Canadian AV (Ann Vriend) is a two-time Maple Blues Award songwriting recipient, an Edmonton Music Award and Alberta Centennial Award recipient, and has sold nearly 30,000 albums off-the-stage in her under-the-radar yet critically acclaimed international career. Her sound is simultaneously reminiscent of the vintage, rootsy, soul style of Stax Records and Muscle Shoals recordings, while also contemporary and commercially viable, not to mention lyrically politically poignant.
AV has been hailed by NOW Magazine as a musician who "turns soul on its head, belting out delicate introspection in the form of fire”. She is one of the only independent artists in recent history to break into the Top 100 Pop Charts of commercial radio in Germany, the world’s 4th largest music market; even taking the #1 spot on one of their largest stations, Bayern 1.
During the pandemic, instead of her usual touring, AV launched what came to be a weekly event called “Porch Concerts”; where for nearly 60 Sundays of the pandemic she and other musical guests performed free concerts on her front porch, with people coming from all over her hometown of Edmonton to take it in. The porch concerts also saw participation both musically and logistically by the often-ignored members of her difficult and notorious inner-city neighbourhood of McCauley, which has suffered increasingly during the opioid crisis, and the COVID19 pandemic.
In fact, the subject matter of AV's new album, "Everybody Matters," is informed and influenced by the McCauley neighborhood, which has led AV down a path of self-discovery, as much as it was a discovery of her neighbours and their own biographical stories.
And while "Everybody Matters" is quite directly a work of social examination AV has always written songs about confusion, searching, and questioning -- of herself, and the culture around her. The outcome is what she half-seriously, half-jokingly calls “existentialist gospel"; drawing from classic soul artists who have delivered stunning recordings which are both contagiously fun AND socially thought provoking. As stated forcefully by the Toronto Star:
"Don’t miss her!"
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