Canada

Ariana Gillis: Hamilton singer-songwriter spent years overcoming a concussion and her new album is a triumphant comeback

On the Buddy Miller-produced The Maze, her first album in six years, Ariana Gillis has finally found her sound. This may not seem like such a big deal, but for a time, there was a question whether the 28-year-old singer-songwriter from Hamilton, Ontario, would ever play any of her riveting, self-described “Canadiana Americana; edgy pop with steel guitars” again due to a debilitating accident she suffered four years ago. “We…

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Murray Lightburn Photo: Murray Lightburn

Murray Lightburn, Dears’ singer, on new solo album: ‘There’s a man on this record that I aspire to be.’

June 1,  2019 Nick Krewen Special to the Star. Oh, Dears. The Montréal-based indie rock band’s founding frontman, Murray A. Lightburn, released his second solo album Hear Me Out earlier this yearand discovered an unexpected dividend during the sessions: freedom.  Lightburn, 48, initially expected to follow what he describes as “the production narrative” of his first Dears-free album, the 2013 science-fiction musical Murray A. Lightburn’s MASS:LIGHT. With one-time Arcade Fire…


PledgeMusic troubles hit Canadian musicians like Dayna Manning and Amanda Rheaume

Nick Krewen Special to the Star Thursday, March 28, 2019 After singing the PledgeMusic blues, independent recording artist Dayna Manning is breathing a sigh of relief. Like too many other artists — L7, Fastball and Jesus Jones, to name a few — Manning is owed money donated by fans via the nine-year-old U.K. crowdfunding platform, which has all but suspended operations due to financial woes. Delayed payments dating back to…


Woman stuck in refugee camp sees album she co-wrote score Juno nomination

Nick Krewen Special to the Star March 11, 2019 When it came to recording Naath, the 2019 JUNO Award World Music Album of the Year contender by  former Sudanese child soldier Emmanuel Jal and his sister Nyaruach that was crowdfunded by what Jal calls “invisible angels,” there was also a very visible one who donated to the cause. Peter Gabriel. “That was a shock,” says dreadlocked rapper Jal, 39, during…


Matt Mays – Seeing Double

October 25, 2018 Nick Krewen   Saturday night and Sunday morning. That’s how Matt Mays describes the difference between his albums Once Upon A Hell Of A Time and the just-released Twice Upon a Hell of a Time: the former, an energetic, electric offering and the latter, its mellower acoustic twin. “I thought these songs should have been a bit more torn-down,” says Mays of his motive behind making Twice….