The Matt Remenda Ensemble
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The Matt Remenda Ensemble

Saskatoon, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2018 | SELF

Saskatoon, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2018
Band Folk Rock




"Music Notes: The Once upon a time"

What: The Matt Remenda Ensemble took a bit of a hiatus for a few years in Saskatoon, but now the local group — with some new local faces in the band — are making a return to the music scene with an album release show at Amigos. The ensemble has, in the past at least, had a cool and somewhat gritty acoustic sound for their roots/folk style. It’s not overcomplicated stuff — there’s not a wall of sound hitting you in the face — but it’s fantastic to listen to. It’s more like a cool wave of fun jams gently reaching your ears. It’ll be interesting to see how the new group sounds, but it should be a great night of music. - Saskatoon Star Phoenix

"The Matt Remenda Ensemble - First the Heart"

The Matt Remenda Ensemble was originally formed in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in 2010 by Matt Remenda (guitars/vocals), James Banman (bass) and Jeremy Wortman (drums). The group played, took breaks and eventually reformed to make an EP entitled First The Heart.

The EP contains five songs. There is a mix of folk, pop and even a little bit of jazz. The album opens with “Bad Dreams.” It’s a pretty straightforward song but is well delivered and dynamic. The instrumentation revolves around acoustic guitar, organ, percussion and bass. Remenda had a very familiar voice to my ears that I think a lot of people will appreciate - I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s deep, masculine and also drenched in Americana flavor. I was also reminded of the affectation that a lot of singers used post grunge when a number of singers tended to sound similar to Eddie Vedder.

Up next is “Burn It Down” which I thought was the highlight and the most original sounding song. I liked the juxtaposition between the jazzy groove and his deep throaty, country vocals which usually aren’t used with this style. I thought the music would have worked well in something like True Detective Season 1. Besides the jazz, there is a southern rock thing going on. The best moment is arguably the breakdown section which brings to mind The Doors. In fact I’d go as far to say it sounds like an homage to The Doors.

The band get closer to the vibe of the first song with “One Way Out.” I would say this song is a little more ballad-esque with delicate piano but the dynamics with the subtle verse and more pronounced chorus stay in tact.

The energy gets amped up with “I Will Wait.” This brought me back to high school days when Rusted Root was all the rage in the ’90s. I would say Remenda gives one of his best if not the best vocal performance at the end of this song. They close with “Coming Home” which had a somewhat classic ’90s alternative/folk flavor to my ears.

The foundation to the band's sound felt a little loose. It was hard for me to feel like I was getting a cohesive signature sound. On that note they display their diversity here. I would love to hear them experiment with fusing jazz into the mix on any future releases..

Overall, I thought these songs were well delivered and written. Take a listen. - Jamie Funk - Divide and Conquer


So Long Forgotten (2018)

First the Heart (2019)



Wielding an eclectic brand of folk/roots/jam rock, the Matt Remenda Ensemble flawlessly blends virtuosic solos with haunting vocal harmonies.  The Saskatoon based quartet, consisting of Matt Remenda (guitars and vocals), Nathan Abramyk (drums and percussion), Cameron Baribeau (keys) and Michael Stankowski (bass and vocals), draws their influences from acts such as Xavier Rudd, Ben Harper, the John Butler Trio, Dave Matthews Band and Sam Roberts.  This blend of influences creates a distinct sound that isn't quite rock, isn't quite country, isn't quite punk and isn't quite jazz, but somehow manages to maintain the characteristics of these genres.  Having just released their first album (So Long Forgotten) in 2018 and made a name in the province of Saskatchewan, the Matt Remenda Ensemble aims to spread their good vibes throughout the country in 2019.  

Band Members