It Must Be Christmas Time!

  • Stoney Lake Cottage on Christmas Day

  • Sadie at Sunrise Christmas Day 2013 in The Kawarthas

  • Gig at The Dora in November .

  • Bob Foster on Hammond!

  • Jen's Guitar and Gaffer Tape at the Studio.

  • Simon, Jon and Jeremy at the studio.

  • Simon, Jazzie B and Caron Wheeler of Soul II Soul at the BBC!

  • Simon at the BBC!

  • John and Lady Gaga!

  • Astrid at The Holy Oak

  • Ice Storm in Toronto 2013

Christmas Day in an icicle-adorned cottage on Stoney Lake – having survived or weathered (pun intended) the ice storm in Toronto, we escaped to the backwoods of North Kawartha to put finger to fret and keyboard and write tunes, make mixtapes and send out this Shiner holiday update with musical best wishes for the New Year.  Inspired by the surroundings, we wrote a doozy that we hope to trot out soon!

First, an extremely belated thanks to all the folks who came out to The Dora gig in November, absolutely rammed the place and forced us to re-jigg the set list on the fly to answer the calls for danceable tunes.  We were happy to oblige, with original and cover tunes like our fave Bowie song “Starman”!  Once we figured out that Jonathan’s violin had been unplugged the whole first set, we were off and running! And have been invited back for another go on Saturday, March 22nd ,  2014 – so mark your calendars and expect another night of less-than-sensitive rambunctious Shiner vibes.  We are also going to book a more chill café gig this Spring – perhaps at the Merchant of Green Coffee or The Only. Details to follow.

And the Fate Line Recording Project continues – slowly but steadily (some of us have day jobs and are busy applying for funding grants).  We continue recording at Grammy-nominated Jeremy Darby’s beautiful studio Canterbury Music Company and the music making will continue into the New Year with a goal of a late Spring release date.  The project has received lovely interest and support (and possible appearances) from such Shiner self-defined “fans” as Ron Sexsmith, Blair Packham, Arlene Bishop and Emm Gryner. We are so looking forward to the crowd sing on our song “Audience” from Shiner family, friends and patrons – likely in February!  And as a sneak peak of the new recordings – I’ve uploaded a rough mix (less a few overdubs) onto my Soundcloud page of “Seventeen Years. It includes Bob Foster on Hammond organ and will include the looped sound of the cicada, featured in the original demo of the song – compare and contrast the earlier to the final version!  As always, you can donate to the project in whatever denomination seems possible (the need is still there for sure despite the already generous contributions from you-know-who-you-are).  So please contact me directly at  Also, I have now set up a pre-order link on my Bandcamp page, if you haven’t already and would like to order Fate Line for $20 – it includes an immediate download of demo version of the title track and the 2009 4-song EP, Angel Ridge.

Individually, the Shiners have kept themselves busy lately: Dr. John touching Lady Gaga’s ass; Astrid playing a solo gig singing tear-in-beer favourite covers with her son Stevie Foster’s band backing her at The Holy Oak; Jonathan taking up yet another stringed instrument (this time banjo) to add to his musical lexicon; and Simon – well, he went off to London, UK in November to perform with Soul II Soul at the Virgin Records’ 40th Celebration and appear on BBC’s Mastertapes, performing SIIS tunes live in studio and being interviewed about the making of their iconic album, Club Classic Volume I.

And our gift to you all (our wonderful boosters) for the New Year – a Shiners’ mixtape featuring all the band’s favourite tunes.  See if you can guess whose is whose!  To download and for a complete list of the songs beautifully mixed by The Funky Ginger into a one-hour musical feast, go to my Soundcloud page.

Enjoy the rest of your holidays and as to 2014…  ask yourself what The Gourds’ query in their tune that wraps up the mixtape –  “Ooh baby, When it’s a dark time, Ooh baby, How will you shine?



(Astrid, Simon, Jonathan and John).


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