Ask a songwriter who is on their list of influences and you’ll hear the name Randy Newman – an artist for whom the Oscar category Best Original Song seems specifically created. Known for his sharp, sardonic eye and melodic ear, Newman crafts stories, characters and opinions that set the modern standard for songwriting and lyricism. While his work is often covered, Newman’s voice leaves an unmistakable stamp on all his work, whether it be a song about corruption in New Orleans in 1927 or a toy cowboy come to life. Nominated an unbelievable twenty times for Academy Awards (he’s won three), Newman is also a three-time Emmy and five-time Grammy award winner. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002, and as a Disney Legend in 2007 for his work scoring animated movies, including Toy Story and Monsters, Inc.
Delivered from the mythic Muskoka wilderness, Hawksley arrived on the scene over a decade ago with a fearlessness rooted in an undeniable vocal panache. This Juno Award winning wild card has already cemented his place as an emblem of Canadian culture here and abroad. From the compelling opening yodel found on his debut album, For Him and the Girls, to this very day, Hawksley roams like a rogue force, bouncing from pop tunes to country jangles, from anthemic rockers to hip-hop dance beats to gut-wrenching ballads, making his notably excellent performances as unpredictable as they are dramatic and exuberant. We know him well and we give the Six Shooter pinky swear that Hawksley’s live show, complete with Mr. Lonely by his side, is simply incomparable.
We’d travel to the other side of the world to see this band, but luckily, this time Wagons are coming to us. Six Shooter Records is the proud Canadian home for this rowdy band of Australian outlaw countrymen, who are led by fireball frontman and showman extraordinaire Henry Wagons. They made their North American debut in 2011 with Rumble, Shake and Tumble, an album perfectly described as “poppy, soulful cow-punk…as clever as it is swaggerific.” (Now Magazine) In fact, the words rumble, shake and tumble effectively capture Wagons’ raucous style, a mix of rock ’n’ roll, country, cabaret, psychedelia and soul. The band’s live shows balance just on the edge of total and majestic chaos.
The word vocalist does little to express the versatility and potency of Shakura S’Aida’s talent. Known primarily as a blues singer-songwriter, the global adventurer worked in world music, jazz and backing vocal gigs before embarking on a blues belting solo career that has brought acclaim and awards. “Shakura’s voice just might be the sound of the blues in the 21st Century,” writes one critic (PopMatters). In 2011, Shakura won both the Maples Blues Award for Vocalist of the Year and the Indie Award for Best Blues Artist, and she’s also earned multiple Juno nominations. We are big fans of this impressive woman (we’ve even been on a date with her!) and her performances are thrilling each and every time.
Called “Toronto’s Velvet Undergound,” by ‘Wild Thing’ gambler/songwriter Chip Taylor himself, The Beauties’ brand of working man bourbon blues fuses the musical legacies of Nashville with New York, New Jersey with new wave. The band was crowned Toronto’s Best Roots Band, but their infamously raucous live show attests that The Beauties don’t rest on their honky tonk laurels. They’ve shared stages with Broken Social Scene and Alejandro Escovedo, Drive-By Truckers and Jim Cuddy. The band has also backed up such noteworthy songwriters as Ron Sexsmith and Serena Ryder, and their talent and versatility makes them the musical backbone of choice for artists across Canada. Six Shooter is proud to be a home for The Beauties – it’s no coincidence that The Beauties have been on stage for some of our favourite shows of the past few years.
Polaris prize contender, pioneering rapper and rainmaker in Canada’s impressive hip-hop arsenal, Cadence Weapon is a perfect fit for the Interstellar Rodeo. YEG born-and-raised, Rollie Pemberton aka Cadence Weapon is a force to be reckoned with, known for his unique hybrid of psychedelic soul, old school rap, IDM and mutant disco. Cadence Weapon returns with a new record this spring, a highly anticipated follow-up to the much-acclaimed Afterparty Babies (Anti-/Epitaph). The rapper has also recently completed a turn as Edmonton’s Poet Laureate. We are so pleased that this hometown champion will be a part of this year’s Interstellar Rodeo.
From the outskirts to the centre, Blue Rodeo has been the beating heart of the roots-rock scene since the 80s, and has shaped the soundtrack of perfect summer nights for nearly three decades. In fact, we couldn’t even imagine this music festival without our friends on the bill, it just wouldn’t be right without them. With 12 records that include an unbelievable number of iconic hits to their name, as well as an impressive 7 Junos on the shelf, the band has set the standard for excellence and longevity – “Blue Rodeo still crank it for all it’s worth,” said the Edmonton Journal on their last visit to town. The classic contrast in styles of frontmen Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor has fostered a rare creative partnership that grows more fertile with age. Now, in 2012, the band will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
Whitehorse (Featuring Luke Doucet & Melissa McClelland)
Six Shooter Records’ Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet tie the musical knot with the debut of their new band, Whitehorse, marrying their talent and chemistry on stage as a smoldering duo. Gutsy and resolute in their pursuits of sound and substance, Luke and Melissa’s fusion of the personal and professional brings to mind the road-tested romance of Johnny and June. Whitehorse is the culmination of years of honing solo skills as singer-songwriters. Luke and Melissa have worked side by side for nearly a decade, contributing to one another’s records, touring and performing together, unknowingly yet instinctively moving towards the day when each would entrust their life and work to the other. More than the sum of considerable talents, Whitehorse showcases the rarity of true give and take in partnership, uniting falcon with songbird to dramatic effort. We get goosebumps when they take the stage.
Six Shooter’s fondness for cult icon Richard Buckner is more than just fandom – his record The Hill was one of the first albums in our catalogue (and he’s even lived in Edmonton!). We go way back. Buckner is an original pioneer – since his debut record Bloom in 1994, his albums have been major influences on the resurgence of traditional folk, roots and country movements in music today. Buckner’s poetic lyricism is expressed in many ways, from the simplicity of acoustic troubadour styles to more experimental avant-garde forms, and Pitchfork calls him “one of the most intriguing songwriters working”. We are excited to present him at the inaugural Interstellar Rodeo. In August, 2011 Buckner released the long-awaited new record Our Blood on Merge Records.
Carolina Chocolate Drops
Picture Nashville’s historic Ryman Theatre, filled to capacity for the 2010 Americana Music Awards. The Carolina Chocolate Drops take the stage, perform just one song, one incredible, stop-you-in-your-tracks amazing song, and get a standing ovation. They’ve been on our mind ever since. This Grammy-winning jug-band energetically fuses virtuosity with history, reinvigorating traditional old-time fiddle and banjo music from the Carolinas, and showcasing the central role African-Americans played in the history of popular music. Don’t be mistaken – The Carolina Chocolate Drops are not simply recreating music from the 20s and 30s, they put a truly modern and truly unrivaled stamp on all the music they make. Their live shows have been described as “end-to-end displays of excellence (New York Times) and their new album, Leaving Eden, is out on Nonesuch Records.
Click your ruby shoes three times and imagine a modern day Judy Garland, an artist with a technicolour voice and mischievous spirit. Jenn Grant’s voice is widely recognized as one of the most mellifluous, melodious and melodic out there, and Six Shooter Records is proud to have released two beautiful records by this talented east coast nightingale. “She’s one of the best singers in the world right now,” says frequent collaborator Buck 65. We’re not the only fans – Jenn has also performed for Royal newlyweds William and Kate, a fitting audience for songs from the Juno-nominated album Honeymoon Punch.
“Sounds Like: One in the morning at your favorite cabaret bar.” – Rolling Stone
San Diego, California’s Andra Day makes her Edmonton debut at this year’s Interstellar Rodeo. Day is a soul singer whose debut album, Cheers To The Fall, netted two Grammy nominations in 2016. Day’s jazz background and soulful sound draw comparisons to Amy Winehouse, Billie Holiday and Sharon Jones, but she is deftly carving out her own place in the retro-soul landscape with a brassy yet alluring voice that is as powerful as it is expressive. Day was discovered by Stevie Wonder, who brought her in to an elite musical world to make her first record. Reflecting the LP’s theme of resilience through struggle, the crown jewel of the album is the universally timeless “Rise Up,” which Andra describes as “a song about any type of relationship.” She says, “I look at all of us as brothers and sisters and a body working together. ‘Rise Up’ is saying one piece isn’t better than the other, and when one part is struggling, I’m going to help and lift you up. I will rise up with you.”
“It’s honky-tonk in technicolor!” – Billboard
For over forty years, Marty Stuart, a five-time Grammy winning multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, photographer and historian has been building a rich legacy. Born in Mississippi, Stuart got his start in Johnny Cash’s back-up band in 1979. He soon enjoyed solo success as well as hits performing with other country musicians, including Travis Tritt and Willie Nelson. On his latest release with his band The Fabulous Superlatives, the double-disc Saturday Night & Sunday Morning, released in 2013, Stuart captures all the authentic neon and stained-glass hues of country music. In twenty-three tracks, Stuart travels love, sex and heartache, hardship, family and God.
Calgary’s Coppherhead is a four-piece band gathering buzz for their blues heart and rock ‘n’ roll soul. Copperhead blazed on to the scene in 2014, winning the Calgary Folk Festival songwriting contest with their blend of dark, throaty mo-town, swaggering rock & roll and folk with a rusty edge. The group consists of Liz Stevens (vocals, keys), Kirill Telichev (guitar), Amos Bradley (bass), and Kane Bender (drums). Copperhead released their debut self-titled EP in September 2015.
“Ambitious, beguiling stuff.” – Rolling Stone
Memories of campfire smolders along Lake Huron’s Michigan shoreline served as the inspiration for Lord Huron, an indie folk band formed by a group of old friends and northern transplants in Los Angeles. Started as a solo project by Ben Schneider, Lord Huron grew to include Mark Barry, Miguel Briseno and Tom Renaud, who released their sophomore album, Strange Trails, in 2015. Lord Huron’s sound is as much about the story, and the swirling allure of their newest album owes as much a debt to pulp, sci-fi and horror genres as it does to the band’s sonic touchstones.
“Marshall has always been one of the most emotionally intense songwriters around, but with Sun she has made her riskiest, most vital album, not to mention one of her greatest.” – Rolling Stone
From punk to folk to Memphis soul to electronic, Cat Power’s music is muse, harbour and touchstone for a generation. SUN, her most recent album, was written, played, recorded and produced entirely on her own, which makes a statement of complete control echoed in the songs’ themes. For all of SUN’s layered expansiveness, Cat Power’s music remains as handcrafted as it was when she began in the early 90s, with humour, anger, empathy and spiritual inquiry continually morphing into astonishing new shapes over the course of nine studio albums.
Dphrepaulezz sings like a man compelled by a spiritual force…[his] voice is impassioned, somewhere between a croon and a scream.” – Consequence of Sound
With a unique fusion of blues, soul, roots and rock music, Fantastic Negrito frontman Xavier Dphrepaulezz tackles the socioeconomic, race and class issues he witnesses on a daily basis living in the East Bay. Dphrepaulezz has an incredible, odds-beating story that includes catastrophic injury, rehabilitation and triumph as the winner of NPR’s inaugural Tiny Desk Concert Contest. Suffice to say, he got to 2016 the long way around. Inspired by all American music, most especially Delta bluesmen such as R.L Burnside and Skip James, he has sought to modernize his compositions by sampling and looping his own live recordings. His most recent album, The Last Days of Oakland, was released June 2015. This will be Fantastic Negrito’s first performance in Edmonton.
The Mariachi Ghost
“A Mexican mariachi/jarocho/rock band from Winnipeg?? Absolutely. And it works seamlessly.” – NPR Music
From driving rhythms and soaring melodies to brooding synths and dreamy vocals, The Mariachi Ghost fuses traditional Mexican song, progressive rock and a flair for the dramatic. The Winnipeg band, formed in 2009, is based on the lead singer’s graphic novel exploring the mythos of a justice-seeking avenger. The seven-piece band is joined on stage by a contemporary dancer, and the result is a rich mixture somewhere between Pink Floyd and traditional serenata; a ballet for the dead. Mariachi Ghost released their debut album in 2013, won a Western Canadian Music Award in 2014 and released a short film by acclaimed filmmaker Guy Maddin in 2015. A new album is in the works now.
Donovan Woods is a Juno Award-nominated singer-songwriter from Sarnia, ON with strong Nashville ties (Tim McGraw recorded one of his songs) and big critical acclaim for his most recent album, Hard Settle, Ain’t Troubled. Like with so many songwriters of note, what matters isn’t what you call it, or where it comes from, but the stories you tell, and the voice you use. Whether about big ideas or seemingly minor incidents, broken promises or the promise of romance, Woods’ stories affect listeners deeply.
Faith Healer (Solo)
Edmonton’s Faith Healer (Jessica Jalbert) has absorbed a steady diet of psychedelic rock from the 60s and 70s and created a sound soaked in sunsunny trippiness, thunderous fuzz and classic pop harmonies with Cosmic Troubles, her debut LP. Cosmic Troubles has received generous acclaim from major corners including Pitchfork, Stereogum, and Spin. Jalbert will begin recording a follow-up to Cosmic Troubles this fall, looking towards a new album in early 2017.
Calgary’s Sykamore is a brand new face on the country scene, a statement confirmed by her recent nomination for the Canadian Country Music Awards ‘Discovery’ Award and the fact that she now spends half her time in Nashville, TN. Known for her strong songwriting, Sykamore has been grabbing attention with her recent material, which recently netted first prize in the All-Alberta Songwriting Contest.
Edmonton’s Nuela Charles released her debut album “Aware” in late 2012, and it went on to be the very first recipient of the inaugural Edmonton Music Prize in 2013. Saxy and sexy, songs from this debut have found fans at powerhouse radio station KCRW in LA, and have found homes on TV networks across the USA. Be it hip-hop, pop, jazz, R&B or soul, Nuela Charles captures the spirit and confidence of them all.
Set times subject to change without notice. More artists to be added