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 (or, occasionally, a special guest host) and 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 also supports and promotes the Unison Benevolent Fund.
Location: The Dakota Tavern
Advance tickets are available now!
Toronto-born and raised topline writer, Liz Rodrigues, whose songs have been covered by artists as diverse as Celine Dion, to Pitbull to Pink and most notably on numerous projects with Eminem. Although Liz has been writing songs since she was a teenager, her breakthrough occurred in 2008, when Celine Dion recorded “There Comes a Time” (co-written with Jorgen Elofsson). This song was included on Celine’s Greatest Hits package: My Love: The Essential Collection. During this same period, Liz and her co-writing partners from the hip hop/alternative band The New Royales (including well known L.A. producer DJ Khalil), had song placements with several artists in the hip-hop/rap world, including Slaughterhouse, J Electronica, Bishop Lamont, Self Scientific and Pitbull. Working again with her song-writing partners, Liz furthered her success in the hip hop world by co-writing 3 songs on Eminem’s record-breaking Recovery album, released June 2010. Her credits were on the tracks “Won’t Back Down” (featuring Pink), as well as “25 to Life” and “Almost Famous”, contributing vocals on the latter two tracks on this Billboard #1 (and Grammy winning) album. To top it all off, Eminem invited Liz to perform live with him on his Recovery stadium tour which opened with a pair of homecoming concerts at Detroit’s Comerica Park in September 2010. Further demonstrating her versatility, Liz added her co-writing talents to Nicole Scherzinger’s Killer Love album with a song entitled “Casualty” produced by Grammy Award winning Boi-1da. The album was released internationally in the spring of 2011 and was ranked by music website Popjustice as the 10th best album of the year. The next project that Liz and her bandmates worked on for Eminem was his duo with Royce da 5’9” (Bad Meets Evil…Hell the Sequel) released in June of 2012. Liz co-wrote the song “Echo” which also prominently featured her vocals. Also in 2012, she co-wrote and sang backing vocals on “Here Comes The Weekend” (featuring Eminem) from Pink’s number one album, The Truth About Love. Continuing her association with Eminem, Liz co-wrote and sang the chorus on the rock anthem “Survival”, which was premiered on the “Call of Duty: Ghosts” video game trailer and featured on Eminem’s eighth studio album, “Marshall Mathers LP 2, released in November of 2013. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200 charts, and earned a Grammy for Best Rap Album. In 2015, Liz co-wrote “Kings Never Die”, a Gwen Stefani/Eminem duet which was the end title track for the feature film, “Southpaw”, also included on the film’s soundtrack album. All of these milestones, and many more not mentioned here, signify the unfolding of an incredible career for this multi-talented writer….and she feels like she’s just getting started!
Nathan Ferraro is a songwriter, artist, and producer from Toronto Canada. He has written songs with or collaborated on records with Lady Gaga, Carly Rae Jepsen, Bear Mountain, RALPH, Shawn Hook, Kieren Mercer, Virginia to Vegas, Alyssa Reid, Young Empires, The Midway State, Jessie Reyez, Lowell, Tyler Shaw, Down With Webster, Shaun Frank and Brave Station. Nathan was the lead singer of The Midway State and is now releasing records under the moniker NATE J.
Jessica Mitchell has been lauded as ‘country’s Adele’ and likened to Sheryl Crow, and much like them, her genre-bending vocals and tone are universally appealing. She is, at heart, a storyteller – an open book, inspired by the raw honesty and storytelling nature of the genre. Mitchell’s much anticipated debut album Heart of Glass, was released May 11, 2018. She has spent the last decade travelling between Toronto and Nashville, collaborating with top-notch songwriters, focusing on writing new music and crafting her richly unique sound. The record embodies powerful and soulful melodies and lyrical brilliance, while showcasing Mitchell’s vocal talent in the purest of forms – and the result is utterly and heartbreakingly beautiful. Mitchell’s “Workin’ on Whiskey” was the top added song to radio at the time of release. 2016 and 2017 were ground-breaking years for the rising star, which saw Mitchell open for Kiefer Sutherland, Royal Wood, Ron Sexsmith, Terri Clark, Bonnie Raitt, take to the stage at large-scale festivals, and snag a coveted Guild Sponsorship. A career highlight included being asked to honour Neil Young with a Tribute at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala at Massey Hall. In 2018, Jessica also hit the road on a cross-country tour with Canadian icon, Johnny Reid. Mitchell believes that pain and loss are oftentimes at the heart of every relatable piece of music. As she puts it, “You’ll never see the light until it’s completely dark, and it got dark for a while.” After losing her mother to a long battle with cancer, Mitchell had her own epiphany about what kind of artist she wanted to become. Her hope is that by sharing grief, and other personal experiences through her music, she will forge genuine bonds with her audience. When listening to Mitchell’s music, she makes it very easy for you to latch on to her genuine, powerful lyrics – while making just anyone realize they are not alone.
Jon Brooks writes songs to calm those who’ve looked into and seen what is in their hearts; he also writes songs to terrify those who’ve not. He gleefully defies genre classification, suggesting: “if my songs and purpose were reducible to a dumbed-down elevator pitch, I’d be woefully incapable of giving today’s audiences the complete emotional and transcendent musical experience they need and deserve.” His sixth and latest album, No One Travels Alone,made NPR’s Global Village Best of 2018’ list. Jon also has the dubious honour of owning the record for most nominations by The Canadian Folk Music Awards in the category of English Songwriter of the Year (2007/2009/2012/2015). No One Travels Alone,(Borealis Records, 2018),is the first example in popular music of an album written in circular, corona form – an interconnecting form chosen to reflect the album’s essential theme of interconnectedness of all things living
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 Grace & Grit), Tara Macri, 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 weeks 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…”