A 2017 winner of two Canadian Folk Music Awards for Songwriter of the Year and New Artist of the Year, Ken Yates has steadily grown a reputation as one of the country’s brightest singer/songwriters. His sound offers the complete package—unforgettable melodies, emotionally charged storytelling, and top-notch guitar chops—all gloriously displayed on Yates’ new album, Huntsville. Produced by Jim Bryson (Weakerthans, Kathleen Edwards), Yates’ second full-length effort is a major stylistic step forward, with its 11 tracks capturing his artistic evolution amid extensive touring over the past three years. “Keep Your Head Down,” with its subtle, driving groove, opens the album like a train pulling out at dawn, with vast, open vistas lying ahead. Those come into focus on other key tracks such as “Huntsville,” and “Roll Me On Home”. Yet, everywhere on the album, echoes of the Canadian songwriting tradition, from Gordon Lightfoot to Bruce Cockburn to Ron Sexsmith, are apparent, proving that with Huntsville, Ken Yates is ready to join that exalted company. A native of London, Ontario (a few hours’ drive south of the actual Huntsville), Yates studied at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. His first release, The Backseat EP, came out in 2011, followed by his full-length debut, twenty-three in 2013. One track on that album caught the ear of fellow Berklee alum John Mayer, who commented in a lengthy blog post, “Ken Yates wrote a song called ‘I Don’t Wanna Fall In Love.’ This song moved me when I first heard it, and it still does today.”
The Young Novelists
Johnny & June meets Shovels & Rope – Toronto-based Americana husband and wife duo The Young Novelists are known for their beautiful harmonies and songs culled from their small-town roots. After the release of their second full-length album made us strangers, they’ve been touring Canada and the US relentlessly, earning accolades wherever they go. They were recognized as Emerging Artist of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, won the Grassy Hill Songwriting Competition at the Connecticut Folk Festival, and were recently named finalists at the NewSong Music Competition.