jane eamon

In 1998, at the age of 46, Jane Eamon wrote a song on a dare and submitted it to the BC Festival of the Arts. She was stunned when she was invited to attend their songwriting week as a songwriting delegate. "It freaked me out," she says, "I was the second oldest person there. I thought they had made a mistake." Ten years, eight songwriting honours, five Okanagan Valley Music Awards and four critically acclaimed CD's later, it's clear that her selection was no fluke. The woman they now call "The Pastor of Songwriting" in her hometown of Kelowna, BC, has been winning recognition from fans and peers alike as an outstanding practitioner of her craft. Eamon's soulful, spiritual, and easygoing sound deftly combines elements of country, folk, blues, gospel and Celtic music, and many of her songs sound more like traditional numbers than recent compositions. The diverse influences are effortlessly pulled together by Eamon's voice, an instantly familiar-sounding alto, which at times evokes shades of Linda Tillery, Connie Kaldor, KD Lang and Heather Bishop. She is backed up by an evocative array of acoustic instrumentation that includes guitar, stand-up bass, fiddle, mandolin, pedal steel and a touch of soprano sax. Lyrically, Eamon frequently ventures beyond perennial themes of love and loss to tackle subjects ranging from childhood and politics to aging and spirituality. It's an impressive repertoire for an artist who quit music more than three decades ago thinking she "wasn't good enough." Eamon moved to Vancouver back in 1975 with dreams of becoming the next Joni Mitchell. A self-taught guitarist and accordion-player who grew up in Cornwall and Brampton, Ontario – and briefly in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia - she had already received recognition early in life when she was selected at age 9 to appear on Tiny Talent Time, a Hamilton-based television program showcasing prodigious young performers. At age 19 one of her first compositions won a Brampton area songwriting contest and earned her a corporate gig for Rogers in Toronto. Arriving in BC shortly thereafter, however, Eamon became disillusioned with music when friends told her she "wasn't that good." She pawned her guitar at 23 and, as she puts it, "went to sleep" for over 20 years. It was only when the man who would become her husband dared her to write a song that Eamon picked up her guitar once again. As it turns out, she's proved to be more than "good enough." She's already earned the enthusiastic support of Roz and (the late) Howard Larman, hosts of Los Angeles' iconic FolkScene program, and she's been a featured artist on NPR's Open Mic. "Blue Madonna," the title track from Eamon's 2002 debut CD, placed third in the KADAC Arts Awards and earned an Honourable Mention from the Billboard Song Contest. "Ruckus in the Henhouse," from A Different Place, a political number inspired by the Vote for Change concert series, earned an Honour Award from both the Great American Song Contest and The Unisong Song Contest and was a finalist in the Mountain Stage Newsong Contest. "Let Time Take Care of the Rest," from Deep Water, also received an Honourable Mention from the Great American Song Contest. Eamon earned the 2005 Socan Songwriter of the Year award and the Best Female Artist award at the Okanagan Valley Music Awards, and she has been named Best Folk Artist three years running. In addition, her music has been featured on several compilation albums, including "Protest Songs for a Better World", "Civil War: Songs to Remember" and "Dig Your Roots," and she was the lead writer of the official Kelowna centennial song. In 2006, she was a finalist for the Angel Award for outstanding contribution to the creative arts and in 2007, an Okanagan Arts Award music nominee. Eamon says she is driven above all by the desire to write, to bring people together to write and to share her work with others. That unwavering commitment to artistic growth combined with her formidable raw talent makes her one of the most exciting new creative forces on the Canadian songwriting scene.

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