Okay, we feel that it is only fair to offer a caveat from the very beginning here – with the ladies of the Canadian music scene receiving so much attention on our pages lately, it’s time to even things up a little and shine the light on some of the guys out there. Some of these submissions have been sitting in our inbox for a while now, but whether you’re in the mood for something traditional, modern, or simply folk-based, we’ve got you covered with these four delicious April treats.
Government Town, “Country Gentleman”
This release from Regina, SK Celtic-folk rockers Government Town has been sitting in our inbox since late January, flagged as waiting for the right moment to be shared. Clocking in with a run time of just a little over one and a half minutes, “Country Gentleman” shall satisfy both the standard folk-rock listener and the traditionalist with a great fusion of rocking guitar riffs and blasts of mandolin and fiddle. “Is Tommy Hunter still alive? / Whatever happened to his show? / The one my momma used to love / And I really want to know / ‘Cause it’s on my mind / Is Tommy Hunter still alive?” Originally formed in 2011, Government Town co-founder (and lead vocalist) Mike Harmel shared this toe-tapper with us, and we were immediately hooked – and remain intrigued about discovering this style of music out in the Prairies, given it is often synonymous with the Maritimes and much further east. Similar in style and substance to Nova Scotia’s Pretty Archie, Government Town bring plenty of energy to their jam-band style. “I just figured he was dead / It was on so long ago / But that Country Gentleman’s / Playing on the radio / And the man survives / Tommy Hunter is still alive?”
Titus Bank, “The Way You Love”
Casting my mind back to the summer of 2019, I fondly recall discovering “Mistakes,” the amazing piano-based single from Vancouver, BC artist Titus Calderbank – a personal favorite of mine that stood out from the crowd that year, and placed the artist firmly on our listening radar. Fast forward to the present day, and with the ‘dropping’ of “Calder” from his performing moniker, Titus recently returned to the spotlight with this impressive and powerful alt-pop single. Entering a new and exciting phase of his professional music career, we find here a songwriter tapping into something special as a result of refining his own creative ability into a clear and impressive artistic vision – and with this latest single, showcases both his stunning vocals and knack for infectious hooks and melodies. “I wrote this song almost on a whim, just to ease the urge in me to write big, loud, overemphatic love ballads,” he shares. “This was produced by BIG KILL and it really turned into something incredible since my original demo was just a simple beat, piano and vocals. The sound is floaty but also extremely groovy and just feels great. The bass done by Parker Bossley pretty much unlocked this song to be a duel of sorts between a beautiful ballad and an absolute bop.”
Ian Lake, “Fishing For Promises”
Toronto-based songwriter and professional actor Ian Lake (“Locke and Key,” “Star Trek: Discovery”) uses his musical gift to connect people through the unifying bond of our shared human experience – as we ‘discovered’ recently when sharing Ian’s video for a previous single, “Easier,” this past February. Powerful, textured vocals and brutally honest lyrics, and soulful melodies, give his songwriting immediate impact, and leave a long-lasting impression upon listeners new and old. “Fishing For Promises” is a piano and cello ballad about feeling misunderstood, and could very well be his most raw and vulnerable composition to date. “The song is about feeling misunderstood, and the desire to explain yourself to someone who is not really listening – it’s an imagined conversation that will never take place,” Ian offers. “What would I say if I actually got the chance to face the person who’s been occupying my mind? The song is equal parts clinging to hope, and calmly accepting whatever comes.” Be sure to check out Ian’s debut eight-song album, “What It Is,” produced by Matthew Barber, and scheduled for release later this month.
Noah Reid, “Rivers Underground”
When considering professional actors, you can be excused if Ian Lake’s name was not overly familiar, but when it comes to “Schitt’s Creek” star Noah Reid, unless you’ve lived under a rock this century, his should be nothing less than a household name. And as with Ian Lake, Reid also teams up with friend and producer Matthew Barber for his recently announced upcoming third album, “Adjustments,” and after teasing us recently with the single “Everyday,” he whets our appetites once more with another great new tune. On “Rivers Underground,” Reid touches on the themes of love, luck and risk, and the often-serendipitous nature of human connection, and is intensified by Drew Jurecka’s powerful string arrangements. Reid’s songwriting style is reminiscent of singer-songwriters from the seventies, but with a contemporary twist, resulting in a signature polished, albeit slightly rusted-over, tone – and many will no doubt find similarities in sound and style to the recent offerings from indie-folk rocker Andy Shauf. “Writing this song, I was thinking about how Toronto’s built on all these underground creeks and rivers, and how that’s a good metaphor for the strangeness of human connection,” Noah shares. “These waters trying to find their way out to the lake, flowing together or ending up apart.”