With a sweet name and even sweeter sound, Oh My Darling conjures up the right mix of emotion and elation with their unique brand of country. Their prairie roots mixed with bluegrass, Appalachian old time, southern twang, and Franco-folk, makes their style a melting pot of musical languages. Infused with dynamic vocals, brilliant claw-hammer banjo, inspired fiddling, and grooving bass, their music will get your hips swinging, toes tapping, and put your heart right into their hands.
Each time Oh My Darling takes the stage, they prove time and again why they’re captivating audiences and attracting an abundance of fans, because boy, can these girls can play! Individually, they are known as some of the hottest players on the Canadian roots scene, but there is strength in numbers, and combined, the foursome is strong as steel.
Allison (banjo/vocals) is one of Canada’s best claw hammer banjo players. she is also a great singer, and a great songwriter in her own rite. Allison brings a calm and steadiness to the band with her personality, as well as her rock solid banjo lines. She graduated with a Fine Arts degree from the University of Manitoba, which gives her the authority to oversee a lot of the visual artwork done with the band. Allison started studying banjo when she was just out of high school. Once she discovered the claw-hammer style, she began taking lessons with Daniel Koulack, Winnipeg resident and internationally acclaimed banjoist. Just before starting the band, Allison began traveling down to West Virginia, and other areas of the United States, to learn more about Appalachian music and culture, a habit she still keeps up regularly.
MJ (bass/vocals) was already a veteran of the music scene, before forming the band Oh My Darling. Her tours with Nine Mile, Xavier Rudd, the Wyrd Sisters, Corinne West, Tribe of One, and Don Amero (to name a few!) have taken her, and her unique style of bass playing, all over the globe. This experience was vital to Oh My Darling's momentum, as MJ assumed the role of booking agent for the band, and after many successful tours across Canada, has now partnered up with Paquin Talent & Booking Agency, keeping Oh My Darling busy the year through. Her custom-made upright bass is a commanding presence, despite it's smaller size, due to the energy and vitality that MJ expresses in her live performances. Audiences and industry professionals alike, frequently pay compliment to her talent as a musician as well as her engaging show of personality on-stage.
Rosalyn (fiddle/vocals) is a life long scholar of music. She spent a year in Galway, honing her skills as an Irish fiddler, has made multiple trips to northern Manitoba to teach and experience fiddle in Métis culture, earned a Bachelor of Music from the University of Manitoba, and has recently been making pilgrimages to the United States to immerse herself in Old Time Appalachian singing and fiddling. Rosalyn's passion for learning is but a reflection of her passion for her craft. She puts a fierce enthusiasm into her instrumental and song writing, arranging, and performance, with an informed edge. She infuses Oh My Darling with subtle humour and witticisms, through her role as the band's copywriter, and always has a joke to share on and off stage.
Vanessa (guitar/vocals) began to discover her voice in various singing groups in high school. Soon after, she began writing on her own, and eventually created her solo album of all original songs, Peony (2007). She's been labeled the "cowboy poet" of the group, with her lyrics that tell stories about life on the prairies, and probe at emotions that run deep through in human experience. Her sensitivity and empathy are valuable to the band, as she is most often the spokesperson for the group, and is lauded for her ability to handle even the stickiest of situations with grace and poise. As her musical talents continue to develop, she is diversifying her talents as a songwriter through leading songwriting workshops and camps, and collaborating with major country artists such as Tom Wilson (Junk house, Blackie & the Rodeo Kings), Murray Pulver (Doc Walker), and Sam Baker (singer-songwriter).
MORE ABOUT OH MY DARLING
It is the combination of four strong personalities that makes Oh My Darling one-of-a-kind. With four creative minds behind the writing, arranging and performing, the original music of Oh My Darling is unique, informed, and entertaining. Formed during a particularly frosty Manitoba winter, in 2008, Allison, inspired by groups like Uncle Earl, asked her friends Vanessa and MJ to put together an all female old time band. Looking for a fourth who could play fiddle, Allison’s step-dad called a bluegrass band-mate from the 1970s, which informed him that her daughter played fiddle. Rosalyn Dennett was brought into the mix, and the music making began. They soon realized that Vanessa had a great talent for song writing, and MJ had a tendency towards unconventional bass lines and harmony, so the idea of a traditional band began to fade into the background in favor of a more contemporary sounding repertoire.
Still keeping some old time tunes up their sleeve, they started building an arsenal of original material, and before they could reload, they got their first gig at the Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg. Scrambling to come up with a name for their first gig, they took on the name Fill'd'Riel (daughters of Riel), which celebrated the bands Métis heritage, while also acknowledging the range of influences in their music, including Celtic, French, Métis, and American. After the festival was over, the girls went back to the drawing board and the name Oh My Darling emerged from the rubble of crumpled scraps of paper, baby name books, animal encyclopedias, and tune lists.
Their self-titled debut EP was released in 2009, and honored with a Western Canadian Music Award for Best Roots Album. In 2010, they recorded their first full-length album with renowned producer Lloyd Peterson (Wailing Jenny's, James Keelaghan). In the Lonesome Hours received a WCMA nomination, and earned rave reviews in the media. It also topped the national campus roots charts in 2010, making Oh My Darling the 14th most requested band on Canadian campus radio.
Throughout the past year in 2010, Oh My Darling has played sold-out shows from coast-to-coast, and showcased at the Canadian Country Music Awards. They were interviewed by CMT, received regular play on CBC Radio, and were featured on CBC Radio 2’s ‘Canada Live’ concert series. Currently, Oh My Darling are writing and recording new material, with plans to release a new single in early 2011. This will coincide with a winter/spring ‘Love Shack’ tour across Canada, as they prepare for the release of their next full-length album, and gear up for a busy summer of concerts and festivals, including performing at these years Winnipeg Folk Festival.
Watching Oh My Darling play, you feel like you’re walking into a room of best friends, interacting naturally and effortlessly. The wordless communication that happens between them that is mesmerizing. They are sincere and earnest on stage, with a measure of good-natured humor thrown in. You can tell they love to entertain. Their passion for performing is a force of nature, and that's a force to be reckoned with.