ABC Songwriters’ Circle Bios

Todd.jpgIf you were to ask Todd Aalgaard how he’d describe himself as a musician, he’d probably shrug, suggest New York City in 1961 as a frame of reference, and use the word “anachronism” a lot. A local writer, he’s better known for what he puts on the page than what he plays. Taking his mix of folk, Canadiana, country and originals to shows at Grossman’s, Graffiti’s, Axis and the Hole in the Wall, though, that’s changing bit by bit. This is his first engagement at the ABC Songwriters’ Circle. (show #22 – Tuesday April 10, 2018)

GaryGary Edward Allen is a singer songwriter hailing from Vancouver now living in Toronto but born and raised in Ottawa. He plays an interesting mesh of acoustic styles ranging from Neo-classical to psychedelic freak folk. Rooted in classic 70’s rock and 90’s alternative, but with modern sensibilities, Gary takes you on a journey every time. His songs are online and readily available on iTunes, Bandcamp, Soundcloud and ReverbNation. He performs and co-hosts at a weekly open mic with Amber Durette at Legends on Danforth every Thursday night.  (show #6 – Tuesday, November 28, 2017 / show #36 – July 17, 2018)

julian.jpgJulian Battersby Morris comes by his love and interest in arts and music in many different ways. First as son of father Neil Morris, a well-known Toronto bassist, and mother Sarah Battersby, a graphic designer and illustrator. Julian has been privately honing his craft over the last few years and developing a catalogue of songs, informed by life and travel experiences, and his studies in philosophy. Juslian’s songs will be seeing the light of day for the first time at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club. (show #27 – Tuesday, May 8, 2018)

dougal 2.jpgDougal Bichan’s first name, Gaelic for “dark stranger”, is not easy to live up to. He has been creating music all his life. Born in Regina and growing up all over the place: a houseboat on the Athabasca River, Calgary, Collingwood, Lusaka (Northern Rhodesia), Newfoundland outposts, before finally landing in Toronto at age 12. His early musical education included: his father playing the harmonica while the dogs howled along, his mother teaching him the recorder, seeing a one-man-band in Africa, with a jiggling skeleton attached to the bass drum pedal, requisite piano lessons, learning bagpipes to play in the school band and avoid having to carry a rifle, playing tenor sax in a jazz band, switching to bass to play with a rock band, helping start the Grub Street Banana Band in the 60s, then on to form Rockwood, before going underground. He later resurfaced to bring together a free-improvisational group called bitchin’, playing violin, bamboo flute, harmonica, keyboard, and vocalizing. He currently concentrates on songwriting, guitar playing and finding appreciative audiences. (show #36 – July 17, 2018)

Unknown.jpgDan Boggs will knock you out! Not only as an accomplished songwriter, but in his daytime incarnation, he is well acquainted will anesthetic pharmaceutical (all on the legal up-and-up); it’s even the topic of one of his crowd-favourite songs when he performs at open mic in the city. Until now media-elusive and camera-shy, Dan has been diligently working on developing his material and stagecraft over the last few years, and this will mark his feature debut. His songs cover a broad range of subjects, well-crafted for catchiness and clever lyrics. (show #19 – Tuesday, March 20, 2018)

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Originaire de Saint-Félicien, Québec, Fred Boutin se passionne pour la musique et pour l’écriture de chansons, paroles et musique. À cela le plaisir de présenter ses création à l’occasion en compagnie d’amis musiciens! Multi-instrumentiste, c’est tout de même à travers sa guitare que ses chansons prennent forme et découvrent leur plus riche expression. Ses chanson sont souvent un amalgame de rythmes rock, blues et funk, sur lesquels il pose des textes reflétant une maîtrise de la langue et une conscience développée.

Originally from Saint-Félicien, Québec, Fred Boutin passion and energy for music, whether playing it or writing it, is only matched by the pleasure he takes in sharing his compositions with fellow musicians. An in-demand multi-instrumentalist, Fred nevertheless finds the guitar the best vehicle to express his creativity. His songs often weave classic rock, blues and funk riffs into lyrics rich with crafted meaning and insight. (show #28 – May 22, 2018)

18838399_1547347091955647_1690055217_oSandra Bouza is a Toronto born songwriter and vocalist. After many years away from her home spent in Spain, Scotland and Vancouver she has returned to Toronto to continue playing music. Her widely varied musical influences are evident in the music that she writes and especially in her improvisational performances, in which her powerful vocal and creative abilities become truly apparent. Performing as a solo acoustic artist for many years, winning the first round of 2009 Guelph singer songwriter competition, she has also been involved in collaborations in blues, rock, jazz, folk, hip hop, soul, funk and electronica. Sandra has been performing extensively over the past few years throughout North and West Africa and Europe and recently returned to Toronto to begin recording her next album. (show #17 – March 6, 2018)

fish-drum-440x300The man who is brilliantfish has been called many things, but he is a musician, composer, artist and graphic designer based in Toronto, Canada. Since 1997, he has released 18 recordings ranging from post-industrial rock to dark pop, straight up rock and several stops in between. He is hard to pigeonhole and he wouldn’t have it any other way. As a drummer/percussionist/vocalist, brilliantfish has worked with dozens of diverse artists whose work spans many genres and many decades. With his wife sweet T, brilliantfish is also half of the duo Hush & Rust, who released their debut album These blue dreams in 2016. (show #5 – Tuesday, November 21, 2017)


Boris Buhot’s thought provoking music, and versatility as a vocalist/multi-instrumentalist have stirred music journalists to note his live performances as being “powerfully original” “talented and compelling” “a passionate artist”. Boris’ songs that raise social and spiritual awareness and make him more than just a protest singer. His music contains flavours of punk and 70’s new wave rock, and is an energetic, soul-searching, shroud-ripping, musically dense alarm for our times. (show #21 – April 3, 2018)

Mike2How can one characterize Michael Butcher’s songs? Folk rapped in blues hypnotic melodies and trance haunting rhythmic guitar. It’s unique storytelling delivered with an underlying hint. Filmmaker and agent provocateur, Michael always takes you on a journey, sometimes into your own mind, often down the rabbit hole. Besides playing feature shows at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club, he has performed across town at clubs such as the Smiling Buddha, Relish, and Not My Dog. (show #16 – February 27, 2018)

James.jpg While growing up, Toronto-based music artist James Clark wanted to be both John Lennon and Ringo Starr. He managed to establish himself as both a sought after, solid rock and roll drummer and a respected, creative, melodic pop/rock singer and songwriter. Under the guise of ‘The James Clark Institute’, he takes the classic pop song style that he grew up with and gives it his own spin. Clark’s many live dates include shows in Toronto legendary venues such as The Horseshoe Tavern, The Cameron House and Lee’s Palace, and jaunts to Chicago, New York City and Madison, Wisconsin. His songs resonate, whether it is a solo acoustic performance or the full onslaught of the electric JCI band. (show #27 – May 15, 2018)

DanielDaniel James Clarke is a non-binary singer/songwriter/poet based out of Toronto, Ontario. Their songs vary greatly in regards to their subject matter and come from a place of intense emotional exploration. You’ll hear songs about demisexuality, agoraphobia, anxiety, personal growth, personal destruction, and many other things. Daniel tries to stay away from writing possessive songs about other people so you aren’t likely to hear any love or heartbreak songs but you are likely to hear catchy guitar compositions alongside malleable and relatable lyrics. (show #20 – March 27, 2018)

FinbarFinbar Conlon, who goes by the stage name The Pretty. His songs combine solid grooves with introspective lyrics, tinged with cryptic imagery and sometimes bitter commentary, that lead you to down somber paths or unpredictably veer off into surprisingly humorous directions. Finbar regularly performs around the city at open mics or busking on the streets. He has a number of recordings which can be heard, and seen, on Soundcloud and YouTube. (show #11 – Tuesday, January 23, 2018)

Michael CuddyWhenever Michael Sheen Cuddy is asked what kind of music he writes, he finds it hard to name just one genre. Saying “pop-inflected rock slash roots-acoustic slash prog-rock slash Celtic with a jigger of jazz” doesn’t clarify much. His approach to songwriting may be similarly holistic. “I’ll chance upon a chord progression or melodic phrase and try to follow where it might go. If it drifts to an oddball jazz/cabaret sound, I just try to go with it. Or if a riff sounds like something from Aerosmith’s back catalog, I’ll run with that. Or if it feels like it should be a cryin’-in-my-beer country song, so be it.” Currently Michael is at work recording songs at Tim Bovaconti‘s studio with David Macmichael on bass and Paul Brennan on drums. (show #7 – Tuesday, December 5, 2017)

AndreAndre Dantas was born and raised in Brazil, where he was quickly assimilated into the world of traditional jazz and popular Brazilian mystics. He’s been actively performing all around the USA for the last 10 years and is excited about bringing his Brazilian flavoured style to a Canadian audience. His songs bring to the fore thoughtful and often introspective lyrics backed with immensely listenable rhythms and melodies. His songs can be heard on Soundcloud at (show #14 – Tuesday, February 13, 2018)

Lucy2.jpgLucy Dee wears her heart on her sleeve, as the saying goes. Short in stature but huge in voice and emotion, her songs reverberate with intensity and passion. Honest and direct in all things, she always delivers the best and most heartfelt performances. Lucy has performed in a number of Toronto clubs, including a feature at the Opera House. She currently resides in Barrie and performs regularly in the area with her band. (show #13 – Tuesday, February 6, 2018)

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Amber Durette wrote her first song at the age of 13. Called “Stop Pretending”, it was a defiant shout at growing up unprivileged while surrounded by entitlement. Since then, she has written hundreds of songs, many for herself and most recently for a growing number of artists. Besides songwriting contributions, Amber has arranged vocals and sung backups for most notably Ezra Romanov, Allegra Jordan, Baylianne Rich and Lara Julia. She and producer Roy Hamilton III are planning on recording some of her personal and co-written material in the near future together. Amber is also immersed in composing with her guitarist Alex Matthew for a future recording project. She feels grateful in being surrounded by uniquely talented and supportive people who allow her to continuously push the limits of her learning. Musical growth and magic will surely continue to follow. (show #25 – Tuesday May 1, 2018)

Photo Credit: A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker”

Tyler Ellis writes the most wonderfully understated, insightful, wry, disarming, and uniquely Canadian songs you are ever likely to hear. He has shared a bill with the likes of Willie P. Bennett, Ron Hynes, James Keelaghan, Julian Taylor, Steven Page, and Mr. Dressup. He has had a video on Much Music, performed live on Global and City TV, received local and national radio exposure; and has garnered national critical acclaim while happily spending most of his time writing, recording, performing locally, coaching (hockey, of course), teaching (music, of course) and spending time with his family. (show #3 – Tuesday, November 7, 2017)

JodyTroubadour Jody Ferrer has steadily and surely gained fame and some notoriety in Toronto bars as a sharply satirical songwriter. Very few subjects are taboo for Jody’s songs, and are often inspired from stories of people he sees on the streets. He is at his best when his aim includes not only “hipsters” and their ilk, but when he is almost uncomfortably and hilariously self-deprecating. He is currently working on recording his songs for his first popular release.  (show #6 – Tuesday, November 28, 2017)

TCT.C. Folkpunk started life with the somewhat more common moniker Tim Cameron. He proceeded to amass a collection of Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Ramones, and Clash albums. He also amassed a guitar collection consisting of one crappy no-name acoustic, and a slightly less crappy electric. By the age of 17, he began playing his own songs in bars and pubs, releasing cassettes and CDs, and making a name for himself, even as far away as Germany. After renaming himself T.C. Folkpunk, he found himself on stage at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool, and as of December 2015, when the Canadian indie comedy film Love in the Sixth premiered at the Whistler Film Festival, T.C. added “actor” and “film score composer” to his list of achievements as well. His latest album, Hearsay Is 20/20, was recorded in true “folkpunk” style, live off the floor and fuelled by whatever could be coaxed out of the studio’s espresso maker that day. (show #2 – Tuesday, October 24, 2017 / show #34 – Tuesday, July 3, 2018)

Kevin FosterFrom a young high school athlete to a lost college student, to a songwriter and now a full time performing one-man-band, Kevin Foster is a living example of hard work, persistence and dedication. Against all odds, with a late start to his career, he is still pushing to be the best performer and songwriter he can be. Kevin has shared the stage with many great Canadian acts, heavily touring Southern Ontario, and appearing on numerous television and radio shows, and partnering with other musicians to form country covers band the Fumblin’ Tumbleweeds, and original duet Hammers and Nails with Sarah Fazackerley. He is deeply committed to putting in the time to build a true following, and has been playing extensively since the release of his 2014 solo EP, “The Lost Songs” and “Live @ Atlas Studios” in 2016. (show #10 – Tuesday, January 16, 2018)

Ash2.jpgAsh Gallia is a new singer from the Ossington /Bloor area of Toronto. She prefers to let her music do the talking, writing and performing her songs to serve and uplift others through evocative lyrics and an intense stage presence. Ash describes herself as a creative free spirit and someone who lives her life with a goal to inspire. Although her life has been one filled with hardships, she hasn’t let it stop her from reaching success through creative force. She hopes to bring happiness and comfort to others through her music, using her talent for songwriting and beautiful angelic voice. No guts no glory. (show #34 – Tuesday, July 3, 2018)


Justine Giles is a folk-pop singer-songwriter based in Toronto and originally from Sudbury, Ontario, with musical influences ranging from Sarah McLachlan, Sara Bareilles to Jewel. Justine’s soulful voice was first introduced to the world in 2014 via her debut indie album Shine. Her songs speak of love, empowerment and standing up against multiple forms of abuse and taking a strong stand for self. The sound is vintage yet never comes off as forced or hokey or clichéd. She has performed at music industry showcases, toured Ontario, and performed at multiple events in Montreal and Vancouver. Her latest single “I Got To Your Heart” is available on all online retailers. (show #22 – Tuesday, April 10, 2018)

elana-girls-with-gtrs-2Elana Harte is an internationally recognized and gifted vocalist, guitarist, producer and songwriter. She not only relishes collaborating with new and established artists, but is also a founding member of and driving force behind numerous musical projects such as VINNICK, SHEPPARD HARTE,  V-GIRLS, STILETTO FLATS and with her trio, BACA. As producer of M-FACTOR MONDAYS & M-FACTOR REDUX, a long-running weekly Toronto Indie showcase, Alana gets to feature local, national and international talent. She was also the founder and co-producer of BARE BONES AND UP FRONT, a showcasing series hosted by the  Toronto Centre for the Arts. (show#17 – March 6, 2018)

Claire.jpgBorn in a town called Almonte, Claire Hunter grew up in a household that nurtured her creative side. Her father’s instruments, which could be found throughout her childhood home, began her fascination with music. She has since found her way as a singer-songwriter, debuting with her 2016 EP titled “Something Safe.” Claire’s gift for capturing the shared human experience through song is enhanced by the honest and conversational tone of her writing. Each of her songs contains multiple layers, despite having a refreshing, down to earth, simplicity. Add her seemingly effortless, soulful, voice and Hunter commands your attention. Perhaps most of all, audiences gravitate towards her tendency to find beauty in the darkest of places. Hunter’s work will continually find a way to remind us of how to appreciate those imperfect situations. (show #27 – May 15, 2018)

robert2.jpgLefty (aka Rob Hyde) is a Toronto based musician and songwriter who channels his love for music by Tom Waits, David Bowie and Neil Young into songs about space, aliens and the struggles of humanity in a post modern world. A multi instrumentalist, he has collaborated with other musicians for over 25 years.
(show #31 – June 12, 2018)

Lawrie B&WDr. Jingles is Lawrie Ingles, likely Toronto’s busiest sideman, hence a second show in three months. He performs with any number of bands at any given time, including Elton Rohn, David Storey, Tristan Avakian, Y’allman Brothers, Not the Boss of Me, Billy JOhl, Hidden Stash, Soozi Schlanger, Wavelength and Tyler Ellis & the Eddy Line, playing almost as many different instruments. Lawrie enjoys the company of other musicians and is an enthusiastic supporter of both established and upcoming acts. His songs are clever, often full of wit (puns ARE the greatest fosoulrm of humour) yet still touching and insightful. He performs them solo, and as part of the duo the Soul Maître Ds.  (shows #5 & 11 – Tuesday, November 17, 2017/Tuesday – January 23, 2018)

david2_400x400David Israelson has maintained a lifelong involvement in music. He mines his extensive world experience to inspire his songs, which rarely allow themselves to be pigeon-holed into one simple category. Whether sensitive and rich in imagery, or adroitly cutting at the cynicism of our times, David’s songs remain musically approachable and ultimately memorable. When not playing guitar, or exploring a new instrument that piques his interest, David contributes regularly to publications in Canada and abroad, and is a published author. (show #9 – Tuesday, December 19, 2017)

Jillian B&W.jpgJust Jillian is a Toronto based artist and film maker. She is a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, keyboards, bass and drums. She is the former lead guitar player for ADHD the band (, and played keys for Remote Wonder ( She has played gigs all over the world up to and including CBGBs in NYC. After traveling the world with a guitar in hand, she is back in her home town to develop her own material and has been recently working with Carmen Toth for a number of combined show. Jillian’s songs explore traditional themes such as love and relationships, but with unusual flavours like timelessness and social dynamics. (show#15 – February 20, 2018)

paula-keast1.jpgPaula Keast is a singer/guitarist, playing both acoustic and electric guitar. She writes all of her songs, which boldly and frankly explore the frailties of the human heart and soul. Paula recently had the opportunity to get into the studio with Toronto’s own hip-hop/rap producer “STRETCH” and create her full length electronic/rock album entitled Crazy Beautiful which can now be purchased on iTunes, and is available in streaming on AppleMusic, Spotify, Google Play, Soundcloud Pandora and others. She has performed at the historical Gladstone Hotel, The Rivoli, and the Opera House to name a few. (show #9 – Tuesday, December 19, 2017)

kyris2_web_bw-e1526572652760.jpgAuteur-compositeur-interprète, Kyris a construit son univers sur les routes du monde sur lesquelles, il a affûté sa plume, façonné son jeu de guitare et découvert la formule secrète pour faire chanter les foules. Son macrocosme artistique se dessine à la croisée d’une folk sac à dos et d’une pop caméléon, vibrante et sensible, soulignée de textes fédérateurs. Passé par les Rencontres qui chantent de Petite Vallée au Québec en 2016 et remarqué pendant l’édition 2017 de Rond Point APCM, Kyris nous révèle les facettes d’un univers unique, où musique rime avec Nous, le titre de son premier EP qui sortira en juin 2018.  

Kyris is a singer-songwriter, originally from France, who draws his inspiration from his experiences along the roads where he developed his guitar playing, sharpened his pen and mastered the secret to engage people. Based in Toronto since 2013, his world lies across a backpack folk and a chameleon pop, vibrant and colorful with gathering lyrics. Noticed at “Les Rencontres Qui Chantent” program in Petite-Vallée (Québec) in 2016 and APCM’s (Association of Music Professionals) “Rond Point” program in 2017, aimed at emerging francophone artists, Kyris reveals to us the facets of a unique universe, where music rhymes with “Nous” (“Us” in English), the title of his first upcoming EP. (show #28 – May 22, 2018)

img_00931.jpgSal Indigo aka Johnnie Blue aka Blind Lemon Meringue aka Salabama crawled out of the dark, murky swamps of Kensington Market in southern Toronto. He was born with a steel slide bar on his left hand so he took to playing blues and rock n soul on electric slide guitar, but can be talked into going acoustic. Influenced by Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Steve Earle, Bo Diddley and Johnny Cash, he writes a variety of warped thud-like opaque melodies and work songs. Sal’s songwriting draws inspiration from his own special take on the world, from the visual poetry of Mississippi bottle trees, to the apocalyptic survivability of Keith Richard. Every winter, Sal re-immerses himself in blues and gospel travelling throughout the US south. Every spring he returns freshly provisioned with observations that ripen and soon bear topical (if not tropical) fruit in his prolific mind. Sal is currently being talked into recording his songs, but can be viewed peforming some on his YouTube channel. (shows #1 & 8 – Tuesday, October 17, 2017 / Tuesday, December 12, 2017 / show #31 – June 12, 2018)


Intense, unabashed and unallowably handsome, Scott Kvasni enjoys provoking a reaction and making listeners think. Scott is heavily involved in the Toronto music scene. He is the guitar player for the band DellaRose, who performed at Supercrawl in Hamilton before the Sheepdogs took to the main stage in September 2017. He is also performs as a solo artist under the name “King Henry the 9th.” KH9 has several shows booked across the GTA and Niagara region throughout 2018. His songs, played in a mix of rock influence with aspects of dance, country, and blues, cover a broad perspective of themes: introspective explorations of the mind, dreams, and alternate realities, powerful expressions of rebellious ideals and mankind-positive anti-establishment rants, or simply singing about what feels really good, and often intertwining all the above. (show #19 – March 20, 2018)

Linda-Lavender-facebookLinda Lavender sings with a distinctive voice, relaxed presence and a West Coast vibe. Her songs, steeped in a Canadian backdrop of vinyl stores and vacant lots, robberies and road trips, fist fights and friendships, tell a bigger story about life, love, loss and a quest for truth. Her melodies, subtly humorous lyrics, and facility on an array of instruments carry the listener past distinctions of country/bluegrass/folk/pop and jazz. Linda’s love of ensemble playing and spontaneous musical collaboration can be heard in The Linda Lavender Band, Lavender & The Shark, and Lavender & Twang. She hosts a monthly open stage, The Lazy Cat Café, and the annual Mariposa Open Stage. Here latest album is available on iTunes. (show #8 – Tuesday, December 12, 2017)

21728547_711863509009058_9026151288547958584_nSongwriter and multi-instrumentalist m.e. law (Marion Law) started her musical journey in Ingersoll, ON. m.e. braved her first performances at the age of 17, entertaining her home-town peers on the same stages as Stan Rogers, David Bradstreet, Willie P. Bennett and Perth County Conspiracy, but the lure of exotic destinations saw her travel and live in Japan, Mexico, and the US (New York and San Diego). A true Renaissance artist, m.e. expanded her creative reach by co-producing and scoring the award winning documentary Wiener Takes All, and producing and selling paintings under the tutelage of Jeffrey Pollack. m.e. has 4 albums to her credit; her songs, ranging from the silly to the soulful, invite engaged listening. (show #3 – Tuesday, November 7, 2017 / show #32 – June 19, 2018)

George 2.jpgMusic has been a passion in George Lazarus for as long as he can remember. He started by joining a choir at the age of 5. By age 12, he was regularly playing in a rock band with dreams of rock stardom, then later at the age of 16 , he became involved in musicals. George loves creating, experimenting, and integrating sounds. He counts many artists and genres as inspiration, especially the sounds of Oasis and Nirvana which can be heard in his minimalist acoustic rock. Visually, film noir and the imagery of David Bowie are common themes that he will often revisit. (show #21 – April 3, 2018)


Henry Lees is half of the Soul Maître Ds. Originally a west coaster, Henry has been heard belting it out on radio/TV jingles over the years as well as singing/songwriting for Calgary’s popular original pop-rock band The Household Saints for more than a decade. Henry also performed nationwide with actor, musician and Order of Canada honouree Tom Jackson on his Huron Carole benefit tours, sharing stages with some of Canada’s brightest talents like Melanie Doane and Charlie Major. Now calling Toronto home, Henry has dived head first into crafting and performing acoustic pop packed with heart and soul, collaborating with notable GTA artists such as Chris Antonik, Heather Hill, The Prince Brothers and now, with Lawrie too. (show #5 – Tuesday, November 21, 2017)


Julie Long is a songwriter, singer and musician who has been playing the piano for most of her life. Coming from a very musical family, she has been influenced by many musical genres including pop, rock, classical, jazz and blues. She believes in the healing power of music and strives to write songs that uplift and inspire her listeners. She has performed with many Toronto musicians including some performers who have graced the ABC Songwriters’ Circle’s stage. (show #12, Tuesday –January 30, 2018)


Kayt Lucas is a poet and singer with hundreds of tunes in her catalog. Her songwriting style alludes to rock, blues, folk, and sometimes country, in a genre Kayt described as “Hard-Folk”. Regardless, it seems indeed to describe the strong and gutsy approach to performance that I’ve heard from her and the backing 5-piece on a couple of her videos. She plays mandolin and the stunning and unusual octave mandolin. Kayt is a former dancer and aerialist. Her musicality originates in dance and choreography. She regularly performs with her group, Kayt and the Hard Folks, which was formed in early 2012. (show #24 – Tuesday April 24, 2018)

Brent2.jpgBrent Lunney‘s latest project is the Toronto based FourOneSix, a catchy reflective energetic pop/rock act with a retro vibe delivered on an acoustic cloud with some electro-ambient sunshine. FourOneSix is a hybrid of genres and influences; a musical recipe of sorts. A dash of singer-songwriter, a pinch of folk, a sliver of psychedelia, a sprinkle of new wave, all blended with generous portions of well-crafted pop. Previously, Lunney front the award winning The Apollo Effect (winners of the Great Canadian Band Challenge 2007) which showcased at the ECMA in Newfoundland in 2009 as well as headlining the first ever rock /pop concert in St. Kitts in the Caribbean. In 2016, FourOneSix crossed Canada aboard VIA train performing endless shows from Toronto to Vancouver.  Their music has been licensed for several TV promos as well as feature/indie films. (show #25 – Tuesday, May 1, 2018)


David Macmichael, the front man for the Danger Bees, hails originally from Dartmouth, N.S., where he occasionally returns to for inspiration. His songs resonate with a personal and specific voice, sometimes even erasing the lines of maybe just too much information to share with hundreds of people. David has been writing and performing my own material since his early teens and fronting a band since he was 14. He is also a popular sideman on bass and guitar for many other local artists. David performs every week at Relish Bar and Grill co-hosting the Stir-It-Up Sundays open mic. He is currently working on his first solo album. (show #4 – Tuesday, November 14, 2017)

Neil2.jpgNeil MacNaughton was born in Montreal, Quebec, and grew up in Oakville, Ontario, just outside Toronto, where he continues to live and perform often. A veteran solo acoustic singer/songwriter, Neil MacNaughton draws audiences in with his thoughtful songs and boundless energy. He loves the freedom to explore various musical styles, and within them a variety of topics from ecology to reminiscences to, of course, love and horticulture. A multi-instrumentalist, MacNaughton plays many of the parts on his many recordings himself. Always keen to play live, Neil MacNaughton can be found on stages throughout Southern Ontario. He also loves to jam with other players, often as a backing musician on trumpet or harmonica. (show #16 – February 27, 2018)

KevanMusician, painter, seamster, writer and sometimes actor, Kevan Maddison lives for the arts. In his teens, he saved up and bought an Ovation guitar and a Fender Squire bass. Over the years, he learned his instrument with the focused goal of developing his own sound. By 2013, he felt ready to write his material and in 2016, as ICEVAN, he released his first cd EH. His songs celebrate the originality and non-conformity of the staunchly individual, and through stripped down arrangement and sparse but well-chosen lyrics the joy within the mundane. Kevan has yet to meet a pair of Converse sneakers he does not care to mismatch.  (show #11 – Tuesday, January 23, 2018)

David MadrasDavid Madras is a songwriter, singer, and instrumentalist. His three favourite genres are folk, pop, and Anderson Paak, all of which he loves equally. An avid pianist, you can often find him at a keyboard of sorts. He also has dabbled in music for theatre, writing the music for a Toronto Fringe show with a really long title, and playing piano for improv groups. His debut album “Early Bird Special” has just been mastered and is awaiting release very, so look for a lead single near the end of January 2018. (show #10 – Tuesday, January 16, 2018)

John MahlerJohn Mahler asked himself a few years ago what he wanted to do with the rest of his life — music had always been his passion and songwriting his dream. Since his teen years, John had played guitar and written on and off, but life’s demands had invariably gotten in the way. Four years ago, he bought himself a new guitar, and re-engaged in the long-aspired-to commitment to finishing the songs of his youth, and to daily practice developing his own fingerpicked folksy-jazzy-bluesy style. With a growing catalogue of completed songs and renewed skills to play them, a friend said to him, “Now you have to perform them. After all, a song isn’t a song until it is heard.” Now John is applying himself to the craft of performing and sharing his songs with a growing and appreciative audience. (show #7 – Tuesday, December 5, 2017)

MarkMartyre605Mark Martyre’s prolific songwriting has produced 5 full-length studio albums since 2012: Down, Record (2012), London (2013), Red Letters (2014), Bluebird (2016), and Rivers (2017), as well as several live records, and bootlegs. His music, sung with a wryness perfect for storytelling, has garnered critical acclaim and attention both nationally and internationally, and has earned him “Best Songwriter” and “Album of the Year” nominations. In 2016, Mark also published a collection of his lyrics, spanning his music between 2012-2016, and has had several poems published in online journals and literary magazines. (show #8 – Tuesday, December 12, 2017)

Header ABC FB #33Groovy bass and big drums anchor an explosive frontman and fiery guitars. The Marwills are a thick, juicy cut of Rock stuffed with the Blues and covered in Grade A Canadian dirt. They make music with serious guts and they sweat while they do it.  Their sound conjures smoky blues bars, shady drinking establishments, and the golden age of rock and roll. Although their debut album, “Marwill St.”, was released in 2012, most of the members have been playing together in some form or another for almost a decade. Starting out in small-town BC then playing in Alberta for a number of years, The Marwills continued east to the big smoke of Toronto, where they’ve established themselves as a rocking tour de force to be reckoned with. The Marwills’ latest album, “Facts & Figures” (2014) is a raw rock album full of bluesy riffs, crunchy guitars, and lustful lyrics, rounded out along the edges with backing vocals, slide guitar, keys, sax, a female choir, fiddle, and acoustic guitar for a touch of mature nuance. The Marwills have recently finished recording their 3rd full-length album, set to be released just in time for the 2018 summer festival season!

Lilly MasonLilly Mason is a Vancouver-born, Toronto-based versatile soul/indie/pop singer, songwriter and instrumentalist. Raised on a diverse mix of jazz, soul and psychedelic rock and influenced by Latin rhythms from her years of living in Mexico, she instinctively blends these into her folk inspired songwriting. Lilly has had an active involvement in the Toronto scene, since singing with York University music graduates in Funk/Soul quintet The Breakdown. After performing solo and in various groups across Canada and throughout the Unites States, Lilly has found her own voice in the world of soul/folk. Her songs, some performed in fluent Spanish, shine a light on relationships and celebrate the sometimes fleeting joys of existence. (show #9 – Tuesday, December 19, 2017)


Andrew Mazzolin is a musician and videographer living in Toronto, Canada. His influences range from folk to hip hop but his allegiance will always be to Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. He regularly performs at open mics all over the city and is recording his debut project which will be titled “Andrew Mazzolin’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1.” His songwriting  is the perfect blend of humour, truth, melody, romance and approximately 20 other adjectives. He draws his inspiration from rush hour traffic, crashing weddings and riding the 24A Dufferin Bus. (show #23 – Tuesday, April 17, 2018)

dean 2.jpgMusician, artist, writer, avid reader of graphic novels and bon vivant Dean McKinnon has made a name for himself as a clever songwriter and a first-rate vocalist. Often heard accompanying fellow ABC Songwriters’ Circle alumnus David Macmichael, his sweet and pitch perfect voice take every song he performs to the next level. Philosophical about music and life in general, his favourite quote by Milton Berle says, “I’d rather be a could be if I cannot be an are; because a could-be is a may-be who is reaching for a star. I’d rather be a has-been than a might-have-been by far; for a might-have-been has never been, but a has was once an are.” (show #31 – June 12, 2018)

david-mclachlan-bw-closeup.jpgDavid McLachlan is self-admittedly born for music, writing his first song at the age of seven. Music education at school was not always satisfying, but he persisted, working through challenges like crappy guitars, and non-quite-ready-for-prime-time auditions, until finally getting a few gigs at his high school’s Folk Arts Festival. One of the tunes he performed was an original about a streetcar being taken out of service. The performance was taped, and the song played on a local radio program. With that, and hanging out at Fiddler’s Green, where he met many influential singer/songwriters, he was hooked. His latest 2017 release, “Out of Love”, was recorded in Nashville, and produced by Larry Beaird and David himself. (show #14 – Tuesday, February 13, 2018)

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Michael Menegon is a roots-based Toronto singer and songwriter, who committed to writing in 2009 after years of playing as a musician, performing with contemporary dancers and working with multi-disciplinary artists.  His instinct for writing songs that connect with popular issues has garnered him accolades with his Toronto audience. He writes about what he knows and about where he lives, and released his debut full-length independent album – ‘I Just Live Here’. Michael’s songs often come from an onslaught of emotional connections to his environment; whether it be from the heart, observations of the mind or connections with the people he knows. Although his early inspirations in music come from the rock and jazz genres, Michael writes an eclectic mix of songs influenced more by world beat, folk, Caribbean rhythms and modern contemporary. (show #29 – May 29, 2018)

Fraz Milne is a Toronto songwriter whose eclectic offerings make it hard to pin him down to just one genre that includes rock, folk & psychedelia. The 2015 release of his second CD, The Grey Area offered heartfelt, mature, colourful compositions that continue to define Fraz as a Canadian songwriter worth hearing. The intimate setting of the Amsterdam Bicycle Club will allow Fraz to introduce new material, as well as perform his personal favourites. With his Trio, he continues to introduce new material making all shows a unique event – lately the band has been doing acoustic shows with great results as new material is coming together for his next album. You can connect with Fraz through his website or Facebook. (show #2 – Tuesday, October 24, 2017 / show #35 – July 10, 2018)

Mahta2.jpgMahta Moattari is an indie/folk rock artist beginning to make her mark on the Toronto music scene. Originally from Iran, Mahta was unable to find an outlet for western music in her home country. To our benefit, she migrated to Canada alone in order to pursue her dreams in earnest. Two years passed as she performed in local Toronto bars, refined her craft and built a repertoire of original music. She began building a local following after unveiling her material in a string of Toronto shows, culminating in the opportunity to play in support of Britain’s Got Talent finalist Ryan O’Shaughnessy. In April 2016, Mahta independently released her first single “Sing With Me”. The song placed in the semi-finals of the 2016 Unsigned Only Music Competition. Mahta’s next release entitled “Please Come And Sit With Me”, will be the first single off her upcoming album, scheduled for the end of 2018. (show#18 – March 13, 2018)

neil 2Neil Morris or NeMo as he is best known has played in a variety of bands in Toronto for many years and earned a solid reputation for great skills and enthusiastic energy. His interest in music began at a young age wanting to play drums, but switched to bass when the Church gospel band asked him to sub in. He rose to the challenge, and mastered his instrument, and learned to play others as well. NeMo has worked with top artists and played premier venues throughout the country for years in a wide range of styles, always to great acclaim, and his renown as a bassist kept him often too busy to devote the time he wanted to songwriting. He is premiering his songs at the ABC for the first time. (show #27 – Tuesday, May 8, 2018)

John 2.jpgFrom fingerstyle folk confessionals to rowdy singalong jams, London, ON based folk-rocker John Muirhead will warm your heart, then break it too. With spirit and storytelling at the heart of his music, John would fit snugly between Dallas Green and Bruce Springsteen at a late night Canadian campfire. John’s dynamic performances and love for travel have taken him across the country, sharing songs and leading singalongs in living rooms, bars, theatres, and folk festival stages. The 2016 release of his debut EP Yesterday’s Smile garnered a nomination to the Canadian Folk Music Awards and a Canadian Songwriting Competition top ten finalist ranking for his song “The Space Between Stars”. In 2017, he was nominated for “Young Performer of the Year” at the CFMA. John will be releasing his second EP, Foundational, in June 2018, then following up with Eastern Canada tour through the VIA Rail Artist on Board Program, performances at The Winnipeg Folk Festival and the Home County Music and Art Festival. (show #29 – May 29, 2018)

mimi2.jpgMimi O’Bonsawin is a Northern Ontario born artist who started performing and writing songs at a young age , putting out her first album in 2014 . Mimi is heavily influenced by her roots and celebrates her Abénakis and French-Canadian heritage. She writes songs with the intention to give back and spread the word about the merge of those communities. Mimi has been nominated for and won numerous awards, and has performed on countless stages including the prestigious Midem Festival in Cannes, France, and has shared the stage with the likes of Buffy Sainte-Marie , Crystal Shawanda and Tom Wilson and many more. Her soulful voice, rich stories and strong message spreads like wild fire. At the tender age of 24 , Mimi O’Bonsawin is an old soul. Not afraid of getting intimate with her audience and sharing with them a laugh , a tear or a sing along. It’s all about the LOVE. (show #25 – Tuesday, May 1, 2018)

Jeff B&W.jpgBorn in Niagara Falls, Jeff Orson received his first guitar as a Christmas gift at the age of six. He dabbled for decades but it wasn’t until a serious illness threatened that Jeff turned to writing music for solace. From that experience and the encouragement he received, he developed an extensive catalogue of well over 100 songs. Jeff’s fans appreciate his music’s straightforward style and relatable, heart-felt lyrics which are inspired by real life experiences. An artist with broad appeal, Jeff humbly aspires to compose authentic anthems for our times. In recent years Jeff has played numerous venues around the world. Jeff released his first EP entitled “California” in February 2016, and is currently working on a full-length album for release in the spring of 2018. (show #15 – Tuesday, February 20, 2018)

Blair.jpgHaving first burst onto Canadian radio and music video TV as the lead singer of 80s power pop stalwarts The Jitters, Blair Packham later released two strongly-reviewed solo albums before composing music for TV and films, teaching songwriting, and co-hosting a long-running major market weekly radio show about music (“In the Studio” on the Bell Media talk radio network). In 2017, Blair returned to the role of recording artist with a collection of clever, catchy, at times poignant and always satisfying songs, titled “Unpopular Pop.” Playing, producing and engineering the tracks in his home studio, Blair also called upon some respected peers and friends (Mark Kelso, Maury LaFoy, Simon Kendall, Ron Sexsmith and Steven Page) to bring some additional magic to the mix. Blair describes his music as Beatle-esque power pop, with big guitars and catchy choruses—the kind of music that appeals to people like him. Judging by the many long-time admirers of his songwriting, singing and musical prowess, his songs are far from being “Unpopular Pop”. (show #29 – May 29, 2018)

unknown.jpegJordan Paul is a small-town, Canadian freak–hanging out in Toronto–traveling the world over with what has been referred to as soul, anti-folk, and power-pop.  In truth, the experimental sound of Paul and his band tests the very limits of the sonic medium; incorporating raag, field recordings, and ambient soundscapes into their mind-bending raucousness.  Jer of Sleeping Bag Studios, describes Jordan Paul’s sound as “if Queen, Mimicking Birds, Led Zeppelin, and Radiohead all had a beautiful love-child.”  Paul is recording his debut album in Maple Ridge, British Columbia with Jon Anderson (Aidan Knight, Andy Shauf, Said The Whale). (show#18 – March 13, 2018)

Frank2.jpgFrank Patrick has toured Canada, the US and Europe and has shared the stage with countless artists including Buffy St. Marie, Cyril Neville (Neville Brothers), Jonathan Best (David Byrne) and Dr. Timothy Leary (!). The former lyricist, co-writer and lead vocalist of Zombo Zombo, he also toured as part of the music ensemble in the Dora Award-winning ‘Sable/Sand’ with Dancemakers. Frank’s songwriting talent has been recognized through numerous awards and nominations including the 2007 OCFF ‘World Music Song of the Year’ and the 2008 OCFF ‘Blues Song of the Year’. While a car accident in 1999 forced Frank to suspend his musical career the next 7 years allowed him to recover and write songs born out of the pain and struggle of that period, now released in the album ‘Worlds in Transition’, with long time friend, drummer and ABC Songwriters’ Circle alumnus Rob Greenway producing. (show #24 – Tuesday April 24, 2018)

TimTim Prueter is 13 and living in London, England… Walking through Camden Market, he sees a booth full of classical guitars; he stops and looks. He later finds himself at a boy’s house who has a Mac PowerBook 150c. It’s cool: it records your voice and changes the pitch and he bloody loves that. On another night, he visits a different friend who has this sweet electric guitar and a Marshall amp, and who starts playing the theme song to Beavis and Butthead. Tim is blown away. He saves his money and after school sneaks off to Denmark Street to buy a white Aria Pro II electric, then off to buy an amp from another kid he knows. Then it’s home to start making music… Now he’s 36. (show #6 – Tuesday, November 28, 2017)

augusta-2.jpgAugusta Ray, more familiarly known as “Gus”, grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on a solid diet of eclectic music acts such as Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Shania Twain, which shaped the unique country-rock sound that has garnered her numerous Country Music awards. Splitting her time between her home in Nashville and her home in Canada, she works hard in the studio, spending her time songwriting and recording new music as she continues to develop her artistry. She has performed for Canadian and American country/rock music fans, sharing stages with notable country acts such as Trace Adkins, Montgomery Gentry, Big & Rich, Cam, and Michael Ray, and appeared on festivals stages sharing the bill with some of the biggest names in the music business such as the Red Hot Child Peppers and Paul McCartney. (show #13 – Tuesday, February 6, 2018)

ChelseaChelsea Reed has been building a unique and important identity in the alternative-pop scene since her musically formative years growing up in Newcastle, NSW.  Her debut single ‘Snow Covered Hill’, was released in 2013 to great acclaim and enthusiasm, and quickly followed by the daring and playful second single ‘I Want the World’, a sparkling, tenacious anthem to the art of keeping on. Since the release of her debut EP in 2014, Chelsea has been living in Toronto. She has been busy playing live shows, co-writing and working on her just released eponymous first album with producer Dave Draves in Ottawa. (show #4 – Tuesday, November 14, 2017)

Arch RockefellerOriginally drawn to music by the punk rock explosion, Arch Rockefeller spent the ’90s fronting indie favourites Raging Hormones. Their “power bubblegum” sound received airplay and appeared on campus charts from coast to coast.  Subsequently Arch went back to school to learn the language of jazz. Currently he plays guitar and bass in a variety of groups whose styles range from rock to jazz to country. Songwriting has always been Arch’s first musical love, and his highly detailed compositions incorporate catchy tunes, interesting harmonies and exciting rhythms as the foundation for his trademark witty lyrics. (show #7 – Tuesday, December 5, 2017)

Sai2Sahel Usin Rojas goes by Sai professionally, writing and producing original music that meld the rich influences of his upbringing and own personal tastes, from traditional Cuban latin music to Alt rock to Jazz and Blues. Sai’s songs take you on a sonic journey through balladic soundscapes, and leave you rhythmically energized. Based out of Mississauga, he regularly performes throughout the GTHA with his main project, Belfree, and with singer-songwriter Lora Ryan. The music he will be playing at the ABC are his most personal and those that he keeps for special occasions. (show #20 – March 27, 2018)

Shannon.jpgShannon Roszell is an artist and songwriter with a fiercely expressed world-view who divides her time between the Kawartha Lakes and Toronto. Her indie rock sound has a throwback vibe that has been compared to Jefferson Airplane while her songwriting has been likened to Joni Mitchell for its sense of melodic freedom and the direct connectivity of her lyrics. St. Vincent, Muse, Neko Case, and the Weakerthans are among her other influences. A powerhouse performer, Shannon is recognized for her voice and vibrato which was described as “beautiful and distinctive” by Canadian indie artist and multiple-JUNO Award nominee, Emm Gryner. She is currently recording her debut EP to be released in late 2018. (show #22 – April 10, 2018)

matthew2.jpgMatthew Runaway is a small town boy from Perth, ON. Growing up on a cattle and crops farm taught him that hard work is always better than the easy way. Matthew’s work ethic has allowed him to tour North America in his previous rock band Aspire. After his early 20’s Matthew knew it was time to start building his dream of becoming a country singer/songwriter. Matthew took his songs to Nashville, TN and with the help from an amazing team Matthew is about to release his first single in the summer of 2018. Matthew’s songwriting style is about the stories he’s lived and memories he’s made. You will feel a raised up right, wear your heart on your sleeve, and uplifting sound with his songs such as; “Raised By A Good Time”, Small town Pride” and “Sippin’ On Summertime”. (Show #30 – June 5, 2018)


Veronica Sabah, professionally known as Vroni, is a Canadian singer, songwriter, classically and contemporary trained with honours from The Royal Conservatory Of Music. Vroni’s career began at the age of thirteen when she started recording her own original music. She performed at weddings, venues like the Hard Rock Cafe in Toronto, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum in Cleveland, along with many other showcases and venues all over Canada with some areas in the United States. Vroni won a silver medal for vocals at the World Championships of the Performing Arts in California. Vroni’s style consists of magnetic vocals with strong and relatable melodies. With a mission to shine light on equality and empowering youth, Vroni’s songs reflect on what it feels like growing up in a challenging world. (show #19 – March 20, 2018)

Soozi2.jpg“Singing my songs is such an interesting journey. You get to a point where it’s not only your emotions or your experience that fuels the song…the song has its own identity and the song fuels itself. Sometimes for the sad or intense songs people say, ‘how do you get through it…?’ But you get through it because don’t really relive the experience …you deliver it… but  not as you would deliver  a ‘performance’….it’s more like delivering a gift. Listeners complete the creative cycle for me. When I sing for other people it’s like, ‘ Here you – go it’s your song now’.…and I want to gift wrap it as beautifully and authentically as I can…ie. sing it as best as I can…but ultimately the ownership is passed on from my own experience to the listener and that is why it is very important to have people listen and that  is why I am so very grateful to sing for people. I would define my songs as story songs – song paintings.” Soozi Schlanger (show #30 – June 5, 2018)

IMG_0235 2After a former band went its separate ways, Ryan Schmidt moved to Toronto from Alcona, ON, enticed by the big city lights and easy access to the many open stages on which to play each week. He fell in love with thrill of playing his guitar for appreciative audiences, and the freedom of writing and performing his own material, so much so that he rearranged his life to do it more. Ryan thrives in dirty, swampy blues. His songs are grounded in a lyrical honesty while speaking the language of the blues in a new and original voice, with strong images and stories of hurt and frustration. The music sits in solid grooves and soars to his growling slide guitar. Ryan found a home at Relish Bar & Grill, and the right players there to form a band and record his debut LP, currently in production. (show #1 – Tuesday, October 17, 2017)

Chris 2.jpgChris Scian is a Toronto-based performer, and gigs frequently in the city’s east-end. He alternates  between being a solo acoustic act, and is the lead singer/rhythm guitar player with his recently-formed retro rock covers band, `Beach Town Brats’. His original songs are in “folk rock/power pop” vein, and revolve around themes of longing, and being true to oneself. His vast repertoire of classic cover songs range from the 60’s through ’til the 90’s. (show #36 – July 17, 2018)

sarahSarah Siddiqui is a seasoned folk/rock singer songwriter. To date, Sarah has released three full-length albums and multiple singles, one of which has been placed in feature film Triggermen, starring Donnie Wahlberg and TV movie Word of Honor, starring Don Johnson. Her single “Show Me” was also released through EMI Canada. Sarah is also on the artist roster of Choir Nation, alongside Royal Wood, Justin Rutledge, and Elliott Brood. She has worked with an impressively long list of artists and made many friends and supporters along the way, including Billy Joel. She is a classically trained vocalist and has been writing since the age of 9. (show #17 – March 6, 2018 / show #32 – June 19, 2018)

Bill Simms BW Head ShotBill Simms is an artist who can be thought of as a musical chameleon, due to the stylistic breadth of his music. You can see him one night performing jazz standards at a local restaurant and the next night wailing dirty rock and roll songs in a dive bar, serenading the patrons of a songwriter’s circle, or spitting mad rhymes at a house party. The fact of the matter is, Bill loves all music that’s written with conviction and high quality. He has taken the stage with successful Canadian acts such as Sarah Beatty, The Heavy Horses, Unidentified Funk Object, Mallory Johnson, Denis Parker among others, and performed with jazz combos, musical theatre pit orchestras as well as leading his own bands. Bill’s folk/roots songs have something for everyone, with subjects as diverse as love, longing, adultery, death and even UFOs, and are sure to make you hoot, holler, belly laugh and maybe even shed a tear. (show #12 – Tuesday, January 30, 2018)


Tara Smylie has been writing songs since she was 7. Sitting at the piano, she noodled around until she came up with a sad song about the wind. She pursued her budding passion for music through formal trading with the RCM, supported by a musical family (brothers Peter and Jackson also play, often with her). She has applied to her musical skills a love of poetry. A life-long learner, Tara is endlessly curious about the animal world, even writing a song about a chickadee, and has developed an adoring fascination for reptiles, with a pet gecko to show for it. She working on songs for an upcoming album. (show # 20 – March 27, 2018)

20021357SOA_0536.jpgBorn to Brazilian parents in Sydney, Australia, Sabina Soares grew up singing bossa nova with her dad before starting to write her own songs at age 13. Mixing sincere and relatable diary-entry style lyrics with exceptional self-taught guitar playing, Sabrina turned to music full-time after graduating high school; abandoning all considerations of a university education in order to be an active participant in the Sydney music scene. Within 2-years, her music gradually veered stylistically, incorporating more sounds of RnB influenced by artists such as Lauryn Hill, Musiq Soulchild, Jhene Aiko, Drake, among others. Blending whip-fast verbal gymnastics with stuck-in-your-head pop riffs, her debut 2016 EP ‘Plan A’ was a hooky, hip-swivelling nod to jazz, country, pop and the funky Brazilian rhythms that colour her unique heritage. Now, a new comer to Canada, Sabrina has moved to Toronto for the next stage of her career, which includes recording her next album. (show #34 – Tuesday, July 3, 2018)

Franck2.jpgAyant commencé la guitare à 15 ans, Franck Solo a découvert le goût pour la scène deux ans plus tard devant 200 personnes. Il a ensuite monté plusieurs petits groupes de reprises avec des amis «pour s’amuser». Il a depuis toujours gardé sa guitare avec lui qu’il soit en France, en Australie, au Moyen-Orient ou depuis Novembre au Canada. Ayant des styles musicaux variés allant d’Oasis à Renaud en passant par Nirvana et les Stones, ses chansons à texte s’inspirent de faits de tous les jours.

Franck Solo started playing guitar at 15. Two years later, he was performing in front of 200 people. Many cover bands followed, mostly for the simple pleasure of playing with friends. His guitar is never far from his side, regardless of where he calls home, be it France, Australia, the Middle-East, and since November 2017, Canada. Franck’s songs are inspired by everyday life and couched in a fluid musical style, with influences like Oasis, Renaud, Nirvana and the Rolling Stones. (show #28 – May 22, 2018)

Eric.jpgEric Sorenson, the Toronto-based singer-songwriter behind G3NERIC, writes original songs that are both dark and uplifting. A multi-instrumentalist firmly rooted in the folk tradition, Eric is a self-proclaimed ‘melancholic optimist’. His songs reflect a playfully serious perspective, a striving for light even in the darkness. A recent winner of the Toronto Open Mic Festival, G3NERIC has played local venues including The Opera House, The El Mocambo, and The Cameron House, as well as festivals like Canadian Music Week and NXNE. He is co-host of local songwriting groups, run music workshops, and open mic nights. He performs regularly around Toronto, playing solo as well as in his two groups, Mangosteen Handbook and The Space Between. (show #14 – Tuesday, February 13, 2018)

don2.jpgDon Stevenson first obtained fame as drummer, songwriter and lead singer for seminal ‘60s band Moby Grape. Stevenson is the co-writer of three of Moby Grape’s best known songs, “Hey Grandma”, “8:05”, and “Murder In My Heart for The Judge”. In late 2010, he released his first solo album, an engaging blend of country, blues and R&B. He has just released his latest crowdfunded record, “Buskin in the Subway”, which features guest appearances by Burton Cummings, players from John Mellencamp’s band, Moby Grape alumnus, and Toronto virtuoso Tim Bovaconti. (show #32 – June 19, 2018)

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Mary Stewart isn’t a typical singer songwriter. If you’re picturing a sullen woman perched atop a wooden stool, playing depressing songs on her oversized acoustic, you’ve pegged her all wrong. Mary often prefers to strum along on her Gretsch, singing clever pop songs, and sharing anecdotes about her love of baking, cats, and hopes of becoming Sidney Crosby’s wife. Hailing from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, she grew up consuming an incredible range of genres from folk and pop to opera and hair metal – true story. Before her pop days, Mary was classically trained in opera. Her mother sang in hair metal bands and her dad was a sound engineer. Among her many accolades, Mary was nominated for Music Nova Scotia’s Female Artist Recording of the year in 2009. (show #21 – April 3, 2018)

david-storey.jpgDavid Storey’s songs contain the musical gems that have made him so many fans: wry wit and penetrating insights about life’s changes, characters and passions humorously and powerfully delivered. An early musical career saw him get airplay, rave reviews and award nominations for his Roots-Rock songs, which were compared to John Prine and Steve Earl. After leaving music to raise a family for 20 years, he helmed award-winning videos and tv specials for the likes of Tom Cochrane and Stompin’ Tom and Anne Murray, then in the field of comedy, developing, producing and directing the hit television show and movie “Corner Gas” before coming back to music, his first love, in 2011. (show #10 – Tuesday, January 16, 2018)

2658511 With three albums to her credit, charismatic Jessica Stuart has earned a well-merited reputation as a genre-bending composer, koto-player (yes, look it up!), guitarist and vocalist. Her inventiveness has her intentionally attaching herself to wide ranging indie rock, soul and jazz music scenes in North America; being rhythmically and harmonically adventurous is just another day at the office for this multiple Award-nominated and winning musician. Riding the wave of 2013 Top 40 single “Don’t Ya” from Two Sides to Every Story, she has toured Europe, Asia and North America extensively. She brings some much needed musical adventurousness in these somewhat predictable musical times. (show #3 – Tuesday, November 7, 2017)

Steve 2.jpgOriginally from Montreal, Steve Taunton relocated to Thornton, Ontario as a shred guitarist in 1990, just as Seattle was crushing the hair-metal scene. Undeterred, Steve continued to generate irrelevant music at a respectable pace, giving obsolescence a solid ride, and garnering respect from angry, introverted has-beens and hordes of virgin 22 year old, bedroom dwelling guitar-nerds. Frustrating years later, Steve was hit with an epiphany, and began mining the raw facets of his psyche in deeply moving and brazenly candid ways to create songs ranging from delicate to brutal, all while maintaining integrity and relevance. He has not lost his chops though. (show #13 – Tuesday, February 6, 2018)

Dan2Cedarstrip Rocketship, aka Daniel Taylor, is a singer-songwriter from Orillia, Ontario. He has been performing music under the moniker Cedarstrip Rocketship since 2014 and released a debut EP, “Mountie Quarters” in early 2017. He is releasing two more EPs in 2018, with a full length record to follow next year. His songs cover a wide array of sounds and aesthetics, ranging from solo piano performances to intricately-arranged full band versions that include horns and strings. (show #35 – July 10, 2018)

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Originally from St. Thomas, ON, Sam Taylor started entertaining at the age of 7. He soon discovered a love for the blues, which he delivers with heart and soul much older and life-savvy than his youtful looks let on. Armed with a diploma in Music Industry Arts from Fanshawe College, Sam headed into EMAC Studios and honed his songwriting skills with producer Moe Berg (of Pursuit of Happiness) on two original songs, Thought of Leaving and Loaded Gun, both of which received extensive southern Ontario airplay. Loaded Gun was also featured in the tv shows Haven, Cracked, and Degrassi. Sam’s versatile and honest songwriting, along with a powerhouse voice and dynamic performance make him a compelling artist to watch. Sam regularly performs with his band, The East End Love, and has broadened his musical horizons most recently as part of soul/rock trio Gem, slated for a western string of shows this fall, and a UK series in the spring. (show #1 – Tuesday, October 17, 2017)

Mike2.jpg“Hurricane” Mike Thompson has been playing music and writing songs for over thirty years. He has written jingles and themes for radio and television in the form of Public Service announcements and documentary scores. He has also penned material for community campaigns and industrial conventions, and opened for renowned artists such as, Shirley Eikhard, Patricia Conroy, and Sawyer Brown, along with a host of many other talented high-level acts. “Hurricane” Mike Thompson’s musical abilities and showmanship have garnered him recognition in the form of several awards. His songs tell stories and paint pictures for the listener, from the perils of life to the emotions we all face via our interactions with our world and each other. Often, those songs carry a political edge, reflecting social conscience. “Hurricane” plays a range of instruments, from soulful reso-phonic guitar, tasty pedal and lap steel, harmonica and fingerstyle acoustic. (show #30 – June 5, 2018)

Greg ToddStarting as a sideman with hundreds of bass gigs under his belt, Greg Todd applied that experience to his view of the world to become a prolific songwriter. His numerous recordings include a published CD entitled Mad Life Crisis — Blame It On the Moon. Greg is a committed environmentalist (equally tree planter and tree hugger), and aspiring bon-vivant. Living by the adage, you can’t expect perfection, so perfect your expectations, he crafts and sings songs of observation and truth, served with a large dollop of irony. Inspired by the Willy P. Bennett, Bob Snider, Tom Waits and even Frank Zappa, Greg uses catchy rhythms and thoughtful lyrics to shine a light on the qualities and the foibles that make us all genus: Homo, species: Sapiens. (show #2 – Tuesday, October 24, 2017)

IMG_0534.jpgChris Topher joined the Toronto scene in 2015. With an emphasis on up-pace songs with an M-Night Shamalan twist, he has played 69 Toronto stages to date, cataloging them, local bands and shows, into an Android App utility- THE PUNK LISTINGS. Intended to make connecting between artists and venues much more accessible in Toronto, but really just a result of OCD and spreadsheets. Drawing inspiration for his set from the repertoire of his band TREEFORT. Born out of a deeply rooted depression, drug use (but not hard drugs), comics, anime, ADHD and other disorders that keep its members from assimilating properly into society- Treefort formed with the intention of making everyone as uncomfortable as possible! Chris hopes not to ruin your night! (show #27 – May 15, 2018)

Carmen B&W.jpgToronto’s Carmen Toth has been a dominant force in the local music scene, with her intoxicating adult alternative song-craft and sensual, dynamic performances. Through deft ability on guitar, keyboard and a ditto looper, she has found a unique canvas for her captivating voice. Comparisons to Kate Bush, Stevie Nicks and Cyndi Lauper are not uncommon. Strength, redemption, love and lorn are woven meticulously through identifiable and relatable lyrics. Her songs and sonics harken many lush 80’s analog influences, while speeding fortuitous towards the future with digital electromancy. This is not a throwback. This is now, moving forward. Carmen’s latest EP, Safety Net, produced by Derek Downham, was released in January 2018 and is available online at iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Tidal, Deezer and many other digital download and streaming sites. (show #15 – Tuesday, February 20, 2018)


Multi-instrumentalist and multi-talented Jace Traz is perhaps Toronto’s greatest undiscovered power-pop phenomenon. His hyper-catchy melodies and rhythms layer over lyrics ranging from the delightfully metaphoric Pistachio Girl, through the more reflective Fake, and to the darkly cautionary Rape Van. Few songwriters can marry as well disparate subjects like mathematics and heartbreak, like in the beautiful Divide. Jace has a broad interest in all fields of art, and as a visual artist, exhibited in a number of galleries in the city. (show #4 – Tuesday, November 14, 2017)

PhillipPhillip Vonesh is an Indie Singer/Songwriter from the east end of Toronto. With musical parents, he has long been creative, but for many years could not find an outlet for this until he began creating original music. With a strong folk and country influence and a distinct Canadiana resonance, he has found something all his own. His songs are about him, they are stories about love, lust, heartache, and wanderlust. The grind of today’s modern troubadour is well worth it for Phillip if it means he can write about the people and city he loves. His music is a worthy addition to the Canadian canon and songbook. (show #35 – July 10, 2018)

chloé2.jpgBeing the daughter of world class musicians Terry Watkinson (Max Webster), and Carla Jensen doesn’t necessarily hand you the tools to find your own path. Chloe Watkinson has managed to carve out her own style, voice and fan base and raised the bar every step of her career and is ready to reach the next level. Known for her passionate performance and genre transcendent songs, her music represents her life as a woman in Toronto. In addition to performing, recording and touring with bands such as Amy Louie Scholarship winners “Park Eddy”, and Toronto Independent Music Award winners “The Distillery”, Chloe’s accomplishments include recording with Jill Barber (2014’s “Fool’s Gold” and a performance at Massey Hall), Terry Watkinson (1995’s “Teratology” and 2016’s “Ask”), as well as performance highlights at festivals in Canada and the US. (show #16 – February 27, 2018)

K Lee 2.jpgKaren Wilde, a.k.a K. Lee Wildechilde, recently released a new album entitled “Romeo”, full of originals and peppered with a few favourite covers, back on February 14, 2018. The album is a collection of relatable songs that celebrate overcoming many obstacles, including her recovery from a major car accident that left her forced to relearn her own songs and adapt after the accident. With this changed view of life, and understanding its importance in a new light, she also wrote about the special people she has encountered in her new life, including those that supported her transition as a lesbian over the last two decades. Part of her recovery included joining Rainbow ballroom dancing that led to the music video of “Romeo” featuring many of its dancers under the direction of choreographer Mario Pinon. It can be seen on YouTube, at K.Lee Wilde child, Romeo. (show #24 – Tuesday April 24, 2018)

Chris Willson wrote his first song at 18, under the influences of Gordon Lightfoot and America, picking up the guitar after a typically teenage “traumatic” event, and learning a few basic chords. Over the years, he continued to develop his skills as a player, taking finger picking lessons, and as a songwriter, with a growing interest in home recording. Chris also performed as lead guitarist and vocalist for the short-lived band Exit in the early 2000’s. Over the years, Chris has been inspired by love, heartbreak, friendship, wanderlust, and the tragic state of world. A veteran of the Toronto coffee house scene since the late ‘80’s, Chris has recently returned to perform new and old material, and continues to record and mix his songs in his home studio. (show #23 – April 17, 2018)

Frank 2.jpgFrank Wilks began his career as a solo musician in the mid seventies playing small clubs in Toronto and most of Ontario. In 1984, he met up with music hall of fame bass player, Bruce Palmer of the “Buffalo Springfield” and, joined by hall of fame drummer, Dewey Martin toured as “Buffalo Springfield Revisited”.for six years. Frank shared the stage with artists like, The Band, John Sebastian (Loving Spoonfull), Jeff (Skunk) Baxter (Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers), and the Spencer Davis Band. He also performed on the legendary “Jerry Lewis Telethon” on international TV. In 1992 Frank returned to Canada to resume his solo career. He has recorded 11 CDs , including his latest, “HAVING GOOD TIMES” with Juno award winning producer Paul Milner. Frank continues to tour relentlessly, and perform at perform locally at such illustrious venues as Massey Hall with the “Classic Albums Live” project. (show #27 – Tuesday, May 8, 2018)

Hugh #2Hugh Wilson is a Nova Scotian musician based out of Toronto. He has spent the past ten years actively involved in a variety of projects such as Red Falcon / White Lightning, David Hustler & the Trustworthy, The Danger Bees and his primary project, Big Name Actors. Bridging the gap between the early nineties scenes of Seattle and Halifax, his dynamically charged songs are catchy and upbeat, but with an abrasive dark side giving them a uniquely grungey power-pop sound. (show #12, Tuesday, January 30, 2018)

unnamedLeanna Yamada is a Toronto-based singer and songwriter. You can usually find her playing around the city with her band, which includes her creative partner and lead guitarist Chuck Majic. Together they write popular music with folk, blues and jazz influences. Leanna will taking advantage of the Songwriters’ Circle to introduce more personal material she has written as a solo artist, which comments on her own life experiences. (show #18 – March 13, 2018)