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The Sound Cafe Rating

5 star = essential, 4 star = excellent, 3 star = good, 2 = fans/collectors, 1 = for completionists only

Tomato Tomato: It'll Come Around

Atlantic Canada’s most entertaining duo return with a brand new, high energy album that feels as comfortable as it does fresh - bringing the sound of vintage rock n' roll to the fore with a barnstorming new roots / rock record.

The New Brunswick based pair have built a reputation on a live show that is as much about the musical multi-tasking and vocal excellence, as it is the relaxed, off-the-cuff banter that carries on throughout the show.

For their fifth record, they returned to Nashville in March to record with producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist, Jon Estes, and an amazing group of Nashville based musicians. With most of the record complete, they returned home just in time for lockdown where they recorded their vocals and finished the record.

www.tomatotomato.ca/

Katie McNally Trio: Now More Than Ever

Set for release on Friday 4th December 2020, Now More Than Ever is the follow-up to the the Katie McNally Trio’s debut album The Boston States, released in 2016. Showcasing a mature and self-confident trio, who have truly grown into their sound, Now More Than Ever is a body of work that is both ambitious and self-assured.

 

The trio, comprising of Katie McNally, Neil Pearlman and Shauncey Ali, have created an album that explores the possibilities that present themselves when three Americans embark on a career playing Scottish and Cape Breton music.

www.katiemcnally.com

400 Bears: 400 Bears

400 Bears, the folk, Americana and blues solo project of guitarist and songwriter, Paul Wilkinson is the debut, self-titled release. Nine of the ten tracks were written by Wilkinson and influenced by the subtlety of Mississippi John Hurt, the charisma of Taj Mahal and the omnipresence of Bob Dylan in the songwriter’s life. The tenth song is the traditional, “Take This Hammer” and was recorded in quarantine with each of the players recording their individual parts at home culminating in a nine-minute musical adventure

400bears.com

Terra Spencer: Chasing Rabbits

Nova Scotian funeral director-turned-songwriter Terra Spencer follows up her 2019 debut Other People's Lives  with Chasing Rabbits, a collection of songs set against the backdrop of the Canadian winter.

Terra Spencer spent much of her youth playing piano and secretly strumming her granddad’s guitars in a basement in Summerville, Hants County, where she currently works as a funeral director. After a chance encounter while scooping ice cream at a music festival in 2014, she headed out on tour as a vocalist and guitar player with acclaimed folk country musician Ryan Cook. Along the way she discovered a deep love for songwriting, co-writing with Ryan for his 2017 release, Having A Great Time, and collaborating with friends and mentors including David Francey, Dave Gunning, and Mike T. Kerr.

terraspencer.ca

Byron Smith: In Your Eyes

Byron Smith is an independent singer, songwriter and recording artist based out of Melbourne, Australia – a vibrant city renowned for its thriving music scene.

 

This year, Byron has been busy writing, recording and releasing songs that have been attracting global attention and critical acclaim. Perhaps best described as ‘thoughtful, alternative pop’, these songs explore thoughts and feelings often left unexplored in this genre.

www.byronsmithmusic.com

Luka Bloom: Bittersweet Crimson

In mid February 2020, Luka walked into Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin, with Steve Cooney, Robbie Harris, and Jon O’Connell. Brian Masterson was driving the desk, assisted by Sarah Branigan.


They had about 14 songs he had written over the previous 2 years.


In February 2020 terms like ‘Covid’, ‘Social distancing’, ‘lockdown’ were not in his vocabulary. They sat and played together for 2 days in a wonderful theatre of recorded music that is Windmill.


And some magic happened.

www.lukabloom.com

Bonny Light Horseman: Bonny Light Horseman

The timeless qualities of traditional tunes can carry us across oceans and eons, linking us not only to the past but to each other as well. It was under the banner of those eternal connections that the trio of Bonny Light Horseman came together. From festival fields and a German art hub to a snowy upstate studio and everywhere in between, the astral folk outfit—comprised of Anaïs Mitchell, Eric D. Johnson (Fruit Bats, The Shins), and Josh Kaufman (The National, Bob Weir)—is mixing the ancient, mystical medium of transatlantic traditional folk music with a contemporary, collective brush. The resulting album, Bonny Light Horseman, is an elusive kind of sonic event: a bottled blend of lightning and synergy that will excite fans of multiple genres, eras, and ages.

www.bonnylighthorseman.com

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