Key of A
with Katherine Duncan

Tanika Charles on tour, Transit live!


This week, you'll meet Tanika Charles (pictured above,) a soul singer with a great story and a hot new album, Soul Run. She joins me from our Edmonton studio for a chat and a few songs.


Plus, a chance to hear the blistering set Calgary hip hop duo Transit delivered at Key of A's Jam for the Food Bank in December at Festival Hall.


Meet Mohsin Zaman, get to know The Needle


Have you ever dreamed of starting up a live music venue? It's fun to daydream about but it's a risky business. Edmonton has seen more than its fair share of music venues closing over the past couple of years. But now, that trend seems to be reversing with a few new spots for live music opening up, including The Needle Vinyl Tavern on Jasper Ave.

This week on the Key of A, you'll get an inside scoop on what it takes to open a place for live music in Edmonton. James Leder of The Needle will be here to fill you in.

Plus, you'll meet Mohsin Zaman (pictured above) originally from Dubai, now making his home and his music in Edmonton (he's releasing his new album, Fly Home, May 26 at The Needle!)

And, new albums from Woodpigeon (which started life in Calgary as an indie folk collective) and Edmonton's King of Foxes.


Western Canadian Music Award nominees


They say, whether you win or lose, it's an honour to be nominated.

A couple of dozen Alberta artists have a few months to savour the honour of their Western Canadian Music Award nominations before they find out who wins, October 13th.

Whatever the outcome in October, this list of nominees is a great place to start if you're looking for new local artists to support. 

This week you'll hear some top contenders, including double nominee Corb Lund, up for Roots solo and Songwriter of the year for his album Things That Can't Be Undone. Matt Patershuk gets a roots nomination for his 2nd album, I Was So Fond Of You

Brett Kissel of Flat Lake Alberta is a triple nominee -- Break Out Artist and Country Artist of the year, plus an audio engineering nod for his album, Pick Me Up

Rae Spoon's Calgary-produced album Armour is in the running for Rock album, as is Edmonton band The Wet Secrets. Edmonton rapper Arlo Maverick gets a nod for his semi-autobiographical album Maybe Tomorrow; while Calgary's Lexi Strate (pictured above) is a Pop Artist contender for her release, Waves.

Tasman Jude, a reggae band formed in Grande Prairie gets a nod for World Artist of the Year; Calgary's Northern Beauties compete in the Roots category; and the pan-Alberta Hutchinson Andrew Trio make a fine case for local instrumental music with their collaboration with Calgary's Lily String Quartet on their album Hollow Trees.


Sykamore and Scott MacKay at Sound OFF Calgary!

This week on the Key of A, two live showcase performances from this year's Sound OFF Calgary!

One of the hardest things to do when you're a musician, is to get your music into the ears of people who can help move your career forward -- by hiring you to play at their festival, or signing you to their record label.  Music Calgary makes that easier for a number of local acts, by inviting music industry folks from across North America to Calgary to hear them play at their annual Sound Off showcase event. (It's also a great chance for local audiences to discover new rising stars among us!)

CBC Radio was on hand to record all five performances at the Friday night Sound OFF showcase at the Ironwood Stage. This week, you'll hear the first two artists of the night: Sykamore (pictured above) and Scott MacKay.

You may have heard songs by Sykamore (Calgary songwriter Jordon Ostrom, who performs with musical partner Russell Broom) on the CBC TV show Heartland. The young artist is spending time these days in Nashville, working on her song writing career and putting together a new album.

When Scott MacKay was growing up on PEI, his mother used to hold singing contests between him and his twin brother Ben. These days, Ben sings back-up to Scott's lead, and no surprise -- the two voices are a perfect match. You'll hear them perform songs from Scott's recent album, Twin.


Shredmonton! New Cowpuncher, Edmonton Music Award nominees

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This week on the Key of A, find out all about Shredmonton! Edmonton's first metal music festival and conference is happening May 6-8; organizer Tyson Travnik will be here to give you the scoop.

If you like the intensity of metal with a side order of roots, you'll love the sound of Calgary 5-piece band Cowpuncher's new album, Hustle. You'll hear a preview of it ahead of the launch at Calgary's Nite Owl May 14.

The list of nominees for the Edmonton Music Awards has been released. You'll hear the contenders for best single, all of whom are up for at least three other awards: Billie Zizi, (pictured above) The Provincial Archive, The Royal Foundry, Post Script and Faith Healer.

The sixth Edmonton Music Awards get handed out June 29 at the Winspear Centre. 
Meanwhile, Calgary's first YYC Music Awards is open for business. They're taking submissions until May 15, so feel free to pass along the link above to any potentially award-winning Calgary musicians in your circle. 


Meet Christa Couture, Hear #Searchlight contenders


This week on the Key of A, meet Christa Couture (pictured above.) Originally from Edmonton, she's now touring the country with her excellent new album Long Time Leaving. She'll be here to tell you about why the songs on her 'breakup album' are so surprisingly upbeat; and how she's turned the idea of disability (she lost a leg to bone cancer in her teens) on its head, thanks to a beautifully decorated prosthetic leg that's now her favourite accessory.

Plus -- as CBC Music #Searchlight 2016 moves ahead to Round 2 (you've got until tomorrow at 12:59 MT to vote for your faves!) you'll hear some possible Alberta contenders:

Sherwood Park's North of Here are early standouts, as is Calgary pop/bluegrass quartet Magnolia Buckskin.   Hear Calgary hip-hop outfit Midwest Mindset; Edmonton's Daisy Blue; Calgary pop psych band Flowshine, and big band jazz from Edmonton's Paul Ledding


Rob Heath finds The Key, The Royal Foundry plays JUNOFest


This week on the Key of A, find out what it takes to make your living as a songwriter. Rob Heath has been doing it for decades; he joins me in our Edmonton studio with stories and songs from his new album, The Key, which he's releasing this Saturday April 16 at Parkview Community Hall.

With Calgary still basking in the afterglow of the JUNO Awards and JUNOFest, you'll hear part of the live set The Royal Foundry (pictured above) played as house band for a special on-location Juno broadcast by CBC Calgary's The Homestretch, recorded at the Ironwood Stage & Grill.

Plus, music that's introspective, yet fresh and optimistic, as Edmonton's Michael Reinhart gets ready to play a show April 21st at Cafe Blackbird.


Paul Brandt, Autumn Hill at the JUNOS


This week, we're taking you back to last weekend, when the JUNO Awards took over the city of Calgary. More than just awards, the JUNOS are a celebration of music-making. One of the best ways to experience that, is at the annual Juno Songwriters' Circle. Musicians, sharing their songs and stories, a lot of laughs, sometimes even a few tears. 

This year, Calgary's own Paul Brandt (pictured above) hosted the event, with artists Autumn Hill (pictured below -- Tareya Green is also from Calgary,) Alex Cuba, and Old Man Luedecke.

That's what you'll get on this week's Key of A, Saturday April 9 at 5:05pm on CBC Radio 1 across Alberta.


If you couldn't make it into the Jack Singer to hear it live last Sunday, you're in for a treat.

If you were there, I bet you'll laugh at the jokes and enjoy the songs just as much, hearing them on the radio.


Maria Dunn, Matt Patershuk in conversation and music


This week on the Key of A, two conversations help answer the questions: Where do songwriters get their ideas? And how do they turn them into songs?

You'll meet Edmonton's Maria Dunn, and find out how she takes a social justice issue or a character from history into a song. Maria Dunn is getting ready to celebrate her newest album, Gathering, with a full-band show April 7th at Festival Place in Sherwood Park.

What do you do with the almost unfathomable grief of losing a loved one to a drunk driver? Matt Patershuk (pictured above) took those dark emotions and turned them into honest, powerful songs on his Steve Dawson-produced album, I Was So Fond of You. I caught up with Matt Patershuk (who now lives in La Glace, AB, near Grande Prairie) for a chat when he was on tour in Winnipeg. Now he's back in Alberta and you can catch him live, this Saturday, April 2nd at Edmonton's Northern Lights Folk Club.


Brett Kissel, first play live!


This week on the Key of A, hear Brett Kissel (pictured) from Flat Lake, Alberta charm a crowd at CBC Toronto.

Brett Kissel grew up on a farm and he brings that same humble work ethic to his music.
He writes songs that are close to his heart; about family, love, growing up, moving away and coming back home.

When Kissel's first album came out 2 years ago, it earned him a Juno Award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year and a Juno nomination for Country Album of the Year

Now he's back with a new album, Pick Me Up. 

Just before he released it in September, CBC Music invited Brett and his band to come into our Studio 211 in Toronto and play through the new songs for a hand picked group of friends and fans.

You'll hear that intimate live performance on this week's Key of A!