We are already close to the middle of May, but that does not mean we’re skipping our monthly Snappy Singles. Oh no, there have been plenty of fresh submissions this month, and I’ll be honest, we can’t keep up. Just the amount of new music coming in from some of our favorite female artists alone is overwhelming, to the point where we’re devoting this edition solely to the ladies. And while two of these artists originate from BC, there is definitely a theme surrounding the East here today, devoting time to both the city of Montreal and the Atlantic coast region of Nova Scotia. So, go ahead and give yourselves a well-earned break, and enjoy these hand selected tunes from some of Canada’s finest.
Suzie Ungerleider, “Mount Royal”
After retiring her ‘Oh Susanna’ stage moniker and re-establishing her musical identity as her true self, Suzie Ungerleider’s recent single “Baby Blues” was an instant home run. A gifted songwriter and performer, Suzie never fails to impress, and the raw, heartfelt nature of this track made it an instant favorite here at GDW HQ. Her latest offering, “Mount Royal,” is another characteristic folky Americana tune with roots influences to chronicle yet more memories of Suzie’s life. “It’s a romantic song about my time in Montreal when I was just at the end of my teenage years,” she shares. “I was thousands of miles from [Vancouver] where I had grown up. I was still in Canada but I felt like such a foreigner in this French-speaking city.” The haunting strings from “Baby Blues” return here, and once again complement Suzie’s cinematic lyrics and atmospheric vocal melodies, sharing with us listeners a personal tale of colorful young characters far from home having to come to terms with their insecurities. “Who in the hell do we think we are? / Shooting for the moon and the stars.” Suzie’s upcoming album, “My Name Is Suzie Ungerleider,” shall be available from August 13th via MVKA Records.
Allison Russell, “Montreal”
While Suzie Ungerleider’s latest single may share memories of visiting Montreal, this new release from Allison Russell is a sharing of gratitude to her wondrous hometown; a city where she found a safe space during her adolescent years. Born and raised in Montreal, Russell imbues her music with the colors of her city – the light, the landscape, the language – but also the trauma that she suffered there. “I was a teenage runaway [and] I believe in many ways the city herself protected me,” she shares. “I wandered the Mountain at all hours and slept in the graveyard in the summertime. I haunted the cathedrals and slept in the pews.” There is a distinct jazz influence here to accompany Russell’s typical Americana sound: “Oh my Montreal / Can I dream of you tonight / Or before the fall / Your rose, your azure light / Oh you cathedrals / You shadows felt like loving arms / I was your child, Montreal / You would not let me come to harm.” “Sometimes I stayed up all night playing chess with the old men in the 24-hour cafes,” she adds. “I got to hear Oscar Peterson play for free in the park during Jazz Fest. I was very lucky to grow up there.” Allison’s upcoming debut solo album, “Outside Child,” shall be available from next Friday.
Kandle, “No Good”
If you are familiar with the city of Montreal, I’m sure you’ll agree that not only is it a wonderful place to visit, but also a very hard place to leave. Singer-songwriter Kandle is known to spend a lot of her time residing in this city, although she recently returned to her native city of Vancouver to record tunes for her upcoming “Set The Fire” album. This latest single, “No Good,” allows Kandle to reflect on the beginning of the album recording process, which commenced right around the time the global pandemic arrived. “I wanted to give a sassy upbeat delivery as a stark contrast to a song which is a gloomy autobiographical portrayal of feeling like an unlovable mess,” shares Kandle. “On March 10th of 2020, the day before our social liberties were taken, …I had the foresight to grab my fellow musical mystical sisters The Wiccs (Louise Burns/Kendall Carson/Debra-Jean Creelman) to sing around one mic as homage to our favorite 60s girl groups. This is forever marked as the last day of freedom, where we could eat the mic, share a whiskey sour and warm embrace without fear.” Check out the ‘Garden Sessions’ video for this track, and enjoy the new album that drops on May 28th.
Kristen Martell, “Photograph Of Secrets”
As we leave the island city of Montreal, our musical journey this month winds up in Mahone Bay, NS, to share this latest release from singer-songwriter Kristen Martell. After taking a lengthy hiatus from the music scene to focus on her career and family, Kristen re-established herself last year with the release of her debut album, “Coming Home,” and returns here in Spring 2021 with an all-new single release, “Photograph Of Secrets.” “This was an exciting project that involved a co-write/mentorship with award-winning artist Gabrielle Papillon,” shares Kristen. “It was an opportunity that presented itself in the wake of the pandemic. For in the absence of touring there was room for something new.” This collaboration was further strengthened when producer Dan Ledwell (Jenn Grant, Rachel Beck) stepped in to add his magical touches to the single. Together they weave a rich tapestry of sound that takes you on a journey towards a better future. It is a hauntingly beautiful tale of finding the light at the end of the tunnel and discovering the clarity to march forward with confidence. “Photographs of Secrets is a dreamy, lullaby of hope amidst dark times and a reminder to trust ourselves,” Kristen adds in closing.
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.