Monday, 20 August 2012

Let's Hear It For The Girl(s) ; Part 1

Upon listening to the incredible Suzie Vinnick ( at Summerfolk last weekend, I was reminded of how lucky we are in Ontario to have so many musically talented women. I feel so fortunate that I get to play with some of the most talented women in the country.

I would like to dedicate this blog entry to the women who consistently push the envelope. I hope that, at least for some of you, this will open your eyes and ears to some of Canada's finest female voices and players. These women are out there everyday, on the road or in the studio, carving a unique path in Canada's terrain.

I give you the first instalment of "Let's Hear It For The Girl(s)":

SARAH SLEAN: It goes without saying that Sarah is talented and beautiful. Throw in the fact that she is touring Europe with a small symphony in tow, completed a double record, and finishing her own musical, it's safe to say we all have some catching up to do.

SAMANTHA MARTIN: I had the pleasure of producing an album for this powerhouse vocalist, but what should be most noted for is her songwriting. Her newest record (with her band The Haggard) features gospel backup singers and yours truly on keys. For fans of Patsy, Lucinda, Janis and Mavis.

SUZIE MCNEIL: I had the pleasure of writing a song with her in Costa Rica on a recent trip, and can't say enough about her vocal dexterity. While the rest of us burned out our voices from singing every night for hours, Suzie could still belt out a Queen song without waning...while the boys croaked. She just released a new pop/rock album that is getting airplay all over the country. She plays harder than most, and deserves the credit.

MORGAN DOCTOR: I started playing with her with Andy Kim a couple of years ago, and have admired her enthusiasm for all things musical. She is not only a great drummer, but a songwriter, producer and even plays tabla drums. LA's loss is Toronto's gain.

SERENA RYDER: Serena Ryder sweats on stage. At least when I play with her. Over the past couple of years, I have watched her dedicate her entire being to song crafting, writing with some of the best in the world. I am honoured to have written with her, and look forward to hearing what she does with those tunes on her upcoming record. Watch her right hand, guitarists. Gibraltar has nothing on this rock.

DANI NASH: as either part of The Pining, or The Sure Things, Dani's energy is undeniable. A rockabilly/country soul with the heart of a lion. She's a small package waiting to explode. Keep your eyes open for her playing in Toronto at various venues. Deadly drummer, too.

ANNA RUDDICK and MAIA DAVIES: As the newest member of The Beauties family, Anna has been a delight. She graduated from McGill in the jazz program for upright bass, so she also has that in her back pocket. I've been enjoying watching her get her rock chops on with us, though. She is also a part of Ladies Of The Canyon with Maia Davies, who can throw down a country tune with the best of them. The rest of The Ladies reside in Montreal, where they began.

SCARLETT JANE: These gals seem to be perpetually on the road. I really enjoyed seeing them at Dauphin Countryfest this summer. With roots/folk hearts on their sleeves, they effortlessly bridge sweet harmony and rural road rhythm. Andrea Ramolo strums guitar, and Cindy Doire plucks bass.

SARAH BURTON: Here's another member of the perpetual-touring-team. Great songs delivered with a quiet conviction. Strength in the soft. A lovely piano player I must add. Her new album, Fire Breathers, is gaining momentum due to her hard working tour schedule. Oh, and because she's great at what she does.

GRAY: The artist formerly known as Brooke Harris has come to life as a pop/rock artist. Trained as an opera singer from a young age, she called me to produce some tracks with her. We wrote "Oh No", and I love the direction. I implore you to check it out at

CHRISTINE BOUGIE: I am always inspired by Bougie's work on guitar, but she's really shining as a lap steel and rummer, too. I consider her to be one of the tastiest guitarists in the country. Pure, understated excellence.

DANIELA GESUNDHEIT of SNOWBLINK: I saw her play with her partner for my first time last year in Saskatoon opening for Ohbijou (which also contains many formidable female musicians) and was lost in her tone and range. Elastic band vocals and a virtuoso of the delay pedal. Buy their record.

RONLEY TEPER: Very few artists what the artistic fortitude displayed by Ronley. In fact, dare I say, no one rivals her style as it is all her own. A visionary with stories to tell and the ability to leave your jaw agape.

JOAN SMITH of LITTLE FOOT LONG FOOT: Set your speakers to stun. A remarkably dexterous fuzzy blues player, with a voice to crush hearts and skulls simultaneously. Absolutely go see them if you like rock and roll in your rock n' roll.

Okay, I have realized that this list could go on for quite a while, so I'll leave it at this short list for now. I will make this theme a reoccurring blog, as the women of Canada are making more of an impact than ever. At least in my eyes. Please support any or all of the artists in this blog, and keep your eyes peeled in the papers. They may be playing close to you soon.

Please feel free to leave links to other amazing females in the comments section. I'm sure they will appear in the blog at some point or another.

To the thousands that have been reading this blog, thank you so much.

May your hearts be shielded by your souls.


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