Ann Vriend New Video & Single “Will You Be There?” on Aporia Records Out Now


“Don’t miss her.” ~ Toronto Star
“Holy wow! What a voice!” ~ The AU Review in Australia
“Vriend’s voice is unmistakable, catching and powerful,” ~ The Calgary Sun


TORONTO – 2016 – The captivating and powerhouse vocalist Ann Vriend (AV) releases new single and video “Will You Be There,” (Aporia Records), a compelling song propelled by an irresistible dance beat, a catchy horn sample, and Vriend’s invincible vocal prowess. The single’s out now on iTunes, Spotify and all regular digital distribution channels. For more info please visit: /

One listen to “Will You Be There?” and you’ll know how great a singer, songwriter, and musician Ann Vriend (AV) is; witness one live performance, and you’ll fall in love with her. Of all the things she is, AV is definitely the real deal.

The Edmonton-based singer-songwriter has spent considerable time with her backing band in New Orleans, studying the convergence of gospel, blues, funk, soul, Caribbean beats, and jazz – and staying up late trying to experience as much of it as possible. All those elements are combined in “Will You Be There?” as the ever-evolving and revolving door of sounds and culture from Crescent City continues to inspire and influence the world of pop and R&B – even as far north as Edmonton, Alberta.

Produced by Tino Zolfo – a soul bassist himself back in the day – “Will You Be There?” is an intense New Orleans funk/dance R&B song about how easy it is to “be around” for the good times, the party, the nightclub fun. But then it asks “will you be there for the other part?” Whether asking that of a lover, of friends, of fans, or of the world at large, it’s left open-ended for the listener to decide.

The song is musically very upbeat and danceable, but also has a darker vibe and is a cautionary tale about the night life and being careful when you cross the line. It continues in AV’s ‘70s soul direction, but would sit quite comfortably on any playlist alongside the contemporary voices of Bruno Mars, Pharrell Williams, Amy Winehouse, Meghan Trainor, and Adele.

More about AV

AV recently signed with Toronto-based record label Aporia. She has appeared on CBC’s “Vinyl Café” with Stuart McLean, ABC TV’s prime time music comedy trivia show “Spicks and Specks,” ABC Radio’s “The Inner Sleeve” plus Sydney Mornings with Wendy Harmer, and Germany’s “Arte TV.” She has been featured in Elle Magazine and performed at Koerner Hall via the Songwriters’ Association of Canada, alongside Dan Hill, Marc Jordan, Melanie Doane, and others.

Musicians on the Recording:

Ann Vriend: vocals, keys, background vocals
Tino Zolfo: bass, programming

Upcoming Dates

January 7 – The Rec Room, Edmonton, AB
January 21 – Toronto Blues Summit as part of Rooster Davis Group, Toronto, ON
February 9 – March 12 – Australia EP Release Tour

Artist Links:





Twitter: #WillYouBeThere



For more information, photos, mp3s, WAV files, interviews, please contact:


Beverly Kreller, Publicist | SPEAK Music | 416-922-3620
Twitter: @SPEAKMusicPR



Live Wire Music Series Announces Its First 2012 Show With Ray Bonneville & Madison Violet!

Live Wire Music Series is excited to announce its 2012 winter line-up, which showcases some of Canada’s finest musicians.  We are kicking off the new year with a double-bill featuring the masterful blues musician Ray Bonneville, (“master of the slow burn, the gentle funk, the infectious rhythm“- The Ottawa Citizen) together with the remarkable duo Madison Violet (“exquisitely lovely and haunting harmonies- poised for greatness” – Winnipeg Free Press)

Ray Bonneville and Madison Violet
Sat. Feb. 18, 7:30 pm
Octave Theatre, 711 Dalton Ave. Kingston
Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door (if available)
On sale now at Brian’s Record Option (613-542-2452) and Tara Foods

More on these two great acts below.

And coming next – get these dates on your calendar!!!

Friday, April 13, 7:30 pm
New Country Rehab with special guests Sheesham and Lotus
Octave Theatre

Friday, May 4, 7:30 pm
Lynn Miles with special guest Lynne Hanson
Octave Theatre


Ray Bonneville is a roaming blues poet, inspired by the road and the many other places he has called home—New Orleans, Colorado, Arkansas, Alaska, Boston, Seattle and Paris, France.  Born in Canada and raised in the United States, Bonneville has lived all over.  No place, however, has been more influential than New Orleans.

In the streets and clubs of New Orleans, Bonneville soaked up the prevalent take-your-time attitude that ran through the music being played there. “There’s something about the heat and humidity that makes people slow down,” he says.  “New Orleans is where I learned to take my time, to allow space between the notes so the songs could truly groove.”  That groove is at the core of Bonneville’s sound.  A one-man band, he backs up weathered, storytelling vocals with a highly percussive guitar style, dramatic harmonica lines and a foot that keeps the rock steady beat.  The result is a big sound with an almost primitive quality.  It’s visceral, raw music.

Honing his craft for the last 30 years, Bonneville’s gritty storytelling and deep-grooving blues style has won him much critical attention.  In 1999, Ray won the prestigious Juno Award (Canadian Grammy) for his third album Gust of Wind.  His fourth release, Rough Luck, was also nominated for the coveted award.  With his 2004 Red House debut Roll It Down, Ray made himself a name in blues and roots music circles, garnering rave reviews from DownBeat and No Depression.  He has toured all over the world, sharing the bill with such blues legends as B.B. King, Muddy Waters, J.J. Cale and Robert Cray and in 2007 wowed the music industry with his bring-down-the-house performances at the South By Southwest and Folk Allianceconference.  A world-class guitarist, harmonica player and hard-hitting songwriter, it is no wonder that Ray has received rave reviews from blues, jazz and roots critics alike and can count among his fans such artists as Chris Smither and Ray Wylie Hubbard.  His current Red House Records Release, Bad Man’s Blood, is Ray at his best, stripped down and raw, with some of the best songwriting ever from his long career.


Finding the good in goodbye is always bittersweet.  JUNO nominated roots duo Madison Violet (Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac) can attest to that with their latest release, The Good in Goodbye.  An album born from their growth, both together and apart, The Good in Goodbye is an open diary of their personal and professional experiences together as friends and musicians, two very unique relationships that affect each other in profound ways.

Since releasing their last album, No Fool for Trying (2009), Madison Violet won the 2009 John Lennon Songwriting Contest for their track “The Ransom,” took home the 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award for Vocal Group of the Year, and were nominated for multiple East Coast Music Awards and a 2010 JUNO Award for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year (Group).

Receiving a mass of acclaim from outlets including the BBC, the CBC, Maverick Magazine, NPR, and Penguin Eggs Magazine, No Fool for Trying made dedicated fans of even the most hard-to-crack critics.  Ultimately, Madison Violet captured the attention of Mojo Magazine, landing “Small Of My Heart” on the publication’s distinguished playlist, “Mojo’s Top 10,” in December 2009. Madison Violet also have the unique distinction of being the only Canadians to win The John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

As a follow-up to their breakthrough successes in 2010, The Good in Goodbye captures the duo’s growth and musical maturity.  Their distinct take on iconic Americana-inspired up-tempo melodies beautifully contrasts with their breathtakingly sweeping and personal lyrics, creating songs that blend nods to Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch with radio-friendly flecks of The Court-Yard Hounds.

The duo has sold-out venues across North America and Europe, had the prestigious distinction of touring with Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe, and has shared stages with contemporaries such as Chantal Kreviazuk, Ron Sexsmith and The Indigo Girls.  With their newest effort, Madison Violet prove they’re among Canada’s brightest singer/songwriters.

Treme Season 1: A Jambalayaicious Dish Of American History That Should Not Be Missed!

Title: TremeThe Complete First Season
Studio/Distributor: HBO
Creators: Eric Overmeyer, David Simon
Principle Cast: Khandi Alexander, Rob Brown, Kim Dickens, Michiel Huisman, Melissa Leo, Lucia Micarelli, Clarke Peters, Wendell Pierce, John Goodman, Steve Zahn
Released: 2011
Stars: 4.0

For someone who doesn’t watch much network television because it’s just so unappealing, it’s always a joy to discover a new and wonderful HBO or Showtime series.  I’m a huge music fan and I’ve been to New Orleans (pre-Katrina) so the premise of the Emmy nominated Treme  was very intriguing to me.

Treme  (pronounced truh-MAY) is an American drama created by Eric Overmeyer and David Simon (Homicide: Life On The Street, The Wire) and set in Tremé, a working class neighbourhood in New Orleans which just happens to be the birthplace of jazz.  Season 1 begins three months after Hurricane Katrina and the breach of the levee left much of New Orleans under water. The residents of the once great city, including musicians, chefs, and Mardis Gras Indians are trying to rebuild their lives and restore their unique culture to a city that’s been all but abandoned by the U.S. government.

The principal cast are all excellent actors, some more well known than others, but everyone lends their considerable talent to the stories told in the various soulful sub-plots.  The writers lent great detail to the music scene (which for me is the most exciting part and the music on this show is simply superb!), political corruption including that within the criminal-justice system, clashes between the local police and Mardi Gras Indians, the public housing controversy, and the struggle to draw tourists back to the city after the storm.

Antoine Batiste (Wendell Pierce of The Wire & Numb3rs and a native of New Orleans) is a somewhat sleazy, sweet-talking trombonist who is always looking for his next gig.  He lives with the mother of his baby girl but rarely sees his two sons with ex-wife LaDonna because he has no car and has to take cabs everywhere even though he can never afford to fully pay for his fares. Antoine’s ex, LaDonna Batiste-Williams (Khandi Alexander – last seen in CSI: Miami) owns a tavern that she’s trying to get re-roofed while looking after her mother and commuting between New Orleans and Baton Rouge where her sons are living with her second husband, Larry (Lance E. Nichols, also a native of New Orleans) who is a dentist.  In Season 1, most of LaDonna’s scenes are spent on a search for her missing brother David “Daymo” Maurice.

Toni Bernette (Academy Award Winner for The Fighter, Melissa Leo) is a civil rights lawyer who is working with LaDonna to locate her missing brother while also defending musicians and others abused by the city’s justice system.  She’s married to English teacher and aspiring novelist Creighton Bernette (John Goodman) who, depressed and angry, becomes a minor celebrity on YouTube for his rants against the discrimination suffered by his city via the US government after the hurricane.  They live with their daughter Sofia (India Ennenga, who has a promising acting career ahead of her) who wants to return to her high school in New Orleans and wants to spend more time with her father who has holed himself up in a room off the porch to finish his novel about the great flood of 1927.

Janette Desautel (Kim Dickens of Deadwood & Friday Night Lights) is a struggling chef who is trying to keep her restaurant open while waiting for her insurance to pay out.  She’s carrying on a casual affair with Davis McAlary (Steve Zahn), my favourite character in the show, who works as a part-time DJ (at WWOZ New Orleans) and musician while constantly stirring up social outrage against “the Man”.  Davis is so passionate about New Orleans and its culture that you can’t help but be taken by him.

Albert “Big Chief” Lambreaux (Clarke Peters of Holby City, Damages & The Wire) is a well respected Mardis Gras Indian chief who returns to his severely damaged home and decides to move into the neighbourhood bar where his tribe practices.  Big Chief works on repairing the bar and preparing new costumes for Mardis Gras and St. Joseph’s Day while trying to convince his son Delmond (Rob Brown of Finding Forrester & Stop-Loss) to return from New York where he is a successful jazz session musician.

Finally, we have Annie (the adorable Lucia Micarelli in her first acting gig), a classically trained violinist who is playing music on the streets of the French Quarter with her boyfriend Sonny (Dutch actor & musician Michiel Huisman) whom she met while backpacking in Europe.  Sonny isn’t as talented as Annie, looks perpetually greasy and in need of a shower and has a penchant for drinking and drugs.  It doesn’t take Annie long to realize that she can do better and doesn’t have to settle for Sonny’s abuse.

The music in Treme is what really stands out so I highly recommend the Grammy nominated, 19 track, Treme: Music From the HBO Original Series, Season 1, released by Geffen Records.  It features many of the artists who appeared on the show, including Dr. John, Irma Thomas and Allen Toussaint, John Boutté and Steve Earle who also has a small, recurring part as a musician friend of Annie’s.

The very catchy Treme theme song, which I catch myself singing along with Iko, Iko all the time now, was written and performed by Creole/American jazz singer John Boutté (“Treme Song” from his Jambalaya album) who is featured in the show.

Hangin’ in the Treme
Watchin’ people sashay
Past my steps
By my porch
In front of my door

Church bells are ringin’
Choirs are singing
While the preachers groan
And the sisters moan
In a blessed tone

Down in the treme
Just me and my baby
We’re all going crazy
While jamming and having fun

Down in the treme
Is me and my baby
We’re all going crazy
While jamming and having fun

Treme with its cast of colourful and cantankerous characters and jumping jazz is a Jambalayaicious dish of American history that should not be missed!

Season 2 of Treme is currently being aired on HBO on Sundays at 10 PM ET/MT.