2018 Artist Schedule

Jun
2
Sat
Stan Chang and Erick Bruck @ Opera House
Jun 2 @ 12:00 pm

stan chang and eric bruck

Both accomplished musicians in their own right, Stan and Erick made their debut playing together opening The Opera House for the Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival in June, 2015 and have continued to play together since.

>Current gigs have them traveling all over Southern Ontario from as far west as Kitchener Waterloo and Guelph to the east end of the GTA. Their combination of piano and drums matched with Stan’s vocals compliment each other well for both large and small venues.

With the ability to play Blues, Jazz and Contemporary Pop as well as Original Songs, their versatility allows them to play at all events and occasions ranging from corporate functions and weddings to music clubs, bars and private parties.

Ryan McNally @ Opera House
Jun 2 @ 1:20 pm

ryan mcnally

Whether he’s playing with his own solo band or other various outfits, he can’t be kept off Canadian stages. Ryan puts most of his energy in his passion for studying acoustic traditional blues, jazz and old time music. This led him to spending a winter in New Orleans where he wrote the majority of the material featured on Steppin’ Down South. This album is saturated with the sounds and rhythm of New Orleans streets.Steppin’ Down South captures the sound of hillbilly blues and jug band jazz. Recorded live off the floor by Bob Hamilton at Old Crow Studios in Whitehorse, Yukon. With Patrick Hamilton on banjo, kick drum and vocals. Kieran Poile on fiddle, Justin Rubenstein doubling on trombone and trumpet and Christian Leclerc on tuba. Ryan McNally’s genuine style and performance is a breath of fresh air.

McNally was raised in rural Quebec, south of Montreal along the U.S. boarder. He began pursuing music at the age of ten when he first picked up the guitar. In his late teens and early twenties he would seek out musicians he would hear at cafes and bars for lessons in finger style blues. He continues to work in studying with teachers into his schedule while he is performing on the road. Ryan calls Whitehorse, Yukon home.

Currently McNally is experimenting with scoring music to films as well as musical direction for theater. All while keeping up a busy solo career and a steady touring schedule.

Rob Lutes @ Opera House
Jun 2 @ 2:40 pm

rob lutes

Since the release of his first album Gravity in 2000, Rob Lutes has steadily built a collection of exquisite songs that inhabit the intersection of blues, folk, Americana, and the contemporary singer-songwriter genre. As skilled delivering a Piedmont blues classic as he is performing his own acclaimed original songs, Lutes’s masterful fingerstyle guitar work and soulful voice bring an unmistakable intensity to his live performances.A double Maple Blues Award nominee as Acoustic Act and Songwriter of the Year in 2017, on his seventh album, Walk in the Dark, he does what he has done for years: kicks up a little dust, wades into some deep waters and tackles the realities of the world with depth, humour and a unique musical style.

Situated at the intersection of the blues, folk, Americana and contemporarysinger-songwriter genres, Walk in the Dark is an exquisite collection of songs that highlight Lutes’s unmistakable voice and literary writing style. Co-produced with celebrated Montreal producer and Cirque de Soleil collaborator Rob Heaney, the album features a group of Canada’s finest roots and blues players, including guitarist Rob MacDonald and keyboardist Bob Stagg along with noted artists Ian Kelly, Guy Bélanger and Joe Grass.

It finds Lutes, also a Kerrville New Folk winner and previous Maple Blues and Canadian Folk Music Awards nominee, exploring a wide range of subjects and paying homage to some heroes: James Cotton (on There’s No Way to Tell You That Tonight) and guitarist Joseph Spence (on the instrumental Spence).

Recorded mainly over three days in late January in a small studio in Montreal’s Notre Dame de Grace borough, the recording captures the essence of Lutes’s soulful voice and rhythmic guitar style, enveloped by a group of players who are no stranger to his groove. Featuring 12 new originals, including two co-writes with award-winning Americana songwriter Dale Boyle, and the forgotten John Prine gem Rocky Mountain Time, the album digs deep into the roots of Canadian and American music and delivers another strong statement. “This album, of all of them, was a journey into the unknown, which is why I like the title so much,” Lutes says. “With a great co-producer, and a group of phenomenal players and friends, I went in to the studio to find these songs. And I really feel like we did that.”

Lutes has released six other full-length albums, including 2009’s acclaimed Truth & Fiction and 2013’s The Bravest Birds which spent seven months in the Roots Music Report top 10 and hit #1 on the EuroAmericana Chart.

He performs solo, in duo with Quebec guitar legend Rob MacDonald, and in full-band format and as part of the roots supergroup Sussex.

In early of 2016, as part of Sussex, he released Parade Day, a spellbinding love-letter to the jazz and blues of the 20s and 30s featuring some of Canada’s finest jazz and roots musicians. The record has been widely acclaimed by fans and critics alike. For more information on Sussex, visit Sussex Promo.

Robi Botos @ Opera House
Jun 2 @ 4:00 pm

robi botos

ROBI BOTOS has been hailed as one of the most diverse multi-instrumentalists of this generation. From the hard-bop style of Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock, to the swing of Oscar Peterson and the heartfelt melodic expression of Mulgrew Miller and Cedar Walton, Robi has managed to master the technique of his idols, all while showcasing his musical expressions in a voice that is purely his own. While Robi is known for being a strong player in the traditional jazz and funk fields, he always incorporates an element of the music he grew up listening to into his playing. Says organist, trumpeter and pianist Joey Defrancesco: “Robi is one of the most swingin’, soulful, funky, world class players I’ve ever heard, and he has a technique like you can’t believe. Definitely one of my very favorite players!!!”Born of Romani descent in Hungary, Robi taught himself first to play drums as a young child, and got his first taste of being a professional musician working throughout Budapest. Robi was first introduced to the piano when he was 7 years old, and never looked back. He continued to perform throughout Hungary and when he turned 20, decided to move his wife and children to Canada, to further pursue the career he was born for. Now 20 years later, Robi has solidified himself as one of the most sought-after pianists in the country.

Immediately after coming to Canada, Robi immersed himself into both the Canadian and international jazz scene. In 2004, he traveled to Montreux to compete in the Montreux Jazz Festival’s solo piano competition, where he placed first. His prize? Returning the following year to open for one of the headlining artists. That artists happened to be one of Robi’s idols – Oscar Peterson. Unknowingly to Robi, Peterson sat in the wings as Robi performed and upon their return to Canada, the two would form a friendship that resulted in Robi being one of OP’s final mentees. Over the next few years, Robi would continue to participate in and win global prizes and awards including the International “Jazz Hoeilaart” band competition in Belgium, the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) award in California, and the “Martial Solal Piano Competition” in Paris. In 2006, Robi would receive his first JUNO Award nomination for his participation in the ALMA Records release, “One Take.”

Since moving to Canada, Robi has been given the chance to work with many of the greats in his industry including Al Jarreau, Branford Marsalis, Christian McBride, Terri Lyne Carrington, Joey Defrancesco, Steve Gadd and Chaka Khan and has participated in projects with Michel Legrand, Chick Corea, Bill Charlap, Benny Green, and Kenny Barron. Robi wasted no time laying down roots in Toronto. He has been the pianist of choice for Officer of the Order of Canada, Molly Johnson, for close to 15 years and has worked extensively with some of Canada’s most celebrated players including Dave Young, Phil Dwyer, Archie Alleyne, Oliver Jones, Renee Rosnes, Sophie Milman, Paul Novotny, Carol Welsman and more.

Along with being a first-call pianist for some of the top artists around the world, as well as leading his own groups in sold-out shows nationwide, Robi is also a highly sought-after composer. In 2013, Robi composed the score for a film that was deeply personal to him. Aaron Yeger’s “A People Uncounted” tells the story of the rich culture and history of the Romani people (commonly refered to as ‘Gypsies’) in Europe. The film specifically focuses on the mistreatment and devastation of the Romani people during the Holocaust. This moving project was nominated for a Producer’s Guild Award in 2014. Since then, Robi’s music can also be heard on Stella Meghie’s 2016 film “Jean of the Joneses,” which received 2 nominations at the Canadian Screen Awards. Robi also contributed to the soundtrack of the 2013 Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon film “Arbitrage”.

In 2015, Robi released his highly anticipated sophomore album for A440 Entertainment, “Movin’ Forward”, which brought him a 2016 JUNO Award win for Solo Jazz Album of the Year. This would be Robi’s 5th nomination and 2nd win for Canada’s highest award in music. “Movin’ Forward” featured Seamus Blake on tenor saxophone, Robert Hurst on bass, and Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums. After rave reviews and countless sold-out shows in support of this record, Robi went back into the studio in summer, 2016 to record his next album.

In 2018, Robi is back with a brand-new record that pays homage to his Hungarian upbringing, the early days of his career, and the music that he has dedicated his life to. “OLD SOUL” sees Robi not only venturing into a number of different genres (jazz, funk, soul, gospel and more!), but he also plays on a number of different instruments including the Harpejji, which he was inspired to learn and incorporate into his sound by Stevie Wonder. Robi is joined by some familiar faces such as longtime collaborators Mike Downes on bass and Larnell Lewis on drums, as well as Seamus Blake on saxophone. Also joining them for the first time is Cory Henry (Snarky Puppy, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Garrett) on the Hammond B3, Ingrid Jensen (Clark Terry, Maria Schneider, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Billy Taylor) on trumpet, and Lionel Loueke (Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove, Wayne Shorter) on guitar. Robi’s ability as a composer is once again highlighted on this record, with a majority of the tracks being his original material. “Old Soul” pays tribute to his homeland as he takes you down memory lane with visions of his childhood neighbourhood and through some of his favourite spots in his hometown. This record makes you feel like you have a personal connection with one of the most diverse and eclectic artists of our time.

OLD SOUL is released on A440 Entertainment/Universal Music Canada on February 2nd, 2018.

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Jun
3
Sun
Conor Gains @ Opera House
Jun 3 @ 12:00 pm

conor gains

On his third full-length album, singer/songwriter Conor Gains proves himself deeply devoted to making uncompromisingly soulful music that transcends all pop convention. Gains Debut for Vega Records, marks the follow-up to the Cambridge, Ontario-bred 24-year-old’s self-released sophomore album “Run Away With The Night” , Which has been played in constant rotation all over Canadian and American radio stations. In 2016 Gains’ album closing song “Leave It On The Line” won the Cobalt Prize at the Maple blues awards. This National prize is designed to high lite the innovation and creativity in songwriting. This is the impression one gets while listening to Conor Gains. The deep respect of roots music paired with the soulful, adventurous exploration of of modern music gives Gains’ songs an air of familiarity while listening to something completely transcendental.

This album will be the first release in 3 years. Gains’ has been traveling the world playing concerts in different countries and is ready to share his stories. “This album is my past 3 years of love, growth, travel, smiles and tears reflected in songs. I write to make peace with a situation. Music is my healing and if I can help others by providing a way of looking at something in a different light then I have done my job right and I will sleep well at the end of the night”.
Gains’ has written nearly 100 songs in the past 3 years and has chosen the top songs that fit together for the up-coming release. The band says: “Conor is always writing. At a rehearsal it’s not uncommon for him to throw new original songs that he has just written onto our set list, and we have to just keep up with his speed”.
Look out for the release date along with a brand new single and tour dates coming soon.

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Kellylee Evans @ Opera House
Jun 3 @ 1:30 pm

kelly lee evans

Six albums deep and Juno Award winner Kellylee Evans is still shaking it up on Come On, her latest Decca album.The stylistic connoisseur has tackled everything from jazz to R&B and pop in such previous tasty classics fight or flight?, Nina – her Juno-winning tribute to the legendary Nina Simone – and I Remember When.

Praised by the Latin Jazz Network for a “gorgeous voice (that) rises to the heavens in rapturous wonder as if in consanguinity with a chorus of angels” and by the Yukon Arts Centre for “a stunning crystalline voice, both powerful and emotive,” Evans now pushes her muse firmly into the soulful pop territory with Come On: a wonderfully refreshing album about love and life that comes on the heels of two nearly career-ending accidents: a freak lightning strike in her Ottawa kitchen and further effects of a concussion suffered during a fall at her home.

However, Evans is nothing if not resilient: the runner-up of the 2004 Thelonious Monk Competition offers views on love and loss in an alluringly rhythmic approach that has touches of psychedelic pop, resonating soul groove and that je ne sais quoi that is strictly Kellylee and forged by her jazz discipline.

From the stirring soul-stomper “Come On” – which combines an effervescent Motown feel with traces of psychedelia – and the funky groove-a-liciousness of “Hands Up” to the string-and-horn-spiced magnetism of “Know His Worth,” the 10 songs of Come On find Kellylee at her most magically potent.

Produced and co-written by Eric Legnini (Stefano Di Battista), this is post-romantic soul at its finest; a project of strong vision and great execution that signals the return of Kellylee Evans as a bold explorer and interpreter.

It only gets better when you experience her live, in her element.

Kellylee Evans’ time is nigh, and Come On is just the catalyst to get her there.

Countermeasure @ Opera House
Jun 3 @ 3:10 pm

counter measure

Countermeasure is the new sound in vocal music, known for their sophisticated arrangements, seamless harmonies, lively performances and infectious energy.
Their dramatically choreographed show, where every song tells a story, has received standing ovations and critical acclaim worldwide. Featuring 14 of Canada’s top harmony singers, their genre-defying contemporary sound takes a cappella to the next level.Formed in 2010, Countermeasure is led by award-winning composer/arranger Aaron Jensen. The group performs original songs and reimagined standards ranging from Cole Porter to the Beatles, with a strong accent on pop and jazz arrangements. It’s a cappella singing at its best, incorporating innovative live looping, vocal percussion, and instrument sounds made by the voice. Their broad-based musical eclecticism has opened doors for the group to headline international contemporary choral concerts, play the main stage at jazz festivals, coerce club-goers onto dance floors and collaborate in esoteric interdisciplinary art projects. They have shared stages with everyone from a cappella giants Naturally 7 and The Swingle Singers to top 40 stars Corey Hart and Blue Rodeo.

Dubbed “The leading a cappella chorus out of Toronto” by the Washington (D.C.) Examiner, the group has won kudos from critics and fans alike. East Coast FM 107.6 (Edinburgh) gave them “*****(5 Stars),” and “This is a win for Canada” was the praise from Toronto’s G987FM Radio.
Countermeasure has been featured at high-profile jazz festivals, concert series, and galas, as well as on CBC Radio and TV, Global TV, Rogers TV and City TV, and CP24 TV. They are a founding artist of SING! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival, Canada’s premier a cappella festival. They have wowed audiences on two U.S. and several Canadian tours, and in the UK at London a Cappella Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, London-area theatres, and more. They performed the opening concert at the world-renowned Vocalmente Festival in Italy.