The Human Orchestra
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The Human Orchestra

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock Folk


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



"The Human Orchestra - Feature"

“With a name as esteemed as The Human Orchestra, it would seem that these Ontario, Canada, folk-rockers have a lot to live up to. But not to worry, their tremendous, ear-opening sound carries as much prestige as their title.” –Travis Dutton - WHOA Magazine (Sept 2013)

"Be A Tourist In Your Own City - The Human Orchestra"

"They’re a festive bunch! I love the groove of this song and can’t help but bop along to it and hit play again when it’s over." - Kristin Archer - I Heart Hamilton (March 2013 )

"The Human Orchestra @ The Casbah"

"The Human Orchestra took to the stage, delivering a performance that was easily the highlight of the night." - Paul Fowler - McMaster University Silhouette (March 2012)

""Four Questions For The Human Orchestra""

"A band that just might join the others on our list as big time contributors to Can-culture" - Thought Out Loud (Sept 2011)

"Editors Picks"

“Proving that you can never have too much of a good thing Hamilton’s rollicking roots rockers – aka The Human Orchestra – return with more of the same foot-stomping folk-rock festivities that made their last year’s Lip Service EP such a joy to listen to...” - Hamilton Magazine (Nov 2013 Holiday Issue)

"The Human Orchestra - "Lip Service""

Some albums can be defined entirely by their lyrics. In the case of Hamilton’s The Human Orchestra, their new EP is easy to explain: “I can’t get you out of my head.” The four-song album is a masterpiece of earworms. These songs are catchy and hypnotic, easy to stick in your head and find a home there. Lip Service is an album to love, cherish and listen to on repeat, and with real diversity and cohesion, The Human Orchestra is a band to go down as a major contributor to Canadian music.

Released in August 2012, Lip Service is fantastic from start to finish. It’s full of sound and talent, with 12 band members rounding out the orchestra and giving the album a diverse and well-rounded power. It’s got everything: horns, banjos, keyboards and guitars, and the pieces all work together to create something strong and interesting without being too overpowering. If anything it’s just cool; you’ll find something new every time you listen and eventually you’ll start making trumpet noises along with the tracks. That’s just how the album works: it seems real and alive, and it’s something you’ll become part of.

Everything about the album is great. The band has put obvious heart into these tracks and each piece is carefully thought out while still natural and passionate. They could be compared to a mix of Arcade Fire and Of Monsters and Men, big sounds with folky, ‘indie’-like songwriting. One of the standout features of the album is the voice of lead singer JB Reed, whose unique vocals offer a bluesy twang to the songs and create the band’s recognizable sound. Her voice is magic. It’s kind of eerie at times (“The Winter Song”), sassy in others (“Heavy Handed Heart”), and sometimes soft (“In The Middle”). No matter what, it’s fun and easy to sing along with, and that makes for a catchy and loveable album.

Something really needs to be said for the songwriting as well. With so many band members and so many contributions, The Human Orchestra deserves a real tip-of-the-hat for their ability to create such rich tracks and subtle arrangements. They fall somewhere between simple and complicated, seeming effortless until you consider the multiple layers and pieces that make up each song. It’s fantastic, it really is, and it’s definitely worth a listen or two (or fifty). It would be great to hear a full-length album from the band to see what other diversity and sound they have in store, but this is a great introduction to their potential as a major artist.

Lip Service is available on iTunes, BandCamp, Amazon, and pretty well anywhere you look. Follow them on Facebook and wish them luck at the Hamilton Music Awards November 18, where they’re nominated for New Artist/Group of the Year! The Human Orchestra is destined for great things and this album is the first step to take them there. - Indie 403

"Vinyl Answer (Reviews Section)"

A recent bio for The Human Orchestra listed a staggering 12 members and upon listening to their new EP, Lip Service, it's easy to imagine a jam-packed stage, or studio, heaving with the organized musical chaos that must occur every time the Caledonia-based band performs. JB Reed's distinct vocals are the highlight of the four-song album, especially on the Mumford and Sons-inspired "Lawsuit City"
(a banjo- and horn-heavy rave-up that's an absolute joy to behold). However it's on the lush lament of "The Winter Song" and on the country-roots-rock romp of "Heavy Handed Heart" that the band really shines. An absolute gem of an EP. - Hamilton Magazine

"Human Orchestra to display unique rock, jazz and folk rhythm in Hagersville"

Popular Haldimand band, The Human Orchestra, is hoping to see big attendance at their scheduled CD release show of their newest project “Lip Service” at the Hagersville Summer Festival and The Casbah in Hamilton on September 1.

The band, with it’s unique and deliciously complicated blend of rock, jazz and folk, has gone through many lineup changes, but recently they have solidified members.

Their current lineup consists of Jeff Beemer, JB Reed, Luke Reed (no relation), Luke Crans, Paul Cino, Wayne Peart, Denis Spellen, Frank Woodhall, Ben Peirson, Amanda Buckle and Roxanne Rendle.

The record also features their old trumpet player Matt Barrett, who has recently left to study for his PhD in Berlin, Germany.

“This EP is the first time the entire band has had an opportunity to record,” said Jeff Beemer, guitarist, vocalist, songwriter. “Our previous recording [a demo CD entitled Noah] was really just the three founding members and original drummer.”

“On this new EP, 12 people made contributions including a heavier horn section, more banjo and keyboards,” added Beemer.

Lip Service has a heavy focus on lead singer JB Reed’s vocals. She dominates the leads with a small exception in the song Heavy Handed Heart in which Beemer and her and her share the vocals.

When asked by The Sachem what the inspiration for this recording was, Beemer replied, “We felt we needed a recorded version of our songs that accurately represented us as a band. With the Lip Service EP we tried our best to harness our live performance energy we’ve been acclaimed for by so many now.”

“It was a real struggle to do, but when you hear the layers and the amount of people that contributed to this record, you can really tell we put our hearts into it.”

“This EP will hopefully propel us to the next level. It’s the first thing we’ve produced professionally [mixed and tracked by Justin Helle at Oak Studios in Toronto], and the first thing we’ve mastered, which will allow us to get into commercial radio and not just on the college stations,” he explained.

Besides the Casbah show in the evening on September 1, the group is also playing earlier in the day at the Hagersville Summer Festival at 2 p.m.

Other dates include the Pitter Patter Festival in Toronto at The Central on September 15th and the Caledonia Fair on September 29th.

“Come see us play and we’ll hopefully impress you,” said an excited Beemer.

Doors open at 7 p.m. The first 100 people through the door at the Casbah get a free copy of the Lip Service EP.

For more information, visit - Grand River Sachem

"The Human Orchestra’s Lip Service"

It was only last summer that the Human Orchestra came together in the alcove of a church in Caledonia. What was a group of musicians wanting to assemble an arts collective slowly mutated into an exciting and inventive band bent on breaking out of their country confines.
Vocalist, JB Reed and vocalist guitarist Jeff Beemer both had previous musical experience outside of the Caledonia area they now reside in – when he studied at the University of Guelph and the US born Reed at New York’s American Musical and Dramatic Academy but it was in Caledonia where it all clicked. The two would lead a group of hopefuls [now including Matt Barrett, Luke Crans, Luke Reed, Wayne Peart, Roxanne Rendle, Frank Woodhall, Denis Spellen and Paul Cino] to begin their Human Orchestra mixing folk, roots, jazz and more into a truly engaging listen. This weekend the Human Orchestra offers their official debut CDEP, Lip Service.
“We’re a band of talented musicians that genuinely wanted to do something outside of Caledonia,” offers JB Reed. “We’re like a very strange family – but let’s face it, whose family isn’t strange – and that’s what makes us work. You really have to find that relationship that works and I think we’ve done that. This collection of people is vastly different. From physicists and military men to having members from other countries, we’ve somehow found a common bond through our music. And through that common bond, it seems we’ve hit something that our audiences really like. Of course, we want to make good music, but I think we also want to make our music, keeping our own viewpoint in our lyrics and styles.
“We’re a large band of people, a 12 piece, so the idea of an orchestra makes sense to us,” adds Beemer. “And I think every band wants to make great music. I’ve always wanted to make music I would want to listen to personally. It’s not necessarily a matter of artistic–ness or brilliant content for me, but something I would want to tap my toes to. If I like it, then I would hope other people would like it. The band has grown significantly in the last few months. In February, we didn’t exist to the public.
A band from Caledonia that conjures up images of Arcade fire, Mumford and Sons or Hey Rosetta – it can and has happened but not without the influence of their more urban neighbor. The Human Orchestra has fashioned a rootsy rural music but one that’s grown up in the shadow of the steel mills perhaps.
“Hamilton is most definitely where our teeth were cut, and shaped,” says Reed. “Hamilton is our go to for everything. Because let’s face it, these kids may have grown up in Caledonia, but aside from raising a family what does Caledonia have to offer budding musicians as far as exposure or local venues go?
Recorded at Oak Studios in Toronto, tracked by Justin Helle, with Beemer, Reed and Luke Reed as the main producers, Lip Service is a good introduction but probably not as exciting as when all of the band gets up on to one small stage. While the Human Orchestra plans their full–length release for next year, this weekend they celebrate in their own imitable style with a local CD release.
“Live we are quite the spectacle,” smiles Reed slyly. “We’re are a large band with lots of energy which gives our live show something that you wouldn’t get just listening to a CD. On top of just our sheer number of band members, we try and use everyone’s talents to their fullest, exploiting lush harmonies, horns, keys and what have you making our live performances not only visually stimulating but just plain fun to listen to.”

The Human Orchestra plays this Saturday September 1 at the Casbah with Engine Empire and Norfolk. Doors are at 7pm and the first 100 attendees get Lip Service for free. Click on
- View Magazine

"The Human Orchestra: Eclectic Band Wows Crowd at Casbah"

Last week, fresh off the release of their debut EP Noah, The Human Orchestra headlined a lineup of up-and-coming bands at The Casbah. The Human Orchestra’s mixture of folk-rock, jazzy horns and sugary sweet vocal harmonies creates a sound that is pleasantly hard to pin down.

On Noah, distorted guitars, delicately plucked banjos, trumpet and sax all make an appearance, often during the same song. The tunes on Noah manage to shine through the thin production, revealing a young band with sharp songwriting instincts and lots of potential.

Opening for The Human Orchestra’s live premiere were Buddy Glass, The Human Race and Beams. The night started off on lousy note as a drunken Buddy Glass struggled to keep it together.

Unfortunately, The Human Race offered only a moderate improvement. A one-man band often billed as “prog-folk”, The Human Race abused the increasingly popular technique of looping. He often chose to loop irritating vocal howls, extending his sour sound over several minutes and transforming an otherwise dull performance into a largely unpleasant one.

Luckily, it didn’t take long for Beams to turn things around. A Toronto-based country/folk band, led by banjo, mandolin and smooth vocal harmonies, Beams appeared to be at home on the stage. Instantly memorable melodies and danceable songs provided the energy needed to 4grasp the fading interest of the crowd.

Lead singer Anna Mérnieks’ sunny vocal delivery gave the songs a somewhat playful feel, perfect for a bar show. To the delight of many audience members, Beams also featured a saw player. Although the saw felt slightly gimmicky, especially with its contributions largely buried underneath layers of other instrumentation, it did help emphasize the fun appeal in Beams’ music.

After Beams, The Human Orchestra took the stage, delivering a performance that was easily the highlight of the night. The band opened with a gorgeous a cappella rendition of the gospel song “Down in the River to Pray” before transitioning into one of the strongest tracks off Noah, “Changes Are Coming”.

In addition to a standard rock lineup, The Human Orchestra also incorporated saxophone, trumpet and three female vocalists into their performance, and with upwards of seven band members harmonizing, the vocals sounded amazingly lush. The stunning vocal harmonies that opened the show continued to be a highlight throughout the entire set.

The band tore through the heaviest track in their catalog, “Louisa”, while bursts of distorted guitar and blaring horns punctuated a performance of the otherwise subdued folk song “In the Middle”. The highlight of the set was a hyper-charged rendition of “Newton’s War”, a song with a soaring chorus that wouldn’t sound out of place in an enormous stadium.

For a debut performance, The Human Orchestra were very impressive. The band was tight and well rehearsed, and their expansive sound was even more enjoyable live than on record.

The Human Orchestra’s music can be found online at The band will be playing live at The White House in Hamilton on March 25 - The Silhoutte


3 April, 2014 · by kristin · in Music, Music: Live Shows, Video

The Baltimore House 43 King William Street

This was another one for the books! It was a wonderful lineup that I was proud to have as I Heart Hamilton show: Dark Mean, Quails in the Nest, The Human Orchestra, and DJ sets by Andy Inglis. It’s a sign of a good show when I almost forget it’s an I Heart Hamilton show and I’m just so excited to see it!

I felt like I knew Dark Mean already, but this was the first time we actually met. The last time I saw them, which was also my introduction to the band, was at Threshold Studio during producer Michael Keire’s St. Patrick’s Day party in 2012. (Reading that back, it’s still one of my favourite posts – hard to believe it’s two years ago now.)

This was Dark Mean’s first show since then and I was so happy they could be part of this night. It was timed perfectly with the release of their new EP Samuel the Phoenix. It was great to see their good friend and producer Michael Keire among the audience which was filled with supporters of the band who were eager to catch their set.

During sound check, I heard the gentle plucking of a familiar banjo line and was particularly excited to hear “Happy Banjo”. Grabbing a front row spot, I peeked down at the set list on the ground in anticipation. Their set list was just perfect – they played all four songs off the new EP and classic songs off that self-titled album. Hearing “Lullaby” gave me goosebumps, like it did the first time I heard it live, acoustically at Threshold.

Mark Dean gave me a shout out from the stage for, as he put it, “Tweeting like a madwoman” about this show. I’m really so thankful the timing worked out to have Dark Mean on this bill. They’re a special band and play with so much heart – it comes through in their music and they are wonderful people as well. Check out footage from their set: “Samuel the Phoenix” and “Happy Banjo.”

Dark Mean

Well I was emotionally spent already – that was an incredible moment we all just witnessed, and it was only the first act! DJ Andy kept the good vibes going in between sets. Andy is one of my favourite DJs in the city – he always has the best selections for any given night. The vibe of the night was laid-back and social. Looking around, it didn’t even feel like a show at times. Everyone was just mingling about and enjoying the music.

Quails in the Nest

My pals Quails in the Nest were up next. It’s always a pleasure to see Mikey and Nicholas perform. I love their laid-back vibe and they play with such ease. Usually I’m all about the front row, but I didn’t even get the chance this time because multiple rows filled in with fans and friends, packed tight, ready for Quails. They were an enthusiastic bunch! Earlier that day, Mikey was a guest on my show at CFMU and treated us to a song live in studio.

The Human Orchestra

I hadn’t seen The Human Orchestra live for a while, and in that time, their lineup had switched up a bit. They just keep growing! JB and Emma caught me up to speed about the changes when they were my guests in studio at CFMU the week before. Seeing them play, they make me want to brush up on my trumpet skills and hop up on stage. Check out a clip from their set.

As a fitting tie from Dark Mean to THO, the band have also been working with Michael Keire on new material. The new tunes sounded awesome. It’s a cool experience to witness that many musicians working together – they truly are an orchestra. They had the audience bopping along and, aside for one fan who, let’s just say, hit the drinks a little too hard and caused a bit of a ruckus, all went smoothly. It was such a fun set to end the night before DJ Andy kept us dancing ’til the end.

Huge thanks again to Grant Winestock, Jimmy Skembaris, and Katrine Winestock for all the support with these shows. It’s a pleasure to work with The Baltimore House.

And thank you to everyone who has supported any I Heart Hamilton show so far! Next, I’m cooking up I Heart Hamilton’s third annual Playlist fundraiser bash… stay tuned!

- Kristin - IHeartHamilton (2014)

"Big band bliss: The Human Orchestra and The Double Cuts with Redanda (July 19, 2014)"

Neil Reyes
July 19, 2014

Have you ever tried forming a band with your friends? Chances are, you have (either in high school, or last night at the pub). It’s great when it comes together so well, and you get big bands like Toronto’s The Double Cuts and Hamilton’s The Human Orchestra playing the same stage at The Casbah.

Previous review: Arkells and Boris Brott dazzle in pop-up Art Crawl show

The official line-up for the night featured the two member-heavy bands, with Redanda opening the night. The Hamilton four-piece played their jangly brand of ambient rock and roll before giving way to The Human Orchestra’s big band folk-pop and the Double Cuts’ classic western swing.

There was something a little off about Redanda’s set. It might have been the band sounded much heavier than the two following bands. It might have been the table-laden atmosphere of the room. It might have been the audience’s reluctance to crowd the front of the stage at a standard rock show. Still, lead singer and guitarist Corey Wright cracked jokes and had fun with the audience, joking about playing covers and the band’s name. They even played an Arabic-themed jam and a polka alongside tracks from their recently release, Reverse Tranny Club, to fit in with the night’s diverse line-up. By the end of their set, Redanda had found their groove and finished strong.

Up next was The Human Orchestra. Most bands take the stage with a general idea of what they will play, with, at minimum, a set list mapped out in an iPhone note. After blazing through the first two songs of their set, lead singer JB Reed joked about a lack of a set list for the night, calling its spontaneity “almost liberating”. But they were professionals, they were fun, and they were great. The Human Orchestra played tracks from their four-song EP, Lip Service, as well as a handful of new tracks from their upcoming full-length debut album.

If you’ve never seen The Human Orchestra live, I recommend you do your eyes and ears a favour and check them out. Personally, hearing live horns is always a treat, and to see a band incorporate them so naturally in their big band alt-folk sound is fantastic. The front of the stage was occupied by guitarist/vocalist Ty Howie, Reed, and saxophonist Emma Borsellino, each taking turns on harmonies, hand claps, and whatever little accent each song required. And even with so many musicians on stage, Reed commanded the bulk of the attention with her look and her voice, each with the right amount of classic flair.

For The Double Cuts, it’s all about classic flair. It was their first show in Hamilton, second show outside of Toronto, so their business cards were all over the Casbah main room. Beyond their logo and a web address, the card simply states, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t Western swing!” It’s not every day you get a chance to see an old-style western swing band come through Hamilton, especially featuring such fantastic musicians and vocalists. Even though they were short two members, the band sounded great and unlike anything I’ve ever heard live.

They opened their set with an instrumental, with Raha Javanfar taking centre stage on the fiddle and singers Jamie Oliver and Angela Hilts casually sitting at the table at the front of the stage. As soon as the two took the stage, they played western swing standard after western swing standard, everything from the legendary Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys to Gene Autry to Hank Thompson. They closed their first set with “Smoke Smoke Smoke (That Cigarette)” by Tex Williams, which was the perfect cue to step outside for a smoke break. Even Oliver paused to take a quick puff off a cleverly concealed cigar before breaking into the song’s last chorus.

Unfortunately, only a handful of people stuck around for the second set, but really they missed some of the band’s best work. Both Oliver and Hilts were fantastic on the vocals. Hilts’ on-stage energy and performance was the perfect contrast to Oliver’s classic country gentleman stance. On one song, each player had a few bars to show off their incredible musicianship: a lap steel solo from Mike Eckert, a fiddle solo from Javanfar, guitar solos from Gabe Kong and Ken Kelley, and a bass solo from Arif Mirbaghi. They closed the night with a roaring rendition of Bob Wills’ “Who Walks In When I Walk Out”. Check out this clip of the tune from a recent Street Folk Session.

The Double Cuts were missing a second fiddle player and a pianist, but still managed to wow the small crowd in their Hamilton debut. Redanda and The Human Orchestra are staples in the Hamilton music community and usually draw a good size crowd. I hope the next time The Double Cuts come around more people check them out. But be warned, you might get swept up in that western swing, so have your dancing shoes ready. - Urbanicity


Still working on that hot first release.



The Human Orchestra is an 8 piece alternative folk rock band hailing from Hamilton, ON. It was the September 2012 release of their EP Lip Service ( Oak Studio, Toronto, ON) that got them into this past Sound of Music Festival (Burlington), nominated for best new group of the year at The Hamilton Music Awards (2012) & named by CBCs the buzz as one of the top bands to see at NXNE (2013). They have recently released their new limited edition 7 single Bad Jokes (Catherine North Studios, Hamilton, ON) recorded with Michael Chambers/moon:and:6 (City in Colour, White Horse) released this past October then in November began working on their debut full length album at Threshold Studios with Mike Kiere (The Dirty Nil, Dark Mean) for release summer 2014 (cd/vinyl/digital download).

Band Members