Friday, 31 May 2013

Sweet Alibi

8:00pm. $15/$10 all artists/students.  2012 Canadian Folk Music Award Nominees, Sweet Alibi have been captivating audiences with their alluring blend of soulful melody and folk/roots tradition. Their playful sense of lyricism set to powerful vocal harmonies set the stage for a performance which is upfront, personal, and compelling. Drawing influence from a vast array of musical references, Sweet Alibi apply a quirky pop sensibility to an eclectic set. Songs range in mood from haunting, provocative ballads to left-of-centre takes on everything from Country and Soul, to Old Time Jazz. Backing their vocals with electric guitars, banjos, hand percussion, ukuleles, upright bass, and whatever else they can get their hands on, Sweet Alibi compliment a diverse set with an equally eclectic instrumentation.
Comprised of three core members (Jessica Rae Ayre, Amber Nielsen, and Michelle Anderson), and often backed by an array of Winnipeg’s finest musicians, the group performs everywhere from intimate coffee houses and mainstay clubs to outdoor concert series and festivals. Having finished their highly anticipated debut album with Juno award winner Mitch Dorge, along with the release of their newest single “Get It Right” produced by Adam Young, Sweet Alibi are currently touring across Canada. Stopping soon at The Pearl!


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Bob Wiseman

Friday, May 24. Doors: 7:30 / Concert: 8:00. $15 adv/$20 door/$12 Students/ Un/Underemployed/ OPIRG or CFMU Supporters.  One is required to mention that Bob Wiseman is the “former Blue Rodeo keyboardist,” but he has not been that person for some time now. The Globe and Mail recently called him a “straight-shooting and outspoken musician”; Ron Sexsmith calls him “the Canadian Tom Waits,” and in his adventuresome new album, Giulietta Masina at the Oscars Crying, Bob Wiseman isn’t content to just sing about environmental and social injustice; he does his best to shock you into action. If you caught his play Actionable when he was here in February, you know something about this quirky and original mind. Yes, on the 24th there will be a screen behind him where between songs, he will be showing some of his movies.


Friday, 10 May 2013


Friday, May 10. Tickets: 8:00pm. $20 Advance and $25 Door. Juno nominees and winners of the 2010 Canadian Folk Music Award for Vocal Group of the Year, Amanda Walther and Sheila Carabine of Dala write and sing in harmony best described as angelic. Darlings of the Canadian music scene, Dala are poised to bring their fresh brand of acoustic pop music to the world. Drawing upon influences like The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, Dala write songs that are both catchy and insightful. Amanda’s ethereal soprano voice blends seamlessly with Sheila’s velvety alto, creating the lush harmonies that have become their trademark. The sheer joy with which they perform is infectious; they are equally entertaining between songs, telling funny and down to earth stories that make every show unique. Dala have opened for artists such as Tom Cochrane, Richie Havens, Arlo Guthrie, and joined Stuart McLean on the CBC’s Vinyl CafĂ©. They have performed at The New Orleans Jazz Festival, The Edmonton Folk Festival, California’s Strawberry Festival and Mariposa. In 2009, they were the only Canadian act invited to play at the 50th Anniversary of the Newport Folk Festival.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Ambre McLean

 Friday, May 3: 8:00. Admission: $15.00/$10.00 students/artists. When she was here in March, Ambre McLean
(Busted Flat Records) was so much fun and impressed us so much that we invited her back immediately.  In the meantime, she made it through to round 3 of the CBC Music Searchlight competition which surprised no one unless it was that she did not finish by winning! “Ambre’s voice – is an instrument itself: gorgeous, sometimes with a rich, bluesy feel, other times a sweet mellow sound, alternatively soft and ferocious, always carrying these tunes straight to your musical heart.?” (David Yazbeck, CKCU FM).  Ambre can seem small on stage, but it doesn’t take long for her talent to make her seem larger than life, filling the room with the kind of songs that make you remember lost loves and abandoned dreams.  Local singer/songwriter Jesse Macrae will open for Ambre.


Jazz Connection

Friday, April 26. Doors 8:00 / Jazz at 8:30. $15 /$10 students/all artists: Featuring
Trombone Great, Rob Somerville (He’s played with Peter Appleyard, Phil Nimmons, Paul Anka, and Manhattan Transfer and many more!)  The JCBB is a powerful, well-established 17-piece jazz ensemble comprised of professional and semi-professional musicians from the Hamilton/Toronto area, performing only the best modern big band charts from the books of Goodwin, Martin, Menza, Rich, Basie, and many other great contemporary composers. Jazz Connection delivers high energy, uncompromising, straight ahead jazz performances combining the highest level of musicianship and great charts in an entertaining show that equally engages the jazz enthusiast and the casual listener. The incredible acoustics at The Pearl easily accommodate their very cool (but strangely hot…) surround-sound. Always a great evening!


Graydon James and The Young Novelists

Graydon James & The Young Novelists w Ben Somer: How To Combine An Evening Of Original Music With A Book Launch For A Debut Novel: Thursday April 18. 8:00. $15 / $10 students/all artists.  Singer andsongwriter Graydon James called his band The Young Novelists when he started it four years ago. And now he’s launching his first novel, a darkly comic satire titled‘The Mall of Small Frustrations’. The show will be a celebration of songwriting of course, but yes, I think we can expect that Graydon James will read a passage from the new book…  Here’s a musical opinion from the silver (and usually accurate) tongue of Richard Flohil:  “Apart from having one of the best band names at CMW (Canadian Music Week) this time around, this band has a super singer (Laura Spink, aka Mrs. Graydon James) and the band sounds like a rootsier version of Arcade Fire. They knows how to rock, they do…” Ben Somer is a gifted songwriter, who shares his tales of love and faith with soulful charm and despair. Although his songs have various angles and attitudes, storytelling is always their essence and their aim – particularly on The Last One, Ben’s new sophomore release. His writing blends a heart-wrenching earnestness with his tongue-in-cheek wit, evoking comparisons to Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen.


Jon Brooks

Upon his return from a 1997 trek throughout war ruined Bosnia-Herzegovina, Jon quit writing songs and performing, claiming, “I’m at least a 1000 books and emotions shy of earning the right to stand behind a microphone.” 8 years later – at the suggestion of one of his Canadian literary heroes, Austin Clarke – Jon wiped the dust off his Taylor Jumbo 615.

Though Jon’s music is filled with grey and morally ambiguous characters living on the outskirts of approval, his mandate is unequivocal: “I’m not interested in ‘happy songs’ – I’ve chosen to write healing songs and, for that reason, I’m obliged to reveal a wound or two now and then. I’m even less interested in writing unhappy songs: I want to write hopeful songs, inspiring songs and I expect I owe today’s listener some hopeful argument – some legitimate reason – as to why we should believe our present world could be improved, or healed. The highest aim of song is to invoke empathy – to offer that rare sight of ourselves in others. In this sense, the folk singer is simply trying to politicize love, hence, my contention that today’s songwriter should be a lobbyist for compassion to be our principle representative in government office.


Stephen Fearing

Multiple JUNO Award-winning Blackie and the Rodeo Kings member Stephen Fearing returns with his first solo album in seven years: the highly anticipated, Between Hurricanes. The follow-up to 2006’s acclaimed Yellowjacket, the album was co-produced by Fearing and John Whynot (Bruce Cockburn, Blue Rodeo, Lucinda Williams) at The Woodshed Studio in Toronto, ON.

Born out of several life-changing events, Between Hurricanes is both the document and result of many significant changes for Fearing.

“In 2006, I released Yellowjacket. Though I didn’t know it at the time, it marked the end of many things and the beginning of so many more,” says Fearing. “My marriage of 14 years ended shortly after the record came out. Hard on the heels of this devastation, True North Records – my home on record for over a decade – changed hands. I was still under contract to them, but it quickly became apparent that it was time for me to move on. Around the same time, my dear friend and manager Bernie Finkelstein started to make noises about cutting back on his workload. Bernie and I had been together through thick and thin for over 16 years, but I realized that it was time to let go of the old ties and step out into the brave new world of true independence.”

In 2008, Fearing moved from his home in Guelph, ON and headed to Halifax, NS. He completed work on both Blackie and The Rodeo Kings’ Polaris Prize nominated Kings and Queens (which featured duets with 14 iconic female singers including Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, and Roseanne Cash) and his album with Belfast’s Andy White, Fearing & White. He also got remarried, became a father, and still managed to tour relentlessly. Life moved quickly, and it wasn’t long before there had been a significant amount of time since the release of Yellowjacket.

Luckily, new songs had begun to emerge and plans were finally made to return to studio.


Jesse Winchester

Thursday, April 11. 8:00pm. $32 advance / $35 door. A magnetic performer with a powerful tenor voice, Jesse Winchester may be the most self-effacing songwriter on the planet. His homespun arrangements and performances are ethereal to the point of being otherworldly. His songs of distance, and longing for his homeland move us to tears; his songs of home and hearth warm our souls. With his laid-back vocals, gorgeous melodies, and insightful lyrics, his low-key style of blended soul, rockabilly, gospel, folk, R&B, and a hint of Latin music, he remains entrenched as an oft-covered, bonafide songwriter’s songwriter. His creations will be forever sought out by artists (from Joan Baez to Elvis Costello) seeking to add something of depth and insight to their repertoires, especially when it comes to love songs; the classic and majestic “Brand New Tennessee Waltz,” is as wrenchingly beautiful a work of art as ever.
Come absorb, be moved by, and even cry to the songs; songs of beauty and wry humor, songs of startling intimacy and searing poignancy, songs of sepia-tinted nostalgia, rooted both in a time long past and right here and now.
Jesse Winchester can disarm the most casual listener with his understated grace and virtuosity as evidenced in this video of his “Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding” sung on Elvis Costello’s “Spectacle.”
“Have you talked to Jesse Winchester? You can’t talk about the best songwriters and not include him.” ~ Bob Dylan

Frank Rocchi, Investment Advisor at BMO Nesbitt Burns and Freewheelin’ Concerts are sponsors for this event.


Ruth Moody

Ruth Moody: Wednesday, April 10. 8:00pm. Tickets $15/ $10 students/artists. Ruth is a Juno Award winning songwriter from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Founding member of the internationally renowned, Billboard-charting trio The Wailin’ Jennys and former lead singer of the Canadian roots band Scruj MacDuhk.  She has performed in sold-out venues around the world, made numerous critically-acclaimed albums. Although best known for her work with The Wailin’ Jennys, Ruth is an artist of exceptional depth and grace in her own right. Critics have lauded her ethereal vocals, impressive multi-instrumentalism, and her masterful songwriting. Written with a maturity and wisdom that belies her age, her songs are timeless, universal, and exceptionally well-crafted, all sung with an intimacy and honesty that is unmistakably hers.  The discreet modulations in Moody’s silken vocals are seductive enough, but she also plays many of her own instruments, including guitar, piano and accordion.  Ruth has been recognized by the USA Songwriting Competition and the International Songwriting Competition for several of her compositions, including ‘One Voice,’ which has gone on to be a signature song for The Wailin’ Jennys.

James Hill

James Hill, who has earned a reputation as Canada’s foremost – indeed one of the world’s foremost – players of the often-underestimated ukulele, stands poised and ready to take his place in the ranks of today’s best young songwriters. Barely into his 30s, his technical prowess on ukulele has been achieved through attacking  the lowly folk instrument with the seriousness and nuance of technique usually associated with the highest levels of virtuosity. His entertaining and unpredictable solo concerts and his inspirational music seminars have made him something of a ukulele-based motivational speaker. And now, Hill’s latest album introduces us to Hill as singer/songwriter, a choice which is growing to rival his prowess as an instrumentalist. Multiple factors come together on Man With a Love Song, the rock-solid musicianship of Hill and his collaborators, the clear strength of Hill’s singing voice, and the playful breadth of the styles in which Hill has chosen to write (from soulful big-band jazz through barrel-house bluegrass to spoken-word-and-junkyard-percussion). But the central astounding fact of this album, is the poetry of the lyrics.