Roots & Blues to showcase Canadian women

Female performers prominently featured at Salmon Arm festival.

Women who call Canada home will be prominently featured at the 26th Annual Roots & Blues Festival in Salmon Arm

The festival, which kicks off Thursday, Aug. 16 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 19, is pleased to put the spotlight on four of these talented artists, and you can be sure some of them will be working together at workshops over the course of the event.

Two of these leading ladies call B.C. home. In Kym Gouchie’s case, Prince George is home base. Not far down the road is Pharis Romero from Horsefly, who will be appearing at Roots & Blues with her husband Jason Romero.

From the Lheidli T’enneh Nation, Gouchie will be backed by her quartet, Northern Sky. A self-taught guitar player and a traditional hand drummer, she utilizes her eclectic background for inspiration, combining elements of traditional, folk and country to create a unique voice.

“Being invited back to the Roots & Blues Festival will be the highlight of my 2018 summer tour,” said Gouchie. “I am thrilled at the opportunity to share my new sound and new band, Northern Sky. (The festival) holds a special place in my heart, not only because it takes place in my ancestral traditional territory, but also because of the great memories that I have from past experiences.”

Pharis Romero’s voice has become one of the most recognizable on the folk roots circuit thanks to a batch of terrific albums, including 2016’s A Wanderer I’ll Stay, which earned Pharis and Jason a Juno. Writing songs about ageless characters, hard lives, loss and love, Pharis has been heard on radios around the world. She was called a “historical treasure” by the BC Folklore Society. On stage from a very young age with her family’s country band, classically trained and country schooled, she was a co-founder of the innovative roots-folk band Outlaw Social, before venturing out with Jason. The Romeros will also have a new album’s worth of material to present at the 2018 Roots & Blues Festival, and that album is expected to hit the streets in May.

Ian Tyson has called Cindy Church one of his favorite singers, period, and the veteran of Quartette and Lunch At Allen’s will bring her stunning vocal instrument and deep well of song to Roots & Blues for the first time.

Whether singing hardcore country, a jazz standard or an original that defies categorization, this Juno award-winning artist always delivers the defining emotional essence of a song. Look for Church to be a force at Roots & Blues as many like-minded musicians will be chomping at the bit to collaborate and work with her on our workshop stages.

Rounding out this release is the youngest artist of the bunch: Sarah Jane Scouten, who has been touted as one of Canada’s rising stars in the world of Americana music. With flavours of Lucinda Williams, Nanci Griffiths and Iris Dement, and a wealth of early country music, the three-time Canadian Folk Music Award nominee is faithful to folk music traditions. Her latest album, When the Bloom Falls From the Rose, was recorded with veteran Canadian producer Andre Wahl (Hawksley Workman, Jill Barber) in 2017. As was stated in the influential American roots mag No Depression, “Sarah Jane Scouten showcases a major talent and a whole lot of versatility on her third full-length album.”

Stay tuned as on April 2, Roots & Blues will be announcing another headliner, one organizers are very excited about and have had a difficult time keeping secret.

Submitted by the Roots & Blues Festival.

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