Spotlight on Kate Blechinger

Big news here at Bent River Records! We are adding another artist to the roster! Kate Blechinger is an inventive and charismatic vocalist, composer, and arranger. Originally hailing from Regina, Saskatchewan, Kate takes direct influence from the vast prairie landscapes of her youth to create expansive, evocative compositions and arrangements for listeners to enjoy. She now resides in Edmonton, and is an alumna of the Bachelor of Music program. She will be releasing an album under the Bent River Records label at the end of November. We did a small interview with Kate to see what lies ahead on the new record. Check it out below:

What is your album called?

My album is called Under a Dancing Sky.

What do you want listeners to know about the album?

Under a Dancing Sky is my debut album.  It is inspired largely by my biggest musical inspiration, Joni Mitchell, and the connection we share as female musicians hailing from the Canadian prairies.  To me, Joni has always been a strong example of a musician that follows her own creative path, often pushing boundaries and defying genre classifications along the way; I tried to emulate her spunky, experimental attitude in this process.  When picking songs to arrange from Joni’s catalogue, I tried to pull from the many phases of her career and to choose compositions related to the theme of journeying through many different spaces and contexts. In my own compositions, I focused on using the music as a vehicle to express my own journey, and paint the landscapes that served as a backdrop for my growth as a person and artist.

Where and when is the release?

The release is on Thursday November 29th at the Yardbird Suite here in Edmonton.  I am grateful to have my release show be part of the YEG Thursday showcase series at the Suite!  Tickets are available at the door only, and are $20 for non-members, and $16 for members.

For more information, visit: www.yardbirdsuite.com/tuesday-jam-sessions

What can we expect?

On this album, listeners can expect an interesting hybrid of my two favourite musical genres, folk and jazz.  Symbolically, I grew up listening to folk music, and in more recent years, I have transitioned into writing more jazz influenced music.  So, this album combines acoustic instrumentation and folk lyricism with jazz harmony and improvisation to express where I have come from and where I am going.

The result is an eclectic and evocative mix of original compositions and my unique arrangements of Joni Mitchell’s songs, featuring some of Edmonton’s finest musicians!

Why did you choose to release a track early, and what is the track called? 

This track is called “Night in the City”, and it is a Joni Mitchell composition from her 1968 debut album, Song to a Seagull.  Today, on Joni Mitchell’s 75th Birthday, I am honoured to share my take on one of her earliest recorded tunes.  According to Joni’s website, “Night in the City” was inspired by an area in Toronto called Yorkville Avenue, where one could walk down the street and hear the full gamut of music, both good and bad, mixing into musical puddles in one’s ears.  I felt very inspired to arrange this tune in a lively, jostling way, to give listeners a real sense of what that avenue must have been like in the 1960s.  I hope everyone enjoys my take on “Night in the City”.

Check it out on Soundcloud:
www.soundcloud.com/kateblechingermusic/night-in-the-city/s-KmGsC

Jazz Night with Music Conference Alberta

Some of the artists on the label will be collaborating with some of MacEwan’s music students and outside musicians to perform at Music Conference Alberta this weekend! As a part of the Alberta Emerging Musicians Festival, Mallory Chipman, Chandelle Rimmer and Tom Van Seters will be performing with the MacEwan University Big Band (directed by Ray Baril), the MacEwan University Jazz Combo (directed by Kent Sangster), and will feature a special guest trumpeter Terell Stafford. Chandelle and Tom will also be performing a few tunes from their latest release, Stillness Falls.

This is going to be an exciting performance as it will showcase our local MacEwan community including staff and students, as well as showcase international performers to the Alberta Music community who is in town for the conference.

The performance is on Saturday, October 27th at 7:00pm in the Betty Andrews Recital Hall in Allard Hall at MacEwan University.

Click here to grab some tickets (non-delegate tickets available), and have a peak at some more information about the musicians in both The Big Band and Jazz Combo, as well as more information on the visiting trumpet player Terell Stafford.

Celebrating Tommy Banks – Oct 21, 2018 (Calgary, AB)

One of our artists is going to be a part of a very exciting tribute to Edmonton’s own, Tommy Banks. There is a celebration for Mr. Banks, the renowned pianist, conductor, arranger, composer, television personality and senator, who contributed widely to the Edmonton music community. Our own Mallory Chipman is going to be performing in Calgary, Alberta (tonight!) on Sunday, October 21, 2018, at River Park Church.

For more details on the event click here!

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello…

Hello friends! We would like to let you know that we have some changes happening here at Bent River Records, and we wanted to take some time to say a fond farewell and a warm hello (all at the same time). We are taking on a new practicum student who will be handling our distribution and artist presence. What this really means is she will be walking around MacEwan campus ensuring that our artists (and their records) will be available at places like the MacEwan Bookstore. Make sure to say hello to her when you see her carrying armloads of albums from our artists!

Photo credit: Kylee Thompson Photography (Hire this woman! She is amazing!)

“I am thrilled to become a part of the Bent River Records team and can’t wait to apply my 12 years of music industry experience to work at this amazing label! This is really going to be a new chapter for me in the music industry and I am happy to share it with the BRR team.”

— Odessa Ashbey, Distribution and placement

Odessa Ashbey has been working within the Edmonton metal community as an artist manager for Edmonton death metal/murder metal band Tales Of The Tomb, live music promoter, and arts manager. She has previously been a mentor at BreakOut West and has been working with Asher Media Relations (AMR) as a publicist for the past 5 years. Some of her past publicity clients include Wormwitch, Protosequence, Death Toll Rising, and other western Canadian metal acts. Her new role at Bent River Records includes distribution and placement of artists.

Photo credit: Batul Gulamhusein

Feel free to add her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

With a new hello comes a very fond farewell and endless gratitude for our own label artist and A&R Representative, Mallory Chipman. Fear not! She is still going to be an artist on our roster, but will be departing to work on some exciting projects, and we want to wish her the best!

Check out her most recent release ‘Rags and Feathers: A Tribute To Leonard Cohen’ here.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates from the BRR team right here on our blog!