Canary Mine
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Canary Mine

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Band Rock Folk


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"CD review: ‘Between a Rock and a Heartbreak' by Canary Mine"

In a world where mainstream music is full of repetitive tunes (and auto-tuned voices), it is nice to see that some artists have not lost themselves in the process and can still record albums that are both unique and fun to listen to.

"Between a Rock and a Heartbreak," Canary Mine's latest release, is a great example of what a group of people from very diverse backgrounds can do together. The result is 12 foot-tapping tracks that can be quite humorous at times.

Take "Ooh Girl," for instance, a veiled reference to the boy bands of the 1990s and their syrupy lyrics. Or, "By the Balls," where the key advice is to grab life, well, "by the balls" -- and you hear it enough not to forget it.

Canary Mine describes itself as a folk-hop band, or a "combination of folk, rock, country and hip-hop." And truly, that is what you will find in this album. The songs are all very different from one another, each of them taking you through a specific genre, atmosphere and era. Fans of 1970s progressive rock may even catch the very quick reference to Yes or Styx on the third track.

Mim Adams is a great choice as the lead singer on "Bury Me Not (On The Lone Prairie)," "Get Out of Your Head" and "Why'd You Send Me This Trial Lord," three of the best songs on the album.

"Between a Rock And a Heartbreak" is a nice and energetic effort that deserves your attention.

More about "Between a Rock and a Heartbreak"

Release date: April 20, 2012

Track listing:

1. I Gotta Say, I Kinda Wish
2. Chips Cashed In
3. Get Out of Your Head
4. Walk My Dog
5. Born In A Town
6. Why'd You Send Me This Trial Lord
7. Orion's Belt
8. The Bombizzle Blues
9. Bury Me Not (On The Lone Prairie)
10. Ooh Girl
11. By The Balls
12. Stay To Play

Album available for purchase at Bandcamp and iTunes. -

"Canary Mine – Between A Rock And A Heartbreak (self released)"

Before I got tired and ran out of rigid digits, I counted close to a baker’s dozen of musicians who created this eminently enjoyable eclectic collection that covers just about every base you can touch from wailin’ harp blues and acoustic folk to violin country and e-lec-trickle pop with a sensational side order of stripped-down vaudeville, so get a-steppin’! - JEFFREY MORGAN’S MEDIA BLACKOUT #321

"Canary Mine (cover story)"

by: Tim Knight

Canary Mine are a 4 piece “Folk Hop Rock” group from…well, all over Southern Ontario, really. Local musicophiles will perhaps know KW ex-pat James Lanbro aka ‘Jimi Maze’, as he used to host a radio show here. Musically, you may know the band from one of their many cross country tours, or from one of their songs that was featured in the 2007 feature film ‘Weirdsville’.

On April 28th, they are releasing their new record “Between A Rock And A Heartbreak” at Maxwell’s Music House, and one wonders what they’ll be bringing to the table. With songs that boast lyrical refrains such as “My balls are blue!”(obviously a comment on the the commoditification of sexuality in today’s society and/or the assassination-through-attrition of the male sexual identity. Probably both), it’s clear this is a dour, no-fun-in-this-life-or-the-next, super serious band, nay, “musical collective”. So, I asked them the tough questions, expecting hard facts, hard science.

VR: I’ll spare you the “what are your influences question”, but “Folk Hop Rock” is admittedly a new genre for me. How did this sound come about? Was it difficult to go with your instincts with that sound, and not swerve into something more mainstream?

CM: When you’re rappaz and you play acoustic guitar, what do you expect? Carl says, “I’m coining a new style that I call ‘Eclectica’”. We take little interest in the mainstream. We know who Katy Perry is and we acknowledge the dub-step auto tune trend, but it’s not what we do.

VR: Creed: great band, or the greatest band?

CM: Who is Creed? Finger eleven is way better.

VR: You guys have had 7 releases and have been together for a decade. But “Between a Rock and a Heartbreak” is your first non-live release in 7 years. Why the long studio hiatus, especially given that one of you is a studio engineer?

CM: We all value our personal lives and have busy day jobs. We also had the luxury of not having a deadline. Therefore, we took our time and made it perfect.

VR: Mim: you’re a jazz aficionado. Chet Baker: smoothest voice in jazz, or of all time?

CM: Tough question to answer. Chet may well be the smoothest singer of all time, but there others that are my personal favourites (Joe Williams and Mark Murphy).

VR: Personally, I blame video games and rap music (and those kids better get the hell off my lawn!), but what’s your take on why we can’t just all get along?

CM: Because not enough people go out to see live bands.

VR: You have strong connections to the KW region. Is that solely due to James, or are there other factors at play?

CM: Well, the James connection is pretty deep and has influenced us all. Proud of his KW roots, James still gives us extensive tours of the region, showing us the history and his old make out spots. James states, “I was born and raised in KW. I watched the factories close, the universities grow and the tech boom first hand. My crew of best friends returns to Kdubs for the winter holidays. I’m pretty loyal to the town and represent it wherever I go.”

VR: Do you think Medvedev is legitimately in charge, or just Putin’s puppet?

CM: Medvedev was the puppet for the last few years, but I don’t think Putin even needs to fake it anymore. He’s clearly in charge.

VR: As an independent band, trying to make a living, you’re on the front lines of the music copyright debate. How do you feel about downloading and file sharing? Where do you see the music industry heading? How does a record company survive in a future where everything is freely shared five minutes after it’s released?

CM: In Canary Mine, it’s an ongoing debate over how much we should give away and at what point we need to ask for payment. We count on our audience’s recognition that by purchasing our music, they are helping us survive. We have no ties to record labels, therefore we don’t really worry about them too much. We all have different political opinions, so outside of how it relates to Canary - Velvet Rope Magazine

"Finding themselves Between a Rock and a Heartbreak"

Finding themselves Between a Rock and a Heartbreak

Canary Mine, with a wealth of eclectic influences, resurfaces with a new CD

After seven years’ gestation, local country-folk-hip hop collective Canary Mine are releasing their proper follow-up to 2005’s Maybe Yo Mama. Canary Mine have not been idle in the interim: they’ve released a Christmas record, a live record, and a demo collection; drummer Carl Welch has tended to his triplet sons; and the band has continued to pursue their various careers in and out of music. Frontman James Lanbro (perhaps more widely recognized by his hip hop handle, Jimi Maze) is happy to have the record out and he’s confident that the time spent in the studio will reflect in the quality of the material.

“We never broke up; we just didn’t play a lot,” Lanbro says of the gap between records. “Then we started getting some tunes together. We’re always moving, always making new songs and keeping the set-list changing. We made a conscious decision to go into the studio and make the right album…and we took our time with it.”

The new album, Between a Rock and a Heartbreak, is evidence of time well-spent in the studio. Producer and engineer Shawn Davison (one of three fader-sliders behind the record’s production) calls Canary Mine “a fantastic band to work with”, thanks to their substantial talents, boundless creativity, and fearlessness when tackling their music. The four band members come from vastly different backgrounds, and none are afraid to follow their disparate influences – leading to a wholly unique sound.

“There was a point when all I listened to and all I created was hip hop. But I discovered folk music and the guitar,” Lanbro explains. “Our drummer (Carl Welch) was very into heavy metal. Tool and Iron Maiden. Our bass player (Joe Arnup) was into drum and bass when he joined the band but he was raised in a very folky household where weekends involved a bunch of hippies coming over and jamming. (Vocalist, keyboard player Mim Adams) is a jazz vocal teacher who really got into music through musical theatre.

“All of us wrote at least one song on the album. When a song gets written, the rest of the band adds to it so that it becomes something on its own, rather than the original — you know, piece of paper with some chords written on it and some lyrics.”

Between a Rock and a Heartbreak’s songs reflect all of these influences. It’s their playfulness, though, and especially their appreciation for the plight of the working class, that comes to the fore. Their deep respect for the Canadian men and women who work so hard every day to get by has always been a focus for Lanbro.

“My family comes from Sudbury and Cape Breton Island, and the main industry when I was a child was mining. Although my grandparents weren’t miners, they were totally part of the miners’ community. When we first put this band together, it was an experiment. Sort of like a canary in a coal mine. But it survived.”

Canary Mine with Sue Newberry and The Law / Maxwell’s Music House, Waterloo / Saturday, April 28 / 9 p.m. / 19-over. - The Record

"Hamilton Music Notes - Canary Mine's Between a Rock and a Heartbreak"

Canary Mine’s
Between a Rock and a Heartbreak

While guitarist James Lanbro and drummer Carl Welch weren’t born in Steel City, they certainly cut their musical teeth in Hamilton with the likes of Moonkarma (with Graham Walsh and Dylan Hudecki), Ji'Beenaroc and the Wack MCs. It was in Hamilton where they would form Canary Mine in 2004 with Mim Adams (keyboards) and Joe Arnup (bass). A quirky quartet, Canary Mine mix roots, pop, folk, jazz and hip hop with usually a clever if not funny motive. Over six discs, they’ve won over many a fan with four tours of the country and since split their time between Toronto, London, Kitchener/Waterloo and less frequently Hamilton. This weekend, Canary Mine returns with their new full length CD, Between a Rock and a Heartbreak.

“Mim, Carl and I met a Mohawk College studying jazz,” recalls Lanbro. “I dropped out early to study studio work at Recording Arts Canada in Stoney Creek. That's where and when we met Joe. We respect Hamilton so much and know what an awesomely musical town it is. I mean, we grinded the stone in this town and really established our chops.”

Hard working at bringing the fun is what Canary Mine really embodies but on their new collection of songs, the band does get serious as the album title might suggest.

“We try to hit all elements,” states Lanbro. “We are definitely funny but we also jerk a tear now and again. This album is indeed 'more of the same' from Canary Mine when it comes to a seriousness about not being serious and a generally eclectic vibe. One thing we've improved on is the whole recording process. We had dozens of new songs to choose from for this record. We recorded 16 songs for this album. Some of the songs we recorded up to three times in three different studios. We only put 12 songs on this record.

“A lot of our experiences together are based upon our four tours across Canada,” he adds. “When we bring ideas to the table, the ideas of a traveling band tend to resonate the most. This album has a few sub–plots, one of them being the life of a traveling band; the ups and downs, the glory and the misery. When we started this album, the band was not cooperating well at all. We had hardly rehearsed a new song in years. The name came before the album. It was Mim's idea, but to me, it was like are we going to rock out or are we going to break up?"

There are rockers and more jazzy heartbreakers but it’s the campiness of their comedy and approach, which defines Canary Mine. Songs like “Chips Cashed In” and the resultant new video racking up views on can be quite serious in nature but there is usually a camp that might make hipsters think they’re not cool but Canary Mine simply makes the music that makes them happiest.

“I dislike the word cool as much as I dislike the word hardcore,” offers Lanbro. “People that use such words are uncool and weak. I understand that some cats consider us uncool and I say fuck 'em. They are simple sheep in line for slaughter. I'm quite guilty of saying things like ‘this type of thing is fashionable right now’ or ‘we should do this as it is in style for the area and times’. As Canary Mine, if ‘this is cool and in style’ comes up, the idea is usually disposed of quickly.

“But ‘Chips Cashed In’ seems to be resonating with a lot of people in these times when the rich are getting super rich and most of us are poorer,” adds Lanbro. “It just happened to be the first video officially made and released. There are at least four singles on this record and we're looking for videographers with passion to make some magic. Willy Suarez was passionate about making “Chips Cashed In”. If it were up to me, we'd make four amazing videos, then we'd tour Canada and Europe and then we'd look into the United States and Asia. In the meantime, I'm living the glory of a gas station attendant.” V

Canary Mine plays this Friday April 27 at the Casbah Lounge with the Infinity Factory. Doors open at 9pm - VIEW Magazine

"On disc - Canary Mine (page 5)"

Canary Mine
Between a Rock and a Heartbreak
Canary Mine is a Toronto-based band with a very peculiar sound that will cause the crowd to either love or hate them. As a mix between folk, rock, country and hip-hop, this band has the potential to brighten anyone’s day.Their new album, Between a Rock and a Heartbreak, will be released in April. Make sure not to judge this album by its cover—these tracks make one feel anything but heartbreak. Canary Mine has packed their album with quirky, catchy lyrics, upbeat instruments and a range of slow to fast tempo songs. However, with folk-pop comes hit or miss songs. Most of the new album is relaxing, but some songs may leave the audience asking, what inspired Canary Mine to write them? Although Canary Mine’s unique style may take a few reruns of their album to get used to, by skipping over a few select songs, and with the right mindset, Between a Rock and a Heartbreak
can be the perfect album for background music, or music just to jam to around a bonfire.
—Abigail Cheng - The Gazette

"Review - "Between a Rock and a Heartbreak" - Canary Mine"

Review- “Between a Rock and a Heartbreak”- Canary Mine
Posted on April 19, 2012 by glasspaperweight
reviewed by Michael Thomas

“Genre fusion” is a term thrown around quite liberally on the music scene, and this blog is no exception. It’s probably safe to say that at some point, every genre of music has been mixed with every other genre of music with some, no, or a lot of success.

Canary Mine seems to be an amalgamation of a little bit of everything. They are most obviously steeped in roots and country sound, but there are also elements of hip-hop and gospel and even blues, as well as other genres which might be more subtle. This is thanks to the diverse musical background of this sprawling band (the drummer played heavy metal, the guitarist was a hip-hop emcee, etc.)

The result of this “little bit of everything” approach is an album full of memorable tracks. I hadn’t realized how deeply some of the songs had buried themselves in my head until I listened a few more times.

One of the things this band is not afraid to do is sing about things that might make people uncomfortable. No one wants to talk about nasty-smelling pets, but Canary Mine does just that in “Walk My Dog.” In addition, I don’t think the singer is talking about an actual dog all the time, particularly in the lines where he says “So won’t you wag my dog.” Even more uncomfortable than foul-smelling canines is the song “By the Balls,” an upbeat roots-rock number about, grabbing life by the balls. Someone should take a count on how many times the band yells “BALLS!” It’s a lot.

“Chips Cashed In” shows off the hip-hop side to the band that exists in a small degree. The layout of the song reminded me a lot of perhaps Sublime, or another group that fuses hip-hop sensibilities with rock. The delivery of the lyrics is quite impressive. “Orion’s Belt” also falls into this category, with the interesting addition of “rapping” plus roots-sounding choruses.

“Get Out of Your Head” takes a turn for the experimental- what starts off as a slightly sinister, atmospheric number suddenly abandons that train altogether to deliver a simple country ditty with rapid-fire lyrical delivery.

“Bury Me Not (On the Lone Prairie)” is the most straight country-sounding tune, with both main vocals and backup vocals, and a slow, lilting pace. “Why’d You Send Me This Trial Lord” seems like the most sincere song of the album and is quite the beautiful specimen of a song, inspired partly by the gospel I mentioned earlier.

One last song worth noting (though there are plenty more noteworthy tracks) is the song “Ooh Girl” which I imagine must have been hard for the band to play with a straight face. The song is reminiscent of the cheesiest 90's soul you can think of, even featuring the lines “Girl you’ve got so much booty/I want to rock your body every single day.” This song is much shorter than all the others and is so jarring that I can’t see it as anything more than a humour break. That said, it definitely fits in with the band’s “image.”

Between a Rock and a Heartbreak is something very uniquely belonging to Canary Mine, and a great calling card for this already-experienced band.

The album will be released tomorrow, April 20th, at the band’s release show at the Rivoli. You can get more information on tour dates and other such things at the band’s website.

Top Tracks: “Get Out of Your Head”; “Why’d You Send Me This Trial Lord”; “The Bombizzle Blues”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*
- Grayowl Point

"FAME Review - Between a Rock and a Heartbreak"

This is Canary Mine's 7th release and if you're not familiar with their name, you may nonetheless have heard 'em without even knowing it. If you caught the 2007 film Weirdsville, their tracks Rock Song and Cool Breeze were in it. The foursome's an eclectic bunch and incorporates hip-hop, rap, and a bit of prog (Get Out of my Head, which morphs into what Joni Mitchell did in Twisted by way of rag and doo-wop, ha!) into folk, rock, country, and a good deal of humor in the repertoire, ending up with a sound that even embraces jug in Walk my Dog and elsewhere.

If you're still crying over the break-up of the Asylum Street Spankers, 'cause I sure as hell am, these guys make a great resort, satirical, a bit unruly, wise-ass, tuneful, irreverent (any group sporting a song carrying the refrain of "My balls are blue!" and whose debut CD was titled Bitter, Better, Happy, Horny gets my attention), and minded of a tendency to use a Waring blender as a writing instrument, tossing all kinds of stuff in just to see what comes out the other end—and how can ya beat that?

Then, just to really bamboozle ya, they do a straight take on Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie, as churchy and hoot 'n hollow as ya please, redolent of pioneer wagons and sighing breezes rustling through the arbor. Of course it's followed by a short cheezy satire on weepy soul songs, Ooh Girl just to throw you off, and then the 50s-esque ribald By the Balls, something Wilderness Road would've done long ago had they the…cojones. So, yep, I think the Spankers are the closest you're going to come to a comparative here, and, dammit, there just ain't enough good times in music any more, especially not of the kind that would make your mother blush. -

"Toronto's Canary Mine here to rock"

Canary Mine - January 26, 2006 at The Silver Dollar RoomA Canary Mine show is fun, and funny. This band's idea of a mash-up is "Eye of the Tiger" vs. "Everybody Dance Now", including, during last Thursday's show at the Silver Dollar, lines from Rocky delivered in a passable Stallone by drummer and vocalist Carl Welch.

But Canary Mine's much more than retro fluff. Their live show is light-hearted, but it works because of the quartet's pitch-perfect stage professionalism and their consummate musicianship. Their sense of play is always firmly in the service of their music and their audience's enjoyment: they're here to rock, and they're here to rock you.

It's this devotion to their audience - a devotion in keeping with their personalities off stage -that brings Canary Mine a devoted following to each one of their Toronto shows. Bassist Joe Arnup's eyes shyly dip into the crowd of young women dancing in front of the stage, and it is obvious that he knows someone out there is worth watching. But behind those familiar adoring faces, row after row of casual concert-goers is just as enthralled by Canary Mine's performance.

Canary Mine honed their live act touring across Canada - twice. They are doing it again for the summer of 2006.

"Small towns are where it's at for Canary Mine," says guitarist and vocalist James Lanbro. "Especially in Alberta and BC. In a small town, there's only a small selection of bars. When there's live entertainment, the whole town shows up whether they have heard of you or not."

Along the way, the band has released two albums of original material, the latest, Maybe Yo Mamma, in October 2005. They have developed their sound from laid-back folk music into an eclectic blend of folk, hip-hop, jazz, and head-banging rock without changing their instrument mix - primarily acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards played by the lovely and talented Mim Adams, who also does vocals.

"One day, we decided we wanted people to dance, and we kicked in an upbeat to do so," says Lanbro. "On tour, the bars love danceable original music more than anything. We love watching the crowd get down."

Canary Mine's versatility and eclecticism reflect their diverse musical interests and their strong songwriting, which ties disparate influences into neat and catchy packages. It's on the stage, though, that their songs and their talent really shine.

"We're good for getting gigs the second time around. It's that first gig that's hard," says Lanbro. "It's hard to convince a bar owner that we will rock their pants off. Once we get that chance, we are always invited back."

To sample Canary Mine's music and find out about upcoming gigs, visit - The Strand, Nick Ragaz

"Canary Mine kick start the Christmas Spirit at Gabby's"

Indie Rockers Canary Mine start the holiday season early as they bring X-Mas to Toronto on Friday December 4th. They will be playing the first of two Friday night shows at Gabby’s on Yonge St that night. The shows are part of their 4th Annual X-Traordinary X-Mas X-travaganza.

Canary Mine members’ chemistry is evident as one listens to them talk about how the band came about.

“It was a canary in a coal mine,” says lead singer James Lanbro (a.k.a. Jimi Maze).

Singer and keyboard player Mim Adams responds saying she always says in the exact words, “It hearkens back to James’ family’s Cape Breton heritage.”

The two are talking about real life canaries in real coal mines. Canaries were once used to detect lethal gases in the mines as a sort of early warning system. Carbon monoxide and methane gas would kill a canary placed in a mine before killing miners.

James adds, “Ya man, I have ancestors who worked in the Sudbury nickel mines and the Cape Breton coal mines. It had something to do with that too.”

Canary Mine started six years ago with James, Mim, Carl Welch (drums, vocals),and soon after Joe Arnup (bass). Their music has been called “folk-hop.” Mixing folk, rock, country, and hip-hop often with a drop dead comic twist, the band has made television appearances, produced six albums, and four successful Western Canada tours.

In 2007 they released a collection of Xmas remix songs. “I think most people are glad that it’s not traditional,” Carl says of the album. “We mix up some great classics and gave some ones that are our own.” When you think of classic, you might just think Run DMC.

With their usual eclectic mix of influences, the band cites David Bowie, Bing Crosby, Boris Karloff, Burl Ives, Scrooge McDuck, and Canadian Tire as their some of their favourite Christmas idols. The entire holiday album is downloadable from their website. Play it loud.

Along with the X-Mas X-travaganza shows at Gabby’s on December 4th and 11th, Canary Mine members are playing solo shows for charity during the holiday season. Gabby's is located at 2572 Yonge St.

“We all wear very tight underwear during the holidays,” says Carl. “But never on the actual holiday day.”

Every year the band gets together for a sing-along hosted by Mim and Joe. The party is three straight hours of traditional carols.

Joe admits, “We just really like Christmas songs.”

What’s on the Canary Mine wish list?

Mim: Peace on Earth and a new printer.
Carl: A record deal would be great. Or a trip to space.
Joe: A stereo system for my bicycle.

Only Santa knows if James has been naughty or nice.

Canary Mine are currently recording their 6th album “Between a Rock and Heartbreak.”

Their complete list of X-mas X-travaganza shows are available online. -, Ryan Ayukawa

"Root Down"

July 24, 2004

... Sat, July 24 “Folk-hop” act Canary Mine began as a solo project for James Lanbro of the Wack
MCs. But it didn’t stay that way for long. Lanbro soon invited his old friend (and the other half of
the Wack MCs) Carl Welch to add some drums and vocal harmonies. It wasn’t long before
Lanbro’s roommate Mim Adams became a permanent part of the act—and then the only logical
move left was adding bass player Joe Arnup.
“We all met in Hamilton going to different music schools,” explains Lanbro. “I went to jazz
school with Mim and Carl and I dropped out and then I went to sound school for a bit with Joe
and we graduated and that’s how it all started.”
Now living in Toronto, the foursome began work last fall on their debut album, Bitter, Better,
Happy, Horny, which arrived in stores in mid-May. The disc traffics in humourous rap-based
tunes which layer harmonies atop an almost scat-like base. Tracks include “Rock Song,” which
combines memorably expletive-laden lyrics with a simple 50s rock rhythm, and the almost
operatic “Tech-E” which begins with the lyric “Meet the computer, he talks to me” delivered in
an over-the-top falsetto.
“We do have serious songs,” explains Lanbro, who deeply respects rapper Notorious B.I.G., but
admits his voice is closer to Hank Williams.
“But we definitely like having fun and making people smile and laugh. Both Carl and I have
played on the Second City stage in Toronto and we’re interested in improv comedy on the side, so
that definitely comes through in our live show and in our music.” - VUE Weekly, Jenny Feniak

"Summer? Must be time for Canary Mine"

Anyone in the mood for a witty, humorous blend of three-part harmony folk and hip hop should venture downtown tonight.

Canary Mine, the popular Ontario “folk-hop” indie quartet is back in Kamloops for a show tonight at The Dirty Jersey.

One of the more popular acts over the past two summers of Music in the Park, the band is comprised of James Lanbro, Mim Adams, Joe Arnup and Carl Welch.

Lanbro has also performed here solo as country hip hop artist Jimi Maze, but Canary Mine brings a much more diverse repertoire infused with folk, blues, pop, country and rock.

“It’s all over the board, really, pretty eclectic,” Lanbro said while on the road somewhere on Vancouver Island. “Disco folk, we call it. We still do a lot of hip-hop and we’re still influenced by it. As we’ve toured, we’ve started to see what people really like.”

They’ve made a custom of cross-country tours over the past six summers. Despite the implication of their name (canaries were used in 19th-century coal mines to provide early warning of toxic gases) they’ve been surprised this summer by cancelled shows due to the sluggish economy.

When you only have a dozen dates to begin with and a family to feed back home (Welch and his wife bore identical triplets last year), that smarts.

“It’s been hard,” Lanbro said. Last Saturday we had a last-minute cancellation. It really sucks to be so far from home and not playing on a Saturday night.”

The band formed in 2004 when Lanbro invited Welch and Adams to help out with a demo recording. They’ve since recorded three CDs and their music was featured in the Hollywood cult-comedy Weirdsville, directed by Allan Moyle.

Lanbro’s family roots inspired him to choose the name Canary Mine.

“I have two great-grandfathers who were miners,” he explained.

He sees the name as an expression of their willingness to experience life’s dangers without compromise. Their danger, only slightly tongue-in-cheek, is the risk of touring in a small van, leaving behind family and friends.

On their last visit they cited Kamloops as one of the highlights of the tour, particularly when kids got up and danced at Music in the Park. There should be a few more for the floor tonight. The music starts at 8 p.m.

Canary Mine is an equal-opportunity band, Lanbro stressed.

“We try to keep it one-quarter each,” when they perform. “We create equally, too.”
- The Daily News (Kamloops), Mike Youds

"Rare birds"

November 25, 2004

Canary Mine takes on folk with serious irreverent attitude – all in name of fun

It’s always important to have a good first impression and the opening salvo of Canary Mine’s debut album, Better Bitter Happy Horning, certainly accomplishes that. In only one-minute, 14-seconds, Rock Song throws down the gauntlet better then any heavy metal band could even hope to do. The difference is, Canary Mine is primarily a trio of far-flung musical iconoclasts who since they’ve come together, have been developing a sound somewhere between traditional folk and gangsta rap.

Of course, it’s all done with the best of intentions, according to singer/guitarist (and Waterloo Region native) James Lanbro.

“To me, (Rock Song) is early-era hip-hop lyrics over early rock ‘n’ roll music. It does go over well live. Also, there’s a band called Trole from St Thomas. They’re like our mentors. It’s kind of making fun of them, with lots of respect.”

Lambro’s co-conspirators are keyboardist/vocalist Mim Adams, drummer/vocalist Carl Welch, and bassist Joe Arnup who came on board officially after the album was completed. The common thread among all of them seems to be complete musical freedom, combined with a wicked sense off humour. Although none of them can pin down what specifically makes them click, they agree that Canary Mine is working out better then any other project they have been involved in.

“We all seem to have the same sense of humour and we all feel like showing it off,” says Adams. “For me, our songs are based on real circumstances that could actually happen, but taken to a slightly shocking level.”

Still, Frank Zappa was playing devil’s advocate for many listeners when he posted his famous question, does humour belong in music? For Canary Mine, the answer is a resounding yes, judging by other songs on the album like Canadian Strip, and Hell’s Angel.

“Carl and I have always included comedy in our between-song antics,” Lanbro says. “We like to entertain. It’s a Canadian thing, being funny. All of the best American comedians are Canadian. We tried being news-anchor musicians, but it didn’t go over so well, and hockey sticks make crappy instruments.”

The members are a well-travelled bunch, and have made it a point to go on tour as often as possible. Having recently returned from a western jaunt, they agree that it’s a good way to improve their music.

“Being on the road is hard, but it pays off in the end, “says Welch. “What’s great about this band is that we’re all able to just relax and have a good time when we play.”

Still, Lambro remains a proud Waterloo Region resident having worked with other great local artists like Gaffer and DJs Jay Hunsberger and Mike Shannon, and hopes to maintain his ties here despite living in Toronto.

“I don’t know what it is, it might be a ‘hometown’ thing. My best friends are from (this area). It’s the first world I discovered,” he says.

“Downtown Kitchener was so rough in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. I learned so much just skateboarding around down there. How to fight, how to avoid fighting. Uptown Waterloo is a mecca of intellectuals and university folk. Carry-On Comics and Ethel’s Lounge. Now And Then Books and Club Abstract. How can you not love it?”

Canary Mine performs Saturday night at the Circus Room in Kitchener with local sonic wizards Humshuttle.

Go to for more on the band, and how to get their album.
- The Record, Jason Schneider

"It’s a gas"

September 8, 2005

Sometimes when a band puts out a debut album that is so unexpectedly off-the-wall, it’s hard to imagin that they would have the ambition to try to top it. I’m sorry to say that was my impression the first time I heard Canary Mine last year when I got my copy of their first record, Bitter, Better, Happy, Horny

Now, I’m happy to say that they have proven me wrong with the just-release follow up, Maybe Yo’ Momma. And the good news is that the quartet, which includes Waterloo expat James Lambro, is making real progress in mixing every conceivable genre from country to jazz to hip-hop into an intoxicating music stew.

Guitarist/vocalist Lanbro says there wasn’t much hesitation is making a new record just as the first one was beginning to get Canary Mine’s name out across the country, since the band is constantly working on new material.

“I’m a lyric writer first,” Lambro explains. “I write almost a song a day in words. I try to write music every couple of weeks. It’s a whole other ballgame, the process of actually presenting chords and lyrics to the band and make it come alive. The hardest part for me is teaching myself the chords and memorizing the lyrics. The hardest part for me is teaching myself the chords and memorizing the lyrics. The writing is easy. If it isn’t easy, I figure it’s not going to be a good song. We’re all serious about our music, and will continue to crack out tunes.”

Much of the band’s motivation also comes from its ambitious touring schedule and the overriding focus on its live show. The songs tend to evolve on tour,” Lanbro says. “When you are playing them daily, you really get to know those magic moments and emphasize them. It’s matching a harmony with a slight twist, or swinging a rhythem and banging on an off-time shot. The songs have to learn those moments for themselves before they get recorded.”

He adds, “Touring has you naturally favouring travelling music. On the Road Again by Willie Nelson hits closer to home when we’re touring. We also listen to a lot of indie music; bands that we play with. But we probably do tend to sing more about traveling situations now. Things like girlfriends in different area codes, and having transmission trouble in Whistler.”

One thing that hasn’t changed is the band’s irreverent sense of humour, which (depending on you point of view) manifests itself on Maybe Yo’ Mama through some hilarious raps like The Boat Song and the title track.

While Lanbro says that hip-hop is one aspect of their sound, he’s happy when fans can appreciate their take on it. “We are definitely more confident in our eclectic-ness. It’s part of our style now to have many styles. It’s not unusual for hip-hop fans to rush the stage and start getting jiggy. Last month in Guelph, some guy with a G-Unit hat bough our CD and told us we are his favourite ‘white band,’ whatever that means.”

Canary Mine launches Maybe Yo’ Mama this Saturday at the Circus Room in Kitchener. The following night they’ll perform live-to-air on CKMS, 100.3 FM. For more information go to

- The Record, Jason Schneider


"satirical, a bit unruly, wise-ass, tuneful, irreverent" says Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

A compilation of favourite songs from past albums.

A holiday season EP to accompany Canary Mine's annual Christmas shows.

Taken from two sessions, one on-air, one off-air, this is a greatest hits album of Canary Mine songs. Each song was recorded in one take, live off the floor in the Palindrome studio at University of Waterloo.

The upbeat tracks on this album are inspired by the energy of the live shows. Canary Mine uses the humour and styles of their last albums to keep fans moving. "Cool Breeze" was used in the film "Weirdsville".

The band's first official cd release, this album features a relaxed mix of rap, folk and comedy. "Rock Song" had a prominent feature in the movie "Weirdsville".

This album was created in the basement of James' parents. Limited copies were available for free at the first show Canary Mine played.



Self-described as folk-hop, Canary Mine is a humourous combination of folk, rock, country and hip-hop. Since forming in 2003, their music has been aired on CBC national radio and charted on college stations across Canada. They performed on Toronto’s Breakfast Television in 2008, and two of their songs, “Rock Song” and “Cool Breeze”, were featured in the 2007 film ‘Weirdsville’.

Canary Mine is an eclectic gathering of creative performers and each member draws from their own creative background, mixing genres and styles to create new sounds as a vehicle for their original songwriting.

Carl Welch on drums and vocals played with numerous heavy metal bands.
Mim Adams on keys and vocals was a darling of musical theatre.
Joe Arnup on bass was a jungle DJ.
James Lanbro on guitar and vocals was a hip-hop MC.

On April 20, 2012 Canary Mine released their new full-length and
seventh independent album called ‘Between a Rock and a Heartbreak’.

Check out the band's "I Gotta Say, I Kinda Wish" video, made up of footage from the bands four western Canada tours here:

Sounds like: Beck, Wilco, Flight of the Conchords, The Decemberists, Barenaked Ladies, Ween, The Wiggles