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Old soul, baritone, beatnik-folk singer-songwriter from Regina SK, Keiffer Mclean began writing songs in his mid-teens and has since developed into a songwriting virtuoso who has made appearances at several high-profile festivals, including Folk Alliance International, Musikfest, Prairie Barge Festival, Lilac Festival, CMW, Cathedral Village Arts Festival, Regina Folk Festival, Gateway Festival, Ness Creek Music Festival, and JUNOfest. He is a two time nominee in the Canadian Folk Music Awards ‘Young Performer of the Year’ category.
Keiffer had a very successful 2014 with the release of his debut full-length album Drama in the Attic (March 18, 2014). The album is a strikingly lush and original listen that received recognition from the 2014 Canadian Folk Music Awards garnering him a nomination in “Young Performer of the Year” category, as well as strong praise from international media:
Kayla Beattie of BeatRoute raved, “This album would be the perfect soundtrack to a lazy day, while you soak up the sun on the bow of a boat that’s rocking back and forth on calm waters, sipping spiked lemonade and wishing the summer (and the album) would never end.”
Thomas Keller from folkworld.eu said, “He has that easy-going thoughtful hippie voice who likes his beat jazz as much as his folk…This is an accomplished album and should bring a smile to your face as you dig into these fine songs.”
Mackenzie Herd for Exclaim.ca said, “The composition of the album is steeped in tone and riff experimentation made impressive by his ability to craft a fascinating song without distancing the listener.”
Coming from a musical family, Keiffer is adept at a variety of instruments, having played the accordion and slide whistle to several songs on Drama in the Attic. But in addition to his own contributions, Keiffer is joined by several accomplished musicians, including his uncle Al Muirhead, a Calgary-based jazz musician who has played with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Diana Krall, Paul Anka and Tommy Banks.
“I was attempting to write songs in a different manner, trying to find new methods,” says Keiffer. “For example, the song ‘Jive Turkey’ was originally about a friend of mine. I was busking at the time. I had a bunch of songs but they were really too long for people who were passing by to catch anything memorable. I needed a song to catch their attention so I started singing the poem.”
“I started writing songs when I was 16 and now that I am 20 I am already looking at music with a whole other viewpoint,” he says.
“It’s your old self but it’s your new self.”
Another major highlight from last year includes a performance at Musikfest in Bethlehem, PA along with six more tour dates in the USA. Amy Freedman of wtop.com caught their show in Washington and said, “I have the opportunity to hear lots of emerging bands and solo artists. It’s extremely rare that one completely stops me in my tracks. These guys have that hard to describe something…completely unique yet somehow familiar.”
2015 has been off to a great start with showcases at Folk Alliance International, a video distribution deal with Pulse Records for song “Headful of Diamonds”, and licensing song “Jive Turkey” with feature-length film Basic Human Needs (Basic Human Needs Productions Inc.).