Cam Penner (left) will be on stage with Jon Wood as one of the three bands performing at Bozzini’s 300th show. (Bobbi Barbarich)

Bozzini’s 300th show features trio of bands in Chilliwack

Artists include Ariana Gillis, Cameron Penner and T. Nile on Sept. 20

Bozzini’s is kicking off its fall/winter concert series with its 300th show on Sept. 20.

They will be celebrating with a trio of Canada’s finest songwriters, banjo pickers, and guitar players covering a range of rock, folk, roots and blues.

Ariana Gillis and Cameron Penner are making their Chilliwack debuts that night, while T. Nile has performed at Bozzini’s many times, although it’s been a few years since she’s graced Chilliwack with her ethereal voice and brilliant guitar and banjo picking.

Ariana Gillis:

Ariana Gillis is of three artists performing at Bozzini’s 300th show. (Submitted)

Hailing from just outside Toronto, Gillis began taking singing lessons at the age of six, but she was hardly thrilled. So, her father encouraged her to write her own material and learn to play the guitar. An award-winning songwriter himself, he gave her invaluable insight into the process.

Gillis made an immediate impact on the Niagara music scene, and the Canadian Folk music scene, winning Songwriter of the Year at the 2009 Niagara Music Awards, followed by Female Vocalist and Album of the Year in 2010, as well as 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award, Young Performer of the Year.

She networked at music conferences, which led to a quick, two-song performance for Dave Marsh in a stairwell in Memphis, following the release of her second album, Forget Me Not. Marsh then played Gillis on his Sirius XM radio show, which caught the attention of Elton John’s songwriting partner which in turn, led to Buddy Miller. Fast forward a year later — Miller witnessed Gillis perform at the City Winery in Nashville experiencing firsthand the conviction and power of her song writing, singing and stage presence. This led to further conversations and ultimately brought them together to create the album, The Maze. Recorded live-off-the-floor in Nashville at Miller’s studio – this album features lyrics and performances that feel both natural and strangely unique all at once.

Cameron Penner:

Cam Penner doesn’t so much sing songs as summon them up like a medium calling up spirits. His gentle growl can become a delta howl, as if he is the conduit, a mere medium articulating the blues of a whole continent, emanating from a bottomless well of shared everyman experience. His remarkably sympathetic foil and musical cohort, electric guitar and lap steel sound sculptor Jon Wood, conjures up sound and colour, building spaces where ghosts dwell and shadows beckon. The distinctive flow, the masterful musical bonding and the overall atmosphere they create is both endearing and humbling. They make you want to listen closely to every word and each hand-crafted note. Their unrivaled attention-demanding presence marks this duo apart from other acts.

Penner and Wood have been moving audiences for the last 13 years. They have toured their traveling show extensively through Canada and Europe. The symphony of sound and lyricism showcase the inevitable evolution of this duo. The live show is as fragile as it is grand. Like watching a tight rope walker or a trapeze artist at work. It’s folk. It’s rock n’ roll. It’s Cam Penner and Jon Wood breathing fire into every note and lyric.

Penner’s new album At War With Reason is fearless. There’s mystery and menace, love and humility, savage blues and tender romances, sounds one can imagine primitive man heard, allied with tribal ritual and chain gang hollers, delta moans and sylvan murmurs. The songs aptly demonstrate the beautiful contradictions and collisions as Penner crafts a new music, a wave of minimalist repetitive chaos spiraling in and settling to something strange and beautiful. Consistently delivering an exciting collision of electrified sound and colour. The vocals on most of the tracks are delivered in a spoken word style that almost veers into a gentle form just shy of hip-hop. But Penner manages this deftly so the tracks still feel earthy and hypnotic, throughout, creating a call of the wild feel. The captivating come together of these two artists is a marvel to listen to. Yet again they have carved out something unique and the results are immense.

T. Nile:

Quite a ways from her early days in a Galiano Island cabin on the wild coast of British Columbia, T. Nile has blurred musical boundaries, fusing the traditionally conflicting styles of electro-pop and folk-roots.

“Working with both acoustic and electronic instruments gives me a sense of unlimited musical possibility” she says, comparing the capabilities to a field of wildflowers versus a vase of flowers.

On her new release Beachfires it’s a sentiment you’ll hear come alive throughout the album. T. Nile has toured North America and Europe, won awards, including Best New/Emerging Artist at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, played major festivals, and released three albums.

• • •

Bozzini’s 300th show featuring Ariana Gillis, Cameron Penner (with Jon Wood), and T. Nile is Friday Sept. 20. Early show is at 5 p.m. (doors at 4 p.m.). Late show is at 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.).

Tickets $28.50 to $30 at Bozzini’s or call 604-792-0744. For more, go to

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