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.
2nd Dakota Confessions RECAP:
Featured Songwriters: Damhnait Doyle, Steve Poltz, Tom Wilson (LeE HARVeY OsMOND, BARK) Hayley Gene (W.Darling) & Andrea England. Surprise Guests: Jessica Mitchell and Fred Penner! See songwriter bios at the end of this post.
Here are some moments from the evening, the first courtesy of Mike Highfield (thanks Mike)!
Steve Poltz stared off the evening for us with his a propos song, “Folksinger.”
I gave up my seat and invited Jessica Mitchell up for a song.
And then just when you thought the night was over, Mr. Fred Penner, who was in the audience to support his daughter Hayley, got up and led us in an awesome impromptu “The Cat Came Back”!!
Thanks to Nick at Pizzaria Libretto for keeping the writers well fed before the show! Best pizza in Toronto!
Thanks to the folks at Jack Daniel’s Canada for presentingFour Chords & The Truth!
Blues & Roots Radio’s Wee Dan’s Hoose with Stevie Connor interviewed the Four Chords songwriters from 2nd Confessions. Check out the interviews here!
ABOUT THE SONGWRITERS:
DAMHNAIT DOYLE: Damhnait Doyle has been a part of Canada’s entertainment landscape for 20 years. A Juno-nominated multi award-winning artist who has had a successful solo career, released two records with Shaye, and has most recently recorded with her latest collaboration, The Heartbroken, Damhnait has toured with the likes of Willie Nelson and Tom Cochrane, and has performed as far afield as Japan and Kabul. As a songwriter, Damhnait’s had commercial success – with songs appearing on multiple TV series such as Degrassi: TNG, Instant Star, and Canadian Idol as well as on multiple artist’s records – by observing life around her and telling a specific tale with a universal appeal.
TOM WILSON (LeE HARVey OsMOND): Tom Wilson struck Canadian rock gold in the ’90s as the leader of the much-loved Junkhouse, and then found a whole new audience as a crucial component of roots-rock super group Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. He released solo albums in 2001 and 2006, and his 2005 collaboration with Bob Lanois, The Shack Recordings, was critically acclaimed. Juno-nominated, LeE HARVeY OsMOND’S last three releases, “A Quiet Evil,” “The Folk Sinner,” and “Beautiful Scars,” have all been long-listed for the Polaris Prize. LeE HARVeY OsMOND is also a renowned painter.
STEVE POLTZ: Steve Poltz is not normal. He was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada) but has lived most of his life in Southern California and those geographic poles are quite likely responsible for his unhinged genius. He is a dual citizen – Canada/USA – but has often said that, “should a hostage situation arise, I become conveniently Canadian.” Over the course of his life he’s met Elvis Presley (who hugged his sister for far too long), trick or treated at Liberace’s house (each finger had a diamond ring), was Bob Hope’s favourite altar boy (according to him), bravely traveled the world busking before he knew how to do it, famously co-wrote “You Were Meant For Me” with Jewel, pissed off David Cassidy and can count some of the world’s coolest people as fans. As a recording artist, he’s fronted the semi-legendary Rugburns and is responsible for a critically lauded body of work on his own: One Left Shoe, Chinese Vacation, Answering Machine, The Barn (a children’s album), Tales From The Tavern (a performance DVD), Traveling, Unraveling, Dreamhouse, Noineen Noiny Noin and most recently the soundtrack for the acclaimed Sundance-screened documentary film, Running Wild – The Life of Dayton O. Hyde. As good as his albums are (and they’re very, very good), Steve positively owns a crowd when he’s on stage, where the proverbial rubber hits the road. His shows are the stuff of legend – no two are alike – and can take an unsuspecting audience from laughter to tears and back again in the space of a single song.
HAYLEY GENE (W. DARLING): W Darling, otherwise known as Hayley Gene has just begun releasing her debut album, “Lost Girls.” The first three song offering is an enchanting tale woven together with blissful vocals, intricate melodies and the most nostalgic of lyrics. It’s a journey through the heart & soul that you didn’t know you needed. W. Darling’s songs have an emphasis on cyclical patterns, oftentimes destructive ones. They speak to being stuck in a place or a time and not being able to move on, just like the Lost Boys in Peter Pan. W. Darling speaks about the unique experience of being a Lost Girl, and her music is a rally cry for all of us Lost Girls out there waiting forever for that magical moment or person who might be able to change it all. W. Darling has a storied background, penning hits for artists & films (including Victoria Justice, Cody Simpson, and the upcoming ‘Jem and the Holograms’). She’s toplined on mega singles like Bassnectar’s ‘You & Me’ and has performed at venues like Madison Square Garden and the Red Rocks Amphitheater. A brilliant start to the W. Darling story, but we would argue that her real story is just getting started with the stunning Lost Girls: Chapter One.
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, OCFF 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 up and coming and established artists, including former Pussycat Doll, Nicole Scherzinger (whose recording of co-write “Casualty” on Killer Love earned Andrea her first UK Gold record).
** Note: Due to unforeseen circumstances, Chin Injeti, who was originally scheduled to appear, had to reschedule.