Blundstone Playlist 2017: A Cross-Country Musical Journey
Two 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 Blundstones at the Australian Boot Company stores 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 reboot 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 2017 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.
Through an autobiographical lens, Whitehorse’s Rob Dickson reveals himself with a sound that’s both raw and modest, inviting reflection on the human condition and consideration of the people we become as we grow up.
Digawolf – “Great Northern Man”
Yellowknife’s Digawolf is a critically acclaimed Tlicho and English language band whose unique brand of alternative rock bridges the gap between modernity and tradition, redefining aboriginal music for modern audiences.
With a unique mix of Inuktitut alt-country, throat singing, and reggae, the Jerry Cans are a distinctly northern, one-of-a-kind group. They perform many of their songs in Inuktitut and are passionate about preserving the language as the north and their home community of Iqaluit evolve.
Desirée Dawson – “Without Your Love”
“I’m in love with emotions!” says Vancouver’s Desirée Dawson. “I love reading people and places and living new experiences for myself and then writing about it all.” When she’s not playing her ukulele, piano, or singing, you can find her blissfully twisted in yoga or teaching live music yoga.
The Royal Foundry came together through the marriage of Bethany Schumacher and Jared Salte. What started as a folk duo quickly evolved into a full throttle Alt-Pop quartet, as this song received international exposure through the John Lennon Songwriting Competition and ABC’s Rookie Blue.
Megan Nash ft. Bears in Hazenmore – “Wait”
A native of rural Saskatchewan lyrically draws from several recent life-changing experiences while venturing into new, anthemic sonic territory. Nash, grew up on farm, something she believes helps instill a work/lifestyle balance suited to being an independent musician. As an artistic statement, her music displays the full range of Nash’s talents as a root-based songwriter, vocalist and producer—the culmination of one stage of her journey while simultaneously beginning the next.
Begonia – “Juniper”
Begonia (Alexa Dirks) has a timbre that recalls the golden age of soul but with a quietness and hesitant intimacy that coalesce into a sound both battle hymn and breakbeat body mover. Her themes are confident in and of themselves, and yet sometimes caught in the middle.
Partner – “Comfort Zone”
Partner hinges on the relationship between Josée Caron and Lucy Niles, two lesbian musicians who grew up in small-town Canada. With slightly gawky, nerdish songwriting allied to huge, domineering riffage, Partner makes for a contradictory yet addictive experience.
KROY – “Monstrosity”
KROY is Montreal-born-and-raised Camille Poliquin. This singer/songwriter draws from influences from both trip-hop and modern pop, and KROY’s musical landscape offers a captivating universe of hypnotic rhythms and analogue synthesizers.
Tomato/Tomato – “Ain’t Dead Yet”
John and Lisa McLaggan craft clever and quirky songs that draw on traditional folk, bluegrass, blues and swing – with their own interesting twist. Tight harmonies, old-timey guitar and Lisa’s up-cycled percussion create an unmistakeable sound.
Port Cities – “Back to the Bottom”
A collaboration of acclaimed Nova Scotian singer/songwriters Carleton Stone, Dylan Guthro, and Breagh McKinnon, Port Cities delivers unapologetically honest lyrics and smooth three-part harmonies in a melting pot of country, rock, folk, RnB, and pop influences.
Prince Edward Island
Sorrey – “Slow Chunk”
Charlottetown’s dreamy, smooth indie-pop band Sorrey layers analog synthesizers, nylon-string guitars and vintage drum machines, borrowed from sentimental 80s records, to cultivate a sound that is uniquely stylish and contemporary. Vocalist and guitarist Emilee Sorrey’s direct-to-the-heart lyricism never loses its conviction.
Kat McLevey – “The Great Unweight”
This thoughtful young writer from St. John’s has poise and self-awareness beyond her years, delivering a sophisticated, spare, highly controlled and moody sound that leaves a mark on its listeners.