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ReFolkUs Episode 18: Pitch Craft w/ Valerie Denn 

ReFolkUs: Presented by Folk Music Ontario
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LISTEN NOW: ReFolkUs Episode 18: Pitch Craft w/ Valerie Denn

ReFolkUs is back with a special pre-conference drop, where we will be releasing four episodes prior to the Folk Music Ontario Conference being held in London, Ontario on October 12th-15th.

One-on-one meetings, also known as pitch meetings or speed meetings, are a dedicated time for two people to meet - at Folk Music Ontario, we call them ‘Lightning Talks’. They take place online pre-conference and participants are given the chance to connect with industry experts and other conference attendees before the event begins.

In this week’s episode, we chat to Valerie Denn about her workshop ‘Pitch Craft’ and how to get the most out of these lightning talks. Valerie explains how folks can best represent themselves in these meetings, what materials to bring, how to be memorable and stand out from the crowd, and guides listeners through some do’s and don'ts.

About Valerie Denn

Valerie is very active in the World Music/Roots/Americana/ community as an agent and a manager. She is passionate about her artists and especially adept at helping her clients with export development and building global careers. Val served for four years on the Board of Directors for Folk Alliance International where she also served a term as President. Val teaches and partners with other industry events to lead workshops/panels for the enrichment of the creative/artistic process.

She has been a mentor at SXSW, Mundial Montreal, WOMEX, Folk Music Canada, ECMA’s and participated on numerous panels at industry events. She currently is on the board as interim President of Folk Music Canada and a board member of the Live Music Society- which gives grants to small venues in the US.  Val is the Canadian Ambassador for The House of Songs based in Austin, Texas. This organization matches songwriters globally for co-writing experiences and has residencies in Austin, Bentonville, AR,  New York City, and opening new “houses” in Nordic countries.

In her spare time, she is an organic farmer and potter with her husband of 41 years in Nova Scotia Canada.

Freightliner: County Fair Queen 

Freightliner: County Fair Queen

Freightliner, the americana rock and roll trio are heading to the local county fair this fall in their latest single. This new song “County Fair Queen” proclaims their love of the small-town county fair and the girl that left it all behind. The band says “This song is really telling the journey of all small-town people who have their sights set on the big city, ready to follow their dreams and get the heck out of small-town life.” County Fair Queen is one of a handful of their newest songs that Freightliner has been rocking out on the road this past year and is truly a crowd favourite. Recorded and engineered by Rich Gregor and mastered by Heather Kirby at Dreamlands Mastering.

The band Freightliner (Innes Wilson’s Freightliner) started as the support band for front man Innes Wilson after R.P. McMurphy and Joshua Osmond approached him to be his back up band in 2019. Since then Freightliner released “Innes Wilson’s Freightliner” Self titled EP in 2022 and “II” EP released April of 2023. Both EP’s received support from college/community radio across Canada with “II” EP reaching #5 on the !earshot national folk charts. And previously their single "To the Letter," was featured on CBC Radio 1's “The Key of C.”

Brampton Folk Club: Friday Folk Night Concert Series 

Brampton Folk Club: Friday Folk Night Concert Series
September 29, 2023 - May 25, 2024 

The Brampton Folk Club is pleased to announce this year’s Friday Folk Night Concert Series, starting September 29th with the fiddle and step dancing group Ariko.

“We’re really stoked about this year’s line-up” said Folk Club President and Artistic Director Glenn McFarlane. “We’ve got some artists we’ve been wanting to present for quite a while, along with a few favourites and some new ones we’re really excited about.”

The concert series continues to present a diverse line-up of folk styles, including fiddle music, a seasonal bluegrass show, blues, and flamenco. New this year is a special Gordon Lightfoot Tribute concert featuring some of the finest performers in the Brampton Folk Club.

Our popular desserts and drinks will be back this year, which will be served before the show and during the intermission. Season Tickets (which come with reserved seating) are also available this year.

Here is the full Friday Folk Night season:

  • September 29th - Fiddle and Step Dancing Group Ariko
  • October 27th - A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot
  • December 1st - “Carols from the Barrel”, a Bluegrass Seasonal Celebration with The Barrel Boys
  • January 26th - Blues Night! Rick Fines with Roly Platt and Alec Fraser
  • February 23rd - Uplifting Songstress Mimi O'Bonsawin
  • March 22nd - Flamenco Music and Song with Jorge Miguel
  • April 26th - “Songs of Renewal”, A Spring themed concert by the popular vocal group Boreal
  • Saturday, May 25th - Brampton Folk Club Annual Showcase Concert

The concerts will be held at Sanderson Hall, in the upper level of St. Paul’s United Church, 30 Main St. South, Brampton. The concerts run from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m.

Kicking off our season is the fiddle and step dancing group Ariko. Whether at a festival or in a kitchen, the party ignites when Ariko takes the stage. Homegrown in Lafontaine, Ontario, Ariko features the rich vocal harmonies and dynamic fiddle stylings of the Lefaive sisters along with a driving and energetic rhythm section delivered by their parents Laura and Louis. Ariko’s performances engage audiences of all ages with interactive rhythm, song and dance activities. Rooted in traditional music, their dynamic repertoire is coloured by zydeco, jazz and popular genres. Let yourself be recharged by the positive energy of this family group! Opening act: Harpin’ Norm Lucien

Click here for more info

Weave and Spin: Musical Threads from Cambridge To Newfoundland 

Weave and Spin: Musical Threads from Cambridge To Newfoundland
Livestreamed Concert - September 19

I am very excited to be traveling to beautiful St. John's for a concert in Bannerman's Brewery with Newfoundland folk royalty Matthew Byrne, Jean Hewson, Christina Smith, Gerry Strong, Billy Sutton, Jason Whelan and special guest Charla Woodford.  The night will feature stories and songs from home and away including the Newfoundland debut of "Step Up Molly"- a song about the young women who were recruited from Newfoundland to work in Cambridge, Ontario's Dominion Woollens Mill during WWII. Heartfelt thanks to the generous support of the Newfoundland Folk Arts Society team. The concert will be live-streamed.

Weave and Spin- Musical Threads from Cambridge To Newfoundland
Presented by The Newfoundland Folk Arts Society
w/ Matthew Byrne, Jean Hewson and Christina Smith, Allison Lupton, Gerry Strong, Billy Sutton, 
Jason Whelan
Tuesday, September 19th, 5:30 pm EDT (or 7:00 pm Newfoundland Daylight Time)
Bannerman Brewing - St. John’s, Newfoundland

Tickets are $10 Canadian

Click here for more info

Wide Arches: Farewell to All the Lovely Things 

Wide Arches: Farewell to All the Lovely Things  

Album Release Show
Wide Arches w/ Prince Enoki and mystery tea
September 12, 2023 - 7:00pm
Small World Music - Toronto

Wide Arches is the debut singer-songwriter project of Toronto musician, Jacob Gorzhaltsan. During the difficult times of the pandemic lockdown, songwriting was one of the only creative outlets that kept Gorzhaltsan uplifted and inspired to pursue his artistic endeavours. He would write over fifty new original compositions throughout the lockdown and was graciously awarded a grant by the Toronto Arts Council to remotely record and produce a full-length album of original folk songs. Realizing the importance of interconnection to the creative process, Gorzhaltsan began extensively collaborating with other artists through remote home-studio recording.

With a knack for story-telling, Jacob Gorzhaltsan's lyrics paint vivid imagery throughout the album, drawing creative inspiration from the snap-shots of day-to-day life. The album encompasses a wide range of emotions, from the heartbreaking "Sadness Wears Her Prettiest Dress" and "Pictures in The Sand", to the nostalgic ache of "Lake Scene" and "Butterfly", to the tongue-in-cheek sneer of "Upside Down" and "Fake Smiles". With a broad spectrum of folk music instrumentation and texture, Gorzhaltsan draws inspiration from the likes of classic artists such as Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and Harry Nilsson to more contemporary folk innovators like Andy Shauf, Damien Jurado, Daniel Rossen, and Blake Mills.

Click here for more info

Steve Raiken: Live Radio Show 

Steve Raiken: Live Radio Show
Tune in: September 7, 7:00PM EST

I will be performing live and interviewed on Canoe FM radio, 100.9, in Haliburton, Ontario, on Thursday, September 7, 2023 from 7:00-8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The radio show is called "Paddling Beyond The Main Stream" and is hosted by Kris Kadwell. I've appeared annually on this terrific show for years. You can listen to the show live on your computer or cell phone by going to the Canoe FM website and click on "Listen Live" on the home page at the above date and time. I hope you can listen to the show!

Sarah Segal-Lazar: Valleys 

Sarah Segal-Lazar: Valleys
The Femme Fatale of Folk is back with her new album VALLEYS. Produced by Matthew Barber, the album is a soulful Americana tapestry of life's highs and lows. With nods to nostalgic country and riffs that will have you coming back again and again, VALLEYS is bound to soon be a contemporary folk-country favourite. Stream VALLEYS wherever you get your music.

Braden Lam & Mia Kelly: On Tour 

Braden Lam & Mia Kelly: On Tour

Halifax-based Indie-Folk artist, Braden Lam teams up with Bilingual Folk/blues singer-songwriter, Mia Kelly (Gatineau, QC) for their first West Coast Tour! Taking their brand new collaborative single "Smoking Gun" on the road, Braden & Mia even have some special guests planned along the way! Performing in intimate cafes, breweries, house concerts, and speakeasy clubs throughout BC, Alberta as well as one Toronto show, the 'You & I" tour is not one to miss out on.

Tara Shannon: How To Thrive (Not Just Survive) In The Music Business 

Tara Shannon: How To Thrive (Not Just Survive) In The Music Business

Music Industry Veteran And Award-Winning Singer Songwriter Tara Shannon Launches Book To Empower Independent Artists!

Tara Shannon wears many hats and has achieved more success than most independent music artists ever have. Her journey has defied the odds as she re-entered the music industry as a woman in her forties and quickly gained an audience locally, nationally, and internationally. Dividing her time between Ottawa and Nashville, she seeks to encourage and empower other artists on the label she founded, Willow Sound Records. In her music business education with The Syndicut, another entity she founded to help educate music creators and encourage them to see themselves as entrepreneurs. Her experiences in teaching workshops and classes, inspired her to write a book called, You and the Music Business, A Self-Care Guide to Finding Balance and Joy in Today’s Music Industry, to empower other independent artists who find themselves on a similar path.

Tara describes the book as “life coaching for music makers” and one of her favourite mantras is “to be successful in the business of music, you first need to be successful in the business of YOU”. Her first published book is part self-help guide and part blueprint for all the challenges facing artists in today’s ever-changing music world. It covers everything from handling frustrations, money, common traps, and the business side of artistry.