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.
4th Dakota Confessions RECAP:
Featured Songwriters: Rose Cousins, Joey Landreth, Bellwoods’ Morgan Cameron Ross. Surprise Guests: Donovan Woods, The Heartbroken’s Damhnait Doyle & Stuart Caneron, & Nefe. See songwriter bios at the end of this post.
Here are a few of Mike Highfield’s great pictures of the night:
Throughout the evening, Blues & Roots Radio’s Stevie Connor interviewed the Four Chords songwriters from 4th Confessions for his Wee Dan’s Hoose radio show. Check out the special here:
ABOUT THE SONGWRITERS:
Joey Landreth is the lead singer, guitarist, and chief songwriter of JUNO Award winners The Bros. Landreth. Anchored by the bluesy wail of electric guitars, the swell of B3 organ, and the harmonized swoon of two voices that were born to mesh. Where does the sound come from? Maybe it’s in their blood. After all, long before they made music together, siblings David and Joey Landreth attended their father’s bar gigs as babies. “Mom would take us in the basinet and stick us under the bar tables, and we’d fall asleep,” says David. “Dad was a working musician who backed up people like Amos Garrett, but his love was always songwriting. He’d play three or four sets at those bars, so we’d be at the gigs all night. We were always around music. We had no choice! We were baptized into it.”
Originally from Prince Edward Island, she lives in Halifax. She has released three albums We Have Made A Spark (2012), The Send Off (2009) produced by Luke Doucet, and If You Were For Me (2006) produced by CBC in Halifax, as well as singles and recordings in collaboration with artists across Canada, the US, Ireland, Australia and beyond. She has garnered awards including the JUNO for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year, 2 Canadian Folk Music Awards for Best Contemporary Singer, 6 East Coast Music Awards, 3 Nova Scotia Music Awards, 3 PEI Music Awards, and a Polaris Prize long list nomination. In America, We Have Made A Spark was named to NPR’s Top 10 Americana & Folk Albums of 2012, and recognized by USA Today, Oprah Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Folk Alley, Sirius XM, WFUV, WXPN and other media outlets. Her songs have appeared in climatic scenes in television shows including Greys Anatomy, Rookie Blue, Heartland, Hope for Wildlife and Drop Dead Diva. The spirit of collaboration is in everything Cousins does. Her firm roots in two vibrant music communities (Eastern Canada and Boston Massachusetts) fuel her music with an evolving cast of talented fellow artists. Equally unmistakable is the devastating emotions her music evokes.
MORGAN CAMERON ROSS
It has been a very good year for Bellwoods. When Morgan Cameron Ross and Alan Snoddy decided to pool their collective talents in 2014, they combined years of touring and songwriting, countless former bands and set out to work on a new collective. Since that time their hit single “Live It Up” reached the high echelons of the pop and Adult Contemporary charts, they performed on major stages from coast-to-coast, were recently named to the Top Ten of the inaugural “Juno Master Class” competition and were the first band to sign to Neighbourhood Records, the new pop imprint from the Open Road family. Their debut album will be released in the fall of 2015. Morgan Cameron Ross, originally from Vancouver, has released solo albums and also fronted indie favourites Birds of Wales. Acclaimed guitarist Alan Snoddy, a native of Montreal, has also recorded solo records and earned his road stripes as a touring guitarist for Canadian band Stars. When the two met in their adopted home town of Toronto they decided to create something creative and unique. Although they often perform as a duo, Bellwoods is a very flexible unit and some days you can see six or seven musicians on stage. Whether they are performing with Marianas Trench, Down with Webster or Bobby Bazini (Morgan is a co-writer on Bobby’s hit “Bubblegum”) Bellwoods are always entertaining and comfortable in front of any audience. Good friend Ash Koley adds her vocal prowess to the most recent Bellwoods single “Fire Escape”. With the imminent release of their debut album, and with a Top 20 hit already under their belts, next year should be even more exciting for Bellwoods.
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 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), and most recently, 2015 CCMA nominee Twin Kennedy (cowrites “Get Back Up” and “I Never Will” book-end their new album, It’s A Love Thing). Andrea’s own most recent release, Hope & Other Sins – which was produced by Colin Linden and features guest musicians Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Damhnait Doyle, Liz Rodrigues and Gordie Sampson, among others – has garnered rave reviews and diverse radio play, reaching #1 on Galaxy’s FolkRoots chart & spending 14 wks on CashBox Magazine’s Top 50 Folk Chart. Of it, David Kidney (Critics at Large) wrote: “The songs are autobiographical, personal, honest and universal. The performances are potent as you might expect; England’s vocals are delicate yet strong…”
Four Chords and the Truth, the Dakota Confessions, is presented by Jack Daniel’s.