Sure, we may already be into the second week of the second month, but I won’t lie to you – these four hand-picked singles all originate from last month. The truth is, we ran out of editorial space and could not keep up with all of the amazing new single releases that landed at GDW HQ. All four of these singles deserve much more time and attention, so I encourage you to take an extra long coffee break and enjoy an early onslaught of fantastic Canadian music so early into this new year.
Georgia Harmer, “Austin”
Following hot on the heels of her late 2021 hit single “Headrush,” the Toronto-based singer-songwriter (and niece of Sarah Harmer) returns once again, ready to dazzle with another stunning new single release. While “Headrush” encapsulated the melancholy of a late summer spent with friends, this tune finds Harmer recalling her time on the road in Texas and suffering a little homesick blues. “Back in 2018, when I was on the road with Alessia Cara, we went to Austin, TX, and my dad recommended we go to this barbeque spot he had been to when he was touring there,” Georgia shares, who herself started writing and recording music at 10 years old, and was touring by her teens. “He’s also a touring musician – we’re very similar and we’re very close. I wrote this song to articulate the significance and importance of our relationship, how much I love and admire him, and our many parallels.” The scorching lead guitar found here on “Austin” comes courtesy of her father (Gord Tough), and helps amplify Georgia’s vocal delivery: “We were cowboys in another life / But I am you, your other life is mine / Often when I speak to you, I cry / Never can explain the reason why.”
The Redhill Valleys, “Anymore”
Fans of this emerging Hamilton, ON alt-country band will fondly recall that Chelsea McWilliams (bass/vocals) and Tim Allard (lead guitar/vocals) not only wrote, but submitted this track to ‘American Songwriter’ for consideration in their July/August 2021 Lyric Contest – AND WON! Such an honor, and definitely well-deserved recognition for this band, who continue to not only build a loyal following across North America, but constantly fine-tune their explosive brand of roots-based Americana music. In an interview with American Songwriter, Chelsea explained that the first line of this song, “I don’t want to dream anymore,” felt like a powerful concept; about trying to get over someone by avoiding anything that triggers memories of that person. “No more fighting, no more feeling / Try to reason with myself / Another night, another demon / Another bottle off the shelf / Forget the life that you and I used to live before / And be someone who isn’t going to love you anymore.” They say that good things happen to good people, and this quartet truly deserve such accolades (and how about that sweet Gibson J45 guitar that was part of their surprise prize package?). Announcing plans for a pair of EPs and an overseas tour this year, we truly cannot wait to hear more from this amazing band.
Blue Lobelia, “Sometimes I Go”
As the solo project of Halifax, NS-based multi-instrumentalist Rachel Bruch, Blue Lobelia blends classical music with indie-folk influences to create ethereal string arrangements under her rich soprano voice. There is often power within vulnerability, which Bruch channels in this latest offering. “Sometimes I Go is the opening track on my forthcoming album,” shares Rachel. “It’s a song for the full moon, for letting go of shadows, for being exposed, and for embracing your full power.” Creating a soundscape by looping layers of celestial vocals and strings, this single is steeped in natural imagery; as if basking in the power of the full moon, where beauty and darkness coalesce. “Sometimes I go to the ocean / My urgency matched by the ocean / Yes I am, a goddamn ocean / I want to feel big things / That’s what I’m here for / To feel big things / That’s what I’m made for / It keeps me human / And the more than human things.” Bruch applied her classical training to arrange the strings, whilst co-producing the track with Kurtis McAllister. Refreshing in its form, “Sometimes I Go” will remind you that no feeling is final, and maybe to look up at the moon just a little longer tonight – and rumor has it that the new album may share folk-centric guitar playing and unfettered string arrangements.
The Night Owls, “The Night Owls”
We wrap up this month’s installment with a quick visit to Montreal, to share this debut single from the recently formed indie folk/rock/country duo, The Night Owls. The calming sounds of crickets and an owl hoot create an immediate peaceful scene, yielding to gentle acoustic guitar strums and the arrival of some stunning dual vocals from Simon Arsenault and Marianne Bourgeois: “Walking away from the light of day / The night sky soothes our fears and doubts / Together we stand trying to find our way / Looking for a sing behind each other’s eyes.” The sonic landscape painted by their haunting, atmospheric instrumentation is complemented perfectly by their shared vocals and harmonies, taking listeners on a simply outstanding 5:15 musical journey. As a couple stuck at home during the pandemic, both the song title and band name fits both Simon and Marianne perfectly – staying up into the very early hours to compose this track. “We like to play music at night,” they share. “The only thing that matters is each other, because in those times we feel like there’s only the two of us in the universe.” “The stars guide our path / Between dreams and resting souls / Free of the stares of others / Free under the stars together / Under the stars tonight.”