As we rapidly approach GDW’s seventh anniversary later this week, we invited our contributors to help us celebrate by offering them seven music-related questions about what has formed their own personal listening pleasures over the last twelve months. We also love to think that while GDW is here to help further influence your listening pleasures, it works both ways – the team frequently bring so much new music to our attention with their recommendations and discoveries. Here’s what they had to say:
Name a Canadian artist you discovered in the last 12 months that you encourage everybody to hear:
Steve: Jean-Michel Blais – I recently picked up his 2022 “aubades” album – it’s a beautiful collection of original classical/ambient pieces.
Douglas: Mimi O’Bonsawin – Her album “Willow” got my attention for its pure authenticity – Mimi has a direct insight into what makes every day worthwhile.
Jess: Roslyn Witter – This gal is high on my radar and I am excited to hear more from her.
Richard: Jerry Leger.
Matt: Good Fortune – A project of Kelsey McNulty, who is also part of Great Lake Swimmers.
Louise: YASSiN and Sean Terrio – Sometimes the Facebook algorithm Gods smile upon me, as they did when they randomly showed me a video clip for this Oakville, ON based duo.
Name a Canadian song or album released in the last 12 months that became your go-to tune(s):
Steve: Murray Lightburn, “Dumpster Burn.”
Douglas: James Gray, “Sleepless” – heartfelt and sincere, this one echoed in my heart because I can relate to being kept up all night by doubts and uncertainty. Finding love in this harsh world is hard enough, holding on to it is much more so.
Jess: The Franklin Electric, “Oh Brother.”
Richard: Villages, “Dark Island.”
Matt: Great Lake Swimmers, “Uncertain Country” – the album’s title track is a great driving tune.
Louise: Basset, “In The Clay” – the entire album from Yasmine Shelton and Sam Clark is a collection of beautiful harmonies and excellent songwriting. “At My Feet” is my personal favourite.
Name a Canadian artist you discovered and learned to love after seeing them featured on GDW:
Steve: Jerry Leger.
Douglas: Matt Andersen and the Big Bottle of Joy.
Jess: The Hello Darlins – I like to shuffle my music library often and when I come to a Hello Darlins song, I really tune in – they are just so good.
Richard: Matthew Barber (“No Singing Or Dancing” EP)
Matt: Edwin Huizinga & William Coulter (Fire & Grace) / Tania Joy / Kristen Martell – all are phenomenal artists.
Louise: Ten Kills The Pack / Jeremie Albino – I first found GDW sometime in 2018, and have since learned of a heap of artists I may not have otherwise known about. Never knew either of these artists until seeing a concert recap on GDW, and have seen both many times since then.
If your local music venue offered to bring in an emerging Canadian artist of your choice, who gets the gig:
Steve: Nap Eyes – from out east, maybe they’re too established, but their singer sounds like Lou Reed and Tom Verlaine. The Velvet Underground fan in me will never dissipate!
Douglas: Maggie Fraser – her 2023 “The Way That I Wish It Was” album blew me away. Quirky and absolutely unique, songs that come straight from the heart of a lioness with night vision sharpened to laser clarity.
Jess: This is a tough one – I would add The Rainy Day Apparel to the list of contenders.
Richard: John Wort Hannam.
Matt: As stated earlier – Fire & Grace / Tania Joy / Kristen Martell would all be welcome in Pennsylvania.
Louise: Bella White – I am lucky enough to live in Toronto, so most Canadian artists eventually find their way here. Bella shall be opening for Ashley McBryde at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, but I would kill to see her headlining in a more intimate venue in town.
Name a Canadian artist that you would love to see featured on GDW:
Steve: Jared Both/Barn Owl – I’m working on it!
Douglas: Lynn Harrison – inspiring songwriter and person – fully formed and cognizant of her purpose and mission.
Jess: Perhaps I am a bit biased, but it seems that every Canadian artist I discover and listen to has a place on GDW already.
Richard: Kyle McKearney – especially after hearing his “Down-Home” album.
Matt: Deni Gauthier – He’s a friend, and I know he was featured on GDW before I joined the team, but when he releases new music again, I’m sure it would be great to read about it here.
Louise: Basset – Yasmine Shelton and Sam Clark have performed in numerous festivals and I’ve been lucky to see them grow as artists. Check out their songwriting and sublime harmonies.
Name a music related moment that impacted you most over the last 12 months:
Steve: A few weeks ago, I played an album release show for an album that had been sitting on the shelf for almost a year. It was our first (Westminster Park) performance in almost two years, and the first with our new lineup. The venue was packed with a very receptive crowd. Everyone paid close attention to our songs, even the slowest, saddest ones. It was secretly planned as a last show – the overwhelming response has erased that plan. We’ll see what happens now.
Douglas: Seeing Ian Tamblyn in concert – touring his “A Longing for Innocence” album, Ian brought this very intimate concert into another stratosphere. Kind of like watching Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel.
Jess: Simply listening to a lot of great new music over the past year, and looking forward to what we are presented with next year.
Richard: Discovering the song “Death of Jesse McPherson” by The Human Family Band.
Matt: Experiencing Julian Lage’s solo guitar tour-stop in Pittsburgh – brilliant musicianship.
Louise: There is nothing like a rare musical moment so breathtaking than when an audience falls completely silent and remains spellbound beyond the final notes. BC-based Jon Bryant did this during his performance of “Love and War” – twice!
And in the spirit of moving beyond Canadian music, name an international artist or band that you discovered over the last 12 months that quickly became a favorite:
Steve: A-Go-Go (USA) – their latest 4 song EP “It’s Alright,” released back on August 11th is 15 minutes of poppy hooks with great melodies and lyrics.
Douglas: Cahalen Morrison (USA) – I stumbled upon his “Wealth of Sorrow” album – music that feels like it comes direct from the ancient roots of where songs were first discovered.
Jess: Kim Taeyung (S. Korea) – I’ve been enjoying his solo album “Layover,” (recorded as “V”).
Richard: Arthur Russell (USA).
Matt: The Arcadian Wild (USA) – caught them live in the last 12 months – highly recommended.
Louise: Nolan Taylor (USA) – Nolan went viral with “68,” a heart-wrenching song about growing up in addiction. I look forward to seeing him live in both Buffalo and Detroit later this year.