Rose-Erin Stokes
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Rose-Erin Stokes

North Bay, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

North Bay, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Solo Spoken Word Singer/Songwriter




"Review – “Not Alone” – Rose-Erin Stokes"

A recent piece of analysis by the Economist promises to debunk all the myths surrounding the younger members of society. Oh yes, the entitled generation that never gets up off the couch? Yeah, the truth is somewhat more complicated than most trashy journalism is willing to uncover — apparently young people have got their act together and might even be doing a better job of not fucking up than their parents. On Toronto’s Youth Day, I find myself filled with hope for all the out of work, uninsured, climate changed rabble that I myself form a small, loud part of. I can’t help but feel that sultry, enthusiastic Ontarian Rose-Erin Stokes feels the same way.

Stokes has recorded a delightful EP with Not Alone. Her tunes track feelings of longing and disappointment, a youthful economy of lyrical content, if you will. The solitude of North Bay, ON comes shining through on the delicately articulated tracks. Repeatedly throughout the songs, a single relationship, in a single moment is picked at and probed until it reveals a truth. The song becomes a vacuum chamber, in which Stokes has placed a vital aspect of love and loss worthy of deep study.

String noise and atmospheric synth work collect within songs of direct communication on the album. Opener “If I Can’t Have Your Love” sets a tone of determination and starts off with a strong example of the intelligent production found on the record: the song is essentially a vocals and guitar heavyweight, yet the space for synthesizer and the appropriate punctuation of backing vocals is found and put into action, just so. It’s effects like these that transform a lyric with the potential for a downward emotional trajectory into a soaring introductory track.

Title track “Not Alone” is equally stirring. The song begins in a similarly muted fashion, with Stokes plucking away a “same old song” as mentioned in the track’s first lines. But very quickly, the sounds build into a chattering, surging number. Vocal work piles up, Eric Treleavan’s wonderful lead guitar and banjo join the party, and the shuffle of Ben Legett’s drums carry things in all the right directions. It might sound sappy at first, but with tasteful musical accompaniment, the line, “Don’t lose hope, you are not alone,” can come off as sounding unpretentious and wholeheartedly tender.

Maybe the music of the young today is any music that seeks a way forward through obstacles and challenges that seem unforgivably overbearing. Rose-Erin Stokes has such a collection of songs with the Not Alone EP. The music is moving, without trying too hard, and that’s just as noble as quiet confidence in a world that seems determined to write you off.

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)

Top Tracks: “Not Alone” ; “Stay” ; “Tonight” - Grayowl Point

"Bandwidth interview w/ Meg Wilcox (starts @ 3:58 mins)" -


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


When listening to the hauntingly beautiful melodies on Wherever I Go, the debut full-length album by Rose-Erin Stokes, you can’t help but be transfixed by every lilting note, every phrase and every plucked string. There is a quiet stillness to some songs, and within others one can sense an emotional tumult just rippling under the surface.

What is undeniable is the deeply honest approach to her musical storytelling, a wide-open emotional tableau that is representative of the silence of the vast forests, and big open skies of the northern Ontario city of North Bay where Stokes was born and raised.

Highlighted by an artistic acumen and an amazing ability to evoke emotion, Wherever I Go is demonstrative of a songwriting craftsperson at work, with music, words and vocal performances that connect to the hearts and spirits of all who hear them.

Wherever I Go was produced by friend and Juno-nominated producer/engineer Ben Leggett in his home studio in North Bay. The two previously collaborated on Stokes’ debut EP in 2014, as well as on the first Hidden Roots Collective album, Come Up, Honey, which came out in 2016. That side project saw Stokes join musical forces with singer/songwriters Annie Sumi, Holly Cunningham and Brigitte Lebel – all of whom has strong North Bay connections. The album was nominated for a 2017 Canadian Folk Music Award.

Stokes has toured extensively as both a solo artist and with the Hidden Roots Collective, and was lauded with two nominations from the 2015 Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards, winning for Best Vocals on a recording for her EP. The 2017 Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards saw her take home Best Songwriter for her song 'Let You Go' which was recorded with the Collective.

Spending much of the past few years as an itinerant musician after her university days in Sudbury, Stokes said she has found herself more rooted in her northern Ontario home than ever before, and it’s reflected in the tone and tenor of her music. There is calm strength to both her music and her melodies, and a deft sensitivity throughout the compositions, arrangements and the recorded performances that is powerfully compelling.

With Wherever I Go, Stokes has demonstrated a dynamic range of emotional textures as an artist, from vulnerability, quiet hopefulness to graceful sad resignation and much more, all beautiful bound up with tasteful, ethereal melodies. She has just begun to mine the depths of her creative spirit and there are undoubtedly many more musical treasures yet to come.

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