Linda McRae first gained notoriety during her stint as bassist, accordionist and vocalist with platinum recording artists, roots rockers Spirit of the West, with whom she spent eight years touring, recording and performing internationally.
Since leaving SOTW to resume her solo career, Linda has released three recordings. Flying Jenny (Stony Plain 1997) was produced by Colin Linden, and featured a high powered roster of Canadian talent, including members of The Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Willie P. Bennett, as well as Richard Bell of The Band, Gurf Morlix and Syd Straw. Cryin’ Out Loud (Black Hen 2002) was produced by Gurf Morlix (Lucinda Williams, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Mary Gauthier) and featured her veteran Vancouver band Cheerful Lonesome.
These two widely acclaimed recordings featured Linda's tuneful Country-Folk. She is now working with Manager James Whitmire of Nashville’s 42 Artist Management and her third recording Carve It To The Heart was released in 2007. This is Linda’s sophomore Black Hen release co-produced by Linda and Marc L’Esperance (Po’ Girl, Ray Condo) and showcases the new sound she continues to develop through her love of clawhammer banjo and her associations and collaborations with fellow songwriters.
Carve It To The Heart features 9 new songs steeped in the dust bowl traditions as far-reaching as the Canadian Prairie to the heartland of the Appalachian Mountains. Collaborations with fellow band mates Nova Devonie (Ranch Romance, Jo Miller & the Burly Roughnecks) and Stephen Nikleva (Ray Condo, Sarah McLachlan, Sandy Scofield) have yielded a collection of rich, heart rending songs ranging in subject matter (as one fan coined) “From Dear John to John Deere”. The tenth track on the album is a moving version of Jean Ritchie’s classic “The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore”. Carve It To The Heart also features Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Gary Fjellgaard on background vocals.
Linda was recently awarded a Canada Council grant and is currently studying songwriting with Grammy winner Jon Vezner in Nashville, TN and “Round Peak” clawhammer banjo with renowned aficionado Brad Leftwich in Bloomington, IN. She was also awarded an International Touring Grant through the Canada Council and will be touring Europe in Jan/Feb '09.
RECORDING AND LIVE REVIEW EXERPTS
Creem Magazine, USA, Jeffrey Morgan Don't let the cute cherub on the front cover fool ya 'cause Linda's slicin' up some of the blowziest country blooze music you'll hear in a tune's age. The wall of sound sonics are so thick you'll want to devour it with a forkbut use a spoon instead because you'll want to get every drop. Mmm mmm good!
Toronto Star, ON, Greg Quill - Vancouver singer and songwriter McRae is an ersatz honky-tonk angel almost completely at odds with the cool, organic patina of West Coast folk - a robust singer and an imaginative and uniquely gifted songwriter who proves proves on this remarkable recording that she is no slave to fashion. The songs here are deeply evocative successors to the revivalist country-folk of the 1970s Outlaw period in Texas and Northern California – honest, whimsical, and tinged occasionally with sorrow and world-weariness. Arrangements are gutsy, rich in twang and country crunch, and throughout McRae's powerful and assured voice is a revelation. One of the best of this year's roots music crop.
Americana UK, Sian Claire Owen - Her previous critically acclaimed work includes collaborations and appearances galore from heavy weights such as The Tragically Hip, Richard Bell (The Band), and Blue Rodeo. McRae’s new album, “Carve it to the Heart”, is no doubt set to continue along this vein, it really is marvelous. Although McRae’s songs are traditional in spirit, they have the occasional contemporary twist, and they retain the beautiful timeless quality that you would get with, for example, the music of Hank Williams, most notably in songs like the soporific/romantic “Before the Hereafter” and the delightful “Living in the Past With You”. As an album, “Carve it to the Heart” is versatile, musically excellent, and above all a bloody good listen. Honestly, you really couldn’t ask for more.
The Record, Robert Reid - Recorded live off the floor, the album begins with This Winding Road, a brooding electric road song that evokes the spirit of Hank Williams, and ends with Some of My Friends, a slow country waltz as tender as they come. If you're too young to recognize the names Patsy, Loretta and Tammy, have no fear, there's always Linda McRae.
Exclaim, Rachel Sanders- Combining old-time-y sounds and images with universal themes of heartbreak and redemption, her lyrics are timeless and heartfelt. This is a wholly successful collection with nary a misstep, a most enjoyable listening experience and a solid addition to McRae’s impressive body of work.
Emmet Matheson, No Depression - The way McRae delivers the hard-knock facts of life smacks more of deliverance from, rather than resignation to, disappointment. Hoot and Holler is as close as alt-country gets to Peggy Lee. McRae's warmly powerful voice is the bedrock of this album. With one foot in the real world and one in Western folklore, McRae proves that being well-balanced and interesting aren't musically exclusive.
Georgia Straight, Vancouver, BC, Alexander Varty- Carve It to the Heart's not just a CD title–it's a job de__scription. Linda McRae's keen, cutting voice is a surgical instrument, and here she slices through 50 years of country corn to arrive at a sound that would sit nicely with anything Hank Williams ever did. You don't need to be a fan of hillbilly music to recognize the real feeling she brings to such lonesome-and-blue originals as ""I'll Watch Your Lovelight Shine"". Carve It to the Heart is a welcome souvenir of her deep and subtle talent.
Sing Out Magazine, Mike Regenstreif - On her third album Linda McRae applies relatively modern, occasionally rock-tinged, arrangements to fine original songs steeped in bluegrass and old-time country traditions. In other words, this is the kind of record that mainstream Nashville would be making if it still knew how to creatively update the traditions at the heart of country music. McRae rounds out her own songs with a nice version of ""The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore,"" Jean Ritchie's classic coal country lament.
Edmonton Sun. Edmonton, AB, Fish Griwkowsky - McRae's voice, particularly when wailing on How Can I Bring Her Back or summoning Jimmie Dale Gilmore's drawl on the next ascot-and-chewin'-tobacco number, is the meal ticket here. The album is an exploration of what country music sounded like before even the Outlaw wave - simple percussion and guitars, loads of familial and fraternal sentiment, salutes to old friends. The cheerlessly positive I'll Watch Your Lovelight Shine, with its ""you will find another"" sentiment is already burrowing deeper and deeper, hopefully all the way to China.
Hip Crank, Online - ""This Winding Road"" may be a gorgeous drawler driven with a haunting slide guitar, and a lovely ode to country greats Hank, Johnny and Tammy, but it's the mention of Hudson Bay that brings it all home. All Canadians will stand tall with hand over heart in a patriotic fervor that only music can bring and Linda McRae brings it. She may the best-kept country secret around but albums such as this will test that anonymity. With a voice that can be heartbreakingly croaky and velvety smooth, McRae has the pipes to match her considerable writing skills. Cowboy boots, golden curls and silver moons - it's all here, and it's all good.
Monday Magazine, Victoria, BC CD Reviews - “Melodies so old they seem new” is both a line from the track “Living In The Past With You” and a fine de__scription of the new release from Linda McRae. McRae has come up with an admirable assortment of old-time waltzes, sad laments, classic twangy country western and alt-country “dust bowl” songs for her new release; and she has the right voice for this material, tinged with sadness or grit as required. Recommended if you appreciate fine songwriting and great musicianship.
Red Deer Advocate, Red Deer, AB, Donald Teplyske - Recently dubbed The Queen of Canadian Country music, McRae has less in common with Amanda Wilkinson and Carol Dawn Johnson than she does with Jean Ritchie and Betty Cody; this is a woman at home in the country of the 1950s and 1960s. At times, McRae and harmony partner Nova Devonie seem to channel the Louvin Brothers, with McRae singing Ira’s lead to Devonie’s Charlie.
Beatroute Magazine, Calgary, AB Sam Masterton - McRae writes from the heart, and her foot-stomping ballads of loss, long nights and love are moving and heartbreaking. Her voice is an honest blend of Loretta, Lucinda and Emmy Lou – perfectly suiting this distinguished wordsmith.
Mike Regenstreif, Montreal Gazette, CKUT Folk Roots & Branches, Calgary Herald (syndicated) McRae shows that she's spent years absorbing the influences of timeless country artists such as Hank Williams. Some songs, such as The Station, a beautiful minor-key song, sound like they're haunted by Hank's ghost.
YVR On-line Magazine, G – Heart wrenching Country-Folk, heavy on the soul. Gets your heels stompin', your toes tapping, your body swaying, reaches into your heart and spreads feeling like good whiskey - that sweet-sweet burn. She had us all listening intently, and instantly captivated. Beautiful smile, beautiful voice - and a way of making her audience feel like they're sitting in her living room with her, part of her close circle of friends and family.
The Vancouver Sun, Vancouver, BC, Katherine Monk - Not many local artists who release a solo CD can pack the Railway Club wall to wall with fans. Fewer still can magically bring a loud, sweaty crew to absolute silence with a simple smile.
Austin Chronical, Austin, TX, Jay Hardwig, - SXSW PICKS - Linda McRae brings her strum and alto inflections to Maggie Mae’s. Drawing inspiration from Charlie Louvin & Neil Young, her music is contemporary folk with a touch of country, a collection of ballads, blues, & love songs.
The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH, Douglas Fulmer - Her music is wonderfully free of pretense, simply and emotionally played without a lot of clutter and distraction. It serves to underscore her warm and powerful vocals.
Toronto Star, Toronto, ON, Lenny Stoute - Linda’s performance at CMW blew away an industry-heavy crowd.
Georgia Straight, Vancouver, BC, John Lucas - McRae’s powerful voice and folky songs are goose bump-inducing. The evenings finale found McRae inviting all the evening’s performers back on-stage for an impossibly big-sounding rendition of the Louvin Brothers “When I Stop Dreaming”.
Now Magazine, Toronto, ON, Kim Hughes - It's amazing how powerful simplicity can be. Linda McRae's Songwriters’ event she imported to Ted's Wrecking Yard for a one-off, was tremendous. McRae kicked things off dishing a sweet, country-tinted rouser. Beautifully presented.
*Songwriting Techniques, Jon Vezner (Canada Council Study Project)
*Clawhammer Banjo, Brad Leftwich (Canada Council Study Project)
*REO Songwriter’s Retreat, Jon Vezner, Kathy Mattea, Steve Seskin, Pat Pattison
*American Banjo Camp, Brad Leftwich, Paul Brown, Ken Perleman, Mac Benford
*Songwriting, “Brainstorming and Verse Development” SAC Workshop, Pat Pattison
*“Rhyming Techniques and Strategies” SAC Workshop, Pat Pattison
*Canada Council Workshop, “Touring for the Commercially Challenged Artist”, Gary Cristall
*2 Certified Platinum CD's awarded by Warner Music Canada
*3 Certified Gold CD's awarded by Warner Music Canada
*June Nomination, Best New Artist
*FACTOR Recording Grant, Promotion Grant and Touring Grant for CD Flying Jenny
*FACTOR Recording Grant, Promotion Grant and MITAP Touring Grant for CD Cryin' Out Loud
Canada Council Study Grant in *Songwriting with Jon Vezner, Clawhammer Banjo with Brad Leftwich
*Canada Council International Touring Grant for Carve It To The Heart
*Entrepreneur Society of East Vancouver, Business Plan for Artist Management Company, Divining Rod Music
*Instructor, Bass, Rhythm Guitar, Accordion
*Instructor, Lyric Writing, Island Mountain Arts, Wells, BC
*Instructor, Songwriting Symposium, Island Mountain Arts, Wells, BC
*Chairman’s Secretary, Theatre Dept., UBC, Vancouver, BC,
*Stenographer, Physics/Astronomy Dept., UVIC, Victoria, BC
SELECTED PROJECTS OF NOTE
*Publicity & Promotions, Merle Haggard’s 2004 Canadian Tour, Freedom to Grove
*Vice-President of RANCH, a non-profit society to help raise awareness of roots music in
BC’s Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island regions, Co-producer and stage manager for annual festivals featuring 50 regional bands per event as well as monthly local events,
*Producer & Stage Manager Silvertone Anniversary featuring 25 local acts.
*Producer & Host Songwriter’s Round-Up, featured highlights, Jenny Whiteley, Paul Hyde, John Bottomley, Danny Michel, Andy Stochansky, Josh Finlayson and Andy Maize (Skydiggers), Basil Donovan and James Gray (Blue Rodeo), Ray Condo, Christine Collister, Martyn Joseph, Rex Hobart, Slaid Cleaves, Gurf Morlix,
*Linda McRae 1997-Present. Solo recording artist, vocalist, songwriter, bandleader, multi-instrumentalist, original material, tour manager, booking agent, publicist until 2004, manager until 2005.
*The Knotty Pines – 2005 – Present. Bassist, vocalist, songwriter, original and western swing standards.
*Rodney DeCroo & the Killers 2003 – 2007. Bassist, vocalist for roots/rock singer songwriter, original material.
*Accordion Madness 2003 Trio of accordion players, vocalists, songwriters, Booking agent and publicist for 2 tours.
*Spirit of the West 1989-1997. Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, collaborator, recording artist, international touring act 250 days per year, original material. Was awarded 2 platinum and 3 gold records during this period.
*Terminal City 1985-1989. Band leader, vocalist, songwriter, bassist, recording artist, agent, manager. During this time was also bassist, vocalist for Bolero Lava and Herald Nix all original material
*Easy Money 1978-1984. Bassist, vocalist, songwriter, recording artist, original material
*Joanne Mackell, Brand New Lonesome, 2008
*Linda McRae, Carve It To The Heart, 2007
*The Boomchix, Surprise, Surprise 2007
*Rodney DeCroo, War Torn Man 2006
*Linda McRae, Escovedo 101, *Alejandro Escovedo Tribute 2004
*Rodney DeCroo, Rodney DeCroo and the Killers 2004
*Gurf Morlix, Cut’N Shoot 2004
*Linda McRae, Cryin’ Out Loud, 2003
*Leslie Alexander, Savage Country 2003
*John Guliak, The Black Monk 2002
*Neko Case, Furnace Room Lullaby 2000
*Jim Whitford, Poison in the Well 2000
*JT King, Ruby River, 2000
*Bruce Cockburn, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Pete Seeger Tribute 1998
*Linda McRae, Flying Jenny 1997
*Spirit of the West, Open Heart Symphony Live with the VSO 1996
*Spirit of the West, Two-Headed 1995
*The Waltons, Cock’s Crow 1995
*Spirit of the West, Upfront! Canadians Live On Stage Various Artists 1994
*Spirit of the West, Faithlift 1993
*The Wonder Stuff, Welcome To The Cheap Seats 1992
*Spirit of the West, The Hanging Garden Joni Mitchell Tribute 1997
*Spirit of the West, Go Figure 1991
*Spirit of the West, Collected Works Compilation1991
*Spirit of the West, Save This House 1990
*Easy Money, Standing in Your Shadow 1981
*Easy Money, Getting Lost 1980
*Roots on the Rails Fred Eaglesmith
*Fred Eaglesmith Charity Picnic, Aylmer, ON
*Gurf Morlix & the Real Killers, guitarist/vocalist, Twangfest, St. Louis, MS, SXSW Austin, TX, Nietsches, Buffalo, NY, Railway Club Vancouver, BC, Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, ON
*All Women’s Band featuring Jane Sibbery, Joan Besson (Prairie Oyster), Sue Leonard (k.d.
lang), Linda Kidder (k.d. lang), Karen Graves, Revelee Nixon, Commodore Ballroom.
*Neko Case, Commodore Ballroom Vancouver, BC
*Vancouver Folk Festival Workshop Host with Dave Alvin, Tony Price, Alberta Slim, Herald Nix
*Vancouver Folk Festival Workshop playing and singing with Peter Seeger.
*Alberta Slim’s 90th Birthday, Vancouver Folk Festival Presents, Wise Hall, Vancouver, BC
*Stan Rogers Tribute Performance, West End Cultural Centre, Winnipeg, MB
*Winnipeg Folk Festival Workshop with John Prine, Townes van Zandt, Guy Clarke.
Festivals: Vancouver, Kispiox, Bella Coola, Calgary, Edmonton, South Country Fair, Regina,
Winnipeg, Mariposa, Ottawa, Hillside, Festival of Friends, Peace Accord, St. John’s,
Rock’nTwang Golden, Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Bumbershoot, WOMAD, Reading, Glastonbury,
*Symphony Performances with the VSO, Calgary Philharmonic, Edmonton Symphony, and
the Lennie Solomon Waterfront Orchestra (Toronto).
*Sing Out For Sight SEVA Benefit, featuring Rick Danko, Bob Weir, Wavy Gravy, Rob
Wasserman, Jorma Kaukonen, Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, BC
*Roadside Attraction, Tragically Hip Touring Festival Across Canada
*Canadian Tour with Irish Band The Fat Lady Sings
*British Tour with the Wonder Stuff, Glasgow Barrowlands, Brixton Academy, The Marquis Club
*Horde Tour, Blues Traveler U.S. Touring Festival
*European Tour with German band Poems for Laila
SELECTED TELEVISION APPEARANCES
*CMT documentary “Farm Tracks – A Celebration of Roots Music” alongside Stephen Fearing, Ralph Boyd Johnson and Billy Cowsill, Sue Foley, Tim Williams, and National Dust, narrator Jim Cuddy.
*Open Heart Symphony a Bravo Special filmed and recorded for live CD over two nights at the
Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, BC
*Intimate and Interactive, Much Music Special
7/17/2009 7:05:46 AM
Linda McRea, meet your newest Fan Roy Muniz...I just found him he looked to be sleeping with them head a ma phones on when in fact he'd been listening to your song "This Winding Road" about three time before I interupted him chillin. I could tell he was alikin your song. all righty them.
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