The Coal Shed Music Festival’s Featured Artist Archive Pages
Here you will find an archive of the artists from the festival this year whom we have featured on the website. As we update the featured artist page, this area will connect you with previous featured artists, so come back often.
Previously Featured Artists:
John began singing before he was speaking! His mother would often find him behind the coal stove singing his little heart out. John's mother knew John had a special gift and sent him to vocal lessons when he turned 4. John went on to perform as a teenager in local events and on local radio. He taught himself to play the guitar and wrote continuously. In university, he performed and hosted intercollegiate folk festivals and was a favourite on the college circuit. After university, he started to perform professionally.
He moved to Halifax and at that point began touring the globe, performing on national television and recorded his first album. A fortune teller once told John's mother that she saw a guitar in her son's life and that it would bring him everything he wanted in life.
After much success, John continues to grow musically. John is married to Andree and has three children, John Coady, Samantha and Nash.
Born in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis valley, Blain is a Halifax based songwriter and performer. His songs are primarily folk and country oriented. "Like a lot of Canadian songwriters, I'm a naturalist at heart and many of my songs reflect my rural roots."
One of his best known songs, "The Glengarry (A Tribute to Cpl Nathan Cirillo)" was inspired by 5 year old Marcus Cirillo, who wore his Dad’s glengarry at Cpl Cirillo’s funeral service. "I was so moved when I saw that, I wrote the song that day, October 28, 2014."
Downloads of "The Glengarry"are available at: iTunes, Amazon Music and at Bandcamp.
In September 2011 Blain released his first independently produced CD "Slice of Life" featuring 12 original compositions. That was followed in May 2012 by the CD single, "Fundy Tides (Are Callin’ Me Back Home)."
A second CD, "Life’s Highway" featuring another 12 original songs, was released in November 2013.
Blain’s music is produced and arranged by veteran producer Georges Hebert of Bedford.
An engaging and entertaining performer, Henshaw has done dozens of concerts, benefit shows and jamborees.
CDs can be purchased at performances, by contacting the artist, or at Dockside Music and Arts in Eastern Passage.
Raised with a love of music, Bellamon grew up to the sounds of their parents’ band, Family Crest. As a musical household, family time was playing music together. They enjoy fond memories of performing with their family across the Maritimes, at such venues as Upper Clements Park, Rainbow Valley and Seafest Celebrations. Many laughs are still shared reminiscing family adventures of busking boardwalks, and playing shows with their parents and brothers.
While music is their first love, Kelly and Kim actively work in health care. "We are honored to be part of others’ special moments and life challenges. Life is an amazing adventure and we want to sing about it!"
Appreciating the musical richness of Nova Scotia, Bellamon’s goals are to continue to grow as musicians, pass on the love of music to their children, and aspire to write and perform songs that continue to document the wonders of East Coast Living.
Learn more about Bellamon at Bellamon.
Andrew Hunter & The Gatherers are a power trio with a singer-songwriter at heart. These boys know how to rock, plain and simple. They also know how to write, proof being the lead single One Good Reason from 2011’s critically acclaimed album Warhorses, which cracked the top 30 charts nationally. Meanwhile, 2009’s debut single The Feel Good Song got their foot in the door cracking the top 40.
Hunter has established a reputation for writing and performing the kind of catchy songs audiences love to sing along to and radio loves to play. Most recently Remember has been chosen to appear in the ABC/Global hit TV series Rookie Blue airing spring 2013 to millions of viewers in the US and Canada. He first caught the attention of radio when The Feel Good Song was chosen Regional Winner of the RadioStar national songwriting competition in 2009. That song also went on to be featured on the popular TV series, Degrassi: The Next Generation which airs in over 160 countries around the world. Learn more about this artist at Andrew Hunter.
The latest EP from Halifax bleeding-heart quintet Quiet Parade finds the group writing some of its most powerful and contemplative songs to date. What started as a solo project for songwriter Trevor Murphy (ex-Sleepless Nights and The Establishment) has matured into an organic, full band effort on Old Haunts. The new album is a collection of songs reflecting on places and people of the past – a reoccurring theme in Quiet Parade’s fog-laden songs.
Voted the Best Band To Listen To Quietly by The Coast’s Best of Music Reader’s Poll for the last three years, Quiet Parade once again taps into its core of introspective and honest songs to present a record that stirs up long-standing ghosts, lingering memories and a glimmer of hope for better days. Whether lamenting relationships or dwelling on fears, the old haunts in these songs are more than just physical. They channel the idea that the hauntingly familiar is in everything.Learn more about Quiet Parade at Quiet Parade.
Many fans were first introduced to Dan and his music while walking through the Halifax Farmer’s Market where, almost every Saturday morning for thirteen years, he busked for any and all who would stop and listen. However, it was his first venture with veteran music producer, Paul Mills, that his fifth recording, Fields of Dreams and Glory, would introduce his music to the world stage. This CD amassed an amazing 74 consecutive weeks of international airplay – from folk radio shows and stations throughout Canada and continental USA, to Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Holland, the UK, Ireland, and Israel. The album also generated extremely favourable reviews in several Folk Music trade magazines.
Thirty years of performing and six recordings later - from the coffeehouses, pubs, and bars of his early beginnings in Atlantic Canada, Dan continues to deliver his finely crafted songs to audiences through his yearly tours in the UK and performances in and around the Canadian Maritimes. Recent forays into Ontario, the US, as well as a tour of Southeastern Australia in 2007 have only furthered to cement his commitment and passion to the songs and stories of his Atlantic Canadian home. Find out more about this very talented musician at Dan McKinnon.
Hal Bruce is a One-Man, One-Voice, One-Guitar, BIG SOUND full-time entertainer/music producer/songwriter, from Nova Scotia, Canada. He has long been known as a man with great musical talents and earned a well-deserved reputation of being true to the music and being a versatile hard working performer.
Since his early days as a songwriter/music composer, and as a recording artist, he has recorded more than 14 albums, including four albums of originals that charted very well in the 1990s in Canada, earning more than a dozen Regional, National, and International Awards, including Male Vocalist, Songwriter, Entertainer, Video, and Band of the Year. He also has been inducted in three Halls Of Fame between 2006 and 2015, the latest one being the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame in September 2015, along with well-known Canadian artist such as Hank Snow, Anne Murray, Rita MacNeil, and many more.Learn more about this exceptional artist at Hal Bruce.
Jabbour is made up of some of Montreal’s finest folk and roots musicians. Guillaume Jabbour and Bill Collier present well-crafted songs written in both French and English that demonstrate the band's influences, such as chansons Francophones, Quebecois music, Western Swing and Cajun music. After the success of their West Coast tour last summer, they are embarking on a tour of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes during the summer of 2016.
During the winter of 2016, Jabbour was in the studio recording 8 original compositions. With help from a FACTOR grant, the band spent the cold season listening to the tracks they lay down in December, planning out recording strategies, and adding overdubs to create a finished product that remains true to the band's acoustic sound. Learn more about Jabbour at Jabbour.
Manitoba Hal has forged an international reputation for engaging and connecting with his audience through songs that are mournful, hopeful, silly, romantic and introspective. He proves that the uke can be small but mighty as he pulls out powerful blues riffs and melodies adding subtle important accompaniment using looping technology.
His strong foundation in American roots / blues music, confident baritone voice, and distinctive original music have made him a solid draw at festivals, house concerts and soft seat theatres in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. He has performed at the Orangeville Blues & Jazz Festival, Kitchener Blues Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Vancouver Island Music Festival, New York Uke Festival, Ukulele Festival of Great Britain and Melbourne Ukulele Festival and he has been a mainstage headliner at international ukulele festivals such as the Cairns Ukulele Festival and the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival.
Darren Arsenault was born performing in a cloud of smoke commonly known as Toronto. His howling melodies could be heard throughout the hospital so they spanked him. His talents have vastly improved since leaving the womb.
He plays several distinctly different types of guitar plus the banjo, Dobro, mandolin, dulcimer, harp, drums and percussion. The music he plays on these instruments varies from jazz to bluegrass, country, folk, blues, rock & roll, lounge, classical, old timey and political Science. He is well known for bending, twisting and exploring all these styles with confidence and finesse.
Known for his strong banjo and guitar ability, Darren also plays a whack of other stringed instruments. His rhythmic and percussive style comes from his formative years as a drummer. His resonant voice and emotionally charged lyrics, combined with his energy on stage, makes him one of the brightest shining musical entertainers in Nova Scotia.
Naomi is a young cowgirl with a great love and talent for singing. In the past few years she has traveled across Canada and the United States performing for thousands. Her love for old-time traditional country music led her to self-taught yodeling, which she incorporates into her performances, to an overwhelming response. Naomi was featured in the top 200 across Canada for the Canada's Got Talent 2012 season. Also among her many accolades Naomi cherishes the Havelock Fans Choice Award, the BC Cowboy Heritage Rising Star and The Western Music Association, 2-time Youth Yodeler of the Year award. A proud Canadian, Naomi has received awards from Municipal, Provincial, and Federal Governments for her outstanding achievements in music.
In the spring of 2008 Naomi recorded her first album titled "Cowboy Sweetheart," followed by "The Yodelin’ Cowgirl" in November, then "Ridin’ High" which came out the following July. Ridin’ High was awarded the Best Traditional Yodel Album of the Year 2010 by the National Traditional Country Music Association in the United States. She recorded her first three albums at Ambassador Records in Oshawa, Ontario. Her fourth CD, "Lookin’ Back," was recorded in Nashville, TN and Naomi had the honor and privilege to sing two duets with Jim Ed Brown, Grand Ole Opry Star. Her 5th album, "Lovin’ the Ride," also featured Jim Ed Brown and Richard Sterban from the Oakridge Boys. In March of 2012 she recorded her most memorable CD, "Blessed Trails," gospel songs featuring the one and only Mr. Vince Gill. Naomi also released an album with a collection of all her yodeling songs, "Yee Haw Yodelin’."
The Yodelin’ Cowgirl
Lovin’ the Ride
Yee Haw Yodelin’
Naomi has performed on Breakfast Television and YTV. She has been showcased on the RFD TV for the 3rd season of Shotgun Red which was recorded live on the famous General Jackson Showboat Nashville,TN. She has opened for Gene Watson, Marty Stuart, Johnny Burke, Stonewall Jackson, The Good Brothers, Larry Mercey, Gordie Tapp and many other established country artists.
Aselin Debison has been a corner stone for the musical landscape of Cape Breton for almost 12 years. Despite her young age, Debison is a well-recognized performer around the world. Her career began at the age of 9 when Aselin captured the hearts of Canadians as she performed the unofficial anthem of Cape Breton, “The Island”, for a coal miners’ rally in her hometown of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. From that moment, Debison’s success has climbed steadily.
Debison’s debut album with the Sony Music family, "Sweet Is The Melody," was released in September of 2002 and produced by pop luminaries Peter Asher and George Massenberg. The album was a complete success peaking at number 10 on the Billboard charts and receiving numerous East Coast Music Award nominations.
In February of 2005, Debison released “Bigger Than Me” to rave reviews at the East Coast Music Awards in Sydney, Nova Scotia. This new album showcased Aselin’s development as both an artist and budding songwriter. Debison co-wrote each track on the album with help from friends Dave Thomson (co-founder of teen pop band Wave) and producer Thomas "Tawgs" Salter (initially renowned as a member of the 1990s Canadian rock band Dunk). With the release of "Bigger Than Me" came a cross-Canada mall tour, a second invitation to perform for the Canada Day Celebrations on Parliament Hill, more East Coast Music Award nominations, as well as an endorsement deal with Fender Guitars.
The Littlest Angel 2001
Sweet is the Melody October 2002
Bigger Than Me February 2005
Homeward Bound 2010
In 2006, Aselin parted ways with the Sony record label to try things on her own. Debison started her own label and in the summer of 2010 released her fourth studio album "Homeward Bound." The lead single from the album, "Close To You," has received tremendous radio airplay around Canada, topping the East Coast Countdown at number 2. "Homeward Bound" brings Aselin Debison and her sound back to her roots in folk based country tinged music.
Andrew Frelick, delivers a raw, natural talent heard through his rich vocals, country guitar work, and live off the floor sound.
After being given his first guitar, Andrew was performing on top local stages by the time he reached his teens. He had developed a natural comfort on stage that would compare to that of a seasoned performer. His love of country guitar, and passion for being on stage would continue to be showcased; both in his music and in his live performances.
Andrew decided to take his knowledge of music to the next level and completed an International Baccalaureate Program of Classical Music with honours. After its completion, he was accepted into Berkley Music College in Boston, but instead decided to focus on his music career. Andrew then went on to develop a passion for writing, and has since penned many songs. Additionally, he has co-written numerous songs with other writers such as Doug Folkins & Deborah Frelick.
Over the years, he has co-founded and performed in various popular local bands. Maddison, Paradox and Tailgate are just of few while focus was maintained on establishing his solo career. Andrew has performed on stage with artists such as Jordyn Beatty, Kevin Davison, Campbell + Green, Aaron Pritchett, TJ King and Carroll Baker.
Spread Some Good Time Around (EP)
With Out You I've Got Nothing (Single)
Spread Some Good Time Around (Single)
It's Christmas Time Again (Single)
Eyes of an Angel (Single)
His song, Spread Some Good Time Around, finished as a regional semi-finalist on CBC's Searchlight 2015 contest, reached #18 on "The Iceman's Top 40 New Artist Countdown" and debuted at #12 on "The Spectrum Top 40 Countdown." As a result of the song's success, he was selected to perform in Nashville on June 14th during CMA Fest 2015 on stages sponsored by Robert Golomboski (The Iceman), Nan Cassidy of Tunesmith Entertainment, KORE PR, NStyle Country and 101.5 FM THE ONE.
For nearly four decades Morgan Davis has been on the road travelling across Canada, the United States and Europe. His performances draw from a rich tradition of country blues, as well as his own contemporary songs infused with wit and a large dose of humour.
Ready to Play 1982
Morgan Davis 1989
Morgan Davis LIVE 1994
Blues Medicine 1999
Hogtown Years 2003
At Home in Nova Scotia 2007
Drive My Blues Away 2011
I Got My Own 2014
Over the years he has had the privilege of opening for Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, Albert King, John Hammond, Albert Collins, and Eric Bibb. A highlight of his career was backing the phenomenal Dr. John. Morgan has shared the stage with Colin Linden, who also produced his second album, shared the stage with James Cotton, Hubert Sumlin, Sunnyland Slim, Snooky Pryor, James Harmon, Gene Taylor, Dutch Mason, Gene Taylor and many other great blues artist over the years.
"Naming the Twins is bright, breezy and delightful. Their sound is wonderful... reminiscent of the best folk duos of the 60’s and 70’s."
— Bob Sherman, host of the long-running "WOODYS CHILDREN," now in it’s 45th consecutive year on the air, heard on WFUV (in NYC) and via the internet
"Head and shoulders with the greats of the folk era, PP&M included! Fantastic guitar, melody, harmony, lyrics, beat, and wonderful voices all coming together to make REAL MUSIC... !"
— Beth Mowry — Savannah, GA
Dark and melodic, this small town girl sings passionately and powerfully about love, monsters and other more personal tribulations. Porter lovingly refers to her songwriting as a collection of fairy tales for the young at heart, the wounded and the hopeful.
Sounds Like: Tegan and Sara, Regina Spektor, Tom Waits, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple (Reverbnation.com).
"There's a real ethereal quality to her that I think is amazing." — a fan
Learn more about Crystal at Crystal Marie Porter.
Saltwater Roses is a fluid quintet of experienced musicians who have mastered the fine art of constructing and delivering a brisk, punchy and pliant acoustic/electric sound that references enduring artists such as Graham Parker and John Hiatt without sounding slavishly derivative.
Saltwater Roses is a band fromthe Maritime provinces (Halifax and Moncton) who have been playing together for 30 years. Their Yarmouth connection is their drummer, originally from Yarmouth, Greg Doucette, who has been with the band for 5 years. Learn more about Saltwater Roses at Saltwater Roses.
Raised in a musical household, Kelly spent many happy moments performing with her family's band Family Crest. First onstage memories include singing at various festivals such as Ardoise and Black Rock Bluegrass Festivals. Kelly has fond memories of performing with her family across the Maritimes at such venues as Upper Clements Park, Rainbow Valley and Seafest Celebrations.
Kelly describes herself as a New Age Granola Girl. From quirky adventures, growing pains, to life philosophies her songwriting is a testimony to her participation in her love for the spirit of life. Kelly’s style ranges from an eclectic mix of homemade folk to wannabe rock. Learn more about Kelly at Kelly Joy Bellamon.
The Rocabillys consist of Alex Surette (drums), Cameron Nickerson (guitar, lead vocals), Matt Wilkinson (lead guitar, vocals) and Spencer Muise (stand-up bass, vocals). They all live in or around Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and came together as a band in May of 2011 so they could enter a battle of the bands competition at their high school and try out some original material in front of a live audience.
Things went well so they recorded a five song EP "Hicks from the Sticks." The songs are about four guys who love the outdoors, driving their four wheel drive trucks, having a good time and writing and playing their own music — in other words, about The Rocabillys! Check them out at The Rockabillys.
Hourglass is a Yarmouth band that has been around since 1971 in one form or another. This year marks the group’s 40th anniversary! And those of us who care to admit our age will remember local dances where they performed. The hall at Beacon Church was one of our favourite spots for this in the early 1970s. The present line-up includes Carl Surette, Alan Doucette, Bill Leblanc, Jack Dease and Phil DeMille.
The band has changed its members many times over the years but has maintained popularity and a consistent sound throughout, mainly due to its founder and driving force, Phil DeMille. Phil has played a prominent role in Yarmouth’s music scene in one form or another for these past 40 years. As one of the unsung heroes behind the Coal Shed Music Festival, for the past five years he has been a major contributor to the Festival’s success! You can view videos of Hourglass on Youtube or Lynn Hemeon’s Yarmouth Bands.
The Yarmouth Shantymen
Sea shanties are rhythmic work songs used by centuries of sailors to coordinate their pulling to hoist sail and cargo, and to perform other tasks onboard ship before the age of steam. Yarmouth Shantymen have been performing traditional work songs from the age of sailing ships since 1984. The group has produced three CD collections of shanties and other sea songs.
Old Cameron at the Wheel – 1997
Heavy Weather – 2003
At the Halliards – Live! – 2007
You can catch The Shantymen at the Yarmouth Farmers Market on Saturday, August 6. The Shantymen perform in a variety of venues for diverse gatherings, ranging from SeaFest celebrations each July to community events such as Canada Day. Venues include entertaining a tour bus crowd in a local hotel dining room, performing for participants at a conference, and occasionally singing just for fun on Yarmouth's historic waterfront - this last usually followed with a visit to the brew pub on the wharf! To find out more visit the Yarmouth Shantymen.
Alex Buchanan is a piano-based singer/songwriter from Shelburne, Nova Scotia, specializing in alternative-pop music. He released his debut album in August 2009 and followed it up with his second full-length album titled "Transit Lines,” released in 2010.
Alex is also a music producer and boasts his own studio in Shelburne. He works out of HarourTone Productions studio, which holds a control room with professional grade equipment that meets international industry standards. There he records, mixes and produces top quality sound from artists who enjoy the benefits of his acoustically treated isolation room.
Find out more about Alex by visiting his website. You can also view his videos on YouTube.
Danny MacIsaac and The Chunk of Funk
The master of disaster, the king of swing, Danny MacIsaac is “The Chunk of Funk.” Playing music all his life, MacIsaac currently fronts The Chunk of Funk, his three piece band made up of a rhythm section that is dedicated to laying down a solid back-beat, spiced with a seasoned guitar/vocal bringing out the flavour of a trio whose sole intention is to deliver groove to the listener, leaving the audiences wanting more. MacIsaac delivers big sound, a unique energy and dynamic sessions of improvisation with a versatile edge perfect for the live performance atmosphere. It's a dense smoky kind of sound that digs into the root of what primal thing it is that makes a person listen to music in the first place.
Danny MacIsaac on lead vocals and guitar, Kim Anderson on bass and Jamie McDonnell on drums
James Brown Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Jimmy Smith, Pink Floyd, Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, Freddy King, James Jamerson and many, many more
Give a listen to The Chunk of Funk on their MySpace page. You can also view their videos on YouTube. A thank you to Lynn Hemeon for sharing his videos.
Sonicbids (sonicbids.com) describes Ryan Cook as "a die-hard performer, having played over 350 shows since the release of Hot Times. He has shared the stage with Taylor Swift, Brandi Carlile, Sammy Kershaw, Steve Poltz, Catherine MacLellan and Juno-award winning artists Joel Plaskett, Wintersleep, and The Good Lovelies. He has showcased at Music City Roots and the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree in Nashville, TN and performed over 30 theatre shows as Hank Williams in the Maynard Collins play The Show He Never Gave."
Hailing from Yarmouth county, Ryan has deep roots in the land and in the local community through his family connection with Cooks Dairy. A prolific performer, he seems to be constantly on tour from local bars to the prairie provinces to Nashville, Tennessee. Over the next few months Ryan will have an opportunity to open for three Country Music legends: Roseanne Cash, Dwight Yoakam, and Travis Tritt! He is pretty excited about that. For more information and to contact him visit his website, Ryan Cook.
Peaks and Valleys (LP) – Independent – 2010
Hot Times (LP) – No Scene Records – 2008
Children Smiled (EP) – No Scene Records – 2007
Sunny Acres (EP) – No Scene Records – 2006
YouTube video courtesy of Lynn Hemeon at Yarmouth Bands
Kill The Messenger
Kill The Messenger is an up and coming modern rock band from Shelburne County, Nova Scotia. Very diverse and in-your-face group. With influences ranging from 80’s rock, to today’s rock hits, K.T.M. is sure to get your attention.
Together since 2009, the band consistes of Matt Muise – Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar, Kenny Cunningham – Lead Guitar & Vocals, April Scott – Bass Guitar, Keyboard & Vocals and Ed Benham – Drums & Percussion. For more information and to contact them, visit their website, Kill The Messenger.