Key of A
with Katherine Duncan

Meet Tanika Charles; hear Sydney Mae live at Festival Hall


This week on the Key of A, you'll hear a live set by a very talented, very poised newcomer. Sydney Mae was just 14 when she recorded a live set for CBC last December. She's joined at Festival Hall by Calgary music veterans Aaron Young on guitar and Denis Dufresne on violin. Hear that set at 5:30, right after your Olympic Games Report.

In the first part of the show, you'll meet Tanika Charles (pictured above) and how she made the move from rural life on a farm outside of Edmonton, to fronting her own band in Toronto and releasing an album that made it onto the Long List for this year's Polaris Music Prize. I caught up with Tanika Charles when she was back in Edmonton on tour this spring; you'll hear our conversation, and songs from her debut album, Soul Run.


The Royal Foundry at JUNOFest, New releases

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This week on the Key of A, we'll take you back to the excitement leading up to the Juno Awards in Calgary at the end of March. The Royal Foundry (pictured above) made the drive south on the QE2 from Edmonton to play at Calgary's Ironwood Stage for CBC. You'll hear their high-energy set full of hooks and riffs, and the beautifully blended vocals of Jared and Bethany Salte. 

​Then at 5:30, after Olympic Report​, you'll hear new releases from Calgary's SAVK; new reggae from Grande Prairie's Tasman Jude; find out what Danielle Knibbe has been up to since she left Edmonton four years ago for Toronto, and hear Autumn Hill ahead of their Calgary performance later this month during Country Thunder.

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

And... if you're in Grande Prairie for the first ever Bear Creek Folk Festival, you'll find me introducing Alberta artists on daytime stages all weekend long. Be sure to come say hi!


Bear Creek Folk Festival launches

This week, you'll meet the woman behind the brand new Bear Creek Folk Festival, which happens Aug 12-14 in Grande Prairie. Founder and Artistic Director Sarah Card joins me in studio to give you a preview of the new festival, and let you in on the story behind how she snagged headliners like kd lang's new project Case/Lang/Viers, Bruce Cockburn, Bahamas, Ruthie Foster and Corb Lund

Plus, you'll get the an audio preview of the many fine Alberta acts taking to the stage of the Bear Creek Festival, including Mohsin Zaman, Colleen Brown, Tasman Jude, and Reuben and the Dark. Happy to report that I'll be heading up to Grande Prairie to MC concerts by some of these artists on the daytime stages, so the Key of A will be there for a first-hand experience of this great new festival. If you're there, be sure to come say hello!

Plus, music by Edmonton's Chloe Albert - who's playing in Calgary and Red Deer this week in advance of her performances at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival this weekend. Kirby Sewell gets ready to take his great big blues voice into the intimate Gallery House Concerts space in Calgary; and Edmonton's ESMA gets ready to take part in Honey Jam in Toronto next week. You'll hear her anti-bullying song Fall Back -- check out the inspiring video for the song, below.


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.