Ladies of the Canyon
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Ladies of the Canyon

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“Honestly, I don’t like Joni Mitchell at all,” says Jasmine Bleile, who was unaware that her band was named after Mitchell’s 1970 record until it was too late. “That can cripple you as a band sometimes, making that kind of association, but it’s obscure enough that we don’t usually get Joni Mitchell requests.”

What they do play is acoustic country/folk, with guitar, piano and vocals by Bleile, Maïa Davies and Senja Sargeant, with jazz pro Anna Ruddick on bass. The quartet’s roots fusion is most evident in their vocal harmonies, Bleile having led a swing band in her early 20s, Davies and Sargeant still working on folk-pop and blues solo projects.

Ladies of the Canyon was a casual endeavour when the band formed in the summer of 2006. “It was something we all really loved to do but we weren’t looking at this band as a career until we received a bit of interest from a few people,” says Bleile. “Then we thought it would be wise to take it more seriously. For the last six months, we’ve really been putting our noses to the grindstone.”

Recording with rented equipment at a friend’s place, the Ladies have been making their debut EP (untitled for now) with the backing of a production deal. They hope the finished product will earn them distribution for a February release.

They’re also playing gigs this month after a dry spell, at la Sala Rossa as well as on Mondays at Honey Martin, a tiny Irish pub in NDG where two of them work.

“Thank God for the couple of bars in this city that still support live music,” says Bleile, who had a very different experience growing up on a farm 15 minutes southeast of Alexandria, Ontario. “At the country bars, people will pay $5 to see a band they’ve never even heard of, just because they’re curious and they like live music.”

Despite often playing to crowds more interested in getting hammered, yakking or watching the game (or all of the above), the Ladies have had their share of great shows, such as a recent record launch for the Echo Hunters at Petit Campus, or their Honey Martin residency, which affords them the freedom to let loose.

“We can be quite rambunctious when we get together,” says Bleile. “We play subdued music but we’re all kind of crazy.” - www.montrealmirror.com


Built of four of the strongest musical voices in Montreal City’s thriving, internationally celebrated scene, Ladies of The Canyon’s sound is as polymorphic, true and passionate as its members, following the spirit of the moment – ethereal folkie fingerstyle guitar licks might escape suddenly to pounding rock drums and bass, heavy grooves or lush vocal harmonies that soar over a simple piano melody. - CBC.ca


Discography

Ladies of the Canyon

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Bio

Built of four of the strongest musical voices in Montreal's thriving, celebrated scene, Ladies of The Canyon's sound is as polymorphic, true and passionate as its members. Their music is a soundscape mosaic that was created to be like nothing else by a musical friendship like nothing else. Ladies of the Canyon are candy sweet folk pop one minute and heart-wrenching soulful complaint the next. Their music always follows the spirit of the moment ! ethereal folkie fingerstyle guitar licks might escape suddenly to pounding rock drums and bass, heavy grooves or lush vocal harmonies that soar over a simple piano melody. The undercurrent maintained throughout, however, is more than a little bit country.

LOTC's fresh take on folk/pop music is one that melds the borders of so many genres by virtue of the dissimilar backgrounds of the musicians: classical, folk, jazz, rock. The all-female quartet consisting of Senja Sargeant, Maïa Davies, Jasmine Bleile and Anna Ruddick met while gigging as members of other bands on their local bar circuit. The eccentric new friends soon got together each week to sip wine and make music. These deliriously fun "meetings" soon became songwriting sessions and resulted in the formation of what is now Ladies of the Canyon, the sexy breeders of a timeless, roots-influenced sound that is addictive and moving.
Since transforming their "girls night out" into a full-force musical project, Ladies of the Canyon have been playing their hearts out, from showcasing at Canadian Music Week to joining the stage with artists like Patrick Watson, Lhasa and Krief (of the Dears). One of their most buzzed-about moments last year was an opportunity to work with industry legend George Massenburg, whose engineering and producing credits run from James Taylor, Lyle Lovett and Aaron Neville to The Dixie Chicks, among others. Massenburg produced a live session for the quartet, bringing his seasoned knowledge of Nashville-style playing to the quirky pop/country ensemble's style, and the unique experience was captured in a short documentary film, excerpts of which are available on LOTC's myspace page. Now while putting the finishing touches on their debut album, their live presence has already attracted attention both from the media and from their growing audience; the Montreal Mirror has not only featured LOTC in its reader's poll as one of the city's top 10 favorite bands this year, but also profiled the band in its "Noisemakers 2008" feature which promotes Montreal artists who are up on the radar. They have built a fan base on the tried and true principles of rock 'n roll: write meaningful songs with hooks, play honestly, and don't be afraid to be your outrageous selves. People are responding, and everyone seems to agree: this serendipitous collaboration is here to flourish. With the unexpected combination of their distinct, beautiful voices, their dedication to honest songwriting and their knockout presence, these girls will break your heart, make you smile, cry, dream and dance. Enjoy.

"They look good, they sound good, they are good."