Canadian punk-rock band Headstones, formed in Kingston, Ontario in 1987, began their early music career performing to anyone who would listen. At the time, artists such as Neil Young and Leonard Cohen were gracing the charts on Canadian radio while American musician Stevie Ray Vaughn was reviving the blues south of the border. Headstones decided to take a much different approach.
Carrying a similar attitude to Iggy Pop and Henry Rollins, Hugh Dillon led members Trent Carr and Tim White into becoming a band synonymous with the real Canadian road-worn punk, touring their anti-social behaviour across the country to rough and restless fans.
With nearly six years of touring, songwriting and growing infamy, they were signed to MCA Records (now Universal Music Group) in 1993. They quickly released Picture of Health through their new label, earning them platinum status on the Canadian charts. Their second release, Teeth and Tissue, reached gold in 1995.
Within a couple of years, the band had solidified itself as a commercial force in the music industry, dominating the charts and airwaves with hits off 1996’s gold-selling album Smile and Wave. Their achievements soon culminated, when the band received Juno Award nominations for Best Group and Best Rock Album that same year. Following this peak in their success, Headstones put out two other records, Nickels For Your Nightmares in 2000 and The Oracle of Hi-Fi in 2002. The band officially broke up one year later in 2003, still ranked as one of the most commercially successful Canadian rock bands.
In 2010, Hugh Dillon received an unexpected phone call from a longtime friend and collaborator who had co-wrote “Cemetery”, one of the Headstones’ most popular songs. He was terminally ill, and would be leaving his young family in dire straits. Almost immediately, Dillon rushed to get the Headstones back together to play a benefit concert, which resulted in a handful of sold-out shows in Ontario. This experience allowed the Headstones to re-capture the spirit of camaraderie that originally drew them together.
In 2011, the Headstones officially reunited for fans at Toronto’s Sound Academy. Storming the stage, the Headstones seamlessly picked up from where they left off ten years ago. Off stage, they began collaborating and writing new music. They entered the studio and recorded the track, “binthiswayforyears,” releasing it for free via their website.
October 2012, they began crowd-funding through PledgeMusic in the way of grass-roots self-promotion, as a way to directly engage their fans. Within a day, they had reached 100% of their goal; as of the album release, they had reached 295%. With this overwhelming response from fans, they too committed themselves to creating an authentic record true to their punk-rock roots.
The band wrote a collection of hard-hitting new songs during their time in the studio, including #1 hit single ‘longwaytoneverland.’ The Headstones released Love + Fury worldwide, earning them a top 10 album for the first time in their career, and a 2014 JUNO Awards nomination for Best Rock Album of the year.
After a successful run of Ontario shows at the end of 2013, it was time for the band to get back into the studio. In March 2014, they launched their second PledgeMusic campaign, reaching 100% in only 12 hours, and 301% at the end of the project. This time, the Headstones would be looking back at their history, and reimagining some of their biggest hits, with the release of One In The Chamber Music. Their first vinyl release, featuring two brand new tracks, was released late 2015.
Currently joining Dillon, Carr and White onstage and in the studio, are Steve Carr and Rick Van Dyk. Early 2017 has seen the band return to the studio, to begin recording their new full-length album. Released on Cadence Music, Little Army is a testament to the band’s connection with their followers, as they live streamed the recording process and walked their fans through the making of the album. The album includes the #1 single ‘Devil’s On Fire’.
ABOUT HUGH DILLON
During his self-imposed hiatus, Hugh Dillon devoted his time and energy to his acting career. He had already appeared in several films in his early punk rock days, including the cult hit Hard Core Logo, as well as Dance Me Outside and Trailer Park Boys: The Movie. It was his role in Debra Granik’s Down to the Bone during its debut at Sundance Festival in 2004 that lead him to his most globally successful roles to date as Mike Sweeney on the television series Durham County, and as Ed Lane, lead sniper for five seasons on CTV/CBS/ION’s Flashpoint. He remains in the forefront of success stories, with his role in AMC’s The Killing, his lead in CBC’s war drama X Company, guesting on David Lynch’s series Twin Peaks, a coveted role in feature film Wind River with Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner, and opposite Nicolas Cage in The Humanity Bureau.
Considered to be the Godfather of PowWowStep, DJ-producer Shub continues to pioneer a growing genre of electronic music. Born Dan General, Shub began his career with nationally-acclaimed electronic music trio A Tribe Called Red, performing across North American stages with some of the biggest recording artists in today’s industry and winning a JUNO Award in 2014.
Currently based out of his hometown, Fort Erie, Ontario, a small community with a population of 30,000, Shub’s journey has come full circle by bringing him back to where it all started.
“I’m very proud of the road I took to get where I am now,” said Shub, a nominee in the Indigenous Music category at the 2018 Juno Awards for his EP PowWowStep. In 2017, his music video for ‘Indomitable’ (featuring Northern Cree Singers) was also nominated for a Much Music Video Award.
Shub is Mohawk of the Six Nations reserve located in Ontario, Canada, as well as a husband and father. Since the creation of PowWowStep, he has grown more aware of the Indigenous way of life through his music, merging his heritage with his craft. “This style of music – there is so much culture in it, and that’s what makes it so original,” said Shub.
Starting off as a battle DJ in high school, Shub’s sound has developed into one that puts him in a league all on his own, creating a sound and experience many consider to be one of the most unique in today’s Canadian music scene.
Before solidifying his seat at the top of the PowWowStep world, Shub also turned heads in DJ competitions like the prestigious DMC World DJ Championships, by winning back-to-back Canadian titles and representing Canada at the world finals in 2007 and 2008.
In 2012, Shub came out of battle retirement and competed in the Red Bull Thre3style DJ Competition where he won the Canadian title, and once again represented his home country by placing fifth at the world finals.
In 2013, while with A Tribe Called Red, their album ‘Nation II Nation’ was short listed for the Polaris Prize.
Growing up, like many people, Shub was influenced by the music his family listened to. His Mom was into disco and his Dad was all about classic rock. The biggest impact was made by his older brother, who introduced him to the world of hip-hop and the DJ culture.
Over the years, Shub has followed the careers of battle DJs that inspired him. Many of them are now top producers and artists he has come to know personally.
DJ-producers like Craze, Klever, Skratch Bastid, Jazzy Jeff, Brace, Z-Trip, UZ, Hudson Mohawk, Kid Koala, Mix Master Mike, Qbert, D-Styles and the X-Ecutioners are just some of his biggest influences.
Shub is currently working on his first full-length album, scheduled to release later this year. “I had the freedom to go in different directions musically with this album, by working directly with traditional artists during studio recording sessions,” said Shub.
Producing is just half of what Shub does.
A major part of his success and why he draws such large audiences is his live show, a non-stop body-moving experience enhanced by special guest traditional Indigenous dancers who perform in full traditional regalia.
He has played some of the top music festivals in North America including New Orleans Jazz Fest, Hillside, Halifax Pop, Winnipeg Folk, Regina Folk, Calgary Folk, Rifflandia, Red Bull, Evolve, Blessed Coast, Atmosphere, Toronto Pride, North Country, Calgary Stampede, 420 Indigenous Cannabis Cup, and the International Aboriginal Music Fest, to name a few.
Shub has been featured in a number of media outlets including Vice, CBC, Exclaim, Digital Drum, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Global News, and of course his hometown local paper The Fort Erie Times.
In 2018, Shub will move forward with a relentless effort to push the boundaries of electronic music – with a full schedule of new releases and live performances across the country.
Howie Miller is one of the funniest corporate and club comedians in North America. He is a First Nation Descendant of the Cree Nation and was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
His quick wit and unique point of view on multi ethnic stereotypes is enjoyed by all audiences, regardless of age, race or sex; and has garnered numerous television appearances and placed him in great demand on the corporate comedy circuit.
Howie’s hilarious routine, mixed with stellar impressions has the audience laughing from start to ﬁnish.
Two-time JUNO Award winning singer/songwriter/guitarist Derek Miller from Six Nations of the Grand River. A journeyman musician with eclectic taste and a knack for guitar oriented roots-inflected rock with a pop sensibility. With his unique take on roots rock, and soul-stirring blues, Derek Miller is a force of musical nature.
17 albums to his credit, Miller has shared a stage with artists such as Blood, Sweat & Tears, George Thorogood, Smokey Robinson and The Neville Brothers. Canada’s Olympic Committee, wanting an artist that reflected Canada’s roots, hired Miller to rock the crowds alongside Eva Avila and Nikki Yanofsky at the Closing Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
In addition to recording with Willie Nelson, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Daniel Lanois, among many other talented artists across the globe, Derek has also recorded for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, resulting in the 2016 JUNO-nominated album Rumble: A Tribute to Native Music Icons. Most recently, Buffy asked the guitarist to play on her 2015 Polaris prize and Juno-winning album Power in the Blood.
Derek continues to work as a touring performer/artist, producing music, making television, writing novels, making movies and racing cars.
"Music is the medicine."
- Derek Miller
Murray Porter’s music has an instantly recognizable sound. The Mohawk piano player from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory brings his culture and history to the masses through his music.
With a mix of blues, country, and humour, Porter’s gravelly, soulful voice sings not only of the history and contemporary stories of the Indigenous Peoples of North America, but also universal themes of love, lost and found. He has spent over 35 years playing his self-taught unique style of foot-stomping, hand clapping blues piano around the world.
It was in 2012 that he won a JUNO Award for Aboriginal Album of the Year for `Songs Lived & Life Played’.
Currently, he is in the studio recording his next album of original music titled, ‘Stand Up!’, which Murray strongly feels this is his best music to date. This will be released in the Spring of 2018.
Murray has opened concerts for many Artists including the late B.B. King, the late Etta James, The Neville Brothers, Ricky Skaggs, Marcia Ball, and performed with Sam `Soul Man’ Moore (twice), The Funk Brothers (twice)…and shared the stage with Pura Fe, Derek Miller, and The Carolina Chocolate Drops (Rhiannon Giddens) to name a few amazingly talented musicians.
Whether he is playing an intimate venue for local blues fans, as a solo, duo, trio or with his fourpiece band, or on a festival stage to thousands of music aficionados, Porter’s love of performing comes across clear and strong. He has been compared to Dr. John, Joe Cocker and even Elton John! Robbie Robertson has called Porter “a master bluesman.” He captivates audiences wherever he performs and makes new fans…and they never leave his show disappointed.
Links to Murray Porter’s Music:
With Robbie Antone, Thrill is Gone, Toronto Blues Society - Blues Summit 7, Eaton Chelsea Hotel, Toronto, Ontario; Jan. 17, 2015 https://youtu.be/yJ_VuJ516SE
Once in a red moon, an artist emerges on the scene as if fully formed. Born on the Six Nations Reserve and raised in the small ghost town of Brantford, Ontario - Logan Staats started writing and performing music in his early teens.
From a young age, Logan’s haunting and distinct voice has won him multiple opportunities to share the stage with acts like Buffy Sainte-Marie, Keith Secola and Mumford and Sons, to name a few.
Still a young man, Logan is regarded as an accomplished, multi-nominated and an award winning artist. Forever a student of great music - Staats enjoys jamming, collaborating and learning from his contemporaries and other recording artists. A great example is a powerful late night live off the floor version of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice” in collaboration with peer Terra Lightfoot.
Logan’s live performances are juxtaposed by a level of self-possession and control that still wildly careen through emotions of sadness, hope, longing and joy.
A product of passion, compulsion and tireless musical commitment - Logan’s songs are his own. Armed with his guitar and harmonica, he has transitioned from running the weekend bar circuit to playing sold out ven-ues across Canada including his favourite venue, The Sanderson Centre, in his hometown.
Logan is fresh off his win on The Launch, a new TV show that gives Canadian singers a shot at stardom. Staats was chosen out of 10,000 applicants to be featured on the inaugural season of the series, and was mentored by Canadian country megastar Shania Twain. The song that Staats performed is called The Lucky Ones, and was written by Grammny nominated songwriter busbee.
What’s more, The Lucky Ones topped the Canadian charts as the number one song in the country the day after the release.
Ingrained with the mentality that anything is possible when you put your heart and soul into it, Staats is hell bent on raising the bar for indigenous/mainstream crossover music.
Currently on an open journey of art, expression and culture, no matter which medium you find Logan through- he’s incredible to watch.
LOGAN STAATS @logan_staats
Drezus, a staple of the Indigenous hip hop scene in Canada, has been making noise all over Turtle Island and beyond for over a decade.
Fusing a classic hip hop background with a deep connection to his First Nations heritage, his searing lyrics convey a message of empowerment and resilience in the face of struggle.
In 2009 he was nominated for a Juno Award alongside his former group Team Rezofficial. His 2013 single "Red Winter" was the unofficial anthem of the Idle No More protest movement and becomes more relevant by the day.
He took home four Indigenous Music Awards in 2015 for his album "Indian Summer" and gained an international following after appearing on media outlets like Vice, Noisy, Fader, Pitchfork, CNN and MIC.
He recently caught the ear of Taboo from the Back Eyed Peas and was asked to feature on the song "Stand Up/Stand N Rock". The song and video went on to win an MTV Music Video Award in 2017.
Drezus makes important music with a message that cannot be ignored. His music inspires people of all nations and generations.
Anishinaabe MC/Singer/Songwriter Leonard Sumner's storytelling flows directly from the shores of Little Saskatchewan First Nation, located in the heart of the Interlake of Manitoba.
Sumner's self-determined sound is evidence of his ability to simultaneously occupy landscapes of multiple musical genres including; Hip-Hop, Spoken Word, Country, and Rhythm and Blues.
With every vibration of the strings on his guitar, Leonard rattles the dust off truths that have been buried for far too long. On stage, he poetically sings, awakening the consciousness of audiences that may have been unaware of their slumber.
In this era of unsettling history and healing wounds of the past, Sumner's music is an expression of medicine that walks the line between fortitude and fragility.
Elijah Manitowabi, lead front man, guitarist/pianist and Singer Songwriter of his own original music. A trio raised by the sounds of Jazz Rhythm & Blues to Gin soaked Country, delivering a glimpse of pure Rock and Roll when things heat up.
Going back to the earliest years of rock and roll, Elijah Manitowabi is recognized as one of the great guitars wielders in the north. So talented, he learned the likes and styles of early rockabilly guitar playing, but will surprise you how he has also adapted himself to the 88 ivories of the piano, giving you a taste of Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles.
For years, Elijah has been part of the central Ontario musical culture of Sudbury, ON, and North shore area. Originally from the Eastern shores of Manitoulin Island, Elijah has travelled all over the province playing his heart out and sharing the excitement of his talent.
The Backburners are a network of professional experienced musicians.
Thomas Starwalker Clair & Lyle Odjick with special guest: River City Junction.
Multi-disciplined Mi'kmaq First Nations Artist Thomas Starwalker Clair has joined forces with Lyle Odjick & Renowned Canadian Blues/Retro-Rock Power Trio River City Junction to bring you one of the richest musical & cultural experiences on this continent.
Thomas Starwalker Clair is an Actor, Men’s Traditional Dancer, Painter and Blues Musician with a unique expression that incorporates both his native language & culture with the Blues. Thomas Starwalker’s music is featured on Aboriginal radio throughout Canada.
Lyle Odjick is an Algonquin Bluesman originally from Kitigan Zibi QC, now based out of Ottawa, On. Steeped in old time soul with the energy to shake the house, his big influences are Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and many other Chicago Blues Legends. Along with his own original musical compositions, he covers a number of Classic Blues standards with his band the Northern Steam & has played Harmonica for numerous other blues bands & plays regularly with River City Junction.
Now veterans of the Canadian Music Scene, River City Junction have had the honor of playing with some of Canada’s finest musicians. Having played well over a thousand shows, River City Junction is one of Canada’s hardest working independent bands & is no stranger to the stage, regularly performing at many of Canada’s largest & most renowned music festivals.
Long steeped in the traditions of Blues and Rock ‘n' Roll, River City Junction’s music is a rich blend of old school Chicago Blues, Motown, and Classic Rock, forming a very potent sonic cocktail that is raw, organic and uplifting. Leaning heavily on their roots, their driving sound is deeply infused with elements of yesteryear yet remains distinctively their own.
Kevin Schofield is an Ottawa artist who performs a mix of classic country music with a driving rhythm and dynamic beat. His songs have a twang from living, working and performing in Nashville.
Using the name Tennessee Cree upon his return to Ottawa, Schofield has been tirelessly playing local clubs and open mics perfecting his original tone and style.
Originally from James Bay, Kevin is a gifted entertainer and storyteller.
Kevin Shaganash (Shaggy) is an Oji-Cree from Constance Lake First Nation, currently residing in Sagamok Anishnawbek Territory on the North shore of Lake Huron.
He is an accomplished singer/songwriter and a Juno Nominated artist for Best Music of Aboriginal Canada, recording in 1997 with the band No Reservations for their debut C.D. “Necessary”.
Kevin Shaganash’s music is rooted in his deep connection with his culture and his belief in Indigenous thought and identity.