Newfoundland Music Spotlight #6: Lady Brett Ashley

Photo by Tosha Lobsinger

Photo by Tosha Lobsinger

Here’s something a little bit different from the other spotlights I have done so far. When Ian and I decided to do this competition, we made it clear we would be willing to accept any genres to compete and that it would include both a band and a solo/acoustic component. A lot of the solo acts that are competing don’t have a lot online yet, so I won’t be able to profile them, but I will be writing about those that I can.

Lady Brett Ashley is unique, both because they are the first lower-volume folk outfit I’ve spotlighted and because the tremendously talented Heather Nolan not only fronts this act as vocalist and on ukulele, but she is also entered in the competition as a solo artist.

(As a child I dabbled at the ukulele when in BC, where instead of giving students recorders to learn my school had everyone buy ukuleles and taught us that. Ever since then I have had a soft spot for the instrument.)

The recordings on Bandcamp are much more stripped down than the current live band, which is a five-piece where Heather is joined by Allie Duff (guitar), Darhen Sing (violin), Len O’Neill (bass), and Steve Doyle (drums).

All together, the band has an indie-folk meets indie-pop sound. It is the type of sound that I encountered bands regularly trying to pull off in Toronto, but that rarely is done this successfully. If you like this you might like some Ontario acts like Carnival Moon, Language Arts, and the Medicine Hat.

Of the three songs up on Bandcamp, I have to say my personal favourite is “Winter Bones” which seems to work the delicate balance of ukulele and violin most effectively and beautifully. But really, all three tracks are exceptional. I can’t wait to see them live.

Check out Lady Brett Ashley on Bandcamp, and Heather Nolan’s solo stuff on her Facebook page. You can catch Lady Brett Ashley at the Road to CMW on Thursday February 13th; Heather will be playing her solo slot on Thursday January 16th. I also have Heather Nolan opening up for one of the two Baby Eagle shows at CBTG’s on Wednesday January 29th.

Stay tuned to for more spotlights on Newfoundland acts, and remember that Road to CMW has a satellite site set up to vote for the acts you are most interested to see us bring to Toronto for Canadian Music Week.


Dan Wolovick


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