One Hundred Dollars
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One Hundred Dollars

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band Americana Alternative


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Guitar nation: the sound of northern comfort"

*** / 4

A fun one, then, although the real gem in this week's bumper crop of new Canadian releases is One Hundred Dollars' sophomore album, Songs of Man.

This Toronto sextet was still finding its feet as a band — and principles Simone Schmidt and Ian Russell still finding their feet as a songwriting team — when its striking debut, Forest of Tears, was made in 2008. Songs of Man thus sounds a bit more like the subtly rockin' pseudo-traditionalist country act One Hundred Dollars has grown into onstage over the past three years, impressing as much with musicianship and attention to arrangement as it does with writing.

Schmidt and Russell really are a killer team, spinning literate, keenly drawn narratives about ordinary folk struggling to pay the bills (“Work”) and slogging it out on the oilsands in Fort McMurray (the unassumingly epic “Black Gold”) that tend to hit you in the right, sad places melodically the way old-school country music does. Schmidt's undisciplined croak might be an acquired taste to some, but it's perfect for the material and the gal can do “hurt” like no other: “Where the Sparrows Drop” is a quiet masterpiece of longing.

Still a relatively young entity, One Hundred Dollars has the distinction of being the one act amongst the four up for discussion today that sounds like it's at the beginning of a musical journey that will take us places unexpected in the future. That's not to say that Sloan or the Sam Roberts Band or even Anvil have the capacity to hit us with a wild left turn somewhere down the road (although I'm betting Anvil won't, unless you count the horns on Juggernaut's “Sweet Thing”). Just that for the moment theirs are the sounds of comfort, while One Hundred Dollars' is the sound of questing. - Toronto Star

"One Hundred Dollars - Songs Of Man Review"


When One Hundred Dollars recorded their first album, Forest Of Tears, they had only been playing together for six weeks. Now a well-practised, beefed-up six-piece, they bring a new confidence to their distinct brand of urban country.

Though it’s very much in the country tradition, Songs Of Man is a surprisingly diverse listen. Paul Mortimer, moved from bass to lead guitar, brings extra oomph to Waiting On Another and Black Gold, while the sparser Aaron’s Song proves they’re just as adept at stripped-back acoustic numbers that let Simone Schmidt’s strong, twangy vocals do most of the work.

The diversity makes sense, considering that the band works within the story-song tradition. Each song was written from a different character’s perspective and given its own day of recording. But despite being clearly country, One Hundred Dollars avoid cheatin’-hearts and cowboy-boots posturing, instead focusing on contemporary issues and situations. - NOW Magazine

"One Hundred Dollars - Songs Of Man"

4.5 / 5

If you remember listening to One Hundred Dollars' 2008 Forest Of Tears debut, you might recall "Tirade Of A Shitty Mom," an extended psychedelic number that stuck out from its mostly classic country sounding siblings. Something seemed off about that tune, since it indicated the band might head off in a different direction at another date.

They've somewhat done that with long awaited sophomore album Songs Of Man, which sounds like they've taken the instrumentation used on Forest Of Tears' tracks and successfully mixed it with the psychedelic atmospherics of "Tirade Of A Shitty Mom" to create psych-country.

This shouldn't be entirely surprising, since One Hundred Dollars have never been your "typical" country band, telling modern day stories and taking on social issues in a way few others in their genre can.

Simone Schmidt still sounds freakishly similar to Janis Joplin, particularly on opener "Ties That Bind," "Black Gold" and "Work." On "Waiting On Another" and "Powdered Confessions," she shows another side of herself and wanders off into Stevie Nicks territory.

Schmidt's capacity for telling great stories continues on Songs Of Man, which is named for the fact that all the tunes are sung from the point of view of male characters. And since all great country songs should be timeless, the album proves its mettle with closer "Black Gold." While it's about the Alberta tar sands, it could just as easily be about a coal mine in the early 20th century or an oil well in the southern United States during the '20s.

One Hundred Dollars have proven they're capable of evolving and sounding different, but at the same time maintaining their identity. Songs Of Man is unquestionably one of the year's best albums. - CHARTattack

"Best-of ’11:: One Hundred Dollars Songs of Man"

One Hundred Dollars is the best modern country band in Canada. That’s hyperbolic and highly subjective declaration, but the newly beefed up six piece stands head and shoulders above the endless amounts of bands bastardizing the genre. Led by Simone Schmidt’s gravelly vocals and spot on story telling, One Hundred Dollars avoids the path that causes so many alt-country bands to fail.

Instead of trying to sound fresh and littering songs with timeless and overused stereotypical country themes, Schmidt and her talented band sound pure as they highlight relevant issues. This ain’t broken down pickup trucks or tear-in-your-beer melancholy, but more importantly, this isn’t about political activism either. One Hundred Dollars, quite simply put, are realists. The world is a mess right now and money is tight for most people, but rather than point fingers, Schmidt uses this platform to shine a light at what’s going on through the eyes of characters worthy of your attention and your ear.

Whether it’s the sympathetic embrace she offers the Fort McMurray oil workers forced to leave their family and wrestle with the temptations that try to sink us all is tear jerking or the desperation she addresses with simple admissions like, “four grand short and this I know/we’ve got a ways to go”, Schmidt exposes us to pain most of us have been lucky enough to avoid. The beautiful “Where the Sparrows Drop” details a couple separated by war, and even when the band kicks into full gear they use the catchiest hook to perfectly encapsulates the sadness of escaping your broken heart by simply sleeping with someone else to forget.

Three years ago, Forest of Tears was recorded in 13 hours after the band had been together for a mere six weeks. Spontaneity defined the songs and pushed the almost unheard of LP onto the Polaris long list. Songs of Man is a different animal altogether. The band shared the writing, worked with Stew Crookes and with new instrumentation and more took advantage of time in the studio to deliver a tour-de-force that is full of adventurous arrangements and surprises. Traditional acoustic numbers like “Brother” and “Aaron’s Song” stand shoulder to shoulder with the brash lead single “Black Gold” and the smoking hot, damn near Fleetwood Mac-ish “Waiting on Another.”

Basically, One Hundred Dollars is a band that constantly defies the labels we’re so determined to shackle around their ankles and wrists. Music is a powerful drug, one we often rely on to transport us away from heartache, pain and sadness. One Hundred Dollars denies us that naive escape and forces us to admit that a song can’t change the world or make it better. Personally, I’ll take an honest reality over false hope any day. - Herohill


Hold it Together EP (2007)
Forest of Tears (2008)
"Fourteenth Floor" Regional 7" Part 1 (2009)
"My Father's House" - Regional 7" Part 2 (2010)
Songs of Man (2011)



It's been three years since One Hundred Dollars' first full-length Forest of Tears was released, long-listed for the Polaris Music Prize and lauded for its contemporary interpretation of country music. The band also earned acclaim for its moving live performance and ability to fit on any bill, whether indie, folk, or punk, touring Canada and the US.

The new LP Songs of Man reflects a change in personnel, approach and instrumentation. Recorded to tape over twelve days at Blue Rodeo's Woodshed studio, Songs of Man contains ten distinct narrative perspectives and the sounds to match them. Lead singer and lyricist Simone Schmidt draws from her experience as a speech facilitator. "In that job, I'd go around life with people who don't communicate verbally and assist in verbalizing what they're thinking to the rest of the world. I had a deep friend in one person I worked with, Aaron, and I would communicate for him all over the place - the doctor's office, the strip club, therapy, the bar. I got to know a lot of different people in ways I wouldn't have other wise. Wild insights into the human condition. One of the tunes on the record is Aaron's Song."

Schmidt continues her collaboration with Ian Russell (guitar), and welcomes Paul Mortimer (electric lead) as co-writer as well. Most often working in the balladic tradition, Schmidt delves into character sketches of a range of people, some tangential to broader dramas playing themselves out across songs. For instance, "Fires of Regret" is a letter from the man sung about in the title track of the band’s first LP Forest of Tears.

Forest of Tears was recorded live over 13 hours, after the band had played together for a six weeks. In contrast, each song on Songs of Man was treated differently by producer (and pedal steel player) Stew Crookes. "We set out to record one song from start to finish every day, experimenting with sounds while crafting many of the parts in studio as the recording evolved over that day. This allowed us to have different and well considered textures throughout the record."
Crookes has made records with such diverse artists as Doug Paisley, Jill Barber and Hawksely Workman. "The first time we met Stew, we were playing as a duet," guitarist Ian Russell says. "He approached us with an offer to record. Then he started playing with us, and three years later we took him up on the offer. It's lucky because you get all the familiarity and ease of working with an insider who happens to really know what he's doing as a producer."

One Hundred Dollars' instrumentation has changed as well. Jonathan Adjemian has moved on, so Schmidt fills in on keys and plays some guitar too. David Clarke remains on percussion, sometimes stepping outside the kit, and Russell, known for his unique acoustic guitar playing, plugs in the electric. Rookie Kyle Porter has entered the band on bass, shifting Paul Mortimer over to lead guitar. Mortimer's playing has become the signature sound of One Hundred Dollars' live show, as he seamlessly integrates Piedmont country-blues style picking with electric guitar bends and pedals.

With all these changes, Songs of Man moves to reinforce what One Hundred Dollars is best known for: a tight re-imagining of what the contemporary Country Song can be.