Best Sask Albums

The Top 10 

Thank you to everyone who participated in our 2016 Best Of poll - both artists, and voters. This year we had participation from nearly 2000 voters from 25 countries!

There were numerous ties in the final results so we revealed *14* albums in the Top 10 this year!

This project was created to raise awareness of and to celebrate the fantastic music being created in our province. Whether you made the Top 10 or not - keep doing that great work! We’re proud of all our Saskatchewan artists.

#10: A tie!

 
Brody Siebert Lonely Town

BRODY SIEBERT - Lonely Town

Born and raised in the small farming community of Spiritwood SK, Brody grew up in a musical family. Picking up the guitar at age 15, Brody quickly fell in love with songwriting, and has also been working hard on the live performance side of his career with his band Thirty Aught Six. Possessing a strong, rich voice and “Canadian country twang”, Brody was the winner of the 2014 CKRM Proudly Saskatchewan Showcase, and receiving a Rawlco 10K20 grant helped with the creation of this debut 7-song EP, released in July 2016 and resulting in several singles at country radio. With big dreams and an appealing and memorable sound, Brody is following in the footsteps of a long tradition of strong country music artists issuing from Saskatchewan.

Artist Website

iTUNES    SPOTIFY

Untimely Demise

UNTIMELY DEMISE - Black Widow

Saskatoon Thrash/Death-Metal band Untimely Demise was formed in 2006 by brothers Matthew and Murray Cuthbertson. The group has since stamped their mark on the metal music scene by incorporating the influences of genre-leaders Megadeth, Death, Arch Enemy, Testament, Exodus, and others into an ambitious package that places a focus on guitar-work and musicianship. Having toured Canada extensively over the past several years, the band has built a solid live reputation as both festival headliner, and support for metal legends, earning a loyal following across the globe and accolades including a nomination for a Sirius XM Canadian Independent Music Award (Metal Group of the Year). Their fourth album, Black Widow was produced by Justin Bender (Into Eternity/Third Ion) and Untimely Demise, and features guest performances by Shawn Drover (Act Of Defiance/ex-Megadeth) and Tim Roth (Into Eternity). “Untimely Demise creates a unique hybrid of thrash metal and the dexterity and aggression of death metal. (Black Widow finds) an impeccable balance between blinding speed, classic heavy metal dynamics, and the searing guitar work of Matt Cuthbertson, who is rapidly becoming one of the finest soloists in Canadian metal today.” – Invisible Oranges

Artist Website

BANDCAMP

#9: Another tie!

 

The Garrys

THE GARRYS - Warm Buds

The Garrys are a trio of sisters (Erica, Julie, and Lenore) from Saskatoon who play “garage surf doowop” that is equal parts eerie and comforting. Their harmonies are dreamy and precise, and their instrumentation stays true to the likes of Dick Dale, and The Shangri-Las. Formed in 2015, The Garrys pull a strong influence from early reverb rock’n’roll and 1950s-era harmonies. The group’s tour dates include a recent, lauded showcase at M for Montreal. This is their debut record, and along with their captivating live shows, it’s helping them win big love from both fans and critics. “It all comes together in a swirl of melancholy vocal melodies and hypnotic instrumentation.” – Exclaim Magazine

BANDCAMP

The Extroverts

EXTROVERTS – Supple

Three decades in the making, Supple is the Extroverts' first full studio album. The Regina post-punk/new wave/rock band played extensively across the Prairie provinces 1979-1983. With a mix of originals and covers by The Clash, The Ramones and other energetic bands of the day, they developed a reputation for fun live shows and quirky, danceable songs. And then they broke up. When Extroverts’ old punk rock pals from Vancouver, DOA, played a 2009 show in Regina, Extroverts reformed for what was supposed to be a one-off warmup spot. They had so much fun, they just kept playing, in the process finding old lyrics from 1979 and putting them to new music. With high-energy, melodic tunes, the resulting album boasts their signature ‘80s sound, with a musical maturity. Original fans of the band are thrilled to see them back in action, but a new generation has also discovered the fun and power of an Extroverts show, and the drive and hooks of their songs.

BANDCAMP  ITUNES  SPOTIFY

#8

 
Belle Plaine The Unrequited Love

BELLE PLAINE - The Unrequited Love

The Fosston-born songstress could be Saskatchewan’s version of a James Bond villainess: Sultry-voiced, charismatic, sure-shot hunter, beautiful. With a number of acclaimed recordings under her belt, she still felt her catalogue didn’t represent all that she had to offer in a live show: The easy shift between country and jazz; ballads and blues; humour and honesty. The Unrequited Love was her answer. This live album (recorded Valentine’s Day, 2015) contains 11 songs that display all the musical versatility she shares with bandmates Jeremy Sauer and Elizabeth Curry, expanded to include a full band for the album, with drums, backup vocals, lead guitar and horns. She doubled down by recording only one concert, relying on the band to deliver a performance that was worthy of commercial release. The results evidence her place in the Canadian music scene as an independent, who, as Carolyn Mark said, “is a national treasure.” A well-travelled performer, Belle Plaine has many festival experiences to her credit and has received numerous awards including the Regina Mayor’s Arts & Business Award for Emerging Artist, Best Singer in numerous prairie dog magazine “Best of Regina” readers' polls, and a member of CBC Saskatchewan's "Future 40."

iTUNES    BANDCAMP    SPOTIFY

#7

 
Andino Suns Madera

ANDINOS SUNS - Madera

Andino Suns’ third full length LP combines the sizzling sounds of the South American sun with the earthiness of prairie solitude. It’s laced with elements of traditional Andean music; yet it also contains the charm and sensibilities of art, which, although far from its origins, feels more than comfortable in its surroundings. Focusing on acoustic instruments for this release (Madera = wood), it’s also a collaborative offering, featuring fellow artists The Dead South, Megan Nash, Keiffer McLean, Scott Richmond and members of the Regina Symphony Orchestra. The band, consisting of Andres Davalos, Andres Palma and Cristian Moya, worked with Montreal-based Daniel Emden as co-producer, a world renowned percussionist who has performed with the prestigious Berklee World String Orchestra. Andino Suns‘ raucous and memorable live performances have made them festival favourites, and garnered them a 2015 Western Canadian Music Awards nomination. The music may have been forged in the fire of Chilean revolt – which it undoubtedly is - but it is also rooted heavily in the fabric of the vast Canadian prairies.

BANDCAMP  ITUNES  SPOTIFY

#6

 
Jen Lane This Life of Mine

JEN LANE - This Life of Mine

A well-established singer/songwriter and multiple Western Canadian Music Award nominee, Jen Lane has an impressive discography of solo projects, collaborations, and guest appearances. Effortlessly spanning genres of country, roots, folk, and Americana, Jen’s fifth studio album (produced by multi-instrumentalist John MacArthur Ellis) developed following a challenging period in her life, as she healed from a significant injury. The resulting album is organic, honest and heartfelt, taking the listener on a journey through joy, hope and longing; with no small involvement from her partner in life and music, John Antoniuk, who contributed guitar, vocal and harmonica performances. “This Life of Mine is a milestone in Jen Lane’s career, (an) amazingly strong album from start to finish with brilliant performances and breathtaking production.”- Beatroute

iTUNES    BANDCAMP    SPOTIFY

#5: A 3-way tie!

 
Meghan Bowman The Watchmen

MEGHAN BOWMAN - The Watchmen  

Describing herself as “a singer-songwriter with her piano, singing about the defeats and victories one faces in this life,” and having put out her debut album at the age of 20, Meghan’s fourth release was sparked by an assault and the process of writing out her pain. While pursuing a degree in Music Therapy, she took the tools she was learning in the classroom, and began using them during the writing process. Growing up on a farm near Guernsey, music has been an outlet for Meghan throughout her life. “Music is beautiful. This was not the first time music was offering me a place to explain myself and it will not be the last.” This 10-track acoustic folk-pop album features beautiful, plaintive and contemplative songs about love, and hope within the sorrow, at times stripped bare, and at times hypnotically catchy. Meghan’s website reveals, “Most of these songs were written with the intent of never showing a soul. I betrayed myself and released them.” Reaching #5 on our list, music fans are clearly glad she did.

BANDCAMP ITUNES  SPOTIFY

Poor Nameless Boy Bravery

POOR NAMELESS BOY - Bravery

His sophomore release, the 10-song “Bravery” focuses on the message of life and of hope. With Brad Prosko at the helm and talented friends including Tenille Arts, Chris Henderson and Carmelle Pretzlaw guesting, Bravery showcases Joel Henderson’s outstanding evolution in the folk-roots genre as a songwriter and artist. His mellow sound is personal, speaking honestly about love, life, and our changing hearts in a busy world. Bravery is an album about life transitions told through stories. Joel also comes to his craft with a family connection – the Estevan-born bard’s father and brother are also well-traveled artists. The songs have found roots with a far-reaching range of fans and critics, earning him performances at numerous prestigious festivals and showcases, where his spellbinding delivery never fails to captivate.

iTUNES    SPOTIFY

Scott Pettigrew Alone

SCOTT PETTIGREW - Alone

“I picked up a 1937 Harmony Archtop guitar and a Robert Johnson cassette tape at the age of nine in 2006. From that day on, my life was forever changed.” Regina’s Scott Pettigrew is a guitarist, vocalist, producer and songwriter, with influences including Charley Patton, Parliament, Willie Nelson, Ray Charles, Fleetwood Mac, Daft Punk, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams Sr, among many others. The songs included on his impressive debut album are ones written starting in high school, recorded live-off-the-floor, stripped-down with only vocal and guitar for the most part. He states, “I deliberately painted myself into a corner with nowhere to go and nothing to hide; showcasing the songs and my musicianship,” with assistance on the project from Brodie Mohninger. Diving into live performances, this young and passionate artist is already working on his second recording.

iTUNES    BANDCAMP   SPOTIFY

#4

 

Tenille Arts EP

TENILLE ARTS - Tenille Arts

Singing and performing from a young age, the debut album of 22-year-old Weyburnite Tenille Arts was actually a long time in the making. Gaining recognition around the country music industry in Canada over the past few years - including a spot as a top 6 finalist in the Canadian Country Music Association ‘Discovery Program’ – Tenille has performed on some of Canada's biggest country stages and amassed a substantial fan following. Tenille recently signed a Nashville publishing deal and set to work co-writing with names including Adam Wheeler, Mark Narmore, Jason Massey, and Janelle Arthur. Influenced by Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood, Tenille’s self-titled effort, co-produced by Matt Rovey and Adam Wheeler, is a perfect mixture of sweetness and angst. Her songs convey the youthful honesty of a confident, mature 22 year old, but the real knockout is her vocals - a blend of power, soul, and vulnerability.  

iTUNES    SPOTIFY

#3

 
Andy Shauf The Party

ANDY SHAUF - The Party

One of the most acclaimed artists to issue forth from Saskatchewan this year (including short lists for the Polaris Prize and SOCAN Songwriting Prize, no less), Andy Shauf’s brilliant album focuses around the complex characters attending The Party. The cohesive 10 tracks are set to ornate arrangements of fuzzed-out guitars, string sections, clarinets and dreamy synths, all draped over delicate piano, acoustic guitars and rainy-day drums. Not only is the songwriting immaculately formed, Shauf self-produced and played nearly all of the instruments. Exclaim.ca writes, “The emotions of these musical vignettes' stars are palpable in Shauf's stark, poetic and at times heartbreaking lyrics, delivered in his vulnerable, delicate and distinct voice.” There’s little to be said about the album that hasn’t already been said – so just listen to it, and draw your own conclusion. Equally mesmerizing as a live performer, upcoming tour dates will see him heading back to Europe.

iTUNES    BANDCAMP    SPOTIFY

#2

 
DGS Samurai Champs - Crayons EP

DGS SAMURAI CHAMPS - Crayons

“Working on building their community rather than tearing others down, there’s a positivity to their sound that is infectious, and spreads way beyond the hip hop community” - The Line of Best Fit
Issuing from Regina and Saskatoon, new-wave rapper Jeah and PBR&B singer Merv xx Gotti make up one of our province’s fastest-rising R&B/hip hop groups, with their melodic, positive, and hypnotic tracks appealing to a wide audience of music lovers (they also reached  #1 on our 2015 Top 10 list with “The Hard Tape” - then as a trio, with Nono Ryan). DGS draws influence from their Southeast Asian heritage while taking pride in their urban-Canadian identity, with a sound that has been likened to that of current Canadian hip-hop/R&B contemporaries Drake, The Weeknd, and Tory Lanez. Recorded and mixed by former Urban Heat/Universal In-House Producer, Miguel Dey at Blue Door Recordings, with beats produced by MKSB, PDUB and Mentz, and mastering by Colin Leonard (mastering engineer behind Bryson Tiller’s critically acclaimed, platinum debut T R A P S O U L), Crayons exhibits a contemporary approach to the new-wave generation of hip-hop/R&B.

Exclaim.ca posts, “The two-piece takes their sound in a smoother, more melodic direction than their heavier early material. There's still a darkness that creeps in, though, bridging Gotti's brooding, anxious vocals with Jeah's hard-hitting rap verses atop infectious electro-tinged beats.”

In the past year DGS has performed across Canada, showcased at events including Canadian Music Week, BreakOut West, Reeperbahn, and shared the stage with international hip-hop heavyweights such as Flatbush Zombies, k-os, and Swollen Members, captivating audiences with their dynamic and dramatic live shows. Using their Canadian-identity as well as their cultural and musical diversities as their primary assets, DGS Samurai Champs strives to redefine what it means to be “Canadian hip-hop”.

iTUNES    BANDCAMP    SPOTIFY

#1 

AND THE #1 BEST SASKATCHEWAN ALBUM OF 2016, 
as voted by the wonderful fans who participated in our poll this year, is:
The Dead South Illusion and Doubt

THE DEAD SOUTH – Illusion & Doubt

Regina-based roots/bluegrass quartet The Dead South have built a reputation for raucous, genre-bending, boot-stomping live shows. Their new album, “Illusion and Doubt,” strives to capture that fan-pleasing energy in a refreshing take on bluegrass and folk, while also incorporating elements of rock, punk and classical music. Helping create the sound on the new record was producer/engineer Jason Plumb at Studio One Recordings. Released in advance in Europe, it broke the Top 10 on Denmark music charts.

The Dead South’s sound and style transcends time. They wear white shirts and black suspenders, black pants and travellers’ hats. They sing about murderous, estranged spouses and runaway lover cousins in a boot-stomping acoustic configuration that includes banjo, mandolin, cello and guitar, some whistles, hoots and hollerin’, and finger snappin’. Sometimes their fans dress up like them too and dance and sing the night away – but that’s not mandatory.

The Dead South - Nate Hilt (lead vocals, guitar), Scott Pringle (mandolin, vocals), Colton Crawford (banjo) and Danny Kenyon (cello) have enthralled audiences all over the world, touring Europe and the U.K., as well as Canada, multiple times, and have showcased at major events including Canadian Music Week, SXSW, Reeperbahn and JunoFest. The band was recently among the first recipients of Canada’s new “Road Gold” certification, presented by the Canadian Independent Music Association to artists that have sold in excess of 25,000 tickets on their national headlining or co-headlining tours within a 12-month period. Voted “Best Band” in Prairie Dog Magazine’s “Best of Regina” in 2015 and 2016, the band have proven to be a powerhouse and their fans just can’t seem to get enough. They’re signed with Devil Duck Records in Germany and Curve Music in Canada, with bookings handled by Paquin.

The Dead South are passionate about their music, creating a unique sound that is fun and somewhat tongue-in-cheek, with serious musicianship.

PS: Our best wishes to departing member Colton Crawford!

iTUNES    SPOTIFY

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Best Badge

The Best Saskatchewan Albums of 2016 Long List!

It’s been another amazing year for Saskatchewan music. Our artists are out there winning hearts and fans worldwide, playing great shows and making incredible albums. We present the 2016 long list for your consideration, curated from a list of over 100 qualifying albums* released this year by an industry & peer jury.

Voting has closed. 

THE LONG LIST ALBUMS

Listen: Spotify playlist (not all albums are on Spotify)

ALEXIS NORMAND - Alexis Normand
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Alexis Normand
ALMOST ALIEN - Crash Landing EP
 
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Almost Alien
ANDINO SUNS - Madera
 
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Andino Suns
ANDY SHAUF - The Party
 
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Andy Shauf
ARYN EL HEFE - Smoke Stack
 
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Aryn El Hefe
AVA WILD - Bare
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Ava Wild
BD WILLOUGHBY - The Qu’Appelle Valley
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
B.D. Willougyby
BELLE PLAINE - The Unrequited Love
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Belle Plaine
BLACK THUNDER - III
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Black Thunder
BRODY SIEBERT - Lonely Town
Buy on iTunes
Brody Siebert
DEL SUELO - I Am Free
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Del Suelo
DGS Samurai Champs - Crayons
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
DGS Samurai Champs
ELIZA MARY DOYLE - It Ain’t What It Seems
 
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Eliza Mary Doyle
ERIC TAYLOR - Dreams In Colour
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Eric Taylor
FACTOR CHANDELIER - Factoria
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Factor Chandelier
FACTOR EIGHT - Dust
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Factor Eight
FRIENDS OF FOES - Faults
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Friends of Foes
GOVERNMENT TOWN - III
Buy on iTunes
Government Town
HATTIE - Karate
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Hattie
JEN LANE - This Life of Mine
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Jen Lane
JORDAN WELBOURNE - Reach Out
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Jordan Welbourne
KARA GOLEMBA - Every Little Light
Buy on iTunes
Kara Golemba
KRISTAN COUTURE - You Just Fooled Me
Buy on iTunes
Kristin Couture
MEGHAN BOWMAN - The Watchmen
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
 
Meghan Bowman
POOR NAMELESS BOY - Bravery
Buy on iTunes
Poor Nameless Boy
ROSS NEILSEN - Elemental
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Ross Neilsen
ROYAL RED BRIGADE - On Crimson Shores
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Royal Red Brigade
SCOTT PETTIGREW - Alone
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Scott Pettigrew
SLOW DOWN MOLASSES - 100% Sunshine
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Slow Down Molasses
SNAKE RIVER - Sun Will Rise
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Snake River
TENILLE ARTS - Tenille Arts
Buy on iTunes
Tenille Arts
THE BASEMENT PAINTINGS - Mystic
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
The Basement Paintings
THE DEAD SOUTH - Illusion & Doubt
Buy on iTunes
The Dead South
THE EXTROVERTS - Supple
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
The Extroverts
THE DUSTIN RITTER BAND - Can’t Turn Back
Buy on iTunes
The Dustin Ritter Band
THE GARRYS - Warm Buds
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
The Garrys
THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS - Village
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
The Law and the Prophets
THE STEADIES - Love Revolution
Buy on iTunes
The Steadies
THIRD ION - Biolith
Buy on iTunes
Third Ion
TYLER GILBERT - The Montana Kid
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Tyler Gilbert
UNTIMELY DEMISE - Black Widow
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Untimely Demise
ZACHARY LUCKY - Everywhere A Man Can Be
Listen/Buy on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes
Zachary Lucky
   

 


 

 

*Album Criteria. To be considered for Best Of, the album

All genres of music will be considered. Artists do not need to be members of SaskMusic to participate. There is no "entry fee."

This project is for the promotion and celebration of Saskatchewan music.