Home Feature New music to watch for: Crystal Shawanda, Nadjiwan and Ken Yates

New music to watch for: Crystal Shawanda, Nadjiwan and Ken Yates


Here at Roots Music Canada, we keep on top of new releases so you don’t have to, and we periodically round up a few of them that we think you might want to know about.

Summer isn’t a big season for hot new tunes, but there are a couple of new things coming next month that we thought we’d better flag for you.

Here goes!

Crystal Shawanda – “How Bad Do You Want It”

After a richly deserved Juno win in 2021 for Blues Album of the Year, Crystal Shawanda is following up that award-winning album, Church House Blues with Midnight Blues, due out on Sept. 30. Produced and engineered in Nashville by her husband and long-time collaborator Dewayne Strobel, Midnight Blues — her eighth studio album, and fifth since switching from country to blues — features a seductive-sounding title track, a swampy dancefloor groover called “Rumpshaker,” and a gentler number called “Take A Little Walk With The Moon.” It also includes covers of the Howlin’ Wolf classic “Evil” and Celine Dion’s hit “The Woman In Me.”

“How Bad Do You Want It” is the first single, and what can I say? I think I want this album pretty bad.

Nadjiwan – Resurgence

Toronto multi-instrumentalist/producer Nadjwian, a.k.a. Marc Meriläinen, has released a new EP that pays homage to some of his formative influences, including U2, Prince and R.E.M.

“When I first started playing guitar, all that I knew were three chords,” Marc said. “Many of the songs that we chose to cover for this project are basic two-and-three-chord songs that anyone can learn on their own. Additionally, these bands and songs were popular at the time when I first started playing. It’s always a huge compliment when, from time to time after we play a show, I’ll have people come up to me afterwards to say we sound similar to R.E.M., or even Tool on occasion!”

The first single from the EP, titled Resurgence, is a version of Daniel Lanois’ “The Maker” – which is fitting because the EP was recorded at Grant Avenue Studios in Hamilton, ON, opened by Daniel and his brother Bob in the late 1970s.

Have a listen to “The Maker.”

Ken Yates – “The Future is Dead”

Ya’ gotta hand it to singer-songwriter Ken Yates. He’s really found the perfect producer in Ottawa singer-songwriter and production guru Jim Bryson. Jim manages to take Ken’s understated, introspective sound and add both atmosphere and heft (big drums) that’s well-suited to the material. Ken’s fourth full-length album, Cerulean, came out in June, and Ken’s released a string of singles from it. The next one, “The Future is Dead,” is due Sept. 8, and I sure do love the sound of it. Have a listen!




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