Near North Music

Annie Lou

With humour, grace, and warmth, Annie Lou takes the stage with banjo and guitar, inviting you into a world of original music rooted in melodic traditions. A childhood in the heart of downtown Toronto didn’t stop this city gal from finding her country voice. Old folk, old-time, country and bluegrass is the palette with which she paints vibrant landscapes. Here we laugh, cry, dance, reflect and connect with ballads, tunes, and songs inspired by our lives and times, our ups and downs. All of this is delivered with Annie Lou’s vocal warmth, evocative of the sweet tones of Kate and Anna McGarrigle blended with the raw emotion of Hazel Dickens.

This is new music, made for a modern audience, but finding its inspiration in a time when there was little separation between performer and audience – where everyone played something, or danced to it – and where music was clearly connected to the everyday lives of the people who played it.

Annie Lou has just released her fourth album, End Zone, a gorgeous collection of new songs; most written during the last months of her mother’s life. The title track is a deeply moving exploration of that time when the end is near, but not quite. This is not a sad record – if anything it is celebratory, and full of moments in which listeners can recognize themselves.

Produced by Andrew Collins, the album features a guest cast of Canadian acoustic innovators, including Collins on mandolin and guitar, Max Heineman on upright bass and vocals, Sarah Hamilton on fiddle and vocals, John Showman and Trent Freeman on fiddle, Frank Evans on banjo, Burke Carroll on pedal steel, and Ivan Rosenberg on dobro. Real, raw, and deeply honest, End Zone is a magical addition to the Annie Lou catalogue.

A multiple nominee for CFMA, WCMA, and Juno awards, Annie Lou has toured across Canada and Australia to major folk festivals, theatre venues, and showcases. She is a skilled instructor of vocals, guitar, songwriting, and clawhammer banjo, and she regularly teaches at music workshops across the country. She is also a fine caller of southern style square dances – good times are had by all, and not a toe goes untapped!

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