Teresa Ennis
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Teresa Ennis


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"Finding a sense of freedom"

Finding a sense of freedom:

Teresa Ennis, one-third of Newfoundland trio, releases debut CD Space

Some of the best music simply occurs in the moment.

Whether it’s a late-night jazz club jam session or a few friends sitting around a Mabou kitchen table, there’s nothing like a relaxed setting and a few favourite tunes to create a memorable musical moment.

On the other hand, there’s very little that’s relaxed about the music business, and making music for a living can introduce a lot of pressures into an activity that used to be something you’d do for fun.

Teresa Ennis has seen both sides of making music as one third of Newfoundland’s successful vocal trio the Ennis Sisters, from singing Christmas and folk tunes in the family home in St. John’s to becoming a busy recording and touring act with Juno and East Coast Music Awards on the mantle.

While sisters Karen and Maureen take some time off from the trio to pursue some new musical avenues, Teresa has followed a very different formula of music making for her solo debut Space, which lands in stores on Tuesday.

It’s a kind of roundabout record made with musician-producer Joel Hunt, a longtime friend of her partner and manager Andre Bourgeois who recently moved to Beaver Bank from Guelph.

Largely acoustic, with imaginative reworkings of an eclectic assortment of pop and folk songs, Space gave Ennis a sense of freedom she hadn’t encountered in the studio before.

""This didn’t come about like your traditional record,"" she says over a tea on a sunny Argyle Street patio.

""We were just sitting around listening to tunes that we liked, and we decided to record a few. When we got to around six, we started to entertain the idea of releasing something.

""When we got to 12 songs, we became more serious about putting them on a disc, but recording was something we’d do after we’d been outdoors doing sea kayaking or whatever. We’d be listening to music, and I’d hear something that would make me think, "Oh yeah, I can sing that,’ and off we’d go. It happened gradually, over a year and a half.""

Ennis and Hunt picked songs they liked that people might find familiar, but not overly familiar, like the mid-’70s Who song Blue, Red and Grey.

""It’s not your typical Pete Townshend tune, it’s a little lighter. It’s like a folk tune.""

Or the gentle Annie, by the late Small Faces member Ronnie Lane.

There’s also an easygoing version of Bruce Cockburn’s Going to the Country, and even an uptempo bluegrass reworking of Electric Light Orchestra’s Can’t Get It Out of My Head that’s been catching listeners off guard while they try to figure out where they’ve heard it before.

For new material, Hunt contributed the title track, which closes the record with an ode to love and leisure, and Ennis’s own Under the Moon, which she co-wrote with Bourgeois.

""I wrote that one two years ago, when I was just getting to know Joel and before I had any thought of doing my own project,"" she says.

""It was the middle of the winter, freezing cold, and I was thinking about watching the stars in the summertime. My family is all huge star-watchers, and my dad calls us a bunch of astronauts.

""I know a few of the constellations, and I’m trying to learn some more. I went out at 2:30 a.m. to watch the meteor showers recently. Maybe a song will come out of that some day. I’m gonna work on it.""

Performing as a solo artist is a whole new learning curve for Ennis, after years as part of a trio.

Working on Space also gave her more confidence when it comes to making her own music, helping her to open up the creative tap for songwriting.

""I’ve written a couple of songs that will probably go on the next one, but it doesn’t come to me as easily as it does to my sister Maureen, for example,"" she says.

""She’s really good when it comes to finding melodies and words to go with them. I’m working on it, I find with practice and time it’s getting easier.""

Although her sisters are concentrating on their own lives for the time being, with Maureen working on a publishing deal in Nashville, Ennis says it’s likely the three of them will sing together again somewhere down the road.

For now, she’s going to follow her own star and see what happens.

There are songs from the Space sessions, and new ones recorded since then, that may surface in the coming months, and the job of getting out there and making sure people get to hear the new CD.

""I want to do as much promotional stuff as I can, and next summer we’ll focus on some live shows, and just see where it goes. I want it to be really easygoing; I don’t want any pressure around it,"" says Ennis, who chats about Space with Bill Hart on CHFX 101.9 FM today at 6 p.m.

""There’s always going to be some, but I don’t want it to be about industry, I want it to be more about how it was recorded.

""We were watching hockey games, and recording parts during Coaches’ Corner. Th - The Chronicle-Herald - By Stephen Cooke

"Finding Her Space"

Finding Her Space
The Newfoundland Herald - September, 2007 - Kevin Kelly

After years of success with her sisters, Newfoundland and Labrador's Teresa Ennis shows her individuality on new solo album.

When most people think of Newfoundland's country/folk trio The Ennis Sisters, it's hard to believe they are music industry veterans with a decade of performances and recordings under their belt. We've all watched the three grow and develop, both in their songwriting and their professionalism as a trio, and they've earned a Juno, along with numerous ECMA and MUSIC NL awards along the way. Teresa Ennis, the youngest of the Ennis Sisters trio, has seen a lot in her young career, and now she's hoping fans will embrace her solo career as well. On her first solo album, Space, which was released nationwide last week on Fontana North/Universal Music Canada, Ennis is exploring her love of bluegrass, and you can also tell there's a huge influence from 1970's pop. It would seemingly be an unlikely muse for a gal not even in her 30s, but the album contains a number of covers of songs from the likes of Bruce Cockburn (Going To The Country), Electric Light Orchestra (Can't Get It Out Of My Head), Supertramp (Downstream), Jackson Browne (Song For Adam) and early Eagles (Train Leaves Here), all of which Ennis puts her own stamp on. For example, the ELO tune is reinvented as a bluegrass number, and despite the dissimilarity of the originals to Ennis's styles, it still really works in the end. Ennis, speaking to The Herald via telephone from Nova Scotia, says the solo album wasn't something she had planned to do, but it worked out that way. "It was more like we were recording songs, with no intention of ever releasing them," she admits of the sessions with producer Joel Hunt. "We had recorded The Lowlands, a song by Gary Scruggs, and we said 'wow, that sounds really cool.' It ignited the flame, so then we started doing a bunch of different songs after that." Ennis says after recording six or seven songs, thoughts of an album came up.

"We picked 11 or 12 of our favourite ones, and where The Ennis Sisters were on a bit of a break, I figured I could release something." The 1970's influence on the album shouldn't be that much of a surprise. "I'm a fan," she says of the music from the 'Have A Nice Day' decade, "but I've become much more aware of it since I've been hanging out with Joel." The fact that there was no pressure on Ennis during the process also helped the songs take shape.

"The way it was done, the way it was recorded, we'd just hang out all the time," she says. "Joel plays a lot of instruments, fiddle, guitar, dobro, anything with strings, basically," she says with a laugh. "We'd be cooking food, listening to an album we really liked, hear one particular tune, and we'd say 'Let's try that.'" It's also exciting that the album is receiving national distribution because as she points out, "we were doing it for ourselves." "The fact that people are interested in it, radio stations are playing it is all a bonus, and I'm very pleased and excited about it. I was ecstatic when I heard the news." Ennis describes the new CD as an "acoustic folk album with a bluegrass sort of feel." It's an apt description, as the gentle music, aided by Ennis's soothing vocals, makes Space a record that easily connects with the listener.

EASYGOING LIFE, EASYGOING SONGSCovering one of Cockburn's first singles, Going To The Country, proved to be a special experience for Ennis. "That song has such a great feel to it," Ennis admits, and she had a real connection to the lyrics. "I live in the country in rural Nova Scotia, and it really captures my lifestyle," she says of Cockburn's tune. "Just the feeling of open spaces and driving down a country, twisty-turny road. It fit in really well with the idea of Space, which was the title of the album. It's all about finding time for yourself and peace in nature." Ennis also tried her hand at songwriting on one tune for the album, as Under The Moon is a collaboration between Ennis and manager Andre Bourgeois. "For me, songwriting doesn't come as natural as it does for Maureen, but it is something that I'm working at. Under The Moon was written in the winter time about two years ago, during a really cold February. February is that kind of month when you want the summer to be here, and I was thinking back to the summer when I'd sit out and see all the stars, and really longing for that time to come again, the warm summer nights and watching the constellations." Having her home base in Nova Scotia isn't too much different than her original Newfoundland home.

"St. John's is usually pretty easygoing and laid back, and we have a cabin in Cape Broyle, so my lifestyle hasn't really changed much," she says. "The only thing that is different is that we, as sisters, worked together and spent all of our time together, and at some point, you have to become an individual, and sort of, separate yourself - The Newfoundland Herald - By Kevin Kelly

"New Ennis CD ‘Space’ folksy with side trips into country"

New Ennis CD ‘Space’ folksy with side trips into country

The Cape Breton Post

"The end of the year gives us a chance to clean up all those loose ends in our life and finish off everything that we’ve been putting off for so long. I’m going to do some of that right now.

"It helps that I was among the sick and injured for the past week and didn’t get out to see any shows. I didn’t even make it to see The Barra MacNeils, although I understand it was a great evening of entertainment. Instead, I watched and enjoyed the new Barras Christmas special on TV.

"One of the CDs that I have been sitting on for a while is the new release from Teresa Ennis, the youngest of Newfoundland’s Ennis Sisters. Now living in Nova Scotia, she has struck out on her own with a new project called “Space.”

“'Space' is quite folksy, with occasional side trips into solid country.

"She has gone to an eclectic mixture of writers for her material with sources as diverse as Jackson Browne, Bruce Cockburn and Jeff Lynne.

"There is even one of her own tunes, co-written with her manager Andre Bourgeois, a bouncy, dobro and harmonica-driven song called “Under The Moon.”

"I am most taken by her peppy version of Cockburn’s “Going to the Country” and the hauntingly beautiful “The Lowlands” by Garry Scruggs.

"Theresa has also taken some of the songs and put her own twist to them. Her arrangements of Lynne’s “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head” and Ronald Bourgeois’ “Ma Jolie” give a fresh sound to both songs.

“'Space' is mainly acoustic, with Jeff Bird and producer Joel Hunt handling the majority of the musical backup, providing a solid array of instrumentation spread across a dozen cuts.

"It’s not an overpowering CD, but it is laid back and comfortable, with Teresa’s clear voice easily coming to the forefront. Overall, this is a nice listen."

- The Cape Breton Post

"Applaud! Top 25"

Applaud! Top 25:

Teresa Ennis was identified as 1 of 25 Canadian female acts, (including groups), with outstanding international potential in the September 2007 issue of the industry magazine Applaud!

Applaud! broke the 25 female artists included down into several categories including: rock, pop, jazz, blues, world and roots. Teresa Ennis was one of only 6 female artists singled out in the Roots category. Some other female artists included on the overall list were: Tegan and Sara, Sophie Milman and Alana Levandoski.

What Applaud! had to say about Teresa Ennis:
‘Space may be Star Trek’s final frontier, but it’s just the beginning for St. John’s, Newfoundland native Teresa Ennis. Stepping out as a solo artist after a decade with her siblings, The Ennis Sisters, the airy bluegrass/folk tunes delivered by Teresa are refreshingly wholesome; check out her banjo-laden cover of ELO’s ‘Can’t Get It Out Of My Head’.

- Applaud Magazine


Space - Released Sept 11, 2007
Stars - Released Nov 17, 2009
Played on the following stations (for example):

94.7 Seaside FM - (Eastern Passage, NS)
CBC Atlantic Airwaves (Atlantic Can)
CBC The Performance Hour (NL and Lab)
CBC Liner Notes (NL and Lab)
CBC Mainstreet Cape Breton (Sydney, NS)
CBC Nova Scotia
Q104 FM Route 104 - (Halifax, NS)
97.5 FM K-Rock (St. John's, NL)
CFRC 101.9 FM (Kingston, ON)
590 VOCM (St. John's, NL)
CKPC-FM - Just Us Folk (Brantford, ON)
CHMR 93.5 FM
Iceberg 95 on Sirius Satellite Radio - River of Song- CKJS Radio 810 - 'Prairie Ceilidh' Radio Show (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
CIUT-FM 89.5 - Back To The Sugar Camp (Toronto ON)
CJTR 91.3 FM - Regina's Mighty Shores (Regina, Sask)
FX 101.9 FM - (Halifax, NS)
CFLX-FM 95,5 (Sherbrooke, Qué)
KCLC - The Acoustic Edge 89., (St. Louis, MO)
CKUA - Notes From Home- (Calgary, AB)
WDCB, 90.9 FM - Blarney on the Air- (Chicago, IL)
Chicago Irish American News (Chicago, IL)



Teresa Ennis represents a new generation of female singer-songwriter.
She blends her Irish-Newfoundland-Celtic back ground with more contemporary folk and roots elements coming up with a refreshing blend of acoustic music with an easy appeal. She combines tried and tested traditional material with new fresh originals to present a musical balance that has one foot rooted in the past while the other steps forward.

Teresa Ennis grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in a home filled with music, singing and playing songs with her family and friends. This early life experience, lead Teresa to a professional career in music as a member of The Ennis Sisters, a Juno, ECMA, MNL Award winning folk/roots group that played stages across the world. After a decade of touring and releasing 6 CDs with her sisters, Teresa decided it was time to release her first solo CD, Space, in fall 2007.

Space, recorded in her spare time with her good friend, producer Joel Hunt, earned Teresa a 2008 Nova Scotia Music Award nomination for Best Female
Artist with a Roots Showcase at the conference. In 2009, Teresa was nominated for Best Roots Solo Recording at the ECMA’s and was invited to showcase at the
conference. During the event, she performed on CBC Radio and Television and was featured as a live performer on the live awards gala show with her band.

Now, Teresa’s sophomore CD, Stars, which draws heavily on her early influences, is set to be released early in the fall of 2009. Stars, is a natural progression from her debut release and serves as a bridge to her next project as well; which is already in progress. Stars includes several new original songs composed and/or co-written by Ennis as well as beautiful new interpretations of traditional material. Guest musicians include: Boyd MacNeil (fiddle, bodhran) of the Barra MacNeils, Jeff Bird (bass, harmonica, mandolin) of the Cowboy Junkies, Darren McMullen (mandolin, banjo), Shannon Quinn (fiddle, accordion), Glen Coolen (whistles, lowland pipes), Rheo Rochon (bass) and producer Joel Hunt on a variety of instruments.

More information will be made available closer to the release date.