Essential New Releases: Celebrating “Independents” Day

Essential New Releases

We don’t need to remind everyone that we observe a national holiday here in the US today – but hey, given that our primary focus revolves around all things great music related, we’re putting a spin on the festivities and bringing you our own version – “Independents” Day. That’s right – there are so many amazing independent Canadian musicians out there that deserve to be heard, and while we cannot share 1776 of them today, go ahead and enjoy these ‘four’ amazing tunes before you head out for your parade or cookout. Tis the ‘Four’th of July, after all… 

Clay Hazey (ft. Sierra Lundy), “Past Two” 

In a myriad of new releases from emerging artists, collaborating with an established name is a sure-fire way to separate yourself from the crowd. Such action certainly bumped Montréal-based country-folk artist Clay Hazey into our crosshairs, whose recent duet with Sierra Lundy (Ocie Elliott) has seen significant airplay on SiriusXM radio and became a lock for this article today. “Writing in the country style brought out the romantic in me,” Clay shares. “I feel like it’s the genre that does that the best.” 

Bella Frances (ft. Braden Phelan), “Polaroids” 

Emerging folk-pop artist Bella Frances may have a strong following around her Orillia, ON hometown (and has already graced the stage at Mariposa Music Festival this early into her career), but as we just saw with Clay Hazey, it took a collaboration with GDW favorite Braden Phelan (Tragedy Ann) to propel her music onto our radar. “I once heard Picasso said that in order to draw, one must close her eyes and sing,” Bella offers. “In order for me to sing, I need to close my eyes and draw.”  

Caley Watts, “White Buffalo” 

Another tune that landed in our laps thanks to SiriusXM radio, Caley Watts is an emerging Cree folk-blues singer-songwriter from the remote Bella Coola valley, located within the vast wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest in BC. For Caley, “White Buffalo” references a story shared by many Indigenous Nations in the North American prairies to contemplate the significance of a lost love. An artist to add to your essential watchlist in 2024.   

Shawnee Kish, “No Evil” 

Not exactly a new release, per se, but this single from Welland, ON, JUNO-nominated Mohawk artist Shawnee Kish recently landed on our listening radar, and once heard, is not easily forgotten. Co-written with 7xJUNO Award winner Serena Ryder, “No Evil” highlights the importance of humanity during these politically charged times. “I hope this release reminds everyone that we have a responsibility to each other to lead with kindness and care,” Shawnee offers.  

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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