Key of A
with Katherine Duncan

Fast Romantics, Tegan and Sara, The Velveteins, Brock Tyler...


This week on the Key of A, a roundup of new and recent releases from across Alberta -- and beyond.

Fast Romantics formed in Calgary (though they now call Toronto home) -- you'll hear their song Julia, which won the $10,000 SOCAN Songwriting Prize this year. (Check out the charming video for the song, here.)

Tegan and Sara -- big international stars, yes -- but they got their start playing tiny coffee houses in Calgary. You'll hear songs from their new release, Love You To Death.  

CBC Searchlight past winner Lauren Mann (pictured above) has left Alberta to settle on the west coast; she's offering her new album, Dearestly, to friends and fans on a pay-what-you-feel basis. 

Hear Calgary's SAVK try out an edgier song on their new single; Edmonton's Brock Tyler turns the essence of summer into music on his new EP, Us; and spend A Hot Second with the Velveteins, on that Edmonton band's new effort.

A homeless shelter might not be the first place you think of starting a band, but the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab centre hatched Shelter from the Storm -- a group that's just put out a second full-length album, Verses vs. Homelessness.


Calgary Folk Music Festival Preview


This week, it's your annual preview of the Calgary Folk Music Festival, with Artistic Director Kerry Clarke.

She'll join me in studio to co-host the show, and bring along her excellent roundup of Alberta musical talent, as well as a look-ahead at what's new for this year's festival (hint: there's BEER involved!)

Artists include local fave Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, Calgary expats (to Montreal) BRAIDS, party rockers The Dudes, up and comers Braden Gates, Amelie Patterson, Evan Freeman, and more.

Please help spread the word, and join me if you can, Saturday 5-6pm across Alberta on CBC Radio 1; or catch the live stream at or

Plus -- next week, get your Edmonton Folk Music Festival preview fix when Artistic Director Terry Wickham joins me with his local picks -- that's coming up on the July 30th edition of the Key of A!


k.d. lang's case/lang/viers at Bear Creek Folk Festival


This week on the Key of A, find out how you can get in on something brand new -- and hear one of Alberta's biggest musical names! The Bear Creek Folk Festival launches next month in the heart of Grande Prairie. One of the headliners is k.d. lang with her new project case/lang/viers (pictured.) Get a preview.

Edmonton's music community is so supportive, they had to move this year's Edmonton Music Awards into downtown's premiere concert hall, the Winspear Centre for Music. Hear songs by several of the top winners, including The Royal Foundry, The Provincial Archive, Lucas Chaisson, Kimberley MacGregor, Arlo Maverick, Mohsin Zaman and Ken Stead. (Extra kudos to Ken Stead, who's also in the Top 12 for the inaugural Project WILD, vying for prize money in six figures -- more on that in the weeks to come.)

​Plus, as the Polaris Music Prize gets set to release their 2016 Short List of 10 Canadian albums in contention for its $50,000 award, we'll feature two Long Listed albums with deep Alberta connections: Jean-Sebastian Audet's recording under the name Un Blonde, Good Will Come to You; and punk rock veteran Art Bergmann's The Apostate.


Paul Brandt, Autumn Hill at the JUNOS


This week, in honour of the Canada Day long weekend, we're taking you back to this spring, 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.


Edmonton Folk Music Festival Preview


One of the highlights of summer in Alberta has got to be the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, happening Aug 4-7 at Gallagher Park. This week on the Key of A, Artistic Director Terry Wickham will walk you through his process in choosing artists to play, and highlight some of his top picks from Alberta.

On your Key of A preview, you'll hear songs by local favourite Chloe Albert, Fort Macleod's John Wort Hannam, up and comers Eva Foote and Mohsin Zaman (pictured) as well as Grande Prairie reggae band Tasman Jude.


The Northern Beauties


When Music Calgary put together their annual music industry showcase, Sound Off Calgary, they picked the Northern Beauties as one of the bands they wanted festival bookers and record labels to hear.

When the Juno Awards went looking for local bands to hire for JUNOFest in April, the Northern Beauties made the cut there as well.

This week, you'll meet the band's lead singer Todd Stewart -- he'll join me in studio (that's us, in studio, in the photo above) for a feature chat -- and you'll hear the live set the Northern Beauties played for Sound Off Calgary at the Ironwood Stage & Grill.


Meet Danielle French, Hear Clinton St. John, live at the Ironwood


This week on the Key of A, get to know Danielle French (pictured above) a filmmaker and songwriter based in Calgary. She'll join me to talk about the unusual gestation of her upcoming new album, Miss Scarlett and the Madmen: Dark Love Songs.

Then, hear one of Calgary's favourite songwriters, Clinton St John, playing for music industry decision makers brought to the city by Music Calgary for SoundOFF Calgary in Feburary. You'll hear the set St John played at the end of the Friday evening showcase at the Ironwood Stage.


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.