Heartwood Slacks is a five-man band from Cape Breton who, with their lineup of banjo, guitars, blues harp, mandolin and bass fiddle, could easily be mistaken for an American heritage revival band. The players have shared stages and bills for years—a variety of local “band-me-downs” who were weaned on blues, metal and country music. Heartwood Slacks principle songwriter John Gill bangs out incomparably sincere, catchy, melodic bar-room shout along songs. In their three-years together, the Slacks have been attracting attention with performances around the Maritimes and have just released their first album, cleverly named Heartwood Slacks.
Tag Archives | Vocals
Dirk Powell combines deep-running roots in rural American tradition with an overarching artistic vision that speaks poignantly to the audiences of today. From learning banjo and fiddle at the feet of his grandfather in Kentucky, through founding the Louisiana Cajun group Balfa Toujours, to extensive recording and film work with such artists as Jack White, Joan Baez, T-Bone Burnett, Anthony Minghella, Loretta Lynn, and Spike Lee, Dirk has arrived at a place all his own – one where tradition, inspiration, and innovation meet without borders.
The Barra MacNeils are one of Canada’s premier Celtic groups. The family band from Sydney Mines is deeply rooted in Celtic music, culture and history, and consistently wows audiences with their captivating vocals, harmonies and musicianship. After more than 25 years, the group is as busy as ever, having released two new recordings in 2012–a live album with Symphony Nova Scotia and a special project recorded with a variety of musical guests from Celtic Colours. With multiple lead vocalists, beautiful sibling harmonies, top-drawer instrumental prowess on a wide variety of instruments, dancing, storytelling, Gaelic songs and a journey through an ancient culture, The Barra MacNeils live in concert must be experienced to be believed.
Goiridh Dòmhnallach is a Gaelic singer, composer, storyteller and educator who was fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from some of Cape Breton’s best tradition-bearers. He is one of a musical Cape Breton family, the “Dougalds” MacDonalds originating in Kingsville, Inverness County. He was influenced by traditional musicians on both sides of his family. Goiridh works as the Gaelic Field Officer for the Gaelic Affairs branch of the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage and prefers to sing in the traditional style he learned from the singers of his native Bràigh na h-Aibhneadh. Goiridh has performed in Scotland, Ireland, and Canada. He and his young son, Padruig, often sing together.
Mabou Coal Mines native Joanne MacIntyre was raised in a culture rich environment of Scotch music, dance and Gaelic language. She has sung on stages around Cape Breton since her teens, bringing the island’s distinct style and “swing” to appreciative audiences. Joanne was a regular performer at Highland Village as a Gaelic singer, step dancer and story interpreter and now teaches Gaelic language and Gaelic Studies at Dalbrae Academy in Mabou. The Lochaber descendant continues to expand her repertoire of songs from the Cape Breton and Inverness County Gaelic traditions. Her debut album Craobh a’ Mhathain was released this year.
Born into a musical family in Cape Breton, Donnie Campbell has enjoyed a long involvement in traditional music as a singer, collector, and broadcaster, hosting the popular radio program “Celtic Serenade” for forty years. In the early 1970’s, Donnie was a member of Miller’s Jug, and he has shared stages with Tommy Makem, Phil Cunningham and the Tannahill Weavers, Ron Hynes, and John Allan Cameron and Cape Breton fiddlers like Carl MacKenzie, Buddy MacMaster, Winnie Chafe, Jerry Holland and Kinnon Beaton. Donnie sings songs that matter to him with a repertoire that runs the course of the folk music revival, songs of Cape Breton, the ancient songs of Scotland and Ireland as well as more recent songs.
Jamie has remained at the top of the list of ‘first call’ players in eastern Canada for over 15 years. As a multi-styled, multi-instrumentalist musician/sideman, Jamie has and continues to work alongside many of the highest profile artists in the region – Jimmy Rankin, The Rankin Family, Gordie Sampson, George Canyon, Lennie Gallant, Bruce Guthro, Damhnait Doyle, Dave Gunning, Christina Martin, Symphony Nova Scotia and dozens more. In addition to his work as a sideman, Jamie is also highly sought after for his musical direction and band leading skills, as a producer, and for his prolific songwriting.
Helene Blum has thrilled audiences throughout Europe, and from Canada to Japan, with her intensely expressive, crystal clear voice. Her artistic focus embraces both traditional roots and innovation. Using ancient songs and ballads as a base, she reinvents them with contemporary expressions and mixes them elegantly with newly written songs, including her own. She is deeply rooted in Danish music traditions, but at the same time not afraid to challenge them. With her versatility and the many facets of her talent and voice, she is a unique singer with a strongly personal expression – at times understated and whimsical, radiant, intense and commanding. An outstanding communicator, she has the rare ability to unite sensitivity with power.