Sixteen Different Minds
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Sixteen Different Minds

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Band Folk Rock


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"Sixteen Different Minds- 16 Thumbs Up!"

Black and Blue Notes affords me the opportunity to take the occasional side road; to go off the beaten and well-worn musical path and in doing so I discovered Sixteen Different Minds!
Fresh, new, organic, accessible, and talented. Tell you what; listen to what they have to say and then check them out at

Jamie Bonk – Guitarist and Mandolinist

Brent: How did you all get together and tell me about the new record!

Jamie: We’ve all worked together in different projects, both live and in the studio, for years, but it wasn’t until this last fall that we decided to form Sixteen Different Minds.  For us, what’s been an absolute pleasure is how effortlessly we work together.  From the writing to the recording to the mixing and even to all of the business stuff, things have just flowed!
Right now, we’re in the process of finishing off our debut album, Dancing Castles and we’re looking to have the record wrapped up in about a month.  Then we’re going to be playing everywhere and anywhere anyone will have us!
The entire record has been a mostly in-house affair.  We did the majority of the work at Dave and Wendy’s studio, DaWG Music Studios and some guitar overdubs at my home studio.  Also, all of the mixing and mastering has been done in-house.  The goal in the recording process, and for that matter on the business end, has been to be as self-reliant as possible.

That said, not everything you hear on the album is just the three of us.  We were lucky enough to have Steve Zsirai (Royal Wood, Kathleen Edwards) play bass on the entire album and have some terrific back up vocals from Wendy’s sisters, Marsha and Melissa.

Brent: The sound is very”organic”. Are people tired of the cookie cutter sound today? Your sound is uniquely your own!?

Jamie: Thanks for the compliment Brent!

We actually spent quite a bit of time talking about what kind of “sound” we wanted for this record and for the band in general.  We certainly drew inspiration from artists/bands such as Bruce Cockburn, Joni Mitchell and Black Dub, but when Wendy, Dave and I make music, it pretty much always sounds like us.  Personally, I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Is there a lot of “cookie-cutter” music out there right now?  Yup, there sure is.  But there’s always been that sort of thing.  I think the difference right now is that in the mainstream, the balance between “cookie-cutter” music and non-”cookie-cutter” music is massively out of whack.  I truly believe there’s an audience for Sixteen Different Minds — we just have to find and connect with them.

Dave Patel – Drums

Dave: We wanted to retain our individual personalities on our instruments as well as in the writing process, harmonically, melodically, rhythmically and lyrically. It was important that we kept our own sonic colours and listened carefully to one another, allowing the band’s sound to gel.

Brent: Dave; what are you going for in terms of sound when it comes to the final mix?

Dave: The whole process (writing, recording, playing, mixing ) has been a true collaboration. We all gave input on each others performances during the recording and mixing of the record and it was important to all of us to do so without marginalizing anybody’s personal stamp. Having played in many bands/ projects over the course of my career let me say emphatically that it is rare to have so much genuine collaboration, care, passion and ease in group situation. Anything that we create with this type of process will undoubtedly meet our artistic goals.

Brent: Dave – How hard is it for a folk/rock group to break the musical “glass ceiling”?

Dave: I don’t know…we’ll find out!

In all seriousness, the music industry seems to be imploding. It’s key in these economic times to ensure that artists can effectively self-manage before being given the opportunity to have help that’s beneficial.  We like to think that our authenticity will be a big help and yet we know we have some serious work ahead.

Historically, this genre of music has relied on less traditional methods of marketing to connect with it’s audience.  This hopefully, will work in our favour? 


As I continued my interview up next is vocalist Wendy Irvine. Wendy is a marvelous vocal talent that goes beyond singer to “story-teller”; exquisite!

Brent: Wendy – Tell me a little about your vocal inspiration and how it fits in the creative process with the group.

Wendy: I have been singing for as long as I can remember and I started playing the piano when I was five.  Music was such a huge part of my childhood. Inspiration has come from many places, many singers, and many genres of music and that may sound vague but I feel I have been blessed with such a wide variety of musical experiences in my life.  My first inspirational influence was my mother who taught me to sing! 

I’ve been involved in church choirs, community choirs, musical theatre, youth symphony, rock bands, pop bands, country bands, big bands and recordings since I was 8. 

It is all of these experiences that have helped me to better express myself through music and I am happy and excited to have such a wonderful platform with Sixteen Different Minds. We work so well together!

Brent: From a singers perspective; what are you hearing or not hearing in some popular artists and does this give you any special motivation to do something different?

Wendy: Truthfully, I have something…or rather a great many things that I want to express musically and I feel motivated largely by that instinct.  There are so many amazing artists out there making beautiful music and when I hear how honestly they express themselves, I feel heartened to know that there is a place in today’s music world for this type of artistic honesty.

As a critic:”Artistic Honesty” may very well be the best way to either sum up or try to describe Sixteen Different Minds.
I urge you to talk to your radio stations, internet sites etc. Far too often I hear complaints that there is so much great music out there that is not being given a chance. Music is a business first and foremost and if you are a fan and you want to push a particular group or individual then you speak with your pocket-book and with your actions. Dont let your local radio programmers tell YOU what you need to listen to; you CAN tell them!
Also check out their facebook page where you can sample some of their work.
I want to thank the band members for their time and patience in helping me put this interview together!
Click on the link to their website or go to facebook and “like” Sixteen Different Minds – I do! - Digital Jazz News

""Dancing Castles" Review"

Sixteen Different Minds - Dancing Castles

Jamie Bonk - Guitar/Mandolin
David Patel - Drums
Wendy Irvine - Vocals/Keyboards

Jazz? ... No.
I do reserve the right to take the optional musical side road to explore an artist, a group or a release that I find particularly appealing. There is nothing wrong with pushing musical boundaries or in some cases buttons...This is one of those times.

Most people that know me well know of my distaste for musical labels. These labels have been put into place for the benefit of the music industry more so than the artist and on occasion do more harm than good. The wonderful thing about "Dancing Castles" is that there is a musical honesty and integrity that rises to the surface no matter if you wish to call the group, "folk rock," "alternative," or anything else that fits your musical comfort zone.

Musical frame of reference? Hmmm. REM meets 10,000 Maniacs? Best I can do.

"Dancing Castles" is an exquisite musical marriage of this trio where there is a broad based musical texture combined with subtle nuances that captivate the listener. Solid songwriting. An organic sound - the new unplugged, all make up a sound that is unique to Sixteen Different Minds.

This is an incredibly solid disc. Drawing from influences such as Bruce Cockburn and Paul Simon, "Dancing Castles" is never lacking in melody or musical direction.

"Pop" music is a vast cultural wasteland which has been picked clean by the music industry and an overly trusting public that seems to buy whatever is placed in front of them in the name being the next big thing.

The cream does indeed rise to the top and this is a group well worth your time and attention. Making music that matters, music with a sense of purpose and direction.

I hope you check out Sixteen Different Minds at or their music/band page on face book. You will not be sorry! - @b2jazz


Dancing Castles - 2011



With over 4000 performances and more than 100 albums to their collective credit, the Toronto-based folk rock band Sixteen Different Minds is set to release their debut record, "Dancing Castles". After years of gigging and recording together in a wide variety of projects, vocalist/keyboardist Wendy Irvine, drummer Dave Patel and guitarist/mandolinist Jamie Bonk came together in the fall of 2010 to form Sixteen Different Minds.

Drawing influence from such artists as Bruce Cockburn, Joni Mitchell, Black Dub and Paul Simon, Sixteen Different Minds’ music is at its heart melodic with a strong rhythmic undertone. The band’s lyrics reflect a diversity of topics including their interest in complex human interactions, Gestalt philosophy (“The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”) and dream states.

Collectively, they have had airplay on over 700 radio stations world-wide and received numerous industry awards. Also, performing and/or recording with artists ranging from Madagascar Slim to Sass Jordan to Buffy Ste. Marie to Loren Gold (Roger Daltrey, Melissa Etheridge) to The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has offered a wealth of experience for the members of Sixteen Different Minds.

With the upcoming release of "Dancing Castles", Sixteen Different Minds hope to share their music with listeners and audiences everywhere!

“It's a sincere and unpretentious sound. "Real" is a way to describe it, I guess. The songwriting lets the ideas in them breathe, sweet grooves and drum sounds, LOVE the guitar etc. layering -- and Wendy has a nice, smooth voice.”

-George Geurrette

"16 different minds gets 16 thumbs up!"

-Brent Black

"Tasty tracks with vocals from Wendy Irvine that will reach into your soul..."

-Lorrie Sarafin

“…very fresh-I'm digging it. I'd love to experience this live. I like the way you've stretched stylistically-really digging the mando-VERY, VERY NICE. And you can quote me. And the vocalist works-I get a Cowboy Junkies vibe on some tunes, which I love, but this is sonically richer; there's more chocolate. I'm a fan"

-Ken Bonfield

"Listening to the new tracks, Dave! Sounds great :)"

-Kellylee Evans

“Very good collection of songs, thats so soulful and progressive. you got a very good singer. All the very best wishes to your band.”

-Arun Prasaad

“I find it refreshing to listen to lyrics rooted in the poetic tradition of thoughtfulness and imagination. As a musician, I loved the surprises in textures, timing, and tonalities.”

-Gary Diggins