Music: Shred Kelly

Shred Kelly

With a different spin on folk music and energy to spare Shred Kelly has become one of my new favourite bands. From Fernie, British Columbia, Canada this group of five is modernizing folk music. The band consists of Tim Newton (Vocals, Banjo, Cello Banjo, Guitar, ukulele), Sage McBride (Vocals, keyboard), Jordan Vlasschaert (Bass, Acoustic Guitar), Ty West (Electric Guitar) and Ian Page Shiner (Drums)

According to Spotify their most listened to track is “The Bear” off of their second album In the Hills (2012). I really enjoy “Start Again” off of their third album Sing to the Night (2015). There is just something very cool about the track, I can’t exactly put my finger on it but the combination of the more “dance” drum and the plucking of the banjo are an interesting combination. From their music I can tell that this is a band I won’t miss at the 2015 Winnipeg Folk Festival.

She came in like a storm across the great prairie skies / Promising to use her mind to make them realize / That the roots that were laid weren’t as strong as they had thought / She was a person though the writing said she’s not.




Fierce Females: Amanda


What is it that empowers you most?
What empowers me most is trying to accomplish as many opportunities as I can while having the best time doing it (and trying to inspire others along the way!). My motto is work hard and have fun, if you’re not having fun then why are you doing it?

What is it that you love most about yourself?
My determination, work ethic, passion and sense of humour.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
I think self-confidence is key. Being involved in many initiatives and pushing myself to be the best I can be with everything I do contributes to my personal self-confidence.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
I have many role models who each embody different aspects that I want to see in myself; those who are driven, hard working, gracious, humble, assertive, willing to take risks, empathetic, flexible and generous.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
I look up to strong, independent, females who take risks and inspire other females to pursue their dreams. Some examples are Arlene Dickinson, Susan Gregg Koger and Rachel Mielke.


“As long as you work hard and believe in yourself, things will work out!”


If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Lagertha Lothbrok from Vikings! She has intellect, a strong spirit and kicks some serious butt!

What is your biggest life goal?
I have so many aspirations, however, I think my biggest goal would to be leave a positive mark on everyone I meet.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
I think to date, my biggest accomplishment has been starting Coal and Canary Candle Company with my best friend Tom, and getting our product into the swag bags for both the Oscars and GRAMMYS after our company had only been in business for 3 months.

What is your favourite quote?
Enjoy the journey, don’t think about the destination!

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
Don’t be afraid. As long as you work hard and believe in yourself, things will work out!

What does feminism mean to you?
To me, feminism means that there are no differences between what a man or a woman can believe and achieve.

Amanda is the Senior Graphic Designer, Ricki’s Canada & Co-Owner, Coal and Canary Candle Co. in Winnipeg, Canada.

Connect with Amanda: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Fierce Females: Amanda

Fierce Females: Adrienne


What is it that empowers you most?
What empowers me most is believing in myself; I try to have faith that I will have the awareness and strength to meet every situation with an open mind.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
I’m not sure if I can point out one bit that I love more than the rest. I really try to love it all, and to accept it all equally, even the stuff that stereotypically might be considered “ugly” or “bad.” I think all the parts of us serve a purpose, and so it is all worth loving.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
When I’ve just taken a shower and I’m clean! On a physical level, I feel most beautiful when I’m well rested and have something to smile about. Most importantly, I feel beautiful when I feel clear in my mind and open in my heart.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
I don’t really have one. I think it can become troublesome when we put other people on pedestals, because they are bound to fall. I think everyone is just trying to figure it out, and that is completely fine and human. There are people who demonstrate qualities that I admire, but I focus on embodying the quality, not the person. For instance, one of my friends who is in her 50s and has three daughters, a husband, two cats and a dog: I am so inspired by how she takes care of those around her and is willing to give her time and energy to support those she loves.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
When I was little, I really admired Athena, the Greek Goddess – I was inspired by her strength and fearlessness, which I felt I needed more of in myself.


“Don’t let people tell you that you are too young”


If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
It’s tempting to live in fantasy, but I think I’d rather be myself.

What is your biggest life goal?
To cultivate a state of being that is pure awareness, free of judgement or analysis. And eat lots of good food.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
I’m pretty pleased with myself when I am able to get out of bed every morning! I don’t know if I can choose that…I’d like to think that my biggest accomplishment is the next thing I do.

What is your favourite quote?
“Maitri karuna muditopeksanam sukha duhkha punyapunya visayanam bhavanatas citta prasadanam” – which is line 1.33 from the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. It translates to, “By cultivating an attitude of friendship towards those who are happy, compassion towards those in distress, joy toward those who are virtuous, and equanimity toward those who are non-virtuous, lucidity arises in the mind.” It clarifies for me that the yoga practice isn’t just about the physical, but about relationships and life.

If you could tell your 12-year-old self one thing what would it be?
Trust your intuition. Don’t let people tell you that you are too young, too this or too that. Trust yourself.

What does feminism mean to you?
Equality for all.

Adrienne is a Yoga Instructor, Ayurvedic Lifestyle Counsellor, Kirtan Wallah in Winnipeg, Canada.
Connect with Adrienne: Website / Facebook / Instagram / Blog

Fierce Females: Adrienne

Fierce Females: Brittany


What empowers you the most?
The knowledge that I can do anything I set my mind to. This whole #FierceFemales project was born out of my own personal pain. The intentions of the project might have been slightly selfish in the sense that I wanted to read the accomplishments, heroes and strengths of others to hopefully help heal myself.

#FierceFemales came to me one day and I just started sending out the questions and the response I got was incredible. Once I had encouragement from the first few women I began sending to musicians, artists and authors both local and international (because, what’s the worst that could happen?) and I got few up and coming artists, a CCMA nominee and I’m still working on getting some authors but I became even more encouraged then I just sat back one day and was like, “shit, I’ve done something big here.”

What makes you feel most beautiful?
Being with my family. I have a big family yet when we are all together they never fail to make me feel special, wanted and beautiful. I am so grateful for how close I am with my family.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
My grandparents without question. I want my grandparents to know that while maybe they haven’t graduated high school or even elementary school that they are the smartest, kindest and most selfless people I know.

My grandparents had to drop out of school at various points so they could help support their families and that hindered them later off in life as they had to take lesser paying jobs to support their own children.

Don’t get me wrong my Nanny always goes on about how much she enjoyed her puffed wheat factory days (where her and my Papas first locked eyes) and she worked there for around 40 years.

My grandparents worked their asses off to give my parents everything they could and I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without their sacrifices. That is something I will always keep close to my heart.

My parents for showing me the incredible love that they do everyday and for giving me opportunities that they never had. I also thank them for showing me what true love really is, their love for eachother is unconditional and I am so lucky to see evidence of that every day.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Several years back I became obsessed with the 50s and 60s, especially two of the most popular ladies of that era Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.

Audrey Hepburn I respect for her extremely kind heart. She did so much humanitarian work with Unicef and she travelled a lot to third world countries to help and to see first hand what it was like. I respect that so much because those are some of my own goals in life and I think that more people should help out if they can.

Now Marilyn Monroe is a big role model for me because she was unapologetically herself. My respect for her grew after I read her autobiography. So many people have a skewed vision of her. Truth is she lived a fucked up life and people are so quick to judge. But I admire her for persevering as long as she did none of us will know what was going through her mind the night she died. I choose to believe she was an otherwise strong woman who had a very weak moment and I have so much respect for someone that lives day to day living with a pain that most of us can’t even comprehend.

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Lisabeth Salander hands DOWN! She is really the first bad ass bitch I came across in literature. She is she knows what she wants, she is smart and she doesn’t take anyones shit.

“I want to write a book maybe a novel or maybe it’s just a compilation of my words and quotes.”

What is your biggest accomplishment?
I hope that my biggest accomplishment is yet to come but my biggest accomplishment to date would have to be beginning to establish myself as a freelancer. I really only recently got down and dirty with the whole “owning my own business” thing. I began to take it more seriously and this summer I was presented with more opportunities than ever before and it’s been pretty crazy but also amazing.

What is your favourite quote?
Well, I am a quote person so I have many! For starters I will share one that has stuck with me for many years…

“To rise out of mediocrity you must not be afraid to fail.” – Unknown

It has really shaped how I live my life. Every person has something special to give the world and where would we be if everyone were afraid of failure.

“She turned her can’ts into cans, and her dreams into plans.” – Kobi Yamada

I had this tattooed on my arm after a pretty big change in my life. I got the tattoo to keep reminding myself to make plans and follow through on them and to at least try when I doubt myself.

“Do not be so heavenly bound that you are no earthly good.” – Kaye May

I found this quote on a piece of paper in my grandmothers things after she passed away and I am convinced she is the author because I have Googled it and found nothing. My grandmother was a very religious woman and I think this quote illustrates what a kind heart she had. I think there are quite a few self righteous people (none that I know personally) that hide behind the bible and are so focused on making it “upstairs” one day that they forget to look around and actually get involved and try to make a difference on the only Earth we’ll ever know.

What is your biggest life goal?
To be my own boss. I want to have my own freelance communications business and I have started to take steps in that direction but I realize I need much more experience before getting to where I want to be, I mean I’m only 24.

I want to write a book maybe a novel or maybe it’s just a compilation of my words and quotes. I LOVE words but I didn’t always, I didn’t even like reading and now to most of my friends I am the biggest bookworm they know. But it would be amazing to have something published with my name on the cover.

If you could tell your 12-year-old self one thing what would it be?
I would tell her that “things will get better”. 12-year-old Brittany had it pretty rough and looking back I am so proud of her. No matter what happened she remained true to herself and that’s all I can ask.

What does feminism mean to you?
To me, feminism is women empowering other women, we have enough people in the world telling us what we can and can’t be and it takes a strong woman to tell another woman “you can”.

Feminism is also not about belittling the other gender. I once heard someone say “to be equal is not to be superior”, I think some people (myself once included) mistake feminism for putting down the male gender and that isn’t the goal of feminism. The goal is to stand equally beside a man in any and all situations.

Brittany is a blogger and social media coordinator in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Connect with Brittany:  Twitter | Instagram

Fierce Females: Brittany

Matt Epp

Matt Epp

I saw this beautiful specimen, Matt Epp, when he opened for Serena Ryder in Winnipeg and he is incredible. The singer-songwriter from Winnipeg, Manitoba has released seven albums and collaborated with artists such as Eliza Gilkyson, Rose Cousins, Serena Ryder, Amelia Curran and others. Epp began his career with the release of his first album in 2005, he was nominated for awards on Sirius Radio and even lived in Granada, Spain while he toured Europe and made a solo acoustic album Never Have I Loved Like This.

Epp’s discography includes You’ll Find Me Alone (2005), Love in Such Strong Words (2006), Orphan Horse (2008), Safe or Free (2009), At Dawn (Matt Epp and the Amorian Assembly) (2011), Valentine -Single (2012), Never Have I Loved Like This (Germany only) (2012) and Learning to Lose Control (2013). He played “This Old House” while opening for Serena Ryder and I absolutely loved the song, not to mention he made us sing along and I always love that.

He was also incredibly humble when my sister and I practically attacked him after the show for a picture and autograph…

Matt Epp


The Head and the Heart

The Head and the Heart 7 (2011)

The Head and the Heart are a folk rock band from Seattle, Washington. They formed in 2009 with band members Josiah Johnson (vocals, guitar, percussion), Jonathan Russell (vocals, guitar, percussion), Charity Rose Thielen (violin, vocals), Chris Zasche (bass), Kenny Hensley (piano), and Tyler Williams (drums).

They put on one hell of a show. I think one of my favourite things about watching them live was how they interacted with one another. Watching Josiah and Jonathan together was almost like watching two little boys playing, they were a lot of fun.

I wish Charity did more solo singing her voice is something! I think it’s the way she pronounces words when she sings that makes her different, all I know is that I love it and I want to hear more of it.

The opening act was Basia Bulat a Canadian folk singer from Toronto, Ontario. Lead singer Basia Bulat rocks the ukulele, Autoharp and vocals. Bulat appeared with her brother Bobby Bulat on drums and Ben Whiteley on guitar and bass. I love going to shows for opening acts, it’s how I find some of my favourite bands.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / SoundCloud / Instagram


Music of 2013

This is a 2013 my top ten albums of 2013. Granted, I know that my top ten won’t mean much but maybe you will find something here that you like and haven’t heard before. I like pretty much anything with good lyrics and/or banjo. I think my dance background has made me appreciate music so much and has definitely allowed me to enjoy all genres of music and I am really grateful for that. I hope you find something here that you like, Enjoy!

10. The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles
Eureka, California, United States
Release Date: July 12, 2013


This Grammy nominee grabbed most with her biggest single “Love Song”. Sara Bareilles has a beautiful voice and her songs run in the vein of dance and pop.

I chose “Brave” from The Blessed Unrest because it’s an awesome song about being you and saying what you want to say. Not to mention the video for it is absolutely wonderful so I had to include it.

9. Native by OneRepublic
Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
Release Date: March 26, 2013


This alternative rock band from Colorado has had my heart for a while now. I did a contemporary solo to “Say” from their album Dreaming Out Loud a few years back. The band includes Ryan Tedder (vocals, guitar, piano and keyboard), Zach Filkins (guitar and viola), Drew Brown (guitar, keyboard and drums), Eddie Fisher (drums, guitar and glockenspiel), Brent Kutzle (bass guitar, cello, guitar, keyboard and piano).

I fell for “Counting Stars”, the first track on Native, the instant I heard it. It is a very catchy song and I absolutely love the vocals.

8. Fall of Romance by Imaginary Cities
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Release Date: May 28, 2013


An indie band from my hometown, am I bias? Maybe, but once you have a listen you will realize that Imaginary Cities is a talented group. Imaginary Cities is made up of Marti Sarbit (vocals), Rusty Matyas (multi-instrumentalist), Ryan Voth (drums) and David Landreth (bass). In 2013 they released their second album Fall of Romance. The vocals of Marti Sarbit are incredible, my jaw hit the floor the first time I heard her voice when they opened for The Weakerthans in Winnipeg a few years back.

“Bells of Cologne” is the third track on their second album Fall of Romance and the drums on the track are pretty wicked. You also get a good taste of Marti Sarbit’s soulful voice.

7. When It Was Now by Atlas Genius
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Release Date: February 19, 2013

Atlas Genius

The first time I heard Atlas Genius was when they opened for Imagine Dragons in Winnipeg earlier this year. I was taken with their charm, these guys can work a crowd. This Australian indie rock band consists of brothers Keith Jeffery (vocals and guitar) and Michael Jeffery (drums) as well as Darren Sell (keyboard).

When It Was Now is full of great music but “If So” grabbed me right away. The guitar and keyboards work really well together throughout this track creating a really great sound.

6. Halcyon Days by Ellie Goulding
London, Britain, United Kingdom
Release Date: August 27, 2013


Ellie Goulding, the beautiful songstress from London re-released her second album titled Halcyon Days. The BRIT Award winner is described as pop and dance. Her voice is very different, it’s soft yet powerful.

I fell in love with “Lights” the first time I heard it. The song I am sharing from Halcyon Days was on the bonus disc in the repackaged album called “Burn”. It really is a feel good track and it makes you want to dance.

5. Pure Heroine by Lorde
Mount Eden North, Auckland, New Zealand
Release Date: September 27, 2013


This young lady is just wonderful. I’ve got a some Aussies on this list but none as young as this one. At the age of 17 Lorde is wildly popular and incredibly mature, not only in voice but in lyrics as well. Her voice is very strong and she uses it to her advantage throughout the album. Her music is described as rock, alternative and electronic. Her voice has so much range and from the moment I heard “Royals” I knew she’d be big.

“Tennis Court” is the first track on Pure Heroine and it’s very catchy. I enjoy how she plays with her voice and the beat of the music. This song quickly became a favourite from the album.

4. Let’s Be Still by The Head and the Heart
Seattle, Washington, United States
Release Date: October 15th, 2013

The Head and the Heart 6 (2011)

The indie rock band The Head and the Heart consists of Charity Rose Thielen (violin and vocals), Chris Zasche (bass), Kenny Hensley (piano), and Tyler Williams (drums). I haven’t been too familiar with this band but their new album Let’s Be Still is pretty great. It’s the kind of album you listen to on the dock at the lake, it has a very relaxed summer feel to it and at this time of year we are all looking for a bit of warmth.

I am a sucker for the lyrics in most songs but I really fell for the music in “Another Story”, the violin and vocals really make this song.

3. Hawaiii by Said the Whale
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Release Date: September 17th, 2013

Said the Whale 201399

Said the Whale is a JUNO award-winning alternative and indie rock band from Vancouver made up of Ben Worcester (guitar and vocals), Tyler Bancroft (guitar and vocals), Spencer Schoening (drums), Nathan Shaw (bass) and Jaycelyn Brown (keyboards). I was really lucky to see this group live in Winnipeg a few weeks ago. I hadn’t really listened to the new album very much but after going to the show it was all I listened to for 3 weeks. A song that stood out on Hawaiii for me was “Helpless Son” which is about Tyler’s mom and her battle with cancer.

The song I instantly fell for was “Mother”, when they played it at their show they just looked like they were having the greatest time and that really brought me into the song. It’s also really fun to sing at the top of your lungs in the car…

2. Heart of Nowhere by Noah and the Whale
London, Britain, United Kingdom
Release Date: May 6, 2013


This British band first graced my ears with “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.” and I have been smitten ever since. The indie rock group is made up of  Charlie Fink (vocals and guitar), Tom Hobden (Violin and keys), Matt Owens (bass guitar), Fred Abbott (guitar and keys), and Michael Petulla (drums). They released their new album Heart of Nowhere in May.

The violin in “Heart of Nowhere”, the title track on their third album, is UNREAL! I go crazy for it every time I hear this song.

1. Magpie and the Dandelion by The Avett Brothers
Concord, North Carolina, United States
Release Date: October 15, 2013

Avett Brothers

From Concord, North Carolina The Avett Brothers are described as bluegrass, folk, indie and roots. The band is made up of brothers Scott Avett (vocals, banjo and kick drum) and Seth Avett (vocals, guitar and high-hat) and to round out the band there is Bob Crawford (vocals and bass), Paul Defiglia (keyboard and organ), Joe Kwon (cello) and Mike Marsh (drums). They are very captivating live, and I think everyone enjoyed them at the Winnipeg Folk Festival this past summer.

The album is definitely more tame than the album artwork, but just as vibrant. They just use all of their instrumental talents so well throughout. The song I chose to share was “Bring Your Love to Me” from Magpie and the Dandelion because I am a sucker for the guitar in this song but what really makes the song for me, of course, is the banjo.

Share your 2013 songs in the comments I always love finding new music! So for now I leave you with my 2013 playlist that includes my top ten plus 10 other songs from 2013. Enjoy!

Music of 2013

Said the Whale

Said the Whale

Juno Award-winning Said the Whale is a Canadian indie band from Vancouver, British Columbia consisting of Ben Worcester (guitar & vocals), Tyler Bancroft (guitar & vocals), Spencer Schoening (drums), Nathan Shaw (bass) and Jaycelyn Brown (keyboards). The tour stopped in Winnipeg last night at the Garrick Centre to promote their new album Hawaiii.

Said the Whale did not let down. I have seen them once before at Sasquatch! Festival but it was nice to hear them in a more intimate venue. It was a rowdy crowd at the Garrick last night but they handled it swimmingly. They played songs from Islands Disappear and Little Mountain then finished off with a few from Hawaiii. What I enjoyed most was that they slowed their tempo a few times to allow for some intimate solos by Ben, Tyler and Spencer. Ben sang about losing a love in Curse of the Currents, Tyler sang of his mother’s battle and triumph of cancer in Helpless Son” and Spencer showed off his vocal talent in “Seasons”. The solos really showed what a well-rounded band they are.

The opening bands for their Winnipeg stop were Dojo Workhourse of Calgary, Alberta and Escondido of Nashville, Tennessee. Both were excellent bands and it was the first show opening up for Said the Whale.

Dojo Workhorse was rock/blues/jazz it was a really interesting mix and it works for the 5 bearded men who stated “you may think we are gross old men, but we have feelings too.” I promise, they weren’t gross and their music is definitely worth a listen.

I really enjoyed Escondido, Canadian born Jessica Maros has some serious vocal talent and stage presence. Their sound is rock and I want to say country but “western” almost sounds more appropriate. They have the perfect vocal range and talent for their rock/western style of music.

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Said the Whale

Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons
The stage was lined with cut out trees that added extra lights to the set, a giant drum was rolled out to centre stage and
Dan Reynolds came out looking bad ass in his leather jacket with his collar popped and confidence to boot. This is the first time I’ve seen the Las Vegas band Imagine Dragons, consisting of frontman Dan Reynolds, guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee, and drummer Daniel Platzman live in concert. While they oozed with confidence they were also incredibly humble. Reynolds thanked the audience between almost every song and was giddy with excitement for all the love he and his band were shown.

Reynolds was extremely entertaining to watch spinning and jumping around the stage the energy was incredible. He was never afraid to let the audience take over his singing duties and after he performed “Radioactive” I thought he was going to die, he gave his all for that song.

This band is going to blow up soon I am sure of it. The audience was so diverse, there were high schoolers, young adults and even parents were at this show with their kids, men and women across the board. That is the sign of something big when you can appeal to such a huge demographic.

One of the opening bands were Atlas Genius from Adelaide, Australia is made up of brothers Keith Jeffery (vocalist/guitarist) and Michael Jeffery (drummer) as well as keyboardist Darren Sell. Their album When It Was Now is available on iTunes. Off of that album the most popular is “Trojans” but my favourite was “If So“. Described as alternative they are three fun loving guys who are great with the audience and the accents don’t hurt either.

The first opener was Nico Vega made up of singer and lyricist Aja Volkman, guitarist Rich Koehler, drummer Dan Epand and travelling bassist Jamila Weaver. This mighty band has a wildly energetic leader, Volkman. Small but fearless and she may have more energy than her husband, Imagine Dragons frontman, Dan Reynolds. What I liked most about Nico Vega is that while I realize their sound is more rock I still feel like I can’t stick a genre on them, their sound was their own and that’s pretty cool. They have an EP out called Fury Oh Fury and the most popular song on the EP is “Beast” and one of my favourites is the title track “Fury Oh Fury“.

It was such a great show from all three bands full of energy. Imagine Dragons said they were making plans to come back to Winnipeg so don’t miss out next time.

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Imagine Dragons

Dan Mangan

Dan Mangan

“The day we got banned from the Burton Cummings Theatre.” Dan Mangan joked as he overruled security for the last couple of songs last night. Inviting anyone up front to the stage. I have seen Dan Mangan live a couple times now and it never ceases to surprise me how humble he is. He got everyone on their feet and up around the front of the theatre then he hoped off the stage and out into the crowd. He performed his last song and of course he got everyone in the crowd on harmonies. He asked that all cellphones be put away so we could all be in the moment.

Mangan had so much good to say about our little city. Saying he has had his best dinners of the tour in Winnipeg one of them being at the Deer + Almond. “Kudos to you guys. You’re well rounded but see what you can do about the roads,” he joked.

The Rural Alberta Advantage who opened for Mangan was also an exceptional group. They played some songs from their album Departing. I think my favourite off of that album would be “Tornado ’87″.

All in all Dan Mangan is a wonderful performer talented and humble. If you haven’t seen him live and are a fan of his music I suggest you get to it.

“Needing an answer is futile..” – Dan Mangan

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Dan Mangan