The Motorleague

Toiling on the road for the past decade, The Motorleague have flown largely under the radar of mainstream media. Thanks to the success of the band’s current single “All The Words,” trending on Canadian rock radio, that broader anonymity is a little harder to maintain. This rise in popularity was hastened by these East Coast rockers returning to their roots.“We started off as a much punkier, rougher outfit,” says singer/guitarist Don Levandier. “We never really wanted anything other than to see the country and play the venues we’d hear about out East. As we kept touring and getting paired with bands from every genre imaginable, we lost a lot of the East Coast punk angst. We wanted to work harder at being a band that didn’t need to be ashamed of where we were from, or that would be embarrassed to play alongside a national touring act.”

With their latest release Holding Patterns – their first since 2013’s Acknowledge, Acknowledge – that’s exactly what this Moncton, foursome did, though they still injected their sound with the raucous rock, big riffs, and punk attitude that started their musical journey together. Holding Patterns captures the energy and enthusiasm of The Motorleague’s live shows. Besides Levandier, the band consists of bassist Shawn Chiasson, guitarist Nathan Jones, and drummer Francis Landry. For Levandier, the melody or guitar riff is what always guides his muse.

“The chords and structure of the songs always come afterwards, and are usually more flexible than not,” he explains. “The vocal melody or guitar hook is the entry point. Often a vocal melody or riff idea will just embed itself in your subconscious until you find yourself humming it, desperately trying to get to an instrument to find the chords and see if it’s a real thing. I’ve often dreamt songs, where the band will be rehearsing a new song in a dream – only to wake up and put it to paper.”

Maddison Krebs

For singer-songwriter Maddison Krebs, to say that 2016 was a whirlwind is an understatement. The 19-year-old Albertan started the year by dropping her sophomore record, Bull’s Eye. The lead single, “Pink Roses,” earned Krebs three Alberta Country Music Award nominations for Female Artist, Song, and Video of the Year. Then, in September, just as she prepped for her first trip to Nashville, she signed to music publisher ole’s red dot artist development program, after winning its second annual “on the spot” competition during Country Music Week.

“It’s been crazy!” she says of the year, as it’s coming to a close. “It’s cool how it all worked out. I’m excited for what next year will bring.”

Krebs was first brought to a wider audience two years ago when her debut album, Your True Love, was nominated for the Association of Country Music in Alberta’s 2014 Album of the Year. What 2017 will bring is uncertain, although Krebs knows there will be many more songs. Currently, she’s working on a new EP, writing fast and furiously down in Nashville, with a wide variety of collaborators.

Krebs cites her great-grandmother as the biggest influence on her path toward songwriting. “My great-grandmother introduced me to old vinyl records.” Says Krebs. All those classic songs that I learned to appreciate at such a young age.”

Looking back on her writing this year, Krebs is proudest of a couple of songs, “Midnight Slow Dancing” and “A Little More Nerve.” The former she calls “a slow burner,” that’s “sweet and speaks to heartache.” The latter is about self-defiance, being who you are, and never changing that – a common theme Krebs mines in her songs. “There’s always an overall message about empowerment,” she says.


A songwriting nomad and a sometime musical enigma, who collaborates with just about anyone, Sebell is now a rising star. The question is, who will the native of Salmon Arm, BC pen a song with next? In the past year, he’s written with artists as diverse as Banners, Shawn Hook, Chord Oversreet (of Glee), Stephen Kozmeniuk (Madonna, Kendrick Lamar), Jimmy Harry, and Reuben and the Dark.

These days, the 32-year-old songwriter splits writing time between Los Angeles, Nashville and Toronto. Sebell, whose real name is Greg Sczebel, is no stranger to accolades; A JUNO Award winner, he’s also won Billboard’s WorldWide Song Contest and the grand prize in the international John Lennon Songwriting Contest – twice. Recently, he co-wrote Paul Brandt’s Top 10 Country single “I’m An Open Road.” His single, under his own name, “Till the Sun Burns Out.” hit No. 6 on Billboard’s Canadian Artist chart and No. 15 at Top 40 across Canada.

What’s the secret to Sebell’s success, and what advice does he have for aspiring songwriters?

Keep your head down and write, write, write,” he concludes. “Write with people who are completely different than you. Write with others who write just like you. Write with the veterans and the kid who’s just starting out. Challenge yourself, but don’t limit yourself. The career as an artist and songwriter can be a long game, but if you sharpen your skills and put the time in, it can really pay off.”