We absolutely loved “Ingrained” by Carly Dow at Riot Towers earlier this year, so we were double plus pleased when Carly was able to contribute to High Fives this year with (apologies to Julie Andrews) a few of her favourite things. And we’re looking forward to seeing her in the New Year. Almost forgot to mention that Carly Dow is the only contributor to include a video of herself playing live in a boat on The Yukon.

As a completely indecisive person, it’s been terribly difficult trying to narrow down a high five list for the entire year – but here we go! I’ve created a mishmash list of *some* of my favourite things that made this year so special.

01-big-thiefFavourite New Music Discovery

Big Thief. I have been listening to their debut album, “Masterpiece”, non-stop since first hearing the track “Paul”. This music is grungy, emotive and beautiful. It’s a sad party, and we’re all invited! I love the intelligent and thoughtful lyrics, the gorgeous melodies, and the heartbreaking delivery of Adrianne Lenker’s voice.


02-times-changedFavourite Venue

Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club.

This isn’t really a 2016 high five, if I’m completely honest. It’s an all-time forever and ever favourite. This little hole-in-the-wall bar in Winnipeg, MB (smack-dab in the heart of Canada) is a place you can count on for being full of good music and good people, every night that it is open. I’ve had some of the best shows of my life at Times, and have seen even more from the audience, beer in hand and smile on face.

03-yukon-riverFavourite Adventure

15-Day Canoe Trip on the Yukon River. I was so fortunate to be accepted as 1 of 10 artists to participate in the Canadian Wilderness Artist Residency over the summer, which took place in the Yukon Territory. A portion of the residency involved a long paddle journey from Whitehorse to Dawson City through the Yukon wilderness, which was an incredibly humbling and beautiful experience. Here’s a video of me playing banjo while floating down the river in a canoe, if you want a peek into what the trip was like:

04-joel-plaskettFavourite Concert

Joel Plaskett at the Summer Lights Festival in Brandon, MB. I haven’t swooned this hard since I was 18. Seriously. I know about Joel Plaskett (everyone in Canada does), but I had never seen him live before. An intimate, solo performance on an outdoor stage in the summer – it was freaking magical and I left the concert with a sore face from smiling. What a charming fella!

05-madeleine-and-carlyFavourite Person

Madeleine Roger. Ok, I have a LOT of favourite people. But Madeleine in particular is an absolute doll, and has been there for me through some of the best and worst parts of the year. She is a spectacularly lovely human, and lights up every space she is in. She is also a fantastic songwriter, and you can check out her project Roger Roger with her equally lovely brother, Lucas. We had our fair share of adventures together this year with two tours out to the Canadian West Coast.


2160.epsRoger Roger; just to clear up any confusion it’s not a call-sign, it’s Lucas and Madeleine Roger, two twins from Winnipeg and their debut album, “Fairweather” is co-produced by their father Lloyd Peterson. Glad we got that cleared up. Each of the siblings brings their individual flavour to the album and the songs are split almost evenly between them. Madeleine’s songs are in the classic introspective, story-telling style, while Lucas brings a guitar-slinging slacker feel to the album with his contributions. Each takes lead vocal on their own songs and adds harmonies as the final ingredient on their sibling’s songs; the final confection is very tasty indeed.

“Fairweather” is a very clean-sounding album that doesn’t need too many production tricks to enhance the nine songs or Lucas and Madeleine’s vocal and instrumental performances. The album as a whole evokes the seventies Laurel Canyon singer/songwriter era (and Madeleine can sound a lot like Joni Mitchell), but there are hints of later styles, particularly in “Another Girl’s Shoes” which has the melancholy feel of The Gin Blossoms or Matchbox Twenty. The biggest production on the album is “Mad Trapper”, which combines an early Eagles feel with an over-driven guitar riff, Hammond and some nice harmonies.

The album’s opener, “13 Crows” is the moving story of an old man’s reminiscences as he nears the end of his life, set against a chiming guitar riff that has more than a passing resemblance to the main theme from Beethoven’s Ninth. It’s catchy and thought-provoking, setting the tone for the rest of the album. The clean production and the two superb voices tie in the album’s disparate elements, such as the contrasting songwriting styles and arrangements, creating an album that’s mellifluous and intelligent.

If you want recommendations, the title song is a lovely, melancholy picture of a person whose life revolves around missing opportunities, while the closing song, “Scott Free” tells the tale of a woman in a doomed relationship with a bad boy. “Fairweather” is a lovely album packed with catchy melodies woven round stories of smalltown characters and misfits.

“Fairweather” is out in the UK on Friday October 7th.