Gillian Nicola w/Benjamin Dakota Rogers • May 31, 2019


Saturday May 31, 2019
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $10 (+SC) adv., $15 door • 19+

Hamilton’s Gillian Nicola took an unusual route to becoming a folk/Americana singer-songwriter: trained in classical voice, Nicola spent her teens gigging in a classic rock cover band, singing Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin before launching herself into alt-country when she began writing songs.  Dried Flowers, Nicola’s wise and stunning debut full-length album, follows 2016’s critically acclaimed EP No Place To Call. The songs for Dried Flowers began to take shape as Nicola recorded demos with Robyn Dell’Unto, with whom Nicola co-wrote the album’s first track, “Ashes.”  At Dell’Unto’s recommendation, Nicola connected with producer John Dinsmore (NQ Arbuckle), and the two clicked instantly. Most of Dried Flowers was recorded with Dinsmore at Toronto’s Lincoln County Social Club. Centred around Nicola’s chameleonic vocals — at one moment with a hint of tobacco in her voice, the next outright rocking — strummed and finger picked guitar, and versatile, melodic songwriting, Dried Flowers features Nicola’s core band, bassist Bruce Scavuzzo and drummer Justin Han, along with Dinsmore (banjo), Drew Jurecka (string arrangements), Aaron Goldstein (pedal steel), Gord Tough (electric guitar), Rosalyn Dennett (fiddle), Emily Rockarts (keys), and Alyson McNamara (backing vocals).

In early 2018, Nicola headed to the Banff Centre to participate in its Singer-Songwriter Residency. During those three weeks Nicola wrote roughly half the songs on her new album, with guidance from mentors Kim Richey, Lynn Miles, Kevin Welch, and more. Through these mentors, Nicola found a new level of honesty and vulnerability that she hadn’t yet approached in her songwriting. Nicola also took advantage of the residency’s recording facilities to collaborate with other songwriters in the program, such as Mike O’Brien (Sin & Swoon), Fats Kaplin (John Prine, Jack White), and Chris Luedecke (Old Man Luedecke), on “New Light” and Rockarts, McNamara, Miranda Currie, Rebecca Emms, Sarah MacDougall, Kim Beggs, and others on “She Stays Silent,” a powerful #MeToo anthem. “’She Stays Silent’ just exploded out of me,” Nicola says. “It was one of the fastest songs I’ve ever written, though I don’t know that’s a good thing; it was inspired by my own experiences and the stories we hear all too often.” “New Light” and “She Stays Silent” were produced by the legendary Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire).

With nominations for the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, Toronto Independent Music Awards and Hamilton Music Awards, Nicola has toured Canada’s east and west coasts, and has shared the stage with some of Canada’s best songwriters, such as Amelia Curran, Tom Wilson, Terra Lightfoot, and Lori Yates.

“Nicola delivers warm, familiar, folksy Canadiana — but her powerhouse vocals make for a listening experience that’s entirely refreshing.” – Exclaim!


Benjamin Dakota Rogers makes his highly anticipated return to the folk world with his brand new single, “Better by Now,” stripping the genre down to its core and emotionally charging it with the raw human experience that can only be delivered from the honesty and grit of a farm boy’s hands. Hailing from the countryside of rural Ontario, Benjamin funnels his penchant for starry nights and nostalgia into his stylized folk sound, reaching far beyond to include influences of roots, blues and country music. Benjamin found a passion and purpose in folk music after inheriting his great- grandfather’s violin at the tender age of seven. From budding musician to awe-inspiring performer, his love of creating meaningful music has taken the reins and garnered much attention from folk artists and enthusiasts alike.  With the release of his new single, this singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist folk-phenom proves he’s at the top of his game in every way imaginable, grasping for the stars that light up his quaint hometown of Scotland, ON. As he prepares for the release of his most ambitious project to date, Benjamin Dakota Rogers continues to redefine the genre with an infinite sound evolution that promises to deepen the path he’s already carved for himself for years to come.

“Rogers’ unique voice, thought-provoking lyrics, energetic performances and dynamic fiddle techniques leave this up-and-coming musician in a class of his own.” – InSpades Magazine.

The Deep Dark Woods w/Evan Cheadle • May 13, 2019


Monday May 13, 2019
Doors 7:30PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $15 (+SC) adv., $20 door • 19+

Floods and plagues, ghosts and slaughter: woe to those who populate the songs of Yarrow, The Deep Dark Woods’ 2017 release on Six Shooter Records. A gentle summer breeze swings the gallows ropes, flowers bloom callously on lovers’ graves. These anthems are definitely not from Eden. Fresh off a JUNO nomination for Yarrow, the band has been crafting their brand of prairie psychedelics and a “loose grungy folk sound” (Paste) for over a decade. Having released six critically acclaimed records, the two-time JUNO nominated band has developed a fervent international following on both sides of the Atlantic, with particular success in the Americana realm. Having performed with members of The Grateful Dead and received a nomination for Emerging Artist of the Year at the Americana Music Awards, the Deep Dark Woods have toured North America, the UK and Europe to rave review.  Yarrow is The Deep Dark Woods reimagined by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Boldt. There’s a juicy unease and quiet intensity to frontman Boldt’s presence, as if a new door has opened to let loose the weirdness. In place of the freewheelin’ jammy vibe there’s a darker, stranger tenor that sides with those modern mystics whose music exists in the creepier, freakier corners of existence. The sound is rooted in, but not restricted to, tradition, drawing inspiration from sounds out of the U.K. and Appalachia and employing rich storytelling. The haunting and cinematic lyrical style and chord changes that pillow the flowing delivery and harmony and lines are cloaked in dreams of summer through a snowstorm. With Yarrow, it’s clear that Boldt’s well of inspiration runs as deep as it does dark.


Evan Cheadle grew up immersing himself in American and English folk music, and has a strong love for ’60s and ’70s Rock ‘n’ Roll and R&B.  Since 2013, Evan has been writing, recording and performing his own music as well as with a number of other groups around Victoria. One night, Ryan Boldt of The Deep Dark Woods, stumbled upon one of Evan’s performances, and the two bonded over shared musical interest. Since then, it blossomed into a great friendship, and musical venture. Together, they recorded and produced Evan’s upcoming EP Chasing Shadows, an album which is textured, melodic and lyrically rich. The two set up a Studio in a spare room in Evan’s house. Sessions began in early 2016 and carried on through to 2017. Other musicians included on Chasing Shadows: The Deep Dark Woods’ longtime organist Geoff Hilhorst; Keenan Mittag-Degala on drums; Maria Grigoryeva on violin & viola; Lyudmila Kadyrbaeva cello; Jayne Trimble on backing vocals. The sound of Chasing Shadows has echoes of psychedelic folk, country blues and English ballads while retaining a distinct originality.  In spring 2017, Evan joined The Deep Dark Woods as their lead guitarist, and has toured Europe and North America. He has also formed is own band, currently touring Chasing Shadows.

“Cheadle’s intricate guitar picking and delicate vocals instantly transport listeners to a diverse musical world inhabited by the likes of Bert Jansch, Nick Drake and Harry Nilsson, all-the-while avoiding nostalgia’s tepid waters; Cheadle, it seems, stands outside of time.” – Analogue Magazine

WHOOP-Szo w/Sarah Good & the Bads • May 12, 2019


Sunday May 12, 2019
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $12 (+SC) adv., $15 doors • 19+

Arty, spasmodic, dynamic and entirely unique, you won’t find another band like WHOOP-Szo. With a cast of members roaming in and out of Guelph, this band of creative counterparts combines sound collage, disjointed parts, complex arrangements, and supreme momentum to weave sonic stories, all at once disorienting and enjoyable.  True psych pilgrims using music as an extension of their search for enlightenment, WHOOP-Szo create delicately rambling soundscapes. With an experimental and dramatic air, they combine a wide spectrum of sound samples. From water dripping, to cats purring, to assorted erotic noisemaking, nothing is out of reach in the name of expression. The band’s 2014 double-album Qallunaat/Odemin was recorded during a purposeful visit to the northern Inuit village of Salluit, Quebec. Its follow-up, Niizhwaaswo, was released short months later. The group’s latest release,  Citizen’s Ban(ne)d Radio, arrived in November 2016 (via Out of Sound Records). Music aside, WHOOP-Szo is well known for the boundaries that they have bridged between social work, activism, and music making, not only in their hometown of London, Ontario, but also in various communities across Turtle Island. As a band fronted by an indigenous artist, album and song themes often focus on issues like colonization, language, self-determination, and appropriation. Outreach feats include the creation of an Inuit Youth silkscreen apprenticeship program in Salluit, QC and workshops on Solidarity Through Art in Kingsclear First Nation, NB amongst others.

“Somewhere in between doom, psychedelia and indie rock, WHOOP-Szo are crafting a sort of social and emotional protest music. Tip-toeing into the sublime, the group creates songs that are enveloping and immersive. WHOOP-Szo are unabashedly outspoken, and unwaveringly kind.” – AUX

“There’s an inescapable quality to  WHOOP-Szo’s  music, a heavy, fuzz-laden hodgepodge of grunge, psych, folk and post-rock, incorporating influences from  Elevator and Eric’s Trip to Black Sabbath.” – Exclaim!

“Their music is as hard to pin down as their whereabouts at any given time. It hops between meditative folk pop and heavy sludge without warning, rarely played the same way twice. The band can shrink and grow, too, with founding members Adam Sturgeon and Kirsten Kurvink Palm usually at the core.… For WHOOP-Szo, punk, DIY and psych principles go beyond music scene bubbles and fuse with Indigenous solidarity and healing through music.” – NOW Magazine

Hamilton’s iconoclastic singer/songwriter Sarah Good is familiar to scene-savvy locals as key member of a host of ambitious, art-damaged groups including glassEYElashes, Pucumber Sasssquash Family Band, Earth Wind & Choir, Goatfooted, and Hairy Mouth. Otherworldly sounds to delight and confound.

Sam Weber w/Gareth Inkster • May 11, 2019


Saturday May 11, 2019
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $10 (+SC) adv., $12 doors • 19+

Sam Weber is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist in the vein of Jackson Browne, The Band, The Wood Brothers and Gillian Welch.He has released two LPs to date — 2014’s Shadows in the Road and 2016’s Valentina Nevada — as well as his recent digital EP New Agile Freedom (to be issued on vinyl this summer through Sonic Unyon Records). Through the characters and anecdotes in his songs,Weber’s sings about the truths of love, life and family. Touring independently and internationally with his band since 2013, the years spent refining songs at home in North Saanich, BC and working in studios in Los Angeles have honed his craft to a fine point. His live show, which local audiences may remember from his killer opening night set at Supercrawl 2018, pairs heartfelt songwriting with world-class musicianship and three-part harmony. Sam usually plays with Marshall Wildman on drums, Jacob Weil on bass and sometimes Chris Van Sickle on piano.

“I think the song of the year is ‘Ex-Lover’ by Sam Weber” – Afie Jurvanen, Bahamas

“Sam Weber’s expansive blend of roots influences is a testament to fierce ambition.” – Anil Prasad, Guitar Player Magazine

“Some guys can sing. Some guys can play guitar. Some guys can write songs. Some guys know their way around the recording studio. Then there are guys like Sam Weber. He’s one of those guys who can do it all.” – Darryl Sterdan, Tinnitist

For the past year and a half, Gareth Inkster has been gradually establishing himself as a regular in the Hamilton music scene. Having spent the better part of a decade performing extensively with many local artists, he has now focused his attention on his own act. The result is comprised of three singles and an EP, to date,  as well as a second EP slotted for later in 2019. Having mixed up their live arrangement, Inkster, along with his band, have achieved a tight, vibey, yet high-energy set which has been garnering high praise with each showing. It’s early days for this ensemble, but the future is more than promising.

Road to Riverfest ft. Jim Bryson & Kalle Mattson • May 10, 2019


Friday May 10, 2019
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $12 (+SC) adv., $15 doors • 19+

The Road to Riverfest music series will see past, present and future Riverfest Elora performers visit various venues throughout in the run-up to Riverfest Elora’s 11th edition, happening August 16-18 at Bissell Park in Elora, ON.


Jim Bryson is a Canadian singer-songwriter/producer/music maker from the Ottawa area who has been making music and recordings since long before the internet became popular. He has released five critically acclaimed solo albums, including 2010’s The Falcon Lake Incident (a collaborative effort with Winnipeg wonders The Weakerthans) and 2016’s Somewhere We Will Find Our Place (produced by Do May Say Think/Broken Social Scene member Charles Spearin), which made many a year-end list here in Canada, notably Macleans and CBC Music’s Top 100 Songs. His Tired of Waiting EP arrived in September 2018, and was followed in April 2019 by the new single, “Better On Drugs”.  In recent years, Jim has been recording and producing records for artist from all over in his Fixed Hinge Studio he built in 2013 in Stittsville, Ontario. Some names of note Jim has worked with include Oh Susanna, Little Scream, The Skydiggers and Kalle Mattson.  Oh, and just cause you are asking, Jim also enjoys riding in the musical sidecar, having played and toured with Kathleen Edwards, The Weakerthans and The Tragically Hip.


Kalle Mattson began recording his Bob Dylan, Wilco, and Weakerthans-inspired folk-rock songs at the age of 17. He issued his debut long-player, Whisper Bee, in 2009, followed by the critically acclaimed, Howie Beck-mixed Anchors in 2011, the latter of which resulted in a pair of Northern Ontario Music Award wins for Album of the Year (Group) and Songwriter of the Year.  An EP, Lives in Between, arrived in 2012 and yielded two viral videos in “Waterfalls” and “Thick as Thieves”. It was followed in 2014 by Mattson’s third full-length studio album, the Polaris Music Prize-nominated Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold, which was inspired by his hometown on the Canadian/U.S. border and the death of his mother five years prior. 2015 saw the release of a new EP, Avalanche, which Mattson described as a mini-LP concerning the twenty-something miasma of “anxiety, nostalgia, the past, the future.” On his new album Youth. (featuring . the lead single “Once”), Kalle Mattson set out to make a coming-of-age album about the in-between days of post-adolescence and pre-adulthood. “It’s about when dreams become your regrets, your friends become strangers, your first love becomes your first loss, and you become truly nostalgic for the first time,” says the 27-year-old Ottawa songwriter, who grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, a small Northern Ontario border town between two Great Lakes. Sonically, Youth. is caught between worlds as well: the stark acoustic demos Mattson recorded in his bedroom, and the glossy electronics that producer Colin Munroe (Sky Ferreira, Kendrick Lamar) brought to the project. Mattson got a lot of international attention for his award-winning 2015 video “Avalanche”, in which he inserted himself into his favourite album covers, but with Youth. he’s become the star of his own show.


Natalie Lynn is connecting the dots between pop sensibility, indie style, and rock fervour for a sound that is equal parts modern and nostalgic. Her energetic stage presence and unwavering vocal and guitar chops are driven by hook-heavy songwriting and lush arrangements. Inspired by the ’80s and reflecting influences such as Stevie Nicks, Haim and The 1975, Natalie’s debut single “One” (produced by Lynn with John Mullane and Ryan Worsley) is available on all streaming and downloading platforms.

Jadea Kelly w/Redhill Valleys • May 4, 2019


Saturday May 4, 2019
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $15 (+SC) adv., $18 doors • 19+

Described by CBC as “one of the shining jewels in the crown of Canadian songwriters,” Jadea Kelly spends her time writing and living between Toronto and Los Angeles. In 2016, she was awarded Contemporary Singer of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards for her heartfelt 2016 release Love & Lust. Its featured single “Beauty” was placed on the Lifetime Network feature No One Would Tell and the 2017 CBC Rio Paralympics; an opening montage with over 900,000 views. Set for release on May 17, 2019, the MWI soundtrack EP has already received Best Score & Music accolades from the Hollywood Independent Documentary Awards. 

“Love & Lust shines with honesty, intensity and emotion. In fact, the Ontario artist seems to have reached the pinnacle of her career as a songwriter. She has a nice mix of folk and contemporary indie pop, as an amalgam of Patsy Cline and Feist.” – Musicomania

“A record fully engrossed in the dark truths of infidelity, human frailty, and all of the darkest corners of the categories of Love and Lust, Kelly reveals herself in ways we’ve not yet seen from the Toronto songwriter.” – Beatroute

“Standout songs include “Make it Easy,” a song with enough power that it could very well make Jadea Kelly a household name. The lyrics and soundscapes are transcendent with arrangements that would be perfect as a soundtrack to a big-budget film. Jadea’s voice transfixes the listener and sets the stage for the rest of the album.” – Spill Magazine


The Redhill Valleys is a dynamic four-piece Alt-Country and Roots Rock band from Hamilton, ON, which skillfully combines grit-infused harmonies, commanding musicianship, and an energetic, captivating live show. The band consists of guitarists Tim Allard and Danielle Beaudin, bassist Chelsea McWilliams, and drummer Matt Soliveri, and has gained recognition for its familiar yet refreshingly unique sound. Named runners-up at the 2017 Boots and Hearts Emerging Artists Showcase, The Redhill Valleys gained a legion of fans in the Canadian Country music scene. Following a 2017 Canadian East Coast tour, the band was chosen as the CMAO Artist of the Month for October, and was awarded as finalists in Canada’s Walk of Fame’s Emerging Artists Program. In 2018, the band gained nationwide exposure after being chosen as one of Canada’s top 9 in the SiriusXM Top of The Country Contest, and was simultaneously awarded as top fivefinalists in Slaight Music’s “It’s Your Shot” music discovery program. The Redhill Valleys have garnered a lot of attention in a short amount of time, in large part thanks to the band’s critically acclaimed live show which has earned recurring performances and appearances at notable festivals and venues (such as Boots and Hearts, CMAOntario’s New Faces Showcase, Festival of Friends, Sound of Music Festival, Ontario Festival of Small Halls, Lucknow Music in The Fields, Canadian Music Week, Stockey Centre, Canadian Country Music Association, The CNE, The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, and more).  The Redhill Valleys continue in the spirit of heroes Neil Young, Tom Petty, Lucinda Williams, and The Band, but have forged a path, identity and sound all its own.  The Redhill Valleys are Tim Allard (guitar, vocals),  Chelsea McWilliams (bass, vocals), Danielle Beaudin (guitar, vocals), and Matt Soliveri (drums).

“We can tell you all that this is a group that you should be paying attention to. From Hamilton to Toronto and across the province, you owe it to yourself to keep an eye out for tour dates near you.” – CMAOntario

Sam Amidon • May 2, 2019


Thursday May 2, 2019
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $15 (+SC) adv., $18 doors • 19+

The Following Mountain, Sam Amidon’s sixth album overall and his third for Nonesuch Records, is his first album of original songs. A deeply personal synthesis of folk-based song form and experimental improvisation, it “feels like a liberation” (Uncut) and “provides constant, jolting surprises” (The Guardian). But in his decade-long career as a recording and touring musician, the singer and multi-instrumentalist (banjo, guitar, fiddle) has always managed to create work that’s utterly original, even when, as on previous discs, he was digging through the sounds and stories of traditional American music. The Following Mountain features appearances by musicians such as Shahzad Ismaily, master percussionists Milford Graves and Juma Sultan, and psychedelic jazz musician Sam Gendel.

Prior to The Following Mountain, Amidon released five solo albums on the Bedroom Community and Nonesuch labels. Amidon’s material for these albums consists primarily of reworkings of traditional American ballads, hymns and work songs, with the New York Times writing that Amidon “transforms all of the songs, changing their colors and loading them with trapdoors.” The albums have been deeply collaborative in nature, inviting contributions from musicians such as composer Nico Muhly, guitarist Bill Frisell, producer Thomas Bartlett, and improviser Shahzad Ismaily among others. Amidon has also recorded or performed as a guest artist with groups such as Kronos Quartet, Jason Moran, Bon Iver, Tune-Yards, and Amidon’s wife, the singer-songwriter Beth Orton.

Watch: “Warren” + “Juma Mountain” + “Another Story Told

Praise for Sam Amidon:

“Mr. Amidon approaches folk like a jazz improviser, taking a tune from here, borrowing a lyric from there, and reframing them all with his own surprising chord progressions and arrangements.… Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sam Amidon: spokesman for the new, weird America.” —New York Observer 

“Rare for someone his age, he knows where a lot of old folk songs come from, what they can accomplish and how they might be revised.… Playing guitar or banjo as he sings, he transforms all of them, changing their colors and loading them with trapdoors.” – The New York Times

“The Following Mountain does more than reverse-engineer Amidon’s past approach of reimagining folk songs. It pushes through the known quantities and traditions of folk music and comes out the other side transformed. It is the destination, the culmination of Amidon’s musical conversations thus far.” – Aquarium Drunkard

“The music is jazzy and percussive, bowing beneath him softly like a sunset and carrying him to a place where he sounds at ease —like this is where all those years of wandering have led him.” – Pitchfork

“…surreal and magical.” – Esquire

“Inventive musical excursions.” – Mojo

“Amidon’s first album of original songs feels like a liberation.” – Uncut

“… his highly personal approach opens a window on the American past and lets us feel it like nothing else around.” – NPR All Things Considered

“The Following Mountain is his first album of largely original compositions, and it provides constant, jolting surprises.” – The Guardian

“…the quantity of Sam’s work is only outpaced by its astonishing quality. He admitted to me once that he thinks he’s an awful songwriter, which is probably part of why his solo work consists of reworkings of (mostly) traditional music… but once you’ve heard what he can do with old songs of love, God, and murder, it’s hard to doubt the man’s talent.” – Pop Matters

“In Amidon’s hands, old American songs live and breathe, proving that sometimes irreverence is the best path to faithfulness.” – NOW Magazine

Saint Lo. w/Matt Paxton • Apr 27, 2019


Saturday Apr 27, 2019
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $10 (+SC) adv., $12 doors • 19+

Saint Lo. is a Montreal-based band with roots that stretch across the continent. Their songs are nuanced and layered featuring hypnotic vocals, profound lyrics, incredible harmonies and varied instrumentation. They sing about complex emotions – vulnerability, isolation, connection, nostalgia, and loss – always infused with more than just a hint of hope.  Their new album, We Could Be, is a thematic tour-de-force for Saint Lo. The video single “Wounds” is a stunning ode to the long healing process that comes in the wake of the rupture of a relationship. The song is a mix of alt-folk and classical layered with cinematic pop and it’s easy to imagine it as part of the soundtrack of a film or cable series. Filmed on a rainy day in Esquimalt on Vancouver Island, the video for “Wounds” was created in collaboration with Montreal-based film editor Olivia Du Vergier and Vancouver-based videographer Daniel Keen.

BODY DBL w/Dizzy Spells • Apr 26, 2019


Friday Apr 27, 2019

Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $10 (+SC) adv., $12 doors • 19+

BODY DBL‘s roots lie in punk rock and musical theatre which can be heard in their anthemic power pop songs and witnessed in their wild live shows. Expect risqué dance moves, unexpected smooches and booty shaking when BODY DBL hit the stage.


Dizzy Spells capture the realities of contemporary, modern life through sardonically bent quips, musings on the anxiety of time, finding happiness, interconnectivity, and the inevitable finality of death. Their lyrics are interlaced with jumpy, skittering guitar lead switchabouts by David Appleyard and Benjamin Schillaci, crunchy kraut-like bass by Ryan Fisher, asymmetrical, schizoid drum playing by Zach Vernon, and Damon Guyett’s moody, form-fitting keyboards.

Mappe Of w/Scott Orr • Apr 25, 2019


Thursday Apr 25, 2019
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $15 (+SC) adv., $20 doors • 19+

A young Canadian piecing his life together on the other side of the world. A German vagabond clutching a glowing orb in a hippie town in Australia, having disavowed all family ties. An old man dying slowly of Alzheimer’s who can’t recognize his own family. A troubled boy burning his family’s home to the ground. All these characters populate the debut album by Mappe Of, an ethereal avant-folk tour de force that belongs to no time or place. Or perhaps not even of this Earth, judging by the range of haunting vocal textures or some of the interstellar synths that intertwine with trumpets, violins, kalimba, autoharp, and Mappe Of’s own intricate guitar playing. There is no traditional drum kit. No finite template of instrumentation. Maybe the less you know about the man behind the curtain, the more you’ll lose yourself in the music. “I’d like the music to be grounded in reality while simultaneously feel like it’s from somewhere else,” says the sonic architect behind what will be known to the world as Mappe Of. So he scoured up some equipment and set up shop in his friend’s basement in a sleepy university town; she played violin, flute and anything else she had lying around. In the wee hours of the night, she’d sneak him into the studio of the college’s recording arts program, where he’d twiddle knobs until dawn. The administration eventually found out and told him to cease and desist. You’ll notice they’re not credited in the album’s liner notes. He is still a young man; his lyrics are about reckoning with one’s destiny and past, with balancing one’s own mental health with that of loved ones, and the capacity to love. “A handful of these songs are about struggling with putting your weight on another individual, asking them to bear burdens that you can’t,” he muses. “Some are stories I’ve collected over the years from the perspective of others, some are my own firsthand experiences. All of them contain events and emotions that felt universal, but present themselves in unique ways.”