Festival, the Summerside Arts Festival, and the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival.

In 2016, Rick won the esteemed Milton Acorn Poetry Prize for his collection of poems Confessions of an Island Cartographer, Charlottetown, 1965 at the Island Literary Awards.

CDs and vinyl are available at www.ricksparkes.com or at any of their live shows.

Bob’s Boots

Bob Jensen

Bob Jensen—Bob's BootsBob’s Boots marks the first release of Bob Jensen’s music since his LP, First Time Since August, in 1984.

“I think this is what’s known as a slow build,” jokes Jensen, who no longer performs music and now writes poetry and also collaborates with songwriters from around the world. “I’ve had all this material kicking around for many years—studio outtakes, demos and live recordings from the 1980s—so I decided to put it out there as a kind of semi-official bootleg, hence the title.”

Of the 16 tracks on the release, half were recorded by CBC Radio in 1987. “I performed a show with a couple of sidemen at Rasputin’s, quite a famous little venue in Ottawa, and CBC Radio came out and recorded the whole thing. It’s a mix of original songs and some trad stuff and the production values are quite good,” says Jensen. There are also several original songs that were recorded in Ottawa for a second LP that was never released. Two of the cuts are from a live recording from a gig in northern New Brunswick in 1984. Several of the songs on Bob’s Boots have been covered by other artists. Valdy used to perform The Ritz Café and William Casey and Jackie the Liar and Christmas Song have been covered by Ray Bonneville and Black Umfolosi respectively.

“One of the tracks is a kids’ song,” says Jensen, “A little ditty I made up when my first child was born, and that I used to sing while rocking him as an infant. It’s a bit out of place, but I think it’s probably one of the better songs I have written, so I threw it in the mix as a bonus track.”

Bob’s Boots is available as a free download and live streaming on Soundcloud. Says Jensen, “I just wanted to give new life to the material. Last year I signed a worldwide deal with SGO, a really great music publisher out of the UK, and the more ways I get the music out there, the better. For me though, this is just a hobby. I have no plans to give up my day job.” Jensen’s SoundCloud account is called Bob Jensen’s Music.

Friends Floors

Little Cities

Little Cities—Friends FloorsLittle Cities is a proper name for a band from the Canadian Maritimes. With modest stomping grounds in Charlottetown, PEI, and the gun still smoking from releasing their debut EP Friends Floors, they’ve set their sights on bringing their shiny, soaked-in-synth pop-punk collective nationwide.

The new EP speaks of friendships, tom-foolery, late nights, memories, heartbreak and finding your ride-or-die through six tracks. The project is produced, engineered and mixed by Colin Buchanan (Paper Lions, Sorrey, Racoon Bandit) at Hill Sound Studio right here in Charlottetown and Mastered by Dan Weston in Toronto.

The band is Mathew Hannah (lead guitar, vocals), Mitch Gallant (vocals, rythym guitar), Josh Pitre (synth, backing vocals), Chris Barrett (bass), and Ryan P. Gallant (drums). Think early Blink-182 and Seaway, meets MxPx and Fall Out Boy—unrelenting energy coupled with thoughtful musicianship and boyish charm, say band members. Their goal is to breathe life into a dormant brand of punk music and they’re doing it under the radar, with unapologetic focus and vision.

You can find Friends Floors on Spotify, Apple Music and all other major music streaming services. Check out their release show November 10 at Sportsman’s Club with Kids Losing Sleep (NS) and Conversation (ON).

Kickin’ It

Emerald Junction

Emerald Junction—Kickin' ItCountry-folk duo Emerald Junction has released their debut album, Kickin’ It, as a digital download and the physical version should be available in November after Charlottetown’s Kaneshii Vinyl signed on as manufacturer. The entire project—recording, editing, mixing, mastering and manufacturing (plus photography and graphic design)—was completed in PEI.

Emerald Junction, consisting of Anne Quinn and Ron Kelly, has been releasing pairs of tunes every few weeks after recording at Chris Gauthier’s Dunk River Sound in Breadalbane. A couple of songs have received airtime on radio stations in PEI and Nova Scotia.

Kickin’ It illustrates the duo’s philosophy of mixing musical styles. Five of the ten tracks are Emerald Junction compositions, while five are covers of songs performed by other artists—Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner; Loretta Lynn; Highway 101; Lacy J. Dalton; and The Rankin Family. There’s classic country and contemporary country, solos and duets, folk-pop songs and tunes that don’t fit into any category.

The recently-released tracks are “Sixteenth Avenue”, a cover of Lacey J. Dalton’s tribute to Nashville musicians, and “Every Day (for Nathan and Martine),” a love song for a wedding. The other eight songs include: Borders and Time, a cover of the Rankins’ classic; Precious Child, about the suffering of immigrant children due to war, violence, poverty; The Bed You Made for Me, a rockin’ version of Highway 101’s country hit; Take Me Back, December, a nostalgic ballad; Under Saskatchewan Skies, Prairie love won, lost and won again; If You’re Not Gone Too Long, a barrelhouse version of Loretta Lynn’s tune; All’s Fair, a military family deals with PTSD on the home front; Say Forever You'll Be Mine, a harmonic reworking of the Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner duet.

The CD was co-produced by Jon Rehder and Chris Gauthier who also contributed their musicianship to the project. They were assisted by Matt Bridges, Keelin Wedge and Johnny Ross on various tunes.

Kickin’ It is available on CBC Music and Soundcloud and can be purchased on CD Baby and Hear Now. It can be accessed on most of the major music streaming services—Spotify, Amazon, iTunes/Apple Music, Deezer, and Pandora.

Horizons

Vishtèn

Vishtèn—HorizonsAcadian roots trio Vishtèn celebrated 15 years together, with the release of their sixth album, Horizons, in September. It’s the latest opus from the East Coast group—sisters Pastelle and Emmanuelle LeBlanc from PEI and Pascal Miousse from the Magdalen Islands—who perform a fiery blend of traditional French songs and original instrumentals. While in the process of completing close to 60 Canadian, American and European performances in 2018, the trio has also been officially selected to perform at the WOMEX18 Conference in Las Palmas, Spain, in October.

These multi-instrumentalists, and ambassadors for Francophone culture, arrange traditional Acadian songs in a unique way, while penning originals in Acadian and Celtic styles, all conveyed with a contemporary sensibility that includes indie-rock production. It’s no surprise that Vishtèn has won four East Coast Music Awards, four Music PEI Awards, and a SPACQ Award since 2002.

On Horizons, the rhythms of tapping feet and lilting mouth music blend with the fiddle, guitar, accordion, octave mandolin, whistles, piano, bodhrán and jaw harp to offer a musical experience that illustrates their widescreen view of the world, and breathe new energy into traditional sounds.

The first song, “Elle Tempête,” incorporates Celtic influences, beefed up with an indie-rock feel. The sibling harmonies ride a wave of bodhrán and droning violin. “Bi Bi Box,”is about a message in a bottle bringing hope to a lonely heart. It enhances a classic idea with a modern groove, vocal production, and electric piano. In the title track of the 11-song album, penny whistle and fiddle lead the charge, on a gently percolating three-song medley that paints a musical portrait of the seascapes that are ever-present for these native islanders.

Cajun song “Les Clefs de la Prison” juxtaposes dark lyrical content, about a prisoner facing execution, with a bright, uptempo melody. “L’autre Femme” and “Âmes Soeurs,” are both departures from the rest of the album, with dreamy electric guitar textures, and a moody, ambient feel. The latter is an anthem to sisterhood.

The band has performed at international events and venues, including the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics (CA), Philadelphia Folk Festival (US), New Orleans Jazz Festival (US), Festival Interceltique de Lorient (FR), Woodford Folk Festival (AUS), Shetland Folk Festival (SCO), Cambridge Folk Festival (UK), Tønder Festival (DK), Les Nuits de Fourvières (FR), WOMAD (UK) and Temple Bar Trad Festival (IRE), among many others. 

vishten.net

Ballades—un projet père et fille, volume 1

Adrienne Gallant

Adrienne Gallant—Ballades—un projet père et fille, volume 1The launch of the CD Ballades, un projet père et fille, volume 1, on which Adrienne Gallant sings the songs of her father, Paul Daniel Gallant, author of Les Gars de Mont-Carmel, will take place October 27 in Chéticamp, NS and on October 28 in Summerside, PEI.

The idea for this project was born after the performance of Adrienne Gallant during the closing show of the Agricultural Exhibition and the Évangéline Acadian Festival in Abram-Village in 2017. Following the reaction of the audience in the theater and on the social media to Adrienne’s interpretation of a song of her father “Je te reviens,” it was decided to proceed with a first project under the theme of ballads written by Paul Daniel Gallant over a period of more than 40 years. During the past year, Adrienne and Paul spent many hours researching, tweaking and recording a dozen of the most beautiful ballads that they both love.

Nostalgia will be honored on the recording and during the shows with songs that will recall memories of groups such as, Gameck, Brador, Panou, La Cuisine à Mémé, Le Théâtre des Moineaux, Le grand cercle, etc. “I’ve been producing and writing songs for over thirty albums, and lately there was pressure for me to record my own album,” says Paul Gallant. “On the other hand, when I heard Adrienne sing my songs at the festival, I said to myself that it is Adrienne who will record this album…with my help of course.”

The introductory performances will include several special guests such as Colin Grant and Wayne Robichaud. The show in Chéticamp will take place on October 27 at 7:30 pm and on October 28 at the Summerside Festival de la citrouille at the Belle-Alliance Center at 7:30 pm.

“We are thrilled to host this launch at the Belle-Alliance Center during the Summerside Festival de la citrouille. This show will be the closing event of this annual festival, which will take place from October 19 to 28 in the Greater Summerside region,” says Christian Gallant, Program Manager for the 2018 Festival.

Tickets for each show will be on sale from October 1. To obtain tickets for the show on October 27 in Chéticamp call the Arts Council of Chéticamp at 902-224-1876 or at the Society Saint Pierre at 902-224-2642. For the October 28 show in Summerside, tickets are available either by visiting the Belle-Alliance Center reception (5, ave Maris Stella) or by calling 902-888-1681.

World of Opportunity

Graeme Zinck

Graeme Zinck—World of OpportunitySinger-songwriter Graeme Zinck has released his debut original album World of Opportunity on music stores and streaming platforms.

World of Opportunity explores the nature of friendships and romance, following one relationship from its magical beginning to its heartbreaking end. Graeme’s experience in Charlottetown’s musical theatre scene is evident throughout: each song is a distinct emotional journey with unconventional accompaniments and a strong story.

One song, “Nothing’s Ever Fair,” deviates from this theme. It delves into how chronic illnesses affect people and how one must push through rough days to experience the good ones.

The self-produced album features eight original songs recorded this past summer at Mount Allison University, where Graeme studies computer science. Check out the album on Spotify, or find Graeme’s contact information at graemezinck.ca.

Tremors

Andrew Waite

Andrew Waite—TremorsIn early 2017, Andrew Waite decided to craft a new record. The album feels like it has been a long time coming, though the award-winning Burning Through the Night was only released two years prior. With Jon Matthews (The Sound Mill) on board to engineer and Bruce Rooney (Coyote, Adyn Townes) co-producing, the FACTOR-funded project began tracking that spring and is now, over a year later, is ready to launch.

By far the most progressive work Waite has released to date, the collection of songs dances across genres flirting with folk, rock, and pop. The album was brought to off-Island studios for some initial mixing, but was ultimately brought back home to be mixed by Jon Matthews. “Holding nothing back, Matthews certainly pushed limits sonically to forge not only well-produced individual songs, but a well-crafted album as a whole entity,” says Waite. This album will definitely be one to check out on vinyl. Accustomed to wearing many hats, Matthews co-produced the record alongside Waite and Rooney. The album was mastered by J. LaPointe at Archive Mastering (NS).

Tremors features an all-star cast of Island musicians with Evan McCosham (bass), George Maros (drums), Sean Ferris (organ, keys), Bruce Rooney (guitar, vocals) and Nikki Waite (sax, vocals). Guest appearances on a number of tracks include Rosanna Burrill (Hillsburn), Cynthia MacLeod and Leith Flemming-Smith (Matt Mays). From the fierce rock single Out & Out, to the thoughtful veteran tribute Cash It In, to the pop-heavy Faith, this album delivers a diverse sonic collection, offering something to a vast demographic of listeners.

The album launch show will take place at The Mack in Charlottetown on November 2 and will include a variety of numbers from full band arrangements, to striped down songwriting numbers, with a few special guests performing inbetween. Tickets are available now at boxoffice.confederationcentre.com/online/.

Andrew Waite is a songwriter and frontman for PEI roots-rock band Andrew Waite & The Firm, who released their debut album Burning through the Night in September 2015. Waite’s songwriting is described as honest, rugged and evocative.

Time Travel

Lennie Gallant

Lennie Gallant—Time TravelTime Travel, the long awaited album by celebrated Canadian songwriter, Lennie Gallant, takes us on a trip that delves into journeys of the heart, our time on the planet, place in the universe, ancient legends, road stories and an oddly confused ghost. Gallant’s rich vocals are brought to the fore on this recording and the often full orchestral arrangements provide the ideal setting for them to shine.

Songs include “Nothing Makes Sense,” a tongue in cheek view of our present state of global affairs, “Sequoia,” a heartfelt ode to a tall elder of our fragile ecosystem, “We Want Contact,” our search for others like us out there, and “There’s a Storm Coming,” an oft quoted timely phrase. It seems many of the songs on the album were ripped from the day’s headlines while taking a lyrical sideways glance at where we are headed spiritually and emotionally in our quest to cope in rather dubious times.

Gallant says he was amazed at all the coincidences that seems to accompany the making of this record. As songs were being recorded, the subject matter would appear in a newsfeed or online post the same day. The first single “Selkie,” for example, is a love song that takes place on a blood moon and refers to an ancient Celtic myth. By chance the decided date for the song’s release was coinciding with the longest blood moon to occur in this century.

While speaking of the want for strings on the same song and how the Vancouver band The Fretless would be perfect for it, he discovered they were actually touring the East Coast that week and had a day off where they could drop by and provide exactly the sound needed. These were just a couple of many serendipitous moments during the recording session that at times seemed beautifully strange.

The new album was produced by Daniel Ledwell (Jenn Grant/ David Myles) and in addition to the stellar players in Gallant’s own band, features Rose Cousins, Mary Jane Lamond, Jenn Grant, The Fretless, and the Atlantic String Machine. Chris Corrigans is guest guitar player on several songs and Lennie says, “Chris was once my right hand man for many tours and albums so it was good to have him on board again.”

This is Gallant’s first studio album in 9 years. Not that he hasn’t been active though, as his last two live albums both won national awards and several East Coast Music Awards including Folk Album and 2017 ECMA Entertainer of the Year. Gallant says, “While I’m proud of the live recordings we made over the last few years, there is really nothing to compare with being in a studio session with great musicians and producer and bringing 13 brand new songs to life! There were many magical and welcome moments in the process that I think created a very fresh and unique album. I’m really happy with the way these songs turned out!” The album is available on iTunes and in selected stores. 

Events Calendar

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Some Upcoming Events

Christmas Day on Planet Earth

New single with Lennie Gallant and Black Umfolosi December 14
Trinity United Church Island singer-s [ ... ]

DuffleBag Theatre

Family show comes to Georgetown and Summerside December 30
Harbourfront Theatre & Kings Pla [ ... ]

Island Lecture Series: Kate Bevan-Baker

December 11
UPEI The Island Lecture Series continues December 11, at 7 pm in the SDU Main Building F [ ... ]

Recent News & Articles

9th UPEI Chancellor

Honourable Catherine Callbeck installed The Honourable Catherine Callbeck has been installed as the [ ... ]

18th Music PEI Week and Awards

Credit Unions of PEI returns as sponsor for events in January Music PEI has announced the return of [ ... ]

A gift of Island poetry: J. J. Steinfeld

Curated by Deirdre Kessler There Are Questions I Would Like to Ask How can you imagine gunfire and [ ... ]