When it comes to musical ability, I am equally blessed and cursed. Blessed in that I have an appreciation for an eclectic range of music. Cursed in that while I’ve been surrounded by music and musicians, I’ve never shown any aptitude for playing an instrument myself, and you definitely don’t want to hear me sing (Gillian – He sings ALL the time).
However, I’m going to give the edge to blessed over cursed, in that I have come to know so many musicians and have heard so much live music. I’ve lived with musicians, and at times it’s felt like I’ve lived at the Marquee, Stayner’s Wharf, and The Carleton.
With so many talented East coast musicians, representing so many and varied genres of music, it’s hard to narrow our musical wealth down to a list. But, with the Junos coming up, and summer not too far away, we thought we’d share the East Coast musicians that have been getting the most airtime in our house and on our road trips. So here is Gillian’s rundown of 10 East Coast Canada artists to check out.
Kev Corbett (http://kevcorbett.com/):
Kev Corbett is one of the best story tellers I have had the pleasure of hearing. The way he blends stories, sounds and history (both his own and others) strikes right to your core. The Driving Song has to be one of the most quintessentially Canadian stories ever told in song. Who doesn’t know what it’s like to drive home in a snowstorm to our loved ones?
Keith Mullins (http://keithmullins.ca/):
Keith Mullins is a contender for “Hardest working in show biz”. A much sought-after sideman and session player, Keith has recreated his music career as an accomplished singer-songwriter in his own right. From Afro-Cuban grooves to folksy, relatable tunes about shopping on Kijiji to his award-winning incredible school album projects, Keith is someone we never get tired of having in our playlist.
Ben Caplan (http://bencaplan.ca/):
Ben Caplan is hands down one of the most energetic and exciting performers that either I or Gillian have had the chance to see. Fortunately, if you can’t see him in concert anytime soon, that power and energy also comes through in his recordings. The way he builds a song just has to be heard. We especially love Down To The River.
Ennis is a sister group from Newfoundland. Their songs draw on themes from their upbringing and the people they have met over the years. I particularly liked their song The Fortunate Ones, which discusses the collapse of the cod fishery in Newfoundland, working away from home, and returning to see the ‘fortunate ones’ able to continue to live in Newfoundland. I’ll Be There Christmas Eve also gets a lot of play in our house during the holidays.
Feist has serenaded us on so many of our road trips. I like her music so much that I even have a favourite place in Nova Scotia to listen to it – along the picturesque Eastern Shore. Her upbeat, unique music is perfect for belting to behind the wheel. She adds that extra layer of excitement to an adventure. I’m still addicted to her album Let It Die and am way overdue to pick up Metals. I am especially loving the song Comfort Me off her newest CD.
Steven Bowers (https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/beothuk-words/id473669993):
In the same way that Feist is our adventure songstress, Steven Bowers is our sunset crooner. I have deliciously vivid memories of listening to Tired Light while crossing the Confederation Bridge at sunset. His lyrics are clever and comforting and he always tell a rich story. I have a lot of favourite Steven Bowers songs. We danced to Breaks You So for our first dance at our wedding. His newest album, Beothuk Words, is my unofficial reflect on life album. Check out this song from the album, Migration, below.
Rose Cousins (http://rosecousins.com/):
I first heard Rose Cousins play at the 2013 ECMA’s. Rose is a local folk treasure. Her song Go First brought me to tears, and I have been a fan ever since. I am not the only one to be enchanted by Rose Cousins. Go First appeared in Grey’s Anatomy in 2013. She grew up on Prince Edward Island and now tours world wide.
David Myles (http://davidmyles.com/):
David Myles is a road-trip favourite. We first saw him live at the 2013 ECMA’s. He is a sharp-dressed, eclectic-styled crooner from New Brunswick. His high energy and quirky humour make for the perfect road-trip combination. Some of our best suggestions for your playlist are popular hits Simple Pleasures and Inner Ninja, and the song Gillian and I are constantly singing at the top of our lungs, When it Comes My Turn.
Inner Ninja won the 2013 Juno for Rap Recording of the Year and is a nominee for Single of the Year at this year’s Juno’s. He wrote and performed it with Classified, who is also nominated for Rap recording of the Year at the 2014 Juno’s.
Jenn Grant (http://jenngrant.com/):
Jenn Grant is a soothing chanteuse from Nova Scotia. She offered up a relaxing, mellow performance, the perfect contrast to Myles’ folk-meets-Doo-Wop style. Jenn has such a unique, animated voice that I could listen to all day. Her music reminds me of a (better) Lana Del Ray. Check out her song The Fighter, or just purchase her whole album, The Beautiful Wild. It is excellent from beginning to end.
Meaghan Smith (http://meaghansmith.com/):
You may know Meaghan from her cover of The Pixies’ Here Comes Your Man in 500 Days of Summer. Meaghan won the 2011 Juno for Best New Artist. Her music has a romantic and vintage feel. She is a great singer and an even better story teller, which makes her live performances a must if you can get tickets. We especially like Five More Minutes, Please and I Know.
It was a big struggle trimming this list down to 10. We have so many amazing singers and songwriters (and singer songwriters) and musicians here on the East Coast. I am always looking to add to my playlist, so leave your favourite artists and songs in the comments below!
The next big Canadian music celebration is the upcoming Juno Awards. One of the Juno’s major sponsors is TD Bank. TD has been an increasingly big supporter of artists and music festivals across Canada. Locally, they help fund the Halifax Jazz Festival (along with a number of other jazz fests across the country). They recently launched a new TD Music Access program where concert goers can find TD music deals on concerts across Canada.
We would like to thank TD Music Access for helping us to continue to bring our readers great content! We selected the subject and artists for this piece. Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping support The Local Traveler and Canadian music!