Featuring Jon Brooks, David Leask, Andrea Ramolo, Dayna Manning
Hugh’s Room Live loves a good songwriter and is home to many a concert featuring Canada’s best. Our new Songwriter Sessions series explores songcraft in a round robin format with players peeling back the stories behind their work. Crossing genres and tapping into the natural Canadian gift of open, honest lyrics and tunes, we’ve invited some of our favourites to delve deeper and share their songs with you.
Jon Brooks: writes songs to calm those who’ve looked into and seen what is in their hearts; he also writes songs to terrify those who’ve not. His forthcoming album, No One Travels Alone, is a wondrous meditation on the braided streams of the atomic, the digital, of the animals, the environment, the Gods, and of the stars; and, more essentially: on the interconnectedness of all life – hence, the title and the literal linkages between the songs by last and first lines. No One Travels Alone is the first example in popular music of an album written in circular, corona form.
David Leask: Originally from Jedburgh, Scotland, David is a powerful performing songwriter, who has built an artistic bridge between the influences of his birthplace and the fresh possibilities of his adopted Canadian home to produce five critically-acclaimed CD’s and numerous international songwriting awards in different genres. Songwriters Magazine called David, “the most consistent Canadian songwriting competition winner.” He was also awarded the Mississauga Established Performing Artist of the Year. David’s sixth and latest recording, “Six in 6/8” has just been released. A seasoned and commanding performer, having played nearly 2500 gigs in the last 20 years, David’s music draws from Celtic roots, Americana and country, topped up with a pop sensibility that brings to mind the talents of Van Morrison, Jack Johnson and Foy Vance.
A gifted songwriting teacher, David has been a songwriting mentor for 10 years with the School Alliance of Student Songwriters, on the songwriting faculty for Guitar Workshop Plus, and has conducted numerous songwriting workshops at Folk Festivals and on behalf of the Songwriters Association of Canada with students ranging in age from 7 to 70+. David has the experience, passion and people skills to motivate any individual to write a song and to adapt his workshops to many different settings and needs.
Andrea Ramolo: is a multiple Canadian Folk Music Award nominee and one-half of the acclaimed folk/pop duo Scarlett Jane. Her third and most recent solo album NUDA, produced by Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) was released earlier this year on Fontana North Records and was mentioned on this year’s Polaris Prize longer list. Andrea has co-written music with Matt Epp, Tom Wilson, Luke Nicholson, and Miss Quincy to name a few and has recorded in the studio with Lee Harvey Osmond, Andy Maize, Martha and the Muffins, and more. She has played many of Canada’s major folk and music festivals and just recently released her new album overseas in Italy. Among others, Andrea has had the pleasure of singing alongside Gordon Lightfoot, Ron Sexsmith, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Lynn Miles, and Adam Cohen and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. She has also facilitated songwriting and music workshops for the Songwriter’s Association of Canada, Ottawa’s Blues in the Schools, and in local high schools and elementary schools in Toronto.
Dayna Manning: Juno nominated artist Dayna Manning exemplifies the very best that Canadian Folk music can be. Her cool clear voice along with her insightful songs represent a history of Canadian musical art that goes back to the early 60’s and sounds just as vital today. A modern renaissance artist, Dayna recently completed producing Trent Severn’s third album “Portage”, designed the Stratford Festival’s best selling 60th-anniversary t-shirt, and is currently self-recording her next solo album, “Morning Light”.