Four Chords and the Truth, the Dakota Confessions are series of songwriter showcases held quarterly in Toronto at the Dakota Tavern, featuring a blend of top notch songwriters and songs in an intimate environment. Each show is hosted by award-winning songwriter Andrea England and will features several nationally and/or internationally acclaimed songwriters (and maybe a surprise guest or two). The songs are performed “in the round,” a style made famous by Nashville’s Bluebird Café, in which all four songwriters share the stage at once, each introducing and performing one song acoustically per round for a series of 3 rounds.
1st Dakota Confessions RECAP:
Featured Songwriters: Colin MacDonald (of the Trews), Liz Rodrigues (The New Royales, Eminem, Pink) & Bluesman Paul Reddick (accompanied by Greg Cockerill on guitar). Impromptu/Surprise Guests: Serena Ryder and Melissa Bel. See songwriter bios at the end of this post.
Here are some moments from the evening, the first courtesy of our friend, Arthur Renwick (also a great singer-songwriter, by the way) and the rest by Toronto Music Review’s Mike Highfield.
Surprises: in the second round, I gave up my seat to emerging singer-songwriter Melissa Bel who sang a song we cowrote (with Arun Chaturvedi) that Melissa recorded on her last album.
For her second song, Liz invited Grammy winning writer-producer, Matthew Burnett to the piano to accompany her on a song she, he, and I cowrote.
Blues & Roots Radio’s Wee Dan’s Hoose with Stevie Connor interviewed the Four Chords songwriters from 1st Confessions. Check out the interviews here (They start at about 24:30 minutes into the program)!
ABOUT THE SONGWRITERS:
Liz Rodrigues: Singer/songwriter Liz Rodrigues has contributed to some of the biggest selling records of the past decade, including Celine Dion’s The Ultimate Collection, Pitbull’s Rebelution and Eminem’s GRAMMY-winning, record-breaking Billboard #1 album, Recovery on which Liz co-wrote “Won’t Back Down”(featuring Pink), “25 to Life” and “Almost Famous,” contributing vocals on the latter two tracks as 1/4th of the New Royales a four piece hip-hop, alternative band. Liz and the New Royales’ songs have also been featured on Slaughterhouse, J Electronica, Bishop Lamont, Self Scientific, and Dr. Dre releases as well as on Eminem’s “Survival” from The Marshall Mathers LP 2 album and the video game Call of Duty: Ghosts. In addition, Liz has worked with artists as diverse as Eva Avila, Jennifer Rush, and Dan Hill.
Colin MacDonald: Colin MacDonald is the principle songwriter and lead singer of Juno-nominated and multiple ECMA-winning Canadian band, THE TREWS. He was born in Nova Scotia with his brother John-Angus, who is also a member of THE TREWS. The band has released 16 Top 10 Rock Radio singles, including 3 from their current album THE TREWS, and has performed over 1000 live shows worldwide. Colin’s co-writing credits include songs with Tim Chaisson, The Meds, Simon Wilcox, Gordie Johnson and Gavin Brown.
Paul Reddick: Paul Reddick is a Canadian blues singer, songwriter and harmonica player with a music career that goes back 20 years. Seven albums of original music. Recording sessions with Kathleen Edwards, Colin Linden, Scarlett Jane, Treasa Levasseur, Susie Vinnick and dozens more. Countless tours in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Juno nominations and seven Maple Blues Awards, including Songwriter of the Year. Reddick’s songs have been used in such feature films as Two If by Sea, Triggermen, Niagara Motel and The Evel Knievel Story, television series Due South, Dawson’s Creek, 15 Love, and Madison, and in a US National Coca Cola Classic commercial.
Andrea England: Nova Scotia-born Toronto-based Andrea England has a unique ability to work successfully in two different music worlds, recording and performing as a solo roots/country artist while placing songs with pop stars and emerging country artists. Having been awarded by the John Lennon International, NSAI, USA and International Songwriting Competitions, England’s Andrea’s songs have appeared on the TV series Joan of Arcadia, Beautiful People, Dawson’s Creek and Party of Five, in feature films Hooked on Speedman (Canada) and Piazza Gnocchi (Italy), and have been recorded by numerous artists, including former Pussycat Doll, Nicole Scherzinger (whose recording of co-write “Casualty” on Killer Love earned Andrea her first UK Gold record).