“Ottawa is booming with talent,” says Ted Adler from across the coffee table. “There are high standards for excellence, but not enough audience turn out. It should be stronger.” We’re sitting in the café area of the Nordstrom department store. Over my interview subject’s head, there are displays of designer shoes. I’ve got my notebook out, and am scrambling to keep up as Ted speaks with calm confidence. He has limited time, as he’s in the process of moving downtown to be closer to his clients. At a networking event over a year ago, a friend introduced him jokingly as “the guy who makes soundRead More →

“Think of me / think of me fondly / when we’ve said goodbye…” sang the sweet, classically-trained voice of Rose Cora Perry at a local talent show, years ago. The goal of going to Broadway suddenly changed that night, when a schoolmate asked if she would join a rock band she wanted to start. The group, called HER, became known in the city of London, Ontario, for filling local venues with high school students. Along the way, Rose threw herself into learning to play guitar: six hours a day for six months; blood on the strings being a common occurrence. This is when she wroteRead More →

“Canada is a beautiful country,” says Jeff Waters’ friendly voice over the phone. Though his band was formed in Ottawa in the 1980s, this will be Annihilator’s first headline tour here in over 20 years. In the early days, there was money flowing in the metal industry, and the musicians teenaged Jeff found were really good. However, the serious musician life isn’t for everyone, and the band’s core figure would soon start learning other instruments to fill in the holes left by some of the less-committed. After releasing 3 successful records and the worldwide touring that followed each release, Jeff eventually made the step intoRead More →

Six years is a long time in the music industry. While it seems like young artists are releasing quick singles every month for fear of losing relevance, adult contemporary/pop (with an edge!) singer-songwriter Chantal Hackett is on the edge of jumping back into her own show after half a dozen years. While still singing the National Anthem at sports games, doing guest performances, background vocals and cover songs, what kind of artist waits that long to release new original material in this digital age? One who builds their own company, that’s who. The 31-year-old “artist-entrepreneur” is also the owner of Ottawa-based Sing House Studios, aRead More →

For a Canadian in Ottawa, I realize that I’ve never talked about the Quebec music scene. For those of you from other places in the world, Quebec is the French-speaking province just across the river. Whereas the English Canadian music culture fights not to get swept up by it’s bigger neighbours down south (to the point where there are regulations stating that 30% of music on the radio must be Canadian), Quebec’s language difference means that they built themselves a formidable and distinct music culture. Enter Marie Onile, a 20-year-old singer-songwriter from the small town of Lac-Megantic, population 6000. Google “Lac-Megantic, Quebec” and the firstRead More →

“I don’t want it leaving my studio, with our name on it, if it isn’t quality,” C.T. Strickland Jr. proclaims over a cup of hot black tea. The craftsman describes himself over the phone as sitting at a solid oak workbench with a granite slab insert at the centre, one he made with his hands. He’s been making things since 1976. C.T. Music Straps Inc. is a small business that makes custom straps for guitars, mandolins and banjos. These detailed works of art are made out of full-grain, vegetable tanned leather (the only leather than can be tooled), are stitched by hand, and embellished withRead More →

There is no one more cool with being uncool than Aileen James. At least, that’s what she thought when she started a country music blog in late 2014. The concept was pretty straightforward: Aileen’s favourite singers growing up were female, and had become an underserved demographic in the Nashville scene; so, she would review songs by and interview female artists. Two or so years later, Queens of Country is one of the most sought-after boutique country music blogs. “I definitely came into this not knowing, or really expecting there to be such an audience for this lane of country music. At that point […], itRead More →

He’s sitting across from me, sipping an Americano in a downtown Ottawa café, and describing himself as “a coffee snob.” We’re laughing, because Stefan is far from haute couture, with his long hair, tattoos and The Kills t-shirt. The Kills are “arguably my favourite band,” he smiles. His rock n roll three piece, Onionface, calls their sound “raw and dirty;” Stefan is the lead vocalist and guitar player. His other project, a long-distance duo called All Day Breakfast, is keeping him busy, as the release date for their debut EP was March 23rd, 2017. Oh, and he’s also an audio engineer. While Stefan does haveRead More →

“I will listen to 200 bands today,” Greg Jones smiles, sipping from a custom Ear To The Ground coffee mug, a gift from his wife. “We get the rumblings before the rest of the world, and I want to cover someone before they take off.” The music reviewing blog, Ear To The Ground, humbly started between Greg Jones and his friend Casey Karger, going back and forth to share music with each other – both of them have a leaning towards folk, roots and indie rock. Eventually, they came up with the idea of making their discoveries public, and so the blog was launched. WithRead More →

  “Our parents told us to be something,” says Simon Briley, “so We Are Bandicoot.” The five piece Alt-Rock band from Kent, England, was in fact called that because they liked the name of the small Australian animal, made popular by the Playstation game, Crash Bandicoot. Like their video game counterpart, We Are Bandicoot are focused on being bright entertainment. “We are all about the live, festival vibes. We go down well there and get to wear crazy shit like tutu’s and cloud outfits. We love festivals too, so it’s win-win,” Simon continues. “We focus on bringing a party live so people want to seeRead More →