February 2020 

Hey Folks! 

February is over, meaning we're that much closer to Spring. Hold in there! 

In February things slowed down a little bit in John Muirhead land. More behind-the-scenes planning, writing, rehearsing, and laying low than I normally do. I’ve decided that this was a great thing - it's important to take a step back from the hustle sometimes. Regardless, I still managed to get up to some pretty cool things. 

House Concert @ Smith Family Home 

At the start of the month, I played one of my favourite house concerts to date at Toba and Laurence’s place in Toronto. It was a packed house, and I was able to play some brand new songs, tell some never-before-heard stories, and lead some killer sing alongs. 

House shows are the best for everyone involved - the audience gets an intimate show, the host gets to spend time with their family, friends, and loved ones, and the performer gets to share songs with an engaged audience. 

Interested in hosting a house concert? Shoot me an email and we can make it happen! 

New videos 

 

With the newfound time at home this month, I managed to record a few videos. I recorded two songs at Benjamin Dakota Roger’s beautiful barn in Brantford, ON, featuring a fantastic new trio arrangement, as well as a couple at home. 

My latest video “I Don’t Want to Go to Work Tomorrow” is quickly becoming a hit with my Facebook audience - check it out here (and share it with your favourite work-hating friends!) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp9O97db0Sw 

New album 

The team and I continue to pick away at my debut album. It’s been a long process but the time and effort will be totally worth it. Stay tuned for lots of updates in the coming month :) 

Upcoming Shows! 

I'm so excited to be taking some new songs on the road this spring, and even some with a full band. If you like what I've been up to lately, you do not want to miss out on these spring shows across Ontario. 

See you in one of the following cities: 

03/26 - Brantford ON - The Blue Dog **With Saffron A** 

03/27 - London ON - Brown & Dickson **with Saffron A and Justin Maki** 

03/28 - St. Thomas ON - Railway City Brewing 

04/03 - Toronto ON - Junction City Music Hall **FULL BAND SHOW, supporting I, The Mountain** 

04/08 - Peterborough ON - The Garnet **With Joe McLeod** 

04/09 - Kingston ON - Musiikki ** With Joe McLeod 

04/10 - Smith Falls ON - Bowie's **with Mountain Head** 

04/18 - Waterloo ON - Emmanuel United Church **with I, The Mountain** 

04/19 - Sarnia,ON - Refined Fool Brewery 

04/25 - Guelph, ON - House Concert 

04/26 - Guelph ON - Brothers Brewing **with Tragedy Ann** 

05/09 - Uxbridge ON - Springtide Music Festival 

Ticket information available HERE 

 

Until next time! 

John Muirhead

January 2020 

Hi friends! 

We're now a full month into 2020, and I must say that I'm loving this new decade so far! Honestly, every single show I played this month was 10/10 with great audiences, great venues, and great artists. There's also a lot of really cool work going on behind the scenes that I'm excited to share with you...soon. If this month is any indication of how the 2020 is going to be, I'm excited. 

Shows with Braden Lam, Brooklyn Doran, Safe as Houses 

January started with a run of three shows with Braden Lam and Brooklyn Doran. These are two of Canada's finest up-and-comers and it was an honour to play with them in Georgetown, Uxbridge, and Toronto. If you haven't heard them before please do yourself a favour and check them out - I recommend "Driftwood People" by Braden Lam and "I Can't Be Alone With You" by Brooklyn Doran. 

The following week I played a wonderful show in London, ON with Safe as Houses, another up-and-coming gem. Despite terrible weather we managed to pack the London Music Club and have a really fun night. Check out their album "Lucky Lucky". Thanks for making it out to see the show! 

 

When You Were Young (Cover) 

On January 17th, I released a cover of The Killers 'When You Were Young'. I've been covering this song live for years, and it's one of my favourite tunes of all time. This song was produced by the amazing Eric Leigh, who also worked on my song "Passenger's Side" from the Foundational EP. I'm proud of how it turned out and all the positive feedback that came from the release. Check it out here. 

Folk Alliance in New Orleans! 

From January 22-26, I was in New Orleans to showcase at Folk Alliance International. 7 showcases, countless great conversations and learning experiences and hearing some of the best music in one of the coolest cities in the world. Big thanks to the the presenters who had me play, including MusicOntario, Rigby Summer, NERFA, Face the Music and more. Still processing the sensory overload of the conference and the city, but I'm sure that a lot of cool opportunities will come from it. 

Opening for Jon Bryant, Joshua Hyslop 

Last night, I played to a packed Rosewood Room with Jon Bryant, Joshua Hyslop, and Alex Mason. It was some of the most fun I've had at a gig. There were some technical issues that delayed the doors opening for about half an hour, so I went outside to entertain the people waiting in line, which was just as fun as the actual set! Thanks for coming out, London. 

What's Next? 

I'm spending February and March playing some shows across Ontario and putting the finishing touches on my full-length album (woo!) 

Here's where I'll be: 

February 4th - House Concert - Toronto, ON 

February 15th -  Railway City Brewing - St. Thomas, ON 

February 22nd - Uncorked on Main - Georgetown, ON 

More to come very soon! 

Let's connect! 

I love playing house concerts, shows in alternative spaces, weddings, birthdays, and everything in between. Any location in Canada can work if the timing is right. If you're interested in live music at your BBQ, family reunion, or special day, shoot me an email! 

I post frequent updates on social media - follow me here: 

Facebook 

Twitter 

Spotify 

Instagram 

As always, THANK YOU for your support. It goes a really long way. Every 'like', follow, share, ticket, CD, T-Shirt makes a world of difference to me. Keep spreading the word, keep coming to shows, and I'll keep working hard for you! 

Until next time,

2019 - Year in Review 

Hi Friends, 

Happy Holidays! Happy New Year! Hope your 2019 was fantastic. 

With the year coming to a close and 2020 scheming in full swing, I'm feeling all kinds of things about the last twelve months - my first full year as a full time musician. I've been thinking a lot about the highs and the lows, the lessons, the losses, the wins, the tours, the long drives. Here's some highlights from 2019: 

Winter 2019: Head Stays Down + Tours 

Shows, shows, shows. In 2019 I hit the ground running, booking myself solid with shows across Ontario with Charlie Weber and Ben Heffernan, a couple of real gems. Touring in winter can be very unpredictable, but we made it to all of our shows safely, and played to some really great crowds. A big thank you to everyone who offered us a warm place to sleep, a meal, a place to park, etc. Means the world. 

On February 22, I released my third EP, Head Stays Down. I'm really proud of this project and I'm very grateful for the love it received. At the time of writing this the EP has over 30,000 streams on Spotify which is blowing my mind - that's crazy! 

Spring 2019: Across Canada 

             Union Station, Winnipeg MB 

Spring took me across the country as an "Artist on Board" for VIA Rail, along with some West Coast tour dates. I'll never forget the beautiful sights from across this magnificent country - the dense forest of Northern Ontario, the seemingly endless prairie horizon, the towering rocky mountains. I'm hoping to do this trip again sometime soon, as it was a highlight of my life. 

Summer 2019: East Coast Adventures, Festival Season 

                                   All smiles at Winnipeg Folk Festival <3 

The summer took me to the East Coast, one of my favourite places in the whole world to play music. I hopped back on the good ol' VIA Rail and played my way to Halifax, where I hung out for a few days with Ben and Sara, a couple of really cool couchsurfing hosts. I played live on Global News, then rented a car and drove around for a couple of weeks, taking in the sights, the sounds, and the seafood. 

After a couple weeks of East Coast meandering, I hopped on a plane to Winnipeg, MB to play at Winnipeg Folk Festival and take part in their "Young Performers Program". I was mentored by one of my all-time songwriting heroes, John K Samson. It was as amazing as I expected. I spent another couple of days in Winnipeg with my cousin Brian and his lovely family, played a ripper of a show at The Handsome Daughter, then flew right back home for some Ontario festivals and shows, including one of my all-time favourites at Sawdust City Music Festival. 

 

            Opening for Joel Plaskett in Truro, NS - Canada Day 

Fall 2019 - NERFA, Album, Crowdfunding 

By September I was ready to settle in at home for a while and work on debut full-length album. Slowly but surely we're making progress on this record, and I'm sure it'll be the best album I can possibly make. I'm so excited for you to hear it. 

In October, I launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the production of this album. I'm pleased to say that it was a huge success, raising about 140% of my original goal. If you're a supporter, thank you infinitely - and please wear your merch to the next show! 

            Limited Edition Vinyl from Crowdfunding Campaign 

In November, I was lucky enough to showcase at the annual Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference (NERFA) in Stamford, CT. I had a BLAST driving down with Piper, Carson, and Saffron, and when I arrived I was blown away by the talent and the community at this conference. I will definitely be there next year. Highlight of the weekend was an epic Canadian jam in the wee hours of the morning (pictured below) 

What's in store for 2020? 

I'm excited to be kicking off 2020 with more performances and more touring, including a trip to NEW ORLEANS for this year's Folk Alliance. Can't wait! 

I'd love to see you at one of the following shows: 

January 2: Furnace Room Brewery - Georgetown, ON* 
January 3: Second Wedge - Uxbridge, ON* 
January 4: Painted Lady - Toronto, ON* 
January 11: London Music Club - London, ON^ 
January 22-26: Folk Alliance International - New Orleans, LA 

*w/Braden Lam and Brooklyn Doran 
^w/ Safe as Houses 

I will be working hard to release my new album into the world this summer, with a slew of Canadian and US tour dates. Be sure to follow me on social channels below to stay up to date! 

Follow me on Spotify! 

Like Me on Facebook! 

Follow me on Instagram! 

Subscribe to me on Youtube! 

As always, a HUGE thank you for your support. Whether it's a simple "like" on one of my pages, showing a song to a friend, coming to a show, or buying merch, it does not go unnoticed, and it's the reason I do what I do. 

All the best in the new year! 

John

I Can Sleep Anywhere - New Single Available Nov 9! 

 

You have seen on social media that I’m releasing a BRAND NEW SINGLE on November 9th, and I absolutely can’t wait to share it with you. 

I Can Sleep Anywhere is a song that I finished on a VIA rail train somewhere between Montreal and Halifax. It’s a song about playing empty bars, sleeping on floors, and loving every minute of being an indie musician. This song is one of my favourites to play live and has been a staple in my setlist all summer. 

If you pre-save the single on Spotify, you will immediately get access to TWO never-before-heard demos. These are songs that just might end up on my debut full length, and I want YOU to hear them first.

 

PRE-SAVE "I CAN SLEEP ANYWHERE" HERE

Foundational EP - Track by Track 

After many late nights in Talbot College 345a with producer Alex Lam, I’m happy/excited/nervous/proud to present my second EP, Foundational. 

The goal this project was to incorporate a diversity of my musical influences and dive deep into introspective lyricism, in hopes of making sense of the last two years of my life. I wanted to make a statement that shows where I've been and how I've grown since my last EP, but also provides a foundation for me to continue to move forward.

Overall, I would say it was a success - it’s tough to look at your own art objectively, especially after listening to each mix an innumerable amount of times, but I feel that I’ve done my best. With the CDs in hand, it’s clear to me that all the blood, sweat, and tears were worth it. I hope that by sharing these experiences through music, I can affect others the way my favourite music has affected me. 

In celebration of the EP release, I wanted to do a little write up on each track to highlight some of the inspiration behind the lyrics and musical elements. 

Ambition: 

Independent musicians have a lot to do. Rehearsing, writing, editing, promoting, playing live, etc. 

I wrote this song after realizing that trying to be a great musician/songwriter/performer was taking away from other priorities, particularly certain relationships in my life. “Ambition” is a half apology, half reminder to myself to value what’s important. My favourite lyric: “We both got dreams but time don’t want us to”. I think it’s important to remember that everyone struggles with this, and we’re all fighting against time to accomplish what we want. 

Musically, I really wanted to write a short and succinct song, similar to a lot of Pinegrove’s early work. I fell in love with how addicting their two minute tracks are and wanted to try my hand at one. 

Doubts: 

About two years ago I went through a period of writer’s block. It went beyond not being inspired, I was questioning why I even bothered making music in the first place. I came to a point where I decided that I would have to face these doubts and feelings of inadequacy at some point - so why not now? From there the song sort of poured out of me. The song didn’t magically cure me of my self-doubt, but it serves as a reminder to me that I’m capable of overcoming them. 

The opening/closing line is among one my favourites - “My creative license, my artistic indecisiveness stifles me" 

Honeymoon Phase. 

The first time I fell in love. 

I unashamedly love the guitar part on this song - I’m still surprised that I wrote it. Alex and I collaboratively came up with the string part for this track and I think that it's perfect. 

Passenger’s Side 

This song was recorded at OIART after I was approached by a student recording group. I’m so happy with how this turned out, they killed it! We mic’ed up a grand piano and I still can’t get over how great it sounds. 

The song is about defying the feeling that the best days are behind us. I had this feeling as I approached the end of fourth year at university, seeing everyone I know go on bigger and better things. This monumental transition had me feeling many things at once, and Passenger’s Side came out of it. Essentially, it’s about moving forward, hopefully with someone special, as we all go on our own separate roads. 

Foundational 

For the last two years, I lived in a house with 4 other musicians, and everything about it was great. After a couple months of living there, being the moody songwriter that I am, I started writing a song about how much it was going to hurt when we inevitably had to move out. I started to think of all the other places I've lived in and moved on from, and Foundational was born. We finished mixing the song right as we actually moved out of the house, and it was an emotional experience for sure. This song will always remind me of where my foundation lies.

 

Listen to Foundational now! 

 

Passenger's Side Available April 6! 

My new single "Passenger's Side" will be available for stream/download on Friday, April 6th. The song was recorded at OIART studios with a group of extremely talented audio engineering students, and I'm very excited to share it with the world. 

Passenger's Side about defying the feeling that maybe our best days are behind us, and the appeal and romanticism of leaving it all behind. Follow me on Spotify to hear it first!

Canadian Folk Music Awards 2017 

This year I was nominated for "Young Performer of the Year" at the CFMAs. I spent the weekend in Ottawa to attend the awards ceremony, and stopped in to The Record Centre to play a show with Moscow Apartment (who ended up winning the award!) 

 

I felt very honoured to be there and hope to be back soon. 

New duo/new video! 

My good friend Jesse and I have start writing and playing together as "Bare Sierra" - here's a video of us doing what we do:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSPgyt6AV8s