Carmel Mikol is a Cape Breton born songwriter and touring artist. Her songs occupy dusty corners, middle pages, and worn suitcases. At the heart a lyricist, Mikol weaves non-ficiton, commentary, and beat-poet influenced prose into contemporary folk melodies.
Mikol tours in Canada and the USA and has shared stages with the likes of Garnet Rogers, Jimmy Rankin, Matt Andersen, Ben Caplan, and David Francey. She is cowriter to east coast artists as diverse as John Campbelljohn and Kim Wempe and leads songwriting & poetry workshops for youth. Her awards include Grand Prize in the Folk Category of the 2012 John Lennon Songwriting Contest and the 2011 Great American Song Contest, and triple 2011 ECMA nominations: Rising Star Recording, Female Recording, and Folk Recording.
Mikol is the creator of "Roots to the Future", a collaborative new creation project presented by Celtic Colours International Festival that fuses contemporary folk and traditional celtic elements to create new work. It has been staged at both the 2010 and 2013 Festival and a condensed version has toured into the USA. She also co-produces and curates the Music Shapes New Glasgow Concert Series, now in it's third year.
Her recent album 'Creature' was released in 2011 on Sound of Pop/Fontana North with a companion book & e-book of poetry and prose. www.carmelmikol.com
An Americana-tinged confluence of acoustic and electric guitar, banjo, mandolin, and unaffected vocals, “Creature” was recorded live off the floor with her band at Cape Breton’s award winning Lakewind Sound Studio (Gordie Sampson/Fred Lavery). From the overtly political Twenty Something Girl to the deeply personal I Miss The Moon, “Creature” is a fresh take on traditional folk song fodder: wayward politics, social change, and poignant, fictional “true” stories. “I’m not sure which takes more courage for me – singing honestly about my losses or taking on newspaper headlines,” Carmel admits. Either way, the album reveals her as a truly unique voice in the Canadian songwriter landscape.
A fan favourite at festivals in Atlantic Canada and the US (Folk Harbour, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia; Deep Roots, Wolfville, Nova Scotia; 30-A Songwriters Fest, Florida), Carmel has shared stages with Garnet Rogers, Connie Kaldor, David Francey, David Myles, Meghan Smith, Jimmy Rankin, and Matt Anderson. In 2010, she performed in CBC’s Studio H for Concerts on Demand and developed and produced “Roots to the Future”, a new creation project for Cape Breton’s Celtic Colours International Festival. Carmel also participated in a month-long artist residency alongside four internationally acclaimed artists in the 2011 Escape To Create program.
What They Say About Carmel Mikol:
"Carmel Mikol is an artist who may be a "twenty something girl," but she is a twenty something girl with something important to say. If she keeps writing songs like those on this album, a lot of people are going to be listening."
(Jack Goodstein, Blogcritics.org)
“Mikol's sure way with a melody, straddling country and folk traditions, is warm and organic… It announces her as a hardcore troubadour and a softcore cynic, winning either way.”
(Carsten Knox, The Coast)
“She reminds me of Judie Tzuke or Joni Mitchell… An impressive start, with hopefully more to come from this talented lady.”
(Phil Edwards, AmericanaUK)
"Full of life and personality, while her voice is clear, expressive and direct without overselling the emotion in her soul-bearing songs"
(Stephen Cooke, Halifax Chronicle Herald CD Pick of the Week)
"Great songs and a great new voice...not a bad track in the bunch."
(Dave Clarke, London Scene)
Keep in touch! Visit Carmel at carmelmikol.com and follow Carmel on twitter.com/carmelmikol
Carmel Mikol: vocals, piano and acoustic guitar
Additional players: four piece full band
March 30, 2010: "In My Bones" full length album
June 28, 2011: "Creature" album and "Creature of Habit" ebook
20 Something Girl - John Lennon Song Contest Grand Prize Winner Folk Category
In My Bones (Live Session Version)
Lion Or Lamb
Sunny Days (First Place Winner Folk Category ISSA Songwriting Contest)
I Miss the Moon
I'll Never Find You
Creature Album Review
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Carmel Mikol is a singer/songwriter with the heart of a poet. She looks at the world through metapho...Carmel Mikol is a singer/songwriter with the heart of a poet. She looks at the world through metaphors. As she says in a recent blog post from a stop over on her current tour in support of her fine new album, Creature, she walks out looking for words. "Sometimes they fall from the eaves of old buildings and I just have to make sure I'm there to catch them."
Spend even a cursory half hour listening to the songs on Creature and you'll see quickly enough she was there to catch them when she wrote those songs. Spend a little more time listening and you'll see that as one of the greatest of the poets advised another, she has managed to "load every rift of" her "subject with ore."
It is no wonder that her song "Twenty Something Girl" was the winner of the 2011 Grand Prize in the folk category of the annual John Lennon Songwriting Contest. The song is a modern take on the old fashioned folk protest song that Lennon himself would have been happy to have written himself. It describes a world where "corruption hides behind a steeple," where the "weather's changing without season," and where "nationalized dreams" are "a corporate scheme." "This earth," she sings at the very beginning of the song, "is just a bloody floor/soaked and stained in metaphor/built on the bones of patriotic lore." This is a song in the best traditions of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and early Bob Dylan.
But if the eight tracks on the album show anything about Mikol's art, it is its variety. This is not a disc filled with protest songs. She can write a dark story ballad like "Lion or Lamb" and an intensely personal lyric like "I Miss the Moon." She can take a cynical look at human motivations in "Made" and echo an almost traditional country plaint about a love affair in which "loving you is the hardest thing I do" in "Somewhere Else."
"Creature," the album's title track, is a rejection of the typical moral and social restrictions too often placed on human desires. It is a fairly explicit dismissal of patience and "virtuous pain." "In My Bones," a live version of the title track from her first album, is a tuneful plea for a lover to help make it through the night, while "Leaver" is her upbeat version of the "love 'em and leave 'em" type of song.
All this emphasis on lyrics and content isn't meant to take anything away from Mikol as a composer and singer. She is equally at home with a country-flavored tune as she is with rocking folk. Whether it's intimate personal emotion or public protest, she can sell them both. She has the kind of vocal clarity that focuses on the melody and gets the most out of the lyric.
Joining Mikol on the CD are David Bradshaw on the six-and 12-string guitars, mandolin, banjo and backing vocal; Bobby McIsaac on electric guitars and backing vocal; Jeff Barrett on bass, and Matthew Piper on drums. Mikol plays acoustic guitar and piano.
Creature is being released with a companion book of the songwriter's stories, poems and lyrics. Although I have only seen a sample of the book, what I have seen offers an effective insight into many of the themes on the album.
Much of it talks about her American father and his relation to the hippie scene in the '60s, before leaving the States for Canada after the violence at the '68 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Titled Creature of Habit, the book seems to be a tribute to the singer's father—who was perhaps something of a poet himself—and his significance in her life. "I wear my father's flannel shirts sometimes," she says at one point. Given her penchant for metaphor, it is very hard not to read this symbolically.
Like her well received debut album, In My Bones, Creature is the work of an up-and-coming singer/songwriter who can turn songs that will get you thinking while it keeps you humming. Carmel Mikol is an artist who may be a "twenty something girl," but she is a twenty something girl with something important to say. If she keeps writing songs like those on this album, a lot of people are going to be listening.
Read more: http://blogcritics.org/music/article/music-review-carmel-mikol-creature/page-2/#ixzz1Yn0Wl2Lz
Album Review - "In My Bones"
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Born in Cape Breton and now based in Halifax, singer-songwriter Carmel Mikol's debut CD is a fine ef...Born in Cape Breton and now based in Halifax, singer-songwriter Carmel Mikol's debut CD is a fine effort spotlighting her excellent tunesmithing and an ear-catching, evocative voice that contains just a touch of cynicism. There's not a bad track in the bunch. My favourites range from the folky 'Hometown,'the alt-country 'In My Bones' and the straight-out pop 'Funny Little Habit.' Great songs and a great new voice. I expect we will be hearing a lot more from Carmel Mikol.
Carmel Mikol & Kim Wempe Make Beautiful Music
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There was a lot of music happening this past weekend and I managed to get around to a fair bit of it...There was a lot of music happening this past weekend and I managed to get around to a fair bit of it.
My main stop Saturday evening was The Upstairs Club in Sydney’s north end. There I heard Carmel Mikol and Kim Wempe, making a local stop on their East Coast “Guess Who’s Driving?” tour. They did four stops in Nova Scotia and head for Newfoundland next week for six more.
Mikol grew up in North River, but went to high school in the U.S. Few of her neighbours even knew that she performed, let alone the calibre of her talent. Wempe is from the Prairies, and came to Halifax to study. This is where they met and developed a solid friendship that makes for some magical musical happenings.
Both girls are gifted writers and wonderful instrumentalists: two guitars and Mikol’s piano providing the entire backup for their songs as they traded tunes throughout. Their whole show was original material, with just one cover to close the night.
Their voices are quite different. Mikol’s is soft and gentle and she can weave it around you senses, pulling and tugging at your heartstrings, evoking emotions as she goes in a manner not unlike Janice Ian. On the other hand, when Wempe opens her mouth she lets loose a powerful force that DEMANDS to be listened to. She pours out her emotion with a style that has Janice Joplin written all over it. As unlikely as it may seem, together their voices blend into a lovely harmony that creates an entirely different feel to their music.
I don’t know when you will get to hear these girls again but I really hope it’s soon.
"Get It On Credit" - Dropcards and touring as a duo
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GET IT ON CREDIT With the music industry in a state of flux, musicians are finding novel ways to ...GET IT ON CREDIT
With the music industry in a state of flux, musicians are finding novel ways to promote their music. Besides touring together, Kim Wempe and Carmel Mikol sent out a publicity package that includes a "credit" card valid for $10 worth of downloads by the artists. The Halifax-based singer-songwriters are also keeping a video blog while on the road (at kimwempe.com/ontheroad). Mikol and Wempe play Cafe deux soleils Aug. 5. Cover charge.
Veteran and newcomer release CDs that would be great additions to music collection
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This is not the first time I’ve sung the praises of Carmel Mikol. This North River native (and curre...This is not the first time I’ve sung the praises of Carmel Mikol. This North River native (and current Halifax resident) is a very talented lady, with insightful songwriting skills that go far beyond her relative youth. Couple those writing talents with her superior vocal abilities and you have a winning combination.
She has just released her first full length CD, recorded by the award-winning team at Lakewind, along with Scott Ferguson at his Halifax studio. In My Bones contains 10 cuts, all composed by Carmel and all displaying her gifts to their utmost. Some are completely new while some, (Hometown and Georgia), have been in her stage shows for a while. There isn’t a bad cut on the CD but both of these are among my favourites.
This is a well-planned and careful crafted project, from the superior production to the beautiful packaging. This should be the recording that helps to make Carmel’s mark in the East Coast music scene, and maybe even beyond.
Live on WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio 89.7FM
Streaming live online: http://www.wuwm.com/programs/lake_effect/view_le.php?articleid=1196
Carmel Mikol says she found inspiration “In My Bones”
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Canadian singer/songwriter Carmel Mikol is a storyteller, crafting songs with a provocative blend of...Canadian singer/songwriter Carmel Mikol is a storyteller, crafting songs with a provocative blend of truth, fiction and wit. The title track of her debut album “In My Bones” took First Place in the Folk Category of the Great American Song Contest, and is a testament to her mature, literary songwriting. Her songs have also been honoured in the International Singer/Songwriters Association Song Contest and Unisong Contest. Here’s what she had to say about the award-winning track:
“As a writer I look out at the world from somewhere behind myself. I filter my work first through my personal experience, then through what I observe in others. I’m most interested in how people suffer – how we live through loss, fear and uninvited change. In My Bones, the title track of the album I released last year, discusses the negotiation between love and loss, two elements that seem to constantly accompany one another, tugging at us in opposing directions.
I wrote In My Bones while living at my family home on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. My father was dying of cancer and I was home to be with him. Facing a loss like that made me re-evaluate my core beliefs on just about everything. And In My Bones came out of that process. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever written to an Artists Statement and one of the few songs I never tire of singing.”
We asked Carmel a few questions about the song:
1. It was very courageous of you to tap into such a fresh grief for this award-winning song. How does it impact you when you hear it and when you perform it? Sometimes this song brings me directly back to those last days with my father. But usually I think about the broader perspective of the song: the idea that grief and loss of all kinds are a part of my life that I must accept and strive to understand.
2. Did you ever get to play the song to your father? If so, what memory do you have of this? Me father did get to hear the song when it was still new, although he never heard the album. As he was my first songwriting teacher (he helped me pen my first song when I was seven and worked through many more with me after that), his opinion of my work was very valuable to me. In My Bones got his nod of approval and that’s one of the reasons it became the cornerstone of my album.
3. What do you hope listeners of this song will walk away with for their own life journey?
Everyday we are faced with decisions which will result in some measure of pleasure and some measure of pain. But there is so much wonder to be found in a life that is lived bravely, without inordinate fear of being hurt. I hope In My Bones inspires this kind of courage. And it’d be sweet if you walk away humming the melody too!
4. What advice would you give other songwriters tapping into painful moments in their life for inspiration?
Don’t be afraid. Write through every stage. And get to the other side where you’ll be able to write other things again.
Hear the song and buy the album at www.carmelmikol.com/buy
Visit Carmel Mikol’s profile, read her bio and hear the song: www.songwriters.ca/member/CarmelMikol
Canada's Latest Export
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Canada’s latest export Cape Breton songwriter, and Mariah Carey lookey-likey, Mikol has released ...Canada’s latest export
Cape Breton songwriter, and Mariah Carey lookey-likey, Mikol has released a laid back album full of original poppy prose interspersed with catchy melodies and intelligent lyrics.
Opener ‘In My Bones’ sets the standard and this is quickly followed by ‘Sunny Days’ both of which demonstrate her preference for an autobiographical approach to her writing. ‘Funny Little Habit’ continues in the same vein “I got a funny little habit of falling in love” about heartbreak and deceit.
Mikol’s songs manage to display the down side of loving someone, but in an upbeat sunny way, which can be somewhat ambivalent at times and occasionally somewhat disconcerting. But they’re none the worse for it.
‘Hometown’ is a gentle piano led ballad, that allows Mikol to show off her vocal range to good effect and she expresses her feeling in a simple but demonstrative way and at times she reminds me of Judie Tzuke or Joni Mitchell, especially on the slightly jazzy ‘Georgia’. ‘Escape To You’ brings the guitar that’s been lurking on previous tracks to the fore, but it’s used with finesse and doesn’t overpower the track.
An impressive start, with hopefully more to come from this talented lady.
The Fierce Intelligence of Cape Breton's Mikol Registers
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Carmel Mikol Carmel Mikol (independent) by Carsten Knox "We're born and raised and buried on...
Carmel Mikol (independent)
by Carsten Knox
"We're born and raised and buried on somebody else's land," goes the opening line in the second verse of the title track, and it's there in the lyrics that the fierce intelligence of Cape Breton's Mikol registers. Though the production of her full-length is polished and ready-for-radio---which may surprise those familiar with her scrappy acoustic sets---Mikol's sure way with a melody, straddling country and folk traditions, is warm and organic. Her dusky voice makes a hard line like "I got lies so lucid they're almost looking truthful," seem almost comforting. It announces her as a hardcore troubadour and a softcore cynic, winning either way.
Mikol and the Lovely 'Bones'
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-Stephen Cooke, Entertainment Reporter WHEN I REACH singer-songwriter Carmel Mikol by phone in Ba...-Stephen Cooke, Entertainment Reporter
WHEN I REACH singer-songwriter Carmel Mikol by phone in Baddeck on Tuesday morning, she’s just left her family’s home in North River after a bracing weekend in the woods, at the foot of the Cabot Trail.
The country house is still surrounded by three feet of snow, a far cry from the landscape that will greet the spirited singer when she returns to the mainland this weekend for the first of a series of record release shows for her new CD In My Bones, a warm mix of pop and folk sung with a confident and versatile voice.
"I just decided I can’t bear coming to Cape Breton without spending time at the house, so I got the water running, turned the power back on and took the shutters off, and it was like bliss," she sighs.
"I walk into that house and I instantly want to write songs, it’s amazing. I had a great weekend."
Mikol has two great weekends coming up, starting on Saturday when she appears as part of the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival’s Folk Fiesta at the Pearl Theatre at 7 p.m., with Bill Plaskett, Laura Merriman (fresh from opening for Michael Bolton at the Metro Centre), the new Celtic combo Hawp and the Smokin’ Contra Band. Then it’s the Halifax CD release show at The Company House on Sunday at 7 p.m.
Then she’s back in Cape Breton for shows at the Masonic Hall in Baddeck on Friday, April 8 at 7 p.m. and Sydney’s Wentworth Perk on Saturday, April 9 at 8 p.m., followed by a Patchwork House Concert in Bedford on Sunday, April 10.
The Halifax-based performer has been seeing a lot of the Canso Causeway lately, most notably for a trip to the East Coast Music Awards weekend in Sydney where she managed to perform several times each day for everyone from local fans to international delegates, and played her heart out every time.
"I’m glad it seemed like that because that’s how I felt for sure," she says. "It was a really great weekend for me because I was able to do shows that ranged from an official showcase, which was very formal, to a house concert, which was one of my favourites of the weekend, to the Celtic Colours stage.
"It was also a nice balance between my own shows and radio programs and sharing in Kim Wempe’s shows, which is really fun for me because I just show up and sing and support my friend, very low pressure. Plus it was at home in Cape Breton so it all felt sort of cozy."
Mikol and Wempe are like mutual good luck charms, with Wempe’s Where I Need to Be CD picking up Nova Scotia Music and East Coast Music Awards and Mikol being named the first-place winner in the Great American Song Contest’s folk division just this week.
The pair cemented their friendship last year with their ambitious cross-country Guess Who’s Driving Tour, for which they threw caution to the wind and embarked on dozens of dates throughout Canada just to see if they could.
"We’ve both said the real value of the experience was what it did for our performance and confidence and experiencing the unpredictabilities of our business. Like learning how to walk out on any stage and being able to say, ‘I can handle this!’ and still perform in the way that you want to."
Having seen Mikol perform before and after the Guess Who’s Driving experience I can attest that she came through the trial-by-asphalt with a new set of performing skills; a little more relaxed on stage with a greater ability to draw audiences into her musical world.
"I’ve learned you have to be a weird mixture of open and mysterious," she explains. "At least for me. As a writer, I’m not willing to tell the entire truth of what a song is about, that’s why I wrote the song, but at the same time I want to be totally honest and open in my performance.
"It’s trying to find this fine little line in the middle, and it took me a while to find my footing and learn how to do that. I’m a lot more comfortable with it now, like I talk about my dad a lot, and it helps me to talk about (his battle with cancer) and sing about it, but there are other songs where I will probably never tell the real story behind them. I don’t think I’m a liar because of that, I think that’s what art is for."
Sunday Morning Coffee:: Carmel Mikol
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You might know Cape Breton's Carmel Mikol from her recent addition to the CBC playlist. You might ha...You might know Cape Breton's Carmel Mikol from her recent addition to the CBC playlist. You might have heard about her when she won the Great American Songwriting contest. Hell, you might even know her from the countless shows she played during the EMCAs and the positive reviews she garnered. We at the hill hope you know her from her classic interview of the one only John Oates at the 30A Songwriters Festival, but the point is, in the very near future mot East Coast music lovers will know the name Carmel Mikol.
The stars seem to be aligning for the release of her new record, In My Bones, and the determined young women from the Cape isn't letting the opportunity float by. She's been touring the country/continent, road testing the songs and you can really see how that helped the songs. In My Bones is a rootsy, folk effort full of well thought out, professional arrangements. Even on first pass you get a sense that Mikol put her heart & soul into the record, wanting more than just writing another singer/songwriter acoustic LP and at the end of the day, that decision is what will help Mikol the most.
In My Bones is tailor made for the adult contemporary, folk/pop demographic that CBC and its countless listeners love. Writing songs that can be enjoyed by a few is one thing, but Mikol seems determined to have her words and melodies hit the ears of a much bigger audience. Sure, In My Bones might have a few stumbles and a few unnecessary cliches, but it shows that Carmel is on the right path and music isn't going to be just a passing fancy in her life.
So, Halifax - If you are looking to hear some nice, breezy songs you should head down to the Company House for Mikol's Halifax CD release show tonight. She'll be playing with her partner in crime Kim Wempe. Not a bad way to end the weekend if you ask me.
Most promising Cape Breton born singer/songwriter to hit any stage in years
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Some albums can be difficult to review, and others not so much. Carmel Mikol’s latest, In My Bones, ...Some albums can be difficult to review, and others not so much. Carmel Mikol’s latest, In My Bones, falls into the latter category, at least in the ease of listening part. There was some difficulty, though. It was in trying to find the words to describe this recording and knowing that they will never do it justice. From the first lyrics of the opening title track, to the very last note, these first rate original songs showcase one of the most promising Cape Breton born singer songwriters, to hit any stage in years. “Sunny Days”, deservedly receiving lots of attention and airplay of late, is one that has you joining in and dreaming of warmer times to come. “Funny Little Habit” will surely be a favorite of many with its catchy delivery. It’s an ode to simpler, radio friendly compositions of the past. “Hometown” is a song that anyone who has ever lived far from their roots can surely relate to, with a truly touching and lovely melody, both in the chorus and the accompanying piano. “Blaming Myself” gets just a little bit edgier and brings a vocal quality reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan’s sound—not to compare, but rather to point out the caliber of talent heard throughout the CD and especially on this number. “Georgia” continues this trend with a vengeance in absolutely wicked style. “I’ll Never Find You” completes this outstanding collection in a very fine way. The true test of any great CD for me is when I can’t wait to listen again and again. There are no tracks to be missed on this release. I can simply say, if you enjoy exquisite vocals, flawless delivery, and a truly enjoyable listening experience, then In My Bones is a must have in your library. Perfection!
CD Pick of the Week
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Carmel Mikol IN MY BONES (independent) Cape Breton singer-songwriter Carmel Mikol will be one o...Carmel Mikol
IN MY BONES
Cape Breton singer-songwriter Carmel Mikol will be one of the busiest musicians at this week’s ECMA celebrations in Sydney, playing seven shows between today and Sunday.
But if you’d made a record as warm and inviting as In My Bones, you’d want to do everything to make sure it got heard, too. Her folk-pop melodies are full of life and personality, while her voice is clear, expressive and direct without overselling the emotion in her soul-bearing songs. Check out www.carmelmikol.com.
Two 45 min sets
(Carmel performs solo or as a duo, trio and full band)
In My Bones
Twenty Something Girl
I'll Never Find You
Into The Desert
Spirits & Good Luck
There are no upcoming dates at this time.