Four Chords and the Truth, the Dakota Confessions are series of songwriter showcases held quarterly in Toronto at the Dakota Tavern, featuring a blend of top notch songwriters and songs in an intimate environment. Each show is hosted by award-winning songwriter Andrea England and will features several nationally and/or internationally acclaimed songwriters (and maybe a surprise guest or two). The songs are performed “in the round,” a style made famous by Nashville’s Bluebird Café, in which all four songwriters share the stage at once, each introducing and performing one song acoustically per round for a series of 3 rounds. The show is presented by Jack Daniel’s and supports the Unison Benevolent Fund.
Location: The Dakota Tavern
Member of Grammy Nominated , Juno and multiple CCMA winning band The Wilkinson’s and CCMA group or duo of the Year Small Town Pistols. Tyler Wilkinson is no stranger to Canadian Country Music. Over the last 20 years in the industry he has been part of numerous chart topping songs with both bands and more recently received songwriter and single of the year at the CMAO awards show for the Small Town Pistols song I Only Smoke When I Drink. It’s not hard to tell that to Tyler music and the art of crafting songs has been a life long passion.
“I am truly blessed by all the incredible opportunities I’ve had,” says Canadian vocal powerhouse Shakura S’Aida. “My life has been filled with amazing adventures, and I truly can’t wait to see what will happen next!” So goes the story of this free spirited, multi-award winning dynamo, whose ascension to one of the country’s most beloved and in demand vocal performers has been a wonderful ride. While she has been performing for most of her life, Shakura’s singing career really kicked into high gear back in 2008 when she made a triumphant trip to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Competing against more than 100 other artists from around the world, she earned penultimate honours and put the music world on notice that there was a rising new star in town. In the years since, she has been moving from strength to strength, releasing three critically acclaimed albums, touring widely, and racking up an impressive array of awards and accolades. Whether it’s in a nightclub or a concert hall, Shakura always makes the stage her own. With a vibrant personality, stunning visual style, and an unforgettable voice, she takes audiences on a sublime and soulful journey that lingers on long after the lights have come up. S’Aida is an artist who never stops exploring her muse – ever searching for the next great song, and the next audience to sing it to.
Justin Nozuka began writing his own songs at the age of 12. Since then he has continued to impress every person who comes across him. His debut album ‘Holly’ was released in 2007 to critical acclaim when Justin was 17 years old. Since his debut, Justin has received an NRJ Award for ‘Duo of the Year’. He was also nominated for two JUNO awards (most recently being in 2011 for Adult Alternative Album of the Year, a category he shared with Neil Young). He has toured the world extensively. Justin’s musical influences are soul, gospel, folk, and blues. Playing support slots for world renowned artists such as Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, John Mayer and Jason Mraz while lending his voice to bring attention to social causes, Nozuka continues to demonstrate his ability to impress and inspire on a global level. His new album “Ulysees” is available now.
See Cory Marquardt’s 6 foot 1 inch 220 pound frame and it’s easy to believe he played three years of major junior hockey in Ontario and Quebec. Hear Cory’s passion for flying and you’ll understand his pursuit of becoming a fighter pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force. See Cory perform and hear him sing, and you’ll agree he was destined to be a country music star! As one of the most dynamic and interesting new country music talents, Marquardt possesses a singing voice that is second to none, a songwriting talent as big as his size, and a swagger on stage of a seasoned rock star. These formidable qualities are also the reason why he has quickly amassed a support team of leading industry players, including Invictus Entertainment Group and Big Star recordings. Like many North Bay, Ontario boys, Marquardt started playing hockey when he was just three years old. At age 10, he took a shine to the drums, and began playing along to Rush, Deep Purple, and Shania Twain records on a drum set he built out of paint cans in the basement. When he hit sixth grade, and was showing incredible promise on his paint cans, the investment was made to get Cory on a real drum kit. As time went by, his skills continued to develop on the drums and the rink. When it came time for Cory to choose a vocation, he decided to put his knowledge and in-flight experience to use at Royal Military College where he enrolled as a fighter pilot and played for the university hockey team. But fate would intervene. One winter night in Kingston, Marquardt’s hockey teammates and college buddies went out for a couple of pints at a local bar, where a local musician was playing an acoustic show. One of Cory’s teammates knew that musician, and suggested he call Cory up at the end of one of his sets. He did, and a reluctant Cory Marquardt succumbed to the cheers of hockey players and airmen. He played songs by some of his musical heroes, Vince Gill, Merle Haggard and Zac Brown. The packed bar fell in love with him, and he with the stage. Cory had caught the bug. With fresh enthusiasm, Marquardt decided to pursue the musical path with the same commitment and passion as all his other exploits. He began to write songs, put a band together, and perform wherever possible, developing a reputation for a crowd pleasing show. He has since made several trips to Nashville to complete his debut album “This Man” which was released in Canada May 26th, 2015 under the Big Star Recordings umbrella. He has charted several songs in Canada in the past year including the hits “21”. “Nowhere With You” and “This Man”.
Andrea England (host)
Nova Scotia-born Toronto-based Andrea England has a unique ability to work 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. Having been awarded by the John Lennon International, NSAI, USA, and International Songwriting Competitions, England’s songs have appeared on numerous TV series, in feature films, and have been recorded by numerous artists, including former Pussycat Doll, Nicole Scherzinger (whose recording of co-write “Casualty” on Killer Love earned Andrea her first UK Gold record), 2015 CCMA nominee Twin Kennedy (cowrites “Get Back Up” and “I Never Will” book-end their new album, It’s A Love Thing), risings star Meghan Patrick (“Nothing but a Song” on CMAO Album of the Year, Grace & Grit), Tara Macri, Alessia Cohle, and Kolton Stewart, among others. Andrea’s own most recent release, Hope & Other Sins – which was produced by Colin Linden and features guest musicians Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Damhnait Doyle, Liz Rodrigues and Gordie Sampson, among others – garnered rave reviews and diverse radio play, reaching #1 on Galaxy’s FolkRoots chart & spending 14 wks on CashBox Magazine’s Top 50 Folk Chart. Of it, David Kidney (Critics at Large) wrote: “The songs are autobiographical, personal, honest and universal. The performances are potent as you might expect; England’s vocals are delicate yet strong…” Andrea’s most recent endeavour is founding and hosting Four Chords & the Truth, Toronto’s hottest ‘in the round’ songwriter concert series, Four Chords & the Truth.