Josh Tillman has lived many lives. In 2015, he’s a man with one of the year’s most compelling albums. Tillman made six austere, quiet, solo albums before morphing into the Fleet Foxes’ invisible and irreconcilable drummer. In 2012, he channeled a new energy, releasing his first – and much more adventurous – album Fear Fun under Father John Misty moniker. I Love You, Honeybear is full of songs about falling hopelessly in love that avoid the trappings of songs in that oeuvre. He’s a literate rascal whose articulate, tender – and sometimes cynical – songs can be droll and damned funny.
Father John Misty
Father John MistySaturday 8:45 PM
- St. Vincent
St. VincentTuesday 8:45 PM
Queen of the art rock shred, badass guitar hero and Grammy-winning creative whirlwind St. Vincent comes to headline Interstellar Rodeo this year. St. Vincent crafts a “transfixing brand of high-concept, high-energy art rock,” says Rolling Stone; Annie Clark’s songwriting is as complex and powerful as her commanding live show. It’s brute force rock n’ roll intensity meets uber-intelligent avant-garde craft, and the result is a seismic experience that will shake your idea of modern pop music.
- Buffy Sainte-Marie
Buffy Sainte-MarieSunday 6:10 PM
There was no mold from which Buffy Sainte-Marie emerged; she created her own, ripened from experiences in both her head and her heart. While her peers were singing the centuries-old folk ballads she may have adored, her songs sprang from her own imagination and were effortlessly unique. Often pegged as a folk singer – particularly by past record labels that either failed or were unwilling to see how far ahead of the curve she was – Sainte-Marie never fully fit in with her ’60s contemporaries. Buffy Sainte-Marie’s bold new album, Power in the Blood, begins where it all started more than 50 years ago, with a contemporary version of “It’s My Way,” the title track of her 1964 debut.
- Charles Bradley
Charles BradleyWednesday 9:00 PM
By now, Bradley’s remarkable, against-all-odds rise has been well-documented – how he transcended a bleak life on the streets and struggled through a series of ill-fitting jobs – most famously as a James Brown impersonator at Brooklyn clubs – before finally being discovered by Daptone’s Gabe Roth. “When the world gives you love, “Bradley sings, “It frees your soul.” This is the new message of Charles Bradley, The Screaming Eagle of Soul, the Bradley who has emerged from the heartache stronger and more confident, overflowing with love to share. This is Charles Bradley, Victim Of Love – gratefully returning the joy that has been given to him.
- Elle King
Elle KingSaturday 5:25 PM
Meet Elle King, a banjo-playing pop star about to hit the big time. Frank and fearless, tender and rowdy, Elle King’s debut album, Love Stuff, marks the true arrival of the young singer-songwriter as a pop force to be reckoned with. Love Stuff display King’s grounding in rock, blues, country, and pop styles with a sweeping emotional road map, from stomp and fury to sexy and sweet. “I always thought I knew who I was,” says King, “but now I’m really learning what kind of person I want to be.”
- Tanya Tagaq
Tanya TagaqSaturday 7:05 PM
“Tanya Tagaq puts on the best show I’ve ever seen.” So raved one NY music critic after a recent show, and so rave many others, whenever and wherever Tagaq takes the stage. This Inuk punk is known for delivering performances that are visceral and physical, heaving and breathing and alive. Fearsome, strident and elemental, Tanya Tagaq’s music is a genre unto itself. Tagaq’s unique vocal style may be rooted in traditional cultural form, but her expression also aligns with avant-garde improvisation, metal and electronica influences, which inform her startling and powerful creative vision. Tanya Tagaq’s 2014 Polaris Prize winning album Animism, released on Six Shooter Records, has made waves for its originality, artistic importance and stunning uniqueness.
- Shakey Graves
Shakey GravesFriday 7:05 PM
“More than just a stage name for a seriously talented flatpicker and songwriter…Shakey Graves is becoming an antifolk phenomenon. Unclassifiably original. And frighteningly good.” Thus proclaimed NPR Music of the one-man-band known as Shakey Graves in 2012. The lo-fi vibe of Shakey Graves’ bluesy debut, Roll the Bones, immediately attracted the attention of tastemakers who pegged the Austin artist as a Next Big Thing faster than you can say longhorn. Six Shooter Records is the proud Canadian home of Shakey Graves’ newest album, And The War Came, a move towards more brashly poppier offerings and a fuller, shinier sound.
- All-Stars: Luke Doucet, Kathleen Edwards, and Joel Plaskett
All-Stars: Luke Doucet, Kathleen Edwards, and Joel PlaskettSunday 7:35 PM
As a landmark singer-songwriter in the Canadian indie landscape, Doucet has made his name as a first-rate guitarist and creative force. Now, as one-half of Whitehorse, the duo formed with Melissa McClelland, Doucet has reached new career heights, with a growing catalogue of “futuristic roots rock” and a reputation for pushing boundaries. Whitehorse has brought out new musical sides of Doucet, who is now seen behind the drum kit as often as shredding one of his guitars. Leave No Bridge Unburned was just announced on the Polaris Long List. Doucet comes to Interstellar Rodeo as one third of the Interstellar All Stars lineup, alongside Kathleen Edwards and Joel Plaskett.
Kathleen Edwards’ work has celebrated the many pleasures of survival and reinvention, all with a seductively quiet strength. A musical raconteur, lyrical poet, and gifted performer, the music of Kathleen Edwards is beautifully honed artistry. An enviable catalogue full of bonafide hits brought international recognition, regular appearances on late night TV, awards prestige and worldwide fans. Edwards is currently on indefinite hiatus from recording and touring and has poured her energy into Quitters Coffee, a café in Stittsville, Ontario. She appears at Interstellar Rodeo as one third of the Interstellar All Stars lineup, alongside Luke Doucet and Joel Plaskett.
Joel Plaskett, “Dartmouth’s King of Canrock” (Exclaim), has proven he can be all things to everybody with a career that spans more than 20 years, numerous acclaimed albums, and a live show that can’t be beat. From the days Thrush Hermit to his band the Emergency to solo efforts, Joel delivers music marked by his unique turns of phrase and tuneful touch. His most recent album, Park Avenue Sobriety Test, was just announced on the Polaris Long List. Plaskett joins Luke Doucet and Kathleen Edwards for the Interstellar All Stars performance.
- Lee Harvey Osmond
Lee Harvey OsmondSunday 1:55 PM
Hirsute Steeltown reprobate Tom Wilson, aka LeE HARVeY OsMOND, is one of Canada’s most omnipresent creative forces. A welcome guest on the Monday make-up show last year, he now returns with his full band. Juno winners and Polaris Long List nominees, LeE HARVeY OsMOND is the psychedelic folk instantiation of Wilson’s ever-creating musical mind. Redolent with swooning horns and guitars that bob and weave, the core of LeE HARVeY OsMOND’s sound is Wilson’s voice, like a warm hand to the forehead, an arm on the arm of the stricken, a comforting growl at the heart of a screaming world. With a new album, Beautiful Scars, released in April, 2015 is shaping up to be another big year
- Justin Townes Earle
Justin Townes EarleSaturday 2:10 PM
Categories fall short when it comes to defining great music – who cares what it’s called when it’s excellent. Justin Townes Earle has cultivated a reverence for history and the highest standards of songcraft throughout his career, with a prizefighter’s ability to find harbours in rough waters. He wraps his own hardship and struggle into songs that speak to universal experience, and truly represents the next generation of the great American songwriter. Justin Townes Earle brings a new album, Absent Fathers, released in early 2015.
- Lake Street Dive
Lake Street DiveSunday 3:20 PM
Classic soul and R&B, jazz, and British invasion form the backdrop for the exhilarating brand of pop for which Lake Street Dive has become known. Combine this with the unstoppable joy of their live shows and viral collection of videos, and you get the sum of the Lake Street Dive equation: pure pop music fun. Knock- your-socks-off vocals and virtuosic instrumentals top it all off, and with the release of their third record, Bad Self Portraits, on Signature Sounds, which Popmatters calls “a staggering, monumental disc,” this Brooklyn based quartet is garnering a rapidly growing fan base across the country.
- The Wet Secrets
The Wet SecretsFriday 5:50 PM
Swampy basslines, primal drumming, dancing ladies with brassy hornstacks, keys, congas & vocal harmonies galore. The Wet Secrets are a six-piece rock’n’roll dance band that plays “frantic pop” music. Winners of the inaugural Peak Performance Project in Alberta, The Wet Secrets are also new additions to the Six Shooter roster. Don’t let their impeccable tailoring suggest the band’s energy is anything so buttoned up – The Wet Secrets put on a helluvasweatyawesome live show wherever they go.
- Black Joe Lewis
Black Joe LewisSunday 12:00 AM
Austin’s blues, funk and soul star Black Joe Lewis grew out of a strong local scene, one that has also produced the likes of Spoon, Shakey Graves and Gary Clark Jr. That garage rock club scene has fused with deep southern musical traditions to produce something entirely new and exciting, and Black Joe Lewis has delivered on all of the intense buzz, and has become a mainstay on the marquee festival circuit.
- Rhiannon Giddens
Rhiannon GiddensSaturday 3:45 PM
The Carolina Chocolate Drops was a runaway crowd favourite at the inaugural Interstellar Rodeo in Edmonton in 2012. Now, IR is excited to welcome back the founding member of The Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Basement Tapes and major 2015 breakout artist Rhiannon Giddens to the stage. Giddens has just released a brand new solo record, Tomorrow Is My Turn, produced by T. Bone Burnett, and takes centre stage as one of Americana’s brightest lights. The album incorporates gospel, jazz, blues, and country, plus a hint of proto-rock and roll, and Giddens displays an emotional range to match her dazzling vocal prowess throughout.
- Oh Susanna
Oh SusannaSunday 12:50 PM
Suzie Ungerleider began performing as Oh Susanna in the mid-1990s, crafting a persona that matched the timeless qualities of her music, sounds that drew from the deep well of early 20th Century folk, country and blues, yet rooted in her finely-honed storytelling skills. This Canadian songstress has a voice that can pierce a heart of stone. Her superbly crafted songs often tell stories of troubled souls who rebel against their circumstances to attain a quiet dignity. Her newest album, Namedropper, a collection of songs penned by some of Canada’s greatest songwriters, contains tales of longing and love, of small town joys and pains, of our simple feelings and strong passions.
- Jay Nowicki
Jay NowickiSaturday 6:25 PM
The Perpetrators front man, founding member and proud Winnipegger Jay Nowicki is rated one of Canada’s tastiest guitar players. Nowicki and The Perpetrators have cornered the market on tight, raw and intense blues, winning WCMA awards and Juno nominations along the way. The Perps’ most recent album, released in 2013, is called “Stick ‘Em Up.”
- Mike McDonald
Mike McDonaldSaturday 4:45 PM
Jr. Gone Wild’s legendary frontman, “cowpunk” pioneer and proud Dirt City music scenester, Mike McDonald is the real deal. In 2014, McDonald released his debut live solo album, Live At The Blue Chair Café. Unadorned by the electric chaos of a band and massive volume, Mike’s solo show is edgy folk, peppered with story and commentary, often hilarious.
- NQ Arbuckle
NQ ArbuckleSaturday 1:00 PM
Don’t let the self-deprecation imply that NQ Arbuckle isn’t serious about the music. This band has earned multiple Juno nominations, considerable critical praise (Pitchfork, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star etc.), and a legion of rabid fans, especially in Edmonton. There’s a sober reverence and deep romance to NQ Arbuckle’s songcraft. Everything boils down to life and death, and how to face both with humour and humanity. In 2014, Six Shooter Records released The Future Happens Anyway, a masterful collection of songs that illustrates NQ’s finesse, subtlety and heart.
- JJ Shiplett
JJ ShiplettSunday 7:00 PM
A songwriter in every situation and a dedicated player, JJ Shiplett’s passion for quality and sincerity is only matched by his goal to get everyone dancing. JJ’s approach to songcraft showcases heartfelt moments full of life experience, right alongside bursts of boisterous feel-good rock and roll.
- Colleen Brown
Colleen BrownSaturday 3:05 PM
“The talents of this Edmonton-based musician shine like a beacon,” writes The Globe and Mail. With a focus on themes of love, fate and psychic retooling, the small-town prairie fireball and hometown darling Colleen Brown just released a new album, called Direction, and with it, takes her work down new and exciting paths.
- Colter Wall
Colter WallSunday 2:45 PM
Rugged and dark, the talented Saskatchewan-bred newcomer Colter Wall is poised to release his debut album, the evocatively and aptly titled “Imaginary Appalachia” in June 2015. Wall finds his inspiration in the rich tradition of Delta Blues and performs in true DIY, lo-fi fashion, with a tambourine duct-taped to his kick drum.
LucetteWednesday 5:35 PM
It is obvious to all those who listen that Lucette’s raw, mellifluous and mysterious sound is as much old soul as it is ingénue. Lucette most recently toured the US in the fall 2014 with classic country sensation Sturgill Simpson. Her debut album, Black Is The Color, is out now.
- Clinton St. John
Clinton St. JohnSunday 4:10 PM
Multi-instrumentalist Clinton St. John, is a Calgary-based singer-songwriter originally from Delburne, AB. His songs have strong narrative and dream-like qualities, finding influences in folk, blues, country, rock and psychedelic music. He released his latest full-length album, The Minor Arkhana, in September 2014.
- Joe Nolan
Joe NolanFriday 8:05 PM
From theramin tremors to raw howls, Joe Nolan’s range of expression reaches extremes. He delivers bandaged fragility and raw rage with equal impact. His most recent album, the WCMA-nominated Tornado, showcases Joe’s lyrical style – intense, evocative and gripping.
- Ryan Boldt
Ryan BoldtSaturday 8:00 PM
With “a presence far larger than his towering, scarecrow-like frame suggests,” (Vice) The Deep Dark Woods’ front man Ryan Boldt strikes out into a new wilderness alone. Boldt’s first solo album, Broadside Ballads, wraps traditional songs in Boldt’s signature haunting, folk-rock approach.
- St. Vincent