Four Chords & The Truth is a quarterly series of “in the round” sessions with leading songwriters — modelled on Nashville’s famous Bluebird Cafe sessions but with a greater range of musical genres — which debuted on June 18th, 2015, at Toronto’s Dakota Tavern, a venue noted by the New York Times as Toronto’s “subterranean honky-tonk haven,” and a favourite hang-out for top-notch musicians and celebrities.
The evening is one of intimacy, quality, and exclusivity, with each songwriter “confessing” their song secrets as the others wait their turn – or, sometimes – join in. The songwriters share one song at a time, round robin, for three rounds. In addition to the stellar line-ups, you never know who might show up and surprise the audience with a song and story!On January 18th 2023, it was announced that Four Chords and the Truth would be moving to a brand new venue: the incredible TD Music Hall within the historic Massey Hall / Allied Music Centre complex!
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The History of Four Chords and the Truth
From l-r, Host Andrea England, Morgan Cameron Ross, Joey Landreth, Donovan Woods, Rose Cousins
Presented in partnership with Jack Daniels for Seasons 1-3, all Four Chords and the Truth shows to date have sold out in advance or at the door. In Season Three, they began to sell out in advance before the performer line-ups were announced.
As of Feb 2018, all shows began to sell out in advance prior to line-ups being announced.
To date, over 100 award-winning songwriters have played Four Chords and the Truth, including Grammy and Juno Award winners as well as Canadian Music Hall of Fame members, Canadian Songwriter Hall of Fame members, and even a few officers of the Order of Canada! Check out a sample of unforgettable moments below, and then check out our full alumni list here!
Andrea England, Nova Scotia-born and Toronto-based, founded and hosts the series. Andrea works successfully in two different music worlds, recording and performing as a solo roots/country artist while placing songs with pop stars and emerging country artists. She’s earned honours in the John Lennon, NSAI, USA and the International Songwriting competitions, and her songs have been recorded by pop and country stars and featured in major TV series as well as in feature films.
Inspired by the “in the round” sessions on Canada’s East Coast and in Nashville, Andrea wanted to established a regular grass-roots series in Toronto, but wanted to present a wider range of music. “It’s a rare opportunity to hear bare-bones versions of songs — from different genres — and the stories that inspired them,” said England. “When you break songs down this way, it’s easy to see that at the end of the day, they’re all ‘folk’ songs and we’re all just folk singers.”
Go behind the scenes at Four Chords & the Truth with Radio Blues & Roots Radio to reminisce or to see what you’ve been missing.
We couldn’t have brought you Four Chords and the Truth all these years without our longtime presenting Sponsor, Jack Daniel’s. Many thanks, Jack (and Brown-Forman)! #JackLivesHere
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