Soulful alt-country roots:
Jen Schaffer and The Shiners
Who: Jen Schaffer and The Shiners
What: Sunday Morning, New York City on a Saturday Night
A single and video release party for Sunday Morning, New York City, an original song written by Jen Schaffer and Simon Law, produced by Simon Law.
When: Saturday January 23rd, 2016 – Doors at 8:30pm and Show at 9:00pm
Where: Burdock, 1184 Bloor Street West. Toronto (near Dufferin)
If you’re not familiar with Jen Schaffer and The Shiners:
This past Fall the Shiners recorded Sunday Morning, New York City, an original song written by Jen Schaffer and Simon Law – a love song to the city they adore. It was inspired by a Sunday morning walk through Chelsea, when the city’s manic vibrations seemed to slow to a peaceful hum. To accompany the song, Kristin Briggs has directed a video about its inception featuring a dance performance by Jen’s daughter, Hannah Szeptycki, a member of the acclaimed Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre (who performed at the Joyce Theatre in NYC this past Fall).
For the release party, the band has invited some special musical guests and friends, to celebrate the song and city. They’ll perform a fave New York tune of their choosing. It is sure to be an eclectic compilation that includes Blair Packham’s rendition of “Shattered,” Mia Sheard’s PJ Harvey New York centric song “Good Fortune” and Arlene Bishop’s best Leonard Cohen – “Chelsea Hotel, No.2.” The other guests include Steven Foster, Ryan Granville-Martin and Lain Gray. Lain will be visiting from Houston, Texas but is a former NYC and London, UK resident. Lain is Simon’s longstanding songwriting partner who last performed in Toronto in the musical production of “The Harder They Come.” (One of Jen’s desert island discs!)
Montreal-born and raised, lawyer and mediator Jen Schaffer spent several years living in the Appalachian foothills of Ohio before finally settling in Toronto. She discovered songwriting in the middle of a career focused on social justice and giving voice to the marginalized in society.
Jen says, “As a state public defender in Ohio, I worked on a battered woman homicide case that not only changed self-defence law in that state but, unbeknownst to me at the time, my musical trajectory.”
This experience resulted in her first song, For Teresa, and the recording of an EP released in 2009 called Angel Ridge.
Her musical incarnation as a singer-songwriter came suddenly and with great passion. She formed The Shiners seven years ago and has been writing and performing since. The band released their first full-length album, Fate Line, in November of 2014. The 12 songs are all Jen Schaffer originals, showcasing depth and insight as a songwriter, as well as the band’s eclectic talents. There’s a duet on Fate Line with indie pop songstress and Juno nominee Emm Gryner, and contributions from Blair Packham, Arlene Bishop, Bob Foster and Sarah Foster.
Jen’s style evolved out of a childhood steeped in The Band, Ry Cooder and Jimmy Cliff, and a later immersion into the world of bluegrass and alternative country.
Simon Law, the drummer and keyboardist in the Shiners (Grammy winning songwriter of Back to Life and a member of the UK’s Soul II Soul), produced the album, giving it a soulful 70’s sound with rich harmony singing, deep bass and funky beats.
The Shiners include Law on drums and keyboards, Astrid Foster on bass, John Teshima on guitar, keyboards and bass, and Jonathan Marks on violin, viola and mandolin. All sing background vocals.
Internationally-known Canadian songwriter Ron Sexmith says the new material on Fate Line is “very strong” and counts himself a fan of Jen’s songwriting.”