Ones To Watch Singer/song­writer edi­tion

From Girls Rock Camp alumni to “Na­tive Amer­i­cana,” these six artists are mak­ing folk and coun­try mu­sic ex­cit­ing


Tim Baker

In Oc­to­ber, New­found­land’s Hey Rosetta! an­nounced that their De­cem­ber shows in St. John’s and Toronto would be their last for the fore­see­able fu­ture. The gigs here al­most in­stantly sold out. But along with news of the seven-piece in­die rock band’s in­def­i­nite hia­tus came the prom­ise of a de­but solo al­bum from front­man Tim Baker, who, with Toronto as his home base, has been writ­ing and record­ing with pro­ducer Mar­cus Paquin. Tim Baker will play new ma­te­rial at Bur­dock’s Pi­ano Fest (1184 Bloor West) on Jan­uary 28, 6 and 8:30 pm.

Col­lette Savard and the Sa­vants

Col­lette Savard (who I’ve be­come friends since dis­cov­er­ing her at Win­ter­folk in 2011) has un­der­gone a mas­sive trans­for­ma­tion in the last cou­ple of years. Though the North Bay na­tive has been play­ing around Toronto since mov­ing here in the early 2000s (she has a trio of solo al­bums, start­ing with 2005’s Most Im­proved Cheer­leader), the Sa­vants is a whole new band. With it, she’s traded in a folkier duo sound for funky, jazzy Steely Dan-es­que ar­range­ments care of bassist and pro­ducer John Switzer and per­cus­sion­ist Re­becca Campbell (both of whom are former Jane Siberry col­lab­o­ra­tors). Also on board: drum­mer Martin Wor­thy (Paul Quar­ring­ton), his daugh­ter, key­boardist Me­gan Wor­thy, and gui­tarist Tim Pos­gate. Col­lette Savard and the Sa­vants launch their de­but al­bum at the Tran­zac (292 Brunswick) on Jan­uary 26. They also play the se­cond Thurs­day of ev­ery month at the Tran­zac, in­clud­ing Thurs­day (Jan­uary 11) and Fe­bru­ary 8.

Evan James Red­sky

Af­ter five years of play­ing bass with Lon­don punk rock­ers Sin­gle Moth­ers, Evan James Red­sky has turned – or re­turned – to what he calls Na­tive Amer­i­cana. In­spired by his Ojib­way her­itage and song­writ­ers like Gil­lian Welch and Lucinda Wil­liams, his up­com­ing Danny Wolfe EP (out Fe­bru­ary 2) tells sto­ries from three dif­fer­ent In­dige­nous per­spec­tives, in­clud­ing that of Danny Wolfe, ex-leader and co-founder of the Win­nipeg street gang the In­dian Posse who died in prison in 2016.

Graham Nicholas

Lo­cal crooner Graham Nicholas is set to fol­low up his 2014 al­bum, Some­times Chicken, Some­times Feath­ers, which earned him com­par­isons to John Prine, with Dial Tones And Pretty Notes, which has a twang­ier, Byrdsy sound. A sto­ry­telling song­writer, Nicholas sings with em­pa­thy and hu­mour from the per­spec­tive of lonely and down­trod­den char­ac­ters. Graham Nicholas launches his al­bum March 1 at Bur­dock.

Ly­dia Per­saud

Dwayne Gret­zky and O’Pears singer Ly­dia Per­saud has re­cently – and rightly – found her­self in the spot­light for her Oc­to­ber de­but EP, Low Light, and the soul­ful sin­gle of the same name. The knock­out vo­cal­ist (and Hum­ber jazz grad) has sung back­ups for Lee Fields (!), Jill Bar­ber, Royal Wood and more. It’s high time we get to hear her front and cen­tre.

Moscow Apart­ment

It’s been quite the first year for Toronto duo Moscow Apart­ment. Brighid Fry and Pas­cale Padilla, who both at­tended Girls Rock Camp Toronto at dif­fer­ent times, have al­ready launched a de­but EP (pro­duced by their men­tor Samantha Martin), played the folk fes­ti­val cir­cuit and picked up a Toronto In­de­pen­dent Mu­sic Award for best young song­writ­ers and a Cana­dian Folk Mu­sic Award for young per­former of the year. Cit­ing Joni Mitchell, Big Thief and Nir­vana as in­flu­ences, Fry and Padilla sing about stuff that mat­ters to them – An­nie, for ex­am­ple, is about “twisted body im­ages.” Moscow Apart­ment play Ex­claim!’s Class Of 2018 show at the Horse­shoe (370 Queen West) on Jan­uary 26. mu­sic@now­ | @sara­he­greene

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