Lakes of Canada began in Montreal in the summer of 2010 when best-friends Jake Smith and Conor O’Neil began performing Jake’s songs as a duo. The duo soon added the dynamic Chris Barillaro to their group, adding his voice and piano playing to their already expanding sound, as well as guitar-expert Tim Dobby. Described as “a cross between Fleet Foxes and Simon and Garfunkel” (Ottawa Sun), Lakes employs lyrically driven songs rich with vocal harmonies.
Fresh out of Foxhole Studios, where the band recorded their debut full-length album set to launch in May 2012 and produced by Christopher Fox of Montreal-based Folly & the Hunter, Lakes of Canada is gearing up for their second major tour in as many years. Having added a fifth member, cellist Quinn Brander, to their ranks since their Summer 2010 tour, Lakes have changed and grown significantly since the release of their EP Broken Mirrors (Spring 2011) and are excited and encouraged by all the positive feedback. Lakes of Canada independently raised over $10,000 in order to fund their debut album and are currently gearing up for a cross Canada tour in the summer of 2012.
On Bowen Island BC, Sarah Jane Scouten tagged along to folk music jams from an early age. Growing up in a hometown teaming with folk musicians led to many meaningful encounters all over North America, learning first-hand from her influences at jams, workshops and house concerts. Sarah has an insatiable appetite for music with a past, namely folk music of all kinds, and seeks it out wherever she goes. It’s no wonder she came to draw on traditional American music styles, paired with frank and evocative lyrics, to create her distinct brand of song-writing.
Now based in Montreal, Sarah plays with a tight band of musicians: Sarah Frank (fiddle), Luke Fraser (mandolin) and Mathieu Lacombe (bass), all of whom have BFA degrees in classical music, as well as fully-developed honky-tonk sides. Each arrangement is carefully constructed, but playful, often having a tendency for the dramatic.
Sarah released her first album Magpie Waltz, in December 2011, inspired by Hank Williams, Stan Rogers, Joni Mitchell, Willie P. Bennett, and a life-long love of bluegrass and old time music. With her own candid twist of comedy and tragedy, the album is a statement of Sarah’s musical coming-of-age. Recorded live at Concordia University’s Loyola Chapel in Montreal, it’s just a taste of what Sarah and her string band are capable of.
Nick Vallee is a singer songwriter who originally hails from the cloudy city of Vancouver BC. A couple years ago he made his home in Montreal to study politics and play music. In the local music scene he is best known as the lyricist for Folly and the Hunter, and while Nick is still fully immersed in this project, he has decided to branch out and explore his art independently as well. While similar in genre to Folly and the Hunter, Nick’s solo project focuses on the simplicity and nuance of his voice and his acoustic guitar. The purpose of his solo music is to portray the intimacy and emotion that comes with such a parsimonious and traditional set up, so that both lyrics and voice take centre stage