Another successful Four Chords And The Truth took place on September 14th at The Dakota Tavern in Toronto. The event, which hosts songwriters in an “in the round” type of confessional, continues to have a successful reputation with a sell-out of the 10th instalment. Scott Helman, Sarah Jane Scouten, Sate (accompanied by Kirt Godwin), Ian Janes and of course, our host and mastermind behind FCATT, the talented Andrea England were the featured artists of the evening.
Toronto’s Scott Helman graciously performed his certified gold single Bungalow, which also earned him a nomination for best pop video at the 2015 Much Music Video Awards, as his first song of the evening. Though that song has seen great success, it was the song he performed later in the evening that caught my attention. Coming For You is a song that Scott confessed he had not previously performed for anyone. A song written from the point of view of Earth and directed at Mars, and was inspired to write after Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord. Scott took a complex concept and wrote a flawless story with a captivating melody. Teen Vogue named Scott as the number 1 of “14 Singers Who Are Going To Dominate In 2016”, but I don’t doubt that Scott will be dominating for many more years to come. At only 21 years old, Scott Helman has one hell of a career ahead of him.
Sarah Jane Scouten’s affinity towards Folk/Roots music began at a very young age at her home on Bowen Island, BC. Showcasing her multitude of talents, Sarah accompanied herself for one of her songs with only a fiddle which I have never seen to be honest and, she really pulled it off. Great story telling and a timeless voice, Sarah’s Canadiana sound rounded out the panel beautifully.
SATE is defined as “satisfying a desire to the fullest” and I’m sure after seeing SATE perform everyone can attest that she lives up to her name. The Torontonian vocalist typically performs with a 5 piece rock band so it was very special to get to see a more acoustic side of her. SATE was accompanied by guitarist/vocalist Kirt Godwin who, when he is not playing with Sate, has a band of his own out of Toronto called The Matte Black Finish. The fact that it was more of an intimate evening with only acoustic accompaniment didn’t stop SATE from leaving it all on the stage. Powerhouse doesn’t even begin to cover this woman who has been described as “a tornado of stage presence” by NOW magazine. If you have not had the privilege of witnessing the force that is SATE, you need to step your musical game up.
East Coaster Ian Janes was an unexpected favourite for us. The singer, songwriter, musician and producer seemed somewhat quiet and reserved in between songs but when he opened his mouth to sing you had no choice but to listen. Oozing with soul, Ian’s dynamic vocal ability was complimented by his equally impressive guitar playing skills and thrusted into our “favourite” category by his songwriting. Ian’s song Can’t Remember Never Loving You was featured on the most recent season of the hit television show Nashville. He shared with us the story of how the concept for the song came about. Crediting his young son for the inspiration, one night before bed he said to his mother (Ian’s wife) that he “couldn’t remember when he started loving her”. Needless to say there was an outpouring of “aw’s” from the audience (and maybe a few teary eyes…….). Ian has an incredible talent and we are grateful he has chosen to share it with us.
As the guest performer of the evening, Tara Slone of the band Joydrop joined the crew on stage to perform the bands song Beautiful. Before performing the song, Tara asked Tony Rabalao (who was the drummer of Joydrop, the writer of the song and also happens to be SATE’s drummer as well) to tell the story of his inspiration for the song. One special guest of the evening also included Tara’s daughter, enjoying her mother’s talents a few feet from the stage.
Four Chords And The Truth is really finding its place in the Toronto scene. Now after ten events, selling out continuously, it just keeps gaining momentum. It is hard to find a regular event that maintains the dynamic level of talent and brings it all into a night with surprising intimacy and candid moments with artists and writers alike. Andrea England always delivers when putting it all together, as well as performing her own music when she can. An accomplished and highly talented writer who continues to contribute to the industry, and does it so well. Putting on Four Chords on top of it all, I don’t know where she finds the time, but will always be grateful she does!
The next Four Chords And The Truth will be held November 23rd at The Dakota Tavern. Tickets are becoming harder to come by every event that goes by so pick yours up now and experience a night with so many talented individuals and of course, our friend Jack Daniels.
Tickets available here.
Written by: Bianca Bernardi
Photos: Mike Highfield