Essentials… with Joe Nolan

Each week, Essentials allows Canadian musicians to share the things that have helped get through through the pandemic, and why they still can’t live without them. Here are the choices of an acclaimed Edmonton roots-rocker.

Essentials… with Joe Nolan

By Jason Schneider

Each week, Essentials allows Canadian musicians to share the things that have helped get through the pandemic, and why they still can’t live without them.

Coming off his acclaimed, acoustic-based 2020 album Drifters, the ever-mercurial Joe Nolan's latest collection, Scrapper, is more akin to the sounds of reflective indie-rockers like Grandaddy and Eels than it is to what might be expected from a Canadian Folk Music Award-nominated artist, and two-time Cobalt Prize winner, recognizing blues songwriters. Yet, that's where Scrapper takes us, headfirst into the underdog Edmonton singer-songwriter's realm of swirling alternative sounds, as he prepares for his career's post-Covid title fight.


In the past, Nolan has stated that his definition of rock and roll is an artist letting their heart bleed on and off stage, without any fear. There’s probably no better way to describe Scrapper, as on it Nolan again demonstrates a willingness to venture deeper into the dark corners of his psyche.

It’s a trait that puts him in good company with artists he has shared stages with over the past decade, from Wilco and Shakey Graves to The Strumbellas and Hawksley Workman. He may be categorized as a roots artist, but Nolan never wants that tag to define him completely. By drawing inspiration from vintage rock and roll, blues, country and punk, he intends to keep pushing boundaries with every record he makes.

Joe Nolan’s Scrapper is available now from Fallen Tree Records and on all digital platforms. He has shows slated in November and December in Alberta and B.C. and for more information go to

Essential Song: Big Thief -  Little Things (Single, 2021)

This song came out a few months ago and it’s one of those ones that has been on repeat ever since. I don't know how many times I’ve listened to it... It’s transcending. The words and melody are stunning and dark. I love the chaos and juxtaposition of the vocals and the out-of-tune junky guitars. It's so well done.


Essential Podcast:The Working Songwriter with Joe Pug

This podcast has been getting me through the pandemic. I'll usually put an episode on when I’m running or biking. It goes into depth on songwriting but also just the life of a touring musician. Joe Pug is an engaging host and has some really interesting guests. I highly recommend this one.

Essential TV:Maid (Netflix, 2021)

I thought this show was very well written. I couldn't turn it off. It covered some important topics and made them very relatable. I definitely cried a little bit at the end.

Essential Movie:Lost In Translation (2003)

I just watched this movie for the first time recently and absolutely loved it. The soundtrack, the story and the humour were so up my alley, and once again very relatable. Beautiful movie!

Vanessa Heins


Music News

Alexisonfire Are Releasing a Live Album from Their Hometown Born & Raised Festival

The St. Catharines, Ontario band are bringing the festival back this summer, and they'll release LIVE Born & Raised 2022, St Catharines ON just in time for fans to hear it first.

After a two year hiatus, Alexisonfire are resurrecting their hometown festival Born & Raised on July 5 and 6 at Montebello Park in St. Catharines, Ontario. Just in time, they're releasing a live album from the last time they held the festival, in 2022.

The album, LIVE Born & Raised 2022, St Catharines ON, captures their career-spanning set from the inaugural edition of the festival. In front of their hometown fans, they played songs from throughout their more-than-two-decades long career.

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