Amelia Curran

By Whitney Light
“My songs are sad to the point where we joke about it all the time,” Amelia Curran says only half in jest. At the Winnipeg Folk Festival, where this interview happened, the Newfoundland native and Halifax-based singer-songwriter performed in a workshop called “Woe is Me” with some kindred musicians strumming tunes about heartbreak and hard luck. Whether she’s playing alone or with a five-piece band, Curran’s songs compellingly mix a comfy guitar with her seasoned and deliberate voice. A talented and practised creative writer, she released her first album, Barricade, in 2000 and her most recent, War Brides, received wide critical acclaim. Now Hunter Hunter, her second album with Six Shooter Records, is ready for release this September. Continue reading “Amelia Curran”

Del Barber

By Jonathan Dyck
“I’ve always thought of Winnipeg as a place that has distinct boundaries, like you get with the Perimeter Highway,” Del Barber says, sipping a drink at popular Wolseley watering hole Cousin’s. Last May, Barber sold out his album release party for his debut, Where the City Ends, at the Park Theatre. Since its release, Barber and his backing band have been playing local gigs and, most recently, Barber set out on his own for his first tour north of the border. Continue reading “Del Barber”

The Other Brothers

By Michael Elves
Released this spring, Points of View is a collaboration between Winnipeg singer-songwriters Chris Neufeld and Donovan Giesbrecht, who together are the Other Brothers. It’s a subtle, gorgeous collection of folk tunes in the vein of Simon & Garfunkel. Unlike that famous duo, however, Neufeld and Giesbrecht are happy to talk to each other. But to really capture their points of view, Stylus asked each musician the exact same questions, separately, and the results, while not quite Rashomonesque, reveal some key differences between them, including the fact that one brother is a little more verbose than the other. Continue reading “The Other Brothers”

Ingrid Gatin

By Jenny Henkelman

Ingrid Gatin’s got a piano, an accordion, and a tear-jerkingly beautiful voice. All of these things are perfectly suited to the average living room recital or concert at the café down the street. But something in Ingrid Gatin keeps pulling her out of her comfy Wolseley environs. To a cabin in the Saskatchewan woods; to a train crossing the lonely stretches of Northern Ontario; to a transformed gallery space in the Exchange.
Gatin’s first migration took place when her family moved from small-town Saskatchewan to Brandon, where  started up in the musical way early. She’s studied piano since age four, and says she’s always benefited from a “hugely musical” family. “There’s always singing and music playing going on on both sides of my family,” she says. “I was always involved with choirs. A good, wholesome music upbringing.”
With that groundwork laid, Gatin was soon sucked into the music scene in Winnipeg when she moved here after high school two and a half years ago. Her friend Ida Sawabe played stand-up bass in a bluegrass band, and soon dragged Gatin along to practice. “They gave me a mandolin and they said, ‘Here’s how you play C and G and D. There, you know every bluegrass song!’ Ting, ting, ting! And then I was in a bluegrass band, the Magnificent Sevens.” Continue reading “Ingrid Gatin”

crys cole – Ear to the Ground

crys-praxis-liveBy Curran Faris

crys cole wants you to listen. Carefully.
She’s the artistic director for Winnipeg’s annual sound art festival, send + receive, but she also has her own art practise and has been sculpting sounds and challenging eardrums for ten years. In June, cole embarked on a two-week European tour, playing in biggest scenes in experimental music—Paris, Brussels and Berlin. She said the response to her work was overwhelmingly positive, offering her the opportunity to perform and network with the massive experimental music communities in Europe.

“It’s just a different dynamic out there. There’s a different appreciation for the arts in general and a different appreciation for this type of music. It has a history,” said cole.
Continue reading “crys cole – Ear to the Ground”

B.A. Johnston

By Kent Davies

Photo by Jason Penner
Photo by Jason Penner

Canada’s most underrated overweight entertainer, B.A. Johnston, performs songs about B-movies, pirates and Nintendo on a rickety old guitar and Casio keyboard. Although the live-antics legend has released multiple albums,  shared the stage with many top performers including the Rheostatics, the Constantines, Cuff the Duke and the Silver Hearts, Hamilton’s favorite son has yet to reach his ultimate goal of moving out of his mother’s basement. Following a hilarious recent set in Winnipeg, Johnston shot the snot with Stylus. Continue reading “B.A. Johnston”

Nestor Wynrush

By Whitney Light

Photo by Steve St. Louis
Photo by Steve St. Louis

Elliott Walsh has carried a notebook every day since 2004, but today he isn’t. The Winnipeg wordsmith’s new album as Nestor Wynrush, Trinnipeg !78, is done, released and so he’s taking a break from saving notes for lyrics. “The writing feels agonizing,” Walsh says. “What feels agonizing is getting out that feeling exactly. It’s not just in your brain. It’s weighing on your heart.” Continue reading “Nestor Wynrush”


By Patrick Michalishyn


Unless you’re living under floorboards or have your privacy setting ramped up on Facebook so you’re not bombarded with event invites, you probably know about Haunter. And if you don’t you should. I think they’re the best band in Winnipeg since Duotang, so let me tell you!
Haunter is Matt Williams and Jory Hasselmann on guitars, Marie-France Hollier on bass and Ryan Coates on drums. They play with the sound and fury of those old (and I use the term loosely) bands like Pavement, Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth: mulchy, naive experimentation comes together with a hooky pop sense to make something refreshing and highly addictive. Taking these risks has its rewards. The band is packing venues around Winnipeg, has played alongside Women, Land of Talk and Handsome Furs and has a new, fast-selling 7” out and a Western-Canadian tour with Mount Royal that’ll end with a showcase at NXNE.

Haunter blessed me with a meeting over beer and tequila at Carlos & Murphy’s just days before Hasselmann’s Italian sabbatical. Continue reading “Haunter”

Oh My Darling

By Michael Elves

Photo by Antoinette Dyksman
Photo by Antoinette Dyksman

On the strength of their self-titled debut EP, Winnipeg roots quartet Oh My Darling are going places, fast. So fast that I couldn’t nail them down in person and had to conduct our interview on Facebook while the band was touring western Canada. Fiddle player Rosalyn Dennett—who is joined in the band by Allison de Groot on claw-hammer banjo, Marie-Josée Dandeneau on upright and electric bass and Vanessa Kuzina on vocals, guitar and mandolin—filled me in on the past, present and future of the group. Continue reading “Oh My Darling”

Peter Bjorn & John

By Taylor Burgess
Their name will be forever linked to that song—you know, that whistling one—but Stylus readers should know Writer’s Block had more substance than one hit single. With jaw-dropping and catchy singles like “Objects of my Affection,” “Start to Melt” and “Amsterdam,” Peter Bjorn and John’s breakthrough album remains one of the better pop records of the decade. However, even many fans of the Swedish trio didn’t realize that it was their third release, not their first. And now they’re back with their fifth release, Living Thing, a return to pop after the quietly released and mostly instrumental Seaside Rock. PBJ’s drummer John Eriksson talked to us on the phone from his apartment about their path up until now, and what’ll likely happen in the near future.

Stylus: “Young Folks” was a song that popped up everywhere in 2006 and 2007. It was in commercials, on the internet and even on Top 40 radio. How do you feel about it when you hear it now?
John Eriksson: We heard it at an afterparty the other night, and we… we were so surprised at how good it sounded. [Laughs.] You know, when you hear a good song through a sound system of that quality… We just hadn’t heard it in a while. We felt so proud of it.
Stylus: Before you play it live, do you feel that your fans are expecting something?
JE: Well, I’m not really sure what our fans want. Fans go to see for different reasons, and that depends on the band. Some people watch certain bands to be surprised, and some fans go to see the same old show.

Stylus: What kind of band would you rather be: one that surprises or plays the same set over and over?
JE: I hope we surprise people… I mean surprises are good in everyday life. They’re what make everyday life fun. And besides, we can’t be AC/DC. [Laughs.]

Stylus: How have you guys dealt with your fame since the release of Writer’s Block?
JE: When everything happened, there was also a lot of surprises every day, and we didn’t even think about it. We’re not for the fame, or to meet celebrities. The only difference is that we’re doing this full time now.

Stylus: Living Thing has a noticeably stripped-down sound to it. How did that come about?
JE: We wanted to make music with lots of space in it—something that sounded like a ghost house, like it was spooky. So we didn’t try to take away from our sound, we just thought it was more important to make the drums and beats sound really good. Thing is, we tried to have a stripped-down sound with Writer’s Block but we just didn’t do it.

Stylus: Were you influenced by any particular artist for this album?
JE: This time we were listening to ’80s pop, but last time we were listening to a lot of ’90s indie rock.

Stylus: So what are Peter Bjorn and John’s plans heading forward?
JE: Well, first, we’ve got one year of touring. And then after we’ll get together and talk about making something different. We’ll probably just get together and record something when we’re drunk. [Laughs.]