Trent Severn
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Trent Severn

Stratford, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE | AFM

Stratford, Ontario, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter




"Trent Severn picks up where Stompin’ Tom left off"

In the flood of eulogies for Stompin’ Tom Connors in the past week, there was a common refrain: will we ever have another singer who chronicles our national tales? Canadian musicians do well the world over, but there’s often little that distinguishes their songs as specifically Canadian. Trent Severn, a new folk-roots trio from Stratford, Ont., aims to pick up the torch. Dressed in plaid shirts, singer-songwriters Emm Gryner, Dayna Manning and Laura C. Bates sing Joni-sweet three-part harmonies over folky fiddle and fingerpicked guitar, and the 10 songs on their self-titled debut album have titles like Bluenose on a Dime and Mulroney Times. By the time they get to their searing take on the Steven Truscott case, there’s a pretty clear sense of Trent Severn’s mandate.

The breezy take on Canadiana isn’t simply a gimmick: “It sounds premeditated, but it was so natural,” says Manning. “When you get a song like Snowy Soul in your email, you just have to send something back really great, you know?” (Snowy Soul, the first song Gryner wrote for the band, was inspired by a conversation in a bookstore where a man was talking about returning from the Arctic).

Trent Severn—named for an Ontario waterway—is new, but its players are not. Gryner, a singer and multi-instrumentalist with more than a dozen albums, has toured with David Bowie as a backing vocalist and keyboardist, and been lauded by U2’s Bono. Manning had signed to major label EMI in the ’90s, then carved out an independent solo career, opening for the likes of Radiohead. Bates, an emerging violinist, is in demand for her ease in crossing musical genres.

In the fall of 2011, Gryner emailed Manning, whom she knew from their days in the ’90s music scene, floating the idea of a band with a “Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young-meets-Stompin’ Tom” sound that explored Canadian archetypes and themes. “It came from a combination of different things,” Gryner recalls. “Touring Ireland, living with Kate McGarrigle in Montreal . . . That was a big inspiration.” Manning, tired of the typical “relationship songs,” jumped at the idea. She enlisted violinist Bates to bring in the vital fiddle melodies. (Manning wrote one of her best-known songs, A Walk on the Moon, while babysitting Bates years ago.)

Despite not knowing each other well, and the logistical impediments— Manning lives part of the year in Fort St. John, B.C., and works as an administrator full-time; Gryner is a busy mom of two in St. Mary’s, Ont.; and Bates performs with several Toronto indie collectives, including the Boxcar Boys and Del Bel—they quickly found both musical and personal chemistry. They emailed lyrics and demo tracks back and forth, recording in all manner of home studios (both Gryner and Manning are experienced producers) and pieced together the album over the course of several months.

“It’s a narrative writing style akin to Stan Rogers,” Bates says. “Storytelling music. I tend to shy away from saying it’s a band made up of women. I love female musicians very much, and I love being a female musician, but I don’t want that to be the marketing principle of the band.” True to that idea, they don’t have their photographs on the album’s cover, but rather simply an evocative shot of a roadway in the Canadian Shield. That creative freedom is an upside of releasing the album themselves. “A record company probably would have only supported a project that they could market more broadly,” Manning says.

While all three maintain solo careers, they’re adamant Trent Severn will remain an ongoing concern. “I have my work family, I have my home family and I have Trent Severn,” says Manning, “and those are the three things that I’ve chosen to juggle in my life. If it wasn’t that easy, it wouldn’t have worked.”

The band recently got a lift when astronaut Chris Hadfield, a noted music fan, mentioned his fondness for their music. They’ll perform in Toronto during Canadian Music Fest on March 19 and 20 and hope to tour across Canada in the coming months. And they’re starting to plan a new album—which they hint just might include a catchy number about Tim Hortons. - Maclean's Magazine

"Reviewed: Trent Severn"

Trent Severn is a delightful new trio of established and thoroughly professional Canadian singer/songwriters Danya Manning, Emm Gryner and Laura C. Bates. They call themselves “a Canadiana band whose songs are fueled by the folklore of Ontario; whose lyrics pay tribute to Canadian legends.” Their self-titled debut CD features ten short tracks with titles like Mulroney Times, Muskoka Bound and Bluenose on a Dime. I love that they included a self-addressed postcard seeking listeners’ Canadian stories toward their next projects. Part of their band manifesto is to sound on stage as they sound on record, which means the listener is treated to fiddle, banjo, guitar, box and bass supporting the main ingredient: three superbly blended voices. More Crosby, Stills and Nash than Andrews Sisters (especially the tremendous opening track, Snowy Soul), Trent Severn has the potential to be a standing-ovation, crowd-pleasing staple at folk festivals for as long it chooses to be. - Roots Music Canada


Still working on that hot first release.



Early in life one thinks that everything in the world that is magical, interesting and worthwhile is most certainly somewhere else. One can't wait to grow up and explore this amazing planet we share. Eventually there comes a time when we open our eyes and realize what treasures lie in our own backyard, and how lucky our maple leaf is. Oh Canada!

Meet Trent Severn. Not the waterway system in Southern Ontario, but Trent Severn - the Canadiana band whose songs are fueled by the folklore of our country; whose lyrics pay tribute to Canadian legends.

Trent Severn is a trio from Stratford, Ontario comprised of indie songster Emm Gryner, the multi-talented Dayna Manning and violin whiz/songbird Laura C. Bates. They released their self-titled 10-track debut album in November of 2012, and in less than a years time they have garnered critical acclaim, sold out shows, national top 5 radio charting, appeared on CBC Radios national arts program, Q and received praise from Burton Cummings. On Canada Day 2013, they performed their own rendition of O Canada at the Flag Raising Ceremony on Parliament Hill, and joined Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield in his first earthly performance of David Bowies Space Oddity. Their debut was nominated in two categories for the CFMAs: New/Emerging Artist of the Year Award and Vocal Group of the Year, and are set to release their second album in November 2014.

Every note on the album is played, arranged and penned by the trio with the exception of a one-track guest appearance by Joel Plaskett. Song titles like Snowy Soul, Muskoka Bound and Bluenose On A Dime paint instant Canadian portraits. The lyrics seamlessly offer inside jokes our citizens will laugh at, yet nothing a welcome visitor couldn't relate to and enjoy.

The roots of this trio are deep. These ladies have been intertwined by the same stomping grounds and musical crossroads for a decade.

Emm Gryner is an acclaimed singer-songwriter with several albums to her credit. She won the Canadian Music Publishers Songwriting scholarship, the Radiostar Songwriting Contest and has been nominated 3 times for a Juno Award. In Q Magazines 20th anniversary issue, U2s Bono named Emms song Almighty Love as one of 6 songs from the past twenty years that he wishes he had written. She was a member of David Bowie's touring band for his album, "...hours".

Dayna Manning has released three solo records, one Juno-nominated. Her records feature appearances by Sean Ono Lennon, Red Hot Chili Pepper Chad Smith and CSNY sideman Bob Galub. Manning has toured the country with 54-40, Joe Cocker, Burton Cummings and opened for Radiohead. Her songwriting is sincere and superbly crafted, her finger-picking skills are unmatched and her voice is truly unmistakable with a timbre that reminds one of Roy Forbes, Joni Mitchell and Dolly Parton all at once.

Laura C. Bates is the first violinist to receive a Bachelor in Jazz and Contemporary Music at Humber College. Her career highlights include performances at Massey Hall, The Glenn Gould Studio, The West End Cultural Centre, on Canadas Got Talent (Citytv), live on CBC Radio, four national tours and numerous dates at Canadian folk festivals including Mariposa, Hillside, Shelter Valley, Northern Lights, and Blueskies. Her other projects, The Boxcar Boys (dixieland, western swing, Klezmer) and Del Bel (post-rock indie orchestra) have received critical acclaim in The Toronto Star and NOW magazine. She takes joy in fiddling everywhere from concert halls to camp fires.

Gryner and Manning have been co-billing a stage since the very beginnings of their careers. As a teenager, Manning wrote her very first song "A Walk On the Moon", the song that launched her musical career, while babysitting Laura C. Bates in her childhood home.

Trent Severn are three treasured and talented musicians who have years of experience touring this country, getting to know audiences and creating lasting friendships. This band is a seed that blooms to life on a Canadian stage, and like every modest Canadian, has achievable goals:

-To show a Canadian audience a really great time
-To write songs that touch the hearts and tell the stories of our friends, neighbours and legends
-To offer an album that sounds just like the concert
- And of course, to be kind, to enjoy a beer at the end of a long day and to talk about - I dunno - maybe how cold it is?

Band Members