A New Season For Love by Cormac O Caoimh

CD Review
Title: A New Season For Love
Artist:  Cormac O Caoimh
Label: Independent
Released: 2012
Stars:  4.5

Cormac O Caoimh is an exceptionally gifted songsmith and classical guitarist from Cork, Ireland.  A former member of The Citadels, Cormac reunited with Art O Laoire and Eoghan Regan for his latest musical offering of jazz/folk ballads, A New Season For Love, which will be officially released on April 27, 2012.  Its sound is one of simple, stripped down production with only keyboards and guitars, but perfection lies within its quietude.  I’m one of the lucky ones who’ve had a sneak preview in advance and the biggest compliment I can give this recording is that I never get tired of listening to it.

As warm and sweet as a tumbler of fine cognac on a cold winter’s eve, A New Season For Love is unabashedly romantic, soothing and sensual with its classical acoustic guitar, poetic lyrics, and dulcet, cashmere vocals.  The significant thing about O Caoimh’s voice is that it doesn’t immediately remind you of anyone else, even though it has been said that his sound would complement records by Nick Drake, Elliott Smith and Damien Rice.

If someone were to ask me why I love Irish singer-songwriters so much, I’d give them this CD to listen to as my answer.  A thinking woman’s songwriter, every song in Cormac’s collection not only evokes introspection, but a primal longing for the earthly elements of love, understanding and human contact that makes it irresistible to this quixotic heart.  Charmed isn’t the word…seduced…perhaps.  Losing yourself in hushed, hypnotic tracks like “There’s Gold There Somewhere”, “100,000”, “Counting The Raindrops”, “Herculean Sky”, “Remember When We Didn’t Kiss”, and “Perfect Mistress For A King” (the last two being my favourites) will make your heart sigh with their lyrical splendor and earnest desire.

The first single, also entitled “A New Season For Love” is the most buoyant of this serene symphony, and it will be available on March 16th but you can hear it now on Cormac’s YouTube Channel.

If I was called in
To form a religion
You’d be my god
And if I made the spring
I’d create a new season
Just for us to live in

The axis of the earth
Can tilt more to the sun
And summer can wait
‘Til the season’s done
A new season
A new season for love

If you’re looking for a CD to spin when you need a blanket of tranquility or to stimulate your passion, A New Season For Love is the perfect choice.  Buy it.  Seriously…just buy it.

Help Sultans of String Record with a SYMPHONY!


Hello Sultans of String fans, friends & music lovers,

2010 JUNO Award Nominees and Canadian Folk Music Award winners SULTANS OF STRING, are heading back to the studio to record their fourth CD… with a SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA! And you can help them get their record out!

Sultans of String had their triumphant live orchestra debut under the direction of Maestro John Morris Russell, Conductor of Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and Windsor Symphony Orchestra.  Stunning beautiful arrangements were created by Rebecca Pellett, an illustrious composer who has arranged for the Toronto and Windsor Symphony Orchestras, True North Brass, and several IMAX and Hollywood film productions.

Their new recording will feature Sultans of String accompanied by a full Symphony Orchestra, serving up their genre-bending, spicy stew of Spanish Flamenco, French Manouche Gypsy Jazz, Middle Eastern Folk, and Cuban rhythms. “Canada’s ambassadors of musical diversity” include 6-string violinist Chris McKhool (who has guest starred with Pavlo and Jesse Cook), dueling guitar czars Kevin Laliberté (Jesse Cook) and Eddie Paton (Robert Michaels), bass master Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk, Amanda Martinez), and the jaw dropping talent of Cuban percussionist Chendy Leon (Alex Cuba)!

Watch some examples of them with the wonderful Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra:


Sultans of String are very excited about their new songs, which include:

• Monti’s Revenge, inspired by the classic Hungarian Czardas by Vittorio Monti
• Palmas, a powerful rumba flamenco written by Eddie
• Will You Marry Me?, a quirky and touching marriage proposal song written by Chris
• Despegando, a suspenseful dramatic piece written by Rebecca, commissioned for this recording
• And Symphonic versions of our greatest hits including Luna, Josie, Alhambra, Al Vuelo, Sable Island and Road to Kfarmishki!


The Sultans’ budget to make another JUNO Award quality CD with a SYMPHONY is $60,000, and they’re hoping to raise $30,000 with this Kapipal. They are independent recording artists with no record company support, so they need to raise money right away to start production!

YOU CAN HELP by pledging your support.  They have some incentives to encourage your support and you can truly become part of this journey with the Sultans of String.  The more you give, the more you get! (Great for family, corporate, birthday and holiday gifts — you can opt for a bunch of their current titles for gifts for this season.)

Here are some super-fancy rewards you receive:

$20 Beautifully designed, personally signed copy of the new CD mailed to you, before it hits the streets!

$100+ Signed copy of the new CD mailed to you, before it hits the street, plus 4 more CDs of your choice from their collection (5 CDs total), plus 2 free passes to any one concert next year, plus a credit in the liner notes!

$200+ Up to 10 CDs as above, 4 free passes to any one concert next year, plus a credit in the liner notes!

$500+ Up to 30 CDs as above, 5 autographed concert posters, 6 free passes to any one concert next year, plus a credit in the liner notes!

$1,000+ Up to 30 CDs and credit as above, plus a Sultans of String duo Concert or Chris McKhool Children’s Concert for private audience of up to 50 friends, within a two hour drive of Toronto, plus an Apple 2GB iPod Shuffle with the entire collection of Sultans of String and Chris McKhool Children’s Music, plus 2 free passes to all concerts in the next year!

$2,500+ Up to 100 CDs and credit as above, plus a full band Sultans of String Concert or Chris McKhool Children’s Concert for private audience of up to 100 friends, within a three hour drive of Toronto, plus an Apple 2GB iPod Shuffle with the entire collection of Sultans of String and Chris McKhool Children’s Music, plus 2 free passes to all concerts in the next year!

$5,000+ All of the above (up to 200 CDs), plus a full band public Sultans of String or Chris McKhool Children’s Concert within a 5 hour drive of Toronto (or further if we are on tour in your area), plus an Associate Producer credit in the liner notes, and corporate or personal logo on back cover!

$10,000+ All of the above (up to 400 CDs), plus an Associate Producer credit in the liner notes, and corporate or personal logo on back cover!

$20,000+ All of the above (up to 1000 CDs), plus an Executive Producer credit in the liner notes, and corporate or personal logo on back cover, and name your reward! (email chris@fiddlefire.com to discuss)

Together we can make this happen —

Sultans of String CD Release Tour Schedule 2012


  [Sultans of String’s] latest album seems to be hoovering up Canadian awards and nominations like a Dyson on speed — a joyful melting pot of jazz, flamenco, folk and indeed anything else that takes their fancy…energetic and exciting world music fest from a band with talent to burn.  This is the sort of band and music that would rip up any festival in the country.
Maverick Magazine

  “Chris McKhool and the boys are fantastic!”
Bob Ezrin (Producer–Pink Floyd. Kiss)

“A hard core of five is leading this spectacular Canadian band to award after award.”
The Scotsman

“Sultans of String are one of Canada’s hottest new musical exports, dynamically embodying their homeland’s values of tolerance and respect for diverse cultures. Centred on the founding interplay between Chris McKhool – a six-string violinist of Lebanese/Egyptian descent – and Kevin Laliberté’s rumba-accented guitar, they weave a gorgeously-hued tapestry of Spanish, Arabic, Latin, French and gypsy strands.”
Celtic Connections Festival

December 22, 2011

WHO: Sultans of String CD Release
Living Room, 154 Ludlow St., New York City
WHEN: Fri. Jan. 13, 7:00pm
TIX/INFO:  $10 / www.livingroomny.com
MEDIA ENQUIRIES:  Lisa Weitz, LW Communications lw@lwcommunications.ca  416-624-3466416-846-6877 (c)

[New York, NY]  On Fri. Jan. 13, 7pm, raucous world-roots string wizards and JUNO (Canada’s Grammy) nominees, Sultans of String, are releasing MOVE, a spicy stew of Gypsy jazz, Spanish flamenco, Global roots, and Cuban rhythms at the legendary Living Room.

“Canada’s ambassadors of musical diversity” include 6-string violinist Chris McKhool (Pavlo), dueling guitar czars Kevin Laliberté (Jesse Cook, guested on tour with The Chieftains) & Eddie Paton, bass master Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk), and the jaw dropping talent of Cuban percussionist Chendy Leon (Parachute Club)!

Seamlessly traversing diverse themes of heart, place and tradition, fiery violin dances with kinetic guitar while a funk bass lays down unstoppable grooves. Throughout, acoustic strings meet electronic wizardry to create layers and depth of sound.

Since their formation only 4 years ago, Sultans of String have been riding a wave of success, from their debut CD, “Luna”, and 2nd offering, “Yalla Yalla”, both hitting # 1 on world/international music charts in Canada, to their triple Canadian Folk Music Award nomination, winning Instrumental Group of the Year.

In the past year alone, they’ve acquired a JUNO (Canada’s Grammy) nomination, representation from acclaimed promoter David Wilkes (Emmylou Harris, Bela Fleck, Jerry Jeff Walker), and booking representation in the US, UK and Australia.  They also took home 1st place in the International Songwriting Competition (out of 15,000 entries) and placed as finalists for two 2011 International Independent Music Awards.

The band’s new and 3rd CD, MOVE can only be thought of as a perfect hat-trick, presenting – once again – an exhilarating celebration of world music styles.

“North America is a real meeting places of musical influences from around the world” says bandleader/violinst McKhool.  “At the same time, as a band we try to tell uniquely North American stories, putting forth our vision of the world as one family.”  Chris’ paternal Makhoul grandparents immigrated to Canada from Lebanon in the early 1900s, and his Egyptian-born mother, an accomplished pianist, also has paternal Lebanese ancestry.  “Growing up, I was taught the values of tolerance, respect for all peoples and celebration of culture.”

McKhool’s unbridled passion for exploring the rhythms and melodies has led him to the far corners of the world, incorporating instruments and styles everywhere he went.


Jan 5 – WDIY Radio Lehigh Valley Public Radio, Bethlehem, PA
Jan 5 – WDVR, Sergeantsville NJ
Jan 6 – WTBQ Warwick, NY
Jan 6 – Gene Shay Presents Sultans of String at Psalm Salon, Philadelphia, PA
Jan 7 – WJFF Jeffersonville, NY
Jan 7 – Food Pantry-United Way Ellenville, NY
Jan 7 – APAP – Association of Performing Arts Presenters Conference, New York, NY
Jan 8 – APAP – Association of Performing Arts Presenters Conference, New York, NY
Jan 9 – WFUV, New York City, NY
Jan 9 – WVIA Theater – Homegrown Music Live Concert Series, Pittston, PA
Jan 11 – WBCR, Great Barrington, MA
Jan 13 – The Living Room, New York, NY
Jan 14 – WAMC, Albany, NY
Jan 14 – Folk Alley, Saranac Lake, NY
Jan 25 – South Holland Centre Spalding, Lincolnshire, England
Jan 27-29 – Celtic Connections Festival Glasgow, Scotland
Feb 4 – Welland-Port Colborne Concert Association, Welland, ON
Feb 5 – Cellar Jazz Club, Vancouver, BC
Feb 6 – Creekside Theatre, Lake Country, BC
Feb 7 – Charles Bailey Theatre, Trail, BC
Feb 9 – Ironwood Stage & Grill, Calgary, AB
Feb 10 – Festival Place, Sherwood Park, AB
Feb 11 – Lethbridge Folk Club @ The Wolf’s Den, Lethbridge, AB
Feb 12 – The Bassment, Saskatoon, SK
Feb 15 – E.A. Rawlinson Centre for the Arts, Prince Albert, SK
Feb 16 – McNally Robinson, Winnipeg, MB
Feb 17 – Watson Art Centre, Dauphin, MB
Feb 18 – William Glesby Centre, Portage La Prairie, MB
Feb 25 – Victoria Jubilee Hall, Walkerton, ON
Mar 3 – Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts, Oakville, ON
Mar 22 – WCVF, Fredonia, NY
Mar 22 – Nighttown, Cleveland, OH
Mar 23 – Chaplin’s the Music Café, Spring City, PA
Mar 25 – Rockwood Music Hall, New York, NY
Apr 25 – Brantford International Jazz Festival Concert Series, Brantford, ON
May 5 – Full evening with Windsor Symphony Orchestra, Windsor, ON
May 6 – Full concert with Windsor Symphony Orchestra, Windsor, ON
May 12 – Spirit of Rasputin’s Art Society, Westboro Masonic Hall, Ottawa, ON
Jun 9 – Heartland @ Harmony House, Webster, NY
Jul 29 – “Music at Fieldcote” – Fieldcote Park and Museum, Ancaster, ON
UK – Sept/Oct, 2012 (pres. by Brookfield Knights Agency)
Feb 3, 2013 – Folkstage, Chicago, IL

Under Cover Agents Reveal Extra VT Show Added This Sunday!

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Under Cover Agents Reveal Extra VT Show Added This Sunday– no cover charge!

Under Cover AV Agents attending the Valiant Thieves’ show last nite (incognito of course) apparently witnessed that show was a fun success, and as a result another VT show has been added to the band’s itinerary for this Sunday, June 28.

If you can help us get to the bottom of who indeed Ms. April Valiant is by attending this show we would be extremely grateful. And, since it’s free there should be no reason not to go!

The details are:

Date: Sunday, June 28, 2009 Venue: Player’s Sports Bar Address: 5420 Calgary Trail South, Edmonton, AB Time: 8 – 11 pm

Yours in espionage,

AV Headquarters

AV Top Secret Side Project – Shows This Weekend!

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Ms. April Valiant….. !?!?

Dear AV supporters:

We are writing you to tell you about a NON Ann Vriend show. As to why…. well, we’re not quite sure…. but a leaked document and recent Top Secret photos by the paparazzi (Tom Turner) have given us cause to believe a purple haired chanteuse going by the name Ms. April Valiant has a remarkably similar voice and looks (minus the purple hair and 80s wardrobe) as our very own Ann Vriend. Is Ann Vriend moonlighting?? Has Ms. April Valiant stolen Ann Vriend’s identity?? If any of these accusations are correct, this could mean Ms. April Valiant, who is the lead singer for the outrageous jazz quartet called The Valiant Thieves– is THE VERY SAME PERSON AS AV– the other “AV”. (!!!!!!)

Now, we are not sure of this. More investigation needs to take place, obviously. But, as Ann Vriend supporters, we felt it was important for you to know. In fact, we may need your help to get to the bottom of this quite confusing situation!

So, here’s some background info:

Who are the Valiant Thieves? Well, they are a jazz quartet that plays ’80s pop and rock songs– in quite unusual arrangements from their feathered bangs and stirrup pants origins– but not necessarily any less silly. They happen to have 2 gigs in Edmonton this coming weekend, the first of which is on Friday (details below), and the 2nd of which is under wraps as to location, but will be on Sunday, and will be announced on Friday at the VT show, and other places such as this email list.

A link to the Valiant Thieves’ music and their biography can be found below.

And this is where we need your help: if you think there are some strange resemblances b/w April Valiant and Ann Vriend that you can make out, either in the singing, the biography, or in the photos, please let us know! Any info at this point is very helpful!

Show details are:

Date: June 26, 2009 Venue: the Haven Social Club, http://www.thehavensocialclub.com Address: 15120 A Stony Plain Road Description: as part of Edmonton International Jazz Festival, 10 pm, $10 at the door (no opening act). Sunglasses at night and other similar attire will not be shunned.


Ms. April Valiant, or AV??? And A Leaked Interview!

To top it off, we’ve come across an interview featuring Ms. April Valiant– somehow government radio (CBC) kidnapped her briefly and was able to extract info regarding her upcoming shows and music. A link to it is below. Check it out– are we the only ones noticing a strange resemblance here??


Agent AV

And the Upcoming Top Secret Shows Are:

BC Tour:

Date: July 30, 2009 Venue: Lorenzo’s Cafe,http://www.lorenzoscafe.com Address: Enderby, BC, CAN Description: solo, 8 pm, $10

Date: August 2, 2009 Venue: House Concert Address: Salmon Arm, BC, CAN Description: solo, for details email booking@annvriend.com

Date: August 6, 2009 Venue: Old Fire Hall Address: Rossland, BC, CAN Description: solo or duo with bassist

Date: August 8, 2009 Venue: Egans’, http://www.ballardjamhouse.com Address: Seattle, WA, USA Description: solo or duo with bassist

Date: August 20, 2009 Venue: Green Frog, http://www.acoustictavern.com Address: 902 N State St, Bellingham, WA, USA Description: solo, 9 pm start

Date: August 23, 2009 Venue: The Railway Club Address: Vancouver, BC, CAN Description: solo, opening act Matt Epp

Date: August 27, 2009 Venue: Joe’s Garage Address: Courtenay, BC, CAN Description: double bill with Matt Epp

Date: August 30, 2009 Venue: Hermann’s Jazz Club Address: Victoria, BC, CAN Description: double bill with Matt Epp

Date: September 2, 2009 Venue: Breeze Osoyoos Bar and Grill Address: Osoyoos, BC, CAN Description: double bill with Matt Epp

Date: September 5, 2009 Venue: private show Address: Edmonton, AB, CAN Description: email booking@annvriend.com for details

Date: September 10, 2009 Venue: Ironwood Stage and Grill Address: 1429 9th St SE, Calgary, AB, CAN Description: double bill with Matt Epp, tix $10

Date: September 11, 2009 Communitea Cafe, http://www.myspace.com/communiteacafe Address: #17, 1001 6th Ave, Canmore, AB, CAN Description: double bill with Matt Epp, tix $12, 8 pm Date: September 12, 2009 Venue: Twin Butte General Store Address: Twin Butte, AB, CAN Description: double bill with Matt Epp

Date: September 15, 2009 Venue: House Concert Address: TBA, Saskatoon, SK, CAN Description: double bill with Matt Epp, details TBA

Germany/Switzerland Tour: more dates TBA

Date: September 28, 2009 Venue: Radio Bremen, http://www.radiobremen.de Address: Bremen, DE Description: solo

Date: October 1, 2009 Venue: Landschulheim (LSH), http://www.lsh-holzminden.de Address: Holzminden, DE Description: solo

Date: October 2, 2009 Venue: Kiste, http://www.kiste-stuttgart.de Address: Stuttgart, DE Description: solo

Date: October 3, 2009 Venue: Kofferfabrik, http://www.kofferfabrik.cc Address: Fürth, DE Description: solo

Date: October 4, 2009 Venue: Blues Bar, http://www.live-club.de Address: Bamberg, DE Description: solo

Date: October 6, 2009 Venue: Cafe Vinyl, http://www.franzis-hoersturz.de Address: Wetzlar, DE Description: solo

Date: October 7, 2009 Venue: Erbse, http://www.erbse-dillenburg.de Address: Dillenburg, DE Description: solo

Date: October 9, 2009 Venue: Variete Chat Noir, http://www.variete-trier.de/ Address: Trier, DE Description: solo

Date: October 10, 2009 Venue: Studio Wallhalla, http://www.walhalla-studio.de/ Address: Wiesbaden, DE Description: solo

Southern Ontario Dates (more TBA):

Date: October 18, 2009 Venue: Flying Cloud Folk Club (hosted at Tranzac Club) Address: Toronto, ON, CAN Description: double bill with Matt Epp
Cure for Breast Cancer Fundraising Tour, WWW.BABESFORBREASTS.COM

Date: October 20, 2009 Venue: Northern Arts and Cultural Centre Address: Yellowknife, NWT, CAN Description: songwriters in the round: Ana Muira, Amanda Rheaume, Leela Gilday, Ann Vriend

Date: October 21, 2009 Venue: TBA Address: Vancouver, BC, CAN Description: songwriters in the round: Ana Muira, Amanda Rheaume, Leela Gilday, Ann Vriend

Date: October 22, 2009 Venue: Haven Social Club, http://www.thehavensocialclub.com Address: 15120 A Stony Plain Road, Edmonton, AB, CAN Description: songwriters in the round: Ana Muira, Amanda Rheaume, Leela Gilday, Ann Vriend

Date: October 23, 2009 Venue: Wild Bill’s Saloon Address: Banff, AB, CAN Description: songwriters in the round: Ana Muira, Amanda Rheaume, Leela Gilday, Ann Vriend

Date: October 24, 2009 Venue: Ironwood Stage and Grill Address: Calgary, AB, CAN Description: songwriters in the round: Ana Muira, Amanda Rheaume, Leela Gilday, Ann Vriend

Date: October 30, 2009 Venue: Northern Arts and Cultural Centre Address: Yellowknife, NWT, CAN Description: songwriters in the round: Ana Muira, Amanda Rheaume, Leela Gilday, Ann Vriend

November 2009: Alberta Band Dates

Date: November 6, 2009 Venue: Medicine Hat Folk Club Address: Medicine Hat, AB, CAN Description: with trio, Matt Epp opening act

Date: November 8, 2009 Venue: TBA Address: Edmonton, AB Description: full band, Mapp Epp opening

February – April 2010: Australian Tour, details TBA


New Live Album Coming This Fall!

Well here is some Top Secret Info that IS related to Ms. Ann Vriend: she will be releasing a live album this fall. The album will include songs from various concerts she has performed, including at The Basement, in Sydney, AU, live studio performances in Vancouver and on CBC radio, and a few selections from her show on the Double Agent Tour this past May in her hometown of Edmonton. The album will include repertoire from her past 3 albums, as well as 2 new songs, so stay tuned as the details come together over the summer! We will release a few of the tracks online, so make sure to check back and keep in touch.

Officially the album will first be released in Germany, then in Canada, and in Australia in early 2010.

In the meantime, as always, you can purchase AV music at the link below.

Thanks for your support in these confusing times!

–Top Secret Headquarters, AV Management


Sea of Stars by Laura Smith




3.5 stars

North Vancouver/Victoria, British Columbia singer-songwriter Laura Smith has written or co-written (with Andrew Braun who also contributed brass, woodwind, guitars, organ, synths, percussion and vocal arrangements) all of the songs on her captivating and eclectic indie pop debut, Sea of Stars. This unique genre-crossing album offers combinations of alternative pop, folk, rock and jazz songs brought to life by Laura’s mature lyrics and lilting, little girl soprano vocals. Greg Bevis’ powerful drumming and Derek DiFilippo’s funky bass beautifully compliment Braun and Smith who plays everything from piano to accordion to Glockenspiel. I should probably mention that her former school chum, Jeff Riedlinger, plays bass in her touring band.

Sea of Stars opens with an upbeat, sweet-sounding, pop poem with a strong bass line and dominant drums called “I Spy a Monster.” Fans of artists like Lisa Loeb, Ann Vriend, Jill Barber and Sarah Slean will certainly appreciate her too. Smith’s music is immensely enjoyable and infused with infectious melodies and frequently, the spirit of another era.

Among my favourite tracks on this CD are “It’s All About You”, a jaunty piano ballad with interesting lyrics; “Break”, a Parisian, cabaret-style, lament highlighted by Smith’s theatrical accordion; and, “Queen of Hearts”, a song that took me to a dive jazz lounge in the 1920s where Smith sits demurely at the piano singing her heart out to a group of down & out, wannabe literary types. Her music easily invokes old-world charm, such as on the piano folk ballad, “Swashbuckler’s Song” regarding the romantic adventure that is the life of a pirate. But it can just as quickly morph into contemporary pop with a bopping backbeat that you’ll find yourself wanting to dance to – like the splendid “Can’t Stop” – a perfect pick for today’s rom com soundtracks; or the upbeat, lavishly produced, pure pop ditty, “Such A Long Way To Go”, unexpectedly but delightfully punctuated with trumpet, trombone and saxophone.

Laura Smith will be touring Western Canada and Ontario for NXNE this June with her band and with regular play on CBC Radio, she will undoubtedly be capturing the hearts of alternative and pop music lovers across the country. Sea of Stars is a charming collection of indie songs that Laura Smith can always be proud of. You can listen to them on MySpace and purchase them from CDBaby. Go on now, what are you waiting for!

Thievery, Breasts, It’s Very Scandalous! (sort of)


Do racy headings really make people read content? We’re not sure. But it’s a fun experiment.

So, first off: Thievery.

Top Secret info gleaned from an insider tip at AV headquarters has led us to believe AV has gone under cover again, this time as the blonde and coy “Ms. April Valiant”, the lead singer for the new Edmonton pop/jazz group The Valiant Thieves. This group allegedly steals pop songs from the ever-so-serious decade of the 1980s and takes them on a valiant ride into classic jazz. The group, composed of renowned jazz musicians Mike Lent, Chris Andrew, Sandro Dominelli, and of course, Ms. April Valiant, have recorded a CD which will be released this Sunday, September 28, 2008, 8:00 pm at the Haven Social Club (15120 A Stony Plain Road). Listeners to CKUA or Magic 99 radio in Edmonton will undoubtedly have heard some tracks from this album already.

The nite will also feature an art exhibit by Sandra Kunz, Raven Illustration, who is also responsible for the cover art of the Valiant Thieves CD cover. Sandra will be selling prints, cards, and some of the originals in her latest collection, and international song writing award winner Ben Sures will open the nite.

So, it’s going to be a fabulous evening! Tix are $20 in advance and $22 at the door, and are available at Tix on the Square, and by clicking on the link below and then clicking on “upcoming events”.

Heads up though: Tix on the Square is CLOSED on Sundays, so this means if you want to insure a ticket in advance YOU MUST PURCHASE IT BEFORE SATURDAY AT 4 PM.

Seating is limited so be sure to get your tickets now!



Breasts! Another great subject heading!

Everybody has them. Well, nearly everyone. AV plus 4 other Canadian singer songwriters do, but sadly, as you know, many people lose their breasts and even their lives to breast cancer. Headed by Ana Muira, founder of “Babes for Breasts” AV, Leela Gilday, Amanda Rheaume, Tara Holloway and Ana Miura will embark next week on the western Canadian leg of a national tour to raise money for breast cancer research– they will be performing 7 shows in 6 days and all the proceeds will go to this cause.

Be sure to check out these accomplished songwriters at a venue near you. More info about “Babes for Breasts” can be found by clicking on the link below.

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 30TH – The Media Club, 695 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC (604) 608-2871
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 1ST – The Garage Showroom, 201-330 Duncan Street, Duncan, BC (250) 748-7246
THURSDAY OCTOBER 2ND – The Royal, 330 Baker Street Nelson, BC V1L 4H5 (250) 352-1269
FRIDAY OCTOBER 3RD – That Empty Space, Show time: 3:30 pm-5:30pm, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4 (403) 220-5110
FRIDAY OCTOBER 3RD – Wild Bill’s Saloon, 201 Banff Avenue, Banff, AB (403) 762-0333
SATURDAY OCTOBER 4TH – Ironwood Stage and Grill, 1429 9th Ave SE, Calgary, AB (403) 269-5581
SUNDAY OCTOBER 5TH – The Haven Social Club, 15120 A Stony Plain Road, Edmonton, AB



It’s always great to receive a rave review, but even greater when it comes not from a paid journalist, but a fellow musician who feels so compelled by AV’s new disk, “When We Were Spies” that he took the time out of his own career to voluntarily write a review of it. Many thanks to Marv Machura for this! A link to Marv’s own work can be found below.

(As an aside, Marv will also be hosting a tribute to Canadian songwriting legend Gordon Lightfoot at the Haven Social Club in Edmonton on November 22, 2008, of which AV will be a part, make sure to come out!).

Ahem. Now back to shameless bragging– here’s Marv’s review:

“Ann Vriend’s disc, When We Were Spies, is an exciting collection of 10 new songs and one cover of a Neil Young classic “Rocking in the Free World.”

“The production by Doug Romanow is lush, yet subtle, and it puts Vriend’s literate songwriting and expressive vocal style in epic-like dioramas. For each cut on the disc, Romanow and Vriend seem to have created a mini movie score. In our current world of mostly bare-bone production values (stuff like Alison Krauss and Robert Plant’s Burning Sands disc of last year for example), this disc comes as a treat to the listener’s ears. For me, this kind of work harkens back to the seventies when bigger and more interesting production were the norm: the Carpenters, Heart, Fleetwood Mac, etc.

“One thing that you will notice, even on your first listen, is the joy that springs from the music. The performances bloom with a vibrant life force. We can tell she’s having fun—and giving us a gift of music that is at once personal, inviting, and universal. And although this should be evident in all music, unfortunately it isn’t. Contrived, fame-seeking music spawned from our hyper-competitive glut of idol contestants can NEVER have this kind of soul.

“Ann Vriend describes her music as “Baroque Pop”; a term that identifies her with other artists that love balanced phrasing, beauty, and clarity. However, to me this classification is somewhat misleading because this disc is more akin to the Romantic period than the Baroque period— Vriend is more like Chopin than Bach. But, whatever: classifications are an unavoidable evil to original and interesting artists like Vriend. Besides, there currently is no recognizable term such as “Romantic Pop” (not even on Wikipedia!). And if it did exist, the connotations of the term may be co-opted by that cringe-worthy kind of corn-syrup music coming out of Nashville and other places that are still holding onto their factory approach to writing, recording, and distributing music. It’s likely best if we never make the mistake of comparing Ann Vriend with that kind of bland homogenized sound. So, Baroque Pop it is!

“One person who comes to my mind when thinking about Vriend’s lyrics is Leonard Cohen. She has the same kind of poetic sensibilities in creating imagery that carries the story, not with vivid, harsh, realistic colors and brush strokes, but rather with interesting, more-nebulous shades of color and abstract forms. Like Cohen, we can still follow the story line and be there, but we are brought into these worlds through a fourth dimension. It is a world filled with grinning jack-o-lanterns, forgotten missions, disguises, radio waves, etc. all held together by a Cohen-like search for authenticity in relationships and life.

“”When We Were Spies” is an appropriate title. Vriend is like a spy ducking in and out of the shadows. We may want to pin her down, but we cannot. She’ll forever be just ahead of our grasp, moving romantically beyond the brick and mortar of mundane music. But the best thing about this spy is that we know she’s on our side— one of the good guys. As she convincingly sings on her cover of Neil Young’s classic: “keep on rocking in the free world.”

“This remarkable disc will stand the test of time and is one of my favorite recordings to come out of anywhere in the last while. On one of her songs, Vriends asks, “Will you suspend your disbelief?” Music lovers everywhere should say yes and enter into the spaces created by this world-class spy, singer, and songwriter.

– Marv Machura – http://www.marvmachura.com


The Leonard Cohen Society of Edmonton has asked us at AV Headquarters to remind you that Jennifer Warnes is performing at the Winspear Centre for Music TOMORROW (Sept. 29). Details available at: http://www.winspearcentre.com
Jennifer is famous for her 1987 album of Leonard Cohen songs, entitled “Famous Blue Raincoat”, among many other successful albums and hits.


Secret Agent AV will make an appearance at the 2008 Western Canadian Music Awards festival, held this year in AV’s home town of Edmonton, AB.

AV’s Top Secret slot in the festival is:

Date: October 18, 2008 Venue: Jekyll and Hyde, upstairs Address: 10610 100 Ave, Edmonton, AB, CAN Description: acoustic 4 piece band, $10 or free with WCMA wristband, 11 pm sharp, 1 45 min set.

A rare opportunity to see AV play with this configuration!

And, more bragging: Jeff Sylvester (Pilot Design) has been nominated at the WCMA’s for best album cover of the year for AV’s “When We Were Spies” as well as Corb Lund’s latest release, “Horse! Soldier! Horse! Soldier!” Congratulations, Jeff!

More info about the WCMA’s can be found here: http://www.westerncanadianmusicawards.ca


As you all know, AV is no slouch in the touring dept.; she’ll be hitting Ontario, Alberta, and Australia before the year’s end. More dates are firming up as time moves along, but here’s what we’ve got so far.

(And remember, if you are interested in hosting or helping out with a show in your area, please let us know!)

SOUTHERN ONTARIO TOUR: (more dates coming soon):

Date: October 22, 2008 Venue: Toronto Waldorf School Address: 9100 Bathurst St, Thornhill, ON Description: double bill with T Nile, doors at 7:30 pm, show at 8 pm, 2 sets, tix $12, transportation to venue from downtown TO can be arranged by emailing info@annvriend.com, for more show details contact Jim Mallory, (647) 235-7863

Date: October 24, 2008 Venue: London Music Club, Big Hall, http://www.londonmusicclub.com Address: 470 Colborne St, London, ON Description: double bill with T Nile, 8 pm

Date: October 25, 2008 Venue: The Black Sheep Inn Address: Wakefield, PQ Description: AFTERNOON show, double bill with T Nile

Date: October 30, 2008 Venue: Memorial Hall, City Hall Address: Kingston, ON
Description: double bill with T Nile


Date: November 7, 2008 Venue: Dicken’s Pub, http://www.dickenspub.ca Address: 1000 9th Ave SW, Calgary, AB Description: triple bill with T Nile and Makeshift Innocence, http://www.makeshiftinnocence.com art exhibit by Melynda Kalin, http://www.cumberlandbluesarthouse.com

Date: November 13, 2008 Venue: Haven Social Club, http://www.thehavensocialclub.com Address: 15120 A Stony Plain Road, Edmonton, AB Description: duo and double bill with T Nile, Australia send off show!

Date: November 22, 2008 Venue: Haven Social Club, http://www.thehavensocialclub.com Address: 15120 A Stony Plain Road, Edmonton, AB Description: Ann performing as one of a host of musicians part of Gordon Lightfoot Tribute Night, details TBA


Date: November 27, 2008 Venue: Byron Cultural Centre Address: Byron Bay, QLD, AU Description: solo

Date: November 28, 2008 Venue: Sound Lounge Address: Currumbin, Gold Coast, QLD, AU Description: solo

Date: December 4, 2008 Venue: Icon Cinema Address: Toowoomba, QLD, AU
Description: solo

Date: January 15 – 18, 2009 Venue: Illawarra Folk Music Festival Address: Illawarra, NSW, AU Description: solo

Date: January 22, 2009 Venue: New Capers Club Address: Melbourne, VIC, AU
Description: solo, TBC

Date: January 24, 2009 Venue: Rye Services Club Address: Rye, Mornington Peninsula, VIC, AU Description: solo, TBC

Date: January 25, 2009 Venue: Waterfront Café Address: Geelong, VIC, AU
Description: solo

Date: January 29, 2009 Venue: Grace Emily Hotel Address: Adelaide, SA, AU
Description: solo

Date: February 6, 2009 Venue: Bulli School of Arts Address: Bulli/Wollongong, NSW,AU Description: solo


Date: March 21, 2009 Venue: Harrison Concert Series Address: Harrison, BC, CAN
Description: double bill with T Nile http://www.annvriend.com/shows


Well we are all out of creativity with that subject heading. Sigh. This is just to let you know that we’re actually not perfect. 😉

We also would like to let you know you can purchase AV albums and merchandise at the following link. Buy and/or download online with the click of a mouse. Easy peasy!



And, in case you’re new to the mailing list and haven’t checked out AV’s superbly cute animated video, don’t hesitate, click on the link below!


That’s all for now. Thanks for your support!

–AV Headquarters (Ann, Patrick, Beth, Christine, and Doug)