Canadian independent singer songwriter pianist – Ann Vriend

As part of Ann’s Australian tour and few days in Tasmania, she will be in Lorinna for one live performance:
Date: Sunday 26th February 2012
Location: Lorinna Community Hall
Time: 2pm
Cost: $15.00 donation
Bring: picnic, seating and soul
Contact: Marion email
Text 0438458843 (no reception for calls)

Canadian Ann Vriend began playing nursery rhymes on her xylophone when she was 3. Twenty plus years later, she has become an extraordinary singer songwriter pianist with a great sense of humour and an awesome soul. Reviews draw similarities with a young Aretha Franklin and others (from her website):
Vriend’s latest release, entitled “Love & Other Messes,” “has critics drooling over her stylistic and lyrical qualities. Impossible to categorize, Vriend’s unique style brings together elements of soul, pop, country, jazz, blues and gospel and so, as many critics agree, it sounds both familiar and strange at the same time” (The Weekend Telegram). Recorded in May 2010 with a stellar 7-piece band, including two-time 2010 East Coast Music Nominee Coco Love Alcorn and 2009 Emerging Artist of the Year Chloe Albert on background vocals, the album has a live and vibrant organic feel while maintaining a polished performance quality, described as “a retro look at old pop records of the ‘60s, with Vriend playing the country diva, the Amy Winehouse of the prairies.
Sometimes she’s channelling Dolly Parton or Blossom Dearie doing early Loretta Lynn and Aretha Franklin” (Ottawa Sun).

Ann Vriend

The Australian, March 15, 2010
PETITE Canadian songstress Ann Vriend says she has an affinity with Australia — even parts of the country where the pubs are not recognised for their acceptance of sensitive singersongwriters.
‘‘I’m from Edmonton, Alberta, which is an oil town in an oil province,’’ the singer, on a 10-week solo tour, said in Melbourne yesterday. ‘‘It’s pretty much the same.’’
Vriend, who has been compared to everyone from Joni Mitchell to Regina Spektor and even the young Aretha Franklin, said she had developed skills to deal with trouble on the road.
‘‘I spent enough time as a waitress while getting my career off the ground to know my way around drunks, ’’ she said.
But with a growing international following, independent record sales of about 15,000, and a string of reviews and accolades to her name that many more established artists would kill for, Vriend is hopeful that people who know her music will win out over potentially difficult elements.
Vriend said that after 10 years in the business she still preferred to distribute her music independently. ‘‘When I won a songwriting competition at the beginning of my career (in 2000) I was shopped to a few majors,’’ she said. ‘‘But the deals they were offering were kind of anti-artistic.
‘‘It was all ‘you have to be this and for the rest of your life you will write songs in this genre, and you must look like this, and be this personality’,’’ she said.
Vriend said that, due to contractions in the industry, it’s now worse than ever. ‘‘It’s no different now to the marketing of a brand of toilet paper, or cat food.
‘‘That’s OK, that’s the way the world is, but I just don’t want that kind of a life. I think I would find that really depressing and in direct opposition to what I love about being a musician, which is the freedom,’’ she said.
Vriend said she was now in a position where she could meet another artist and decide to record or tour together ‘‘without checking with our labels first’’.
And meet people she does.
Almost an honorary Australian, Vriend stays with friends all over the country when she tours.
‘‘That’s partly because I’ve never had a huge budget, but you see so much more of a city—and a country—when you hang out with the locals, who can shepherd you to the really cool things and away from the tourist traps,’’ she said.–vriend-s-a-sweet-songbird-pangman-shows-off-new-lungs
3.5/4 stars
Edmonton-born singer-songwriter Ann Vriend’s fifth album — her first as producer — defies narrow genres. Each of the 12 tracks manages the rare feat of sounding at once comfortably familiar and intriguingly original. Vriend and her band of acoustic co-conspirators veer effortlessly between straight-ahead, quiet country, to soul-wrenching blues, to folk-inspired storytelling. Vriend’s voice is like a young Dolly Parton’s — all sweetness and light, yet suggesting deeper emotion behind the polite smile. Her sensibility is like Janis Ian’s, piercing the emotional heart of an aspiring artist, a road-bound lover and a human being looking for simple love and comfort. Vriend has written and sung and played piano on all the songs (one, “If You Were Here,” is co-written and co-sung with Matt Epp), each a gem in its own right. This is one of those albums that improves with each listen. For me, the highlight is “Graffiti on My Heart,” a left-field curve packing the ironic grit of cabaret (“I love you and I hate you. Just like cigarettes . . . ”) with the party-vibe of a crowd-sung chorus (“Oh, you must not love the beautiful! They’ll always leave a mark . . . ”) and the rich instrumental textures of a troubadour band.
Marion Seath