Host: Grant Stovel
On demand
3am-4am MT Thursdays (rebroadcast)

Meet emerging Alberta artists on TransCanada’s Alberta Backstage Series.

Grant Stovel is the consummate host, bringing his passion for music and back-story to a lively hour with musicians whose names might be unknown right now, but won’t be for long. Stream all of our episodes from this season, below.

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Tim Hus live from Airdrie

This week on TransCanada’s Alberta Backstage:

It’s the final episode of the season! Tim Hus performs a special concert for TransCanada’s Alberta Backstage Series, live from the Bert Church Theatre in Airdrie. Tim’s latest album, Western Star offers alt-country storytelling at its finest; chock-full of songs about mining, fishing, truck driving, and pheasant hunting. The Calgary singer-songwriter’s fourth album landed at number 1 on the Roots Music Report when it was released this past September. Listen to a solid set of country tunes, and some of the best stage banter of the season.

Originally broadcast:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tim Hus live from Airdrie

This week on TransCanada’s Alberta Backstage:

It’s the final episode of the season! Tim Hus performs a special concert for TransCanada’s Alberta Backstage Series, live from the Bert Church Theatre in Airdrie. Tim’s latest album, Western Star offers alt-country storytelling at its finest; chock-full of songs about mining, fishing, truck driving, and pheasant hunting. The Calgary singer-songwriter’s fourth album landed at number 1 on the Roots Music Report when it was released this past September. Listen to a solid set of country tunes, and some of the best stage banter of the season.

Originally broadcast:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Anita Athavale and Jordan Klassen

On this week’s TransCanada Alberta Backstage:

In 2013, after a hiatus of more than five years, Calgary singer-songwriter Anita Athavale released her long-awaited new album, an EP entitled Begin Again. The new release, co-written and produced by Juno-nominated musician Russ Broom, was officially launched with Anita’s appearance at Calgary’s Engineered Air Theatre, as part of the 2013 Transcanada Alberta Music Series. And CKUA was there to record the concert for Alberta Backstage!

But first, singer-songwriter Jordan Klassen is on tour in support of his latest album, Repentance, produced by Jordan Anderson (Aidan Knight, In Medias Res, Sheree Plett). He performs tonight at The Artery, alongside Paper Lions.  But first, the musician and his band drop by CKUA’s studio A to perform songs from the new album.

Originally broadcast:
November 15, 2013

Nuela Charles

This Friday on TransCanada’s Alberta Backstage, we bring you an outstanding performance from Nuela Charles, recorded at the Engineered Air Theatre in Calgary’s Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts as part of the Alberta Music Series.

The Edmonton soul-pop singer has had a break-through year in 2013. After releasing her album, Awake, in late 2012, Charles captured national attention from Canadian music journalists.

Critics have compared her voice to the likes of Diana Ross and Gladys Knight.
And she recently took home the title of Female Artist of the Year at the 2013 Edmonton Music Awards.

Stream Nuela Charles’ performance now, or tune in for our broadcast at 8pm Friday!

Originally Broadcast November 1, 2013

Ann Vriend & Reuben And The Dark

This week on TransCanada’s Alberta Backstage:

She’s become a bit of a globe-trotter in recent years. Ann Vriend is well-known and well-loved in lots of far-off destinations, particularly in Europe and Australia. And her latest record, For the People in the Mean Time, was recorded in Toronto with a pair of Alberta ex-pats (bass player/ producer Tino Zolfo and drummer Lyle Molzan). But it’s her inner-city Edmonton home that provided much of the inspiration for the songs on her new album. In the midst of an Alberta album release tour, Ann stopped off at CKUA studios to deliver an inspired solo performance.

Plus, a stellar performance from Calgary’s Reuben And The Dark. The official release date for their greatly-looked-forward-to album Funeral Sky is May 27th, 2014. The record is co-produced by Florence and the Machine drummer Chris Hayden and Yukon native Stephen Kozmeniuk. Kozmeniuk, better known as Boy, has worked with heavy-hitters in the pop world, like Madonna, Nicky Minaj and Kanye West. While back in their home province on tour, Reuben and company brought their instruments down to CKUA studios for a live preview of some songs from Funeral Sky, and for a chat with Monica Miller.

Ann Vriend track list:
“A Need So Wide (You’re The One)”
“The Greatest Killer”
“In The Way”
“I Never Wrote You A Love Song”
“You Can Have Me”

Reuben And The Dark track list:
“Devil’s Time”
“Rolling Stone”
“A Memory’s Lament”

Ol’ Boots & the Hoots

This week on TransCanada’s Alberta Backstage:

They’re a Red Deer area trio of young musicians with an appreciation for traditional country & western music. Frontman Mark “Boots” Graham started his career as a solo artist back in 2008. In 2012, he was joined by Tyler Allen on banjo, and Sean VandenBrink on upright bass, and Ol’ Boots & The Hoots was born. The outfit counts Hank Williams, Roger Miller, and Calgary’s Tim Hus among their influences. Tonight, we’ll hear songs from their first full length album, ‘Pinecone Cowboy’ in a session recorded live at the National Music Centre in Calgary.

“Pinecone Cowboy”
“Where I’m Goin'”
“No Good Woman”
“Truckin’ Ditty No. 1”
“Ol’ Me”
“Cleo The Cat”
“Too Hot To Hoot”
“Worse Days”

Originally Broadcast March 28, 2014 at 8pm MT on the CKUA Radio Network.

Hello Moth & The Utilities

This week on TransCanada’s Alberta Backstage:

His debut album, Infinitely Repeated, is less than a year old. But electronic singer-songwriter Hello Moth has already captured the attention of Calgary’s indie music scene with a sound he describes as “Souless Soul”. It’s a description that underlines the juxtaposition between his synth-laiden tracks and his soulful voice. While he uses a synthesizer with looping technology to create his soundscapes, his sound is difficult to compare to other artists known for using that process. The Calgary musician sights a wide swath of influences, from Bach to the Swedish electronic duo, The Knife. This week, you’ll hear his recent live session recorded at the National Music Centre.

Plus, we have new music from Lethbridge band The Utilities. The indie rockers are set to release their third full length album, Sulky Jr., on Friday, March 28. You may remember we profiled the band on our Most Anticipated Alberta Releases of  2014 show. This week, we offer you a live preview of songs from the forthcoming album, recorded at the National Music Centre in Calgary.

Hello Moth set list:

“One Worthless Wish”
“Old Pain”
“Ghost Now Too”
“Tired Old Heart”
“Slave in a Stone”

The Utilities set list:

“June 30th”
“Gasoline Trigger”
“Into the Ether”

Originally broadcast: March 21, 2014

Cowpuncher & Bitterweed Draw

This week on TransCanada’s Alberta Backstage:

Leading off tonight’s set of country-tinged rock sessions from the National Music Centre is Cowpuncher. In November, the band released their third full-length album, Ghostnotes.
Shortly after the release, the group said goodbye to long time member Hurrican Harley Hoeft. In his place, Cowpuncher welcomes the very talented Shari Rae on bass. In the midst of the line up change, the band has been writing some new material. One of those new tracks, “Wait in Gold”, you’ll hear on this National Music Centre session.

Plus,  we welcome Calgary’s The Bitterweed Draw to the stage. In their set, you’ll hear the honky-tonk outfit’s bluegrass sensibilities shine through. The group is set to enter the studio next month to record the follow up to their debut album, Heart of the Old West.

Cowpuncher track list:
“Country Maiden”
“Get In The Truck”
“Winded Wing”
“Wait in Gold”

Bitterweed Draw track list:
“Wheatland County Rag”
“Warm Whiskey”
“Dynamite Mountain”
“Roll On”

Originally broadcast:
March 14, 2014 at 8PM MT on the CKUA Radio Network

Samantha Savage Smith & Locomotive Ghost


This week on TransCanada’s Alberta Backstage:

Samantha Savage Smith leads off the first in our month-long sessions series at the National Music Centre in Calgary. With her debut record, Tough Cookie, Samantha became a nationally recognized name in Canada’s indie music scene. Tonight, we’ll hear some music from the follow up to that record. Samantha’s style has been described as “a marriage of jazz, blues, and indie rock.” In fact, Samantha’s earliest vocal role model was the jazz vocalist Anita O’Day.

Also on the show, we welcome Calgary’s Locomotive Ghost to the NMC stage. The four piece band draws inspiration from iconic roots-rockers like The Band and Paul Simon. Locomotive Ghost recently released the fourth in a series of seasonally-inspired 7″ records – titled Winter. We’ll hear live performances of songs from those releases.

Airs Fridays at 8PM MT on the CKUA Radio Network

Track list: Samantha Savage Smith
“Fine Lines”
“It’s A Burn”
“Kids in the Basement”
“Sum 41”

Track list: Locomotive Ghost
“This Old House”
“All I Need”
“More Than I Could Ever Tell”
“Blue Eyes”
“Hold On”

Billie Zizi & Cris Derksen

This week on TransCanada’s Alberta Backstage:

A live Valentine’s Day performance by Billie Zizi, and music and conversation with Alberta-raised cellist Cris Derksen.

Billie is a young singer, songwriter and guitar player whose music has taken on several forms. One of her projects is called Billie Zizi and the Gypsy Jive — a band geared toward gypsy jazz music. That project features her father, the acclaimed violinist Cam Neufeld. Her solo work also includes some jazzy flavours, but with some more experimental tinges to it, along with an emphasis on songwriting. For this occasion, she’s backed up by Matt Blackie on drums and Keith Rempel playing the upright bass.

Cris Derksen is an aboriginal artist known for creating multi-dimensional soundscapes through the use of a looping station – Mixing traditional sounds with contemporary production. Cris brought her cello, her looping station and her effects pedals down to CKUA last month and laid down some mesmerizing music for us while on tour with Tanya Tagaq. The two were guests on CKUA’s How I Hear It with Monica Miller.

Originally broadcast: February 28, 2014

Track list: Billie Zizi
“You Do Me No Good”
“Gun Metal Dress”
“Blue Drag”
“The Sky In The City”
“I Don’t Mind”
“The Other Room”
“Dancing Shoes”

Track list: Cris Derksen
“The North”

Jeff Stuart and the Hearts

This week on TransCanada’s Alberta Backstage:

This past September, Edmonton alt-rock outfit Jeff Stuart and the Hearts played to a packed house at CKUA’s performance space as part of the inaugural Up+Downtown Festival. The set included songs from their albums Equal Parts Reason And Moonlight, and Black Dogs and Blue Giants, as well as a preview of some new material.

According to Stuart, a new album is on the way in 2014! No word yet on exactly when that release will land. In the meantime, enjoy this stunner of a performance by Jeff Stuart and the Hearts!

Track list:

“Pale White Lie”
“Hold Out”
“I Was A Wolf”
“Wrong I Guess”
“Blacks Dogs”
“Easy Love” – new track
“With A Word”
“Apple Tree”
“The Weight”

Colleen Brown

This week on TransCanada’s Alberta Backstage:

Edmonton singer-songwriter Colleen Brown takes over the CKUA performance space for a live edition of Alberta Backstage on Valentine’s Day.

Colleen performs songs from her latest EP, Direction 1: Major Love, and music from her forthcoming full-length album, Direction 2: Lead Me On, produced by Joel Plaskett.

Originally broadcast: February 14, 2014
Host: Grant Stovel
Tech producers: Paul Duke Paetz, Brendan Cross & Scott Franchuk

The Wet Secrets

This week on TransCanada’s Alberta Backstage:

The Wet Secrets perform a high-energy set of songs from their brand new album Free Candy, which hit stores this week.

They’ve been one of Edmonton’s hottest indie-rock exports for nearly 10 years. The band was formed on a dare by Lyle Bell, Trevor Anderson, and Kim Rackel, and rose to national attention with their debut album, A Whale of A Cow, in 2006.

It’s been four year’s since the release of their sophomore album, Rock Fantasy. In that time, vocalist and bassist Lyle Bell (Whitey Houston) focused on his other successful project Shout Out Out Out Out. Meanwhile, drummer and cofounder Trevor Anderson was making award-winning films. Anderson’s short, ‘The Man That Got Away’, claimed a short film prize at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2012.

On ‘Free Candy’, the band returns with a more mature, polished sound. The multi-talented Paul Arnush has joined the group on keys, congas, and vocals. You may know Paul for his work with Faunts and The Whitsundays. Emma Frazier on trombone and vocals officially joined the band this year, too.

We hope you enjoy the sounds of the five-piece together in CKUA’s performance space!

Originally broadcast: Friday, February 7, 2014; 8pm

Lab Coast & Lucette

This week on TransCanada Alberta Backstage with Grant Stovel:

The lo-fi pop sounds of Calgary 5-piece band Lab Coast. Their latest album, Walking on Ayr, was recently released on Mammoth Cave Recording Co. The group was founded by David Laing , and Chris Dadge, and features Calgary’s Samantha Savage Smith on guitar.

Also on this week’s show, we take you to CKUA’s performance space at the Alberta Hotel for an acoustic session with country/folk act Lucette. Here debut album, Black is the Color, will be released June 10th. Lauren Gillis is the singer-songwriter behind this project. She and her band will give you an advance preview of what to expect from the forthcoming release.

Originally broadcast: Friday, January 31, 2014

Joe Nolan & More Hot Releases of 2014

This week on TransCanada Alberta Backstage:

Fort Saskatchewan’s own Joe Nolan returns to the program. The folk singer-songwriter is a favourite of many CKUA listeners. Joe’s latest album, Tornado, will be released January 28th on Six Shooter Records. The album was recorded in Nashville, and produced by the great Colin Linden. We debuted the single, “Tightrope Dancer”, on last week’s show. Tonight, you’ll get an advanced preview of more songs from Joe’s Six Shooter debut.

Plus, we preview singles from a host of hotly anticipated Alberta releases by ManRayGun, Lucette, Divepool, and Duplekita.

Joe Nolan “Did Somebody Call The Cops” (live)
Joe Nolan “I Know the Difference” (live)
Joe Nolan “Tightrope Dancer” (live)
Joe Nolan “Lookin’ For Your Heart” (live)
Joe Nolan “I Still Remember Your Name” (live)
Manraygun “Outside Thoughts”
Lucette “Bobby Reid”
Duplekita “Everything for you”
Divepool “Lucky Cat”

Most Anticipated Releases of 2014

This week on TransCanada Alberta Backstage:

We’re looking ahead to the most anticipated releases of 2014, with a focus on Alberta talent. Get an advanced preview of albums by the province’s greatest emerging acts, including The Wet Secrets, Reuben and the Dark, Jom Comyn, Samantha Savage Smith, and more.

Track list:

Colleen Brown “As the Crow Flies”
from Direction 1: Major Love, out January 28th

Joe Nolan “Tightrope Dancer”
from Tornado, out January 28th on Six Shooter Records

Jom Comyn “O Frozen Sidewalks”
from In The Dark on 99 All The Time All The Time out January 14th

Del Barber “Big Smoke”
from Prarieography out February 4th on True North Records

The Wet Secrets “Sunshine”
from Free Candy out February 4th

Mitchmatic “Try Something Else”
from Mitch’s forthcoming (and yet untitled EP), out later this year

Eamon McGrath “Paper Boats”
from Exile Part 2 out later this year

Samantha Savage Smith “Kids in the Basement”
from her untitled sophomore album, out later this year

Reuben and the Dark “Rolling Stone”
from their forthcoming debut album, to be released on Arts and Crafts

The Utilities “Still”
from Sulky Jr., out this March(independent)

Concealer “Your Master’s Wishes”
from f�ted:fetid out later this year

Originally broadcast:
January 17, 2014 at 8pm MT on CKUA Radio Network

Chloe Albert & Ghost Cousin

Friday, January 10 on TransCanada Alberta Backstage:

Edmonton singer-songwriter Chloe Albert joins us in CKUA’s Studio A. Chloe’s album, Dreamcatcher was #1 on CKUA’s Top 100 albums of 2013 countdown. Since it was the most-played album on CKUA Radio last year, we invited Chloe to treat you to an acoustic performance of songs from her much-loved record.

Plus, dirt city alt-pop act Ghost Cousin make their Alberta Backstage debut. The group released their first full length album, Scotland, this past August. It was recorded at the McDougall United Church, and released on the Edmonton-based indie label, Old/Ugly. Tastemakers like Discorder magazine praised the record, calling it “an album in the purest sense of the word, a complete song cycle that is ambient, thought-provoking, and evocative.”

Mac DeMarco & Cantoo

This week on TransCanada’s Alberta Backstage:

Edmonton ex-pat Mac DeMarco returns home for the holidays with a New Year’s Eve performance in CKUA’s Studio A. He gave us a preview of his new album, Salad Days, including an exclusive performance of the album’s title track.  Mac talks with host Grant Stovel about life on the road, absorbing the reality of his success, and how his songwriting has evolved since his early days on Edmonton’s music scene with Makeout Videotape.

Plus, Edmonton alt-pop band Cantoo drops by to perform songs from their new, debut self-titled album. Frontman Aaron Parker has performed in several Edmonton bands over the years, including The Whitsundays, and Toy Singers. Grant Stovel named their album among his Top 5 favourite releases of 2013, and you’ll get a live preview for this week’s show.

Originally broadcast: January 3, 2014; 8pm MT.

Best Performances of 2013

This week on TransCanada Alberta Backstage, we look back on our year of highlighting Alberta’s musical talent by showcasing some of our favourite performances of the year. You’ll hear from stellar indie acts Boreal Sons, The Mountaineer, SAvK and Jordan Klassen, singer-songwriters Anita Athavale, Jessica Jalbert, Nuela Charles, and more. One podcast featuring the best in emerging Alberta Music, hosted by CKUA’s Grant Stovel.

This final episode of TransCanada Alberta Backstage for 2013 airs Friday, December 27th at 8pm MT on the CKUA Radio Network.

Scenic Route to Alaska & Raleigh

This week, we open the doors of CKUA’s Studio A to two of the province’s hottest alt-pop acts – Calgary band Raleigh, and Edmonton act Scenic Route to Alaska. Raleigh has performed alongside Canadian talents Dan Mangan, Cold Specks, Snowblink, and AroarA to name just a few acts. They’ve play a session featuring songs from their sophomore album, Sun Grenades & Grenadine Skies.

But first, some brand-new music from Edmonton indie pop act Scenic Route to Alaska. This trio featuring guitarist and vocalist Trevor Mann, bassist Murray Wood, and drummer Shea Connor formed in the summer of 2010. They released their first album, All These Years, in June of 2012. The album earned them 3 Edmonton Music Awards nominations in 2013. Their sophomore album was released in spring of 2014.

Originally broadcast: December 20, 2013 at 8pm MT
Host: Grant Stovel
Technical Producer: Paul Duke Paetz

Jon Gant

Tonight, we take you Stettler, Alberta’s Performing Arts Center, with a dynamite live act at center stage, Jon Gant and his Band! A big force on the Calgary music scene for many years, Jon has acted as an accompanist, on a an array of different instruments, for many of his musical pals. And he’s consistently drawn a who’s who of Alberta’s alt-roots and indie-rock scenes to collaborate with him on his own projects.

A prolific recording artist, Jon Gant just put out his latest album in August of 2013 – a splendid, smouldering record entitled Flaneur. In Europe, “Flaneur” is a name for a wanderer who observes the life and culture of the city. Jon is an inveterate ramblin’ man, and you’ll hear a few of his stories from the road in tonight’s performance. You’ll also hear songs that are profoundly honest, emotionally raw, and lyrically unfiltered.

You can stream the entire episode above, our tune in to the broadcast on December 13 at 8pm.

Jesse and the Dandelions & SaVK

This week on TransCanada Alberta Backstage:

From CKUA’s Studio A in Edmonton, a session and interview with Jesse and the Dandelions! The Edmonton-via-Lethbridge alt-pop act makes music in the same vein as band like Hey Ocean, and We Are The City. Tonight, you’ll hear songs from their latest album, A Mutual Understanding.


A set of fresh new songs from Calgary band SAvK. This fall, the band took to the TransCanada Tower in Calgary to perform songs from their new sophomore album, Love Letters and Hate Mail. The group is lead by Stephen A Van Kampen, and features members of The Magnetic North, and the now defunct Beija Flor. It’s a rousing indie rock set worthy of national attention.

Originally broadcast: Friday, December 6th at 8pm on CKUA Radio.