BADDECK: Despite the provincial lockdown, there is a lot going on at Barn Bhreagh Studios.
Cape Breton artists Morgan Toney, Isabella Samson and Jesse Cox released new music to the digital streaming platform Bandcamp last week.
Supported by the CBmic artist development program, the three spent the last six months making solo albums with musician Keith Mullins at Barn Bhreagh Studios in Baddeck.
Unlike most digital streaming platforms, Mullins said Bandcamp offers artists a percentage of the sales, and sometimes takes no profit themselves. Since this will help make up for lost revenue from the pandemic, Toney, Samson and Cox are releasing their albums only on Bandcamp.
“It’s one of the only sites where I think they only take 10 per cent of sales,” Mullins said. “If you’re looking at a lot of other social media platforms, like streaming platforms, it’s extremely difficult for an artist to make any money off of it.”
Mullins said this gives supporters and fans the opportunity to support their music and have it first.
“Before we put it out everywhere, we wanted to get our true fans and the true supporters, give them the chance to get the music before everybody else,” he said. “They can say, ‘I know that music since they offered it on Bandcamp.’ Give them an opportunity to have it first and know that they were part of the creation of it all.”
To access Morgan Toney’s “Msit No’kmaq” featuring Ashley MacIsaac, got to: https://tinyurl.com/ymsmdkhm and for the full album and photos, check out: https://tinyurl.com/fac5aszn.
Isabella Samson’s “If It’s Not Forever,” can be found at: https://tinyurl.com/fccnnxc6 while the full album and pictures are at: https://tinyurl.com/2jk2jrdk.
The Jesse Cox single “Whipping Post” featuring Shaun Verreault of Wide Mouth Mason is at: https://tinyurl.com/d3x5w9ey and go to: https://tinyurl.com/vpfyuwj6 for the full album.
The three have released lyrics videos and have been accepted to “CBC Searchlight” and will also be looking for fan votes in the upcoming weeks.
“You’re looking at international exposure if you get up there,” Mullins noted of the decade-long contest. “If you get up in the top 10, that’s huge.”
The three artists have also added Mullins to form a super group called Barn Bhreagh with the performers back each other’s songs performing in English, French, and Mi’kmaq, with Cape Breton Celtic fiddle tunes in the mix.
“It’s a great way for all of us to get a bigger sound, all of us to play our songs, and give people a stronger show with a nice big band, but at the same time everybody has their own solo material,” Mullins explained. “I’m sure it’ll evolve into Barn Bhreagh doing a CD together. Right now, it’s four different songwriters coming together like a travelling songwriter’s circle that’s backed by each other.”
On May 22 at 7 p.m., if lockdown restrictions allow, Barn Bhreagh is planning a COVID-friendly livestream on Mullin’s Youtube page to promote the release.
“I think that a lot of the CBC listeners are people that would want to listen to Barn Bhreagh, its right up their alley, I think,” Mullins stated. “Isabella is working on some French translations of her songs, so we’re going to do a French version of ‘If It’s Not Forever,’ that’s on the list. Then Morgan sings in Mi’kmaq, and then we play Celtic tunes.”
On June 9, the performers have an East Coast Music Association showcase, Mullins said, which will be available on the ECMA livestream.
Calling it the “Fingers Crossed Tour,” Mullins said there are a few bookings for the summer, including festivals and other events.
“I’m trying to book a tour for August right now, but fingers crossed I’m hoping that we can be able to do it by then,” he added. “If things get locked down, luckily we’re able to play livestream shows.”