Sweet Alibi
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Sweet Alibi

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Folk Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Tom Power's New Music Picks"

"Kind of a cross between Mumford and Sons and the Supremes." -Tom Power - CBC

"Sweet Alibi CD Review"

Sweet Alibi

On paper, the influences apparent on Sweet Alibi’s self-titled debut are almost confusing. Jessica Rae Ayre’s honey-smooth voice recalls retro R&B while Michelle Anderson and Amber Nielsen tackle an impressive array of instruments common in folk and roots (banjo, ukulele). But on disc, the blend works well, and establishes Sweet Alibi as one of the most eclectic yet accessible bands in Winnipeg. The ladies use three-part harmonies to tie their folk and old-school doo-wop influences together and give this album coherence. And, where a lot of bands could lose focus, Sweet Alibi not only manages to keep it together, but keep it interesting.
– Emily Wessel - – Emily Wessel

"Sweet Alibi"


What do you call three talented and beautiful female musicians whose tight vocal harmonies deftly traverse any number of genres? Well, now you can call them Sweet Alibi.

Jessica Rae Ayre, Amber Nielson and Michelle Anderson have been playing together under the Sweet Alibi moniker for nearly three years and have grown an impressive local following.

The self-described folk roots trio recently returned from their Home Routes tour. The 12-date, prairie-centric tour took them as far as Fort McMurray in northern Alberta. Playing to small audiences in living rooms, Nielson says the band enjoyed the intimate experience.

“(There’s been) really big response from people,” she says. “Everyone really liked the music, so it was good.”

Their focus is now firmly on the release of their self-titled debut record, a musical collection more than a year in the making.

“We weren’t recording all year, it’s just that it took us that long to get together that many times,” says Nielson, who estimates the band spent more than 100 hours in the studio getting everything just right.

You can see the result at the Sweet Alibi CD release party this Sunday, Nov. 20 at the Park Theatre.

The band will be filled out by Alasdair Dunlop, Phil Collins and Mitch Dorge, and Scott Nolan will play a solo set to open before Sweet Alibi takes to the stage to play their full album.

Doors open at 7:15 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door and copies of their new CD can be had for $20.

Visit http://www.sweetalibi.com.

- Aaron Snider - - Aaron Snider

"Kelowna to hear Sweet Alibi's tear-jerking lullabys"

Solid vocal harmonies put the sugar in Sweet Alibi's natural lilt, but it's their open-minded approach to music that just might put this band on top.

The Winnipeg-based girl group has just released their first CD and hope it won't be long until they're playing music full-time, touring the world to play festivals and concerts from the United State to Europe—and they've roped some pretty big support thus far.

Their first CD, self-titled, is produced by Juno award winner and former Crash Test Dummies member Mitch Dorge, who was playing with band member Michelle Anderson's boyfriend when he was introduced to their sound.

"We me him at a house concert for somebody's birthday," said Jessica Rae Ayre, who assembled Sweet Alibi out of a collection of friends."We got to talking about recording and within a few months started working with him."

It didn't take much to iron out the kinks in their harmonies. With four ears on the task, it was easy to hear what worked, what didn't and how exactly to polish the trio's unique style.

Rae Ayre comes from more of a blues/soul background, listening to the likes of Etta James, Coco Taylor and Adele, whom fans have been telling her fits her sound perfectly. Amber Nielsen claims more of a country background with Dolly Parton and Gillian Welch belting from her stereo, whereas Anderson has some classical training and jazz, from university, and typically has singer/songwriters like Hawksley Workman on the brain.

All this is to say the group is somewhat typically atypical a this stage in their career. Still in what one might call the formative years, the CD showcases a lot of talent and an open-ended direction that should make their concert interesting.

And while they do have fairly normal topics, relationships and the like, tunes like Phoebe's Song demonstrate a creative capacity that's both sweet, sad and humorous. The song is about Nielsen's bird, Pheobe, and is best described as a bittersweet lullaby.

"How lucky am I to have lived in a world with something so sweet?" the girls croon.

Sadly it appears a window has been left open as the story unfolds. - Jennifer Smith - Kelowna Capital News

"Sweet Alibi"

"Honest, unpretentious music, written by humble,fun loving people. Music
that will be as good 20 years from now as it is today "
- Mitch Dorge/Producer
- Mitch Dorge

"Bruce Ladan/ CBC Radio One"

"These are musically diverse young women. Amber, Jess and Michelle's voices work so well together." - CBC

"Manitobans Triumphant at 2014 Western Canadian Music Award Nominations"

Manitoba's music community had a lot to celebrate as BreakOut West 2014 wrapped up its stellar four-day run in host city Winnipeg on October 5. Hometown talent picked up an unprecedented 17 awards in artistic and industry categories at the 12th annual Western Canadian Music Awards, which recognize and celebrate the best and brightest break out stars from across Western Canada.

Roots singer/songwriter Del Barber, the night's only double winner, continued his streak at the WCMAs with wins for Songwriter of the Year and Roots Solo Recording of the Year for his latest, Prairieography. No stranger to the awards, Barber won in the Roots Solo category last year with his album, Headwaters, and in 2011 for Love Songs for the Last Twenty, which also earned him Independent Album of the Year.

Genre-defying pop outfit Royal Canoe won Independent Album of the Year for its internationally-acclaimed debut LP, Today We're Believers. This was the first nomination for the JUNO Award-nominated six-piece, which is currently on a North American tour with dates across Canada and in several major American markets.

Other artistic winners from Manitoba included: Federal Lights for Aboriginal Recording of the Year for its full-length debut, We Were Found In The Fog; Blues Recording of the Year for The Perpetrators' Stick 'Em Up; marijosée for Francophone Recording of the Year for her latest, Pas tout cuit dans l’bec; Imaginary Cities for Pop Recording of the Year for its sophomore release, Fall of Romance; Roots Group Recording of the Year for Sweet Alibi's We've Got To; Moses Mayes for Urban Recording of the Year for its self-titled release with former Winnipeg-based vocalist, Maiko Watson; and World Recording of the Year for The Mariachi Ghost's self-titled mix of Mexican trad and prog rock.

With four wins in the Industry Award categories, Manitoba’s industry entrepreneurs and music companies also had an impressive showing in 2014. This year’s accolades included Manager of the Year for Pipe & Hat's Tim Jones; Live Music Venue of the Year for The Park Theatre; Engineer of the Year for Cam Loeppky; and Producer of the Year for Rusty Matyas (also of Imaginary Cities).

The WCMA also celebrated three legendary figures on Manitoba's music landscape with special awards this year. Singer/songwriter and children's entertainer extraordinaire Fred Penner was inducted into the Western Canadian Hall of Fame. Ron Paley -- band leader, composer, arranger, and musical mentor -- was given the Heritage Award. In an emotional tribute, Kevin Walters was honoured posthumously with the Industry Builder Award. In recognition of Walters' tremendous work in fostering and developing the music industry in Manitoba and beyond, the award has been renamed the Kevin Walters Industry Builder Award.

Hosted by CBC Radio personality Grant Lawrence, the gala was held at the newly-opened Club Regent Event Centre, and featured show-stopping performances from some of the night's award winners, including Del Barber, Federal Lights, marijosée, Ron Paley, and Fred Penner. The Industry Awards were given out at a brunch hosted by 103.1 Virgin Radio's Ace Burpee on October 4 at the Fairmont Hotel, which included a performance by The Bros. Landreth.

Many of this year's homegrown winners, both artists and industry, have been able to leverage Manitoba Music's programs and services throughout their careers, from professional development and mentoring to market development opportunities.

"It's been an incredible few days here in Winnipeg," says Manitoba Music's executive director, Sara Stasiuk, who also sits on the Board of BreakOut West's parent organization, the Western Canadian Music Alliance. "Manitoba's music community has shined throughout this event. We're so honoured to have the opportunity to work with such talented, dedicated, and innovative artists and industry entrepreneurs, and proud of the fantastic work our members do on a daily basis."

A highlight of Manitoba's Year of Music, the awards gala was the pinnacle event of BreakOut West, which took over Winnipeg, October 2-5. The event featured the two awards shows, a busy industry conference, and a two-day music festival with 70 showcasing acts in 15 venues. This year's festival included performances from many of this year's nominees, including a large local contingent.

BreakOut West presents an incredible opportunity for emerging and established artists to be a part of the western Canadian music community. Participating artists and other music professionals have the chance to meet and network with key industry stakeholders creating the opportunity for a new wave of exciting industry developments.

BreakOut West 2015 will take place in Victoria, BC September 17-20.

For a complete list of 2014 WCMA winners, please visit breakoutwest.ca.

2014 Western Canadian Music Awards - Manitoba Winners

Artistic Awards

Federal Lights - We Were Found In The Fog

The Perpetrators - Stick 'Em Up

marijosée - Pas tout cuit dans l'bec

Royal Canoe - Today We're Believers

Imaginary Cities - Fall of Romance

Sweet Alibi - We've Got To

Del Barber - Prairieography

Del Barber - "Big Smoke" from the album Prairieography

Moses Mayes - Moses Mayes

The Mariachi Ghost - The Mariachi Ghost

Industry Awards

Cam Loeppky - Greg MacPherson, Fireball / Sweet Alibi, We've Got To / Federal Lights, We We're Found in the Fog / Slow Leaves, Second Chances / Les Jupes, Negative Space

The Park Theatre

Tim Jones, Pipe & Hat

Rusty Matyas - Sweet Alibi, Federal Lights, Slow Leaves

Kevin Walters

Ron Paley

Fred Penner - Manitoba Music

"Local folk-pop trio Sweet Alibi create harmonious bond"

Sweet Alibi is about as Winnipeg as a Winnipeg band can get.

Not only were all three members born and raised here, but the band records here, often uses local producers and recently hired a Winnipeg director, Madison Thomas, to shoot the video for the title track of their new album, Walking in the Dark.

Winnipeg folk trio Sweet Alibi (Amber Quesnel, Jess Rae Ayre, and Michelle Anderson) play in the Exchange District in Winnipeg on Monday.
Winnipeg folk trio Sweet Alibi (Amber Quesnel, Jess Rae Ayre, and Michelle Anderson) play in the Exchange District in Winnipeg on Monday. Purchase Photo Print
Walking in the Dark is the third album for the folk-pop trio — Amber Quesnel, 31, Jess Rae Ayre, 29 and Michelle Anderson, 29 — and they will mark the release with a show at the West End Cultural Centre Nov. 20. Despite their deeply ingrained connection to their city, the three women express a little anxiety at the idea of playing new music for a hometown crowd.

"It’s actually nerve-racking because people have seen us here since the beginning... I’m more excited, though, for people to see how far we’ve come," says Quesnel, who notes the band has been together for nearly seven years.

Quesnel, Anderson and Ayre all share vocal and instrumental duties, creating a rich, sparkling sound that pulls elements from country, pop, gospel and folk. There is a naturalness to their harmonies, and the national music scene is starting to take notice. Their second album, We’ve Got To, won a Western Canadian Music Award for Roots Duo/Group Recording of the Year in 2014.

"I was shocked... We sat at the back because we didn’t think we’d win," says Anderson with a laugh.

On their newest record, produced by Murray Pulver (Bros. Landreth, Crash Test Dummies), the group explores the ideas of family and the loss of loved ones, inspired by the way their touring lifestyle has affected their personal lives, as well as the recent death of Quesnel’s mother.

"We’re touring a lot and we can’t always be there for good times or bad, so we just try to do our best with that," says Ayre. "Walking in the Dark (the single) is dedicated to Amber’s mom, who passed away last year... It’s just about the realities of everybody’s life, but it’s different when you’re not able to be there physically all the time."

"We tried to stick to a bit more of a theme this time; our first album was more all over the map, and our second album was a little bit more themed, but we had more time with the third one," adds Quesnel. "We really put a lot of thought into our lyrics and how we sing it and what we’re singing about."

It’s clear from the inside jokes and the knowing glances they share across the table the women are three peas in a pod — and you can only reach that point in a friendship after hundreds of hours logged together. Though there is such a thing as too much time spent in each other’s company, Sweet Alibi is certainly not suffering from the seven-year itch.

"We’re learning a lot from each other. I find more and more that I see myself in Michelle and Jess, and vice versa," says Quesnel.

"I think we just learn what works and what doesn’t, being in such close quarters all the time. There might have been things years ago that we would get easily bothered by, and now we can just live with it because it’s not going to matter in a week," adds Ayre.

"Going through a lot of crises in our lives has helped with that because when you get right down to it, we love each other so much," Quesnel continues. "Like when my mom passed away, they were there the day she died, and you just realize who’s important in your life." - Winnipeg Free Press


Sweet Alibi - Nov. 2011
We've Got To - Nov. 2013
Walking In The Dark - Nov. 2015



Western Canadian Music Award Winners, Sweet Alibi, have been captivating audiences across Canada. The Winnipeg-based folk/pop band infuse their signature harmonies with influences of everything from folk to country to soul, without a hint of shame. Sweet Alibi's Jess Rae Ayre, Amber Quesnel, and Michelle Anderson share personal experiences that are genuinely felt in song. Tom Power of CBC Radio 2 describes the band: "If Mumford and Sons and the Supremes had a love child you would name it Sweet Alibi". Audiences have been raving nationwide for their performances at Winnipeg Folk Fest, Juno Fest, Canada Day in Ottawa, International jazz festivals, and many concert series. Currently you can find the band touring their new material from theirCFMA/WCMA nominated release We’ve Got To (produced by Rusty Matyas of Imaginary Cities).

Keep your ears to the ground for Sweet Alibi's third album " Walking In The Dark "  to be released. Walking In the Dark is a collection of songs written by Jess, Amber, and Michelle over the last few years, captured flawlessly by Juno Winning Producer Murray Pulver (The Bros. Landreth, Crash Test Dummies).

Walking in the Dark is a melodically rewarding exploration of relationships, heartache, loss of loved ones and the search for balance when living life on the road. Sweet Alibi’s powerhouse vocal harmonies and memorable songs have never been stronger.

Band Members