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26th November 2016

Sarah MacDougall and Ben Kunder

Artist's website: Sarah MacDougall / Ben Kunder

Sarah MacDougall:
  • Western Canadian Music Award winner of 'Best Solo Roots Album" 2015
  • Canadian Folk Music Awards Nominee 'Contemporary Singer of the Year' 2015

Listed as the “2nd best gig” by The Independent, and becoming the #1 most played artist on Canadian Folk/Roots radio, Sarah MacDougall is getting known for her honest and poetic songs, passionate performances, and unique voice.

Since the release ofaward-winning The Greatest Ones Alive, Sarah has been touring Canada and Europe endlessly, taking time to work on songs and record between tours. Last winter, she hunkered down under the Northern Lights in Whitehorse and put the final touches on the sonically rich album which was to become Grand Canyon.

The album, co-produced by Sarah and Caleb Stull (Field Study, Dominique Fricot, Language Arts), which was recorded in Toronto and Vancouver, features 8 songs and guest appearances from Erika Angell (Thus:Owls), Rose Cousins, Jesse Zubot (Tanya Tagaq, Dan Mangan), Peggy Lee, and Leah Abramson (Abramson Singers). Stepping outside of traditional folk and flirting with sounds that could have come from The Postal Service or Kate Bush, Grand Canyon keeps the acoustic guitar but infuses the sound with heavier drums and richly textured strings and synths.

The songs are about identity, love, fear, hope, growing up, rootlessness, and forgiveness. They are written from the point of view of the hopeful outsider, trying to figure out their place and make sense of the world. Grand Canyon sees Sarah challenging herself and pushing new boundaries musically and sonically, and it is an album that will surely see Sarah reach new levels in her career.

Sarah has played festivals such as Iceland Airwaves, Winnipeg Folk Festival, The Great Escape, and she has been featured on CBC’s vinyl Café, and has had her songs placed in TV series such as The Vampire Diaries.  She continues to tour as one of the hardest working musicians in Canada. 

Ben Kunder:

Part carpenter; Part actor; Canadian singer-songwriter Ben Kunder has spent years honing his craft to become a full time musician. On May 26, 2015, Ben ventured closer to making this a reality with the release of his debut solo LP, Golden.With a voice that truly fills your heart and keeps you warm, Ben writes songs that everyone can relate to. His powerful voice is a driving force in his music, guiding his songs by creating impressive and tactful melodies and dynamics.   

Exclaim! declared, “Kunder's extra special voice, along with gorgeous production, lends the record an almost velvety quality.” While NewCanadianMusic said the album: “features strong and warm vocals, nicely-crafted folk-rock songs, and top-notch production and playing,” and the Toronto Star had this to say about Ben - “he’s got the kind of mellow sincerity in his voice to take it beyond generic country-pop.” 

No stranger to the Canadian music community, Ben has been writing and producing his music independently for over 7 years. Through a chance meeting with John Dinsmore (NQ Arbuckle), the pair hunkered down at John’s, Lincoln County Social Club studio to co-produce Golden. The album features 9 stunning original songs by Ben, including the first single and title track, Golden. Ben (guitar, vox, and piano) is joined by a group of Canada's finest musicians for the studio recording, featuring Brian Murphy (Alvvays) on guitar/piano/Wurlitzer, Rich Knox (Dustin Bentall, Danko Jones) on drums/vox, Anna Ruddick (Ladies of the Canyon, Randy Bachman) on bass/vox, and Aaron Goldstein (Cowboy Junkies, Daniel Romano) on pedal steel.  Also John Connolly lends his voice, along with Kirty, Maia Davies (Ladies of the Canyon) and Jasmine Bleile (Ladies of the Canyon) for select tracks.