Outlaws & Gunslingers feat. Whitehorse, Jim Cuddy, Tanya Tagaq, Barney Bentall, Devin Cuddy and more

Whitehorse is a rock noir duo with an innovative approach and intense chemistry. Their desert surf sensibility is distinguished by guitar wizardry and magnetic harmonies. Their most recent album, 'Leave No Bridge Unburned' (Six Shooter), offered a bigger, bolder rock sound with songs that have further developed their 'space cowboy' take on southwestern rock. 'Leave No Bridge Unburned' recently won a Juno Award for Adult Alternative Album of the Year, and the band performed to an audience of millions on the televised Juno Awards show. Most recently, the band went back to the roots of rock n' roll with 'The Northern South, Vol. 1,' an EP released in May 2016, that showcases the duo's signature blistering riffs and searing harmonies on a modern translation of the grooves and melodies of the 1950s and 1960s blues.

Jim Cuddy

Warner Music Canada recording artist Jim Cuddy is in the final stages of mixing the tracks that will make up his solo album, Skyscraper Soul, scheduled for release on Tuesday, September 27, 2011. The album was recorded in Blue Rodeo’s Woodshed Studio this past spring.

In the spring of 2010, following extensive Blue Rodeo touring, Jim began to write music to accompany his wife Rena’s comedic short film Four Sisters. It turned out that some of what he’d written didn’t fit the film but on a creative roll he continued writing. Before long he had the kind of material he felt could make up his third solo album.

“When I write songs for my solo material, the songs tend to be a lot more personal than what I write for Blue Rodeo,” says Jim. “I come in here and sit down with all of these instruments and work at building the ideas until a song emerges. Once I’ve demoed the track and played it for the band, we work on fleshing it out.”

Production on Skyscraper Soul was handled by Jim, guitarist Colin Cripps and Chris Shreenan-Dyck. Jim was joined in the studio by his touring solo band, The Jim Cuddy Band (Colin Cripps, Bazil Donovan, Joel Anderson, Steve O’Connor and Anne Lindsay) and a number of Toronto’s top horn players and string players. Many of the album’s songs benefit from the spontaneity of having the musicians set up together in the studio and play live off the floor.

One of the album highlights is “Everyone Watched The Wedding,” the record’s first single, scheduled for release on Tuesday, August 16, 2011.

“I’ve never been much of a royalist but this song is about the royal wedding,” says Jim. “Something about this last wedding got me. When I started reading more about it I realized that there is something about it that is very inspiring. And this was truly a gift. This song just came out. I had come in to the studio to do something completely different and within half an hour I had this song completely sketched out and that doesn’t happen, usually there’s more work involved.”

Skyscraper Soul is available now.

Tanya Tagaq

Inuit throat singer and artist Tanya Tagaq won the Polaris Prize for best Canadian album in 2014, for Animism. Those who thought she had then made her definitive artistic statement are in for a surprise.

Also in for a shock are those who thought international success, playing to major festivals and packed houses all over the world, would lead to a mellower sound, or a more laid back approach.

Tagaq follows up Animism with Retribution, an even more musically aggressive, more aggressively political, more challenging, more spine tingling, more powerful masterpiece.

There are those who find comfort in the bland sweetness of middle of the road love songs designed to soothe. But then there are music fans that find comfort in honesty, blazing human talent and free, intelligent expression of passion. This album is not dinner party ambience music.

This album is a cohesive, whole statement. Why sugarcoat it? This album is about rape. Rape of women, rape of the land, rape of children, despoiling of traditional lands without consent. Hence the cover version of Nirvana’s song “Rape Me.” It’s at least a hundred times more chilling than the original.

Retribution is Tanya Tagaq’s portrait of a violent world in crisis, hovering on the brink of destruction. It’s a complex, exhilarating, howling protest that links lack of respect for women’s rights to lack of respect for the planet, to lack of respect for Indigenous rights. It’s an album about celebrating the great strength of women, it’s about rejecting the toxic, militaristic masculinity that’s taken over the world since the rise of Western industrial capitalism, and is rapidly destroying human life support systems through climate change and pollution. In a startling lyric from the title track, she observes, “Money has spent us.”

The Inuit people live on the cutting edge of the climate emergency. As sea ice dwindles at astonishing rates, they are witnessing the death of the entire Arctic ecosystem, as the colonialist machine rolls on, mining newly uncovered areas for diamonds. And the Inuit know the truth about the contemporary natures of the crimes at the center of Canada’s identity. Tagaq herself is a survivor of Canada’s infamous genocidal Residential School System, something most Canadians would rather imagine as a dealt-with thing of the distant past.

Tagaq is the leader of this project, and she uses the power of her voice, the power of her commitment to her performance, the power of her informed, uncompromising artistic standards, to draw other, similarly committed and talented people to her mission. Jesse Zubot collaborates as producer and lead violinist, creating a stunning array of sound, employing mastery over his instrument and an arsenal of digital and analogue effects. Jean Martin’s drumming builds dynamics and rolls devastatingly across the sonic landscape like a tank division of Tagaq Army, an army which also includes Tuvan throat singer Raddick Tulush, rapper Shad, traditional Inuk singer Ruben Komangapik, and Tagaq’s own young daughter, Inuuja, who is brought in on the first song, like a symbolic character in a novel, to represent both the hope of the future and also to elicit shame for the betrayals we are visiting on the generations to come.

Barney Bentall

I was born in Toronto in 1956. Eleven years after the armistice. Yep, guess I’m an Elder now who still happens to have an undying penchant for Rock & Roll. I was raised in Calgary but moved to Vancouver when I was about 20. I was following a girl and pursuing a dream of being the next Stephen Stills (a bit of a weird thought now but… it wasn’t Neil, it was definitely Stephen). I started writing songs with Gary Fraser. We met when we were 5 years old on Keats Island. When we were a bit older, he would sleep over at our cottage and my sister would put “Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands” on the turntable. That was my lullaby and it still resides deep within my soul.

I’ve had a barbwire fencing company, a firewood business, a band or two and a 6 year adventure infested stint as a rancher from 2000-2006. I married that “girl” and we have 4 amazing kids. Three of them have had children of their own and the fourth is pounding the Rock & Roll pavement.

My wife Kath and those 4 kids were the reason I was poised to quit my fledgling career in 1987. We were broke and living in a basement suite. My mother in law Penny lived upstairs and she saved the whole ship from running aground on many occaisions. But… before one quits… there’s this relentless voice in your head whispering “ya gotta give this one more try”. Our band, at the time and to this day, “The Legendary Hearts” saved enough money to send me to Toronto to grovel on behalf of our sorry assed souls. We had just parted ways with Bruce Allen’s Management Organization. I was desperate and also happened to have had my two front teeth knocked out. Hell of a salesman. But… there is power in a song. We had recorded “Something To Live For” and had made an independent video for it. This was being played heavily on Canada’s Much Music channel and consequently, I was able to see all the record company execs (sans front teeth) at a time when they were at their zenith. Heady times. I managed to get the band a record contract with Columbia/Sony Records and a management deal with my good friend Bernie Finkelstein. The next 10 years were a fun, exciting and soul-stretching ride that we all somehow managed to survive. There was never a manual written for this kind of thing.

In 2000, I decided to scale back from music after an unpleasant departure from Sony. I was determined to pursue the “other dream”. This time I was going to be Steve McQueen in “Junior Bonner”. We had bought a ranch in the 90’s and we decided to take a stab at running the thing with 250 head of cattle on it. This was inspired by a sense of adventure, but truth be told, the journey also had a lot to do with the realities of agriculture and rock and roll in this country. It is a long, good and often entertaining story – one for another time.

In 2007, I figured it was time to jump back into the musical circus. Things had changed to say the least over those years. There were some unwelcome changes for me, but there were a lot of good ones as well. The last seven years have been a great continuation of the journey. I have released 3 solo records on the quintessential Canadian label founded by Bernie Finkelstein called True North Records. The Legendary Hearts still play from time to time. I have a kick ass solo band we call “The Bonapartes”. I have a trio with Shari Ulrich and Tom Taylor – a gem I cherish. We have a rambling, on the edge C&W
12 piece orchestra called The Grand Cariboo Opry that tours in the fall to raise funds for charity. And recently we have formed a bluegrass band under the leadership of my good friend and long time musical mate Colin Nairne. We are called the High Bar Gang and we’ve just released our first CD on True North.

The journey continues.

Cheers, Barney Bentall

Devin Cuddy

A lanky young man sits at a battered piano in a dark, cramped club. His hair falls in large sweaty tussles over his eyes. As he kicks his band into the immortal “Mystery Train,” he tosses back those curls while cocking his head toward the crowd, Jerry Lee Lewis-style. The setting could indeed be Memphis or New Orleans in 1959, but this is Toronto in 2013 where a new generation has picked up rock and roll’s torch. Not in any kind of fashion sense, mind you, but in a spiritual sense, chasing the rhythm with pure heart and soul.

Devin Cuddy has always made music his way, and some might argue, the hard way. As the son of one of Canada’s most beloved singer/songwriters, Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy, country rock has been the soundtrack to Devin’s entire life—he was born the same week Blue Rodeo began recording its 1987 debut album, Outskirts. But from the moment Devin was drawn to playing music, he was determined to get as close as possible to the sources of all the sounds he loved, whether they were made by rock and roll’s founding fathers, the Grand Ole Opry’s honky tonk heroes, or Jelly Roll Morton and the kings of jazz.

Mastering those styles was only taking things halfway, though. The most important lesson Devin learned from his dad was that the way a musician truly develops their craft is in front of audiences. From his home base at the Cameron House, the Queen Street West club that has long been the epicenter of Toronto’s roots rock scene, Cuddy has done just that on almost a nightly basis. At the same time, he has helped cultivate a growing contingent of like-minded young musicians to slowly but consistently spread the word coast to coast.

After a significant period of writing original songs and honing them with a dynamic band featuring guitarist Mike Tuyp, Zac Sutton on Drums, and Devon Richardson on Bass. Devin and company recorded Volume One in 2012 with engineer Tim Vesely, formerly of the Rheostatics. Rough-hewn and lively, the album reflects Cuddy’s musical dexterity, and unique lyrical approach.

Songs such as “She Ain’t Crying Over Me,” “I Got A Girl,” and “Signal Hill” are examples of Cuddy’s timeless approach, while on songs like “Afghanistan” and “My Son’s A Queer,” he shows no fear in tackling contemporary issues. The two worlds probably blend most seamlessly on “Sidewalk In The South,” a personal account of hanging out in Oxford, Mississippi, which pays musical homage to the New Orleans standard “St. James Infirmary.” The track is further proof that while Cuddy is as no-nonsense a performer as they come, he is by no means a traditionalist.

“I came upon those influences as a teenager, just from picking through my father’s CD collection and going out from there to related artists,” Devin said in a 2012 CBC interview. “Then in college I found something about country music that I probably still can’t really describe, but that really calls to me and affects me. I think it’s probably the storytelling and the simplicity, yet deeper meanings.”

No one can accuse Cuddy of not paying his dues over the past several years, and while his father has taken great pride in Devin’s accomplishments, he has also shown tremendous respect in keeping a safe distance away. However, the time is now at hand for Devin to take the next step in pursuing the large audience he deserves, and he has earned the honour of being the special guest on Blue Rodeo’s 2014 cross-Canada tour. Not only will Devin perform an opening set, he will also play after-show club gigs in almost each city, showcasing his barrelhouse style in its natural environment.

“Even as I carve my own path, there are some things I can’t say no to,” Cuddy says, “specifically doing things with Blue Rodeo. Not only is that a great opportunity for me, but it’s family and it means a lot to me and my father as well. I’ve come to embrace that for sure.

As 2015 unfolds—with a new album due at some point—more and more people are sure to acknowledge Devin Cuddy’s unique talent, and agree that the future of Canadian music is in good hands.


Event currently off sale. Limited tickets at the door.

featuring JUNO nominees Whitehorse, Barney Bentall, Crystal Shawanda and William Prince

plus Jim Cuddy, Tanya Tagaq, NQ Arbuckle, Devin Cuddy, Jason Plumb, Joey Landreth, Kelly Prescott, Ensign Broderick and more

backed by Ottawa's own Silver Creek

Individual advance ticket - Ticket guarantees entry to this specific show. Advance sales represent 50% of each venue’s capacity. If a show is listed as sold out on TicketFly, we will still be allowing access to JUNOfest wristband holders & individual sales at the door (subject to capacity).

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