VOA doesn’t want to be cool, or trendy. The collaborative project wishes to write “good music” for music’s sake. Every note of every work is examined through the lens of “is this what will make the song the best version of itself”. It is a study of the pop rock genre, a conscious effort at creating self-supporting works of musical magic.
Glistening guitar tones over a driving foundation are at the heart of the VOA sound. Since the founding members of VOA are established pillars of their local music scene, regal rock is the term used to describe the musical origins of the project. Music for movies is what they produce: deep imagery to be paired with amazing images.
JF Coley, a fifth-generation musician, songwriter, arranger and producer, has been active in the Canadian music scene since 2002, as a member of Flicker, Coley, and now VOA. A multi-instrumentalist JF‘s demos for an upcoming Coley album are what started VOA.
Pascal Desmarais, also a musician, songwriter, arranger
and producer, was a member of Coley in 2006. He has also played in DelaVoy, Union of Slaves and Fable; as well as performed in a variety of other musical projects. Without Pascal there is no VOA.
Potluck vegetarian dinner at 6 pm. Concert goes at 7.30 pm. $20 at the door.
An evening with Dennis Ellsworth & Kinley Dowling in Stanstead.
The Brunelle-Newman House, 18 ch de Fairfax.
RSVP: email@example.com / 819-238-1470
Ellsworth makes no secret that his songs are characterised by a kind of dark optimism that is informed by early influences such as Roy Orbison, Kris Kristofferson and Neil Diamond (he recalls singing “Forever In Blue Jeans” in front of the mirror while brushing his teeth as a child!).
And although he’s refined his sound and approach to writing over the years, some things remain constant. Like his acoustic guitar that he rescued from a 1970’s era cottage in the Catskills – a guitar on which he’s written almost every song he’s put down on tape and believes has a lot to do with his gift for songwriting.
But while his latest album “Romantic As It Gets” dwells heavily on the necessity of remaining positive, Ellsworth himself says bluntly “I’m hopeful but I’m not a firm believer!”. The result is a seamless blend of modern East Coast folk and rock and roll, with shades of classic Americana, roots and country haunting the edges.
Kinley is a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. While she’s well known as a member of Newfoundland’s indie ensemble Hey Rosetta!. she’s also an emerging singer-songwriter and recently released her solo debut album “Letters Never Sent” in October 2016.
Kinley is one of the most sought after string players when a group decides to make an album, and she has recorded on over 50 records over the span of her career.
She’s also seen multiple appearances with Grammy-winning artist Anne Murray. She has also toured Australia, USA, Canada and Europ multiple times appearing at festivals such as Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Mumford & Sons Gentlemen Of The Road tour.
“This promises to be a magical evening! World class talent, up close and personal! Don’t miss it!”
Oh yeah… Last time they were in the house it was the dead of winter, it was the first time they ever met in-person and the first time they ever played together – and we fell in love with their sound. Since then they’ve toured Oz and have just released a beautiful new single together. Liz Stringer & Tim Moxam will be back at the Brunelle-Newman House on Friday evening, August 18th…
18 ch de Fairfax, Stanstead QC J0B 3E2
Potluck vegetarian dinner at 6 pm. Concert at 7.30 pm.
Bring your own folding chair if it looks like it’s going to be a nice evening and we can all gather on the lawn. If not, we’ll be inside.
RSVP – Tel 819.238.1470 / E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ontario singer-songwriter Tim Moxam and Aussie export Liz Stringer toured the latter’s home country together earlier this year, and now they’re getting set to embark on a string of dates across the eastern provinces of Moxam’s native land.
Moxam recruited a who’s who in Toronto’s music scene for his 2016 album Soft Summer: former bandmates, Adrian Cook (guitar) and Tony McKnight (bass) of Great Bloomers, Joshua Van Tassel (drums) of Great Lake Swimmers, and Lemon Bucket Orkestra’s Christopher Weatherstone (saxophone.) The songstresses Ivy Mairi (The Weather Station, Bruce Peninsula) and Raffa Weyman (RALPH and formerly Queen of the Fleet) provided accompanying vocals on several tracks. The album was recorded, mixed and produced by Chris Stringer, who has worked with Timber Timbre, Ohbijou, The Wooden Sky and Gentlemen Reg, among countless others. In 2016 Tim shared the stage with The Strumbellas, Donovan Woods, Coeur de Pirate, to name a few. His single Harvest For The Queen was #63 on CBC Radio 2’s Top 100 Songs of 2016 and #76 on CBCMusic’s Essential Songs of 2016.
What’s The Story about Liz Stringer?
Melbourne’s Liz Stringer, one of Australia’s most respected songwriters and musicians, returns to Canada in summer 2017, following a year of international touring to support the release of her acclaimed 2016 LP “All The Bridges”. Recorded in Portland, OR at Type Foundry Studio, with producer Adam Selzer (M Ward, The Decemberists, Jolie Holland) at the helm, and released in North America through Roaring Girl Records, “All The Bridges” has continued to solidify Stringer’s reputation for the highest quality musicianship, creative autonomy and intensely moving live shows.
All The Bridges hit a swag of favourite lists for 2016 in Australia, including the Inside Sleeve’s top five records of 2016 (ABC Radio National) and number one in the Best Australian Releases at Basement Discs record store, Melbourne.
Soulstack delivers a visceral experience; one of seasoned musicians playing the music of their roots with authentic realism. It’s the sound of Staples Singers-inspired southern harmony, tremolo-drenched baritone guitar, with a late-sixties New Orleans-style rhythm section and the gurgle of a Hammond organ driving it along with the unmistakable and distinctive voice of Jon Knight.
Soulstack has recently released a limited edition, live compilation album titled “LIVE CUTS” [January 2017] which features a variety of tracks superbly recorded live in a small club setting, and includes two live tracks from Moulin Blues. The formal release of the long-awaited ‘Live & Acoustic’ DVD/BluRay/CD , capturing the band in a broken down, intimate setting, with acoustic guitars, a grand piano, Hammond organ, hand drums/percussion, and recorded in front of a live audience, will also be released in 2017.
Currently, Soulstack is in pre-production for their fourth, full-length studio album, with the working title; “Sweaty Moments”. Releases available on iTunes, indiepool.com and select retailers.
Soulstack is: Jon Knight ( Vocal/Guitar), Mark Wessenger (Vocal/Piano/Organ), Chris Latta ( Guitar / Baritone), Darryl ‘Harpo’ Peterson (Bass) and Tom Bona (Drums), with guest member Matt Weidinger (Piano/Organ/Wurlitzer/Clavinet). Soulstack has been performing recently with a special guest musician, Michael Francis , a 5x Grammy Award Winning Sax Player from ‘Asleep at the Wheel’ fame.
Soulstack has been nominated for a total of 8 Maple Blues Awards , winning 3 of these as Drummer of the Year.
[Nominated as Electric Act, Vocalist 2x, Keyboard Player, and Drummer 4x]
Stanstead House Concerts presents… An Intimate Evening with Harrow Fair at The Haskell Free Library.
Concert begins at 7.30 pm.
$20 Adults | $10 Teens
Harrow Fair is Miranda Mulholland (Great Lake Swimmers, Belle Starr) & Andrew Penner (Sunparlour Players). One part stomping songs that echo early Country and Rock n Roll. The other gritty ballads that sound sweet and haunted. This duo’s evocative and rapidly expanding collection of songs are utterly foreign, oddly familiar and deeply gratifying. Their debut full-length album “Call to Arms” is out now.
The concert begins at 7.30 pm promptly.
The only entrance to the building is located on the American street side.
Visitors from Canada must park their cars on the Church Street side of the building and walk around the building to the main entrance.
Visitors from the United States may park in our parking lot, on Caswell Ave. or another Derby Line street.
It is expected that all visitors will return to their country of origin.
This almost seems like an impossible dream pairing of two of my favourite artists – Tim Moxam & Liz Stringer – who will – somehow – be performing in our livingroom in Stanstead QC.
Our house can hold 45 people – max. So with Tim & Liz and the band and me and Di and the girls – that leaves about 37 spots available… Potluck vegetarian dinner begins 6ish with the concert getting underway 730ish.. You might want to bring your own folding chair or cushion to sit on the floor for this one.. $20 for adults.. $10 for teens..
Tim Moxam (Toronto ON) –
There’s a comforting sense of familiarity in Tim Moxam’s music, like the feeling of a soft summer breeze after the passing of a cold, grey winter. It’s his soulful voice that floats over twangy acoustic guitar; his vivid storytelling of lost love; his breezy, warm atmospheric tones that swell and crash.
Yet when it comes to conjuring Moxam’s predecessors, contemporaries and influences – no one comes to mind. He exists in a world that deftly explores the space between country-rock and folk, with a talent for carving out memorable melodies in unlikely places. On his debut LP, Soft Summer, Moxam shows he’s a singer-songwriter wholly of his own.
At its core, Soft Summer is a collection of deeply personal songs, organized like a sonic memoir. Many of the songs have lived with the Toronto-based Moxam for years, lyrics being re-worked and re-written in countless journals, while others were birthed in the final months before recording. Some were from the era before his first EP, Blue Son, and some were even penned in the backseat of the van as he toured with his former band, the beloved indie rock group, Great Bloomers.
Despite their disparate origins, the songs fit together with fluidity and ease. This is partially thanks to Moxam’s distinctive point of view, and otherwise to the collaborative recording process.
For the album, Moxam recruited a who’s who in Toronto’s music scene: former bandmates, Adrian Cook (guitar) and Tony McKnight (bass) of Great Bloomers, Joshua Van Tassel (drums) of Great Lake Swimmers, and Lemon Bucket Orkestra’s Christopher Weatherstone (saxophone.) The songstresses Ivy Mairi (The Weather Station, Bruce Peninsula) and Raffa Weyman (RALPH and formerly Queen of the Fleet) provided accompanying vocals on several tracks.
Once settled into Union Sound Co. Studios in Toronto, everything was recorded live off the floor – the vocals, acoustic guitar, bass and drums – and often in one take. Moxam hints that this approach means slight pitch problems, vocal glitches and other idiosyncrasies are out in the open, but it’s a sacrifice he was willing to make for an organic sound. “When you start to really dissect things and make everything perfect,” Moxam says, “you end up with a manufactured product. You have something that’s inauthentic. I gravitate towards a more natural sound.”
The album was recorded, mixed and produced by Chris Stringer, who has worked with Timber Timbre, Ohbijou, The Wooden Sky and Gentlemen Reg, among countless others.
The single “Bones” is a languid and emotive love song, narrated over an intricate guitar line that weaves between Moxam, Mairi and Weyman’s joint vocals. “Meant To Be” is densely layered with wistful guitars and pedal steel, culminating in beautiful melodic peaks. The title-track Soft Summer is a languid summer anthem; Honey from the Hive is a slow-burner, complete with a stinging saxophone interlude, and sung from the perspective of an arrogant lover.
Soft Summer is at turns passionate and tender, sorrowful and solemn, uplifting and rollicking. It’s a look inside Moxam’s own life, encrypted in metaphors and melodies.
Liz Stringer (Melbourne VIC) –
Liz Stringer was playing piano before she could talk. The dye was cast young. Some argue that she still communicates better with music than with conversation. She grew up in Melbourne, Australia, the youngest of three kids. Her Dad was a music teacher, her Mum a literature and history teacher. The house reverberated with music of some kind constantly. There were instruments and books on every surface. And the backyard was littered with Aussie rules footies, cricket bats and tennis racquets. Ball sports and art. It was a good way to grow up.
At thirteen Liz won a music scholarship to an elite private girls school. She spent a few years there, making the most of the grand pianos and the sports facilities. It was a supportive, but rigid, environment. It was against school rules for students to eat in their uniform when not on school grounds. What the actual fuck. At fifteen she started playing guitar. At sixteen she went to Germany, started a band and recorded her first demo with those boys. Onto cassette. She’s declined to divulge the name of that band. Too embarrassing, she reckons. She cut her performing teeth in Germany. And learned how to drink beer and smoke cigarettes. Everyone smoked back then.
She returned to Melbourne, went to her local high school, and began to write more and more songs. Tripping on acid in her mates’ shed, drinking cold beers on hot summers days in the park next to her school. The guitar went everywhere with her.
After she finished high school she went back to Germany, picked up the band where they’d left it, borrowed a black Fender Stratocaster and a Bassman amp, secured a rehearsal studio in a World War II bunker and rehearsed religiously over the next three years. They played a few gigs. And had a lot of fun.
Then she went to England. To follow love, and obtain enough work to sustain her continuing life in Europe. She learned how to barkeep, she wrote more and more songs, played some solo shows and began to focus on the acoustic guitar again.
2003 she was back in Melbourne. And by 2006 had made her first album, “Soon” with her best mate, drummer Adam May. Ten years later it’s 2016 and she’s released four subsequent albums and is about to release her 5th studio record. She recorded it in Portland, Oregon. She wanted adventure again. She needed it. And she also fell in love. With Canada. So she started to plant roots and now she has a record deal and a bunch of beautiful friends there. She also gets back to her mob in Germany as often as she can.
She’s toured around Australia perpetually for years. She’s played every major festival. She’s revered by her musical peers for her inherent musical talent and low tolerance for bullshit. She neither has, nor wants, industry attention and validation. She’s a musician. It’s pretty simple, really.
An evening with country-crossover artists The Record Breakers in Stanstead QC.
The Record Breakers are from the West Island of Montreal. They play original music with elements of blues, rock, country and pop. And then they add something that is all their own. The Record Breakers also play covers of songs by The Beatles, Blue Rodeo, and other iconic bands.
These young musicians all attended the same music school and found their way together by their love of, and dedication to music. Since they formed in 2014 they have performed at impressive venues such as the Oscar Peterson Concert Hall, The Crowley Art Centre, and Club Soda in Montreal.
2016 has shown itself to be another great year for The Record Breakers; they released their debut extended play (EP) album, which dropped on March 25, 2016, and was celebrated with a sold-out EP launch show at The Rialto – Piccolo Hall. They were featured on Breakfast Television on City TV, played Porchfest NDG, Lachine Canal Folk Festival, Landmark Event at Paradox Theatre, DDO Canada Day Celebration and Zone Musique in Old Montreal and on Sept 10, 2016 they received first place in the LME finals at Club Soda. They recorded a music video and released a Rockumentary on the band off-stage. And through it all they continue to be great friends and have lots of fun. The next goal for The Record Breakers is to get back into the recording studio to lay down the tracks for their second album.
Andrew Waite is the frontman and songwriter for the gutsy roots-rock band Andrew Waite & the Firm from Charlottetown, PEI. Waite’s songwriting is honest, rugged and evocative and when paired with the band is a collective of heavy hitters with rich harmonies and soundscapes.
Their debut EP, released in September 2015; won the 2016 Music PEI Rock Recording of the Year and was a regional finalist in the CBC Searchlight competition. The title track was released to much success including an eight week stint on the East Coast Countdown including the number one spot.
Waite has shared the stage with Peter Katz, Irish Mythen, Slowcoaster, The Sadies, The Novaks and Coyote. He is currently working on his follow-up album, to be released 2017.
When we moved out here to Stanstead, the century-old house we moved into held the unlikely key to a treasure. It came in the form of a broken-down third-rate department-store guitar with five intact strings and a slightly warped neck.
Sophie, our eleven-year-old daughter, adopted the guitar as her own. A family friend added a sixth string and tuned it by ear.
And Sophie took her guitar to her bedroom and taught herself how to play. She used her iPod to download how-to videos from the internet.
Sophie loved the music of Taylor Swift. So she armed herself with chord charts and lyric sheets. And she practiced ceaselessly.
And slowly the sounds became songs.
She entered the town’s talent show with a friend and together they captured second prize after singing a beautiful version of ‘Our Song.’ They went back the next year and won first prize with ‘Mean.’
Almost two years after she first picked up that old guitar Sophie and I made our pilgrimage to Steve’s Music in Montreal where she chose a Big Baby Taylor.
And then she went back up to her room with her new guitar and practiced every evening. We must have heard ‘Love Story’ and ‘Red’ a hundred times.
She sang ‘Teardrops On My Guitar’ in her first appearance at her high school followed by ‘Last Christmas’ and ‘Santa Baby’ at the holiday show.
Sophie sang ‘Love Story’ at her grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary celebration in a restaurant at Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont. It was an amazing few minutes and when she was done even the folks at other tables applauded loudly.
We were primed for the release of ‘1989’ long before the latest Taylor Swift album was released. Almost immediately, Sophie was working her way through the new songs – capturing their essence while singing and playing guitar.
And now, six years since we moved into this old house, seventeen-year-old Sophie has harnessed her dedication and passion – and having successfully auditioned last Spring – is now studying Pop Voice in the Music program at Vanier College in Montreal.
I count myself among the legion of loyal Taylor Swift fans. For good reason.
In my case, I give thanks for Ms. Swift’s ability to help Sophie find her voice – and for providing continual inspiration to keep making sweet sounds with her guitar.
Be well. Practice big medicine.
PS: Big Medicine is my nod of respect to a First Nations expression that, roughly translated, means the right people working together at the right time will be Big Medicine. I’ve been saying ‘Be well. Practice big medicine’ for as long as I can remember. It is my own very personal version of ‘Sawu Bona’, the Zulu greeting which means ‘I see you’… I see all of you, I see your good works, I see the difference you are making in the world.
Country-folk trio The Secrets – comprised of Newfoundland natives Karla Pilgrim, Terri Lynn Eddy and Renée Batten, all three accomplished singers and solo musicians – met in college while studying performance and recording at College of the North Atlantic. They quickly discovered a natural blend to their voices and musical aspirations, traded jigs and reels for whiskey, mandolins and faded jeans, and haven’t looked back since.
The Secrets launched their trio in Newfoundland, opening for country music legend Alan Jackson’s Freight Line Tour in 2010, and since 2012 have been taking their music across the country with stops at a number of prestigious festivals and events including Saskatchewan’s Ness Creek Folk Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival and the Stan Rogers International Folk Festival, among others. This experience enriched their outstanding vocal chops, helped hone arrangements of their original compositions and furthered their love of country music.
The Secrets headed to Nashville in spring 2014 to record with producer/co-writer, Peter Daniel Newman at the helm. This culminated in the (June 2014) release of The Secrets highly anticipated debut album, Break Even, followed by a summer tour which included main stage performances at the World Pride Festival in Toronto, the Acoustic Maritime Music Festival and Harmony Bazaar Festival of Women and Song in Nova Scotia, the Riverview Band Shell Series in New Brunswick, a coveted spot at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival (Atlantic Canada’s largest country festival) held in PEI, an opening set for Serena Ryder at Newfoundland’s infamous George Street Festival, and capped off with the ultimate dream gig – opening three sold out shows for country superstar Tim McGraw at Mile One Centre in St. John’s, NL.
Citing influences such as Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette and Linda Ronstadt (aka The Trio), as well as Johnny Cash, Tricia Yearwood, Terri Clarke and Patty Loveless, to name just a few, The Secrets built their repertoire on a foundation of classic country hits infused with an impressive, and ever-growing catalogue of country-folk originals. With their gift of voice and seemingly effortless, natural harmony coupled with their individual talent and skill as musicians – Karla on guitar and bass, Terri Lynn on guitar, mandolin and harmonica, and Renée, an extraordinary musical talent on guitar, accordion, fiddle, mandolin, bass and more – The Secrets fresh delivery of their chosen work is authentic, exciting and thoroughly entertaining for all who see and hear them.
Seats can be reserved via RSVP at 819-704-0662 or Email: email@example.com
Adults $20, Teens $10 – and kids, as always, are free & welcome.
An evening with Country-Folk Trio – The Secrets – will be a dinner/concert on Friday, October 28th..at the Brunelle-Newman House – 18 ch de Fairfax in Stanstead QC.
Here’s the essential info:
This will be an intimate livingroom concert with a max capacity of 35 folks on chairs, sofas, benches – or sitting on the floor.
Dinner will be 6-ish and will be potluck vegetarian. Send Hal an email to let him know what you’re bringing for potluck. E: newman,firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re coming for the concert only, seating will be open at 19h.