Four Chords & The Truth is a quarterly series of “in the round” sessions with award-winning songwriters — modelled on Nashville’s famous Bluebird Cafe sessions but with a greater range of musical genres — which debuted at Toronto’s Dakota Tavern on June 18, 2015 presented in partnership with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. Hosted and curated by songwriter, Andrea England, the show has sold out without line-ups announced since 2017. This will mark FCATT’s inaugural online event!
Featured Songwriters: Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Danny Michel, Reeny Smith, surprise guests and your host, Andrea England
Get your tickets here!
Doors: 6:45pm – Come early and mingle at your own table (break out room) with friends!
Mixology Pre-Show: 7:00pm – Enjoy a mixology lesson provided by Taylor Corrigan, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey’s Senior Advocacy and Engagement Manager. Choose Ticket Option 2 below if you’d like to mix along with Taylor, and support the Unison Benevolent Fund, Canada’s Music Industry Charity, in the process!!
Show: 7:30pm – The Main Event (Line-Up announcement coming March 11th) plus surprise guests!
Ticket Option 1: $15 = General Admission – includes the main event plus the pre-show mixology cocktail demo courtesy of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey .
Ticket Option 2: $50 = Ticket + “Whiskey & Briskey” Pre-Show Kit * ($100 value) – includes a ticket and all of the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey mixology ingredients (non-alcoholic option included) PLUS a 1/2 lb. of brisket from Toronto’s hottest new pop-up, Camp Smokehouse. See details in the ad below. Each kit serves 2. Limited supply, Toronto pick-up required.
Proceeds from Mixology kits and a % of ticket sales will go to the Unison Benevolent Fund, Canada’s Music Industry Charity.
Check out our event partners here!
About the Featured Songwriters:
Carolyn Dawn Johnson:
The life and career of hit singer-songwriter Carolyn Dawn Johnson has been a steady climb to the top, as she remains a staple in the country music industry nearly 20 years after setting out to pursue her dreams in Nashville. Just four short years after making the 60-hour drive from Vancouver, BC Canada to Music City U.S.A., Johnson scored her first chart-topping hit as a songwriter when Chely Wright took “Single White Female” all the way to No. 1. The success then led to publishing deals and cuts with several other artists like Patty Loveless, Mindy McCready, Kathy Mattea, Pam Tillis, SheDaisy Lila McCann, Suzy Bogguss, Linda Davis, Jo Dee Messina & more. Johnson was named Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year in 2000 by Music Row, and has continued to carry that title well as one of the town’s most loved and respected tunesmiths around.“I love this town and all the creative people that really make it happen,” says Johnson. “I never seem to run out of inspiration. The music community has always included me and uplifted me, and I’m extremely blessed and thankful.”
After inking a record deal with Sony’s Arista Nashville in 2000, Johnson produced music of her own with the release of her debut album titled Room With a View. The critically acclaimed project spawned the Top 5 smash “Complicated,” as well as other hit singles such as “Georgia” and top 10“I Don’t Want You to Go.” During that time, Johnson criss-crossed the country on many high-profile tours as the opening act for the likes of Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban. Her albums to follow included Dress Rehearsal in 2004, and her independently released Love & Negotiation in 2006 and Love Rules in 2010. Besides laying down vocals for her own albums, Johnson’s angelic voice can also be heard on several outside projects with Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Jana Kramer, Johnny Reid, Blake Shelton, Dan+Shay, Brett Kissel, Drake White, The Eli Young Band, Darius Rucker, Lauren Alaina, Kenny Rogers, Loretta Lynn, and Patty Loveless. In addition to the side work with other artists, Johnson has also garnered such elite titles as the Canadian Country Music Awards’ Producer of the Year in 2004 and 2009 for her hand in producing one of many Canadian-based projects in recent years. Over time, Johnson’s focus shifted back to what drew her to Nashville – her love and passion for songwriting. Johnson’s unique way of expressing words has made her a writer in town that aspiring newcomers hope to shape their own careers after. “I’ve always wanted to be an artist who writes things that are real to me,” Johnson says of her songwriting. I just want to be honest in my music. It also brings me great joy to help other artists find what they want to say.” Through it all, the multi-talented Johnson continues to chip away at her own craft. She recently wrote a song with the multi-talented singer/actresses the Stella sisters (Lennon & Maisy) and it developed into a children’s book called, “In The Waves” released on her birthday in 2015. She also spent much of 2014 & 2015 on the road singing background vocals for Miranda Lambert on her Platinum tour, in between doing her own headlining dates within the U.S. and Canada. For the last 2 years, she has been writing, recording & touring with the New York based band JD & the Straight Shot. To date, Johnson has racked up 17 CCMA’s, including the title for reigning Female Vocalist of the Year, as well as being crowned the Academy of Country Music’s Top New Female Vocalist in 2002. The American Music Awards hailed her as Favorite New Country Artist the following year.
With plans to record her next album on the horizon Carolyn says, “ I like to say that I’ve had many bonuses to my dreams … things, people, events and accolades, in addition to and off the beaten path from my original goals,” notes Johnson. “I’ve certainly gone further then I actually imagined, but that doesn’t make me stop in my tracks. I just want to keep doing this for the rest of my life. Yes, I do a lot of things, but it always comes back to the music, and the songs I consistently keep writing. It’s time to share some of those again with my audience. Music truly is what makes my world go round.”
The only good thing about not shopping in record stores anymore is you won’t have to figure out what genre to look for Danny under. If that were the case, you could try looking under, rock, pop, folk, world or even classical. His own self-described musical A.D.D. has kept his music fresh for decades. Maybe it has something to do with being born next to a candy factory, or his ambidextrous brain, but his thoughtful lyrics & charming performances have earned a devoted fan base, multiple nominations for Junos, The Polaris Prize, CBC’s “Heart Of Gold”, and most recently winning the CFMA’s “Producer of the year” and “Oliver Schroder Pushing the Boundaries” Awards. But Danny considers his career highlights to be the unique real life moments like performing for Jane Goodall’s 85th birthday party, touring with Stuart Mclean and working with charities close to his heart. “When I was eleven, I spent a month living in Khartoum, Sudan. It was there I was exposed to a very different world…and music beyond Rock & Roll.” In 2015, his adventurous spirit took him to the country of Belize where he tracked down one of his favourite Belizean bands; The Garifuna Collective (a unique Afro-Amerindian cultural group) and convinced them to create an album together. That album (“Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me”) was called “One of the finest musical works of our time” by Billboard’s Larry Leblanc, landed Danny’s 3rd Juno nomination (World Music Album Of The Year), and a sold out summer tour of North America with The Garifuna Collective. While in Belize, Danny also founded the DM Ocean Academy Fund that helps raise scholarships for a small non-profit community high school. To date, Danny & his fans have raised over $104,000.00 for the school. In 2016, Danny returned to Canada to record “Matadora,” his most deeply humanist album to date. This ten-song collection explores the environmentalist, pacifist, romanticist, archivist, and space enthusiast in Danny. Then it was off to the Canadian high Arctic where Danny recorded “Khlebnikov” (possibly the most northern album ever recorded/above 80°) aboard the legendary Soviet-era Russian ice-breaker, Kapitan Khlebnikov during an 18-day arctic expedition curated by Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield. Once home, Danny’s recordings were arranged for brass & strings by film composer Rob Carli. The result is a suite of atmospheric and haunting songs about the Arctic, our planet, and our place in it.
Reeny Smith is a powerhouse on the stage and in the studio. Singer, songwriter, musician, and producer, her age – and her modest disposition – may be deceiving. That has changed with the release of her soul-inspired, ‘W W III: Strength Courage Love,’ and her most recent single, ‘Love Trumps Money.’ Reeny has captured much attention and high praise from within the music industry, having an already long list of awards and accolades to her credit. She has collected over a dozen awards, including three ANSMA Awards, four Music NS awards and two ECMA’s. Her natural born talent was inspired and nurtured by her family and friends growing up in North Preston, Nova Scotia. Both Reeny’s father and her grandfather are former members of one of Canada’s premier gospel bands and her uncles are esteemed musicians in the Carson Downey Band. Reeny’s music was recently featured on CBC’s Diggstown. Celebrating her involvement in the series, she was included in their intimate live sessions special, performing acoustic versions of her most recent creations. Her music has been heard in such films as “Love By Accident” and her banging club track “Good Girl Swag” was featured in the hit CBC TV series, “Workin’ Moms”. Internationally, Reeny has generated releases in both Japan and Taiwan, co-writing and adding her distinctive melodies, lyrics and presence to artists around the globe. This included three songs for Mandarin hip hop superstar, J. Sheon. Back home, she was also the voice and producer of her own rendition of a unique take on “What A Wonderful World” for Tourism Nova Scotia’s most recent campaign.
Andrea England (Host)
Nova Scotia-born, Toronto-based Andrea England earnestly describes her life as “all music – all the time.” A respected member of the Canadian songwriter community, this founder and host of the popular songwriter-in-the-round series, Four Chords & the Truth, regularly lands cuts with artists as musically diverse as CCMA Female Artist of the Year, Meghan Patrick, and former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger; and, every now and then, she also releases an album of her own. Her last effort, Hope and Other Sins, produced by Grammy Award winning producer/guitarist Colin Linden, spent several weeks on Cashbox Magazine’s Top 50 Folk chart and hit #1 on Galaxy’s Folk Roots Radio; and her previous release, Lemonade, spawned numerous network TV placements and international songwriting awards (John Lennon, International and USA Songwriting Contests), kickstarting her career as a songwriter. No stranger to the stage, Andrea has also performed at SXSW, NXNE, CMW, NSMW, CCMA, ECMA, OCFF and FAI Music festivals and, recently, was honoured to host her first Four Chords and the Truth round at Nashville’s famed Bluebird Café. A proud alumnus of Dalhousie (Gender & Women’s Studies) and St. Francis Xavier Universities (English Literature), Andrea also believes in the power of education and the importance of giving back: she has led songwriting workshops for the Honey Jam, GuitarWorkshopPlus, the Singing Competition, Elaine Overholt’s Big Voice Studios, and teaches Lyrics 1 in Seneca College’s Independent Songwriting and Performance Program. Andrea also sits on the Dalhousie Arts Centre Campaign Cabinet, is a staunch supporter and charity partner (via Four Chords & the Truth) of the Unison Benevolent Fund and is a voting member of both the American and Canadian Academies of Recording Arts & Sciences as well as an active juror for the category of Songwriter of the Year in numerous regional and national organizations. Andrea is the most recent addition to the Songwriters Association of Canada’s Board of Directors.