Kerri Woelke
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Kerri Woelke


Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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"Roots flavored, acoustic based songs..."

Woelke's name should be familiar in Christian music circles as the winner of last year's Manitoba Christian Talent Search, a local vocal competition sponsored by Avante Records and CHVN radio. With her self-titled debut her name should spread even further.

The young Winnipegger specializes in roots-flavoured acoustic-based songs focused on issues of spirituality, relationships and life questions. The 11-track debut (10 written or co-written by Woelke) act as a showcase for her strong vocals and wise beyond her years lyrics. She sometimes wallows a little too long in melancholy themes, but makes up for it when she forgoes her despondent tendencies and offers a glimpse of better times to come on tracks like Real and If I Give You Time which are given an extra flourish by wurlitzer, piano and mandolin.

***1/2 out of *****

- Winnipeg Free Press

"Rootsy Instrumentation and a Crystalline Country Croon..."

Kerri Woelke must have a thing for trains. The Long Way Home, the opening track from her self-titled debut, boasts a brushed-snare rhythm that can't help conjuring up a locomotive, and segues neatly into D-Train, about her infatuation with a fellow subway passenger. Both songs are a good indicator of what the album has to offer -- deeply spiritual lyrics about the constant journey that is life, coupled with rootsy instrumentation and a crystalline country croon. By the time she chirps about packing her bags and heading south, you'll be looking to go ridin' the rails right alongside her.

***1/2 out of *****

- The Winnipeg Sun

""Vocals glide over lump-in-your-throat lyrics...."

Winnipeg, MB folk artist has delivered a heart breakingly beautiful self titled debut album that lyrically captures the more bittersweet conversations we often have with God. Woelke won the Manitoba Christian Talent search hosted by Avante records and CHVN Radio as she proceeded to showcase the journey of where she's been.
Her vocals glide over lump-in-your-throat lyrics like "You say you love me/there's just got to be a catch/I'm hanging on tightly cause I know that I'm a mess/how could you love someone like me/I feel you've done enough/you'll never leave me it's just not like you, what would you do".

Delightful guitar provides soothing throughout the album as Woelke tackles the questions we all have had, but articulates them beautifully and with fluidity. We're proud she's Canadian and has delivered an honest and grace-filled project all the while putting Winnipeg on the map with another talent to come from it's wings.

Writer: Lindsay Whitfield - Soulshine online publication

""Each song grows on you in it's own time, working their way into your consciousness as you find yourself humming bits and pieces throughout the day....""

I received this album several months ago and was surprised to be so taken with it. Kerri as a unique energy that is compelling without being too "in your face" The first listen was pleasant enough but I found myself returning to the CD several times over the next weeks - something I don't often do.
Great voice. Great songs. It's a terrible thing to compare, but one can certainly hear overtones of Patty Griffin & Sarah Harmer in Kerri.
The production is nicely done - acoustic based, melodic and diverse.
Each song grows on you in it's own time, working their way into your consciousness as you find yourself humming bits and pieces throughout the day.
Brian James (co-producer and multi-instrumentalist) adds all sorts of nuances and color reminiscent of the likes of Kevin Briet. I hope this is the first of many projects. - Steve Bell - Steve Bell

""Woelke’s voice is as smooth as buttermilk and she has a magnificent ability to make whatever she is singing as sound as sweet as honey....""

Local folk-roots singer songwriter Kerri Woelke’s latest album is an ideal soundtrack to our currently changing seasons. Her warm voice and super-talented band combine to knit a figurative comfy fall sweater for us to wrap ourselves up in while enjoying her sometimes grey-sky lyrics. Where We Were is also something of a relationship album with tracks like the country-ish On My Way (To You), the folk blues Find Me Here and the silky, ukulele-driven Lame On Me all connected in some heartfelt way to a larger world view. Woelke’s voice is as smooth as buttermilk and she has a magnificent ability to make whatever she is singing as sound as sweet as honey. Her assembled bandmates are among the best this region has to offer and wherever she has been in the past Woelke is now surely going somewhere completely fresh. - Winnipeg Free Press

""Woelke’s songs traverse the genres of country, roots, gospel and indie without ever sounding forced or dishonest......""

On her sophomore full-length, Winnipegger Kerri Woelke handily demonstrates her abilities as a songwriter and singer. Where We Were is a folk record at heart, but thanks to some clever arrangements and a solid cast of musicians, Woelke’s songs traverse the genres of country, roots, gospel and indie without ever sounding forced or dishonest. While this record has its share of up-tempo tracks like “Last Dance” and “On My Way (To You),” the strongest moments on Where We Were are those where the music is more restrained. The sparse, yet inventive instrumentation on songs like “BC” and “Take a Chance,” partnered with Woelke’s soulful vocals, draw the listener in and beg for repeated listens. - The Uniter - Reviewed by Curran Farris

""Kerri Woelke breathes new life into the genres of roots, folk, country and gospel by effortlessly blending each style into one organic and breathtakingly original sound......""

Despite what you might think, Kerri Woelke is a pretty happy person. She just happens to write some achingly beautiful songs about the challenges of life and the struggles of human relationships.

“I don’t write a lot of happy songs,” Woelke said by phone last week from her Winnipeg home. “I think the times that I write best are the times when I’m in a darker place.”

That Woelke finds inspiration from sadness and hurt might come as a surprise to some.

Her 2007 self-titled debut was nominated at the Western Canadian Music Awards for Outstanding Christian Recording, as well as for two of the Gospel Music Association’s Covenant Awards.

Coming from a musically-inclined family, Woelke gravitated towards music naturally. She said she was always interested in singing as a child and began teaching herself to play the guitar at 18 after her father insisted that she learn to back herself on the instrument.

Indeed, Woelke is self-taught in all aspects of her musical abilities.

“I actually got turned away for voice lessons in college,” Woelke said with a laugh. “The [instructor] thought I had the worst technique ever. She just hated my voice.”

Unshaken by one vocal teacher’s scathing assessment, Woelke has developed her music and voice into a sound that is at once classic and contemporary. She breathes new life into the genres of roots, folk, country and gospel by effortlessly blending each style into one organic and breathtakingly original sound.

While tipping her hat to classic folk, pop and gospel artists, it is Woelke’s gorgeous voice and her knack for simple yet innovative arrangements that make her music truly stand out.

Her latest album, Where We Were, is being released this week on SignPost Music, the record label owned by local singer-songwriter Steve Bell.

Where We Were features contributions from some of Winnipeg’s finest musicians, including Bell, Dan Frechette and members of The Waking Eyes. “The Mom Song,” perhaps the first realistic love song for mothers, was co-written with fellow singer-songwriter Matt Epp.

“One thing about Kerri is that she loves collaboration,” Epp said. “She’s not like so many artists that want to keep all the credit and keep all the attention. She loves just singing with people, and I think that’s we why connected so well – we both love the community music brings.”

Woelke said that the songs on Where We Were are much more relational compared to the more faith-oriented material on her first record. While faith is an integral part of Woelke’s identity, she is often frustrated by being labeled first and foremost as a Christian musician.

Steve Bell shared a similar sentiment, saying that it’s very difficult for musicians who become labeled as “Christian” to escape that classification and to be judged by the quality of their art alone.

“I don’t mind the label,” Bell said, “but the most important thing that matters is if the music is good or not.”

Woelke, like any artist, creates for herself – not for the expectations of others or to satisfy the trappings of a particular title, be it “Christian musician” or otherwise.

“It’ll be interesting with the release of this record,” Woelke concluded, “to see how many people allow me to be free of that title.”

- The Uniter - article


Kerri released her first single "If I give you time" in October 2006. It is being played currently on various radio stations across Canada, as are songs "Stand Still" "Long way Home" "Rain Down" and "D-Train"
She has done live performances on a variety of radio stations that include: CHVN, CBC, Cafe 100, Made in Manitoba...etc....
Since the release of her second record "where we were" Kerri has a number of songs being played on CBC such as "Tonight I am the wind" and "Last Dance"



Hi. I'm Kerri Woelke and this is my bio.

I'm in my kitchen right now. In a little breakfast nook that I use as my office/writing space. For some reason almost all the songs I write, I write sitting on my kitchen floor. This is the way it's been since we moved into this house 3 years ago. I love where I live. I have the tiniest house imaginable in a beautiful little unknown treasure of a neighbourhood in Winnipeg, MB. My neighbourhood is surrounded by a beautiful river that has overgrown little walking paths through the woods, and if you're lucky, you may come across a crane, many deer or even angry geese that will chase you down the path if you walk too close to their young. Kids play on the street, my son's best friends live within a 5 house radius, and Friday nights are potluck nights, where my family and I can go and feast and hang out with our great neighbours. I can't think of a better place for us to raise our son. It's easy to be inspired here.

It's early September right now. Yet, Winnipeg has already been having fall weather. I love the fall. The days that you can wear either a sweater or a t-shirt are my favourite days. My new cd “where we were” will be released later this month, it's great timing b/c of how much I love this season. What a great time for a party.

I have been touring on and off since last February (07) promoting my first record. I've travelled pretty much from coast to coast in Canada and have seen and experienced some pretty amazing parts of this country. This fall tour is an exciting one for me, as I have the privilege of touring with Juno-award winning Canadian musician Steve Bell. He is also from this city and was someone I grew up listening to. I used to dream of the opportunity to sing with him someday and this fall I will have the opportunity to live out that dream. It's incredibly exciting. We'll travel from Toronto all the way across to Victoria, and I'll do a few of my songs to promote the new record.

A friend of mine gave my first record to Steve Bell, and told him to listen to it. For some reason he liked it, and brought me in as his “artist in development” and gave me the opportunity to make this new record.

The new record is an incredibly personal story of both my life and my relationship. For a long time, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to let go of this record. To send it out there for people to see and hear. That I held it too close to my heart and there was almost no separation between who I was and what the record was. I feel ready now. I feel excited now.

There is quite a mix of songs on the record. Some are about my struggles and fears that surround my marriage relationship. Those press into brokenness, hurt, worry and love. This story has yet to have an ending, but something Steve and the others at Signpost have taught me is that there is validity in the journey. That I don't have to be at the end of a journey to have something to say or to have a story to tell. My husband Brent co-wrote a good portion of them. There are a few gospel songs - 2 of which are cover songs. The first one is called “By the mark” by Gillian Welch. Its the first gospel tune that she ever wrote. The other is a song called “If I give my soul” by singer/songwriter Billy Joe Shaver. Most know this song best by the Johnny Cash rendition of it. There is a song around the idea of a “tainted working relationship” such as a bad boss, or that kind of an idea. It's just a fun little ditty that lots could relate too, as I can't even count on two hands how many bad bosses I've had....

Music has been the outlet that has brought me so much joy. Funny – b/c of the seriousness -topic wise of this record – but throw in some banjo, upright bass, bass clarinet and kooky percussion, you'd be surprised how happy a sad song can sound!

I feel so privileged to be able to have music in my life. My family is all very musical, and I can't imagine going through life without music in my house. It is a gift my parents gave me and I hope that it is a gift I can give my son. I feel that my writing brings me closer to God somehow. It's the finding of God through brokenness I think. That when you feel you're left with nothing, you're actually left with SO much more. You're left with a better sense of who you really are.

These past two years I've had the opportunity to share the stage with too many people to name, all people I respect a great deal. I've played at numerous festivals, events and clubs, I've been nominated for a western Canadian music award, and two covenant awards, I've had a song played on Vinyl Cafe on CBC and most recently had the set that we played at a festival featured on Canada Live through CBC. I feel blessed. I feel so lucky to do what I love so much for a living.

I couldn't have done any of this without the support of other great musicians, my friends, my family...all these people have helped shape what this new record is.
"where we were" is very much