Blundstone Playlist Volume 4: A Cross-Country Musical Journey
The annual Blundstone Playlist is back with its 4th installment. This year we launch it with more enthusiasm than ever before proudly featuring 13 artists from across the country with the aim to inspire you, lift your spirits and celebrate the amazing sounds of Canada from the comfort of home.
Four years ago, Pat LePoidevin was working at the Australian Boot Company on Toronto’s Queen Street West when he had an idea. As a musician working in Canada’s independent scene, he knew what every musician wanted most – to be heard by as many people as possible. And the move from vinyl and CDs to streaming digital had opened up new ways for music fans to discover new artists – no matter where they were.
“Walking around Toronto, I would pick up playlists in the form of digital download cards at cafes and bars across the city,” he says. “Knowing the folks at Blundstone Canada are interested in creative community initiatives, I figured they would respond well to the idea of creating a Blundstone Playlist. This type of cross promotion allows Blundstone Canada to demonstrate their support for various hard-working artists and bands across the country.”
He got to work, and before long when people bought a pair of Blundstone boots at the Australian Boot Company in Toronto and Vancouver, they left with a card to download some great Canadian music. “The reaction was very positive from the public,” says Pat. “It came by surprise when folks would pick up a new pair of boots. And the artists were thrilled to be showcased by a national brand as it allowed them to share their music with a vast audience. This type of initiative only creates a positive effect on all sides.”
So when we decided to launch the Blundstone Playlist with a fresh selection of young artists, we knew who to turn to.
Pat has searched far and wide and created a cross-Canada musical odyssey, with an artist from every Canadian province and territory. And this week, the Blundstone Playlist kicks off as an annual event.
“We looked for hardworking musicians across Canada who are playing lots of shows and festivals – artists and bands who have a unique sound and haven’t yet been heard by most of the general public,” says Pat.
Blundstone Playlist Volume 4 offers music as diverse, exciting and inspiring as our country from emerging musicians, singers and bands. Explore Canada from one end to the other, or shuffle from place to place and sound to sound.
Here are your companions on your cross-country musical journey.
Multiple award-winning singer/songwriter Sarah MacDougall is known for her poetic songs and passionate performances. Sarah mixes folk, pop, and rock elements into her infectious, often epic songs. Her most recent release, ‘All The Hours I Have Left To Tell You Anything’ is a record about strength, identity, death, the breakdown of relationships, birth, and the ghosts we honor and carry throughout.
Carmanah – “Roots”
Never one to shy away from speaking her mind, Laura Mina Mitic will always be the last one to tell you about herself. Instead you’ll hear about music, band mates, politics, touring and a deep reverence for humanity and the earth. You’ll hear the same on Carmanah’s first national release ‘Speak In Rhythms’, a modern eleven-song album that overflows with emotion, afterhours cool, groove and tantalizing hints of gritty vintage flavours that influence it’s modern sound.
The Provincial Archive has honed their craft through dark winters. They make music, release records, tour the country and travel the world. At the 2016 Edmonton Music Awards, The Provincial Archive won Indie Rock Recording of the Year in 2016 for their song “Bad Connections” and Album of the Year for their self-titled album.
Carmen Braden – “Small Town Song”
Carmen Braden is a versatile, genre-jumping musician from the Canadian sub-Arctic. Multiple WCMA-nominee/winner, Carmen writes songs and music that explore beautiful and seemingly-simple parts of life and her environment – and then finds the intrigue and the odd angle. “Small Town Song” celebrates the small towns that are dotted across this country, with a perfect sound of being off-the-beaten-track.
Belle Plaine – “Squared Up”
Belle Plaine is the stage name of Melanie Berglund, a singer/songwriter who was raised on her great-grandparents’ homestead near the hamlet of Fosston, SK. Belle embodies traditions from country, blues, swing and folk music, while never quite fitting squarely into one category. Through lyrics that contemplate the ephemeral nature of life Belle manages to address themes that are persistently unfolding in our lives: forgiveness, redemption and hope.
Sweet Alibi – “Confetti”
Known for their soulful three-part harmonies, Sweet Alibi have shared their folk roots-pop infused music with listeners across North America and Europe since 2009. Their music has garnered national accolades and awards, has been featured on MTV USA and CMT and received major radio play on commercial, college/community and satellite radio across the globe.
Cat Clyde is a Canadian singer-songwriter out of Stratford, Ontario. She is a fresh take on the classic sounds of yesteryear; breathing new life into the velvety vocal, tack-piano, slide-guitar-style that can instantly walk you through the swinging doors of a packed saloon.
Arctic Soul, Josh Q. & The Trade-Offs’ iconic brand, is distinguished by the deep brooding voice of Josh Qaumariaq and soulful background of Jeff Maurice set against blues and rock and roll sounds echoing from the depth of the Northern tundra. In a blend of Inuktitut and English lyrics, The Trade-Offs sing the Arctic blues about universal themes of light and darkness and closeness and isolation.
Jamie Comeau & The Crooked Teeth – “Tall Pine”
With an alternative blues/indie folk sound, Jamie Comeau & The Crooked Teeth combine style and originality with personality and stage presence to bring forth an unfamiliar sound that attracts attention from their audience. They have shared the stage with other acclaimed acts such as Interpol, Matthew Good, Wintersleep, Paper Lions and Sloan—to name a few.
Prince Edward Island
Russell Louder – “Hello Stranger”
Russell Louder is a trans musician, producer, performance artist, curator, party-thrower and ring-leader based in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Their experimental electronic dance pop explores the ever-evolving internal landscape of identity, grief and romance. Their performance and curatorial work explores joy and celebration as sites of queer community, resistance and survival.
Rum Ragged – “The Thing About Fish”
Hailing from one of the world’s richest hubs of folk and traditional music, Rum Ragged have quickly become known as one of the finest performers of the music from their Eastern Canadian island home of Newfoundland. Their acclaimed multi-award winning albums speak for themselves. Even with prolific recording output, it is Rum Ragged’s live show that is a must for any true music lover.
Foreign Diplomats embody the idea of a carefree and slightly disobedient youth: the ones to blow up firecrackers in dark alleys at night, but not to throw punches. Put another way, Foreign Diplomats is also the journey of five guys (not the burger chain) who accidentally found their stage name at the airport while waiting at customs. According to the boys, the more the merrier and it sounds just right: if someone cracks a match, they will turn it into a bonfire.
Adam Baldwin – “No Rest for the Wicked”
Adam Baldwin doesn’t bend reality to create a happy ending. Instead, he tells his story so far honestly, hunting down the beast in himself in order to hopefully figure out how to live with it. While he turns his song-writing lens further inward on No Rest for the Wicked, he shoots for the rafters with bold, brash guitars, earth-shaking drums, and synths that by turns build doomy atmospheres or provide the rocket-fuel that propels a chorus to its interstellar heights.