Courtney Farquhar
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Courtney Farquhar

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | AFM

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | AFM
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Review - Courtney Farquhar
Monday, December 8
Hugh’s Room, Toronto


COURTNEY FARQUHAR AT HUGH’S ROOM – THE FUTURE IS NOW

By John Simpson

There is no substitute for talent. It’s a truism that is always, always tested and evident when you witness a rising career that has reached the point where boundaries and stages, both literally and figuratively, start to expand and local fame evolves into broader renown, and then, if there’s enough talent, international fame.

Courtney Farquhar, who packed the iconic Hugh’s Room in west Toronto last Monday night, has talent -- more than enough to take her up the last few rungs of the career stardom ladder.

She has joined the small sorority of accomplished modern female performers -- songstresses who write poetically and sing emotively about what they know. Her smoky and often sultry vocal chords have already earned her the attention of Warner Music who included her, and her song "That's What Happens," on the anthology Women and Songs 7 with other Canadian international stars such as Chantal Kreviazuk, Jann Arden, Alanis Morissette, Sarah McLachlan, and Jully Black.

Another of Courtney’s songs, Somewhere Else, was recently featured on the hot US cable TV show Army Wives, whose musical contributors read like a Grammy nomination list for best young indie artist. So it’s clear that music business powers that be recognize and appreciate her vast talent. It’s just a matter of time before her exposure broadens to audiences everywhere.

Courtney’s polished and flawless Hugh’s Room appearance will go a long way towards achieving that acclaim.

The audience got even more from the evening than their anticipated high expectations. The show was in part to introduce some of the songs that will be included in her upcoming, and as yet untitled, full-length album. Her first recording, the EP All My Friends Are Superheroes, has achieved phenomenal success over the past couple of years. Her new album, which will be released in the first half of 2009, will build on that self produced accomplishment and benefit from several improvements that reflect her growing stature – the technology and professional production, recording, mixing, and engineering standards of a big-time studio and broader and more effective distribution , promotion and marketing initiatives.

Courtney opened with five straight songs that will be part of the new album. They all showcase her ability to turn a phrase, and – critically for a lyricist -- to turn a sequence of phrases into an expressive statement. Several of her new compositions, including I Know Better and Now or Never eloquently communicate the emotional compromise that is a relationship. Eyes Painted Blue, in the same vein, is my favourite and I believe a sure hit.

It’s hard to narrow down Courtney’s music into one genre – there’s blues, folk, rock and maybe even a bit of country, exhilaratingly fused in varying measures, as evidenced by We're All The Same, Daydream and Nowhere I’d Rather Be.

A word about her band. Ben Riley, Courtney’s husband [and co-producer] on drums, Ross MacIntyre on bass, Dean Drouillard on lead guitar, Karen Kosowski on keyboard, and Courtney herself adding acoustic guitar and sometimes piano, have the abundant and eclectic skills demanded of her musical styles and melodies. They clearly elevated the performance while allowing her to be the show.

Courtney spiced the evening with several songs from All My Friends Are Superheroes including the title song, the haunting Real Thing, and Somewhere Else of Army Wives fame which, despite the title of the EP, I always thought was its signature song. They get better every time I hear them.

Most of the time we’d prefer to hear Courtney sing, she has the talent and we don’t, but she closed the evening with an impeccable, and partially audience assisted, version of the Gladys Knight classic, Heard It Through The Grapevine. Incidentally, I have also been fortunate enough to hear her sing Cole Porter and I think sometime in the future, an album of standards will complement what by then will no doubt be a whole iPod section of hits.

For many artists, Hugh’s Room is where you play if you’re seriously on the way up. With Courtney Farquhar’s performance there on Monday, and with the album that the show previewed, there’s no doubt that she has successfully crossed the threshold from “on the way” to “up.” Next time you have a chance, don’t miss her.

John Simpson, a former newspaper and magazine editor, has been a journalist, writer and sometime reviewer, for more than 35 years. - John Simpson


CMW Live: Courtney Farquhar
THE SAVANNAH ROOM - MAR. 10

The Savannah Room is a perfect fit for Courtney Farquhar. It's a small space — only the back room is used for performances — with a slightly raised stage. There are flowers and dimly lit tables. It's cozy and intimate, with a touch of class — in other words, it's a lot like the Toronto-born singer-songwriter's music.

In the suddenly ultra-hip world of the Toronto indie scene, it would be easy to dismiss Farquhar as just another coffee-shop-playing, confessional-song-writing, Lilith-Fair-wannabe — easier still when you factor in the inclusion of one of her tracks on volume seven of the Women in Song series. But that would be selling her talent short.

Live, playing a stripped-down set with only a keyboard to accompany her, Farquhar's songs are clearly more than watered-down imitations of the real thing. Her best songs, catchy, upbeat tunes like "Somewhere Else" and "All My Friends Are Superheroes," the title-track from her most recent album (inspired, one assumes by local writer Andrew Kaufman's incredible debut novel of the same name), are just as worthy of radio-play as the late-'90s hits by the big names in female folkpop. Farquhar promises to be a hidden gem.
- Soundproof Magazine


HOW MUCH DO you miss those lazy summer afternoons, aimlessly wandering barefoot
through farmer’s fields, day dreaming of past loves and new friends? Oh, you’ve never
done that? Well, put on Toronto songstress Courtney Farquhar’s debut album, Nowhere I’d
Rather Be, and you can experience it for yourself. Featuring a folk-inspired sound, paired
with Farquhar’s deep, comforting voice, the album is the perfect soundtrack to a lazy day.
Pairing up with Ron Sexsmith on the album’s title track, the two voices craft a dreamy
pop-country collaboration which stands out on the full-length album. Some songs, like
“More Than Anything,” are borderline predictable—with just a simple beat and easy guitar
—but don’t let that hold you back from escaping into a hazy daydream of summery folk
music that Farquhar cooks up. —Cortney Toner - Fulcrum


Courtney Farquhar
All My Friends Are Superheroes

Sounds Like: folky, pop-infused alt-country with a sometimes-sugary twist

WHY / WHY NOT: Don't let the bubble-gum opener or the cover-girl album art fool you — this is a professionally produced, well-crafted and compelling work. These six songs, especially the last three, show real promise of this blossoming singer/songwriter stirring up the scene. The album matures as it plays out, as if it were the soundtrack to the life of a sixteen-year-old girl, learning about life and the world, and emerging, in the end, a strong, passionate, genuine woman and we get to hear it all unfold before our very ears.

- Soundproof Magazine


Leave the best for last — Courtney Farquhar certainly did just
that with her specific choice of cover art for her debut album.
She displays all parts of her body, including feet and shoes,
before the listener can finally find a head shot on the inner
cover of the album. Unlike many other artists who try to sell
themselves before their music, Farquhar’s modest choice is
admirable.
On the contrary, track-wise she gives us the best first. “More
Than Anything” is the most upbeat track on her 11-track album.
The songs that follow are extremely mellow, calm, and soothing.
The ratio of music to lyrics dominantly leans towards the musical side — classic country with contemporary
undertones, both of which compliment her voice with its softness and springy notes. Her voice is angelic, yet low and
husky at the same time. As attractive as that may seem, it unfortunately makes her songs sound quite similar.
People who like stability will find enjoyment in Farquhar’s performance on Nowhere I’d Rather Be, as it makes for the
ideal background cocktail party music. Her songs add a delicate sense of atmosphere without dominating the
environment in which it's played. If you’re looking for soul-stirring action, look elsewhere, but if you're in the mood to
be soothed, Farquhar will deliver. - The Gateway - Jane Voloboeva, Arts & Entertainment Writer


Lost.Not Likely! A Terrific Debut EP.
author: Cecilia Pattison-Levi(BMA Magazine)

This is a terrific debut EP from Canadian independent singer songwriter Courtney Farquhar. This EP has six terrific songs from bubblegum tunes to in-depth ballads wondering about the world - the things of life that you can’t hide from. The sound of the EP is sophisticated pop infused with folk and alt-country. The songs ‘Lost’, ‘Real Thing' and ‘All Me Friends Are Superheroes’ sound like a songwriter discovering and writing about the life she is seeing around her. Her songs are asking the big questions about life like why does history repeat itself, the spaces between and finding the real thing. The stand out track is ‘We Are’ a beautiful pop track with a great gentle guitar sound. This is an EP really worth tracking down and this will reward the discerning listener. Terrific! - Cecilia Pattison-Levi (BMA Magazine)


Courtney Farquhar (Toronto ON) Many have tried to fly the flag of the singer/songwriter angle over the years. Yet only voices like Toronto's Courtney Farquhar have the aptitude to pull it off. Calmly melodies that didn't veer into Sominex territory plus a neat cover of Zero7's "Summersault". (CG)
- Soundproof Magazine


Courtney Farquhar (Toronto ON) Many have tried to fly the flag of the singer/songwriter angle over the years. Yet only voices like Toronto's Courtney Farquhar have the aptitude to pull it off. Calmly melodies that didn't veer into Sominex territory plus a neat cover of Zero7's "Summersault". (CG)
- Soundproof Magazine


PM - Courtney Farquhar (Toronto, Ontario) Singer-songwriter Courtney Farquhar's pop-rock style delivers honest tunes with a soulful twist anchored by her ethereal vocals.
- Eye Weekly by PM


K.I.A., in his studio 'lab', has done precisely this on his new CD, 'Adieu Shinjuku Zulu', creating transgenic pop electronica with the help of a multitude of singers. 'Box-the-Gnat' is a folk-'e' love song, with a collage of footstomps, handclaps, electronic rhythms, and square-dance lyrics sung beautifully by Courtney Farquhar.
- CD Baby


PM - Courtney Farquhar (Toronto, Ontario) Singer-songwriter Courtney Farquhar's pop-rock style delivers honest tunes with a soulful twist anchored by her ethereal vocals.
- Eye Weekly by PM


Discography

The single 'That's What Happens', released on Warner Music's 'Women and Songs 7'. Over 100,000 copies sold to date.

Released first 6 song EP, "All My Friends Are Superheroes" - March 2006

Released full length album, "Nowhere I'd Rather Be" November 2009

Contributed background vocals on Royal Woods latest release "The Waiting" 2010

Contributed background vocals on Peter Katz latest release - "The first of the last to know" 2010

Vocals on 5 tracks of the 2008 Planet Earth CD entitled "20 Miles From Buffalo" - released August '08

Vocals on K.I.A. album "...adieu shinjuku zulu..." 2002 'Box The Gnat" track 6.

Vocals on K.I.A. album "Sonorous Susurrus" 2004 "Sensation" track 4

Photos

Bio

"Nowhere I'd Rather Be", Courtney Farquhar's debut full-length album is captivating right from the very first note. She opens up her heart and soul in a series of unforgettable songs that conjure up beautiful images and lure you into her world. 

Produced by Ben Riley and Dylan Heming, this album blends pop, folk, country, and a hint of jazz resulting in a unique sound that distills the essence of Courtney’s love for music. "The recording of this album was such an amazing experience. Everything came together so naturally and I feel that it’s evident in the outcome of the project. It's an honest record, the real deal."

Dreamy yet down to earth, the title track feels like you're floating through a love story you never want to end. This duet with Canadian singer/songwriter Ron Sexsmith is a song that is timeless and universal. "I have been an admirer of Sexsmith’s for years. He is so inspiring. Having him on this album is a dream come true".

"We're All the Same" and "Man Like You" are more upbeat and edgy whereas "How I Got Here", a slow and sultry waltz, leaves your heart an open door. "Eyes Painted Blue", sung with guest Mary Margaret O'Hara, channels the mood of Patsy Cline and evokes a sense of nostalgic bliss. Courtney's songwriting captures so many of the feelings we go through in life and love and, when interwoven with her voice and guitar, reveals an undeniable wealth of talent.

In 2004 the authenticity of her voice and music brought Courtney to the attention of Garry Newman, former CEO of Warner Music Canada. Her song, "That's What Happens" was included and released on Warner's 'Women and Songs 7' album, which immediately went platinum in Canada. Shortly afterward, Courtney recorded, co-produced and released her first 6 song EP, which enabled her to tour throughout Canada and Europe. "Somewhere Else", the last song on her EP, was placed in an episode of Fox's television series "Army Wives" in the U.S.

Courtney’s ingenuity is inspiring, her lyrics scintillating, and her live performances never-to-be-forgotten. "Nowhere I'd Rather Be" is an album that will most assuredly have you coming back for more.