rosemary phelan
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rosemary phelan

Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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Release of "Avalanche Lily"

Toronto, Ontario, July 1, 2007

"The performances cut to the bone..." says Bill Garrett (Borealis Records) of Rosemary Phelan's music. At home on both sides of the U.S./Canada border, Phelan will release a new collection of vibrant, true-to-life songs in New England this summer followed by a September 20th release at prestigious folk/roots venue Hugh's Room in Toronto. The stellar lineup of special guests for the Hugh's Room show includes Dave Clarke, Chris Coole, Jason LaPrade, Suzie Vinnick, Adam Warner and David Woodhead, all of whom are featured on "Avalanche Lily".

The songs on "Avalanche Lily"? reflect the shifting landscapes of our common life stories with an uncommon depth of practical wisdom and quiet humour. Phelan draws from a tumultuous yet rich early life of near-constant travel in a bilingual, multi-cultural, blended family, several years of wilderness living, and her experiences as an urban visiting nurse for moment-of-truth stories that resonate across all societal boundaries. Each tune is respectfully treated with spare instrumentation and soul-stirring vocals by Rosemary and a carefully chosen collective of Canadian talent. For the listener, it's apparent that Phelan's incisive, poetic tales are born of a life deeply lived; of standing witness over and over again to the realities of human struggle and sacrifice. Yet at the core of each story burns a flame of quiet hope so real and unwavering that one comes away altered, warmed by a renewed belief in the inextinguishable power of goodness.

press release (Jul 1, 2007)
- new album:

"... I must say that rarely am I so impressed with a CD at first listen. ... this truly is a joy; it's like love at first sight. If you truly believe it, then your are afraid to revisit it, although you must return... [it] makes me wish for a broken heart and an end to war and a return to optimism."
- Roger Wise, Restless Mornings

"With the release of Avalanche Lily, Toronto-based singer songwriter
Rosemary Phelan has created a beacon in what can often be a wasteland of acoustic music.

Each song in the collection provides a personal, clear-eyed view of life's
vistas. There is the realization of the depth of love in Silver Threads ,
the inspiration of nature captured in The Nesting Bird, a sense of a
soldier's overwhelming sense of duty in the sorrowful The Ballad of Tom
Stone and the inspirational hope found in the title track. Not to mention my personal favourite from the album, Lay Your Burden Down, an anthem to hope and helping if there ever was one.

Phelan has supplemented her gorgeous voice with some of Toronto's finest... musicians, including Jason LaPrade, David Woodhead, Dave Clarke, Chris Coole, Suzie Vinnick and Adam Warner. Each contributes to an
understated yet powerful collection that will, in my opinion, quickly
become a standard.

Add a dash of hope and a shred of inspiration and presto! you have a CD that comforts and inspires all in the same moment. Well done Rosemary Phelan, I only hope that I don't wear the CD out too quickly through constant use."

steve clarke
Acoustic Planet
(Thursday 8 to 10 pm)
Erin Radio CHES 101.5 FM

- by Steve Clarke, Acoustic Planet



full-length albums

2008 ~ WAKE THE NIGHTINGALE ~ songs for solace and sleep
2007 ~ AVALANCHE LILY (2008 Song of the Year, Porcupine Awards)
2006 ~ CHEMO BRAIN! (original play soundtrack)


by the Association of Artists for a Better World; Song: "The Trees"

harmony vocals on the following recordings:

Dave Clarke (2007) "Reunion"
Asetha Power (2008) "Child of Rhyme"
Rich Burnett (2009) "Not So Blue"
David Fougere (2009) "Somewhere in the Milky Way"
Ron & Liam Jones (2009) "Keeping Up With the Joneses"
Marianne Girard (2009) "Pirate Days"
Tom St. Louis (2009) *Little Maggie"
more to come...

"When I first heard Rosemary's beautiful harmonies on 'Letters From Africa', I felt a surge of gratitude so strong it almost knocked me over. If you get a chance to work with this amazing musician be prepared for something wonderful to happen, (and make sure you've got your socks pulled up tight)." DAVID FOUGERE

"You are a mensch and a true musician... your chops are so good. You really got into the spirit of the songs, you were right on key and on time, and the ideas you offered were perfect." TOM ST. LOUIS

(Aww... thanks, guys!)



"... like love at first sight..." Roger Wise, Restless Mornings
"... an incisive lyricist... songs that deserve a close listen." David Francey
"... let her gorgeous voice wash over you..." Sing Out! magazine
"... full of heart and soul." Mark Michaelis, Acoustic Harmony
"... the performances cut to the bone..." Bill Garrett, Borealis Records

"There is something in Rosemary Phelan's voice and songs that moves me to tears each time I hear her. Even the happy songs. Her voice and words go straight to my heart and my response to her work is involuntary - I simply surrender." Ian Tamblyn

"Amidst an identity challenged folk music industry desperately enamoured with cuteness, nostalgia, and escapism, Rosemary Phelan reminds us the true folksinger's vocation: to sing out, with love and moral conscience, our happinesses and our sufferings." Jon Brooks

Rosemary Phelan has run the gamut from calling square dances in the hills of northern Vermont to singing Mozart in the halls of the Royal Conservatory. Somewhere between the barn and the recital hall she found the music of her heart.

The grace and losses encountered during a tumultuous, nomadic childhood, time spent eking out a hard-won living in the bush, and her years as a community nurse in the urban core live in Rosemary's songs. She sincerely hopes the goodness she found at the root of it all can be found there, too.

In addition to writing and performing, Rosemary facilitates a unique songwriting workshop series, "right|:|left WRITE", in Toronto. She also offers seminars on the use of live music with individuals who are very ill or dying, a practice which is especially close to her heart. Rosemary's work in this area will be featured in a CBC documentary scheduled to air in 2010.

Rosemary performs solo, in a duo with partner and multi-instrumentalist Jason LaPrade, and as a harmony vocalist for fellow artists. She's currently at work on a new recording project, "what sings in the blood", with an anticipated release date of Spring 2010. Joining Rosemary and Jason on the project are David Francey, Ian Tamblyn, Chris Coole, and numerous other luminary Canadian artists.

Spurred on by the well-intentioned prodding of friends, Rosemary is mining the winding tracts of her life for a book of stories and songs. She'd like to mention that she wakes up and falls asleep counting her blessings, yet has never made it all the way to the end of the list. She wishes the same for you, with all her heart.


* 2010 - "A Deeper Well" fundraising concert to benefit Haiti earthquake relief efforts raises $4000 for Medicins sans Frontieres
* 2009 – “The Trees� chosen for compilation CD “Songs of Canada: An Anthology of Canadian Songwriters�, compiled by the Association of Artists for a Better World, to benefit Doctors Without Borders
* 2009 – “Firefly Instrumental� chosen by Toronto Transit Commission as the soundtrack for a memorial video for a fallen worker, Antonio Almeda
* 2008 – “Hummingbird� chosen Song of the Year, 2008 Porcupine Awards
* 2008 - release of full-length album "Wake the Nightingale: Songs for Solace and Sleep"
* 2007 - release of full-length album, "Avalanche Lily"
* 2006 – Soundtrack commissioned for the successful U.S.-based play “Chemo Brain�