She’s barely into her 20s, but Ellen Froese-Kooijenga is already a seasoned veteran of the Canadian music scene.
A founding member of “In With the Old”, Froese-Kooijenga has two albums with that band (Rollin’ down the plains and My Mother’s Couch) under her belt as well as a solo album (Get On With the Blues). She’s played in coffee houses, concert theatres, folk and bluegrass festivals across the country, and even a few in the US. Her songs reflect the influence of folk, blues, country, bluegrass, rockabilly and modern alt-rock; and she delivers them in a captivating voice with a distinctive quaver reminiscent of Joan Baez.
Her roots run deep, and she finds her greatest satisfaction in writing songs at home on her parents’ farm north of Martensville, where she grew up.
Her latest album, entitled simply ‘Ellen Froese,’ is a mix of original material and cover songs. Continue reading “Singer-songwriter’s prairie roots are front and centre in new album”→
The Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old-Tyme Music Festival is still a few months away, but you can get a taste of what’s in store at a special concert this Sunday, March 12 at the Barn Playhouse.
The “Bluegrass Blast” features the Slocan Ramblers, a four-piece band (Frank Evans, Adrian Gross, Darryl Poulsen and Alastair Whitehead) from Ontario that’s been described as “a leading light of Canada’s roots music scene.”
On the same bill is In With the Old, which includes Ellen Froese-Kooijenga, Jaxon Lalonde and Kasia Thorlakson. In With the Old seamlessly combine raw talent and prairie camaraderie with a passion and respect for the music from the past. The band has two albums under their belt, including 2014’s Rollin’ On Down the Plains and 2017’s My Mother’s Couch.
Last month, In With the Old showcased their music at Folk Alliance International in Kansas City.
Vickie Dyck, Artistic Director with the Barn Playhouse, said the facility is a fitting place to hold the concert. Even though the show is being produced by the Northern Lights Bluegrass Festival, it fits the venue, she said.
“It works well because we’re between events at the Barn Playhouse,” said Dyck in an interview. “About 12 years ago, our own family band played at the first Northern Lights festival. It was an incredible experience, and it’s nice to keep that connection going.”
Lois Miller, who did the booking for the Barn Playhouse, said she attended the Northern Lights Bluegrass festival last summer and stayed for the week-long music camp. She came back from the camp and pitched the idea of a mid-winter concert to Vickie Dyck.
“It’s amazing music, and it’s nice to be able to give people a chance to see and hear these bands,” said Miller.
Dyck noted that Ellen Froese-Kooijenga, in addition to being a great songwriter and musician, has acted in numerous productions at the Barn Playhouse during her younger years.
“Ellen grew up on a farm really close to here,” said Dyck. “Having her perform on our stage again is really close to my heart.”
Tickets for the concert are available online at picatic or at the Farmyard Market on Highway 12 north of Martensville, or by calling 306-242-8949.
Ellen Froese-Kooijenga is taking a page from 1960s folksingers as she hits the road with her guitar and a suitcase, playing a series of concerts during the month of March.
The talented singer-songwriter, who hails from a farm in the RM of Corman park just north of Martensville, has made a name for herself as one-third of the band known as “In With the Old.” Last summer the band, which also includes Jaxon Lalonde and Kasia Thorlakson, headlined at the Northern Lights Bluegrass Festival.
She has two albums to her credit. In 2014 In With the Old released a CD entitled “Rollin’ on down the plains,” and late last year she put out a self-titled solo CD featuring her own material.
Froese-Kooijenga, who just turned 20, said she felt the time was right to branch out. Her first stop was in Brandon, Manitoba on March 1; with several stops in Ontario before finally ending up in Montreal.
“I’m touring for the first two weeks with a great musician from Edmonton named Luke Thomson, and then he’s going back home and I’m continuing on,” said Froese-Kooijenga. “I’ll be on the road all month and I’m very excited.”
She said the tour represented a new opportunity for her to grow, both personally and musically.
“I just kinda said hey, touring would be really good practice for me, and also I’d love to see more of Canada,” she said. “I’m 20 now, and I love travelling. I’m not in university yet, and so it seems like a really good time for me to hit the road. So I decided to go! I just sent out hundreds of emails to venues across Eastern Canada, and I was lucky enough to be able to book myself a tour!”
Her concert stops include: Brandon (Prairie Fire House, March 1), Thunder Bay (The Foundry March 2, The Apollo, March 3,) Sault Ste. Marie (Loplops March 5), Windsor (Phog Lounge March 6), Toronto (The Orchard March 11, C‘est What & The Local Pub March 13, Not My Dog March 14, The Garnet March 15) Scarborough (The Spill March 16), Peterborough (Gallery in the Attic March 19), Ottawa (Pressed March 21, The Rrainbow March 23), Montreal (Grumpy’s March 28).