The Orchid Highway
Gig Seeker Pro

The Orchid Highway

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE
Band Rock Pop


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



"TOP TEN OF 2007"

1. The Red Button-She's About to Cross my Mind
2. Jackdaw4-Bipolar Diversions
3. The Shins-Wincing The Night Away
4. The Nines-Gran Jukle's Field
5. Everybody Else-Everybody Else
6. John Davis-Arigato!
7. The Broken West-I Can't Go On I'll Go On
tie. Fountains of Wayne-Traffic and Weather
9. The Foreign Films-Distant Star
tie. The Orchid Highway-The Orchid Highway -

"Powerpop Blog Reviews TOH LP"

When I got the The Orchid Highway based on other online reviews, I expected a pretty good CD. What I found was a potential top 10 CD. Every song on the self-titled debut rings with a classic Badfinger vibe throughout the album. The opener "Sofa Surfer Girl" is a legit killer single that recalls Beatles and Fastball with it's hook-filled chorus and blistering guitars.

Overall a brilliant album that power pop fans will not want to miss. The last EP "Fourplay" is also another Beatlesque stroke of brilliance, so get that one too. Sometimes listening is believeing. -

"SubbaCultcha UK reviews The Orchid Highway LP"

A psychedelic summer record from one of Vancouver’s most established bands, The Orchid Highway is a powerful self-titled debut sure to establish the 5-piece as one of Canada’s best-loved exports.
Kate Goldsmith -

"Classic Rock UK reviews The Orchid Highway LP"

Rainbow Quartz Sparkling full-length debut from Vancouver groovers. While respectfully observing every rule in the book of how to make the perfect power-pop album, this Canadian fivepiece have nonetheless managed to stamp their own identity on a frequently delightful compendium of hooks, harmonies and hipperthan-thou grooves.

Well-fed on vintage Raspberries and mastering the odd Cheap Trick, TOH also reference Big Star (Medicine Tree) and even Crowded House (Let's Stay In Instead).

But there's a unifying sound to these great tunes, a fraternal telepathy between Rory Jamie and Derek MacDonald that represents a thoughtful distillation of bygone sounds rather a lazy exercise in derivation. The harmonium flourishes of Sofa Surfer Girl and Ballad In Plain E suggest a boldness and sense of fun that eludes so many other guitar groups with good intentions but a drought of ideas. ••••••••

Terry Staunton
- Classic Rock Magazine UK

"Review: Driving In The Rain 3am"

"The Orchid Highway lead off the album with Opiate, filled with psychedelic organ. Imagine if you can a slicker poppier Zombies."
Steven Ward - Classic Rock UK - June 2002 Circulation 38.544

"Georgia Straight The Orchid Highway CD Review"

Rainbow Quartz is the perfect home for the Orchid Highway, as the band joins such impressive compatriots as Winnipeg’s (amazing) the Telepathic Butterflies on the monomaniacally power-pop–infatuated label. The fit is obvious within seconds of the faux-Badfinger intro to opener “Sofa Surfer Girl”, while the rest of this debut succeeds in the ultimate test of making all its hit-factory chord changes and marshmallow harmonies sound not just easy, but obvious.

That might read as faint praise, until you remember that the world is lousy with Big Star–quoting bands that fuck up the formula just as egregiously as the Orchid Highway masters it. The hard-charging feast of tumbling drums, precociously loud tambourine, and perfectly executed dual lead vocals of “Medicine Tree” steals from Big Star’s “The Ballad of El Goodo”, but only enough to remind us that the Orchid Highway is a clever and confident bunch. As easy as it is to find traces of everything from the Posies to Matthew Sweet and beyond in these crisp bursts of perfectly formed, sugar-sweet rock, the band’s wit and ability—just check the perfect match of lyrics to stoned melody in the funny ode to personal inertia, “Let’s Stay In Instead”—are enough to make peers out the Orchid Highway, not copycats
Adrian Mack
- Georgia Straight -

"Vancouver Province- The Orchid Highway"

The Orchid Highway
The Orchid Highway (Rainbow Quartz)
It's finally out and seems to have a good home at Rainbow Quartz whose acts all have played The Beatles' Revolver until the light shone through the grooves before making their own album. This Vancouver band isn't much different as it has a smartly developed sense of melody as well as a wide range that still is rooted in the pop-rock style of the '60s. As well as The Beatles, there are traces of The Doors, early Pink Floyd and other essential rock but Orchid Highway asserts enough of its own personality -- a sarcastic wit on opener "Sofa Surfer Girl," for example -- to make the record its own.
Tom Harrison
- Canwest Global

"Headliners: The Orchid Highway"

In contrast to most of the bands on the Canadian indie-music scene, the Orchid Highway play an unabashedly pop-flavoured brand of rock’n’roll. But you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a hell of a lot more genuine than some teenage singer-songwriter whining about how they lost their wife and home. - Northwest Cancon

"SXSW '09 Pick #3: The Orchid Highway"

Great rock 'n' roll is a discovery. The Orchid Highway is that discovery. These guys are not full of power chords that epitomizes garage rock, but if you love the elements, you'll know it once you hear the results. Like the motto of their label, Rainbow Quartz, it's pure pop perfection: A combination of '60s melodies and hooks with a little bit of complexity to make it interesting without missing the beat.
- The Paisley Umbrella (Austin, TX, USA)

"Amplifier Reviews The Orchid Highway"

It's tough for current pop bands to channel the Beatles without coming off as goofily retro or slavishly derivative, but Canadian quintet The Orchid Highway do a pretty damned spiffy job of it on their self-titled effort. Matter of fact, The Orchid Highway often sounds not unlike what the Beatles may have sounded like had they recorded Revolver in 2008.
John M. Borack - Amplifier Magazine

"Pysch power-pop – Canadian Style! Album Review"

Orchid Highway hail from Canada, yet have spent some time in London honing their chops. This is no surprise as they are quite clearly obsessive Anglophiles. For example, opener, ‘Sofa Surfer Girl’ evokes mental images of a revved up Beatles fronted by Scott McCaughey, while second track, ‘Medicine Tree’ sounds like 2.37 of pure anglo-pop perfection.
Dan Wilkinson - Americana UK

"Scene and Heard Review"

Scene and Heard Vol 8 Issue 4

June 25, 2008

Orchid Highway
Rainbow Quartz International

Already recording their next record, Orchid Highway are full of confidence following the release of their self titled debut album. Their confidence is well earned; this record offers many moments of inspired pop punches and pseudo-psychedelic revivals.

The founding members of the band, Rory and Jamie Macdonald spent a few years honing their craft in England and on their return to native Canada they sifted through the Vancouver club scene. It’s been 14 years since they first got together and the years have been good to them, so it’s no wonder they are quickly on route to their second release.

The arrangements by this five-piece band are melodic with a thick and lush background. Organs and synthesizers while not central focus of the music lend an important tonal quality to several of the often 60s style tunes.

This CD is a fun and easy listen with snappy tunes like ‘Soda Surfer Girl’, ‘Medicine Tree’ and ‘Pop Tart Girl’ are nicely complemented by more romantic stylings evident on a couple of tunes like ‘Let’s Stay in Instead’.

More than one band member shares the vocal duties, which is another throwback to years past and they do it well. Orchid Highway is sure to be a Juno contender soon and you will be hearing them more and more on the airwaves. Do yourself a favour and take the time to travel on the Orchid Highway. It won’t be long before everyone else does.
– Andy Gemza

"Italy Digs the Chids"

Ancora poco conosciuti al grande pubblico, gli Orchid Highway hanno molti fan sparsi in tutto il mondo e soprattutto in Canada, la loro patria. Alcune radio italiane hanno trasmesso i loro singoli e, pur avendo un'etichetta indipendente gli Orchid stanno crescendo grazie anche al loro sito su my e al tam tam dei loro estimatori. Effettivamente questi ragazzi sono una vera sorpresa, tra i tanti gruppi che si ascoltano e che incidentalmente toccano le nostre orecchie, loro rappresentano una perla rara. Un sound facile ma accattivante, un brit pop mescolato al rock e alle ballate melodiche più romantiche. Nessun bel singolo che inganna per poi concludersi in un album scadente. Particolarmente affascinanti sono "Let's stay in instead e "Sofa Surfer Girl". Ma anche i membri della band non sono da meno e il loro biondissimo leader, Rory, ha rilasciato un'intervista in esclusiva per Italians.

Rory, quando hai iniziato a suonare e deciso di formare una band insieme ai tuoi fratelli? Gli Orchid Highway, come i Beach Boys e gli INXS, sono un raro esempio di "3 brother band", un gruppo formato da tre fratelli. Jamie ha iniziato prendendo una chitarra elettrica in mano e mi ha incoraggiato a suonare il basso. Dopo pochi anni Derek è stato coinvolto nella stessa maniera, con una tastiera.

Chi sono i gruppi che hai amato da ragazzo e chi ti piace adesso? Il primo disco rock che ho sentito era dei Beatles, ai miei genitori piacevano tantissimo e funzionavano bene con i bambini! Jamie e io di solito cantavamo insieme "I am the walrus" nella tromba delle scale dopo essere stati mandati a letto. La tromba delle scale aveva un magnifico eco! Il primo album che ho comprato era dei Duran Duran. Penso che le loro prime canzoni siano bellissime..c'era un gran senso della melodia. Sono uno schiavo della melodia, è quella che cattura la mia attenzione…Più tardi, quando ho iniziato a scrivere e suonare dal vivo, ho trovato che molti dischi "moderni" suonassero in maniera sterile e non paragonabile ai vecchi LP. So che questo è dovuto alle moderne tecnologie di registrazione e alla moda. Ma a quei tempi non potevo capire perchè gli U2 o i REM non suonavano così bene come un vecchio disco di Paul Butterfield o un classico pezzo degli Who. I microfoni o tutto ciò che fa parte dell'equipaggiamento sono come pennelli in mano all'artista. In questo momento il mio disco preferito è quello che stiamo registrando ora! Ma dovrete aspettare ancora un po' per sentirlo.

Avete vissuto in Inghilterra per alcuni anni, com'è stata quell'esperienza? Siamo stati a Londra per due anni e lì abbiamo registrato il nostro CD-EP "Fourplay".E' stato parecchio tempo fa ma è stata un'esperienza che ci ha influenzato molto, sia come individui che come band. E' stato come camminare attraverso uno specchio, tutto era al contrario.Quello che era possibile in Canada non lo era a Londra e viceversa. Abbiamo vissuto tra canadesi, avventurieri australiani, europei e americani, musicalmente parlando è stata una scarica di adrenalina fortissima, suonavamo quello che dopo sarebbe diventato il fenomeno "brit-pop".A Londra tutto cambiava ad una velocità incredibile, mode e generi, e sembrava che questa energia pazzesca fosse volta a trovare qualcosa di nuovo, sempre, mentre in Nord America il panorama musicale sembra essere congelato…tutto quello che passa per nuovo assomiglia terribilmente al vecchio. La nostra musica conserva ancora l'influenza londinese, "The Orchid Highway", cattura proprio questa esperienza ed è un album puro nello stile,come se una band si fosse riunita in una stanza e avesse iniziato a suonare…oggigiorno pochi album sono concepiti così!

Hai una canzone preferita dall'album The Orchid Highway? "Sofa Surfer Girl" è veramente brillante, la adoro. E' una delle mie performance vocali migliori fin'ora e la canzone suona proprio come dovrebbe! Una volta mi sono ripromesso che un giorno avrei guidato dalla California al Messico in una veloce decappottabile con questa canzone messa all'infinito. Penso anche che "Let's Stay in instead" sia una delle canzoni più belle che ho scritto.

Chi è il tuo artista preferito? Oh..che domanda impossibile! Mi piace molto Picasso e alcuni suoi dipinti e per me Federico Fellini e il suo 8 e 1/2 rimane un esempio di arte insuperabile, un film ispirato e visionario. Come canzone Amo Sea & Sand di Peter Townsend, ma mi riservo il diritto di cambiare opinione!

Ci sono tanti italiani a Vancouver, ne conosci qualcuno? Stranamente vivo proprio attaccato alla Little Italy di Vancouver…certamente sono amico di molti italo-canadesi…bè, è stato un padrone di casa italiano che ci ha mandato via dall'ultimo appartamento dove vivevamo! Ma in fondo è stato sempre buono con noi…Mi manca Londra proprio perché lì siamo stati a contatto con tanti italiani. Una volta mi hanno detto che parlo così tanto da sembrare italiano! E mi sono anche innamorato di una ragazza italiana di cui ho perso traccia una volta che son - Weiss

"Radio Bandcouver Weighs in on the Orchids Debut CD"

Finally the wait is over for one of the best Pop albums ever recorded in Vancouver , or anywhere in recent memory for that matter. I've been airing Ochid Highway's music on my Radio Bandcouver show ( Thursdays 2:30-4pm, CFRO 102.7 FM) since 1997, when their ''Fourplay'' EP first came. I'm much relieved to hear an album of this caliber is finally out there for more people to enjoy and savour.

Take this grand, technicolor, psychedelic, rock and roll dragster out for a spin and witness a trip that will give you a mind-bobbling high few acts can reach! From the opening track ,''Sofa Surfer Girl'', to the closer, ''Legion Hall'', the Orchid Highway's long-awaited album isn't afraid to show its true, 1960's colors. Trends be damned. If you can't dig this beguiling musical bliss, you must truely hate music! Looping bass, tactfully placed keyboards, chiming 12 string guitar, tasteful blues riffs, trippy,echo-drenched fretplay, addictive melodies, wonderful chord progressions, playful lyrics, delightful harmonies, impressive musicianship and the kind of highly musical songcraft that can bring this world out of its uninspired, musical duldrums! Check out the guitar interplay on ''The Next World'', the dreamy, sunny charm of ''Let's Stay in Instead'', the hilarious, tricky rythumic enegry of ''Ballad On Plain E'', the blusey smoothness of ''Opiate'', the Stones riff meets Hollies vocal blend of ''Pop Tart Girl'', the intense majesty of ''Tea With Shandra'',
the hopeful ambition of ''Time For a Change'' and the blissful, drunken escapade of ''Legion Hall''!
An all encompassing, uninhibited testament of what Pop music CAN be when it isn't being held hostage! A masterpiece with few equals!

- Mark Bignell

"Running Down the Road, Trying to Loosen Their Load"

At the rain-soaked winter intersection of Powell and Victoria in East Vancouver is found the Artist’s Resource Centre building, known to the West Coast arts community as simply The ARC. A former dockside warehouse funkily refitted into swank live/work garrets, the ARC is the command centre for Vancouver’s retro-mod garage-psychedelic road warriors, the Orchid Highway. Inside bassist-vocalist Rory Macdonald’s suite is found a mind-boggling, eye-watering survivalist’s cache of vintage musical gear… soundboards, echo units, oscilloscopes, sundry metal boxes packed with vacuum tubes, and racks of guitars and basses - none of which was built after 1966, it seems; this is the stuff rock’n’roll wet dreams are made of. It is here in these cozy retro confines that the band (lounging on overstuffed sofas and looking rather chic in their Beatle boots and their butterfly collars) is asked how it feels to finally release their long-awaited self-titled album – a stunningly huge-sounding collection of strong, smart electric pop-rock nuggets captured live by former Odds guitarist Steven Drake at Greenhouse Studios.

"It’s about fucking time is the general feeling for those in the band," quips guitarist-vocalist Jamie Macdonald, who founded the Highway back in 1994. "Holy fuck, did it ever take a long time to get from Point A to Point B. A five-year album. Soviet collective farms finished plans faster than we finish albums."

"People live longer now, right?" Macdonald reasons. "It takes a longer time to die. It used to be 74 years old was the average male existence, now it’s 82 years. I think by the time we make it, we’ll probably be up to the 120s. At that rate, we’re already ahead of Def Leppard. If you pro-rate it against our expected life-spans, we’re doing fine."

Naturally, the conversation turns to stem-cell research and the virtual halting of the human aging process, to which drummer Adrian Buckley adds, "But there’s gonna be a format change every 10 years, so you’re gonna have to upgrade, right? We’re all gonna be Beta for awhile and then we’ll be up to the DVD and then the DVD-R and you know where it’s goin’. It’s going to be awhile before stem-cell injections can halt the human reformatting process." After a beat, Buckley concludes, "I look forward to the coming 8-track years."

The coffee-table eugenics talk moves to more pertinent matters involving the Orchid Highway game plan for this new album we’ve been raving about. "There’s a few things going on concurrently right now," explains Rory Macdonald. "We’re spending the next few months aggressively shopping this internationally… we’ll see what we come up with there, but we’re already busy on the follow-up album we’ve been recording with Howard Redekopp, which is just as exciting, and we’ll have it out by the end of the year. In the ‘60s, bands usually released two albums a year, sometimes three. If we can release THREE albums by the end of 2007, we should be able to make up for lost time."

The five Orchids are all equally funny and witty, and combined they’re a side-splitting humour-force to be reckoned with. Fitting, for a bunch of guys who write such punchy yet sunny Brit-rock; not one whiner in the bunch. Rory unveils the band’s cunning stunt of releasing cyber-singles online at regular intervals. "After we went broke on the road and realized that it was just unfeasible for us to keep bankrolling endless rounds of cross-Canada school-bus touring, as well as investing heavy into album recording, that the modern music industry should be mirroring the older, pre-LP market practices of releasing a single from an artist every seven or eight weeks or so, like Motown did, and releasing a full-length album once or twice a year. It’s something that’s been done before. It’s not impossible – we’ll see if we can pull it off."

Several of the Orchids are involved in other musical endeavours. Guitarist Scott Perry writes and records his own material, as well as sidekicking in Todd Fancey’s own solo band. Keyboardist Derek Macdonald has been a full-fledged member of the Peppersands for almost two years. And Adrian Buckley can also be seen bashing the skins with the Tomorrows, another unsung Vancouver pscyh-rock outfit. Then there’s Jamie Macdonald: "I play songs in church for young children..."

"He’s also ‘Mr. Nasty,’" interjects Derek. "Mr. Nasty is a children’s performer on Sunny Bear Records: touching children everywhere. There’s a lot of great material to be had in the box set..."

And does Rory play elsewhere? Says he brusquely as he fiddles with his espresso maker: "No, I don’t whore around" - Nerve Magazine

"Orchids in Amplifier"


It's tough for current pop bands to channel the Beatles without coming off as goofily retro or slavishly derivative, but Canadian quintet The Orchid Highway do a pretty damned spiffy job of it on their self-titled effort. Matter of fact, The Orchid Highway often sounds not unlike what the Beatles may have sounded like had they recorded Revolver in 2008. From the languid, slightly trippy "Let's Stay in Instead" and the jangly - yet insistently rockin' - Rickenbacker fest "Next World" to the Stonesy "Pop Tart Girl" (dig the "Brown Sugar"-inspired guitar riff that kicks things off) and the instant power pop classic "Time For a Change," the quality is always top notch, with spot-on lead vocals by brothers Jamie and Rory Macdonald and expert musicianship that balances slickness and rawness quite nicely. Pick this one up and if the aforementioned tunes don't become your fave raves, you may cotton to the dreamy "Sofa Surfer Girl" or the fantastic, hyper-poppin' "Medicine Tree" instead. Excellent stuff.

--John M. Borack [August 26, 2008] - Amplifier

"Links to Various Orchids Sites"

- The Orchid Highway


THE ORCHID HIGHWAY (LP) 2008. Originally released the year earlier on the band's own label - The Orchid Highway's self-titled album was picked up by NYC's Rainbow Quartz records in 2008 (distributed by Redeye USA) . Two singles were released: Next World, and Sofa Surfer Girl. Both songs received video airplay in the USA, including support from heavyweights Fuse On Demand, MTV Latin America, MuchMusic (Canada), and a host of regional broadcasters. Radio also responded to the album. Both songs received much attention from AAA format stations across the country, with coastal markets responding well to "Sofa Surfer Girl" (on heavy rotation for 4 months at KEAO Maui). At KROQ LA, legendary DJ Rodney Bingenheimer got behind the group.

INERNATIONAL POP OVERTHROW VOLUME 10 (NOTLAME RECORDS) 2007. “Medicine Tree” by The Orchid Highway is featured as lead track of 3 CD box set commemorating the 10th Anniversary of The International Pop Overthrow, further cementing the band's reputation as leaders in the power pop scene.

DRIVING IN THE RAIN 3AM (SONGS TO GET LOST WITH). 2003. The Orchid Highway's “Opiate” featured as lead track of an internationally released compilation. USA release early 2003 (Burnside), in the U.K. Oct 7th, 2002 (Nettwerk/Pinnacle), and Canada April 2002. Reviews praised “Opiate” as a highlight of the album: "The Orchid Highway's soulful "Opiate" set the tone, resulting in one of the most entertaining and enlightening label compendiums in recent memory." -Amplifier Magazine USA - Issue No. 35 (street date February 28, 2003)

FOURPLAY (EP) 1997. Released on the band's own Naughty Records, The Orchid Highway were trailblazers on the indie scene long before it became fashionable. Nominated for "Best Indie Release" by COCA (Canadian Organisation of Campus Activities), Fourplay was recorded near the end of the band's 2 year stint in London at the peak of the Britpop explosion. "All The Same" and "I Don't Know What You're Trying To Hide" introduced Canadian audiences to the band's new sound, and were embraced by campus radio. CBC's David Wisdom & “Radiosonic” championed "Fourplay" upon its release – describing The Orchid Highway as "Hip new music for now people” and giving the band considerable national attention. The Orchid Highway also won over Toronto's hugely influential commercial station THE EDGE, leading to Dave Bookman featuring the band on a NXNE special, and sponsoring a headline appearance at the famous Horseshoe club.



The Orchid Highway is a rock and roll band with classic overtones. Excellent musicians and performers, this 5-piece has distilled a unique & timeless sound from legendary ingredients: Years spent in the UK. Years spent on the road. Years spent on the West Coast. And a band formed around 3 brothers.

2008 was a breakthrough year for The Orchids. Their self-titled LP, released on Rainbow Quartz / Redeye, introduced the band to a US audience for the first time.

The online powerpop scene had championed the group one year earlier, ultimately leading to the signing with RQ. Now, Radio & Video Broadcasters followed. AAA format radio across America began adding the first single “Next World”. “Sofa Surfer Girl” echoed not only the falsetto of the Beach Boys, but was championed by coastal stations who claimed the song as their own (over 4 months in heavy rotation on commercial KEAO on Maui).

“Next World” received tremendous video airplay in 2008 from regional heavyweight broadcasters and with MTV Latin America adding the song to rotation. “Sofa Surfer Girl” released the following summer, garnered even more airplay, with Fuse On Demand and MuchMusic (Canada) being added to that list.

For The Orchid Highway, the road ahead is full of potential. And they intend to deliver. The band has been in studio with Howard Redekopp (Tegan & Sara, New Pornographers, You Say Party) working on a follow up album.