Canadian country singer Crystal Shawanda released a new album recently called “The Whole World’s Got the Blues,” which is receiving rave reviews despite being a bit of a departure from the roots of this First Nations recording artist from Ontario.
“I’ve been preparing for the release for months, performing the new songs, listening to mixes from the road, sneaking in a studio every chance, and now I’m rushing to Nashville to put the finishing touches!,” said Shawanda in a Facebook post dated Aug.13. “This has been such an amazing summer, beautiful friendships were born, and nurtured, and I was even blessed to have down time with my family!”
Shawanda’s new album, which was released on Sept. 30, is based on a foundation of African-American blues music.
The title song of the album “The Whole World’s Got the Blues”, tells a story in a style that some say is similar blues greats like Etta James and Janis Joplin.
The following video of the song was recorded at the second annual CBC Music festival held on June 14, 2014, at Deer Lake Park, Burnaby, B.C.
The second song on the album is a cover of blues legend Buddy Guy’s “What You Gonna Do About Me.” Guy released the song on an album titled Rhythm & Blues in July 2013. The album was considered an example of how blues continues to be the foundation of all genres of today’s music.
It also illustrates why Guy has been influential in the careers of Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan and now Crystal Shawanda.
Shawanda’s new album was recorded primarily in Vancouver, BC at Fader Mountain Studios. In the upcoming year, she will be performing at blues and jazz festivals throughout Canada and the US.She will be playing on Oct. 24 at the Hideout in Toronto.
Born on the Wikwemikong Native Reservation on Manitoulin Island in Ontario, Shawanda grew up immersed in the music of her Ojibwe heritage. She first visited Nashville at the age of 12 with her father, who is a long haul truck driver.
The next year, she recorded her first album in Nashville, which was made up of songs that she wrote. Over the following several years, she recorded three more independent albums, traveled back and forth to Nashville finally got a full-time gig at the famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville. There, she met her husband and lead guitarist.
While working at Tootsie’s, Shawanda worked with producer Scott Hendricks and in 2007 signed a deal with RCA Records/ Sony Music Nashville.
Crystal’s first single, “You Can Let Go”, was the fastest rising single in Canadian Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems history, reaching Top 5 in Canada and Top 20 in the US. Her debut album, “Dawn of a New Day”, which was released in 2008, was Billboard’s highest charting album by a Native American in history, and sold more than 400,000 copies.
Shawanda has had multiple hit singles on the country music charts, performed at the 2013 U.S. Presidential inauguration and been awarded multiple honours including the title of Canadian Country Music Association “Female Artist of the Year” and the 2013 JUNO Award for Aboriginal Album of the Year.