Jen Schaffer And The Shiners
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Jen Schaffer And The Shiners

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2009

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Folk Roots




"Jen Schaffer and The Shiners release debut LP"

Jen Schaffer and The Shiners release debut LP
By Walter J. Lyng, December 10th, 2014

For any upstart band, synchronizing the schedules of all involved members for the purposes of jamming, recording and performing can prove challenging. When that band is formed of professionals with other full time jobs and children, that challenge can become insurmountable.
Jen Schaffer and The Shiners, however, managed to find the time over the course of a year to produce and record their first full LP, Fate Line, despite finding themselves in this exact position.
“Most of my band members have day jobs,” says Schaffer. “We all get together on Thursdays to rehearse and we gig on weekends and vacation time. Otherwise, I’m just writing whenever it comes. I have lots of material; it’s just a question of finding the time to get this down. It was like herding cats a bit, trying to get everyone in the studio and doing it off hours.”
Montreal-born and raised, Schaffer spent several years living in the Appalachian foothills of Ohio before settling in Toronto, where she works as a lawyer. She discovered songwriting in the middle of a career focused on social justice and giving voice to the marginalized in society.
“The music, I’ve been doing all along,” she says. “I started writing my own stuff in 2008.”
Produced by the band’s drummer and keyboardist Simon Law, the album is marked by a throwback sound, complete with harmony singing, deep bass and driven beats.
“It definitely has a retro feel,” says Schaffer. “It has a very ‘70s kind of sound. It’s a mix. It’s roots music for sure. There’s a folk rock part to it.”
Growing up in Westmount, Schaffer says she dabbled in busking on the streets of Montreal before heading for greener pastures. Having previously performed in the intimate Casa Del Popolo on St. Laurent Blvd. a few years ago, she plans on returning there to perform music from Fate Line, likely in Summer 2015. At present, Schaffer and the band get together and perform when they can in and around Toronto, which she says is always a great experience.
“Certainly some of us in the band love doing gigs,” she says. “We had great success with the release party and it’s a whole other experience just hearing this stuff live.”
Fate Line is currently available to download and physical copies can be obtained, which feature a booklet of lyrics and original illustrations by Schaffer’s sister.
“Through our band camp website, you can get a digital download but part of the beauty of this record is the packaging,” says Schaffer. “That was all done with intent with much love and care.”
For more information, visit and - The Suburban



Montreal-born and raised, Jen spent some time living in the Appalachian foothills of Ohio before finally settling in Toronto, where she now lives and performs. She discovered songwriting in the middle of a career focused on social justice and giving voice to the marginalized in society. As a state public defender in Ohio, she worked on a battered woman homicide case that not only changed self-defense law in that state but also her musical journey. This experience resulted years later in her first song, For Teresa, and the recording of a four-song EP released in 2009 called, Angel Ridge.

Her musical incarnation as a singer-songwriter came on swiftly and with great passion – in the last few years she’s been writing, performing and recording her own original roots music with her band The Shiners.  Jen’s own musical style evolved out of a childhood steeped in The Band , Jimmy Cliff and a later immersion into the world of bluegrass and alternative country.  The end result is soulful acoustic country roots with harmonies, syncopated beats and a deeper bass.  Collaborator and band mate Simon Law (a.k.a. The Funky Ginger and member of Soul II Soul) has added a soulful vibe to these original works and the band always contribute with love and skill to the arrangements.

The music has kept on flowing, with many more songs since For Teresa….that now comprise a full-length recording, Fate Line.

As a lyricist, she has been honing her own distinct voice – crafting mature and empathic songs that bring to life personal yet universal stories. Of the song After a Fall Jen said it is a reminder of the "many wake up calls we can receive throughout our lives."  The Snatching of Hannah Twinnoy is a haunting, cautionary re-telling of the first woman killed by a tiger in England.  Other songs explore more existential themes like the centrifugal forces of life on the album’s title track Fate Line… “It cuts through imagined victories, Over all those stubborn ghosts haunting me, My fate line…”

The Shiners, her dedicated band – collaborators, Woodford enthusiasts and friends one and all are: Simon Law on drums, keyboards and background vocals, Astrid Foster on bass and background vocals, John T on guitar, keyboard and bass, and Jonathan Marks, on violin, mandolin and background vocals.

Musical highlights to date:  recording the band’s debut full length album at Jeremy Darby’sCanterbury Music Company with guest artists Emm Gryner , Blair Packham, Arlene Bishop and Bob Foster.  Sharing the stage at the Justice for Children and Youth Benefits with the likes of The Lowest of the LowDave Bidini, some Barenaked Ladies and Mia Sheard.

Getting lovely kudos from Fred Tackett for our live rendition of his beautiful Little Feat tune, “Fool Yourself,” and singing “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” with Ron Sexsmith in memory of Levon Helm.

Band Members