Hit The Bottom Quicker

Here’s our newest single and lyric video, put together by the talented Adrienne McLaren and just in the nick of time (as in the 1500s iteration when nick meant “the critical moment.”)

Hit The Bottom Quicker is a song off our latest album, Games We Play, originally created to be a stark look at that very human trait of accelerating one’s own personal descent. Still, with the times being what they are, we could not help but link the phenomena to today’s political climate and to the wish for the self-implosion of such corrupt, destructive political figures as Trump and (closer to home) Doug Ford!

As an antidote to the feeling of being at the mercy of these authoritarian, arrogant leaders, we introduce the idea that they will ultimately be undone by their vain pretences… “split the lip that bit ya”… with a little help from an outraged populace.

To that end, the video includes images from the Women’s March and Kavanaugh hearings but also from the Rumble in the Jungle boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Geroge Foreman – a reminder how the mighty or “kings” can literally fall.

Ultimately, despotic and divisive leaders are featured in the video to make us question who we are putting in places of power – this moment in time is a crucibleabout that very question, as observed by one Senator at the Kavanaugh hearings last week.

And so, as we give thanks in Canada this long weekend, let’s do so with eyes wide open and staring down some hard truths about our elected officials’ abuse of power and complacency! Here is our contribution to the cause to help principles and integrity prevail as the “misleaders” hit the bottom.  This can happen quicker if we do get out and vote (municipally or at the midterms) and protest and march and act and vocalize… #metoo

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August 2017 – The Shiners at Canterbury Music Company after a weekend of laying down the bed tracks for Games We Play… and the start of the one and a half year journey!

December 2017 at Canterbury Music Company – The Shiners behind the Neve desk after all thirteen tracks were finally mixed and sent off to Abbey Road Studios for mastering!

Games We Play was a one and a half year process of recording, mixing and mastering, from August 2016 to December 2017… and it was long and wonderful musical marathon!  We started at Canterbury Music Company, laying down the bed tracks and then over the months recording guest artists like Denis Keldie on accordion, Carmen Wiebe on grand piano and a horde of Shiner friends on hand claps and oohs.  The making continued at Sony ATV Music Publishing studios here in Toronto where Jon’s violin parts were recorded. And much was also recorded at Studio Wolfrey, our home studio – lead vocals from Jen, Shiner backgrounds, percussion from Simon and even some violin from Jen’s son, Manny.

The final mixing was done in December 2017 at Canterbury with Jeremy Darby’s most excellent and generous help… It was a knackered but chuffed lot at 2am!!! on December 14th, having completed the mixing in the wee small hours so that the record could be ready to head across the pond and be mastered by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios on December 15th, 2017… and so it was!

December 2017 also included music video recording at Canterbury and Dora Keogh Irish Pub with Evan Trestan for the title track and first single Games We Play… And now it’s all steam ahead to February 10th 2018 and the launch of this labour of love.

So a big Shiner thank you to all who contributed and supported us through this music making and music sharing journey!!

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Jen Schaffer and the Shiners at Mariposa!


We are feeling well chuffed after getting booked to play the Mariposa Folk Festival!!! It’s coming up soon – July 8th to the 10th in Orillia, Ontario!!

Thanks to Blair Packham for pinch hitting as a Shiner when we played at the showcase up in Orillia in April!  So proud of my band mates! And thanks to Mehreen Shahid of the Orillia Packet and Times, who shared some of the shots she took of us during the showcase.

Amazing feeling to go from attendee and audience to performer – saw many amazing shows at Mariposa back in the day: Kate and Anna McGarrigle with their then teen kids, Rufus and Martha, singing civil war tunes; Jackson Browne headlining in Barrie’s Molson Park, and John Prine, Lucinda Williams and the now late (great) Guy Clark down on the Island!

Just got the schedule and we will be playing all three days at the Fest, from Friday afternoon at the Downtown Orillia stage to Saturday and Sunday afternoon and evening gigs at the Mariposa Pub Stage on the festival grounds! There are gigs for both you day timers and night owls!  Worth staying to the bitter, with The Milk Carton Kids on the MainStage late Sunday night after our pub tent gig!

Hope to see you out at one of the gigs.  We will, no doubt, be posting pics on our Facebook band page during the weekend and I will have some more musings etc. for you all after the event!

Friday July 8th
Concert @ Downtown Stage, Downtown Orillia
Jen Schaffer & The Shiners

Saturday July 9th
Concert @ Downtown Stage, Downtown Orillia
Jen Schaffer & the Shiners

Saturday July 9th
10:30 PM
We All Shine On!
@ Mariposa Pub, Festival Grounds
Jen Schaffer & The Shiners
and Terry Savage & The Wonky Honkees

Sunday July 10th
11:00 am
Showcase Revisited
@ Mariposa Pub, Festival Grounds
Jen Schaffer & The Shiners
and Cat Clyde

Sunday July 10th
10:00 pm
Setting the Bar
@ Mariposa Pub, Festival Grounds
Jen Schaffer & The Shiners



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Sunday Morning, New York City Release Info

Soulful alt-country roots:

 SMNYC 1:23:16 #3

Jen Schaffer and The Shiners

Quick details:

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: 

Website: www.jenschaffer.ca/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jenschafferandtheshiners/

Bandcamp: www.jenschafferandtheshiners.bandcamp.com/


The Lowdown:

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!)

The Backstory:

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.”




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“Sunday Morning, New York City” on a Saturday Night!

Our love song to New York City will be released on January 23rd, 2016 at a gig at Burdock in Toronto, which will include performances from some of our favourite musician friends doing choice cover tunes of NYC songs AND a screening of a video of the single, filmed by Kristin and Cameron Briggs and featuring dance sequences from Jen’s daughter Hannah.

2015 included a couple of trips to NYC, where some footage was taken for the video.  Visits to the spectacular High Line inspired the cover art for the song and gig poster, which contains a snippet of Spencer Finch’s stunning installation piece near the Chelsea Market, “The River Flows Both Ways.”

We also recorded the song in 2015, some at Jeremy Darby’s gorgeous Canterbury Music Company, where Simon was able to record his part on the grand piano in the studio.  Most of the other instrumentals were recorded Chez Wolfrey at our home studio – including Jonathan’s sweet viola part.

Hannah’s sequences for the video were filmed in Toronto at Riverdale Park and “For the Love of It” dance studio.

Looking forward to a spectacular night!

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Fate Line Video Released!

On this February 1st 2015 we are all well chuffed to release our video for Fate Line. We filmed it at The Jam Factory, the gorgeous venue where we held our album release party. We feel deeply grateful to Evan Trestan and his crew at Lifestyle Media for making this video so beautiful and capturing the essence of our band so well.

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