“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest is a Canadian singer-songwriter, previously a founder member of Colorado-based band Paper Bird, whose self-titled record was produced by John Oates (of Hall & Oates) no less. Carleigh Aikins is also a member of Toronto “supergroup” Dwayne Gretzky; regularly works with Juno award winning artist Bahamas and has been in the live line-ups for a list of luminaries as long as your longest limbs including Jack Johnson, Macy Gray and The Weather Station not to mention during her let’s face it busy career sharing stages with the likes of Neil Young and Willie Nelson through to Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear.

That all being said, and the reason why we’re here is that Carleigh has a long time coming debut solo album enticingly called “Junk Jewelry” (out this Friday 3rd December on SilverDoor Music) made with producer/engineer/mixer Marcus Paquin (Arcade Fire, The National) plus Don Kerr (Bahamas, Ron Sexsmith), Evan Tighe (Patrick Watson, La Force, Elisapie) and Brad Barr (of the excellent The Barr Brothers), and they’ve all helped to elevate a truly soulful, deep, powerful and intrinsically moving voice to a heady height.

We bid a warm Velvet Sheep welcome to Carleigh Aikins!

Also backed by some of Toronto’s finest players, Carleigh has well and truly paid her dues and with a voice with a timbre like Tina Turner and a swing like Amy Winehouse, and it’s time to step from the shadows and draw the spotlight.

And with cover artwork with a sparkle of Tori Amos and a whisper of Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” this album would make a proper statement both on the turntable and leaning in front of it. Basically I’m down for it.

Carleigh’s voice oozes class, and sophisticated musicology, so it was interesting to find out what she digs in the crate for beyond the greats. So without further ado, here’s Carleigh Aikins’ intriguing “song for ewe”

“Being half Italiano and a sucker for a perfect pop song, Mina (or the “Tigre Di Cremona”) feeds my insatiable appetite for nostalgia.

She was a brazen feminist of the 60’s, and her shaved eyebrows, bleached hair and shameless smoking made her one bad ass B. The songs on Studio Uno were performed on the Italian variety show of the same name.

Listening to Pui Di Te makes me salivate. Mina’s voice transports me back to days strolling through Cesena before appearing at Teatro Bonci; an “emancipated woman” (like Mina) with gelato in my hand and pizza in my near future.

Sonically the production and seemingly simple (yet actually fairly complicated) vocal arrangements quench my thirst for that sweet 60’s vino we all love to sip.

Listening to this daily is a healthy alternative to DuoLingo when brushing up on my Italiano, and songs like this influenced my backing vocal sensibilities. I can’t get enough of that tasty fade out/fade up on the album version. Si grazie Mina, cento per cento!”


Photo of Carleigh Aikins by Noah Campbell. Album cover by Stefan Foerster/Brandyn Aikins.

“Junk Jewelry” is out Friday 3rd December on SilverDoor Music.

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Also from “Junk Jewelry” is this shiny gem: