The Artists of 2014

Bettye Lavette

September 19th, 2014

Two time Grammy nominee Bettye LaVette is no mere singer. Bettye is an interpreter of the highest order. Whether the song originated as country, rock, pop, or blues, when she gets through with it, it is pure R&B. She gets inside a song and shapes and twists it to convey all of the emotion that can be wrought from the lyric.

She was born Betty Jo Haskin on January 29, 1946, in Muskegon, Michigan. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Bettye did not get her start in the church, but was weaned on the C&W and R&B records of the time that were playing on the juke box in her parent's living room.

In 1962, at 16, she became Bettye LaVette. Her first single was "My Man--He's a Loving Man" on Atlantic Records. The record charted #7 R&B and put her on her first national tour, with Ben E. King, Clyde McPhatter, and other Atlantic stars of the time.

She worked alongside Charles "Honi" Coles, and Cab Calloway in the Toni Award winning Broadway musical, "Bubbling Brown Sugar" in the role of Sweet Georgia Brown

Her CD, A Woman Like Me won the W.C. Handy Award in 2004 for "Comeback Blues Album of the Year". She was given a prestigous Pioneer Award by The Rhythm & Blues Foundation.

In 2005, she signed with ANTI- Records and released the critically acclaimed CD, I've Got MY Own Hell To Raise, consisting of songs that were written by women. 2007 brought her together with alt-rock group Drive-By Truckers for the Grammy nominated CD, The Scene of The Crime.

She has received the Blues Music Award for "Best Contemporary Female Blues Singer". She performed a critically acclaimed version of "Love Reign O'er Me" at The Kennedy Center Honors in a tribute to The Who. A critical favorite, the producers had her perform "A Change Is Gonna Come" with Jon Bon Jovi for President elect Barack Obama on HBO's telecast of the kick-off Inaugural Celebratory concert, We Are One.

Her CD, Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook garnered a second Grammy nomination.

In 2012 she released both a new album, Thankful N' Thoughtful, and her autobiography, A Woman Like Me, written with David Ritz.

Bettye is one of very few of her contemporaries who were recording during the birth of soul music in the 60s and is still creating vital recordings today, as opposed to resting on past laurels and recreating sounds of the past.


October 3rd, 2014

5440 are one of the most important popular music groups to emerge from the Canadian cultural landscape. With more than 2 decades of performing and recording behind them, the band has an unbelievable catalogue of hit songs. Lead by chief songwriter Neil Osborne, 5440 have carved out a legacy of gold and platinum albums and a outstanding reputation for their live performances that carries through to this day. Over 25 years, 2000 performances, and 16 releases the secret to 5440's longevity is their ability to redefine and reinvent themselves, taking long time 5440 fans on a ride that is bound to pick up new young fans on the way. To experience 5440 in concert is to experience how songs have touched and continue to touch people's lives. From people who have followed the band from their humble beginnings in east Vancouver to new young fans that have discovered the truly original band that is 5440, a 5440 concert is an extraordinary affair that bridges the gaps of generations through a shared love of music.

"I simply can't find the right words to describe 54.40, one of the most respected Canadian bands ever. Can one possibly gauge the accomplishments they have attained during their two-decade-long journey in one sentence? The answer in my mind is no," Scene Magazine.

In its original trio form, 54.40 played its first gig on New Year's Eve 1981 at the 'Smilin' Buddha Cabaret' in Vancouver. After recording a couple of independent releases and reconfiguring the band as a foursome, they signed with Warner Brothers in the US and released four albums. Then in 1991, 54.40 found a new home on Columbia Records at Sony Music Canada.

Since then, the band has toured throughout the world, released 9 more albums, received numerous awards and has achieved almost a dozen Top-10 hit singles. Along with their incredible songwriting ability, 54.40 expanded their horizons by opening their own studio, racking up producing and mixing credits. Neil Osborne produced Juno nominated Jets Overhead and Winnipeg singer songwriter Cara Luft, while guitarist Dave Genn produced up and coming rock bands Marianas Trench, Arm Chair Cynics and is a co-songwriter for the chart topping Hedley.

In 2005, the band appropriately signed a recording agreement with True North Records, one of Canada's longest standing independent labels. Since hooking up with True North, the band released the acclaimed "Yes To Everything" album and followed it with a live DVD titled "This Is Here This Is Now. The latter recorded at the magnificent Commodore Ballroom during their traditional annual October appearance at the Vancouver landmark.

Throughout their journey, 54.40 remains creative and fresh, growing musically and lyrically with each project. "A band has to evolve with its audience to keep their interest," stated Brad Merritt. "We make records based on where we're at, at that time. So it's kind of like a time capsule."

When asked about their track record Matt Johnson once commented, "one thing we hear consistently is 'I didn't know you guys had so many hits,' but we just consider ourselves songwriters. We enjoy the craft and whether we're trying to write an eight-minute epic or just a three-minute pop song, it's very enjoyable for us and we're not afraid to do either."

Hawksley Workman

November 21st, 2014

Hawksley workman is a prolific songwriter, producer, singer, multi instrumentalist, actor, and published author. His 12 year career has produced as many records, all ambitiously creative and defying category. The 6 times nominated 2 time juno award winner has enjoyed radio success in Europe and Canada and has written songs for celebrated artists the world over. Workman’s production work (18 albums) has been attached to many successful artists including Tegan and Sara, Serena Ryder, Great Big Sea, Sarah Slean, and Jeremy Fisher. Hawksley’s touring career has seen him play nearly a thousand shows in over 15 countries. He’s headlined prestigious venues like Massey Hall in Toronto and The Olympia in Paris, as well as opening for heroes Morrissey, David Bowie, and The Cure. As an actor Workman has appeared in films such as Score, Hockey a Musical (he also wrote a portion of the music), Youkali Hotel, and Stormy Weather. Beyond his own solo work, Hawksley has written songs for many feted artists including legends Johnny Hallyday and Jane Birkin. In 2002 ECW press published Hawksley Burns for Isadora, a collection of fictional love letters to a mermaid.


December 5th, 2014

Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet tied the musical knot with Whitehorse, marrying their chemistry as a smoldering duo. Whitehorse’s live show is built on their signature blistering guitars and harmonies, but also brings much more to the stage with complex looped layers of percussion, keyboard and telephone receiver amplification. In 2013, Whitehorse made their sold out debut at Massey Hall and their first full-length album, The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss, was short listed for the Polaris Music Prize. The band also recently released a French EP, Éphémère sans repère.

The classic tale of musical romance continues for Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland, the husband and wife duo behind Whitehorse. One year after their debut, Whitehorse returns in ambitious fashion with The Fate of the World Depends on this Kiss and a date at Massey Hall in 2013.

The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss is everything the talented pair’s first full length promised. As a whole, the album reveals the range of creative possibility that only expands as Whitehorse develops and focuses their sound. Song by song, the record takes surprising turns; while each track confidently bears Whitehorse’s signature blistering guitar work and love-knotted vocals, their willingness to take risks and ability to pull them off makes for captivating listening.

Whitehorse’s live show is built on mesmerizing guitar work and smoldering vocal chemistry, but also brings much more to the stage with complex layers of percussion, keyboard and telephone receiver amplification, tangled like an embrace with the help of looping pedals. Their sold out Winter Garden Theatre show in February, 2012 signaled their unquestionable arrival as a band.

With savage talent and tender hearts, Whitehorse expertly plays both lion and lamb on The Fate of This World Depends on This Kiss. Six Shooter Records is proud to release this fine album on August 28, 2012.

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