Singing up a storm all summer long

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Mo’s been singing up a storm all summer long! In June, she played a rockin’ show at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern as part of NXNE in Toronto. Then she stopped in at the Montreal Folk Festival for a performance to an endearing mob of fans along the canal, before continuing east all the way to Western Shore, NS, for a show at the Treasures by the Sea Summer Concert Series at Atlantica Oak Island Resort, and then off to the Calgary Folk Music Festival.

Mo then returned to Cape Breton for the Gordie Sampson Songcamp Circle reunion taking place at the Keltic Lodge in Ingonish. The week brought Mo and her Songcamp alumni pals, including Dylan Guthro and Molly Thomason, together again for writing sessions and concerts in Ingonish and Louisbourg.

Mo’s new album is almost ready! The record will be released in September. Check out Mo’s Facebook page for more details.

August 3 – New Glasgow, NS, Riverfront Jubilee
August 9–10 – Regina, SK, Regina Folk Festival
August 22 – Charlottetown, PEI, PEI Jazz and Blues Festival

Photo: Donovan Woods, Carleton Stone, and Mo Kenney, shared on the Donovan Woods Musician Facebook page, July 15, 2014.

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Mo Kenney looking forward to performing at Jubilee

It won’t be ‘Déjà vu’ when Mo Kenney hits the Jubilee stage next week – this will be her first trip to the New Glasgow festival.

Mo Kenney will play the New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee for the first time next week. Kenney will be on stage Sunday, Aug. 3, ahead of Steven Page.

There will be a few nerves for the first visit here. She said it doesn’t change the way she prepares for the set, but when she plays a new town or venue those nerves are natural.

“I usually prepare in the same way, but it always makes me a little more nervous going into it, not knowing what to expect,” she said. “Again, I’ve heard nothing but good things (about the Jubilee). I’m nervous because I’ve never been there, but I know it will be fun.”

She will share the stage on the final night of the 2014 Jubilee (Aug. 3) with Steven Page, Tom Fun Orchestra, Carleton Stone and SoHo Ghetto.

“I’m really excited to be opening up for Steven Page, that will be really cool,” said Kenney. “I haven’t heard his solo stuff yet, but I’m not going to listen to the recordings, I’m going to wait to see it live.”

Coming off a tour in the fall, she spent much of the winter in the studio with Joel Plaskett working on her second album, which is expected to be released in late September. This will follow her self-titled release from 2012.

Throughout the summer she has been touring the festival scene and as of late has been incorporating some of this new work into her sets. She said the response has been great so far, but that doesn’t mean she’ll leave out fan favourites like ‘Sucker’ or ‘Déjà vu.’

“I’ve noticed people really respond well to ‘Sucker’ and ‘Déjà vu’ because they’ve gotten a lot of radio play on CBC,” said Kenney. “People have started recognizing them, which is really cool to go from nobody knowing your songs to all of a sudden people giving a hoot when they hear a song they recognize.”

The play on CBC that has helped grow her fan base is also what led to the first time she heard one of her songs on the radio. On the road to Sydney from Dartmouth, where she currently lives, Kenney had the song ‘Sucker’ come over the airwaves.

“I always wondered what it would feel like to hear your own song on the radio,” she said. “When I was a kid I never thought that would be something that was possible for me. I was pretty happy and I had a huge grin on my face the whole time I was driving. It was a highlight.

“You hear your songs so much in the studio that you’re sick of them by the time the record is done, so you just put it aside and play it live. Hearing it on the radio, out of the blue, when you aren’t expecting it, makes you see it in a different way.”

Relatively new to the East Coast and Canadian music scene, she isn’t sure if she’s “made it” yet. She knows she’s at the point that she can make a living off playing music, but adds that it will take a lot of work to keep going.

“I don’t really know when I can be like ‘yes, I have broken through,’” said Kenney. “I don’t know what that would feel like, but right now I can play and I’m making a living at playing music, which is really great, so I’m happy with where I’m at right now and hope I can sustain it and continue to play music.”

by Christopher Cameron, New Glasgow News

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East Coast, West Coast, we got you covered

Mo’s new album is almost ready!

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Mo finished recording all her songs at the New Scotland Yard studio in Dartmouth, with her infamous producer Joel Plaskett, who’s putting the final touches on the album. It’s all coming together for an early fall release date.

For East Coast fans this summer, Mo is performing at the New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee on (August 3) and the PEI Jazz and Blues Festival (August 22). For the West Coasters out there, we’ve got a great summer planned with shows and workshops at the Calgary Folk Music Festival (July 24-27) and Regina Folk Festival (August 9-10). Stay tuned for more show details here.

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Lady Indie’s NXNE picks

Writer Katie Sevigny from Lady Indie blog put together a list of female artists you should see at NXNE this year, and Mo is one of them! Click here to view the list. If you’re in Toronto for NXNE, you’ll find Mo at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern on Saturday, June 21.

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Award-winning artist in Truro at the end of May

Award-winning musician Mo Kenney will bring her award-winning sounds to a Truro stage later this month. Kenney, a singer-songwriter who released her self-titled debut recording in the fall of 2012, will perform at the Marigold Cultural Centre with Dylan Guthro on May 30.

“I’ll be playing some of my new songs – I have a new record coming out in the fall, and Dylan and I collaborate quite a bit, so I’m sure we’ll play a few songs together,” said Kenney, from the Halifax area.

Since releasing her debut album, Kenney said things have been “going great” for her and her music. “I’ve been travelling since then, doing a lot of touring. The farthest I’ve been is to Australia, which was pretty great. Ireland was really nice too.”

Kenney has been playing the guitar for 13 years. By the age of 14 she had already done some recording in a small studio in Bedford. Halifax rocker Joel Plaskett produced the album, which was recorded in his studio, Scotland Yard.

“Working with Joel was amazing,” said Kenney. “I had been a fan of Joel’s music and working with him was incredible. He’s so knowledgeable. He’s an incredible musician and producer and we have similar musical tastes.”

When she first started playing the guitar, Kenney said her musical mentors or inspirations were the likes of Seeger Ross, The Shins and The Strokes. “All of them had an influence on my music, I think,” she said, adding Elliott Smith was a huge influence with his fingerpicking and acoustic music. “He’s why I started fingerpicking.”

With the 2013 SOCAN songwriting prize under her belt, Kenney picked up the 2013 Canadian Folk Music Awards’ New/Emerging Artist of the Year honour, and three Music Nova Scotia awards for pop recording, new artist recording and female artist recording of the year. She also won the East Coast Music Award this year for pop recording of the year, with another three nominations.

With the Nova Scotia Music Awards being held in Truro this fall, one will most likely be able to catch Kenney in the area.

“I haven’t missed a Nova Scotia Music Week since my debut,” she said.

Tickets for the Marigold performance are $25.50 and can be purchased at the Marigold on Prince Street or online at marigoldcentre.ca. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

by R. Tetanish, Truro Daily News

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Mo Kenney UK album review

Canadian singer/songwriter Mo Kenney released this self-titled début in her home country almost two years ago. Over the last few years her star has slowly risen as the record has picked up critical acclaim and several awards in North America. This week Kenney releases her soulful blend of folk/rock in several European markets.

Running at just over a half hour, Kenney’s début thrives due to its ability to carve out a slightly different folk/rock niche with each song. Album opener ‘Eden’ has a very ‘sensitive girl with an acoustic guitar’ sound to it, and is a bit of a red herring in terms of the more interesting and powerful tracks to come. Songs like ‘Scene of the Crime’ and ‘Great Escape’ provide some rocking upbeat moments as the acoustic guitars get traded for electric. ‘Sucker’ has a bit of it all: starting off simply with just vocal and guitar, and then growing as drums kick in and the instrumentation and layered vocals progress throughout. A softer moment on the record, ‘In My Lungs’, is musically quite touching in parts, but lyrically gets a little too close to a teenage girl’s diary. One glaring, but brave, misstep on the album is an attempt at a David Bowie cover of ‘Five Years’. It’s not that it’s terribly done – Kenney certainly gives it her own spin – it just seems out of place on the record, especially if you know the Bowie version – it comes as a slightly confusing surprise. Yet there’s something spectacularly ballsy about the confidence it must take to throw a David Bowie cover onto your début album of original material.

Although not perfect, this is a relatively strong début for a young artist. It’s easy to liken Kenney to some of her female Canadian contemporaries, such as a younger and slightly wide-eyed Sarah Harmer or Tegan and Sara. But with a little more refinement regarding her lyrics and overall thematic maturity, Kenney could be aiming for Joni Mitchell.

by Greg White, So So Gay

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Mind Equals Blown album review

New Zealand has Lorde – the UK has Foxes – and the U.S. has Lana Del Rey. All of these artists are strong female singer-songwriters who decided to take an alternative and unique approach to the music they create. Canada’s response to this trend of strong female singer-songwriters is the irresistibly beautiful, Mo Kenney. Her self-titled debut album comes in the wake of winning numerous awards like the 2013 SOCAN Songwriting Prize award and an award at the 2013 Canadian Folk Music Awards for New/Emerging Artist of the Year. All of these accolades are enough to tell you that Mo Kenney is an artist not to be taken lightly and her debut album shall not be anything short of brilliant.

You shall not be disappointed – Mo Kenney is sublime. Continue reading

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Female First UK exclusive interview

As the winner of multiple awards and having placed on the 2012 iTunes Best Singer Songwriters list, the only way is up for Mo Kenney. Female First got the opportunity to put some questions to Mo about her career so far, what to expect from her forthcoming album and her plans for the future.

How best would you describe yourself as an artist for those who might not be familiar with you yet?

I am a singer/songwriter from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. I play a mix of pop, folk and rock.

What is it about music that you love?

Music has always been a way for me to escape. Whether I’m listening to a record, or writing my own music, it’s always been a way for me to wander off in my head and drift. Music is the love of my life. Continue reading

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The Digital Fix Music review

Any album that braves a David Bowie cover is worth a listen, and Mo Kenney’s second album is definitely worthy of that. ‘Five Years’ appears near the end of of the tracklist and is a delight, almost unrecognisable from the original. Before you get there though there’s plenty to enjoy with Kenney’s pure voice shining throughout and the music by turns soft and sensitive on the uptempo ‘Sucker’; spaciously acoustic on ‘The Great Escape’; and looser on the electrified blues of ‘Scene Of The Crime’ and energetic ‘Deja Vu’. The Canadian has picked up plenty of awards in her native country for her debut album and looks set to receive wider coverage with this self titled follow-up.

by Max Mazonowicz, The Digital Fix Music

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Pheromone Recordings takes over The Horseshoe Tavern during NXNE on Saturday June 21

NXNE and Toronto label Pheromone Recordings today announced that five of the label’s artists would come together for a night of disparate musics on the Saturday of NXNE, June 21.

Pheromone founder Kim Cooke has this to say: “I blame Dave Bidini. He’s been on my case to do this for years and this year, Dave, Yvonne Matsell and I made it happen, with the kind co-operation of Jeff Cohen and Craig Laskey at the ‘Shoe.”

The lineup on June 21:

7:30 Steph Cameron
Pheromone’s newest signing whose Sad-Eyed Lonesome Lady debut will surface later this year. Think Bleecker & McDougall ’62, finger picking acoustic folk blues married to a marvellous voice and great songs. Unknown, but not for long.

8:30 Mo Kenney
The Halifax-area siren has a shelf full of awards for her self-titled debut album including SOCAN Song of the Year for “Sucker.” Mo has just finished her sophomore recording scheduled for fall release. New songs are surely on tap.

9:30 The Wilderness of Manitoba
The not-from-Manitoba Toronto-based quartet has had a great run with their CBC Radio 2 supported Island of Echoes breakthrough disc which garnered them a 2014 Roots and Traditional Juno nomination.

10:30 Bidiniband
Ex-Rheostatic Dave Bidini and his ridiculously great band – Don Kerr, drums, Paul Linklater, guitar and Doug Friesen, bass, release their third and best album, The Motherland on May 27.

11:30 Joel Plaskett Emergency
A brand new signing to the Pheromone roster we’re overjoyed to have Joel play a full electric set with the Emergency to close the night. Arguably Canada’s greatest contemporary songwriter, Joel blesses us with a very rare club show that is not to be missed.

Ticket can be purchased here: http://nxne.com/tickets. Day of show door price is $25 subject to availability or get in with your NXNE wristband.

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