MacEwan Live Broadcast

The winner of our 2019 ATB Financial Recording Competition, Nisto, has just released his new single entitled “Folk Song.” This past Monday, Macewan University unveiled their newly built TV studio. As part of the the celebrations and to mark the release of his new single, Nisto performed “Folk Song” live from the new studio and audiences loved his unique voice and songwriting.

Bent River Records would like to extend our deep thanks to ATB Financial for their support for Nisto and the recording competition. During the recording process, Nisto mentioned that in Fort Vermillion (his home town) there is only one bank for miles and miles, and that bank is an ATB branch. ATB has been important for the whole process and to Nisto for years!

You can find “Folk Song” by Nisto on CD Baby, and you can listen to his other single “Los Sin Dios” on Spotify. If you’d like to hear him live along with other wonderful Bent River Records musicians, be sure to come to the 2020 Artist Spotlight on April 28 at The Aviary!

Check the coverage of this event from Global News:

JUNO Nomination for Padraig!

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Padraig Buttner-Schnirer, who works as a member of the Bent River Records Team, for his nomination for the Juno Awards! Padraig recorded the album that has been nominated in the Vocal Jazz Album of the Year category. The album is called Montréal by artist Elizabeth Shepherd. He recorded this album with Elizabeth and her band back in November 2017 at a studio in Montreal called Studio 451.

Padraig gave us some insight about the project, and answered some questions:

Could you briefly talk about the recording process of the album?

The album was recorded over two days in November of 2017. I had worked with Elizabeth before on another album that she was producing and she had really liked the drum sound I captured. She asked me to do a similar type of set up for this session. I made sure to provide plenty of sound-texture options for the drums including some special microphones I put up specifically to add character and grit to the recording.

I knew most of the band members very well and had worked with them on previous projects. There was lots of music to get through and quite a bit of pressure on my shoulders since I was working alone without an assistant, but everyone in the band was so great that it really felt like I was hanging out with friends. Rémi-Jean LeBlanc was the bass player on this session and also happens to be an artist with Bent River Records. He’s an amazing musician.

Elizabeth is a dream to work with. She’s extremely focused and knows exactly what she’s after from the recording. She’s also a delightful person and that makes working with her such a pleasure.

Were you aiming that high when you were working on it? And how do you feel now that a piece of your work has been nominated for this prestigious award?

I don’t usually think about awards when doing projects like this, and I’ve learned over the years that’s it’s hard to predict which projects will be nominated for Junos and other similar awards. But it’s definitely a great feeling when something you’ve worked on get’s this kind of recognition. I’m also very excited for the artist because I know how much they’ve put into the project.

I’ve worked on other projects that have won Junos in the past, but my role on those was fairly minor. This will be the first time that an album on which I’ve done the majority of the recording has been nominated, so that’s really exciting.

Click here to check out the album.

Congratulations to our Album Design Competition Winners: Alan & Ashlin!

For the third consecutive year, Constanza Pacher’s Typography II classes have designed concepts for real projects from Bent River Records. This year, each class had the opportunity to design the vinyl album packaging for Allan Gilliland’s Dreaming: The Prague Sessions, and Mike Rud’s Salome’s Dance: The Mike Rud Trio Invites Peter Bernstein.

With such a wide variety of concepts to choose from, it wasn’t easy for Mike and Allan to make their decisions! After much deliberation, we are very excited to announce which students will receive the honorariums and have their designs sent to press:

Allan Gilliland – Dreaming: The Prague Sessions
Winner: Ashlin Kellough
Honourable Mentions: Lisa Cox, Kayla Agustin

Mike Rud – Salome’s Dance: The Mike Rud Trio Invites Peter Bernstein
Winner: Alan Ngo
Honourable Mentions: Nick Zylstra, MyHanh Nguyen

Congratulations to Alan and Ashlin, and to all the design students who participated! And a huge thank-you to Dr. Craig Monk, whose generous support of the record label makes this project possible! Stay tuned for more information about these exciting new releases! You can read more about the project in this article from The Griff:

Meet Our New Interns: Gareth & Paolo!

Gareth Gilliland is a third year guitar performance major and has just returned from a semester abroad in Helsinki, Finland. He feels very lucky to have the opportunity to be on the Bent River Records team as an intern for this
semester. Learning about music from different perspectives is important to him so he learns how to be a well rounded musician and collaborator. He’s performed extensively with funk and folk bands, jazz ensembles and as a solo guitarist. Before coming to MacEwan, Gareth studied culinary arts and has worked for some of Edmonton’s best chefs. Recently, he recorded with folk/roots band Jemma and The Good Thing at Bent River Records and is excited for what 2020 holds.

Paolo Belmar is currently taking his third year at MacEwan University in the Music Program with a Major in Composition. He has worked with the video-game development club at MacEwan scoring music for their games, he work as a music teacher outside of MacEwan, plays in two bands (Cabrakaan and Hellnite) and is currently working on a new instrumental music project. Since a few years ago he has been interested in recording studios and music production. In Fall of 2019, he started taking recording classes at MacEwan as elective courses outside of his major and that is how his interest for the label came about.

“I discovered how beautiful the process of creating a record can be, working with a team that is committed to do their best for the project. I am so excited for this opportunity to work with Bent River Records as a part of a creative team and supporting artists in the music industry.”


It’s That Time of Year Again…

Have you come down with a case of the winter blues? Luckily for you, two of our Bent River artists have got the perfect cure for that. Let the sweet sounds of The Jivin’ Belles bring you some holiday cheer before the new year! 

Kate Blechinger, Mallory Chipman, and Emily Guthrie will be performing twice this month to bring audiences a little taste of sweet 1940s nostalgia. Catch their Glow Edmonton shows at the Edmonton Expo centre on December 23rd at 6:30 pm, or December 28th at 4 pm. These jivin’ ladies sing your favourite swing era bops and may just throw in some vintage-style renditions of your favourite modern pop bangers as well! Don’t miss The Jivin’ Belles this holiday season.

That’s a wrap!

That is a wrap on recording the EP with the winner of our 2019 Bent River Records Recording Competition presented by ATB Financial! Last Thursday, November 28th and Friday, November 29th we had both our winner, Nisto and renowned producer, Russell Broom at MacEwan University. We also invited MacEwan Music students in the Recording Program to join us down in Studio A at Allard Hall. There, they learned a thing or two from Russell. Students had the opportunity to run the board, set up mics and best of all, ask Russell any question that they would like. Having the chance to sit in on a session with a producer of this calibre will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for these students. There was also free pizza at lunch but we hope that they were more excited about the experience!

           Nisto’s emotionally rich performance on both vocals and guitar set the mood for both sessions. His chill demeanour and collaborative mindset made for a purely creative space. Together, both Nisto and Russell’s vision for the tracks evolved into what we will hear on the recording! We can’t wait! Stay tuned for release dates and shows coming to you in the New Year!

Coming Soon!

This week is a big one for creativity at Bent River Records. Recording begins tomorrow for Nisto’s EP with Russell Broom (woohoo!), which means sessions of pre-production, planning, practicing and the recording itself. The studio will be a flurry of activity as we set out to record our talented competition winner and document these next few incredible days.

Of course, we can’t forget to mention that MacEwan design students are currently working on their concepts for Mike Rud and Allan Gilliland’s new projects. Exciting stuff! The students will be pitching their ideas soon and we’re eagerly waiting to see which of their ideas will grace the covers of these new musical works. All the designs will be on public display in Allard Hall soon, so check in soon to find out when you can take a tour of the design students’ great ideas!

A Week in Toronto

This past August, our intern Nathalie got some very exciting news… she’d won the 2019 MusiCounts scholarship for her work as a recording student! As their website says, “MusiCounts is Canada’s music education charity and is affiliated with CARAS and the JUNO Awards,” making the winning of such a scholarship quite the achievement! Nathalie and five other talented scholarship recipients from across Canada were invited to Toronto for an amazing week of mentorship and networking with industry professionals and their teams.

“While the monetary aspect of the scholarship is great, it was the mentorship week that made winning so amazing! I spent September 30th to October 4th in Toronto, meeting the most inspiring people and seeing important music locales. I was definitely awestruck when I first arrived at the MusiCounts headquarters, which happens to be the same office as the Juno Awards and CARAS! For those who are wondering, Juno trophies are pretty heavy! Yes, I got to hold one, and yes, it was awesome.”


Throughout the week, Nathalie and the other recipients met mentors from Rogers Radio, Anthem Entertainment, Entertainment One, The Feldman Agency, the Juno Awards, Revolution Recording, and Spotify Canada, among many others. They also had a video chat with pop duo Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, and had a songwriting masterclass with Matt Webb, guitarist of Marianas Trench. Each day was packed with mentorship sessions from 9 am to 5pm, culminating in the awards presentation and industry mixer at Dine Alone Records.

“We had a chance to speak at the presentation, which I was very happy about. It was a great opportunity to say thank you and let the mentors know how much their time spent with us meant to me. I learned so much, and have a notebook completely full of notes from each session. I’m still in regular contact with the other recipients too! If I had to sum up the most important things and put details aside, though, I’d say that in the music industry, you need passion, hard work, a willingness to reach out, and kindness. Your connections and reputation are so important, and I’m so grateful to MusiCounts for giving me the opportunity to start my career out with both in such a good place!” 

Congratulations Nisto!

ATB Financial and Bent River Records are pleased to announce the 2019 Recording Competition winner is… Nisto!

Nisto is a Cree-Metis singer-songwriter from Fort Vermillion in Northern Alberta. He is a psychedelic folk-rock artist now residing in Edmonton to pursue his music career. He cites his number one biggest musical influence is Waylon Jennings but says that he finds influence pretty much anywhere. From blues, folk and classic 70s outlaw country, he does it all.

We would like to thank every one of the extraordinary Alberta artists who submitted their music to the competition. We are blown away with the amount of talent we’ve heard over the past couple of weeks!

Stay tuned for more details as we work with Nisto on his exciting new EP!

The Mystic Mind + Mallory Chipman & the Mystics

Two fantastic musicians here at Bent River Records have two brand new very mystical projects (wink,wink). This week’s blog is dedicated to both Jean-Nicolas Trottier presents The Mystic Mind Suite and Mallory Chipman and the Mystics!

Mallory Chipman & the Mystics is the latest brainchild of Edmonton vocalist/composer, Mallory Chipman. This project fuses Mallory’s improvisational sensibilities with jazz harmony, the unconventionality of progressive rock, and a pinch of psychedelic fairy dust. Their debut album AQUARIAN is set for release in early 2020.

“I wrote all of the tunes at Moose Farm Studio over the past year, and we recorded it at OCL Studios just over a month ago, and I am STOKED, pals!

For those of you who know me, I’m forever a rock and roller at heart, but I also looooove improvisation and chromatic harmony and progressive song forms, so I decided to start a band that plays my original music that fuses all of those whacky and wonderful things.

This record is pretty politically charged, and really, in my opinion, it is a call to action to be engaged with the world around you and the worlds within you. It is a combination of influences that just feels like “me”, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.” 

—Mallory Chipman


The Mystic Mind Suite, a commissioned work for the Orchestre National de Jazz de Montreal by Jean-Nicolas Trottier, evolves as an unfolding sonic motif, from a single sound into an elaborate orchestral arrangement. It chronicles how an idea becomes a word, and then develops into an image in the mind’s eye, travelling through billions of synapses in the meanders of the river of our consciousness. Searching for a strong dynamic between soloists and the orchestra, he entrusts the virtuosity and thematic evolution to Yannick Rieu, Rafael Zaldivar and Sylvain Provost.

“Mystic Mind est un voyage inspiré et inspirant dans une sorte de métaphysique sonore qui n’a heureusement rien du pelletage de nuages théorique. Trottier s’amuse avec des thèmes et des motifs dont il fait permuter les textures, les reflets et les éclats selon leur passage dans les différentes sections de l’orchestre. Les espaces de liberté octroyés aux trois solistes (exceptionnels) qui sont en vedette, sont importants mais bien intégrés à l’ensemble.”

 —Frédéric Cardin, ICI Musique Radio-Canada