For the fourth part of our geographic year-end roundup, we focus on releases this year from Manitoba and Saskatchewan. There are some seriously terrific artists working in those provinces – wow! It was tough to narrow this list down. If you have suggestions of albums we haven’t listed and you think we should, tweet us @greatdkwonder and tell us the album, artist, and province, and we’ll check them out!
(There’s a Spotify playlist at the end of the article if you want to sample each album, or you can listen to full albums at the links provided. If you like any of the music, please 1) save the album to your Spotify account, and 2) consider buying the album and supporting the artist.)
Blake Berglund, Realms (Saskatchewan)
This awesome album has plenty of country, rock, and blues to satisfy most any listener – and certainly satisfied this one. Described as an “allegorical concept album about the breadth of human experience, the recognition of God and the awareness of one’s own power,” these are thought-provoking songs that also are enjoyable to hear.
Bull North, Low Harmony (Saskatchewan)
Sometimes you just want a rock album – for that long and annoying commute, for that really dull workday… and this record has met that need for me in spades. If your head and foot don’t start moving to “Wrecker,” I’ll be really surprised.
Steph Cameron, Daybreak Over Jackson Street (Saskatchewan)
After her breakout first album, we were hugely excited for Steph Cameron’s new project – and it certainly met our expectations. This album is full of the thoughtful, delicate, spare songs for which she’s become justifiably known.
Deep Dark Woods, Yarrow (Saskatchewan)
M reviewed this when it came out at the end of October, and it’s remained high on our radar. As M says, “These nine tracks not only reinforce the musical identity of this band, but elevate their signature sound to another level with both (Ryan) Boldt’s moody delivery and the timing of the instrumentation and wonderful harmonies.”
Gunner & Smith, Byzantium (Saskatchewan)
We reviewed this last month and are still enjoying it thoroughly. M called this a terrific mix of “indie-rock and gritty folk, (with) hints of psychedelic Americana.” ‘Nuff said. 🙂
Kacy & Clayton, The Siren’s Song (Saskatchewan)
Trust us to find an album from a Saskatchewan-based pair in Syracuse, NY – but there it is, and there was no way I was leaving it there once I saw. And I’m SO GLAD we picked this up! This is an absolutely splendid feast of retro-styled songs and beautiful songs. Highly recommended.
The Karpinka Brothers, Talk Is Cheap (Saskatchewan)
Regular readers will have noticed that we’re big fans of the Karpinkas here at Team GDW. Their latest album stays consistent with the positive surf-rock vibe of their previous work, but it’s a great leap forward in their songwriting and vocal collaboration. Don’t miss this one. (Read our album release interview here.)
Kayla Luky, Back to Dirt (Manitoba)
We were fortunate to interview Kayla earlier this year about this project, a rollicking good time of a country album with thoughtful lyrics and terrific singing. I dare you not to dance to “Pour Me a Strong One.”
Lakes and Pines, Peace Comes at Last (Manitoba)
We interviewed the group about this gorgeous album several months ago – a terrific project that manages to say a lot in a short amount of time, with great music, and leaves you thinking afterward.
Little Miss Higgins, My Home, My Heart (Manitoba)
This swinging album is outright fun – toe-tapping, foot-stomping enjoyment from start to finish, with just a hint of naughtiness thrown in from time to time. This is another artist we hope to hear live in 2018.
Brodie Moniker, Nowhere Left to Ghost (Saskatchewan)
This wonderful project, the result of Brodie’s fifteen years of work as a musician, is a fun listen from start to finish, full of crunchy guitars, retro sound effects – a great commute listen (at least for me). (Read our interview with Brodie here.)
Okay Mann, Little Mersey (Manitoba)
This somewhat retro project snuck onto my radar and has been stuck there ever since. These are reflective songs that overwhelm quietly, not with bombast – very enjoyable.
Slow Leaves, Enough About Me (Manitoba)
Thanks to the Fortunate Ones’ recommendation, we’ve been enjoying this album for several weeks now. Superb songwriting and a thoroughly appealing mix of folk with a touch of pop make this is a delectable listen.
Jeffery Straker, Dirt Road Confessional (Saskatchewan)
This lovely album has been on my playlist since it came out earlier this year (and I was thrilled to get to interview Jeffery at the time, too). This is a fabulous collection of piano-based tunes that will also tug at the heartstrings.
The Treble, Modernaires (Manitoba)
We were lucky enough to pick up this terrific album in hard copy on one of our many trips north, and it was a great companion on our drive back south. Excellent pop songs with terrific harmonies characterize this project.
The Wailin’ Jennys, Fifteen (Manitoba)
This delightful collection of covers of the group’s favorite songs is a treat. The trio brings a freshness to these songs, many of which will no doubt be familiar, and makes a unified whole of very distinct inspirations.
Colter Wall, Colter Wall (Saskatchewan)
It still amazes that someone so young can sound like such an old soul, but Colter Wall manages it (and indeed excels at it). This self-titled album is a revelation, a throwback to classic country with plenty of modern sensibility.
Listen to a song from each album above (except Byzantium, which isn’t available on Spotify) in our Spotify playlist: